We, the undersigned, call on the Australian government to terminate the AUKUS agreement with the United States and Britain, and abandon the commitment to buy nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
"[US National Security Advisor] John Bolton is a kind of bureaucratic tape-worm. Try as you might, you can't expel him. He seems to live forever in the bowels of the federal agency, periodically reemerging to cause pain and suffering - but critically, somehow, never suffering himself. His life really is Washington in a nutshell: Blunder into obvious catastrophes again and again, refuse to admit blame, and then demand more of the same. That's the John Bolton life-cycle. In between administration jobs, there are always cushy think-tank posts, paid speaking gigs, cable news contracts. War may be a disaster for America, but for John Bolton and his fellow neocons, it is always good business." (Tucker Carlson in Tucker Carlson Tonight 22 June 2019.) Read more in the partial transcript inside or watch the video. This session was remarkable in its forthright criticism of war, its assessment of Iraq, and its rundown, with several interviewees on the Washington war-culture and war-media. Some readers may find Carlson's praise of Trump's stated rationale for leaving Iran overly fulsome, but world peace is at stake. For those of you who loath this show because of its frequent support for Right to Life views and religion, keep in mind that that is probably the price Carlson has to pay in order to speak out against the war machine.
TUCKER CARLSON: "Neocons still wield enormous power in Washington. They don't care what the cost of war with Iran is. They certainly don't care what the effect on Trump's political fortunes might be. They despise Donald Trump. Now, one of their key allies is the National Security Advisor of the United States. John Bolton's an old friend of Bill Crystal's. Together they helped plan the Iraq war. When Bolton made it to the Whitehouse, the neocons cheered. Left-wing New York Times columnist, Brett Stevens, took a break from attacking Donald Trump, to celebrate his hiring. [...]
Hilary Clinton's toppling of Libya was not a disaster, says John Bolton. Keep in mind there are literally slave markets operating in the streets of Tripoli right now. No problem, Bolton's fine with that. He's fine with the outcome in Iraq too. That wasn't a disaster either. According to John Bolton, that was a raging success. We killed hundreds of thousands of people, lost thousands of our own troops, spent more than a trillion dollars - all to eliminate a WMD threat that, despite John Bolton's assurances, never existed in the first place.
Bolton is glad we did all that. Really happy about it. That's demented. Normal people don't talk like that. There's nothing normal about John Bolton. Check out this piece of tape we've recently uncovered in which Bolton promises we're going to overthrow the government of Iran. Keep in mind that this was filmed long before the Iranians shot down a single drone. [Film excerpt shows Bolton in front of a huge audience predicting a celebration in Iran of a successful regime change by America before 2019.]
In other words, last night has been in the works for years. John Bolton is a kind of bureaucratic tape-worm. Try as you might, you can't expell him. He seems to live forever in the bowels of the federal agency, periodically reemerging to cause pain and suffering - but critically, somehow, never suffering himself. His life really is Washington in a nutshell: Blunder into obvious catastrophes again and again, refuse to admit blame, and then demand more of the same. That's the John Bolton life-cycle. In between administration jobs, there are always cushy think-tank posts, paid speaking gigs, cable news contracts. War may be a disaster for America, but for John Bolton and his fellow neocons, it is always good business."
Carlson then interviews Glen Greenwald of The Intercept.
TUCKER CARLSON: "Glenn Greenwald co-founded The Intercept. He joins us tonight. So, Glen, the reaction to the President not going to war tonight has been really striking. Very little celebration about it. In certain quarters, outright attacks [gives example of CNN's national security analyst and of a congresswoman, Lis Cheney] What about Washington makes war the first resort for both parties, every time?
GREENWALD: "It's exciting, so it drives media ratings. It makes people buy newspapers. Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations (1776) wrote about how, when a country becomes an empire, the people in the capital never get any risk from wars. So, Liz Cheney and Bill Crystal, David From and the people who cheer war, are never put at risk, but they get excitement and purpose from it. They get kind of a feeling of power. Ben Shapiro on Twitter today said, "Let's show Iran that we can match them!" That's something that people say when they go through life feeling inadequate and without any kind of purpose or strength. So it gives people strength. And there's also this much deeper issue that after the Iraq war, almost nobody other than Judy Miller, the single scapegoat, - There was no accountability, no accountability for the people who lied the country into the war. So you get somebody like Geoffrey Godberg you look at someone like Jeffrey Goldberg who for The New Yorker was writing award-winning articles claiming that Sadam Hussein was in an alliance with al-qaeda making people believe that Iraq did 9/11.
Is he out of journalism because of that? No he's been promoted! He's the editor in chief of the Atlantic. You turn on MSNBC, there's Bill Kristol! You open up the New York Times, there's Brett Stephen, Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post. They're all embedded in Washington culture, the think tanks especially. And they only become important and enlivened when the US is at war. They get all kinds of psychological economic and political benefits from it at everybody else's expense. If you claim that there was a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and al-qaeda, 9/11 and Saddam, it's clearly untrue. How in the world could you stay in journalism? I mean do you know? How could Jeff Goldberg go on to run one of the most famous magazines in English? The thing is, Tucker, the more you promote war - even if you get it wrong - the more you're going to prosper.
That is the sickness, the pathology of the DC media and political class. Jeffrey Goldberg's articles won a national magazine award for creating a grotesque conspiracy that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Not only should he not be in journalism, he should be out of decent society. And yet, when it came time to compete for whether he was going to stay at the New Yorker or go to the Atlantic the owner of the Atlantic gave him and his children rare exotic horses to lure him away from the New Yorker and he now runs one of the most important magazines in the world. You see that all throughout the media; the same people who not just lied about Iraq, but who cheered all kinds of wars in Muslim countries get prosper from it. They get promoted. They continually get treated as the voices of authority, and that's why this continuously goes on. It is so mind-bogglingly corrupt it's hard to believe. It happens in our city in our business."
"The smear campaign by author @kevinroose who claims my videos among others radicalised a man, are defamatory lies, and I have the receipts. The NYT said my videos radicalised a man to hate muslims and immigrants. It listed three of my anti-war videos among them, seemingly unaware that I am a muslim immigrant. I spoke with the man they claim I radicalised, and he said i had nothing to do with it and he barely watched my videos. So whose really behind this censorship campaign?"
In midst of an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the Joe Rogan Experience, Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said that if elected president she would drop all charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“What would you do about Julian Assange? What would you do about Edward Snowden?” Rogan asked in the latter part of the episode.
“As far as dropping the charges?” Gabbard asked.
“If you’re president of the world right now, what do you do?”
“Yeah, dropping the charges,” Gabbard replied.
Rogan noted that Sweden’s preliminary investigation of rape allegations has just been re-opened, saying the US government can’t stop that, and Gabbard said as president she’d drop the US charges leveled against Assange by the Trump administration.
(Article by Caitlin Johnson, republished with thanks from https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/05/14/gabbard-says-shed-drop-all-charges-against-assange-and-snowden/.)
“Yeah,” Gabbard said when asked to clarify if she was also saying that she’d give Edward Snowden a presidential pardon, adding, “And I think we’ve got to address why he did things the way that he did them. And you hear the same thing from Chelsea Manning, how there is not an actual channel for whistleblowers like them to bring forward information that exposes egregious abuses of our constitutional rights and liberties. Period. There was not a channel for that to happen in a real way, and that’s why they ended up taking the path that they did, and suffering the consequences.”
This came at the end of a lengthy discussion about WikiLeaks and the dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration is setting for press freedoms by prosecuting Assange, as well as the revelations about NSA surveillance and what can be done to roll back those unchecked surveillance powers.
“What happened with [Assange’s] arrest and all the stuff that just went down I think poses a great threat to our freedom of the press and to our freedom of speech,” Gabbard said. “We look at what happened under the previous administration, under Obama. You know, they were trying to find ways to go after Assange and WikiLeaks, but ultimately they chose not to seek to extradite him or charge him, because they recognized what a slippery slope that begins when you have a government in a position to levy criminal charges and consequences against someone who’s publishing information or saying things that the government doesn’t want you to say, and sharing information the government doesn’t want you to share. And so the fact that the Trump administration has chosen to ignore that fact, to ignore how important it is that we uphold our freedoms, freedom of the press and freedom of speech, and go after him, it has a very chilling effect on both journalists and publishers. And you can look to those in traditional media and also those in new media, and also every one of us as Americans. It was a kind of a warning call, saying Look what happened to this guy. It could happen to you. It could happen to any one of us.”
Gabbard discussed Mike Pompeo’s arbitrary designation of WikiLeaks as a hostile non-state intelligence service, the fact that James Clapper lied to Congress about NSA surveillance as Director of National Intelligence yet suffered no consequences and remains a respected TV pundit, and the opaque and unaccountable nature of FISA warrants.
Some other noteworthy parts of Gabbard’s JRE appearance for people who don’t have time to watch the whole thing, with hyperlinks to the times in the video:
- Rogan gets Gabbard talking in depth about what Bashar al-Assad was actually like when she met him and what he said to her, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone bother to do before.
