Released Lula in for greatest fight of his life

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets his followers after his release from prison. Photo: Roberto Stuckert

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets his followers after his release from prison. Photo: Roberto Stuckert

November 11, 2019

By Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

Better not mess with the former Brazilian president; Putin and Xi are his real top allies in the Global Left

He’s back. With a bang.

Only two days after his release from a federal prison in Curitiba, southern Brazil, following a narrow 6×5 decision by the Supreme Court, former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva delivered a fiery, 45-minute long speech in front of the Metal Workers Union in Sao Bernardo, outside of Sao Paulo, and drawing on his unparalleled political capital, called all Brazilians to stage nothing short of a social revolution.

When my colleagues Mauro Lopes, Paulo Leite and myself interviewed Lula at the federal prison, it was his Day 502 in a cell. By August, it was impossible to predict that release would happen on Day 580, in early November.

His first speech to the nation after the prison saga – which is far from over – could never be solemn; in fact he promised a detailed address for the near future. What he did, in his trademark conversationalist style, was to immediately go on the offensive taking down a long list of every possible enemy in the book: those who have mired Brazil into an “anti-people agenda.” In terms of a fully improvised, passionate political address, this is already anthology material.

Lula detailed the current “terrible conditions” for Brazilian workers. He ripped to pieces the economic program – basically a monster sell-out – of Finance Minister Paulo Guedes, a Chicago boy and Pinochetist who’s applying the same failed hardcore neoliberal prescriptions now being denounced and scorned every day in the streets of Chile.

He detailed how the Brazilian right wing openly bet on neo-fascism, which is the form that neoliberalism recently took in Brazil. He blasted mainstream media, in the form of the so far all-powerful, ultra-reactionary Globo empire. In a stance of semiotic genius, Lula pointed to Globo’s helicopter hovering over the masses gathered for the speech, implying the organization is too cowardly to get close to him on ground level.

And, significantly, he got right into the heart of the Bolsonaro question: the militias. It’s no secret to informed Brazilians that the Bolsonaro clan, with its origins in the Veneto, is behaving as a sort of cheap, crude, eschatological carbon copy of the Sopranos, running a system heavy on militias and supported by the Brazilian military. Lula described the president of one of the top nations in the Global South as no less than a militia leader. That will stick – all around the world.

So much for “Lula peace and love,” which used to be one of his cherished mottos. No more conciliation. Bolsonaro now has to face real, fierce, solid opposition, and cannot run away from public debate any more.

Lula’s prison journey has been an extraordinary liberating experience – turning a previously wounded statesman into a fearless warrior mixing the Tao with Steppenwolf (as sketched in Herman Hesse’s book). He’s free like he’s never been before – and he said so, explicitly. The question is how he will be able to muster the organizational work, the method – and have enough time to change the dire conditions for democratic opposition in Brazil. The whole Global South is watching.

At least now the die is cast – and crystal clear: It’s social democracy against neo-fascism. Socially inclusive programs, civil society involved in setting public policy, the fight for  equality versus autocracy, state institutions linked to militias, racism and hate against all minorities. Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, to their credit, have offered Lula their unconditional support. In contrast, Steve Bannon is losing sleep, qualifying Lula as “the poster boy of the globalist Left” across the world.

This all goes way beyond Left Populism – as Slavoj Zizek and Chantal Mouffe, among others, have been trying to conceptualize it. Lula, assuming he remains free, is now ready to be the supreme catalyst of an integrated, progressive, “pro-people” New Global Left.

‘Cocaine Evangelistan’

Now for the really nasty bits.

I saw Lula’s speech deep into the night in snow stormed Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, in the heart of the steppes, a land trespassed against by the greatest nomad empires in history. The temptation was to picture Lula as a fearless snow leopard roaming the devastated steppes of urban wastelands.

Yet snow leopards, crucially, are a species threatened with extinction.

After the speech I had serious conversations with two top interlocutors, Bern-based analyst Romulus Maya and anthropologist Piero Leirner, a crack authority on the Brazilian military. The picture they painted was realistically gloomy. Here it is, in a nutshell.

When I visited Brasilia last August, several informed sources confirmed that the majority of the Brazilian Supreme Court is bought and paid for. After all, they de facto legitimized all the absurdities that have been taking place in Brazil since 2014. The absurdities were part of a hyper-complex, slow-motion, rolling hybrid war coup that, under the cloak of a corruption investigation, led to the dismantling of industrial national champions such as Petrobras; the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on spurious charges; and the jailing of Lula, the work of judge, jury and executioner Sergio Moro, now Bolsonaro’s justice minister, who was completely unmasked by The Intercept’s revelations.

The Brazilian military are all over the Supreme Court. Remember, Lula’s liberation happened after a narrow 6 to 5 score. Legally, it was impossible to keep him in prison: the Supreme Court actually bothered to read the Brazilian Constitution.

