The Boston Bombings: Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a Double Agent Recruited by the FBI?

NOVANEWS
 
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Omar Mateen had been on the FBI’s radar for some time before he opened fire at a nightclub in Florida, killing 49 and wounding 53 people. Now the public is asking why the FBI didn’t do something to prevent the tragedy.

Glenn Greenwald responded with an article in The Washington Post, “The FBI Was Right Not to Arrest Omar Mateen Before the Shooting”. He warned that pressure on the FBI to be more pro-active will inevitably lead to more draconian anti-terror legislation and the loss of even more civil liberties in the name of preventing the unpreventable.

But there is a legitimate reason to question the FBI. There are times when the Bureau seems to be playing dangerous games with dangerous people, as shown in the article below.

This was first published in June of 2013. At the time, we said there were ‘aspects of the Boston Marathon bombing where the official story just doesn’t add up. But what if these inconsistencies point to something amiss on a far deeper level? What if the FBI’s initial claim that it didn’t know who the Tsarnaev brothers were — when in fact it knew about them for several years — hides an even bigger embarrassment?

Update. Last month, WhoWhatWhy’s James Henry reported that, despite public denials, the FBI secretly flagged Tamerlan as a terrorist threat in his immigration records. And the Bureau admitted that it conducted a six-month-long “assessment” of Tsarnaev, two years before the bombing. But then the FBI said it closed the investigation after it“found no link or ‘nexus’ to terrorism”.

Contradicting that statement, both the FBI and CIA had actually put Tsarnaev’s name on the terrorist “watch list,” stating that he “may be armed and dangerous” — and that screening him is “mandatory” if he attempts to board an airplane.

So why didn’t they do so?

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Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a Double Agent Recruited by the FBI?

by Prof. Peter Dale Scott

June 23, 2013

Amid the swirl of mysteries surrounding the alleged Boston bombers, one fact, barely touched upon in the mainstream US media, stands out: There is a strong possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers, was a double agent, perhaps recruited by the FBI.

If Tsarnaev was a double agent, he would be just one of thousands of young people coerced by the FBI, as the price for settling a minor legal problem, into a dangerous career as an informant.

That he was so coerced is the easiest explanation for two seemingly incompatible incidents in his life:

The first is that he returned to Russia in 2012, ostensibly to renew his Russian passport so he could file an application for US citizenship.

The second is that Tsarnaev then jeopardized his citizenship application with conspicuous, provocative — almost theatrical — behavior that seemed more caricaturethan characteristic of a Muslim extremist.

False Notes

While walking around in flashy western clothes in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, he visited his cousin, Magomed Kartashov, a prominent Islamist leader, already on the Russians’ radar. The two reportedly spent hours discussing Tsarnaev’s wish to join a terrorist cell there in the Caucasus. Later, Russian authorities asked Kartashov if he had tried to incite Tsarnaev with “extremist” views. Kartashov said it was the other way around: he had tried to convince Tsarnaev that “violent methods are not right.”

Experts agree that Tsarnaev could not have expected such provocative activity to escape the notice of the vigilant Russian authorities.

Back in America, Tsarnaev again called attention to himself as a radical Muslim. Just one month after he returned from his trip, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him featured multiple jihadist videos that he had purportedly endorsed.

And in January 2013, he got himself thrown out of a mosque in Cambridge for shouting at a speaker who compared the Prophet Mohammed to Martin Luther King Jr. Tsarnaev rarely attended this mosque, but he must have known it was moderate. (He had done something similar the previous November at the same mosque.) Typically, jihadists are trained to blend in, to be as inconspicuous as possible. Did Tsarnaev go to this mosque with the express intent of smoking out possible radicals?

The key to Tsarnaev’s puzzling behavior may lie in the answer to another question: when exactly did Tsarnaev first come to the attention of the FBI? The timeline offered by the agency, and duly reported in the mainstream media, has been inconsistent. One story line focused on the FBI’s response to an alert from Russian authorities.

Eric Schmitt and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times, wrote, on April 24, 2013,

The first Russian request came in March 2011 through the F.B.I.’s office in the United States Embassy in Moscow. The one-page request said Mr. Tsarnaev ”had changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to a part of Russia “to join unspecified underground groups.”

The Russian request was reportedly based on intercepted phone calls between Tsarnaev’s mother and an unidentified person (The Guardian [London], April 21, 2013). According to another source, several calls were intercepted, including one between Tsarnaev and his mother.

So was it the Russian alert in March 2011 that first prompted the FBI to investigate Tsarnaev? This conclusion seems undermined by another report in the Times — written four days earlier by the same two reporters plus a third — that dated the agency’s first contact with Tamerlan and family members at least two months earlier, in January 2011.

If the FBI interviewed Tsarnaev before the Russians asked them to, then what prompted the agency’s interest in him? Were his contacts here as well as in Russia considered useful to American counterintelligence?

The Canadian Connection

Although it’s not known why the Russians were intercepting phone calls involving the Tsarnaevs, one reason might have been Tamerlan’s connection, direct or indirect, with a Canadian terrorist named William Plotnikov. According to USA Today, a Russian security official told the AP that Plotnikov had been detained in Dagestan in December 2010 on suspicion of having ties to the militants and during his interrogation was forced to hand over a list of social networking friends from the United States and Canada who like him had once lived in Russia, Novaya Gazeta reported. The newspaper said Tsarnaev’s name was on that list, bringing him for the first time to the attention of Russia’s secret services.

According to a slightly different version, Plotnikov, “while under interrogation in the militant hotbed of Dagestan, named Tsarnaev as a fellow extremist.

The similar backgrounds of Plotnikov and Tsarnaev make it likely that they had indeed been in contact. Both were recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Both had successful boxing careers in North America, and both surprised their friends by converting to Islamist extremism.

Plotnikov was a member of the Caucasus Emirate, an al-Qaeda ally, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been searching for him since 2010. By 2011 the United States had joined the Russians in targeting this terrorist group as an al-Qaeda ally, and had offered $5 million for information leading to the capture of the group’s leader Dokka Umarov. (Moscow Times, May 27, 2011)

Plotnikov was killed in July 2012 in a shootout between militants and police in Dagestan. Tsarnaev left Dagestan for America two days after Plotnikov was killed.

US and Russia Share Concerns

Tsarnaev’s hopes for a Russian passport would have been put at risk by his openly provocative behavior in Dagestan  unless he was acting as an informant. But for which government, the US or Russia?

The United States and Russia have two shared concerns in the “arc of crisis” stretching from Afghanistan to the Caucasus — terrorism and drugs. The two problems are interrelated, because drugs, especially in the Caucasus, help finance terror operations. This vitally affects Russia, both because it has one of the highest heroin death rates in the world, and even more because some of its member republics, like Dagestan, are up to 80 percent Muslim. This shared concern has led to a successful joint US-Russia anti-drug operation in Afghanistan.

Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev caught up in a similar counter-intelligence operation?

The FBI’s Dysfunctional Informant Program

One of the more controversial features of the FBI’s informant program is the frequency with which FBI agents coerce young people into the dangerous role of informant, as a price for settling a minor legal problem. Tsarnaev fits the mold. His successful career as a boxer was interrupted and his application for US citizenship was held up (and perhaps denied) because “a 2009 domestic violence complaint was standing in his way.” This alone would mark him as a candidate for recruitment.

Thousands of vulnerable young people avoid our overcrowded prisons by agreeing to become snitches, sometimes wearing a wire. In this way a person whose only crime may have been selling marijuana to a friend can end up risking his career and even his life. And for what?

