Archive | January 4th, 2018

Father Daniel in Syria: “There Never Was a Popular Uprising in Syria”

NOVANEWS
Interview

 

This article first appeared on GR in June 2017.

Since 2010, Father Daniel Maes (78), from the monastery of Postel in Belgium, has been a resident of Syria’s sixth-century Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. He has returned to his home country several times in the intervening years to give seminars, but remains living in Syria.

I interviewed Father Daniel recently. The following is his story. He told me why he went to Syria in 2010, and how he experienced a culture shock when he first arrived there. He also explained that there never was a civil uprising in Syria, touched on the propaganda surrounding chemical attacks, relayed heartbreaking stories from Syrians themselves and praised the great support they receive from Hezbollah, the Syrian Army, and Russia.

A harmonious society

During one of the international ecumenical gatherings, I met Mother Agnes-Mariam, the founder of the Mar Yakub monastery – which once was one of the most famous monasteries of the Middle East. I was very impressed by her modesty and work, and I invited her to come to speak in Belgium several times after that. Her talks were very successful. At one point, she asked me:

I have visited you so many times. When will you visit us?

And that’s when I decided to go to Syria.

I had never had any contact with an Arabic country, so I had many prejudices. I thought that one had to be very careful in a Muslim country. To describe my experience in just a few words: It was nothing less than a culture shock to me. The hospitality that I experienced there was amazing, and the majority of youth, and the different kinds of people, from all walks of life and religions – Shiite, Sunni, Orthodox, Catholic, any possible religion – were all united. Regarding the country as a whole, life was harmonious; I have never seen such a harmonious society.

Hospitality was not only shown to Christians; there was no distinction made between Muslims and Christians. In all of Damascus, I think, there was not even one door that was locked. On a certain evening, I met a Christian woman who has a tourist office in Damascus. She told me:

I’ve been in many countries, and places. I’ve been in Brussels, I’ve been in Paris, and there is no other city like Damascus, where you can go out at night in safety.”

She was a beautiful lady, and she could safely walk the streets. In addition, treatment at hospitals was free, except medicines (all made in Syria!), and following a program of study at the university cost around 20 euros. On the whole, I witnessed a prosperous, safe, hospitable, and harmonious society. And refugees, about one million from Iraq and some from Bosnia, were treated as their own citizens.

Monastery Deir Mar Yaqoub in Qara, Syria

No civil uprising took place in Syria

As soon as the lies started pouring in, I started my fight against those lies with the truth. One journalist claimed that when he was in Syria, he “asked for bread, but received bullets instead” – as if to prove that there was a civil uprising. Let me tell you, when I was in Syria before the war, 10 loaves cost 10 cents – a tenth of a euro. What nonsense this journalist was spouting. That has been my battle; against those lies. The West was trying to ‘find’ any reason to murder that country.

On a Friday evening we went to the priest in Qara. We would occasionally go out here and there to Christian families to pray for those who were ill. At some point we went to the presbytery to get food, we were walking, and on the street there was the main mosque, where we saw a group of young people.

They were screaming, yelling and held anti-Assad and anti-Syria banners. The priest told us later on that they were not Syrians. They came from abroad. They were filming their ‘demonstration’ and were paid generously by Al Jazeera for that. That was the so-called civil uprising. Thankfully, that was still at the very beginning, otherwise we would not be alive today. It was a very unpleasant feeling as we walked by those people to go to the presbytery.

At the time we didn’t know it was so organized. We heard from friends that the same occurred in other places. Since troublemakers are not wanted in any of our villages, this group of young people were not supported by anyone in the village. Still, they managed to grow. It grew to arson attacks and armed violence. The priest was also attacked, robbed, and was able to barely escape from strangulation by masked men with strange accents.

The organized and armed ‘opposition’ were now calling the shots. In Homs and Quosseir, children from Christian families and moderate Muslim families were threatened or even killed if they refused to participate in anti-government demonstrations. As the local archbishop, Jean-Clément Jeanbart, said:

If the people of Aleppo had not resisted these armed gangs energetically, and helped the army, the city would’ve been taken by rebels in a single day.

There was NO uprising, or so-called ‘civil war’; from within, there was no reason for it.

The great majority of Syrians continue to support their democratically elected President, as well as the Syrian Army.

Chemical attack propaganda

The story surrounding the chemical gas attack in August 2013 was a disgrace. Not a single journalist reported on the irregularities, and didn’t ask any critical questions. In early August 2013, 11 villages were attacked in Lattakia. People were killed and homes destroyed, and many children were kidnapped. We tried to help find them. A list was compiled with their name, gender, and a note on whether they were missing, had been kidnapped or were murdered. There was not a word on this from the media.

Obama had announced in 2012, under intense media interest, that the use of chemical weapons was a ‘red line’. In other words, a reason to invade or attack Syria militarily, which the ‘international community’ was impatiently waiting for. Syria gave the UN and its agencies dozens of letters with evidence of chemical attacks by rebels, which was confirmed by nuns at a hospital in Aleppo. Not one letter has been answered and not a single attack has been investigated.

An official commission of inquiry was sent to Damascus and, while they arrived safe and sound, a massive chemical poison attack took place in nearby Ghouta under their noses. Western heads of state immediately expressed their horror at the atrocity, which they assumed had been ordered by Assad, and before the commission even began investigating it. In addition, the heads of state gave very different figures, ranging from 200 to 1,000 deaths. Apparently, they were better at agreeing amongst themselves who the culprit was (Assad) than they were regarding the number of victims.

The 35 professional videos, published right after the attack, showing a great number of dying children, went around the world. Left out was key context; that region had long been abandoned by families because of the fighting. And nowhere was a mother or an elder to be seen! Parents from Lattakia recognized their kidnapped children. Some were lying in different positions in the pictures.

How is it possible that no parents were present in those photos and footage? How could they even publish all that documentary evidence so soon after the attack? Why were the bodies of those innocent children neatly put together in one room? And that in a Middle Eastern village which was already emptied – how could there have been children there to begin with? Instead of asking these questions, accusations were thrown around before any investigation took place, making it clear to me that it was a set-up.

In my efforts against the lies, I try to make it clear that what people say or think is not neutral. It is important to ask: Are you standing side-by-side with the murderer or do you stand on the side of truth and the innocent victims?
Also, everybody should know by now that the WMDs story of Iraq was nothing but a lie: there were no WMDs. Now they’re telling us that Assad is killing his people? Everyone who has even a bit of a brain will understand immediately that all this is a set-up, that these allegations do not hold water.

The Syrian people know who their killers are; the terrorists – and they know who their protectors are, the Syrian army and their allies. So I can’t help but ask journalists: are you so stupid to think that the people here are too stupid to know who the murderers and saviors are?

To this day, there are posters and pictures up all over Syria praising Assad and Putin – that is the reality.

While Western nations continue to lie, Russia tells the truth

Heartbreaking stories

I have many stories from Syria. I will tell you a couple. In early May 2016, dozens of Syrians and Lebanese came together at a festive meeting for martyrs. There were such touching stories. A woman with a baby in her arms was there, with a tear in her eye and a smile. Her loved one was killed by the terrorists. These people greeted me kindly as a European foreigner, but you can’t help but feel ashamed.

There was also the Muslim family of Fawad. The Christian neighborhoods of Homs were the first ones the media reported as ‘freed’ by the so-called rebels, who had murdered, plundered, and destroyed. 130,000 Christians were expelled, and Muslims also suffered a lot due to the horrors of the ‘liberation’. Fawad’s father told how his only son was a student at the University of Homs. On a certain day, he didn’t come home; he had been kidnapped. All searches were in vain.

After some time, the parents received a phone call: “Would you like to see your son again?” The father promised to give everything or do anything in order to get his son back. A couple of days later, someone rang their doorbell. They opened the door and they saw a picture of their son on a plastic bag, after which a car drove away quickly. In the bag was the body of their son, in pieces. At first the father was furious. Later he was present at the Musalah meeting. The father continues to speak with great conviction:

We forgive those who killed our son. Let us forgive on behalf of Fawad and on behalf of God. That is the price we have to pay for peace.

They felt so lost, and so tired of suffering.

Before and after pictures of Syria. Do people truly think ‘rebels’ have Syria’s best interests at heart?

Our experience in Qara, liberated by Syrian Army and Hezbollah

Since 2012, our town of 25,000 residents quickly grew to 80,000 with strange bearded and heavily-armed men. Tens of thousands of armed terrorists attacked Qara and used it as a base from which to carry out attacks. However they were only able to carry out two or three small attacks from there.

Together with Muslim families, including children, we hid in the basement of the church, not giving away any signs of life. Muslims took care of us and we took care of them, while we entertained their children as best we could. We all had our hands full to keep them busy. Also, to keep them from being afraid, while for us there was no time to be afraid.

We moved some furniture inside, and behind the furniture the Muslim women slept. We slept on the other side. For a whole week, we had no water, but luckily there was snow. We had a garden which provided us with some almonds, cherries, figs and grapes. We also had bags of corn in the basement, which we ate from. It was an eye-opening experience, living together.

On a Sunday morning, the door was opened, a man came in and said, “It’s over“. His name was Ruah Allah, i.e. ‘Spirit of God’!

Hezbollah helped a lot in fighting off those terrorists in Qara. They were the first to provide help; along with the Syrian army, they protected and saved the people of Syria. The fact that we’re still alive is otherwise inexplicable. Qara was very dangerous in November 2013.

Hezbollah was originally set up because Zionists murdered their wives and children and destroyed their homes. They’re young idealists who joined Hezbollah as resistors, who want to serve and protect their people, but also, as it were, have sworn to help those who are similarly being threatened by the same kind of brutal aggression. And, if Syria would fall, then Lebanon wouldn’t survive more than a few days after that, either. The idealism of those young people was inspiring. As Shiites they work together with Syrian soldiers, most of whom are Sunni. They also work well together with Christians. It was a pleasant experience. They continue to protect the population and therefore us.
Near the end of 2013, the army and Hezbollah cleared the town of terrorists. One after another terrorist group fled. We don’t know how exactly it happened, but the Syrian army and their allies had the upper hand. There were still some small groups of rebels left at the time. But, soon after, some residents returned, shops and business re-opened and the spirits of the people were lifted. Some residents came back to help to rebuild. Our garden has been more or less damaged, but we are working on restoring it.

Brave Hezbollah soldiers, putting their lives in danger to protect the Syrian people.

Enter Russia

We are also very thankful to Russia. If Russia didn’t come in 2015, then we would not be here today and Syria would not exist anymore. Russia says what it does and does what it says. We haven’t had direct interaction with Russians. Northern Aleppo had more contact with them. But we have seen trucks full of humanitarian supplies from Russia. A lot was organized.

Certainly, the Russians have their own reasons for being there. Just as the US is there to serve its own agenda, which wants to achieve it by destroying Syria and putting puppets in charge there, as they have done to other countries in the past 25 years, with 20 million deaths as a result. Russia on the other hand wants to do anything it can to create stability for the country, and also for its own safety.

They support the idea that the country itself should choose its own government and president. They want to protect the stability, integrity and sovereignty of the country. And if Russia has some kind of an agenda in all of this as well, well, then my choice regarding whether I’d want the US or Russia here has been made quickly. We have nothing more than appreciation for the Russians. As I said, we didn’t have personal contact with them. But based on what I’ve seen and heard from Syrian citizens, I know enough.

