Australia, conflict zones, featured, latest, Russia, Syria, USA

Lies and Damned Lies: Australia, the US and the “Syria Withdrawal”

David Macilwain

Few of us would claim we never told a lie, but neither that we did so enthusiastically. Just the innocent deception of our own children with the Santa Claus fairy tale is a lie, even if told for the most altruistic of reasons. Perhaps that illustrates the conundrum, and need for some distinction between “innocent lies” and egregious ones, and those in between.

These last – the “justifiable lies” – must include those told “for Queen and Country”, or as we like to say in Australia “in the interests of National Security”, to make it less obvious that neither the Queen nor the Country are truly ours.

Going on their recent performance, members of the Australian Government seem to have a rather broad definition of justifiable lies, told ostensibly in the National Interest but clearly also in the interests of some other Nations, and favoured corporations. Even justifiable, and toothless in deceiving no-one, they are still lies.

As most of us who have also – reluctantly – told a less innocent lie at some time would know, one little lie often begets another – and so ad infinitum! And it can be seen that what applies to the personal also applies to the national; the language may be different but the deception is the same.

Perhaps it’s because we have some personal empathy with our habitually mendacious leaders that we may cut them more slack than they deserve. Recent proposals from some Independent MPs to have an “Integrity Commission” charged with setting higher standards of behaviour for Parliamentary representatives are an admirable attempt to rectify this problem. We might well suspect that the Government’s own copycat proposal is a less admirable attempt to dodge the moral spotlight.

What is becoming increasingly apparent however, is that one sector of the “public service” is immune to such criticism, despite displaying the same casual attitude to the truth. In fact it could be said that the core business of our “Intelligence Agencies” is “plausible lying”, whether publicly or privately, to other states or to each other. Even though we know this to be the case, the advice of Intelligence agencies is presented as sacrosanct, and we believe that these agencies and their Directors must be acting in our interests.

Those who question such advice – such as the renowned “Intelligence” on Iraq’s non-existent WMDs – are in an extreme minority. Even in that case, where there was widespread exposure of the intricacies of deception, and the covert agenda of those who made the case for the unprovoked pre-emptive strike on Baghdad, there remain many who still believe the ends justified the means and would “do it again”.

As it happens, some new information has recently emerged that demonstrates the Howard government’s extreme mendacity over the supposed intelligence on Iraq’s WMDs; Howard himself clearly misled Parliament in March 2003, when “the intelligence had been fixed around the policy”. As explained here by James O’Neill, that advice to create the pretext for war came from the head of MI6 at the time – Sir Richard Dearlove. One might imagine that since Australia was part of the advance planning to attack Iraq, it also played a part in “fixing” the intelligence.

At the very least, Howard appears to have been part of this joint US/UK conspiracy that set out to deceive the Western public into supporting the illegal “war for Oil”, and in a way that also misled Australia’s own military. Fixing the intelligence in this case merely meant concealing the planning and the motivation from the public until everything was in place for “Shock and Awe”.

While the devastating effects of that war on Iraq are barely addressed or recompensed today, the current state of affairs does not allow us the luxury of some “truth and reconciliation” commission. Not only do the orchestrators and perpetrators of that crime remain unbowed and unpunished, their political offspring are already mired in the same morass of lies and deceptions, and on multiple fronts.

Recent developments over the involvement of US coalition forces – including Australia – in military campaigns in Syria and Iraq have suddenly re-opened the Iraqi wound, with Iraqi parliamentarians uniting in anger and opposition to the continuing US presence. The multiplicity of lies being told to facilitate the US coalition’s new strategic objectives demand attention and exposure which is so far quite lacking from Australian state and corporate media.

How this can happen – the elaborate construction of a completely false narrative that conceals the most egregious crimes committed by our own “Democratic” countries against innocent victim populations – requires a little more background on the fabric of lies that supports it, before examining this most recent deception.