But there are no structural changes whatsoever on the horizon. The project remains a Brazil sell-out – coupled with a thinly veiled military dictatorship. Brazil remains a lowly US colony. So Lula is out of jail essentially because this system allowed it.

The military abide by Bolsonaro’s abysmal incompetence because he cannot even go to the toilet without permission from General Heleno, the head of the GSI, the Brazilian version of the National Security Council. On Saturday, a scared Bolsonaro asked the top military brass for help after Lula’s release. And crucially, in a tweet, he defined Lula as a “scoundrel” who was “momentarily” free.

It’s this “momentarily” that gives away the game. Lula’s murky juridical situation is far from decided. In a harrowing but perfectly plausible short-term scenario, Lula could in fact be sent back to jail – but this time in isolation, in a maximum security federal prison, or even inside a military barracks; after all, he’s a former chief of the armed forces.

The full focus of Lula’s defense is now to have Moro disqualified. Anyone with a brain who’s been through The Intercept’s revelations can clearly identify Moro’s corruption. If that happens, and that’s a major “if,” Lula’s already existing convictions will be declared null and void. But there are others lawsuits, eight in total. This is total lawfare territory.

The military’s trump card is all about “terrorism” – associated with Lula and the Workers Party. If Lula, according to the harrowing scenario, is sent back to a federal prison, that could be in Brasilia, which not by accident holds the entire leadership of the PCC, or “First Command of the Capital”– the largest Brazilian criminal organization.

Maya and Leirner have shown how the PCC is allied with the military and the US Deep State, via their asset Moro, to establish not a Pax Brasilica but what they have described as a “Cocaine Evangelistan” – complete with terrorist false flags blamed on Lula’s command.

Leirner has exhaustively studied how the generals, for over a decade on their website, have been trying to associate the PCC with the Workers’ Party. And the association extends to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Hezbollah and the Bolivians. Yes, this all comes straight from His Masters’ Voice’s playbook.

Lula, Putin and Xi

With the military betting on a strategy of chaos, augmented by Lula’s immense social base all over Brazil fuming about his return to prison and the financial bubble finally burst, rendering the middle classes even poorer, the stage would be set for the ultimate toxic cocktail: social “commotion” allied with “terrorism” associated with “organized crime.”

That’s all the military needs to launch an extensive operation to restore “order” and finally force Congress to approve the Brazilian version of the Patriot Act (five separate bills are already making their way in Congress).

This is no conspiracy theory. This is a measure of how incendiary Brazil is at the moment, and Western mainstream media will make no effort whatsoever to explain the nasty, convoluted plot for a global audience.

Leirner goes to the heart of the matter when he says the current system has no reason to retreat because its side is winning. They are not afraid of Brazil turning into Chile. And even if that ends up happening, they already have a culprit: Lula. Brazilian mainstream media are already releasing trial balloons – blaming Lula for the spike of the US dollar and the rise of inflation.

Lula and the Brazilian Left should invest in a full spectrum offensive.

The 9th BRICS summit takes place in Brazil this week. A master counter-coup would be to organize an off-the-record, extremely discreet, heavily securitized meeting among Lula, Putin and Xi Jinping, for instance in an embassy in Brasilia. Putin and Xi are Lula’s real top allies on the global stage. They have been literally waiting for Lula, as diplomats have confirmed to me over and over again.

If Lula follows a restricted script of merely reorganizing the Left, in Brazil, Latin America and even the Global South, the military system currently in place will swallow him whole all over again. The Left is infiltrated – everywhere. Now it’s total war. Assuming Lula remains free, he most certainly won’t be allowed to run again for the presidency in 2022. But that’s no problem. He’s got to be extra-bold – and he will be. Better not mess with the Steppenwolf.

Important message from Tulsi Gabbard

Source

October 10, 2019

I am giving serious consideration to boycotting the next debate and I want to tell you why:

There are so many of you who I’ve met in Iowa and New Hampshire who have expressed to me how frustrated you are that the DNC and corporate media are essentially trying to usurp your role as voters in choosing who our Democratic nominee will be.

I share your concerns, and I’m sure that all our supporters throughout the country do as well.

The 2016 Democratic Primary election was rigged by the DNC and their partners in the corporate media against Bernie Sanders.

In this 2020 election, the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election again, but this time against the American people in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten

In short, the DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process.

In order to bring attention to this serious threat to our democracy, and ensure your voice is heard, I am giving serious consideration to boycotting the next debate on October 15th. I will announce my decision within the next few days.

With my deepest, and warmest aloha, thank you all again for your support.

– Tulsi

Promoting War, Opposing Peace, How Establishment Media Operate

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Establishment media never met a US war of aggression against a nonbelligerent/nonthreatening state they didn’t wholeheartedly cheerlead.

When the US goes to war or in their run-up, they operate as virtual Pentagon press agents — complicit in US high crimes of war and against humanity by their actions.

