Archive | August 13th, 2016

How the Obama Administration Encouraged the Rise of Islamic State

NOVANEWS
Image result for OBAMA AS ISIS CARTOON
By Nauman Sadiq 

Although I admit that Donald Trump’s recent remarks that Obama Administration willfully created the Islamic State were a bit facile, it is an irrefutable fact that Obama Administration’s policy of nurturing the Syrian militants against the Assad regime from August 2011 to August 2014 created the ideal circumstances which led to the creation of not just Islamic State but myriads of other Syrian militant groups which are just as fanatical and bloodthirsty as Islamic State.

It should be remembered here that the Libyan and Syrian crises originally began in early 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings when peaceful protests against the Qaddafi and Assad regimes turned militant. Moreover, it should also be kept in mind that the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, which has a highly porous border with Syria, took place in December 2011.

Furthermore, the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, served as the United States’ Secretary of State from January 2009 to February 2013. Thus, for the initial year-and-a-half of the Syrian civil war, Hillary Clinton was serving as the Secretary of the State and the role that she played in toppling the regime in Libya and instigating the insurgency in Syria is not hidden from anybody’s eyes.

Additionally, it is also a known fact that the Clintons have cultivated close ties with the Zionist lobbies in Washington and the American support for the proxy war in Syria is specifically about ensuring Israel’s regional security as I shall explain in the ensuing paragraphs. However, it would be unfair to put the blame for the crisis in Syria squarely on the Democrats; the policy of nurturing militants against the regime has been pursued with bipartisan support. In fact, Senator John McCain, a Republican, played the same role in the Syrian civil war which Charlie Wilson played during the Soviet-Afghan war in the ‘80s. And Ambassador Robert Ford was the point man in the US embassy in Damascus.

More to the point, the US Defense Intelligence Agency’s report [1] of 2012 that presaged the imminent rise of a Salafist principality in northeastern Syria was not overlooked it was deliberately suppressed; not just the report but that view in general that a civil war in Syria will give birth to the radical Islamists was forcefully stifled in Washington’s policy making circles under pressure from the Zionist lobbies.

The Obama Administration was fully aware of the consequences of its actions in Syria but it kept pursuing the policy of funding, training, arming and internationally legitimizing the so-called “Syrian Opposition” to weaken the Syrian regime and to neutralize the threat that its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, posed to Israel’s regional security; a fact which the Israeli defense community realized for the first time during the 2006 Lebanon war during the course of which Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel. Those were only unguided rockets but was it a wake-up call for Israel’s defense community as to what would happen if Iran passed guided missile technology to Hezbollah whose area of operations lies very close to the northern borders of Israel?

Notwithstanding, how can the US claim to fight a militant group which has been an obvious by-product [2] of US policy in Syria? Let’s settle on one issue first: there were two parties to the Syrian civil war initially, the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition; which party did the US support since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in early 2011 to June 2014 until Islamic State overran Mosul?

Obviously, the US supported the Syrian opposition; and what was the composition of the so-called “Syrian Opposition?” A small fraction of it was comprised of defected Syrian soldiers, which goes by the name of Free Syria Army, but a vast majority has been Sunni jihadists and armed tribesmen who were generously funded, trained and armed by the alliance of Western powers, Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf States.

Islamic State is nothing more than one of the numerous Syrian jihadist outfits, others being: al Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Tawhid brigade, Jaysh al Islam etc. The US-led war against Islamic State is limited only to Islamic State while all other Sunni Arab jihadist groups are enjoying complete impunity, and the so-called “coalition against Islamic State” also includes the main patrons of Sunni Arab jihadists like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan.

Regardless, many biased political commentators of the mainstream media deliberately try to muddle reality in order to link the emergence of Islamic State to the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the Bush Administration. Their motive behind this chicanery is to absolve the Obama Administration’s policy of supporting the Syrian opposition against the Assad regime since the beginning of the Syrian civil war until June 2014 when Islamic State overran Mosul and the Obama Administration made a volte-face on its previous policy of indiscriminate support to the Syrian opposition and declared a war against a faction of Syrian opposition: that is, the Islamic State.

Moreover, such spin-doctors also try to find the roots of Islamic State in al-Qaeda in Iraq; however, the insurgency in Iraq died down after the “surge” of American troops in 2007. Al-Qaeda in Iraq became a defunct organization after the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the subsequent surge of troops in Iraq. The re-eruption of insurgency in Iraq has been the spillover effect of nurturing militants in Syria against the Assad regime when Islamic State overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in January 2014 and subsequently captured Mosul in June 2014.

The borders between Syria and Iraq are highly porous and it’s impossible to contain the flow of militants and arms between the two countries. The Obama Administration’s policy of providing money, arms and training to the Syrian militants in the training camps located at the border regions of Turkey and Jordan was bound to backfire sooner or later.

Notwithstanding, in order to simplify the Syrian quagmire for the sake of readers, I would divide it into three separate and distinct zones of influence. Firstly, the northern and northwestern zone along the Syria-Turkey border, in and around Aleppo and Idlib, which is under the influence of Turkey and Qatar. Both of these countries share the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood and they provide money, training and arms to the Sunni Arab jihadist organizations like al-Tawhid Brigade and Ahrar al-Sham in the training camps located at the border regions of Turkey.

Secondly, the southern zone of influence along the Syria-Jordan border, in Daraa and Quneitra and as far away as Homs and Damascus. It is controlled by the Saudi-Jordanian camp and they provide money, weapons and training to the Salafist militant groups such as al-Nusra Front and the Southern Front of the so-called “moderate” Free Syria Army in Daraa and Quneitra, and Jaysh al-Islam in the suburbs of Damascus. Their military strategy is directed by a Military Operations Center (MOC) and training camps [3] located in the border regions of Jordan. Here let me clarify that this distinction is quite overlapping and heuristic at best, because al-Nusra’s jihadists have taken part in battles as far away as Idlib and Aleppo.

And finally, the eastern zone of influence along the Syria-Iraq border, in al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zor, which has been controlled by a relatively maverick Iraq-based jihadist outfit, the Islamic State. Thus, leaving the Mediterranean coast and Syria’s border with Lebanon, the Baathist and Shi’a-dominated Syrian regime has been surrounded from all three sides by the hostile Sunni forces: Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood in the north, Jordan and the Salafists of the Gulf Arab States in the south and the Sunni Arab-majority regions of Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in the east.

Sources

[1] United States’ Defense Intelligence Agency’s report of 2012

[2] How Syrian Jihad spawned the Islamic State?

[3] Weapons flowing from Eastern Europe to Middle East

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Here’s what happened at the Putin-Erdogan summit

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Image result for Putin-Erdogan summit PHOTO

Russia and Turkey massively upgrade their cooperation – however, agree to differ over Syria.
By Alexander Mercouris 

As is frequently the case the most information about what Putin and Erdogan discussed and agreed with each other came out of their joint news conference. The Kremlin has provided a transcript.

Syria

Putin and Erdogan both said that they had not discussed Syria prior to the news conference and that their discussion about Syria would take place after.

This could be for any of various reasons: that restoring their bilateral relations was the bigger priority with the contentious issue of Syria being put off till later; that Putin and Erdogan did not want to spoil the mood at the press conference by revealing how far apart they still are on this issue; or that the discussions they were about to have on Syria touched on such sensitive topics that they did not want to be questioned and reveal information about them at the news conference. Probably all of these reasons were in play.

