Aoun: who have changed? You or I? عون: مَنْ الذي تغيّر؟ أنا أم أنتم؟

Aoun: who have changed? You or I?

فبراير 20, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

After hundred days in the era of the General the President Michael Aoun we recall the debates of the few days that preceded his election, accompanied with questions about the content of the implicit agreement that was included in the understanding with Al Mustaqbal Movement to nominate the General Aoun as the President of the Republic, that understanding was preceded by a similar understanding between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces. The media campaign which was organized by Al Mustaqbal and the Forces together has succeeded by the suggestion to indicate to the presence of guarantees that they got from the General Aoun in exchange of nominating him for the presidency of the Republic, these guarantees affect his previous positions especially the parliamentary elections law and the understanding on keeping the law of sixty that will lead to a new consideration of the balances of interior and repositioning of the Free Patriotic Party within them in new alliances on one hand, and the dealing of the Movement and its leader after the arrival to presidency with the regional issues especially the weapons of the resistance, the relationship with Syria, and the position toward the war which targets it, along with the surrounding alliances of this war on the other hand.

The General Aoun kept silent toward this campaign, smiling when he is asked and just saying that he is not among those who hold understandings indirectly, and that he is not from those who pay costs for the positions. Those who accepted him for the presidency of the Republic have embraced Michael Aoun for his biography and positions. The inauguration speech which was the first position through which the General Aoun has emerged as a President was an occasion to express his commitments that are not in conformity with the campaign of the Al Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces, either in his pledge to hold the parliamentary elections under a new law or in his expression that “ it is a pre-emptive war on the terrorism” or “ to confront the Israeli threat with everything possible  including “ we will not reserve resistance” but those who launched the campaign went out with interpretations for these positions, trying to change their content and to play with words  and to talk about the difference between (resistance and the resistance), however, once again the success was relatively to the launchers of the campaign, benefitting from the interpretations and the meanings that they granted to the visit of the General the President to Riyadh, talking about what may be the secrets, but the inquires about the validity of what the people of Al Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces claim become wider.

During the last days, the General the President has reached in his commitment to the new election law to the extent of going to the choice of vacancy if he is obliged to choose between the law of sixty and the extension, so the Minister of Interior Nuhad Al Mashnouk has threatened of the loss of the era due to the internal and external consensus, then the President responded in a decisive way  to those who claim the injustice of the relative system toward them and toward their communities to stop the political indulgence and to behave rationally as the senior and the officials, and to refute the backgrounds of those who refuse the relativity through their desire to have seats for their sect and for the other sects by the force of the hegemony and the bullying. On the eve of his visit to Cairo the General the President talked clearly and frankly about the resistance weapons and about Syria as well as the Lebanese-Syrian relationship as he used to talk before he became a president, but in the language of presidency and its responsibility, so all the lies and the falsity of allegations and the claimers were revealed.

Those who fabricated the lie hastened to deal with the speech of the President as if they were without their consciousness and wanted to behold him the responsibility for the regression of promises that they have created, fabricated, and dreamt of. So they did not find what to say about the lie of promises but only to say that this speech is not acceptable from the President of the Republic, as if their tongues were tightened when they met him before giving him their electoral votes, did not say that it does not suit us to maintain on your speech after you become a president. The prevention of saying that before, was enough to accept him implicitly, and to make their criticism today a cowardice, weakness, and silliness, you have given your vote to the presidency of the Republic for a man whose his positions are declared and whose his options are known, after you were for two years and a half refraining from voting due to these positions, finally you accepted him as a president but you did not negotiate him to change his options, because you know that he will not change them, you gave him your votes because he is your only gateway to return back to the rule, so what is that hypocrisy which is behind your criticism today?

Some of the allies who were skeptical are involved today to say to the General the President we were unjust toward you.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

عون: مَنْ الذي تغيّر؟ أنا أم أنتم؟

فبراير 14, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– نستعيد مع الأيام المئة التي مرّت من عهد الرئيس العماد ميشال عون، النقاشات التي أحاطت الأيام القليلة التي سبقت انتخابه، وما رافقها من تساؤلات حول مضمون اتفاق ضمني تضمّنه التفاهم على سير تيار المستقبل بانتخاب العماد عون رئيساً للجمهورية، بعدما كان قد سبقه تفاهم مشابه بين التيار الوطني الحر والقوات اللبنانية. وقد نجحت الحملة الإعلامية التي نظمها المستقبل والقوات معاً بالإيحاء بوجود ضمانات حصلا عليها من العماد عون لقاء السير به لرئاسة الجمهورية تطال مواقفه السابقة، خصوصاً لجهة قانون الانتخابات النيابية والتفاهم على بقاء قانون الستين وما يرتّبه هذا التفاهم من نظرة جديدة لتوازنات الداخل وتموضع التيار ضمنها في تحالفات جديدة  من جهة، وتعامل التيار وزعيمه بعد الوصول لرئاسة الجمهورية مع القضايا الإقليمية، خصوصاً سلاح المقاومة والعلاقة مع سوريا والموقف من الحرب التي تستهدفها والتحالفات المحيطة بهذه الحرب من جهة أخرى.

– بقي العماد عون ملتزماً الصمت تجاه هذه الحملة يبتسم عندما يسأل، ويكتفي بالقول إنه ليس من الذين يجرون تفاهمات تحت الطاولة، وإنه ليس من الذين يدفعون أثماناً للمناصب والمواقع، وإن من ارتضاه لرئاسة الجمهورية فقد ارتضى ميشال عون الذي يعرفه بتاريخه ومواقفه. وكان خطاب القسم أولى المحطات التي أطلّ عبرها العماد عون من موقعه كرئيس في اللحظة الأولى، مناسبة لإطلاق التزامات لا تنسجم مع الحملة القواتية المستقبلية، سواء بتعهّده إجراء الانتخابات النيابية وفقاً لقانون جديد، أو لجهة إشاراته لـ«حرب وقائية على الإرهاب» أو لمواجهة الخطر «الإسرائيلي» بكل ما توفر بما في ذلك «لن ندّخر مقاومة»، لكن أصحاب الحملة خرجوا بتأويلات لهذه المواقف تحاول إفراغها من مضمونها والتلاعب بالكلمات والحديث عن الفرق بين مقاومة والمقاومة، وأل التعريف بينهما، ومرة أخرى كان النجاح نسبياً لأهل الحملة مستفيدين من تأويلات ومعانٍ منحوها لزيارة العماد الرئيس إلى الرياض والحديث عما دار فيها من «أسرار»، لكن التساؤلات حول صحة ما يدّعيه اهل المستقبل والقوات تكبر.

– خلال الأيام الأخيرة بلغ الرئيس العماد في التزامه بقانون انتخاب جديد حدّ المجاهرة بالذهاب إلى خيار الفراغ، إذا أُجبر على الاختيار بين قانون الستين والتمديد، فخرج وزير الداخلية المستقبلي نهاد المشنوق يهدّد بخسارة العهد للإجماع الداخلي والخارجي، وبعدها ردّ الرئيس على مدّعي ظلم النظام النسبي لهم ولطوائفهم بلغة حازمة تدعو لإنهاء الدلع السياسي والتصرّف برشد الكبار والمسؤولين، وتفند خلفيات رافضي النسبية برغبتهم بالسطو على مقاعد تستحقّ لأبناء طوائفهم وأخرى لطوائف أخرى، بقوة التسلط والبلطجة. وعشية زيارته للقاهرة تحدث العماد الرئيس بوضوح وصراحة عن سلاح المقاومة وعن سورية وعن العلاقة اللبنانية السورية، كما كان يتحدث قبل أن يصير رئيساً، لكن بلغة الرئاسة ومسؤوليتها، فسقطت كل الأكاذيب وانكشف زيف الإدعاءات والمدعين.

– هرع أصحاب الكذبة بلسان صقورهم لتناول كلام الرئيس وقد صدّقوا كذبتهم، كأنهم بلاوعيهم يريدون محاسبته على تراجع عن وعود هم قاموا بفبركتها وتأليفها أو حلموا بها، فلا يجدون ما يقولونه عن كذبة الوعود، إلا أن هذا الكلام غير مقبول من رئيس للجمهورية، وكأن ألسنتهم كانت مربوطة يوم التقوه قبل أن يمنحوه تصويتهم الانتخابي ليقولوا له يومها لا يناسبنا أن تبقى على خطابك المعهود بعد أن تصبح رئيساً، وعدم القول وقتها كافٍ ليكون قبولاً ضمنياً به، ولجعل انتقاداتهم اليوم جبناً وضعفاً وسخافة، فأنتم منحتم تصويتكم لرئاسة الجمهورية لرجل معلن المواقف ومعلوم الخيارات، بعدما بقيتم سنتين ونصفاً تحجبون عنه تصويتكم بداعي هذه المواقف، وجئتم أخيراً وقبلتم به رئيساً ولم تفاوضوه على تغيير خياراته، لأنكم تعلمون أنه لن يغيّرها، ومنحتموه تصويتكم لأنه بوابتكم الوحيدة للعودة للحكم، فأي نفاق يقف وراء انتقاداتكم اليوم؟

– بعض الحلفاء الذين ساورتهم الشكوك معنيون اليوم، بالقول للعماد الرئيس: لقد ظلمناك.

(Visited 67 times, 67 visits today)
Related Videos
 



 
Related Articles

Sayyed Nasrallah: Hizbullah Strongly Supports Syria Cease-fire, Trump A Fool who Unveiled US Real Face

Zeinab Essa

Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced Sunday that the resistance supports and welcomes any ceasefire in Syria.

In a speech commemorating the late Hizbullah Central Council official, Sheikh HusseiSayyed Nasrallah: Hizbullah Strongly Supports Syria Cease-fire, Trump A Fool who Unveiled US Real Facen Obeid, His Eminence highlighted that his party backs any ceasefire agreement in Syria because it’s with any measure that ends the bloodshed and gives an opportunity to political solutions and national reconciliations.

He further denounced some Arab media outlets that have been falsely accusing Hizbullah of rejecting Syria ceasefire concluded in Astana talks.

In this context, His Eminence said: “Hizbullah and Iran support the ceasefire, the reconciliation, and the political settlement in Syria, while some Arab states are still backing the military option.”
“We are keen on addressing some pressing humanitarian crises, on top of which is that of Foua, Kafraya, Madaya and other towns,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated.

Rejecting all fabricated reports regarding Hizbullah’s alleged plan to bring about demographic changes to the Syrian front, His Eminence clearly denied the accusations raised by those who claim that Hizbullah and the Syrian government seek demographic change across the Syrian cities.

“Let Muslim, Arab and independent delegations visit Syria to verify that there are no demographic changes… These lies are aimed at sectarian incitement,” the Resistance Leader cautioned.

In parallel, he pointed out that “Aleppo’s victory greatly contributed greatly to the reconciliations and political settlements in Syria.”

According to His Eminence, the recent military victories have turned vast areas of Syria into safe regions.

“The whole world came after six years of fighting, to confront the sides that we started to,” he added, noting that “the path in Syria took another turn thanks to the steadfastness of the Syrian leadership, the Syrian army and the people and all those who refused to submit to the Takfiri terrorism.”

Moving to the Lebanese front from the Syrian one, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that “The file of Syrian refugees is not a sectarian file but rather a file that is putting pressure on Lebanon.”

Moreover, he urged the Lebanese to carry their responsibility and to deal with the issue of refugees in a humanitarian manner, regardless of fears or political affiliations. “Should we keep begging for international aid or should we cooperate to return most refugees to their towns, villages, cities and homes?” His Eminence wondered.

On this level, Sayyed Nasrallah elaborated: “We will be told that these people fear to return out of concern over the regime’s vengeance and I tell them that they can go to Syria to live in security and safety.”

