Reshaping the Middle East: Why the West Should Stop Its Interventions

Syria: the project of creating a” jungle state” instead gave birth to a powerful Resistance movement

Foreign intervention has pushed many Middle Eastern populations into poverty, at the same time making them more determined to confront and reject the global domination sought by the USA. The number of Middle Eastern countries and non-state actors opposed to the US coalition is relatively small and weak by comparison with the opposite camp, but they have nevertheless shaken the richer and strongest superpower together with its oil-rich Middle Eastern allies who were the investors and the instigators of recent wars. They have coalesced as a Resistance movement attracting global support, even in the face of unprecedented propaganda warfare in the mass media.

The soft power of the US coalition has been undermined domestically and abroad from the blatant deceit intrinsic in the project of supporting jihadist takfiri gangs to terrorize, rape and kill Christian, Sunni, secular, and other civilian populations while allegedly fighting a global war on Islamic terrorism.

The small countries targeted by the US coalition are theoretically and strategically important due to their vicinity to Israel. Notwithstanding the scarcity of their resources and their relatively small number of allies in comparison with the opposite camp, they have rejected any reconciliation on the terms offered by Israel.

Israel itself is progressively revealing more overt reconciliation and ties with oil-rich Arab countries: we see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strolling in Warsaw, discussing and shaking hands with Arab leaders. These are obviously not first meetings: recent years have shown a progressively warming rapport and openness between Israel and many Arab leaders.

These Middle East countries have long been supportive of Israel’s aggression against Lebanon and its inhabitants. And in the last decade, this support expanded to include a plot against the Palestinians, Syria and Iraq.

The US has exerted huge pressure on Syria since 2003, following the invasion of Iraq. During Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to Damascus in March 2003 he offered long-lasting governance to President Bashar al-Assad in exchange for submission: Assad was asked to sell out Hamas and Hezbollah, and thus join the road map for the “new Middle East”.

When Powell’s intimidation failed, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the US’s main Arab allies and the countries responsible for cash pay-outs to help the US establishment achieve its goals (and those of Israel), promised to inject untold gold and wealth into Syria.

Assad was not willing to comply with this US-Saudi influence and pressure. The influence belonged to the US; Saudi Arabia and Qatar stood behind, holding the moneybags. A war against the Syrian state became essential, and its objectives and prospective benefits immense.

In a few paragraphs, this is what the seven years of war in Syria were about:

The Palestinian cause was pushed to the periphery by the mushrooming of ISIS, a group that terrorised the Middle East and participated in the destruction of the region’s infrastructure, killing thousands of its people and draining its wealth. It was also responsible for numerous attacks around the globe, extending from the Middle East into Europe. ISIS didn’t attack Israel even though it was based on its borders under the name of “Jayesh Khaled Bin al-Waleed.” Nor did al-Qaeda attack Israel, although it also bordered Israel for years, enjoying Israeli intelligence support–and even medical care!

All this was done in order to destroy Syria: dividing the state into zones of influence, with Turkey taking a big chunk (Aleppo, Afrin, Idlib); the Kurds realising their dream by taking over Arab and Assyrian lands in the northeast to create a land of Rojava linked with Iraqi Kurdistan; Israel taking the Golan Heights permanently and creating a buffer zone by grabbing more territory in Quneitra; creating a failed state where jihadist and mercenary groups would fight each other endlessly for dominance; gathering all jihadists into their favourite and most sacred destination (Bilad al-Sham – The Levant) and sealing them into “Islamic Emirates”.

It also involved, strategically, stopping the flow of weapons from Iran through Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon; weakening the Iranian-Syrian-Iraqi-Lebanese “Axis of Resistance” by removing Syria from it; preparing for another war against Lebanon once Syria was wiped off the map; stealing Syria’s oil and gas resources on land and in the Mediterranean; building a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe to cripple Russia’s economy; and finally removing Russia from the Levant together with its naval base on the coast.

At no point in the Syrian war was a single leader proposed to rule the country and replace Bashar al-Assad. The plan was to establish a zone of anarchy with no ruler; Syria was expected to become the jungle of the Middle East.

It was a plan bigger than Assad and much bigger than the Syrians. Hundreds of billions of dollars were invested by Middle Eastern countries – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to kill Syrians, destroy their country and accomplish the above objectives. It was a crime against an entire population with the watchful complicity of the modern and “democratic” world.

Many pretexts were given for the Syrian war. It was not only about regime change. It was about creating a jungle state. Think tanks, journalists, academics, ambassadors all joined the fiesta by collaborating in the slaughter of Syrians. Crocodile tears were shed over “humanitarian catastrophes” in Syria even as the poorest country in the Middle East, the Yemen, was and still is being slaughtered while the same mainstream media avert their gaze and conceal the nature of the conflict from the general public.

Anyone who understood the game, or even part of it, was called “Assadist”, a designation meant as an insult. The savage irony? This epithet “Assadist” was freely wielded by the US chattering class- who themselves have evidently never publicly counted and acknowledged the millions killed by the US political establishment over the centuries.

So, what has this global intervention brought about?

Russia has returned to the Levant after a long hibernation. Its essential role has been to stand against the US world hegemony without provoking, or even trying to provoke, a war with Washington. Moscow demonstrated its new weapons, opening markets for its military industry, and showed its military competence without falling into the many traps laid in the Levant during its active presence. It created the Astana agreement to bypass UN efforts to manipulate negotiations, and it isolated the war into several regions and compartments to deal with each part separately. Putin exhibited a shrewd military mind in dealing successfully with the “mother of all wars” in Syria. He ventured skilfully into US territory against its hegemonic goals, and he has created powerful and lasting strategic alliances with Turkey (a NATO member) and Iran.

Iran found fertile ground in Syria to consolidate the “Axis of the Resistance” when the country’s inhabitants (Christian, Sunni, Druse, secular people and other minorities) realised that the survival of their families and their country were at stake. It managed to rebuild Syria’s arsenal and succeeded in supplying Hezbollah with the most sophisticated weapons needed for a classic guerrilla-style war to stop Israel from attacking Lebanon. Assad is grateful for the loyalty of these partners who took the side of Syria even as the world was conspiring to destroy it.

Iran has adopted a new ideology: it is not an Islamic or a Christian ideology but a new one that emerged in the last seven years of war. It is the “Ideology of Resistance”, an ideology that goes beyond religion. This new ideology imposed itself even on clerical Iran and on Hezbollah who have abandonned any goal of exporting an Islamic Republic: instead they support any population ready to stand against the destructive US hegemony over the world.

For Iran, it is no longer a question of spreading Shiism or converting secular people, Sunni or Christians. The goal is for all to identify the real enemy and to stand against it. That is what the West’s intervention in the Middle East is creating. It has certainly succeeded in impoverishing the region: but it has also elicited pushback from a powerful front. This new front appears stronger and more effective than the forces unleashed by the hundreds of billions spent by the opposing coalition for the purpose of spreading destruction in order to ensure US dominance.

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The US Syria Withdrawal and the Myth of the Islamic State’s “Return”

February 7, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – At face value – the notion that the US occupation of Syria is key to preventing the return of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) to Syrian territory is unconvincing.

Regions west of the Euphrates River where ISIS had previously thrived have since been permanently taken back by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian and Iranian allies – quite obviously without any support from the United States – and in fact – despite Washington’s best efforts to hamper Damascus’ security operations.

Damascus and its Russian and Iranian allies have demonstrated that ISIS can be permanently defeated. With ISIS supply lines running out of NATO-territory in Turkey and from across the Jordanian and Iraqi border cut off – Syrian forces have managed to sustainably suppress the terrorist organization’s efforts to reestablish itself west of the Euphrates.

The very fact that ISIS persists in the sole region of the country currently under US occupation raises many questions about not only the sincerity or lack thereof of  Washington’s efforts to confront and defeat ISIS – but over whether or not Washington is deliberately sustaining the terrorist organization’s fighting capacity specifically to serve as a pretext for America’s continued – and illegal – occupation of Syrian territory.

The US Department of Defense Says It Best 

A recent report (entire PDF version here) published by the US Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General himself would claim:

According to the DoD, while U.S.-backed Syrian forces have continued the fight to retake the remaining ISIS strongholds in Syria, ISIS remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that “could likely resurge in Syria” absent continued counterterrorism pressure. According to the DoD, ISIS is still able to coordinate offensives and counter-offensives, as well as operate as a decentralized insurgency.

The report also claims:

Currently, ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria, but absent sustained [counterterrorism] pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory in the [Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV)].  

By “continued counterterrorism pressure,” the report specifically means continued US occupation of both Syria and Iraq as well as continued military and political support for proxy militants the US is using to augment its occupation in Syria.

The report itself notes that the last stronghold of ISIS exists specifically in territory under defacto US occupation or protection east of the Euphrates River where Syrian forces have been repeatedly attacked – both by US-backed proxies and by US forces themselves.

The very fact that the report mentions ISIS is “regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria” despite the US planning no withdrawal from Iraq seems to suggest just how either impotent or genuinely uninterested the US is in actually confronting and defeating ISIS. As to why – ISIS serves as the most convincing pretext to justify Washington’s otherwise unjustified and continued occupation of both Syria and Iraq.

US DoD’s Own Report Exposes Weakness, Illegitimacy of “Kurdish Independence” 

The report is all but an admission that US-backed militants in Syria lack the capability themselves to overcome the threat of ISIS without constant support from Washington. That the report claims ISIS is all but defeated but could “resurge” within a year without US backing – highlights the weakness and illegitimacy of these forces and their political ambitions of “independence” they pursue in eastern Syria.

A Kurdish-dominated eastern Syria which lacks the military and economic capabilities to assert control over the region without the perpetual presence of and backing of US troops – only further undermines the credibility of Washington’s Kurdish project east of the Euphrates.

The Syrian government – conversely – has demonstrated the ability to reassert control over territory and prevent the return of extremist groups – including ISIS.

Were the United States truly dedicated to the destruction of ISIS – it is clear that it would support forces in the region not only capable of achieving this goal – but who have so far been the only forces in the region to do so.

ISIS as a Pretext for Perpetual US Occupation 

In reality – the US goal in both Syria and Iraq is to undermine the strength and unity of both while incrementally isolating and encircling neighboring Iran. The US itself deliberately created ISIS and the many extremist groups fighting alongside it.

It was in a leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo that revealed the US and its allies’ intent to create what it called at the time a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. The memo would explicitly state that (emphasis added):

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would state:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

The “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) would indeed be created precisely in eastern Syria as US policymakers and their allies had set out to do. It would be branded the “Islamic State” and be used first to wage a more muscular proxy war against Damascus – and when that failed – to invite US military forces to intervene in the conflict directly.

Several years onward, and with the abject failure of the US proxy war in Syria all but complete, the shattered remnants of ISIS are sheltered exclusively in regions now under the defacto protection of US forces and are being used as a pretext to delay or altogether prevent any significant withdrawal of US forces.

While many see the announcement of a US troop withdrawal from Syria by US President Donald Trump and attempts to backtrack away from the withdrawal as a struggle between the White House and the Pentagon – it is much more likely the result of a collapsing foreign policy vacillating between bad options and worse options.

The inability – so far – of Israeli airstrikes to even penetrate Syrian air defenses let alone cause any significant damage on the ground in Syria has further highlighted Western impotence and complicated Washington’s plans moving onward into the future.

Turkey’s teetering policy regarding Syria and the prospects of it being drawn deeper into Syrian territory to“take over” the US occupation – as described by the DoD  Inspector General’s report – will only further overextend and mire Turkish forces, creating vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited by everyone sitting at the negotiation tables opposite Ankara.

It is still uncertain what Ankara will do, but as an initially willing partner in US-engineered proxy war in Syria – it is now left with its own unpalatable options of bad and worse.

It is interesting that even the DoD Inspector General’s report mentions ISIS’ continued fighting capacity depends on foreign fighters and “external donations” – yet never explores the obvious state sponsorship required to sustain both. The DoD report and US actions themselves have all but approached openly defending the remnants of ISIS.

While the prospect of violently overthrowing the Syrian government seems to have all but passed, the US is still trying to justify its presence in Syria at precisely the junctions ISIS and other terrorist organizations are moving fighters and weapons into the country through – in northern Syria, in southeast Syria near the Iraqi border, and at Al Tanf near the Iraqi-Jordanian border.

Were the US to seek to consolidate its proxies and initiate a “resurge” of ISIS – the very scenario it claims it seeks to prevent – its control of these vital entry points into Syria and Iraq would be paramount. Allowing them to fall into Syrian and Iraqi forces’ hands to be secured and cut off would – ironically – spell the end of ISIS in both nations.

