Jews Under Attack By the Washington Post!

Hard as it may be to believe, Jews–specifically those who serve in the Trump administration–are under attack by the Washington Post.

Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner

Gary Cohn

Post pundit Dana Millbank has published an article accusing Jared Kushner, Steven Mnuchin, and Gary Cohn of “shame” and “disgrace” and of playing the role of “court Jews” in the White House.

“We have seen such a character before in Jewish history: the shtadlan,” says Millbank. “The shtadlan, or ‘court Jew,’ existed to please the king, to placate the king, to loan money to the king.

“He would dress like other members of the court, and he would beg the king for leniency toward the Jews, but, ultimately, his loyalty was to the king,” he added.

So what did Kushner, Mnuchin, and Cohn do that was so contemptible in Millbank’s opinion? They failed to denounce Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville events. Or as the Post writer puts it:

“The three men, the most prominent Jews in President Trump’s administration, could have spoken out to say that those who march with neo-Nazis are not ‘very fine people,’ as their boss claims. Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Cohn, the chief economic adviser, were actually standing with Trump when he said it. They said nothing.

This is not just mild criticism of course. It is a vicious attack. The only mainstream media attacks more vicious than this are those aimed at Trump himself.

Millbank asserts that all three men have expressed privately to unnamed acquaintances that “they are disturbed and distressed by what Trump said,” yet lamentably “none is speaking publicly about an outrage that makes millions of Americans feel as though they are living a nightmare.”

And oh yes, Millbank lets it be known in the article that he is Jewish himself, which of course gives him license to say things about Jews that no Gentile writer would ever dare express.

The article was brought to my attention by Ariadna, one of our readers, who feels it is an attempt by the Washington Post to pressure Jews in Trump’s administration to publicly disavow the president, this with the hope of encouraging them to resign en masse. The result of such a mass resignation conceivably would make an impeachment or a presidential resignation all the more likely.

Millbank’s article in the Washington Post is a bit, well, over the top, shall we say. But an article published by CNN goes the Post even one better. The TV news network has published on its website an article lauding–are you ready for it?–the anarchist group Antifa.

The hooded, black-clad delinquents who specialize in smashing windows and attacking people with clubs are portrayed by CNN writers Sara Ganim and Chris Welch as crusading advocates for social justice who “seek peace through violence.”

In the view of the writers, the black-bloc bon vivants are a bit prone perhaps to some unrestrained exuberance, but certainly they are not in any way commensurate to those nasty “white nationalists, neo-Nazis and others–who have been blamed for provoking violence at last week’s ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville.”

The article even quotes one of the Antifa protestors who was present at that event.

“We were marching down one of the streets, and energy was ecstatic,” he rhapsodizes.

I truly can’t remember a time when any protest group in America ever got this much favorable coverage.

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P.C. Roberts on ‘the ignorant, stupid Nikki Haley’ and the destruction of the Trump Administration

[ Ed. note – A very interesting commentary by Paul Craig Roberts, who argues that Trump is powerless–he is under the complete control of the Deep State–and that the president is furthermore being treacherously undermined by his own appointees. The Trump administration is full of Russophobes like UN Ambassador Nikki Haley who, rather than  pursuing the peaceful relations with Russia that Trump seemed to promise during the campaign, have instead become parrots essentially, repeating the mainstream media mantra about “Russian interference” in the election. What are the implications of all this? Not good, says Roberts. Trump has become nothing more than a “figurehead” president, he argues, while the media and the Deep State are committed to  “raising tensions between the US and Russia to the point of nuclear war.” ]

By Paul Craig Roberts

President Trump Has Been Contradicted by His Own Government, Which Has Lined Up Against Him in Favor of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and the Russophobic Presstitute Media that serves the military/security complex and the neoconservatives.

I am afraid that The Saker and Finian Cunningham are correct. Nothing can come of Trump’s meeting with Putin, because, as Cunningham puts it,

“Trump doesn’t have freedom or real power. The real power brokers in the US will ensure that the Russophobia campaign continues, with more spurious allegations of Moscow interfering to subvert Western democracies. Trump will continue to live under a cloud of media-driven suspicions. And thus the agenda of regime change against Syria and confrontation with Russia will also continue. Trump’s personal opinions on these matters and towards Vladimir Putin are negligible—indeed dispensable by the deep powers-that-be.”

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/395782-trump-putin-meeting-media-syria/

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47392.htm

Cunningham points out that instead of lauding the meeting as the beginning of the process to defuse the high tensions between the two major nuclear powers, the US media denounced Trump for being civil to Putin in the meeting.

What is missing from the media in the entirety of the Western world and perhaps also in Russia is the awareness that the dangerous tensions are orchestrated not only by Hillary and the Democratic National Committee, the neoconservatives, the US military/security complex, and the presstitutes, but also by President Trump’s own appointees.

Trump’s own ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and Trump’s own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, sound exactly like Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, the neoconservatives, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and the rest of the totally discredited presstitute media that is committed to raising tensions between the US and Russia to the point of nuclear war.

Continued here

***

Click the link just above to read the rest of Roberts’ commentary. Meanwhile, the “Russia conspiracy soap opera” continues in the media. The lone exception to this seems to be one program on Fox News.

Filmmaker With Links to Al-Qaeda Made CNN Syria Documentary, But Network Pretends He Doesn’t Exist

 Source

CNN has curiously diminished the role of a major contributor to its Peabody Award-winning documentary “Undercover in Syria,” ostensibly because that contributor is linked to the country’s al-Qaeda affiliate.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear spoke with Alternet’s Ben Norton about the documentary, where CNN sources its handlers, and how this speaks to the bigger issue of deep hypocrisy within the mainstream media concerning US foreign policy.

