Sean Hannity beats the drum for war against Iran
US corporate media is either pro-Republican or pro-Democrat and they are nearly always in violent disagreement, except on the subject of war. Both sides love war. Here is a rabid example, dated 19 September 2019, from Sean Hannity, of Fox news. (The video is only embedded here for the record. Most visitors probably won't choose to put themselves through all of Hannity's war-mongering tirade.) Surprisingly, the only mainstream US journalist who seems to be against war is also on Fox - Tucker Carlson.
In contrast to Hannity, Tucker Carlson, another Fox News presenter, is outspoken in his opposition to any new United States' war as well as to its current, ongoing wars. Unfortunately, Tucker Carlson still accepts, by omission and commission, some, if not all, of the narrative, used to justify those wars. One example is his unjust claim that socialism, and not the savage and illegal U.S. sanctions, is the cause of all the hardships faced by Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. In spite of these and other shortcomings, Tucker Carlson's weekday new service, which lasts about 45 minutes, in contrast to Sean Hannity's, is well worth a look.
The rest of humanity can breathe a sigh of relief, given that Trump has not yet fully taken up Sean Hannity's advice. In large part this is probably due to the fact that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and their allies in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, seem to have have shown themselves capable of standing up to the United States' bullying. Examples include when the IRGC on 19 June shot down the US drone which had violated Iran's air space and the more recent devastating military defeats inflicted on Suadi Arabian invaders by Yemen's Armed forces.
How can you tell whether Russia has invaded Ukraine?
by Dmitri Orlov. Previously published by Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, DarkPolitricks and Conspiracy Analyst on 1 Sep 2014.
Also by Dmitri Orlov: Orlov on the Ukraine (29/8/14), Saving Face (29/7/14), Collapse and Systemic Failure at All Levels Coming to U.S. (19/3/14), Collapse and Systemic Failure at All Levels Coming to U.S. (19/3/14), Ukraine-Crimea Update and U.S. on Suicide Watch (19/3/14), Dmitri Orlov highlights the Crimean "crisis" and the Western bias (12/3/14), On western engineered fascist coup d'etat in Ukraine: "U.S. citizens are being systematically conditioned to hate Vladimir Putin" (2/3/14)
This article includes embedded Youtube video of the Donetsk Republic Council of Ministers, which is also included in the article The Donetsk National Republic states the facts about its conflict with the Kiev regime (31/8/14) on candobetter.
"If you think that Russia is sending its regular units here, then let me tell you something. If Russia was sending its regular troops, we wouldn't be talking about the battle of Elenovka here. We'd be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov."
Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic
addresses press conference, answers questions
Lvov is in western Ukraine near the border with Poland. In other words, if Russia invades Ukraine, the fighting will move from the east side to the west side of the country.
As I observed in a recent column, the fantasy spread by Western governments and their media whores that 1,000 Russian troops have invaded Ukraine is the height of absurdity. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/08/28/washington-piles-lie-upon-lie-paul-craig-roberts/
Despite the absurdity of the claim, some of the Western tabloids, which is what all Western newspapers now are, have declared these 1,000 troops to be a "full-scale invasion." All of this nonsense is a buildup to the upcoming NATO conference in Wales. Disinformation is being used to create hysteria and justification for a NATO military buildup on Russia's borders that could easily result in the final war. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39543.htm
Ask yourselves this question: Is the entirely of the Western media so ignorant and incompetent not to realize that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would not consist of 1,000 troops (the evidence of which no one can find), or is the entirety of the Western media simply willingly serving as a propaganda ministry for Washington's warmongers, as the Western media did for George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq based on fabricated evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. There are only two conclusions that can be reached about the Western media: Either it is completely stupid or completely corrupt.
Dmitry Orlov tells you what a Russian invasion of Ukraine would look like:
How Can You Tell Whether Russia Has Invaded Ukraine?
Washington and mainstream media pile lie upon lie about Ukraine and Russia
See also: Fabricated “Russian Invasion”: Big Lies Risk Confrontation with Russia (29/8/14) by Stephen Lendman on Global Research.
This article published as Washington piles lie upon lie by Paul Craig Roberts was published earlier on paulcraigroberts.org and Global Research.
#EDF5FA;line-height:120%;">Yesterday, Friday 29 August at 7:00PM the ABC news reported that there was "satellite evidence" of Russian armour and soldiers going over the border and that the Russian government had lied about it. It also claimed that "former and serving Russian army soldiers" were fighting in Ukraine alongside the rebels. Whilst the online version of the same story is a little more more circumspect, public opinion tends to be more affected by live audio visual reporting. This report is part of the current avalanche of 'reporting' of the Ukraine crisis by the mainstream media, which is barely a day old. Other 'reports' about Ukraine include:
#EDF5FA;">This global whirlwind of deceit, that even George Orwell could not have imagined, is intended to whip much of the public into a frenzy about claimed transgressions by Russia and the East Ukraine and gain from the rest of public opinion acceptance for plans by the Western leaders to increase their sanctions against Russia, increase their aid to the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev and to more directly militarily intervene against the East Ukrainian rebels and Russia.
Washington piles lie upon — Paul Craig Roberts
The latest Washington lie, this one coming from NATO, is that Russia has invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops and self-propelled artillery.
How do we know that this is a lie? Is it because we have heard nothing but lies about Russia from NATO, from US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, from assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, from Obama and his entire regime of pathological liars, and from the British, German, and French governments along with the BBC and the entirety of the Western media?
This, of course, is a good reason for knowing that the latest Western propaganda is a lie. Those who are pathological liars don’t suddenly start telling the truth.
But there are even better reasons for understanding that Russia has not invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops.
One reason is that Putin has invested heavily in diplomacy backed by unprovocative behavior. He would not risk his bet on diplomacy by sending in troops too few in number to have a decisive effect on the outcome.