While Washington’s words signal a desire to defeat ISIS – its actions are the sole obstruction between ISIS and its absolute defeat.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Dr. T. J. Coles: “Unlike War, Peace Is Not a Profitable Pursuit”

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Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In your masterful book “Britain’s Secret Wars”, you demonstrate the hidden face of British politics and its direct involvement in major conflicts via its intelligence services. Do not you think that Britain is responsible, like its US ally, for the chaos that reigns in areas like the Middle East and the Sahel?

Dr. T. J. Coles: Yes. Britain has both historic and contemporary responsibilities for much of the carnage in the Middle East, Central Asia, and elsewhere. There are different degrees of responsibility. When a gang commits a crime, for example, a murder and armed robbery, each member of the gang is sentenced by a court of law in accordance with the degree of their participation in the crime. The person who pulled the trigger is the murderer, their associate is the accomplice, and so on. The same principle applies, or if we care about morality should apply, to international affairs. At the moment, the US is the global superpower, so the US bears most of the responsibility for invading Afghanistan, firing drones at Pakistanis, Somalis, and Yemenis, invading Iraq, and using proxy terrorists in Syria and Libya.

But Britain and more recently France are also involved. So, the leaders of these countries must also take responsibility for their actions.

As far as Britain is concerned, the UK has a long history of using violence against Arabs, Kurds, and other peoples of the region. Afghanistan has never invaded the UK, yet Britain’s recent military operations in Afghanistan mark the fourth invasion of that country in less than 200 years. Historically, the UK wanted to ensure that Afghanistan would serve as a trading route with and a bulwark against invasions of its main colonial prize, India. With the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919), colonialists using the newly-created British air force were asking about “the rules for this kind of cricket” (Sir John Maffey), meaning the casual murder of Afghans by air power. The same applies to Iraq. Britain essentially invaded Iraq in the late-1830s, when armed trading ships sailed the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, bringing what the colonialists called “civilization” to “the sons of lawlessness” (later private secretary to Sir Percy Cox, R.E. Cheeseman). By the 1920s, British air power was being used against Iraqis, too. The colonialists of the time called this “spanking” the naughty Iraqis, whom they regarded as children (colonial administrator B.H. Bourdillon). By then, Britain’s interests in Iraq, Iran, and what became Saudi Arabia concerned those nations’ oil reserves.

This kind of direct responsibility for atrocities against colonial subjects continued until after the Second War World, when the US became the superpower and subjugated growing numbers of people, particularly in Latin America but increasingly in the Middle East, which was recognized to be the oil-center of the world. Britain and the US killed at least half a million Iraqi children in the 1990s with the blockade and then went on to murder another million people with the US-led “shock and awe” invasion (2003) and the destabilization of the already fragile country that followed. Western media simply suppressed the news that the US-British puppet governments, especially that of Nouri al-Maliki, were as bad in terms of human rights abuses as Daesh (Islamic State), which arrived on the scene a few years later. Under al-Maliki, whose forces were armed and trained by Britain and the US, a thousand Iraqis were put on death-row, many of them students, trade unionists, activists, and so on. The police tortured prisoners with broken glass and drills. Many journalists were killed. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported on this, most of the media did not.

In fact, the British public, thanks to the media’s omission of facts, underestimates the level of the damage wrought upon Iraq after 2003: and even before with the sanctions. Most Britons, when polled a few years ago, thought that 10,000 Iraqis had died when epidemiological studies estimate that over 1 million lost their lives.

Among the so-called intelligentsia, there is a slight recognition that the kind of crimes committed over a century ago did indeed happen and that they were morally unacceptable. Richard Gott is one such historian. Others, however, like Niall Ferguson, continue to use racist language. He described Iraq as a “sun-scorched sandpit” and ridiculed what he called the Middle East’s “retarded political culture” (quoted from his book, Colossus).

But try to find any sustained criticism of British foreign policy when it comes to more modern wars, particularly less known ones. Just ten years ago, the UK, quite apart from supporting US interests, participated in ethnic cleansing. In 2013, I was the first researcher or journalist (writing in the US journal Peace Review) to document British arms supplies to the Sinhalese government of Sri Lanka. Britain sold the arms before, during, and after the Sinhalese government’s ethnic cleansing of 40,000 Tamil civilians between March and April 2009. Since then, only one other person, journalist Phil Miller, has documented British involvement. But Miller’s research has appeared in alternative media, not in the mainstream. Miller (who hates me for some reason) was recently able to publish a piece in the Guardian about Britain’s historical role in Sri Lanka (in the 1970s), but he could not say much about current or recent crimes there. This is the nature of the media. The same is happening now in Burma (Myanmar). Nobody is reporting the fact that the British armed forces are training the Burmese Army at a time when it is committing an ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people.

The French-British intervention in Libya that has destabilized the Sahel and all Africa and caused chaos is it not a serious political mistake whose political leaders must answer in courthouse, namely President Sarkozy for France and Prime Minister David Cameron for Britain?

There is a pattern. It is also recognized by the Belgian journalist, Michel Collon. First, the US and Britain organize, train, arm, and instruct a terrorist network. Next, they label that terrorist network “freedom fighters” or “moderate rebels.” They then instruct or authorize that network to attack the government of a sovereign nation. None of this is reported in Western media, so politicians and the public who might otherwise know what’s really going on and oppose war remain ignorant of the geopolitical turmoil being created by Western proxies. The sovereign government under attack by the terrorists then tries to defend its interests, using violence to do so. Only then do Western media report on the situation. They report the violence of the government defending itself, ignoring all of the provocations of the terrorist proxies. Finally, a plea for “humanitarian intervention” is issued by the Western governments working with the proxies. The plea is to save innocent civilians from the foreign government, which is, in fact, defending its own interests.

As far as I can tell, this pattern was laid in Serbia in 1999. There was a region of Serbia, Kosovo, comprised mainly of Kosovar-Albanians. These were ordinary civilians who were not particularly nationalistic. The majority seemed to want to remain Serbian. But the US and Britain wanted to break up Serbia because an energy pipeline intersected there, hence the US constructed the military Camp Bondsteel on the intersection. Future-NATO Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Schefer, said years later that energy companies essentially lobbied NATO to “intervene” in Serbia. “Let’s be glad that the gas is flowing again,” he said. So, the US and Britain, using the public relations company Ruder Finn, put together the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to stoke secessionist sentiments in Kosovo. The KLA leaders were quite open about their intentions to attack government and even civilian targets. Furthermore, several British House of Commons Library reports published prior to the NATO bombing confirm this.

When Serbia’s leader Milošević responded with violence, the US and Britain, or “international community” as the media claim, made increasingly absurd allegations, that tens- to hundreds-of-thousands of Kosovar-Albanian civilians had been killed by Milošević. No evidence was provided. The British government at the time confirmed that 2,000 people on both sides had been killed in the civil war: not the hundreds of thousands of Kosovars, as we were told. In violation of international law, NATO began bombing Serbia in March 1999. NATO killed a couple of thousand people (we don’t really know because we don’t investigate our own crimes) and has left tens of thousands of cluster bomblets (little, cluster-type bombs which can be carried by the wind) scattered all over the fields of Serbia for children to step on and get blown up, according to the Red Cross. So much for humanitarian intervention.

The same pattern was repeated in Libya. For years, the UK sheltered Islamist fanatics like Anas al-Libya and Ramadan Abdei in London and Manchester. The right-wing Daily Mail newspaper reported that in October 2010, the British were training anti-Gaddafi forces on a “farm” (which means training camp in intelligence nomenclature). At the same time, the British continued training and arming Gaddafi’s forces because, in 2004, Gaddafi had agreed to let Western energy companies exploit Libya’s resources. But the same companies involved in the exploitation of Libyan energy complained that Gaddafi’s privatization “reforms” were too slow. At the same time, the US was pushing for regime change in Syria by funding the opposition to Bashar al-Assad. The date of October 2010 is important because it predates the Libyan Arab Spring by about four months. So, contrary to media claims, the anti-Gaddafi “rebels” were not part of the Arab Spring. These and other terrorists, or “rebels” as the Western media called them, essentially hijacked the otherwise peaceful Libyan Arab Spring. With British weapons and training, Gaddafi’s military used force to crush the protestors, but also the terrorists who were also being trained and armed by Britain. This is the old divide and rule tactic. As with Serbia in 1999, Western politicians claimed, again with no evidence, that Gaddafi was about to launch an “ethnic cleansing” in Benghazi (which just happened to be where most of the Islamists were based. In reality, Gaddafi might have defeated the Western proxies). On this lie, 30,000 Libyan civilians were wiped out by NATO and the terrorists, according to the puppet TNC government installed by Britain, the US, and France.

The only difference with the pattern in Syria is that NATO did not get involved and Daesh clashed with the “moderate rebels” (terrorists) used by the US, France, and Britain to depose Assad.

As far as international law is concerned, each of these actions are war crimes. The British government still refuses to release in full the advice given to it by the Attorney-General over Libya, which suggests that the Attorney-General had advised the Prime Minister, David Cameron, against the invasion in March 2011. But powerful people do not face justice from the very courts that they create and support. The International Criminal Court at The Hague has lost all credibility if it even had any. Tony Blair and George W. Bush committed the most blatant act of aggression by invading Iraq in 2003. Ministers try to argue, not very convincingly, that “humanitarian intervention,” as in the cases of Serbia and Libya, are different; that they are somehow at least legally questionable. But the reality is that these were war crimes. Iraq, though, is an even more blatant case. Blair and Bush were never tried, even though the UN Secretary-General at the time, the late Kofi Annan, said that the invasion was a war crime, and even the British government’s Chilcot Inquiry said so, using polite language. It’s mostly Balkans war criminals and Black people from African being put on trial at the Hague. It’s a neo-colonial arrangement. In response, Uganda led the call for other African nations to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Court, citing its hypocrisy.

The United States and Great Britain, supporting and arming terrorist groups that ended up bombing Europe, are they not guilty before their people for having made a pact with the devil?

There’s even a semi-official name for it. Extremist preachers, like Omar Bakri, call it “the covenant.”The unwritten arrangement is that they work for the British intelligence services and in exchange, they are left alone to preach their extreme interpretations of Islam, free from legal prosecution and deportation. But it’s not really a covenant, given that Britain has been successively attacked, supposedly by associates of these people; assuming we believe the official story, of course. Bakri himself left the UK and has access to mainstream media, supposedly from Lebanon. Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada have also been extradited. So, the “covenant” is just a smokescreen for journalists or politicians who ask too many questions. The reality is that these men are just proxies of the intelligence services.

The most blatant case was that of Salman Abedi.I mentioned his father Ramadan above. Then-Home Secretary and now PM Theresa May had, what former MI6 officer and intelligence expert Alastair Crooke called, an “open door” policy on migration for jihadis. The Abedi family were allowed to travel from the UK to Libya, even being rescued by the Ministry of Defence, apparently, during and after the 2011 war. By the time Daesh was a significant force in Libya, Salman had come of age and went to train with them. If we are to believe the media, he murdered 22 British people in May 2017 in an alleged suicide bomb attack. That single act alone should have collapsed the British government. Newspaper headlines should have read: “PM Theresa May had ‘open door’ policy for suicide bomber.”But nothing was said. A few people on the fringes, like Nafeez Ahmed (an excellent journalist) and Mark Curtis (a brilliant historian) noticed. John Pilger on the progressive left and Peter Oborne on the libertarian right were only mainstream voices.

But this is just one case. Extremists have been linked to the intelligence services for a long time:Abu Qatada (described as “bin Laden’s right-hand man”); Abu Hamza (of the Finsbury Park Mosque); Haroon Aswat (a suspect in the London 2005 bombings); Michael Adebolajo (alleged co-killer of Fusilier Lee Rigby); and so on. The right-wing screams that the government of the day (even if it is a right-wing government) is “too soft” in allowing these extremists to live in the UK. The left-wing replies, “Well, these people don’t represent Islam.” But neither side can admit that these people are puppets of the intelligence services. The services use them for a variety of reasons, including as proxies. What is particularly disturbing is that in open-source Ministry of Defence documents, which the media don’t report, it is acknowledged that “proxies” will be used by states where direct warfare cannot be engaged in and that such proxies “may prove difficult to control,” hence the risk of blowback to domestic civilians.

We should also remember that, as horrifying as the London 2005 attacks and Manchester 2017 attacks were, people in the Middle East and North Africa endure this kind of terrorism every day, namely from US-British-French drone strikes. But in the UK, we don’t think of daily drone blasts and the threat of being eliminated at any second as terrorism. By 2014, around 2,500 people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan had been murdered by US drone operators: the overwhelming majority were civilian and the rest were suspects, not “terrorists.” Calling them terrorists is a matter for international or domestic law courts, not media propagandists. Many of the peoples in those regions live in constant fear of being instantly incinerated by machines called Predators and Reapers that fire missiles called Hellfire in operations like “Widowmaker.” Western media carefully shield domestic publics from the reality of what drones do to the flesh and bone of men, women, and children, as well as to their mental health. So, when revenge acts of terrorism occur in Europe and the US, to the domestic populations it seems as if these acts have come out of nowhere. The explanation offered by the right-wing is that Muslims hate our freedoms, and so on.

