From Fort Russ:
From Fort Russ:
August 15, 2016
“What would’ve happened if our president [Vladimir Putin] failed to be convincing and implement the idea of surrendering and destroying the chemical weapons? If we only talk about cruise missiles … 624 cruise missiles, as far as I remember, were prepared to carry out a massive strike against Syria within 24 hours,” Shoigu told state television channel Rossiya-24.
It would’ve been “very hard” to restore the Syrian state structure after such a large-scale attack, he said.
Back in 2013, US President, Barack Obama, authorized strikes against Syria, blaming Assad’s government for a sarin gas attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
But Russia’s involvement managed to avert NATO attacking the county as Moscow brokered a deal, during which Syria renounced its chemical weapons arsenal and joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
In terms of current events in Syria, Shoigu said that Russia and the US are in direct talks aimed at the resolution of the crisis in Aleppo.
He expressed hope that this would help to ensure “peace at this long-suffering land and allow the people to finally return to their homes.”
The U.S. is unwilling to stop the war on Syria and to settle the case at the negotiation table. It wants a 100% of its demands fulfilled, the dissolution of the Syrian government and state and the inauguration of a U.S. proxy administration in Syria.
After the ceasefire in Syria started in late February Obama broke his pledge to separate the U.S. supported “moderate rebels” from al-Qaeda. In April U.S. supported rebels, the Taliban like Ahrar al Sham and al-Qaeda joined to attack the Syrian government in south Aleppo. The U.S.proxies broke the ceasefire.
Two UN resolutions demand that al-Qaeda in Syria be fought no matter what. But the U.S. has at least twice asked Russia not to bomb al-Qaeda. It insists, falsely, that it can not separate its “moderates” from al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda can not be attacked because that would also hit its “moderate” friends.
The Russian foreign minster Lavrov has talked wit Kerry many times about the issue. But the only response he received were requests to further withhold bombing. Meanwhile al-Qaeda and the “moderates” continued to break the ceasefire and to attack the Syrian government forces.
After nearly four month Kerry still insists that the U.S. needs even more time for the requested separation of its proxy forces from al-Qaeda. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently expressed the Russian consternation:
The Americans are now saying that they are unable to remove the ‘good’ opposition members from the positions held by al-Nusra Front, and that they will need another two-three months. I am under the impression that there is a game here and they may want to keep al-Nusra Front in some form and later use it to overthrow the [Assad] regime,” Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The bucket was full and Kerry’s latest request for another three month pause of attacking al-Qaeda was the drop that let it overflow. Russia now responded by hitting the U.S. where it did not expect to be hit:
Russian warplanes hit Pentagon-backed Syrian fighters with a barrage of airstrikes earlier this week, disregarding several warnings from U.S. commanders in what American military officials called the most provocative act since Moscow’s air campaign in Syria began last year.The strikes hit a base near the Jordanian border, far from areas where the Russians were previously active, and targeted U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State militants.
These latest strikes occurred on the other side of the country from the usual Russian operations, around Tanf, a town near where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.
The Russian strike hit a small rebel base for staging forces and equipment in a desolate, unpopulated area near the border. About 180 rebels were there as part of the Pentagon’s program to train and equip fighters against Islamic State.
When the first strikes hit, the rebels called a U.S. command center in Qatar, where the Pentagon orchestrates the daily air war against Islamic State.
U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.
Earlier today another such attack hit the same target.
This was no accident but a well planned operation and the Russian spokesperson’s response makes the intend clear:
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to confirm the attack Friday, telling reporters it was difficult to distinguish different rebel groups from the air.
Translation: “If you can not separate your forces from al-Qaeda and differentiate and designate exclusively “moderate” zones we can not do so either.”
The forces near Tanf are supported by U.S. artillery from Jordan and air power via Iraq. British and Jordan special operations forces are part of the ground component (and probably the majority of the “Syrian” fighters.) There is no al-Qaeda there. The Russians know that well. But they wanted to make the point that it is either separation everywhere or separation nowhere. From now on until the U.S. clearly separates them from AQ all U.S. supported forces will be hit indiscriminately anywhere and anytime. (The Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State with U.S. support are for now a different story.)
The Pentagon does not want any further engagement against the Syrian government or against Russia. It wants to fight the Islamic State and its hates the CIA for its cooperation with al-Qaeda and other Jihadi elements. But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama’s ear. But what can Obama do now? Shoot down a Russian jet and thereby endanger any U.S. pilot flying in Syria or near the Russian border? Risk a war with Russia? Really?
The Russian hit near Tanf was clearly a surprise. The Russians again caught Washington on the wrong foot. The message to the Obama administration is clear. “No more delays and obfuscations. You will separate your moderates NOW or all your assets in Syria will be juicy targets for the Russian air force.”
The Russian hits at Tanf and the U.S. proxies there has an additional benefit. The U.S. had planned to let those forces move north towards Deir Ezzor and to defeat the Islamic State in that city. Eventually a “Sunni entity” would be established in south east Syria and west Iraq under U.S. control. Syria would be split apart.
The Syrian government and its allies will not allow that. There is a large operation planned to free Deir Ezzor from the Islamic State occupation. Several hundred Syrian government forces have held an isolated airport in Deir Ezzor against many unsuccessful Islamic State attacks. These troops get currently reinforced by additional Syrian army contingents and Hizbullah commandos. A big battle is coming. Deir Ezzor may be freed within the next few month. Any U.S. plans for some eastern Syrian entity are completely unrealistic if the Syrian government can take and hold its largest eastern city.
The Obama administration’s delaying tactic will now have to end. Russia will no longer stand back and watch while the U.S. sabotages the ceasefire and supports al-Qaeda.
What then is the next move the U.S. will make?
How the United States presumes to possess the authority to determine the fate of a sovereign nation thousands of miles from its own shores in the Middle East is never explained by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he recently announced a new ultimatum leveled at Damascus. Nor is it explained why Syria should capitulate to US demands to begin a political transition that has demonstrably left other nations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) divided, destroyed, and safe-havens for state-sponsored terrorism years after “successful” US-backed regime change has been achieved – Libya most notably.
Yet despite all of this, according to the Associate Press (AP) in their article, “Kerry warns Assad to start transition by Aug. 1 or else,” the United States fully expects Damascus to concede to a “political transition” engineered by Washington, leaving the nation in the hands of verified terrorists linked directly to the political and militant forces currently laying waste to Libya and those nations that put them into power.
The article reports:
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow and Tehran on Tuesday that they face an August deadline for starting a political transition to move President Bashar Assad out, or they risk the consequences of a new U.S. approach toward ending the 5-year-old civil war.
AP would also claim:
…it’s unlikely that the Obama administration, so long opposed to an active American combat role in Syria, would significantly boost its presence beyond the 300 special forces it has authorized thus far in the heart of a U.S. presidential election season. More feasible might be U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia giving the rebels new weapons to fight Assad, such as portable surface-to-air missiles.
Again, the US is making demands of “Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow” while it is openly allied with Saudi Arabia who is admittedly backing US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organizations including the Al Nusra Front – quite literally Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
This point has inconveniently surfaced even across the West’s own media, including the Independent in an article titled, “Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria.” In it states that:
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, in a move that has alarmed Western governments.
The two countries are focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to Isis which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate.
Despite superficial attempts to portray Al Nusra at “arms length” from Saudi Arabia, and thus from Saudi Arabia’s closest and most valuable ally, Washington, the inseparable nature of those the US and Saudi Arabia are supporting and those they claim not to support is documented fact.
America Essentially Demands Syria’s Surrender to Al Qaeda
Considering the verified nature of the so-called “opposition” in Syria and the verifiable nature of what US foreign policy has done to Libya – leaving it to this day in the hands of state-sponsored terrorist organizations including the notorious “Islamic State” or ISIS – what the US is essentially demanding of Syria and its allies is capitulation to Al Qaeda.
It is a surreal full-circle US foreign policy has made, from first creating Al Qaeda in the late 1980’s jointly with Saudi Arabia and elements within the Pakistani government, then claiming to have been struck egregiously by the terrorist organization on September 11, 2001 triggering over a decade of very profitable war, before finally arriving in Libya and Syria beginning in 2011 where once again US politicians found themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with literal commanders of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, waging proxies wars against their collective enemies.
Indeed, US Senator John McCain would find himself in a Libya utterly devastated by NATO at the end of 2011, shaking hands with the commander of US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – literally Al Qaeda in Libya. The LIFG commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, had at one point been arrested by the US before being handed over to the Libyan government and imprisoned for his terrorism.
Syria’s Clear Course of Action
Syria is undoubtedly being overrun by heavily armed and extremely dangerous terrorists backed by foreign powers. These are terrorists that have proven already in Libya, that upon coming to power, they will first carry out genocide against their ethnic and political enemies, then transform Syria into a devastated wasteland and springboard for terrorism and proxy war elsewhere in the region – likely Iran and then southern Russia.Syria’s only clear course of action is to resist and defeat these terrorist factions and restore order within the nation’s boundaries. It must do this by interdicting terrorists and their supplies along the Turkish-Syrian border in the north, and the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. It is abundantly clear that the terrorists operating within Syria cannot sustain their fighting capacity without significant and constant logistical support from their foreign sponsors beyond Syria’s borders. This fact alone, undermines the legitimacy of the so-called “uprising” and “civil war” in Syria that upon closer examination is clearly a proxy invasion.
The US’s Clear Course of Action
The US itself, in its own military manuals (MCWP 3-35.3) regarding combat operations, states in reference to defeating terrorism that:
In countering this threat, [it should be determined] whether it is internally or externally directed terrorism. Terrorism rooted externally must be severed from its roots. Against internal terrorism, [attempts should be made] to penetrate the infrastructure and destroy the leadership of the terrorist groups.
The US has already boasted of having struck hard at the leadership of various terrorist groups in Syria it claims to be at war with, yet these groups appear unfazed. This is precisely because the terrorism is being direct externally, from Turkey and Jordan where the US itself has based its forces for its ongoing Syrian operations. The clear and obvious course of action for the US is to identify the “roots” of this externally directed terrorism and “sever” them.
However, the US refuses to do this. Instead, even as it continues its feigned war against terrorism in Syria, it is doubling down on support for its proxies, including Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, who in turn, are harboring, arming, funding, training, and directly supporting the very terrorist groups the US claims to be fighting.
US Secretary of State John Kerry threatens a “new approach” by the US in Syria, if Syria does not capitulate to what is essentially the end of its existence as a functioning nation-state. The “new approach” is likely simply the continuation of existing plans to incrementally invade and occupy Syrian territory, particularly in the east through the infiltration of Iraq-based Kurds operating under US proxy Masoud Barzani, as well as to trigger a cross-border incident north of Aleppo by using their ISIS proxies to attack Turkish targets – reminisced of staged attacks Ankara had planned earlier during the war to justify the invasion and occupation of northern Syria.
Warning the world of the “success” America’s previous “political transitions” have wrought in Libya or Iraq, and raising awareness of the current nature of US-Saudi support for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria today, is essential in undermining the legitimacy and authority upon which the US is attempting to base its demands directed at Damascus. The demands are illegitimate and the authority they are made with constitutes not principles nor rule of law, but naked and unjust aggression that must be resisted today lest it succeed and set a precedent for further acts of injustice against other nations tomorrow.
Obama brings two fuel-guzzling planes to serve as Air Force One in Argentina
By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times
March 24, 2016
President Obama brought along a second, smaller Air Force One for his family to enjoy a day of sightseeing in Argentina on Thursday.
After dancing the tango at a state dinner in Buenos Aires Wednesday night, the president and first lady Michelle Obama took their daughters aboard the government plane colloquially known as “baby” Air Force One Thursday to fly to the scenic town of Bariloche in southern Argentina. It’s a Boeing 757 used when traveling to places where the runway is too short for the primary Air Force One.
The larger Air Force One, a 747-200, was parked alongside the smaller plane at the airport in Buenos Aires, according to pool reporters traveling with the president. It costs about $206,000 per hour to fly the larger plane, which the president is expected to use for the 10-plus-hour flight back to Washington late Thursday night.
It’s common for the government to have a backup plane available when the president travels, although not often for a family sightseeing excursion.
Bariloche is a lakeside resort town nestled in the foothills of the Andes mountains, famous for its chocolates and Swiss-style architecture.
But Bariloche is more than that.
In Argentine Nazi Refuge Bariloche
Bariloche, a popular Argentine tourist resort ringed by the Andes, where Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke found refuge after World War II, has kept mostly silent on its long history as a home to Nazis. For 40 years, Priebke lived undisturbed among its citizens, until he was finally extradited to Italy in the 1990s over a World War II massacre for which he has never expressed regret.
Thousands of Nazis, Croatian Ustasha fascists and Italian fascists arrived in Argentina with the blessing of president Juan Peron, who led the nation from 1946 to 1955 and again briefly in the 1970s, according to the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Working first as a waiter, then as owner of a delicatessen and finally as owner of a consulting firm, Priebke was liked and respected in the German community. He was the president of Bariloche’s German-Argentine cultural association and would celebrate Adolf Hitler’s April 20 birthday alongside the town’s other Germans….
In 1995, Bariloche made headlines in the international press when it became known as a haven for Nazi war criminals, such as the former SS Hauptsturmführer Erich Priebke. Priebke had been the director of the German School of Bariloche for many years.
In his 2004 book Bariloche nazi-guía turística, Argentine author Abel Basti claims that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun lived in the surroundings of Bariloche for many years after World War II. Basti said that the Argentine Nazis chose the estate of Inalco as Hitler’s refuge.
Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler, a 2011 book (and subsequent film) by British authors Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams, proposed that Hitler and Eva Braun escaped from Berlin in 1945 and hid at Hacienda San Ramon, six miles east of Bariloche, until the early 1960s. These accounts are disputed by most historians, who generally believe that Hitler and Braun committed suicide in the last days of World War II, even though their bodies were never found.
The trope of Obama as “reluctant warrior” has crossed the Atlantic–where it is greeted with a little more cynicism (Peter Brookes, London Times)
If there’s one thing elite media seem to know for sure, it’s that Barack Obama doesn’t like war. One phrase in particular seems to stand out:
It was a remarkable moment for a reluctant warrior.
–Jonathan Karl (ABC Nightline, 9/10/14)
He’s a very reluctant warrior, didn’t want to do this. But you have to say, it is good he recognized reality.
–David Gergen (CNN, 9/10/14)
Is he going to become a warrior, and not a reluctant warrior, when he is taking such a strong stance that he will do anything to defeat ISIS, except for if it involves American troops?
–Erin Burnett (CNN, 9/10/14)
He’s a reluctant warrior.
–David Brooks (PBS NewsHour,9/10/14)
You have a reluctant warrior in President Obama, and the press saying, “Do something.”
–Lauren Ashburn (Fox News, 9/12/14)
He is, as you know, the standard phrase, the reluctant warrior. And I think he’s played that long before this decision.
–David Bergen (CNN, 9/14/14)
But now with weekly beheadings by ISIS, the reluctant warrior must wage war, but not total war–tepid war.
–Bill O’Reilly (Fox News, 9/15/14)
Last night came the announcement that US had begun conducting airstrikes on Syria. Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept posted a story (9/23/14) with this headline:
It does make one wonder: What would an enthusiastic warrior look like to the corporate media? Would bombing eight countries in six years be enough?
• Was Russia in Turkish airspace? NATO says “yes” according to Turkish and allies’ intelligence; US representatives say the US and allies don’t know yet. Why is NATO lying?
Here is the transcript and video of the press conference with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg.
Here is the press conference with Col. Steve Warren.
Here is the later press conference with Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook
Also, the press conference by Presidents Obama and Hollande, where they also answered questions on the Turkish action:
Pentagon spokesman Cook said several times including at 14:00 – “the US and several other allies are not able to conclude definitively” that the Russian jet went into Turkish air space. He said the report of going into Turkish airspace is from Turkey. “We are still gathering the details to find out exactly what happened here.”
President Obama said the U.S. doesn’t know yet.
Both Col. Warren and Mr. Cook state that they are still evaluating data. Col. Warren says it is not easy.
But, NATO’s Stoltenberg says
The Allied assessments we have got from several Allies during the day are consistent with information we have been provided with from Turkey. So the information we have from other Allies is consistent with what we have got from Turkey.
So who are the allies Stoltenberg is referring to? Is he lying?
• Secretary General Stoltenberg on the NATO club: “We support the territorial integrity of Turkey”…but not Syria
At 30:36, Col. Warren says, “All aircraft should respect the sovereignty of nations around them, absolutely. “
Oops. He didn’t mean that. The US, France and other partners are continually violating the sovereignty of Syria and other countries. Only NATO club members get territorial integrity. They can invade anyone outside the club because non-members don’t have territorial integrity according to them.
• Solidarity with Turkey…or solidarity with ISIS/Daesh
Turkey’s alliances with Daesh are well known. Connections with Daesh/ISIS go all the way to the top. Plus, Turkey has stolen Syrian manufacturing infrastructure, transported it across its border, and reassembled it in Turkey. Smuggled Syrian and Iraqi oil is going to Turkey, across Turkey’s open border. So, solidarity with Turkey is solidarity with ISIS, pure and simple.
Of course, NATO members are also up to their elbows in Daesh/ISIS. They supply, advise, arm, and protect their mafia. It’s a family affair, after all.
• Obama says Turkey has a right to defend its airspace. Doesn’t Syria?
Turkey has rights and Syria has no rights.
Peter Cook: “The United States and NATO support the right of Turkey to defend its airspace and sovereignty.”…”As a NATO ally, they have a right to defend NATO airspace.”
NATO has rights, but no one outside NATO does, like Libya or Yemen or Iraq or eastern Ukraine. That is how Messrs. Obama, Stoltenberg, Hollande, et al see it.
Is NATO airspace something holy, inviolate, sacrosanct, and righteous? No, it’s pure bullshit. However, this chilling predatory worldview is held by the people that control our countries and our militaries, including the United States.
Syria has every right to defend its airspace by any means necessary including enlisting the aid of other countries to help them do so. It can defend its sovereignty and attack anyone who enters its territory and airspace without its express permission.
• US has no control over its mercenaries
The attacks on Russian pilots and rescue helicopter were done by US-trained mercenaries (“moderates”). In answer to a question on that, Col. Steve Warren said (11:50), “US control of its [mercenary] forces ends when they cross over into Syria.”
So, the Pentagon has no control over US-trained mercenaries once they cross the Syrian border. These mercenaries are wind-up assassins. And it was American-made TOW missiles that those mercenaries may have used to shoot down the Russian helicopter. Wind up these mercenaries, give them lots of weapons, boost them over the territorial border of another sovereign country, and let them run free.
Now that’s sensible, moral, and responsible foreign policy.
• The NATO press conference came to an abrupt end.
Perhaps the questions were getting too uncomfortable for Secretary General Stoltenberg.
NOTE: These press conferences have many very useful quotes.
In 2013, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that “two years before the Arab spring”, he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. “I am going to tell you something,” he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria… Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate… This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”
In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a “merciless” attack on that ruined country, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.
As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.
According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of “fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders”. Once Nixon’s and Kissinger’s B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of “Operation Menu”, the west’s ultimate demon could not believe his luck. The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air. The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors “froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days.
Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told… That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over.” A Finnish Government Commission of Inquiry estimated that 600,000 Cambodians died in the ensuing civil war and described the bombing as the “first stage in a decade of genocide”. What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot, their beneficiary, completed. Under their bombs, the Khmer Rouge grew to a formidable army of 200,000.
ISIS has a similar past and present. By most scholarly measure, Bush and Blair’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the deaths of at least 700,000 people – in a country that had no history of jihadism. The Kurds had done territorial and political deals; Sunni and Shia had class and sectarian differences, but they were at peace; intermarriage was common. Three years before the invasion, I drove the length of Iraq without fear. On the way I met people proud, above all, to be Iraqis, the heirs of a civilization that seemed, for them, a presence.
Bush and Blair blew all this to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. Al-Qaeda – like Pol Pot’s “jihadists” – seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of ‘Shock and Awe’ and the civil war that followed. “Rebel” Syria offered even greater rewards, with CIA and Gulf state ratlines of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey. The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable. A former British ambassador, Oliver Miles, wrote, “The [Cameron] government seems to be following the example of Tony Blair, who ignored consistent advice from the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6 that our Middle East policy – and in particular our Middle East wars – had been a principal driver in the recruitment of Muslims in Britain for terrorism here.”
ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in “our” societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.
It is 23 years since a holocaust enveloped Iraq, immediately after the first Gulf War, when the US and Britain hijacked the United Nations Security Council and imposed punitive “sanctions” on the Iraqi population – ironically, reinforcing the domestic authority of Saddam Hussein. It was like a medieval siege. Almost everything that sustained a modern state was, in the jargon, “blocked” – from chlorine for making the water supply safe to school pencils, parts for X-ray machines, common painkillers and drugs to combat previously unknown cancers carried in the dust from the southern battlefields contaminated with Depleted Uranium. Just before Christmas 1999, the Department of Trade and Industry in London restricted the export of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Kim Howells, parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Blair government, explained why. “The children’s vaccines”, he said, “were capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction”. The British Government could get away with such an outrage because media reporting of Iraq – much of it manipulated by the Foreign Office – blamed Saddam Hussein for everything.
Under a bogus “humanitarian” Oil for Food Programme, $100 was allotted for each Iraqi to live on for a year. This figure had to pay for the entire society’s infrastructure and essential services, such as power and water. “Imagine,” the UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans Von Sponeck, told me, “setting that pittance against the lack of clean water, and the fact that the majority of sick people cannot afford treatment, and the sheer trauma of getting from day to day, and you have a glimpse of the nightmare. And make no mistake, this is deliberate. I have not in the past wanted to use the word genocide, but now it is unavoidable.” Disgusted, Von Sponeck resigned as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. His predecessor, Denis Halliday, an equally distinguished senior UN official, had also resigned. “I was instructed,” Halliday said, “to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults.”
A study by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, found that between 1991 and 1998, the height of the blockade, there were 500,000 “excess” deaths of Iraqi infants under the age of five. An American TV reporter put this to Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her, “Is the price worth it?” Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it.”
In 2007, the senior British official responsible for the sanctions, Carne Ross, known as “Mr. Iraq”, told a parliamentary selection committee, “[The US and UK governments] effectively denied the entire population a means to live.” When I interviewed Carne Ross three years later, he was consumed by regret and contrition. “I feel ashamed,” he said. He is today a rare truth-teller of how governments deceive and how a compliant media plays a critical role in disseminating and maintaining the deception. “We would feed [journalists] factoids of sanitised intelligence,” he said, “or we’d freeze them out.” Last year, a not untypical headline in the Guardian read: “Faced with the horror of Isis we must act.” The “we must act” is a ghost risen, a warning of the suppression of informed memory, facts, lessons learned and regrets or shame. The author of the article was Peter Hain, the former Foreign Office minister responsible for Iraq under Blair. In 1998, when Denis Halliday revealed the extent of the suffering in Iraq for which the Blair Government shared primary responsibility, Hain abused him on the BBC’s Newsnight as an “apologist for Saddam”. In 2003, Hain backed Blair’s invasion of stricken Iraq on the basis of transparent lies. At a subsequent Labour Party conference, he dismissed the invasion as a “fringe issue”.
Here was Hain demanding “air strikes, drones, military equipment and other support” for those “facing genocide” in Iraq and Syria. This will further “the imperative of a political solution”. The day Hain’s article appeared, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck happened to be in London and came to visit me. They were not shocked by the lethal hypocrisy of a politician, but lamented the enduring, almost inexplicable absence of intelligent diplomacy in negotiating a semblance of truce. Across the world, from Northern Ireland to Nepal, those regarding each other as terrorists and heretics have faced each other across a table. Why not now in Iraq and Syria? Instead, there is a vapid, almost sociopathic verboseness from Cameron, Hollande, Obama and their “coalition of the willing” as they prescribe more violence delivered from 30,000 feet on places where the blood of previous adventures never dried. They seem to relish their own violence and stupidityso much they want it to overthrow their one potentially valuable ally, the government in Syria.
This is nothing new, as the following leaked UK-US intelligence file illustrates:
“In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces… a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals… a necessary degree of fear… frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention… the CIA and SIS should use… capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.”
That was written in 1957, although it could have been written yesterday. In the imperial world, nothing essentially changes. In 2013, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that “two years before the Arab spring”, he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. “I am going to tell you something,” he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria… Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate… This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”
The only effective opponents of ISIS are accredited demons of the west – Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and now Russia. The obstacle is Turkey, an “ally” and a member of Nato, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medievalists to channel support to the Syrian “rebels”, including those now calling themselves ISIS. Supporting Turkey in its long-held ambition for regional dominance by overthrowing the Assad government beckons a major conventional war and the horrific dismemberment of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.
A truce – however difficult to negotiate and achieve – is the only way out of this maze; otherwise, the atrocities in Paris and Beirut will be repeated. Together with a truce, the leading perpetrators and overseers of violence in the Middle East – the Americans and Europeans – must themselves “de-radicalise” and demonstrate a good faith to alienated Muslim communities everywhere, including those at home. There should be an immediate cessation of all shipments of war materials to Israel and recognition of the State of Palestine. The issue of Palestine is the region’s most festering open wound, and the oft-stated justification for the rise of Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden made that clear. Palestine also offers hope. Give justice to the Palestinians and you begin to change the world around them.
More than 40 years ago, the Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia unleashed a torrent of suffering from which that country has never recovered. The same is true of the Blair-Bush crime in Iraq, and the Nato and “coalition” crimes in Libya and Syria.
With impeccable timing, Henry Kissinger’s latest self-serving tome has been released with its satirical title, “World Order”. In one fawning review, Kissinger is described as a “key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter of a century”. Tell that to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, East Timor and all the other victims of his “statecraft”. Only when “we” recognise the war criminals in our midst and stop denying ourselves the truth will the blood begin to dry.
A stunning new exposé by The Intercept, which includes the publication of classified documents leaked by an intelligence source, provides an unprecedented look at the U.S. military’s secretive global assassination program.
The series of articles, titled The Drone Papers, follows months of investigation and uses rare primary source documents and slides to reveal to the public, for the first time, the flaws and consequences of the U.S. military’s 14-year aerial campaign being conducted in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan—one that has consistently used faulty information, killed an untold number of civilians, and stymied intelligence-gathering through its “kill/capture” program that too often relies on killing rather than capturing.
“The series is intended to serve as a long-overdue public examination of the methods and outcomes of America’s assassination program,” writes the investigation’s lead reporter, Jeremy Scahill.
“This campaign, carried out by two presidents through four presidential terms, has been shrouded in excessive secrecy. The public has a right to see these documents not only to engage in an informed debate about the future of U.S. wars, both overt and covert, but also to understand the circumstances under which the U.S. government arrogates to itself the right to sentence individuals to death without the established checks and balances of arrest, trial, and appeal.”
The source of the documents, who asked to remain anonymous due to the U.S. government’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, said the public has a right to know about a program that is so “fundamentally” and “morally” flawed.
“It’s stunning the number of instances when I’ve come across intelligence that was faulty, when sources of information used to finish targets were misattributed to people,” he told The Intercept. “And it isn’t until several months or years later that you realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this target, it was his mother’s phone the whole time. Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association – it’s a phenomenal gamble.”
As outlined by The Intercept, the key revelations of the reporting are:
The investigation comes as the Obama administration announced plans on Thursday to delay withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Administration officials told CNN that troops may conduct “counterterrorism operations” against Islamic State (ISIS) militants there.
But as the documents reveal, assurances from the Obama administration that drone strikes are precise and used only in cases of “imminent” threats are themselves based on intentionally vague definitions of “imminence.”
“Privately, the architects of the U.S. drone program have acknowledged its shortcomings,” said Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept. “But they have made sure that this campaign, launched by Bush and vastly expanded under Obama, has been shrouded in secrecy. The public has a right to know how the US government has decided who to kill.”
As the source himself said, “We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.”
Posted on Fort Russ
October 8th, 2015 –
By: Aleksander Zhilin, news-front.info
Translated for Fort Russ by Paul Siebert –
The US President Barack Obama for the first time has publicly commented the beginning of the Russian military operation in Syria. He criticized Moscow for its support of Assad and called its actions in the region “a recipe for disaster”.
What is the reason for this hysteria?
It is simple. ISIS, which is a nonstructural division of the US intelligence, during the whole period of its existence, did not face a real strong opposition. While the militants themselves received a carte blanche from Washington.
All this time the United States, France and other countries simulated a fight against terrorists. They carried out air strikes on the third-rate targets or even dropped bombs in the desert. TV channels showed staged pictures of air “attacks” in order to convince their taxpayers and the world community that they are fighting terrorists tooth and nail.
All this is fiction.
Why did Americans create ISIS?
Considering the existence of a nuclear deterrence, the United States needed different methods of waging the world war. The US invested billions of dollars in the organization of a terrorist army designed to fight a war bypassing the nuclear deterrent. Pay attention to the equipment of terrorists: they cannot be distinguished from NATO soldiers.
The same field uniform, the same weapons and ammunition. It is all American! Communications satellites used by terrorist units are exclusively American. They only use Kalashnikovs bought in Poland and the plebian Baltic countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia … Well, this machine-gun is far better than any small-arms crap from NATO.
ISIS leaders have access to the American aerospace, aviation, military-technical and secret-service intelligence. The provision of such information is of paramount importance for terrorists on the battlefield. After all, the regular Syrian army does not have anything similar.
And then the Russians come. A well-organized system has been paralyzed. Within 3 days our falcons caused significant damage to the ISIS infrastructure, communications and battle management systems, with caches of weapons destroyed, military vehicles burned, personnel losses …
During the meeting with Obama Putin demanded to demarcate the Syrian airspace between the Russian and the US air forces. That is it, the Americans are no longer the unchallenged masters in the sky of this country.
The Pentagon has tried to build our Air Force into their system: they say, you let us know in advance the targets you are going to bomb. Why? To warn terrorists about the threat and immediately supply them with MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems) to fight our aircraft. Naturally, Sergei Shoigu, with a smile on his lips, diplomatically sent them to go to …
Washington (Anglo-Saxons) will do everything to protect its non-structural ISIS unit from defeat by the Syrian army and the Russian Air Force.
Obama’s behavior, who was cornered by Putin on “the Syrian issue”, has fully disclosed all the hypocrisy, meanness and cunning behavior of the Anglo-Saxons. No wonder there is a saying that friendship with the Anglo-Saxons is even worse than a war with them.
Our Russian Orthodox guys sit in the cockpits with the crucifixion of Christ on their chests and fly to the sky to save not just Assad or even Syria. They are saving the great religion of Islam from those dogs of war!
They are fighting for the faith of every Muslim! This is the ultimate mission of Russia: to defend the good against the evil. And the victory will definitely be ours.