How Washington Became the World’s Judge, Jury and Executioner

By Philip M.Giraldi
Source

The principle that Washington should respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies has effectively been abandoned.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the past two years of Donald Trump foreign policy has been the assumption that decisions made by the United States are binding on the rest of the world. Apart from time of war, no other nation has ever sought to prevent other nations from trading with each other. And the United States has also uniquely sought to penalize other countries for alleged crimes that did not occur in the US and that did not involve American citizens, while also insisting that all nations must comply with whatever penalties are meted out by Washington.

The United States now sees itself as judge, jury and executioner in policing the international community, a conceit that began post World War II when American presidents began referring to themselves as “leader of the free world.” This pretense received legislative backing with passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 (ATA) as amended in 1992 plus subsequent related legislation, to include the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act of 2016 (JASTA). The body of legislation can be used by US citizens or residents to obtain civil judgments against alleged terrorists anywhere in the world and can be employed to punish governments, international organizations and even corporations that are perceived to be supportive of terrorists, even indirectly or unknowingly. Plaintiffs are able to sue for injuries to their “person, property, or business” and have ten years to bring a claim.

Sometimes the connections and level of proof required by a US court to take action are tenuous, and that is being polite. Suits currently can claim secondary liability for third parties, including banks and large corporations, under “material support” of terrorism statutes. This includes “aiding and abetting” liability as well as providing “services” to any group that the United States considers to be terrorist, even if the terrorist label is dubious and/or if that support is inadvertent.

There have been two recent lawsuits seeking civil damages under ATA and JASTA involved Iran and Syria. Regarding Iran, in June 2017 a jury deliberated for one day before delivering a guilty verdict against two Iranian foundations for violation of US sanctions, allowing a federal court to authorize the US government seizure of a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. It was the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in United States history. The presiding judge decided to distribute proceeds from the building’s sale, which could amount to as much as $1 billion, to the families of victims of terrorism, including the September 11th attacks. The court ruled that Iran had some culpability for the 9/11 attacks as a state sponsor of terrorism, though it could not determine that Iran was directly involved in the attacks.

The ruling against Iran has to be considered somewhat bizarre as it is clear that Iran had nothing to do with 9/11 but was considered guilty anyway because the State Department in Washington has declared it to be a state sponsor of terror. Being able to determine guilt based on an interpretation of a foreign government’s behavior puts incredible power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats who are making political decisions regarding who is “good” and who is “bad.”

A second, more recent, court case has involved Syria. Last week a federal court in the District of Columbia ruled that Syria was liable for the targeting and killing of an American journalist who was covering the shelling of a rebel-held area of Homs in 2012.

The court awarded $302.5 million to the family of the journalist, Marie Colvin. In her ruling, Judge Amy Berman Jackson cited “Syria’s longstanding policy of violence” seeking “to intimidate journalists” and “suppress dissent.” As it is normally not possible even in American courts to sue a foreign government, a so-called human rights group funded by the US and other governments called the Center for Justice and Accountability made its case relying on the designation of Damascus as a state sponsor of terrorism. The judge believed that the evidence presented was “credible and convincing.”

The complexities of what is going on in Syria are such that it is difficult to imagine that a Washington based judge could possibly render judgment in any credible fashion. Colvin was in a war zone and the plaintiffs, whose agenda was to compile a dossier of war crimes against Syria, made their case using documents that they provided, which certainly presented a partisan viewpoint and might themselves have been fabricated. Based on her own comments, Judge Amy Berman Jackson certainly came into the game with her own particular view on Syria and what the conflict there was all about.

Another American gift to international jurisprudence has been the Magnitsky Act of 2012, a product of the feel-good enthusiasm of the Barack Obama Administration. It was based on a narrative regarding what went on in Russia under the clueless Boris Yeltsin and his nationalist successor Vladimir Putin that was peddled by one Bill Browder, who many believe to have been a major player in the looting of the former Soviet Union. It was claimed by Browder and his accomplices in the media that the Russian government had been complicit in the arrest, torture and killing of one Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant turned whistleblower working for Browder. Almost every aspect of the story has been challenged, but it was completely bought into by the Congress and White House and led to sanctions on the Russians who were allegedly involved despite Moscow’s complaints that the US had no legal right to interfere in its internal affairs relating to a Russian citizen.

Worse still, the Magnitsky Act has been broadened and is now the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2017. It is being used to sanction and otherwise punish alleged “human rights abusers” in other countries. It was most recently used in the Jamal Khashoggi case, in which the US sanctioned the alleged killers of the Saudi dissident journalist even though no one had actually been convicted of any crime.