Since Iranians ended a generation of US-imposed fascist dictatorship in 1979, establishment media have been militantly hostile toward Tehran.

They joined the anti-Iran chorus in support of the Trump regime’s war by other means on the country, targeting its economy, harming its ordinary people most — reporting US disinformation, Big Lies and fake news about the country.

Not a shred of credible evidence suggests Iran seeks nuclear weapons, a nation at peace with its neighbors that never attacked another country preemptively, threatening none now, fostering cooperative relations worldwide.

No evidence suggests Iran had anything to do with striking key Saudi oil facilities on September 14 — what Yemeni Houthis claimed responsibility for.

The NYT is militantly hostile toward nonbelligerent Iran. In one article, it contradicted itself about the week ago attack on Saudi oil facilities, saying:

The “attack (came) from an unknown source, evidently using missiles and drones…Trump…blames Iran,” adding:

“The Iranian government ordered it because it views Trump as a weak negotiator who is afraid of war.”

More meaningless mumbo jumbo rubbish followed, including nonsense that “Iran may be betting that Trump will back down (by) escalating the situation…”

It’s hard believing editors allow the above rubbish to be published, not remotely reflecting reality.

Separately, the Times slammed Trump for not retaliating after Iran downed its spy drone last June — failing to explain it entered Iranian airspace illegally, didn’t respond to multiple demands to leave, before IRGC forces acted in self-defense, the legal right of all nations to hostile actions.

Attacking Iran earlier or any time preemptively is naked aggression under international law, ignored by the Times in its piece.

The Times: “Three months later, some of Mr. Trump’s own allies fear the failure to follow through was taken by Iran as a sign of weakness, emboldening it to attack oil facilities in Saudi Arabia this month (sic).”

Instead of stressing there’s no evidence supporting the claim, the Times also failed to ask obvious questions:

What was a US spy drone doing in Iranian airspace illegally? Why did it ignore repeated Iranian demands to leave? The incident was a hostile US action the Times and other establishment media failed to explain.

The Times quoted far-right official of the undemocratic Foundation for Defense of Democracies Reuel Gerecht, saying Trump’s “repeated failure to militarily respond to Iranian actions has been a serious mistake.”

Anything advancing peace over war warrants high praise, a notion rejected by the Times and other hawkish US media. 

Trump’s reluctance to strike Iran militarily hasn’t deterred his aggression in multiple theaters. Nor did it soften his all-out war on Tehran by other means — the same high crimes committed against Venezuelan social democracy, the real thing absent in the West.

CNN, the most distrusted name in television propaganda masquerading as news, slammed nonexistent Iranian “malign activity (not) thinning out,” claiming what doesn’t exist is “expanding.”

The Wall Street Journal falsely claimed Yemeni Houthis “warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago” —  citing unnamed sources that lied or don’t exist.

On Saturday, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam debunked the Journal’s Big Lie. Another followed, saying:

“In recent days, (so-called) people familiar with the matter said Iran let Houthi fighters know that they wanted their support in carrying out more attacks across the region (sic).”

The London Guardian accused Trump of “dithering over Iran,” saying it “makes America look weak and foolish” — promoting war like other Western chickhawk media instead of denouncing aggression.

Anti-Iran propaganda war wages. Without establishment media support, it would fall flat.

Unexplained is why nonbelligerent Iran at peace with its neighbors would change policy.

What possible strategic aim could it achieve by becoming an aggressor, giving the US a pretext for possible war?

Iran would have much to lose and nothing to gain by attacking the Saudis or another regional country.

What’s obvious goes unreported by establishment media, falsely blaming Iran instead about what no evidence suggests it had anything to do with.

American Media Distortion vs. Facts

American Media Distortion vs. Facts
TEHRAN (FNA)– The privately-owned media is still dominated by the interests of the US political and corporate elites, and used as a tool by the government to manufacture public consent.

In any circumstance, they use the media to publish fabricated news, lies and biased information to get the public in line with their political motives, aiming at achieving their agendas. In many cases, the US has used the media to distort facts in regard to its foreign policy action in the Middle East.

Not so long ago, US corporate media played an integral role in fueling the Iraq War in 2003. It had no doubts that the Bush administration went to war because they wanted to strengthen the credibility and influence of America in the Middle East to reassert its position as an un-challengeable hegemon after the 9/11 attack.

But they distorted the facts surrounding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and terrorist harboring as invasion rationale. It was published by many Western media coverage outlets, particularly the US media, to disseminate to the public. In the weeks leading up to the illegal invasion, nearly three-quarters of the American public believed the lie promoted in that moment. Then, the US-led military coalition, which included their allies, invaded Iraq. After the invasion was done, the truth was revealed that there were no such WMDs.

Another prime example comes from the war against Qaddafi of Libya. Media distortion and manipulation were used to start the war against Libya. To gain support for the invasion and aggression, which is part of the traditional tactics the US and NATO have followed, perception management was overtly employed through well-known US media agencies and other Western mainstream news.

