The Life of the Party Has Left

by Norman Ball for The Saker Blog

“First, after days and days of intensive negotiations, Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov finally reached a deal on a cease-fire in Syria which had the potential to at least “freeze” the situation on the ground…Then the USAF, along with a few others, bombed a Syrian Army unit…Needless to say, following such a brazen provocation the cease-fire was dead.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were “недоговороспособны”.  What that word means is literally “not-agreement-capable” or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it.”  –from ‘Why the Recent Developments in Syria Show That the Obama Administration Is in a State of Confused Agony’, The Saker, September 23, 2016

At first blush, one is tempted to attribute “not-agreement-capability” to profound dysfunction or organizational disarray within the sprawling US Government. A confluence of human error. Perhaps the State Department doesn’t know what the Pentagon is doing. Compartmentalization run amok? Autonomous fiefdoms gone rogue?

After all Lavrov and Kerry sat for hours, man to man, their capable staffs buzzing about, and banged out a mutually acceptable agreement. Suspecting the Obama administration of intentional deception credits the about-face too much. No, the disconnect is too gaping. The strategic advantage, nonexistent.

Unless American agreement capability has been lifted from the purview of human agency altogether? Our titular leaders are glorified water carriers. The rulers behind the rulers want to pore over every detail first. Perhaps when Kerry returns home, the meeting outcome was fed into some disembodied, superseding algorithm and the returned answer was an emphatic ‘no’.

Fast forward to the current thorn in the system’s side, Donald Trump. Sitting alone with Putin, the American President seems to be trying to get away with or from something. Of course this ‘clandestine summit’ opens him up to the usual ‘Putin’s stooge’ accusations. Just a high-placed spy reporting back to his foreign handler. We are reminded repeatedly of Putin’s prior KGB affiliation.

Trump returns to the US with announced plans for a second summit in Washington. Suddenly it’s as though someone pressed the red button on a giant computer console. Smoke billows from all corners at once. Cannot compute. Another hard-stop. From all government and media organs the answer, with eerie simultaneity, is the same. Impossible. The idea is dropped. Nothing more is heard.

America’s leaders have relinquished their instinctual prerogatives. Instead they are reporting back like stenographers. But to whom or what?

Absorbing the Reality

 

It’s not just foreign policy and diplomacy. A discernible human imprimatur has been vacated from America’s political parties in recent years too. Human passions no longer gurgle up and congeal into codified party platforms. America is being run more and more like an autistic top-down machine.

As we shall see, the two-party system is a stalking horse for corporatism which is a stalking horse for inverted totalitarianism. In a million subtle ways, people are being asked to stay out of the way, to be seen and not heard.

In an ideal world, a society’s political system should be a responsive and dynamic reflection of the aspirations of its people. Political scientists attempt to plot the tumult across a bloodless spectrum. If its two major political parties are any judge, America’s political landscape today is a dead letter. Someone or something has its thumb on the scale. The people rattle on about things. But to small effect.

Corporatism has seized America’s two parties with no indication that it will ever let go. As though covering for the void, corporate media fills the air with frenetic sound and fury. A new crisis hatches every day beneath the overarching anti-Trump theme.

Trump’s unsuitability is Saddam Hussein’s Weapon’s of Mass Destruction (WMDs) come home. The Straussian myth-makers have settled, for this iteration, on a domestic foe. Centralized control has never been more consummate. Yet everything, we are told, is spinning out of control.

Trump is drawing huge crowds at rallies around the country. Thousands wait hours to see him. The political stillness (that thrives paradoxically on manufactured soup-du-jour crisis) is being invaded by an up-swell of unmistakable human complexion. Just when the System had banished human input forever. Now they’re back in an ugly populist form. This poses a grave threat to the frictionless hum of unimpeded commerce.

spec thumb1.png

Until Americans truly absorb and understand the implications of the chart (above), their political discourse will remain conceptually mired in Managed Democracy’s kabuki of red-blue mirage-making. There is no organized Left in America. There is no organized Center. This can’t be repeated enough.

The political spectrum has been invaded and ‘de-politicized’ (certainly dehumanized) by corporate interests lacking any real interest in a populist portfolio. The polis has been swapped for an expanded corporate boardroom.

The balance of this essay will explore:

    • how America ‘got to’ this chart
    • what holds this ideologically lop-sided distribution firmly in place
    • how Trumpism might represent a disruption of this corporatist configuration
    • what ‘tautologies’ can be gleaned in terms of expected party behaviors

When Salvatore Babones of Truthout observes that in recent years, “America – or at least American politics – has swung violently to the right” he is injecting a subtle but crucial distinction into the debate. First of all, ‘American politics’ has had little choice but to move where the two major America parties have taken it.

A more compelling question, which we’ll get to, is what moved the parties themselves? Finally, there’s nothing to suggest the American people are pleased with what amounts to an intentionally engineered and anti-democratic misalignment so clearly at odds with their aspirations.

Without question, a significant number of Americans (certainly those not ‘turned’ from their own interests by false consciousness and antithetical manufactured consent) would support a centrist or even leftist party if there was such a thing. After all, why should Americans be any less ideologically diffuse than other populations? Yet American politics steadfastly refuses to serve them.

A common refrain is that the American people are naturally conservative center-right. This might be true. All we know for sure is that the US Chamber of Commerce-dominated Mainstream Media keeps telling the American people what the American people are perhaps in the hopes they accept that imposed definition as their own.

If only the levers of manufactured consent would grind to a halt, there’s no telling what uncued epiphanies might usher forth from the people themselves. As it is, in the age of immersive media the popular will (if there is such a pre-mediated wellspring anymore) courses along like an untapped underground stream.

Suffice to say Babones’ right-shift observation is hardly an obscure opinion (see chart below):

what american left

False Frameology

 

The nature of top-down (authoritarian) impositions is that the appropriate social energies must be manufactured since there are no organic eruptions initiating a desire for them. Walter Lippmann had a polite term for this: guided democracy.

Even if a third party could negotiate the formidable barriers to entry, it would barely register a sound in a media landscape charged with validating and mirroring, via Fox and MSNBC, the party duopoly.

The tele-spittle-war does its best to keep up the appearance of a fully engaged two-pronged ideological struggle. All that remains is the residue of prior content and facile rhetorical flourishes aimed at evoking a bygone era when material political differences truly hung in the balance. Frankly, political responsiveness in America, such as it is, would benefit from an embargo of the terms Right and Left until more ‘people-centric’ content was allowed to re-authenticate the debate.

Another by-product of the current confusion comes from Blue Donkey-Red Elephant being so profoundly installed that no criticism can be lodged against one party without reflexive accusations being hurled at other side. In a strange way, this dead-on-arrival reflexivity insulates the entire frame from valid critique. All criticism becomes prima faciepartisan, ridden with self-interest and thus not deserving of serious examination.

Instead the red/blue, Donkey-to-the-Left-Elephant-to-the-Right configuration (below) enforces the debate parameters, complete with chastely rendered equidistance from some copacetic and completely fabricated Center. A google search turns up hundreds of similar representations. Countless media hours have been expended to manufacture mass consent around this false premise. Media propagates and amplifies the divide, making frenetic hay out of a dime’s worth of dodgy difference.

wrong spectrum

The oligarchy realized long ago that a toothless dialectical configuration dissipates populist energies. Toothless how? To the extent mass energy can exhaust itself horizontally in a fairy-tale struggle based on ideological virtue-signalling, an assault by the Bottom on the Top is forever forestalled. Shifting the entire ill-suited parade to the Right offers core corporatist values a double layer of misdirection. How neat. How tidy. How pointless. How dystopian.

The people are endlessly conscripted into what amount to internecine corporate struggles, a proverbial Groundhog Day of the Eternally Wrong Battle. Those who never ‘find themselves improperly arrayed’ are precisely those who’ve ingested near-fatal amounts of false consciousness.

America’s choked with sentimental left-leaning denialists who still cling to the Democratic Party the way a lion cub circles its dead mother before coming to terms with her demise. These folks need a stomach-pumping, a brain transplant or perhaps an exorcism. Before these expensive remedies though, a brick through Rachel Maddow’s televised mug should be attempted first.

Take Obamacare for example. Despite all the obligatory language aimed at winning voter compliance, it was developed with private insurance companies uppermost in mind. That many of them subsequently abandoned the program as a result of undue complexity doesn’t erase the fact that business was the intended customer. In all these corporate battles, the people become more akin to Heidegger’s standing reserve: something to be extracted from and deceived in order to ‘line up the votes’ as opposed to being forthrightly served. This is more than a subtle distinction.

For the moment, a spellbound stadium population is held fast by the comfort of two. Predictable enemies are like old friends. Me good, you bad. An entity with one foe can be relied upon not to let its gaze wander. Opposing mugs and tee-shirts sell like hotcakes. The NFL team-frame is a powerfully reinforcing binary template.

Whereas coalition politics smacks of European enfeeblement and excessive nuance. No one wants complexity seeping into the water like fluoride where it can jeopardize the impulsive risk-taking so typical of American forward-ho-ness.