Norton co-wrote a recent article with Max Blumenthal entitled “CNN Hired Top al-Qaeda Propagandist for Award-Winning Syria Documentary and Wants to Cover Its Tracks,” which told the story of American “independent journalist” Bilal Abdul Kareem, who Norton says was able to gain access that proved deadly for other journalists because of his cozy relationship with terrorists.

“In summary, what’s going on is there’s an American who is very closely tied to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, who has been accused by numerous sources of actually being a member Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and has lived in Syria for several years,” Norton explained.

Kareem “has created a small media cult following but has significant impact when it comes to the issue of Syria because he is the only English-speaking Western journalist in al-Qaeda-held territory in Syria.”

Norton said that other journalists who have attempted to enter territory held by al-Qaeda have often ended up kidnapped or killed, and claimed to personally know a journalist who was kidnapped by the extremists and who told him that she heard about Kareem’s involvement with al-Qaeda being discussed casually while she was being held in Idlib, where Kareem was based.

“The crux of it is, this is someone who is closely linked to, if not an outright member of, al-Qaeda. He has denied it of course, but there are a lot of ties and circumstantial evidence” to suggest this connection, Norton said. He noted that a colleague of Kareem’s who helped Kareem with his On The Ground News outlet was stripped of his British citizenship for alleged connections to al-Qaeda.

Norton said that it’s “no surprise” that corporate media outlets like CNN would work with Kareem, as they “fawn” over Syrian opposition groups and say “nothing positive about the Syrian government and its allies.”

“There are certainly problems with the Syrian government,” Norton allowed, “but this is one-sided propaganda. This is not just that rebel perspective that CNN is propagating, it is the perspective of extremist groups in rebel-held territory.”

In a video posted to Twitter in June, Kareem complained that CNN had not fully acknowledged his contributions to the documentary, saying that the network “barely mentioned my name! I’m telling you, somehow CNN must have forgotten that I was the one that filmed it, I guess they forgot that.”

“CNN has essentially distanced itself from him,” Norton said. “It hasn’t completely ignored him, but he’s always mentioned as a mere footnote. He is almost never mentioned in any of the official statements or speeches about the documentary, even though as he said himself, he played a crucial role in creating it. He was the videographer, he was actually on the ground.”

Though it is CNN that has this time reaped the rewards of Kareem’s connections, Norton said that corporate media outlets of all political leanings behave similarly when addressing the US’ movements in Syria.

“They’ve all been just as irresponsible when it comes to this issue. When it comes to US foreign policy and other countries and non-state actors that are enemies of the US government, there is a media uniformity with which they are all presented, and Syria has been no exception.”

 

The Trump-Putin Meeting: Establishment of a Personal Relationship, “There was Positive Chemistry Between the Two”

White House Press Briefing

Global Research, July 10, 2017

On July 7  following Trump’s meeting with Putin, a US Press Briefing was held at the G20 in Hamburg.

It is important to analyze the shift in political discourse of both President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson.

The main contribution of the Trump-Putin meeting was to establish communication at a personal level.

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. That Trump-Putin personal relationship is fundamental.

History tells us that political misunderstandings can lead to war.

Admittedly no significant shifts in US foreign policy have occurred: the Pentagon’s military agenda prevails. Media lies and political deceit also prevail.

Yet at the same time, discussion and diplomatic exchange have resumed –which in many regards is an important achievement.

” The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly.  There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.  I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.  I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about.  We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship.  Two largest nuclear powers in the world.  How do we start making this work?  How do we live with one another?  How do we work with one another?  We simply have to find a way to go forward.  And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.  (Tillerson)

In this regard, a certain sanity in the international relations narrative has been restored. Ironically, Washington casually admits it’s mistakes in relation to Russia. In the words of Secretary of State Tillerson:

“So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.  And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand.  Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong”(emphasis added)

Moreover, the meeting is also a slap in the face for the Deep State Neocons, the US media not to mention Hillary et al, who continue to blame Moscow for having intervened in the 2016 US presidential elections while casually portraying Trump as a Manchurian candidate controlled by the Kremlin.

The “Russia Did It” narrative, which borders on ridicule, no longer holds. In turn, Trump’s position has to some extent also been reinforced. Not surprisingly, the US media has slashed back at Trump accusing him of having been manipulated by Putin. According to CNN “Putin may have less of a warm diplomatic bedside manner, but he understands the art of presentation and how to set a trap.”

An important threshold has been reached

Has talking to the Kremlin rather than waging war on Russia become the “new normal” (at least at the level of political discourse)? Not yet.

Nonetheless, an important transition has taken place. Talking to the Kremlin sets a new momentum. Lest we forget, history tells us that all out war could unfold as a result of a personal political misunderstanding. Remember World War I.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 9, 2017


For the complete transcript of the Press Briefing click below

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/07/press-briefing-presidents-meetings-g20-july-7-2017

Selected quotes with notes and emphasis  

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Hi, everybody.  I just want to highlight very briefly, and then Secretary Tillerson will go on, and then afterwards we’ll both answer a few questions.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Thank you, Steve, and thanks for staying with us late these evening.

President Trump and President Putin met this afternoon for 2 hours and 15 minutes [for a longer period of time than what was initially agreed upon by the two governments] here on the sidelines of the G20.  The two leaders exchanged views on the current nature of the U.S.-Russia relationship and the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship.

They discussed important progress that was made in Syria, and I think all of you have seen some of the news that just broke regarding a de-escalation agreement and memorandum, which was agreed between the United States, Russia and Jordan, [this agreement was no doubt drafted before the Trump Putin meeting] for an important area in southwest Syria that affects Jordan’s security, but also is a very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield.

This de-escalation area was agreed, it’s well-defined, agreements on who will secure this area.  A ceasefire has been entered into.  And I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria.  And as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and violence once we defeat ISIS, and to work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.