Another reason is that if Putin decides he has no alternative to sending the Russian military to protect the Russian residents in eastern and southern Ukraine, Putin will send in enough troops to do the job quickly as he did in Georgia when the American and Israeli trained Georgian army invaded South Ossetia and was destroyed in a few hours by the Russian response. If you hear that 100,000 Russian troops accompanied by air cover have invaded Ukraine, it would be a more believable claim.
A third reason is that the Russian military does not need to send troops into Ukraine in order to stop the bombing and artillery shelling of the Russian populations by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev. The Russian air force can easily and quickly destroy the Ukrainian air force and artillery and, thereby, stop the Ukrainian attack on the secessionist provinces.
It was only two weeks ago that a fabricated report spread by the UK Guardian and the BBC that a Russian armored convoy entered Ukraine and was destroyed by the Ukrainian Military. And two weeks prior to that we had the hoax of the satellite images allegedly released by the US State Department that the corrupt US ambassador in Kiev spread around the world on social media allegedly showing that Russian forces were firing into Ukraine. One or two weeks from now we will have another lie, and another a week or two after that, and so on.
The cumulative effect of lie piled upon lie for most people is to build the view that the Russians are up to no good. Once this view is established, Western governments can take more serious moves against Russia.
The alleged entry of 1,000 Russian soldiers into Ukraine has been declared by NATO Brigadier General Niko Tak to be a “significant escalation in Russia’s military interference in Ukraine.” The champion liar Samantha Power told the US Security Council that “Russia has to stop lying.” The UK ambassador to the UN said that Russia was guilty of “a clear violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory.” UK prime minister Cameron warned Russia of “further consequences.” German chancellor Merkel announced that there would be more sanctions. A German Security Council advisor declared that “war with Russia is an option.” Polish foreign minister Sikorski called it Russian aggression that required international action. French president Hollande declared Russia’s behavior to be “intolerable.” Ukraine’s security council imposed mandatory conscription.
West's suicidal drive towards war
This suicidal drive toward war with Russia by Europe’s leaders is based entirely on a transparent lie that 1,000 Russian troops crossed into Ukraine
Of course the Western media followed in lock-step. The BBC, CNN, and Die Welt are among the most reckless and irresponsible.
The mountain of lies piled up by Western governments and media has obscured the true story. The US government orchestrated the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine and imposed a US puppet in Kiev. Washington’s puppet government began issuing threats and committing violent acts against the Russian populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet leaders attached to Ukraine. The Russian people in eastern and southern Ukraine resisted the threat brought to them by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev.
Washington continually accuses the Russian government of supporting the people in the territories who have voted their separation from Ukraine. There would be no war, Washington alleges, except for Russian support. But, of course, Washington could easily stop the violence by ordering its puppet government in Kiev to stop the bombing and shelling of the former Russian provinces. If Russia can tell the “separatists” not to fight, Washington can tell Kiev not to fight.
The only possible conclusion from the facts is that Washington is determined to involve Europe in a war with Russia or at least in an armed standoff in order to break up Europe’s political and economic relations with Russia.
Europe’s leaders are going along with this because European countries, except for Charles de Gaulle’s France, have not had independent foreign policies since the end of World War II. They follow Washington’s lead and are well paid for doing so.
The inability of Europe to produce independent leadership dooms Russian President Putin’s diplomacy to failure. If European capitals cannot make decisions independently of Washington, there is no scope for Putin’s diplomacy.
Notice that the very day after Putin met with Washington’s Ukrainian vassal in an effort to resolve the situation, the new lie of Russian invasion was issued in order to ensure that no good can come of the meeting in which Putin invested his time and energy.
Washington’s only interest is in hegemony. Washington has no interest in resolving the situation that Washington itself created in order to bring discomfort and confusion to Russia. With the caveat that the situation could be resolved by Ukrainian economic collapse, otherwise the longer Putin waits to resolve the situation by force, the more difficult the task will be.
Decriminalizing Bashar al Assad: towards a more effective anti-war movement
This article by Carlos Martinez was previously published in Global Research on 26 Sep 2013 and Syria 360° on 26 Sep 2013. See also: Bashar al-Assad wins the battle of communication of 24 Sep 2013 by Wassim Raad on Voltaire Net.
On 10 April 1993, one of the greatest heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle, Chris Hani, was gunned down by a neo-fascist in an attempt to disrupt the seemingly inexorable process of bringing majority rule to South Africa. Although direct legal culpability for this tragic assassination belonged to only two men — a Polish immigrant by the name of Janusz Walus #fnSubj1" id="txtSubj1">1 #fnSubj2" id="txtSubj2">2 and a senior Conservative Party MP named Clive Derby-Lewis — the crime formed part of a much wider onslaught against the ANC and its allies. ...
... This onslaught — paramilitary, political, legal, psychological, journalistic — was not primarily conducted by fringe lunatics such as Walus and Derby-Lewis, but by the mainstream white political forces and their puppets within the black community (such as the Inkatha Freedom Party). The leaders of the ANC, and particularly the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed liberation movement with which Chris Hani's name will forever be associated) were subjected to a wide-ranging campaign of demonisation. This campaign created conditions such that political assassinations of anti-apartheid leaders became expected, almost inevitable. Of course, the more 'dovish' leaders of the main white party, the National Party, were quick to denounce Hani's assassination; but the truth is that they were at least partly responsible for it.
Speaking at Hani's funeral, Nelson Mandela spoke of this phenomenon: "To criminalise is to outlaw, and the hunting down of an outlaw is regarded as legitimate. That is why, although millions of people have been outraged at the murder of Chris Hani, few were really surprised. Those who have deliberately created this climate that legitimates political assassinations are as much responsible for the death of Chris Hani as the man who pulled the trigger."
Turning to the current situation in Syria, we see a parallel between the "climate that legitimates political assassinations" in early-90s South Africa and a media climate that legitimates the "limited military strikes" being planned in Washington.