Independent of Magnitsky and the various ATA acts is the ability of the US Treasury Department and its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sanction a country’s ability to move money through the US controlled dollar financial system. That is what is taking place currently regarding payments for Venezuela’s oil exports, which have been sanctioned and will not be able to use the dollar-denominated system after April 28th. A similar US imposed sanctioning is currently in effect against Iran, with all potential purchasers of Iranian oil themselves being subject to secondary sanctions if they continue to make purchases after May 5th.

Most of the world oil business is transacted in dollars, so the Treasury Department has an effective weapon in hand to interfere in foreign countries without having to send in the Marines, but there is, of course, a danger that the rest of the world will eventually read the tea leaves and abandon the use of petrodollars altogether. If that occurs it will make it more difficult for the American government to continue to print dollars without regard for deficits as there will be little demand for the extra US currency in circulation.

The principle that Washington should respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies has effectively been abandoned. And, as if things were not bad enough, some new legislation virtually guarantees that in the near future the United States will be doing still more to interfere in and destabilize much of the world. Congress has passed and President Trump has signed the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, which seeks to improve Washington’s response to mass killings. The prevention of genocide and mass murder is now a part of the American national security agenda. There will be a Mass Atrocity Task Force and State Department officers will receive training to sensitize them to impending genocide, though presumably, the new program will not apply to the Palestinians as the law’s namesake never was troubled by their suppression and killing by the state of Israel.

 

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US Training Saudi and UAE Pilots for Combat in Yemen

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Yemen is one of many US forever wars – key NATO countries, Israel, Jordan, the Saudis and UAE partnering in them.

US special forces operate in Yemen. Pentagon drone war has been ongoing in the country without letup since launched by Bush/Cheney in October 2001, weeks after 9/11.

A no-ceasefire/ceasefire reflects conditions on the ground. War rages with no prospect for resolution because bipartisan US hardliners reject ending it. Claiming otherwise is political pretense.

Daily reports show endless conflict continues. US-backed Saudi/UAE forces keep battling Houthi fighters, including in areas around the strategic port city of Hodeidah, ceasefire agreed on more illusion than reality.

Saudi/UAE terror-bombing goes on daily – overnight against Sanaa, the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital. A Houthi statement said “(t)his escalation comes under the direction and supervision of the U.S…This escalation will be met with an escalation.”

Earlier calls by US officials for peaceful conflict resolution in Yemen were pure deception. Republicans and undemocratic Dems reject restoring peace and stability to war-ravaged countries.

According to Military Times last November, the Pentagon’s so-called Operation Yukon Journey involves US military operations in Africa and the Middle East – on the phony pretext of defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda Washington created and supports.

The Middle East operation is designated “Support to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Partner Nations in Yemen.” Along with providing weapons, munitions, intelligence, and logistics support, the Pentagon has been training Saudi and UAE pilots for combat in Yemen.

Federal procurement documents show the US air force has been using a private contractor to train Saudi pilots at its US facility.

A previous article discussed US and UK involvement in supplying the Saudis with billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions annually, Pentagon contractors involved in training its military personnel in their use.

Under the so-called United States Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, USMTM trains, advises and assists the kingdom’s armed forces, including through military exercises and related activities.

USMTM is a joint US army, navy, air force and marine corps joint command, an extensive arrangement with the kingdom since the 1950s – under the 1951 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and later USMTM agreement.

An earlier London Daily Mail report said Britain is secretly training Saudi’s military, aiding its genocidal war in Yemen.

Documents obtained through an FOIA request show Pentagon personnel have been and likely still are actively involved in training UAE pilots for combat operations in Yemen.

According to an air force memo dated December 18, 2017, its personnel “assisted (the training of) 150 (UAE) airmen in challenging (exercises) to prepare (them) for combat ops in Yemen.”

Further training was provided UAE pilots at the country’s Pentagon operated Al Dhafra airbase, the memo saying:

“Unit fighter personnel advanced the UAE’s F-16 fighter pilot training program; 3 pilots flew 243 instructor sorties/323 hrs that created 4 new instructors & 29 combat wingmen who immediately deployed for combat operations in Yemen.”

CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Josh Jacques lied, saying “(w)e do not conduct exercises with (Saudi and UAE airmen) to prepare for combat operations in Yemen.” 

Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford turned truth on its head, claiming the US is “not a participant in the civil war (sic) in Yemen, nor are we supporting one side or another.”

Hard evidence refutes both of the above statements. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Central Asia and North Africa are US launched and waged, nothing civil about any of them. Nor are they involved in combating the scourge of terrorism the US supports, using jihadists as proxy troops.

None of the above information should surprise. The Pentagon and private military contractors it enlists are actively involved in training and otherwise working directly with the armed forces of numerous countries worldwide.