After The Financial Times, for instance, reported that Libyan military jets attacked civilian protesters, US and EU officials hardly condemned Qaddafi’s regime and took military action. Truly, there was no piece of video evidence proving the attack, and the report turned out to be false. Libyan military planes only got involved later on during the conflict when they missioned to bomb ammunition depots to prevent the rebels from getting arms, after the media claims were made about jets firing on protesters.

There was no doubt that reports were distorted. To some critics of the US military actions in foreign countries, it is undoubtedly conclusive that there have been lies and distortions involved in wars the US has fought in. The most recent example could be Syria and its imaginary chemical attacks on its own people.

It is even more interesting that the US uses media not only to manufacture the public consent of its domestic citizens in association with wars in foreign countries, as mentioned above, but also employs it as fact distortion in international affairs outside of America.

As the world order is moving to multi-polarity, and the Islamic Asian civilization is being realized, particularly by Iran’s growing economic and political development, the competition between the status quo dominant US and Iran has continuously been obvious in recent years.

The current confrontation amid the unresolved economic terrorism has certainly demonstrated this fact. Concerning this, the US has used as many tactics as possible to contain challenger Iran in international issues, regionally and globally.

As a superpower with dominant power in global media, the US will inevitably continue to use the media to manufacture public consent regarding domestic and international affairs. There is no doubt that the US corporate media, to an extent, will play a complimentary role in its foreign policy approach in publishing false ideas and news, creating concepts and framing theories that favor its own interests, and not the ones that serve regional peace and global stability.

US ‘Democracy’ – A Spectacle of War Party

August 2, 2019
Image result for US ‘Democracy’ – A Spectacle of War Party

With over 20 Democratic party candidates vying for the US presidential election in 2020, there appears to be an abundance of choice from a glance at the mere number of contenders. But the superficial optics are far from “2020 vision”.

Image result for US ‘Democracy’ – A Spectacle of War Party

Unfortunately, lamentably, on crucial foreign policy concerning militarism, war and peace, and on relations towards Russia and China, there seems little difference between the crowded field. The single notable exception, so far at least, is the Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

As our columnists Philip Giraldi and Tom Luongo have both separately assessed in recent commentaries for SCF, Gabbard appears to be the only genuine anti-war candidate.

Gabbard, a veteran soldier who served in Iraq, has trenchantly criticized America’s overseas militarism and covert wars for regime change. She has also clearly called for an end to Cold War-style hostility towards Russia, and for better bilateral relations.

In some ways, Gabbard is an echo of Donald Trump when he was running for the 2016 presidency as the Republican candidate. Trump back then condemned US foreign wars and proffered developing normal relations with Russia. Since then, however, Trump has failed miserably to end Washington’s militarism. Indeed he has emerged as an even bigger militarist than previous presidents, boosting the Pentagon’s already gargantuan budget, and embarking on a policy of reckless aggression towards Iran.

In regard to Russia, Trump has expressed wanting friendly relations with Moscow. Nevertheless, he has not scaled back on NATO’s provocative build-up along Russia’s borders; his administration continues to sanction Moscow over spurious claims, including on the matter of gas energy trade with Europe; and, to cap it all, this week the US has officially ended its adherence to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear (INF) Treaty. The US termination of the INF raises the specter of a new arms race with Russia and gravely undermines global peace and security. It was President Trump who personally pushed ending the INF by citing baseless claims of Russia violating the treaty.

In short, Trump is no friend of Russia and his past electoral promises of challenging the US status quo on malign foreign policy have turned out to be pathetic empty rhetoric.

It remains to be seen whether Tulsi Gabbard advances to the nomination as Democrat candidate for the presidency. And whether she retains her commitment to fundamentally change US foreign policy on matters of militarism, war and peace and in particular on creating a real reset in relations with Russia.

As both of our columnists cited above have appraised, the US mainstream corporate-controlled media and Washington political establishment have embarked on a systematic and scurrilous campaign to smear Gabbard as “soft on Russia” and a “Kremlin stooge”. The same smear campaign, of course, has been a non-stop effort to politically eviscerate Trump since he entered the White House more than two years ago. He appears to have conformed to the pressure by self-censoring and suppressing his erstwhile promise to restore relations with Russia.

That brings us back to the other 20 or so Democrat candidates. Virtually all of them conform to the giant media hoax (“psyops”) known as “Russiagate” which bombarded the US public with specious allegations of Russian “interference in American democracy”.

Democrat front-runners Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are proponents of this nonsense. So too are supposed “radical left” candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. A handy compilation of all the candidates’ stated views on Russia as “an enemy” and their denigration of President Vladimir Putin as a “dictator” illustrate the execrable poverty of independent, intelligent thinking among America’s political class. These “opponents” are supposed to be offering American voters a change from Trump. Admittedly, Trump has scoffed at the whole Russiagate claims as “fake news” – and he is right to do that. But what has Trump actually done to pursue normal relations with Moscow? Very little.