The Syrian state has been under direct attack by western imperialism for the last two and a half years (although the US and others have been "accelerating the work of reformers" for much longer than that). The forms of this attack are many: providing weapons and money to opposition groups trying to topple the government; implementing wide-ranging trade sanctions; providing practically unlimited space in the media for the opposition whilst effecting a near-total media blackout on pro-government sources; and relentlessly slandering the Syrian president and government. In short, the western media and governments have — consciously and deliberately — "created this climate that legitimates" a military regime change operation against Syria.
An anti-war movement that takes part in war propaganda
Building a phoney case for imperialist regime change is, of course, not unusual. What is really curious is that the leadership of the anti-war movement in the west — the people whose clear responsibility is to build the widest possible opposition to war on Syria — has been actively participating in the propaganda and demonisation campaign. Whilst opposing direct military strikes, they have nonetheless given consistent support to the regime change operation that such strikes are meant to consummate.
Wilfully ignoring the indications that the Syrian government is very popular, Tariq Ali — perhaps the most recognisable figure in the British anti-war movement — feels able to claim that "the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people want the Assad family out". Indeed, he explicitly calls for foreign-assisted regime change, saying "non-violent pressure has to be kept up externally to tell Bashar he has to go."
Rising star of the British left Owen Jones used his high-profile Independent column of 25 August this year (just as the war rhetoric from Cameron, Hollande and Kerry was reaching fever pitch) to voice his hatred of the "gang of thugs" and "glorified gangsters" that run Syria, before worrying that "an attack could invite retaliation from Iran and an escalation of Russian's support for Assad's thugs, helping to drag the region even further into disaster." Jones evidently doesn't know very much about Syria, but that doesn't stop him from participating in the Ba'ath-bashing: last year, his response to a bomb attack in Damascus which killed several Syrian ministers was the gleeful "Adios, Assad (I hope)".
According to Stop the War Coalition national officer John Rees, "no-one can minimise the barbarity of the Assad regime, nor want to defend it from the justified rage of its own people." Any objectively progressive actions ever taken by the Syrian government (such as its support for Palestine and Hezbollah) are nothing more than "self-interested and calculated acts of state policy" — which claim is rather reminiscent of the Financial Times accusing Hugo Chávez of "demagogy" in pushing for land reform in Venezuela!
Rees is only too clear that the number one enemy for Syrians is the government, and that pro-west sectarian Saudi-funded rebels are a secondary enemy — a position virtually indistinguishable from the Israelis, who state: "We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren't backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran." Further, Rees believes that what is really needed is to "give the revolutionaries the chance to shake off their pro-western leaders and defeat Assad." That's presumably if they're not too busy eating human hearts or murdering people on the basis of their religious beliefs.
These are not isolated examples. It is decidedly rare to find a British anti-war leader mentioning Bashar al-Assad and his government in anything but an intensely negative light. Bashar is "brutal"; he is a "dictator"; he should be indicted at the International Criminal Court. Frankly, this leader of independent, anti-imperialist Syria is subjected to far more severe abuse from the mainstream left than are the leaders of Britain, France and the US. In the imperialist heartlands of North America and Western Europe, the defence of (Preview) Syria has (#BrokenLink">Preview) been left to a (#BrokenLink">Preview) small minority, although thankfully the (far more important) left movements in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere have a much richer understanding of anti-imperialist solidarity.
At the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious: if you're trying to spread anti-war sentiment and build the most effective possible movement against military action, then taking part in the demonisation of the country under threat is probably not a very smart strategy.
This campaign of propaganda, lies and slander has been very effective in creating a public opinion that is ambivalent at best in relation to the attack that is under preparation. Whilst most people may be "against" bombing Syria in principle, to what extent are they passionate enough to actually do anything to prevent this criminal, murderous act from taking place? Two million people marched against war in Iraq (and given the right leadership, they would have been willing to do considerably more than just march); yet no demonstration against war on Syria has attracted more than a couple of thousand people. Would thousands of people be willing to participate in direct action? Would they be willing to conduct, say, a one-week general strike? Would workers follow the great example of the Rolls Royce workers in East Kilbride and actively disrupt imperialist support for regime change? Highly unlikely. And this is because all they have heard about Syria — from the radical left to the fundamentalist right to the
Saudi-sponsored Muslim organisations — is that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator whose overthrow is long overdue.
OK, but haven't we just prevented a war?
In the light of the House of Commons exhibiting an unusual level of sense by voting against Cameron's motion authorising use of force against Syria, some anti-war activists were quick to claim that the "sustained mass power of the anti-war movement" has "undoubtedly been a decisive factor." Members of this movement should "recognise what we have achieved in recent weeks : we have stopped the US and Britain from waging a war that, if the British parliament had voted the other way, would already have taken place, with who knows what consequences."
Now, optimism and jubilation have their place, but they shouldn't be used to deflect valid criticism or avoid serious reflection. Anybody who has been involved in the anti-war movement in Britain over the past decade will have noticed the level of activity steadily dwindling. Just two years ago, we witnessed a vicious war fought by the western imperialist powers (with Britain one of the major instigators) in order to effect regime change in Libya. Over 50,000 died. Murderous racists were brought to power. A head of state was tortured and murdered, while imperialism celebrated. Decades of development — that had turned Libya from a colonial backwater into the country with the highest living standards in Africa — have been turned back. Stop the War Coalition weren't able to mobilise more than a tiny protest against this war, and yet we are expected to believe that, two years later, Britain suddenly has a vibrant and brilliantly effective anti-war movement capable of preventing war on Syria? This is obviously not the case.
Regardless of how much attention the British public pays to the anti-war movement, the fact is that public opinion in the west is only a small factor in the much larger question of the balance of forces. Syria is different to Libya in that it has powerful allies and that it has never disarmed. Furthermore, it shares a border with Israel and is capable of doing some serious damage to imperialism's most important ally in the Middle East. This makes military intervention a highly dangerous and unpredictable option from the point of view of the decision-makers in Washington, London and Paris.