As a result, at the request of President Putin, the United States has appointed — and you’ve seen, I think, the announcement of Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker.  Ambassador Volker will draw on his decades of experience in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, both as a representative to NATO and also his time as a permanent political appointment.

The two leaders also acknowledged the challenges of cyber threats and interference in the democratic processes of the United States and other countries, and agreed to explore creating a framework around which the two countries can work together to better understand how to deal with these cyber threats, both in terms of how these tools are used to in interfere with the internal affairs of countries, but also how these tools are used to threaten infrastructure, how these tools are used from a terrorism standpoint as well.

The President opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.  They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject.  The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement.  President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.  

The two leaders agreed, though, that this is a substantial hindrance in the ability of us to move the Russian-U.S. relationship forward, and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of non-interference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those of other countries.  So more work to be done on that regard.

Q    Mr. Secretary, Nick Waters (ph) from Bloomberg News.  Can you tell us whether President Trump said whether there would be any consequences for Russia to the interference in the U.S. election?  Did he spell out any specific consequences that Russia would face?  And then also, on the Syria ceasefire, when does it begin?  And what makes you think the ceasefire will succeed this time when past U.S.-Russian agreements on a ceasefire have failed?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  With regard to the interference in the election, I think the President took note of actions that have been discussed by the Congress.  Most recently, additional sanctions that have been voted out of the Senate to make it clear as to the seriousness of the issue.  But I think what the two Presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward; how do we move forward from here.  Because it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations.

So the question is, what do we do now?  And I think the relationship — and the President made this clear, as well — is too important, and it’s too important to not find a way to move forward — not dismissing the issue in any way, and I don’t want to leave you with that impression.  And that is why we’ve agreed to continue engagement and discussion around how do we secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention of and will not interfere in our affairs in the future, nor the affairs of others, and how do we create a framework in which we have some capability to judge what is happening in the cyber world and who to hold accountable.  And this is obviously an issue that’s broader than just U.S.-Russia, but certainly we see the manifestation of that threat in the events of last year.

And so I think, again, the Presidents rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point.

As to the Syria ceasefire, I would say what may be different this time, I think, is the level of commitment on the part of the Russian government.  They see the situation in Syria transitioning from the defeat of ISIS, which we are progressing rapidly, as you know.  And this is what really has led to this discussion with them as to what do we do to stabilize Syria once the war against ISIS is won.

And Russia has the same, I think, interest that we do in having Syria become a stable place, a unified place, but ultimately a place where we can facilitate a political discussion about their future, including the future leadership of Syria.

So I think part of why we’re — and again, we’ll see what happens as to the ability to hold the ceasefire.  But I think part of what’s different is where we are relative to the whole war against ISIS, where we are in terms of the opposition’s, I think, position as to their strength within the country, and the regime itself.

In many respects, people are getting tired.  They’re getting weary of the conflict.  And I think we have an opportunity, we hope, to create the conditions in this area, and the south is I think our first show of success.  We’re hoping we can replicate that elsewhere.

MR. SPICER:  Abby.

Q    Mr. Secretary, you spoke, when you were speaking of the ceasefire, about they’re being detailed information about who would enforce it.  Can you give any more information on what conclusions were reached?  And you spoke of the future leadership of Syria.  Do you still believe that Assad has no role in their government?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  I would like to defer on the specific roles in particular of security forces on the ground, because there is — there are a couple of more meetings to occur.  This agreement, I think as you’re aware, was entered into between Jordan, the United States, and Russia.  And we are — we have a very clear picture of who will provide the security forces, but we have a few more details to work out.  And if I could, I’d like to defer on that until that is completed.

I expect that will be completed within the next — less than a week.  The talks are very active and ongoing.

And your second question again?

Q    Does the administration still believe that Assad has no role in the future government of Syria?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Yes, our position continues to be that we see no long-term role for the Assad family or the Assad regime.  And we have made this clear to everyone — we’ve certainly made it clear in our discussions with Russia — that we do not think Syria can achieve international recognition in the future.  Even if they work through a successful political process, the international community simply is not going to accept a Syria led by the Assad regime.  

[Points to the insistance of Washington on regime change, Will that position be in any way modified?]

And so if Syria is to be accepted and have a secure — both a secure and economic future, it really requires that they find new leadership.  We think it will be difficult for them to attract both the humanitarian aid, as well as the reconstruction assistance that’s going to be required, because there just will be such a low level of confidence in the Assad government.  So that continues to be the view.

And as we’ve said, how Assad leaves is yet to be determined, but our view is that somewhere in that political process there will be a transition away from the Assad family.

Q    Thank you.  Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times.  On North Korea, did President Putin agree to do anything to help the U.S. to put more pressure on North Korea?  And secondly, you seem to have reached somewhat of an impasse with China in terms of getting them to put more pressure on North Korea.  How are you going to get them to go beyond what they’ve done already?  And what is President Trump going to say to President Xi on that issue tomorrow?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  We did have a pretty good exchange on North Korea.  I would say the Russians see it a little differently than we do, so we’re going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more.   

Russia does have economic activity with North Korea, but I would also hasten to add Russia’s official policy is the same as ours — a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

And so I think here, again, there is a difference in terms of view around tactics and pace, and so we will continue to work with them to see if we cannot persuade them as to the urgency that we see.

I think with respect to China, what our experience with China has been — and I’ve said this to others — it’s been a bit uneven.  China has taken significant action, and then I think for a lot of different reasons, they paused and didn’t take additional action.  They then have taken some steps, and then they paused.  And I think in our own view there are a lot of, perhaps, explanations for why those pauses occur.  But we’ve remained very closely engaged with China, both through our dialogues that have occurred face-to-face, but also on the telephone.  We speak very frequently with them about the situation in North Korea.