Both Putin and Erdogan did say at the press conference that their positions on Syria remain far apart. In an interview with TASS on the eve of the visit, Erdogan however showed no shift in his longstanding positions on the Syrian conflict. For example, he continued to insist that President Assad had to go: “We don’t want Syria’s disintegration, but the departure of Bashar Assad who is guilty for the deaths of 600,000 people. This is the condition for preventing this scenario. Syria’s unity cannot be kept with Assad. And we cannot support a murderer who has committed acts of state terror.”

In a point that will be particularly contentious for the Russians (and one presumes for some people in the U.S.), he even denied that Jabhat Al-Nusra is a terrorist organisation despite its connection to Al-Qaeda: “Considering that the al-Nusra front is also fighting against the Islamic State, it should not be considered as a terrorist organisation either. This is an incorrect approach.”

Other comments Erdogan made during the TASS interview strongly suggest that it was he who was ultimately behind the recent Jabhat Al-Nusra announcement that it was distancing itself from Al-Qaeda.

In a recent post, the Moon of Alabama expresses bafflement that despite the Turkish rapprochement with Russia that has taken place since the coup attempt, there is no evidence of any slackening of Turkish support for the rebels in Syria.  On the contrary, it seems that in connection with the fighting in Aleppo that support has, if anything, been stepped up.  The Moon of Alabama speculates implausibly that this is being done by the CIA on Turkish territory contrary to Erdogan’s wishes.

The true position is, as I have said previously, Erdogan has invested too much in supporting the rebellion in Syria over too long a time to make it possible for him to change course.  Were he to try to do so, he would expose himself to criticism in Turkey from many of his own supporters that he was selling out to the Russians. He would also risk a violent reaction from the many Jihadist fighters currently in Turkey, which at a time when the Turkish security forces are at their most disorganised following the coup would be highly dangerous. Beyond that, there is the fact that Erdogan is almost certainly sincere about his Syrian policy. His comments toTASS suggest as much, as do his actions on the ground.

The truth is what I said before: what we are seeing between Turkey and Russia is a strictly limited rapprochement, not a fundamental realignment. The two countries have moved closer to each other and are developing their political and economic relations at a blistering pace. However, there will be no switch in alliances, and on the question of Syria they fundamentally differ and continue to support opposing camps.  The leaderships of both countries understand this perfectly well but are not prepared to hold the improvement of their mutual relations hostage to the situation in Syria.

On one question related to Syria there may, however be progress. Erdogan’s interview with TASS shows that he is still seething at Russian allegations made earlier this year that members of his family were involved in illegal trading with ISIS:

I had earlier been told that these facts also pointed to Turkey. I asked for the relevant evidence to be demonstrated. However, no one could prove it to me. Nothing of this kind can be found with regard to Turkey. They also tried to entangle my family in this. I said, prove it, I’ll leave my post if you demonstrate the relevant evidence. I turned to those who conjured up these insinuations and asked them about whether they would leave their posts if no evidence was found. Silence followed.

His comments to TASS suggest that Erdogan might be prepared to work with the Russians to destroy ISIS.  However, the extent of that cooperation is for the moment difficult to gauge. It is unlikely to involve Russian aircraft operating from Incirlik.

As anticipated, there does appear to have been some discussion during the summit of the Russians and the Turks working together on a joint plan to end the war in Syria. In his interview with TASS, Erdogan hinted as much, also confirming that against U.S. and Saudi opposition he is also prepared to involve Iran in this plan:

Russia is fundamentally the key and most important player in establishing peace in Syria. I believe it is necessary to solve this crisis with the help of mutual action by Russia and Turkey. If the talk is about widening the circle of participants, then I already told my dear friend Vladimir [Putin] earlier: if necessary, we’ll also involve Iran in the effort. We can invite Qatar, Saudi Arabia and America. In this regard, we can form a wide circle of participants. If not, then the Russian Federation and Turkey given our common 950-km border with Syria, can take some steps, without violating Syria’s sovereignty.

However, given the differences between the Russians and the Turks over the future of President Assad and the status of Jabhat Al-Nusra, it is difficult to see at the moment how they could agree a joint position on Syria that they would be able to take forward in order to achieve a settlement of the conflict there. Doubtless the discussions between Putin and Erdogan after the press conference touched on this question. However, given the size of the gap between the two sides, it will take a long time for any consensus on the way forward between them to emerge. Most probably, it will be the situation on the ground that will decide the issue first.

The Turkish coup

Both in the press conference and in his interview with TASS, Erdogan again went out of his way to accuse the Gulen movement of being behind the recent coup attempt. I have previously speculated that Erdogan’s constant references to the Gulen movement are intended to signal that the U.S. (where Gulen is based) was somehow implicated in the coup. Nothing Erdogan said in either the press conference or the TASS interview refutes that speculation. He notably failed to say that the U.S. was not involved in the coup, or that the U.S. is Turkey’s ally and friend. On the contrary, in the TASS interview he appeared to criticise the U.S. for its foot-dragging in handing over Gulen:

In reality, even though we have demanded this man’s extradition. They say if you regard this man as a terrorist, then send us the documents. We will study them first and then take measures in accordance with U.S. legislation. True, there are some documents we had sent them before. By now, we’ve sent 85 boxfuls of paperwork on this case. In the near future, the Turkish justice minister, foreign minister, special envoy and a number of prosecutors and judges who were in charge of this matter will go to the United States and brief the American authorities in person.

By contrast, Erdogan went out of his way to thank his “friend Putin” and Russia for their support during the coup. What is more than a little strange about this however is that Erdogan does not really explain what that support was. Instead, he constantly refers to a telephone call he had from Putin the day after the coup, which he says gave Turkey “psychological support”. By that point, however, the coup had visibly failed, making it difficult to see why Erdogan should attach so much importance to this call.

The true reason for Erdogan’s gratitude to Putin and Russia is probably touched on in his comments to TASS about the reports of a Russian tip-off to Turkish intelligence warning of the coup:

This is the first time that I have heard such a thing. Even if it had really been so, those concerned would have been obliged to inform me first thing. I received no such information, not from intelligence, nor through any other channels. We don’t know who said what and to whom. I believe that this is a groundless rumour.

As I have said before, the Russians will never confirm that there was a tip-off, even if there was one, and for that reason neither will the Turks. Note, however, that Erdogan’s comments about the tip-off to TASS are very far from a denial. Instead, we are asked to believe that Erdogan of all people “doesn’t know who said what to whom” and that “this is the first time that I have heard of such a thing” despite the story being all over the Middle East media for weeks. As I have discussed previously, this looks very much like an agreed position reached by the Russians and the Turks not to deny the tip-off but to pretend to no knowledge of it. That makes it a virtual certainty the report of the tip-off is true.

Turk Stream and South Stream gas pipelines, nuclear cooperation, etc

As I discussed previously, these proved the least contentious issues, allowing for rapid progress. There is also talk of the Russians granting the Turks visa free access or at least simplified visa access to Russia.