- The two discuss Eisenhower’s famous speech warning of the dangers of the military-industrial complex, and actually pause their dialogue to watch a good portion of it. Gabbard points out that in the original draft of the speech, Eisenhower had intended to call it the “congressional-military-industrial complex”.
- Good discussion on internet censorship and the dangers of allowing monopolistic Silicon Valley corporations to control public speech, then later discussing the possibility of breaking up these corporations or treating them as public utilities.
- Rogan asks Gabbard what she thinks happens to US presidents that causes them to fail to enact their campaign promises and capitulate to the will of the warmongering establishment, and what as president she’ll do to avoid the same fate. All presidential candidates should have to answer this question.
- Rogan asks Gabbard how she’ll stand against the billionaires for the American people without getting assassinated. All presidential candidates should have to answer this question as well.
I honestly think the entire American political system would be better off if the phoney debate stage format were completely abandoned and presidential candidates just talked one-on-one with Joe Rogan for two and a half hours instead. Cut through all the vapid posturing and the fake questions about nonsense nobody cares about and get them to go deep with a normal human being who smokes pot and curses and does sports commentary for cage fighting. Rogan asked Gabbard a bunch of questions that real people are interested in, in a format where she was encouraged to relax out of her standard politician’s posture and discuss significant ideas sincerely and spontaneously. It was a good discussion with an interesting political figure and I’m glad it’s already racked up hundreds of thousands of views.
Everyone has my @caityjohnstone/i-permanently-release-all-copyrights-to-all-my-writing-use-any-of-it-however-you-want-9ad929b92d42" rel="nofollow noopener">unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is @caityjohnstone/just-a-note-of-gratitude-to-readers-and-patrons-7df920b5ced" rel="nofollow noopener">entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, @caityjohnstone/who-i-am-where-i-stand-and-what-im-trying-to-do-here-4a113e783578" rel="nofollow noopener">click here.
The Washington Post has published a story claiming that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un has succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s another “leak” coming from an intelligence community that seemingly does little these days but leak like a sieve. Which raises the question: Should we believe them? [This article by Justin Raimondo was first published at original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/08/10/what-are-we-to-believe/ on August 11, 2017.]
What we are dealing with is a national security bureaucracy that is not only highly politicized – that’s not really anything new – but is also engaged in an extended campaign to accomplish specific political objectives. The leaks coming out of Washington have had a clear political purpose – to a) discredit President Donald Trump, and b) push us closer to some sort of conflict on the
international stage. And of course the two are not mutually exclusive: indeed, they are congruent. For a war on the Korean peninsula, for example, would define – and, I would submit, discredit – Trump’s presidency, as many thousands would die in a conflagration of unimaginable horror.
The Post quotes a single sentence of a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment dated July 28:
“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles.”
That’s it: that’s the whole thing. The Post hasn’t actually seen the document: it was read to reporters by the leaker. Oh, and “Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions.”
What “broad conclusions”? The conclusions drawn by this article aren’t in the least bit broad, but are instead quite specific. Are they true? We just don’t know, and, what’s more, we cannot know. Indeed, we know almost nothing about this alleged “assessment.” We don’t know the identity of the leakers. We don’t know their motives. Based on the sparse information we have, we cannot evaluate the veracity of this latest “revelation,” and this is doubly true not only due to the laconic nature of the reporting, but also because of the journalistic context in which it appears.
To begin with, this story is nothing new. Back
in 2013, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) blurted out the DIA’s assessment on Capitol Hill:
“Three hours into a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Lamborn said the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is under the Pentagon, determined with ‘moderate confidence’ that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.
“The Colorado Springs Republican gleaned the information from the conclusion of a classified report, though that sentence was unclassified, said his spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen.
“Pentagon officials told The New York Times that the information had previously not been released publicly.
“Pentagon spokesman George Little issued a statement after the hearing, saying ‘it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage.’”
The Post is telling us the DIA assessment is fresh off the presses, finished as late as “last month” – not so! Whether the Post is being deluded by its sources, or is trying to delude us in collaboration with its sources, is up for debate.
Which brings us to another problem, not only with this story but with all the “news” we’re getting from the mainstream media these days: reporters have become as politicized as their sources in the intelligence community. The Obama holdovers in the national security Establishment are not alone in their campaign to discredit the President. The media have been complicit
all along: indeed, the legacy media’s journalists have been eagerly cheerleading the Russia-gate witch-hunt, and openly proclaiming their hostility to this administration. This is in addition to their traditional role as the War Party’s journalistic camarilla.
While this particular story is not directly linked to Russia-gate, or the President’s political fortunes, what it comes down to is that neither the sources of this story nor those who are reporting
it can be trusted. It could be true that the North Koreans have developed the capability of miniaturizing nuclear warheads, but we just don’t know. The observant reader is left in a fog – the fog of an information war in which journalism is not a means of discovering knowledge, but a weapon to be deployed in a political-ideological conflict.
If the media is on a war footing, wielding the battle-cry “democracy dies in darkness,” then today the truth is tangential – because a few untruths may be necessary in the fight to push back against the “darkness.”
People complain that there’s too much news, that the sheer volume is overwhelming, and disorienting, but in reality we’re living in a news vacuum because we don’t know what’s true anymore. All standards have been thrown out: sure, the mainstream media was never really objective, but now even that pretext has been abandoned.
If we liken the function of the media in a free society to the function of our eyes and ears, then we have, in effect, been struck blind and rendered deaf. Although actually it’s far worse than that: rather than conveying information about the real world, the mainstream media is giving us a highly distorted version of events –in many cases, a Bizarro World inversion of what is actually occurring.
All this is bad enough, but we must take it one step further. If the media is the eyes and ears of the public then the intelligence agencies and the national security bureaucracy of which they are a part are Uncle Sam’s sensory organs. The price to be paid for the politicization and corruption of the intelligence community is that US policymakers are operating in the dark – where not only democracy dies, but also any sort of rational decision-making. In which case Uncle Sam is a blinded Titan, deaf to the entreaties of those he unknowingly tramples underfoot, stumbling this way and that – with the very strong possibility of ending up at the bottom of a cliff.
This epistemological disability brings to mind two citations, one from the run-up to the Iraq war and one more recent. The former is the famous “reality-based community” quote reported by Ron Suskind in the course of an interview with a top aide in George W. Bush’s White House:
“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’"
Suskind wasn’t reporting anything all that unusual: this is how our political class thinks. After all, they create the political reality in which the rest of us are forced to live. Yet there is a point beyond which this kind of hubris becomes dangerous – and suicidal. Encased in a bubble, the Beltway elites never saw the victory of Trumpism coming – and that failure may be just the beginning of their undoing (and our own). For as Vladimir Putin put it to Oliver Stone:
“I think that when the United States felt they were at the forefront of the so-called civilized world and when the Soviet Union collapsed, they were under the illusion that the United States was capable of everything and they could act with impunity. And that’s always a trap, because in this situation, a person and a country begins to commit mistakes. There is no need to analyze the situation. No need to think about the consequences. No need to economize. And the country becomes inefficient and one mistake follows another. And I think that’s the trap the United States has found itself in.”
A person who cannot distinguish fantasy from reality is clinically insane, or perhaps senile. What do we call an entire society so afflicted?
Lest we forget the profiteers whose patriotism and bank balances were always beyond question. At the going down of the sun – we will remember them. [Editor's note: The inclusion of various politicians in the illustrations was an editor idea, not the poet's.]
Lest we forget
Lest we forget
the politicians who preached hate
so their voters would sacrifice those they loved
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the politicians who preached hate
so their voters would sacrifice those they loved
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the hacks who exaggerated and made-up stories
to make the gullible feel threatened
the threatened feel outraged
and the outraged desperate to kill
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the generals who made the supreme sacrifice
of others' lives
by the million
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the armaments manufacturers
for whom every war
is the opportunity for a killing
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the profiteers whose patriotism and bank balances
were always beyond question
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the public schools whose playing fields trained boys
to lead men
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the popular culture
of stage, books, magazines and songs which
with most of the population collaborating
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
those who conscientiously objected
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
those who could not endure the hell created by others
and were shot at dawn
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
Lest we forget
the sanity of deserters
At the going down of the sun – we will remember them
The term 'diversity' is being used as a euphemism for chaos and social disenfranchisement in mass people movements which are politically packaged as both positive and inevitable, much as slavery was in the 18th and 19th century. UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson has said that 'the refugee crisis in Europe has created fear and hatred among local residents, which should be combated by bringing to light the positive contributions of migrants to creating a diverse society'.
"The number of international migrants reached 244 million in 2015, an increase of 41 per cent compared with 2000, the United Nations says in a report. The report published on Tuesday, the latest biennial revision of migration trends, found that the number of people who had moved to another country - voluntarily for economic reasons or because of conflicts - had risen by 71 million since 2000."
