How America armed terrorists in Syria

From Consortium News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.

By Gareth Porter
June 23, 2017

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Dec. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.

Shipments from Benghazi

CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.

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Norman Solomon: How the Russia spin got so much torque

From Information Clearing House

By Norman Solomon
May 02, 2017

A new book about Hillary Clinton’s last campaign for president — “Shattered,” by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes — has gotten a lot of publicity since it appeared two weeks ago. But major media have ignored a revealing passage near the end of the book.

Soon after Clinton’s defeat, top strategists decided where to place the blame. “Within 24 hours of her concession speech,” the authors report, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta “assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

Six months later, that centerpiece of the argument is rampant — with claims often lurching from unsubstantiated overreach to outright demagoguery.

A lavishly-funded example is the “Moscow Project,” a mega-spin effort that surfaced in midwinter as a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It’s led by Neera Tanden, a self-described “loyal solider” for Clinton who also runs the Center for American Progress (where she succeeded Podesta as president). The Center’s board includes several billionaires.

The “Moscow Project” is expressly inclined to go over the top, aiming to help normalize ultra-partisan conjectures as supposedly factual. And so, the homepage of the “Moscow Project” prominently declares: “Given Trump’s obedience to Vladimir Putin and the deep ties between his advisers and the Kremlin, Russia’s actions are a significant and ongoing cause for concern.”

Let’s freeze-frame how that sentence begins: “Given Trump’s obedience to Vladimir Putin.” It’s a jaw-dropping claim; a preposterous smear.

Echoes of such tactics can be heard from many Democrats in Congress and from allied media. Along the way, no outlet has been more in sync than MSNBC, and no one on the network has been more promotional of the Russia-runs-Trump meme than Rachel Maddow, tirelessly promoting the line and sometimes connecting dots in Glenn Beck fashion to the point of journalistic malpractice.

Yet last year, notably without success, the Clinton campaign devoted plenty of its messaging to the Trump-Russia theme. As the “Shattered” book notes, “Hillary would raise the issue herself repeatedly in debates” with Trump. For example, in one of those debates she said: “We have 17 — 17 — intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election.”

After Trump’s election triumph, the top tier of Clinton strategists quickly moved to seize as much of the narrative as they could, surely mindful of what George Orwell observed: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” After all, they hardly wanted the public discourse to dwell on Clinton’s lack of voter appeal because of her deep ties to Wall Street. Political recriminations would be much better focused on the Russian government.

In early spring, the former communications director of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, summed up the post-election approach neatly in a Washington Post opinion article: “If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us.”

The inability of top Clinton operatives to identify with the non-wealthy is so tenacious that they still want to assume “the public will be with us” the more they talk about Russia Russia Russia. Imagine sitting at a kitchen table with average-income voters who are worried sick about their financial futures — and explaining to them that the biggest threat they face is from the Kremlin rather than from U.S. government policies that benefit the rich and corporate America at their expense.

Tone deaf hardly describes the severe political impairment of those who insist that denouncing Russia will be key to the Democratic Party’s political fortunes in 2018 and 2020. But the top-down pressure for conformity among elected Democrats is enormous and effective.

One of the most promising progressives to arrive in Congress this year, Rep. Jamie Raskin from the Maryland suburbs of D.C., promptly drank what might be called the “Klinton Kremlin Kool-Aid.” His official website features an article about a town-hall meeting that quotes him describing Trump as a “hoax perpetrated by the Russians on the United States of America.”

Like hundreds of other Democrats on Capitol Hill, Raskin is on message with talking points from the party leadership. That came across in an email that he recently sent to supporters for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser. It said:

“We pull the curtain back further each day on the Russian Connection, forcing National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to resign, Attorney General Sessions to recuse, and America to reflect on who’s calling the shots in Washington.”