As he called for cooperation toward repatriating Syrian refugees back to their homeland, His Eminence urged the Lebanese government to send a delegation that would evaluate the outcome of reconciliations in Syria.

“It is the responsibility of the Lebanese government and Lebanese political forces to convince these refugees to accept to go back to their cities and villages in Syria,” Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized.

In addition he announced Hizbullah’s readiness to “serve the Lebanese state” and contact the Syrian authorities on the matter.”

“It’s our duty to deal with the case of the refugees in a humanitarian, rather than political manner,” he said.

Urging the Lebanese government and political forces to end their stubbornness and to initiate dialogue with the Syrian government over this file, Sayyed Nasrallah raised the following question:
“Why do you talk with the countries that created Daesh and al-Nusra Front and you don’t talk with the Syrian government to address a humanitarian file of this importance?”

On another aspect, Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the Lebanese electoral law, reiterating Hizbullah’s support for a new electoral law based on proportionality.

“All sides are talking about a fair electoral law that allows all sides to represent in the Parliament and doesn’t eliminate anyone,” he highlighted.

He further expressed Hizbullah’s support for proportionality because it’s keen to preserve the rights of all sects, parties and minorities.

His Eminence went on to say that the current 1960 majoritarian vote law is equal to a cancellation system.

“We have a serious desire to block any new extension and to hold elections on time,” Sayyed Nasrallah declared, noting that the winner-takes-all electoral system is an exclusionary law and proportional representation does not eliminate the Druze community or the Future party.

“I say that proportional representation does not eliminate the Druze community, the Progressive Social Party or the Future, it rather reflects the true political weight of each party.”

His Eminence warned against wasting more time in talks over the electoral system.
“Stop wasting time. We should not shut the door. If we reached the deadline, we will be moving into the unknown,” he said, repeating Hizbullah’s openness to dialogue.

On the security level, particularly with respect to the Bekaa region, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed the call again to the Lebanese state to effectively hold its responsibility for the security situation in the Bekaa.

He also called on the Lebanese Army and the security services to deal with the security problems in the Bekaa within the limits of the law, adding that “security is not only the responsibility of the state only but it is a social responsibility also.”

“The matter doesn’t only relate to security but targets the dignity of the people,” His Eminence said.

He praised cooperation between security agencies and the Lebanese Army, calling on the public to avoid moves that would put stability at risk.

“Stability is a bless which the Lebanese must hold and do not waste,” he said.

On the general budget, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed Hizbullah’s firm refusal “of approving any new taxes or fees on poor Lebanese families.”

“Instead of taxes, end embezzlement, corruption, wasting money and unauthorized spending,” he said, noting that a courageous political decision should be taken to cut down unnecessary spending.

Commenting on the new threats posed by the new US President, Donald Trump, Sayyed Nasrallah undermined the impact of the new administration on the region.

“Trump merely set aside hypocrisy and revealed the true and ugly face of the unjust, criminal and racist US administration,” he stated, pointing out that Hizbullah is not worried, but optimistic, for [he] who is residing in the White House is a fool.

His Eminence also said “this is the beginning of our relief. The victory that has been achieved in 1985, in 2000 and 2006 and is being scored in Syria and Iraq will be achieved in Yemen.”

“Neither Trump nor George W. Bush and all those racists will touchthe courage, the will or the faith of a child of our children as well as our men and our elders.”

Source: al-Ahed news

12-02-2017 | 21:44

President Assad: US Only Way to Defeat Terrorism in Syria is through Cooperation with Syrian Government

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

February 10, 2017

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave interview to Yahoo News in which he stressed that the US needs to be genuine regarding the fight against terrorism if it wants to really defeat terrorism in Syria, adding that this aim requires a clear political position on the part of the US towards the sovereignty and unity of Syria and cooperation with its government and people.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for giving us the opportunity. This is your first interview with American media since President Trump has taken office. Have you had any communications with President Trump directly or indirectly, or anybody in his administration?

President Assad:  No, not yet.

Question 2: This is an opportunity for you to convey a message to President Trump, if you have one. What would you like to say to him?

President Assad:  wouldn’t convey the message through the media, I would send it through a different channel, maybe diplomatic channels. But any message for us is the public one, we don’t have two messages; we have one stand, one position toward what’s happening in Syria, and it’s about fighting terrorism.

Question 3: You said yesterday, I believe, that what you have heard from the new administration is promising. Explain what you meant.

President Assad: The position of President Trump since he started his campaign for presidency till this moment is that the priority is to fight terrorism, and we agree about this priority, that’s our position in Syria, the priority is to fight terrorism, and that’s what I meant by promising.

Question 4: You indicated that you thought there was some way for cooperation between the United States and Syria, but you didn’t explain what that would be. What sort of cooperation can you envision?

 President Assad:  Against terrorists, and against terrorism. That’s self-evident for us. This is beside having cooperation between any two nations, but in the meantime, in these circumstances, the priority is to have cooperation in fighting terrorism between the different nations, including Russia, Iran and Syria, of course.

Question 5: The President has tasked his Secretary of Defense with developing plans for defeating ISIS or Daesh. Among the proposals they are reportedly considering is using more special forces and even military assets such as Apache helicopters inside Syria, and arming Kurdish fighters who are fighting Daesh in the north. If such moves would defeat ISIS, would you welcome them?

President Assad:  Could the American prowess defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan or in other places? No, you cannot… it’s not enough to have this Apache or F-16 or F-35, whatever you want to label it, to defeat terrorists. There has to be a more comprehensive way of dealing with that complicated issue. So, if you want to start genuinely, as United States, to do so, it must be through the Syrian government. We are here, we are the Syrians, we own this country as Syrians, nobody else, nobody would understand it like us. So, you cannot defeat the terrorism without cooperation with the people and the government of any country.

Question 6: But you have welcomed Russian troops into your country. Would you welcome American troops into your country?

President Assad:  We invited the Russians, and the Russians were genuine regarding this issue. If the Americans are genuine, of course they are welcome, like any other country that wants to defeat and to fight with the terrorists. Of course, with no hesitation we can say that.

Question 7: So, you want American troops to come into Syria to help fight ISIS?

President Assad: Troops is part of the cooperation. Again, let’s go back to the comprehensive, you cannot talk about sending troops if you’re not genuine, if you don’t have a clear political position toward not only the terrorism; toward the sovereignty of Syria, toward the unity of Syria. All these factors would lead to trust, where you can send your troops. That’s what happened with the Russians; they didn’t only send their troops. First of all, there’s a clear political position regarding those factors. This is where the Russians could come and succeed in fighting the terrorists in Syria.

Question 8: Do you see cooperation between the United States and Russia to attack ISIS in Syria?

President Assad:  It is essential. Any cooperation in any conflict around the world, it needs the, let’s say, the rapprochement, between the Russians and the Americans. It’s very essential, not only for Syria.

Question 9: Well, you talk to the Russians all the time, don’t you?

President Assad:  Of course.

Question 10: Yeah? When’s the last time you spoke to President Putin.

President Assad:  A few weeks ago.

Question 11: What’d you talk about?

President Assad:  About the problem in Syria, about the advancement of the Syrian Army in Syria.

Question 12: Right. Are you going to try to broker some sort of arrangement between the United States and Russia in this fight?

President Assad: There’s direct contact between them, and President Putin had a telephone call with President Trump a week or so, and they talked about different issues including Syria, so they don’t need my role to do so, and we don’t have any contact with the Americans to help the Russians make contact or improve their relation. We’re not in that position.

Question 13: President Trump recently said he absolutely wants to create “safe zones” inside Syria to protect refugees, and possibly allow many of them to return. If such a move would help protect your country’s endangered citizens, would you support that?

President Assad:  But actually, it won’t. It won’t. Safe zones for the Syrians could only happen when you have stability and security, where you don’t have terrorists, where you don’t have flow and support of those terrorists by the neighboring countries or by Western countries. This is where you can have a natural safe zone, which is our country. They don’t need safe zones at all. It’s much more viable, much more practical and less costly to have stability than to create safe zones. It’s not a realistic idea at all.

Question 14: Upwards of half of your country’s population has been displaced. How can you say that safe zones to protect them from bombardment would not be helpful?

President Assad:  The first thing you have to ask: why were they displaced? If you don’t answer that question, you cannot answer the rest. They were displaced for two reasons: first of all, the terrorist acts and the support from the outside. Second, the embargo on Syria. Many people didn’t only leave Syria because of the security issues. As you see, Damascus is safe today, it’s nearly normal life, not completely. But they don’t find a way for life in Syria, so they have to travel abroad in order to find their living. So, if you lift the embargo, and if you stop supporting the terrorists – I’m not talking about the United States, I’m talking about everyone who supported terrorists including the United States during Obama’s administration – if you stop all these acts, most of those people will go back to their country.

Question 15: There are, what, 4.8 million Syrian refugees since this crisis began. Just as way of comparison, that is more than 4 times the total number of Palestinian refugees from the events of 1947 and 48. Do you accept that this is a humanitarian disaster?

President Assad:  It is a humanitarian disaster created by the Western support of those terrorists, of course, and the regional support by Turkey and Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It didn’t happen just like this.

Question 16: And you bear any responsibility at all for this disaster?

President Assad: As president?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad:  Regarding the policies that I undertake since the beginning of the crisis, they were supporting the dialogue between the Syrians, fighting terrorists, and supporting reconciliation, and they succeeded. So, no, regarding these policies, I think we were correct, and we are continuing on these pillars for the future of Syria regarding this crisis.

Question 17: As you know, President Trump has signed a very controversial executive order barring refugees, immigrants, from predominantly Muslim countries, but specifically all Syrian refugees, saying that their entry into the country would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The premise is that some of them are terrorists.

President Assad:  Yeah.

Journalist: Do you agree with President Trump on this?

President Assad:  This question has two aspects: the first one is American, this is an American issue and it’s related to the sovereignty of the American nation. Every country has the right to put any regulations to enter their country. We can disagree or agree, but if you ask me as president, as official in the Syrian state, my responsibility is not to go and ask any president to allow the Syrians to go there and to have refuge in that country. My responsibility is to restore the stability, in order to bring them back to Syria and find refuge in their country. So, I’m not going to discuss that this is right or wrong; this is American issue.

Question 18: But the question was: are some of these refugees, in your view, aligned with terrorists?

President Assad:  Oh, definitely.

Journalist: Definitely?

President Assad:  Definitely. You can find it on the net; the same picture that you saw them – in some cases, of course – in some instances, those terrorists in Syria, holding the machinegun or killing people, they are peaceful refugees in Europe or in the West in general. Yeah, that’s true.

Question 19: So, how many terrorists do you believe are among the 4.8 million Syrian refugees?

President Assad: No one has any number, nobody knows, because nobody knows all the terrorists to give a percentage, no one at all.

Question 20: Do you believe it’s a significant number?

President Assad:  It’s not about significant, because you don’t need a significant number to commit atrocities. 11th of September, it happened by only 15 terrorists out of maybe millions of immigrants in the United States, so it’s not about the number; it’s about the quality, it’s about the intentions.

Question 21: So, if what you’re saying is correct, then President Trump would be justified in keeping them out of the United States?

President Assad:  I’m not American to justify it; only American people would say this is against the interests of the United States or with the interests. From the outside, we can discuss it as value; this is with the values of the humanitarian situation in the world or not, that’s how we can discuss it. But again, I can only speak as president; for me the priority is to bring those citizens to their country, not to help them immigrate. That’s the natural duty according to the constitution and to the law.

Question 22: Would you welcome all of Syria’s refugees back into your country?

President Assad: Definitely, definitely.

Journalist: Definitely? Even the terrorists?