The influx into Germany and which is overflowing to the rest of Europe amounts to an invasion because permission was not sought from the ordinary people who bear the impact on jobs, housing, social and natural environment of these colossal numbers of people. At the same time the immigration flows are the result of wars that European leaders and global commerce are inflicting on the sending countries.
Imposed mass immigration compromises self-determination and democracy
Talk of 'diversity' as if different ethnicity/religion is the only feature of the problem of mass immigration to Europe is to ignore the sheer numbers of people seeking work and housing. Such huge changes in demand form the greater part of economic and social impact and the resultant hardship and inconvenience is an affront to citizens who were not consulted.
Talk of 'diversity' in the face of this huge and largely irrevocable change to numbers and composition of society has the effect of further reducing the scope of citizen input into self-government (which is a kind of cooperative population management). Self-government involves cooperative apportioning of work and housing as well as supporting infrastructure within a society defined by its membership (citizens). It is usually managed through long established civil legal and institutional processes only available to citizens or visaed immigrants.
How a population evolves is a traditional and anthropological prerogative of its members, not commercial 'stakeholders' or global political players. A sudden redefinition of membership without consultation is a fundamental problem.
War and mass migration: Criminal role of the press and governments
When external forces produce massive population changes, this is usually referred to as war. Whilst we do know that US-NATO members have a long history of and a current responsibility for the wars in the Middle East that are producing much of these mass migrations, it is difficult to pinpoint what organisations and people are really behind the manipulation of numbers in Europe through open-door policy. This is because they hide behind rhetoricians like the UN Deputy Secretary, national leaders such as Merkel, and a pro 'diversity' corporatised and syndicated global media that obviously has interests in labour market, weapons manufacture, international trade and the transmission of power through chaos. In fact, apart perhaps from Putin's Russia, most of us do not know who is in charge of nations anymore; policies seem to be influenced from many transient global hats.
The mainstream press have had a criminal role along with EU and European governments in suppressing discussion of the numbers involved and manufacturing an apparent consent to them against real citizen feelings. In tandem these actors have consistently talked up US-NATO roles in wars that have caused these population disruptions in the Middle East. These arrogant attitudes and manipulations of perception have caused chaos, suffering and death.
Diversity doesn't nail it
'Diversity' is a non-sequiteur in the face of western warmongering overseas and manipulation of European population numbers and institutions to reduce wages, inflate housing prices, and generally place pressure on established social gains and citizens rights.
Unfortunately many commercial ventures use the UN as a respectable umbrella for advancing their own selfish interests. Any organisation may register as a UN member on a variety of bases and the UN attracts government, property and banking lawyers, ideological entities with strong links to business and government, such as the Australian Multicultural Foundation, and a variety of businesses in various guises looking for opportunities. (See http://www.unaavictoria.org.au/our-partners/. Associated projects are often described as 'development' initiatives but they are about taking over land and resources, changing local laws, exploiting and disorganising workforces in the sending and receiving countries.
The people behind some of these trends are so craven that they do not seem to think twice about provoking and stoking protracted wars and genocides, except to justify them with flimsy excuses.
Left-right conflicts growing
Another aspect of these problems is a growing division between 'left' and 'right' in population politics as reported, endorsed and incited by the mass media. In a strange way it is reminiscent of the setting for the rise of fascism in Germany. In those days the right (the Nazis and the Italian fascists) were encouraged by big business and the mass media as a means of combating the 'left' or the rise of communism. The communists were for the uniting of workers against exploitation and war but the fascists were for exploitation and pro-war. Today we have a situation where groups identified by the mainstream press as 'left' and 'anti-fascist' are coming into conflict with groups identified as 'right-wing'. Counter-intuitively the left-wing, as presented by the mainstream press, seems to think it is okay to have disorganised mass immigration and has almost nothing to say against the wars producing these population movements. The right-wing seems to be the only voice criticising US-NATO involvement in wars in the Middle East, and they are definitely against uncontrolled mass immigration. At the same time, the center left and center right that control most governments and are aligned with the mass media encourage mass migration and encourage war. That leaves unrepresented people of a center left or center right disposition who are neither in favour of war or mass migration. This is a glaring omission and one senses that it is deliberate on the part of the mass media that claims to represent public opinion globally.
#otherArticles" id="otherArticles">Appendix: Other Articles about the European Refugee crisis
Why Illegal Migrants are Good for Turkish Business? (21/12/15) | New Eastern Outlook, Refugees as "Weapons" in a Propaganda War (21/11/15) by Eric Draitser | Global Research, The Flood of Refugees into Europe: "The New Slave Trade" (8/11/15) by Peter Koenig | Global Research, Merkel Overwhelmed: Chancellor Plunges Germany Into Chaos (4/11/15) | sputnik News, The phoney « refugee crisis » (7/9/15) by Thierry Meyssan | VoltaireNet, Refugees as Weapon – and Germany shifting Alliances? (17/7/15) | Global Research.
Candobetter.net Editor: This article is about the US contribution to the radicalisation of the Middle East. In reality there is no dividing wall between the 'extremists' and 'America's supposedly moderate opposition allies'. Recently both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which operate out of US-led command centers in Turkey and Jordan, signed a pact to coordinate support to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in order to further attack the Syrian government.
Recent Rebel Gains a Result of US Support to Extremists
The rebel opposition in Syria has in recent months made a series of gains against the Syrian army, most notably in Idlib, Palmyra, and Ramadi in Iraq. However, given that from the very beginning the opposition had taken “a clear sectarian direction” and has been dominated by “ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra… in addition to other extreme jihadi groups”, itself consisting of “no moderate middle”, and the fact that “in reality there is no dividing wall between them [extremists] and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies”, it is no wonder why all of the recent gains have been made by hard-line Islamists.(1) The radicalization of the opposition was the result of a covert US/CIA-led program in collusion with regional allies to expand the dissent base in Syria and strengthen Islamist rebels against the Syrian government.(2)
These recent Islamist advances are the result of an increase in support from the US-led coalition to their proxies inside Syria. Recently both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who operate out of US-led command centers in Turkey and Jordan, signed a pact in early March to coordinate support to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in order to further attack the Syrian government. Huffington Post quotes Usama Abu Zeid, a legal advisor to the Free Syrian Army, as confirming that this new coordination had facilitated recent rebel advances.(3) The pact subsequently lead to the al-Qaeda takeover of Idlib in late March, where the two countries have since set up a joint command center to further coordinate and command their extremist proxies from the captured province. Syrian government sources thus accurately blame Turkish intervention as the key factor in the fall of Idlib. The city’s fall however is only the 2nd provincial capital that has been captured by the opposition during the entire 4-year war, the other being Raqqa, which is now the de facto capital of the fake Islamic State “Caliphate.”(4)
In addition to Turkish and Saudi support to al-Qaeda extremists, so too has the US increased its support to Islamists.
In early May Charles Lister of the Brookings Institute Doha Center confirmed that “US-led operations rooms in southern Turkey and Jordan” have specifically “encouraged a closer cooperation with Islamists commanding frontline operations”, and while doing so have “dramatically increased [their] level of assistance and provisions of intelligence” to this Islamist-led opposition, all of which has led to the al-Qaeda victory in Idlib.(5) So not only has the entire support to the opposition from the beginning been coordinated and commanded by the US, so too has the US spearheaded recent support to al-Qaeda along with its Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari allies.
These Western-backed advances were facilitated by the delivery of “gamechanging” new advanced weaponry to the extremists, including TOW anti-tank missiles. The Guardian reports that the results of this “were shocking. The regional capital of Idlib fell within days. Several weeks later, the nearby town of Jisr al-Shughour also fell to an amalgam of jihadist.”(6) All of this being “the outcome of the first heavy weapons to reach the hands of the Syrian opposition in years of civil war from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Turkey,” which was “blessed by Washington after long hesitation.”(7)
The US recently encourages support to Islamists while it’s Saudi and Turkish allies openly support al-Qaeda linked militants, all of whom have been provided with new shipments of advanced weaponry and support which has been instrumental in their recent advances.
Qatar has made recent efforts to convince al-Nusra’s leader to detach itself from al-Qaeda and portray Nusra as though it is not planning to attack the West in an attempt to justify this increased aid. However it is important to note that “if Nusra is dissolved and it abandons al Qaeda, the ideology of the new entity is not expected to change,” while it’s leaders would remain “close to al Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahri [sic].” In a recent interview with the Qatari channel Al Jazeera, al-Nusra’s leader al-Golani was given a platform to say that Nusra does not plan to attack the West, yet he still reaffirmed full allegiance to al-Qaeda’s leader al-Zawahiri against the wishes of Qatar.(8) Despite the failure of re-branding al-Qaeda’s Syria faction the group still received a substantial increase in aid and support from its backers in the Gulf, Turkey, and the United States.
Given this, both the US and Turkey have in addition recently agreed “in principle” to establish a no-fly zone to further aid the forces on the ground they are supporting.(9) This is illegal, against international law, and would be de-facto support to terrorist organizations in the form of US aerial attacks against the Syrian state. It would be devastating to the region as well, only benefiting supporters of reactionary Islamic rule and Western imperial hegemony.