Two points can be made briefly. Firstly, it is clear that it is the Turks rather than the Russians who are the main drivers behind both Turk Stream and the nuclear power agreement. Putin confirmed that the Turks continued to do preparatory work on Turk Stream even during the crisis in relations following the SU24 shoot-down in November. Secondly, it is clear that contrary to some reports, the Russians are not prepared to revive South Stream and that their opposition to the EU’s Third Energy Package remains as strong as ever. On the contrary, Putin made it clear that the Russians will not participate in any pipeline project that could be construed as their agreeing to the EU’s Third Energy Package. Moreover, Putin made it quite clear that he sees the U.S. (whom he referred to as “a third party”) as being behind the Third Energy Package and all the problems that exist in relation to Russia’s EU pipeline projects:

We have never politicised economic cooperation. In proposing the South Stream project initially, we assumed that our gas would go directly to EU consumers in southern Europe. However, at first the European Parliament made a decision that prevented the implementation of this project and then the European Commission sent a letter to the Bulgarian Government demanding that preparations for it stop, and ultimately we did not receive the permission of the Bulgarian authorities to enter Bulgarian territory.

Yes, now we see that Bulgaria would like to resume this project, but we incurred some losses due to the refusal of our European partners to carry out this project. So now we will not settle for just intentions and need absolutely rock solid legal guarantees. They have not been forthcoming. Initially, we regarded the Turkish Stream not even as an alternative to the South Stream but as an opportunity to expand our gas cooperation both with Turkey and Europe as a whole. One part of the Turkish Stream was designed exclusively for Turkey’s domestic consumers, given the growing economy of the Republic of Turkey. This is how we discussed the issue today. This part is beyond any doubt and its implementation may be launched very soon.

The second part related to routing our energy to Europe depends, of course, on a third party [emphasis added]. We should work out these issues with European countries and the European Commission in Brussels. Together with our Turkish partners and friends, we are prepared to work toward this, but again we need to have an agreement with all the participants.

Conclusion

In summary, the Putin – Erdogan summit went much as predicted. There is now a strong rapprochement underway between the two countries. This goes well beyond a mere detente, which is a relaxation of tensions. On the contrary, the leaders of the two countries now publicly call each other “friends”. It is not, however, a reversal of alliances. Turkey remains a member of NATO and an ally of the U.S.

In my opinion, this actually suits the Russians much better, at least for the moment. They surely know that an outright attempt to detach Turkey from NATO is for the moment impossible and might actually cause Turkey to become destabilised, which is absolutely not in their interests. However, at a time of heightened East-West tensions, they now have the leader of a key NATO state with NATO’s second biggest army calling their leader a “friend”. Sometimes it is more useful to have a friend in the enemy’s camp than a doubtful and unstable ally in one’s own. That is the situation which through a combination of skill and good luck the Russians have now manoeuvred themselves into.

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Rockefeller, Ford Foundations Behind World Social Forum (WSF)

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Rockefeller, Ford Foundations Behind World Social Forum (WSF). The Corporate Funding of Social Activism
By Michel Chossudovsky 

This year the World Social Forum is being held in Montreal, regrouping committed social activists, anti-war collectives and  prominent intellectuals.

Most of the participants are unaware that the WSF is funded by corporate foundations including Ford, Rockefeller, Tides, et al.  Much of this funding is channelled to the WSF organizers under the helm of the WSF International Council.

This is an issue which has been raised on numerous occasions with progressive organizations and WSF activists: you cannot effectively confront neoliberalism and the New World Order elites  and expect them to finance your activities.

The World Social Forum operating under the banner of  “Another World is Possible” was founded in 2001 at its inaugural venue of Porto Alegre. Brazil.

From the outset in 2001, the WSF has been upheld as an international umbrella representing grassroots people’s organizations, committed to reversing the tide of globalization. Its stated intent is to challenge corporate capitalism and its dominant neoliberal economic agenda.

The World Social Forum at its inaugural meeting defined itself as a counter-offensive to the World Economic Forum (WEF) of business leaders and politicians which meets annually in Davos, Switzerland. The 2001 Porto Alegre WSF was held simultaneously with that of the WEF in Davos.

While  there have been many important accomplishments of the WSF, largely as a result of the commitment of grassroots activists, the core leadership of WSF  –rather than effectively confronting the New World Order elites– has  (often unwittingly) have served their corporate interests. In this process, co-optation has been achieved through the corporate funding of the WSF.

Among the two major accomplishments are the participation of the WSF in the February 2003 Worldwide protest against the US led war on Iraq. The WSF has also supported progressive movements and governments, particularly in Latin America.

In contrast, at the Tunis 2013 WSF, the final declaration paid lip service to to the US sponsored “Syrian opposition”.  Similarly the Al Qaeda affiliated Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which allegedly led the “Arab Spring” against the government of Muammar Gaddafi was tacitly upheld as a revolutionary force. Several workshops on  Libya applauded Western military intervention. A session entitled “Libya’s transition to democracy” focused on “whether Libya was better off without Muammar Gaddafi.”

Funding dissent

From the outset in 2001, the World Social Forum was funded by governments and corporate foundations, including the Ford Foundation which has ties to US intelligence.

The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Ford, Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Wall Street and Big Oil), etc. with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities.

The mechanisms of “manufacturing dissent” require a manipulative environment, a process of arm-twisting and subtle co-optation of  a small number of key individuals within “progressive organizations”, including anti-war coalitions, environmentalists and the anti-globalization movement. Many leaders of these organizations have in a sense betrayed their grassroots.

The corporations are funding dissent with a view to controlling dissent.

The Ford Foundation (which has links to the CIA) provided funding under its “Strengthening Global Civil Society” program during the first three years of the WSF.

When the WSF was held in Mumbai in 2004, the Indian WSF host committee declined support from the Ford Foundation. This in itself did not modify the WSF’s relationship to the donors. While the Ford Foundation formally withdrew, other foundations positioned themselves.

The WSF (among several sources of funding is supported by a consortium of corporate foundations under the advisory umbrella ofEngaged Donors for Global Equity (EDGE). 

This organization, which previously went under the name of The Funders Network on Trade and Globalization (FTNG), has played a central role in the funding of successive WSF venues. From the outset in 2001, it had an observer status on the WSF International Council.  

In 2013, the Rockefeller Brothers representative Tom Kruse co-chaired EDGE’s program committee. At the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Kruse was responsible for “Global Governance” under the “Democratic Practice” program. Rockefeller Brothers grants to NGOs are approved under the “Strengthening Democracy in Global Governance” program, which is broadly similar to that put forth by the US State Department.

A representative of the Open Society Initiative for Europe currently sits on EDGE’s Board of directors. The Wallace Global Fund is also on its Board of Directors. The Wallace Global Fund is specialized in providing support to “mainstream” NGOs and “alternative media”, including Amnesty International, Democracy Now (which supports Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president of the US).

Several members of the EDGE BoD, however, are from non-corporative and family foundations with a social mandate. (see below).

In one of its key documents (2012), entitled Funders Network Alliance In Support of Grassroots Organizing and Movement-Building  (link no longer available) EDGE acknowledged its support of social movements which challenge “neoliberal market fundamentalism.” including the World Social Forum, established in 2001:

“From the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas (1994) to the Battle in Seattle (1999) to the creation of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (2001), the TINA years of Reagan and Thatcher (There Is No Alternative) have been replaced with the growing conviction that “another world is possible.” Counter-summits, global campaigns and social forums have been crucial spaces to articulate local struggles, share experiences and analyses, develop expertise, and build concrete forms of international solidarity among progressive movements for social, economic and ecological justice.”

But at the same time, there is an obvious contradiction: another world is not possible when the campaign against neoliberalism is financed by an alliance of corporate donors firmly committed to neoliberalism and the US-NATO military agenda.