President Assad: I don’t have to welcome them as president; I don’t own the country, it’s not my house, it’s not my company, it’s not my farm. This is country to every Syrian.

Question 23: But if you believe that some of them are terrorists, what would you do with them when they return to Syria?

President Assad:  It doesn’t matter what I believe, what matters is what the law would say about every person who committed any act against his country, taking into consideration that we gave amnesty in Syria to thousands of people who committed actions or acts against their country as part of the reconciliation.

Question 24: How do you expect them to return? What is your vision or plan for bringing Syria’s refugees back into Syria?

President Assad: Already many of them, not a huge number, but many of them came back to Syria, many of them, in spite of the security issues and the embargo. So, the majority of Syrians would like to come back to their country. This is natural for every citizen. They will come back when there’s security and when there’s no embargo.

Question 25: Your military, just last month, drove the rebels from eastern Aleppo. Do you see this as a turning point in Syria’s civil war, and do you believe you’ve now won this war?

President Assad: No, it’s not a turning point. The turning point was when we took the decision to fight terrorism in spite all the propaganda against us abroad, especially in the West, and against every pressure. That was the turning point. Aleppo is an important step against terrorists, in the fight against terrorism, but I cannot say it is a turning point, because we’re still going in the same way, in the same direction, we haven’t changed our direction. Maybe for the terrorists it’s a turning point? They better answer. Maybe for their masters in the West and in the region, it could be, but they have to answer, I cannot answer on their behalf.

Question 26: I was asking you before about potential cooperation between the United States and Syria, but the problem that many would have with that is the continued allegations of human rights abuses by your government. Now, just today, we have a new report from Amnesty International about Sednaya prison, “human slaughterhouse” they call it, 5,000 to 13,000 detainees hanged in mass hangings there, horrific conditions, trials of blindfolded prisoners, one to three minutes in length, no lawyers, secret, all in secret. This would, on its face, be contrary to every aspect of international law. What do you know about what’s going on in that prison?

President Assad:  Let’s first of all talk about the first part of your question, which is the problem how to – for the United States – to open relations with Syria, regarding the human rights. I will ask you: how could you have this close, very close relation, intimate relation, with Saudi Arabia? Do you consider beheading as human right criteria?

Journalist: But I’m not interviewing the King of Saudi Arabia right, I’m interviewing you.

President Assad: Yeah, I know. Yeah, of course.

Journalist: I’m asking you about reports of human rights abuses in your prison, in your country.

President Assad: You own the question, I own the answers, so that’s my answer. So, when you answer about Saudi Arabia and your relation, you can put yourself in that position. Second, the United States is in no position to talk about human rights; since Vietnam war till this moment, they killed millions of civilians, if you don’t want to talk about 1.5 million in Iraq, without any assignment by the Security Council. So, the United States is in no position to say “I don’t open relations because of human rights,” and they have to use one standard. This is first.

The second part now. Now I can move to the other part, that report, like many other reports published by Amnesty International, put into question the credibility of Amnesty International, and we never look at it as unbiased. It’s always biased and politicized, and it’s a shame for such an organization to publish a report without a shred of evidence. They said it’s based on interviews, on interviews.

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: What about the documents? What about the concrete evidence? Not a single concrete…

Journalist: Interviews with four former prison officials and guards, three former Syrian judges, three doctors…

President Assad: It means nothing.

Journalist: It means nothing?

President Assad:  It’s interview… no, no, when you need to make a report, you need co st year. They paid money for such a report, and they brought their own witnesses, and they ncrete evidence. You can make any report, you can pay money to anyone like Qatar did la made a report.

Question 27: I wanna just read you something from the report… “the process of hanging is authorized by officials at the highest levels of the government. Death sentences are approved by the Grand Mufti of Syria, and by either the Minister of Defense or the Chief of Staff of the Army, who are deputized to act on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.”

President Assad: First of all, what’s the evidence? This is first. Second…

Journalist: Is it true or not?

President Assad: No, no, it’s not true, definitely not true.

Journalist: How do you know? Do you know what goes on in that prison? Have you been there?

President Assad: No, I haven’t been, I’ve been in the Presidential Palace, not in the prison.

Journalist: So here you have a very disturbing report about something going on in one of your prisons, are you going to investigate?

President Assad: So, Amnesty International knows more about Syria than me, according to you. No, that’s not true. No, they haven’t been to Syria, they only base their reports on allegation, they can bring anyone, doesn’t matter what’s his title, you can forge anything these days, and we’re living in a fake news era, as you know, everybody knows this. So, we don’t have to depend on this. Second, you have to talk about the reality, they said in their report that we made serial executions, is that correct?

Journalist: Yes. Mass hangings.

President Assad:  First of all, execution is part of the Syrian law. If the Syrian government or institution wants to do it, they can make it legally, because it’s been there for decades.

Journalist: Secret trials, no lawyers?

President Assad: Why do they need it, if they can make it legally? They don’t need anything secret.

Journalist: Is that legal, in your country?

President Assad: Yeah, yeah, of course, it’s legal, for decades, since the independence. The execution, according to the law, after trial, is a legal action, like any other court in many countries in this region.

Question 28: Will you allow international monitors to visit that prison and inspect and investigate these reports?

President Assad:  It depends on the credibility of that organization, not anyone, because they’re going to use this visit just to demonize the Syrian government more and more and more, like what’s happening.

Question 29: This is not the first time that very serious human rights allegations have been made. Just last week, a woman in Spain, Syrian, filed a lawsuit accusing nine of your senior government intelligence and security officials of human rights abuses. Her brother had disappeared in one of your prisons. You asked about documents, the lawyers who have filed this, accusing your government of human rights abuses, have collected 3,000 pages of evidence and over 50,000 photographs taken by one of your former government’s photographers showing emaciated, tortured bodies in your prisons.

President Assad: Who verified the pictures? Who verified that they’re not edited and photoshopped and so on?

Journalist: Have you seen the photos?

President Assad: No, I didn’t.

Journalist: Have you seen the photos?

President Assad:  No, no, I saw some photos in previous reports. But it’s not about the photo. How can you verify the photo?

Journalist: You have said that the…

President Assad: Do you have a photo?

Journalist: I do have the photos.

President Assad: Can you show it to me?

Journalist: Yes, I’ll be happy to. here.

President Assad: This photo… have you verified who are those?

Journalist: I… can tell you…

President Assad: Because you have it, and because you mention it in front of your audience…

Journalist: There’s a number of photos…

President Assad:  You have to convince your audiences, you cannot mention such a picture without verifying who are those and where and everything about, just to put it in front of the audience, tell them “they’ve been killed by the Syrian soldiers.”

Journalist: The woman who filed the lawsuit, the Syrian woman who filed the lawsuit said she saw her brother in those photographs.

President Assad: At the end, these are allegations. We have to talk about concrete evidence, at the end. That’s how you can base your judgment. Anyone can say whatever he wants.

Question 30: The US State Department gave these photos to the American FBI crime lab, digital lab. They examined these photos, and said the bodies and scenes depicted – these are 242 of these images – the bodies and scenes depicted exhibit no artifacts or inconsistencies that would indicate they have manipulated. As a result of the above observations, all of these 242 images appear to depict real people and events.

President Assad: Who said that?

Journalist: The FBI. Have you seen their report?

President Assad: No. When was that?

Journalist: That was 2015.

President Assad: The question is when your institutions were honest about what’s happening in Syria? That’s the question. Never. For us, never, so we don’t have to rely on what they say, if the FBI say something, it’s not evidence for anyone, especially for us. The most important thing: if you take these photos to any court in your country, could they convict any criminal regarding this? Could they tell you what this crime is, who committed it? If you don’t have this full picture, you cannot make judgement, it’s just propaganda, it’s just fake news, they want to demonize the Syrian government. In every war, you can have any individual crime, it happened here, all over the world, anywhere, but it’s not a policy.

Question 31: But let me just… If I hear what you’re saying, the FBI is just forwarding… propagating propaganda, Amnesty International is propagating propaganda, everybody is conspiring against the Syrian government. Why?

President Assad: Ask them, we’re not…

Journalist: You’re the one making the allegation.

President Assad: No, no, I’m not making an allegation, they supported the terrorists, and you go back to what they said… John Kerry, a few months ago, said and by his voice that “we were watching ISIS advancing, and we expected the Syrian president to make concessions.” What does it mean? Obama said it in one of his speeches, that the war on Iraq created ISIS. So, who supported ISIS? We didn’t create it, you created it, the United States created all this mess. Who supported the rebels and called them “moderate rebels” while they became ISIS and al-Nusra in Syria? We didn’t. So, it’s not a conspiracy, these are facts, this is reality. We didn’t give money, we didn’t support these terrorists. Your country supported them, UK, France, publicly, and they said they sent armaments, we didn’t. So, it’s not my allegation, it’s your official allegation, including Joe Biden, the Vice President of Obama. He said, about Saudi Arabia and other countries supporting the extremists…

Journalist: That’s Saudi Arabia, but the United States…

President Assad: So, this allegation is their allegation, it’s American allegation before it’s been Syrian allegation.

Question 32: The United States and its coalition partners have been bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it’s supporting the Iraqi army in its efforts to liberate Mosul from ISIS. How can you say that the United States is supporting ISIS?

President Assad: Can you explain to me how could they defeat ISIS in Iraq, and ISIS was expanding since the American coalition started attacking in Syria?

Journalist: Is it expanding now?

President Assad:  It’s been expanding, no, it’s…

Journalist: Is it expanding now?

President Assad:  It started shrinking after the Russian intervention, not the American one. How could they use our oil fields and export with thousands of barrel trucks to Turkey without being seen by your drones and by your satellites while the Russians could be able to do so and attack them and destroy them. destroy all their facilities? How? This is cosmetic campaign against ISIS.

Question 33: Just to be clear; I have shown you the FBI report, I have shown the photographs, I have shown you the Amnesty International report. Will you cooperate in investigations to determine if these very serious reports are in fact true?

 

President Assad:  You showed me many things, but you didn’t show me a single evidence.

Journalist: I showed you an FBI report.

President Assad: No, no, it’s not evidence at all. It’s actually the contrary; any American institution for us during the Syrian crisis was against the reality, it was the opposite of the truth. That’s how we look at it. So, it’s not a Syrian institution, we don’t care about what they say. For me, what I care about is what reports I have from Syrian people, and we had investigations, because we have many claims regarding not mass crimes, actually, more individual acts and we’ve been investigating many, and many people were punished, but that happened in every war.

Question 34: Do you… are you disturbed enough about any of this to try to determine the truth yourself?

President Assad:  I think you should show it to Western officials to ask them that question: are they disturbed to see what’s happening since they started supporting the terrorists in Syria? This killing and this destruction? That’s the question. Of course I’m disturbed; I am Syrian.

Journalist: You are disturbed about this? About these reports?

President Assad:  About what’s happening in Syria. No, no, not about the report. I don’t care about the report.

Journalist: Not about this.

President Assad: No, no, I’m disturbed about what’s happening in Syria. It’s my country, it’s being destroyed by proxy terrorists, of course.

Question 35: You have acknowledged that your troops in this war have committed mistakes in its prosecution against the rebels, and that anyone could be punished. So, how many mistakes are we talking about?

President Assad:  No, I didn’t say that. I never said that. I said there are always mistakes in any action; that’s a human…

Journalist: How many mistakes are we talking about? How many innocent civilians have been killed by your government’s mistakes?

President Assad:  Nobody knows, because thousands and thousands of those are missing people; nobody knows anything about their fate, nobody at all. So, you cannot tell till the end of this war.

Question 36: Was it a mistake to bomb hospitals in Aleppo?