Then there’s the credulity of the American viewing audience, as seemingly bottomless as divide-and-conquer crowd management is insidiously effective. Media content has body-snatched autonomous cognition. People think they’re thinking but they’re only listening and repeating. Stockholm Syndrome and habitually confined-space dynamics play key roles too. People, like slow-boiling frogs, seem capable of acclimating to a two-inch ledge while convincing themselves they’re still fighting for boundless prairie.

When the White Southern aristocracy bestowed the front of the bus to the poor white redneck, the latter guarded his Brahmin-like allotment with all the fervor of Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Focused like a laser beam on the red line spray-painted between rows 8 and 9, Bubba failed to notice a sniggering Beauregard T. Pufard III speeding by in his window-tinted Lincoln-Continental.

 

Better to Kick Your Elephant Than Cure My Donkey

 

For those not glued to TV, little can obscure the fact that the Democratic Party suffers from an illness far graver than anything that ails its elephant twin. Already cognitively-neutered ‘liberal’ Democrats are coming out of their seats at this ‘partisan insinuation’.

However that’s sort of the point.

A corollary to the spectrum chart’s ‘myth of equidistance’ is that no party can possibly be more dysfunctional, more hypocritical or more inauthentic than the other. Furthermore, only a point-scoring enemy combatant would have the audacity to allege such a sacrilege.

Unfortunately, this diagnosis is apt when we consider the comparatively vaster distance the Donkey had to travel from its traditional New Deal/Great Society perch in order to sidle up beside the Republican Party and essentially divide the corporate market (see chart below). Such migratory paths are not traversable without boatloads of soul-selling happening first. Profound cognitive dissonance induces nausea and confusion. Prodded too much, it strikes with an outsized anger. Trump Derangement Syndrome is famous for eliciting this response.

sprectrum distribution.png

In the Valley of Death: A Tactical/Evolutionary Roadmap

 

So how did the party of FDR become a sycophantic shadow of the GOP? There is both a tactical/evolutionary and a conceptual explanation.

For the first, this 25-minute Ralph Nader interview is well worth the reader’s time. There’s no one better qualified to chronicle the fifty-year capitulation of the Democratic Party than one of the era’s chief protagonists. Nader after all invented the consumer, environmental and workers’ safety movements, essentially progressive American politics in the modern age.

nader days of revolt

Honest people can differ as to the wisdom of the progressive era. The point of this essay is to catalog definitively its demise. A summary timeline follows:

1965 – Nader writes ‘Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile’. The ensuing Senate hearings lead to the formation of the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Seat belts become mandatory in 49 of the 50 states.

1969-74 – Calling Republican President Nixon both, “our last liberal President” and the “last President afraid of liberals”, Nader duly credits him with the lion’s share of progressive legislation such as the Air Quality Act (1967) and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970). How ironic.

1971 – Alarmed by a series of largely uncontested progressive legislative victories, Lewis Powell (soon to be a Nixon Supreme Court appointee) drafts his eponymous 34-page Memorandum to the US Chamber of Commerce. In it, he urges American business to form a lobbying and think-tank complex aimed at pushing back on the Left. This is the equivalent of waking a sleeping giant:

“The American economic system is under broad attack…Business must learn the lesson…that political power is necessary, that such power must be assiduously cultivated and that when necessary it must be used aggressively and with determination–without embarrassment and reluctance.” 

1973 – Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation is formed. Ultimately, the Reagan Administration will adopt two-thirds of the Foundation’s 1981 policy recommendations.

1974 – The Powell Memorandum galvanizes the business community in short order; so quickly in fact that Nader concedes: “There hasn’t been a single major piece of legislation advancing the health, safety and economic rights of the American people since 1974.” 

1978 – The Consumer Protection Act is defeated due to an unprecedented assault by corporate lobbing interests. Nader calls this the ‘high-water mark of the consumer movement’.

1978 – California freshman congressman Democrat Tony Coelho outspends his Republican opponent 2:1. Democratic Party big-wigs take keen notice.

1980 – Coehlo becomes chairman and chief fundraiser for The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or ‘D-triple-C’, the youngest since LBJ. Notes the Washington Times:

“Republicans erred in thinking businesses would support their free-market ideology. Mr. Coelho understood that what businesses really want from government is protection, tax breaks, loopholes and contracts.” 

Enter two-fisted corporatism and the retail politics money chase.

1980s – Generally, the Reagan Era. A number of key liberal Senators are buried in the Reagan Landslide. One facet of Reaganomics involves appointing pro-business agency heads who oppose the spirit of the underlying regulations. This proves to be an effective strategy.

1993-present – Clintonism, often called Third Way politics, consolidated the corporatist gains achieved by Powell, Coehlo and Reagan. Indeed the Democratic Party is still a captive of Clintonism. How do we know this? Hillary Clinton was the party’s 2016 Presidential nominee and her name was floated just this week for the 2020 ticket.

Clintonism deserves expanded attention for it stone-cold cynicism and evil genius. Indeed Bill Clinton may be the Mephistopheles of this play. While Justice Powell may have hatched Satan’s spawn, the devastating duration of Clinton’s namesake movement –25 years and counting– certainly puts the former President in contention for chief body-snatcher.

Clinton realized that if he succeeded in shifting the Democratic Party to the right, he could compete on an equal footing for corporate dollars while continuing to enjoy the political support of the Left and Center. How so? Because the Democratic Party could be assured of winning the lesser-of-two-evils calculus every time, provided they peppered their rhetoric with feel-good leftist bromides. Laborite Tony Blair pursued the same Third Way politics in the UK. Where, after all, was the Left going to go?

The term ‘third way’ (Dick Morris called it triangulation) was meant to imply an authentic dialectical ‘best-of-the-best’ synthesis of traditional liberalism with self-aware business-friendliness. Critics however saw through it as little more than a cynical, “coddling of big money (except guns and tobacco), winning at any cost, flip-flopping and prevaricating”.

The plight of American liberalism over the last fifty years can be summarized thus: the progressive-liberal movement was remarkably short-lived (1964-74), the bulk of it was accomplished by a widely demonized Republican President (Nixon in 1969-74), Reaganomics dismantled much of it through deregulation while Clintonism finished the job by shutting the door to organized center-left resistance and promoting a full-on corporatist agenda. NAFTA anyone?

We close this circle with an astounding punchline from Ralph Nader: There hasn’t been a major piece of legislation advancing the American people’s interests for 44 years!

spectrum thumb

 

In the Valley of Death: A Conceptual Framework

 

Interestingly, a year after Unsafe at Any Speed, Bill Clinton mentor and Georgetown University Professor Carrol Quigley pointed the way to our future in his 1966 book, Tragedy and Hope:

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

Over the ensuing half-century the American Democratic and Republican parties have achieved an even tighter conformance propelled by a monism that hides behind a putative party duopoly. Because yes, America is moving along an eschatological conveyor to a monist unity where, in time, even the Potemkin twin-villages will fall away.

In his book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, Sheldon Wolin refers to this monistic drive as totalism. Forget elaborate geopolitical analysis for a minute, and yes even Genie Oil and Gas. The reason Syria, Iran and North Korea are under assault is that they violate the totalizing ethos of the central banking regime. All the rest is secondary and tertiary newspaper fodder.

Dissent is an abomination to the monistic worldview. In Nineteen-Eighty-Four, it is imperative to the self-image of the regime that Goldstein wring ‘willing consent’ from Winston Smith. Big Brother must be legitimate even in his own eyes. It’s the same reason despots run uncontested on ballots and then bask in their lop-sided ‘victories’.

The ‘inversion’ in Wolin’s brand of totalitarianism derives from the fact that preeminent economic interests have harnessed the power of the State. Whereas in the classical form, Mussolini enlisted and subordinated economic interests to further the totalizing power of the State.

In Wolin’s configuration, “inverted totalitarianism perpetuates politics all the time but a politics that is not political…a politics without politics.” Political language –Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal– becomes a provisional exercise in crowd-pleasing. Moreover political discussion and analysis are deployed mainly to disguise the underlying corporatist motives lurking behind all public actions.

In the inverted (some might say perfected) form, there is no precise locus of political power, no charismatic leader, to be toppled, thus ‘ending the nightmare’. Rather the power is diffused and distributed within and throughout a featureless administrative state complicit with thousands of interlocking corporate interests. Wolin expands the complex here to include: “…governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers hav[ing] been seamlessly integrated into the system.” The serpent has no head. It has morphed into an ubiquitous atmosphere.

We find too in inverted totalitarianism the totalizing Spirit of Antichrist, hell-bent on a mission of complete earthly hegemony against which no human force can prevail. Not only is the Beast “not-agreement-capable”, it is agreement-impervious and wholly committed to an inhuman and eschatologically-ordained terminus where people are held in complete contempt.

A Pending Case Study

 

America is about to be conceptually ‘head-turned’ again with Trump’s negotiated trade deal, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), poised for debate in the Senate. Already, the counter-intuitive ramparts are being prepared.