Nowhere is elaborate and organised deception more evident than in the fabrications over alleged chemical weapons use by Syria and Russia, and in particular the claims that Russia tried to kill Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent. Even at the start, those claims had little credibility given the obvious lack of any motive, but the subsequent development of the “Novichok” story has the classic features of the “chain of lies” alluded to earlier, explored at great length by many analysts. (I should note that I first wrote this for an Australian audience, for whom no alternative vision is available on the Skripal poisoning. For the better informed however, the corroborating evidence in Utkin’s report is still very useful).

Unlike in many controversial cases where little solid evidence is available to identify the perpetrators of a crime, in the case of the Skripal poisoning the wealth of circumstantial evidence is backed up by solid, even incontrovertible scientific evidence.

Not only does the extreme toxicity of such nerve agents make death the most likely symptom of exposure, it poses a lethal hazard to the “user” as well as any other living thing in the vicinity. It is simply impossible for anyone with a little technical knowledge to accept the case as presented by the UK Government and its Intelligence agencies.

It is also clear that from the start the Russians could not accept the UK’s claims, even to the slightest degree. This is not because of their lack of involvement or knowledge of the Skripals’ poisoning, but because the claims are simply ridiculous and transparently false. This lengthy technical analysis by highly experienced and qualified Russian scientist Anton Utkin makes that clear. Utkin’s experience as a UN CW inspector in Iraq, and involvement in the CW destruction program means his observations on Novichok must be accepted or credibly refuted; they cannot be ignored.

Why then should we accept any of the pronouncements of Western coalition leaders on their motives and intentions in the Middle East, if they subscribe to the “litany of lies” around the Salisbury poisonings? The intimate association between those involved in the Skripal poisoning conspiracy and in the staging of alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria by the White Helmets further discredits all those who accept these fabrications as true.

It also makes them responsible and culpable for illegal and lethal actions taken against Syria and Russia and their allies, based on these false claims. The chains of lies told knowingly to support those actions can only be described as “egregious” and unjustifiable in any sense – for Queen, country or even “responsibility to protect” – the dishonest framing of those actions in such humanitarian terms hugely magnifies the crime.

Which brings us back to the current deception over the US move to withdraw forces from Syria, where they have operated illegally for eight years – according to President Trump. In reality their announced presence in Syria was “authorised” by the Iraqi government in 2014; a year later the Australian government followed suit, but without such authorisation. While the withdrawal from Syria will finally allow the Syrian Army and allies to eliminate Islamic State forces from east of the Euphrates, with the cooperation of the Iraqi army, it now appears that the US is merely redeploying its troops to the Iraqi side of the Syrian border – not coincidentally to the Ayn al Asad airbase that the Trumps visited at Christmas

Given that Australian PM Scott Morrison also paid a surprise visit to the troops in Iraq just before Christmas, and with apparent foreknowledge of Trumps Syria plans, why should we believe any assurances on the true reason for the Australian presence in Iraq, or claims of its absence in Syria? Have Iraqi officials expressed a desire for Australian forces to leave Iraq, or protested at Morrison’s plans that they will remain there?

On whose behalf are Australian forces actually deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria? And in whose interest?

While the discussion and disputes over the US pulling out of Syria continue, I have to date heard no Government representative comment on Australia’s intentions, nor any media pose the question. Instead we have heard how one single Australian who went to fight in Syria with IS, and is now in a Turkish jail – for reasons unknown – will have his citizenship cancelled. He might wish he’d joined the White Helmets!

Sixties drop out, Scientist-farmer, cheesemaker-Luddite, late life activist for the Resistance, Putin/Assad/Nasrallah lover. Atheist. Traveller-student through MENA-Russia-Europe. Abandoned UK frying pan for Australian fire. Marginalised dissident. Author for Russia Insider/AHT and OffG.


  1. Seamus Padraig says

    While the withdrawal from Syria will finally allow the Syrian Army and allies to eliminate Islamic State forces from east of the Euphrates, with the cooperation of the Iraqi army, it now appears that the US is merely redeploying its troops to the Iraqi side of the Syrian border …

    Well, OK. But that’s a pullout from Syria, just not Iraq. So what exactly about the Syria pullout is a ‘lie’? Or did I misunderstand the author’s point completely.