So there’s a clear understanding between the two of us of our intent.  And I think the sanctions action that was taken here just in last week to 10 days certainly got their attention in terms of their understanding our resolve to bring more pressure to bear on North Korea by directly going after entities doing business with North Korea, regardless of where they may be located.  We’ve continued to make that clear to China that we would prefer they take the action themselves.  And we’re still calling upon them to do that.

So I would say our engagement is unchanged with China, and our expectations are unchanged.

Q    And you haven’t given up hope?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  No, we have not given up hope.  When you’re in an approach like we’re using — and I call it the peaceful pressure campaign.  A lot of people like to characterize it otherwise, but this is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution.  Because if this fails, we don’t have very many good options left.  And so it is a peaceful pressure campaign, and it’s one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure.  And it takes a little time to let these things happen.  You enact the pressure; it takes a little while for that to work its way through.

So it is going to require some level of patience as we move this along, but when we talk about our strategic patience ending, what we mean is we’re not going to just sit idly by, and we’re going to follow this all the way to its conclusion.

Q    Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, I have issue — you just mentioned on the DPRK.  We note China and Russia recently said — they asked North Korea to stop the — to freeze, actually, the nuclear activities, and also they asked the U.S. to stop the deployment of THAAD system.  So did President Putin bring up his concern about the deployment of THAAD system?  And also, what’s the expectation of President Trump on tomorrow’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, other than the DPRK issue?  Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The subject of THAAD did not come up in the meeting with President Putin.

In terms of the progress of North Korea and this last missile launch, again, those are some of the differences of views we have between ourselves in terms of tactics — how to deal with this.  President Putin, I think, has expressed a view not unlike that of China, that they would support a freeze for freeze.

If we study the history of the last 25 years of engagement with various regimes in North Korea, this has been done before.  And every time it was done, North Korea went ahead and proceeded with its program.

The problem with freezing now — if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability.  And we do not think it also sets the right tone for where these talks should begin.  And so we’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program?  That’s what we want to talk about.  We’re not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today.  Because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  And the national security advisor’s office.

As to the nature of the 2 hours and 15 minutes, first let me characterize — the meeting was very constructive.  The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly.  There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.  I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.  I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about.  We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship.  Two largest nuclear powers in the world.  It’s a really important relationship.  How do we start making this work?  How do we live with one another?  How do we work with one another?  We simply have to find a way to go forward.  And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.

It is a very complicated relationship today because there are so many issues on the table.  And one of the reasons it took a long time, I think, is because once they met and got acquainted with one another fairly quickly, there was so much to talk about — all these issues.  Just about everything got touched on to one degree or another.  And I think there was just such a level of engagement and exchange, and neither one of them wanted to stop.  Several times I had to remind the President, and people were sticking their heads in the door.  And I think they even — they sent in the First Lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn’t work either.  (Laughter.)

But I think — what I’ve described to you, the 2 hours and 15 minutes, it was an extraordinarily important meeting.  I mean, there’s just — there’s so much for us to talk about.  And it was a good start.  Now, I will tell you we spent a very, very lengthy period on Syria, with a great amount of detailed exchange on the agreement we had concluded today — it was announced — but also where we go, and trying to get much greater clarity around how we see this playing out and how Russia sees it playing out, and where do we share a common view and where do we have a difference, and do we have the same objectives in mind.

And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same.  How we get there, we each have a view.  But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences.  So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.  And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand.  Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach. [a strong statement by US Secretary of State]

So there was a substantial amount of time spent on Syria, just because we’ve had so much activity going on with it.
 
Q    Thank you very much.  Mr. Secretary, can you say if the President was unequivocal in his view that Russia did interfere in the election?  Did he offer to produce any evidence or to convince Mr. Putin?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The Russians have asked for proof and evidence.  I’ll leave that to the intelligence community to address the answer to that question.  And again, I think the President, at this point, he pressed him and then felt like at this point let’s talk about how do we go forward.  And I think that was the right place to spend our time, rather than spending a lot of time having a disagreement that everybody knows we have a disagreement.

MR. SPICER:  Thank you, guys, very much.  Have a great evening.

END
7:41 P.M. CET

Related 

The Fight Against Media Terrorism

“Blatant lies, which used to be the prerogative of tabloid outlets, have now been adopted by well respected media outlets.” — Margarita Simonyan

Yesterday I put up a post about a speech given on July 4 by RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan before the visiting Chinese delegation in Moscow. Here is a video of her talk. The full speech, as you will see, included a few key comments that didn’t make it into yesterday’s report, including the quote above.

As you can also see, Simonyan urged her Chinese colleagues to join her in the fight against “media terrorism.” She has chosen a good way of describing it. By reporting lies, the mainstream media are essentially committing acts of terror. Information is a weapon–no different from tanks, missiles, or artillery–and when weapons are misused (just as when information is turned into misinformation) innocent people can die as a result.

Hopefully the Chinese will soon launch their own equivalent to RT and Press TV. I have a feeling they will, and I also have a feeling it won’t stop with China. I think we’ll also see more and more citizen journalism. Project Veritas is a good example of the latter.

It is not surprising that a producer at CNN thinks the American people are “stupid as sh*t.” The American people aren’t stupid. But they are misinformed. And who is mainly responsible for that? The mainstream media. And this is what makes a comment like this, from a young punk working at CNN, so utterly loathsome.

In case you missed it, RT has a report out today about the response to threats made by CNN against the maker of a video posted recently by Donald Trump. The article includes a quote from a Reddit moderator who expresses the view that the entire Internet basically is turning against CNN.

 photo harmfulorfatal_zpsg5pvcm0t.jpg

“CNN has all of the Internet against them right now, and when organizations attack freedom of speech, it never ends up well for them,” he said.

