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Congress Denied Syrian Facts, Too

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 7, 2013

A U.S. congressman who has read the Obama administration’s classified version of intelligence on the alleged Syrian poison gas attack says the report is only 12 pages – just three times longer than the sketchy unclassified public version – and is supported by no additional hard evidence.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also said the House Intelligence Committee had to make a formal request to the administration for “the underlying intelligence reports” and he is unaware if those details have been forthcoming, suggesting that the classified report – like the unclassified version – is more a set of assertions than a presentation of evidence.

“We have reached the point where the classified information system prevents even trusted members of Congress, who have security clearances, from learning essential facts, and then inhibits them from discussing and debating what they do know,” Grayson wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times on Saturday.

“And this extends to matters of war and peace, money and blood. The ‘security state’ is drowning in its own phlegm. My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.”

As I wrote a week ago, after examining the four-page unclassified summary, there was not a single fact that could be checked independently. It was a “dodgy dossier” similar to the ones in 2002-2003 that led the United States into the Iraq War. The only difference was that the Bush administration actually provided more checkable information than the Obama administration did, although much of the Bush data ultimately didn’t check out.

It appears that the chief lesson learned by the Obama administration was to release even less information about Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 than the Bush administration did about Iraq’s alleged WMD. The case against Syria has relied almost exclusively on assertions, such as the bellowing from Secretary of State John Kerry that the Syrian government sure did commit the crime, just trust us.

The Obama administration’s limited-hangout strategy seems to have worked pretty well at least inside the Establishment, but it’s floundering elsewhere around the United States. It appears that many Americans share the skepticism of Rep. Grayson and a few other members of Congress who have bothered to descend into the intelligence committee vaults to read the 12-page classified summary for themselves.

Rallying the Establishment

Despite the sketchy intelligence, many senators and congressmen have adopted the politically safe position of joining in denunciations of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (where’s the downside of that), and the mainstream U.S. news media has largely taken to writing down the administration’s disputed claims about Syria as “flat fact.”

For instance, the New York Times editorial on Saturday accepts without caveat that there was “a poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that killed more than 1,400 people last month,” yet those supposed “facts” are all in dispute, including the total number who apparently died from chemical exposure. It was the U.S. white paper that presented the claim of “1,429” people killed without explaining the provenance of that strangely precise number.

The New York Times editorial also reprises the false narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Assad are to blame for the absence of peace negotiations, although the Times’ own reporters from the field have written repeatedly that it has been the U.S.-backed rebels who have refused to join peace talks in Geneva. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Getting Syria-ous About Peace Talks.”]

Nevertheless, the Times editorial states, “it was the height of cynicism for Mr. Putin to talk about the need for a Syrian political settlement, which he has done little to advance.” One has to wonder if the Times’ editors consider it their “patriotic” duty to mislead the American people, again.

Increasingly, President Barack Obama’s case for a limited war against Syria is looking like a nightmarish replay of President George W. Bush’s mendacious arguments for war against Iraq. There are even uses of the same techniques, such as putting incriminating words in the mouths of “enemy” officials.

On Feb. 5, 2003, before the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell needled some intercepted quotes from Iraqi military officers to make some innocuous comments about inspecting weapons sites into proof they were hiding caches of chemical weapons from UN inspectors. Powell’s scam was exposed when the State Department released the actual transcripts of the conversations without some of the incriminating words that Powell had added.

Then, on Aug. 30, 2013, when the Obama administration released its “Government Assessment” of Syria’s alleged poison gas attack, the white paper stated, “We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence.”

However, the identity of the “senior official” was not included, nor was the direct quote cited. The report claimed concerns about protecting “sources and methods” in explaining why more details weren’t provided, but everyone in the world knows the United States has the capability to intercept phone calls.

Reasons for Secrecy?

So, why didn’t the Obama administration go at least as far as the Bush administration did in putting out transcripts of these phone intercepts? A reasonable suspicion must be that the actual words of the conversation – and possibly other conversations – would have indicated that the Syrian high command was caught off guard by the Aug. 21 events, that the Syrian government was scrambling to figure out what had happened and why, that the intercepts were less incriminating than the paraphrase of them.

That fuller story might well have undercut the U.S. case for taking military action. So, the administration’s white paper left out conversations reflecting the Syrian government’s confusion. The white paper didn’t even bother to put in the actual quote from the one “senior official” who supposedly “confirmed” the chemical weapons use.