  2. Gezzah Potts says

    The reality is Australia is not an independent sovereign nation. It is a completely sycophantic suck up vassal state of the Anglo Zionist Empire. You only need to peruse the mainstream media, including the ABC and SBS to realise that. Sadly, the majority of Aussies are locked into the propaganda matrix of the media, and swallow the bullshit it spews out. Witness in recent years the swooning and adulation of the despicable puffed up little war criminal John Howard as some greatly respected ‘elder statesman’ by these equally as despicable stenographers, whose very first question to Howard should be: ‘Why arn’t you sitting in a jail cell in The Hague for your grotesque war crimes in Iraq’. But of course, as propagandists for Empire and Imperialism, they will never utter that question. Most Aussies only care about their footy team, going on a shopping binge or going to the Pub. The media and marketing companies have a big part too play in the current state of Australian society.

  3. Thomas Prentice says

    TRUE THIS: “As most of us who have also – reluctantly – told a less innocent lie at some time would know, one little lie often begets another – and so ad infinitum! ”

    So I am not so sure any longer that Santa Claus is such an innocent lie. Santa Claus is just a one-man NSA or CIA or FBI and the Santa Claus lies makes us predisposed to think surveillance is A-OK. And to think that authority figures tell the truth. Etc.

  4. Archie1954 says

    The whole Middle East morass is a measure of what’s to come. US imperialism has an emperor with no clothes! Not only is it morally and ethically bereft, it is also totally illegal internationally. The millions of human beings who have been murdered by the US since WWII, are crying for justice from their graves. Every American, no matter how ignorant of their government’s part in such bloody carnage, bears a personal responsibility for it. Just how are the, oh so pure of heart Evangelical crowd, going to explain to St; Peter, that they should be allowed into Heaven, with the deaths of millions on their cheat sheets?

  5. Loverat says

    An interesting perspective for anyone looking at the motives for all this. And if you don’t understand the motives and thinking, you can’t address the problem.

    This is not necessarily about bringing new facts to the table but breaking them down into language we can all reflect upon easier.

    It must be hard to understand for the Syrian people why a far away country like Australia are bombing them.

    Without knowing all the details of Australian politics (probably not necessary) the imposition is most likely similar to the UK/US ‘special relationship’. A country in decline trying to carve out a role for itself in the world and distract from their failures at home.

    Like the British, the Australians favour a relationship with America even if it goes against basic decency and for supporting terrorism, imperialism and mass murder.

    In a criminal context Australia is a willing accomplice but might be able to argue diminished responsibility – in front of an understanding court where psychological experts give testimony.

    • grandstand says

      If you seek an explanation of Australia’s involvement, you might like to take this into account:

      Of course, the vast majority of Australians know nothing about these machinations and the MSM
      do their best to discredit Rudd. I doubt if many Australians even know that the ADF is involved in Syria. But there are as a quick search would discover.

      • Remaster says

        Thanks for the link, very informative. My own country, just three hours away, has it’s own sordid history with Mossadist sleazery and brazen policy influence (especially under the utterly slimy and corruptable Citibank Spiv’, Key).

      • Jen says

        Thanks for the link. Julia Gillard is a despicable mediocrity so I should not have been surprised to see her stoop so low – but then she is always capable of springing some new unpleasant horror.

      • George cornell says

        Helpful, plausible and not surprising, as it forms a direct connection between the US and Oz ‘s doppelgänger foreign policy. I read it after my post below.

    • George cornell says

      It’s hard for anyone far away from Australia (because everyone including NZ, is) to understand why they have forgone all decency and moral values to throw in their lot with the wacko Americans. What the hell is going on there? Having visited several times they still live in a world of imported American paranoia and heartfelt racist sentiment about the Asians. If the Americans told them to jump off the bridge in Sydney hahbah, they would.

      The term “yellow peril” has not been in North America for 50 years but you can still hear it in Australia, in between public gloating about house prices. What a country.

      • Jen says

        As an Australian myself, I patiently await the glorious day when the Americans tell Australians to jump off the Sydney Harbour Bridge into the briny deep below, just so we can be rid of the trashier elements of our society.