Organized Labor is lining up with its age-old partner-in-corruption, the Democratic Party. Because the Donkey is loath to give Trump a victory on something as ‘close to its heart’ as American workers (that would be mighty embarrassing, wouldn’t it?), Organized Labor must do the same. This promises to be a cognitively dissonant whopper of a skirmish.

WND’s Curtis Ellis describes this alliance’s deep roots:

“There’s always been an unholy alliance between corporatism and the left. Since the birth of the progressive movement, big corporations have used the instrument of big government regulation to cement their market position and strangle small businesses, upstarts and insurgents who threatened their dominance.”

He probably meant the unholy alliance existing between corporatism and the Democratic Party. Indeed the evidence of Trump’s economic populism is on full display in the USMCA. The Democrats must be beside themselves.

Regional Vehicle Content (RVC) for all types of vehicles sold in North American is increasing from NAFTA’s 60% to 75% for most vehicle types, 40% of an automobile and 45% of a light truck must be produced using an average labor wage of $16/hour.

While admittedly not in the same league, this baseline wage-setting recalls Henry Ford’s transformative $5/day program. Overnight, Ford’s employees received in some case 150-200% wage bumps. The company’s dominant market share made his competitors match it or die.

Ford’s enlightened capitalist invented American discretionary income which went on to invent the middle class. Should this wage floor manage to stick and reverberate through Mexican society, the implications for that nation will be immense. North American wage parity will do much to ‘arbitrage away’  illegal immigration.

Predictably, this baseline wage is being picked at by Organized Labor because it isn’t indexed to inflation, Mexican compliance will hard to enforce, etc. Hear the grumbling already –and this from a party that managed to live with NAFTA for 25 years (for which Wall Street. a Democratic patron, is eternally grateful):

“House Democrats are particularly concerned about a provision that would require at least 30 percent of the labor used to build each car in Mexico to be completed by workers earning at least $16 an hour. That amount will rise to 40 percent by 2023 but the $16 wage is not indexed to inflation, meaning the increase will be diluted over time as prices rise.”

The Agreement’s Article 32.10 restricts the ability of all three countries to unilaterally negotiate free trade agreements with “non-market economies” (ahem, China). This transforms North America into a job-protecting trade bloc further increasing the continent’s market power.

The point is USMCA is an agreement the Democrats are politically (i.e. nominally) obliged to support, if only political obligations still mattered. Alas, Wall Street is the preeminent champion of borderless ‘free trade’ (read: globalism). Wall Street makes a fortune moving Main Street jobs offshore.

It will be fascinating to watch the Managed Democracy media apparatus grind against the evil Trump’s heroic efforts to reindustrialize America at a livable wage. Decades of anti-NAFTA crocodile tears will no longer be enough.

Off-the-Chart Populism

Which brings us to the elephant in the room. No, not that elephant. The other one. A true enemy of the Totalitarian Machine is measured by the outrage he evokes in all the proper suspects. On this point, President Trump passes with flying colors.

Multinational corporations are the foot soldiers of inverted totalitarianism set loose on the world. Their field commander is the US Chamber of Commerce, the single most powerful and feared lobbying group in Washington. Much can be said about Trump’s garrulous coarseness, his ego-driven bloviations. This is low-hanging fruit for the propaganda onslaught. Much can be said too of his slim prospects for success. Few can argue he’s an infuriating, yet all-too-human, force.

uscoc

The Donkey’s stultified spokespeople have taken to calling him a fascist and a Nazi. When all else fails, Nazify the opposition. Trump’s ability to engage and excite the middle of America is frightening to all the right people, which is to say all the wrong people.

Trump spearheads a populist insurgency and the most exogenous proposition since at least JFK. This places him off the rote chart of American Political Spec-thumb.

Please, there are no panaceas and the hour for America in its current permutation is late. Nonetheless the sense among at least half the nation is that they have in Trump a President who is discernibly grappling against forces anathema to their interests. This alone is a sea-level change after decades of hermetic elitism. Agreement capability, if it is to be resumed, is an outward emanation that must begin at home.

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What will Washington do against Iran? ماذا ستفعل واشنطن ضدّ إيران؟

What will Washington do against Iran?

مارس 6, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Nicky Healy said “If Russia continues to cover up Iran, and if the Security Council does not announce an action, the United States and our allies will take an action themselves” This occurred after the voting on the western –Arab draft resolution for condemning Iran for arming Ansar Allah in Yemen especially with the ballistic missiles that targeted Saudi Arabia.  Therefore the question becomes what will Washington do under the title “if we do not get an action from the Security Council we will take our own actions”?

The American option is restricted between two things; politically, it is represented by announcing the cancellation of the American commitment to the nuclear agreement with Iran and the return to the system of sanctions which applied before, and which will affect the Iranian Central Bank and the international banks which deal with it, especially the European and the Chinese ones. Militarily, it is represented by adopting the comprehensive or the temporal military option which might turn under an uncontrolled moment into a comprehensive confrontation or both of them. But it is certain that the bet on a diplomatic and popular crowd, media mobilization, and sanctions system that does not affect the nuclear agreement is considered less than a threat launched by Healy and showed her silly and her words trivial.

Concerning  the nuclear option, it seems clear that Washington’s problem is not with Iran rather with China and Europe, which stick to the agreement, and which refuse the sanctions system related to the cancellation of the agreement and which their companies will pay the cost for the returning to it, while Russia stands with Iran under the title that the cancellation of the agreement means that Iran has the right to return  to enrich uranium from where it signed its agreement, so those who announced their  sticking to the agreement must not address Iran rationally, but they have to do one of two things. Either to prevent Washington from the cancellation or to refuse the commitment to its sanctions no matter what the consequences will be on the European and Chinese banks. So is it possible after Washington has evaded from the cancellation twice to do it now and to enter an unpredictable financial war and which its repercussions may affect the financial status of America negatively  in a way that surpasses the crisis with Iran?

Regarding the military option, nothing has changed in favor of Washington for years, so it disregarded it. The US forces and interests which are distributed among Iraq, Syria, the Gulf, and the sea waters and the water ways will turn into targets by Iran and its allies. The results of the military action as the former US Secretary of State John Kerry said have no guarantees to achieve decisive results whatever the harm is, because Iran may accelerate to produce a nuclear bomb, as the former US President Barack Obama said on the eve of signing the nuclear agreement in response to the Arab and the Israeli calls, revealed by Kerry from Munich platform for security days ago.

 

Dennis Ross, the former US diplomat to the occupation entity, the US peace envoy for years, and a researcher who lived through several epochs in the US studies centers  said in his article two months ago that the dual response to two important questions about the American policy towards supporting the Kurds in Syria till the end, and  towards the confrontation of Iran is shown in how Washington behaved with the collapse of the dream of secession of the Kurds of Iraq under the blows of Iran and under the eyes of the US leadership in the White House and Pentagon without reacting, while the Kurdish entity was the most important opportunity for America to work against Iran, and the most important sign of the seriousness of supporting the independence of Kurds. Those who abandoned the Kurdish entity in Iraq because they did not want to get involved in a war, will not do the same in Syria, and those who missed the opportunity of being so close to Iran as the chief of staff in the occupation army Gadi Eizenkot said will not go farer than the political words and escalation.

Does that mean that Healy’s words are trivial and she is silly?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

فبراير 28, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– قالت سفيرة الولايات المتحدة لدى الأمم المتحدة نيكي هيلي

«إذا كانت روسيا ستواصل التستر على إيران، فسوف تكون الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤنا بحاجة إلى اتخاذ إجراء من تلقاء أنفسنا. إذا لم نحصل على إجراء في المجلس فسوف يتعيّن علينا عندئذ اتخاذ إجراءاتنا».

جاء ذلك بعد التصويت على مشروع قرار غربي عربي لإدانة إيران باتهامها بالوقوف وراء تسليح أنصار الله في اليمن، خصوصاً بالصواريخ البالستية التي استهدفوا بها السعودية، ليصير السؤال ماذا ستفعل واشنطن تحت عنوان،

«إذا لم نحصل على إجراء في المجلس علينا عندئذ اتخاذ إجراءاتنا»؟

– ينحصر الخيار الأميركي بين اثنين، سياسي من العيار الثقيل يتمثل بإعلان إلغاء الالتزام الأميركي بالاتفاق النووي مع إيران والعودة إلى نظام العقوبات الذي كان سائداً قبل الاتفاق ويطال المصرف المركزي الإيراني والمصارف العالمية التي تتعامل معه، خصوصاً الأوروبية والصينية، أو الذهاب للخيار العسكري الشامل أو الموضعي، والذي يمكن أن يتحوّل في لحظة غير مسيطر عليها مواجهة شاملة، أو كليهما معاً، لكن الأكيد أنّ الرهان على حشد سياسي ودبلوماسي وتعبئة إعلامية ونظام عقوبات لا يمسّ الاتفاق النووي هو دون مستوى التهديد الذي أطلقته هيلي ويجعل كلامها تافهاً ويظهرها سخيفة.