And you have to admit, Putin sure is an artist. Russia put up no-fly zones, against the US! It is exactly the opposite of what the US wanted to do: to provide no-fly zones in favor of the terrorists, not in favor of the Syrian army. And, while the so-called international coalition has more military power, Russia manages to do so much more. Russia is four times better than all those who protect and transport ISIS puppets to serve their political interests.

Syrians feel immense gratitude towards Russia and President Putin.

Situation now in Qara: Help from the community and the church

Since the beginning, Mother Agnes-Mariam established three centers: in Jerama (Damascus), Qara (the Monastery) and Tartous. We’re receiving many containers, but you can’t do anything with those supplies if they aren’t organized. There are a lot of medical supplies for many hospitals, everywhere people need medical help. We work day and night on organizing these supplies, and other kinds of supplies. We receive medical supplies, clothes, and food at our storage room, then we select and organize them. We quickly first take food out from the containers (due to their expiration date). We put everything neatly in boxes, and write down what and how much is in each box. These boxes are then sent out.

It’s tragic. The terrorists are very well cared for and armed by their sponsors, while Syrians are in need of medical help. Terrorists destroyed many hospitals, a whole series of hospitals in fact. Thankfully, in cooperation with the Red Crescent, Sweden has offered us a big hospital including all equipment. It’s a perfect and modern clinic, which we are very thankful for. And since the beginning, we received very great help from the Dutch organization Dorcas.

In addition, Mother Agnes-Mariam, with the help of hundreds of volunteers and some paid workers, have been providing warm meals in Aleppo since September last year. 25,000 warm meals, five days a week, for two months, using products from the region – which also supports the work of the region. The miracle is that it was foreseen happening for two months but continues to this today!

There’s been much emphasis on rebuilding. This month I went back to help do that. Families with children have moved elsewhere, they said they want a future, certainty and safety. However, others have stayed, especially a group of enthusiastic young people, who have many ideas and provide much work and effort in rebuilding Qara. And every day, one of our sisters sets up creative knitwork for 35 women in the village, which the women receive an income from. The knitwork is sold, given or sent to friends abroad. Many have thanked us for our work.

We also grow mushrooms, and there are many other small activities that help people earn an income. There were people with a handicap in the town because they had isolated themselves, but we invited them to the monastery for Easter; it was a unique experience for all of us. They then felt part of the community and have started working also; they have now been integrated into society. We’re also working on a carpet factory, where people can work on making carpets. The population is probably not waiting for carpets! But we will try to sell them outside to help citizens gain an income. We have to truly be thankful for what we have.

We’ve also worked on restoring our gardens and orchards. This area has the best cherries in the whole world. They used to sell containers full of cherries to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, much have been destroyed. But we have planted thousands of tiny plants and small trees.

‘If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.’ (Lev 26:3-4) – Cherry trees in Qara.

Hope for Syria

The country has become much more united. During the festive meeting of martyrs, one could clearly see the unity of the people, between Alawites, Catholics, Shiites, Sunnis, Christians… We have become one family, that continues to become bigger and stronger. Certain people can murder, kill, destroy infrastructure, but bringing a country to its knees will not happen.

Figure this: Alawites are probably ‘worse’ for Muslims than Christians, as the Alawites haven’t taken anything from Islam. And it is this man, President Assad, who is being supported by all, including the 70% Sunni Syrian population. We live together as one family. We work together towards the same society – and that is very strong.

There is hope. Solidarity will grow, and the harmonious connection is still there. Every country has its shortcomings, but in all of the misery, there are heroes. There are heroes and there are holy men. Amongst Muslims and others.

We can also see that there is a move from a unipolar world to a multipolar world, and I hope that for Syria this year we’ll continue to make progress. We’ve been through many years of war, but our unity has only become stronger.

Father Daniel lastly thanked me for the opportunity to speak about what he has experienced in Syria. He recalls two journalists who visited him in Qara. One of them started with the question: “Are you a fan of Assad?” To which he answered:

If I publicly say that I am against terrorists killing our Belgian Prime Minister Michel, then does that make me a fan of Michel or a paid fan of the Belgian regime?

Journalists also tend to ask about the ‘civil war’, to which he replies that there never was one.

They want to paint a certain picture. They want to hear stories of the brutal dictator. I’m pretty certain those interviews were never broadcasted,” he told me with a laugh. He didn’t give the answers they wanted to hear. He told the truth.

Posted in Syria0 Comments

Independent Media: Providing the Truth about Empire and Repression

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Trump Threatens N.Korea with Nuclear War

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Trump Threatens North Korea with Nuclear War. My Nuclear Button is Bigger and it Works

 

The Trump administration has begun the year with an open and reckless threat of nuclear war against North Korea—a conflict that would inevitably drag in other nuclear-armed powers, with catastrophic consequences for the world.

In a New Year’s speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offered talks with South Korea to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula but warned the US he was ready to defend North Korea. The entire US mainland, he declared, was “within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office.”

US President Donald Trump fired off a derogatory and provocative tweet:

“Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

The remarks further inflame an extremely tense situation and undermine the meeting between North and South Korea scheduled for next Tuesday. In an earlier tweet, Trump was decidedly cool toward the prospect of such talks, saying:

“Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not—we will see!”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders faced hostile questioning over Trump’s tweet, with one journalist asking: “

Should Americans be concerned about the President’s mental fitness that he appears to be speaking so lightly about threats regarding a nuclear button?”

Sanders responded by questioning North Korean leader Kim’s mental fitness, then aggressively defending Trump’s threat.

“This is a president,” she declared, “who’s not going to cower down and he’s not going to be weak, and is going to… stand up and protect the American people.”

Sanders attacked the previous Obama administration for failing to tackle North Korea and declared that the Trump administration was going to continue its strategy of “maximum pressure” on the Pyongyang regime. Trump has insisted he will not allow North Korea to build a nuclear missile capable of reaching continental America and will, if necessary, use military force to prevent it.

Trump came under fire from several congressional Democrats, with Ro Khanna calling for new legislation restricting the president’s ability to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike without authorisation. Jim Himes expressed the fear that Trump’s tweet could result in a fatal miscalculation with North Korea, warning:

“That would get real very quickly.”

These reactions reflect sharp divisions in ruling circles in Washington over Trump’s confrontational policies toward North Korea and China, which have produced mounting calls for the president’s removal.

“This Tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment. This man should not have nukes,” Richard Painter, a lawyer who worked for President George W. Bush commented.

Under the 25th amendment, the vice-president and a majority of cabinet can dismiss a president deemed to be unfit to hold office.

The bitter factional disputes in Washington are tactical in character. The political establishment as a whole has backed a succession of criminal wars of aggression over the past 25 years and would not hesitate to back the use of nuclear weapons to defend US economic and strategic interests. Those opposed to Trump, however, view Russia rather than China as the most immediate threat to be dealt with.

Trump’s bellicose threats to use the huge US nuclear arsenal are not just aimed at North Korea. They are designed to send a warning to any country that poses a challenge to American global hegemony. Trump has continued President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” against China that includes a huge military build-up in the Asia Pacific region in preparation for war.

The Trump administration has exploited the supposed North Korean threat to justify huge joint military exercises with South Korea and pressure China to impose crippling sanctions on the Pyongyang regime. The Chinese leadership is clearly concerned at the danger of war, including nuclear war, in its backyard, but also reluctant to provoke a crisis in North Korea that could be used to install a pro-US regime in Pyongyang.

An editorial in the state-owned Global Times yesterday expressed alarm at Trump’s tweet, declaring that “vying for who has a bigger, more powerful nuclear button is definitely not a solution” to the confrontation.

The editorial warned that the standoff on the Korean Peninsula could not continue.

“It will get better, or get worse. If there is no major turnaround, a horrible situation might not be so far away,” it stated.

The Trump administration has repeatedly rejected Chinese proposals for negotiations with North Korea.

The terrible scale of destruction that even a limited war on the Korean Peninsula, or restricted nuclear exchange, was outlined in a lengthy essay entitled “The Korean Missile Crisis: Why Deterrence Is Still the Best Option” in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs.

The author Scott Sagan, who is highly critical of Trump, warned that the current confrontation with North Korea was more dangerous than the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, during which the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war. He argued for a policy of containment and deterrence of a nuclear-armed North Korea, akin to US strategy during the Cold War.

The alternative, Sagan explained, would be horrendous.

“According to NUKEMAP, a single 100-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated above the port city of Busan, in South Korea… would kill 440,000 people in seconds. A weapon of that size detonated over Seoul would kill 362,000; over San Francisco, the number would be 323,000.”

These estimates did not include deaths from fires and nuclear fallout.

A nuclear war would kill millions, even if it did not involve other nuclear-armed powers such as Russia and China. Yet that is exactly what Trump is threatening. Using the United Nations as a world stage last year, he belligerently declared he would “totally destroy” North Korea if it posed a threat to the US.

Sagan’s assessment was echoed this week by former US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen who warned that the world was “closer, in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been.” Mullen was pessimistic about any peaceful solution, saying:

“I don’t see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.”

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

US Winks, Nazi regime Bites?

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US Winks, Israel Bites? The Escalation Scenario. The War on Iran is “On Hold”?

In 2003, the war on Iran project was already Déjà Vu. It had been on the drawing board of the Pentagon since the mid-nineties. 

Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term (TIRANNT) war games scenario in May 2003 (leaked classified document), an escalation scenario involving military action directed against Iran and Syria had been envisaged, of which Syria was the first stage in 2011.  

The initial invasion of Iraq under “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was launched on March 20, 2003, April 9 marks the Fall of Baghdad;  officially the invasion was completed on May 1st, 2003.

In May 2003, immediately following the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the TIRANNT (Theater Iran Near Term) war games scenario were carried out as revealed by William Arkin, a former US intelligence analyst:

“In early 2003, even as U.S. forces were on the brink of war with Iraq, the Army had already begun conducting an analysis for a full-scale war with Iran. The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “theater Iran near term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now exists in draft form. [This contingency plan entitled CONPLAN 8022 would be activated in the eventuality of a Second 9/11, on the presumption that Iran would be behind it]  (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)

Screenshot of WPo article, opinion section

“Theater Near Term”, a scenario of waging a war against Iran following the defeat of Iraq was the unspoken concept. Under the auspices of US Central Command, TIRANNT focussed on both “Near Term” (i.e. following the Iraq war) as well “Out-Year” (signifying the subsequent year) scenarios for war with Iran ” …including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (Ibid)

The core TIRANNT effort began in May 2003, when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran. TIRANNT has since been updated using post-Iraq war information on the performance of U.S. forces. Meanwhile, Air Force planners have modeled attacks against existing Iranian air defenses and targets, while Navy planners have evaluated coastal defenses and drawn up scenarios for keeping control of the Strait of Hormuz at the base of the Persian Gulf.

A follow-on TIRANNT Campaign Analysis, which began in October 2003, calculated the results of different scenarios for action against Iran to provide options for analyzing courses of action in an updated Iran war plan. (Ibid)

Needless to say, the “Near Term” plans formulated in 2003 had been postponed.

USCENTCOM’s “Dual Containment”. First Iraq, then Iran

The 2003 decision to target Iran under TIRANNT  as well as all subsequent endeavors and “secret plans” were part of the broader Middle East military roadmap. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated in 1995 under the doctrine of “Dual Containment” “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran:

“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.”

USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy

emphasis  added, the original document of USCENTCOM is no longer available)

The Role of Israel. “Doing the Bombing For Us”

The TIRANNT (2003) scenario was followed by a series of military plans pertaining to Iran. Numerous post 9/11 official statements and US military documents had pointed to an expanded Middle East war, involving the active participation of Israel.