According to Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker,

The snitch-based system has proved notoriously unreliable, fuelling wrongful convictions. In 2000, more than twenty innocent African-American men in Hearne, Texas, were arrested on cocaine charges, based on the false accusations of an informant seeking to escape a burglary charge. This incident, and a number of others like it, prompted calls for national legislation to regulate informant use.

After 9/11, the coercive techniques of the FBI drug war, along with half of the agents using them, were redirected to surveillance of Muslims. The emphasis was no longer on investigation of specific crimes, but the recruitment of spies to report on all Muslim communities.

In 2005 the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General found that a high percentage of cases involving informants contained violations of the FBI’s own guidelines. Its report noted that since 2001 the rules had been loosened to reflect the new emphasis on intelligence gathering and. by extension, the bureau’s urgent need for informants.

According to the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, … nearly every major post-9/11 terrorism-related prosecution has involved a sting operation, at the center of which is a government informant. In these cases, the informants—who work for money or are seeking leniency on criminal charges of their own — have crossed the line from merely observing potential criminal behavior to encouraging and assisting people to participate in plots that are largely scripted by the FBI itself. Under the FBI’s guiding hand, the informants provide the weapons, suggest the targets and even initiate the inflammatory political rhetoric that later elevates the charges to the level of terrorism.

A writer for Mother Jones, Trevor Aaronson, also investigated the FBI’s informant-led terrorism cases for over a year; he too found that in a number of cases, “the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.”

Refuse the FBI and See What Happens

And what happens to Muslims who refuse to become spies? The case of Ahmadullah Niazi is not atypical. Niazi was one of several members of a California mosque who sought a restraining court order against another member — actually an FBI informant — who was flagrantly advocating violence in their midst. When Niazi was subsequently asked to become an informant himself and refused, he was arrested on charges of lying to immigration officials about alleged family connections to a member of Al Qaeda. The charges were ultimately withdrawn, but by then both Niazi and his wife had lost their jobs.

Another Muslim, Khalifa al-Akili, when pressured to become an informant, complained to the Guardian newspaper in London that “he believed he was the target of an FBI ‘entrapment’ sting.” One day after the Guardian contacted al-Akili, the FBI arrested him on a felony charge for illegal gun possession, based on the fact that two years earlier he had used a friend’s rifle (at a firing range), something he was prohibited from doing since he already had a drug conviction on his record. Al-Akili was held without bail as a potential threat to the public, and ultimately convicted.

These recruitments were taking place in a climate of fear. In addition to the tens of thousands of Muslims in America who were interviewed or investigated after 9/11, there were also by 2003 (according to an American imam’s compilation of US Government figures), 6,483 detained or arrested, 3,208 deported, 13,434 in process of deportation, and 144,513 interviewed and then registered under a Special Registration program of the Justice Department.

It is instructive to study how the FBI handled drone victim Anwar al-Awlaki. Right after 9/11, Awlaki was the “go-to” imam for the US media, because of his willingness to denounce the atrocity as anti-Islamic. But a few years earlier, while a Muslim cleric in San Diego, he had been twice arrested and convicted for soliciting prostitutes. According to Awlaki, he had been set up both times, because the US government had been trying to recruit him as a spy:

In 1996 while waiting at a traffic light in my minivan a middle aged woman knocked on the window of the passenger seat. By the time I rolled down the window and before even myself or the woman uttering a word I was surrounded by police officers who had me come out of my vehicle only to be handcuffed. I was accused of soliciting a prostitute and then released. They made it a point to make me know in no uncertain terms that the woman was an undercover cop. I didn’t know what to make of the incident. However a few days later came the answer. I was visited by two men who introduced themselves as officials with the US government … and that they are interested in my cooperation with them. When I asked what cooperation did they expect, they responded by saying that they are interested in having me liaise with them concerning the Muslim community of San Diego. I was greatly irritated by such an offer and made it clear to them that they should never expect such cooperation from myself. I never heard back from them again until in 1998 when I was approached by a woman, this time from my window and again I was surrounded by police officers who this time said I had to go to court. This time I was told that this is a sting operation and you would not be able to get out of it.

Awlaki’s allegations may have been at least partly true. In 2002, when he came under suspicion in Operation Green Quest, an investigation of Muslim nonprofit organizations, the FBI reportedly did try to flip him, using prostitution charges.

According to U.S. News,

FBI agents hoped al-Awlaki might cooperate with the 9/11 probe if they could nab him on similar charges in Virginia. FBI sources say agents observed the imam allegedly taking Washington-area prostitutes into Virginia and contemplated using a federal statute usually reserved for nabbing pimps who transport prostitutes across state lines.

Were the FBI’s recruitment efforts successful? Another Muslim “person of interest,” Ali al-Timimi, tells a strange tale about al-Awlaki’s unnaturally provocative behavior:

When Awlaki came to his home, Timimi said, he started talking about recruiting Western jihadists. “Ali had never, in his whole life, even talked to the guy or met him,” Timimi’s [CHK SPELLING] lawyer, Edward MacMahon, told me. “Awlaki just showed up at his house and asked him if he could assist him in finding young men to join the jihad.” MacMahon said that Timimi was suspicious of Awlaki showing up “completely out of the blue” (Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars, 71).

Timimi’s attorneys argued that Awlaki was wearing a wire at the time, and asked that the US Government produce the tapes, which would show Timimi’s rejection of Awlaki’s terrorist request. The Government refused, on the grounds that “We are aware of no authority for this request.” Timimi, a promising research scientist, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Another glaring indication that Awlaki had been flipped is the ease with which he was able to return to the US from studies in Yemen in 2002, even though there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

On October 9, 2002, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Colorado “abruptly filed a motion to have the warrant for Awlaki’s arrest vacated and dismissed.”

On October 10, Awlaki and his family arrived at JFK airport on a flight from Saudi Arabia. After a brief period of confusion, Customs officials released them and recorded later that the FBI had told them “the warrant had been removed on 10/9.” In fact, documents show the warrant was still active, and was only vacated later that day.

Asked to comment on these anomalies, former FBI agents indicated there were only two likely explanations: either the bureau let the cleric into the country to track him for intelligence, or the bureau wanted to work with him as a friendly contact.

Does a similar analysis apply to the FBI’s curious “relationship” with Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

Despite Tsarnaev’s inflammatory behavior, as reported by the Russians and also in this country, a senior law enforcement official told The New York Times that intelligence agencies never followed up on Tsarnaev once he returned to the US, because their investigation “did not turn up anything and it did not have the legal authority to keep tabs on him”

This claim sounds strange in the light of recent revelations about widespread surveillance of telephone and Internet traffic of ordinary Americans and the ease with which law enforcement officials obtain warrants to probe more deeply into the activities of anyone suspected of ties to “terrorists.”

The case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, like that of Anwar al-Awlaki, leaves many unanswered questions. But one thing seems clear: the FBI’s informant program, especially when dealing with the War on Terror, has proliferated wildly out of control.

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Intelligence Veterans Call ‘The 51 State Department Officials “Dissent Memo “Reckless”

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Intelligence Veterans Call ‘The 51 State Department Officials “Dissent Memo” on Syria “Reckless”. “Disarray and Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy”

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A group of U.S. intelligence veterans urges President Obama to resist the “reckless” call for a wider Syrian war from 51 State Department officials in a recent “dissent memo.”

MEMORANDUM FOR:  Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Subject:  Beware Foggy Bottom Dissent

Dissent and disagreement within the foreign policy and national security bureaucracy only comes to the public’s attention when there are deep and fundamental differences of opinion about the execution and objectives of a U.S. policy.  Instances of dissent emerged during the war in Vietnam and have reappeared periodically, e.g., during the Contra War in Central America in the 1980s and the Cold War with the Soviets. We can now add Syria to this list.

