Syrian War Report – June 6, 2019: Syrian, Russian Forces Pound Militants In Greater Idlib

Syrian War Report – June 6, 2019: Syrian, Russian Forces Pound Militants In Greater Idlib

06.06.2019

ISIS cells have used an IED to blow up a Syrian Army vehicle on the road between Naamer and al-Khirbet in northern Daraa, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq said on June 4. According to the report, 3 soldiers were killed in the attack. However, these claims have not yet been confirmed by pro-government sources.

This became the first official ISIS announcement of an attack in the province of Daraa since last year when the army and former rebels that had reconciled with the government eliminated ISIS’ local branch, the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army.

The resumption of ISIS attacks in southern Syria may be a sign that the terrorist group’s core hiding in the Syrian and Iraqi deserts has had enough time to restore contacts with its cells in this part of the country. If this is the case, further attacks in the area can be expected.

Just recently, the army discovered a large ammo depot during a recent search operation in the country’s south. The ammo depot contained loads of weapons, including: 3 US-made TOW anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers along with 4 missiles, 3 Russian-made Metis-M ATGM launchers along with 6 missiles and two 1PBN86-VI thermal sights, a Soviet-made Malyutka ATGM along with its launcher, 7 Bulgarian-made AT-4 Spigot ATGMs, a Bulgarian-made Konkurs ATGM and several rounds for the Yugoslav-made M79 Osa anti-tank weapon.

A swarm of armed drones attacked residential areas in the town of Jubb Ramlah in western Hama in the early hours of June 5. According to

Local sources, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces intercepted all the drones before they managed to cause any losses.

Opposition sources confirmed the attack attempt saying that it was a response to strikes on the Greater Idlib area.

According to pro-militant sources, Syrian and Russian forces carried out hundreds of strikes on various targets in northwestern Hama, southern Idlib and northern Lattakia over the last 24 hours. Clashes also continued in the area north of Kafr Nabudah.

At the same time, so-called moderate rebels from Jaysh al-Izza, the group that had received large quantities of weapons from the US, appeared in a new video with a badge of the Islamic Black Standard with the Seal of Muhammad. This is a well-known symbol of al-Qaeda and the official flag of ISIS.

Despite all the attempts by Idlib militant groups and their Western backers to present these “rebels” as “moderate democrats”, it’s not so easy to hide the truth.

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“The Russians are Still Coming” “Without RussiaGate”: The “Fake News” Witch-hunt against the Independent Media

US Foreign Policy under Trump in the Wake of the Russia Probe

Global Research, March 28, 2019

From one day to the next,  following the release of the Mueller report, the shaky RussiaGate consensus created by the corporate media has collapsed.  

What the Mueller investigation contends is that there is no proof that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. 

The demise of the RussiaGate narrative, however, does not mean that the Trump administration will renew its relations with the Kremlin. “The Russians are still coming”… without RussiaGate. Russia is still portrayed as a threat to America’s National Security. 

In this regard, the objective of the Neocons has been achieved. The Trump administration, with its hawk team of  advisers including Pompeo and Bolton, not to mention Gina Haspel at the CIA, is towing the line. 

Corporate and Political Rivalries

The RussiaGate narrative was required to sustain the multibillion dollar contracts in favor of the military industrial complex including the 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program.

What was at stake in 2016 were fundamental rivalries within the US establishment marked by the clash between competing corporate (and political) factions, each of which was intent upon exerting control over the incoming US presidency.

In this regard,  Trump was not entirely in the pocket of the lobby groups. He was not a groomed politician. As a member of the business establishment, he had his own corporate sponsors and fund raisers. His stated foreign policy agenda including his “commitment” to revise Washington’s relationship with Moscow did not fully conform with the interests of the defence contractors.

Prior to the elections, a smear campaign was launched by the media on behalf of the  “Clinton faction”. At the height of the election campaign Trump was portrayed by the US media as  “an agent” of the Kremlin, a modern Manchurian candidate.  Barely a month before the November 8 2016 elections, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leo Panetta  intimated that Trump represented a threat to National Security. The Atlantic (October 8, 2016),  described Trump is a “Modern Manchurian Candidate”.

Belleville National Democrats, Jan 13, 2017

Vanity Fair November 1 2016

The Atlantic October 8 2016

This anti-Trump campaign continued unabated in the wake of the elections. Ironically, Rod Rosenstein who had been nominated for the position of Deputy Attorney General by president Trump in February 2017, acted against Trump almost immediately following his confirmation on April 27, 2017.