However, the al-Qaeda linked factions unfortunately are not the only groups that owe their recent battlefield successes to their Western patrons, so too does the Islamic State.
When the Islamic State recently took Ramadi in Iraq, they travelled a full 553km across open desert to the city from their de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria.
Despite the fact that destroying the militants along this route would have been like shooting fish in a barrel, the US “anti-ISIS” coalition did not expend a single airstrike against them, even though the US “had significant intelligence about the pending Islamic State offensive in Ramadi. For the US military, it was an open secret at the time.” The US intelligence community “had good warning that the Islamic State intended a new and bolder offensive in Ramadi because it was able to identify the convoys of heavy artillery, vehicle bombs and reinforcements,” which were coming from Raqqa, “through overhead imagery and eavesdropping on chatter from local Islamic State commanders.” Furthermore, “It surprised no one,” US intelligence officials said. (10)
Speaking on these developments, former British MI6 agent Alastair Crooke comments that “the speculation about a coming fractured Iraq has gained big momentum from ISIS's virtually unopposed walk-in to Ramadi. The images of long columns of ISIS Toyota Land Cruisers, black pennants waving in the wind, making their way from Syria all the way -- along empty desert main roads -- to Ramadi with not an American aircraft in evidence, certainly needs some explaining. There cannot be an easier target imagined than an identified column of vehicles, driving an arterial road, in the middle of a desert.”(11)
As ISIS arrived in Ramadi, the US-coalition launched a paltry 7 airstrikes against them, a number so low as to be entirely insignificant. To alleviate concerns that the US openly allowed ISIS to take Ramadi, the US military blamed a great and powerful “sandstorm” for their lack of airstrikes. However, just days later they retracted these false statements. ABC reports that “Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today that last weekend's sandstorm had not affected the coalition’s ability to launch airstrikes in Ramadi, though “weather was a factor on the ground early on.””(12) Further dispelling these excuses, the day after Ramadi’s fall rows of Islamic State militants were pictured celebrated openly in the streets below crystal clear skies.
(Source of picture: MailOnline, May 19, 2015)
If the US-coalition had been serious about stopping ISIS they could have easily destroyed whole factions of the group at this time. Instead, desperate for another excuse to explain their inaction, they changed their reasons and blamed concern for civilian deaths for the lack of strikes. However this excuse is so patently absurd as to be laughable, and therefore can be completely disregarded; one need only look at the grave human death tolls inflicted during the invasion of Iraq, the US support for Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza last summer, the US-facilitated devastation of eastern Ukraine, the global drone campaign, the US’ own “anti-ISIS” airstrikes, and the current crazed US-backed Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen to see that Western officials lose exactly zero sleep over the civilian blood that is on their hands.(13)
deliver aid to ISIS.(15)
predecessor’s rejection of political Islamists”, and shifted policy towards “increasing support for rebels in Syria.”(16) What the Times did say is that it is primarily Saudi Arabia and other major US Arab allies who “fund ISIS,” in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey’s own words, so it is no wonder which ‘Islamists’ Saudi
Arabia has increased support for.(17)
imprisoning its own daughters, but surely it’s perfectly plausible that this anachronistic monarchy which controls its population through the bludgeon and fear is simply baffled with inability at locating the guilty perpetrators.
In recent ISIS offensives in Syria the US as well took no aerial action despite the fact that doing so would have been easy and effective. A spokesman for the rebel group the Shamiah front recently criticized the US-coalition for not bombing IS convoys as they moved outward from Raqqa, saying that “There were convoys of 15 to 20 vehicles each. Only two coalition raids in the past three days would have been enough to stop the attack.” Similarly, Salim Idriss, once the US’ leading rebel commander, said that the US-led coalition repeatedly had allowed Islamic
State convoys to pass unhindered, pointing most recently to May 31st when he said a 60-vehicle convoy moved from Raqqa to Aleppo unperturbed.(19)
and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters.”
US Department of Defense intelligence knew that the opposition was “sectarian”, dominated by extremist groups, and that continued support to such an opposition would lead to the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, and the fact that with this
knowledge the US actually increased their aid to the rebels rather than curtailing it, means that the US must have intended, either directly or indirectly, these predictable outcomes of their actions.(21)
plausible deniability and to obscure the actual role the US has played in the facilitation of ISIS, evidenced further by ISIS’ continual growth.
While this US-led coalition expresses optimistically spurious notions of a “winning strategy”, the truth is that ISIS hasn’t been deterred since this strategy has come into effect. It should be said as well that “the ‘moderate’ rebels the US and UK support themselves openly welcomed the arrival of such extremists. Indeed, the Free Syria Army backed by the West was allied with ISIS, until ISIS attacked them at the end of 2013,” former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter terrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge notes.(22)
Syria-Hezbollah-Iran-Russia in the form of a torrent of Western media publications, interviews, articles, and research papers all professing that Assad is losing the war. The tone of these Western protestations is nothing short of euphoric, yet those on
the ground suffering from the brutality of al-Nusra and ISIS’ gains are not as jubilant, nor are they under the illusion that successes by foreign-backed extremist Wahhabis constitutes the makings of a “revolution.” Yet despite the Wests wishful thinking and adherence to the narrative of “moderate rebels” fighting against extremists, which itself is an impressive display of willful ignorance that disciplined intellectuals must work hard to cultivate, their insistence on attacking Syrian society with terrorist proxies has not been as successful as they had hoped, and has sparked a substantial backlash from Iran.
make major changes to the landscape of control in Syria.” Control over Qalamoun threatens to cut off important rebel supply lines that runs from the Damascus suburbs to the mountain region, and to hinder the smuggling of arms and resources from Lebanon into Syria and vice versa, given the areas proximity to the Lebanese border.
first line of defence against a threat facing the entire country.” According to one resident from the Bekaa
village bordering the eastern mountain range, “If Hezbollah wasn't in Qalamoun right now, we would cease to exist,” adding further that “Maybe the people of Beirut aren't aware of this, but we certainly are.”(23)
Institute for the Study of War “These incidents will likely drive Iran to increase its direct economic and indirect military support to the Assad regime in order to bolster its ability to sustain the fight. In a speech delivered on May 23, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stated that Hezbollah will fight “wherever necessary” throughout Syria; other Hezbollah senior officials released their own statements confirming that Hezbollah will continue to back the Syrian regime for “however long it takes” despite recent setbacks. These messages of defiance suggest that Hezbollah will likely increase its support to the regime.”
retake Jisr al-Shughur because it is key to the Mediterranean coast and the Hama region,” the source said. The Daily Star quotes a Lebanese political source as stating that “Iran has sent 15,000 fighters to Syria to reverse recent battlefield setbacks for Syrian government troops and wants to achieve results by the end of the month.” According to retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel W. Patrick Lang’s
estimate “this is just the beginning of a large scale Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war. The entry into the
Syria war of a large number of Iranian Quds force led troops would be a game changer. Whether the fighters are Iranian, Iraqi or from the dark side of the moon their presence might well make a decisive change in the balance of combat power in Syria.”(25)
Islamic State in Hasaka city.
Patrick Cockburn, “Preface” & “The Rise of ISIS”, The Rise of Islamic
State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015). Pg. xx, 3.
engaged in a clandestine operation to arm Syrian rebels, specifically choosing
which rebels receive the lethal aid. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian
Opposition.” June 21, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=0;
The Times subsequently reports that the US-coordinated shipments are “largely
going to hard-line Islamists”, Davide E. Sanger, New York Times, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in
Syria.” October 14, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/world/middleeast/jihadists-receiving-most-arms-sent-to-syrian-rebels.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&;
A 2012 DIA report notes that “The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI
(al-Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” and
that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition.” Given this
information, the US increased aid in the following years. Judicial Watch. http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf;
A leading Syrian opposition leader, Dr. Haytham Manna, writing in The Guardian
states “the pumping of arms to Syria, supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the
phenomenon of the Free Syrian Army, and the entry of more than 200 jihadi
foreigners into Syria in the past six months have all led to a decline in the
mobilisation of large segments of the population… and in the activists'
peaceful civil movement. The political discourse has become sectarian; there
has been a Salafisation of religiously conservative sectors”, Haytham Manna, The Guardian, “Syria’s opposition has
been led astray by violence.” June 22, 2012. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/22/syria-opposition-led-astray-by-violence.
to Help Rebels Fighting Syria’s Assad.” May 7, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/07/turkey-saudi-arabia-syria-rebels-pact_n_7232750.html.
“Turkey helped Islamists take over Idlib, Syrian source accuses.” March 30,
finally facing the end?” May 23, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/24/syria-iran-isis-battle-arab-world?CMP=share_btn_tw.