The latest media buzz came with the leak that 51 “State Department Diplomats” signed a dissent letter advocating direct U.S. bombing as a tool to force Syria into submission to our government’s dictates.  U.S. Foreign Service Officers are a unique collection of highly educated people, who take great pride in having passed the Foreign Service Exam.  Yet even among such “bright people,” some succumb to the forces of careerism and the pressures to politicize intelligence.

Unfortunately the dissent signers are calling for America to threaten, and if our bluff is called, commit acts of overt, aggressive war against the forces of a sovereign nation on its own territory. One whose supporters include Russia, the world’s other big nuclear power.

The line of thought — that it is America’s right and duty to employ large-scale death to enforce its leaders’ will on other peoples — adheres to the noxious notion that the U.S.A. enjoys uniquely privileged standing as the “sole indispensable country in the world.” If this was ever an arguably legitimate position, that time is long gone — and today demonstrably blinds its adherents to common sense.

Such thinking is not new. Theodore Roosevelt popularized it as we went to war to annex Spanish territories in the Philippines and Caribbean — at the cost of over half a million indigenous lives — more than a century ago. We saw it, in spades, with the “Best and the Brightest” — those responsible for destroying Vietnam.  Three million Vietnamese people died in that war (according to former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara), and another two million or so in its Indochina spin-offs. After this slaughter and the deaths of scores of thousands of its own troops, the U.S. endured a complete and humiliating defeat, one affecting its foreign policy and domestic politics to this day. Their bright successors supported the attack on Iraq in 2003, the catalyst for an outbreak of violence that has brought death reaching into the millions — again — in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and other neighboring locales we’ll eventually read about. This aggression has created millions more traumatized refugees.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times (and Wall Street Journal), presumably by one of the State Department employees who authored it, claims American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria and calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”  Furthermore, per the NYT:

“In the memo, the State Department officials wrote that the Assad government’s continuing violations of the partial cease-fire, officially known as a cessation of hostilities, will doom efforts to broker a political settlement because Mr. Assad will feel no pressure to negotiate with the moderate opposition or other factions fighting him. The government’s barrel bombing of civilians, it said, is the ‘root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region.’

“The memo acknowledged that military action would have risks, not the least of which would be increased tension with Russia, which intervened in the war on Mr. Assad’s behalf last fall.  Russia subsequently helped negotiate the cease-fire. Those tensions increased on Thursday when, according to a senior Pentagon official, Russia conducted airstrikes in southern Syria against American-backed forces fighting the Islamic State.”

The dissenters were smart enough to insist they were not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia,” but rather a credible threat of military action “to keep Mr. Assad in line.” Easier said than done! The 51 are silent on this point of major importance.

The foundational premise of their dissent is that Assad’s “barrel bombing” (followed by chemical attacks) on civilians provoked civil war in Syria. It’s true that the initial phase of the Syrian Spring seems to have been largely spontaneous. Facts show, however, that outside interveners — primarily the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia — cooperated in lighting the match that brought the inferno of civil war. Covert funding and provision of weapons and other material support to opposition groups for strikes against the Syrian Government provoked a military reaction by Assad — which created a pretext for our enlarged support to the rebel groups.

A large body of evidence also suggests that it was the U.S.-backed rebel forces that employed chemical weapons on civilians, and then blamed Assad, in a propaganda effort to advance international public support for overt American intervention.

U.S. actions against Syria have been widely perceived to be part of a broader proxy battle with Iran, being pursued to push back against its expanded influence in the Middle East. But Iran’s emergence as a regional power was not the result of a magical event. It was a direct consequence of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and our subsequent decision to eradicate every vestige of the Baathist party and to install Iraqi Shia leaders with close ties to Iran in the positions of leadership.

We have thus helped start a war and then have the audacity to pretend to be shocked at the consequences of our own action.

The State Department dissenters were not the first to land a blow in this new PR battle over the course of U.S. policy in Syria. The Department of Defense and CIA appear to have entered the fray two weeks ago. According to a report in The Daily Beast, DOD and CIA are in a “cat fight.”

Two Department of Defense officials told that media outlet that they are not eager to support rebels fighting in the city of Aleppo because they are believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat al Nusra. The CIA, which supports those rebel groups, rejects that claim, saying alliances of convenience in the face of a mounting Russian-led offensive have created marriages of battlefield necessity, not ideology.

“It is a strange thing that DOD hall chatter mimics Russian propaganda,” one U.S. official, who supports the intelligence community position, wryly noted about Pentagon claims that the opposition and Nusra are one in the same.

The intelligence community, which backed opposition forces in Aleppo, believes ISIS cannot be defeated as long as Assad is in power. The terror group, they say, thrives in unstable territories. And only local forces — like the ones backed by the CIA — can mitigate that threat.

“The status of the opposition is resilient in the face of horrendous attacks by the Syrian and Russian forces,” a U.S. intelligence official explained to The Daily Beast. “The defeat of Assad is a necessary precondition to ultimately defeat [ISIS]. As long as there is a failed leader in Damascus and a failed state in Syria, [ISIS] will have a place to operate from. You can’t deal with ISIS if you have a failed state,” the U.S. official observed.

This unnamed official conveniently ignores the fact that the U.S. is working aggressively to facilitate Syria’s failure. We are astonished. After 15 years of strident rhetoric about waging a war on Al Qaeda, we have now come full circle to witness the CIA and a vocal bloc within the State Department advocate to arm and train an Al Qaeda affiliated group.

It’s impossible to know whether or not the eruption of this dispute is a slap to the face of President Obama simply because the President appeared to support the overthrow of Assad but then backed away from the precipice of militarily taking him out.

The influence of Saudi Arabia in helping push and promote “regime change” in Syria cannot be underestimated. The Saudis also have reportedly funneled significant money into key sectors of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and, it would appear, have obtained considerable influence over our national security policy. More evidence is coming to light that the Saudis have given significant amounts to the Clinton Foundation.

A recent report on the Petra News Agency site (which was subsequently taken down and claimed to have been a “hack”) raises some important concerns. On Sunday a report appeared on that website that included what were described as exclusive comments from Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The comments included a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate’s campaign.  Although the report did not remain on the website for long, the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs later re-published an Arabic version of it, which quoted Prince Mohammed as having said Saudi Arabia had provided with “full enthusiasm” an undisclosed amount of money to Clinton.

In light of Hillary Clinton’s strong advocacy for imposing a No Fly Zone in Syria, which would put us on track for stepped up intervention in Syria  and a military confrontation with the Russians, it is natural to wonder if Saudi donations had any influence over the direction of U.S. policy in Syria and support for rebel groups?

In sum, the latest memo from the 51 State Department officers is just one more alarming indication of disarray and failure within the U.S. foreign policy establishment.  Notably, most of their children and grandchildren will not be in the military ranks of those called on to fight this war. They are too smart and too “valuable” to engage in such ridiculous endeavors. So something called a “Volunteer Army” was assembled, populated by “volunteers” — mostly from the inner-cities and the small towns of our country, where jobs and education are elusive.

This almost unprecedented dissent letter from 51 emboldened State Department hawks is an alarming new sign of the reckless direction that well-organized elements of the U.S. foreign policy establishment seek to take us. Thus, we appeal to you, as Assistant to the President for National Security, to help President Barack Obama stand firm against such institutional destructiveness and to sort out the disarray and bureaucratic contention among his “Team of Rivals.” If the 51 are sincere in their advocacy of a let’s-try-some-more-of-the-same-but-tougher policy, we would expect them to welcome the personal risks involved in being sent off to bash Bashar with “standoff” — or — “closer-quarter” weapons. This could provide them initially with a sense of affirmation — then later, an education.