You wrote the book very interesting and very researched “Real Fake News: Techniques of Propaganda and Deception-based Mind Control, from Ancient Babylon to Internet Algorithms”. The mainstream media have been involved in imperialist wars by relaying propaganda from the US military and its allies. Today we notice that there is a debate about the fake news. Have mainstream media kept their credibility? Do not they serve the dominant interests and is this debate on fake news not just wrong and biased? Can we receive journalistic ethics lessons from some media that claim to be references like NY TimeCNNBBC, etc. while they are propaganda media of dominant interests, watchdogs?

Fake news isn’t confined to the media. The medical industry spreads fake news about the brilliance of its products, even going so far as setting up fake journals to give their drugs positive reviews. Industry experts write papers and hire academics to put their names to them. In the early days of war reporting, when film and photography came into use, the technology was so novel that war correspondents could get away with faking battle scenes, using actors. Many “classic” war photos are actually re-enactments. Today, we can tell that some images are frauds, but at the time they looked real to an audience unfamiliar with the new technology. Then there’s colonial fake news: that the famines in Ireland in the 19th century were caused by potato blight, when in fact colonial Britain understood perfectly well that the blight was merely a trigger. The underlying causes of the famine were the transformation of Irish agriculture by the British into monocultures for export and domestic markets, like potatoes, as well as the exportation of food to the UK during the starvation period.

So fake news is nothing new and its general aim is to keep the public subordinated to power.

Has that changed with the internet, where information can come from the ground up? Not much. If you look at the most popular blogs and websites from ten or 15 years ago – Huffington PostPolitico, the Daily BeastVice — you find that many were set up by figures who worked for mainstream newspapers. Ariana Huffington, for instance, was already a millionaire when she co-founded the Huffington Post with Andrew Breitbart, who, with the backing of the billionaire Robert Mercer, later established Breitbart News. So, under the pretense of using this revolutionary new medium, the “alternative” sites were dominated by establishment figures. In addition, it’s important to remember that we hear claims that the mainstream media–CNNBBCNew York Times, etc,–have declined in audience ratings. It’s true that print revenues for newspapers are down, but if you look at the rankings online, the most popular news sites are not generally the alternative sources, they are the establishment: Daily MailBBCNew York Times, Yahoo!(which sources from the Associated Press, Reuters), and so on.

Trust in mainstream sources has been declining for years. Some polls suggest that even the respected BBC is now less trusted than Wikipedia, which is itself a source of disinformation, as journalist Helen Buyniski has documented. This steady decline in trust has occurred for the very simple reason that media coverage of events do not reflect the everyday experiences of ordinary people. In the US and Britain, most media are private corporations that have an interest in presenting to people a picture of the world that reflects the interests and, crucially, experiences of the major shareholders and CEOs of corporations. Occasional articles here or there present a different picture, but the general tone is one conducive to elite interests. The so-called “liberal” media, like the New York Times, tend to be culturally liberal in terms of supporting gay rights or empathizing with refugees. This annoys the right-wing, whose media are culturally “conservative” (meaning antihuman). But when it comes to key issues, such as workers’ rights or economic regulation (the kind of things that could really help ordinary people), neither left nor right media reflect most people’s major concerns.

If we look at the issues that matter to most people, they are the economy, employment, and migration. A study by the Reuters Institute and Oxford University analyzed hundreds of media articles published after the financial crisis of ’08. They found that the vast majority of reporting was either neutral or pro-financial sector. That simply didn’t reflect reality, so why would anyone trust that kind of reporting, either on the left or on the right? This generalizes. When it comes to foreign policy, the mainstream consensus is that war is good. The “conservative” Fox News sold the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on a pack of lies, just as much as the “liberal” New York Times did. More recently, President Trump’s rhetoric, though not the reality, has been against foreign wars. The alternative far-right media support this narrative, but they do so with strong anti-Islamic bias, to the point of Islamophobia, in fact. Take, say, Breitbart News’ coverage of Daesh. Breitbart claimed that in its Issue 15 of its jihadi magazine Dabiq, Daesh said that it will always attack Westerners because most of us are non-Muslim. The BBC, which is considered to be a liberal news organization reported on it, too. The only difference between the reporting is that the BBC implied that not all Muslims are extremists, whereas as Breitbart implied that Issue 15 of Dabiq was typical of Islam.

The trouble is that Issue 15 was a fraud, probably published by US intelligence. Daesh issued a statement warning its followers not to read Issue 15. So, the BBC a respect organization was quoting from a fraud as if it was real. This important revelation about the fakery was reported in a single news outlet, as far as I can see: Vice online. So, we cannot trust the so-called alternative any more than we can trust the mainstream. We have to evaluate evidence and be skeptical about everything we see, hear, and read—including about what I’m saying.

We should also be wary of self-appointed fact-checkers. You shouldn’t let some else check facts on your behalf. How do you know if they’re telling you the truth? Take Snopes and its article on the Iran nuclear deal. Nowhere in that article do you see the reports from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists or other experts who say that not only does Iran have a right to develop nuclear energy but various UN reports have confirmed that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. The Bulletin’s reporters also note that the US has pressured the UN to unconstitutionally probe Iranian weapons facilities to a greater extent than the agreements require. So, as usual, the US is a bully. But an even bigger question is, what right does the US have to impose any kind of “deal” on Iran or indeed any country? If we want to follow international law, that’s for the UN to decide. The idea that the US has an inherent right to make Iran or North Korea adhere to a deal is also fake news.

About your enlightening book “Great Brexit Swindle“, do not you think that the vote for Brexit was a scam that serves the interests of the ruling classes, bankers, billionaires, the 1%, at the expense of the disadvantaged classes?

The British elites, including politicians and businesses, are split over whether to Leave or Remain in the EU. A majority of elites clearly favor Remain, hence the Leave agenda has stalled, for the time. However, a powerful lobby wants to exit the EU for its own financial interests, not in the interests of ordinary working people, or even in the class interests of fellow elites. I call the two camps the Heseltine Faction, after the neoliberal Remainer, Michael Heseltine: and the other, the Lawson Faction, after the ultra-neoliberal Leaver, Nigel Lawson; both of whom are former Conservative cabinet ministers. So, the pro-Leave agenda was a scam by a small number of the ruling elite, namely those who want to deregulate financial markets (the Lawson Faction).

It’s important to remember that more than 50% of Conservative party funding comes from hedge funds and other financial institutions, so Remain politicians are financially blackmailed to push through Brexit by the financial institutions and party donors that want to Leave.

It’s pretty clear that the majority of business owners and politicians wanted to Remain in the European Union. For them, slow economic growth in a neoliberal Union was preferable to the uncertainty of Leaving. Investment banks call this “stability” and “predictability,” which is why they like to promote multilateral trade and investment deals or unions, like the EU, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and so on. But for the last 20 years or more, a new breed of profiteer class has grown in importance: financial services and their specialists. Financial services include insurance companies, hedge funds, liquidity firms, and so on. They have an opposite view to the more traditional neoliberals. They believe that bilateral trade and investment work best because they aren’t importing and exporting products that need assembling and reimporting, the way traditional producers are. They rely on digital transactions that require very little human resources. For them, the new and more profitable economy is pure money: making money from money. They see lucrative markets in the growing economies of Asia. These are ultra-neoliberals. So the neoliberal EU is terrible for working people, but the ultra-neoliberal financial markets economy is even worse.

Brexit and the political fallout is due to this battle between the status quo neoliberals who think they ought to Remain part of the EU and the ultra-neoliberals who want to Leave. Elements of the Conservative party in the UK have always hated Europe because some of the strongest players, notably France, have retained some state controls over their economies. The ultra-neoliberals in the UK want as few state controls as possible, except where state controls benefit their cronies. For example, they were happy to have state intervention to bail out the banks after the crisis in ’08-09. But they were not happy when the EU imposed some rules (MIFID and MIFID II) on financial transactions. The government’s Bank of England was not under the control of the European Central Bank, contrary to what a lot of Britons thought. But private financiers were constrained by EU directives.

The interests of the ultra-neoliberal faction coincided with the anger of a large number of working-class Britons who were conditioned by media propaganda to believe that the EU was responsible for their economic misery. Had the British been Greek or Irish, it would have been true. In those countries, the deliberate choice to impose brutal financial austerity on the public of Europe came from the EU bureaucrats and Troika: the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the US-led International Monetary Fund. But British fiscal and monetary policy is not determined by the EU due to the fact that Britain never accepted the euro as its currency or accepted European Central Bank jurisdiction. In fact, Britain was, in some ways, never really part of the EU. It never accepted the euro as its currency, never signed onto the Schengen Area of free movement, and it opted out of a record number of agreements. On occasion, EU Directives are cited by the British government as the pretext to privatize public assets. For example, the privatization of Royal Mail, the British postal service, was enacted under an EU Directive that made privatization mandatory. But successive British governments were committed to privatization anyway, regardless of EU membership.

As this was going on politically, serious public discontent over the status quo was brewing among working-class Britons, particularly Northerners. The City of London, in the South, has disproportionate influence over people’s lives. It is in London where policy is set and budgets are finalized. Ordinary people who have little control over their lives are at the mercy of hated, London-centric political elites. There’s also a lot of racism and xenophobia in the UK. People say that foreign workers are taking “their” jobs and “their” housing. There’s some truth to that. There is a shortage of affordable housing and decent, well-paying jobs. But instead of pushing the government via local political representatives to spend more money building council houses and investing in skills for British working people, the public have been trained by the right-wing media–the Sun, the Daily Mail, and others–to blame economically vulnerable people (the immigrants) for their plight.EU arrangements on freedom of movement made it possible for migrants from Poland and elsewhere to get easy access to the UK. It was after the mid-2000s that the real Euroscepticism (i.e., hatred of Europe) accelerated among the British working-class. The lack of government investment, particularly in the North, an aging population (people tend to get more right-wing as they get older), and an influx of migrants created a powder keg.

After the financial crisis in 2007-08, the EU imposed some very minor financial reforms on the institutions that caused the crash. Some of them didn’t like this and lobbied the Conservative party in the UK to Leave the EU in order to avoid the regulation. They were able to exploit working people’s hatred of the EU and thus we have Brexit. It’s very easy to prove what’s going on, but try finding a mention of it in the media.

US politicians have always been in the pockets of big business. But Trump has taken it even further, writing in his book The America We Deserve (2000) that “nonpoliticians,” meaning businessmen (and most of them are men) “represent the wave of the future.”So, Trump is what happens when big business takes over.

Trump portrayed himself as a rebel, an outsider. That’s nonsense. Trump is or was friends with the Clintons. There are photos of him golfing with Bill. He went from “lock her up” (referring to Hillary) on the campaign to, “They’re good people. I don’t wanna hurt them…”(the Clintons) as President-elect. The Trump supporters and fanatics like Alex Jones like to ignore these facts. Trump is also a pure opportunist. He’s not a far-right ideologue like Steve Bannon. Back in 1999 with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Trump was asked what he thought of the Republicans. He said that they were “too crazy right.” Trump’s view at the time simply reflected the mood of the country, not his personal ideology. Most Americans were relatively Democratic, hence the electoral win of Democrat Al Gore a year later, which was stolen for George W. Bush by the electoral college. But as the Democrats under Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton moved further to the right, many potential Democrat voters gave up on the party. As this was going on, an insurgency in the form of the Tea Party was taking place on the right, and gaining momentum. Although he distanced himself from the Tea Party because it was not right-wing enough, Steve Bannon associated with them for a while. Trump sensed that enough of the country had been radicalized against the Democrats and against the so-called “moderate Republicans” (whom he called “crazy right” in the late-90s) to make his presidency tenable. It’s pure careerism.

How did Trump succeed? He won, technically, because of the electoral college system. But the roots go deeper. Why were there enough Americans willing to vote for this disgusting figure? From the end of the Second World War until the mid-to-late-1970s, the US was a kind of state-capitalist nation. Banks invested in communities: in housing, cars, people’s futures, and so on. The economy was relatively stable, minus a couple of comparatively small recessions. To counter those, there were some significant social programmes, like President Johnson’s Great Society project, or “war on poverty.” Even President Nixon was forced to enact legislation written by progressives like Ralph Nader. But the financial elites also pushed for economic deregulation. Over the next few decades, the entire political spectrum drift further to the right, where the Democrats became Republicans and Republicans became far-right lunatics, or at least the Trump faction.