Broadly, what characterizes U.S. foreign policy is to encourage America’s allies “to do the dirty work on our behalf”.

At the outset of Bush’s Second Term, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped a bombshell, hinting, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the rogue enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it”.

In contrast, under the Trump administration, according to Professor James Petras, Israel and the Zionist Lobby are playing an active role, pressuring President Trump to take the first step:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish American Organizations are leading President Trump, like a puppy on a leash, into a major war with Iran. The hysterical ’52 Presidents’ and ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu are busy manufacturing Holocaust-level predictions that a non-nuclear Iran is preparing to ‘vaporize’ Israel, ,  The buffoonish US President Trump has swallowed this fantasy wholesale and is pushing our nation toward war for the sake of Israel and its US-based supporters and agents. (James Petras, Global Research, October 27, 2017)

Who are the Main Actors?

Political rhetoric is often misleading. Israel is America’s ally. Military operations are closely coordinated. Tel Aviv is however subordinate to Washington. In major military operations, Israel does not act without the Pentagon’s approval.

Barely acknowledged by the media, the US and Israel have an integrated air defense system, which was set up in early 2009, shortly after the Israel invasion of Gaza under “Operation Cast Led”.

The X-band radar air defense system set up by the US in Israel in 2009 would “integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network, which includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.”  (Sen. Joseph Azzolina, Protecting Israel from Iran’s missiles, Bayshore News, December 26, 2008). )

What this means is that Washington calls the shots. Confirmed by the Pentagon, the US military controls Israel’s Air Defense:

”This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. ‘So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.’” (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009, emphasis added).

At the outset of  Obama’s Second Term, the US and Israel initiated discussions pertaining to a “US personnel on site” presence in Israel, namely the establishment of a “permanent” and “official” military base inside Israel. And on September 17, 2017, a US Air Defense base located in the Negev desert was inaugurated. According to the Israeli IDF spokesperson, the objective is to send a “message to the region, ” including Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.

Israel would not be able to act unilaterally against Iran, without a green light from the Pentagon which controls key components of Israel’s air defense system.

In practice, a war on Iran, were it to occur would be a joint US-Israeli endeavor, coordinated by US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with America’s allies playing a key (subordinate) role.

The Evolving Structure of Military Alliances

Since the formulation of USCENTCOM’s “in war theater” plans in the mid-nineties, and more specifically since the onslaught of the war on Syria in 2011, the geopolitics of the broader Middle East Central Asian region has evolved dramatically with Russia and  China taking on a major role.

In this regard, the shift in the structure of military alliances has served to weaken US influence. Iran is now supported by a powerful China-Russia block. In turn, Pakistan and India have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which has contributed to undermining US-Pakistani relations.

In turn, Iran’s bilateral relations with China including strategic oil, gas and pipeline deals (as well as military cooperation) have developed since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012.

Moreover, while Tehran has reached a “pact of convenience” with Ankara, the unity of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States is now in jeopardy, with Qatar, Oman and Kuwait building an alliance with Iran, to the detriment of  Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Since the war on Syria, Iran has not only established a strong bilateral relationship with Syria, it has also reinforced its ties with Lebanon and Yemen.

In other words, US hegemony is threatened in the broader Middle East Central Asian region. The structure of alliances and “cross-cutting coalitions” in 2018 does not favor a US-led military operation against Iran.

  • The Atlantic Alliance is in crisis and so is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  • The US and Turkey are clashing in Northern Syria, where Turkey is fighting US sponsored Kurdish rebels.
  • Turkey, which constitutes NATO’s heavyweight (in terms of conventional forces) has acquired Russia’s S400 air defense system. Does this signify that Turkey (as a member state of the Atlantic Alliance) no longer fully shares the US-NATO-Israel defense system?
  • Another consideration is Turkey’s rapprochement with both Russia and Iran.

presidents Putin and Erdogan (right)

Demise of the “Triple Alliance”: US, Israel, Turkey

How does Turkey’s “pact of convenience” with Iran affect the Israel-Turkey  Security and Secrecy Agreement (SSA) launched by the Tansu Çiller government in 1994?

The SSA agreement was a carefully designed instrument of US foreign policy (sponsored by the Clinton administration) which set the stage for a firm and close Israel-Turkey relationship in military and intelligence cooperation, joint military exercises, weapons production and training.

The SSA largely served US strategic interests in the Middle East. The intent of the SSA Israel-Turkey bilateral military-intelligence agreement was to create a triangular relationship between the US, Israel and Turkey. This de facto (rather than de jure) “triple alliance”, under the helm of the Pentagon, was intended to integrate and coordinate military command decisions (as well as intelligence) between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East.

The “Triple alliance” was based on close military ties between Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. From a strategic standpoint, the Pentagon was intent upon “using” both Israel and Turkey in Middle East military operations (i.e to act on our behalf).

  • Is the Israel-Turkey SSA agreement currently in jeopardy?
  • How can joint military and intelligence operations directed against Iran be carried out when Turkey (a NATO member state and an ally of Israel) is  “in bed with the enemy”?
  • Another consideration is the de facto demise of GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova), a loose US-NATO sponsored military alliance of five former Soviet republics created in 1999, slated to be used against Russia and Iran.

For the above reasons, the Pentagon’s TIRANNT “Near Term” scenario of a conventional war against Iran at this juncture is unlikely.

While a conventional war on Iran is currently on hold, the US has indelibly opted for nonconventional warfare including destabilization, economic sanctions, infiltration, cooptation and regime change.

The Pentagon, nonetheless retains its longtime strategic option of inducing its closest allies including Saudi Arabia and Israel to “wage war on its behalf”.

We are nonetheless at a dangerous crossroads in our history. While Pentagon analysts are fully aware that the US cannot win a conventional war against Iran, a first strike tactical nuclear weapons attack is still “on the table”. So are intelligence ops, the recruitment of hired “jihadist” terrorists, the funding of insurgencies, etc. (not to mention the use of a panoply of nonconventional weapons systems including electromagnetic, chemical and biological weapons).

***

 


 

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Iran0 Comments

Giving War Too Many Chances

NOVANEWS

Post by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

As the new year begins, it is important for the U.S. to acknowledge its troubling history of global war-making, especially over the past two-decades, as Nicolas J.S. Davies delineates.

Featured image: Warships of the U.S. Navy. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

I met John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Christmas Eve in 1969.  I joined them and a small group of local peace activists in a Christmas fast for world peace in front of Rochester Cathedral in England, a short walk from where I lived with my family in Chatham Dockyard.  I was 15 years old, and my father was the dockyard medical officer, responsible for the health and safety of the dockyard workers who maintained the U.K.’s new fleet of nuclear submarines.

John and Yoko arrived before midnight mass.  We were all introduced and went in for the service.  By the time we came out, thousands of people had heard John was there.  He was still a Beatle and he was mobbed by a huge crowd, so he and Yoko decided they couldn’t stay with us as planned.  While most of our little group helped John back to their iconic white Rolls Royce, I and another boy not much older than me were left to shepherd a panicking Yoko back through the crowd to the car.  They both made it, and we never saw them again.  The next morning a florist came by with a huge box of white carnations, and we spent the rest of our Christmas and Boxing Day handing flowers to passers-by and getting to know each other – the birth of what became the Medway and Maidstone Peace Action Group.

While the U.K. was not openly involved in the Vietnam War, it was deeply involved in the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, and watching the U.K.’s closest ally destroy Vietnam led many of my generation to question the Cold War assumptions about “good guys” and “bad guys” that we’d been raised on.  John and Yoko became the de facto leaders of the peace movement, and their song “Give Peace a Chance” was a simple unifying anthem.

After two world wars, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, we all wanted peace, but it seemed to be the one thing our leaders were not willing to try, claiming that the Cold War justified an endless arms race, and wars and coups wherever U.S. and British leaders thought they’d spotted a Red under somebody’s bed.  That included many countries whose experiments with socialism were less advanced than in the U.K., where I grew up with a cradle to grave healthcare system, free education through university, a comprehensive welfare state and state-owned utilities, railways and major industries.

The peace dividend vs the power dividend

Once the Cold War ended, the justification for 50 years of massive military spending, global warfare and coups was finally over.  Like U.S. allies, enemies and neighbors around the world, Americans breathed a sigh of relief and welcomed the “peace dividend.”  Robert McNamara and Lawrence Korb, former cold warriors of both parties, testified to the Senate Budget Committee that the U.S. military budget could be cut in half from its FY1990 level over the next 10 years.  Committee chairman Senator Jim Sasser hailed “this unique moment in history” as “the dawn of the primacy of domestic economics.”

But the peace dividend was short-lived, trumped by what Carl Conetta of the Project for Defense Alternatives has dubbed the “power dividend,” the drive to exploit the end of the Cold War to consolidate and expand U.S. military power.  Influential voices linked to military industrial interests had a new refrain, essentially “Give War a Chance.”  But of course, they didn’t put it so plainly:

  • After the First Gulf War in 1991, President Bush I celebrated “kick(ing) the Vietnam syndrome,” and deployed U.S. pilots directly from Kuwait to the Paris Air Show to cash in on the marketing value of a war that had just killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq.  The next 3 years set a new record for U.S. arms sales. The Pentagon later admitted that only 7% of the bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq were the “precision-guided” ones they showcased to TV viewers, and only 41% to 60% of those “precision” weapons hit their targets anyway.  Iraq was ruthlessly carpet bombed, but we were sold a high-tech dog and pony show.
  • Despite surely being well aware of the reality behind the propaganda, Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz crowed to General Wesley Clark, “With the end of the Cold War, we can now use our military with impunity.”
  • As the Clinton administration took over the reins of the U.S. war machine in 1992, Madeleine Albright challenged General Colin Powellon his “Powell Doctrine” of limited war, asking him, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
  • Albright was appointed Secretary of State in 1997, mainstreaming new political pretexts for otherwise illegal wars such as “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect.”  But despite the steady diet of war propaganda, Albright was drowned out by protests from the audience when she threatened war on Iraq at a town hall meeting in Columbus in 1998.
  • Clinton’s 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review declared, “When the interests at stake are vital… we should do whatever it takes to defend them, including, when necessary, the unilateral use of military power.  U.S. vital national interests include, but are not limited to… preventing the emergence of a hostile regional coalition… (and) ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources.”  But as the U.K. Foreign Office’s senior legal adviser told his government during the Suez crisis in 1956, “The plea of vital interest, which has been one of the main justifications for wars in the past, is indeed the very one which the UN Charter was intended to exclude as a basis for armed intervention in another country.”
  • After a failed CIA coup in 1996 betrayed every CIA agent in Iraq to the Iraqi government, precluding a second coup attempt, the newly formed neoconservative Project for the New American Century began pushing for war on Iraq.  The 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, threatening “regime change” through the use of military force, passed Congress with only 38 Nays in the House and unanimous consent in the Senate.
  • When U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Albright his government was having trouble “with our lawyers” over NATO’s illegal plan to attack Yugoslavia and annex Kosovo, she told him it should just “get new lawyers.”
  • Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations a few weeks before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, Hillary Clinton derided recent U.S. wars in Panama, Kuwait and Yugoslavia as “splendid little wars” and called for what a banking executive in the audience described as a “new imperialism.”
  • Samantha Power popularized the idea that the use of U.S. military force could have prevented the genocide in Rwanda, an assumption challenged by experts on genocide (see “A Solution From Hell”) but which has served ever since as a powerful political argument for the U.S. uses of military force.