The uprising was supposed to take care of this problem. A successful 'Arab Spring' revolution — armed, trained and funded by the west and its regional proxies in Saudi, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan — would have installed a compliant government and would have constituted an essential milestone in the imperialist-zionist regional strategy: the breakup of the resistance axis and the overthrow of all states unwilling to go along with imperialist diktat. This strategy — seemingly so difficult for western liberals and leftists to comprehend — is perfectly well understood by the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah: "What is happening in Syria is a confrontation between the resistance axis and the U.S./Israeli axis. They seek aggression against the resistance axis through Syria in order to destroy Syria's capabilities and people, marginalize its role, weaken the resistance and relieve Israel."
Beyond the Middle East, a successful 'revolution' in Syria would of course be a vital boost to the US-led global strategy: protecting US hegemony and containing the rise of China, Russia and the other major developing nations.
And yet, in spite of massive support given to the armed opposition; in spite of the relentless propaganda campaign against the Syrian government; in spite of Israeli bombing raids on Damascus; in spite of a brutal and tragic campaign of sectarian hatred being conducted by the rebels; in spite of the blanket support given to the rebels by the imperialists and zionists #fnSubj4" id="txtSubj4">4; the Syrian Arab Army is winning. The tide has clearly turned and the momentum is with the patriotic forces. Hezbollah have openly joined the fray. Russia has sent its warships to the region and has demonstrated some genuine creative brilliance in the diplomatic field in order to prevent western military strikes. Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and others have been immovable in their demands for a peaceful, negotiated solution to the crisis.
Nobody in imperialist policy circles expected things to turn out like this. The 'revolution' was supposed to have succeeded long ago. As a result, the western ruling classes have moved from a firm, united policy (i.e. help the rebels to victory and then 'assist the transition to democracy') to chaos, confusion and division. There are hawkish elements that want to bomb their way to victory, and there are more cautious/realistic elements that realise this would be an incredibly dangerous course of action for the western powers and for Israel. Imperialism is faced with a very delicate, even impossible, balance: trying to preserve its increasingly fragile hegemony whilst actively attacking the global counter-hegemonic process. It is a case of "damned if they do and damned if they don't".
Such divisions within the ruling circles in the west are to be welcomed, but it would be an act of significant deception to claim victory for a western anti-war movement that has persistently refused to ally itself with global anti-imperialism.
Decriminalise and defend Syria
If we are going to build an anti-war movement capable of mobilising people in a serious way to actually counter imperialist war plans for Syria, we cannot continue with the hopeless "neither imperialism nor Assad" position, which is designed to avoid the obvious question: when imperialism is fighting against the Syrian state, which side should we be on?
A far more viable anti-war slogan is: Defend Syria from imperialist destabilisation, demonisation and war.
But can we really defend this brutal, oppressive, repressive regime? Wasn't the much-missed Hugo Chavez just being a bit of a nutcase when he expressed his fondness for "brother President Bashar al-Assad" and worked to counter the offensive against Syria by shipping fuel to it?
As with so many things, we have to start with a total rejection of the mainstream media narrative. The country they paint as a brutally repressive police state, a prison of nations, a Cold War relic, is (or was, until the war started tearing it apart) a dignified, safe, secular, modern and moderately prosperous state, closely aligned with the socialist and non-aligned world (e.g. Venezuela, Cuba, DPR Korea), and one of the leading forces within the resistance axis — a bloc that the imperialists are absolutely desperate to break up.
In the words of its president, Syria is "an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West." For over half a century, it has stubbornly refused to play by the rules of imperialism and neoliberalism. Stephen Gowans shows that, in spite of some limited market reforms of recent years, "the Ba'athist state has always exercised considerable influence over the Syrian economy, through ownership of enterprises, subsidies to privately-owned domestic firms, limits on foreign investment, and restrictions on imports. These are the necessary economic tools of a post-colonial state trying to wrest its economic life from the grips of former colonial powers and to chart a course of development free from the domination of foreign interests."
The Syrian government maintains a commitment to a strong welfare state, for example ensuring universal access to healthcare (in which area its performance has been impressive) and providing free education at all levels. It has a long-established policy of secularism and multiculturalism, protecting and celebrating its religious and ethnic diversity and refusing to tolerate sectarian hatred.
Syria has done a great deal — perhaps more than any other country — to oppose Israel and support the Palestinians. It has long been the chief financial and practical supporter of the various Palestinian resistance organisations, as well as of Hezbollah. It has intervened militarily to prevent Israel's expansion into Lebanon. It has provided a home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, who are treated far better than they are elsewhere in the Arab world. In spite of massive pressure to do so — and in spite of the obvious immediate benefits that it would reap in terms of security and peace — it has refused to go down the route of a bilateral peace treaty with Israel. Palestine is very much at the forefront of the Syrian national consciousness, as exemplified by the Syrians who went to the border with Israel on Nakba Day 2011 and were martyred there at the hands of the Israeli 'Defence' Forces.
True to its Pan-Arabist traditions, Syria has also provided a home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in the aftermath of NATO's 2003 attack. #fnSubj3" id="txtSubj3">3
Whatever mistakes and painful compromises Ba'athist Syria has made over the years should be viewed in terms of the very unstable and dangerous geopolitical and economic context within which it exists. For example:
It is in a permanent state of war with Israel, and has part of its territory occupied by the latter.
While it has stuck to the principles of Arab Nationalism and the defence of Palestinian rights, the other frontline Arab states — Egypt and Jordan, along with the reactionary Gulf monarchies — have capitulated.
It has suffered constant destabilisation by the western imperialist countries and their regional allies.
It shares a border with the heavily militarised pro-western regime in Turkey.
It shares a border with the chronically unstable Lebanon (historically a part of Syria that was carved out in the 1920s by the French colonialists in order to create a Christian-dominated enclave).