The socioeconomic consequences were serious. The poor largely gave up voting as the Democrats, their traditional representatives, simply turned to the Wall Street elites for funding. The middle- and upper-middle classes, the kind of people who voted for Trump in the 2016 election, not only saw their share of the wealth decline over the previous few decades, they also saw demographic changes. The Bill Clinton-signed NAFTA “free trade” deal led to an increase in Mexican migration, as 2 million Mexican farming jobs were wiped out. NAFTA was actually finalized by George Bush I, but Trump supporters dismiss that by saying that Bush was really too left-wing(!). In addition, the Black population has continued to grow. So, many white, middle-class Americans, particularly rural ones, see their income decline, their quality of life suffer, their children’s lives get harder, and what they see as “their” country being taken over by “illegals” and Blacks. Until Trump, the Republican voters and backers were split over Tea Partiers and those who held less extreme views. But neither faction particularly appealed to the kind of voters whose lives had been getting progressively worse, hence the major hedge fund backers gave up on candidate Ted Cruz and reluctantly shifted their money over to Donald Trump, who appealed to these generations of unfortunates with his catchy slogans: “lock her up!”, “Drain the swamp!”, “Make America Great Again,” etc.

Trump’s only “rebellious” qualities are his public displays of vulgarity. In the real world, his major donors were the very same people who deregulated and wrecked the economy; the financial sector. As the media eat up the nonsense about his alleged senility, sex life, dietary habits, and so on, the real policies, his Executive Orders, are signed behind closed doors with little comment:the setting up of a task-force on more financial markets and financial technologies (which will ultimately lead to another crash in thirty or so years’ time);the ripping up of climate regulations to make air quality even worse and extract more fossil fuels;the renegotiation of NAFTA to make it easier to export more US biotech (which could include genetically-modified goods);expanding the bombing of the Middle East; and the continuation of the missile system aimed at Russia, which could lead to nuclear war.

In your book “Fire and Fury”, you make a statement of what is happening in Southeast Asia. In your opinion, what is behind the Trump administration’s dubious game targeting China and North Korea?

Trump is being berated by the “liberal” mainstream media for doing what any sensible politician would do (not that Trump is sensible!), namely making moves to de-escalate tensions with North Korea. The situation is extremely precarious, with US-EU sanctions on North Korea pushing the population literally to the edge of survival, plunging many (we don’t have the exact numbers) into famine; and with North Korea test-firing missiles over Japan, a close US-ally.

There is a history behind this. After WWII, the US carved Korea into two entities, North and South. In the South, the US worked with a dictatorial regime that murdered tens of thousands of Koreans. The pretense for supporting this regime was anti-communism. The North was essentially ceded to Soviet control in the form of US appeasement to Stalin. Now-declassified US military documents reveal that Western war planners understood that Stalin did not want to invade the South. Other declassified documents reveal that the North’s invasion of the South in 1950 was a response to US-South Korea military build-ups. Not that it was justified, but it could be read as a form of pre-emptive war; the mantra of George W. Bush in 2003 when he invaded Iraq. In response to the North’s predicted invasion of the South, the US, by its own military records, wiped out 20% of the population of the North and destroyed 90% of its buildings. Other documents reveal that, having learned its lesson about the sheer brutality of the US empire and war machine, the North Korean regime built fortified subterranean bunkers in case of future attacks.

Since then, the US has violated treaty after treaty with the North. Far from being this weird country closed off to the world, as Western media claims, North Korea has been deliberately isolated by the US. Violating the Armistice Agreement, the US positioned weapons, possibly nuclear, in South Korea in the 1950s. Despite this, a CIA report says that there was a “decade of quiet,” until the US invaded Vietnam and provoked North Korea into starting tit-for-tat maneuvers as a warning to the US. This began four phases of build-ups, mainly involving US-South Korean military exercises which have increased in size since the 1960s. The US even war-games nuclear attacks on the North. The right-wing Heritage Foundation acknowledges that it was as late as 1994 that the US attempted diplomacy with the North. But when George W. Bush came to power and labeled North Korea part of the “Axis of Evil,” the diplomacy vanished. The US never lived up to its commitments to replace North Korea’s nuclear reactors, supply fuel, and so on. So, in response, North Korea re-initiated its nuclear weapons programme, which even US military experts—like the annual threat assessments to Congress—agree are designed to deter US attacks against it. Try finding that in the media.

But it’s important to remember that the US has no legal or moral right to make North Korea give up its nuclear programme, any more than North Korea has a right to make the US give up its own.

In terms of Trump’s strategy, I think we need to look at the bigger picture. When it comes to foreign policy, the Pentagon is in charge. There are lobbyists and the media are very pro-war. Congresspeople who vote against military budgets and war, if there are any, are told that they’re being unpatriotic. The Pentagon sees itself as the military guarantor of a global architecture that enables the US to run the world. They call it “full spectrum dominance” and cite the satellites that enable our internet, banking, GPS, air traffic control, shipping, and so on, to operate. Their mission is to “protect” this infrastructure and in doing so shape the world for US corporate interests. Until the 1980s, South Korea was a kind of capitalist economy. It had some state controls and traded and exported via relatively normal tariffs with the rest of the world. But by the 1990s, that had changed. South Korea is now a neoliberal economy. The same pattern is repeated, but less successfully in China, which is now a semi-neoliberal economy with state controls. North Korea is getting there, very slowly. So the entire region is shifting toward US-led neoliberalism.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the US wants a united, neoliberal Korea to act as a strategic bulwark against China: to make China continue with the kind of neoliberal policies that benefit US corporations like Apple and to ensure that, militarily, China doesn’t get too big for its boots. The US wouldn’t suddenly allow peace and the possibility of reunification between the two Koreas unless it served some, as-yet unclear, interest.

Your important book “Human Wrongs: British Social Policy and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” goes against the popular belief relayed by propaganda and the media lies (you mention the deaths of 20,000 pensioners a year who can not pay for their heating, 40,000 people who die every year from air pollution, the limits on freedom of speech, the massive surveillance of the British by deep State, etc.). This book has the merit of showing the true face of Britain. Do not you think it’s nonsense to talk about human rights and democracy in Britain?

It’s not nonsense to talk of human rights in Britain. Britain has more domestic human rights than, say, Saudi Arabia. But it is nonsense to think that rights were given by elites. The history of rights is a long one. In various history books like A.L. Morton’s A People’s History of England or E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class, we see that the origins of trade unions, the women’s movement, enfranchisement for working people, and so on, were hard-won by popular resistance. For example, by the year 1700 just 3% of the population, the aristocratic class, had the right to vote. By 1800, so-called Combination Acts were passed in order to prevent working people from forming associations. These became known as trade unions. Next year will mark the 200thanniversary of the Peterloo Massacre—the massacre of 15 people who had protested the socioeconomic conditions of the time. It was as late as 1884 with the passing of the Third Reform Act that working-class men over the age of 21 won the right to vote. The rights that exist today should not be dismissed out of hand, but more rights need to be won. The elites can pass more laws to hinder unions, but they can’t, for example, massacre Britons in the street as they did 200 years ago.

However, by comparison to other European countries, Britain’s rights are seriously lacking. On all sorts of measures, from maternal and infant mortality to child well-being and life expectancy, Britain’s level is very low. In fact, Britain is like an Eastern European, ex-Soviet country. The reason for this is economic neoliberalism and, unlike European countries, which are also neoliberal to an extent, the dissolution of state controls over the economy. After the Second War World, Britain was so wrecked that national investment and rebuilding was required. The nascent Labour Party, then just 45 years old, succeeded in convincing enough people to back comprehensive state reconstruction. The National Health Service was established and social security guaranteed for everyone. The Conservatives (Tories) hated the idea but conceded that both had popular support. By the 1970s, the so-called New Conservativism was established. The Labour Party moved further to the right, with the help of American money (Giles Scott-Smith has good material on this). By the 1980s, socialism was old-hat and even derided as dangerous. Increasingly brutal financial austerity and anti-union laws were passed against the backdrop of a “greed is good” culture.

The socioeconomic consequences have been horrendous. Since the year 2010 and with the imposition of more austerity following the financial crisis, 120,000 people have died due to social cutbacks. It’s a death-toll that Islamic State could only dream of inflicting. And it is a choice. If we compare Britain to other economies like Germany, France, and Italy, those which have tighter controls, we see fewer deaths and less social misery. That’s changing now with the neoliberal Macron in power in France, but the situation continues to remain markedly better for Britain’s counterparts in Europe.

I wrote the book Human Wrongs in response to this year being the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The kind of social policies that I mentioned have extreme consequences for the poorest. In fact, Britain has violated all 30 articles of the UDHR in recent years; and that’s on domestic issues alone, never mind foreign policy. These include the right to life and the right to be free from torture, to more subtle rights, like the right to decent housing and the right to adequate pay. The people in power want to exploit the population as much as possible, even if societal collapse is the result. Dominic Raab, a Tory and ephemeral Brexit Secretary, is a lawyer by training. He wrote a book explaining that in his view (typical of a Tory), rights should not extend beyond vagaries like “liberty.” In his book The Assault on Liberty, Raab is quite clear that free healthcare and decent housing should not extend to the level of rights, contrary to what the UDHR says.

Do not you think that the dramatic situation in which Julian Assange is left since years is inhuman and that the incredible fury that targets him reveals the true face of these false Western democracies?

Assange’s mental torture at the hands of the UK, which has effectively imprisoned him, and the US, which has not withdrawn the threat to arrest and possibly execute him, sets an example to potential whistleblowers: do this and be punished.

But WikiLeaks has a background. There is a global movement, much of it funded by the same kind of elites who gave us Donald Trump, to bring down governments. It’s ridiculously called “anarcho-capitalism,” as if anarchism and capitalism could ever go together. WikiLeaks began in this context. As far as I know, the organization has not received a penny from Trump’s backers, but these self-styled “libertarians” and “anarchists” are the same kind of people that supported WikiLeaks. Vaughan Smith in the UK is one such example; a wealthy, land-owning elite who wants to shatter the system and who offered Assange some protection for as long as possible. If you look at WikiLeaks’ earliest exposés, they tended to focus on the governments of poor countries, like Somalia and Kenya, exposing corruption there. This, presumably, interested the US State Department, which likes to condemn the corruption abroad as a weapon against countries that do not have or do not honor business contracts with the US. However, WikiLeaks also exposed the US. Their aim was to expose everyone. Assange didn’t seem to care from whom he received funding. Emails reveal that he was perfectly happy to “fleece,” in his words, the CIA and other organizations. Assange’s handle was “Mendax” which means Liar in Latin.

Nobody asked why the elite mainstream media was paying attention, i.e., giving a platform, to WikiLeaks and ignoring more significant whistleblower sites, like Cryptome.

It seemed that Assange thought that he could use the system, but the system has used him. Don’t get me wrong: WikiLeaks has done fantastic work. I visit the site frequently and quote its leaks in my own books. But being interested in so-called libertarian causes meant that Assange was expected to back those claiming to be libertarian. Notice that WikiLeaks has little dirt on Trump. WikiLeaks released carefully-timed emails during the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign that caused her approval rating, which was already low, to drop even lower. This played a part in Trump becoming president. Progressives were alarmed by this, including the great journalist Allan Nairn and Democracy Now! presenter, Amy Goodman (both of whom are old colleagues).They raked Assange over the coals during an interview because of his politicization of WikiLeaks. At that point, WikiLeaks basically exposed itself for what it is: a tool for more anarchic elites, as I’ve been trying to tell people for years(no one on the “left” would publish my findings because everyone wants to believe in a hero; Assange in this case).

But, as I say, regardless of its politics, WikiLeaks has done great work and put the mainstream to shame. Initially, the New York Times and Guardian rode the coattails of Assange’s success. Then, they turned against Assange. The only people sticking up for him were the progressives. But when he pulled that trick and released the Clinton emails in time for the presidential elections, the progressives turned against him. If self-styled libertarians who support Trump thought that Trump would save Assange, having previously declared his “love” of WikiLeaks, they were horribly mistaken. Assange is now trapped in some kind of legal limbo. The British have violated articles of the UDHR, mentioned above, by detaining Assange; a point flagged by the UN, which declared that his treatment by Britain is contrary to international law.

You draw attention to activism against free trade agreements in Privatized Planet: Free Trade as a Weapon Against Democracy, Healthcare and the Environment. Do not you think that we need a united front of resistance against the globalized capitalism and ultra-liberalism that lead the human race to extinction and the planet to death? Is it too late to influence the balance of power and to bring people back to decide their future?

It’s difficult to form a united front against corporation globalization for a number of reasons. The major one is that people’s jobs rely on corporations. In the UK, and I assume it’s similar elsewhere, 9 out of 10 businesses fail in the first couple of years. Eight out of ten businesses, roughly, employ fewer than 20 people. So globalization is a privilege of the large, monopolistic employers. That means that most people rely on larger businesses for their employment. How are people to protest against the very system that employs them? That’s a crucial catch-22.