He may not be far off the mark. You can go here to read about a recent poll which found that 65 percent of Americans believe the mainstream media regularly publish fake news.

I’m not usually optimistic by nature, but I can visualize a future in which sentiments like these among the public continue to build until eventually the mainstream media succeed in neutralizing themselves–that is until they essentially become extinct like dinosaurs. The only way, in fact, I think they are going to be able to stop this is by shutting down the Internet or effectively shutting it down through excessive regulation, and by blocking out websites like RT and Press TV. But I don’t think this will ultimately be successful.

Just as there are black markets, I think we would see “black Internets” spring up which would offer access to the blocked out sites. The days in which six corporate media conglomerates are able to control everything people see on TV, hear on radio, or read in books, newspapers, and magazines–those days are actually numbered, I believe. Which is not to say that our future is going to be rosy, but at least in this one respect it will be better than the situation which exists at present.

The media’s capacity for committing acts of terrorism, in other words, will, I think, be greatly diminished. The fight against media terrorism will ultimately be successful.

Trump‘s Red Line

President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he decided to attack Syria after he saw pictures of dying children. Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack.

On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.

The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack,  including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.

Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.“

Within hours of the April 4 bombing, the world’s media was saturated with photographs and videos from Khan Sheikhoun. Pictures of dead and dying victims, allegedly suffering from the symptoms of nerve gas poisoning, were uploaded to social media by local activists, including the White Helmets, a first responder group known for its close association with the Syrian opposition.

The provenance of the photos was not clear and no international observers have yet inspected the site, but the immediate popular assumption worldwide was that this was a deliberate use of the nerve agent sarin, authorized by President Bashar Assad of Syria. Trump endorsed that assumption by issuing a statement within hours of the attack, describing Assad’s “heinous actions” as being a consequence of the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution” in addressing what he said was Syria’s past use of chemical weapons.

To the dismay of many senior members of his national security team, Trump could not be swayed over the next 48 hours of intense briefings and decision-making. In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun. I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4. In an important pre-strike process known as deconfliction, U.S. and Russian officers routinely supply one another with advance details of planned flight paths and target coordinates, to ensure that there is no risk of collision or accidental encounter (the Russians speak on behalf of the Syrian military). This information is supplied daily to the American AWACS surveillance planes that monitor the flights once airborne. Deconfliction’s success and importance can be measured by the fact that there has yet to be one collision, or even a near miss, among the high-powered supersonic American, Allied, Russian and Syrian fighter bombers.

Russian and Syrian Air Force officers gave details of the carefully planned flight path to and from Khan Shiekhoun on April 4 directly, in English, to the deconfliction monitors aboard the AWACS plane, which was on patrol near the Turkish border, 60 miles or more to the north.

The Syrian target at Khan Sheikhoun, as shared with the Americans at Doha, was depicted as a two-story cinder-block building in the northern part of town. Russian intelligence, which is shared when necessary with Syria and the U.S. as part of their joint fight against jihadist groups, had established that a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders was to take place in the building, including representatives of Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The two groups had recently joined forces, and controlled the town and surrounding area. Russian intelligence depicted the cinder-block building as a command and control center that housed a grocery and other commercial premises on its ground floor with other essential shops nearby, including a fabric shop and an electronics store.

“The rebels control the population by controlling the distribution of goods that people need to live – food, water, cooking oil, propane gas, fertilizers for growing their crops, and insecticides to protect the crops,” a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, told me. The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons and ammunition, as well as products that could be distributed for free to the community, among them medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial. The meeting place – a regional headquarters – was on the floor above. “It was an established meeting place,” the senior adviser said. “A long-time facility that would have had security, weapons, communications, files and a map center.” The Russians were intent on confirming their intelligence and deployed a drone for days above the site to monitor communications and develop what is known in the intelligence community as a POL – a pattern of life. The goal was to take note of those going in and out of the building, and to track weapons being moved back and forth, including rockets and ammunition.

One reason for the Russian message to Washington about the intended target was to ensure that any CIA asset or informant who had managed to work his way into the jihadist leadership was forewarned not to attend the meeting. I was told that the Russians passed the warning directly to the CIA. “They were playing the game right,” the senior adviser said. The Russian guidance noted that the jihadist meeting was coming at a time of acute pressure for the insurgents: Presumably Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham were desperately seeking a path forward in the new political climate. In the last few days of March, Trump and two of his key national security aides – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley – had made statements acknowledging that, as the New York Times put it, the White House “has abandoned the goal” of pressuring Assad “to leave power, marking a sharp departure from the Middle East policy that guided the Obama administration for more than five years.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a press briefing on March 31 that “there is a political reality that we have to accept,” implying that Assad was there to stay.

Russian and Syrian intelligence officials, who coordinate operations closely with the American command posts, made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was special because of the high-value target. “It was a red-hot change. The mission was out of the ordinary – scrub the sked,” the senior adviser told me. “Every operations officer in the region” – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – “had to know there was something going on. The Russians gave the Syrian Air Force a guided bomb and that was a rarity. They’re skimpy with their guided bombs and rarely share them with the Syrian Air Force. And the Syrians assigned their best pilot to the mission, with the best wingman.” The advance intelligence on the target, as supplied by the Russians, was given the highest possible score inside the American community.

The Execute Order governing U.S. military operations in theater, which was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  provide instructions that demarcate the relationship between the American and Russian forces operating in Syria. “It’s like an ops order – ‘Here’s what you are authorized to do,’” the adviser said. “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations.  But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence.  If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”

The target was struck at 6:55 a.m. on April 4, just before midnight in Washington. A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered  a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground. According to intelligence estimates, the senior adviser said, the strike itself killed up to four jihadist leaders, and an unknown number of drivers and security aides. There is no confirmed count of the number of civilians killed by the poisonous gases that were released by the secondary explosions, although opposition activists reported that there were more than 80 dead, and outlets such as CNN have put the figure as high as 92. A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that “eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.” MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.