What’s going on is all about advancing America’s imperium, largely by waging endless wars and related military activities.

Trump is like his predecessors, co-opted to go along with a dirty system, raging since Harry Truman’s war on North Korea in the early 1950s.

Endless US wars of aggression rage with no prospect for resolution, others drafted to be launched if and when ordered – every sovereign independent country potentially targeted, including Russia, China and Iran.

‘How the West Eats Its Children’

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By Thierry Meyssan

For Thierry Meyssan, by taking to the streets, the French have become the first Western population to take personal risks to oppose financial globalisation. Although they do not realise it, and still imagine that their problems are exclusively national, their enemy is the same force that crushed the region of the African Great Lakes and a part of the Greater Middle East. In order to understand the project which inextricably unites these apparently disparate events, we have to take a step back.

The cause of Western recession

International relations experienced a profound change with the paralysis of the Soviet Union in 1986, when the State was unable to control the civilian nuclear incident in Tchernobyl [1], then with the revocation of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, when the East German Communist Party [2] destroyed the Berlin Wall, and finally, with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

At that time, the President of the United States, George Bush Sr., decided to demobilise one million soldiers and devote the efforts of his country to its own prosperity. He wanted to transform US hegemony within its zone of influence, and expand it into that of the leader of the world, the guarantor of world stability. With that, he laid the foundations for a « New World Order », first of all in the speech he gave side by side with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at the Aspen Institute (2 August 1990), then during his speech to Congress (11 September 1990), announcing operation « Desert Storm » [3].

The world of the après-Soviet Union is one of free circulation, not only of merchandise, but also world capital, under the unique control of the United States. In other words, the passage from capitalism to financialisation – not the triumphant culmination of free exchange, but an exacerbated form of colonial exploitation of the whole world, including the West. Within the space of a quarter of a century, the major US fortunes have multiplied many times, and the global wealth of the world has increased considerably.

By allowing capitalism to run wild, President Bush Sr. hoped to extend prosperity to the world. But capitalism is not a political project, it is simply a system of logic designed for creating profit. The logic of the US multinationals was to increase their profits by delocalising production to China, where it is now possible, and where workers are the lowest paid in the world.

Those who were prepared to measure the cost of this advance for the West were few and far between. New middle classes began to appear in the third world, and although they were, of course, far less wealthy than those in the West, they enabled new, mainly Asian states, to play a rôle on the world stage. But simultaneously, Western middle classes began to disappear [4], meaning that it became impossible for the democratic institutions they built to survive. Above all, the populations of entire regions were to be entirely crushed, starting with those of the African Great Lakes. This first regional war caused 6 million deaths, in Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and was met with general incomprehension and indifference. The aim was to continue to seize the natural resources of these countries, but to pay less and less for them, which meant dealing with gangs rather than with the States who had to feed their populations.

The sociological transformation of the world is happening very fast and is clearly without precedent, although we do not have the statistical tools available today to evaluate it with precision. However, everyone can witness the increase in power of Eurasia, (not in the Gaullist sense of « Brest to Vladivostok », but that of Russia and Asia without Western and Central Europe), which seeks liberty and prosperity, while the Western powers, including the United States, are slowly and progressively declining, limiting individual freedom and ejecting half of their population into zones of poverty.

Today, the percentage of imprisonment in China is four times inferior to that of the United States,while their purchasing power is slightly higher. Objectively therefore, with all its faults, Chine has become a freer and more prosperous country than the United States.

This process was predictable from the beginning. Its application was studied for a long time. So, on 1 September 1987, a US forty-year-old published a page of counter-current publicity in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. He warned his compatriots about the rôle that President Bush Sr. was planning to allocate to the United States – to assume and finance out of their own pockets the responsibility for the developing « New World Order ». People read it and laughed. The author of these texts was real estate promoter, Donald Trump.

The application of the economic model to international relations

One month after the attacks of 11 September 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld nominated his friend Admiral Arthur Cebrowski as Director of the new Office of Force Transformation. He was tasked with changing the culture of the entire US military in order to enable it to respond to a complete change in its mission

There was no longer question of using US armies to defend principles or interests, but to use them for a reorganisation of the world by dividing it into two parts – one one side the states integrated into the globalised economy, and on the other, the others [5]. The Pentagon would no longer fight wars in order to steal natural resources, but to control access to those resources by the globalised nations. A division directly inspired by the process of globalisation which had already trashed half of the Western populations. This time, it was half of the world’s population which was to be excluded [6].

The reorganisation of the world began in the political zone known as the « Greater Middle East », that is to say stretching from Afghanistan to Morocco, with the exception of Israël, Lebanon and Jordan. This brought about the alleged epidemic of civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, which has already caused several million deaths.