The following is the EDGE Montreal WSF Communique. The donors not only fund the activities, they also influence the structure of the WSF venue, which was determined in Puerto Alegre in 2001, namely the decentralized and dispersed mosaic of “do it yourself” workshops.

With regard to the Montreal WSF, the Consortium of Donors (EDGE) intent is:

“… to develop an intersectional space for funders and various movement partners – organizers thought leaders and practitioners – to build alignment by cultivating a shared understanding of the visions, values, principles and pathways of a “just transition.”  (See http://edgefunders.org/wsf-activities/)

“Just Transition” implies that social activism has to conform to a “shared vision” with the corporate foundations, i.e. nothing which in a meaningful way might upset the elite structures of global capitalism.

From the standpoint of the corporate donors “investing in the WSF” constitutes a profitable (tax deductible) undertaking. It ensures that activism remains within the confines of  ”constructive dialogue” and “critique” rather than confrontation. Any deviation immediately results in the curtailment of donor funding:

“Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as “making the World safe for capitalism”, reducing social tensions by helping to comfort the afflicted, provide safety valves for the angry, and improve the functioning of government (McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (1961-1966), President of the Ford Foundation, (1966-1979))

The limits of social dissent are thereby determined by the “governance structure” of  the WSF, which was tacitly agreed upon with the funding agencies at the outset in 2001.

“No Leaders”

The WSF has no leaders. All the events are “self-organized”. The structure of debate and activism is part of an an “open space” (See  Francine Mestrum, The World Social Forum and its governance: a multi-headed monster, CADTM, 27 April 2013, http://cadtm.org/The-World-Social-Forum-and-its ).

This compartmentalized structure is an obstacle to the development of a meaningful and articulate mass movement.

How best to control grassroots dissent against global capitalism?

Make sure that their leaders can be easily co-opted and that the rank and file will not develop “forms of international solidarity among progressive movements” (to use EDGE’s own words), which in any meaningful way might undermine the interests of corporate capital.

The mosaic of separate WSF workshops, the relative absence of plenary sessions, the creation of divisions within and between social movements, not to mention the absence of a cohesive and unified platform against the Wall Street corporate elites, against the fake US sponsored “global war on terrorism”, which has been used to justify and US-NATO’s  ‘humanitarian’ R2P interventions (Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, etc).

The corporate agenda is to “manufacture dissent”.“The limits of dissent” are established by the foundations and governments which ultimately finance this multimillion dollar venue. The financing is twofold:

1. Core financing of the WSF Secretariat and the Costs of the WSF venue.

2. Many of the constituent NGOs which participate in the venue are recipients of donor and/or government support.

3. The WSF venue in Montreal also receives funding from the Government of Canada as well as from the Quebec provincial government.

What ultimately prevails is a ritual of dissent which does not threaten the New World Order. Those who attend the WSF from the grassroots are often misled by their leaders. Activists who do not share the WSF consensus will ultimately be excluded:

“By providing the funding and the policy framework to many concerned and dedicated people working within the non-profit sector, the ruling class is able to co-opt leadership from grassroots communities, … and is able to make the funding, accounting, and evaluation components of the work so time consuming and onerous that social justice work is virtually impossible under these conditions” (Paul Kivel, You Call this Democracy, Who Benefits, Who Pays and Who Really Decides, 2004, p. 122 )

“Another World is Possible” is nonetheless an important concept, which characterizes the struggle of the peoples movements against global capitalism as well as the commitment of thousands of committed activists who are currently participated in the Montreal 2016 WSF.

Activism is being manipulated:  ”Another World is Possible”  cannot, however, be achieved under the auspices of the WSF which from the outset was funded by global capitalism and organized in close liaison with its corporate and government donors.

The important question for activists in Montreal:

Is it possible to build “an Alternative” to global capitalism, which challenges the hegemony of the Rockefellers et al and then asks the Rockefellers et al to foot the bill?  

We call upon participants of the Montreal World Social Forum (WSF) to raise and debate these issues: the campaign against neoliberalism is financed by corporate foundations (and governments) which are firmly committed not only to the tenets of neoliberalism but also to the US-NATO led military agenda.

Why would they fund organizations which are actively campaigning against war and globalization? The answer is obvious. …

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The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending

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The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending, and No DOD Audit for the Past Two Decades
Image result for CIA CARTOON
By Dave Lindorff 

What if the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services were to report that $6.5 billion in spending by that federal agency was unaccounted for and untraceable? You can imagine the headlines, right? What if it was $65 billion? The headlines would be as big as for the first moon landing or for troops landing on Omaha Beach in World War II.

But how about a report by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General saying that the US Army had $6.5 trillion in unaccountable expenditures for which there is simply no paper trail? That is 6,500 billion dollars! Have you heard about that? Probably not. That damning report was issued back on July 26 — two whole weeks ago — but as of today it has not even been reported anywhere in the corporate media.

It’s not that it’s secret information, or hard to come by. The report is available online at the Department of Defense’s OIG website. And as it states:

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller) (OASA[FM&C]) and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Indianapolis (DFAS Indianapolis) did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in third quarter journal voucher (JV) adjustments and $6.5 trillion in yearend JV adjustments made to AGF data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation.2 The unsupported JV adjustments occurred because OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis did not prioritize correcting the system deficiencies that caused errors resulting in JV adjustments, and did not provide sufficient guidance for supporting system‑generated adjustments.

In addition, DFAS Indianapolis did not document or support why the Defense Departmental Reporting System‑Budgetary (DDRS-B), a budgetary reporting system, removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million records during third quarter FY 2015. This occurred because DFAS Indianapolis did not have detailed documentation describing the DDRS-B import process or have accurate or complete system reports.

As a result, the data used to prepare the FY 2015 AGF third quarter and yearend financial statements were unreliable and lacked an adequate audit trail. Furthermore, DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.

This dense bureaucrateze doesn’t mean that $6.5 trillion has been stolen, or that this is money in addition to the $600 billion that the Pentagon spent in fiscal 2015. It means that for years — and $6.5 trillion represents at about 15 years’ worth of US military spending — the Department of Defense (sic) has not been tracking or recording or auditing all of the taxpayer money allocated by Congress — what it was spent on, how well it was spent, or where the money actually ended up. There are enough opportunities here for corruption, bribery, secret funding of “black ops” and illegal activities, and of course for simple waste to march a very large army, navy and air force through. And by the way, things aren’t any better at the Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Incredibly, no mainstream reporter or editor in the US has seen this as a story worth reporting to the American public.

Just to give a sense of the scale of this outrage, consider that total federal discretionary spending in FY 2015 was just over $1.1 trillion. That includes everything from education ($70 billion), housing and community development ($63 billion), Medicare and health ($66 billion), veterans’ benefits ($65 billion), energy ($39 billion), transportation ($26 billion) and international affairs ($41 billion), and of course that $600 billion for the military.

All the other agencies that are responsible for those other outlays, like the Dept. of Education, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, etc., have been required by Congress since 1996 to file reports on annual audits of their budgets. The Pentagon was subject to that same act of Congress too, but for 20 years and running it has failed to do so. It has simply stonewalled, and so far has gotten away with it.

Nobody in Congress seems to care about this contempt of Congress. Neither of the two mainstream political candidates for president, Republican Donald Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton, seems to care either. Neither one has mentioned this epic scandal.