DEBKA Weekly Vol. 14, Issue 663, May 15, 2015.
cutting their links with al Qaeda… sources said. Sources within and close to Nusra said that
Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to
go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding… Intelligence officials from Gulf states
including Qatar have met the leader of Nusra, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, several
times in the past few months to encourage him to abandon al Qaeda and to
discuss what support they could provide, the sources said. They promised funding once it happens… The Nusra Front is listed as a terrorist
group by the United States and has been sanctioned by the United Nations
Security Council. But for Qatar at least, rebranding Nusra would remove legal
obstacles to supporting it.” Mariam Karouny, Reuters, “Syria’s Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity.”
March 4, 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/us-mideast-crisis-nusra-insight-idUSKBN0M00GE20150304.
principle’ to provide air support for Syrian rebels.” May 25, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/25/turkey-us-air-support-syria-rebels-agree-in-principle.
“U.S. Saw Islamic State Coming, Let It Take Ramadi.” May 28, 2015. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-05-28/u-s-saw-islamic-state-coming-let-it-take-ramadi.
Crooke, Huffington Post, “If Syria
and Iraq Become Fractured, So Too Will Tripoli and North Lebanon.” June 1,
airstrikes on a sandstorm. Erich Shmitt, Helene Cooper, The New York Times, “ISIS Fighters Seized Advantage in Iraq Attack
by Striking During Sandstorm.” May 18, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/world/middleeast/isis-fighters-seized-advantage-in-iraq-attack-by-striking-during-sandstorm.html?_r=0;
US retracts statement about sandstorm after evidence emerges disproving these
claims. Luis Martinez, ABC News,
“Misunderstanding May Have Led Iraqi Troops to Leave Ramadi.” May 21, 2015. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/misunderstanding-led-iraqi-troops-leave-ramadi/story?id=31219607.
drone campaign, the Guardian notes that out of 41 men targeted in Yemen and
Pakistan, a total of 1,147 were killed, at least 149 of them being children,
the reported data being only a fraction of those killed overall, the total
civilian death toll likely being much worse. Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, “41 men targeted but 1,147
people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground.” November 24, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/24/-sp-us-drone-strikes-kill-1147;
A US-led airstrikes in northern Syria targets a town without any ISIS present,
kills a total of 52 civilians in the process. Maya Gebeily, Agence France Presse, “US-led airstrikes
‘kill 52 civilians in northern Syria.’ May 2, 2015. http://news.yahoo.com/52-civilians-dead-coalition-strikes-syria-monitor-074747525.html;
A series of Saudi airstrikes in May, conducted with the support of the US,
struck a hospital and medical camp in southwestern Yemen killing at least 58
civilians and injuring another 67. The hospital was not being used by rebels
and none of the dead was a rebel fighter.
Despite this and much more, US support for the assault continued. Hakim
Almasmari, Melissa Gray, CNN, “Yemeni
civilians killed in Saudi Airstrikes, officials say.” May 1, 2015. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/01/middleeast/yemen-crisis/index.html;
US and Saudi naval blockade of Yemen blocks desperately needed aid, relegating
80% of the population under a humanitarian disaster. Julian Borger, The
Guardian, “Saudi-led naval blockade leaves 20m Yemenis facing humanitarian
disaster.” June 5, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/05/saudi-led-naval-blockade-worsens-yemen-humanitarian-disaster.
parliamentary speaker, The Middle East Media
Research Institute, “Wahda Al-Jumaili, Advisor to Iraqi Parliament Speaker:
Int'l Coalition Dropped Weapons, Which Enabled ISIS Takeover of Ramadi.” May
19, 2015. http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/4917.htm.
in Tikrit Offensive Amidst Accusations US is Arming ISIL.” March 12, 2015. http://undergroundreports.blogspot.com/2015/03/iraq-sidelines-us-in-tikrit-offensive.html.
New York Times, “King Salman Upends Status Quo in Region and the Royal
Family.” May 10, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/world/middleeast/king-salman-upends-status-quo-in-region-and-the-royal-family.html?_r=0.
Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey speaking before the Senate Armed Services
Committee, C-SPAN. September 16,
Josh Rogin, The Daily Beast, “America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS.” June 14, 2014. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/14/america-s-allies-are-funding-isis.html.
airstrikes as Islamic State advances near Aleppo.” June 1, 2015. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/06/01/268446/rebels-call-for-us-airstrikes.html.
Nafeez Ahmed, Medium “Ex-intel officials: Pentagon report proves US complicity
in ISIS.” June 2, 2015. https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/ex-intel-officials-pentagon-report-proves-us-complicity-in-isis-fabef96e20da.
It is a tenant of law that the doer of an act must be taken to have intended
its natural and foreseeable consequences. Given that the fall of Mosul and
Ramadi were natural and foreseeable consequences and that the US-led coalition
still continued the policies that were known to lead to these outcomes, the US
and her allies must therefore be taken to have intended these outcomes, either
directly or indirectly. Steven Chovanec, MintPress
News, “New FOIA Doc Reveals How US Supported The Rise Of ISIS.” May 26,
International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the
Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996), “Dissenting Opinion of Judge
Weeramantry,” Chapter III, “Humanitarian Law,” section 10, “Specific rules of
the humanitarian laws,” (a) “The prohibition against causing unnecessary
strategy” against ISIS, without inviting Russia, Iran, and Syria. BBC, “Iraq coalition winning against IS,
says US.” June 2, 2015. http://m.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32962870;
Patrick Cockburn, The Independent,
“Isis in Kobani: Turkey’s act of abandonment may mark an ‘irrevocable breach’
with Kurds across the region.” October 7, 2014. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-in-kobani-turkeys-act-of-abandonment-may-mark-an-irrevocable-breach-with-kurds-across-the-region-9780941.html;
Nafeez Ahmed, Ceasefire, “Story of a
War Foretold: Why we’re fighting ISIS.” September 25, 2014. https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/fighting-isis/.
Strategic Gains Against Al Qaeda-Led Rebels In Battle Of Qalamoun.” May 11,
The Daily Star, “Hezbollah, Syrian
army seize control of new Qalamoun hill.” May 15, 2015. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/May-15/298074-hezbollah-syrian-rebels-clash-for-control-of-west-qalamoun.ashx;
Nour Samaha, Al Jazeera, “Nasrallah
declares victory in Syria’s Qalamoun.” May 16, 2015. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/nasrallah-declares-victory-syria-qalamoun-150516192033488.html;
Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News, “The
Syrian Army and Hezbollah Triumph Over Al-Qaeda in the Qalamoun Mountains.” May
29, 2015. http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/the-syrian-army-and-hezbollah-triumph-over-al-qaeda-in-the-qalamoun-mountains/;
Nour Samaha, Foreign Policy, “Hezbollah
Is ‘Stronger Than Ever’.” June 1, 2015. http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/01/hezbollah-is-stronger-than-ever-isis-syria/;
Nour Samaha, Al Jazeera, “Why
Qalamoun matters for Hezbollah.” May 11, 2015. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/150511085809867.html.
“Iranian military mastermind Soleimani vows to ‘surprise’ world in Syria.” June
3, 2015. http://europe.newsweek.com/iranian-military-mastermind-soleimani-vows-surprise-world-syria-328161;
DEBKAfile, “Iranian Rev Guards ready
to intervene in Syria to save Assad. Soleimani: Expect major events in Syria.”
June 3, 2015. http://www.debka.com/article/24639/.
France Presse, “Iraq, Iran fighters deployed to defend Damascus: security
source.” June 3, 2015. http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-iran-fighters-deployed-defend-damascus-security-source-143253360.html;
The Daily Star, “Iran sends 15,000
fighters to Syria.” June 4, 2015. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Jun-04/300520-iran-sends-15000-fighters-to-syria.ashx;
Patrick Lang, Sic Semper Tyrannis,
“Is Soleimani’s “Surprise” underway?” June 4, 2015. http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/06/httpwwwdailystarcomlbnewsmiddle-east2015jun-04300520-iran-sends-15000-fighters-to-syriaashx.html.
Video inside: For those of you who can't remember how all this terrorism got started. Although we also have to keep in mind the longer history of colonialism and petroleum-hunting in the Middle East, which goes back to the 19th century and involves the descendants of the same national and corporate players.
(See also article "The Donetsk National Republic states the facts about its conflict with the Kiev regime".)
In this video Alexander V. Zakharchenko, who is now Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic, declares, "Let me clarify. No federalization can be possible today. There is time for everything. We asked for the federalization 3 months ago, then we asked for a permission to hold a referendum. That time has passed, now we want to live independently. The Ukrainian authorities are using police methods to subdue us: they arrest us, cordon us off, and conduct anti-terrorist operations against us. By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?"
[If the subtitles are not in your language, click on the small white rectangle at the base of the video; this will give you a window to select another language.]
[Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic] As you all know, a week ago we announced our plan to attack. We started it yesterday.
Until yesterday we have been preparing for the attack, examining trophy equipment, arming the crews, and testing communication between different military formations.
I can now proudly announce that we formed 2 tank battalions, 2 full artillery brigades, 2 Grad divisons,
1 mechanized infantry battalion, 3 infantry brigades and a special purpose assault airborne brigade.
All these units have now received Army numbers.