(Also see earlier remarks by individual VIPS members: by Ann Wright, here, by Elizabeth Murray and Ray McGovern here; by Philip Giraldi, here.)

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Intelligence Officer, USAF (ret.); former Master SERE Instructor.

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

J. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned in opposition to launching of Iraq War)

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Trump Endorses Nazi Land Theft, Opposes Palestinian Statehood

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Trump and Clinton agree more than disagree on major issues, despite both presidential aspirants and media scoundrels suggesting otherwise, serving as a collective mouthpiece for a she devil, war criminal, racketeer menace.

Trump’s only redeeming quality is he’s not her, hardly a reason to support him. The presidential contest between two deplorable candidates should encourage groundswell campaigning for none of the above – urging voters choose from among independent aspirants or opt out.

Their one-sided support for Israel, contemptuous of Palestinian rights, is one of many reasons to reject them.

Clinton is like Obama – backing unlimited settlement expansions while claiming otherwise, rejecting peace while faking support, and opposing Palestinian statehood while pretending to back it.

Trump is much the same – one-sidedly pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian, clear in an interview his co-advisor on Israeli affairs David Friedman gave Haaretz.

As president, he’d support the illegal Israeli annexation of West Bank land, rejecting Palestinian statehood as a US national security interest, according to Friedman, likely to become Trump’s ambassador to Israel if he defeats Clinton.

His policy on Israel/Palestine is contradictory, incompatible with conflict resolution – saying he’ll try to achieve peace while undermining it by supporting unlimited settlement expansions on stolen Palestinian land, a formula for endless conflict.

He’ll only endorse Palestinian statehood with Israel’s consent on its terms, mindless of the rights of a long-suffering people under illegal occupation harshness.

“This is an issue that Israel has to deal with on its own because it will have to deal with the consequences,” said Friedman. Trump’s “feeling about Israel is that it is a robust democracy” – ignoring its Zionist zealotry, its apartheid viciousness, its contempt for rule of law principles.

“The Israelis have to make the decision on whether or not to give up land to create a Palestinian state,” Trump insists, according to Friedman. “If (they) don’t want to do it, he doesn’t think they should do it. It is their choice…He does not think it is an American imperative for it to be an independent Palestinian state.”

All that matter for Trump is what Israel wants. If it deems a Palestinian state desirable “to enhance (its) longterm security – which I think we are very skeptical about…we will respect this decision,” Friedman explained.

What Palestinians want and deserve doesn’t matter. Friedman saying Trump “has no doubt that Israel wants peace” runs counter to hard, indisputable facts. He has things backwards.

Like America, Israel needs invented enemies, confrontation, instability and state-sponsored terror to advance its imperial agenda. Peace and stability defeat it.

As president, Trump would offer one-sided support like previous US leaders, fundamental Palestinian rights considered unimportant.

 

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Distorting Fascism to Sanitize Capitalism

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ERA:  WORLD WAR II/PERSONALITIES

The facile and indiscriminate use of the term fascism has led to a widespread misunderstanding and misuse of its meaning. Asked to define fascism, most people would respond in terms such as dictatorship, anti-Semitism, mass hysteria, efficient propaganda machine, mesmerizing oratory of a psychopathic leader, and the like.

Such a pervasive misconception of the meaning of the term fascism is not altogether fortuitous. It is largely because of a longstanding utilitarian misrepresentation of the term. Fascism is deliberately obfuscated in order to sanitize capitalism. Ideologues, theorists and opinion-makers of capitalism have systematically shifted the systemic sins of fascism from market/capitalist failures to individual or personal failures.

Thus, the origins, the rise and the ravages of the classic European fascism are blamed largely on Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, not the socio-economic circumstances that gave rise to those instrumentally “useful” characters. An obvious flaw of this interpretation of fascism is that it cannot explain recent manifestations of fascism: since the archetype European fascism is attributed to Hitler and Mussolini, their demise ought to have logically meant the end of fascism. Yet, manifestations of fascism has been a recurring phenomenon characteristic of periods of capitalist crisis, as evinced by today’s expressions of fascistic tendencies in most of the core capitalist countries.

These ominous developments are testament to the fact that the germs of fascism are intrinsic to capitalism, as periodic economic crises are intrinsic to capitalism. As such, it is bound to periodically resurface as long as capitalism continues to be the dominant mode of socio-economic production.

Just as the original European fascism was blamed on Hitler and Mussolini, so is today’s display of fascistic propensities blamed on characters such as Donald Trump (in the U.S.), Marine Le Pen (in France), Norbert Hofer (in Austria), Alexander Gauland (in Germany), and so on. The real culprit, however, has been market failure and economic insecurity, both now and then.

In addition to the intended absolution of capitalism from the sins of fascism, its utilitarian misrepresentation has the political advantage of conveniently demonizing any “unfriendly” politician or “rogue” state leader as fascist. As Jean Bricmont recently put it on this site: “New Hitlers spring up in the Western imagination like mushrooms in an autumn woods”: Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Assad, Milosevic, LePen, Putin, and Ahmadinejad have all been subjected to such characterizations. Indeed, a number of “unfavorable” nationalist leaders such as Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi were first branded as fascist before they were overthrown and murdered.

Misrepresentation of fascism is intended to absolve capitalism from its responsibility in two major ways. First, it blames the executive agent of fascism (for example, Hitler) for the rise and the crimes of fascism. Second, the executive agent, in turn, shifts the blame from the system, or the socio-economic structure, to scapegoats such as migrants, ethnic, racial, or religious minorities.

Fascism cannot be defined capriciously. It cannot be reduced to the crimes of individual leaders of Nazi Germany, or the pathological problems of Hitler’s mind, or the “unfriendly” nationalist leaders who disobey the imperialist agenda of war and militarism. While obfuscationist judgments of this sort may succeed in dressing in the uniform of Adolf Hitler the horrific acts that the capitalist system can occasionally perform, such reductionist judgments would not be very useful for the purposes of averting social conditions that may lead to the recurrence of fascism.

Fascism is a specific historical category that evolves out of particular socio-economic circumstances. It grows out of conditions of severe economic distress and deep social discontent. As such circumstances tend to give rise to protest demonstrations and radical demands from labor and other grassroots on the Left, they also prompt counterbalancing social forces on the Right. In other words, fascism is essentially a counter-revolutionary strategy to preempt revolutionary developments.

This means that, at its core, fascism is a social-political strategy or tool that is employed by big business, or the ruling capitalist class, to simultaneously pacify the discontented public and fend off radical, socialistic developments. It also means that, while antithetical, both fascism and socialism are incidents that are latent in a relatively advanced capitalist structures—a case of the unity of opposites.

During cycles of economic expansion and relatively low levels of unemployment and poverty, such potential occurrences remain dormant. By contrast, during periods of deep and protracted cycles of economic contraction signs and symbols of both begin to re-emerge. In general, fascistic signs and symbols remain dormant as long as socialistic manifestations remain dormant, as former manifestations often emerge in reaction to the latter ones.

The development and brutality of fascism is proportionate with the degree of the severity of economic crisis, or the level of the gravity of class struggle. For example, the intensity of the 1930s socio-economic crisis in Europe and the strength of socialist movements and organizations, especially in Germany, played a critical role in catapulting the Nazi forces to power and precipitating the vicious rule of fascism there.

By contrast, as the bureaucratic labor leaders in the current (2016) US presidential elections chose to support the candidate of the status quo, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders’ campaign agenda stopped way short of a meaningful socialist program, fascistic manifestations of Donald Trump’s campaign remained largely sporadic and relatively mild. Had the class collaborationist big union leaders (the “labor lieutenants of capitalism,” as the late Leon Trotsky put it) charted an independent labor-grassroots campaign and demanded a substantive socio-economic revolution, instead of Sanders’ hollow “political revolution,” fascistic tendencies or displays of the Trump campaign would have escalated to dangerous levels.