Rosenstein’s mandate was to organize the so-called Russia Probe pertaining to alleged Kremlin interference in the November 2016 elections. Rosenstein’s first step consisted in the firing of FBI Director James Comey and appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Council to lead the Russia Probe.

Rod Rosenstein had prepared a three page memorandum, which  criticized James Comey for his handling of the Clinton email investigation and the release of Comey’s October 28, 2016 “Second Letter to Congress” 11 days before Election Day.

This action by Comey referred to as “October Surprise” (2016)  was largely detrimental to Clinton’s candidacy. It certainly did not go against the interests of Donald Trump.

The Fake News Witch-hunt. Clamping Down on Independent Media

RussiaGate was not only a conspiracy against Trump, largely in response to his 2016 election campaign commitment to restore “normal” diplomatic relations with Russia, it also took the form of a Witch-hunt directed against the independent online media,  which were casually tagged as “Russian trolls”, “Russian bots”,  “political commentators acting on behalf of the Russian government.” etc.

In chorus, the Western media was involved in accusing Moscow of election meddling without a shred of evidence.

In contrast, the lies and fabrications as well as the criminality underlying the Democrats’ 2016 election campaign were the object of  independent online media reports which were immediately branded as “fake news” on behalf of the Kremlin.

According to Reuters:

 “Russian President Vladimir Putin supervised his intelligence agencies’ hacking of the U.S. presidential election and turned it from a general attempt to discredit American democracy to an effort to help Donald Trump, three U.S. officials said on Thursday.” (emphasis added)

The New York Times (December 15) focussed on Kremlin meddling. Donald Trump is tagged as “a Useful Idiot”:

Kremlin meddling in the 2016 election warrants further investigation, with an eye toward preventive or retaliatory measures. President Obama has asked the nation’s intelligence community to deliver a fuller report on its findings before he leaves office on Jan. 20, …

Mr. Trump’s reaction to the C.I.A.’s findings leaves him isolated, … There could be no more “useful idiot,” to use Lenin’s term of art, than an American president who doesn’t know he’s being played by a wily foreign power. (emphasis added)

According to the Washington Post in a report published one month before the 2016 November elections:

The Obama administration on Friday [October 2016] officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

The denunciation, made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to publicly name Moscow and hold it accountable for actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election.

“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions,including from U.S. political organizations,” said a joint statement from the two agencies. “. . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” (WP, October 7, 2016)

While the Washington Post (supported by the Deep State?) was spreading rumors on Russia’s alleged election meddling, it was also involved in engineering the Blacklisting of the independent media which was questioning the RussiaGate consensus.

In an “authoritative” Washington Post article, (published 6 days after the November 2016 election) reporter Craig Timberg  reviewed an anonymous website called “PropOrNot,” which had blacklisted several hundred independent online news sources intimating that these websites and social media accounts were part of a Kremlin propaganda network.  Timberg had no evidence in support of his allegations. The objective was to trigger the crackdown against the online independent media:

“Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem. (Washington Post, November 14, 2016, emphasis added)

Screenshot of WP article, November 24, 2016

***

The Washington Post is “Fake News” at its Best. The report served as an endorsement of the Blacklisting campaign. Sustained by the RussiaGate narrative, a smear campaign was launched.  Several hundred online media sites including Global Research were tagged as “fake news” by Facebook and Google.

The Washington based Atlantic Council and NATO’s Centre of Excellency (COE), a  “Research Centre”  based in Latvia have published several “authoritative reports” which identify the independent online media “with links” to the Kremlin. Much of this “analysis” is fabricated.

The objective was to use the RussiaGate narrative (which had become a broadly accepted public consensus), as a means to suppress critical analysis of neoliberal economic policies, US foreign policy, US-NATO war plans, etc.

What happens now?

While the Mueller report confirms that the corporate media were spreading “fake news” in support of RussiaGate, it is highly unlikely that the mainstream media will indulge in a mea culpa. Moreover, it is also unlikely that social media and search engine censorship against the independent online media will be removed.

What is of course significant is that the broader public is now fully aware that they have been lied to. The public has been deliberately misled by the mainstream media from the very outset of the RussiaGate saga. The corporate media has endorsed war propaganda, it has granted  legitimacy to acts of war and military aggression, through lies and fabrications. Under Nuremberg, war propaganda constitutes the ultimate crime: “the Crime against Peace”.

