Yes, the war agenda is rolling out again for Syria

It didn’t take them long to prove us right…

If there was any doubt about what constitutes at least part of the agenda behind the shameless media exploitation of the refugee crisis, it’s been entirely eliminated in the hours since our first piece on this was published. Since then we have had BBC revelations that UK ministers are arguing for “military action in Syria”, followed by Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian (“Aylan Kurdi: this one small life has shown us the way to tackle the refugee crisis”) echoing the anonymous editorial we quoted in our previous piece.

After a few paras of rather perfunctory sentiment about little Aylan Kurdi and the wider human tragedy he embodies, Freedland delivers the kicker.
"Action for refugees means not only a welcome when they arrive, but also a remedy for the problem that made them leave. The people now running from Syria have concluded that it is literally uninhabitable: it is a place where no one can live. They have come to that conclusion slowly, after four years of murderous violence. To make them think again would require action a thousand miles away from the level of the district council, an international effort to stop not just the killers of ISIS but also Bashar al-Assad’s barrel bombs.
That might mean the creation of safe havens and no-fly zones. More trenchant voices say the bombs won’t stop until anti-Assad rebels can fire back with anti-aircraft weaponry…."

So, there we have it. The agenda. Delivered soft, and oblique, but even clearer than before. In order to save the refugees we need more war, not less. We have to get rid of Assad. We have to arm the “rebels” with “anti-aircraft weaponry.” (which “rebels” does Freedland mean? Al Nusra? Al Qaeda? ISIS? Is he seriously advocating giving any of these lunatics surface to air missiles?).

It’s official. Orwell was right. War really is peace.

Unsurprisingly it doesn’t matter to the ethically dyslexic Freedland any more than it does to the anonymous author of the “Guardian View” that many claim it is western intervention and western-backed terrorists that have made parts of Syria “literally uninhabitable”. He and the rest of the mainstream journos just don’t care that Human Rights Watch and the British media have been caught using wrongly attributed footage to “prove” their claims about “Assad’s barrel bombs”, just as the BBC and the US government used lies and fake footage about chemical weapons last time they wanted to prime us for war with Syria.

Interesting to note, by the way, that Freedland’s wording “creation of safe havens and no-fly zones” is almost identical to the Anonymous editorial’s “the establishment of credible safe havens and the implementation of a no-fly zone”. Are these two gents just coincidentally thinking along extremely similar lines on the same day? I suspect we’ll probably be seeing a lot more repetition of the “creation of safe havens and no-fly zones” meme over the next few weeks, unless something stops this roll-out in its tracks.

Yes, the war agenda is rolling out again. And this time the warmongers are hoping to take us all with them on a tidal wave of outrage and empathy. They think nothing of exploiting the pain and tragedy they have created in order to get our endorsement to do more of the same. They hope to whip up such a surge of feeling in us, such a need to ‘do something’ we’ll sign off on their war before we even notice what’s being asked of us.

I hope no one falls for this latest desperate bid to get western troops in to Syria. I hope people won’t mistake the cheap media hysteria and even cheaper theatrics for real compassion. I hope we all refuse to be manipulated and remember Aylan Kurdi and all the other dead and misplaced souls deserve better than to be exploited as a cynical excuse for more murder and more human misery.

5 September 2015

Sako Sefiani - Everything is Related...

Some people see the world and the goings on in it as some mishmash of unrelated, chaotic and random things and events that lack any discernible or definable pattern or trend. The world seems to them like some crazy place with many crazy people in it and crazy things happening, all the time and at the same time. You'd often hear them say things like: "it's a crazy world" or "the world is gone mad".

There are the ISIS terrorists massacring people for their religious beliefs. There is the non-ending conflict in Palestine, where Israel demolishes Palestinian homes, builds settlements and imprisons and kills Palestinians, who fight back by throwing stones at Israeli military vehicles. There is the civil war in Syria, where Islamists and Assad’s government forces are engaged in a devastating war, creating millions of refugees, flooding the neighboring and European countries. There is the U.S. government that's bombing ISIS positions in Syria and opposition forces in Yemen and the Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Somalia, while continuing its war in Afghanistan against the Taliban. There is the terrible situation in Iraq and Libya that were devastated and became ungovernable after the U.S. and its allies waged a war against them to depose their former dictators. There is the civil war in Ukraine, after the U.S. backed the opposition and succeeded in overthrowing the government. There are millions of people dying of hunger and curable diseases in Africa, the climate change threatening life on Earth, sweatshops in Bangladesh going up in flames and killing hundreds of low paid workers to keep the price of cloths we buy cheap, the drug wars in Mexico, police shooting and killing people in the U.S. and attacking peaceful protesters and so on and so forth.