All the Democrat candidates – with the honorable exception of Gabbard – are on record for harboring, to varying degrees, Cold War-style ideology of depicting Russia as an enemy or adversary. They have used this baleful and offensive view of Russia as a way to attack Trump. Instead of challenging Trump on his dubious economic policies favoring the wealthy and big corporations, the Democrats have used a futile and destructive tactic of trying to paint Trump has a “Kremlin agent”. Such thinking has only consolidated ever-more hostile US relations with Russia, which has culminated this week in the deplorable collapse of the INF Treaty.

As well as supporting the status quo of obscene US military spending and militarism generally, the so-called political opposition to Trump demonstrate with crystal clarity that there is only one party in the US – the War Party.

Republicans and Democrats are in reality two sides of the same coin that promotes oligarchy and imperialistic wars. That conformity of thinking even among so-called “radical left” candidates is a repugnant reflection on the degraded state of US politics and democracy.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

US exceptionalism: Exploiting certain Syrians, ignoring others

By Eva Bartlett

June 21, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  Syria and Russia have been evacuating civilians from yet another region starved by its Western-backed terrorists. But Western corporate media ignore this and instead continue spinning nightmarish war propaganda on Syria.

Predictably, copy-paste Syrian reports emanate from Western governments and corporate media feign concern for civilians in Idlib while negating to mention that the Idlib governorate is an Al-Qaeda hotbed.

Back in Syria again, over the ‘Eid holidays, I spoke with residents about life in Damascus now, and highlighted the peace which exists – having been absent for many years prior when terrorists’ mortars rained down on the city.

But I was also interested in highlighting another issue: the evacuation of southeastern Syria’s Rukban Camp which has been under way for months; civilians have been plucked from starvation and intolerable conditions, and delivered to safety with access to food and medical care.

In February, Russia and Syria set up humanitarian corridors to start evacuating civilians to safe areas where they could receive medical treatment and resettle in their home areas or elsewhere.

In June, 2019, I travelled to a point where I could interview evacuees of the Rukban, the unbearable camp near the US-occupied Al-Tanf base.

United States of hypocrisy occupies & places blame on others

Rukban also lies on the border with Jordan. Over the years, it has become a hell on earth, with residents starving due to a lack of accessible food. In November 2018, there were around 50,000 refugees in the camp.

Most Western reporting on the situation in Rukban has blamed Syria and Russia for the scarcity of food in the camp. Surprisingly, a June 2018 article by US think tank the Century Foundation highlighted US control over the camp and surrounding areas.

“The Tanf–Rukban zone is patrolled by Coalition forces and their chosen Syrian partner, Maghawir al-Thawra… Also present are the remnants of a formerly Pentagon-backed group called the Qaryatein Martyr Battalions and three factions formerly linked to the CIA’s covert war in Syria: the Army of the Eastern Lions, the Martyr Ahmed al-Abdo Forces, and the Shaam Liberation Army.”

The US stymied aid to Rukban, and was then only willing to provide security for aid convoys to a point 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) away from the camp, according to the UN’s own Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock.

So, by US administration logic, convoys should have dropped their Rukban-specific aid in areas controlled by terrorist groups and just hoped for the best.

Even if the US intentions were good, experience has shown that when terrorist groups occupying an area have access to aid, they keep it for themselves, civilians don’t see it unless they pay a high price.When eastern areas of Aleppo were liberated in December 2016, even Reuters had to report that civilians blamed so-called ‘rebels’ for hoarding food they desperately needed.

When Madaya, heavily propagandized about in early 2016, was restored to safety in 2017, I travelled there and spoke to residents who again solely blamed terrorists for their starvation. Same in eastern Ghouta, where residentsspoke of starvation and executions, by terrorists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that if Americans at al-Tanf could get supplies from Iraq and Jordan, they could have also brought in humanitarian aid for Rukban civilians, were they actually so concerned.

Unsurprisingly, in Syria’s and Russia’s eyes, the US is holding civilians in Rukban hostage. This became more apparent when America refused to shut down the camp, quite clearly preferring to have a raison d’être for continuing their illegal occupation of southeastern Syria.

Even the Middle East director for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Amin Awad, said that civilians in Rukban were being held against their will, as “human shields”“deprived of basic services,”according to Sputnik News.

Awad pointed the finger at traders in the camp bearing responsibility for the suffering of civilians in Rukban, but civilians I spoke to also included America in their blame.

Rukban’s displaced speak out

On a stretch of road between the Rukban camp and the Homs refugee centre they were headed to on June 12, I met some of the roughly 900 Syrians evacuated that day on 18 buses. Another convoy of trucks carried their tattered personal belongings.

I approached many with questions about life in the camp, moving from bus to bus to speak with them.

An old woman sitting on the floor of one bus said she’d been in the camp for four years, that everything was expensive and they were hungry all the time. She gave the example of being charged 1,000 Syrian pounds (around US$2) for five potatoes.