Its most important ally of the 70s and 80s — the Soviet Union — collapsed in 1991, leaving it in a highly precarious situation.
Its economic burdens have been added to by longstanding sanctions, significantly deepened in 2003 by George W Bush, specifically in response to Syria's support for resistance movements in the region.
Its economic problems of recent years have also been exacerbated by the illegal imperialist war on Iraq, which created a refugee crisis of horrific proportions. Syria absorbed 1.5 million Iraqi refugees and has made significant sacrifices to help them. Given that "Syria has the highest level of civic and social rights for refugees in the region," it's not difficult to understand how its economic and social stability must have been affected.
In recent years, Syria has been suffering from a devastating drought "impacting more than 1.3 million people, killing up to 85 percent of livestock in some regions and forcing 160 villages to be abandoned due to crop failures". The root of this problem is the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, as one-third of Israel's water is supplied from Golan.
Given the number of different religious sects and ethnicities within Syria, it has never been difficult for the west and its regional proxies to stir up tensions and create unrest.
While there is clearly a need to enhance popular democracy and to clamp down on corruption and cronyism (in what country is this not the case?), this is well understood by the state. As Alistair Crooke writes: "There is this mass demand for reform. But paradoxically — and contrary to the 'awakening' narrative — most Syrians also believe that President Bashar al-Assad shares their conviction for reform."
So there is every reason to defend Syria. Not because it is some sort of socialist utopia, but because it is an independent, anti-imperialist, anti-zionist state that tries to provide a good standard of living for its people and which aligns itself with the progressive and counterhegemonic forces in the region and worldwide.
Tasks for the anti-war movement
If the anti-war movement can agree on the need to actively defend Syria, then its tasks become relatively clear:
Clearly explain to the public that this is not a revolution or a civil war, but an imperialist war of regime change where the fighting has been outsourced to sectarian religious terrorists. It is not part of a region-wide 'Arab Spring' process of "overthrowing reactionary regimes"; rather, it is part of a global process of destabilising, demonising, weakening and removing all states that refuse to play by the rules. It is this same process that brought about regime change in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Congo, Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere. This process was described in a very clear, straightforward way by Maurice Bishop, leader of the socialist government in Grenada that was overthrown 30 years ago: "Destabilisation is the name given to the newest method of controlling and exploiting the lives and resources of a country and its people by a bigger and more powerful country through bullying, intimidation and violence… Destabilisation
takes many forms: there is propaganda destabilisation, when the foreign media, and sometimes our own Caribbean press, prints lies and distortions against us; there is economic destabilisation, when our trade and our industries are sabotaged and disrupted; and there is violent destabilization, criminal acts of death and destruction… As long as we show the world, clearly and unflinchingly, that we intend to remain free and independent; that we intend to consolidate and strengthen the principles and goals of our revolution; as we show this to the world, there will be attacks on us."
Stop participating in the demonisation of the Syrian state. This demonisation — repeating the media's lies against Syria, exaggerating the negative aspects of the Syrian state and downplaying all the positive things it has done — is totally demobilising. It is preventing the development of a meaningful, creative, courageous, audacious anti-war movement.
Campaign for an end to trade sanctions on Syria.
Campaign for an end to the arming and funding of rebel groups by the British, French and US governments and their stooges in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait.
Send peace delegations to Syria to observe the situation first hand and report back. The recent delegation by Cynthia McKinney, Ramsey Clark, Dedon Kamathi and others is an excellent example that should be emulated.
Campaign for wide-ranging industrial action in the case of military attack.
Support all processes leading to a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the Syrian crisis, reflecting the will of the vast majority of the Syrian people.
The defense of Syria is, at this point in time, the frontline of the struggle worldwide against imperialist domination. It is Korea in 1950, Vietnam in 1965, Algeria in 1954, Zimbabwe in 1970, Cuba in 1961, Nicaragua in 1981, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Palestine since 1948. It's time for us to step up.
Patrick Seale's biography of Hafez al-Assad, 'Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East', provides an excellent overview of 20th century Syria and a very balanced, detailed depiction of the Ba'athist government.
The following articles are also particularly useful:
Alastair Crooke: Unfolding the Syrian Paradox
Asia Times: A mistaken case for Syrian regime change
Amal Saad-Ghorayeb: Assad Foreign Policy (I): A History of Consistence
Amal Saad-Ghorayeb: Assad Foreign Policy (II): Strategies of Confrontation
Monthly Review: Why Syria Matters: Interview with Aijaz Ahmad
Stephen Gowans: Syria, The View From The Other Side
Stephen Gowans: What the Syrian Constitution says about Assad and the Rebels
Appendix: More lies about Syria by 'socialist' groups and phony humanitarians
'We Just Wish for the Hit to Put an End to the Massacres'
13 Sp 2013 by Max Blumenthal. From behind a paywall at The Nation
Article consists of interviews with refugee opponents of Syrian government in Jordan:
When news of the August 21 chemical attacks that left hundreds dead in the Ghouta region east of Damascus reached Zaatari, terror and dread spiked to unprecedented levels. Many residents repeated to me the rumors spreading through the camp that Bashar would douse them in sarin gas as soon as he crushed the last vestiges of internal resistance—a kind of genocidal victory celebration. When President Barack Obama announced his intention to launch punitive missile strikes on Syria, however, a momentary sense of hope began to surge through the camp. Indeed, there was not one person I spoke to in Zaatari who did not demand US military intervention at the earliest possible moment.
Hanging with the Syrian rebels
13 Sep 2013 by. From behind a paywall at crikey.com.au
Evidently W H Chong, one of Crikey's "Culture Mulcher's", spent time in August 2013 "hanging out" with the above-mentioned eaters of human hearts. The article consists of 7 photos including two of W H Chong's rebel mates horsing around in the apartment of a Syrian police captain. A link to a propaganda video from the pro-war New York Times is also included.
Syria's President should face justice - Brown
by former Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown, 2 Jun 2011
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today supported Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd's call for the United Nations to refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court to account for his atrocities.