Afghanistan

After pleading with the American people to “Give War a Chance” for a decade, U.S. political leaders seized on the crimes of September 11th, 2001 to justify an open-ended “global war on terror.”

U.S. Marines leaving a compound at night in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. (Source: Defense Department)

Many Americans approved of attacking Afghanistan as an act of self defense, but of course it was not Afghanistan or the Taliban that committed the crimes of September 11th.  As former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz told NPR at the time, “It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t approve of what has happened.”

Sixteen years later, 16,500 U.S. troops soldier on through the graveyard of empires, while U.S. warplanes have dropped 3,852 bombs and missiles on Afghanistan since Mr. Trump took office.  No serious study has been conducted to estimate how many hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been killed since 2001.

As Matthew Hoh wrote in his resignation letter as he quit his post as the U.S. Political Officer in Zabul Province in Afghanistan in 2009,

“The Pashtun insurgency, which is composed of multiple, seemingly infinite local groups, is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies.   …I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.”

Or as an Afghan taxi driver in Vancouver told me, “We defeated the Persians in the 18th century, the British in the 19th century and the Russians in the 20th.  Now, with NATO, we’re fighting 29 countries at once, but we’ll defeat them too.”  Who would doubt it?

Today, after 16 years of occupation by up to 100,000 U.S. troops, thousands of deadly “kill or capture” night raids by U.S. special operations forces and over 60,000 bombs and missiles dropped on Afghanistan on the orders of 3 U.S. presidents, the corrupt U.S.-backed government in Kabul governs less territory today than at any time since before the U.S. invasion.

The U.S. war on Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.  There must be U.S. troops in Afghanistan today whose fathers were fighting there 16 years ago. This isn’t giving war a chance.  It’s giving it a blank check, in blood and money.

Iraq

When President Bush II unveiled a “national security strategy” based on a flagrantly illegal doctrine of preemptive war in 2002, Senator Edward Kennedy called it a “call for 21st century imperialism that no other country can or should accept.”  The rest of the world rejected the U.S. case for war on Iraq in the UN Security Council and 30 million people took to the streets in the largest global demonstrations in history.  But the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq anyway.

U.S. Army forces operating in southern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Apr. 2, 2003 (Source: U.S. Navy)

The U.K.’s role in the invasion was thrown into limbo when Admiral Michael Boyce, the Chief of the Defense Staff, told his government he could not give orders to invade Iraq without written confirmation that it would be legal.  It took Tony Blair and his cronies five full days of grappling with their legal advisers before one of them, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, who was not even an international lawyer, was willing to contradict what he and all the U.K.’s legal advisers had consistently and repeatedly told their government, that the invasion of Iraq would be a criminal act of aggression.

Four days later, the U.S. and U.K. committed the war crime of the new century, unleashing a war that has killed a million innocent people and left Iraq mired in bloody violence and chaos for 14 years and counting.

When the people of Iraq rose in resistance to the illegal invasion and occupation of their country, the U.S. launched a bloody “counterinsurgency” campaign.  As U.S. forces destroyed Fallujah and Ramadi, U.S. officials in Baghdad recruited, trained and ran Interior Ministry death squads who tortured and assassinated tens of thousands of men and boys to ethnically cleanse Baghdad and other areas on a sectarian basis.

The most recent U.S. atrocity in Iraq was the massacre of an estimated 40,000 civilians in Mosul by U.S., Iraqi, French and other “coalition” forces.  The U.S.-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria has dropped 104,000 bombs and missiles since 2014, making it the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign since the American War in Vietnam.  Iraqi government death squads once again prowl through the ruins of Mosul, torturing and summarily executing anyone they identify as a suspected Islamic State fighter or sympathizer.

In Iraq, “Give war a chance” does not mean, “It didn’t work here. Let’s try it somewhere else.”  It means, “Keep bombarding Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul and massacring their people over and over again until there is nothing left but rubble and graveyards.”  That is why 9,123 U.S. troops remain deployed in a land of rubble and graveyards in the 15th year of an illegal war.

Somalia

Independent Somalia was formed from the former colonies of British and Italian Somaliland in 1970.  After initially investing in literacy and infrastructure, Said Barre and his government built the largest army in Africa, supported first by the U.S.S.R. and then by the U.S., as it waged a long war with Ethiopia over the Ogaden, an ethnically Somali region of Ethiopia.  In 1991, Barre was ousted in a civil war and the central government collapsed.  UN and U.S. military interventions failed to restore any kind of order and foreign troops were withdrawn in 1995.

For the next 11 years, a dozen warlords ruled small fiefdoms while the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the internationally recognized government, hunkered down in Baidoa, the sixth largest city.  But the country was not as violent as some other parts of Africa.  Somalia is an ancient society and some order was preserved by traditional systems of law and government, including a unique system of customary law called Xeer, which has existed and evolved in Somalia since the 7th century.

In 2006, these various local authorities came together and formed the Islamic Courts Union (ICU).  With the support of one of the strongest warlords, they defeated other warlords, including ones backed by the CIA, in fierce fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, and soon controlled the southern half of the country.  People who knew Somalia well hailed the ICU as a hopeful development and tried to reassure the Bush administration that it was not a danger.

But the threat of peace breaking out in Somalia was too much for the “give war a chance” crowd to stomach.  The U.S. backed an Ethiopian invasion, supported by U.S. air strikes and special operations forces, plunging Somalia back into violence and chaos that continues to this day.  The Ethiopian invaders drove the ICU out of Mogadishu, and it split into factions, with some of its leaders going into exile and others forming new armed groups, not least Al-Shabaab [an offshoot of Al Qaeda], to resist the Ethiopian invasion.

After Ethiopia agreed to withdraw its forces in 2008, a coalition government was formed by TFG and ICU leaders but did not include Al-Shabaab, which by then controlled large areas of the country.  The government has been fighting Al-Shabaab ever since, supported by an African Union force and currently at least 289 U.S. special operations forces and other U.S. troops.  The government has made gains, but Al-Shabaab still controls some areas.  As it has been pushed back militarily, Al-Shabaab has launched devastating terrorist attacks in Somalia and Kenya, where the U.S. now also has 212 troops deployed.  Neighboring Djibouti hosts 4,715 U.S. troops at the largest U.S. base in Africa.

The U.S. is doggedly expanding its militarized counterterrorism strategy in Africa, with at least 7,271 U.S. troops in 47 countries as of September 30th.  But a new body of research has confirmed what independent analysts have long believed, that it is precisely these kind of operations that drive civilians into armed resistance in the first place.  A recent survey of 500 African militants by the UN Development Program found that the “tipping-point” that decided 71% of them to join a group like Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram or Al Qaeda was the killing or detention of a family member or friend in U.S.-led or U.S.-model “counterterrorism” operations.

So the circular logic of U.S. counterterrorism policy uses the emergence and growth of groups like Al-Shabaab as a pretext to expand the operations that are fueling their growth in the first place, turning more and more civilians into combatants and their homes and communities into new U.S. battlefields, to “give war a chance” in country after country.

Honduras

On June 28th 2009, President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was woken in the early hours of the morning by soldiers in combat gear bursting into his official residence.  They hauled him away at gunpoint in his pajamas, bundled him into a car and onto a plane to Costa Rica.  President Obama immediately called the coup a coup and reaffirmed that Zelaya was still the democratically-elected president of Honduras, appearing to adopt the same position as every government in Latin America, the European Union and the UN General Assembly.

But, in the coming days, as Hillary Clinton has since admitted, she went to work to push for a new election in Honduras that would, as she put it, “render the question of Zelaya moot,” by making the coup against him a fait accompli and allowing the coup regime of Roberto Micheletti to organize the new election.

Despite Obama’s statement and Wikileaks’ release of cables in which the U.S. Ambassador also called this an illegal coup, the U.S. never officially recognized that a coup had taken place, avoiding the cut-off of military aid to the post-coup government that was required under U.S. federal law and any further action to restore the democratically-elected president.  In the coming years, Honduras, which was already the murder capital of the world, became even more dangerous as labor organizers and activists of all stripes were killed with impunity by the post-coup government’s death squads.  Environmental activist Berta Cáceres’ murder caused worldwide outrage, but she is one of hundreds of activists and organizers killed.

The role of Secretary Clinton and the U.S. government in consolidating the results of the coup in Honduras should be seen in the context of the U.S.’s dominant historic role in Honduras, the original “banana republic,” 70% of whose exports are still sold to the United States.  Honduras currently hosts 529 U.S. military personnel, far more than any other country in the Western hemisphere, and they are deeply embedded with the Honduran military which committed the coup.

In the 1980s, under Ambassador John Negroponte, who eventually became Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa reportedly hosted the largest CIA station in the world, from where the CIA ran its covert war against Nicaragua, death squads that killed even American nuns with impunity in El Salvador and an outright genocide in Guatemala.  With this history of U.S. military and CIA involvement in Honduras, it is not unreasonable to suspect that the CIA was secretly involved in planning the coup against Zelaya.

The 2009 coup in Honduras has now come home to roost, as even the historically U.S.-controlled Organization of American States has demanded a rerun of the latest rigged election and Honduras’s feared Cobra paramilitary police have refused to repress pro-democracy protesters.  The opposition party, the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, which appears to have won the most votes in the election, is a coalition of left and right against the post-coup government.  How far will Trump and the U.S. go to rescue Clinton’s 2009 campaign in Honduras?  Will it ask us to “give war another chance?”

Yemen

From 897 (not a typo) until 1962, most of Yemen was ruled by the Zaidi Imams.  The Zaidis follow a branch of Shiite Islam, but in Yemen they coexist and worship in the same mosques as Sunnis.  The Houthis, who rule most of Yemen today, are also Zaidis.  The last Zaidi Imam was overthrown by a republican coup in 1962, but, with Saudi support, he fought a civil war until 1970.  Yes, you read that right.  In the 1960s, the Saudis backed the Zaidi royalists in the Yemeni civil war.  Now they call the Zaidis apostates and Iranian stooges and are waging a genocidal war to bomb and starve them to death.

A neighborhood in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa after an airstrike, October 9, 2015. (Source: Wikipedia)

At the peak of the previous civil war, 70,000 Egyptian troops fought on the republican side in Yemen, but the 1967 Arab-Israeli War changed the priorities of Arab countries on both sides.  In February 1968, royalist forces lifted their siege of Sana’a and the two sides began peace talks, which led to a peace agreement and international recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1970.

Meanwhile, also in 1967, a popular armed rebellion forced the U.K. to withdraw from its colony in Aden, which formed the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, a Marxist state and Soviet ally.  When the Cold War ended, the two Yemens merged to form a united Republic of Yemen in 1990.  Ali Abdallah Saleh, the president of North Yemen since 1978, became president of the united Yemen and ruled until 2011.

Saleh’s repressive government alienated many sectors of Yemeni society, and the Zaidi Houthis launched an armed rebellion in their northern homeland in 2004.  The Zaidis and other Shia Muslims make up about 45% of the population and Zaidis ruled the country for centuries, so they have always been a force to be reckoned with.

At the same time, the new Obama administration launched a campaign of cruise missile and drone strikes and special forces operations against the fledgling Al Qaeda faction in the country and increased military aid to Saleh’s government.  A U.S. drone strike assassinated Yemeni-American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, and another strike two weeks later murdered his American son, 16-year-old Abdulrahman.  Like militarized U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in other countries, U.S. attacks have predictably killed hundreds of civilians, fueling the growth of Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Arab Spring protests and political turmoil forced Saleh to resign in November 2011.  His deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, was elected in February 2012 to head a unity government that would draw up a new constitution and organize a new election in two years.  After Hadi failed to hold an election or step down as president, the Houthis invaded the capital in September 2014, placed him under house arrest and demanded that he complete the political transition.