Mahmoud Saleh, a young man from Homs governorate, told me he’d fled home five years ago. When I asked who was in control in Rukban, he replied without hesitation: “The Americans.”

An older man from Palmyra, four years in the camp, spoke of “armed gangs,” paid in US dollars, being the only ones able to eat properly.

“The armed gangs were living while the rest of the people were dead. Those who wanted fruit had to pay in US dollars. The armed groups were the only ones who could do so.”

I asked about access to medical care.

“Medical services! There is no medicine at all.” He pointed to a young woman behind him who he said had lost two babies because she couldn’t get a C-section.

In another bus, a shepherd who had spent three years in Rukban blamed “terrorists” for not being able to leave. He also blamed the US. “Those controlling Tanf wouldn’t let us leave, the Americans wouldn’t let us leave.”

Many others who I spoke to said they had wanted to leave before but believed the fearmongering from terrorists who told them they would be “slaughtered by the regime,” a claim floated in corporate media when Aleppo was being liberated.

The Russian Reconciliation Centre reports that some Rukban residents had to pay as much as US$1000 to “militants controlled by the US side” in order to leave.

As of June 13, Russia’s Ministry of Defence reports that 14,347 people, mostly children and women, have been evacuated from Rukban since February 23.

International media & their dubious sources

As evacuations of civilians from Rukban have unfolded, any Western corporate media that bothers to report on them has spun them as ‘forced displacement’ to ‘regime areas’ where civilians will be ‘imprisoned and tortured.’

Yeah, Syria and Russia are simply hell-bent on finding any way to torture Syrian civilians, to the extent that they will waste considerable amounts of money and time to so, or at least, that’s what corporate media would have you believe.

And just as Western corporate media relied on the words of “media activists” and “unnamed sources” in their warpropaganda prior to and during the liberation of eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, hostile media are again relyingon such sources for reporting on Rukban.

Canada’s Globe and Mail went as far as to cite the utterly non-credible, Qatar-based, Syrian Network for Human Rights in a recent article claiming that thousands of Syrians who have returned home have been arrested.

As journalist Max Blumenthal humorously pointed out in his investigation into this Qatar-influenced body, “citing the Syrian Network for Human Rights as an independent and credible source is the journalistic equivalent of sourcing statistics on head trauma to a research front created by the National Football League, or turning to tobacco industry lobbyists for information on the connection between smoking and lung cancer.”

Contrasting the claims, Syrian authorities have stated that UN representatives have permission to visit the refugee centres. The Russian Reconciliation Centre stated that UN bodies, including the UNHCR, visited the shelters.

As of June 16, the Russian Reconciliation Centre reports that “1,299,977 IDPs have returned back to their homes”in Syria since September 30, 2015, and that since July 2018, “175 medical and 863 educational organizations have been recovered.”

Those are some odd statistics given that Western media and politicians would have us believe that the Syrian and Russian governments are terrorizing civilians and gleefully destroying infrastructure in Syria.

Or perhaps what Western media, governments, and lobby groups are spouting is just more, unoriginal, war propaganda.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

This article was originally published by “RT” –

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

May 17, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for the Saker Blog

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

America’s self-imagined custodianship of human rights and freedom epitomize problems associated with fake prophesies. That Americans now rally behind the latest battle-cry of the Republic, ‘Make America Great Again’, indicate that they are indifferent to the fact that their country has been barnstorming across the globe these past six decades killing vast numbers of innocent people with the objective of creating a pre-eminently militaristic empire to strategically control the skies, oceans, their market-share plus control of space. In implementing these belligerent objectives, the US has repeatedly unleashed auto-da fes to destroy many countries across the globe who failed to fall in line.

Foremostly, America’s firebrand passage through Muslim countries clearly illustrate how a neophyte culture with racist baggage can implode the nation’s reputation, leaving it bereft of respect and credibility. This now appears to be what is happening in America. The two-tiered (or three) aspect of this enterprise requires closer examination.

It would appear that ‘greatness’ in the American context amounts to nothing more than upholding vulgar white-middle-class racist values as the measure of excellence, with fake ‘principled’ notions of cultural superiority leading the chase. When the dogs-of-war were unleashed to wreak havoc, pillage and plunder on the habitats of millions of hapless people across the globe, the silence of so-called conscionable America was deafening.

Violence had become an American staple and the voice of the Peace Movement is all but mute. It’s now impossible to ignore the fact that the three tiers of state, the top tier, the middle tier and the lower tier…the three classes…collude in a program whose singular use of power expresses an unwavering desire to ride the gravy train to the hilt and devil take the hindmost.

These three classes, battle hardened and indifferent to the chaos caused by their bloodthirsty military have been blindsided by their own government. There is the sense that the flag… the stars-and-strips…has become the nation’s birth certificate and each person’s birth certificate a little bit of a collective ‘stars and stripes’ denouement that entitles them to extrajudicial considerations and the right to be proud of their dubious record. However, finding one’s niche in this hierarchal edifice is another matter altogether.