– في الخيار النووي يبدو واضحاً أنّ مشكلة واشنطن ليست مع إيران بل مع الصين وأوروبا، المتمسكتين بالاتفاق والرافضتين نظام العقوبات المرتبط بإلغاء الاتفاق والذي ستدفع شركاتهما الكبرى ثمن العودة إليه، بينما روسيا تقف مع إيران تحت عنوان أنّ إلغاء واشنطن للاتفاق يعني أنّ من حق إيران العودة لتخصيب اليورانيوم من حيث توقف عند التوقيع، وأنّ على الذين يعلنوا التمسك بالاتفاق ألا يخاطبوا إيران بدعوات العقلانية بل أن يفعلوا إحدى إثنتين، التصدي لواشنطن ومنعها من الإلغاء، أو رفض الالتزام بعقوباتها مهما كانت التبعات على المصارف الأوروبية والصينية. فهل باتت واشنطن التي تهرّبت من الإلغاء مرتين، قادرة أن تفعلها هذه المرة وتدخل حرباً مالية غير معلومة النتائج والأطراف، ويمكن لتداعياتها أن ترتب آثاراً على مكانة أميركا المالية سلباً بما يتخطى الأزمة مع إيران؟

– في الخيار العسكري لم يتغيّر شيء لصالح واشنطن منذ سنوات، وما دفعها ويدفعها لصرف النظر عن هذا الخيار يزداد ولا ينقص. فالقوات والمصالح الأميركية الموزّعة بين العراق وسورية والخليج ومياه البحار والممرات المائية ستتحوّل أهدافاً سهلة لإيران وحلفائها، ونتائج العمل العسكري كما قال وزير الخارجية الأميركي السابق جون كيري ليس فيه ضمانات تحقيق نتائج حاسمة، مهما بلغت قدرته على إلحاق الأذى، خصوصاً لجهة ما قد يدفع إيران لتسريع إنتاج قنبلة نووية، كما سبق للرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك أوباما أن قال غداة توقيع الاتفاق النووي رداً على الدعوات العربية والإسرائيلية التي كشفها كيري من منبر ميونيخ للأمن قبل أيام.

– في مقال له قبل شهرين قال دنيس روس، أحد الدبلوماسيين السابقين الأميركيين لدى كيان الاحتلال والمبعوث الأميركي للسلام لسنوات، والباحث المخضرم في مراكز الدراسات الأميركية، إنّ الجواب المزدوج على سؤالين مهمّين حول السياسة الأميركية، تجاه دعم الأكراد في سورية حتى النهاية، وتجاه مواجهة إيران حتى النهاية، نجده في كيفية تصرف واشنطن مع انهيار حلم أكراد العراق بالانفصال تحت ضربات إيران، وتحت أعين القيادة الأميركية في البيت الأبيض والبنتاغون، وهم يتفرّجون، بينما كان الكيان الكردي أهمّ فرصة لأميركا للعمل ضدّ إيران وأهمّ علامة على جدية دعم استقلال الأكراد، ومَن تخلَّ عن كيان كردي في العراق لأنه لا يريد الحرب، فلن يفعل ذلك في سورية. ومن أضاع فرصة التقرب إلى مسافة صفر من إيران، كما يقول رئيس الأركان في جيش الاحتلال غادي أيزنكوت، لن يذهب إلى أبعد من الكلام والتصعيد السياسي.

– هل يعني ذلك أنّ كلام هيلي تافه وأنها سخيفة؟

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Kerry to Abbas Confidante: “Stay Strong and Do Not Give in to Trump

January 25, 2018

Kerry Abbas

Ex-Secretary of State John Kerry has confided that he may make a second bid for the White House — as he urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to resist President Trump, according to a report.

“[Abbas] should stay strong in his spirit and play for time — that he should not break down and not capitulate to Trump’s demands,” Kerry told an Abbas confidant, according to the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv, which quoted a senior Palestinian Authority official as saying.

The Jerusalem Post picked up the Ma’ariv story in English.

Kerry also suggested during his London confab with Hussein Agha, the Palestinian Authority president’s close associate, that the PA formulate its own peace proposal.

“Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan,” he said, adding that Abbas should show Trump that he will “not break and will not yield” to his demands.

Kerry promised to use all his contacts and abilities to build support for a plan pitched by the Palestinians, according to the report.

He reportedly asked Abbas, through Agha, not to attack the Trump administration, but to concentrate on personal attacks on Trump, who Kerry said was directly responsible for the stalled peace process.

According to the report, Kerry also used derogatory terms when referring to Trump.

The former US Secretary of State said Trump will not remain in office for a long time. It was reported in the report that Kerry said that within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House.

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Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 23.12.2017

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

Daniel LAZARE

Did Barack Obama arm ISIS? The question strikes many people as absurd, if not offensive. How can anyone suggest something so awful about a nice guy like the former president? But a stunning report by an investigative group known as Conflict Armament Research (CAR) leaves us little choice but to conclude that he did.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014

CAR, based in London and funded by Switzerland and the European Union, spent three years tracing the origin of some 40,000 pieces of captured ISIS arms and ammunition. Its findings, made public last week, are that much of it originated in former Warsaw Pact nations in Eastern Europe, where it was purchased by United States and Saudi Arabia and then diverted, in violation of various rules and treaties, to Islamist rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The rebels, in turn, somehow caused or allowed the equipment to be passed on to Islamic State, which is also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, or just the abbreviation IS.

This is damning stuff since it makes it clear that rather than fighting ISIS, the U.S. government was feeding it.

But CAR turns vague when it comes to the all-important question of precisely how the second leg of the transfer worked. Did the rebels turn the weapons over voluntarily, involuntarily, or did they somehow drop them when ISIS was in close proximity and forget to pick them up? All CAR will say is that “background information … indicates that IS [Islamic State] forces acquired the materiel through varied means, including battlefield capture and the amalgamation of disparate Syrian opposition groups.” It adds that it “cannot rule out direct supply to IS forces from the territories of Jordan and Turkey, especially given the presence of various opposition groups, with shifting allegiances, in cross-border supply locations.” But that’s it.

If so, this suggests an astonishing level of incompetence on the part of Washington. The Syrian rebel forces are an amazingly fractious lot as they merge, split, attack one another and then team up all over again. So how could the White House have imagined that it could keep weapons tossed into this mix from falling into the wrong hands? Considering how each new gun adds to the chaos, how could it possibly keep track? The answer is that it couldn’t, which is why ISIS wound up reaping the benefits.

But here’s the rub. The report implies a level of incompetence that is not just staggering, but too staggering. How could such a massive transfer occur without field operatives not having a clue as to what was going on? Was every last one of them deaf, dumb, and blind?

Not likely. What seems much more plausible is that once the CIA established “plausible deniability” for itself, all it cared about was that the arms made their way to the most effective fighting force, which in Syria happened to be Islamic State.

This is what had happened in Afghanistan three decades earlier when the lion’s share of anti-Soviet aid, some $600 million in all, went to a brutal warlord named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar was a raging bigot, a sectarian, and an anti-western xenophobe, qualities that presumably did not endear him to his CIA handlers. But as Steve Coll notes in Ghost Wars, his bestselling 2004 account of the CIA’s love affair with Islamic holy war, he “was the most efficient at killing Soviets” and that was the only thing that mattered. As one CIA officer put it, “analytically, the best fighters – the best-organized fighters – were the fundamentalists” that Hekmatyar led. Consequently, he ended up with the most money.

After all, if you’re funding a neo-medieval uprising, it makes sense to steer the money to the darkest reactionaries of them all. Something similar occurred in March 2015 when Syrian rebels launched an assault on government positions in the northern province of Idlib. The rebel coalition was under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, as the local branch of Al Qaeda was known at the time, and what Al-Nusra needed most of all were high-tech TOW missiles with which to counter government tanks and trucks.

Arming Al Qaeda

So the Obama administration arranged for Nusra to get them. To be sure, it didn’t provide them directly. To ensure deniability, rather, it allowed Raytheon to sell some 15,000 TOWs to Saudi Arabia in late 2013 and then looked the other way when the Saudis transferred large numbers of them to pro-Nusra forces in Idlib. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into bed with Al-Qaeda.”] Al-Nusra had the toughest fighters in the area, and the offensive was sure to send the Assad regime reeling. So even though its people were compatriots with those who destroyed the World Trade Center, Obama’s White House couldn’t say no.

“Nusra have always demonstrated superior planning and battle management,” Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said a few weeks later. If the rebel coalition was successful as a whole, it “was entirely due to their willingness to work with Nusra, who have been the backbone in all of this.”

Scruples, assuming they existed in the first place, fell by the wayside. A senior White House official told The Washington Post that the Obama administration was “not blind to the fact that it is to some extent inevitable” that U.S. weapons would wind up in terrorist hands, but what could you do? It was all part of the game of realpolitik. A senior Washington official crowed that “the trend lines for Assad are bad and getting worse” while The New York Times happily noted that “[t]he Syrian Army has suffered a string of defeats from re-energized insurgents.” So, for the master planners in Washington, it was worth it.

Then there is ISIS, which is even more beyond the pale as most Americans are concerned thanks to its extravagant displays of barbarism and cruelty – its killing of Yazidis and enslavement of Yazidi women and girls, its mass beheadings, its fiery execution of Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, and so on.