        After that day, Sydney harbourfront property is going to be extraordinarily cheap.


        • George cornell says

          You always make good sense Jen and I would be pleased for Oz and for you if it happens. I have lived in the US for many years and now again live next door. We Canadians know them all too well and we are like all of Central America and South America where they have no friends.

          Australians in general should ask themselves why the US’s neighbours loathe them and they have to go 10,000 miles away to find takers for their mad dog invasion schemes (except when Harper was PM).

  6. Antonym says

    Which brings us back to the current deception over the US move to withdraw forces from Syria, where they have operated illegally for eight years – according to President Trump. In reality their announced presence in Syria was “authorised” by the Iraqi government in 2014;


    A land conquered and occupied on false pretences (Irak) can years later authorize it conquerors to enter a neighbouring country (Syria)? That is US Cabal fig leaf logic, not International Law. Obama the perfect was the lubricator for this kind of nonsense. Five Eyes members were pulled along to show it was not a one state move. As their “leaders” could easily be blackmailed they went.

    President Trump promised and is still trying to get out of Syria, but the US Cabal doesn’t want this now.

    Stop beating around the Bush and show finally what president Trump is: anti-US Cabal, if you are too.

  7. Tediously long and no pay-off. Not a fact here a regular OffG reader isn’t familiar with.

    • George cornell says

      If it so obvious why do you feel the need to state it? And why do you feel entitled to speak for the regular offG reader? And to whom then are you speaking? Your own good self? And of course it is not entirely obvious but I as a regular reader should just accept that you are much more perceptive? Is that it?

  8. Narrative says

    No need for a Zionist lobby in Canberra, Australia. The laid-back model-for-democracy nation is now governed by an Ultraconservative Evangelical Christian Zionist.

    Ask the current prime minister (January 2019) how did it come about that he has got the job. Are we getting an answer?

  9. bevin says

    “… it now appears that the US is merely redeploying its troops to the Iraqi side of the Syrian border ..”
    I wouldn’t read too much into this: the situation there is very volatile, things could change quickly.
    But the underlying fact is that the US position in Iraq is untenable: the Iraqis won’t allow them to stay. And the US can’t force them to put up with their maintaining a base.
    The logic behind US withdrawal is after all, impeccable. And Trump could make himself wildly popular by ending the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan and declaring a Peace Dividend which would boost domestic demand.
    Such a policy, an obvious one for the left, has been sitting on the shelf waiting for someone to pick it up for decades. Not even the ‘left’ Democrats like Sanders have dared to dust it off and use it. Such is the nature of US politics that the only politicians who dare to take radical steps (Nixon to China for example) are demagogues on the right.

    • Bevin, re withdrawal from Syria as Trump’s Get Out of Jail Card, some light on this from Wm.Engdahl:

      This all has significant geopolitical implications as the US today has emerged in recent years to become the world’s largest producer of oil, ahead of both Russia and Saudi Arabia. This could also explain why the US President recently felt able to order a US troop withdrawal from Syria. There is a vast geopolitical shift underway in the last few years.
      William Engdahl, 31.12.2018

      • BigB says


        Re: the US becoming the world’s largest oil producer …only in their own hubris and delusion. Whilst technically true, it’s not the whole truth. It’s down to highly subsidised “sweet spot” drilling and hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking). Sweet spot means exactly what it says: drilling the most accessible spots first. The advantage is lucrative short term returns. The disadvantage: the rigs peak quickly …sometimes in months. Subsidised means that the venture is costing Wall St $$$$ trillions …while they are selling the oil for $$$$ billions. In other words, it’s a short term unsustainable venture that will have serious consequences for the US economy in the early 2020s (if their economy lasts that long!)

        I don’t have a single source, but the work of Professor Charles Hall (e.g. “Energy and the Wealth of Nations”) is a good resource. Some of the fields (Eagle Ford, Bakken …off the top of my head ).are already in decline. There are other factors, such as the hydraulic implications of drilling in a desert (the Permain field) …Re: drought. But you are right: I expect Trump’s advisors have told him that it will last forever. Indeed, according to Engdahl, the US wants to use its protection racketeering to set up as the world’s gas pump. Only, the world doesn’t want to be beholden to US hydrocarbon imperialism any more.