President Assad: We never bombed hospitals in Aleppo. Why to bomb a hospital? Can you convince your audience that we have interest in bombing hospitals? Actually, this is against our interest. This is against our interest to bomb a hospital if it’s used as hospital, and the proof that it was a lie, every time they talk about bombing hospitals, every time they say this is the last hospital in eastern part of Aleppo, and the second time they talk about another hospital and they say the same; “they bombed the last hospital.” So, it’s lies and lies and lies. We can spend the whole interview talking about lies, and we can talk about the truth and reality. I have to talk about the reality.

Question 37: Is it a mistake to use barrel bombs and chlorine gas?

President Assad: You have to choose which part of the narrative is correct. Once they said we are using indiscriminate bombs and they called it barrel bombs. The other day, they said we targeted hospitals and schools and convoys. We either have precise armaments or we have indiscriminate armaments. So, which one do you choose?

Question 38: Well, you do acknowledge though that innocent civilians… there have been civilian casualties in this war?

President Assad: Of course, every war is a bad war, every war is a bad war. You cannot talk about good war. Let’s agree about this. Every war has causalities; every war has innocent people to pay the price. This is the bad thing about war. That’s why we need to end that war, but having casualties doesn’t mean not to defend our country against the terrorists and against the invasion from abroad through those proxies by foreign countries like the Western countries and the regional ones. This is self-evident.

Question 39: President Obama gave a speech in 2013 about US counter-terrorism efforts, including drone strikes, and he says while defending those strikes, nevertheless it is a hard fact that US strikes have resulted in civilian casualties from me and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live. Are you haunted by the deaths of innocent civilians caused by your government’s military actions?

President Assad: That’s an important example about the armament, it’s not about what bomb do you use, whether you call it barrel or any other name; it’s not about that. It’s about the way you use and your intentions. That’s why the state of the art drones with their missiles, the American ones, killed much more civilians than terrorists. So, it’s not about the drone, it’s not about the armaments; it’s about your intentions. In our case in Syria, of course we have to avoid the civilians, not only because they are our people and this is a moral issue; it’s actually because it’s going to play into the hands of the terrorists. If we kill the civilians intentionally, it means we are helping the terrorists. So, why would we do it, why we are defending the civilians and killing the civilians? It doesn’t work; this is contradiction. If we are killing the civilians, who are we defending in Syria? Against who and for who?

Question 40: You were asked just yesterday: are all means justified in this war, and you said, your answer was yes, it’s a duty. So, you can use every mean in order to defend the Syrian people.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: Every mean?

President Assad: Every mean.

Journalist: Including torture?

President Assad: No, it’s not a defense; torture is not a defense. Why to use torture? What’s the relation between torture and defending your country?

Journalist: So, where you draw the line?

President Assad: You have rules, you have very clear rules like any army; when you want to defend your country, you use your armaments against the terrorists. This is the only rule that I’m talking about. This is all the means that you can use in order to defend your country militarily, if I’m talking about military. Of course, you have to defend it politically, economically, in every sense of the word. But if you talk militarily, torture is not part of defending your country.

Question 41: Last question: can you just give us your vision of a settlement of this conflict, and can it… under any circumstances, will you be willing to step aside if it can end this disaster of a war for the Syrian people?

President Assad: Definitely, for me, whenever the Syrian people don’t want me to be in that position, I will leave right away, this is a very simple answer for me and I don’t have to think about it, and I’m not worried about this. What I would worry about is if I’m in that position and I don’t have the public support; this is going to be a big problem for me and I can’t bear it, and I cannot produce anyway. Regarding the first part, how would I see the solution, two pillars: the first one is fighting terrorism; without fighting terrorism and defeating the terrorists, no other solution would be fruitful at all, at all, any kind of solution. In parallel, dialogue between the Syrians about the future of Syria, that will include anything, everything, regarding the whole political system, the whole Syria in every sense of the word, then when we can get elections, and you can have national unity government, then you can have parliamentarian elections, then if the Syrian people think about early presidential elections or any kind of presidential elections, that will be viable.

Journalist: So, earlier than the completion of your term, which I believe, is in 2021?

President Assad:  If there is public consensus about this.

Question 42: How would you determine whether there’s public consensus or not?

President Assad: We can discuss it at that time; it’s still early to talk about it. We haven’t finished any of the stages that I’m talking about. So, we never thought about how because we don’t know what circumstances are we going to face that time. But at the end, when you live in a country, you can sense; Syria is not a continent, it’s a small country, we can deal with each other, we can know each other as society. You can sense, you can feel if there is public consensus, and then if you want to do something documented, you can have referendum, that’s very clear.

Question 43: Do you have any cause for optimism?

President Assad: Of course, without that optimism we wouldn’t fight for six years. The only… the main optimism that we’ve had is that we’re going to defeat those terrorists and their masters, and we’re going to restore stability in Syria, and more important than my optimism is the determination of the Syrian people; this is very important source for optimism. Without that determination, you wouldn’t see Syria in these very difficult and exceptional circumstances still living the minimum life, let’s say, if not the normal life, but the minimum life, to survive, and for the government to offer different services and subsidies, and so on.

Journalist: Thank you Mr. President.

President Assad: Thank you very much.

Trump’s Futile Efforts to Appease the Jews

Posted on February 8, 2017

 photo jewsagainsttrump_zps5p6q3gom.jpg

‘Israel accepts Jews only; and American Jews do not object to it; they do not compare Israeli leaders with Hitler or Trump…’

[ Ed. note – Israel Shamir is a noted author and commentator on Middle East issues. His books include Galilee Flowers, and Cabbala of Power. He is also a former Israeli and a Jewish convert to Christianity. In the article below he argues that the attacks on Trump we are seeing today, and particularly the strident protests over the president’s immigration ban from seven Muslim countries, are in reality a continuation of the war against Christianity, though under a different guise.

“The war on Christ and the Church is the most important element of Judaism,” he says. “Wherever Jews succeed, the Church suffers, and vice versa.”

In other words, the deep divisions we are witnessing now in American society are symptomatic of far more than simply political differences over how the country should be run. It is something much more primal and deep–and I’m not sure Trump fully understands this, if at all.

For these reasons, Shamir says, Trump’s efforts to win favor with Jews (by moving the US embassy, appointing hardcore Zionists to top positions in his administration, etc.) are likely to prove futile. He also notes something I noted in a post I put up a week ago–namely that the Jewish fundamentalists who hold power in Israel have different priorities from American Jews, and that appeasing one group does not necessarily gain Trump any ground with the other–and this also is not something the new occupant of the White House appears to comprehend fully.

Trump’s best hope of succeeding in his new job is to try and fathom the root source of the hostility now being directed against him. There are Bible verses that provide clues were he to take the time to read them–such as this one from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:20):  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” As I have said elsewhere, “Christian anti-Semitism” was not the cause of the split between Christianity and Judaism. The antipathy to Jesus’ teachings was present right from the start. ]

***

By Israel Shamir

President Trump had paid a hefty advance to the Jews. He did (almost) all they wanted for their Jewish state: he promised to move the US embassy to the occupied Jerusalem thus legalising their annexation of the holy city; he condoned their illegal settlements, he gave them starred positions in his administration; he told the Palestinians to drop their case in the ICC or else, he even threatened Iran with war. All that in vain. Jewish organisations and Jewish media attack Trump without slightest hesitation and consideration. His first step in curbing the soft invasion wave had been met with uniform Jewish vehemence.

He was called a new Hitler and accused of hatred of Muslims: what else could cause the President to arrest, even for a few months, the brave new migration wave from seven Middle Eastern states? Today he singles out Muslims, tomorrow he will single out Jews, said Jewish newspapers. Migration is the lifeblood of America, and the Muslim refugees are welcome to bring more diversity to the US.

Massive demonstrations, generously paid for by this notable Jewish philanthropist Mr George Soros, shook the States, while judges promptly banned the banning order. They insisted the orders are anti-Muslim, and therefore they are anti-constitutional. Somehow the constitution, they said, promises full equality of immigrants and does not allow to discriminate between a Muslim and a Christian.

This sounds an unlikely interpretation of the US Constitution. The US, and every other state, normally discriminates, or using a less loaded word, selects its potential citizens. The choice of seven states hasn’t been made by Donald Trump but by his saintly predecessor: President Barack Obama, this great friend of Muslims, made the choice personally some years earlier. So Trump had made a most moderate and modest step in the direction of blocking immigration by picking states already selected by the Democratic President.

One could reasonably claim that people of the seven states have a very good reason to hate America, and the reasons were supplied by previous US Presidents.

Libya, the most prosperous North African state until recently, had been ruined by President Obama: NATO invasion had brought Libya down; instead of stopping migration wave Libya had been turned into a jumping board for the Africans on their way North.

Syria is another Obama’s victim: by his insistence that ‘Assad must go’, by massive transfer of weaponry, money and equipment (remember white Toyota pickups?) to the Islamic extremists, he ruined this country.

Iraq has been ruined by President Bush Jr: he invaded the most advanced Sunni state, broke it to pieces and gave the centre of the country to the Isis.

Somalia has been ruined by President Bush Sr: he invaded this unfortunate country in the early nineties, when the USSR collapse allowed him to do so under the UN flag. Since then Somalia has become the supplier of choice of migrants and refugees for Sweden (there they formed the biggest community in Malmo and elsewhere), the US is also keen on getting them.

Yemen has been destroyed by Obama with Mme Clinton playing an important role: she facilitated delivery of weapons to Saudi Arabia in real time as they bombed Yemenis.

Sudan was bombed by President Clinton; afterwards this country had been dismembered and separate South Sudan had been created. Both halves became dysfunctional.

Iran is the odd one in the Magnificent Seven. It has not been invaded, has not been bombed, just threatened with invasion and bombardment for many years since President Carter. This country has no terrorists, it did not fail, its citizens are not running seeking for asylum. It was placed on the list by President Obama, who planned to bomb it, but never got to do it.

While Bush, Clinton and Obama bombed and invaded these countries, the Democratic humanitarians including their Jewish leaders just applauded and asked for more bombs. But they became appalled when Trump promised: no more regime change, end of “invade the world/invite the world” mode. Wikileaks put it well: bomb the Muslims, and you are fine; ban the Muslims, and you are the enemy.

Apparently, the people who instigated the Middle Eastern wars wanted to create a wave of refugees into Europe and North America in order to bring more colour and diversity to these poor monochrome lands. Welfare state, national cohesion, local labour and traditions will disappear, and these countries will undergo a process of homogenisation. Never again the natives will be able to single out Jews, for there will be no natives, just so many persons from all over the world, celebrating Kumbaya.

The Jews will be able to get and keep their privileged positions in Europe as they do in the US. They won’t be alone: by their success, they will establish a pattern to copycat for whoever wants to succeed in the new world, and masses of imitation-Jews will support the policies of real Jews.

Still, Jewish insistence on the Syrian refugees’ acceptance and on Muslim immigration in general is a strange and baffling phenomenon. Hypocrisy is too mild a word to describe that. We may exclude compassion as a cause for it. There are many thousands of natives of Haifa in Israel who suffer in Syria and dream to come back to their towns and villages, but the state of Israel does not allow these Syrian refugees to return for one crime: they aren’t Jews.

Israel accepts Jews only; and American Jews do not object to it; they do not compare Israeli leaders with Hitler or Trump. Israel had build a wall on its border with Sinai, and this wall stopped the black wave of African migrants. American Jews did not shout “No wall, no ban” in front of Israeli Embassy. Mystery, eh?