Like a monster eating its own children, the global financial system based in the United States faced its first crisis in 2008, when the subprime bubble burst. Contrary to a commonly-held belief, this was absolutely not a global crisis, but a Western problem. For the first time, the NATO states experienced the first consequences of the policy they were supporting. Yet the upper Western classes changed nothing in their behaviour, as they witnessed with compassion the wreck of the middle classes. The only notable modification was the adoption of the « Volcker rule » [7], which forbade banks from profiting from information obtained from their clients in order to speculate against their interests. But while conflicts of interest enabled a number of crooks to get rich fast, they are not the root of the problem, which is far more wide-reaching.

The revolt of the Western populations

The revolt of the Western middle and working classes against the globalised upper class began two years ago.

Aware of the Western recession as compared with Asia, the people of the United Kingdom were the first to attempt to save its life-style by leaving the European Union and turning to China and the Commonwealth (referendum of 23 June 2016) [8]. Unfortunately, the leaders of the United Kingdom were unable to conclude the agreement they hoped for with China and experienced great difficulty in reactivating their links with the Commonwealth.

Then, witnessing the collapse of their civil industries, a part of the United States voted, on 8 November 2016, for the only Presidential candidate who was opposed to the New World Order, Donald Trump. He spoke of a return to the « American dream ». Unfortunately for his voters, although Donald Trump began to question the rules of globalised commerce, he had no team with him apart from his family, and was only able to modify, but not change, the military strategy of his country. Almost all of the general officers had adopted the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski ideology, and could no longer imagine themselves in any other role than defenders of financial globalisation.

Aware of the collapse of their national industry, and certain that they would be betrayed by their upper class, the Italians voted, on 4 March 2018, for an anti-system party composed of the Ligue and the 5-star Movement. These parties built an alliance in order to implement social policies. Unfortunately, they were rejected by the European Union [9]. In France, tens of thousands of SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises), subcontractors of industry, had gone bankrupt over the last ten years, but their compulsory tax deductions, already among the highest in the world, increased by 30 % over the same period.

Several hundreds of thousands of French people suddenly took to the streets to demonstrate against abusive financial measures. Unfortunately for them, the French upper classes have been contaminated by the very idea that was rejected by the United States, and therefore did their best to adapt their policies to the popular revolt, but not to change its basic causes.

If we look at each of these four countries separately, we will find four different explanations for what is happening there. But if we analyse the situation as a single phenomenon affecting different cultures, we will discover the same mechanisms across the board. In these four countries, consecutive with the end of capitalism, the middle classes disappeared more or less rapidly, and with them the political system that they incarnated – Democracy.

So either the Western leaders abandon the financial system they have developed and return to the productive capitalism of the Cold War, or they will have to invent a different organisation that no-one has so far been able imagine. Failing that, the West, which has directed the world for five centuries, will sink into a long period of internal chaos.

The Syrians were the first non-globalised People capable of surviving and resisting the destruction of Rumsfeld-Cebrowski’s infra-world. The French were the first globalised people to rise up against the destruction of the West, even if they are not aware that they are fighting the same unique enemy of all of humanity. President Emmanuel Macron is not the man for the situation, not because he has any responsibility for the system that preceded him, but because he is pure product of that system. In response to the riots in his country, he spoke from the G20 in Buenos-Aires, declaring that the meeting was a success in his eyes, (which it was not), and that he intended to advance more efficiently than his predecessors – in the wrong direction.

How to save privilege

It appears that the British ruling class has its solution – if London in particular and the Western nations in general are no longer capable of ruling the world, it will be necessary to cut one’s losses and divide the world into two distinct zones. This is the policy implemented by Obama in the final months of his presidency [10], then by Theresa May, and now by Donald Trump, with their refusal to cooperate and their ready-made accusations, first of all against Russia and now against China.

It also seems that Russia and China, despite their historical rivalry, are aware that they will never be able to ally themselves with these Westerners who have never ceased trying to carve them up. This is the source of their project, the « Eurasian Economic Union » – if the world must be split in two, each participant will have to organise its own. In concrete terms, for Beijing, this means abandoning half of its « Silk Road » project and its redeployment with Moscow only in Greater Eurasia.

How to determine the line of demarcation

For the West and Greater Eurasia, it will be necessary to determine the split line as fast as possible. For example, what side will Ukraine choose? The construction by Russia of the Kertch bridge was aimed at separating the country, absorbing the Donbass and the Azov Sea basin, then Odessa and Transnistria. On the contrary, the incident at Kertch, organised by the Western powers, is aimed at enrolling all of Ukraine into NATO before the country fractures.