Yet U.S. government attitudes were more ambivalent than most Americans realized. Indeed, the U.S. government was strictly neutral as long as ISIS confined itself to attacking Assad. As a senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal in early 2015: “Certainly, ISIS has been able to expand in Syria, but that’s not our main objective. I wouldn’t call Syria a safe haven for ISIL, but it is a place where it’s easier for them to organize, plan, and seek shelter than it is in Iraq.”

In other words, Syria was a safe haven because, the Journal explained, the U.S. was reluctant to interfere in any way that might “tip the balance of power toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting Islamic State and other rebels.” So the idea was to allow ISIS to have its fun as long as it didn’t bother anyone else. For the same reason, the U.S. refrained from bombing the group when, shortly after the Idlib offensive, its fighters closed in on the central Syrian city of Palmyra, 80 miles or so to the east.  This was despite the fact that the fighters would have made perfect targets while “traversing miles of open desert roads.”

As The New York Times explained: “Any airstrikes against Islamic State militants in and around Palmyra would probably benefit the force of President Bashar al-Assad. So far, United States-led airstrikes in Syria have largely focussed on areas far outside government control, to avoid the perception of aiding a leader whose ouster President Obama has called for.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How US-Backed War on Syria Helped ISIS.”]

Looting Palmyra

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra’s Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT’s live-streaming of the event.)

The United States thus allowed ISIS to capture one of the most archeologically important cities in the world, killing dozens of government soldiers and decapitating 83-year-old Khalid al-Asaad, the city’s retired chief of antiquities. (After looting and destroying many of the ancient treasures, ISIS militants were later driven from Palmyra by a Russian-backed offensive by troops loyal to President Assad.)

Obama’s bottom line was: ISIS is very, very bad when it attacks the U.S.-backed regime in Iraq, but less so when it wreaks havoc just over the border in Syria. In September 2016, John Kerry clarified what the administration was up to in a tape-recorded conversation at the U.N. that was later made public. Referring to Russia’s decision to intervene in Syria against ISIS, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, the then-Secretary of State told a small knot of pro-rebel sympathizers:

“The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger.  Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth, and that’s why Russia came in, because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad. And we know this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage, that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, he got … Putin in to support him. So it’s truly complicated.”  (Quote starts at 26:10.)

“We were watching.” Kerry said. So, by giving ISIS free rein, the administration hoped to use it as a lever with which to dislodge Assad. As in Afghanistan, the United States thought it could use jihad to advance its own imperial interests. Yet the little people – Syrian soldiers, three thousand office workers in lower Manhattan, Yazidis, the Islamic State’s beheading of Western hostages, etc. – made things “truly complicated.”

Putting this all together, a few things seem clear. One is that the Obama administration was happy to see its Saudi allies use U.S.-made weapons to arm Al Qaeda. Another is that it was not displeased to see ISIS battle Assad’s government as well. If so, how unhappy could it have been if its allies then passed along weapons to the Islamic State so it could battle Assad all the more? The administration was desperate to knock out Assad, and it needed someone to do the job before Vladimir Putin stepped in and bombed ISIS instead.

It was a modern version of Henry II’s lament, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” The imperative was to get rid of Assad; Obama and his team had no interest in the messy details.

None of which proves that Obama armed ISIS. But unless one believes that the CIA is so monumentally inept that it could screw up a two-car funeral, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. Obama is still a congenial fellow. But he’s a classic liberal who had no desire to interfere with the imperatives of empire and whose idea of realism was therefore to leave foreign policy in the hands of neocons or liberal interventionists like Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

If America were any kind of healthy democracy, Congress would not rest until it got to the bottom of what should be the scandal of the decade: Did the U.S. government wittingly or unwittingly arm the brutal killers of ISIS and Al Qaeda? However, since that storyline doesn’t fit with the prevailing mainstream narrative of Washington standing up for international human rights and opposing global terrorism, the troublesome question will likely neither be asked nor answered.

Kerry: Trump Creating Int’l Crisis over Iran Deal

Local Editor

14-10-2017 | 10:32

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday blasted President Donald Trump’s decision not to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, accusing Trump of jumpstarting an “international crisis.”

John Kerry


Hours earlier, Trump announced the White House “cannot and will not” certify Iran’s compliance while the country violates the “spirit” of the 2015 agreement, and the president didn’t rule out the possibility of exiting the deal in the future if necessary.

The president’s decision gives Congress roughly 90 days until the next certification deadline to come up with a legislative solution to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile threats in a way that satisfies Trump.

Kerry was the country’s top diplomat in 2015 when the US entered into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], better known as the Iran deal.

“President Trump’s decision today is dangerous,” Kerry said in a lengthy statement he posted to Twitter. “He’s creating an international crisis. It endangers America’s national security interests and those of our closest allies.

According to the former head of America’s diplomacy, “It’s a reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology from a president who would rather play a high-stakes game of chicken with the Congress and with iIan than admit that the nuclear agreement is working. I strongly hope that the other six signatories will prove to the world what responsible behavior is, and adhere to this agreement – no matter what false accusations and contrived provocations are put forward by President Trump.”

Kerry went on to say the stakes are “enormous” for Congress, and unraveling the JCPOA would put into question whether the US can be taken at its word.

“The president has polluted the negotiating waters and made it easier for legitimate concerns to be distinguished from back-door efforts to kill the deal,” Kerry added. “What we’ve seen today lacks common sense and strategic thinking to say nothing of maturity. Congress now gets an opportunity to be the adult in the room and act in America’s genuine national security interest. The country and the world really are watching.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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The Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord

The U.S. mainstream media remains obsessed over Russia’s alleged “meddling” in last fall’s election, but the real test of bilateral cooperation may come on the cease-fire in Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists?

Or will President Trump succeed where President Obama failed by bringing the U.S. military and intelligence bureaucracies into line behind a cease-fire rather than allowing insubordination to win out?

These are truly life-or-death questions for the Syrian people and could have profound repercussions across Europe, which has been destabilized by the flood of refugees fleeing the horrific violence in the six-year proxy war that has ripped Syria apart.

But you would have little inkling of this important priority from the large page-one headlines Saturday morning in the U.S. mainstream media, which continued its long obsession with the more ephemeral question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would confess to the sin of “interference” in the 2016 U.S. election and promise to repent.

Thus, the headlines: “Trump, Putin talk election interference” (Washington Post) and “Trump asks Putin About Meddling During Election” (New York Times). There was also the expected harrumphing from commentators on CNN and MSNBC when Putin dared to deny that Russia had interfered.

In both the big newspapers and on cable news shows, the potential for a ceasefire in southern Syria – set to go into effect on Sunday – got decidedly second billing.

Yet, the key to Putin’s assessment of Donald Trump is whether the U.S. President is strong enough to make the mutually agreed-upon ceasefire stick. As Putin is well aware, to do so Trump will have to take on the same “deep-state” forces that cheerily scuttled similar agreements in the past. In other words, the actuarial tables for this cease-fire are not good; long life for the agreement will take something just short of a miracle.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have to face down hardliners in both the Pentagon and CIA. Tillerson probably expects that Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo will cooperate by ordering their troops and operatives inside Syria to restrain the U.S.-backed “moderate rebels.”

But it remains to be seen if Mattis and Pompeo can control the forces their agencies have unleashed in Syria. If recent history is any guide, it would be folly to rule out another “accidental” U.S. bombing of Syrian government troops or a well-publicized “chemical attack” or some other senseless “war crime” that social media and mainstream media will immediately blame on President Bashar al-Assad.

Bitter Experience

Last fall’s limited ceasefire in Syria, painstakingly worked out over 11 months by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and approved personally by Presidents Obama and Putin, lasted only five days (from Sept. 12-17) before it was scuttled by “coalition” air strikes on well-known, fixed Syrian army positions, which killed between 64 and 84 Syrian troops and wounded about 100 others.

In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials a few days before the air attack on Sept. 17, showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement – like sharing intelligence with the Russians (an important provision of the deal approved by both Obama and Putin).

The Pentagon’s resistance and the “accidental” bombing of Syrian troops brought these uncharacteristically blunt words from Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russian TV on Sept. 26:

“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the U.S. military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the U.S. Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia … apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”

Lavrov specifically criticized Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia despite the fact, as Lavrov put it, “the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama [who] stipulated that they would share intelligence.” Noting this resistance inside the U.S. military bureaucracy, Lavrov added, “It is difficult to work with such partners.”

Putin picked up on the theme of insubordination in an Oct. 27 speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in which he openly lamented:

“My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results. … people in Washington are ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.”

On Syria, Putin decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

Lavrov’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, meanwhile, even expressed sympathy for Kerry’s quixotic effort, giving him an “A” for effort.after then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dispatched U.S. warplanes to provide an early death to the cease-fire so painstakingly worked out by Kerry and Lavrov for almost a year.

For his part, Kerry expressed regret – in words reflecting the hapless hubris befitting the chief envoy of the world’s “only indispensible” country – conceding that he had been unable to “align” all the forces in play.