The Skripal Affair

The Skripal affair –which hit Britain’s tabloids– was an integral part of the RussiaGate Op. It was based on fake intelligence and media disinformation directed against Moscow. Launched by the UK government of Theresa May, a political consensus had unfolded. Moscow was casually accused of conducting a mysterious covert nerve gas attack against a former Russian intelligence operative and his daughter.

While the story was refuted, the objective of the Skripal affair  ultimately succeeded. It consisted in pressuring EU member states to jeopardize their diplomatic relations with Russia.

Meanwhile, the RussiaGate saga also provided legitimacy to NATO threats against Russia, resulting in massive military deployments at Russia’s doorstep.

US Foreign Policy

The Mueller report does not restore sanity in US foreign policy.  Quite the opposite.

What it confirms is that there is no evidence of Russian support of  Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential elections.

Since Trump’s inauguration, however, the objective of normalizing diplomatic relations with Russia has largely been scrapped.

With Bolton and Pompeo, the NeoCons control Trump’s foreign policy.

War scenarios with Russia and China are contemplated.

Nuclear war is on the drawing board of the Pentagon.

The RussiaGate narrative against Trump is no longer required.

The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia

If we start from a premise which understands that Britain and its NATO allies are capable of mounting false flag events in Syria with chemical weapons, then it is entirely possible that British secret services carried out a similar propaganda stunt in England with regard to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.We also need to bear in mind that British state intelligence agencies are plausibly running a covert assassination program targeting Russian exiles living in Britain – for the purpose of incriminating Moscow.

Over the past two decades, more than a dozen Russian dissidents have met untimely deaths while residing in England, including Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky. Their deaths provide propaganda fodder for the British to accuse Moscow of carrying out “revenge killings”.

However, the suspicious circumstances surrounding each death could more conceivably point to the British liquidating the Russian exiles as propaganda assets.

In the case of Sergei Skripal, the disgraced former Russian military intelligence officer was convicted in Russia of being a spy working for Britain’s MI6. He was exiled to England more than a decade ago as part of an espionage swap deal.

When Skripal was apparently poisoned in his resident town of Salisbury in southwest England on March 4, along with his adult daughter, Yulia, the British authorities immediately pointed the finger of blame at Russian President Vladimir Putin for allegedly ordering an assassination. The Kremlin was accused of dispatching agents who supposedly poisoned the Skripals with a deadly nerve agent.

The publication last week by Scotland Yard police of CCTV images showing two Russian men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, walking the streets of Salisbury on the weekend of the alleged attack was reported in the British media as “proof” of the supposed Kremlin assassination plot. The Skripal affair is conveniently portrayed as “one more” example of Putin’s “Kremlin killing machine”.

But let’s look at the whole affair from a different perspective. The following scenario draws on observations and evidence cited by sources such as former British ambassador Craig Murray, the informed analytical website Moon of Alabama, and US-based political analyst Randy Martin (in personal correspondence).

Let’s ask the following question: was Sergei Skripal’s propaganda usefulness to the British as an exiled spy at some later point seen by the British as being better served as a victim of an apparent poison-assassination. That is, as a victim of a false flag attack that was actually carried out covertly by the British state agents in order to give the Western-led anti-Russia media campaign a significant boost?

Recall the Salisbury incident occurred at the time when Putin won re-election as Russian president, and it was during the build-up to the 2018 World Cup tournament hosted by Russia.

There is evidence that Sergei Skripal may have been a drug addict. His movements on the Sunday of March 4 when he was found incapacitated on a public park bench in Salisbury along with daughter Yulia suggest he may have been fixing a drug habit. That day he and his daughter both reportedly switched off their cell phones as they visited parks in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury. The latter venue was also a haunt for the two heroin junkies Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess who later became embroiled in the affair when both apparently were also poisoned with the same nerve agent. Sturgess died days later from her ailment in early July.

Was Skripal visiting venues on March 4 known for scoring drugs? The switching off of phones would indicate some kind of illicit behavior. Recall, too, that earlier on that day, Skripal was reportedly acting in a hurry and very agitated while lunching in a restaurant with his daughter, both of them leaving abruptly. Did he have a monkey on his back, pushing him to get his drug fix?

We can be sure that Skripal was being kept under surveillance by Britain’s MI5 and MI6 all during his decade-long exile in Britain. The postulated drug habit would have been known to his “handlers”.

Moving to cash in their espionage asset for propaganda value, it is possible that British state agents surreptitiously spiked Skripal’s drug fix with some incapacitating substance, such as fentanyl. Indeed, the distressed symptoms of the father and daughter later found in a park on the afternoon of March 4 by members of the public were initially reported as signs of drug overdose.