Since the ship of financial globalisation is sinking, many people are beginning to save their personal interests without any care for others. For example this is the source of the tension between the European Union and the United States. As far as this game is concerned, the Zionist movement has always had a length’s lead, which explains the mutation of Israëli strategy, which has abandoned Syria to Russia, and turned to both the Gulf States and East Africa.

Perspectives

Taking into account what is at play here, it is obvious that the insurrection in France is only the beginning of a much wider process which is going to spread to other Western countries.

It would be absurd to believe that at a time of financial globalisation, a government, whatever it might be, could resolve the problems of its country without first of all questioning international relations and at the same time regaining its capacity for action. But precisely, foreign policy has been kept on the sidelines of the democratic field since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is both necessary and urgent to resign from almost all of the treaties and engagements of the last thirty years. Only the states which are able to re-affirm their sovereignty can hope to recover.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] According to Michaïl Gorbatchev, this was the event that made possible the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in so far as it delegitimised the State.

[2] Contrary to a commonly-held belief in the West, it was the nationalists from the East-German Communist Party (and the Lutheran churches), and not the anti-Communists (and pro-US movements), who broke down the symbol of Soviet domination, the Wall.

[3] The main purpose of the invasion of Iraq was not to liberate Kuwaït, but to use this affair to build the strongest coalition possible under US command, including the USSR.

[4Global Inequality. A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Branko Milanovic, Harvard University Press, 2016.

[5] “The US military project for the world”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 22 August 2017.

[6] It is obvious that the wars of Bush Jr. and Obama were never intended to expand the Empire. First of all because by definition, democracy can only come from the People, not imposed by bombs. And then because the United States was already a plutocracy.

[7] The ex-president of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, is on the other hand, one of the architects of global financialisation. It is Volcker who took legal action on behalf of the UNO against the people and entities who had helped Iraq to bypass the UN embargo (the « oil for food » affair). Volcker is one of the principal personalities of the Pilgrim’s Society, the trans-Atlantic club presided by Queen Elizabeth II. As such, he became the main economic advisor to President Barack Obama, and organised part of his cabinet.

[8] “The new British Foreign Policy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 4 July 2016.

[9] Replacing the European Common Market, which was originally a system for cooperation between states, the European Union, as defined by the Treaty of Maastricht, is a supranational

[10] “Two separate worlds”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 8 November 2016.

This Thanksgiving, Americans Should be Not be Thankful That Their Government is Arming Terrorists in Syria

By Adam Garrie
Source

The United States public holiday of Thanksgiving is among the most peculiar of celebrations as it commemorates a brief moment of peace when native Americans of the Wampanoag people fed English colonists who were unfamiliar with many of the foodstuffs of what is now the north-eastern United States. This moment of good will however did not last long as European colonists eventually built a new nation on the blood of native American peoples who were slaughtered, imprisoned and forcibly relocated to the hinterlands of North America.

In spite of this very unhappy ending, the modern American feast of Thanksgiving has become a largely secular holiday where Americans celebrate that which they have to be thankful for. Among other things, the people of the United States should be thankful for the fact that the most stable nation in western Eurasia, the Republic of Turkey is a long standing ally that continues to seek healthy relations with the United States even as under the leadership of the fiercely independent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey like many other nations seeks to embrace a multipolar win-win approach towards geopolitical relations. This means that while Turkey has warm relations with Russia, China and Iran, Turkey equally seeks continued healthy relations with the United States, European Union and other fellow NATO members.

As a secular democracy with a renewed emphasis on religious freedom, most Americans would feel uniquely safe in Turkey which is something that cannot be said of most of Turkey’s neighbours. And yet in spite of the fact that Turkey has been a loyal ally of the United States throughout its modern history, Washington continues to forge a battlefield alliance with one of the world’s most notorious terror groups that since the late 1970s has killed 40,000 people in Turkey, many of whom were civilians.

The PKK terror group does not share the kinds of values that ordinary Americans would feel comfortable with. Operating with a mafioso mentality, the group is notorious not only for attacking, murdering and disfiguring policemen, soldiers and civilians but they are also guilty of harassing, pillaging and murdering those of an ethnic Kurdish background they deviously claim to defend. By contrast, one can be of an ethnic Kurdish background and a full Turkish citizen without facing any form of legal prejudice. This contrasts sharply with the rights of African-Americans in the United States prior to 1964 where various southern states enacting so-called Jim Crow laws which deprived black American citizens of their most basic rights.