Next comes the issue of advantage. Until the 1970s, roughly, most Americans and Europeans benefited from corporate globalization and a regulated economy. Most people were middle-class. They had opportunities to buy a home and raise children, who would go on to have an even better future. That wasn’t true of everyone, of course: ethnic minorities were, on the whole, the major exception. But generally, the picture is correct. By the 1970s, that started to change. In response, self-styled heroes like Donald Trump come along and appeal to core elements of the shrinking middle-class; the very people who could once again benefit from corporatism. So, how can we appeal to people like that and encourage them to push for a more equal form of grassroots globalism?

There are all kinds of events taking place around the world. If working people could learn about these events via democratized media, there might be a greater chance of solidarity and cooperation against elites. In the early-2000s, there were textile strikes in Bangladesh over the awful working conditions there. Had British workers, who sell the garments made in Bangladesh, been aware of these conditions they might have been able to lend their support. Instead, the Bangladeshi military was called in, Operation Clean Heart, to suppress the social uprising. Britain supplied the arms. A few years later in neighboring India, women protested outside one of the central banks of India to cancel the debts that are leading Indians to sell their body organs to survive. That was reported by Reuters, if I recall, but received little attention elsewhere. Unionization is one of the key tools in overcoming the corporate abuses of human beings and the environment. Colombia is one of the worst cases. The UK’s companies, or at least co-owned companies, have really exploited the civil war and government oppression of self-styled Marxist elements. Oil giant BP, brewer SABMiller, and mining firm AngloGold Ashanti operate in Colombia. The Colombian military and its links to paramilitaries (now gangs) have set conditions in which corporate operations are highly profitable. Unionists, students, left-wing politicians, environmental activists, and others, are bullied, intimidated, kidnapped, tortured, and even killed. There are some links between British unions and Colombian unions; a link which raises awareness of Colombians’ plight in the UK.

But we should be careful not to believe the professed aims of leaders like Trump. Trump tore up the corporate globalization treaties like TPP and renegotiated NAFTA for a simple reason: those “deals” weren’t profitable enough for US businesses. TPP contained tax loopholes to allow foreign countries to charge the US hidden value-added taxes. The public who don’t know or care about the details of so-called free trade deals were duped into believing that Trump cares about American workers. The fact is that Trump’s team prefer one-on-one or bilateral deals. In a bilateral set-up, the US is the dominant of any two countries, including China. (China’s economic rise is largely a myth, given that major investors are US-based.) But in a political union, like the EU or the TPP, the US is weaker. The interests of working Americans, i.e., not to sign on to TPP, coincided with the interests of big business; to have a “free trade” deal that included provisions against hidden taxes. It was a bit like Brexit: it benefited some elites and coincided with public opinion. In addition, growing numbers of corporations are relying on automation. Foreign countries simply haven’t the infrastructure to assemble US products with robots, so US companies are on-shoring (coming home). Trump can claim credit for this by claiming that he’s bringing jobs back to America.

The major hope and indeed action comes in the form of political engagement. Syriza of Greece totally sold the Greek people out to the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank—the Troika. But at least it has some leftist policies. Its failings have led the way for the right-wing New Democracy, which is currently leading in the polls. Podemos in Spain is another example of moderately leftist progress which, if successful, could be pushed even further by grassroots activism. Though not yet in power in the UK, Corbyn’s Labour Party is by now the biggest political party in terms of grassroots membership in Europe. There are dangers, too, with Austria and Italy now led by far-right governments. Both far-right and far-left parties profess an anti-globalization agenda but neither fully commit to ending their support for corporate globalization.

We need to act fast because it’s not at all certain that a neoliberal corporate agenda can survive. Last year, I wrote an article for Truthout documenting the numerous indigenous peoples around the world, “tribes” as we dismissively call them, who are literally facing extinction. That’s what our civilization and its reliance on corporate greed has done, driven thousands of endangered peoples to the edge of literal extinction. Their plight is a taste of things to come. If we look at social data in societies that have been first hit with financial crises and then by neoliberal programmes, we see massive mortality rates. Neoliberalism literally kills. Neoliberalism is a system of institutionalized greed which measures everything in terms of its financial value. A global system based on those inhuman principles can’t survive for long.

You have published “Voices for Peace”, a book co-authored by several personalities of which I interviewed some of them, such as Kathy Kelly and Noam Chomsky.According to you, are the voices of these personalities not very important in the fight of the resisters around the world?

These voices are important representatives. Each author has contributed different things to humanity in different ways. In the 1970s, journalist John Pilger raised millions of dollars to help Cambodian famine victims. He literally saved lives. Today, John does other vital work in raising awareness about the lies of government. Kathy Kelly is associated with numerous groups, particularly Voices for Creative Non-Violence, in Afghanistan, providing blankets, emotional support, and more. Brian Terrell is a dedicated anti-war, anti-drone activist who has been arrested on multiple occasions. Bruce K. Gagnon pioneered raising awareness about the weaponization of space and continues to keep the momentum going by organizing protests, doing interviews, and writing articles. For Palestinians, it’s an important psychological boost to have Israeli Jews like Ilan Pappé speaking up for their rights.

The book begins by talking about grassroots activists, like those who drop water bottles in the deserts of the border between the US and Mexico, so that dying refugees might survive,or the brave volunteers who take boats out into the waters of Europe to look for men, women, and child refugees who would otherwise drown or catch hypothermia. These grassroots activists have an acute sense of humanity and compassion. They don’t need high-profile figures like Chomsky to motivate them, but high-profile names are important to represent them and their causes, directly or indirectly, to wider audiences. Featuring big names is a way of attracting attention to important, on-the-ground work often done by others; but also done by many of the people featured in the book.

You are the director and founder of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research. Can you introduce your organization to our readers?

PIPR was founded in 2014 by my partner and I to commemorate the start of the First World War and to draw attention to the wars and oppression going on today. PIPR is a website. It is an independent organization funded out of pocket; in other words, it has close to zero funding. This was a deliberate choice, as I did not want the agenda to be shaped by financial backers—not that I had any offers. Unlike war, peace is not a profitable pursuit. The only thing for sale on the site are my books. There is no advertising. The site has a document archive consisting of what I consider to be the most important documents: The US military’s drone expansion plan; the US Army-Air Force “owning the weather” agenda to test climate-change technologies; the US Space Command’s declaration of war on the world, it’s “full spectrum dominance” agenda; and others.

The site also hosts videos, in particular, a BBC documentary acknowledging MI6 and CIA terror attacks across Europe after World War II, Operation Gladio. There is a Links page to other (what I regard to be) progressive and anti-war organizations, like Amnesty International and Code Pink. There is an Honorary Members page. Honorary members include: Suaad Genem, an Israeli-Palestinian who was basically bullied out of her homeland due to her commitments to secular political parties advocating Palestinian rights; Kathy Kelly, whom I mentioned above; John Pilger; and Dr. Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman and activist. Some Honorary Members contributed nothing to the site and were removed. Others turned out to be charlatans and were also removed. The Events page supports Bruce K. Gagnon of Space4Peace. We also publish articles on a range of topics. Over the last few years, we’ve acted as a mirror site for Kathy’s group, Voices for Creative Non-Violence by re-publishing the articles on their site, most of which concern their on-the-ground work in Afghanistan.

PIPR was established when my partner and I lived in Exeter, UK, and were involved in a number of peace-related activities close to or inside the city: Palestine Solidarity, anti-slavery, the Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament, and so on. It seemed sensible to establish and use PIPR as a kind of hub in which these seemingly disparate activities could coalescence under the general banner of peace. In terms of practical, grassroots activism: We marched in protest and held vigils against Israel’s further demolition of Gaza in 2014; joined the protests against the drone factory UAV Engines in Shenstone, UK; supported Exeter’s Music for Peace events; manned stalls to sell books and distribute peace-related leaflets at the Exeter Respect festival; spoke at the local Tolpuddle Martyr’s Festival in Dorset, UK; and gave talks elsewhere, including to the Cambridge Stop the War Coalition.

Moving from Exeter to a more rural area has made it more difficult to keep up the grassroots activism, hence my current focus on writing. As the First World War commemorations, such as they were, come to an end, the site has served its purpose. At its peak, we were getting around one thousand unique hits per day, with no advertising or promotion. This resulted solely from the popularity of interviewees and contributors, including those mentioned above as well as Ilan Pappé. Our biggest academic successes included interviewing Noam Chomsky and publishing Bruce K. Gagnon’s article which was cited by Sonoma State University’s Project Censored in its Censored 2016 book. Public attention was drawn to PIPR by accident when Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, which shares its title with one of my books, received publicity from Newsweek. The latter ran a story on books with the same title as Wolff’s. PIPR was mentioned in the article. It’s a shame that the mainstream considered us to be of peripheral interest piqued by the coincidence of the success of Wolff’s mainstream book. Wolff’s book is mostly unsubstantiated gossip. But that says a lot about the culture of fame and the respect and attention given to people of high status.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen

Dr. T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University’s Cognition Institute, working on issues relating to blindness and visual impairment. A columnist with AxisOfLogic.com, he has written about politics and human rights for a number of publications, including CounterPunch and Truthout. Books include Union Jackboot (with Matthew Alford), Manufacturing Terrorism(Clairview Books), Britain’s Secret WarsHuman WrongsReal Fake NewsVoice for PeaceThe Great Brexit Swindle,  President Trump, Inc.and Fire and Fury.

Facing Propaganda The dirty war on Syria مواجهة بروباغندا الحرب القذرة على سوريا

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Before pointing the finger at Russia and Syria, the U.S. should answer for its own record in regard to chemical weapons

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Written by Brian Kalman exclusively for SouthFront; Brian Kalman is a management professional in the marine transportation industry. He was an officer in the US Navy for eleven years.

The world is once again witnessing the height of U.S. hypocrisy as members of the U.S. State Department ratchet up anti-Russian and anti-Syrian rhetoric surrounding the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the UK. Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned Syria, Iran and Russia that they will be held accountable for their pre-determined use of chemical weapons in Idlib on innocent civilians. No evidence was provided to support her threats. The United States carried out cruise missile strikes on two previous occasions, and each time provided no evidence to prove their assertion that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in attacking civilians, nor was any rational reason given for such an obviously irrational decision on the part of the Syrian state. No evidence has ever been provided to justify the clear international crime of aggression committed by the United States on these two earlier occasions. Now, the UK and the U.S. are both attempting to accuse the Russian government of using chemical weapons in an alleged attempted assassination of a Russian national on UK soil. Once again, no real evidence has been presented, only assertions and hearsay.

On Thursday September 13th, Assistant Secretary of State Manisha Singh declared before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that the United States would level the most severe of sanctions against Russia, including breaking all diplomatic ties, if Russia refused to admit its guilt in perpetrating the Skripal assassination fiasco and refused to submit to International inspections by the OPCW of its alleged chemical weapons and biological weapons programs. She stated that Russia would have to meet this requirement by an arbitrary November 4th deadline, set by the United States in accordance with a U.S. law, not an international law. H.R. 1724 – Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 specifies in part:

Title III: Control and Elimination of Chemical and Biological Weapons – Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 – Declares it is U.S. policy to: (1) seek multilaterally coordinated efforts with other countries to control the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons; and (2) strengthen efforts to control chemical agents, precursors, and equipment.

Requires the President to use the U.S. export control laws to control the export of defense articles, defense services, goods, and technologies that he determines would assist a country in acquiring the capability to produce or use such weapons.

Amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 to require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a list of goods and technology that would assist a foreign government or group in acquiring chemical or biological weapons. Requires a validated export license for the export of such items to certain countries of concern.

Requires the President to impose certain sanctions against foreign persons if he determines that they knowingly contributed to the efforts of a country to acquire, use, or stockpile chemical or biological weapons. Declares such sanctions to include: (1) denial of U.S. procurement contracts for goods or services from such foreign persons; and (2) prohibition against importation of products from such persons. Authorizes the President to waive imposition of such sanctions if he determines that is in the national security interests of the United States.

Amends the Arms Export Control Act to set forth similar provisions.

Requires the President to make a determination with respect to whether a country has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals. Authorizes specified congressional committees to request the President to make such determination with respect to the use of such weapons.

Requires the President to impose the following sanctions against foreign countries that have been found to have used such weapons: (1) termination of assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (except humanitarian assistance and agricultural commodities); (2) termination of arms sales and arms sales financing; (3) denial of U.S. credit; and (4) prohibition of the export of certain goods and technology. Directs the President to impose at least three of the following additional sanctions unless such countries cease the use of such weapons and provide assurances that they will not use, and will allow inspections with respect to, such weapons: (1) opposition to the extension of multilateral development bank assistance; (2) prohibition of U.S. bank loans (except loans for food or agricultural commodities); (3) further export prohibitions; (4) import restrictions; (5) suspension of diplomatic relations; and (6) termination of air carrier landing rights. Provides for the removal and waiver of such sanctions.

Requires the President to submit to the Congress annual reports on the efforts of countries to acquire chemical or biological weapons.

Repeals certain duplicative provisions of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993.