Senate condemns bloodshed in Syria
by former Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown, 9 Feb 2012
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown moved in the Senate today to condemn human rights abuses in Syria and said China and Russia's veto of the UN Security Council resolution aimed at stemming the bloodshed was reprehensible.
"The Greens back the sanctions measures imposed by the Foreign Minister.
"The next question to consider is whether the embassy here in Canberra should be closed, as at present they don't represent decency or democracy."
Senator Brown successfully moved:
That the Senate -
a) condemns the appalling human rights abuses and escalating violence in Syria, that has seen thousands of innocent civilians killed; and
b) calls on President Assad to step down, to finally put an end to the intolerable bloodshed of the Syrian people. #fnSubj5" id="txtSubj5">5
Curiously, in spite of the Greens' past professed concern about Syria and in spite of the death toll having risen from around 20,000 in February 2011 when Senator Brown's first motion was put to the Senate to around 100,000 at the time of the Federal elections on 7 September 2013 nothing was said about Syria on the Greens campaign web-site during the election campaign. Could it be more than coincidence that, according to the latest figures, in 6 states and 2 territories only 3 Greens were elected to the Senate whilst 7 candidates from other minor parties were elected?
#fnSubj1" id="fnSubj1">1. #txtSubj1">↑ See page 205 in Chapter 10, "Democracy born in chains South Africa's constricted freedom" of The Shock Doctrine (2007) by Naomi Klein.
#fnSubj2" id="fnSubj2">2. #txtSubj1">↑ The name is rightly spelt with a final character of the special Polish character known as 's acute'. It has the same slash above it as á ('a acute' or á). Curiously much text rendering software from Anglophone countries or Western Europe can't handle this character.
#fnSubj3" id="fnSubj3">3. #txtSubj3">↑ According to the Demographics section of the Wikipedia article on Syria, which cites the World Refugee Survey 2008:
"... Syria hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 1,852,300. The vast majority of this population was from Iraq (1,300,000), but sizable populations from the former Palestine (543,400) and Somalia (5,200) also lived in the country."
Australia, under Liberal Party Prime Minister John Howard, participated in the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prior to John Howard's 1996 election to Prime Minister, the previous Labor Party Governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating imposed sanctions on Iraq commencing in 1990. Those sanctions by Australia and other members of the "Coalition of the Willing", which denied food and medicine even to starving or ill children, eventually cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Australia also participated in the 1991 war against Iraq, for which the fraudulent claim, that brutal Iraqi invaders had thrown Kuwaiti babies out of incubators onto the hospital floor to die, was used as a pretext.
#fnSubj4" id="fnSubj4">4. #txtSubj4">↑ Whilst Ia am strongly opposed to the reactionary geopolitical role played by the state of Israel and support those forces resisting Israel, I, nevertheless take exception to the way in which the term 'zionist' is used pejoratively in almost all written material in support of the Arab cause. Whilst the appalling conduct of Israel should be resolutely opposed, it does not follow that every person who labels himself/herself 'zionist' necessarily supports all of Israel's actions.
#fnSubj5" id="fnSubj5">5. #txtSubj5">↑Shortly after this was carried by the Senate, United States Government asset, Foreign Minister Bob Carr expelled the Syrian ambassador from Australia as the ambassador's daughter was preparing to sit for her year 12 exams.
Tony Cartalucci, James Corbett, Michel Chossudovsky demolish mainstream media chemical weapons lies against Syria
In March 2011 'roving' Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, then in the Middle East called for the establishment of a so-called "no-fly zone" over Libya. This helped prepare the groundwork for NATO's subsequent invasion of Libya. The Australian government, whose delegate to the United Nations currently holds the office of President of the United Nations' Security Council, has supported United States as it has waged a proxy terrorist war against Syria that has already cost 100,000 deaths in two and a half years. The hostility towards Syria by the previous 'Labor' Government, which was voted out of office on 7 September, is apparently to be continued by the new Liberal/National Coalition Government according to the new Foreign Minister, Senator Julie Bishop.
The Australian mainstream media, including the ABC, SBS the Fairfax and Murdoch newsmedia, has persistently lied to the Australian public about Syria. The most recent example is the ludicrous claim that the Syrian Government, which, as even NATO acknowledged, has the support of 70% of Syrians, killed 1,400 Syrians with chemical weapons. The claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons has since been comprehensively demolished in a number of articles on the web. One such article, by Tony Cartalucci, the creator of the Land Destroyer Report is included below.
5 Lies Invented to Spin UN Report on Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack
September 17, 2013 (Tony Cartalucci) - As predicted days before the UN's Syrian chemical weapons report was made public, the West has begun spinning the findings to bolster their faltering narrative regarding alleged chemical weapon attacks on August 21, 2013 in eastern Damascus, Syria. The goal of course, is to continue demonizing the Syrian government while simultaneously sabotaging a recent Syrian-Russian deal to have Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles verified and disarmed by independent observers.
A barrage of suspiciously worded headlines attempt to link in the mind of unobservant readers the UN's "confirmation" of chemical weapons use in Syria and Western claims that it was the Syrian government who used them. Additionally, the US, British, and French governments have quickly assembled a list of fabrications designed to spin the UN report to bolster their still-unsubstantiated accusations against the Syrian government.
The BBC's article, US and UK insist UN chemicals report "blames Syria", again states unequivocally, [emphasis added]:
The UN report did not attribute blame for the attack, as that was not part of its remit.
However, that did not stop UK Foreign Secretary William Hague who claimed:
From the wealth of technical detail in the report - including on the scale of the attack, the consistency of sample test results from separate laboratories, witness statements, and information on the munitions used and their trajectories - it is abundantly clear that the Syrian regime is the only party that could have been responsible.
And US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power who stated:
The technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is also quoted as saying:
When you look at the findings carefully, the quantities of toxic gas used, the complexity of the mixes, the nature, and the trajectory of the carriers, it leaves absolutely no doubt as to the origin of the attack.