It must be pointed out in passing that the capitalist ruling class (especially the “far-sighted,” non-partisan, big business establishment) would employ fascistic methods of control only as a means of last resort. As long as there is no serious grassroots threat to the status quo, it prefers to mitigate economic distress and social tensions by means of minimal reforms and usual “democratic” measures. Only when such measures fail to pacify the restless and rebellious masses of workers and other grassroots, that is, only when the ruling class finds itself unable to rule with the help of “democratic” machinery, would it employ fascistic means of control.

It must also be pointed out that a direct link can be detected between the recent rise of fascistic tendencies in most of the core capitalist countries, on the one hand, and the rise or reign of parasitic finance capital in these countries, on the other. As the unproductive, scrounging financial sector has systematically emaciated the productive, real sector of the economies of these countries, chronic stagnation has become a perennial feature of their markets.

Accordingly, high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality have also become prevailing features of these societies. As these ominous developments have given rise to public discontent and workers militancy in these countries, they have also given rise to expressions of fascism. And as economic crises tend to recur more frequently in the age of the dominance of parasitic finance capital, the specter of war and militarism abroad along with threats of repression and police state at home also tend to become more menacing.

It follows from this brief discussion that crisis situations present both opportunities and dangers, both revolutionary/socialistic occasions and counter-revolutionary/fascistic prospects. Such socio-economic periods of contradictory developments prompted the late German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg to declare: socialism or barbarism. Whether socialism or barbarism would prevail depends crucially on the balance of political power, or the outcome of class struggle.

Many radicals have dropped class politics at exactly the moment it is needed most. Rosa Luxemburg’s view that socialism is the only humane alternative to capitalist barbarism is as relevant today as when she expressed it (during the carnage of World War I). Barbarism stares us in the eye in many disguised forms. Yet, much of the left these days shy away from using words such as class struggle, organization, or the crucial role of labor for social and economic change.

While participation of all the layers of the grassroots is crucial to the success of the fight for a superior civilization to what is prevalent under capitalism, the role of labor in the attendant coalition of the masses would be most critical. Only labor—labor in the broadest sense of the term that would include both the so-called blue-collar and white-collar workers—can bring an end to the rule of capital, thereby to the constantly lurking threats of economic crises, of fascism, of poverty, and of police state at home, and of war and militarism abroad.

Transforming the world economy in the interests of the majority of the people is, of course, not easy. It certainly cannot be brought about in one jump or an overnight uprising. It can come about only as the cumulative outcome of many steps along the path of a long and difficult journey of continuous social and economic change. Nobody can tell a priori how long or what form such transitional steps or stages may take. It is clear, however, that to change the world economy in the interests of the majority of its inhabitants, labor would need new politics and new organizations to articulate the struggle for change.

This requires a new labor movement with independent politics and organization(s). Whatever the new labor organization is called, it has to be different not only from the U.S. business union model but also from the Social Democratic model of Europe, trade unions + party. This means that the new labor movement and/or organization has to represent the interests of the entire working class, not just organized industrial labor, nor only its singular economic interests. In addition, it must aim at defending the interests of all those who challenge the logic of the profit-driven market mechanism. The working class can influence, shape, and ultimately lead the world economy if it takes on the challenge (a) on an international level, and (b) in the context of broader coalitions and alliances with other social strata that also struggle for equity, environmental protection, and human rights.

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Trump Will Not Recognize Palestinian Statehood if elected President

NOVANEWS
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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has backtracked from his neutral position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and is now “committed” to supporting Israeli settlement expansion on territories it has seized illegally, according to an advisor.

David M. Friedman, a real-estate attorney serving as Trump’s main advisor on Israel, said the Republican presidential candidate and reality television star would not support the recognition of the Palestinian state without “the approval of the Israelis.” Friedman also remarked that Trump was unconcerned with the inhabitants of the West Bank, because “nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there.”

Trump made Friedman a part of his campaign staff in April, at a meeting with Orthodox Jews, naming him and Jason Greenblatt, another real-estate lawyer and Trump’s chief attorney, as his advisors on Israel. Friedman said at the time, “Mr. Trump’s confidence is very flattering. My views on Israel are well known, and I would advise him in a manner consistent with those views. America’s geopolitical interests are best served by a strong and secure Israel, with Jerusalem as its undivided capital.” Friedman has made no secret of his feelings about a two-state solution with Palestine, writing that, “It was never a solution, just an illusion that served both the US and the Arabs.”

Trump has earned a reputation for taking contradictory stances on issues, and when asked in May if he thought Israel should cease construction in the West Bank, the candidate said, “No, I don’t think there should be a pause… because I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.” Later in the same interview he remarked, “I’d love to negotiate peace. I think that, to me, is the all-time negotiation… I would love to see if peace could be negotiated. A lot of people say that’s not a deal that’s possible. But I mean lasting peace, not a peace that lasts for two weeks and they start launching missiles again. So we’ll see what happens.”

Friedman says Trump’s attitude toward Israel is positive, and his view on the Palestinian state springs, in part, to a lack of power on the part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “His [Trump’s] feeling about Israel,” Freidman said, “is that it is a robust democracy. He does not think it is an American imperative for [Gaza Strip and other territories seized by Israel] to be an independent Palestinian state.”

When asked directly about his own feelings on recognizing the State of Palestine, Friedman was open, if tentative.

“If the Israelis conclude that they need to do this [recognize the Palestinian state] in order to enhance their long-term security – which I think we are very skeptical about – but if this is what they conclude they want to do, we will respect this decision…. If the circumstances change… and there is a reason to be optimistic, then great, but the current facts don’t make that [recognizing the Palestinian state] an American imperative at all.” he said.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

US still aiming to oust Assad, dismember Syria

NOVANEWS

 

“The US still has only one motive, which is to oust Assad and convert Syria from a front-line state against Israel into a failed, broken and dismembered state no matter what,” Professor Dennis Etler says.

America’s position on Syria is shrouded in double-speak as Washington has accused Russia of violating the ceasefire while it still calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, says Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday, after the Pentagon called on Russia not to target US-backed militants in southern Syria.

US military officials “expressed strong concerns about the attack on the coalition-supported counter-ISIL forces at the At-Tanf garrison, which included forces that are participants in the cessation of hostilities in Syria,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Saturday, after they held talks with Russian military officials on a video link.

“The Pentagon asks Russia not to bomb US-backed militants in Syria while the State Department calls for US military intervention to oust Assad,” Professor Etler said.

“The two faced nature of US intervention in Syria has been clearly illustrated by recent events. On the one hand they coddle anti-government insurgents who are said to be US trained anti-Daesh militants, while on the other hand John Kerry expresses sympathy for US State Department functionaries who brazenly call for direct US military strikes to help the insurgents overthrow the Assad government. The US position is shrouded in double-speak,” the analyst noted.

Russian airstrikes turned the tide of Syrian battle

“The ineffectual US attacks against Daesh are heralded as the main reason for the setbacks that Takfiri terrorists have recently suffered, totally ignoring the fact that it is Russian airstrikes and Syrian army ground offenses that have turned the tide of battle,” Professor Etler said.

“The false narrative disseminated by the US asserts that it is US backed and trained militants who have been attacking Daesh and inflicting heavy losses on them while the Russian and Syrian government forces have been attacking ‘moderate’ rebel groups supported by the US,” he stated.

“In fact it is the exact opposite. The Russians and Syrians have decimated Daesh while the US has protected anti-government militants who work hand in glove with terrorists of the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. Syrian forces with Russian air support are the ones who have thwarted an al-Nusra offensive against the Syrian city of Aleppo not the US-backed ‘militants’ who are closely integrated with al-Nusra even though the US says its clients are targeting both it and Daesh,” he pointed out.