Hadi and his government rejected the Houthis’ demands and simply resigned in January 2015, so the Houthis formed a Revolutionary Council as an “interim authority.”  Hadi fled to Aden, his hometown, and then to Saudi Arabia, which launched a savage bombing campaign and naval blockade against Yemen on Hadi’s behalf.  The U.S. provides most of the weapons, munitions, satellite intelligence and in-air refueling and is a vital member of the Saudi-led coalition, but of course U.S. media and politicians downplay the U.S. role.

The Saudi-U.S. coalition’s bombing campaign has killed at least ten thousand civilians, probably many more, while a naval blockade and the bombing of ports have reduced the population to a state of near-starvation.  Hadi’s forces have recaptured Aden and an area around it, but they have failed to defeat the Houthis in the rest of the country.

U.S.-made bombs keep hitting markets, hospitals and other civilian targets in Yemen.  Western military trainers regard the Saudi armed forces as more or less untrainable, due mainly to Saudi Arabia’s rigid class and tribal hierarchy.  The officer corps, some of whom are members of the royal family, are beyond criticism, so there is no way to correct mistakes or enforce discipline.  So Saudi pilots bomb indiscriminately from high altitude, and will keep doing so unless and until the U.S. stops selling them munitions and withdraws its military and diplomatic complicity in this genocidal war.

Aid agencies keep warning that millions of Yemenis are close to starvation, but neither Saudi nor U.S. officials seem to care.  The normalization of war and the culture of apathy nurtured by 16 years of American wars that have killed millions of people in a dozen countries have left U.S. officials supremely cynical, but their cynicism will be tested in 2018 as the predictable results of this “made in the U.S.A.” humanitarian catastrophe unfold.  The U.S. propaganda machine will also be tested as it keeps trying to pin all the blame on the Saudis.

Libya

Muammar Gaddafi was a favorite villain of the West and an ally of the U.S.S.R., Cuba, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress, the PLO, the IRA and the Polisario Front in Western Sahara.  Gaddafi created a unique form of direct democracy, and he used Libya’s oil wealth to provide free healthcare and education and to give Libya the 5th highest GDP per capita in Africa and the highest development rating in Africa on the UN’s HDI index, which measures health and education as well as income.

Gaddafi also used Libya’s wealth to fund projects to give African countries more control of their own natural resources, like a Libyan-funded factory in Liberia to manufacture and export tire grade rubber instead of raw rubber.  He also co-founded the African Union in 2002, which he envisioned growing into a military alliance and a common market with a single currency.

Militant Islamists within the military tried but failed to assassinate Gaddafi in 1993.  The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), formed by Libyans who had fought with CIA- and Saudi-backed forces in Afghanistan, was paid by the U.K.’s MI6 intelligence agency and Osama Bin-Laden to also try to kill him in 1996.  The U.K. gave asylum to some of LIFG’s members, most of whom settled among the large Libyan community in Manchester.

The U.K. banned LIFG in 2005 and confiscated its members’ passports due to its links with Al Qaeda.  But that all changed again in 2011, their passports were returned, and MI6 helped many of them travel back to Libya to join the “NATO rebels.”  One LIFG member, Ramadan Abedi, took his 16-year old son Salman with him to Libya.  Six years later, Salman struck his own blow for his family’s Islamist ideology, carrying out a suicide bombing that killed 23 young music fans at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May 2017.

Western leaders’ eagerness to overthrow Gaddafi led France, the U.K., the U.S. and their NATO and Arab royalist allies to exploit a UN Security Council Resolution that authorized the use of force to protect civilians in Libya to overthrow the government, rejecting an African Union initiative to resolve the crisis peacefully.

The UN resolution called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Libya, but also authorized a “no-fly zone,” which became a pretext for bombing Libya’s military and civilian infrastructure with 7,700 bombs and missiles, and secretly deploying CIA officers and British, French and Qatari special operations forces to organize and lead Libyan rebel forces on the ground.

Qatar’s Chief of StaffMajor General Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya, told AFP,

“We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were in the hundreds in every region.  Training and communications had been in Qatari hands.  Qatar… supervised the rebels’ plans because they are civilians and did not have enough military experience. We acted as the link between the rebels and NATO forces.”

Qatari forces were even spotted leading the final assault on Libya’s Bab al-Aziziya military headquarters in Tripoli.

After taking Tripoli, NATO and its Libyan and Qatari allies cut off food, water and electricity to the people of Sirte and Bani Walid as they bombarded them for weeks.  The combination of aerial, naval and artillery bombardment, starvation and thirst on these civilian populations made a final, savage mockery of UNSCR 1973’s mandate to protect civilians.

Once the U.S. and its allies had destroyed Libya’s government, they abandoned it to chaos and civil war that still rage on six years later.  Two competing governments control different parts of the country, while local militias control many smaller areas.  Since 2011, human rights groups have reported that thousands of black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans have suffered arbitrary detention and appalling abuse at the hands of the Libyan militias that the U.S. and its allies helped to take over the country.  News reports of Africans being sold in slave markets in Libya are only the latest outrage.

As Libya struggles to dig its way out of the endless chaos the U.S. and its allies plunged it into, the U.S. has more or less washed its hands of the crisis in Libya.  In 2016, U.S. foreign aid to Libya was only $27 million.

Syria

The U.S. role in the civil war in Syria is a case study in how a CIA covert operation can fuel a conflict and destabilize a country to create pretexts for U.S. military intervention.  The CIA began organizing the transport of fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey in late 2011, as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were militarizing an uprising in Syria that grew out of Arab Spring protests earlier in the year.  British and French special operations forces provided military training in Turkey, and the CIA managed the infiltration of fighters and the distribution of weapons across the Syrian border.

A protest placard in the Kafersousah neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, on Dec. 26, 2012. (Source: Freedom House Flickr)

The Syrian government’s repression contributed to the transition from peaceful protests to an armed uprising.  But the primarily leftist groups that organized the political protests in 2011 were committed to opposing violence, sectarianism and foreign intervention.  They have always blamed Syria’s descent into war mainly on the foreign powers who supported the small Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and funneled more extreme foreign-based Islamist forces and thousands of tons of weapons into the country to ignite a full-scale civil war.

In 2012, as Kofi Annan tried to negotiate a ceasefire and a political transition in Syria, the U.S. and its allies poured in foreign fighters and heavier weapons and pledged even greater support to rebel forces at three Orwellian “Friends of Syria” conferences.  One of these was timed to coincide with the date when Annan’s ceasefire was to take effect, and their new pledges of weapons, money and support for the rebels were a flagrant move to undermine the ceasefire.

After Annan eventually got all sides to agree on a peace plan in Geneva on June 30th 2012, on the understanding that it would then be codified in a UN Security Council Resolution, the U.S. and its allies went back to New York and inserted new conditions and triggers for sanctions and military action in the resolution, leading to a Russian veto.  Annan’s Geneva Communique has been eclipsed by 5 more years of war and equally fruitless Geneva II, Geneva III and Geneva IV peace conferences.

Annan quit a month later and was characteristically guarded in his public statements.  But UN officials told the Atlantic in 2013 that Annan blamed the U.S. government for the failure of his mission.

“The U.S. couldn’t even stand by an agreement that the Secretary of State had signed in Geneva,” said one of Annan’s closest aides. “He quit in frustration.”

After shipping at least 2,750 tons of weapons from Libya to Turkey in 2011 and 2012, including howitzers, RPGs and sniper rifles, the CIA began scouring the Balkans for weapons left over from the wars in the 1990s that the Saudis and Qataris could buy to flood into Syria through Turkey and Jordan.  They shipped in up to 8,000 tons of weapons on flights from Croatia by March 2013.

Since then, the Saudis have bought more weapons from 8 different Balkan countries, as well as 15,000 TOW anti-tank missiles directly from the U.S. for $1.1 billion in December 2013.  That was despite U.S. officials admitting as early as October 2012 that most of the weapons shipped into Syria had gone to “hardline Islamic jihadists.”  Investigators in the Balkans report that the Saudis made their largest purchases ever in 2015, including brand new weapons straight off the production line.  Only 60% of these weapons had been delivered by early 2017, meaning that the flood of weapons will continue as long as the CIA keeps facilitating it and U.S. allies like Turkey and Jordan keep acting as conduits.

The main innovation in U.S. war-making under the Obama administration was a doctrine of covert and proxy war that avoided heavy U.S. casualties at the expense of a reliance on aerial bombardment, drone killings, a huge expansion of deadly special forces operations and the use of foreign proxy forces.  In every case, this fueled the global explosion of violence and chaos unleashed by Bush, and the main victims were millions of innocent civilians in country after country.

U.S. support for Al Qaeda splinter groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (now rebranded Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) and Islamic State turned the U.S. “war on terror” on its head.  Only ten years after September 11th, the U.S. was ready to support these groups to destabilize Libya and Syria, where the CIA was looking for pretexts for war and regime change.  The U.S. only reverted to its “war on terror” narrative after U.S. and allied support had built up these groups to the point that they could invade Iraq and take over its second largest city and a large swath of the country.

The U.S. covert proxy war in Syria led to the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam, which has reduced several cities in Iraq and Syria to rubble and killed tens of thousands of civilians; a civil war in Syria that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians; and a refugee crisis that has overwhelmed U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe.  After 6 years of war, Syria remains fragmented and mired in chaos.  The Syrian government has regained control of many areas, but the future remains very dangerous and uncertain for the people of Syria.  The U.S. currently has at least 1,723 troops on the ground in Syria, without any legal basis to be there, as well as 2,730 in Jordan and 2,273 in Turkey.

Ukraine

President Yanukovych of Ukraine was overthrown in a violent coup in February 2014.  Originally peaceful protests in the Maidan, or central square, in Kiev had gradually become dominated by the extreme right-wing Svoboda Party and, since November 2013, by a shadowy new group called Right Sector.  These groups displayed Nazi symbols, fought with police and eventually invaded the Ukrainian parliament building, prompting Yanukovych to flee the country.

On February 4th, 2014, leaked audio of a conversation between U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyattand Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland revealed U.S. plans for a coup to remove Yanukovych and install U.S. favorite Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister.  Nuland and Pyatt used language like, “glue this thing,” “midwife this thing” and “we could land jelly side up on this thing if we move fast,” as well as the more widely reported “Fuck the EU,” who they didn’t expect to support their plan.

On February 18th, Right Sector led 20,000 protesters on a march to the parliament building.  They attacked police with Molotov cocktails, stormed and occupied government buildings and the police attacked the protest camp in the Maidan.  As running battles with the police continued over the next few days, an estimated 75 people were killed, including 10 police and soldiers.  Mysterious snipers were reported firing from Philharmonic Hall and a hotel overlooking the Maidan, shooting at police and protesters.

Screen shot of the fatal fire in Odessa, Ukraine, on May 2, 2014. (From RT video)

Yanukovych and his government held meetings with opposition leaders, and the EU sent the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland to mediate the crisis.  On February 21st, Yanukovych agreed to hold new presidential and parliamentary elections before the end of the year.

But the protesters, now led by Svoboda and Right Sector, were not satisfied and took over the parliament building.  Right Sector had broken into an armory in Lviv and seized assault rifles and pistols, and the police no longer resisted.  On February 22nd, the parliament failed to make a quorum (338 of 447 members), but the 328 members present voted to remove Yanukovych from office and hold a new election in May.  Yanukovych issued defiant statements and refused to resign, then fled to Russia.

Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine refused to accept the results of the coup.  The Crimean parliament organized a referendum, in which 97% voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, which Crimea had been part of since 1783.  As an administrative matter, Kruschev had placed Crimea within the Ukrainian SSR in the 1950s, but when the USSR broke up, 94% of Crimeans voted to become an autonomous republic and 83% voted to keep dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.

Russia accepted the result of the referendum and now governs Crimea.  The greatest dangers to Russia from the coup in Kiev were that Ukraine would join NATO and Russia would lose its most strategic naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea.  NATO issued a declaration in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members of NATO.”  Also in 2008, Ukraine threatened not to renew the lease on the base at Sevastopol, which was due to expire in 2017, but it was eventually extended to 2042.

The UN has not recognized Russia’s reintegration of Crimea, and the U.S. has called it a violation of international law.  But given the history and autonomous status of Crimea, and the importance of Sevastopol to Russia, it was an understandable and predictable response to the illegal U.S.-planned coup in Ukraine.  It is the height of hypocrisy for U.S. officials to suddenly pose as champions of international law, which U.S. policy has systematically ignored, violated and undermined since the 1980s.

Russian-speaking majorities in Eastern Ukraine also declared independence from Ukraine as the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and appealed for Russian support, which Russia has covertly provided, although the extent of it is hotly debated.  There were also large protests against the coup in Odessa on the Black Sea, and 42 protesters were killed when a Right Sector mob attacked them and set fire to the Trades Union building where they took refuge.

With the Ukrainian military unable or unwilling to launch a civil war against its Russian-speaking compatriots in the East, the post-coup government recruited and trained a new “National Guard” to do so.  It was soon reported that the Azov Battalionand other National Guard units were linked to Svoboda and Right Sector, and that they were still displaying Nazi symbols as they assaulted Russian-speaking areas in Eastern Ukraine.  In 2015, the Azov Battalion was expanded to a 1,000-strong Special Operations Regiment.

The civil war in Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people.  The Minsk agreements between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in September 2014 and February 2015 established a tenuous ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, but the political problems persist, fueling outbreaks of fighting.  The U.S. has now agreed to send Ukraine Javelin anti-tank missiles and other heavier weapons, which are likely to reignite heavier fighting and complicate political negotiations.

Giving Peace a Chance?

Giving war a chance has not worked out well, to put it mildly, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Honduras, Yemen, Libya, Syria or Ukraine.  All remain mired in violence and chaos caused by U.S. invasions, bombing campaigns, coups and covert operations. In every case, U.S. policy decisions have either made these countries’ problems worse or are entirely responsible for the incredible problems afflicting them.  Many of those decisions were illegal or criminal under U.S. and/or international law.  The human cost to millions of innocent people is a historic tragedy that shames us all.  In every case, the U.S. could have made different decisions, and in every case, the U.S. can still make different decisions.

As an American general once observed, “When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”  The allocation of most of our federal budget to military spending both deprives the U.S. of other “tools” and creates political pressures to use the one we have already paid so much for, as implied in Albright’s question to Powell in 1992.

In Mr. Trump’s new national security strategy, he promised Americans that he will “preserve peace through strength.”  But the U.S. is not at peace today.  It is a nation at war across the world.  The U.S. has 291,000 troops stationed in 183 foreign countries, amounting to a global military occupation.  It has deployed special operations troops on secret combat and training missions to 149 countries in 2017 alone.  It has dropped 39,000 bombs and missiles on Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan since Trump took office, and the U.S.- and Iraqi-led assault on Mosul alone killed an estimated 40,000 civilians.  Pretending we are at peace and vowing to preserve it by diverting more of our resources to the military industrial complex is not a national security strategy.  It is an Orwellian deception taken straight from the pages of 1984.

At the dawn of 2018, nobody could accuse the American public of not giving war a chance.  We have let successive presidents talk us into war over each and every international crisis, most of which were caused or fueled by U.S. aggression and militarism in the first place, in the belief that they may have finally found an enemy they can defeat and a war that will somehow make life better for somebody somewhere.  But they haven’t.

As we look forward to a new year, surely it is time to try something different and finally “Give Peace a Chance.”  My 15-year old self was willing to spend Christmas fasting on the cold steps of a church to do that in 1969.  What can you do to give peace a chance in 2018?

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Yemen Is Today’s Guernica

NOVANEWS

The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led massacre of innoncent Yemeni civilians

On the market day of April 26, 1937, at the bequest of General Francisco Franco, a bombing of the Basque town of Guernica took place. It was carried out by Spain’s nationalistic government allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria. The attack, under the code name Operation Rügen, in which hundreds of people died, became a rallying cry against the brutal killing of innocent civilians.

80 years later, however, an even more criminal action is carried out against Yemeni civilians by Saudi Arabia, with the complicity of the United States. 2018 has begun with the usual deadly Saudi strikes. Recent ones in the city of Hodeida have killed 23 people and Yemenis live in fear of new strikes that do not show respect for civilians, including children.

The Yemeni civil war began in 2015 between two factions that claim to represent the Yemeni government. Houthi soldiers clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched military operations against the Houthis, and the U.S. provided logistical and military support for the campaign.

The Houthi rebels make up almost a third of Yemen, and have ruled the country for hundreds of years. Since the beginning of the hostilities, the Houthis advance to the south of Yemen has met with the constant bombardment by Saudi Arabia and its allies, resulting in a dramatic humanitarian crisis. Thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians, and thousands more have been forced to leave their homes and are desperately trying to find food and potable water.

Contaminated water as a result of an almost total sanitation breakdown has provoked a cholera outbreak considered the worst in history. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 815,000 suspected cases and 2,156 deaths. At the current rate of infection, experts estimate that the number of cases will reach seven figures by the end of the year. Presently, almost 20 million Yemenis –more than two-thirds of the population- do not have access to clean water and sanitation.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the emergency health-care needs of the population have been so great that health care workers are unable to provide even basic medical care. When fighting intensified in some areas, there were no formal rescue services so residents and relatives had to dig out their loved ones from the rubble of damaged buildings.

An Amnesty International report, “Yemen: The Forgotten War” describes the consequences of the attacks carried out by Saudi Arabia’s coalition: more than 4,600 civilians killed and over 8,000 injured; three million people forced out of their homes, 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance including food, water, shelter, fuel and sanitation and two million children out of school.

The flow of arms however, continues, unabated

. “The irresponsible and unlawful flow of arms to the warring parties in Yemen has directly contributed to civilian suffering on a massive scale,” declared James Lynch, from Amnesty International.

As Iran continues its support of the Houthis’ ragtag army, reports indicate that Saudi Arabia will purchase $7 billion worth of arms from the U.S.

Human Rights Watch has documented that the Saudi-led coalition was using internationally banned cluster munitions in at least 16 attacks that targeted populated areas, killing scores of civilians including women and children.

Last February, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, “to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia” because of its conduct against civilians in Yemen.

In the meantime, health facilities continue to be hit by bombs and health and humanitarian workers are increasingly targeted. In a scene out of Guernica, Amal Sabri, a resident of Mokha, a port city on the Red Sea coast of Yemen, described a Saudi Arabia airstrike which killed at least 63 civilians,

“It was like something out of Judgment Day. Corpses and heads scattered, engulfed by fire and ashes.”

In Yemen today, world powers have not yet learned the lesson from Guernica.

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Trump Nuking North Korea Would “Make America Great Again”?

NOVANEWS

Trump Nuking North Korea Would “Make America Great Again”? Trump is a Modern-day Machiavelli Who doesn’t Care about Morals and Ethics

If Trump is willing to accept the enormous loss of American life — which are the only people that he cares about as the US President — then turning the Korean Peninsula into Asia’s nuclear panhandle would indeed “Make America Great Again” by permanently handicapping its Russian & Chinese geostrategic competitors as well as its Japanese & South Korean economic ones.

The war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald J. Trump has suddenly taken a very foreboding turn, with both men now talking about “nuclear buttons” and openly hinting at the prospects of carrying out a preemptive first strike against the other.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!

The first thing to remember is that Trump is dead serious (pun intended) about his desire to “Make America Great Again”, and that he will stop at nothing to see his vision fulfilled in the future, including if he has to use nuclear weapons to make it happen.

Normative objections like arguing about how “terrible” and “evil” this is have absolutely no effect on Trump, who has come to be the literal embodiment of the “Mad Man Theory” and cares nothing about such concerns, ruthlessly viewing the world through a Neo-Realist prism where everything revolves around power.

If there’s any “emotional” point that would give Trump pause to think, then it’s about the lives of the nearly quarter-million Americans (including servicemen and their families) living in South Korea who could easily be killed in the opening days of a Korean Continuation War, and this is the only reason why Trump has yet to use nuclear weapons against North Korea.

Right now the President whose opponents label as a “heartless psychopath” is actually very concerned about the moral responsibility that he would have to forever shoulder in potentially sacrificing so many Americans, but if he ever surmounts his conscientious objections to this or is misled by the “deep state” into believing that North Korea is in the imminent process of launching its own preemptive strike (or is provoked by the military to already do so), the he might “make peace with himself” in the “comfort” that “only” 250,000 Americans had to die (notwithstanding the millions of Asians that he doesn’t care about) in order to “Make America Great Again”.

Brutally speaking, the only real consequence that the US would suffer from nuking North Korea is the death of its South Korean-based compatriots as “collateral damage”, and the possibility of a Chinese military response to America’s brazen bombing(s?) could be avoided if Washington provokes Pyongyang into striking first because of Beijing’s previous pledge not to intervene if its wayward “ally” is the one most directly “responsible” for reigniting hostilities.

US bases in South Korea

Source: Oriental Review

Accepting that the US would quickly emerge as militarily victorious in this conflict, it’s now time to examine how the destructive consequences of nuking North Korea would actually “Make America Great Again” from Trump’s “Kraken”-like Neo-Realist perspective.

To begin with, almost all of North Korea’s territory could be rendered inhospitable depending on the scale and scope of the US’ nuclear arms use, thus turning it into the ultimate “buffer zone” and therefore making the decades-long question of whether the (now-former) country would be occupied by Chinese or American-South Korean troops after a speculative continuation war moot.

Secondly, the atmospheric aftereffects of America’s nuclear weapons use are difficult to precisely predict and should be left to more competent experts to comment upon in detail, but it can confidently be presumed that this would affect South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, up to and including making some of their territory also inhospitable.

Not only that, but Seoul and even Tokyo could be wiped out if Pyongyang is successful in nuking them in its final moments, and even if they’re not destroyed, then the resultant nuclear atmospheric damage to South Korea and Japan would devastate these once-strong Asian economies and reduce them to uncompetitive “Third World” states.

The same can also happen to a large chunk of China in its rustbelt “Manchurian” region of the Northeast, as well as the base of Russia’s Pacific Fleet and its “Window to Asia” in Vladivostok, though the exact consequences are again subject to the atmospheric ramifications resulting from the scope and scale of any speculative American nuclear bombing of North Korea.

One of the relevant tangential developments that could unfold is that China’s domestic agricultural industry could collapse, and this could combine with the widespread fear resulting from the nearby radioactive panhandle to produce unpredictable socio-political consequences in the People’s Republic.