Kevin MacDonald wrote a thoughtful piece trying to unravel the mystery, Why Do Jewish Organizations Want Anti-Israel Refugees? and published it on January 17, a few days before Trump’s inauguration and full three weeks before the subject moved to the front burner. KMD correctly predicted that Donald Trump won’t appeal for “national unity” in his Inaugural Address, though this was the guess of mass media. Moreover, KMD correctly predicted that “Trump will announce an immediate pause in “refugee” admissions, currently surging, to be followed by a zero quota for the next fiscal year. There would be hysteria, in which the major Jewish organizations would, almost certainly, join. My (KMD’s) question: why would they do that?”

KMD provides a few possible answers, but none answers his own question. The world is full of troubles, and the US can get as many refugees as they wish from the Ukraine or Brazil, from China and Central Africa, without an anti-Israeli angle.

I’d suggest a simple explanation. Jews want to import Muslims to fight Christ and the Church.

Muslims of the Middle East are not, or weren’t, anti-Christian; they co-existed for millennia with their Christian neighbours. In Palestine, Christians and Muslims lived together and suffered together under the Jewish yoke.

But recently a new wind has blown in the Muslim faith, the wind of a very strong rejection of whatever is not strict Sunni Islam of the ISIS brand. Their first enemy is Shia Islam, but Christians follow Shias as a second-best object of persecution…

Continued here

Anti-Donald Trump: war propaganda

Our previous articles concerning President Trump have caused some fierce reactions from our readers. Some of them have been wondering about the naïvety apparently displayed by Thierry Meyssan despite the warnings issued by the international Press and the accumulation of negative signals. Here is his response, well-reasoned as always.

| DAMASCUS (SYRIA) | 7 FEBRUARY 2017
JPEG - 18.8 kb

Two weeks after his investiture, the Altantist Press continues with its work of disinformation and agitation against the new President of the United States of America. Trump and his new collaborators are multiplying declarations and gestures which are apparently contradictory, so that it is difficult to understand what is going on in Washington.

The anti-Trump campaign

The bad faith of the Atlantist Press can be verified for each of these four main themes.

- 1. Concerning the beginning of the dismantling of Obamacare (20 January), we are obliged to report that, contrary to what is being announced in the Atlantist Press, the underprivileged classes who should have benefited from this system have avoided it en masse. This form of «social security» turned out to be too expensive and too directive to attract them. Only the private companies who manage this system have been truly satisfied by it.

- 2. Concerning the prolongation of the Wall at the Mexican border (23 to 25 January), there is nothing xenophobic about it – the Secure Fence Act was signed by President George W. Bush, who began its construction. The work was continued by President Barack Obama with the support of the Mexican government of the time. Beyond the fashionable rhetoric about «walls» and «bridges», reinforced border systems only work when the authorities of both sides agree to make them operational. They always fail when one of the parties opposes them. The interest of the United States is to control the entry of migrants, while the interest of Mexico is to prevent the import of weapons. None of that has changed. However, with the application of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), transnational companies have delocalised, from the United States to Mexico, not only non-qualified jobs (in conformity with the Marxist rule of «the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (TRPF)», but also qualified jobs which are performed by under-paid workers («social dumping»). The appearance of these jobs has provoked a strong rural exodus, destructuring Mexican society, on the model of what happened in 19th century Europe. The transnational companies then lowered wages, plunging part of the Mexican population into poverty – which now only dreams of being correctly paid in the United States itself. Since Donald Trump has announced that he intends to remove the US signature from the NAFTA agreement, things should return to normal in the years to come, and satisfy both Mexico and the United States [1].

- 3. Concerning the abortion issue (23 January), President Trump has forbidden the payment of federal subsidies to specialised associations which receive funds from abroad. By doing so, he has warned those specific associations that they must choose between their social objective to help women in distress or being paid by George Soros to demonstrate against him – as was the case on 21 January. This decree therefore has nothing to do with abortion, but with the prevention of a «colour revolution».

- 4. Concerning the anti-immigration decrees (25 to 27 January), Donald Trump announced that he was going to apply the law – inherited from the Obama era – in other words, to expel the 11 million illegal foreigners. He has suspended federal aid to those cities which announced that they would refuse to apply the law – where will we get our cleaning ladies if we have to declare them? He specified that among these illegal immigrants, he would begin by expelling the 800,000 criminals who have been the object of criminal proceedings, in the United States, Mexico or elswhere. Besides this, in order to prevent the arrival of terrorists, he has suspended all the authorisations for immigration to the United States, and has placed a three-month ban on people from countries where it is impossible to verify their identity and their situation. He did not draw up the list of such countries himself, but referred to a previous text from President Obama. For example, here in Syria, there is no longer a US embassy or Consulate. From the point of view of the administrative police, it is therefore logical to put Syrians on this list. But this can only concern a minimal number of people. In 2015, only 145 Syrians managed to obtain the US «green card». Aware of the numerous special cases which might arise, the Presidential decree allows all liberty to the State Department and Homeland Security to issue dispensations. The fact that the application of these decrees was sabotaged by civil servants opposed to President Trump, who applied them with brutality, does not make the President either a racist or an Islamophobe.

The campaign led by the Atlantist Press against Donald Trump is therefore unfounded. To pretend that he has opened a war against Muslims, and to evoke publicly his possible destitution, even his assassination, is no longer simply bad faith – it’s war propaganda.

Donald Trump’s objective

Donald Trump was the first personality in the world to contest the official version of the attacks of 9/11, on television that very day. After having noted that the engineers who built the Twin Towers were now working for him, he declared on New York’s Channel 9 that it was impossible that Boeings could have burst through the steel structures of the towers. He continued by stating that it was also impossible that Boeings could have caused the towers to collapse. He concluded by affirming that there had to be other factors of which we were as yet unaware.

From that day on, Donald Trump has never ceased to resist the people who had committed those crimes. During his inaugural speech, he emphasised that this was not a passage of power between two administrations, but a restitution of power to United States citizens, who had been deprives of it [for sixteen years] [2].

During his electoral campaign, once again during the transitional period, and again since he took office, he has repeated that the imperial system of these last years has never benefited US citizens, but only a small clique of which Mrs. Clinton is the emblematic figure. He declared that the United States would no longer attempt to be the «first», but the «best». His slogans are – « Make America great again» and «America first»

This 180° political turn has shaken a system which has been implemented over the last 16 years, and has its roots in the Cold War, which, in 1947, only the United States wanted. This system has gangrened numerous international institutions, such as NATO (Jens Stoltenberg and General Curtis Scaparrotti), the European Union (Federica Mogherini), and the United Nations (Jeffrey Feltman) [3].

If Donald Trump is to reach his objective, it will take years.

Towards a peaceful dismantling of the United States Empire

In two weeks, many things have begun, often in the greatest discretion. The booming declarations of President Trump and his team deliberately spread confusion and enabled him to ensure that the nominations of his collaborators were confirmed by a partially hostile Congress.

We must understand that it’s a fight to the death between two systems that has just begun in Washington. Let’s leave the Atlantist Press to comment on the often contradictory and incoherent statements by this one or that, and look at the facts on their own.

Before anything else, Donald Trump made sure that he had control over the security apparatus. His first three nominations (National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly) are three Generals who have contested the «continuity of government» since 2003 [4]. Next, he reformed the National Security Council to exclude the inter-army Chief of Staff and the director of the CIA [5]

Even though the latter decree will probably be revised, it still has not been. Let us note in passing that we announced the intention of Donald Trump and General Flynn to eliminate the post of Director of National Intelligence [6]. However, this post has been maintained and Dan Coats has been nominated for it. It transpires that talk of its supression was a tactic to demonstrate that the presence of the Director of National Intelligence in the Council was enough to justify the exclusion of the Director of the CIA.

The substitution of the word «best» for «first» leads to the engagement of partnerships with Russia and China, rather than a tentative to crush them.

In order to hobble this policy, the friends of Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Nuland have relaunched the war against the Donbass. The important losses they have experienced since the beginning of the conflict have led the Ukrainian army to withdraw and put paramilitary Nazi militia in the front line. The combats have inflicted heavy civilian casualities on the inhabitants of the new popular Republic. Simultaneously, in the Near East, they have managed to deliver tanks to the Syrian Kurds, as planned by the Obama administration.

In order to resolve the Ukrainian conflict, Donald Trump is looking for a way to help to eject President Petro Porochenko. He therefore received at the White House the head of the opposition, Ioulia Tymochenko, even before he accepted a phone call from President Porochenko.

In Syria and Iraq, Donald Trump has already begun operations in common with Russia, even thought his spokesperson denies it.The Russian Minister for Defence, who had imprudently revealed it, has ceased to say anything on the subject.

Concerning Beijing, President Trump has put an end to US participation in the Trans-Pacific Treaty (TPP) – a treaty which had been conceived in order to inhibit China. During the period of transition, he received the second richest man in China, Jack Ma (the businessman who confirmed – «No-one has stolen your jobs, you spend too much on war»). We know that their discussions touched on the possible adhesion of Washington to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). If this were to be the case, the United States would agree to cooperate with China rather than hindering it. They would participate in the construction of two Silk Roads, which would make the wars in Donbass and Syria pointless.

In matters of finance, President Trump has begun the dismantling of the Dodd-Frank law which attempted to resolve the crisis of 2008 by averting the brutal collapse of the major banks («too big to fail»). Although this law has some positive aspects (it’s 2,300 pages long), it establishes a guardianship of the Treasury over the banks, which obviously hinders their development. Donald Trump is also apparently preparing to restore the distinction between deposit banks and investment banks (Glass-Steagall Act).

Finally, the clean-up of international institutions has also begun. The new ambassador to the UNO, Nikki Haley, has requested an audit of the 16 «peace-keeping» missions. She has made it known that she intends to put an end to those which seem to be inefficient. From the point of view of the United Nations Charter, all such missions will be audited without exception. Indeed, the founders of the Organisation had not foreseen this type of military deployment (today, more than 100,000 men and women). The UNO was created to avert or resolve conflicts between states (never intra-state conflict). When two parties conclude a cease-fire, the Organisation may deploy observers in order to verify the respect of the agreement. But on the contrary, these «peace-keeping» operations are aimed at enforcing the respect of a solution imposed by the Security Council and refused by one of the two parties involved in the conflict – in reality, it is the continuation of colonialism.

In practice, the presence of these forces only makes the conflict last longer, while their absence changes nothing. So the troops of the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) deployed at the Israëlo-Lebanese border, but only on Lebanese territory, do not prevent either Israëli military operations or military operations by the Lebanese Resistance, as we have already seen many times. They serve only to spy on the Lebanese on behalf of the Israëlis, thus prolonging the conflict. In the same way, the troops of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, or UNDOF, deployed at the demarcation line in the Golan have been chased away by Al-Qaïda, without that changing anything at all in the Israëlo-Syrian conflict. Putting an end to this system means returning to the spirit and the letter of the Charter, renouncing colonial privileges, and pacifying the world.

Behind the media controversy, the street demonstrations, and the confrontation between politicians, President Trump is holding his course.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[2] “Donald Trump Inauguration Speech”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 21 January 2017.

[3] “Germany and the UNO against Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016.

[4] “Trump – enough of 9/11!”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 24 January 2017.

[5] “Donald Trump winds up “the” organization of US imperialism].]”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 31 January 2017.

[6] “General Flynn’s Proposals to Reform Intelligence”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Contralínea (Mexico) , Voltaire Network, 1 December 2016.