With the ceasefire in tatters, Kerry publicly complained on Sept. 29, 2016: “Syria is as complicated as anything I’ve ever seen in public life, in the sense that there are probably about six wars or so going on at the same time – Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sunni, Shia, everybody against ISIL, people against Assad, Nusra [Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate]. This is as mixed-up sectarian and civil war and strategic and proxies, so it’s very, very difficult to be able to align forces.”

Admitting Deep-State Pre-eminence

Only in December 2016, in an interview with Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, did Kerry admit that his efforts to deal with the Russians had been thwarted by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – as well as all those forces he found so difficult to align.

“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation [of the ceasefire agreement] extremely hard to accomplish,” Kerry said. “But it … could have worked. … The fact is we had an agreement with Russia … a joint cooperative effort.

“Now we had people in our government who were bitterly opposed to doing that,” he said. “I regret that. I think that was a mistake. I think you’d have a different situation there conceivably now if we’d been able to do that.”

The Globe’s Viser described Kerry as frustrated. Indeed, it was a tough way for Kerry to end nearly 34 years in public office.

After Friday’s discussions with President Trump, Kremlin eyes will be focused on Secretary of State Tillerson, watching to see if he has better luck than Kerry did in getting Ashton Carter’s successor, James “Mad Dog” Mattis and CIA’s latest captive-director Pompeo into line behind what President Trump wants to do.

As the new U.S.-Russia agreed-upon ceasefire goes into effect on Sunday, Putin will be eager to see if this time Trump, unlike Obama, can make a ceasefire in Syria stick; or whether, like Obama, Trump will be unable to prevent it from being sabotaged by Washington’s deep-state actors.

The proof will be in the pudding and, clearly, much depends on what happens in the next few weeks. At this point, it will take a leap of faith on Putin’s part to have much confidence that the ceasefire will hold. 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  As a CIA analyst for 27 years, he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, conducted the early morning briefings with the President’s Daily Brief.  He now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

This article was first published by Consortium News 

See also – New study shows Clinton lost election because of growing working class opposition to war

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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How and Why U.S. Honors and Aids Al Qaeda

June 20, 2017

by Eric Zuesse

How and Why U.S. Honors and Aids Al Qaeda

This will present a typical example in which the U.S. promotes Al Qaeda and other jihadists, and then honors that promotion by calling this PR not “propaganda” as it really is, but instead outstanding “news reporting,” and then honors that “news reporting,” with prestigious ‘journalism’ awards from the Overseas Press Club, and The Peabody. Throughout, the jihadists in Syria are being referred to in these ‘news’-reports as ‘the rebels’ and they are backed by the U.S. government, and (obviously) also by the aristocracy that own (and advertise in) the ‘news’ media, and whose lobbies also apparently control the President, and the Congress. Deception of the American public, by the American press, is that blatant and that egregious, as will here be documented (but will continue to be suppressed by the ‘free press’ in this ‘democracy’ where the press never exposes its own systematic lying — as will here be shown).

Documentation for everything here will consist of excerpts from the relevant news-reports themselves (so the story will be told by the evidence itself), and will close with excerpts from an AlterNet news report by Ben Norton, which was vastly more worthy of winning journalism awards than anything from CNN (or any of the others) has been, but is suppressed instead of pumped, by the U.S. press. I have added boldface in some places, in order to make easier a reader’s quickly noticing things which will become more important subsequently, in this presentation of excerpts. The excerpts are arranged so as to tell a narrative that makes sense and has continuity.

Excerpts are used here instead of paraphrases, because otherwise an intelligent reader might think that the paraphrases are overstating how appalling the U.S. ‘news’ media are. It’s better for the perpetrators to display their wares, than for someone else to do it for them. So, I let them do it.

Here are those excerpts; here is their story, told by the participants themselves:

——

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/14/

The truth about Syria

Undercover behind rebel lines

By Clarissa Ward with Salma Abdelaziz, CNN

[Salma Abdelaziz covers the Middle East for CNN, based in London.]

Updated 1:40 PM ET, Fri March 18, 2016

Rebel-held Syria (CNN) There’s a sickening moment between hearing the planes and waiting for them to drop their payload. A pit forms in your stomach. You know you could die, but you also know there’s no way to divine where the strike will hit.

On a hill overlooking Ariha, our guard Abu Youssef seems to have located the jet in the sky and is following it with his eyes. “Russian planes,” he says. …

Monitoring groups say nearly 2,000 civilians have been killed since the Russian intervention began. …

Syria is hell. But standing in the warm sun, watching the silver green olive leaves shiver in the breeze, it is also paradise. A ceasefire has been in place for a couple of days, though based on what we saw and heard, it’s difficult to have much faith that it will hold.

We are preparing to leave, saying our goodbyes. We hand over a bag full of British chocolates to our security guards. Abu Youssef thanks us and quietly hands each of us a folded piece of white paper with our initials on it.

“Promise me you won’t read these until you get back home to London,” he says.

Two flights and 72 hours later, we open the letters.

“I hope you have a good idea of us,” they read. “Please tell the world the truth about Syria.”

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https://twitter.com/

Nidal

@Nidalgazaui

18 Years old Freedom Activist from Germany. Visited the YPG in Syria. MENA Analyst, Focusing on Terrorism and Jihadist Groups in Middle east and E Asia

Germany

nidalgazaui.wordpress.com

Nidal

@Nidalgazaui

#ISIS Fighter from #Gaza, Abu Youssef Al-Ghazawhi killed recently in #Aleppo while fighting the Syrian army near #DeirHafer in #Aleppo Prov.

11:58 PM – 22 Mar 2017

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[NOTE: It’s bad enough that the reporter, Ward, in Aleppo, was emotionally close to and was being protected by someone, “Abu Youssef,” who was clearly partisan — in his case, against Syria’s government and also against Russia, which means on the ‘rebel’ side, which in Aleppo meant being on Al Qaeda’s side there. Wikipedia’s article Battle of Aleppo (2012–2016)” says: “Rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Shamia Front and the Ahrar al-Sham established Sharia system in areas they control, imposing torture or other ill-treatment as punishment. Human rights activists, lawyers and journalists have been subjected to kidnappings.” These ‘rebels’ were religious fanatics. But if that person was also the “#ISIS Fighter from #Gaza, Abu Youssef Al-Ghazawhi killed recently in #Aleppo while fighting the Syrian army near #DeirHafer in #Aleppo Prov,” then this places the reporter as being under the protection of an “ISIS fighter,” and ISIS is supposed to be so fanatical that even the U.S. government condemn them — but maybe not CNN, nor the Overseas Press Club, nor The Peabody.]

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https://www.theguardian.com/

Aleppo ‘hell’ prevents Syria peace talks, say diplomats

With 2 million terrified citizens trapped and brutal fighting continuing, UN-backed talks in August seem impossible

Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor Tuesday 9 August 2016 16.53 EDT

… In a bid to restart the talks US secretary of state John Kerry met Vladimir Putin in mid-July to propose a deal whereby the Syrian air force ended its lethal bombing campaign in return for American agreement that one of the leading rebel forces – the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front – be designated a terrorist group, and so no longer party to a new ceasefire [Wintour is using code here, for: allowed to be bombed during the ceasefire — Obama refused to accept that condition, and he insisted that Russia discontinue bombing them but bomb only ISIS during a ceasefire, and he stuck with that stance until the very end, when he sabotaged Kerry’s deal with Lavrov]. American sponsored rebel forces have long been entangled with al-Nusra, and many Washington-backed forces would regard an attack on al-Nusra as an attack on the Syrian revolution itself.

The US proposal has been made more complex by the announcement last week that al-Nusra had “broken” with al-Qaida, and was now forming a new group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Western diplomats doubt the sincerity of this change in ideology [he’s using code for: change in name].

But Washington seems reluctant to denounce this new group as a bogus rebranding, partly because it knows so many of the already weak rebel groups it does support are willing, or even eager, to work with the effective and disciplined al-Nusra forces. Many of these moderate forces [as if there were ‘moderates’ when jihadists were waging war to replace a secular government] feel abandoned by the west.

At the UN session on Monday, Clarissa Ward, a celebrated CNN war correspondent, also warned Russia was playing into the hands of jihadists. She told the Russian envoy: “From my experience on the ground – which is considerable – bombing hospitals, court houses, bakeries and fruit markets does not eliminate terrorism. If anything it is the oxygen which terrorists breathe and it spreads like wildfire.”

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[NOTE: For a “celebrated CNN war correspondent” to be so partisan against Russia, as to have charged that “Russia was playing into the hands of jihadists,” when she herself was blatantly and actually in the hands of jihadists — and being protected by them, while those jihadists were trying to kill and were being bombed by Russia — is stupid. Was this person that stupid? Or, perhaps, was she instead so closed-minded to the fact that in order to slaughter the jihadists, it was necessary that some of the people whom the jihadists were using as human shields would also die? Does Clarissa Ward possess even a modicum of the objectivity that’s required of any authentic journalist — especially when covering a war — or is she receiving ‘journalism’ awards because in the United States, ‘journalism’ has sunk to the level of sheer propaganda? But the British Guardian’s reporter is no better, referring to jihadists as ‘rebels’, and referring to the Syrian government’s war against them as a ‘lethal bombing campaign’ as if there were any other type than ‘lethal’. And he referred to the jihadists’ war against the Syrian government as ‘the Syrian revolution’ even though most of those jihadists were foreigners recruited into Syria from around the world and financed by the royal Sauds and armed and trained by the U.S. government.]