From that point on, it is contended here, the British secret services intervened as they had anticipated to take control of the “Skripal affair”.

While Sergei and Yulia were comatose in a secured hospital wing, it could have possible for their blood samples to be doctored with a chemical weapon, the notorious Novichok, which was subsequently and hastily attributed to Russia. That attribution in the British media is wildly overplayed. The British chemical weapons facility at Porton Down is only a few miles away from Salisbury where the Skripals were hospitalized. Without doubt, Porton Down would have its own supply of organophosphate nerve agents, if not samples of Novichok. It is not a uniquely Russian chemical, as British politicians and media falsely imply.

There are gaping anomalies in the official British narrative of a Kremlin-directed “hit job” on Skripal with a deadly nerve agent, a claim which Moscow has vehemently denied.

For a start, Sergei and his daughter have, according to the British government, recovered from their ordeal. Yet, the British authorities were claiming that the alleged nerve poison, Novichok, was a super lethal toxin, multiple times more deadly than related organophosphate chemical weapons Sarin or Tabun. A single drop of Novichok on the skin would be enough to kill almost instantly, so it is claimed.

The official British narrative claims that the killer chemical was applied to the front door handle at the Skripal home. The two Russian men caught on CCTV and accused last week by the British of being Kremlin assassins were not in Salisbury until just before midday on March 4, according to the published CCTV time data. By that time, the Skripals had left the home and were not seen returning. That means the pair were stricken while away from the home, perhaps, as speculated here, while they were in the public park scoring a drug deal.

Plausibly, they were not assaulted with a chemical weapon, but with a spiked drug sample, which British state agents had arranged for the purpose of incapacitating them. In an incapacitated state, the Skripals could then be used as guinea pigs, whose bodily fluids could be contaminated to frame up Russia with a story of “assassination by Novichok”.

Here are some challenging questions: why have the Skripals seemingly gone into hiding since the alleged poison incident over six months ago?

Why did Yulia make only one public statement to the Reuters news agency – three months after the poison incident and apparently having recovered from her “lethal ordeal” – in which she expressed a desire to return to her native Russia? Yet since that one-off public statement nearly three months ago, Yulia or her father have not been seen since. Would she really express such a wish to go back to Russia if she believed the British claim that Russian state agents had just tried to assassinate her and her father?

Why have all official Russian requests for consular contact with Yulia been repeatedly denied by the British side, in flagrant violation of international law and diplomatic norms?

The implication is that the Skripals are being detained under duress by the British authorities who realize that the official version of a Kremlin assassination plot with Novichok might be fatally contradicted by the Skripals’ version of events. Hence the pair are being denied access to public communication.

What about the junkies Charlie Rowley and the late Dawn Sturgess? It is plausible that they were also set up in a covert poison attack by British intelligence using spiked drugs in order to “refresh” the anti-Russia propaganda stunt. Then the story about a perfume bottle containing Novichok was thrown in to the mix to conjure up a murder weapon discarded by alleged Kremlin assassins.

What about the two Russian men caught on CCTV in Salisbury on the weekend that the Skripals were apparently poisoned? Petrov and Boshirov upset the official British narrative by coming forward last week to give a media interview. They said they were ordinary civilians traveling under their own names, not aliases, as the British claimed. They said they are not Russian military intelligence, that they had no perfume bottle with Novichok nor any other substance on their possession in England, and that they were in Salisbury as weekend tourists.

Salisbury and its world-famous 13th century cathedral – reputed to be the most ornate in England – as well as nearby neolithic-age Stonehenge, attract millions of tourists from around the world each year, including many Russian nationals. It is not a stretch that British authorities scanned through reams of CCTV footage on the weekend of March 4, and got a lucky break to find Petrov and Boshirov walking the streets of Salisbury. The two men say they are caught up in a “fantastical coincidence”. More to the point, it seems, they are caught up in a British false flag to incriminate, demonize and delegitimize Russia.

The Skripal false flag is only one in a whole series of propaganda campaigns conducted by Western governments, their state intelligence and their ever-obliging news media in recent years. The alleged “annexation of Crimea”, the “covert invasion of Ukraine”, shooting down a Malaysian airliner, illicit doping of Olympic athletes, meddling in US and European elections, launching cyberattacks on Western power-grids, supporting “brutal dictator Assad” in Syria, among other malicious memes.

The litany of false flags to demonize Russia as a “pariah state” is itself indicative of relentless media orchestration by NATO governments.

The Skripal affair fits into this phenomenal propaganda effort.

By Finian Cunningham
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