Furthermore, the nuclear destruction of North Korea and the attendant apocalyptic aftereffects that this would have for Northeast Asia would for all intents and purposes remove each of these victimized nation-states from the geopolitical game except for perhaps Russia, seeing as how they’d all be wreaked with internal turmoil in dealing with the long-term radioactive fallout of what happened, thus restoring the US to its immediate post-World War II “glorious” position in recapturing the majority of the global economy and literally “Making America Great Again”.

It’s precisely this “reward” that is so tempting to Trump and why his finger is itching to press the nuclear button, but then again he’s still held back by the thought of the quarter-million American lives that might have to be sacrificed as a result, though he might “console” himself with the “excuse” that this was “necessary” in order for the remaining 320+ million to “rule the world”.

As for the millions upon millions of Asians who would surely die in this scenario, Trump would “rationalize” it by convincing himself that he was taking North Korean “slaves” “out of their misery” and that all the others who allowed Kim Jong Un to “get out of control” and launch what the Pentagon might provoke to be Pyongyang’s first strike “deserved it”, shedding all personal responsibility for this by claiming that he “inherited an impossible mess” from his hated predecessors who already made its dynamics “irreversible” and therefore its conclusion “inevitable”.

The only realistic chance that Trump can be stopped from nuking North Korea in the event that he “gets over” the potential deaths of a quarter-million Americans (considering that the deaths of Asians aren’t anything that he cares about) and/or is misled into thinking that North Korea is on the cusp of launching its own imminent first strike (or was provoked into doing so) is if Russia and China convey the message to the US — whether openly or discretely — that they will respond with nuclear weapons if Washington dares to use them.

This brinksmanship would be very dangerous because there’s no telling whether Kim Jong Un would introduce nukes into any forthcoming conflict first, though from Pyongyang’s perspective it would have to in order to ensure its survival or “go out with a bang” like it’s been threatening, resultantly giving the US a semi-“plausible” right to respond in kind, albeit much more disproportionately.

However much some people may wish, it is unlikely that Russia and/or China would go to nuclear war against the US over North Korea, especially in the event that Pyongyang used nukes first (whether justifiably or not), and in spite of the long-term radioactive fallout that could devastate their two countries (China much more so than Russia in this case).

In addition, it can be assured that any US nuclear (counter-)attack against North Korea would be preceded by the scrupulous monitoring of all Chinese nuclear assets “just in case”, meaning that Washington would be on “red alert” to nuke China if Washington thought that Beijing was about to bomb its overseas bases or homeland in preemptive response for the deadly radioactive future that the US would be giving it, thus representing an unimaginably dangerous situation fraught with the risk of even the smallest misstep leading to a nuclear war between the US and China and further diminishing the chance that Beijing would strike back.

All in all, Trump is proving himself to be the consummate risk-taker who’s not afraid to up the stakes in any situation, and a thorough read of his personality proves that he wouldn’t shy away from using nuclear weapons against North Korea, deeply believing that it’s the key to “Make America Great Again” even if this would run the chance of a nuclear war with China too.

Trump is a modern-day Machiavelli who doesn’t care about morals, ethics, and principles when it comes to advancing his country’s grand strategic interests on the world stage, but it’s because of the little bit of “humanity” that’s still left within him in caring about the fate of a quarter-million Americans that he has yet to push the nuclear red button that’s sitting so tantalizingly close on his desk.

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Iranian Protests: U.S. Meddling and the Deep State’s Unfinished Business

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Protests have been reported across several cities in Iran over the last  several days of December 2017. Protesters allegedly decry Iran’s economy as well as the nation’s involvement in nearby Syria.

The Western media has attempted to cultivate two narratives – one focused on portraying the protests as widespread, spontaneous, and having focused first on “economic grievances” before becoming political – another narrative openly admitting to US involvement and praising US President Donald Trump for “standing up” to the “Iranian regime.”

Of course, neither narrative is even remotely grounded in reality.

US Meddling in Iran Stretches Back Decades 

US regime-change operations targeting Iran stretch back decades and have continued within a singular geopolitical strategy, regardless of who has occupied the White House, including under the more recent US administrations of George Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

While pro-war circles in the US claim the 1979 Iranian Revolution was an instance of Iran drawing first blood, the revolution was in fact a direct response to then already decades of US meddling in Iran stretching back as early as 1953 with the US Central Intelligence Agency’s Operation AJAX.

Regarding Operation AJAX, in an entry on the CIA’s own website titled, All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror,” it admits (emphasis added):

The target was not an oppressive Soviet puppet but a democratically elected government whose populist ideology and nationalist fervor threatened Western economic and geopolitical interests. The CIA’s covert intervention—codenamed TPAJAX—preserved the Shah’s power and protected Western control of a hugely lucrative oil infrastructure. It also transformed a turbulent constitutional monarchy into an absolutist kingship and induced a succession of unintended consequences at least as far ahead as the Islamic revolution of 1979—and, Kinzer argues in his breezily written, well-researched popular history, perhaps to today.

The article – a review by the CIA’s own history staff of a book regarding Operation AJAX – admits that US policy regarding Iran merely picked up where the British Empire left off in an effort to reassert rapidly-slipping Western control over the globe. In no way was US efforts to undermine and control the government of Iran described in terms of protecting US national security or promoting democracy – and in fact was characterized instead as undermining Iranian self-determination.

It is this admission that reveals the core truth of today’s tensions between Iran and the United States. The West still seeks to reassert itself and its economic interests in the Middle East. Notions of “freedom,” “democracy,” as well as threats of “terrorism,” “nuclear holocaust,” and even the ongoing conflict with nearby Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf States are but facades behind which this self-serving neo-imperial agenda is pursued.

Today’s Protests Openly Plotted by US Policymakers for Years   

The Brookings Institution in its 2009 Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” report dedicated an entire chapter to plotting the overthrow of the Iranian government.

Titled, “THE VELVET REVOLUTION: Supporting a Popular Uprising,” the policy paper lays out (emphasis added):

Because the Iranian regime is widely disliked by many Iranians, the most obvious and palatable method of bringing about its demise would be to help foster a popular revolution along the lines of the “velvet revolutions” that toppled many communist governments in Eastern Europe beginning in 1989. For many proponents of regime change, it seems self-evident that the United States should encourage the Iranian people to take power in their own name, and that this would be the most legitimate method of regime change. After all, what Iranian or foreigner could object to helping the Iranian people fulfill their own desires?

The paper then admits:

The true objective of this policy option is to overthrow the clerical regime in Tehran and see it replaced, hopefully, by one whose views would be more compatible with U.S. interests in the region. 

In essence, Brookings quickly admits that its “velvet revolution” would be the fulfillment of Washington’s desires, not the Iranian people’s – pursued merely under the guise of helping Iranians fulfill their own desires. As the CIA itself admits in its own historical records that US “interests in the region” are based on economic exploitation and the enrichment of Wall Street and Washington, not lifting up, empowering, or enriching the Iranian people.

It is an open admission regarding US designs for Iran demonstrated on multiple occasions elsewhere from Iraq to Libya to Syria to Ukraine and Yemen – what is promoted as progressive political revolution supported by the “democratic” West is in fact the destruction and subjugation of a nation, its people, and its resources at the cost of global peace and prosperity.

Creating an Opposition from Whole Cloth 

The Brookings paper openly states (emphasis added):

The United States could play multiple roles in facilitating a revolution. By funding and helping organize domestic rivals of the regime, the United States could create an alternative leadership to seize power. As Raymond Tanter of the Iran Policy Committee argues, students and other groups “need covert backing for their demonstrations. They need fax machines. They need Internet access, funds to duplicate materials, and funds to keep vigilantes from beating them up.” Beyond this, U.S.-backed media outlets could highlight regime shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent. The United States already supports Persian language satellite television (Voice of America Persian) and radio (Radio Farda) that bring unfiltered news to Iranians (in recent years, these have taken the lion’s share of overt U.S. funding for promoting democracy in Iran). U.S. economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership.

It should be noted that economic and military pressure were both cited by the BBC and other Western news sources as “grievances” by the so-called “opposition” amid Iran’s most recent protests.

Brookings lists “intellectuals,” “students, labor, and civil society organizations” under a subsection of the chapter titled, “Finding the Right Proxies.”

Under a subsection titled, “Military Intervention,” Brookings admits:

…if the United States ever succeeds in sparking a revolt against the clerical regime, Washington may have to consider whether to provide it with some form of military support to prevent Tehran from crushing it. 

The report continues by stating:

…if the United States is to pursue this policy, Washington must take this possibility into consideration. It adds some very important requirements to the list: either the policy must include ways to weaken the Iranian military or weaken the willingness of the regime’s leaders to call on the military, or else the United States must be ready to intervene to defeat it. 

Armed with this knowledge, Iranian protests quickly turning violent due to mysterious gunmen and nebulous armed groups that suddenly appear can be viewed instead through the more realistic prism of pre-positioned US-armed gangs rolled out to expand unrest and hinder security operations aimed at pacifying US-organized mobs.

Step 2: Armed Insurrection

Considering Brookings’ realization that any mob the US stirs up in Iran is likely to be simply swept off the streets – it followed its “Velvet Revolution” chapter with one titled, “INSPIRING AN INSURGENCY: Supporting Iranian Minority and Opposition Groups.”

Here, an important admission is openly made and extensively built upon – the arming and backing of terrorist organizations with American blood on their hands – a causal “option” shamelessly considered by American policymakers in 2009 that would become a matter of fact during the 2011 “Arab Spring” and the subsequent US-fueled wars from Libya and Syria fought via Al Qaeda and the myriad of franchises it inspired.

Brookings unabashedly admits:

As much as many Americans might like to help the Iranian people rise up and take their destiny in their own hands, the evidence suggests that its likelihood is low—and that American assistance could well make it less likely rather than more. Consequently, some who favor fomenting regime change in Iran argue that it is utopian to hold out hope for a velvet revolution; instead, they contend that the United States should turn to Iranian opposition groups that already exist, that already have demonstrated a desire to fight the regime, and who appear willing to accept U.S. assistance.

Among the groups considered, Brookings admits:

Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). 

Of the MEK, Brookings admits (emphasis added):

…the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take American hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread. Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations. 

It was no coincidence that while Brookings penned its 2009 report, efforts were already well underway to remove MEK from the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations – and was fully removed from the list by 2012, according to the US State Department itself.

Many of President Donald Trump’s political supporters played a direct role in lobbying to get terrorist organization MEK off the US State Department’s FTO list. Their work began under Bush and continued under Obama. It was in fact under Obama’s administration when MEK was finally delisted.

It is telling that MEK only found itself removed from a list of terrorist organizations because the US required it for a terror campaign of its own design against Tehran – the organization itself having reformed itself in no shape, form, or way and intent – by Brookings and other US policymakers’ own admissions – to carry on further atrocities – simply in the name of US regime change in Iran.

MEK is joined by other terrorist organizations the US has cultivated along Iran’s peripheries since 2011 and America’s multiple proxy wars in the region. These include Al Qaeda, Kurdish militias, and the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS).

Brookings lays out under a subsection titled, “Finding a Conduit and Safe Haven,” that:

Of equal importance (and potential difficulty) will be finding a neighboring country willing to serve as the conduit for U.S. aid to the insurgent group, as well as to provide a safe haven where the group can train, plan, organize, heal, and resupply…

…without such a partner, it would be far more difficult for the United States to support an insurgency. One thing that the United States would have in its favor when searching for a state to play this role is that many of Iran’s neighbors dislike and fear the Islamic Republic.