Coverage of Aleppo: a new low in the mainstream media’s integrity

A general view taken with a drone shows the Old City of Aleppo and Aleppo's historic citadel, Syria October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/File Photo - RTSV11Y

Old City of Aleppo and Aleppo’s historic citadel, Syria October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/


By Bas Spliet, Submitted by Bas Spliet
Scrutinised Minds, 3/2/2017

Remember Aleppo? Close to two months have now passed since the eastern part of Syria’s largest pre-war city was retaken by the government. Peace has returned to the ancient city, the jihadis and their sympathisers have been evacuated to rebel-held parts of the country, and negotiations between the government and the armed opposition under the auspices of Russia, Iran and Turkey are ongoing. The mainstream media, however, is suddenly relatively silent. Perhaps they don’t want you to know what life under rebel occupation must have been like. In this article, I offer a comprehensive analysis of the mass media’s war-time coverage of Aleppo, with emphasis on what they described as its “fall” in December 2016.

Unreliable sources and undocumented allegations

When Cartman and Stan broke the world’s largest beaver dam in the ninth season of South Park, it caused the town of Beaverton to flood. Standing 10 miles outside of the destroyed city, unable to get in, reporter Mitch explained the situation inside the city to news anchor Tom:

Mitch: “We have not any reports of fatalities yet, but we believe that the death toll may be in the hundreds of millions; Beaverton only has a population of 8.000, Tom, so this would be quite devastating.”

Tom: “Any word on how the survivors in the town are doing, Mitch?”

Mitch: “We’re not sure what exactly is going on inside the town of Beaverton, Tom, but we’re reporting that there is looting, raping, and yes, even acts of cannibalism.”

Tom: “My god, you’ve actually seen people looting, raping and eating each other?”

Mitch: “No. No, we haven’t actually seen it, Tom, we’re just reporting it.”[1]

At first glance, it might seem odd and even perverse to link this South Park scene to the mass media’s coverage of the real-life war-torn city of Aleppo. The similarities, however, are striking. Just like in the above-mentioned clip, the mainstream media has almost no reporters on the ground in Aleppo, let alone in Syria, as its correspondents almost exclusively report from Lebanon or Turkey. The Western press therefore has to rely on their usual compromised sources, such as the White Helmets, an obscure Western-funded NGO infamous for being armed and partial contrary to their own claims, spokespeople from Nour al-Din al-Zinki – infamous for decapitating a 12-year-old Palestinian boy with a small knife – and other Western-backed “moderate rebel” groups, and a handful of other “journalists,” “activists” and “doctors” embedded with the insurgents (the primary sources of many documented fabrications)[2] who sent out their “final videos” when the Syrian army was closing in on east Aleppo, implying that they were awaiting an imminent genocide. The Daily Beast went as far as including allegations circulating in rebel chat forums in its reporting.[3]

Claims coming from these “reliable” sources that the Western press eagerly reported on without much scrutiny include the estimation of 100.000 trapped civilians in only “a few streets, a few blocks, maybe a neighbourhood,”[4] bombs falling at a ratio of 10 per minute,[5] more than 100 unattended children being trapped in a building amid attacks by the Syrian army,[6] the Syrian army and pro-government militias executing more than 180 people after taking over rebel-held neighbourhoods,[7] the streets lying “full of dead bodies,” government forces capturing the remaining food supplies, women and children being “cooked alive by barrel bombs,” and “the conquerors of Aleppo” raping in the course of their “Assadist blitzkrieg,” prompting numerous women to kill themselves in order to escape rape.[8] None of these claims were accompanied by evidence.[9]

The UN OHCHR High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, too, alleged from “reports” that pro-government forces might have killed 82 civilians. Again, it was the Western press that distorted Zeid’s words and presented the undocumented allegation as a fact, however. The BBC claimed that “Syrian pro-government forces in eastern Aleppo have been killing people, including women and children, on the spot in their homes and on the street, the United Nations says,”[10] while the UN never said such a thing. The only thing that Zeid (who, it should be noted, is a prince of the Jordanian monarchy, which is heavily involved in the war against Syria) said, was that he had “reports.” Furthermore, when Rupert Colville, the Commissioner’s spokesperson, was asked which forces would be involved in these executions, it became pretty clear how substantiated this claim is:

I can’t say who has done all of them, but we understand that at least one Iraqi militia was involved. We’ve heard of killings of civilians in this way in four different locations, so it may well be different forces involved.”[11] (emphasis added)

Compare this to the OHCHR-linked Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which also received “allegations” the next day of opposition groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, “preventing civilians from leaving as well as opposition fighters embedding themselves within the civilian population, thus heightening the risk to civilians of being killed or injured.”[12] While the Commissioner’s statement found its way to headlines across the world, these warnings have been swept under the rug by the mainstream media. The latter, however, follows an existing pattern,[13] while to date, no evidence or even a source of the former claim has been put forward.

Reminding us of the Iraqi and Libyan opposition’s numerous undocumented and later disproven allegations that the Western press uncritically reported on in concert at the time, the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn stated:

“Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups. It is inevitable that an opposition movement fighting for its life in wartime will only produce, or allow to be produced by others, information that is essentially propaganda for its own side.”[14]

In another article, Cockburn reiterates:

“By kidnapping and killing [foreign journalists], it is easy to create a vacuum of information that is great in demand and will, in future, be supplied by informants sympathetic to or at the mercy of the very same people (in this case the jihadi rulers of east Aleppo) who have kept out the foreign journalists. Killing or abducting the latter turns out to have been a smart move by the jihadis because it enabled them to establish substantial control of news reaching the outside world.”[15]

Then again, as this situation plays right into the hands of the US-NATO interventionists, we have to ask ourselves to what extent this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the imperialists and their regional proxies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in particular) continue to supply both Syrian and foreign jihadis with weapons, finances and training while knowing full well the nature of these insurgents, it would be naive to think that the jihadi media monopoly was not the intended outcome. Moreover, NATO has been able to exert considerable influence in the propaganda that is exported to the West, not only through funding but also by providing special “media training” to the very same “rebel activists” that are the primordial disinformation agents in sustaining the false narrative.[16] Most notably, the French government and the EU funded the notorious Aleppo Media Center,[17] and, in addition to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the US, the UK and some other countries have made large contributions to the White Helmets, an opposition-linked NGO established by a former British intelligence officer.[18] Not surprisingly, both organisations continuously blame the Syrian government for everything, just like NATO, and tirelessly call for a Libya-style no-fly zone, just like NATO.

The suppressed voices: Aleppo’s citizenry

Reaffirming its methodology of reporting on the war in Syria, the mass media is relying almost exclusively on the unverified accounts of a handful of obscure sources representing only a tiny minority of Aleppo’s population, implying that their view of seeing the Syrian government not just as the primary, but as the sole culprit of all the dead and devastation surrounding them is shared by most of Aleppo’s citizens. Yet, the two other parts of the Aleppo citizenry, both much greater in number, are ignored by the mainstream media.

First of all, we have to take into account that Aleppo has been artificially divided for the last four and a half years as a result of the war. The historical order of the city was restored by the reunification of its eastern and western parts. The population of the west – estimated at 1.5 million, several times higher than that of the east – is therefore significant to the story. Yet, while the Western press constantly quoted “activists” in east Aleppo, it failed to listen to what west Aleppans had to say about the situation in their city. Certainly the well-oiled propaganda machine would have brought demonstrations mourning the “fall” of east Aleppo to our attention, if there were any. Not only had opposition-linked social media none of the sort to offer their imperialist funders, but the absolute opposite happened when it became clear that the army’s seizure of east Aleppo was imminent. Indeed, many west Aleppo citizens took to the streets to celebrate, not decry, the government’s retaking of east Aleppo while waving not rebel-backed Free Syrian Army flags, but official ones.[19]

Second, and even more important, are the civilians that fled to government-controlled areas. According to UN[20] and Red Cross[21] estimates, 34.000 to 35.000 people have been evacuated to rebel-held Idlib. Take in mind that although these undoubtedly include some unarmed civilians, they are mostly made up of thousands of fighters and their families, as hinted by UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.[22] As the media consistently claimed (and probably exaggerated to some extent) that there were at least 250.000 civilians trapped in east Aleppo for the last few months, this means that a much larger amount of east Aleppans have flocked to government-controlled areas. Indeed, according to the Russian Reconciliation Center,[23] more than 100.000 civilians (including over 40.000 children) had left the eastern part of the city by 12 December, when fighting was still ongoing. When we listen to the stories of these refugees, it becomes clear why the mass media chose to ignore what they had to say.

First and foremost, long-time Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk interviewed one of the very first Muslim families that fled eastern Aleppo during a ceasefire a couple of weeks before the final advance of the Syrian army:

“The father had just been told that his brother was to be executed by the rebels because he crossed the frontline with his wife and son. He condemned the rebels for closing the schools and putting weapons close to hospitals. And he was no pro-regime stooge; he even admired Isis for their good behaviour in the early days of the siege.”[24]

Andrew Ashdown, a British Anglican priest, visited east Aleppo and the centre for internally displaced persons at Jibreen on 14 December, emphasising that the Syrian authorities did not receive prior notice of his visit. I could not but cite a large chunk of his account:

“The sense of relief amongst the thousands of refugees is palpable. All were keen to talk [and] all said the same thing. They said that they had been living in fear. They reported that the fighters have been telling everyone that the Syrian Army would kill anyone who fled to the West, but had killed many themselves who tried to leave – men, women and children. One woman broke down in tears as she told how one of her sons was killed by the rebels a few days ago, and another kidnapped. They also killed anyone who showed signs of supporting the Government. The refugees said that the ‘rebels’ told them that only those who support them are ‘true Muslims’, and that everyone else are ‘infidels’ and deserve to die.

They told us they had been given very little food: that any aid that reached the area was mostly refused to them or sold at exorbitant prices. Likewise, most had been given no medical treatment. […] Most of the refugees said they had had members of their families killed by the rebels and consistently spoke of widespread murder, torture, rape and kidnap by the rebels. […] They all said they were glad to be out and to be free. All the refugees without exception were visibly without exception clearly profoundly relieved and happy to be free.”[25]

This may sound absurd if you consistently relied on the mainstream media for the last few months. None of the stories of other journalists and travellers that have visited Aleppo, including US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, contradict Ashdown’s account, however.[26] All recorded testimonies of east Aleppo residents speak of the unimaginably barbaric behaviour of the insurgents, and no one relinquishes “moderates” from this inhumane activity. As a matter of fact, the residents themselves don’t seem to make a distinction between “extremist” terrorists and “moderate” rebels. The discrepancy between the narrative of the Western press and that of the people who are actually living through this is just mind-boggling. Vanessa Beeley, for instance, visited east Aleppo on 11 December and interviewed a woman from Hanano, who said, among other things, that one woman told the insurgents she wanted to leave, after which they shot her in the mouth.[27] Most tellingly, though, Bolivian-American actress and filmmaker Carla Ortiz, who spent eight months in Syria working on a documentary called Voice of Syria, somehow found her way to a CNN studio to share what east Aleppo residents told her:

“[They told me] how they were starved, how they were deprived from education, how, if they would dare to cross to the other side the terrorists would kill them, how little girls are […] sexually abused. […] They say for them it’s just Daesh [ISIS]; they don’t care if it’s a rebel or Free Syrian Army [fighter].”[28]

It should be noted that, contrary to the situation in rebel-held areas, the Syrian government does not have a full-scale monopoly on news in areas under its control. In a rare instance for the Western press, the BBC even had a correspondent on the ground during the final stages of fighting in Aleppo. As the BBC has been trying to demonise the Syrian government at every turn for the last five years (including manipulating, and most likely even fabricating, video evidence of alleged chemical warfare by the Syrian army),[29] you would expect its correspondent, Lyse Doucet, to find as many civilian accounts as possible to corroborate the undocumented allegations of government atrocities. Surely she could have easily countered all the above-mentioned stories if they would tell only half of the story, as she talked to many refugees from east Aleppo. When going through her reporting, however, none of the sort is to be found. Moreover, although she clearly tries to bend the issue as much as possible to the “both sides are equally bad” narrative, it looks like she only managed to find seemingly pro-government families to talk to. Indeed, in two separate videos, a woman and children are filmed praising Assad, the army and the government.[30]

In context: coverage of Aleppo during the war on Syria

By now, it has become quite clear that most media coverage of the reunification of Aleppo is the absolute antithesis of the reality on the ground. But what about the last four and a half years, was there ever any objectivity in the major news outlets’ reports?