Indeed, although the white paper states that its conclusions were derived from “human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting,” none of that intelligence was spelled out in the unclassified version. It is now unclear how much more detail was provided in the 12-page classified version that Rep. Grayson read.

In his op-ed, Grayson wrote, “The first [unclassified version] enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion. On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was ‘no.’”

So, what is one to make of this pathetic replay of events from a decade ago in which the White House and intelligence community make sweeping claims without presenting real evidence and the major U.S. news outlets simply adopt the government’s uncorroborated claims as true?

One might have thought that the Obama administration – understanding the public skepticism after the disastrous Iraq War – would have gone to extra lengths to lay out all the facts to the American people, rather than try to slip by with another “dodgy dossier” and excuses about the need to keep all the evidence secret.

President Obama seems to believe that “transparency” means having some members of Congress interrupt their busy schedules of endless fundraising to troop down to the intelligence committee vaults and read some pre-packaged intelligence without the benefit of any note-taking or the ability to check out what they’ve seen, let alone the right to discuss it publicly.

In my 35-plus years covering Congress, I can tell you that perhaps the body’s greatest weakness – amid many, many weaknesses – is its ability to investigate national security claims emanating from the Executive Branch.

Beyond all the limitations of what members of Congress are allowed to see and under what circumstances, there is the reality that anyone who takes on the intelligence community too aggressively can expect to be pilloried as “unpatriotic” or accused of being an “apologist” for some unsavory dictator.

Soon, the troublesome member can expect hostile opinion pieces showing up in his local newspapers and money pouring into the campaign coffers of some electoral challenger. So, there is no political upside in performing this sort of difficult oversight and there is plenty of downside.

And once an administration has staked its credibility on some dubious assertion, all the public can expect is more of a sales job, a task that President Obama himself is expected to undertake in a speech to the nation on Tuesday. That is why the Obama administration would have been wise to have developed a much fuller intelligence assessment of what happened on Aug. 21 and then presented the evidence as fully as possible.

In the days of the Internet and Twitter – and after the bitter experience of the Iraq War – it is a dubious proposition that the White House can rely on national politicians and Establishment news outlets to whip the public up for another military adventure without presenting a comprehensive set of facts.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 5 Comments

‘Globesity’: US junk food industry tips global scales

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By Robert Bridge | RT | September 07, 2013

From Mexico to Qatar, obesity rates are soaring to unprecedented levels. The alarming trend is damaging economic performance, as well as the health of millions of consumers worldwide.

Take our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, mix in a generous portion of American fast-food and dubious agricultural practices, add a dash of corporate duplicity and you have a recipe for high obesity rates across the planet.

The newly released United Nations report on global nutrition does not make for very appetizing reading: Amid an already floundering global economy, the reality of a fattening planet is dragging down world productivity rates while increasing health insurance costs to the tune of $3.5 trillion dollars per year – or 5 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP).

31.8 percent of US adults are now considered clinically obese. This is a remarkable figure, especially considering that it is approximately double the US obesity rate registered in 1995, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

An individual is considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of the person’s height in meters, exceeds 30 kg/m2, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, much of the international community is quickly catching up with the global consumption superpower. Mexico, for example, just surpassed US obesity rates with a whopping 32.8 percent of Mexican adults now considered to be clinically obese.

The unprecedented weight gains in Mexico, however, as well as many other countries, appear to be no accident.

Following the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico became the dumping ground for a slew of cheap fast food and carbonated drinks, according to a Foreign Policy report.

Thanks to NAFTA, there was a more than 1,200 percent increase in high-fructose corn syrup exports from the US to Mexico between 1996 and 2012, according to the US Agriculture Department. In an effort to place a cap on the high-calorie drinks, Mexican officials introduced a tax on beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup. American corn refiners, however, cried foul and the tax was voted down by the World Trade Organization.

Mexicans now consume 43 gallons of soda per capita annually, giving the country the world’s highest rate of soda consumption, according to estimates by Mexico’s national statistics agency.

Yet another disturbing casualty on the obesity trail is tiny Qatar, an oil-rich Arab nation of 250,000 people that is also rich in fast food diets.