According to the OIG’s report, this problem actually goes back a generation, to 1991, five years before Congress even passed the law requiring all federal agencies to operate using federal accounting standards and to conduct annual audits, when the Government Accountability Office found “unsupported adjustments” were being made to the military’s financial statements during an audit of FY 1991 Army financial statements. Fully 17 years later, the Army, in its FY 2008 statement of Assurance on Internal Controls, said that the “weakness” found in 1991 “would be corrected by the end of FY 2011,” an outrageous decade later. But the OIG report goes on to say:

However, the FY 2015 Statement of Assurance on Internal Controls indicated this material weakness remained uncorrected and may not be corrected until third quarter 2017.

Such a lackadaisical attitude on the part of the Pentagon, Congress and the media towards such a massive accounting failure involving trillions of dollars is simply mind-boggling, and yet there is nobody in Congress jumping up and down in the well of the House or or at Armed Services Committee hearings demanding answers and heads. No president or presidential candidate is denouncing this atrocity.

Aside from the political question of how much the US should actually be spending on the military — and clearly, spending almost as much as the rest of the world combined on war and war preparedness is not justifiable — how can anyone, of any political persuasion, accept the idea of spending such staggering sums of money without insisting on any accountability?

Consider that politicians of both major political parties are demanding accountability for every penny spent on welfare, including demanding that recipients of welfare prove that they are trying to find work. Ditto for people receiving unemployment compensation. Consider the amount of money and time spent on testing students in public schools in a vain effort to make teachers accountable for student “performance.” And yet the military doesn’t have to account for any of its trillions of dollars of spending on manpower and weapons — even though Congress fully a generation ago passed a law requiring such accountability.

Phone and email requests to the DOD press office for the Office of Inspector General asking for comment went unanswered.

Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), says, “Accounting at the Department of Defense is a disaster, but nobody is screaming about it because you have a lot of people in Congress who believe in more military spending, so they don’t really challenge military spending.” She adds, “You won’t see anything change unless Congress cuts the Pentagon budget in order to get results, and they’re not going to do that.”

She might have added that the reporters and editors and publishers of the corporate media also support military spending, so the media are not reporting on this scandal either, meaning that the public remains in the dark and unconcerned about it. Sure, the media will report on a $600 air force toilet seat and the public will be appropriately outraged, but there is no word about an untraceable $6.5 trillion in Army spending and no public outrage… except perhaps among those who read alternative publications like this one.

Enough! I don’t want to hear another complaint about government spending on welfare, education, environment, health care subsidies, immigrant benefits or whatever, until the Pentagon has to report on, account for and audit every dollar that it is spending on war.

No more free ride for the military.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending

Washington considers sanctioning Moscow over DNC email leak 

NOVANEWS
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RT 

US officials are considering new economic sanctions against Russia over the DNC email leak released by WikiLeaks, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Officials have not so far, however, reached common ground on how exactly to impose sanctions, the WSJ reports.

Adopting more anti-Russian economic sanctions would mean delivering public accusations against Moscow or exposing links of the alleged hackers to Russia.

The White House has so far not commented, although the FBI and intelligence agencies investigating the cyberattack have “signaled” that the attack was “almost certainly” carried out by “Russian-affiliated hackers,” according to the WSJ.

The breach of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, already compared to the Watergate scandal, is far from reaching its peak, as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has dropped a broad hint he has much more material to potentially publish.

Speaking in Washington DC on Thursday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she does not know exactly how the notorious DNC leak was possible, but that there could be no mistake about its initiator.

“I know for sure it is the Russians,” Pelosi told reporters, adding “we are assessing the damage.”

“This is an electronic Watergate… The Russians broke in. Who did they give the information to? I don’t know. Who dumped it? I don’t know,” she said, as quoted by the WSJ.

The Democrats are now urging the Obama administration to take decisive action.

“When the administration believes it has sufficient evidence of attribution, it will make that attribution public as well as consider any other steps necessary,” said Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

During President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, relations between Moscow and Washington have dropped to lows similar to those seen in the years of the Cold War.

Washington has already imposed a wide range of sanctions against Russian politicians and state companies following the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and accuses Moscow of being involved in the civil war in Ukraine.

Moscow has consistently denied allegations about its possible role in the hacking of US Democratic Party emails published by WikiLeaks.

“We are again seeing these maniacal attempts to exploit the Russian theme in the US election campaign,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Last year, President Obama signed an executive order that facilitates imposing sanctions against any country endangering US national security through cyberattacks.

“Our tools now include an executive order authorizing sanctions against those that engage in significant malicious cyber activities, such as harming our nation’s critical infrastructure – our transportation systems or power grid,” White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco said last month.

“Nations like Russia and China are growing more assertive and sophisticated in their cyber operations,” the US counterterrorism adviser claimed, before mentioning cyber threats from “non-state actors,” including Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

There is the view in the US that the DNC breach is a tit-for-tat payback operation.

“They believe we are trying to influence political developments in Russia, trying to effect change, and so their natural response is to retaliate and do unto us as they think we’ve done unto them,” the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said last month, without making specific statements about the alleged Russian role in the DNC breach.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seems to have no doubts whatsoever about the Russian involvement in the leaks.

“Russian intelligence services, which are part of the Russian government, which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released…,” Clinton told Fox News earlier this week.

Read more:

Kremlin: Idea of Russia’s involvement in US Democratic Party mail hack is ‘absurd’

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Washington considers sanctioning Moscow over DNC email leak 

Taliban at the gates of ‘Little America’

NOVANEWS
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By M K Bhadrakumar 

With the battle for Aleppo raging in Syria, another crucial battle in the east of the Greater Middle East, in Afghanistan, is being joined, the outcome of which is going to be no less fateful. The Associated Press flashed the news today that the key southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, has been “completely surrounded” by the Taliban and the government forces are regrouping for a last-ditch defence.

The head of the Helmand provincial council estimates that the Taliban may capture Lashkar Gah within days. (UPI )

The development comes as a huge embarrassment for the Barack Obama administration. The entire mythology built around the famous “surge” ordered by President Obama in 2010 and the massive campaign in the Hindu Kush led by the general with the Roman nose, David Petraeus, with over 100,000 American troops under his command, is unravelling.

The “surge” was mostly concentrated on Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Rajiv Chandrasekharan of the Washington Post who covered the war in Helmand and Kandahar wrote a beautiful book on it, Little America, which is a brilliant recount of the political foibles and ambitious goals set by feckless Americans and about the Hobbesian world in which the “surge” slithered its way like a serpent through the great poppy fields, across irrigation canals and culverts and beyond the mud walls into the orchards of pomegranates, grapes and sweet melons into the seamless desert plateau with rocky outcrops — creating Potemkin progress but in reality letting loose a tidal wave of corruption and venality and mindless horrific violence and destruction. (Guardian )

The big question today for Obama, therefore, is: Just what was the point? Yet, he’s decided to abandon his 2008 election pledge and bow to the military commanders’ wish once again to keep troop levels at a threshold that would give the option for his successor in the White House to order a second “surge”, which is, in fact, what Gen. Petraeus has demanded in a recent opinion piece. (Wall Street Journal )

Without doubt, the capture of Helmand province will be a turning point in the Afghan war. Several factors come into play. First and foremost, the Taliban will have made a big point underscoring their capability – how quick they have been able to take advantage of the withdrawal of the thousands of British and American soldiers as recently as in 2014. The message will resonate all across the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan.

In “operational” terms, Taliban have made a slow, steady pincer movement lasting months, closing in from the north and south toward Lashkar Gah, exposing the poor leadership of the Afghan army and police. On their part, Taliban demonstrated tenacity, organizational skill and access to resources.