The internet swung into action within hours, and gruesome photographs of the victims flooded television networks and YouTube. U.S. intelligence was tasked with establishing what had happened. Among the pieces of information received was an intercept of Syrian communications collected before the attack by an allied nation. The intercept, which had a particularly strong effect on some of Trump’s aides, did not mention nerve gas or sarin, but it did quote a Syrian general discussing a “special” weapon and the need for a highly skilled pilot to man the attack plane. The reference, as those in the American intelligence community understood, and many of the inexperienced aides and family members close to Trump may not have, was to a Russian-supplied bomb with its built-in guidance system. “If you’ve already decided it was a gas attack, you will then inevitably read the talk about a special weapon as involving a sarin bomb,” the adviser said. “Did the Syrians plan the attack on Khan Sheikhoun? Absolutely. Do we have intercepts to prove it? Absolutely. Did they plan to use sarin? No. But the president did not say: ‘We have a problem and let’s look into it.’ He wanted to bomb the shit out of Syria.”

At the UN the next day, Ambassador Haley created a media sensation when she displayed photographs of the dead and accused Russia of being complicit. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked. NBC News, in a typical report that day, quoted American officials as confirming that nerve gas had been used and Haley tied the attack directly to Syrian President Assad. “We know that yesterday’s attack was a new low even for the barbaric Assad regime,” she said. There was irony in America’s rush to blame Syria and criticize Russia for its support of Syria’s denial of any use of gas in Khan Sheikhoun, as Ambassador Haley and others in Washington did. “What doesn’t occur to most Americans” the adviser said, “is if there had been a Syrian nerve gas attack authorized by Bashar, the Russians would be 10 times as upset as anyone in the West. Russia’s strategy against ISIS, which involves getting American cooperation, would have been destroyed and Bashar would be responsible for pissing off Russia, with unknown consequences for him. Bashar would do that? When he’s on the verge of winning the war? Are you kidding me?”

Trump, a constant watcher of television news, said, while King Abdullah of Jordan was sitting next to him in the Oval Office, that what had happened was “horrible, horrible” and a “terrible affront to humanity.” Asked if his administration would change its policy toward the Assad government, he said: “You will see.” He gave a hint of the response to come at the subsequent news conference with King Abdullah: “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies – babies, little babies – with a chemical gas that is so lethal  … that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line . … That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact … It’s very, very possible … that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”

Within hours of viewing the photos, the adviser said, Trump instructed the national defense apparatus to plan for retaliation against Syria. “He did this before he talked to anybody about it. The planners then asked the CIA and DIA if there was any evidence that Syria had sarin stored at a nearby airport or somewhere in the area. Their military had to have it somewhere in the area in order to bomb with it.” “The answer was, ‘We have no evidence that Syria had sarin or used it,’” the adviser said. “The CIA also told them that there was no residual delivery for sarin at Sheyrat [the airfield from which the Syrian SU-24 bombers had taken off on April 4] and Assad had no motive to commit political suicide.” Everyone involved, except perhaps the president, also understood that a highly skilled United Nations team had spent more than a year in the aftermath of an alleged sarin attack in 2013 by Syria, removing what was said to be all chemical weapons from a dozen Syrian chemical weapons depots.

At this point, the adviser said, the president’s national security planners were more than a little rattled: “No one knew the provenance of the photographs. We didn’t know who the children were or how they got hurt. Sarin actually is very easy to detect because it penetrates paint, and all one would have to do is get a paint sample. We knew there was a cloud and we knew it hurt people. But you cannot jump from there to certainty that Assad had hidden sarin from the UN because he wanted to use it in Khan Sheikhoun.” The intelligence made clear that a Syrian Air Force SU-24 fighter bomber had used a conventional weapon to hit its target: There had been no chemical warhead. And yet it was impossible for the experts to persuade the president of this once he had made up his mind. “The president saw the photographs of poisoned little girls and said it was an Assad atrocity,” the senior adviser said. “It’s typical of human nature. You jump to the conclusion you want. Intelligence analysts do not argue with a president. They’re not going to tell the president, ‘if you interpret the data this way, I quit.’”

The national security advisers understood their dilemma: Trump wanted to respond to the affront to humanity committed by Syria and he did not want to be dissuaded. They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’

On April 6, Trump convened a meeting of national security officials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The meeting was not to decide what to do, but how best to do it – or, as some wanted, how to do the least and keep Trump happy. “The boss knew before the meeting that they didn’t have the intelligence, but that was not the issue,” the adviser said. “The meeting was about, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do,’ and then he gets the options.”

The available intelligence was not relevant. The most experienced man at the table was Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who had the president’s respect and understood, perhaps, how quickly that could evaporate. Mike Pompeo, the CIA director whose agency had consistently reported that it had no evidence of a Syrian chemical bomb, was not present. Secretary of State Tillerson was admired on the inside for his willingness to work long hours and his avid reading of diplomatic cables and reports, but he knew little about waging war and the management of a bombing raid. Those present were in a bind, the adviser said. “The president was emotionally energized by the disaster and he wanted options.” He got four of them, in order of extremity. Option one was to do nothing. All involved, the adviser said, understood that was a non-starter. Option two was a slap on the wrist: to bomb an airfield in Syria, but only after alerting the Russians and, through them, the Syrians, to avoid too many casualties. A few of the planners called this the “gorilla option”: America would glower and beat its chest to provoke fear and demonstrate resolve, but cause little significant damage. The third option was to adopt the strike package that had been presented to Obama in 2013, and which he ultimately chose not to pursue. The plan called for the massive bombing of the main Syrian airfields and command and control centers using B1 and B52 aircraft launched from their bases in the U.S. Option four was “decapitation”: to remove Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, as well as his command and control network and all of the underground bunkers he could possibly retreat to in a crisis.