It is important to note that nowhere in this law is there a legal commitment made by the United States itself, to eliminate its own chemical and biological weapons capabilities. This is not an oversight, yet speaks to the imperial hypocrisy of the United States and an acknowledgement that it alone has been the largest perpetrator of chemical weapons use and proliferation for more than 50 years. It currently maintains the largest stockpile of both chemical and biological warfare agents of any nation on the planet, and continues to expand its biological weapons research and development on a scale far larger than any other country.

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

While the U.S. Department of Defense maintains that its massive biological research programs are meant to counter and defend against new biological weapons being developed, they are in fact developing bio-weapons in the process.

International Obligations and the OPCW

Russia is one of 192 signatories (state and non-state parties) of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, along with the United States. On September 27th, 2017 it was announced by Russia and the OPCW, that Russia had verified the total destruction of its large chemical weapons stockpile dating from the years of the Soviet Union, estimated at 39,967 metric tons of chemical agents. Russia was obligated to do this by 2020, yet was able to accomplish the task three years ahead of schedule. Under the original agreement, both the U.S. and Russia were obligated to accomplish this by 2007, but both nations required an extension of the deadline.

Although admitting to a total stockpile of 28,000 metric tons of chemical agents, the U.S. admits to destroying 90% of its chemical arsenal. The U.S. requested and was granted an extension out to 2023 to achieve verified elimination of 100% of its chemical weapons. The only other signatory of the law other than the United States not to have already met the requirements is Iraq. It must be stated that much of the chemical weapons in the Iraqi arsenal are based on the chemical warfare agents supplied to the Saddam Hussein regime during the height of the Iran-Iraq war by the United States and other western nations. Saddam used some of these U.S. supplied weapons to murder thousands of Iraqi Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988. Estimates range between 3,000 – 7,000 deaths and over 10,000 injured.

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

Saddam Hussein was a valued asset of the United States and its Western allies for decades. Hussein pictured above with former French President Jacque Chirac and U.S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Not only did the United States, and France for that matter, provide chemical weapons to the Saddam regime, but the U.S. intelligence agencies provided the Iraqi military with vital battlefield intelligence, including satellite imagery in aiding them in the war. The U.S. was well aware that the Saddam regime had used chemical weapons in at least four offensives during the war. Of course they knew, they had facilitated the transfer of these weapons to help the Iraqis prosecute a war of aggression against Iran. Declassified CIA documents clearly show that the United States was well aware that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons at least four times between 1983 and 1988. Iran had accused Iraq of using chemical weapons, and tried to build a case to bring before the United Nations. The United States withheld its knowledge of course, and continued to aid its ally in perpetrating these crimes against humanity.

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

Perhaps the most powerful photo taken of the Halabja chemical attack perpetrated against Iraqi Kurds. This woman died running with her child in an attempt to save her, yet could not escape the deadly effects of the chemical agents used. Their embrace will forever symbolize both human love and sacrifice, and unfathomable human cruelty.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has lied through her teeth repeatedly in her statements before the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly. She has stated repeatedly that Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people in Ghouta in 2013, Khan Shaykhun in 2017 and Douma in 2018, yet has not supplied one shred of evidence beyond dubious social media posts of unknown provenance. She has also stated that the United States is certain that it could only be the Syrian government, as no other party in the conflict zone could possibly possess chemical weapons. Here’s the problem with her statement. Firstly, the United States and the OPCW verified that Syria destroyed or surrendered all of its chemical weapons agents. On its official website, the OPCW states:

“Veolia, the US firm contracted by the OPCW to dispose of part of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile, has completed disposal of 75 cylinders of hydrogen fluoride at its facility in Texas.

This completes destruction of all chemical weapons declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.  The need to devise a technical solution for treating a number of cylinders in a deteriorated and hazardous condition had delayed the disposal process.

Commenting on this development, the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, said: “This process closes an important chapter in the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapon programme as we continue efforts to clarify Syria’s declaration and address ongoing use of toxic chemicals as weapons in that country.”

Secondly, the OPCW and the UN have both verified that opposition forces within Syria have used chemical agents as weapons on numerous occasions during the conflict. Not only has Carla Del Ponte, UN human rights investigator, former UN Chief Prosecutor and ICC attorney stated that opposition forces had used chemical weapons, but also the former OPCW head field investigator in Syria Jerry Smith stated to the BBC that he found it very unlikely that the government perpetrated these chemical attacks.. As recently as October of last year the U.S. State Department itself seemed to acknowledge the same truth in its warning to U.S. citizens traveling to Syria. The travel warning stated:

“Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons.

They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces.”

U.S. History of using Chemical Weapons and Supporting Those that Do

The last country in the world that should lecture anyone on the possession and use of WMDs is the United States. Not only is the United States the only country in history to ever target civilians with multiple atomic bombs, it has used chemical weapons against the populations of Southeast Asia and Iraq in the past. Now, they were smart enough not to use mustard gas and anthrax, but the accumulative effects of Agent Orange and depleted uranium in these populations has been devastating, and will not only cause great harm and pain for these populations, but will leave the land poisoned for generations.

The United States sprayed copious quantities of TCDD (dioxin tetrachlordibenzo-para-dioxin), a class 1 carcinogen all over regions of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in an attempt to defoliate the jungle environment, and thus rob their enemy of an environment they excelled at fighting in and hiding in as part of Operation Ranch Hand. Known as Agent Orange, the chemical was banned in the U.S. in 1970. Although extremely hard to quantify, the devastating effects of dioxin exposure in the Vietnamese population are easily identifiable, as the same effects were observed in U.S. veterans that returned home after exposure to the toxin. Abnormally high levels of various cancers and debilitating birth defects are present in Southeast Asian populations in areas of greatest use of Agent Orange. Dioxins remain in the soil and water table, as they do not degrade naturally. Dioxin also bio-accumulates in the fatty tissues of animals and thus remains in the food supply.

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

One of the many young Vietnamese born long after the war with debilitating, neurodevelopmental diseases and birth defects due to Agent Orange exposure of their parents.

The United States learned little from the crime it perpetrated in Southeast Asia, nor did it seem to care as it repeated a similar offense in two successive invasions of Iraq. Having failed to achieve its aim of defeating Iran through its brutal Iraqi proxy, even after helping the Saddam Hussein regime in chemical warfare attacks against Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurdish civilians, the United States largely ignored the numerous atrocities carried out by one of its favorite dictators. The U.S. would turn on its erstwhile henchman in 1990, after Saddam decided to attack one of its favorite corrupt emirates in the region. The resulting 1991 invasion of Iraq saw the heavy use of depleted uranium armored piercing rounds. Depleted uranium is extremely dense, and thus good for piercing hardened steel or composite armor. The follow-on invasion of 2003 brought more death and destruction, and more depleted uranium.

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

Locations of depleted uranium munitions used by U.S. Airforce A-10 ground attack aircraft in Iraq during the 2003 invasion. Depleted Uranium is also used in anti-armor munitions utilized by all U.S. tanks and armored fighting vehicles as well, so the true breadth of distribution and employment of depleted uranium in the above map are understated.

The U.S. has not funded the reclamation and disposal of depleted uranium contaminated scrap in Iraq. The new Iraqi government has started cleaning up the approximately 350 sites identified as having depleted uranium contamination in the country, mostly around Basra and Baghdad, yet also scattered over the entire country. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 metric tons of depleted uranium used in various munitions fired during the invasion of 2003 alone. It is hard to narrow down the exact amount as the U.S. military has failed to provide any definitive numbers. Iraqi doctors have recorded and reported higher cases of cancers in adult patients and increased birth defects in children being born in Iraq since the invasion took place. The U.S. government seems determined to undermine any attempts to draw direct correlations between this recorded phenomenon and its use of depleted uranium in two successive wars in Iraq. It has also fought all attempts by U.S. war veterans suffering from various cancers and neurological diseases from their similar exposure in both wars.

Continued Support of War Criminals

Nikki Haley fails to acknowledge the historic role of the United States government’s support of some of the world’s most horrible regimes in the past. From the Khmer Rouge and Saddam Hussein then, to Saudi Arabia and Tahrir al-Sham now, the United States has supported many of the world’s most deplorable violators of human rights. Yet Nikki Haley has the arrogance and delusional belief that she has the moral high ground in chastising Syria and Russia before the U.N.?

Just this week U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo clarified that the Saudi and UAE have acted in good faith in taking steps to reduce civilian casualties in their military operations in Yemen and that the U.S. military would keep providing both material and direct support to both nations in prosecuting their illegal war. U.S. manufactured and supplied bombs are being used to kill civilians in Yemen regularly, amounting to an estimated 15,000 killed or injured civilians over a period of three years. This does not take into account the deaths and suffering associated with the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the Saudi-led coalition destroying virtually all infrastructure in the Houthi controlled part of the country. I am sure that it is also just another “unintended consequence” that al-Qaeda has expanded and strengthened its position in Yemen as a direct result of the conflict. When will any member state in the U.N. finally tell Nikki Haley that the Security Council must acknowledge that al-Qaeda has always been a proxy of Saudi Arabia and the United States?

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

Children injured when a Saudi airstrike targeted a school bus in Saada, Yemen. A total of 51 civilians, 40 of them children below the age of 15 were killed in the strike. The United States supplies the aircraft, bombs, aerial refueling and intelligence gathering resources to support the bombing campaign.

Nikki Haley continues to claim that Russia is directly facilitating an impending humanitarian disaster and war crime in the impending Syrian military operations to retake Idlib province, destroy a host of ISIS and al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups and liberate hundreds of thousands of civilians. She said the same thing during the battle to liberate Aleppo. Her lies were revealed when the SAA and Russia finally liberated the city and Syrian civilians who were kept as prisoners there by the Islamic terrorists were finally free of the horror of their captivity. Is it no wonder that tens of thousands of Syrian refugees displaced by the conflict are now returning to their home country?

Apparently Nikki Haley sees no issue at all in Imperial America supporting Saudi Arabia and the UAE killing Yemeni civilians by the thousands in Yemen. The U.S. not only supplies the bombs, but directly provides in-flight refueling of the aircraft and the intelligence used to conduct the “precision” strikes that target schools, hospitals, funerals, and even school bus loads of children. Does this surprise anyone? U.S. coalition airstrikes against ISIL in Raqqa and Mosul killed an estimated 6,000 civilians. In Raqqa, U.S. aircraft conducted 90% of the airstrikes, and the U.S. fired at least 30,000 artillery rounds into the city. The U.S. has yet to pay any political or legal price for its indiscriminant destruction of these cities.

U.S. History of Chemical Weapons Use and Complicity in War Crimes

One of thousands of airstrikes carried out on the Syrian city of Raqqa. The U.S. led coalition was widely criticized for its blatant disregard for civilian casualties in its targeting of the city as part of its offensive to destroy ISIL. They have yet to be held accountable for the estimated 800-1,000 civilians deaths caused.

The Russian Response

Russia needs to finally accept the reality that there is nothing to be gained by negotiating, or attempting to collaborate with the United States in solving problems. It’s like a shepherd using a wolf to defend his flock, or a detective enlisting the aid of a criminal to solve a crime that the criminal is a co-conspirator in perpetrating. It is illogical in the extreme. The Russian U.N. mission needs to call out Nikki Haley and the U.S. on its own deplorable record and hypocrisy and while seeking  the aid of other member states, must also realizing that most of them are bought-off by Washington. Hasn’t Haley repeatedly threatened to stop giving money to nations that do not support her resolutions?

The Russians need to realize that they can never have a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship with the political and financial elites that control the United States. Russia will always find a friend in the American people, but Washington? This same elite despises the American people more than it does Putin or Assad. If it wasn’t for working class American citizens fed up with the U.S. establishment elite, we would likely already be in a direct war with Russia, China and Iran. I hope that the Russian political and military leadership understands this. Stop trying to placate Washington and start preparing to defend your nation. The Deep State will not stop at Ukraine or Syria. They desire the complete subjugation of Russia and a return to the Yeltsin days, or worse

Wikileaks: To Weaken Iran, US Undermined Democratic Elements of Syrian Opposition to Empower Radical Groups

While seven years have come and gone since the leaked document was written by USMC intelligence, little has changed when it comes to the U.S.’ long-standing goals in Syria and its callous disregard for the will of the Syrian people and Syrian democracy.

by Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON — A recently uncovered U.S. government document published by WikiLeaks has revealed that the U.S. directly advocated for undermining “democratic” elements of the so-called Syrian “revolution” of 2011 in order to ensure the dominance of authoritarian, sectarian Sunni groups within the Syrian opposition.

The document, written by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Intelligence Department in late 2011, further asserts that empowering these radical Sunni groups over democratic and secular ones would be ideal for the United States and its regional partners, as ensuring the decline of the current Syrian government, and with it a secular Syria, would harm Iran’s regional clout.

In other words, the U.S. openly supported undermining democratic opposition forces in Syria in order to challenge Iranian influence and, with it, the influence of the Middle East’s “resistance axis” that obstructs the imperialistic agendas of the U.S. and its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.

