All posts tagged: Syria

Disbelief, Magic Realism and Doublethink Alive and Well in 2018

James O’Neill In the Lyrical Ballads, a collection of essays and poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the latter coined the phrase “the willing suspension of disbelief.” It enabled the reader to overlook the logical improbabilities or fanciful concoctions to achieve “poetic faith”. A modern equivalent might be “magical realism,” a term conceived by the German writer Franz Roh in 1925. Magical realism was a style of fiction that painted a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements. Both terms are appropriate when one considers modern journalism, especially as applied to some of the major stories of 2018. Four events during that year illustrate the point. Crimea Although not strictly speaking a 2018 story, it nonetheless ran strongly through 2018, blending a number of sub stories, all with the common element of Russia bashing. Following the United States inspired and financed Maidan coup in February 2014, the Crimeans decided to hold a referendum as to whether or not they would remain part of Ukraine (to whom they were ‘gifted’ …

The War on Populism

Remember when the War on Terror ended and the War on Populism began? That’s OK, no one else does.

It happened in the Summer of 2016, also known as “the Summer of Fear.” The War on Terror was going splendidly. There had been a series of “terrorist attacks,” in Orlando, Nice, Würzberg, Munich, Reutlingen, Ansbach, and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, each of them perpetrated by suddenly “self-radicalized” “lone wolf terrorists” (or “non-terrorist terrorists“) who had absolutely no connection to any type of organized terrorist groups prior to suddenly “self- radicalizing” themselves by consuming “terrorist content” on the Internet.

Chomsky’s Unearned Prestige

Eric Zuesse A large part of Noam Chomsky’s public image as an intellectual is derived not from his role in the field of linguistics, but instead from his having co-authored with Edward Herman Manufacturing Consent. The first matter to be discussed here will therefore be Chomsky’s contribution to that work; and, more broadly, that work’s contribution to human understanding — the actual significance of the book. Chomsky’s contribution to that 1988 book was to describe the selling of specifically the wars in Vietnam and in adjoining Indochinese nations, according to that book’s main author, Herman’s, theory. That theory was called the “Propaganda model of communication”. It’s the book’s theory, or “model,” of manufacturing consent for wars. According to their book, the practitioners of this model are the public relations or PR profession that sell, to the domestic American public, invasions and military occupations of foreign lands. This is a specialized field of PR. Herman’s theory (or “model”) of political PR (commonly called “propaganda”) for the invasion and control of foreign countries, had, itself, actually already …

War Criminals at Large

It is a common misconception that democracies do not start wars of aggression or carry out terrorist attacks. The historical facts for the period from 1945 to today show a completely different reality: time and again, democratic states in Europe and North America have participated in wars of aggression and terrorist attacks in the past 70 years.

Faint Signs of Hope in Syria and Afghanistan

James O’Neill In March 2003 Iraq was invaded by military forces led by the United States, and including other military forces from a range of US allies, including Australia. The ostensible reason for the invasion was the Iraqi government’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Possession of such weapons is not of itself a legitimate basis for invasion. The Allies therefore had to embellish the claim. Saddam Hussein was going to attack the United Kingdom, with only 45 minutes warning! He was using these weapons against his own people (a claim later repeated to justify the attack on Syria). He posed a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East (irony bypass required here). It was even hinted, none too subtly, that Saddam was one of the persons responsible for the events of 11 September 2001 (“9/11”). There was not a shred of evidence to support any of these allegations. Absence of evidence has never been a deterrent where imperial ambitions are concerned. The invasion of Iraq was about many things, but …

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

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.

OffG in the New Year

And so the year ends. 2018 is a closed book. The final sentence dotted, a new chapter started. It was a bleak year, politically, for many of us – but not entirely without hope.

Syria and the will of God

Kevin Smith In my lifetime, there has never been a greater force of evil than the terror rained down on Syria by foreign nations. Its cruelty and savagery have had no bounds. Nonetheless, Syria has defended itself against the economic might of 2/3 of the world’s great powers and has beaten them all. As a career military officer and student of military affairs, I cannot explain how Syria could accomplish this if it were not the will of God.” These were words spoken by US Virginia state senator Richard Black during a recent visit to Syria. Here is a link to more of what he said. For me, these words are the most profound and thought-provoking I’ve read about Syria. I read them every day. I’ve been observing and researching events in Syria and western government’s role in the chaos for some years now. I have also been thinking about faith and wondering if a god plays a role in world events. Evil versus Syria I think all people, religious or not, who care about …

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria” – Is Trump telling the truth?