Like most responsible nations, the United States lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation and yet in Syria, the United States military continues to arm, fund and fight beside the PKK’s Syrian branch – the YPG. Beyond simply being a supreme insult to a long time NATO ally, the short term thinking behind allying with a violent terror group will come back to haunt the US in one form or another as any alliance with terrorism ultimately becomes a pact with the Devil that is not easy to crawl out from under. Already, local Arabs in the north-east of Syria are beginning to rebel against the pseudo-regime of YPG/PKK terrorists that under US supervision have occupied parts of northern Syria, thus turning historic Arab majority regions into a gangsters’ nest of ethnic cleansing that has seen both Arab and non-Kurdish minority populations suffer under the whip hand of ethno-centric terrorist extremists.

Is the United States really so desperate for an ally in Syria that it is willing to retain an always ill-conceived alliance with a group that has committed acts of violence against not only Turkomen but against Muslim Arabs and the Christian minorities of the region? Is the US proud of arming a group that has launched mortars into Turkey from Syrian soil after the US cleared a path for YPG/PKK occupation of some of Syria’s most strategic northern cities and towns?

If the US government is thankful for this, surely the American people ought to be thankful for a dose of reality that might lead them to openly challenge their government’s alliance with YPG/PKK terrorism in the same way that Turkey’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has led many Americans to question their governments position vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia. For all that Saudi Arabia is, it is still a state. By contrast, the PKK is a terror group according to the American government itself and yet that same American government is fighting with the PKK in Syria.

If Americans learned anything from the horrors of 9/11, it should have been that there is no such thing as an acceptable terrorist group. There are no “good terrorists and bad terrorists”. All terrorists are in fact bad or in the words of George W. Bush “evil doers”. A group that uses remote detonation devices, mortars, violent armed assaults, bondage, extraction, torture, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, blackmail and the sale of narcotics to achieve its vague political aims cannot have a single saving grace. And yet by allying with the YPG/PKK in Syria, the US is effectively saying that the disgusting and criminal methods used by the terror organisation are somehow appropriate or even desirable. This becomes all the more tragic when one realises that the PKK threatens the security of a sovereign state that is not an enemy but a long time partner of the United States.

The war in Syria has been a polarising one for many people across many lands, but just as most level headed people draw a line when it comes to supporting groups like Daesh (aka ISIS), the same red line applies or at least must apply to supporting the PKK in all its forms. This is why news that the US has set up observation postsin north-eastern Syria to ostensibly separate Turkish forces from the YPG/PKK, feels duplicitous than transparent. While the US claims that these observation posts will help American forces to keep the YPG/PKK out of Turkey, the reality is that these observation posts will ensure the survival of a terror group that should be mutually neutralised by both Turkish and American forces in order to ensure long term regional peace not just for Turkey but also for Syria and Iraq.

Turkey is an invaluable partner as multiple nations ranging from China and Qatar, Russia to Sudan, Pakistan to Malaysia have come to realise. As one of modern Turkey’s long term allies, rather than offer thanks for the stabilising presence of Turkey in an otherwise fraught region, the US government is squandering this alliance on the altar of violent terrorism and squandering good will among the vast majority of Syrian Arabs in the process.

Just as Turkey would never fund anti-US terror groups operating in Mexico, nor should the United States fund an anti-Turkish terror group operating in Syria. If Americans want to express thanks to a steadfast ally in the multi-layered wars against terrorism, the best thing they could do is to publicly express their outrage at their government’s support for a YPG/PKK terror group that does not belong in the 21st century.

 

Sanctioning The Sanctioners: De-Dollarization & De-Americanization is an Idea Whose Time Has Come – By John WIGHT – RT

700 Hostages Taken by ISIS Under US Military Watch? America’s Spiteful Efforts to Prevent Syria’s Recovery

5170852_6290875_image_a_38_153.jpgA photo shared on social media allegedly taken during an ISIS attack on U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the same area as the refugee camp where terrorists kidnapped hundreds

By Andrés Perezalonso
Source

Speaking at the 15th annual Valdai forum in Sochi, in-between hilarious exchanges about the benefits of Western sanctions on the Russian cheese industry, President Putin made a number of strong statements directed at his ‘Western partners’. These included an announcement that Russia is gradually ‘de-dollarizing’ its economy for security reasons; a droll warning that, should the worst come to pass and nuclear war break out, at least Russians would go to heaven as martyrs whereas her enemies would drop dead without time to repent; and a reminder that Russia has surpassed its competitors, for the foreseeable future, in hypersonic missiles. Far less publicized was his revelation about a recent incident involving ISIS in the Deir ez-Zor region of eastern Syria:

“We now see what is happening on the left bank of the Euphrates River, our colleagues know that. This territory is under the protection of our American partners, they rely there on the Kurdish armed forces. But they obviously did not work it through, members of Daesh remained in several settlements,” Putin said at the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi.

The president further stressed that Daesh had recently started expanding its presence, taking 130 families hostage, which is nearly 700 people, including US and European nationals, in part of Syria controlled by US-backed forces.