“Trump ruled out option one off the bat,” the senior adviser said, and the assassination of Assad was never considered. “But he said, in essence: ‘You’re the military and I want military action.’” The president was also initially opposed to the idea of giving the Russians advance warning before the strike, but reluctantly accepted it. “We gave him the Goldilocks option – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.” The discussion had its bizarre moments. Tillerson wondered at the Mar-a-Lago meeting why the president could not simply call in the B52 bombers and pulverize the air base. He was told that B52s were very vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in the area and using such planes would require suppression fire that could kill some Russian defenders.  “What is that?” Tillerson asked. Well, sir, he was told, that means we would have to destroy the upgraded SAM sites along the B52 flight path, and those are manned by Russians, and we possibly would be confronted with a much more difficult situation. “The lesson here was: Thank God for the military men at the meeting,” the adviser said. “They did the best they could when confronted with a decision that had already been made.”

Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were fired from two U.S. Navy destroyers on duty in the Mediterranean, the Ross and the Porter, at Shayrat Air Base near the government-controlled city of Homs. The strike was as successful as hoped, in terms of doing minimal damage. The missiles have a light payload – roughly 220 pounds of HBX, the military’s modern version of TNT. The airfield’s gasoline storage tanks, a primary target, were pulverized, the senior adviser said, triggering a huge fire and clouds of smoke that interfered with the guidance system of following missiles. As many as 24 missiles missed their targets and only a few of the Tomahawks actually penetrated into hangars, destroying nine Syrian aircraft, many fewer than claimed by the Trump administration. I was told that none of the nine was operational: such damaged aircraft are what the Air Force calls hangar queens. “They were sacrificial lambs,” the senior adviser said. Most of the important personnel and operational fighter planes had been flown to nearby bases hours before the raid began. The two runways and parking places for aircraft, which had also been targeted, were repaired and back in operation within eight hours or so. All in all, it was little more than an expensive fireworks display.

“It was a totally Trump show from beginning to end,” the senior adviser said. “A few of the president’s senior national security advisers viewed the mission as a minimized bad presidential decision, and one that they had an obligation to carry out. But I don’t think our national security people are going to allow themselves to be hustled into a bad decision again. If Trump had gone for option three, there might have been some immediate resignations.”

After the meeting, with the Tomahawks on their way, Trump spoke to the nation from Mar-a-Lago, and accused Assad of using nerve gas to choke out “the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many … No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” The next few days were his most successful as president. America rallied around its commander in chief, as it always does in times of war. Trump, who had campaigned as someone who advocated making peace with Assad, was bombing Syria 11 weeks after taking office, and was hailed for doing so by Republicans, Democrats and the media alike. One prominent TV anchorman, Brian Williams of MSNBC, used the word “beautiful” to describe the images of the Tomahawks being launched at sea. Speaking on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said: “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” A review of the top 100 American newspapers showed that 39 of them published editorials supporting the bombing in its aftermath, including the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Five days later, the Trump administration gathered the national media for a background briefing on the Syrian operation that was conducted by a senior White House official who was not to be identified. The gist of the briefing was that Russia’s heated and persistent denial of any sarin use in the Khan Sheikhoun bombing was a lie because President Trump had said sarin had been used. That assertion, which was not challenged or disputed by any of the reporters present, became the basis for a series of further criticisms:

– The continued lying by the Trump administration about Syria’s use of sarin led to widespread belief in the American media and public  that Russia had  chosen to be involved in a corrupt disinformation and cover-up campaign on the part of Syria.

– Russia’s military forces had been co-located with Syria’s at the Shayrat airfield (as they are throughout Syria), raising the possibility that Russia had advance notice of Syria’s determination to use sarin at Khan Sheikhoun and did nothing to stop it.

– Syria’s use of sarin and Russia’s defense of that use strongly suggested that Syria withheld stocks of the nerve agent from the UN disarmament team that spent much of 2014 inspecting and removing all declared chemical warfare agents from 12 Syrian chemical weapons depots, pursuant to the agreement worked out by the Obama administration and Russia after Syria’s alleged, but still unproven, use of sarin the year before against a rebel redoubt in a suburb of Damascus.

The briefer, to his credit, was careful to use the words “think,” “suggest” and “believe” at least 10 times during the 30-minute event. But he also said that his briefing was based on data that had been declassified by “our colleagues in the intelligence community.” What the briefer did not say, and may not have known, was that much of the classified information in the community made the point that Syria had not used sarin in the April 4 bombing attack.

The mainstream press responded the way the White House had hoped it would: Stories attacking Russia’s alleged cover-up of Syria’s sarin use dominated the news and many media outlets ignored the briefer’s myriad caveats. There was a sense of renewed Cold War. The New York Times, for example – America’s leading newspaper – put the following headline on its account: “White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack.” The Times’ account did note a Russian denial, but what was described by the briefer as “declassified information” suddenly became a “declassified intelligence report.” Yet there was no formal intelligence report stating that Syria had used sarin, merely a “summary based on declassified information about the attacks,” as the briefer referred to it.

The crisis slid into the background by the end of April, as Russia, Syria and the United States remained focused on annihilating ISIS and the militias of al-Qaida. Some of those who had worked through the crisis, however, were left with lingering concerns. “The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy,” the senior adviser to the U.S. intelligence community told me, referring to the flare up of tensions between Syria, Russia and America. “The issue is, what if there’s another false flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack. Trump will have no choice but to bomb again, and harder. He’s incapable of saying he made a mistake.”