The communication system have been regularized and 2 field hospitals and 1 maintenance brigade have been formed.
We have begun testing all these units in battle. Yesterday we began an attack on Amvrosiyivka enemy group.
According to our data, in the course of the offensive, the enemy lost about 45 units of military equipment, we captured 14 units of military equipment, and about 1,200 people were killed and wounded.
There are two cauldrons at the moment, in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevskaia.
We started to advance at 4 a.m. on Elenovka, where the fighting is still going on.
2/3 of Elenovka is under our control. We hope to clean up these areas before the night. However, the offensive will not end at that.
We will continue until we free all populated areas in the Donetsk National Republic.
The army is ready and we have the support of the people. There will be more and more prisoners.
Now regarding the Parade. I deliberately put the trophy equipment on display on Lenin Square.
Everything that will come to us from Kiev, will end up in the same condition sooner or later.
The more will come, the easier it’ll be for us to restore our economy.
As you may know, metallurgy is one of our main industries.
I would like to thank the Minister of Defense for the close cooperation, understanding of the challenges facing the government, for his unlimited capacity to work and for his personal courage.
[Vladimir Kononov, Defense Minister of DNR] Dear journalists, TV audience, I would like to appeal to you.
The Ukrainian aggressive occupation army came on our soil. They brought a nationalistic ideology that has no respect for human life.
Their only interest is in our territory and resources.
They launch their vile attacks on residential civilian complexes with grandmothers, women, and children.
Just yesterday they fired on a residential quarter and killed a 9-year-old girl. There was no militia there.
They use sneaky tactics of mobile mortar groups that come to a place, shoot at it for 10-20 minutes, and quickly leave.
We already have all data on the movements of these mortar groups. They will be neutralized soon.
Now regarding the armed forces.
This is a uniform force with the principle of undivided authority that prevents disobedience and disorder, contrary to those who call the DNR army Makhnovist, etc.
It's a lie disseminated by the Kiev’s junta as well as by those who have unleashed tanks, Grads, and artillery against its people.
You can now ask your questions.
Does the militia fire on the houses?
Let me correct you right away. We were the militia 10 days ago. Today, we are the armed forces of the Donetsk National Republic.
The DNR’s armed forces by no means try to strike on residential neighborhoods and houses.
We don't and never will practice this. This is our homeland, our soil, and our Motherland.
This is a war on our territory that we want to preserve. We're not animals. We are not fighting in Kiev, we are fighting at home.
Channel 1, Moscow. How would you characterize the Ukrainian armed forces’ response to your offensive? Were they aware of it? Are they in confusion, resisting or rolling back?
Most likely they knew about our counter-attack as we did not make a secret of this. They didn’t know the time and place of the attack.
There are regular army officers who, unfortunately, at some point graduated from the Soviet military schools and the Academy.
They were preparing for different options, and have guessed some of them. The fighting was heavy because the regular units fight well.
The regular army really fights, gets defeated, but never gives up.
Those who roll back are the battalions of Shakhtersk, Aydar etc. They are usually easy to attack because they retreat at the first shot and never engage in direct fire contact.
They usually retreat and call on the regular units, and then they start to attack together.
Again, the fighting is very heavy.,You can feel the enemy’s superiority in their quantity of equipment.
To give you an idea of the intensity of the fighting: we cross about 40 km in the day.
The Parade of prisoners of war we’ve seen this afternoon, isn’t it against all humanitarian conventions and motions of dignity?
As a lawyer, I can say that we did nothing against international law.
The prizoners were not undressed or starved.
Show me a single international law, which prohibites parading prisoners. We have not done anything illegal.
What was the purpose of this parade? Were you trying to send a message to Kiev? Why did you make a decision to parade the prisoners of war?
Kyiv said that they will march in parade in Donetsk on the 24th. So they did.
Poroshenko didn’t lie: they were here together with their hardware.
This week Lugansk received humanitarian aid from Russia. Are you waiting for such help, and when do you think you can expect it to come?
We expected it yesterday, even before Lugansk.
Our city’s population is bigger than Lugansk, so it was logical to send it to us first.
But situation in Lugansk is much harder, so it was sent there first. I hope that we will receive our help soon.
Are there any negotiations about the terms of delivery?
Yes, the negotiations were conducted on the same day as Lugansk, but, unfortunately, we didn't get it.
Will Lugansk share their received help with you?
As practical business managers, we would like it. However, from the humanitarian position we understand that the situation is more difficult there.
We have to rely on our own resources for now. Hopefully, help will come soon.
there are historical parallels with July 1944 and the March of the Nazis. Did it happen by accident or was it done on purpose?
Honestly, we have recently seen one of the insignias of the 2nd separate brigade: the complete emblem of the Galicia SS Division, a 79 SS Galicia badge.
When we saw the full symbol of this Division... Many Russian families suffered losses in the Second World War. One of the ancestors in my family fought against the Galicia SS Division.
This is not just a parallel, this is generational: my great-grandfather, and now I, and the same division…
That’s why a desire was born to repeat 1944 so they would realize that it all already happened before, it has repeated itself with the same result.
Every time you come to Russia with a sword, “from a sword you will perish”.
Unfortunately, dear journalists, the West tries to invade us with a regularity of 30-50 years.
That is, every 30-50 years the Western civilization tries to impose on us their opinion and their way of life.
The First World War, the Great Patriotic war, the Crimean war before that and so on well into the depths of history.
As a result, the West traditionally gets the fall of Berlin, Paris, etc.
There is Maidan every year In Kiev – “Those who don’t jump are Moskals”.
The West comes every 30-50 years to get what it deserves. Now in 2014, they are slightly delayed.
What kind of aid do you now get from Russia?
individuals and certain organizations send us food, clothes, and medicine.
Ramzan Kadyrov has collected humanitarian aid worth of $70 million, which is now waiting in Rostov.
It was not a state program, it’s from the Republic and the President of Chechnya.
....experts in artillery from Samara?
I will invite several officers of the French Navy, who want to fight with us.
They are willing to give an interview. We have Europe fighting amongst us.
The European ideals of equality, fraternity, and the French revolution, as in the Marseillaise, resonate with the patriots of France.
It means, the nation is not dead, since it has such representatives who are willing to go to the far away place to fight for their ideals, which the Bastille was once taken for.
Yes, there are volunteers: the French, the Russians. Is it a bad thing? It’s great.
Are there regular Russian military units fighting on your side?
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.
Now there is a war on our soil for our territory. We have an influx of volunteers from all over the world.
Of course, the Russian help would be very desirable, but from a political point of view it is impossible and unrealistic.
Thanks, by the way, to the European countries. You do not acknowledge this war just as you did not acknowledge the great Patriotic war, didn’t you?
You support the anti-terrorist operation against terrorists and separatists.
Have you not developed a Charter of free territory, I believe, in Switzerland?
A Territory has a right of self determination and separation after a referendum.
Germany lives by the same principles. There will be a referendum in Scotland soon.
That is, you call your own principles democratic and carry them out (almost) democratically.
The example of Czechoslovakia was peaceful. Yugoslavia, unfortunately, was torn into a thousand little pieces by you. Using military methods by the way.
We have the same thing happening here.
That is, if you stop pursuing a policy of double standards and will be able to understand that people live here.
What is our fault? The fault of Donetsk, Donbass, our land?
That we are asked to live independently? That we wanted to live the way we want? To speak our language? To make friends with whom we want?
We didn't want to go to Europe. We have different mentalities, religion.
But we have a different religion. We want to go East.
We wanted to live the way we want, but we were not allowed to. We were called terrorists and separatists.
Please note, we did not capture any regional administrations, nor did we scorch district departments. That’s what the Maidan did.
Slogans: "No oligarchy”, “Equality and brotherhood", "Freedom of religion and language", "Freedom of choice".
All these slogans are from the Maidan. We want the same thing. So why are we the bad guys?
What did we do to deserve being bombed from planes?, shot at from tanks?and have phosphorous bombs dropped on us ?
Explain to me what an anti-terrorist operation is?!
There police forces and intelligence services are involved, and not regular military units, military vehicles and aircrafts.
Dear journalists, please correct me if I am wrong.
If we are terrorists, then the police and the security service of Ukraine must fight us.
30, 25, 95, 72, and 76 - the entire Ukrainian army is present on our territory.
Three conscriptions, the national guard, territorial battalions, private battalions Aidar, Azov, Shakhtersk, Donbass, Dnieper-1, Dnieper-2, Dnieper-3, battalion Kiev, and now Kryvbas.
What have we done? What is our guilt? The fact that we have shale gas, for which you want to erase entire Slavyansk from the face of the earth?
Or any other financial interests?
We are all descendants of the glorious ancestors. We all have ancestors that we are proud of.Only between the two of us there are two Heroes of the Soviet Union.
We are still able to hold weapons in our hands. We swallowed with our mothers’ milk a pride and desire to live in free and happy Donbass.
We’ll tell anyone who comes to harm us on our soil: we will fight tooth and nail for our Motherland.