You might think that Wall Street, big banks, hugely funded lobbyists, fat-check campaign contributors, the fossil fuel industry, insurance companies, military contractors and the like are calling the shots in Washington. Maybe you didn’t get the memo.

Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

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

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46974.htm

Soros-funded orgs, including MoveOn, among groups calling for anti-Trump protests after election

From RT

November 16, 2016

Some of the anti-Trump protests in the US have been organized by groups that were sponsored by Clinton sympathizer and billionaire George Soros.

MoveOn.org issued a press release on Wednesday afternoon about the protests where they wrote “hundreds of Americans, dozens of organizations to gather peacefully outside the White House and in cities and towns nationwide to take a continued stand against misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.”

“Tonight, thousands of Americans will come together at hundreds of peaceful gatherings in cities and towns across the nation, including outside the White House, following the results of Tuesday’s presidential election.”

“The gatherings—organized by MoveOn.org and allies—will affirm a continued rejection of Donald Trump’s bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and misogyny and demonstrate our resolve to fight together for the America we still believe is possible,” the statement continued.

“Those that are stirring it up, and many of them do work for Soros-fronted organizations are really telling those innocent protesters, and perhaps less innocent protesters, they are in danger by Trump, even though Trump has done nothing but preach unity since he won the election,” Marko Gasic, a British-Serbian political commentator told RT on Friday.

The global elite’s objections to in President-elect Donald Trump is perhaps different from what they are telling protesters, Gasic said.

“It’s an election where they had all of the media, power and money and yet they’ve lost to him,” said Gasic. “It’s a toss-up now between the Clinton-Soros view that the only democracy allowed is a one party democracy that agrees with what they say and if that doesn’t happen they are ready to do a counter-revolution to destroy that democracy and that democratic vote.”

However, Gasic doesn’t think they would try to get rid of Trump.

“But they want to intimidate him to get him to agree to social peace at home as long as the global elites are allowed to pursue their wars abroad. They want him to become a neocon just like they are,” he added.

Since Trump won on Tuesday, protests have occurred out in cities across the US, all of which are Democratic strongholds. There have been three nights of protests, with more planned for Friday night and many slated for the weekend.

At a rally in Portland attended by more than 4,000 people on Thursday night, police declared it a riot and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd after claiming they were attacked by protesters. They arrested 26 people.

Leading Democratic funders in California have started a campaign calling to reject the election results, arguing it was not consistent with the state’s values.

Gasic believes someone is “stirring the pot” because “America has never traditionally had a problem with accepting the outcome of an election.”

“We now have Soros behind many ‘color’ revolutions in other countries and financing in effect a semi-color revolution in US,” Gasic told RT, a reference to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, among others. “I don’t know if it categorizes as treason. He certainly operates from the shadows. His only legitimacy is his wallet. His only concern is to create the kind of democracy he can prop up and gain an interest from. That’s the kind of person who is behind this continuing protest against a valid, legitimate, free election.”

-funded ‘superlawyer’ challenges voter ID laws to ‘protect the Obama coalition’ http://on.rt.com/7m46 

Remember Berta Caceres: Call on Congress to cut U.S. military/security aid to Honduras

From SOA Watch

MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2016 19:22
Before Congress adjourns for 2016, we have one last opportunity to build support for suspending US military and security aid to Honduras, where repression of human rights defenders and social movements continues unabated.  With the US State Department certifying that the Honduran government is taking effective steps on human rights, despite continued assassinations and impunity, it is important that Congress pushes back. To date, 49 Representatives have co-sponsored the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which would suspend US military and security aid to Honduras.  Can you take a moment today to call your Representative if he or she has not yet signed on and ask him/her to sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act?