Since 2009, the US has secured for itself multiple conduits and safe havens – which has been the primary reason Iran has been involved so deeply in Syria since the 2011 war erupted. Western Syria now hosts multiple US military bases as well as a large proxy contingent made up of Kurdish militias and extremists from Al Qaeda/ISIS being retrained by the US for redeployment in continued proxy wars across the region.

Had Iran failed to prevent the entire overthrow of the Syrian state, the nation would have been transformed into a single springboard for Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Kurdish militants to invade and decimate Iran before moving on to southern Russia.

It should be noted that Brookings – among its conclusions regarding the creation of an “insurgency” against Iran – states:

Properly executed, covert support to an insurgency would provide the United States with “plausible deniability.” As a result, the diplomatic and political backlash would likely be much less than if the United States were to mount a direct military action. 

Of course, Brookings’ own publicly-published conspiracy coupled together with the US’ demonstrated use of proxies in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and now Iran, lays bare this strategy and mitigates whatever “plausible deniability” Washington hoped to maintain.

Regardless, the West, through its formidable influence in the media, will attempt to maintain plausible deniability regarding US involvement in Iranian unrest until the last possible moment – not unlike how it hid its role in executing the so-called “Arab Spring” during its opening phases despite plotting and organizing the mayhem years in advance.

US Hopes to Break Iran, Would Settle for Setting it Back

Just as the US hoped for speedy regime change in Syria in 2011, but settled for the destruction of the nation, the division of its territory, and the weakening of the Syrian military, the US likewise has primary and secondary goals already laid out for regime change plans versus Iran.

The Brookings report admits:

…even if U.S. support for an insurgency failed to produce the overthrow of the regime, it could still place Tehran under considerable pressure, which might either prevent the regime from making mischief abroad or persuade it to make concessions on issues of importance to the United States (such as its nuclear program and support to Hamas, Hizballah, and the Taliban). Indeed, Washington might decide that this second objective is a more compelling rationale for supporting an insurgency than the (much less likely) goal of actually overthrowing the regime.

In other words, US regime change again is openly admitted as an act of geopolitical coercion, not self-defense. The strategy laid out by Brookings is more than mere “suggestions.” It is an enumerated list of prescribed actions that have demonstrably been executed since in Syria, Libya, and Yemen and are now manifesting themselves in nearby Iran.

In the world of geopolitical analysis, it is not often that a signed and dated confession can be cited when describing conspiracies against another nation-state. In the case of US meddling in Iran, Brookings provides just such evidence – nearly 200 pages long – detailing everything from fabricated opposition, US sponsorship of terrorism, and even engineered provocations by the US and Israel to trigger a full-scale war.

As the West probes Iran and stories of “unrest” make headlines, looking past the Western media’s diversions, excuses, and outright lies, toward the engineered nature of this conflict helps quickly decipher the truth, assign blame, and reveal deceivers and collaborators in yet another campaign of Western aggression thousands of miles from American shores to be fought with US taxpayers’ money and perhaps even the blood of US soldiers.

Posted in USA, Iran0 Comments

Medical Evacuations in Syria, Deal between Syrian Government and the Terrorists

Featured image: Jan Egeland, Special Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria. (Source: Violaine Martin/ UN Geneva)

The Syrian Red Crescent, a branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has confirmed that 29 critically ill persons were evacuated from East Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria on Friday. The 29 evacuated included 17 children, 6 women and 6 men. A crucial part of this deal included the release of 29 civilians who had been kidnapped from Adra by The Army of Islam in December 2013.

The deal was between the Syrian government and the terrorists, with oversight by the Syrian Red Crescent.

The Army of Islam, also known as Jaish Islam, is a Radical terrorist group which professes the Salafist ideology. It is supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and was headed by the Syrian terrorist Zahran Alloush, who was killed in December 2015.  The Army of Islam is the main fighting group in East Ghouta. The Army of Islam shares the same ideology as ISIS, however, the western media often labels them as rebels.

The 29 civilians hostages released were part of a much larger group of hostages captured by The Army of Islam in a massacre at the industrial city of Adra, north of Damascus, in December 2013. The exact number of hostages being held for four years is unknown, but they include children, women, men, and some are family groups. These hostages were living in a workers compound, with families together in living facilities, while the adults worked in various industries, such as a cement factory. Some of the civilians were living and employed in the area in service jobs; such as shop keepers and bakers. Adra was a thriving community of workers and their families, not far from the Syrian capital.

The Army of Islam, along with other armed terrorists of similar ideology, swept into Adra and went house to house slaughtering people, in some cases entire families. The massacre continued for two days, while the terrorists were singing battle songs about cleansing Syria from all Christians and non-Sunni Muslims. The attack and massacre was carried out for sectarian reasons against minorities. A Christian physician named George was beheaded. The bakery workers resisted having their equipment vandalized and were baked alive in their own ovens. The terrorists had captured so many hostages that they could not handle the numbers, and they released 5,000 persons initially, who were later rescued by the Syrian military. However, the terrorists took hostages which they have held now for 4 years.

Zahran Alloush became famous for taking some of those hostages and parading them around in cages, reminiscent of circus cages, in December 2015, shortly before his death. He also ordered women hostages to be driven around the area on a cage on the back of a truck. He and his group have used civilians as human shields for years, which is a war crime.  According to Human Rights Watch, the practice constitutes hostage-taking and an outrage against their personal dignity, which are both war crimes.

Zahran Alloush’s brother Mohamed is the leader of the political arm of The Army of Islam and has participated in many of the UN sponsored Geneva meetings, as a formal representative of the Syrian opposition, in their negotiations for the purpose of bringing an end to the suffering in Syria.

The UN’s humanitarian co-coordinator, Jan Egeland has criticized the deal made for the swap of 29 civilian hostages from Adra, in exchange for 29 ill civilians from inside East Ghouta, which is under the control of the terrorists who originally massacred and kidnapped the civilians in Adra.   Mr. Egeland called the deal ‘bad’ when interviewed by the BBC. He said the ill patients deserved medical treatment without being part of a swap. The families of the 29 hostages released after 4 years of torture, deprivation and suffering might not agree with Mr. Egeland’s assessment. They might well ask, how could an international humanitarian official deem one child suffering an illness, but who belongs to the terrorist’s community, as more deserving than a child who has suffered capture for 4 years? Suffering on both sides of the Syrian conflict has been felt for 7 years.

Western leaders, western officials and the western media have come under criticism for consistently highlighting the plight of the terrorists and their supporters, who are under threat from attacks by the Syrian government forces. However, the plight of the millions of Syrian civilians living in Damascus, and facing at times a daily barrage of rockets and missiles into residential neighborhoods, which originate from East Ghouta, is rarely focused on. Syrian military airstrikes against terrorist positions and enclaves are reported by the western media in detail, including amateur videos uploaded by the terrorists themselves and considered as ‘news’. There has been an unbalanced story-line fed to the international audience: even though the terrorist groups in Syria would be hunted down and killed if they were in USA, UK, Europe, Canada or Australia, the media spins the story as if they are ‘rebels’ fighting for political change in Syria, with full support from the Syrian people. The UN’s humanitarian co-coordinator, Jan Egeland would seem to be reinforcing this unbalanced view in his comparison of the two sides in the swap.

The Russian government has tried to convince the UN Security Council to designate The Army of Islam as a terrorist group; however, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Ukraine have refused this designation. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said,

“We have called for this and submitted a relevant proposal to the sanctions committee, so that they [the groups] would be added to the list of terrorist organizations, but so far, our Western partners are not ready for this.”

The conflict in Syria has entered into its last stage. Western leaders demanded a political settlement to the war, all the while supporting the militants on the ground. It would appear that a military solution will be the end of the war in Syria. The armed men supported by the US-NATO and Arab countries of Persian Gulf alliance have lost the war, and are in their final days. All eyes are now on the next monumental meeting at Sochi, and the opposition will try to negotiate their defeat.

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The Psyops Manual the CIA Gave to Nicaragua’s Contras Is Totally Bonkers

During the U.S. government’s decade-long support of the Contra rebels who waged an armed campaign against Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista regime in the 1980s, the CIA funneled all manner of assistance to the anti-socialist “freedom fighters,” from training and financial assistance to covert operations. The original “advise and assist” mission was a disaster in retrospect, spurring all manner of human rights violations as well as the modern crack cocaine scourge. But the CIA aid program’s most fascinating product might be the batshit crazy psychological warfare manual cooked up for the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries. 

First described to the Associated Press by the House Intelligence Committee in October 1984, the guide to “psychological operations in guerrilla warfare” was whittled down to 38 pages and released on Dec. 16 in responseto a Freedom of Information Act request from Muckrock national security reporter Emma Best. The guide covers all sorts of weird topics, from the development of “armed propaganda teams” to engaging would-be socialists in an impromptu game of Model UN. The manual says it was designed specifically with “the Christian and democratic crusade being conducted in Nicaragua by the Freedom Commandos” in mind — and it is fucking bonkers. Here are some highlights:

Book-of-the-month clubs 

The CIA manual emphasizes from the beginning that every successful warfighter “must be highly motivated to engage in propaganda face to face”: no Facebook ads or “Cuban Twitter” here. And that means it’s book-group time, y’all!

CIA psyops manual Nicaragua contras

An excerpt from the psychological warfare manual produced by the CIA for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s (Photo via MuckRock/FOIA)

Isn’t this wasting time that could be spent fighting down-and-dirty against the tenets of socialism? Probably, but who cares?

Make people comfortable with your brandished weapons

In any guerrilla conflict, especially in urban centers, the imminent nature of armed violence is always a pressing concern for civilian populations. For the CIA, this poses an interesting challenge: How do we make locals OK with our heavily-armed bandits, but wary of other heavily-armed bandits? Behold “armed propaganda,” which, according to the manual, “improves the behavior of the popular towards its author, and it is not achieved by force.”

CIA psyops manual Nicaragua contras

An excerpt from the psychological warfare manual produced by the CIA for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s (Photo via MuckRock/FOIA)

The end goal is “to create an identification of the people with the weapons and with the guerrillas who carry them, so that the population feels that those weapons are, indirectly, the weapons that will protect them and help them in their struggle against an oppressive regime,” per the CIA manual. Translation: The only way to stop bad guys with guns is lots and lots of good guys with guns — even if that isn’t a totally true statement.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Especially if actual training and experience isn’t a concern beyond “persuasive powers.”

CIA psyops manual Nicaragua contras

An excerpt from the psychological warfare manual produced by the CIA for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s  (Photo via MuckRock/FOIA)

Beware of social justice warriors

I’m not even kidding: The CIA has seen “social crusaders” as useful idiots to be exploited for decades.

CIA psyops manual Nicaragua contras

An excerpt from the psychological warfare manual produced by the CIA for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s (Photo via MuckRock/FOIA)

Free assembly is for sheep

But it’s a great chance to spark chaos!

CIA psyops manual Nicaragua contras

An excerpt from the psychological warfare manual produced by the CIA for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s (Photo via MuckRock/FOIA)

“Support for local contacts who are rooted in reality”

This one is my favorite, hands down. Despite the emphasis on promoting a positive perception of the Contras in Nicaragua’s shaky political environment, the goal of the CIA psyops was a long-term undermining of the very perception of reality. A successful psyops mission ends with the creation of “propagandist-combatant guerillas” who champion a chosen ideology as warriors against a repressive regime:

CIA psyops manual Nicaragua contras

An excerpt from the psychological warfare manual produced by the CIA for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s (Photo via MuckRock/FOIA)

Chilling stuff. Sounds familiar, right? It should.

Read the whole CIA training manual below:

Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare by Jared Keller on Scribd

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