According to the document, which was buried in a previous WikiLeaks release and recently uncovered by journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, U.S. military intelligence was well aware that the Syrian opposition movement in 2011 did not pose “a meaningful threat against the [Syrian] regime,” given that it was “extremely fractured” and “operating under enormous constraints.” It also noted that “reports of protests [against the Syrian government] are overblown,” even though “the exiled [Syrian] opposition has been quite effecting (sic) in developing a narrative on the Syrian opposition to disseminate to major media agencies.”

That narrative — which was subsequently promoted by several foreign governments, including the U.S., the U.K., Turkey and France — falsely claimed that the protests were massive and involved largely peaceful protestors “rising up” against the “autocratic” government led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This document, as well as substantial evidence that has emerged over the last several years, shows that this narrative, of a “peaceful uprising” seeking to establish a secular and “democratic” Syria, has never been true, as even U.S. military intelligence knew that the reports regarding these “peaceful” protests were highly exaggerated.

U.S. calling on Turkey to do its dirty work

Given that the USMC intelligence considered the Syrian opposition movement in 2011 to be an ineffective force for effecting change in Assad’s status as Syria’s leader, the document notes that it was in the U.S.’ interest for Turkey to “manage” efforts to destabilize the Assad-led government, as Turkey “is the country with the most leverage over Syria in the long term, and has an interest in seeing this territory return to Sunni rule.”

Those Turkish-led efforts would involve gradually building up “linkages with groups inside Syria, focusing in particular on the Islamist remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood in trying to fashion a viable Islamist political force in Syria that would operate under Ankara’s umbrella.” This ultimately came to pass, as the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army – previously promoted as the main force of the “democratic” Syrian opposition but now well known to be a radical, sectarian group – still takes its marching orders from Ankara.

Syria
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and Turkish troops secure the Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Jan. 28, 2018. Photo | AP

The document advocates for these efforts to mold the “fragmented” elements of the 2011 Syrian opposition into an “Islamist” puppet force of Turkey in order to support the gradual “weakening of the Alawite [i.e., Assad] hold on power in Syria,” as well as because “Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others have a common interest in trying to severely under[mine] Iran’s foothold in the Levant and dial back Hezbollah’s political and military influence in Lebanon.”

Also notable is the fact that USMC intelligence at the time knew that these efforts to undermine the current Syrian government would have a disastrous impact on the country and its civilian population. Indeed, the document notes this on two separate occasions, stating first that “any political transition in Syria away from the al-Assad clan will likely entail a violent, protracted civil conflict” and later adding that “the road to regime change will be a long and bloody one.”

Thus, not only was U.S. military intelligence advocating for the undermining of democratic and secular forces within the Syrian opposition, it was also aware that the U.S.-backed efforts to undermine Assad would have “bloody” consequences for civilians in Syria. These admissions dramatically undercut past and present U.S. claims to be concerned with Syrian civilians and their “call for freedom” from Assad, showing instead that the U.S. preferred the installation of a “friendly” authoritarian, sectarian government in Syria and was uninterested in the fate of Syrian civilians so long as the result “severely under[mined] Iran’s foothold in the Levant.”

For much of the last two decades, but especially since the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the “resistance axis” — led by Iran — has emerged as the greatest threat to the hegemony of the United States and its allies in the Middle East. A power bloc composed of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Palestine, the “resistance axis” as a term first emerged in 2010 to describe the alliances of countries and regional political groups opposed to continued Western intervention in the region, as well as to the imperialist agendas of U.S. allies in the region like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran’s role as the de factoleader of this resistance bloc makes it, along with its main allies like Syria, a prime target of U.S. Middle East policy.

Sunni-stan

Washington’s support for a future authoritarian Syria may come as a surprise to some, given that the U.S. has publicly promoted the narrative of a “democratic revolution” in Syria from 2011 to the present and has used calls for the establishment of a “new” secular democracy in Syria as the foundation for its agenda of overthrowing the current Assad-led government.

However, powerful individuals in Washington have long promoted an “authoritarian” and “Islamist” state in Syria with the goal of countering Iran, much like the plan detailed in the USMC intelligence document.

For instance, current National Security Adviser John Bolton called for the establishment of such a state in Syria back in 2015, stating on FOX News:

I think our objective should be a new Sunni state out of the western part of Iraq, the eastern part of Syria, run by moderates or at least authoritarians who are not radical Islamists.”

ABTKE3Q5AJBRPISJTBE4CGHYDU.jpgA U.S.-backed anti-government fighter mans a heavy machine gun next to a US soldier in al Tanf, a border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Hammurabi’s Justice News | AP

A few months later, Bolton – this time in a New York Times op-ed – detailed his plan to create a sectarian Sunni state out of northeastern Syria and western Iraq, which he nicknamed “Sunni-stan.” He asserted that such a country would have “economic potential” as an oil producer, would serve as a “bulwark” against the Syrian government and “Iran-allied Baghdad,” and would help ensure the defeat of Daesh (ISIS). Bolton’s mention of oil is notable, as the proposed territory for this Sunni state sits on key oil fields that U.S. oil interests, such as ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers, have sought to control if the partition of Iraq and Syria comes to pass.

Bolton also suggested that Arab Gulf States like Saudi Arabia “could provide significant financing” for the creation of this future state, adding that “the Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia must not only fund much of the new state’s early needs, but also ensure its stability and resistance to radical forces.”

Yet Bolton fails to note that Saudi Arabia is one of the chief financiers of Daesh and largely responsible for spreading “radical” Wahhabi Islam throughout the Middle East. Thus, any future state that the Saudis would fund would undoubtedly mirror the ethos of Saudi Arabia itself – i.e., an authoritarian, radical Wahhabist state that executes nonviolent protestersoppresses minorities, and launches genocidal wars against its neighbors in an effort to control their resources.

Furthermore, the ultimate goal outlined within the USMC Intelligence document of undermining  Iran’s regional clout continues to be the guide for the U.S.’ current Syria policy, which recently changed yet again to include regime change in Damascus as part of its goal. For instance, earlier this year, Bolton – in his capacity as National Security Adviser – stated that U.S. troops would remain in Syria “as long as the Iranian menace continues throughout the Middle East.”

More recently, the Trump administration “redefined” its Syria policy to include “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria” as the administration’s top priority, while also calling for the installation of “a stable, non-threatening government” that would not have Assad as Syria’s leader.

Thus, while seven years have come and gone since the leaked document was written by USMC intelligence, little has changed when it comes to the U.S.’ long-standing goals in Syria and its callous disregard for the will of the Syrian people and Syrian democracy.

Source

On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair

September 29, 2018

On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair

On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair, which has culminated in the downing of a Russian Il-20 on September 17th just off the coast of Latakia…

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

I will first start this article by saying that I have read, both intentionally and unintentionally (stumbled upon), lots and lots of opinions about this specific topic. The main bulk of these opinions recycle the usual blaming of Russia and offer suggestions for how things “should” have been done and “should” now be done. The consensus seems to be that it is Israel that is solely to blame, and it should thus be severely punished. However, even though Russia was lambasted by social media “experts” for the fact that the state of Israel still existed on September 18th (the day after the downing of the Il-20), the criticism of Moscow’s policy vis-a-vis Israel’s general airstrikes in Syria has been unwavering.

Examples of the criticism are:

  • “Russia doesn’t defend Syrian troops against Israeli airstrikes”;
  • “Putin doesn’t verbally threaten Bibi with retaliation should he strike again”;
  • “Russia doesn’t give Syria the S1/2/3/4/500”;
  • and so on and so forth (you get the idea).

So, let’s outline, once again, what Russia’s policy vis-a-vis Israel is in Syria:

  1. Q) Does Israel violate Syrian airspace?
    A) No.
  2. Q) Has Israel directly killed Russian troops?
    A) No.
  3. Q) Does Israel put Hmeymim in any direct danger?
    A) No.

These answers are important. Why?

    1. Israel violates LEBANESE airspace, and we all know that the government in Beirut – or more precisely, Mr Hariri – is very friendly with Riyadh. Where is Lebanon’s deterrent to make Israel think twice about flying over Lebanon? There isn’t one. Also, the core of fourth generation warfare is using simulacra to position a digital hologram over actual ground warfare in order to carve out space to manoeuvre diplomatically. So even though Israel violates its airspace on paper, in reality it can do so with impunity. I.e., Lebanon is not going to down an Israeli jet. Hence Tel Aviv’s impudence in Lebanese skies.

      I seem to recall that in February, 2018 the IDF decided to test the SAA’s air defences and came as close as they would like to violating Syrian airspace. The result? Two F-16’s were downed after dozens of S-200 missiles were fired at them. This incident was the result of Moscow giving the green light to the SAA to hit Tel Aviv on the teeth using the S-200 system. But social media “experts” were adamant that Israel had to be punished long before this. Any Israeli missile being launched towards Syria is a failure, they said.

      And it is here that we recall that Russia and Israel had an agreement in place whereby Russia would not impede Israel’s bombing of “Hezbollah compounds” in Western Syria. Why did Russia agree to this? Because these strikes achieved and still achieve NOTHING. With this non-announced agreement in place, Israel was given some limited space to play out its war against Iran, but the most important thing is that this space was a CONTROLLED environment. I.e., Russia always reserved the right to exercise its options to change the parameters of the playground.

      Now some will say that Israel should be completely shut out of Syria, and Russia is weak since it can’t implement this. Such a statement comes from the deep depths of idealism. The fact is that Russia cannot stop Israel meddling in Syria in one way or another, and doesn’t have an unlimited amount of resources to try to anyway. Not to mention the fundamental fact that Jews live all over the post-Soviet space and in Russia itself, which complicates the situation. How would those who are pro-Israel and pro-Russia react if Russia openly shot down and killed Israeli pilots? This is just one factor out of many.

      Another factor is that the zionist rats that are currently in power in Israel are only a transient phenomenon. Governments and their policies come and go. It’s perfectly possible that a leader will come to power in Israel one day who is in favour of peace with Palestinians/Arabs, in the same way that a Putin can arrive after a Yeltsin. So with this in mind, why on Earth would Russia, for example, bomb Israeli territory and kill/wound Israeli civilians/troops? Why mass punish the Israeli people just because of the actions of a bunch of Zionist crooks in the Knesset? It is idiotic at best and further perpetuates this cycle of aggression that Uncle Sam feeds off.

      Also, why jeopardise the possible emergence of a situation whereby a state of Israel can exist side by side with a Palestinian state in peace? Let’s be honest: in our lifetimes, the two-state solution is the only REALISTIC solution. I will be told that such a statement is unfair or disconnected from reality, but my response to that is: please explain to me how both the Israeli and Palestinian people can be integrated into Eurasia without bloodshed. Again, as I said, Russia isn’t interested in violence, it won’t solve anything and Trump said he’s in favor of two state solution. That’s why I use the word “realistic”. Furthermore, a two state solution can be the result of negotiations between all the major powers of the world, but mainly between US and Russia. Palestinians can be given much more territory than they currently have, but giving everything back, as romantic as it is, is simply not feasible. After all, what will happen to the Israeli people in the process of claiming all the stolen land back? Will they be massacred? If not, where will they go, and who will facilitate it? And who will enforce any return process and how long will it take to implement? Will a resolution in the UNSC be passed? And what happens when Israelis refuse to leave? They will be massacred?

    2. Israel has not, to date, directly killed any Russian troops. What happened on 17.09.18 was indirect, and there is a very big difference. And I am sure that Tel Aviv knows that this line must not be crossed whatsoever, since it will seriously threaten their own statehood, not to mention Gaza or the West Bank.
    3. Israel hasn’t yet, to date, caused any damage to Hmeymim or put the lives of the soldiers stationed there (on the ground) at risk. The incident on 17.09.2018 came very close to this, but it, all the same, did not cross this line. The consequence of this would be the same as the one mentioned in point No. 2.

So now the synthesis:

I won’t discuss the details of what happened on 17.09.18. Why? Because I consider it to be irrelevant (like how people discuss the exact temperature that the steel columns melted on 9/11). What is important is how the parties reacted to the incident. And it is here that things become interesting. In December 2017, I wrote the tweet below (part of a thread):

Take note of the expression “Russia needed as fewer names as possible on the ‘targets that the S-400 should – in the eyes of the media – shoot down’ list”. It is importantLet me explain what this means when inserted into the modern context. The S-400 in Hmeymim represents the Russian state. It represents Russia’s foreign policy. When the SAA fires SAM missiles into the sky, it represents not only the Syrian state (in the borders recognised by the UN), but also Syrian foreign policy. So, when have we really ever seen Russia fire any of its SAM systems in Syria? Yes, at militant drones. Jabhat al Nusra (or whatever it is called nowadays) is recognised by the UN as a terrorist organisation. And Russia affirms that these drones are sent from Nusrats in Idlib. I.e., the use of the SAM system in this context is completely in line with international law. And note how Russia thrusted this very fact into the face of the media in order to prevent any attempts to delegitimise the Idlib operation. This was a key factor that helped to prevent the West from treating us all to another Tomahawk show of weakness.