Aleppo was Syria’s largest city before the war and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. According to the dominant narrative, Aleppo rose up against the dictatorial Syrian government in July-August 2012, paving the way for pro-democracy fighters to liberate the ancient city. Yet, by the end of August, when the “revolutionaries” had taken control of much of the city, a rebel commander admitted to the Guardian that the overwhelming majority of the Aleppo citizenry was pro-government:

“Around 70% of Aleppo city is with the regime. It has always been that way. The countryside is with us and the city is with them. We are saying that we will only be here as long as it takes to get the job done, to get rid of the Assads. After that, we will leave and they can build the city that they want.”[31]

Taking this into account, the word “uprising” seems inapplicable. Indeed, as acknowledged by India’s then ambassador to Syria, it was pretty clear that the people in Aleppo did not want to take part in the armed rebellion’s so-called revolution:

“Aleppo remained calm and this troubled the [armed] opposition greatly. The opposition couldn’t get the people in Aleppo to rise up against the regime so they sent bus loads of people to Aleppo. These people would burn something on the streets and leave. Journalists would then broadcast this saying Aleppo had risen.”[32]

Rather than an internal revolt, the armed opposition invaded the city in convoy trucks coming from the north.[33] The BBC’s Ian Pannell even rode in with the militants into Aleppo, admitting in his otherwise twisted report (the scenes of which look an awful lot like what the Indian diplomat described above) that “many fear what they are really seeing is an Islamic takeover.”[34]

And so the eastern part of Syria’s financial and industrial centre fell to the Islamist insurgents. In the next few years, media attention mainly moved to other parts of Syria, and Aleppo remained divided. Media hysteria stirred up again in 2016, conveniently around the time it became clear that the Syrian army was slowly gaining the upperhand. Opposition-linked social media often went into overdrive, making up countless false stories and producing a myriad of undocumented allegations of government atrocities, which were then eagerly adopted by the Western press.[35] In July temporarily, and in September permanently, the army finally managed to encircle rebel-held east Aleppo, thus imposing a siege. This provoked unilateral outrage among Western officials, totally neglecting the fact that they have either been directly responsible for or supportive of numerous other inhumane siege-like situations in the region – from the years-long devastating sieges of the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants on the villages of Foua, Kafraya, Nubl and Zahraa in Syria, to the vast humanitarian crises and hundreds of civilian deaths resulting from the US military campaigns to drive Daesh (ISIS) out of Mosul, Manbij, Fallujah and many other Iraqi and Syrian cities, to similar past and present sieges in the Middle East such as the US siege on Iraq that left 500.000 children dead according to UN estimates or the US Navy-backed blockade on Yemen’s ports, not to mention the crippling Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip, and last but not least, to the catastrophic economic sanctions imposed by the US and the EU on the whole of the Syrian people, some of which were installed well ahead of the eruption of violence in 2011.[36]

Now that they are driven out of Aleppo, the true face of the insurgents is emerging, and the fake narrative propagated by the mainstream media is falling apart. Reports of Syrian and Russian troops finding mass graves with bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation confirms the accounts of civilians who have lived under the jihadi occupation.[37] This does not mean that the West’s leading news producers could not have known the real story of Aleppo prior to its seizure by the army, however. They downplayed as much as they could the fact that these Western- and Gulf-equipped so-called revolutionaries killed hundreds of civilians by indiscriminately shelling urban parts of west Aleppo on an almost daily basis during the whole of 2016, leaving UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura “appalled and shocked” of the rebels’ usage of disproportionate weapons.[38]

While the Western press seized every opportunity to smear pro-government forces by persistently giving a platform to undocumented claims of the same “rebel activists” known for their numerous lies, it remained silent when the jihadis shot at civilians trying to leave.[39] While the picture of Omran Daqneesh, the (supposedly) wounded toddler in the ambulance, made it to almost all front pages across the globe, the story of 12-year-old Abdullah Issa, who was beheaded by the US-backed “moderate rebels” of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, remains largely untold. While the mainstream media cried crocodile tears every time the jihadis claimed that Russian or Syrian air strikes leveled the “last hospital” in east Aleppo, it ignored refugee accounts that denounced the rebels for depriving them of education and medical treatment. While the press decried the alleged death of the “last pediatrician” in an attack on the makeshift al-Quds hospital (which did almost certainly not even happen), it ignored accounts of real doctors in Aleppo refuting the mainstream media lies.[40] Instead of listening to the few civilians that managed to flee east Aleppo prior to the final advance of the army in December,[41] the mainstream media kept relying solely on “activists” embedded with the Islamists, thereby prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people by convincing Western policy makers, and much of the world by extension, that rebel successes must be cheered upon. And thus, when the outside world mourned the fall of Aleppo, Syrians celebrated its liberation.

Conclusion

While the corporate press is now labelling everything not in accordance with its own coverage as “fake news,” this article has made it pretty clear who the chiefs of deception really are. One must not underestimate the power of the fourth branch of the government. If it serves not as a critical examinator of government policies but instead as its purveyor and mouthpiece and at the same time is still regarded as “pluralistic and free,” a very dangerous cocktail of propaganda emerges. The masses could then be convinced into supporting wars of aggression, which is exactly what happened in the lead up to the military campaigns against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. What makes you think this is any different?


RELATED BY THE SAME AUTHOR:

THE PROXY WAR ON SYRIA

the-proxy-war-on-syria

https://scrutinisedminds.com/category/the-proxy-war-on-syria/


Notes

[1] “Southpark – we are just reporting it,” Youtube channel of PeanutButterFingers, 26.05.2014, consulted on 15.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0p96miSK8.

[2] Many documented examples are mentioned in part 3 and 4 of my The proxy war on Syria series: Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 3: Does Assad ‘kill his own people?’ Deconstructing the ‘Assad must go’ narrative,” Scrutinised Minds, 13.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/13/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-3-does-assad-kill-his-own-people-deconstructing-the-assad-must-go-narrative/; Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4: The export of disinformation,” Scrutinised Minds, 20.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/20/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-4-the-export-of-disinformation/.

[3] Michael Weiss, Roy Gutman and Alex Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape, rebels report,” The Daily Beast, 13.12.2016, http://.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/12/last-rebels-in-aleppo-say-assad-forces-are-burning-people-alive.html.

[4] “Estimated 100,000 civilians still trapped in  Aleppo,” CNN, 13.12.2016, http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/12/13/crisis-as-syrian-troops-advance-pleitgen-lkl.cnn.

[5] “Aleppo resident: ‘nowhere to go’ as bombs interrupt interview,” BBC, 14.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38315465.

[6] May Bulman, “Aleppo: more than 100 children in building under heavy attack, says Unicef,” The Independent, 13.12.2016, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/aleppo-children-trapped-syria-civil-war-unaccompanied-unicef-eastern-a7472506.html.

[7] Jack Khoury, “Aleppo: massacre reported as Syrian army presses assault on last rebel holdout,” Haaretz, 13.12.2016, http://haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/1.758513.

[8] Weis, Gutman and Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape.”

[9] Following a long pattern throughout this war, fake images and images falsely attributed to Aleppo have also circulated widely on social media. For the most part, however, the mainstream media was wise enough not to jump on that bandwagon. For some examples, see “Fake ‘Aleppo genocide’ pics spread online amid new calls for ‘humanitarian’ war on Syria,” Mintpress News, 20.12.2016, http://.mintpressnews.com/fake-aleppo-genocide-pics-spread-amid-new-calls-for-war-on-syria/223306/; “Fake images about Aleppo circulate on social media, France 24, 15.12.2016, http://observers.france24.com/en/20161215-fake-images-aleppo-social-media.

[10] “Aleppo battle: UN says civilians shot on the spot,” BBC, 13.12.2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38301629.

[11] “‘Assad tue des civils’: un responsable de l’ONU accuse, mais, penaud, ne peut rien prouver,” Youtube-channel of RT France, 16.12.2016, consulted on 21.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Up3ZPoautDo.

[12] “Statement by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on the situation of civilians affected by the capture of Aleppo,” UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 14.12.2016, http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21031&LangID=E.

[13] Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 2: The two myths about the armed opposition,” Scrutinised Minds, 06.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/06/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-2-the-two-myths-about-the-armed-opposition/; also acknowledged in the past by the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: “Calls grow for Syrian government to end Aleppo siege,” The Daily Star, 29.07.2016, http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2016/Jul-29/364570-calls-grow-for-syria-government-to-end-aleppo-siege.ashx.

[14] Patrick Cockburn, “This is why everything you’ve read about the wars in Syria and Iraq could be wrong,” The Independent, 02.12.2016, http://.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-aleppo-iraq-mosul-isis-middle-east-conflict-assad-war-everything-youve-read-could-be-wrong-a7451656.html.

[15] Patrick Cockburn, “There’s more propaganda than news coming out of Aleppo this week,” The Independent, 17.12.2016, http://independent.co.uk/voices/aleppo-crisis-syrian-war-bashar-al-assad-isis-more-propaganda-than-news-a7479901.html.

[16] “Syria – killing journos enabled ‘media activist’ domination – intended effect?”, Moon of Alabama, 19.12.2016, http://moonofalabama.org/2016/12/unconventional-warfare-killing-journalists-creates-media-activist-domination.html#more.

[17] Vanessa Beeley, “‘Aleppo Media Center’ funded by French Foreign Office, EU and US,” 21st Century Wire, 20.09.2016, http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/20/exclusive-aleppo-media-centre-funded-by-french-foreign-office-eu-and-us/.

[18] Brandon Turbeville, “White Helmets NGO: a ‘rescue and assist’ operation under the guise of human rights,” Mintpress News, 11.05.2016, http://mintpressnews.com/white-helmets-ngo-rescue-assist-operation-guise-human-rights/216324/.

[19] Clearly visible in video’s presented by RT, Press TV and Reuters: “Street celebrations in Aleppo on news of Syrian  army retaking east of city – RT reporter,” RT, 12.12.2016, http://rt.com/news/370084-aleppo-liberation-reports-celebrations/; “Celebrations in Aleppo after its full liberation,” Youtube-channel of Press TV News Videos, 22.12.2016, consulted on 24.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cgh6wcqQamM; “Celebrating victory in Aleppo,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, http://reuters.com/video/2016/12/22/celebrating-victory-in-aleppo?videoId=370787914. Also acknowledged by the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (according to which, celebrations erupted in several cities), al-Jazeera, the Daily Mail and International Business Times: “Celebrations of ‘Aleppo victory’ in cities and areas controlled by the regime forces,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 23.12.2016, http://syriahr.com/en/?p=57657; “Rebel-held east Aleppo nears collapse,” Al-Jazeera, 13.12.2016, http://aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/rebel-held-east-aleppo-nears-collapse-161212195346604.html; “Merry Christmas in Aleppo (if you’re on the winning side): dozens of Assad loyalists dress up as Santa and ‘celebrate’ in shattered city square,” The Daily Mail, 21.12.2016, http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4055526/Merry-Christmas-Aleppo-winning-Dozens-locals-dress-Santa-celebrate-square-enjoy-taste-normality.html; Tom O’Conner, “Christmas in Aleppo: photos, video show Christians celebrate Assad victory in Syria,” International Business Times, 22.12.2016, http://ibtimes.com/christmas-aleppo-photos-video-show-christians-celebrate-assad-victory-syria-2464372.