See if your representative has already co-sponsored the bill here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5474/cosponsors   (Need the name of your Representative?  Click here)
If not, call the Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask to be transfered to your Representative and ask your him/her to sponsor the bill: 

“Hello, I am calling to ask Rep. _____ to sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, before the end of the year. Internationally recognized Indigenous leader Berta Caceres and other leaders have been brutally assassinated in Honduras this year.  The death threats and attacks on environmental activists, human rights leaders, journalists, and others continue today.  Please sponsor HR 5474 before this year is out to call for an end to US military aid in Honduras.”If your Representative has signed on to support the bill, call his or her office to thank them (202-224-3121):

“Hello, I am calling to thank Rep. _____ for sponsoring HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, in 2016.  The repression and death threats and attacks on environmental activists, human rights leaders, journalists, and others continue unabated in Honduras.  I hope that your office will continue to speak out for the suspension of US security aid to Honduras at every opportunity.”

Let us know how your call went here.

Thank you for all your efforts to call on Congress to cut destructive US security aid to Honduras in 2016.  We look forward to continuing to work together in 2017.

 

http://www.soaw.org

Fox News host challenges Democratic lawmaker over claims of Russian hacking (VIDEO)

In this exchange, notice how adamant and entrenched Congressman Adam Schiff is in his position. Schiff makes an accusation about Russia, builds a whole story on that foundation, and then goes on a verbal attack.

Fox host Tucker Carlson uses the phrase “weasel words”. This was a very sophisticated verbal barrage by Schiff that shifted the focus to Carlson, that he was the one with the problem for not “believing”. Schiff did not act humiliated or flustered. The exchange reveals how deeply committed Schiff and an unknown number of American officials are to pushing this particular story line and belief and to unbendingly defend it.

Officials such as Adam Schiff are directing American foreign policy based on their near-pathological prejudices and beliefs. How far will they go? The current results are visible in destroyed countries and lives, and these conflicts aren’t over yet.

From Sputnik News

December 9, 2016

On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Congressman Adam Schiff was absolutely humiliated over his Russian hysteria and repeated claims that the Kremlin had hacked the election.

Democratic members of Congress have demanded in a letter that President Obama brief them on “Russian interference” in the election before leaving office, and Schiff was one of those who signed. To promote their cause, the California representative appeared on Fox News, and one of the most epic showdowns in the recent history of the network ensued. Carlson left the Democratic representative looking completely ridiculous, after the latter accused the host of being an “apologist for the Kremlin,” and telling him that he will need to “move his show to RT.”

“The information was true, and voters got to see that, and it helped them assess how they wanted to vote. Why is that bad? Are you really arguing against more information for voters?” Carlson asked.

“Are you really arguing in favor of a foreign adversarial party hacking into the American —” a stunned-looking Schiff began.

Tucker then asserted that he was not arguing in favor of it, but that the information was placed into the public view — and thus voters had the right to see and assess it.

Schiff then asserted that President-elect Donald Trump was the only beneficiary of “Russian meddling,” which was quickly shot down as “speculation” by Carlson. Schiff continued to assert that the intelligence community claimed that the Kremlin was behind the hacks.

 Journalism Fail: Washington Post Story on ‘Fake News’ Was Fake

“Here’s the thing,” Carlson began, “I’ve lived here a long time, I remember vividly the ‘massive stockpiles of WMD’s in Iraq,’ which the intelligence community assured us were there, and they weren’t, so pardon my skepticism, I think it’s a patriotic position.”

Schiff appeared to grow increasingly flustered and continued to push McCarthyist anti-Russian sentiment, which Carlson hilariously mocked.

“I’m confused by what you are alleging,” Carlson interjected. “You’re saying that you believe the Russian government hacked into John Podesta’s emails and that the voters knew too much? Then you’re saying what, that they hacked voting machines? What are you saying?”

Schiff then said that if the Russians had hacked into Carlson’s emails, that he would not seek to justify their release.

“Are you arguing that voters should not have seen that information?” Carlson repeated several times.

Eventually, Schiff admitted that in some cases the press should publish information that is illegally obtained, if it is of great public interest, but continued to claim that Russia was behind the hack and that the press are responsible for reporting where the information came from.