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists have one goal

“The US has its fingerprints over all elements of the Syrian opposition, having trained and equipped the various terrorist groups which have morphed into a variety of contending factions often fighting amongst themselves. It is nearly impossible to distinguish between so-called ‘moderate’ opposition groups and other terrorists that have proliferated in both Syria and Iraq,” Professor Etler said.

“This has allowed the US to muddy the waters and declare that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists when in fact they all have the same goal of overthrowing the legitimate government of Syria headed by Bashar al-Assad,” he pointed out.

“The Russian brokered ceasefire that the US signed onto has been breached by US intransigence in continuing to call for the ouster of Assad and the transition to a government that the US deems satisfactory. The recently leaked internal State Department memo signed by 51 mid-level State Department functionaries and endorsed by US Secretary of State John Kerry calls for direct US military intervention in Syria to oust the Syrian government,” he noted.

“This is in direct contravention to the agreement for cessation of hostilities which makes no mention of regime change. To then accuse the Syrians and Russians of breaking the ceasefire for attacking opposition forces that the US wants to use against the Syria government is the height of hypocrisy,” he added.

Is US planning more direct military intervention?

“The State Department memo takes to task the Obama administration’s attempt to mediate the Syrian conflict, but Obama’s policy is more apparent than real. The US media is trying to make it seem that there is internal discord among the foreign policy makers regarding Syria, that there is a ‘war party’ and a ‘peace party,’” Professor Etler said.

“But US policy has always been on a dual track, feigning a desire to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict while doing all in its power to inflame and spread it. Now that the Russian and Syrian forces are gaining the upper hand the US is doing everything possible to spread disinformation and outright lies in order to give the US more freedom of action, laying the groundwork for more direct military intervention under a new administration after the upcoming presidential election,” he stated.

“The US will do everything in its power to continue the conflict so that it can send in troops on the ground and launch air strikes against Syrian ground forces after the election,” he noted.

“The US still has only one motive, which is to oust Assad and convert Syria from a front-line state against Israel into a failed, broken and dismembered state no matter what,” the academic concluded.

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US Seeks Direct Confrontation with Russia in Syria

NOVANEWS

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By Ulson Gunnar 

The US has recently accused Russia of bombing what it calls “US-backed rebels” in southern Syria. CBS News in their article, Russia ignores warnings, bombs U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group,” would claim: 

On Friday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Russia for bombing a Syrian rebel group that’s backed by the U.S.

The attack by Russian fighter bombers on American-backed opposition forces appeared to be deliberate and to ignore repeated U.S. warnings.

More alarming is what the US claimed happened next. CBS News would further claim:

Two American F-18 jet fighters were dispatched to provide air cover for the troops on the ground as they tried to evacuate their casualties. By the time the F-18s arrived, the Russian planes were headed away, but were still close enough to see.

But when the F-18s broke away to refuel, the Russians returned for a second bombing run. Another call went out to the Russian command center in Syria, demanding that the planes wave off.

The crew of an airborne command post tried to contact the Russian pilots directly but got no response. The Su-34s conducted another bombing run, leaving a small number of opposition fighters dead on the ground.

Neither CBS News nor the US Department of Defense ever explained why the US believes it is entitled to send armed militants over the borders and into a sovereign nation, or why it believes a sovereign nation and its allies are not entitled to confront and neutralize them or why US aircraft are entitled to fly over Syrian airspace without the authorization of the Syrian government.

In other words, the US is vocally complaining about its serial violations of international law and norms finally (allegedly) being confronted and put to an end by Russian military forces.

But Did Russia Even Attack America’s Armed Invaders?

Russia however, has denied US accusations. CNN’s article, Russia denies bombing U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near Jordan border,” states:

Russia’s Defense Ministry denied bombing U.S.-backed Syrian opposition forces in a recent military operation near the Jordanian border, according to a statement released on Sunday.

The Kremlin response comes after U.S. and Russian military officials held a video conference to discuss Thursday’s strikes.

As is characteristic of all US claims regarding its multiple, ongoing foreign acts of military aggression, the most recent row in Syria is heavy on rhetoric and light on evidence. Had Russia attacked armed militants invading Syrian territory, it would have been well within its rights to do so, however it has claimed it hasn’t. The burden of proof is on the US.

Why Would the US Lie About This? 

But when one considers a recent US State Department “internal memo” calling for more direct US military action to oust the Syrian government from power, it is clear such a call cannot be answered without an accompanying justification or provocation. It appears that the US-Russian row in southern Syria conveniently constitutes just such a provocation.

CNN’s article, State Department officials call for U.S. military action against Assad regime,” claims:

More than 50 State Department officials signed an internal memo protesting U.S. policy in Syria, calling for targeted U.S. military strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and urging regime change as the only way to defeat ISIS.

Claiming that US military strikes against the Syrian government, or that “regime change” is the only way to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) is indeed far fetched and is in and of itself a fabricated justification for an otherwise entirely self-serving geopolitical objective the US has set for itself in Syria.

It was US-led “regime change” in Libya in 2011 that has led to the country becoming a bastion for, not against IS and other notorious terrorist groups. Libya, it should be mentioned, has existed in a perpetual state of failure since the 2011 US military intervention, triggering one half of a massive refugee crisis facing the European continent, with no signs of abating any time in the foreseeable future.

In other words, the US desire for “regime change” in Syria will create another Libya, but on a scale larger than that in North Africa, all while compounding the chaos in North Africa further.

Therefore, justifying greater military aggression by the US in Syria appears to be a “hard sell” for American policymakers, media and politicians. Militants in southern Syria were likely designated for this ploy specifically because they have the greatest chance of being separated and distinguished from US-backed militants in northern Syria.

US-backed militants in Syria’s north are described even by the US itself as “intermingled” with extremists including Al Qaeda and even IS and have become increasingly difficult to defend diplomatically and politically as Syrian and Russian forces work on rolling them back.

Undoubtedly US-backed militants in Syria’s south are likewise”intermingled” with overt terrorist groups, but because the conflict in the south has been neglected by not only US and European news agencies, but also Russian and other Eastern news services, there lingers an unwarranted “benefit of the doubt.”

Can Anything Stop US Military Escalation?

Many in America’s foreign policy circles are nostalgic for the days of NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia where inferior Russian forces were unable to deter NATO aggression and were eventually relegated to a subordinate role in “peacekeeping operations.” At one point, NATO even contemplated striking Russian forces as a means of neutralizing any obstacle to NATO ambitions during the conflict.

It is therefore possible that these same US policymakers envision using what CNN’s article called “stand-off and air weapons” to induce a similar stand-down from Russia before proceeding with and accomplishing their much desired “regime change” in Syria.

However, the Russian military of the 1990’s is not the Russian military of today. The fact that Russia is present and operating in Syria, far beyond the confines of Eastern Europe and its traditional sphere of influence is proof enough of that.

Russia’s performance in Syria alongside Syrian forces is the primary factor in what is now clearly IS’ decline and retreat. Russian air defenses have been deployed across the country and capabilities to confront US and US-allied aggression are clear and present. Since IS had no air forces of any kind, it is clear that Russian air defenses placed in Syria were one part of deterring the sort of US aggression characterized in the recent alleged US State Department memo.

The US would have to rely entirely on the assumption that Russia would rather concede Syria in the face of US military aggression than escalate toward a direct war with the United States.

Creating the conditions both diplomatically and on the ground in Syria to deter US military commanders from following any order to essentially attempt to trigger a war with nuclear-armed Russia is now essential. Raising the stakes for any sort of escalation of US aggression in Syria is also essential.