Eric Zuesse At 11:52AM on Wednesday, December 19th, CBS News headlined “White House orders Pentagon to pull troops from Syria immediately” and reported that, “Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a veteran of the US Air Force who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and now serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it’s ‘simply not true’ [which Trump, had said there, that] ISIS is defeated in Syria.” CBS News didn’t indicate which political Party Kinzinger represents, but he is a Republican, and he represents the rural Illinois 16th Congressional District, where Donald Trump had beaten Hillary Clinton by a 17% margin in 2016. So, Kinzinger is an anti-Trump Republican on this matter. He’s credible about that, not partisan about it. Who is telling the truth, Trump’s “We have defeated ISIS in Syria” or Kinzinger’s contrary, and what explains the contradiction between the accounts by Trump and Kinzinger? As the CBS News report says, “Two weeks ago, Special Envoy Brett McGurk said the end of ISIS will be a long-term initiative, and “nobody is declaring mission accomplished.” CBS’s …

In Syria the Entire Nation Mobilized…and Won

Yes, there is rubble, in fact total destruction, in some of the neighborhoods of Homs, Aleppo, in the outskirts of Damascus, and elsewhere.

Yes, there are terrorists and ‘foreign forces’ in Idlib and in several smaller pockets in some parts of the country.

Yes, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and millions are either in exile, or internally displaced.

But the country of Syria is standing tall. It did not crumble like Libya or Iraq did. It never surrendered. It never even considered surrender as an option. It went through total agony, through fire and unimaginable pain, but in the end, it won. It almost won. And the victory will, most likely, be final in 2019.

It is Time for George Versus the Dragon

David Lindsay At least once every week, the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, says something that would end the career of a Conservative, or of a Corbyn supporter, or of a man, or of anyone who was not Jess Phillips. Phillips supports the present Israeli Government. She has accused British Pakistanis of importing wives for their disabled sons. Her position on abortion, whatever one may think of that issue, is effectively a call for the full legal integration of Northern Ireland into Great Britain. She is rude and abusive towards Britain’s most prominent black politician, Diane Abbott. Or at least she claims to be; it is possible that she has built her reputation on lying about having used gutter language towards a woman who was old enough to be her mother. Phillips laughs at male suicides, at male cancers, at other men’s health issues, at violence against men, at problems in boys’ educational attainment, and at fathers denied access to their children. She has expressed the desire to stab Jeremy Corbyn. And …

The Nobel Peace Prize in Support of War

On December 10, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony will be held in Oslo, the capital of Norway. This analysis will try to look at how the prize fits in the bigger picture, but first, some general background is appropriate:

Norway is a member of NATO and has close ties to the United States and Great Britain. The political, economic and bureaucratic elites are firmly integrated in transatlantic networks, a nexus of economic connections, think tanks, international institutions, media and a thousand other ties that bind. They tend to identify with the liberal wing of the empire, (i.e. the Democrats, not the Republicans), but will work with any US administration. The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are selected by the Norwegian parliament, and the Committee is nominally independent.

Andre Vltchek Interviewed in L’Antidiplomatico

Alessandro Bianchi’s interview with Andre Vltchek, originally published in L’Antidiplomatico. You can read both parts 1 and 2 in the original Italian here and here. Alessandro Bianchi Let’s start from today’s crisis in the Sea of Azov. The European Union and NATO have given full support to Ukraine after the violation of Russian sovereignty by two Ukrainian vessels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave his full support to Poroshenko, who declared martial law. What does a country like Italy risk in continuing its accession to NATO? Andre Vltchek: Russia intercepted three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait. The ships had, even according to Ukrainian authorities, several intelligence officers on board, as well as a number of light arms and machine guns. It was clear provocation, as the ships refused to inform Russian authorities about their intentions, and behaved in an aggressive manner. They were passing through Russian territorial waters. Ukrainian intelligence officers were obviously in charge of the entire operation. So, what is really so ‘alarming’ for the West? The ships were stopped, some crew …

The Only Regime Change that Is Needed Is in Washington

Philip Giraldi One of the things to look forward to in the upcoming holiday season is the special treats that one is allowed to sample. Fruitcake and nuts are Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites. They usually come in tins or special packages but it seems that this season some of the nuts have escaped and have fled to obtain sanctuary from the Trump Administration. Currently, there is certainly a wide range of nuts available on display in the West Wing. There is the delicate but hairy Bolton, which has recently received the coveted “Defender of Israel” award, and also the robust Pompeo, courageously bucking the trend to overeat during the holidays by telling the Iranian people that they should either surrender or starve to death. And then there is the always popular Haley, voting audaciously to give part of Syria to Israel as a holiday treat. But my vote for the most magnificent nut in an Administration that is overflowing with such talent would be the esteemed United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey. …

Building Bridges vs. Buying Bombs

Eric Zuesse China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments. According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.) The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops). While the U.S. Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer …

WATCH: Who Are These Russians And Why Do We Hate Them?