This group of people may see the hand of the U.S. and its allies behind many terrible things that are taking place. For example, they may be aware of the fact that the U.S. armed, funded and trained the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan in 1980’s to fight against the Godless Soviets with those Islamic fighters later turning against the U.S. and forming the Al Qaeda terrorists. They may be aware of the U.S. role in maintaining the occupation and Israeli apartheid in Palestine. They may even be aware of its historical and current role in the Koreas or that it supported the Syrian opposition in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian government, as it did in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine, before the terrorist group, ISIS, rose through the opposition and became a threat to the U.S., which then prompted the U.S. to bomb its positions in Syria, which exacerbated the refugee problem. They may be aware of all this, but just before their brains start seeing some pattern in all this and try to tie all this together, they start seeing a blurry and chaotic picture, where the Russians and Chinese and the Iranians and the Afghans and Pakistanis and Syria’s government forces, as well as the U.S. government and the Israelis and Hamas and the Saudis and the British and the French are all equally bad and to blame.

Another group, which considers itself socialist and anti capitalist and among the revolutionary left, sees all this, but suddenly makes a 180 in certain areas of "conflict" and ends up taking the side of US imperialism, which ironically they claim to be vehemently and passionately against.

When I wrote in a recent post how the US decision to overthrow the Assad government in Syria by supporting the opposition, which included Islamist terror groups like ISIS, contributed to the war, which made refugees of millions of Syrians, this is what someone, who is supposedly anti capitalist and anti imperialist, wrote in response: "U.S. decision to topple the Syrian government" = that's nuts. The U.S. is bombing in Syria, sure. But never, never bombing the armed forces of the dictatorship, only I.S. Meanwhile, Assad continues to drive what are now millions of people into exile with his barrel-bombing campaigns of collective punishment--which are qualitatively no different from those of the Zionists, but only larger because the population is larger". In other words, this "leftist" sees the Assad government as a bigger danger and threat and more evil than the U.S. empire and even more so than the Zionist state. He not only defends US military intervention and bombings in Syria, but is actually critical of the US for not bombing the Syrian forces and toppling the government!

This "anti-imperialist" goes on and brings the "evil" Iran into his indictment, too: "There's an unspoken alliance between Iran, which has boots on the ground supporting the Syrian regime as well as supporting the Iraqi regime, and U.S. imperialism". So, basically, he's angry at "U.S. imperialism" because it's not trying to overthrow the Syrian government and of course with Iran, for supporting Syria, more than he's upset with ISIS for massacring innocent people for not believing in their interpretation of Islam. Or maybe he's not upset at ISIS at all, which in his world, are the good guys here and are the only ones who try to do the good deed and topple the evil government. I'm sure this person must be happy with how previous regime changes by the U.S. and its allies, such as in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine turned out. In his comment, he actually even expresses disappointment about "US policy" of "hands-off Assad". I wonder what he considers "imperialism", which he claims to be against. It seems that to him, it's not military intervention that makes the US imperialist, but its lack thereof. Non-intervention is imperialistic and war is peace. And he's one of our leftists!

When the government of Ukraine was overthrown with the help and support of the CIA, another revolutionary leftist (Trotskyist) friend, who had been a socialist and active within the left most of her adult life, took the side of those who with the help of the CIA overthrew the government and established a pro-US, pro-EU and pro-IMF regime which had fascists among its ranks! Her reason had more to do with President Putin, whom she despises, than anything else. Her political "analysis" amounted to the mere fact that Putin represented the Russian oligarchs and was supporting the old government. No mention of the CIA or the EU role or long term US plans to surround Russia. No connection to the imperialist neoliberal policies. Just that Putin is a bad guy. Just like the other friend whose hatred for the Iranian and Syrian governments is all the analysis he needs.

And, then, there is the group of people who see everything as a conspiracy and the work of the CIA. In their strange worldview, the CIA has Godlike powers planning and executing world events many generations ahead. Almost no event is ruled out as a hoax, a false flag or the work of the CIA, even the Sandy Hook massacre of elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut (all you have to do is Google Sandy Hook and you'll see more hits calling it a hoax than describing what actually happened), the Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, the recent shooting of a police officer North of Chicago and many others.

Then, there are those, who see everything as the work of the Rothschild family or wealthy Jewish bankers.

Those who subscribe to such overly simplified and generalized worldviews as the conspiracy theorists, try to make sense of an otherwise chaotic looking and seemingly inexplicable world by resorting to something that simplifies things for them and makes them more easily explainable, leading them to absurd beliefs. This type of worldview has an uncanny similarity to religious thinking, which also tries to understand and explain a world that's hard to understand and ends up simplifying things through an all powerful God that makes everything simple and easy to understand.

How you view and understand the world determines what conclusions you reach and what or whom you unwittingly end up giving your tacit support to. Despite the best of intentions and desire to oppose injustice, wrong understanding and positions are no different from having the worst of intentions. Despite all that we may say about the EU, the ECB and the IMF, if we support the pro-imperialist coup regime in Ukraine, we are in effect supporting those institutions that we claim to be against. Likewise, when we confuse Islamist terrorists with "rebels" and call for the overthrow of the Syrian government in the hands of those terrorists, confusing such CIA/Israeli/Saudi intervention with a people’s revolution, we’re joining our voices with imperialism, despite all our anti-imperialist slogans.

The world problems are neither the result of unrelated random events that lack any discernible force behind them, nor are they all the work of an almighty organization or a family that plans and executes them perfectly, with no chance of challenging or stopping it. The world may be complicated, but it's not beyond human comprehension or intervention.

Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin

by Pierce Nahigyan May 6, 2014 

Seymour Hersh at the 2004 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award 

A recent report by journalist Seymour Hersh claims to uncover new information about the U.S. and Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian civil war. Combined with Turkey’s shutdown of YouTube and Twitter over rumors of government corruption, Hersh’s allegations further condemn the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan for political and military manipulation. Yet the sins of Erdoğan’s administration seem to be an outgrowth of America’s own self-destructive foreign policy.

The Sarin Attack

On August 21, 2013, a lethal nerve agent was released on the Syrian town of Ghouta outside Damascus. The town was host to a faction of rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, one of many engaged in a brutal civil war stretching back to early 2011.

More than a thousand Syrians were killed after exposure to the deadly gas, what was later classified by the UK Defense Science Technology Laboratory as “kitchen” grade sarin. On September 10, President Obama publicly denounced the attack and Assad, whom he asserted was the man behind it. “We know the Assad regime was responsible,” he said on national television. “And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.”

President Obama had previously warned that, should the Syrian government engage in chemical warfare, they would be treading over a dangerous “red line,” provoking military intervention by the United States. One year before the sarin attack, almost to the day, Obama told reporter Chuck Todd, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime…that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

The case seemed cut and dry: American intelligence confirmed that Assad was guilty of chemical warfare, putting him in violation of international law. But that case, according to Hersh, was made through a “deliberate manipulation of intelligence.” That a deadly gas had been used was unquestionable, but a biased narrative was “cherry picked” from the available evidence to cast the Assad regime as the perpetrator.

How was the evidence “picked?” Obama pointed to the fact that, prior to the attack, the U.S. had intercepted chatter about the Syrian army distributing gas masks and mobilizing its chemical weapons personnel. While the Syrian army had performed this exercise, it had done so in December 2012—eight months prior to the attack. Recovered munitions from the gas site matched 330mm caliber artillery rockets, which were linked to the Syrian government because such weapons “had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency.” Yet Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the photos of the rocket and concluded that it was an improvised munition, “something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop” and did not match the smaller rocket used by the Syrian military. Most importantly, the Washington narrative ignored al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the U.S. and the U.N. as a terrorist organization.

Al-Nusra’s stated goal is to establish sharia law in Syria. They have carried out multiple suicide attacks against secular rebel groups and have been linked to small-scale chemical weapons attacks during the war. Furthermore, al-Nusra was known to be operating in Eastern Ghouta in late May and to have acquired Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, formerly of the Iraqi military, who had “a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and…[was] implicated in making and using sarin.”

Direct evidence linking al-Nusra to the Ghouta chemical attack does not exist, but neither does direct evidence linking the attack to the Syrian government. Nevertheless, Obama pushed hard for American intervention in Syria, with the sarin attack the cornerstone of his argument. The parallels to America’s previous cornerstones of Middle Eastern war, weapons of mass destruction, cannot be overstated.

Turkey, the “Rat Line” and Benghazi

In Mid-April, the London Review of Books published “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” Seymour Hersh’s investigation into America’s covert operations in Syria.

According to Hersh, America has supplied Syria with weapons and materiel by channeling them through Libya and Turkey. This process was overseen in part by the American consulate in Libya, located in Benghazi.

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report detailing the assault on the Benghazi consulate that occurred in September 2012. A highly classified annex to the report (distributed to only eight members of Congress) further details the agreement made between President Obama and Prime Minister Erdoğan to transport military supplies from Libya through Turkey and into the hands of Syrian rebels. This back channel, what is known as a “rat line,” was authorized in early 2012 but has yet to be publicly acknowledged by the Obama administration. The Director of National Intelligence also denies the existence of a Turkish rat line.

According to Hersh’s sources, the rat line was funded by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and executed by the CIA in conjunction with the UK’s MI6. The CIA is required by law to inform Congress of such covert missions, but not when they involve foreign agencies. This collaboration between the CIA and MI6 was thus classified as a liaison operation, overseen by CIA Director David Petraeus prior to his resignation, and used Libyan front companies to ship packages to Turkey.

The reason for the attack on the Benghazi consulate remains a mystery, but according to a former intelligence official, “The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms. It had no real political role.”

The Benghazi attack was a tragedy, but it was also a political disaster—publicly and privately. The U.S. lost control of the rat line shortly afterwards, but even prior to the deaths of four U.S. personnel, weapons were being put into the hands of Syrian jihadists. Syria’s rebel groups are not a homogenous lot and many have been affiliated with al Qaeda. The rat line did not discriminate.

When America ended its CIA mission, it left Turkey with a lingering connection to Syria’s radical insurgents and the question of what to do next. No matter how the civil war ends, Turkey’s relationship with both the Syrian government and its rebel factions will come under scrutiny.

Protection was needed in the form of U.S. intervention and Turkish leaders sought a way to pull the U.S. back into the war.

On August 18, 2013, UN inspectors were near Damascus investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal. During their three-day investigation, it would have been an exceptionally inopportune moment for the Syrian government to deploy sarin gas in nearby Ghouta.

Indeed, the longer American analysts study the August 21 gas attack, the greater their sense that the Syrian government did not perpetrate it. “But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen?” asks Hersh’s source. “The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.”

The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of “push[ing] Obama over the red line.” Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama’s implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that.

But America didn’t go to war with Syria. Turkey would need to find another way in.

YouTube and the False Flag

On March 27, the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (TIB) blocked the video sharing site YouTube. This was in response to a posted video that purported to have confidential audio of a conversation among Turkey’s top authorities, including Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan, Deputy Chief of Military Staff Yasar Guler, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Prime Minister Erdoğan.

As of this writing, Reuters has not verified its authenticity, but both Davutoglu and Erdoğan have admitted it is genuine. But whereas Davutoglu has said the tape has been edited, Erdoğan has only railed against the “villainous” leaking of a national security meeting.

The subject of the meeting, as translated by the International Business Times, was possible intervention in Syria’s civil war. To justify intervention, Fidan suggests sending men from Syria to attack Turkey.

Hakan Fidan “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: “That’s what I told back there. For one thing, the situation is different. An operation on ISIL has solid ground on international law. We’re going to portray this is Al-Qaeda, there’s no distress there if it’s a matter regarding Al-Qaeda. And if it comes to defending Suleiman Shah Tomb, that’s a matter of protecting our land.”

Yaşar Güler: “We don’t have any problems with that.”

Hakan Fidan: “Second after it happens, it’ll cause a great internal commotion (several bombing events is bound to happen within). The border is not under control…”

What Fidan proposes is known as a “false flag” attack, a mission wherein the enemy is actually disguised members of one’s own country sent in to incite a panic. Suleiman Shah is the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire; though his tomb is located near Aleppo, Syria, it is guarded by the Turkish military. Islamist rebels in Syria have threatened to destroy it in the past and Erdoğan has publicly threatened retaliation if they do.

But if ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) don’t, the voice allegedly belonging to Fidan knows what to do: “I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.”

Erdoğan has accused YouTube of giving saboteurs a platform for dissent and banned access to the website nationwide. The ban was temporarily lifted on April 5 but the ruling was reversed by the GölbaşıCriminal Court of First Instance. Two days later, Google filed a protest with Turkish courts.

The Horror

Understandably, Turkey and the U.S. have denied Hersh’s allegations. Both countries point out that Hersh has but one unnamed intelligence source supplying most of his information and reaffirm that each is the other’s ally. Hersh’s unnamed intelligence source could have predicted that:

“We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous.”

The countries have said that this conspiracy of Hersh’s is too horrific to be believed. I’m sure Mr. Hersh is used to it. He’s been hearing that since 1969.