While the UN seems content with ignoring the serial international crimes of the US as it flaunts sovereign Syrian airspace, violates its borders by sending armed militants over them intent on destabilizing, destroying and overthrowing the Syrian state and presiding over the dismemberment of not only Syria, but the region itself, other international organizations could fill this expanding void.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), for example, could conceivably put together “peacekeeping” forces of its own, placed along Syria’s borders deterring the transit of armed militants and forcing the hands of both Jordan and Turkey to be exposed in the backing of some of the most toxic militant organizations engaged in Syria’s conflict.

The presence of Chinese, Russian, and even Iranian troops in this capacity could make it clear that no matter what act of aggression the US commits to, Syria’s fate would remain in the hands of its government, its people, and its allies. Tying these efforts into the distribution of aid would hamstring US attempts to hide its war-making behind “humanitarianism.”

Such a move, however, by the SCO would be unprecedented, costly and difficult to coordinate. And because of its unprecedented nature, unforeseen challenges may even make this option a complication rather than an asset toward fending off US aggression and the resolution of the costly ongoing Syrian conflict.

Regardless, it is clear that as IS and other terrorist organizations who have constituted the bulk of what the US regularly refers to as “opposition” beings to collapse, US desperation to conclude the Syrian conflict in its favor (not in favor of Syria or its people) is becoming increasingly palpable.

Another point opponents of US aggression must focus on is the ongoing chaos in Libya, a burning example of where US’s suggested “regime change” in Syria will inevitably lead. US success in Syria will essentially be an extension of Libya’s chaos, bolstering, not serving to “defeat” IS.

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Russia, U.S. “Losing Patience” With One Another Over Syria

NOVANEWS

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By Brandon Turbeville

As the recent standoff between Russian and American jet fighters over Syria still simmers in the headlines, both sides are claiming a loss of patience with the other regarding the support and opposition for Western-backed terrorist forces and the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Not even a week before the standoff, the United States via war criminal and Skull and Bones member John Kerry warned the Russians, Iranians, and the Syrians that U.S. patience is “not infinite.” Notably, Kerry’s comments were more heavily directed at Russia than any other power.

“Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite. In fact it is very limited with whether or not [Bashar] al-Assad is going to be held accountable,” Kerry said.

But while the United States claims that its patience is “not infinite,” an interesting point to make since the entire crisis in Syria was the handiwork of the U.S. (perhaps Kerry means “patience with obstructing the U.S. plans for the destruction of Syria?”), Russia is now warning the U.S. that it too is running out of patience.

“It is us, not Americans who are losing patience concerning the situation in Syria. We are fully meeting our commitments and agreements on securing the ceasefire and national reconciliation in Syria,” Head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov told reporters on Monday.

Gerasimov claims that Russia has been sending coordinates of Russian bombing targets but said that the United States has yet to determine which groups are “moderate” terrorists (aka Syrian “opposition”) and which are extremist terrorists.

“As a result, terrorists are actively restoring their strength and the situation is escalating again,” he said.

In the aftermath of the recent aerial standoff between two nuclear world powers, the rhetoric suggesting patience coming to an end is concerning to say the least. This is particularly the case when one of the parties to hostilities is the initiator of the aggression and the crisis to begin with and one that shows no signs of willingness to back away from its tragic and foolish foreign adventure.

It is time that the United States and NATO cease their obsession with the destruction of Syria not only on moral grounds but also out of self-preservation. If they do not, then it may well be the American people and the rest of the world that suffers the consequences.

 

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Intel Vets Call ‘Dissent Memo’ on Syria ‘Reckless’

NOVANEWS

A group of U.S. intelligence veterans urges President Obama to resist the “reckless” call for a wider Syrian war from 51 State Department officials in a recent “dissent memo.”

MEMORANDUM FOR:  Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Subject:  Beware Foggy Bottom Dissent

Dissent and disagreement within the foreign policy and national security bureaucracy only comes to the public’s attention when there are deep and fundamental differences of opinion about the execution and objectives of a U.S. policy.  Instances of dissent emerged during the war in Vietnam and have reappeared periodically, e.g., during the Contra War in Central America in the 1980s and the Cold War with the Soviets. We can now add Syria to this list.

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice briefs President Barack Obama on foreign policy developments during Obama's summer break on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on Aug. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice briefs President Barack Obama on foreign policy developments during Obama’s summer break on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on Aug. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The latest media buzz came with the leak that 51 “State Department Diplomats”signed a dissent letter advocating direct U.S. bombing as a tool to force Syria into submission to our government’s dictates.  U.S. Foreign Service Officers are a unique collection of highly educated people, who take great pride in having passed the Foreign Service Exam.  Yet even among such “bright people,” some succumb to the forces of careerism and the pressures to politicize intelligence.

Unfortunately the dissent signers are calling for America to threaten, and if our bluff is called, commit acts of overt, aggressive war against the forces of a sovereign nation on its own territory. One whose supporters include Russia, the world’s other big nuclear power.

The line of thought — that it is America’s right and duty to employ large-scale death to enforce its leaders’ will on other peoples — adheres to the noxious notion that the U.S.A. enjoys uniquely privileged standing as the “sole indispensable country in the world.” If this was ever an arguably legitimate position, that time is long gone — and today demonstrably blinds its adherents to common sense.

Such thinking is not new. Theodore Roosevelt popularized it as we went to war to annex Spanish territories in the Philippines and Caribbean — at the cost of over half a million indigenous lives — more than a century ago. We saw it, in spades, with the “Best and the Brightest” — those responsible for destroying Vietnam.  Three million Vietnamese people died in that war (according to former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara), and another two million or so in its Indochina spin-offs. After this slaughter and the deaths of scores of thousands of its own troops, the U.S. endured a complete and humiliating defeat, one affecting its foreign policy and domestic politics to this day. Their bright successors supported the attack on Iraq in 2003, the catalyst for an outbreak of violence that has brought death reaching into the millions — again — in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and other neighboring locales we’ll eventually read about. This aggression has created millions more traumatized refugees.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times (and Wall Street Journal), presumably by one of the State Department employees who authored it, claims American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria and calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”  Furthermore, per the NYT:

“In the memo, the State Department officials wrote that the Assad government’s continuing violations of the partial cease-fire, officially known as a cessation of hostilities, will doom efforts to broker a political settlement because Mr. Assad will feel no pressure to negotiate with the moderate opposition or other factions fighting him. The government’s barrel bombing of civilians, it said, is the ‘root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region.’ 

“The memo acknowledged that military action would have risks, not the least of which would be increased tension with Russia, which intervened in the war on Mr. Assad’s behalf last fall.  Russia subsequently helped negotiate the cease-fire. Those tensions increased on Thursday when, according to a senior Pentagon official, Russia conducted airstrikes in southern Syria against American-backed forces fighting the Islamic State.”

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The dissenters were smart enough to insist they were not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia,” but rather a credible threat of military action “to keep Mr. Assad in line.” Easier said than done! The 51 are silent on this point of major importance.

The foundational premise of their dissent is that Assad’s “barrel bombing” (followed by chemical attacks) on civilians provoked civil war in Syria. It’s true that the initial phase of the Syrian Spring seems to have been largely spontaneous. Facts show, however, that outside interveners — primarily the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia — cooperated in lighting the match that brought the inferno of civil war. Covert funding and provision of weapons and other material support to opposition groups for strikes against the Syrian Government provoked a military reaction by Assad — which created a pretext for our enlarged support to the rebel groups.

A large body of evidence also suggests that it was the U.S.-backed rebel forces that employed chemical weapons on civilians, and then blamed Assad, in a propaganda effort to advance international public support for overt American intervention.