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https://www.undispatch.com/

CNN Journalist Clarissa Ward Snuck Behind the Front Lines in Syria then Briefed the Security Council About What She Saw

Mark Leon Goldberg  August 29, 2016

Clarissa Ward is an award winning journalist who has covered conflict for over a decade, mostly in the Middle East. She is now with CNN and earlier this year she and a small crew snuck into rebel held territory in Syria, including the city of Aleppo from where she filed several intense and harrowing stories.

In August, Clarissa was invited to a special meeting of the [U.N.] Security Council about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. We kick off discussing her Security Council briefing and latest reporting trip to Syria. …

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http://edition.cnn.com/2016/

‘There are no winners in Aleppo’

Updated 0906 GMT (1706 HKT) August 15, 2016

Source: CNN

‘This is Hell’: Clarissa Ward addresses U.N. on Syria 09:11

Editor’s note: On August 8, 2016 CNN’s Senior International Correspondent Clarissa Ward spoke at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo. The following are her full remarks. …

The thing that has been killed in Syria that is much more difficult to rebuild than a bombed out building, is trust.

There is no trust.

No trust in the Assad regime.

No trust in ceasefires or the cessation of hostilities or humanitarian corridors.

No trust in the Russians, and no trust in you by the way, in us in the international community, who have been wringing their hands on the side lines while hospitals and bakeries and schools have been bombed, while phosphorus and cluster bombs have killed countless civilians.

The only ones who have emerged as heroes on the ground — alongside brave doctors like Dr Attar and Dr Sahloul, alongside the White Helmets [link there added by E.Z., not by Ward]are the Islamist factions, even to those who hate fundamentalism.

Even to those who see that the rebels themselves are carrying out atrocities.

And not because the people there are all terrorists but because the Islamists are the ones who have stepped in to fill the void.

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[NOTE: Ward has “No trust in the Assad regime” but has loads of trust in the jihadists, the ‘heroes’, “because the Islamists are the ones who have stepped in to fill the void” that they’ve created by trying to turn Syria’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious, secular, non-sectarian government — the only secular government in the Middle East — over to the head-choppers, who will serve the aristocracies of the U.S. and of Saudi Arabia.] 

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http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.

21 March 2017, 10:33 AM ET

Overseas Press Club Honors CNN for ‘Undercover in Syria’ Series

The Overseas Press Club of America has honored CNN’s ‘Undercover in Syria’ series with the David Kaplan Award for Best TV or video spot news reporting from abroad. They will present the award, which honors the finest international reporting, at its annual ceremony on Thursday, April 27 in New York. CNN President Jeff Zucker will be on hand to deliver the keynote address.

Reported by senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward and produced by Salma Abdelaziz, ‘Undercover in Syria’ took viewers inside rebel-held territory for an exclusive series of reports on what life was like under the bombs. CNN was the only Western media to witness the effects of Russian bombardment first hand and go inside the devastation of rebel-held Aleppo. …

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http://www.peabodyawards.com/

THE PEABODY 30: AWARD WINNERS FOR 2016

CNN: ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Undercover in Syria, Battle for Mosul (CNN)

Winner 2016 | CNN

… Clarissa Ward went undercover into northern Syria to document Russian influence on the fighting and to navigate the ongoing devastation. Graphic images of the wounded and the bloodied brings the senselessness of the fighting to the foreground, as do haunting images of young children who’ve only seen and experienced a world of airstrikes, fear, pain, and loss. … For its steadfast commitment to intrepid reporting from the battlefield and for detailing the costs and damages of a war that continues to pose a moral challenge to the rest of the world, a Peabody Award goes to CNN.

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http://www.mediaite.com/

Even as Election Dominates Cable, Bravo CNN for Critical Reporting From Syria

by J.D. Durkin | 1:38 pm, March 18th, 2016

… Major kudos are due to CNN for its recent coverage of the harrowing Syrian Civil War and the work of Clarissa Ward, the network’s Senior International Correspondent. CNN has given significant airtime and clearly devoted resources to Ward’s most recent trip to, quite literally, the frontlines of terror.  … Ward believes that this most recent trip along with her producer Salma Abdelaziz marked the first time in a year-and-a-half that any Western journalist had covered the calamitous developments on the ground. … All elements of the CNN enterprise have championed Ward’s work with prime placement, including digital and social media platforms. Ward’s Facebook Live discussion this week reached 1.7 million viewers alone.

It’s a bold and admirable programming move. … As Ward told me, the devastation for the Syrian people is far from over, and her role covering the crisis will likely continue until a specific, clear objective is reached:

“Really it comes down to one key demand,” Ward told me. “President Bashar al-Assad must step down. For the people on the ground, it’s a dealbreaker.” [My note: repeated polling throughout Syria by U.S.-and-allied polling organizations shows that over 50% of Syrians want Bashar al-Assad to remain as the President and that 82% of Syrians blame the U.S. for the tens of thousands of foreign jihadists who have invaded Syria to oust and replace him. However, those same polls also show that some areas in Syria support the jihadists and want Assad ousted. But, in any case, Ward’s assertion is rabidly false, that: “President Bashar al-Assad must step down. For the people on the ground, it’s a dealbreaker.” Furthermore, twice in one day, the Secretary General of the U.N., Ban ki-Moon, rebuked this U.S. position and he said The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people” and not by the U.S. or any other foreign government dictating Assad be removed from power.]

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http://www.thewrap.com/why-

Why CNN’s Clarissa Ward May Be the Biggest Badass in Cable News

“Your body responds with this surge of adrenaline, shock and fear,” the war correspondent says of getting caught in an airstrike

Brian Flood | April 10, 2016 @ 1:43 PM

CNN’s Clarissa Ward recently traveled undercover to a rebel-held area of Syria, where she witnessed 11 people die in an airstrike, but she didn’t miss a beat and reported on the chaos as it unfolded. …

Ward, filmmaker Bilal Abdul Kareem and producer Salma Abdelaziz were filming at the top of a hill when the airstrikes hit and the plume of smoke was visible in the background of her video. Instead of taking shelter, they immediately jumped in a car and headed toward the devastation. …

“It’s so shocking on a physical level. Your body responds with this surge of adrenaline, shock and fear. It all kind of collides in one,” Ward said.

For that kind of reporting, the 36-year-old Yale graduate has already won just about every journalism award out there — Peabody, Emmy, DuPont, Murrow and a Royal Television Society award with CNN’s coverage of the Paris attacks last November. In November, she will be honored with the International Center for Journalists’ Excellence in International Reporting Award. …

As Maddox said, “One of the reasons CNN hired Clarissa is because she’s an incredibly talented journalist who is committed to telling stories the world needs to know.”

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https://www.facebook.com/

Bilal Abdul Kareem

June 16 [2017] at 12:33pm ·

Piece I filmed w/CNN (Undercover in Syria) won the prestigious Overseas Press Club & Peabody awards but CNN “forgot” to mention me. High respects to CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward for mentioning me even if CNN didn’t! Alhamdo lilaah I got another award from some good hearted Syrians that’s worth more than those put together. Check it out!

15K Views

VIDEO:

“You know, there was a piece that I did, along with other members of OG and staff, called Undercover in Syria. This was with CNN, and their correspondent Clarissa Ward, which I have big-time respect for, big-time respect, as a journalist, and as a person. Now, this Undercover in Syria — you can google it — won the prestigious Peabody Award, and it won the prestigious Overseas Press Club award, which are basically the highest awards in journalism!”

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[NOTE: The following excerpts, from AlterNet, cut down a 4,366-word news-report about Bilal Abdul Kareem, to a still lengthy 1,669 words. Though that’s long, this is a sensationally good news-report; and, even including here these 1,669 words from it, all of the 3,847 words of excerpts taken together are still significantly shorter than the entirety of that single AlterNet news-report, which is far the best and most truthful of the articles that are excerpted here:]

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http://www.alternet.org/world/

Bilal Abdul Kareem, Prominent U.S. ‘Journalist’ in Syria, Serves as Mouthpiece for Violent Extremists

A closer look at Bilal Abdul Kareem’s body of work reveals an established record of creating sectarian propaganda for extremist Syrian rebels.

By Ben Norton / AlterNet December 29, 2016, 4:54 PM GMT

During the final days of rebel control over the eastern areas of Aleppo, the Western media depended almost entirely on a handful of English-speaking, self-described activists to relay news of the situation to a captivated public. These figures served a dual purpose, acting as spokespeople for the beleaguered Syrian opposition while deflecting attention from armed insurgents dominated by extreme Islamists. Nestled among them was an American, Bilal Abdul Kareem, who may be one of the most remarkable characters of the Syrian civil war. The uncritical promotion and reflexive praise this character has received from a variety of U.S. media outlets raises serious questions about the coverage of a conflict that is often presented as a one-sided slaughter at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies. …

Abdul Kareem has helped produce a series for CNN, and has also produced reports with the U.K.’s Channel 4, the BBC and Skynews. He has written for Al Jazeera and has been featured in segments on an array of major media outlets. He even participated in a panel discussion at the [neoconservative, pro-invade-anywhere] Brookings Doha Center alongside the extremely hawkishSyria analyst Charles Lister, titled “Syria and Iraq: The Future Prospects of Jihadism.”