[20] Ellen Francis, “Syrian army announces victory in Aleppo in boost for Assad,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, http://reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN14B1NQ.

[21] “Syria: Aleppo evacuation completed,” Red Cross UK, 23.12.2016, http://redcross.org.uk/About-us/News/2016/December/Syria-Aleppo-evacuation-completed.

[22] John Irish and Alison Williams, “U.N. Syria envoy says rebel city Idlib risks Aleppo fate if no peace talks,” Reuters, 15.12.2016, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-demistura-idUKKBN1442N4.

[23] “Over 100,000 civilians left eastern Aleppo since operation against militants began,” Russian News Agency TASS, 12.12.2016, http://tass.com/world/918621. Note that no other world body or more neutral organisation bothered to estimated the amount of civilians that fled to government-controlled areas. Therefore, I had to resort to the estimation of the Russian Reconciliation Center.

[24] Robert Fisk, “There is more than one truth to tell in the terrible story of Aleppo,” Counterpunch, 14.12.2016, http://counterpunch.org/2016/12/14/there-is-more-than-one-truth-to-tell-in-the-terrible-story-of-aleppo/.

[25] Andrew Ashdown, “Aleppo: the truth that the Western media refuses to report,” Talfanzine, 15.12.2016, http://talfanzine.info/blog/2016/12/15/aleppo-the-truth-that-the-western-media-refuses-to-report/.

[26] Some other examples of testimonies and interviews: Jan Oberg, “The destruction of eastern Aleppo, Syria: December 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 25.12.2016, http://janoberg.exposure.co/the-destruction-of-eastern-aleppo-syria; Jan Oberg, “Humans in liberated Aleppo: December 11-12, 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 29.12.2016, http://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo; Charlotte d’Ornellas, “Alep Liberée: un reportage de Charlotte d’Ornellas,” Youtube channel of Boulevard Voltaire, 29.12.2016, consulted on 30.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=w8DJJDCGQ9g&app=desktop; Robert Fisk, “‘We were living a real tragedy in east Aleppo’: one family’s journey across the city amid the bloodshed,” The Independent, 01.11.2016, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/thousands-of-civilian-families-forced-by-militias-to-remain-in-eastern-aleppo-a7389346.html.

[27] Vanessa Beeley, “East Aleppo video diaries: Hanano testimonies that shatter corporate media propaganda myths,” 21st Century Wire, 22.12.2016, http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/20/aleppo-diaries-bearing-witness-to-the-liberation-of-hanano-east-aleppo-a-personal-view-by-vanessa-beeley/. Other testimonies of east Aleppo residents can be found at the video section of her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/videos?lst=100001241535936%3A667683867%3A1483038887.

[28] “Surprise: Carla Ortiz tells truth about Syria on CNN – fake news network,” Youtube-channel of Daily News TV, 22.12.2016, consulted on 25.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=uoL_Vu5Oqy0.

[29] Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4.”

[30] Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo siege: ‘we are crying and afraid’,” BBC, 03.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38194962; “Syria: celebrations as families return to homes in Aleppo,” BBC, 06.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38218086; Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo’s terrified residents flee rebel districts, dead and hunger,” Guardian, 10.12.2016, http://theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/10/aleppos-terrified-residents-tell-of-death-and-hunger-as-flee-rebel-districts.

[31] Martin Chulov, “Syrian rebels fight on for Aleppo despite local wariness,” Guardian, 21.08.2012, http://theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/21/syrian-rebels-aleppo-local-hostility.

[32] Alia Allana, “Gulf countries played a role in the Syrian uprising,” Fountain Ink, http://series.fountainink.in/gulf-countries-role-uprising/.

[33] Tony Cartalucci, “In Syria – how to ‘liberate’ a pro-army city? NATO terrorists come to overrun, not ‘liberate,’ Aleppo,” Land Destroyer, 25.06.2012, http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2012/07/in-syria-how-to-liberate-pro-army-city.html.

[34] Ian Pannell, “Aleppo: BBC journalist on Syria warplanes bombing city,” BBC, 24.07.2012, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-18976690. For a critical review of Ian Pannell’s coverage, see Tony Cartalucci, “BBC rides with al Qaeda in Aleppo, Syria,” Land Destroyer, 25.06.2012, http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2012/07/bbc-rides-with-al-qaeda-in-aleppo-syria.html.

[35] The case of the alleged destruction of a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital by a Syrian or Russian airstrike and the case of Omran Daqneesh, the boy in the ambulance, are discussed in part 3 and 4 of my The proxy war on Syria series, respectively. The amount of exposed false allegations, however, are too numerous to recount here.

[36] This unimaginable hypocrisy is explained perfectly in Stephen Gowans, “Our sieges and theirs,” What’s Left, 20.10.2016, http://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/our-sieges-and-theirs/.

[37] “Mass graves discovered in Aleppo, bodies showed signs of torture,” CBC News, 26.12.2016, http://cbc.ca/news/world/mass-graves-discovered-in-aleppo-bodies-showed-signs-of-torture-1.3912716.

[38] “Syrian rebels’ Aleppo offensive could amount to war crimes, UN envoy warns,” Guardian, 31.10.2016, http://theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/31/syrian-rebels-aleppo-offensive-could-amount-to-war-crimes-un-envoy-warns.

[39] “Gunfire intensifies in Aleppo despite ceasefire,” ITV News, 20.10.2016, http://itv.com/news/2016-10-20/itv-news-witnesses-fierce-gunfight-in-aleppo-despite-ceasefire/.

[40] Eva Bartlett, “Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors,” Signs of the Times, 14.08.2016, http://sott.net/article/325238-Western-corporate-media-disappears-over-1-5-million-Syrians-and-4000-doctors; Patrik Paulov, “‘Aleppo has been under fire by terrorists for four years.’ Interview with Aleppo doctor about life in Syria’s largest city.” Protetarën, 25.05.2016, http://proletaren.se/utrikes-mellanostern/aleppo-has-been-under-fire-terrorists-four-years; “A Syrian physician demolishes the propaganda put out by politicians and the media,” Ora Pro Siria, 26.07.2016, http://oraprosiria.blogspot.be/2016/07/a-syrian-physician-demolishes.html?m=1.

[41] Christoph Germann, “The world’s biggest hostage crisis is coming to an end,” Newsbud, 08.12.2016, http://newsbud.com/2016/12/08/newsbud-exclusive-the-worlds-biggest-hostage-crisis-comes-to-an-end/.


SOURCES:
By Bas Spliet, Scrutinised Minds
Submitted by Bas Spliet
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/coverage-of-aleppo/
~

No Ban! No Wall! No War?

As I watched the corporate news on demonstrations against Trump’s travel ban, I was struck by the fact that on-going wars in the Middle East were not mentioned. It was as if these refugees were fleeing Nazi Germany. No, they are fleeing the wars that we the American people have been waging against them for many years

It is a good thing to show compassion, declare our solidarity with Muslims, or to talk about our own immigrant histories, but we will fail to oppose Trump and make a real difference if we do not act against war and empire.

The corporate media avoids connecting our wars to Trump’s ban because war and empire is a matter of agreement among the political elites, an elite that the corporate media is very much a part of.  In a remarkable reversal of the Russian hacking story — which was broadcast constantly for weeks without evidence — the connection between war and refugees is patently obvious and glaringly absent.  What are they trying to hide?

If a new anti-war movement emerged from the resistance to Trump it would have the potential to shake the entire system. So the Democrats try to focus as narrowly as they can on Trump’s social and psychological pathologies while waiting to make up for their loses in the 2018 mid-term elections as the default party. The corporate media follows suit.

The anti-war movement of the Vietnam era was so powerful not just because of its compassion for others and moral condemnation of evil, but because it was a real political resistance movement that led people beyond the “liberal consensus.” The liberal consensus was a set of interlocking cultural norms and beliefs. It basic assumption was that  America was the supreme and exceptional leader of the free world.   The passage beyond conventional ways of thinking and acting occurred because being anti-war demanded a deep criticism of the established order both liberal and conservative.

Remember that the Vietnam war was fought by liberals like John F. Kennedy  Kennedy’s war advisors became known as the “Best and the Brightest,” a high powered  team of academic and industrial superstars that could, it turned out, calculate everything but understand nothing. Lyndon Baines Johnson escalated the conflict but was also the president that passed civil rights legislation on a scale that no other modern president has even dared. Liberal leaders like Hubert Humphrey and Edward Kennedy pursued the war as well.

Nixon won in 1968 largely because he ran to Humphrey’s left, as an anti-war candidate of sorts.  He returned the war to conservative leadership but, it was a conservatism  that would fit comfortably within the corporate wing of the today’s Democratic Party. Both Nixon and Hillary Clinton embraced Henry Kissinger who, seeking power like a missile seeks heat, has now gone over to Trump’s side.

It was the anti-war movement, against this basket of political icons, that crossed the threshold to a meaningful, principled opposition.  Two example will suffice to show just how deep it all went.

In April 1967 Martin Luther King rocked the civil rights movement and the nation with his first major speech opposing the war in Vietnam and linking war to racism and poverty. King crossed into revolutionary territory, stepped outside the liberal consensus, and became the leader of a movement for peace, racial equality and economic democracy. Let’s not forget that King was not a Democrat or a Republican. Leading up to the 1968 election, King supported dissenting candidates and even considered an independent run for president.

We must also recall the other truly revolutionary frontier crossed by American soldiers and veterans. In an unprecedented political movement, thousands of American soldiers and veterans opposed the very war they had fought in.

The leadership of the GI and Veteran anti-war movement were not reluctant draftees but rather gung-ho volunteers who were willing to risk life and limb to do the right thing. When the reality of combat in Vietnam dashed their high hopes they turned against war and empire. The military peace movement made history in ways no other peace movement could: soldier resistance slowed the war effort through direct action while the political resistance of the veterans challenged the symbolic and cultural foundations of the war.

The Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Veterans for Standing Rock continue this tradition.  The Vietnam Veterans Against the War took the same smears and attacks Tulsi Gabbard does today for her courageous acts against war.

Endless wars have been fought by Republicans and Democrats to secure oil and produce huge profits for major corporations. No wonder the media is silent on just where all these refugees are coming from.

Nothing captures the deception better than Madeline Albright’s claim that she will register as a Muslim given her bloody record of killing Muslims in Iraq.  Albright agreed with New Mexican Bill Richardson, that “the price was worth it.”  That “price,” according to former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and other observers, was the devastation of Iraq including the deaths of up to 500,000 people.

For us protestors, maybe its that war has been normalized. We started this cycle of conflict in the Greater Middle East in 1978 when we organized the Mujahideen in Afghanistan — the same rebels that would later become Al Qaeda and fight alongside of the “moderate rebels” we currently fund in Syria. We started bombing Iraq as far back as the First Gulf War in 1990. For many Americans these wars have been fought for their entire lives.

Trump’s war talk may or may not escalate beyond Obama’s rush to expand US military operations in Eastern Europe and Africa and invest a trillion dollars into nuclear weapons.  Trump is nonetheless challenging us to restart an anti-war movement that wages peace on many fronts: the Middle East, Iran, China, Mexico and the growing dangers of nuclear war.

Trump’s reckless provocations can only be answered by the renewal of a peace movement large enough to disrupt business as usual; by a peace movement that looks to soldiers and veterans for leadership; by a peace movement that understands, as Dr. King did, the deep connections between racism, war, economic exploitation, and now we must add, climate change.

Trump’s war plans, climate denial and support for big oil are a dangerous formula as it becomes increasingly clear that war and climate change are intimately connected. We will fail to oppose Trump and everything he stands for if we do not oppose war and empire.

No Ban! No Wall! No War!

%d bloggers like this: