Why the Brookings Institution and the Washington establishment love wars

Global Research, October 24, 2016

Washington’s public relations operations for the military contracting firms that surround the US Capitol aren’t by for-profit PR firms, so much as they’re by ‘non-profit’ foundations and think tanks, which present that ‘non-profit’ cover for their sales-promotion campaigns on behalf of the real beneficiaries: owners and top executives of these gigantic ‘defense’ contracting corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Among the leading propagandists for invading Iraq back in 2002 were Kenn Pollack  and Michael O’Hanlon, both with the Brookings Institution; and both propagandists still are frequently interviewed by American ‘news’ media as being ‘experts’ on international relations, when all they ever really have been is salesmen for US invasions, such as that 2003 invasion, which destroyed Iraq and cost US taxpayers $3 trillion+ or $4.4 trillion – benefiting only the few beneficiaries and their agents, such as the top executives of these ‘non-profits,’ which receive a small portion of the take, as servants usually do.

More recently, Brookings’s Shadi Hamid headlined on 14 September 2013, «The US-Russian Deal on Syria: A Victory for Assad», and the PR-servant there, Dr Hamid, argued that

 «Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is effectively being rewarded for the use of chemical weapons, rather than ‘punished’ as originally planned… Assad and his Russian backers played on Obama’s most evident weakness, exploiting his desire to find a way – any way – out of military action… One might be forgiven for thinking that this was Assad’s plan all along, to use chemical weapons as bait, to agree to inspections after using them, and then to return to conventional killing».

Three weeks after that Brookings ‘expert’ had issued it, the great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, on 7 October 2014, headlined and offered facts to the exact contrary at his nsnbc news site,

«Top US and Saudi Officials Responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria», and he opened by summarizing his extensive case: «Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry».

Then, on 14 January 2014, the MIT professor Theodore Postal and the former UN weapons-inspector Richard Lloyd performed a detailed analysis of the rocket that had delivered the sarin, and found that it had been fired from territory controlled by the anti-Assad rebels, not by Assad’s forces. Then, yet another great investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, bannered in the London Review of Books, on 17 April 2014, «The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels», and he reported that what had actually stopped Obama from invading Syria was Obama’s embarrassment at British intelligence having discovered that Obama’s case against Assad regarding the gas attack was fake.

Obama suddenly needed a face-saving way to cancel his pre-announced American bombing campaign to bring down the Assad government, since he wouldn’t have even the UK as an ally in it: 

«Obama’s change of mind [weakening his ardor against Assad] had its origins at Porton Down, the [British] defense laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff».

Did Dr Hamid or any other Brookings ‘expert’ ever issue a correction and make note of of their earlier falsehoods, or did they all instead hide this crucially important reality – that not only was the rocket fired from rebel territory but its sarin formula was different from that in Syria’s arsenals, and the actual suppliers were the US, Sauds, Qataris, and Turks – did they not correct their prior war-mongering misrepresentations, but instead hide the fact that the Obama allegations had been exposed to have been frauds and that Obama himself had been one of the planners behind the sarin gas attack? They hid the truth.

Back on 14 June 2013, a Brookings team of Dr Hamid, with Bruce Riedel, Daniel L Byman, Michael Doran, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, had headlined, «Syria, the US, and Arming the Rebels: Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons and Obama’s Red Line», and they alleged that, although «President Obama has been extremely reluctant to get involved in Syria», «Regime change is the only way to end this conflict», and they applauded the «confirmation that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Syria», but doubted that Obama would bomb Syria hard enough and often enough. None of them ever subsequently acknowledged that, in fact, they had misstated (been suckered by a US government fraud, if even they had believed it), and that Obama actually drove this hoax harder than his Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised him to.

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Hillary Clinton approved delivering Libya’s sarin gas to Syrian rebels: Seymour Hersh

Global Research, May 01, 2016

he great investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, in two previous articles in the London Review of Books («Whose Sarin?» and «The Red Line and the Rat Line») has reported that the Obama Administration falsely blamed the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for the sarin gas attack that Obama was trying to use as an excuse to invade Syria; and Hersh pointed to a report from British intelligence saying that the sarin that was used didn’t come from Assad’s stockpiles.

Hersh also said that a secret agreement in 2012 was reached between the Obama Administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to set up a sarin gas attack and blame it on Assad so that the US could invade and overthrow Assad. «By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria». 

Hersh didn’t say whether these «arms» included the precursor chemicals for making sarin which were stockpiled in Libya, but there have been multiple independent reports that Libya’s Gaddafi possessed such stockpiles, and also that the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a «rat line» for Gaddafi’s captured weapons into Syria through Turkey. So, Hersh isn’t the only reporter who has been covering this. Indeed, the investigative journalist Christoph Lehmann headlined on 7 October 2013, «Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria» and reported, on the basis of very different sources than Hersh used, that «Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry». 

And, as if that weren’t enough, even the definitive analysis of the evidence that was performed by two leading US analysts, the Lloyd-Postal report, concluded that, «The US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT». Obama has clearly been lying.

However, now, for the first time, Hersh has implicated Hillary Clinton directly in this «rat line». In an interview with Alternet.org, Hersh was asked about the then-US-Secretary-of-State’s role in the Benghazi Libya US consulate’s operation to collect weapons from Libyan stockpiles and send them through Turkey into Syria for a set-up sarin-gas attack, to be blamed on Assad in order to ‘justify’ the US invading Syria, as the US had invaded Libya to eliminate Gaddafi. Hersh said: «That ambassador who was killed, he was known as a guy, from what I understand, as somebody, who would not get in the way of the CIA. As I wrote, on the day of the mission he was meeting with the CIA base chief and the shipping company. He was certainly involved, aware and witting of everything that was going on. And there’s no way somebody in that sensitive of a position is not talking to the boss, by some channel».

Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya’s Sarin to Syrian Rebels

This was, in fact, the Syrian part of the State Department’s Libyan operation, Obama’s operation to set up an excuse for the US doing in Syria what they had already done in Libya.

The interviewer then asked:

«In the book [Hersh’s The Killing of Osama bin Laden, just out] you quote a former intelligence official as saying that the White House rejected 35 target sets [for the planned US invasion of Syria] provided by the Joint Chiefs as being insufficiently painful to the Assad regime. (You note that the original targets included military sites only – nothing by way of civilian infrastructure.) Later the White House proposed a target list that included civilian infrastructure. What would the toll to civilians have been if the White House’s proposed strike had been carried out?»

Hersh responded by saying that the US tradition in that regard has long been to ignore civilian casualties; i.e., collateral damage of US attacks is okay or even desired (so as to terrorize the population into surrender) – not an ‘issue’, except, perhaps, for the PR people.

The interviewer asked why Obama is so obsessed to replace Assad in Syria, since «The power vacuum that would ensue would open Syria up to all kinds of jihadi groups»; and Hersh replied that not only he, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff, «nobody could figure out why». He said, «Our policy has always been against him [Assad]. Period». This has actually been the case not only since the Party that Assad leads, the Ba’ath Party, was the subject of a shelved CIA coup-plot in 1957 to overthrow and replace it; but, actually, the CIA’s first coup had been not just planned but was carried out in 1949 in Syria, overthrowing there a democratically elected leader, in order to enable a pipeline for the Sauds’ oil to become built through Syria into the largest oil market, Europe; and, construction of the pipeline started the following year.

But, there were then a succession of Syrian coups (domestic instead of by foreign powers – 195419631966, and, finally, in 1970), concluding in the accession to power of Hafez al-Assad during the 1970 coup. And, the Sauds’ long-planned Trans-Arabia Pipeline has still not been built. The Saudi royal family, who own the world’s largest oil company, Aramco, don’t want to wait any longer. Obama is the first US President to have seriously tried to carry out their long-desired «regime change» in Syria, so as to enable not only the Sauds’ Trans-Arabian Pipeline to be built, but also to build through Syria the Qatar-Turkey Gas Pipeline that the Thani royal family (friends of the Sauds) who own Qatar want also to be built there. The US is allied with the Saud family (and with their friends, the royal families of Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, and Oman). Russia is allied with the leaders of Syria – as Russia had earlier been allied with Mossadegh in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala, Allende in Chile, Hussein in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya, and Yanukovych in Ukraine (all of whom except Syria’s Ba’ath Party, the US has successfully overthrown).

Hersh was wrong to say that «nobody could figure out why» Obama is obsessed with overthrowing Assad and his Ba’ath Party, even if nobody that he spoke with was willing to say why. They have all been hired to do a job, which didn’t change even when the Soviet Union ended and the Warsaw Pact was disbanded; and, anyone who has been at this job for as long as those people have, can pretty well figure out what the job actually is – even if Hersh can’t.

Hersh then said that Obama wanted to fill Syria with foreign jihadists to serve as the necessary ground forces for his planned aerial bombardment there, and, «if you wanted to go there and fight there in 2011-2013, ‘Go, go, go… overthrow Bashar!’ So, they actually pushed a lot of people [jihadists] to go. I don’t think they were paying for them but they certainly gave visas».

However, it’s not actually part of America’s deal with its allies the fundamentalist-Sunni Arabic royal families and the fundamentalist Sunni Erdogan of Turkey, for the US to supply the salaries (to be «paying for them», as Hersh put it there) to those fundamentalist Sunni jihadists – that’s instead the function of the Sauds and of their friends, the other Arab royals, and their friends, to do. (Those are the people who finance the terrorists to perpetrate attacks in the US, Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, India, Nigeria, etc. – i.e., anywhere except in their own countries.) And, Erdogan in Turkey mainly gives their jihadists just safe passage into Syria, and he takes part of the proceeds from the jihadists’ sales of stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil. But, they all work together as a team (with the jihadists sometimes killing each other in the process – that’s even part of the plan) – though each national leader has PR problems at home in order to fool his respective public into thinking that they’re against terrorists, and that only the ‘enemy’ is to blame. (Meanwhile, the aristocrats who supply the «salaries» of the jihadists, walk off with all the money.)

This way, US oil and gas companies will refine, and pipeline into Europe, the Sauds’ oil and the Thanis’ gas, and not only will Russia’s major oil-and-gas market become squeezed away by that, but Obama’s economic sanctions against Russia, plus the yet-further isolation of Russia (as well as of China and the rest of the BRICS countries) by excluding them from Obama’s three mega-trade-deals (TTIP, TPP & TISA), will place the US aristocracy firmly in control of the world, to dominate the 21st Century, as it has dominated ever since the end of WW II.

Then, came this question from Hersh: «Why does America do what it does? Why do we not say to the Russians, Let’s work together?» His interviewer immediately seconded that by repeating it, «So why don’t we work closer with Russia? It seems so rational». Hersh replied simply: «I don’t know». He didn’t venture so much as a guess – not even an educated one. But, when journalists who are as knowledgeable as he, don’t present some credible explanation, to challenge the obvious lies (which make no sense that accords with the blatantly contrary evidence those journalists know of against those lies) that come from people such as Barack Obama, aren’t they thereby – though passively – participating in the fraud, instead of contradicting and challenging it? Or, is the underlying assumption, there: The general public is going to be as deeply immersed in the background information here as I am, so that they don’t need me to bring it all together for them into a coherent (and fully documented) whole, which does make sense? Is that the underlying assumption? Because: if it is, it’s false.

Hersh’s journalism is among the best (after all: he went so far as to say, of Christopher Stephens, regarding Hillary Clinton, «there’s no way somebody in that sensitive of a position is not talking to the boss, by some channel»), but it’s certainly not good enough. However, it’s too good to be published any longer in places like the New Yorker. And the reporting by Christof Lehmann was better, and it was issued even earlier than Hersh’s; and it is good enough, because it named names, and it explained motivations, in an honest and forthright way, which is why Lehmann’s piece was published only on a Montenegrin site, and only online, not in a Western print medium, such as the New Yorker. The sites that are owned by members of the Western aristocracy don’t issue reports like that – journalism that’s good enough. They won’t inform the public when a US Secretary of State, and her boss the US President, are the persons actually behind a sarin gas attack they’re blaming on a foreign leader the US aristocrats and their allied foreign aristocrats are determined to topple and replace.

Is this really democracy?

Turkish whistleblowers corroborate story on false-flag sarin attack in Syria

Such bravery by these whistleblowers. 
Global Research, October 23, 2015
Counter Punch 23 October 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan

This is quite the bombshell delivered by two CHP deputies in the Turkish parliament and reported by Today’s Zaman, one of the top dailies in Turkey.

It supports Seymour Hersh’s reporting that the notorious sarin gas attack at Ghouta was a false flag orchestrated by Turkish intelligence in order to cross President Obama’s chemical weapons “red line” and draw the United States into the Syria war to topple Assad.

If so, President Obama deserves credit for “holding the line” against the attack despite the grumbling and incitement of the Syria hawks at home and abroad.

And it also presents the unsavory picture of an al-Qaeda operatives colluding with ISIL in a war crime that killed 1300 civilians.

I find the report credible, taking into full account the fact that the CHP (Erdogan’s center-left Kemalist rivals) and Today’s Zaman (whose editor-in-chief, Bulent Kenes was recently detained on live TV for insulting Erdogan in a tweet) are on the outs with Erdogan.

Considering the furious reaction it can be expected to elicit from Erdogan and the Turkish government, the temerity of CHP and Today’s Zaman in running with this story is a sign of how desperate their struggle against Erdogan has become.  Note that the author is shown only as “Columnist: Today’s Zaman”.

I expect the anti-Erodgan forces hope this will be a game changer in terms of U.S.and European support for Erdogan.

It will be very interesting to see if and how the media in the U.S. covers this story.  In case it doesn’t acquire enough “legs” to make into US media, I attach the full Zaman piece below:

CHP deputies: Gov’t rejects probe into Turkey’s role in Syrian chemical attack

Two deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have claimed that the government is against investigating Turkey’s role in sending toxic sarin gas which was used in an attack on civilians in Syria in 2013 and in which over 1,300 Syrians were killed.

CHP deputies Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker held a press conference in İstanbul on Wednesday in which they claimed the investigation into allegations regarding Turkey’s involvement in the procurement of sarin gas which was used in the chemical attack on a civil population and delivered to the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to enable the attack was derailed.

Taking the floor first, Erdem stated that the Adana Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into allegations that sarin was sent to Syria from Turkey via several businessmen. An indictment followed regarding the accusations targeting the government.

“The MKE [Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation] is also an actor that is mentioned in the investigation file. Here is the indictment. All the details about how sarin was procured in Turkey and delivered to the terrorists, along with audio recordings, are inside the file,” Erdem said while waving the file.

Erdem also noted that the prosecutor’s office conducted detailed technical surveillance and found that an al-Qaeda militant, Hayyam Kasap, acquired sarin, adding: “Wiretapped phone conversations reveal the process of procuring the gas at specific addresses as well as the process of procuring the rockets that would fire the capsules containing the toxic gas. However, despite such solid evidence there has been no arrest in the case. Thirteen individuals were arrested during the first stage of the investigation but were later released, refuting government claims that it is fighting terrorism,” Erdem noted.

Over 1,300 people were killed in the sarin gas attack in Ghouta and several other neighborhoods near the Syrian capital of Damascus, with the West quickly blaming the regime of Bashar al-Assad and Russia claiming it was a “false flag” operation aimed at making US military intervention in Syria possible.

Suburbs near Damascus were struck by rockets containing the toxic sarin gas in August 2013.

The purpose of the attack was allegedly to provoke a US military operation in Syria which would topple the Assad regime in line with the political agenda of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.

CHP deputy Şeker spoke after Erdem, pointing out that the government misled the public on the issue by asserting that sarin was provided by Russia. The purpose was to create the perception that, according to Şeker, “Assad killed his people with sarin and that requires a US military intervention in Syria.”

He also underlined that all of the files and evidence from the investigation show a war crime was committed within the borders of the Turkish Republic.

“The investigation clearly indicates that those people who smuggled the chemicals required to procure sarin faced no difficulties, proving that Turkish intelligence was aware of their activities. While these people had to be in prison for their illegal acts, not a single person is in jail. Former prime ministers and the interior minister should be held accountable for their negligence in the incident,” Şeker further commented.

Erdem also added that he will launch a criminal complaint against those responsible, including those who issued a verdict of non-prosecution in the case, those who did not prevent the transfer of chemicals and those who first ordered the arrest of the suspects who were later released.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced in late August that an inquiry had been launched into the gas attacks allegedly perpetuated by both Assad’s Syrian regime and rebel groups fighting in Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011.

However, Erdem is not the only figure who has accused Turkey of possible involvement in the gas attack. Pulitzer Prize winner and journalist, Seymour M. Hersh, argued in an article published in 2014 that MİT was involved with extremist Syrian groups fighting against the Assad regime.

In his article, Hersh said Assad was not behind the attack, as claimed by the US and Europe, but that Turkish-Syrian opposition collaboration was trying to provoke a US intervention in Syria in order to bring down the Assad regime.

Peter Lee edits China Matters and writes about Asia for CounterPunch.

ISIS’ bloody footprints lead from NATO territory

From New Eastern Outlook
By Tony Cartalucci, December 17, 2014

It was reported recently that Germany’s broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) investigated what turned out to be hundreds of trucks a day carrying billions of dollars in supplies,  flowing into Syria and directly into the hands of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS).

Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, has played a pivotal role in the destabilization and destruction of neighboring Syria. Since 2011, Turkey has allowed its territory to be used as a transit and staging point for sectarian terrorists flowing from around the world and into Syria in what could be described as a defacto NATO invasion by proxy.

In 2011, after the Libyan conflict drew to an end in favor of NATO, terrorists it had armed and provided air cover for in North Africa were promptly shipped to Turkey where they then slipped into Syria to engage the Syrian government and its military. Since then, an untold number of terrorists have used not only Turkey as a staging ground, but also Lebanon and Jordan.

In addition to literal terrorists being harbored in NATO territory, security agencies of NATO members including the US and UK, have been active along the Turkish-Syrian border arming, funding. and equipping what they call “moderate rebels.” These moderate rebels have recently been revealed as affiliates of or organized directly organized beneath both Al Qaeda and ISIS.

DW’s report does not implicate merely Turkey in aiding and abetting ISIS, but exposes the fact that ISIS’ supply lines lead from within NATO itself – in other words, ISIS is a creation, perpetuation, and agent of NATO.

Contrary to Western propaganda, Al Qaeda was intentionally organized and directed by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to engage in a regional confrontation aimed at Iran and its powerful arc of influence. Exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article,  “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it was stated explicitly that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda

Clearly, ISIS is the verbatim fulfillment of Hersh’s 2007 warning.

And while some may question what took place between 2007 and the current disposition of ISIS today, those documenting the ongoing conflict in Syria starting in 2011 have noted substantial and continued state sponsorship of militants fighting in the Syrian conflict, many of which are now confirmed to be operating under the banner of ISIS.

Headlines over the past 3-4 years including, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” “First Syria rebels armed and trained by CIA ‘on way to battlefield’,” “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” and “Official says CIA-funded weapons have begun to reach Syrian rebels; rebels deny receipt,” reveal ongoing Western support, bridging the gap between the conspiracy exposed by Hersh in 2007 and the current torrent of supplies flowing to ISIS via NATO territory.

It is clear that the ISIS threat was NATO all along, the culmination of a conspiracy spanning at least two US Presidential administrations, and resulting in a regional conflict marked by some of the most horrific barbarism documented in modern history.

With NATO feeding the ISIS threat directly, no serious attempt to destroy ISIS in either Syria or Iraq can be attempted without first cutting its supply lines leading from NATO territory. Clearly the United States, NATO, or regional partners like Israel, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia have any intention of doing so. As indicated by DW’s report, Kurds operating on both sides of the Turkish-Syrian border are attempting to seal off the flow of supplies leading from NATO territory.

The Syrian Arab Army, the Iranian forces supporting anti-ISIS fighters in Syrian territory, and the allies of both countries must insist that strict resolutions are passed to secure the border and stem the flow of ISIS’ lifeline. A clearly worded resolution, if voted down by the likes of the US and its NATO accomplices, will expose further the true nature ISIS and the misanthropic agenda of the West it is a manifestation of.

If the West capitulates and the resolution is passed, further steps toward arming and aiding the Syrian and Iranian governments and their various allies in the securing of the Turkish-Syrian border can be made. From there, the proxy war engineered and executed by the West which has engulfed the region for years, may finally be brought to an end.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2014/12/17/isis-bloody-footprints-lead-from-nato-territory/