US Lawmakers Move to Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web

Carlson asserted that Schiff does not know if Russia was behind the hacks. He then challenged the congressman to turn to the camera and specifically say that, “I know the government of Vladimir Putin hacked John Podesta’s emails.” The representative would not comply.

“You’re carrying water for the Kremlin,” the clearly desperate representative said, now trying to deflect the conversation. “You’re going to have to move your show to RT — Russian Television.”

The assertion drew big laughs from the host, who called his statement “so dumb.”

“You know what — that is just so beneath your office, because it is so dumb, you’re being duplicitous,” Carlson laughed. “I’m asking you, did they hack Podesta’s emails and you can’t say it.”

Carlson asked him, again, to look into the camera and say the Russian government hacked Podesta’s emails.

“You can’t, and you know you can’t, and you’re hiding behind weasel-words,” Carlson said. “Say they hacked John Podesta’s emails.”

The flustered Schiff then accused Carlson of ignoring that Russia is behind the hack because it benefitted the Republican candidate. He also accused the Fox host of being an “apologist” for the Kremlin.

“I just think if you’re going to make a serious allegation about an actual country, which an actual government, you ought to know what you are talking about — and you don’t!” Carlson laughed.

The heated, and highly entertaining, exchange ended with the host mocking the congressman by saying, “I need to take a call from Vladimir Putin…so I need to put you on hold for one second.”

https://sputniknews.com/us/201612091048340762-tucker-carlson-russian-hacking-claims/

 

Russia: USA supports chemical weapons (VIDEO)

From Fort Russ

November 27th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
Various – Translated by Inessa Sinchougova

The West’s fake wars in the Middle East are nothing new, but it is not well known that during the Clinton presidential campaign, a Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist by the name of Seymour Hersch released a terrifying article – “Whose Sarin?” While it was largely swept under the rug by mainstream media, the findings confirm that Hillary Clinton not only knew of the rebels’ posession of chemical weapons in Libya, but that she authorised their use, in her capacity as Secretary of State. Later, the same kind of weapons would be blamed on Assad in Syria, in order to topple his government.

Based on Mr Lavrov’s press conference in recent days, it is evident that US funded chemical weapons use in Syria continue to this day.

David Swanson: Michael Moore owes me $4.99

From David Swanson.org

October 28, 2016

Michael Moore has made some terrific movies in the past, and Where to Invade Next may be the best of them, but I expected Trumpland to be (1) about Trump, (2) funny, (3) honest, (4) at least relatively free of jokes glorifying mass murder. I was wrong on all counts and would like my $4.99 back, Michael.

Moore’s new movie is a film of him doing a stand-up comedy show about how wonderfully awesome Hillary Clinton is — except that he mentions Trump a bit at the beginning and he’s dead serious about Clinton being wonderfully awesome.

This film is a text book illustration of why rational arguments for lesser evilist voting do not work. Lesser evilists become self-delusionists. They identify with their lesser evil candidate and delude themselves into adoring the person. Moore is not pushing the “Elect her and then hold her accountable” stuff. He says we have a responsibility to “support her” and “get behind her,” and that if after two years — yes, TWO YEARS — she hasn’t lived up to a platform he’s fantasized for her, well then, never fear, because he, Michael Moore, will run a joke presidential campaign against her for the next two years (this from a guy who backed restricting the length of election campaigns in one of his better works).

Moore maintains that virtually all criticism of Hillary Clinton is nonsense. What do we think, he asks, that she asks how many millions of dollars you’ve put into the Clinton Foundation and then she agrees to bomb Yemen for you? Bwahahaha! Pretty funny. Except that Saudi Arabia put over $10 million into the Clinton Foundation, and while she was Secretary of State Boeing put in another $900,000, upon which Hillary Clinton reportedly made it her mission to get the planes sold to Saudi Arabia, despite legal restrictions — the planes now dropping U.S.-made bombs on Yemen with U.S. guidance, U.S. refueling mid-air, U.S. protection at the United Nations, and U.S. cover in the form of pop-culture distraction and deception from entertainers like Michael Moore.