In his film, Regis Tremblay examines the history of US-Russian relations, talks to ordinary Russian people, deconstructs propaganda and attempts to answer the question – Who are these Russians? And Why Do We Hate Them? The escalating downturn of US relations with Russia has made the world a more dangerous place than at any time during the Cold War, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This film explores the many reasons why the US foreign policy establishment since the end of World War II hates all things Russian. With the exception of John Kennedy who sought to end nuclear weapons and to seek peace with Russia, every president since has used Russia as a threat to American interests, security and Democracy. Is Putin a thug and an assassin? Or he is a great, patriotic leader of a country that was nearly destroyed by President George Herbert Walker Bush’s CIA good old boys, Bill Clinton and the CIA asset Boris Yeltsin? But, perhaps the greatest fear is that Russia has regained its superpower status and because …

The New U.S. Strategy in Syria is Bound to Fail

Firas Samuri The leading analysts repeatedly stated that the U.S. has failed to overthrow President Bashar Assad. Recently, The National Interest reporter and researcher, Doug Bandow, has made sure of it during his trip to Damascus. He claims “at long last, the conflict is winding down. Assad has won, and Washington has lost, and America’s approach has been a disastrous failure.’ Meanwhile, the Trump administration is considering the possibility of changing the current political course that previously hasn’t led to any success. Today a new strategy for the war in Syria is hastily working out. According to Stratfor, an American geopolitical intelligence platform and publisher, the U.S. is focused on the full withdrawal of the Iranian military and their proxies from Syria, as well as on changing the current Syrian government. The ‘war strategy’ particularly highlights the Russian and Iranian approach. However, the United States could hardly be expected to force Moscow and Tehran to leave Syria, as these states are acting officially in fighting terrorism at the invitation of the Syrian President. Due to …

BBC Documentary – “A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad”

David Carlson I rarely watch anything on the BBC now and this first part in a three part character assassination of Bashar Assad is a testament as to why watching anything the BBC produces is as near perverse as some of their DJ’s. “Nick Greene”, the Grun states ” forensic excision of the tumour at the heart of Syria,” is about as sick as gaggle of Bishops at a Jimmy Saville party. The sickly female voice over 20 years ago would only be found on a childrens program explainingg basics of a subject to ten year olds but now, it seems, is standard fare for adults happy to accept such condescension. To start with the ommision of how Hafez Assad rescued Syria from American and French colonial interference that by policy was designed to keep Syria a fractured state of warring tribes is as I expected a deafening silence. That he came from a peasant family with nothing to be President that united his nation in a secular peace and a growing prosperity for all …

The Framing of Russia

David Macilwain On the first of May, the UK’s National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill told MPs that the agencies he oversaw – MI6, MI5 and GCHQ – had no information on who was responsible for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter two months earlier. Three days later police searched the room in the City Stay Hotel used by “suspects” Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, and took swabs which were “found to contain Novichok” by Porton Down. The police did not make this information public until September 6th, when they chose to break the story of the now notorious “Russian assassins”. As I have speculated before, and as is now becoming increasingly clear, the “suspects” put in the frame by the UK government were evidently known to its intelligence agencies long before Mark Sedwill’s denial, and in fact before they even reached London, on their way, we are told ad nauseum, to hit the Skripals with toxic perfume. Obviously that story is not true, but it now appears that the mission assigned to …

The NYT Whitewashes Haley

The decampment of Nikki Haley from Trump’s military regime is, or ought to be, a nonstory. The United States’ ambassador to the United Nations is a ceremonial position that serves no purpose. The very idea of it is absurd. The US is a law unto itself, readily violating the UN Charter whenever the latter’s principles get in the way of the former’s imperial agenda. Washington didn’t bother obtaining a Security Council resolution for its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; nor did it get one for its bombing of, and deployment of troops in, Syria; nor did it get one for its protracted bombardment of Yugoslavia; nor did it get one for its various military operations in Yemen.