“They [terrorists] put forward ultimatums and certain demands, and warned that if these ultimatums are not followed up to, they will be gunning down 10 people everyday. The day before yesterday they executed ten people,” Putin stressed.

“Our information shows that several citizens of the United States and [some] European countries were also taken hostage [by Daesh],” Putin added.

You can listen to Putin describe this issue as a disaster, about which Western governments are keeping quiet, in this video, starting from 4:46. The reason they do not wish to talk about it is, of course, that it is not only an embarrassment for US coalition forces, but that it highlights their transparent intention to prevent the stabilization and reconstruction of war-torn Syria.

You can listen to Putin describe this issue as a disaster, about which Western governments are keeping quiet, in this video, starting from 4:46. The reason they do not wish to talk about it is, of course, that it is not only an embarrassment for US coalition forces, but that it highlights their transparent intention to prevent the stabilization and reconstruction of war-torn Syria.

1068998889.jpgVladimir Putin at Valdai Discussion Club Forum

What Happened

Major-General Vladimir Savchenko, from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, has provided details of the abduction. On Saturday 13 October, ISIS launched an assault on El Bahra refugee camp in Deir ez-Zor – which is controlled by the Kurdish militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – taking hundreds of people to the town of Hajin on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river, where ISIS inexplicably retains a 20km strip of land between that settlement and al-Susa. Savchenko pointed out that as a result of “inaction of the US-backed armed units… The US-led coalition and the Pentagon-controlled Kurdish forces continue to imitate [sic; simulate] the fight against Islamic State in the south of Deir ez-Zor province,” without making actual steps to eradicate the terrorists.

5168136_6290875_image_a_40_153.jpgISIS fighters attacked the refugee camp near Hajin last week, and kidnapped some 130 families – around 700 people – including U.S. and European nationals.

A Russian military-diplomatic source – presumably Savchenko himself, or someone close to him – explained that the SDF was trying to launch an offensive on ISIS with the support of the US coalition, but it failed due to multiple mistakes made by the US military coordinating the operation. Meanwhile, ISIS attacked the refugee camp. Adding to the mess, two US-led coalition F-15 jets bombed Kurdish forces ‘by mistake’, killing six, wounding 15 and allowing ISIS to gain ground. While this last incident appears to have taken place days after the kidnapping of the refugees, it is significant that it happened near the town of Hajin, where the hostages were taken. A Russian news outlet reported that a number of American soldiers and SDF militants were kidnapped by ISIS – were these the ones Putin was talking about? Alternatively, were American and European aid workers at the camp when it was attacked?

Are these example of extraordinary incompetence, the continuation of a malicious strategy to perpetuate the conflict in Syria, or some combination of both? If the US military has been thus far reluctant to finish off the ISIS pocket within its ‘sphere of influence’ on the Euphrates, now it has a convenient excuse not to do so due to ‘700 human shields’. The source spelled out the obvious: “The imitation of fight against terrorists in this region of Syria has already lasted more than six months and is used by Washington to justify its illegal presence in this country.

5US_Air_Force_F_15_fighter_jetUS Air Force F-15 fighter jets fly in formation

While Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’, acknowledged that the F-15 ‘friendly-fire’ event was under investigation, and Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson admitted to an attack on the camp near Deir ez-Zor, the latter also issued a carefully-worded denial (of sorts) regarding the hostage situation: “We have no information supporting the large number of hostages alleged by President Putin and we are skeptical of its accuracy. We are also unaware of any U.S. nationals located in that camp.” Notice that the point in question is “the large number of hostages” and whether any of them were American. Does that mean that there is indeed a hostage situation, just not with as many of 700 of them? Interestingly, the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), based on the UK (and run by a single man, Rami Abdulrahman, who claims to have contacts on the ground in Syria), declared that the hostage crisis was real – except that the number of people kidnapped was 250, including 90 women and children. Thus, the US military will not deny the situation unequivocally, and even those supposed to be on their side have at least partly confirmed the information.

Perhaps the US military is trying to fix or cover up this disaster, and is doing so in the only way it knows how to fix things: by bombing hard and indiscriminately. On the same day the hostages were taken, the US-led coalition dropped white phosphorus on several districts of Hajin, where some 10,000 civilians live. This is not at all the first time that American forces have used the incendiary agent on civilian areas – a practice that is explicitly prohibited by the Geneva Convention, and which makes even more hypocritical American and European crocodile tears about the mere suggestion of Assad using chemical weapons the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has verified his forces no longer have.

Later, on 19-20 October, American ‘coalition’ bombs killed up to 62 civilians in the villages of al-Suseh and al-Bubadran in the same region. According to SOHR, only three terrorists died. None of this has stopped ISIS from going on the offensive in the area.