        • bevin says

          Everything that I have learned confirms your points. The fracking play has no future, essentially the US is just mopping up the remains of the old oil fields. And doing so at an incalculable enrironmental cost.

          On the other hand for the US to set itself up as the biggest player in the oil and gas industry means nothing more, or less, than that they intend to act as the middleman or broker for fossil fuels in the future. Which means exploiting military resources, using its immense edge in military investment to control oil sales.
          There’s nothing new about that, except that what the US is really telling us is that while it is no longer the dominant oil producer that doesn’t matter.
          Incidentally Venezuela has the largest known reserves. These reserves spill over into Guyana, Brazil and the offshore. Controlling these fields and taking over Brazil’s Atlantic reserves in particular fits very well into the Trumpian preference for reasserting power in Latin America and working with the Bolsonaro regime which Wall St and Washington conjured up for just these circumstances.

          • BigB says

            Bossanova is a neoliberal plant: a not-so-cool-fusion of the Washington Consensus and IMF ‘re-structuring’. The Mediaeval economic siege warfare against Venezuela is an ongoing crime against humanity. However, the Yankee’s didn’t count on the resolve of the Bolivarian Revolution. However bad things get (which is pretty bad) – Yankee imperialism would be much worse. Much, much, worse.

            Leaving aside the imperialists extended Monroe Doctrinaire politics: the thing about the Orinoco Belt reserve is that is is tight, viscous, sulphorous tar. It needs diluting with naptha and other diluents (to make Diluted Crude Oil: DCO) just to move it. These diluents – including lighter grades of oil – have to be imported, as Venezuela has no remaining production of them. Otherwise, the DCO has to be expensively upgraded to make lighter premium crudes (‘syncrudes’). The US Gulf Coast has the specialist refineries that can deal with it. They can control the price on ‘quality issues’. Whoever sells it – PDVSA or foreign joint ventures – they can’t do so and profit at current prices (>$40/b). That’s why Venezuela’s oil imports are up, but production and exports down. Unfortunately, ‘big’ – having the world’s largest proven reserves – isn’t necessarily beautiful. They call it ‘negative oil’: which is probably why they are trying to sell it in cryptos.

            I read on my newsfeed that they will be hitting Maduro with fresh sanctions on the 10th – because his re-election was a ‘sham’. Because US democratic elections are exemplary. Shameful.

            Rhetorical question: when will we realise that the black stuff costs the earth? Just on the economic front: all the major producers are in trouble – essentially subsidising (debt funding) the carbon economy. We are using heavier and heavier crudes, boiling kerogen, fracking, using costlier and costlier methods of production – and selling it for minimal profit: or in the case of heavy crudes and kerogen – at or below the cost of production. Luckily we are not building our entire global economic future on such an economic negativity and exploding debt burden. What’s that, we are? Isn’t that insane? 🙁

    • eddie says

      The Iraqis were willing to allow the Obama-regime troops to stay, provided they were subject to Iraqi law. We saw how fast the americans left after that stipulation.. Is that provision still in effect, and why did Iraq allow yet another american troop build-up to occur, unless by force?

      • bevin says

        I am sure that it is still in effect. Iraq will not tolerate troops not subject to local law: they’ve seen the way that that works.
        As to the presence of US forces that is, allegedly, to assist iraq in dealing with the IS conquest of Mosul and rapid expansion. That task seems about complete, so there is no longer any use for the US military

        • Harry Law says

          “As to the presence of US forces that is, allegedly, to assist iraq in dealing with the IS conquest of Mosul and rapid expansion.” so they tell us, the conquest of Mosul was preceded by thousands of Toyota trucks traversing eastern Syria and entering Iraq. These trucks whipping up hundreds of tons of dust were miraculously not seen by US spy planes or satellites, similarly those thousands of IS oil trucks were not seen either, until the Russians embarrassed their “Partners” by destroying them. Trust the US and you are dead.

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