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are missives of choice for the middle class in matters relating to America’s monopolistic capitalist system. Predatory incursions into foreign countries resulting in bloodshed are routinely explained away in false-flag gibberish or in some other fashion to justify the actions of the government. This business of doing business attitude exists to negate everything else and the middle-class appear to have no qualms with this scenario. The sub-text here being, as God’s own people they believe that they have the right to expect ‘mana-from-heaven’ to rain down upon them from all quarters of the globe.

For the working class however, tweeting along with the paymaster appears to be an act of convenience. But when the music stops, as it most certainly will, the birthright question (all men are equal) will inevitable come into contention again when the issue of inequality needs to be confronted. However, the next generation may be more strident should they once again find themselves being herded back into a holding-pen position to await casino-capitalism’s next ‘flurry’ at the roulette table.

But irony of ironies, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal etc. are merely institutions that employ smoke and mirror tactics to conceal the nastiness of a two-tiered (or three) system that entails subjecting the public to a game of musical chairs, whose prime objective is to unseat a competitor each time Wall Street chooses to play its favourite game of ‘pass-the-stock-market-parcel’…the one designed to consolidate wealth in fewer hands each time it is played.

Musical chairs, also known as Trip to Jerusalem, is a game of elimination involving players, chairs, and music, with one fewer chair than players. When the music stops whichever player fails to sit on a chair is eliminated, with a chair then being removed and the process repeated until only one player remains. Alas! The origins of the game are unknown. On the other hand, we may safely assume that Karl Marx or Antonio Gramsci are not its authors.

So, the questions we need to ask here are, have Americans taken to wearing masks to hide their lack of conscience, like their President wears his hairpiece… do their masks, like Donald’s hairpiece, only make an appearance when orchestrating auto-da fes, or when administering sanctions designed to economically incinerate…or starve… apostates?

Or should we defer to another Donald…Donald Rumsfeld…for insights into America’s moral stature. “We don’t know what we don’t know. There are too many unknowns too many factors that we may not have yet considered,” said he. Which, when translated might mean, ‘Life is like a game of musical chairs and America has the right to take occupancy of the limited number of chairs available or our armed forces will be forced to use terror to procure knowable ends that are ultimately unknowable but desirable because they make us feel great.’

Narratives fed to the public by special interest groups come as hybridised versions of Hollywood cypher-speak-gibberish and are passed off as truths to the public for the purpose of indoctrinating them. A continuous repetition of false declamatory statements praising American exceptionality pour from the media to reinforce fake news. If there were a Noble Peace prize for hypocrisy, it would surely go to America.

America, the so-called leader of the so-called free world is awash with fallacious narratives that are put in place by corporate entities to implement a two-tiered (or three) system that strives to gain support in the public domain by using fearmongering tactics to implement its propaganda in every way possible. Fake narratives ceaselessly eat into public consciousness while cleverly concealing their real purpose, which is full spectrum Mafioso dominance. Think of the numerous corporate ploughshares that have insidiously penetrated a country near you!

As we now live in a technological age that has provided humans with the ability to engage in nuclear Armageddon, we can’t help but notice how worse-case scenarios abound. Some even suggest that evolution has run out of steam. Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine (MAD) is a minefield without canaries and we, in the lower tiers, are left painfully aware of our impotence on discovering that we are without a voice in the decision- making process. We are required to seal our lips and accept the reality that nuclear buttons now hang over our heads like the sword of Damocles.

We are constantly reminded that states exist, super and otherwise, their nuclear dogs-of-war straining on the leash in readiness should lines be crossed. We are repeatedly reminded of the fact that it is now possible to cause enormous casualties and destruction to civilian populations anywhere in the world by simply pressing a button from thousands of miles away.

We can no longer feel free because we can no longer free ourselves from the shadow of Dr. Strangelove. The more bloated the military budget becomes, the deeper we sink into gloom upon realizing how our anxiety increases exponentially with increases to the military budget.

Knowing that unknown knowns have consigned us to carceral spaces where modern-day Caesars busy themselves toying with their nuclear buttons, suggests that the middle and working classes have become prisoners in an ill-defined reality. The knowledge that capitalism engenders fear through its ‘security’ narrative has now become the problem. The ideology that keeps capitalism frothing at the mouth has produced its own evil doppelganger…a pedagogic Promethean pariah responsible for global degradation, its power ever more lethal in a world that has learned to fear its score card.

Four in ten Americans sometimes face what economists call “material hardship,” struggling to pay for basic needs such as food and housing, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Even middle-class families routinely struggle financially and are occasionally unable to pay their bills and more and more ordinary citizen are beginning to feel that they no longer have a part to play in a secular agenda that has become the property of the military establishment.