Kiev and the West made a big mistake by awaking us.
We are the hardworking people. While others were jumping on the Maidan for 300 grivnas, our people were down in the mine, mining coal, melting metal and sowing crop.
None of us had time to jump, we were busy working.
When a person who just yesterday worked with a jackhammer or operated a harvester, today got behind a steering wheel of a tank or Grad, or picked up a machine gun, the line has been crossed and you cannot stop him.
The one who left his job knows that he will fight to the end and to his last breath.
You may pass it on to others: do not wake the beast. Just don’t.
While there is still an opportunity, let mothers spare their sons.
For some, perhaps this will be terrible news: there still lie several hundred soldiers of the armed forces of the Ukrainian army under Panovka, Saur-Mohyla, who are unaccounted for.
Families receive “missing in action” letters. They are actually dead. Kiev authorities do it on purpose.
Hundreds and thousands dead in more than a dozen graves. I announce it officially.
Let everybody know if you received a "missing in action" letter, then most likely, your husband, brother, or son got killed.
[Vladimir Kononov] I can you give an example from the battle of the 72nd and 25th batalions against us in Shakhtersk. I have all the documents of the soldiers who burned near the wrecked machinery.
We returned the bodies to the Ukrainian army. Two weeks later, we received information that they were “missing in action”.
Why did they bother to pick up the bodies?
It was reported that the Ukrainian army from the beginning of the conflict had 12,000 killed, 19,000 wounded and 5,000 missing.
They are not missing, they were killed and buried under Karachun, in Krasnyy Liman…
They were dumping bodies from a helicopter with stones tied to their feet into the Blue lakes near Slavyansk.
Vladimir Petrovich, let's not excite our press with such gruesome details.
Poroshenko said that all 120 people out of 1200 who participated in the Parade in Kiev, will go to the East.
Now I want to say: I don't want to fight. It wasn’t my choice, but I'll fight till the end for my land, no matter who, when and how numerous they were.
This is a battle of annihilation. Unfortunately, the Slavs are fighting among themselves and destroying their best people.
We want to reach out to all the relatives and mothers: do not send your sons here.
Leave us alone. Let us live free and in peace.
We didn’t come to you in Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, or Zaporozhye. We are not marauding your villages, raping your women, killing your elders and stealing their military decorations.
Remember decorations for Stalingrad, the capture of Berlin, Gold Star medals, Orders of Glory, Orders of the Red Banner, mixed up with women's earrings?...
We don't do that. We want to live on our land the way we want. We don't need you. We are different.
Ukraine of the East and the West is an artificially created conglomerate. However, we didn’t start this war.
If someone has a political conscience, a will and a courage of a real man, I'm just suggesting to stop this operation.
You don’t have to recognize our status, just leave us alone within our borders of Donetsk and Lugansk republics, and we will kiss each other goodbye.
A question from the French newspaper Libération. When will a press conference with the French internationalists, that you mentioned, take place?
They will arrive tomorrow. Talk with Vladimir Petrovich tomorrow. Contact him through his press Secretary.
Do you think the meeting with Poroshenko will bring any positive solutions?
Let me clarify. No federalization can be possible today.
There is time for everything. We asked for the federalization 3 months ago, then we asked for a permission to hold a referendum.
That time has passed, now we want to live independently.
The Ukrainian authorities are using police methods to subdue us: they arrest us, cordon us off, and conduct anti-terrorist operations against us.
By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?
What is federalization? This is a series of bureaucratic procedures that need to be done.
But we want to live independently. We have very rich land.
Talks about subsidies is a lie perpetrated by thieves to steal money. Each President understood this very well and always participated in it.
We are a self-sufficient region with its agriculture, developed industry, forests, fields, and seas.
We have everything from a “Switzerland” to the sea.
Resort areas, agriculture, chemical and coal industry, rich minerals, gas deposits, etc.
Despite close ties with the rest of Ukraine, we can and must be able to feed ourselves.
If they do not understand it in a good way, then we will ask them in a hard way.
I hope that the meeting between Poroshenko and President Vladimir Putin will lead to the taking of our position into account.
About the law in relation to people who are in prison.
Please specify what kind of law you are talking about.
On what basis these people have been arrested?
We have recently adopted a new criminal code and the creation of court-martials and tribunals. Is that what are you talking about?
This is not a law, this is a provision that we have discussed in the Council of Ministers and then submitted to the Supreme Council.
The Supreme Council gave us a go-ahead. Are you asking about people who were arrested prior to this or after?
At the moment we have mostly detained soldiers who violated military discipline and the oath of allegiance.
A court-martial will have to deal with it. Now regarding the rest.
Since the adoption of this law, all detained civilians were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security for their hearings.
Depending on the sentence, they will either be released, or subjected to administrative punishments in the form of community service from 10 to 30 days.
Donetsk Detention Center came over to our side, so civilized places will be used for detentions.
For further clarifications you can enquire at the reception desk of the Deputy Prime Minister or to appeal to the Prosecutor General.
A question about the death penalty.
I'll be honest, I think the death penalty is the highest form of protection of society.
You probably remember that my first decree was to fight banditry.
Yes, this is a widespread phenomenon, because all sorts of criminal elements penetrate under the guise of a revolution.
We must fight it now so we wouln’t have to hunt these paramilitary groups down later. That was the reason behind this decision.
After the long discussions it has been decided to adopt the death penalty.
You all know perfectly well that the abolition of the death penalty does not reduce crime.
Statistics show that with the death penalty abolished crimes “for some reason” tend to go up.
The society, ordinary people, and private entrepreneurs have to be able to live and work in the safety. We made a decision to guarantee their security.
For details, please familiarize yourself with the code. It is written in quite clear language.
With the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine turning a local civil war into a U.S. confrontation with Russia, U.S. intelligence veterans urge President Obama to release what evidence he has about the tragedy or to stop poisoning the waters. They note that claims the US has made of having useful satellite imagery have not materialised and say they are not at all sure that the US appreciates the gravity of its escalation of tensions in the region, through apparently empty accusations against Russia.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Intelligence on Shoot-Down of Malaysian Plane
U.S.–Russian tensions are building in a precarious way over Ukraine, and we are far from certain that your advisers fully appreciate the danger of escalation. The New York Times and other media outlets are treating sensitive issues in dispute as flat-fact, taking their cue from U.S. government sources.
Twelve days after the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, your administration still has issued no coordinated intelligence assessment summarizing what evidence exists to determine who was responsible – much less to convincingly support repeated claims that the plane was downed by a Russian-supplied missile in the hands of Ukrainian separatists.
Your administration has not provided any satellite imagery showing that the separatists had such weaponry, and there are several other “dogs that have not barked.” Washington’s credibility, and your own, will continue to erode, should you be unwilling – or unable – to present more tangible evidence behind administration claims. In what follows, we put this in the perspective of former intelligence professionals with a cumulative total of 260 years in various parts of U.S. intelligence.
We, the undersigned former intelligence officers want to share with you our concern about the evidence adduced so far to blame Russia for the July 17 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. We are retired from government service and none of us is on the payroll of CNN, Fox News, or any other outlet. We intend this memorandum to provide a fresh, different perspective.
As veteran intelligence analysts accustomed to waiting, except in emergency circumstances, for conclusive information before rushing to judgment, we believe that the charges against Russia should be rooted in solid, far more convincing evidence. And that goes in spades with respect to inflammatory incidents like the shoot-down of an airliner. We are also troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up – some of it via “social media.”
As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to “poison the jury pool.”
Painting Russia Black
We see an eerie resemblance to an earlier exercise in U.S. “public diplomacy” from which valuable lessons can be learned by those more interested in the truth than in exploiting tragic incidents for propaganda advantage. We refer to the behavior of the Reagan administration in the immediate aftermath of the shoot-down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983. We sketch out below a short summary of that tragic affair, since we suspect you have not been adequately briefed on it. The parallels will be obvious to you.
An advantage of our long tenure as intelligence officers is that we remember what we have witnessed first hand; seldom do we forget key events in which we played an analyst or other role. To put it another way, most of us “know exactly where we were” when a Soviet fighter aircraft shot down Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983, over 30 years ago. At the time, we were intelligence officers on “active duty.” You were 21; many of those around you today were still younger.
Thus, it seems possible that you may be learning how the KAL007 affair went down, so to speak, for the first time; that you may now become more aware of the serious implications for U.S.-Russian relations regarding how the downing of Flight 17 goes down; and that you will come to see merit in preventing ties with Moscow from falling into a state of complete disrepair. In our view, the strategic danger here dwarfs all other considerations.
Hours after the tragic shoot-down on August 30, 1983, the Reagan administration used its very accomplished propaganda machine to twist the available intelligence on Soviet culpability for the killing of all 269 people aboard KAL007. The airliner was shot down after it strayed hundreds of miles off course and penetrated Russia’s airspace over sensitive military facilities in Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island. The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots did not respond to the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane’s identity – a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier – Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire.
The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder, not from a willful act of murder (much as on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people, an act which President Ronald Reagan dismissively explained as an “understandable accident”).