U.S. actions against Syria have been widely perceived to be part of a broader proxy battle with Iran, being pursued to push back against its expanded influence in the Middle East. But Iran’s emergence as a regional power was not the result of a magical event. It was a direct consequence of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and our subsequent decision to eradicate every vestige of the Baathist party and to install Iraqi Shia leaders with close ties to Iran in the positions of leadership.

We have thus helped start a war and then have the audacity to pretend to be shocked at the consequences of our own action.

The State Department dissenters were not the first to land a blow in this new PR battle over the course of U.S. policy in Syria. The Department of Defense and CIA appear to have entered the fray two weeks ago. According to a report in The Daily Beast, DOD and CIA are in a “cat fight.”

Two Department of Defense officials told that media outlet that they are not eager to support rebels fighting in the city of Aleppo because they are believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat al Nusra. The CIA, which supports those rebel groups, rejects that claim, saying alliances of convenience in the face of a mounting Russian-led offensive have created marriages of battlefield necessity, not ideology.

“It is a strange thing that DOD hall chatter mimics Russian propaganda,” one U.S. official, who supports the intelligence community position, wryly noted about Pentagon claims that the opposition and Nusra are one in the same.

The intelligence community, which backed opposition forces in Aleppo, believes ISIS cannot be defeated as long as Assad is in power. The terror group, they say, thrives in unstable territories. And only local forces — like the ones backed by the CIA — can mitigate that threat.

“The status of the opposition is resilient in the face of horrendous attacks by the Syrian and Russian forces,” a U.S. intelligence official explained to The Daily Beast. “The defeat of Assad is a necessary precondition to ultimately defeat [ISIS]. As long as there is a failed leader in Damascus and a failed state in Syria, [ISIS] will have a place to operate from. You can’t deal with ISIS if you have a failed state,” the U.S. official observed.

This unnamed official conveniently ignores the fact that the U.S. is working aggressively to facilitate Syria’s failure. We are astonished. After 15 years of strident rhetoric about waging a war on Al Qaeda, we have now come full circle to witness the CIA and a vocal bloc within the State Department advocate to arm and train an Al Qaeda affiliated group.

It’s impossible to know whether or not the eruption of this dispute is a slap to the face of President Obama simply because the President appeared to support the overthrow of Assad but then backed away from the precipice of militarily taking him out.

The influence of Saudi Arabia in helping push and promote “regime change” in Syria cannot be underestimated. The Saudis also have reportedly funneled significant money into key sectors of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and, it would appear, have obtained considerable influence over our national security policy. More evidence is coming to light that the Saudis have given significant amounts to the Clinton Foundation.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A recent report on the Petra News Agency site (which was subsequently taken down and claimed to have been a “hack”) raises some important concerns. On Sunday a report appeared on that website that included what were described as exclusive comments from Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The comments included a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate’s campaign.  Although the report did not remain on the website for long, the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs later re-published an Arabic version of it, which quoted Prince Mohammed as having said Saudi Arabia had provided with “full enthusiasm” an undisclosed amount of money to Clinton.

In light of Hillary Clinton’s strong advocacy for imposing a No Fly Zone in Syria, which would put us on track for stepped up intervention in Syria  and a military confrontation with the Russians, it is natural to wonder if Saudi donations had any influence over the direction of U.S. policy in Syria and support for rebel groups?

In sum, the latest memo from the 51 State Department officers is just one more alarming indication of disarray and failure within the U.S. foreign policy establishment.  Notably, most of their children and grandchildren will not be in the military ranks of those called on to fight this war. They are too smart and too “valuable” to engage in such ridiculous endeavors. So something called a “Volunteer Army” was assembled, populated by “volunteers” — mostly from the inner-cities and the small towns of our country, where jobs and education are elusive.

This almost unprecedented dissent letter from 51 emboldened State Department hawks is an alarming new sign of the reckless direction that well-organized elements of the U.S. foreign policy establishment seek to take us. Thus, we appeal to you, as Assistant to the President for National Security, to help President Barack Obama stand firm against such institutional destructiveness and to sort out the disarray and bureaucratic contention among his “Team of Rivals.” If the 51 are sincere in their advocacy of a let’s-try-some-more-of-the-same-but-tougher policy, we would expect them to welcome the personal risks involved in being sent off to bash Bashar with “standoff” — or — “closer-quarter” weapons. This could provide them initially with a sense of affirmation — then later, an education.

(Also see earlier remarks by individual VIPS members: by Ann Wright, here, by Elizabeth Murray and Ray McGovern here; by Philip Giraldi, here.)

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Intelligence Officer, USAF (ret.); former Master SERE Instructor.

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Robert David Steele, former CIA Operations Officer

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

J. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned in opposition to launching of Iraq War)

Posted in Syria, USA0 Comments

Brexit, Bernie, Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street 

NOVANEWS

Brexit may be the first citizens’ revolt against the bankers’ system to succeed anywhere in the world, at least in my lifetime. Congratulations, Brits, I didn’t  think you had it in you.  Warmaker, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned!  The ice is broken, and it’s very likely that other EU members will follow this same path, and perhaps, put that disgusting EU multi-central banking monster to rest forever. 

Brexit-Bernie-Arab-Wall

The every day, not too rich, not too poor Brits, both old and young, have spoken in the face of overwhelming odds from organized political and banker power, and the press.   The swing issue may have been the millions of homeless war refugees who are swamping Europe, victims of wars that its own leaders, Cameron, Brown and Blair supported and promoted.  They helped make the homeless by backing every US led war in the Middle East.

Brexit is a milestone.  The world financial markets  tell us the truth, near chaos today, June 24, 2016!  Just look at the US stock market and the gold market; those who are use to having total control fear Brexit!  Congratulation to everyone in the UK who would not quit, but we in the United States have a chance to do much more.

The same revolt is alive and well here in the USA. We saw it in Occupy Wall Street for a brief flash before it was crushed and discredited.  And, we have seen this revolt that carried along both the Sanders’ and Trump’s campaigns…both are revolts.   Both phenomena are a part of this same, “I MAY NOT BE INFORMED BUT I AM FED UP” movement right here in the USA.  One of these seems to be a genuine reformer named Bernie Sanders, who has already made history, running into as much headwind as Brexit did, gaining huge popularity and financial support from millions.  Right or wrong, Burnie is trusted, no-one else is.

Sanders must now run for President as an Independent, or on some third party platform, but run he must. Like him or lump him, he is our best chance for an American Brexit.  He is logical and believable, and he is here at an appointed hour when we need him, never mind his faults.  Sanders like Brexit, has captured the imagination of both the millennials and the aging, ‘I AM FED UP’ crowd.   Tell him Run!  He might just win, and If he quits now, we will surely get War Queen Hilary as our President. What if Brexit sponsors had given up when everyone said it could not win, and the forces of politicians, banks, and media were stacking a fear campaign?

For perhaps the first time in a lifetime, the world central banking money printers who created the European Union (EU) and control our FED, are running scared. They feared Brexit, they said so, and they are showing it by their acts. They have shot off their heavy weapons in London, and the public was not hearing them.  They lowered interest rates to zero, yet the economy is stagnant.  They have played the controlled-War card, time and time again, and it no longer stimulates growth.  We must be aware of the Big War Card vs Russia, that our banker warmakers still hold as a last resort.  We must not let them play it.  We need one peace candidate for president who others can rally around.

Bernie, you are not perfect to all of us, but you are here and you are known. Remember, both the Democrats and Republicans were once third parties looking in from the outside.  Run Bernie, give us someone to vote for, give us a chance for a USexit.

Posted in Middle East, UK, USA0 Comments

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