Helmand is the biggest single centre of opium production in Afghanistan. Taliban are set to get a sizeable share of the drug business, which has always been a major source of funding for the insurgency. Beyond its opium economy, Helmand is strategically located – bordering Pakistan’s Baluchistan province and close to the Iranian border, which provide good exit routes to escape in an emergency – or, alternatively, to bring in reinforcements – as well as supply lines to other regions of Afghanistan.

Suffice it to say, Helmand has the potential to become Taliban’s core territory where the ‘Quetta Shura’ could be ‘headquartered’, which could become a ‘provisional government’ on Afghan soil at some point.

The Afghan army faces an uphill task to retrieve control of Helmand, which is dominated by the Ishaqzai tribe. The Ishqzais have been virulently ‘anti-American’ all along. Besides, the Taliban can also cash in now on their sympathy, since Mullah Akhtar Mansour whom the Americans killed in a drone strike in April also happened to be an Ishaqzai. There is a blood feud the Ishaqzais have to settle with Obama.

Helmand is Afghanistan’s largest province; it is twice the size of Belgium and 16 times bigger than Panjshir. It is a fertile region with a developed irrigation system. The famous marble mines of Khanashin become another source of financing for the Taliban. Helmand is on the highway connecting the western regions (Herat, Farah, Nimroz, etc.) with the southern provinces (Kandahar, Ghazni, Khost, etc.) and with Kabul. If the Taliban gain control of Helmand province, they can dominate vital communication links.

However, the full gravity of the emergent politico-military situation in Afghanistan will not sink in unless the crisis of legitimacy facing the so-called National Unity Government in Kabul is also understood. The point is, the NUG has no mandate to rule beyond September unless a Loya Jirga is convened. No one other than former president Hamid Karzai has pointed this out.

Now, about half the members of a legally-constituted Loya Jirga would be the chairs of district council. But elections to the district councils cannot be held in the prevailing security situation with the government steadily conceding territory to the Taliban. The alternative will be to convene a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga comprising tribal elders chosen at random. But then, who holds the authority to convene a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga that could in turn constitute an interim government?

Meanwhile, tension is also growing within the NUG between the factions led by the president and the chief executive officer. Over and above hangs the dangerous question, which no one wants to think about, as to how long will the army remain intact regardless of political crises.

All in all, the fall of Helmand to the Taliban can only deepen the crisis of legitimacy haunting the Afghan government. Read a recent report by the veteran Afghan hand Barnett Rubin – THE U.S. PRESENCE AND AFGHANISTAN’S NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT: PRESERVING AND BROADENING THE POLITICAL SETTLEMENT

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on Taliban at the gates of ‘Little America’

How Media Distorted Syrian Ceasefire’s Breakdown

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By Gareth Porter 

Coverage of the breakdown of the partial ceasefire in Syria illustrated the main way corporate news media distort public understanding of a major foreign policy story. The problem is not that the key events in the story are entirely unreported, but that they were downplayed and quickly forgotten in the media’s embrace of themes with which they were more comfortable.

In this case, the one key event was the major offensive launched in early April by Al Nusra Front — the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria — alongside U.S.-backed armed opposition groups. This offensive was mentioned in at least two “quality” U.S. newspapers. Their readers, however, would not have read that it was that offensive that broke the back of the partial ceasefire.

On the contrary, they would have gotten the clear impression from following the major newspapers’ coverage that systematic violations by the Assad government doomed the ceasefire from the beginning.

Corporate media heralded the ceasefire agreement when it was negotiated by the United States and Russia in February, with the Los Angeles Times (2/3/16) calling it “the most determined diplomatic push to date aimed at ending the nation’s almost five-year conflict.” The “partial cessation of hostilities” was to apply between the Syrian regime and the non-jihadist forces, but not to the regime’s war with Nusra and with ISIS.

The clear implication was that the U.S.-supported non-jihadist opposition forces would have to separate themselves from Nusra, or else they would be legitimate targets for airstrikes.

But the relationship between the CIA-backed armed opposition to Assad and the jihadist Nusra Front was an issue that major U.S. newspapers had already found very difficult to cover (FAIR.org3/21/16).

U.S. Syria policy has been dependent on the military potential of the Nusra Front (and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham) for leverage on the Syrian regime, since the “moderate” opposition was unable to operate in northwest Syria without jihadist support. This central element in U.S. Syria policy, which both the government and the media were unwilling to acknowledge, was a central obstacle to accurate coverage of what happened to the Syrian ceasefire.

Shaping the Story

This problem began shaping the story as soon as the ceasefire agreement was announced. On Feb. 23, New York Times correspondent Neil MacFarquhar wrote a news analysis on the wider tensions between the Obama administration and Russia that pointed to “a gaping loophole” in the Syria ceasefire agreement: the fact that “it permits attacks against the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate, to continue.”

MacFarquhar asserted that exempting Nusra from the ceasefire “could work in Moscow’s favor, since many of the anti-Assad groups aligned with the United States fight alongside the Nusra Front.” That meant that Russia could “continue to strike United States-backed rebel groups without fear … of Washington’s doing anything to stop them,” he wrote.

On the same day, Adam Entous of the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama’s “top military and intelligence advisers don’t believe Russia will abide by a just-announced ceasefire in Syria and want to ready plans to increase pressure on Moscow by expanding covert support to rebels fighting the Russia-backed Assad regime.”

For two of the country’s most prominent newspapers, it was thus clear that the primary context of the Syria ceasefire was not its impact on Syria’s population, but how it affected the rivalry between powerful national security officials and Russia.

Contrary to those dark suspicions of Russian intentions to take advantage of the agreement to hit U.S.-supported Syrian opposition groups, however, as soon as the partial ceasefire agreement took effect on Feb. 27, Russia released a map that designated “green zones” where its air forces would not strike.

The green zones, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, corresponded with Syrian opposition groups that had signed on to the ceasefire. Furthermore, Russia stopped bombing the Nusra-controlled areas of northwest Syria, instead focusing on ISIS targets, as Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis confirmed on March 14.

Breaking the Ceasefire

But instead of separating themselves from Nusra Front, the U.S.-supported armed opposition joined with Nusra and its jihadist allies in a major offensive aimed at destroying the ceasefire.

Charles Lister, a leading British specialist on the jihadists in Syria, has recounted being told by the commander of a U.S.-backed armed group that around March 20, Nusra officials began a round of meetings with non-jihadist opposition groups from Hama, Latakia and southern Aleppo — including those supported by the United States — to persuade them to participate in a major offensive against the Assad regime, rather than in a ceasefire and political negotiations.

News media did not ignore the offensive launched on April 3 by Nusra Front and its “moderate” allies. The Los Angeles Times (4/4/16) described a “punishing attack” by Nusra and several “so-called moderate rebel factions” on the town of Al Eis, southwest of Aleppo, “overlooking the M5 highway, a vital artery connecting the Syrian capital, Damascus, in the southwest of the country, with the government-held city of Homs, in west-central Syria, and Aleppo in the north.”

Associated Press (4/3/16) reported that Nusra Front’s closest ally, Ahrar al Sham, together with U.S.-supported factions had simultaneously “seized government positions in heavy fighting in northwestern Latakia province.” The story quoted Zakariya Qaytaz of the U.S.-supported Division 13 brigade as telling the agency through Twitter: “The truce is considered over. This battle is a notice to the regime.”