Yet what these media outlets and institutions have not disclosed about Abdul Kareem is that he has a long and established record of creating what is essentially propaganda for extremist groups in Syria. Abdul Kareem has conducted dozens of glowing interviews with militants from extremist groups, including Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate and its hardline allies. Worse, he appears to have expressed support for Anwar Al-Awlaki, the extremist preacher credited with inspiring multiple attacks, including the mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base. (Abdul Kareem did not respond to multiple requests for comment from AlterNet for this article.)

AlterNet reviewed scores of Abdul Kareem’s videos, and in not one did he address the atrocities any of the ultra-sectarian Islamist groups have carried out against civilians, minorities in particular. …

Not only has Abdul Kareem consistently facilitated the dissemination of his guests’ extreme views, he even gives them opportunities to call on viewers around the world to join them in their fight in Syria. …

Abdul Kareem makes it clear that he opposes democracy in Syria, claiming such a system is “alien” to the Syrian people whereas “a governing style of Islam is something that is familiar to them.” …

Abdul Kareem defends the extremist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham. … On his website, Abdul Kareem laments that the hard-line Islamist group “has been getting a bit of a bad reputation as of late for some of their political stances,” and stresses, “this Islamic revolution would not be where it is today without Ahrar Asham.”

Ahrar al-Sham has collaborated with and fought alongside Syrian al-Qaeda. It has engaged in sectarian attacks on civilians, such as the killing and kidnapping of Alawite [Shia] women and children in the village of Zara. Amnesty International also documented how Ahrar al-Sham and the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda have destroyed churches and confiscated the homes and stolen the belongings of Christian Syrians. Christians in the major rebel-held city of Idlib reported being told they must convert or leave. …

One of the first videos Abdul Kareem released on his Facebook page is an interview with a fighter from Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s arm of al-Qaeda. It was filmed in early August 2015 at the frontline of fighting between the extremist group and secular, leftist Kurdish fighters. …

The first long-form interview Abdul Kareem published to his Facebook page is an August 2015 discussion with Abu Firas al-Suri, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra. …

“Our mission is guiding the people, taking them by the hand and helping them so we all are able to achieve the supremacy of the sharia of Allah on Earth. And our mission in Syria is a part of that mission,” Abu Firas proclaimed. He added, “Our goals are not limited only to Syria, however our current battle is in Syria.”

The only criticisms Abdul Kareem levied at the al-Qaeda leader in his interview were from the perspective of those who were even more radical. “Your group now controls large territories,” Abdul Kareem noted, “but some criticize you saying that you don’t apply the Islamic Sharia.” …

Abdul Kareem also invited Abu Firas to talk about the social services al-Nusra provides to people in Syria. Abu Firas, who associated himself with al-Qaeda in the interview, said they offer medical services, education, road repair, water delivery, houses and electricity.

Although Jabhat al-Nusra is an enemy of ISIS, Abu Firas stressed on Abdul Kareem’s video program, “We didn’t initiate fighting or criticising ISIS.” He continued, “As for fighting them, we’re not keen to fight them; we’re not keen to fight anyone who’s not an obstacle facing Islam.”

“We didn’t choose to oppose ISIS militarily or even politically,” Abu Firas explained. …

Demonizing Shia Muslims

On June 17, Bilal Abdul Kareem published a high-quality animated trailer for an upcoming episode of “Face the Truth” that promised to reveal who Shia Muslims truly are. “The Syrian crisis has quickly become a sectarian war between Sunnis-Shiite-Alawites,” he claimed in his Facebook post. Abdul Kareem implied that Shia might not actually be Muslims, writing, “Are they all just Muslims fighting one another? Or do their beliefs say otherwise?”

Three days later, Abdul Kareem published a lengthy interview with the ultra-sectarian Sunni preacher Abdur Razaaq Mahdi, in a video combatively titled “Sunnis vs Shia’.” …

Mahdi deplores Alawites as “Nusayri” unbelievers. “Oh Allah, destroy the Alawites and those who ally with them from the thugs, the Shia, the Russians, the Iranians!” he proclaims in the video. “Kill them all! …

Recruiting foreign fighters

Abdul Kareem’s interview with the Syria-based Saudi warlord Abdallah al-Muhaysini might be the most disturbing instance of promoting violent extremism. …

Al-Muhaysini continued claiming, “The war in Syria or jihad in Syria, today we’re in jihad against Shia, Alawites and Khawarij.” …

“Does that mean I should leave my family and everything I studied at university?” Naturally, al-Muhaysini replied in the affirmative, insisting it is a true believer’s duty, and they will be rewarded for it.

“Read the six rewards Allah gives to the martyr and you will forget everything,” al-Muhaysini countered. …

Opposing democracy

… In an interview posted in May, Abdul Kareem gave an Islamist rebel a platform to condemn democracy and instead argue for the importance of creating a theocratic society in Syria.

“Jihad is our way and pride,” Abu Osama al-Shawkani insisted in the video. “Democracy is ungratefulness.” He added, “Secularism is not our way.”

Abdul Kareem’s guest argued that experiments at implementing democracy in Algeria and Egypt “just failed.” He even went out of his way to pit Islam, the religion of 1.7 billion people, against such a form of governance.

They “will never accept applying Islam through democracy, and the one who says that he wants democracy doesn’t understand,” al-Shawkani insisted. Democracy “is a method against Allah’s method.” Abdul Kareem concluded the interview telling al-Shawkani, “May Allah reward you, brother.”

Abdul Kareem does not hide this extreme sectarianism and opposition to democracy; these views pervade his videos and are visible on his Facebook page. But in their apparent zeal to cultivate a pro-rebel narrative, major media outlets have consistently failed to acknowledge this fact.

Media coverage

Despite his ties to extremist groups, a vast array of influential media outlets have relied on Bilal Abdul Kareem’s reporting from Aleppo, and have treated it as reputable.

CNN, for which Abdul Kareem helped produce a series of reports alongside the international correspondent Clarissa Ward, interviewed Abdul Kareem on Dec. 13 for a segment on the Syrian government’s recapture of rebel-held eastern Aleppo. CNN’s Hala Gorani described him simply as an “independent journalist,” without any other background information or context.

Abdul Kareem told Gorani, “I don’t think that anybody here is happy with the way things have turned out.” He also claimed civilians do not want to go to government-held western Aleppo. In reality, manyinterviews with former residents of eastern Aleppo who escaped to the government-controlled western side revealed that rebels shot at them. The U.N. has also said rebels obstructed civilians from leaving. …

Even left-leaning websites that traditionally criticize corporate media outlets for toeing the party line have been derelict. Truthout ran an article that cited Abdul Kareem’s castigation of Turkey and Gulf regimes, simply identifying him as a “journalist.”

The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain likewise gave a substantial platform to Abdul Kareem back in June, applauding him for providing “a unique perspective on the conflict in Syria.” …

On the Ground News and helpers

In 2015, Abdul Kareem supplemented his interview program “Face the Truth” by launching On the Ground News, an outlet that features more traditional journalistic reports from inside rebel-held areas in Syria.

On the Ground News saw a marked increase in production quality, with videos accompanied by slick animations and graphic design. In some, Abdul Kareem could be seen seated in front of a green screen, declaring that he was broadcasting from “our studios.” Where On the Ground News gets its funding from is not clear and, as mentioned, Abdul Kareem did not respond to AlterNet’s requests. …

Applauding the Fort Hood shooter

In 2009, two years before the Syrian civil war erupted, Abdul Kareem composed a post in a Google group for expats in Dubai that endorsed an article by an extremist preacher who heroized the gunman who had just carried out a mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. …

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In closing:

A series of three articles that I did for the Strategic Culture Foundation, and which was subsequently published together in one article at the Signs of Our Times website, describes the U.S. government’s support for Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) ever since at least 2012, America’s assisting Al Qaeda, and working with Al Qaeda’s royal Saudi, Qatari and UAE funders, to overthrow Syria’s government — using U.S.-Saudi-backed jihadists to topple and replace yet another Russia-allied head-of-state. The U.S. government is pro-jihadist because those jihadists are ‘our’ boots-on-the-ground, waging war, as ‘our’ proxies, against Russia. And, America’s ‘news’ media cheer this rampant butchery on, and even award ‘journalism’ prizes to its slickest propagandists, who pour forth on TV and at ‘journalism’ awards ceremonies, jerking tears from the gulls. This also explains how it can be that, as Gallup headlined on 19 June 2017, “George W. Bush and Barack Obama Both Popular in Retirement”. Democracy is impossible in such a country, just as it was in the novel 1984.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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