To make the very blackest case against Moscow for shooting down the KAL airliner, the Reagan administration suppressed exculpatory evidence from U.S. electronic intercepts. Washington’s mantra became “Moscow’s deliberate downing of a civilian passenger plane.” Newsweek ran a cover emblazoned with the headline “Murder in the Sky.” (Apparently, not much has changed; Time’s cover this week features “Cold War II” and “Putin’s dangerous game.” The cover story by Simon Shuster, “In Russia, Crime Without Punishment,” would merit an A-plus in William Randolph Hearst’s course “Yellow Journalism 101.”)
When KAL007 was shot down, Alvin A. Snyder, director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division, was enlisted in a concerted effort to “heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible,” as Snyder writes in his 1995 book, “Warriors of Disinformation.”
He and his colleagues also earned an A-plus for bringing the “mainstream media” along. For example, ABC’s Ted Koppel noted with patriotic pride, “This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.”
“Fixing” the Intelligence Around the Policy
“The perception we wanted to convey was that the Soviet Union had cold-bloodedly carried out a barbaric act,” wrote Snyder, adding that the Reagan administration went so far as to present a doctored transcript of the intercepts to the United Nations Security Council on September 6, 1983.
Only a decade later, when Snyder saw the complete transcripts — including the portions that the Reagan administration had hidden — would he fully realize how many of the central elements of the U.S. presentation were false.
The intercepts showed that the Soviet fighter pilot believed he was pursuing a U.S. spy aircraft and that he was having trouble in the dark identifying the plane. Per instructions from ground control, the pilot had circled the KAL airliner and tilted his wings to order the aircraft to land. The pilot said he fired warning shots, as well. This information “was not on the tape we were provided,” Snyder wrote.
It became abundantly clear to Snyder that, in smearing the Soviets, the Reagan administration had presented false accusations to the United Nations, as well as to the people of the United States and the world. In his book, Snyder acknowledged his own role in the deception, but drew a cynical conclusion. He wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.”
The tortured attempts by your administration and stenographers in the media to blame Russia for the downing of Flight 17, together with John Kerry’s unenviable record for credibility, lead us to the reluctant conclusion that the syndrome Snyder describes may also be at work in your own administration; that is, that an ethos of “getting your own lie out first” has replaced “ye shall know the truth.” At a minimum, we believe Secretary Kerry displayed unseemly haste in his determination to be first out of the starting gate.
Both Sides Cannot Be Telling the Truth
We have always taken pride in not shooting from the hip, but rather in doing intelligence analysis that is evidence-based. The evidence released to date does not bear close scrutiny; it does not permit a judgment as to which side is lying about the shoot-down of Flight 17. Our entire professional experience would incline us to suspect the Russians – almost instinctively. Our more recent experience, particularly observing Secretary Kerry injudiciousness in latching onto one spurious report after another as “evidence,” has gone a long way toward balancing our earlier predispositions.
It seems that whenever Kerry does cite supposed “evidence” that can be checked – like the forged anti-Semitic fliers distributed in eastern Ukraine or the photos of alleged Russian special forces soldiers who allegedly slipped into Ukraine – the “proof” goes “poof” as Kerry once said in a different context. Still, these misrepresentations seem small peccadillos compared with bigger whoppers like the claim Kerry made on August 30, 2013, no fewer than 35 times, that “we know” the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical incidents near Damascus nine days before.
On September 3, 2013 – following your decision to call off the attack on Syria in order to await Congressional authorization – Kerry was still pushing for an attack in testimony before a thoroughly sympathetic Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. On the following day Kerry drew highly unusual personal criticism from President Putin, who said: “He is lying, and he knows he is lying. It is sad.”
Equally serious, during the first week of September 2013, as you and President Vladimir Putin were putting the final touches to the deal whereby Syrian chemical weapons would be given up for destruction, John Kerry said something that puzzles us to this day. On September 9, 2013, Kerry was in London, still promoting a U.S. attack on Syria for having crossed the “Red Line” you had set against Syria’s using chemical weapons.
At a formal press conference, Kerry abruptly dismissed the possibility that Bashar al-Assad would ever give up his chemical weapons, saying, “He isn’t about to do that; it can’t be done.” Just a few hours later, the Russians and Syrians announced Syria’s agreement to do precisely what Kerry had ruled out as impossible. You sent him back to Geneva to sign the agreement, and it was formally concluded on September 14.
Regarding the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down of July 17, we believe Kerry has typically rushed to judgment and that his incredible record for credibility poses a huge disadvantage in the diplomatic and propaganda maneuvering vis-a-vis Russia. We suggest you call a halt to this misbegotten “public diplomacy” offensive. If, however, you decide to press on anyway, we suggest you try to find a less tarnished statesman or woman.
A Choice Between Two
If the intelligence on the shoot-down is as weak as it appears judging from the fuzzy scraps that have been released, we strongly suggest you call off the propaganda war and await the findings of those charged with investigating the shoot-down. If, on the other hand, your administration has more concrete, probative intelligence, we strongly suggest that you consider approving it for release, even if there may be some risk of damage to “sources and methods.” Too often this consideration is used to prevent information from entering the public domain where, as in this case, it belongs.
There have been critical junctures in the past in which presidents have recognized the need to waive secrecy in order to show what one might call “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” or even to justify military action.
As senior CIA veteran Milton Bearden has put it, there are occasions when more damage is done to U.S. national security by “protecting” sources and methods than by revealing them. For instance, Bearden noted that Ronald Reagan exposed a sensitive intelligence source in showing a skeptical world the reason for the U.S. attack on Libya in retaliation for the April 5, 1986 bombing at the La Belle Disco in West Berlin. That bombing killed two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman, and injured over 200 people, including 79 U.S. servicemen.
Intercepted messages between Tripoli and agents in Europe made it clear that Libya was behind the attack. Here’s an excerpt: “At 1:30 in the morning one of the acts was carried out with success, without leaving a trace behind.”
Ten days after the bombing the U.S. retaliated, sending over 60 Air Force fighters to strike the Libyan capital of Tripoli and the city of Benghazi. The operation was widely seen as an attempt to kill Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who survived, but his adopted 15-month-old daughter was killed in the bombing, along with at least 15 other civilians.
Three decades ago, there was more shame attached to the killing of children. As world abhorrence grew after the U.S. bombing strikes, the Reagan administration produced the intercepted, decoded message sent by the Libyan Peoples Bureau in East Berlin acknowledging the “success” of the attack on the disco, and adding the ironically inaccurate boast “without leaving a trace behind.”
The Reagan administration made the decision to give up a highly sensitive intelligence source, its ability to intercept and decipher Libyan communications. But once the rest of the world absorbed this evidence, international grumbling subsided and many considered the retaliation against Tripoli justified.
If You’ve Got the Goods…
If the U.S. has more convincing evidence than what has so far been adduced concerning responsibility for shooting down Flight 17, we believe it would be best to find a way to make that intelligence public – even at the risk of compromising “sources and methods.” Moreover, we suggest you instruct your subordinates not to cheapen U.S. credibility by releasing key information via social media like Twitter and Facebook.
The reputation of the messenger for credibility is also key in this area of “public diplomacy.” As is by now clear to you, in our view Secretary Kerry is more liability than asset in this regard. Similarly, with regard to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, his March 12, 2013 Congressional testimony under oath to what he later admitted were “clearly erroneous” things regarding NSA collection should disqualify him. Clapper should be kept at far remove from the Flight 17 affair.
What is needed, if you’ve got the goods, is an Interagency Intelligence Assessment – the genre used in the past to lay out the intelligence. We are hearing indirectly from some of our former colleagues that what Secretary Kerry is peddling does not square with the real intelligence. Such was the case late last August, when Kerry created a unique vehicle he called a “Government (not Intelligence) Assessment” blaming, with no verifiable evidence, Bashar al-Assad for the chemical attacks near Damascus, as honest intelligence analysts refused to go along and, instead, held their noses.
We believe you need to seek out honest intelligence analysts now and hear them out. Then, you may be persuaded to take steps to curb the risk that relations with Russia might escalate from “Cold War II” into an armed confrontation. In all candor, we see little reason to believe that Secretary Kerry and your other advisers appreciate the enormity of that danger.
In our most recent (May 4) memorandum to you, Mr. President, we cautioned that if the U.S. wished “to stop a bloody civil war between east and west Ukraine and avert Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine, you may be able to do so before the violence hurtles completely out of control.” On July 18, you joined the top leaders of Germany, France, and Russia in calling for an immediate ceasefire. Most informed observers believe you have it in your power to get Ukrainian leaders to agree. The longer Kiev continues its offensive against separatists in eastern Ukraine, the more such U.S. statements appear hypocritical.
We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties. The suggestion of an early summit got extraordinary resonance in controlled and independent Russian media. Not so in “mainstream” media in the U.S. Nor did we hear back from you.
The courtesy of a reply is requested.
Prepared by VIPS Steering Group
William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)
Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)