The Washington Post went one step further, and perhaps foolishly, laid out a detailed explanation of each fabrication the West is using to spin the latest UN report. In an article titled, The U.N. chemical weapons report is pretty damning for Assad, 5 points are made and explained as to why the UN report "points" to the Syrian government.
1. Chemical weapons were delivered with munitions not used by rebels: This claim includes referencing "Syria watcher" Eliot Higgins also known as "Brown Moses," a UK-based armchair observer of the Syrian crisis who has been documenting weapons used throughout the conflict on his blog.
While Higgins explains these particularly larger diameter rockets (140mm and 330mm) have not been seen (by him) in the hands of terrorists operating within and along Syria's borders, older posts of his show rockets similar in construction and operation, but smaller, most certainly in the hands of the militants.
The Washington Post contends that somehow these larger rockets require "technology" the militants have no access to. This is categorically false. A rocket is launched from a simple tube, and the only additional technology terrorists may have required for the larger rockets would have been a truck to mount them on. For an armed front fielding stolen tanks, finding trucks to mount large metal tubes upon would seem a rather elementary task - especially to carry out a staged attack that would justify foreign intervention and salvage their faltering offensive.
2. The sarin was fired from a regime-controlled area: The Washington Post contends that:
The report concludes that the shells came from the northwest of the targeted neighborhood. That area was and is controlled by Syrian regime forces and is awfully close to a Syrian military base. If the shells had been fired by Syrian rebels, they likely would have come from the rebel-held southeast.
What the Washington Post fails to mention are the "limitations" the UN team itself put on the credibility of their findings. On page 18 of the report (22 of the .pdf), the UN states [emphasis added]:
The time necessary to conduct a detailed survey of both locations as well as take samples was very limited. The sites have been well travelled by other individuals both before and during the investigation. Fragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled/moved prior to the arrival of the investigation team.
It should also be noted that militants still controlled the area after the alleged attack and up to and including during the investigation by UN personnel. Any tampering or planting of evidence would have been carried out by "opposition" members - and surely the Syrian government would not point rockets in directions that would implicate themselves.
3. Chemical analysis suggests sarin likely came from controlled supply: The Washington Post claims:
The U.N. investigators analyzed 30 samples, which they found contained not just sarin but also "relevant chemicals, such as stabilizers." That suggests that the chemical weapons were taken from a controlled storage environment, where they could have been processed for use by troops trained in their use.
Only, any staged attack would also need to utilize stabilized chemical weapons and personnel trained in their use. From stockpiles looted in Libya, to chemical arms covertly transferred from the US, UK, or Israel, through Saudi Arabia or Qatar, there is no short supply of possible sources.
Regarding "rebels" lacking the necessary training to handle chemical weapons - US policy has seen to it that not only did they receive the necessary training, but Western defense contractors specializing in chemical warfare are reported to be on the ground with militants inside Syria. CNN reported in their 2012 article, Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons, that:
The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.
The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.
4. Cyrillic characters on the sides of the shells: The Washington Post claims:
The Russian lettering on the artillery rounds strongly suggests they were Russian-manufactured. Russia is a major supplier of arms to the Syrian government, of course, but more to the point they are not a direct or indirect supplier of arms to the rebels.
The Washington Post's logic fails even at face value. Terrorists operating inside of Syria also possess rifles and even tanks of Russian origin - stolen or acquired through a large network of illicit arms constructed by NATO and its regional allies to perpetuate the conflict.
Additionally, had the attacks been staged by terrorists or their Western backers, particularly attacks whose fallout sought to elicit such a profound geopolitical shift in the West's favor, it would be assumed some time would be invested in making them appear to have originated from the Syrian government. The use of chemical weapons on a militant location by the militants themselves would constitute a "false flag" attack, which by definition would require some sort of incriminating markings or evidence to accompany the weapons used in the barrage.
5. The UN Secretary General's comments on the report: The Washington Post itself admits the tenuous nature of this final point, stating:
"This is perhaps the most circumstantial case at all, but it's difficult to ignore the apparent subtext in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's news conference discussing the report..."
That the Washington Post, and the interests driving its editorial board, could not even produce 5 reasonably convincing arguments as to why the UN report somehow implicates the Syrian government casts doubt on claims regarding the "wealth of technical detail" pointing in President Bashar al-Assad's direction.
The UN report confirms that chemical weapons were used, a point that was not contended by either side of the conflict, before or after the UN investigation began. What the West is attempting to now do, is retrench its narrative behind the report and once again create a baseless justification for continued belligerence against Syria, both covert and as a matter of official foreign policy.
Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Lendman: Obama and Kerry declare that Amerika stands for war and is proud of it
Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Lendman: Obama and Kerry Declare that Amerika Stands for War and is Proud of It
This article was first published on paulcraigroberts.org and on Information Clearing House 8 Sep 2013. See also: A brief for animals of 5 June 2013, Nature's Capital Is The Limiting Resource of 24 Jan 2013
Guest column by the distinguished commentator and radio host Stephen Lendman:
Syria has agreed to the Russian proposal to give up its chemical weapons, but the war criminal and totally isolated obama regime, the scum of the earth, says it will attack Syria regardless.
How will the world respond to the Amerikan Third Reich, the worst threat to truth, justice, peace, and humanity that the world has ever experienced? Will the world submit to rule by an outlaw state whose corrupt government represents no one but the Israel Lobby?
Editorial Comment: This article is, in many ways, contrary to the views of YouTube broadcaster, the Syrian Girl. In her broadcast If Syria disarms chemical weapons we lose the war, she argues that the agreement is a betrayal of Syria by President al-Assad, Vladimir Putin and the Iranian Government.
Lavrov Calls Kerry's Bluff
By Stephen Lendman
September 09, 2013 "Information Clearing House - Russian Foreign Sergei Lavrov wants peace. He's going all out against war on Syria. He's doing it responsibly.