Standing before a giant Air Force missile and enormous photos of Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore claims that substantive criticism of Clinton can consist of only two things, which he dismisses in a flash: her vote for a war on Iraq and her coziness with Wall Street. He says nothing more about what that “coziness” consists of, and he claims that she’s more or less apologized and learned her lesson on Iraq.

What? It wasn’t one vote. It was numerous votes to start the war, fund it, and escalate it. It was the lies to get it going and keep it going. It’s all the other wars before and since.

  • She says President Obama was wrong not to launch missile strikes on Syria in 2013.
  • She pushed hard for the overthrow of Qadaffi in 2011.
  • She supported the coup government in Honduras in 2009.
  • She has backed escalation and prolongation of war in Afghanistan.
  • She skillfully promoted the White House justification for the war on Iraq.
  • She does not hesitate to back the use of drones for targeted killing.
  • She has consistently backed the military initiatives of Israel.
  • She was not ashamed to laugh at the killing of Qadaffi.
  • She has not hesitated to warn that she could obliterate Iran.
  • She is eager to antagonize Russia.
  • She helped facilitate a military coup in Ukraine.
  • She has the financial support of the arms makers and many of their foreign customers.
  • She waived restrictions at the State Department on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar, all states wise enough to donate to the Clinton Foundation.
  • She supported President Bill Clinton’s wars and the power of the president to make war without Congress.
  • She has advocated for arming fighters in Syria and for a “No Fly” zone.
  • She supported a surge in Iraq even before President Bush did.

That’s just her war problem. What about her banking problem, prison problem, fracking problem, corporate trade problem, corporate healthcare problem, climate change problem, labor problem, Social Security problem, etc.?

Moore parts company from substantive critique in order to lament unproven rightwing claims that Hillary Clinton has murdered various people. “I hope she did,” screams Moore. “That’s who I want as Commander in Chief!” Hee hee hee.

Then Moore shamelessly pushes the myth that Hillary tried to create single-payer, or at least “universal” healthcare (whatever that is) in the 1990s. In fact, as I heard Paul Wellstone tell it, single-payer easily won the support of Clinton’s focus group, but she buried it for her corporate pals and produced the phonebook-size monstrosity that was dead on arrival but reborn in another form years later as Obamacare. She killed single-payer then, has not supported it since, and does not propose it now. (Well, she does admit in private that it’s the only thing that works, as her husband essentially blurts out in public.) But Moore claims that because we didn’t create “universal” healthcare in the 1990s we all have the blood of millions on our hands, millions whom Hillary would have saved had we let her.

Moore openly fantasizes: what would it be like if Hillary Clinton is secretly progressive? Remember that Moore and many others did the exact same thing with Obama eight years ago. To prove Clinton’s progressiveness Moore plays an audio clip of her giving a speech at age 22 in which she does not hint at any position on any issue whatsoever.

Mostly, however, Moore informs us that Hillary Clinton is female. He anticipates “that glorious moment when the other gender has a chance to run this world and kick some righteous ass.” Now tell me please, dear world, if your ass is kicked by killers working for a female president will you feel better about it? How do you like Moore’s inclusive comments throughout his performance: “We’re all Americans, right?”

Moore’s fantasy is that Clinton will dash off a giant pile of executive orders, just writing Congress out of the government — executive orders doing things like releasing all nonviolent drug offenders from prison immediately (something the real Hillary Clinton would oppose in every way she could).

But when he runs for president, Moore says, he’ll give everybody free drugs.

I’ll tell you the Clinton ad I’d like to see. She’s standing over a stove holding an egg. “This is your brain,” she says solemnly, cracking it into the pan with a sizzle. “This is your brain on partisanship.”

http://davidswanson.org/node/5326