1057740513.jpg
A Strategy of Spitefulness

The US military believes many top ISIS leaders have fled to Hajin, and at some point the group’s founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was rumoured to be in the area. No doubt it is the seat of an important ISIS command center, as it was this town, together with Abu Kamal, that was targeted by the missiles launched by Iran as ‘retaliation’ for the September 22 terror attack during a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, in which 29 people were killed.

On August 14, Major-General Felix Gedney, British deputy commander for strategy and support of the coalition, stated that only 1,000 ISIS fighters remained in the Euphrates valley. Yet last Thursday, Col. Ryan increased the figure to 1,500 – 2,000, while another anglophone source speaks of 5,000. Either ISIS has grown stronger in the area in spite of F.UK.US airstrikes, or Western sources are simply manipulating the numbers as it suits them. Most likely, the contradicting figures are the product of arguing both that ‘America eliminated ISIS’and that America is still needed on the ground because ISIS remains strong. ‘Dynamic narratives’ – aka, speaking out of both sides of your mouth – are all-important in a hybrid information war, especially when you’re losing.

But there is more to Hajin, and to the Euphrates valley and the Deir ez-Zor region in general. The map below illustrates the situation in 2015-2016, when Russia was just stepping into the scene, and when ISIS could steal Syria’s oil wells and refineries largely undisturbed and smuggle it across the border into Turkey.

ISIS_oil_Syria_2015_2016.jpg

Notice that ISIS happened to concentrate along the Euphrates river, specifically in Deir ez-Zor, where most of Syria’s oil fields are located. While the area remains in chaos, Syria will not be in a position to exploit its natural resources and rebuild. Recent comments by US Air Force Brigadier-General Leah Lauderback suggest that this is the whole point – along with obstructing Russian influence and business in the country:

“Great power competition was an objective by Russia [in Syria]… They saw us as a peer, and they wanted to take advantage in any way that they could,” Lauderback stated.

Specifically, Lauderback said in a summary of the anti-Islamic State campaign, Russia has looked into taking oil fields that dot Syria to fund Syria’s recovery and the stabilization of areas hit hard by conflict. Economically, they wanted to seize oilfields, they wanted bids and contracts to develop Syria for infrastructure in order to stabilize Syria over the long term, she said.

So the problem, as America sees it, is that Russia gets to profit and Syria gets to stabilize and prosper. No wonder, then, that ISIS is still wreaking havoc right in the middle of the largest oil fields. ‘Losing’ a few hundred hostages are worth it if that postpones America’s defeat in the race for Syrian oil. Last week, NBC reported that the US government is developing a new strategy for war in Syria that would withhold reconstruction aid from areas in which Iranian and Russian forces are present. It would also impose sanctions on Russian and Iranian companies working on reconstruction in Syria. It cannot get any more spiteful than that.

Before becoming president, Donald Trump appeared to be reluctant to perpetuate US involvement in Syria and thus confront Russia. However, once in office, he has on occasion been shown to be uninformed and somewhat naive – in part, no doubt, due to the carefully controlled information he is provided by his advisors – and he has thus been proven manipulable by the ‘Deep State’ agents he professes to be fighting, at least when it comes to issues ‘out there on the frontier’.

For example, it was not until recently that he learned that a large offensive was being prepared on the northwestern region of Idlib and, according to his own declarations, he thinks that it was he who stopped the offensive with his calls for Russia to do so on Twitter. In reality, this was the consequence of an agreementreached between Russia and Turkey in Sochi, which Trump could easily supplant with make-believe because the American media didn’t report on it, so ‘it never happened’. Also, Putin doesn’t use the internet, much less follow Trump – or anyone else – on social media.

Similarly, Trump seems to sincerely believe that America under his command completed the job of ridding Syria of ISIS. Again, the truth is that the credit goes entirely to Syria, Russia and Iran. If Trump had a firm hold of what the US military does and an accurate understanding of the situation, he would do his best to order them to get out of the way and let those three countries sort out the Euphrates valley as they have done elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the US military – or rather, the Military-Industrial complex, which is an important element of the Deep State – has an agenda of its own. Its plan was never to eliminate ISIS, but to use it as a battering ram to topple the Assad government, which explains why US, Saudi and Israeli weapons got into ISIS hands, and why the ‘anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve’ campaign conducted by US-led coalition has been so atrocious at completing its declared mission. Now that the battering ram strategy has failed, the remnants of ISIS are being used as drops of poison in the (oil) wells that require the American antidote. It’s an utterly futile business plan in the long term, but long-term thinking isn’t exactly an American virtue.

 

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