Important world leaders back him. So does overwhelming global anti-war sentiment.
On Monday, Lavrov met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. He did so in Moscow.
"We are calling on the Syrian authorities not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," he said.
"We have passed our offer to Muallem and hope to receive a fast and positive answer."
Al-Moallem pledged "full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression." Lavrov promised Moscow's support.
He's trying to broker a diplomatic solution. In return, he wants Obama to cancel attack plans.
He cited John Kerry saying Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week."
"Turn it over, all of it without delay and allow (a) full and total accounting, but he isn't about to do it and it can't be done."
Doing it would avoid military intervention, Kerry said. Damage control followed his statement. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki reinterpreted his comments.
He "was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons," she said.
"His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That's why the world faces this moment."
Reinterpreting Kerry's statement shows Obama's true intention. Falsely blaming Assad for using chemical weapons is cover for long planned regime change.
War is Obama's option of choice. Lavrov's best efforts may fall short. He forthrightly pursued them throughout months of conflict. He's not about to stop now.
He faces long odds. Obama didn't wage war on Syria to quit. He won't do so no matter what Lavrov, Moallem, Assad or other Syrian officials pledge. Rogues states operate that way. America's by far the worst.
Moallem's doing his best anyway. So is Lavrov. From Moscow, he said:
"We have agreed on practical steps to be taken bilaterally and in cooperation with other states for giving the political settlement a chance."
"No matter how serious the current situation may be, our Syrian partners and we are confident that possibilities remain for a political settlement."
"Russia has been staying in touch with all (Syrian) opposition groups without an exception in the recent years and we will carry on our efforts to try to convince them that there is no alternative to an international conference."
"If our contacts express that this (conference) may help, then we do not rule out the possibility of an invitation to Moscow of all who are interested in peace and a political settlement in Syria and reject the military scenario."
"What are the real interests of the US behind launching this aggression," he asked?
"Obama is not listening to Americans, Europeans, and UK Parliament. We thank American people for standing against striking Syria."
"We admire the American people who voice their protest against military intervention," added Muallem.
"What are the real interests of the United States behind launching this aggression? Why does US want to help those who are behind 9/11?
Washington "will be wrong to destroy (Syria's) army and help Al Qaeda. We're confident Russian efforts on peace talks will stop strikes."
Lavrov replied, saying:
"UN inspectors should return to Syria to investigate alleged use of chemical weapons."
"The alleged chemical attack on August 21 was orchestrated." Anti-Assad elements bear full responsibility.
"We must consolidate government and rebels to evict terrorists. We are taking active moves to prevent devastating strike. Every report on chemical arms use must be closely studied."
"Syria is open to Geneva-2 peace talks with no pre-conditions. We call on US colleagues to focus on talks, not on strikes."
"Syria strike will only enable terrorism. Russia believes no group should monopolize peace talks."
"Dialogue is necessary among all Syrians. It's the only solution. UN inspectors must go back to Syria, but some powers are obstructing."
He left no doubt which ones he means. They're headquartered in Washington. Obama's a warmaker. He deplores peace. He's going all out to prevent it. He plans war to do so.
"Russia is well-supported in the view that military action in Syria will provoke rampant terrorism," said Lavrov.
Moallem said his government is ready for Geneva II with no preconditions. "We are still ready to do that. But I do not know what may happen after an act of aggression by the United States. Probably a missile will fly over and thwart this.
America sides with terrorists, he added. It plans to be Al Qaeda's air force.
"But if such aggression against Syria aims, as we suspect, to considerably weaken the military potential of the Syrian army in the interest of al-Qaeda and various affiliated groups, then we will raise our objections," he stressed.
"Then we have the right to ask a question about the genuine interests of the United States that wishes to unleash an attack on the behalf of Jabhat al-Nusra and similar groups."
"We've come here just as the US is sounding war drums. Our feeling is that Russia plays an important role of staving off aggression."
"That is where Russia's moral ground lies, since a peacekeeper is always stronger than a warmonger."
"Mr. Assad has sent his regards and said he was grateful to Mr. Putin for his stand on Syria both before and after the G20 summit."
"Russia plays an important role in preventing aggression."
Lavrov added that Russia's "stand on Syria is unwavering and does not permit a military solution of the Syrian conflict, especially foreign intervention."
"The position of Russia is well-known. It is immune to change and varying circumstances."
"This position says there is no alternative to peaceful, diplomatic settlement of the Syrian conflict, especially not a military solution employing foreign intervention."
"On the background of the unfolding campaign calling to use force against Damascus, Russia is taking steps to prevent a pernicious situation in the Middle East."
"There cannot be any deals behind backs of the Syrian people from the Russian side in what refers to the policies Russia is following."
He added that force against Syria would cause a wave of regional terrorism. Perhaps that's precisely what Obama intends.
He needs pretexts to intervene. Peace and stability defeat his agenda. It requires violence and destabilization. He plans lots more ahead.
He faces stiff world opposition. On September 9, Reuters headlined "Analysis: Obama growing isolated on Syria as support wanes".
"White House efforts to convince the US Congress to back military action against Syria are not only failing, they seem to be stiffening the opposition."
He's making more enemies than friends. He's doing so at home and abroad. Skeptics way outnumber supporters.
Hindsight may show he shot himself in the foot. Peace activists hope so. He'll give it another go Tuesday night. He'll try enlisting support for what most people reject.
They're tired of being lied to. They want peace, stability, and jobs. They want America's resources directed toward creating them.
They want leadership representing everyone equitably. Obama's polar opposite. He supports wealth, power and privilege alone. He spurns popular interests.
He chooses war over peace. He's less able to sell what most people reject. Odds favor he'll attack Syria anyway.
Pretexts are easy to fabricate. They're longstanding US policy. Expect another major one if Ghouta's Big Lie falls flat. It's likely planned ready to be implemented if needed.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html - Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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