The Nusra-led offensive was a decisive violation of the ceasefire, which effectively frustrated the intention of isolating the jihadists. It led to continued high levels of fighting in the three areas where it had taken place, and Russian planes returned to Nusra Front-controlled territory for the first time in nearly six weeks. Yet after the first reports on the offensive, its very existence vanished from media coverage of Syria.

Disappearing Key Facts

No U.S. newspaper followed up over the next two weeks to analyze its significance in terms of U.S. policy, especially in light of the role of “legitimate” armed opposition groups in trashing the ceasefire.

Wall Street Journal correspondent Sam Dagher (4/4/16)  suggested in his initial report on the offensive that it was a response to a Syrian air force airstrike in an opposition-controlled suburb of Damascus two days earlier, which activists said killed 30 civilians. But the offensive was so complex and well-organized that it had obviously been prepared well in advance of that strike.

None of the other papers sought to portray the offensive as the result of a pattern of increasing military pressure on the Nusra Front or its allies. In fact, after the initial reports, all four major newspapers — the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post — simply ignored the fact that the offensive had been carried out.

On April 19, three separate articles presented three variants of what became the broad media approach to explaining the fate of the ceasefire agreement. The Journal’s Nour Malas and Sam Dagher wrote: “A limited truce in Syria, brokered by the US and Russia in late February, has unraveled in recent weeks, with government forces escalating attacks on several fronts and rebels relaunching operations around the northern city of Aleppo.”

That formulation clearly suggested that either the regime had moved first, or that government and rebels had somehow both taken the offensive at the same moment; the former interpretation was encouraged by the headline, “Syrian Government Steps Up Airstrikes.”

On the same day, New York Times Beirut correspondent Anne Barnard wrote a piece focused mainly on regime airstrikes in two Idlib towns, Maarat al Numan and Kafr Nable, that had killed many as 40 civilians.

Barnard’s piece was headlined, “Ceasefire Crumbles as Bombings Kill Dozens” — suggesting that the airstrikes had somehow led to the “crumbling.” Barnard did refer to an otherwise unidentified “insurgent offensive” that preceded the strikes, but did not draw any causal relationship between it and the bombing.

The article cited the opposition claim that the government had repeatedly violated the partial ceasefire, but didn’t cite a single concrete instance of such a violation. And it appears to contradict that argument by observing that the Idlib airstrikes had ended “the relative respite from airstrikes that had lasted nearly two months” – i.e., from the time the ceasefire had gone into effect.

Yet a third article to appear that day, published by Reuters, explicitly asserted that the regime airstrike on a crowded market by Syrian planes to which Barnard referred was the cause of the failure of the partial ceasefire.

“Syrian peace talks appeared all but doomed on Tuesday,” it said, “after airstrikes killed about 40 people in a crowded vegetable market in rebel territory, with the opposition saying a truce was finished and it would keep out of negotiations indefinitely.”

Wrapping Up the Distortions

Finally, on April 27, Karen DeYoung, associate editor of the Washington Post, wrote a news analysis piece looking back on what happened to the ceasefire. The piece never mentioned the major Nusra Front offensive in which U.S.-supported armed groups had played a key role, passing on instead the distorted explanation of the fate of the ceasefire offered by national security bureaucrats.

“Some Defense Department and intelligence officials,” she wrote, “think Russia and its Syrian government client are clearly violating the ceasefire and provoking the opposition into doing the same.”

Like the three April 19 articles, DeYoung focused entirely on military moves taken by the regime more than two weeks after the joint Nusra/opposition April offensive. She cited the Syrian government bombing of Kafr Nabl and Maarat al Numan the previous week, asserting that the towns were “heavily bombed by Assad after rebel forces threw out Nusra occupiers and civilians took to the streets in anti-Assad demonstrations.”

But that characterization of the situation in the two towns, clearly aimed to support the notion that they were free of Nusra control, was false. In fact, Kafr Nabl had formerly been the home of the U.S.-backed Division 13, but far from having been thrown out, Nusra Front had reasserted its direct control over the towns in mid-March, kicking Division 13 out of its base and seizing its U.S.-supplied weapons after a fight over the larger town Maarat al Numan.

DeYoung went so far as to embrace the CIA/Pentagon bureaucrats’ argument that the United States should not have agreed to allow any attacks on Nusra Front in the ceasefire agreement.

“The Nusra ceasefire exception had already left a hole big enough for the Syrian government and Russia to barrel through,” she wrote, “and they have not hesitated to do so in pursuit of regaining the initiative on the ground for Assad.”

The implication of the argument is that the United States should do nothing to interfere with Nusra’s capacity to strike at the Assad regime. Thus DeYoung quoted an analyst for the Institute for the Study of War, which favors a more belligerent U.S. policy in Syria, dismissing the military collaboration by U.S.-supported groups with Nusra Front as not really significant, because it is only “tactical,” and that Nusra merely offers to help those allies “retaliate” against regime attacks, rather than seeking a military solution to the conflict.

Such arguments are merely shallow rationalizations, however, for the preference of hardliners in Washington for pitting Al Qaeda’s military power against Russia and its Syrian client, enhancing the power position of the U.S. national security state in Syria.

A Simplistic Summary

As more time passes, the media version of why the partial ceasefire failed has become even more simplistic and distorted. On July 12, DeYoung revisited the issue in the context of the Obama administration’s negotiations with Russia on military cooperation against Nusra Front. This time she portrayed the ceasefire quite starkly as the victim of Syrian and Russian bombing:

“Despite a ceasefire ostensibly in effect since February, Syrian planes have kept up a steady bombardment of both civilian and opposition sites — where they have argued that Al Nusra forces, exempt from the truce, are mixed with rebel groups covered by the accord. After observing the early weeks of the ceasefire, Russian planes joined the Syrian forces, including in an offensive last weekend that took over the only remaining supply route for both rebels and civilians hunkered down in the northern city of Aleppo.”

Playing the role of ultimate media arbiter of how the attentive public is to understand the pivotal issue of why the ceasefire failed, DeYoung has deleted from memory the essential facts. In her narrative, there was no Nusra Front plan to destroy the ceasefire, and no April Nusra offensive to seize strategic territory south of Aleppo with the full participation of U.S.-supported opposition groups.

The lesson of the Syrian ceasefire episode is clear: The most influential news media have virtually complete freedom to shape the narrative surrounding a given issue simply by erasing inconvenient facts from the story line. They can do that even when the events or facts have been reported by one or more of those very news media.

In the world of personal access and power inhabited by those who determine what will be published and what won’t, even the most obviously central facts are disposable in the service of a narrative that maintains necessary relationships.

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Thousands of Saudi-Backed Terrorists Ready to Enter Syria via Border with Jordan

NOVANEWS
‘ZIONIST DOG OF JORDAN’ www.shoah.org.uk 
FARS News Agency 

Saudi intelligence officers have been training at least 7,000 anti-Syria fighters in Jordan’s territories and plan to dispatch them to the war-hit country via its Southern borders to distract the army from the war in Aleppo, Arab media disclosed.

“Over 7,000 men have been trained in a Saudi-established military camp in Jordan near the border with Syria’s Dara’a province, and now they are ready to be dispatched to join other terrorists’ battle against the Syrian government and army,” the Lebanese al-Manar reported.

“There are several British and western military trainers and advisors in the Saudi-established camp. The western officers are to accompany the fighters in their war against the Syrian government,” the paper said.