The White House did not answer specific questions about the bombing of Khan Sheikhoun and the airport of Shayrat. These questions were send via e-mail to the White House on June 15 and never answered.   

Seymour M. Hersh

https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

 

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/the-chemical-attack-on-ghouta

Fakery, Fakery, and More Fakery

“I think if it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism. I think that we have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America.”

So says Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. The video the White House press secretary was referring to apparently is Project Veritas’  “American Pravda” report. That video–(in case you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here )–shows some private comments made by a CNN producer named John Bonifield, who apparently did not know he was being filmed. In the conversation, recorded covertly, Bonifield admits that CNN’s Russia coverage is “mostly bullshit” and that President Trump is right when he accuses the media of engaging in “witch hunting.” He also says the Russia coverage has been driven by ratings.

As for Huckabee-Sanders, her comments, shown in the video above, were made on Tuesday, June 27, one day after the Veritas video was uploaded.

“And I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary and certainly more disgraceful,” she said.

It’s hard to ague with words such as these. Certainly reporting by the mainstream media has been disgraceful–not just on Russia but in a number of other areas as well. And certainly this malfeasance on the part of the media has taken us to a dangerous place in America.

But Huckabee-Sanders’ comments came less than 24 hours after her colleague in the Trump administration, Sean Spicer, made a preposterous accusation against the Syrian government while providing no evidence to back it up. According to Spicer, the US “has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”

Spicer added, by way of warning, that if “Mr. Assad  conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

This is the Trump administration–the same administration that has been accusing the media of purveying fake news.

On April 6, US forces launched Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base over claims made by the media that Syria had carried out a chemical weapons attack in Idlib Province, killing dozens of people. This was one day after the New York Times had reported on what it referred to as the “worst chemical attack in years in Syria.”

“Dozens of people, including children, died–some writhing, choking, gasping or foaming at the mouth–after breathing in poison that possibly contained a nerve agent or other banned chemicals, according to witnesses, doctors and rescue workers,” the Times’ April 5 report said.

One of the reporters sharing a byline on that story was Michael R. Gordon, the same New York Times reporter who, along with Judith Miller, had reported on Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction back in 2002.

It’s almost like a revolving wheel, isn’t it?

And so now we have the White House claiming Assad is plotting to kill children–where pray tell did they get this information? Hard to say for sure, but certainly it’s possible it was fed to them by the Israelis. And the gullible idiots in the Trump administration either believed it…or simply followed orders and had Spicer go out, hold a press conference, accuse the Syrian president of mass murder, and threaten to attack the country again.

As I have said in previous posts, everything in America these days is centered around fakery. Even the people who accuse others of being fakes, are fakes themselves. The irate reporter who accuses Huckabee-Sanders of being “inflammatory” in the video above? What a charming segment! It’s almost like watching two fakes argue over who is the more talented.

A report published several days ago by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh suggests that the “chemical weapons attack” which prompted Trump’s April 6 attack upon Syria was not a deliberate chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, as was reported, but in fact a bombing of a jihadist meeting site and which used a conventional bomb dropped from the air.

The meeting, consisting of high level operatives from Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, was held in a two story cinder block building that was used for a variety of purposes including storage of fertilizers, weapons and ammunition, propane, cooking oil, insecticides, medicine, and chlorine-based decontaminants. Moreover, according to Hersh’s sources, the Americans even knew in advance that the attack was going to take place because the Russians had tipped them off to it (this was back when the Americans and the Russians in Syria were still speaking with, and coordinating their military movements with, each other).

The bombing of the building, says Hersh, “triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground.”

So this is what was portrayed in the media as a deliberate chemical attack by the Assad government. Hersh’s sources claim President Trump was advised as to the true details of the attack but that he deliberately chose to ignore it. Whether this is a self-serving statement on the part of an anonymous intelligence agent would be hard to say for sure, but here, in any event. is how Hersh reports it:

Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.”

Hersh’s report was published by the German newspaper Die Welt. A commentary on it has also been published by Jonathan Cook, who makes some valid observations of his own–namely that those attempting to make a case for Assad’s use of chemical weapons must concede certain particulars that are highly implausible. Among these are that:

  1. Assad is so crazed and self-destructive – or at the very least so totally incapable of controlling his senior commanders, who must themselves be crazed and self-destructive – that he has on several occasions ordered the use of chemical weapons against civilians. And he has chosen to do it at the worst possible moments for his own and his regime’s survival, and when such attacks were entirely unnecessary.
  2. That Putin is equally deranged and so willing to risk an end-of-times conflagration with the US that he has on more than one occasion either sanctioned or turned a blind eye to the use of sarin by Assad’s regime. And he has done nothing to penalise Assad afterwards, when things went wrong.

He also makes a point about Hersh’s critics–i.e. that to validate their case they must assume that Hersh “has decided to jettison all the investigatory skills he has amassed over many decades as a journalist to accept at face value any unsubstantiated rumours his long-established contacts in the security services have thrown his way.”

Russia’s response to the Trump administration’s latest fantasia on Syria came from Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

“We heard about this statement,” Peskov told reporters. “We do not know what is the basis for this. And of course we categorically disagree with the ‘another attack’ wording.

“We also consider any similar threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable,” he added.

“Unacceptable” is pretty strong language for Russian officials, who aren’t especially prone to making “inflammatory” statements. America, long touted for its supposed freedom of the press, is indeed in a “dangerous place.”  Huckabee-Sanders has at least that much right. It would be ironic if World War III, and possible planetary annihilation, were triggered by a long jet stream of fake news streaking across the sky, but that seems like a distinct possibility at this point.

Of course, none of this is intended to be “inflammatory” toward the poor, hardworking reporters at CNN who, naturally, are “only trying to do their job.”

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