So, the problem now is that civilians seem unable to deal with facts. A shut-the-fuck-up mentality now exists to banish issues that relate to questions relating to social criteria and the people who write and whistle-blow the inequities of their government. People are relentlessly exposed to facts, but as civilians, are incapable of dealing with them. Facts appear on electronic screens ad nauseam to reveal how citizens have become captive to a static reality that uses fearmongering as a way of castrating public dissent. Facts that indicate that only the elite have skin in the game are everywhere in evidence.

At the Colosseum level…the elite level…the grand referee in the orange hairpiece keeps tweeting dealership gibberish while the classes in the lower tiers are expected to remain on standby to applaud this kind of hubris. Many are amused but few are chosen…unless you are an exponent of the rules of Republican Likud or are Likud Democrats building separation walls to keep Zion in and Allah out, per medium of a nasty game of musical chairs…a la currency wars!

Secondary development is fine, but at what cost to that primary narrative within us that depends on freedom of expression? It is ironic that many of the ‘learned’ amongst us strategically position themselves between the people and the elites, thereby limiting the potential for development within the masses. Traditionally, the policy of our rulers…shepherds… was to herd the ‘sheeple’ into the shepherd’s fold, lest he or she escape the soporific effects of propaganda or holy writ. To our great dismay, most of our teachers to this day do little other that look in the rear-view mirror for inspiration.

Justifications for releasing the ‘Dogs of War’ on civilians who can’t defend themselves are inevitable meaningless. For example, the American-Zionist agenda which manufactures fear for the purpose of manufacturing enemies for the purpose of manufacturing wars, has of itself become a war on truth. Sadly, the reason why investigative reporting became so highly selective is that in the US, truth had lost its place in the established media. The fact of the matter is, white-middle-class Americans respond with pique when confronted with criticism of their values. Sadly, exposing the injustices perpetrated on Muslims, Palestinians or Black People is a matter of little concern…a poignant example of what happens to complacent people when they turn away from the truth.

What William Kristol and Robert Kagan proposed when helping to draft the ‘Project for the New American Century’, was a manufactured narrative that led the average citizen to believe that their security depended on elites who could explain the threats they were exposed to…a win-win solution designed to keep them believing that they needed the protection of elites. And what the elites were telling them was that the military establishment was a bulwark against chaos, and the destruction of their state and the possibility that they might become subservient to non-white people.

The West, having created a bifurcated paradigm called democracy sold it to the public as a vector capable of promoting the verity of good governance. But unfortunately, as all paradigms contain bias, the model in question went to great lengths to conceal the presence of the schism within. An upper tier and a lower tier came into existence, whereby the resolution of conflicts was subject to the veto powers of the upper tier. Soon the upper tier set about training minds in the lower-tier to shepherd the resources of the state in ways that benefited the upper-tier. Sadly, over time, the upper tier became more interested in the subject of fiscal welfare (for themselves) rather than pursuing outcomes that could serve the interests of the entire polity.

The bifurcated concept of democracy as propounded by our learned founding-fathers was from the beginning a sleight of hand operating in deference to proprietorial principles enabling the architects of the system to retain control of their plan by fostering the notion that their vector of choice, democracy, could deliver justice for all.

In the US, a tiny number of people cream off virtually all the wealth. Ever since the first Cold War, the ‘sheeple’ have been led to believe that an external threat to their security existed and that it could only be managed by the ruling elite. Spending money to secure the two-tiered realm would require the creation of a global military force capable of warding off threats to American hegemony.

In recent times, emotions pertaining to loss of kudos led to acrimonious debate within the US. Insisting that the Western alliance would work better if individual members paid a bigger share of the costs involved in maintaining NATO came to the fore. This policing agency, the tip of the economic iceberg that was put in place to secure right-of-passage for US hegemony in the first instance, was now upping the ante…the cost of missiles had increased. To date, the dust may have settled, but the opprobrium (phlegm) released by Emperor continues to rile the ruled.

In middle America…the beltway…the media, academia and the entertainment industry share a quasi-moral narrative which floats like an iceberg in an inland sea. This inland sea has a mirror-like surface which reflects the vanity of its citizenry who need to bathe in the unholy waters of hubris. For the upper and middle classes, focusing on America’s military might enables them to revel in unadulterated vainglory. Hubris within the upper class had reached a point where debasement of human values became the norm. Celebrations of inhouse grandiosity suggesting that inverted middle-class American perspectives had passed their use-by-date.

And as the wealth of the nation continued its rise upwards, the lower tier showed signs that something had become unsustainable. The top-heaviness of the unequal economic order had begun to impact unfavourably on the lower tier. From the anonymity of the sheep-pen, the so-called sheeple people had discovered a flaw in that aphorism which stated, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. They discovered that these perspectives were held by pedagogic Prometheans peering into histories rear-view mirrors. They were teachers who would never experience the thrill that came with grassroot activity or feel passions that could change the course of history.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

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