Jordan hosts a large refugee camp near the border with Syria.

Other sources also disclosed that the US officers have been involved in the training of terrorists in Jordan to fight against Syrian government.

War analysts believe that the move is aimed at diversion to distract the army and its allies from the war in Aleppo in the North where pro-government troops have started a massive offensive to take back the country’s second largest city from the terrorists.

Meanwhile, earlier today, armed opposition groups in Southern Syria declared that thousands of militants are ready to reconcile with the Damascus government.

A provincial council affiliated to the militant groups in a statement admitted that 25,000 militants are looking for reconciliation with the Syrian government forces in Southern Syria, al-Mayadeen TV channel reported on Saturday.

The statement by the ‘Council for Men of Knowledge in the Levant’ has accused the terrorist commanders of being willing to compromise with the Syrian army of treason. It has given the militant commanders in Southern Syria three days to withdraw from al-Mouk Operations Room (which operates under the Saudi, Qatari, the US and Jordanian spy agencies), the television added.

The Al-Mouk Operations Room has been accused of corruption, similar reports in a number of other Arab media have cited the financial corruption of the Operations Room members as a main cause of the militants complaint and their decision to surrender to the Syrian army.

Early in August, around 1,000 rebels laid down their arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian officials in the province of Dara’a amid the terrorist groups’ threats against those who surrender to the government.

In February, the Syrian Army dispatched more soldiers to the country’s Southern provinces to be deployed at the border with Jordan to defend the country against the possible aggression of the Saudi Army.

“A large convoy of reinforcements from the Syrian capital of Damascus arrived to the 5th Armored Division headquarters of the Syrian army in the town of Izra in the Northern part of Dara’a province and the Eastern part of Sheikh Meskeen,” the sources said.

“The Saudi Army has been conducting a number of military drills in the Kingdom of Jordan in recent weeks, raising the alert level of a possible war in the Dara’a province,” the sources said, adding, “So far, nothing has come of these Saudi military drills and it is very unlikely that they will attempt to enter Syria.”

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Lawsuit Claims Aid to Nuclear I$raHell Illegal Under Symington Glenn Amendments

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Corporate Crime Reporter 

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. claims that United States aid to Israel is illegal under a law passed in the 1970s that prohibits aid to nuclear powers that don’t sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The lawsuit was filed by Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP).

The lawsuit comes as the Obama administration is pushing to finalize a ten-year memorandum of understanding which will reportedly boost aid to Israel to $4 billion per year.

Such aid violates longstanding bans on foreign aid to non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) with nuclear weapons programs, the lawsuit alleges.

Since the bans went into effect, U.S. foreign aid to Israel is estimated to be $234 billion.

Smith says that during investigations into the illegal diversion of weapons-grade uranium from U.S. contractor NUMEC to Israel in the mid-1970s, Senators Stuart Symington and John Glenn amended the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act to ban any aid to clandestine nuclear powers that were not NPT signatories.

Symington said at the time that “if you wish to take the dangerous and costly steps necessary to achieve a nuclear weapons option, you cannot expect the United States to help underwrite that effort indirectly or directly.”

Smith says that both the Symington and Glenn amendments have since been watered down and now apply only to nuclear transfers after 1985.

Smith says that the Obama administration follows precedents established since the Ford administration by ignoring internal agency and public domain information that should trigger Symington and Glenn cutoffs and waiver provisions governing foreign aid.

In 2012 the Department of Energy under U.S. State Department authority passed a secret gag law called Guidance on Release of Information relating to the Potential for an Israeli Nuclear Capability.”

Smith says that measure promotes a “nuclear ambiguity” policy toward Israel.

The primary purpose of the gag law is to unlawfully subvert Symington and Glenn arms export controls, the lawsuit alleges.

In 2008, former President Jimmy Carter told reporters that Israel has “more than 150 nuclear weapons.”

In reporting President Carter’s remarks, the BBC also reported that “most experts estimate that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1990s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country’s Dimona nuclear reactor.”

Smith says that the administration has three legal avenues to deal with a nuclear Israel under the Symington and Glenn amendments – either cut off foreign assistance, change the Symington and Glenn amendments to exempt Israel, or just grant a waiver.

Such Symington and Glenn waivers have already been granted to two other countries in a similar position – Pakistan and India, Smith said.

“But if you are Israel, and you don’t want an arms race in the Middle East, then you pretend it’s unknown that you have the weapons,” Smith said.

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Crimea and Ukraine: Luke Harding goes off his meds

NOVANEWS
By Kit 

Modern mass-media is replete with instances of cognitive dissonance. However none can so perfectly encapsulate the madness of the pretend world so many “journalists” now live in better, than these two offerings from the always entertaining Luke Harding.

It has been reported that Russia has beefed up security on the Ukraine-Crimea border, in response to an apparent attack by SBU agents that resulted in the deaths of 2 Russian servicemen, there are also fears Kiev may try to disrupt the September 18th parliamentary elections.

Luke’s reaction to this, on twitter, was as balanced and reasonable as anybody who reads his articles would expect (at least, the ones he hasn’t stolen from other people)

Photo published for Putin raises stakes over alleged Ukrainian terror plot in Crimea
Putin raises stakes over alleged Ukrainian terror plot in Crimea

Russian president says Moscow will not ignore incidents in which two soldiers were killed, but which Kiev denies took place.

Yes, he declares the Ukrainian attacks are “classic fakery”, when asked he would not provide evidence for this assertion. But then evidence isn’t really Luke’s thing.

The strange thing is that, in his other writings, such as this column for the Guardian, he writes:

Last November Ukrainian activists blew up energy pipelines to Crimea, plunging homes into darkness. People ate dinner by candlelight, factories shut down and for the first few days even traffic lights stopped working. The peninsula’s water supply is also vulnerable.

So which is it Luke? Do Ukrainians target Crimea or not? How can you state that the most recent Ukrainian attacks on Crimea are “classic fakery”, whilst at the same time volunteering that Ukraine has been actively trying to terrorise the population of the peninsula for over two years?

How can you confidently speculate about “another invasion” of Ukraine by the Russian army:

At this point there seem to be three possible scenarios. One is that Putin will try to leverage this latest crisis to persuade EU countries to drop the sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict. Another is that he is preparing a limited military incursion, possibly to set up a security corridor, which doubtless would include the electricity station in the nearby Ukrainian city of Kherson. A third is that he is planning something bigger.

…whilst simultaneously admitting that every single one of your previous speculations as to Russia’s plans in Ukraine had been totally wrong?

In spring 2014 there was speculation that he would seek to carve out a land corridor connecting separatist Donetsk and Luhansk with Crimea. That would involve over-running Ukrainian forces in the port city of Mariupol and advancing along the coast. The Kremlin also floated the idea of Novorossiya, a historical pseudo-entity encompassing Ukraine’s southern and south-eastern Russian-speaking regions…None of this happened

Not for a moment does the author’s fevered brain consider that, given every single one of his previous speculations “never happened”, maybe he should lay off the speculating this time. Not once do his previous humiliations cause him to adjust his world view. It is, to put it bluntly, insane.

It is staggering that, no matter the utter and complete failures of logic, no matter the number of totally incorrect rampant speculations they publish, the MSM will simply continue to push insane narratives about Russia, written by a man with only the flimsiest grasp on reality.

Oh well, that’s The Guardian for you. And especially Luke Harding, it’s why he’s our favourite

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Crimea and Ukraine: Luke Harding goes off his meds

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