When the SAA fired its S-200 missiles at the Israeli jets in February of this year, was this in line with international law? Absolutely, since only Russia, Iran (IRGC), and Hezbollah were invited by Assad into Syria to combat terrorism. Hence why Russia okayed the launches. Now as I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, many social media “experts” reprimand the Kremlin because Israeli jets are not blown into pieces when they fire missiles at Syrian territory. It doesn’t enter their mind that there is a substantiated reason for this. But in order to delve into this topic, there is a need to explain what it is exactly that Russia (plus Eurasian friends) is trying to build here on this planet. For too long the West has used its airforce to firstly demolish and then vassalize sovereign states.

Using Yugoslavia as an example, the West stoked a sectarian civil war and then used the NATO airforce to steer the situation in the needed direction. Milosevic was given 2 bad options to choose from (intervene militarily or don’t). As a result, he was trapped. In Afghanistan and Iraq the US enjoyed the fruits of R2P and a crippled Russia (thanks to the CIA + Yeltsin combination!) to bulldoze statehood and install the needed political circle and economic direction. The aircraft carrier plus aircraft was a winning recipe, for now. But during all this time Russia wasn’t just sat twiddling its thumbs and waiting for some miracle to happen so that “superpower” status would arrive again. Serious work was being done to target the projected curve of development of the West’s war machine.

It was understood that the US can only exert its influence on MENA via aircraft carriers, and, where possible, by building military bases on the territory of vassalized failed states. Africa is actually one very large failed “state” that serves as a MIC “testing” terrain. It should be understood that the conception and implementation of the “Kinzhal”missile, for example, was not done on the basis of some whim or to sell weapons to make money. It was done in accordance with a very strict plan, targeting the vital “organs” of the Anglo beast.

The West (puppets of USA) was able to literally bulldoze Middle Eastern nations without facing any real resistance (the Libyan army didn’t even bring the SAM systems out of the warehouses). It is here that we see that “international law” is actually an equilibrium of the energy between “superpowers”. Yes, there is the UN charter and different treaties, but we all saw what happened in 2001/2002. We saw that definitions and concepts were very flexible, and that the US’ scheme of creating proxies, turning on them, and then removing them was almost flawless.

So how to stop this bulldozer from claiming more victims? We know that when it comes to MENA Israel calls the shots, and Uncle Sam and its EU puppets come to heel, and if they don’t, well… look at JFK. Furthermore, we’ve all heard Wesley Clark’s confession – 7 states in 5 years.

Iraq was no problem for the US to bulldoze in 2002 onwards – no other powerful nation had influence there. Somalia and Sudan is in Africa, which was brought to its knees after the USSR’s influence disappeared forever. Libya was easy to squash. But IranYemen, and Syria seemingly didn’t go according to plan. Yemen has strategic ports and access to waters. It’s no secret that Iran enjoyed and still enjoys influence in Yemen, in the same way the Anglos did via their puppet Hadi. Iran developed a nuclear program, albeit a peaceful one. But it is a deterrent all the same. The Houthis are being supported by the members of “Eurasia”, and this is a) not a secret, and b) completely legitimate, since the West staged a coup first (and is feeding Al Qaeda’s presence in the East of the country) and we are now in the era of proxy warfare, since the emergence of nuclear weapons put an end to the traditional colonisation blitzkrieg. And Syria was always going to be problematic for Washington & Co because Russia already has a naval base there – in Tartus. But make no mistake, the West knew this very well, but now was the time to confront Russia in a “neutral”venue, in a “controlled” environment.

Why do I say “controlled” and “neutral”? The actual warfare is taking place thousands of miles away from US territory, and US citizens on that territory are thus not at risk (US troops are a different case). Thus, any blowback that may be incurred will have a delayed action. However, there was a need to activate a process that would gradually attack Russia’s rear. And et voila – the coup in Kiev in 2014 served as exactly this. Even knowing that Russia can potentially enter Syria, they took comfort knowing that they had the Ukraine card in play. If they didn’t do the coup in Ukraine, then Russia could enter Syria and risk very little in the process of reclaiming that “superpower” status by cementing itself in the middle of the globe, with access to important waters. Nusra and ISIS would’ve been crushed in the same way (maybe even quicker since it would be deprived of time to grow and expand).

So, in order to buy time and slow down Russia’s approach to Syria, the war in Donbass was launched. It was designed by the West in such a way that Putin would surely suffer the same fate as Milosevic, entering his troops into Donbass and starting an irreversible bloodbath. A man named Girkin, on the CIA’s payroll, tried his best to drag Russia into Donbass and to start the extermination of the Russian nation. But Putin, of course, isn’t dumb and didn’t bite on it. Instead, he engineered the Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo cauldrons, which were failsafe ways of ensuring that the West’s Ukrainian front was halted in its tracks. This resulted in the signing of the Minsk Agreements. What are they? They are the same as what the US did to Milosevic – they presented the West with 2 bad options: implement the agreements, Russia wins (collapse of statehood); don’t implement them, Russia wins (collapse of statehood).

The West had to sign the Agreements since their proxies had been encircled in Donbass and project Bandera risked being aborted early. And that, in short form, is how Putin negated the parallel process that aimed to prevent Russia from entering Syria with a lower risk level. So coming back to the key problem of the US’ bulldozing machine, the West took a gamble in Syria simply because they knew that a financial crisis is catching up with them with each passing day. Furthermore, Netanyahu doesn’t care about the consequences for the West; he wants to expand Israel in accordance with the Oded Yinon plan.

But for Russia, isn’t not just about saving Syrian statehood (note that I use this word and not Assad) and safeguarding strategic assets, it is also about shaping the next 100 years. De-dollarisation is already ongoing. But this is only one element of the greater picture. In order to counter this Anglo war machine there is a need to think laterally. By this I mean not attacking it head on, but instead flanking it. After all, the West provokes Russia so much because it WANTS a reaction. It wants to control Russia’s actions and reactions, for them to become predictable and for the room for manoeuvre to be like a sardine tin.

And it is here that we can return back to the topic of Israel’s airstrikes in Syria. Since Tel Aviv’s token airstrikes in Syria achieve absolutely nothing and de-rail nothing in the grand Eurasian scheme, this is why Russia didn’t want to completely shut Israel out. Earlier in this article I explained (see the embedded S-400 tweet) that there was a complex game ongoing whereby the West wanted to push Putin into publicly committing to firing the S-400. In the past I explained that the S-400 constitutes a philosophy and not a weapon. The philosophy is based on the notion of DEFENCE, and not pseudo R2P defence, but actual defence, against violators of international law and generally unstable/erratic actors. This actually follows in the footsteps of the very essence of what the Red Army did nearly 80 years ago, when it had the opportunity to exterminate the German nation – having the full moral right to do so, but it refrained from doing so.

The philosophy is also based on RISK. And by this I mean the now well-known expression “skin in the game”. I.e., the very foundation of international law should be based the fact that there will be consequences for one’s actions. And the UN here must be actually impartial. The problem is that the UN has been monopolised by the US (and its bullying) and its vassalized puppets for so long. The process of changing this is long, but people in general are impatient and want to eat their cake now, before they die. In other words, the S-400 embodies the notion that cooperation and diplomacy is a more effective guarantor of mass prosperity than colonisation and violent coercion. Militarily, the S-400 can act as a no-fly zone, but it is its position in the wider picture that really matters here.

This “Eurasian” project unfolding before our eyes embodies this notion of cooperation that in reality Americans have never known, since their country was founded on the back of bloodshed and spitting on the human soul. I hope I don’t offend Americans by stating this, but it’s the truth. Russia and friends want to incorporate as many nations into this project as possible, and not to make big bucks in profit, but to pull us away from this abyss that the Anglo-Saxons so badly want to throw us into.

So back to the main topic here: Israel. It’s true that Israel’s airstrikes were acting like a pest in Syria. They didn’t change anything in even the short-term, but they are a nuisance all the same, least of all because it generates this whining on the internet about “Putin/ Russia being weak”. The situation was such that if Russia downed an Israeli jet (using the tools at Hmeymim to do it), Russia would flush down the toilet all progress it has made since Putin came to power. It would be the most idiotic move imaginable and would warrant harsh criticism. Russia would become just as ugly as the Anglo Saxons are, also elbow-deep in human blood.

So, Russia instead manufactured a neat little trap for Tel Aviv. Remember what happened in December 2015? Yes, Turkey was used as a lab rat by the CIA in order to test Russia’s reactions at that moment in time, not only in Syria but in Ukraine too. We all know what Russia did – it severed the link between Turkey and its proxies in Syria and started the process of implosion. Takfiri groups were merging, disbanding, or just straight up massacring each other. The “FSA” multi-layered pyramid started to crumble. Turkey had been removed from the game. It was invited (forced via leverage of economic sanctions and the threat of ending Turkish Stream project, thus leaving Erdogan to the fate of the Gulenists) by Russia to mop up its mess in the North of Syria and end Tel Aviv’s little Rojava project. Turkey was forced to start the process of rebranding Nusra into “moderate” FSA troops and to transfer them to the “Euphrates Shield” forces. This is still ongoing today, although it’s not simple and Erdogan has problems inside Turkey to deal with at the same time.

In other words, Turkey’s room to manoeuvre was reduced in size, and not voluntarily, but because Turkey (whether it was forced to by NATO or not) tried to raise the stakes but failed to secure the needed chips beforehand. It backfired on the West, big time. Hello S-400. So now Israel has tried the same thing, essentially because it had no choice. I wrote the following on 10.05.18:

Thus, if follows from this that Russia knew that sooner or later Israel would make a mistake. And in order for the mistake to arrive, Russia needed to show patience. Does this mean that Russia waited for 15 troops to die? Certainly not. But to put things into context – 27 million Soviet people died during WW2, and it was the cost for liberation. War is war. People die in war. And troops know the danger they put themselves in when they sign up and are deployed.

Again, I stress, being outside observers who want to stop children being bombed and Anglo Saxon aggression, it is frustrating to see Israel walk all over international law and to sh*t on Syrian soil with impudence, but aggression was never the right response. The two occasions when the SAA did give Israel a little slap (February and May, 2018 – authorised by Moscow) was part of a deliberate plan to keep Israel honest; to show Tel Aviv that it risks losing much more than it gains by remaining in the Syrian “game”. And so Israel gave Russia the perfect pretext to give Syria the S-300. Israeli can’t complain to Russia about this, because of behind the curtain affairs that I will not discuss here. Tel Aviv accepts its punishment, and now pressure has indeed been taken off the S-400. By the way, many social media“experts” were flapping around like headless chickens, demanding Putin to nuke Tel Aviv, then 5 hours later demanding to send every SAM system under the sun. Here is what I said immediately after the IL-20 incident:

So I guess the question that is on people’s minds is: “Why didn’t Russia give the S-300 to Syria earlier, say, in 2011?”. The answer: without the Minsk Agreements, Russia’s actions in Syria simply couldn’t be possible. I.e., the S-300 constitutes a threat to Israel. And in geopolitics the ability to use the threat that something poses as a deterrent, rather than actually using the deterrent itself, is a very powerful mechanism. Knowing that the Syrian war would last approximately 10 years, Russia milked every piece of leverage it had to influence the behaviour of the belligerent parties. One should never ever use an Ace just like that, failing to fully utilise its potential. The S-300’s time came on September, 2018.

By the way, I will say that the story with the IL-20 is extremely bizarre. The only plausible explanation, in my opinion, is that what we are told is just a narrative for public consumption. Russian troops died, and Israel stabbed Russia in the back by using the plane as a human shield, but the exact circumstances we will never know. Now Israel is faced with a choice: if it tries to bomb Syria in the same way that it has been doing, then the SAA will respond in a much stronger way than it did before (and Israel will suffer more embarrassment as a result). This takes pressure off Russia to deliver some big hit to please social media entertainment seekers.

The IDF cannot risk using the F35 and flying it into an ambush, and Lockheed most certainly won’t want the PR disaster. But now Israel will be kept honest, and the token airstrikes on “Hezbollah warehouses” will cost Tel Aviv much more than they did before. Remember  – the “multipolar order” that is so highly spoken about is, in reality, a transition away from “buying” the ability to wage war and prop up one’s economy, to cooperation and the mutual investment in economies, based on a joint vision of the future.

I guess this article can be summarised as: everything the Kremlin does is done for a reason. In the meantime, enjoy Putin’s masterclass. In order to have peace, someone has to stop shooting. Russia is strong enough to take that burden upon itself and to set the example for everyone else.

End of the war 1945 – Advance of the Red Army in the streets of Berlin, April 1945.

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