“Like most people in the Arab Gulf, (Qataris) were traditionally desert-dwelling and therefore much more physically active,” according to a 2012 report by Policymic.com. “Now, cars have replaced camels and fast food and home deliveries take the place of home cooking. Even housework and child rearing is left to maids and nannies.”

Today, some 45 percent of Qatari adults are obese and up to 40 percent of school children are obese as well.
Last month, nutrition experts from around the world shared their views at an obesity and nutrition conference in Sydney. For many of the attendees, the primary culprit in the global obesity scourge is out-of-control corporate power, where the free market decides everything.

The rise of global fast food outlets has been a key change in our environment leading to fattier foods and fatter people, Bruce Neal, professor at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, told the Indo-Asian News Service.

“As fast as we get rid of all our traditional vectors of disease – infections, little microbes, bugs – we are replacing them with the new vectors of disease, which are massive transnational, national, multinational corporations selling vast amounts of salt, fat and sugar,” Neal said.

John Norris, writing in Foreign Policy, explained some of the global dynamics that contributed to the so-called “globesity” epidemic, including the soft drink industry’s move to use cheaper high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar in many of their products.

“Suddenly, it was cheaper to put high-fructose corn syrup in everything from spaghetti sauce to soda. Coke and Pepsi swapped out sugar for high-fructose corn syrup in 1984, and most other US soda and snack companies followed suit,” Norris wrote. “US per capita consumption of high-fructose corn syrup spiked from less than half a pound a year in 1970 to a peak of almost 38 pounds a year in 1999.”

While some might be tempted to downplay the negative effects of such a harmless sounding additive, researchers from Canada’s University of Guelph, as pointed out by Norris, discovered that a high-fructose corn syrup diet in rats produced “addictive behavior similar to that from cocaine use.”

As obesity explodes, US fast food companies look abroad.

Americans, thanks in part to First Lady Michele Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ program, have recently woken up to the unsustainability of their soda guzzling, fast food ways. Other politicians and activists have also weighed in on the debate, making the environment for the fast food industry not as comfortable as in the past.

In March, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attracted the ire of the soft drink industry when he placed a ban on the sale of sodas in sizes larger than 16 ounces. Violators will be fined $200.

In his 2004 a documentary film, “Super Size Me,” Morgan Spurlock stunned audiences by tracking the physical effects on his body – none of them positive – after consuming nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. As a result of the experiment, Spurlock gained 24½ lbs. (11.1 kg), a 13 percent body mass increase, and a cholesterol level of 230, among other negative side-effects.

Perhaps the biggest wake-up call for the fast food industry came in 2002 when two teenagers accused McDonald’s of deceptively marketing its menu from 1985 to 2002, causing them, they alleged, to become obese. The judge dismissed the case in 2010, but the message to the industry was crystal clear.

As a result of these and other public awareness campaigns, the American fast food industry – although slower than some may like – has been gradually rewriting their menus and marketing campaigns, many of which are aimed at kids.

At the same time, the junk food industry – sensing the sea change of attitudes in the United States as the physical effects of junk food manifests itself – are investing increasingly in foreign markets where public awareness of the subject is not so developed.

Similar to the crackdown on the tobacco industry in the late 1990s, US fast food companies are busy setting up shop abroad for easy, unregulated markets to hawk their wares.

Already the size of their presence is breathtaking: “Coca-Cola and PepsiCo together control almost 40 percent of the world’s $532 billion soft drink market, according to the Economist. Soda sales, meanwhile, have more than doubled in the last 10 years, with much of that growth driven by developing markets. McDonald’s investors were disappointed that the company only turned $1.4 billion in profit during the second quarter of 2013, having become used to years of double-digit gains every three months,” according to the Foreign Policy report.

So while the United States is steadily finding ways to regulate its fast food, soft drink industry, and thus nip the obesity epidemic in the bud, it is, at the same time, legislating on behalf of unhealthy exports abroad.

Now the question is, will the rest of the world bite the hand that feeds?

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Vietnam War: Reasons for Failure – Why the U.S. Lost

Related article:

The Soldier’s Revolt

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | 2 Comments

When It Comes to State Violence, Too Much Is Never Enough

By Jim Naureckas | FAIR | August 30, 2013

Time magazine’s Michael Crowley (9/9/13) offers an analysis of how the Syrian situation reflects on Barack Obama’s presidency:

Whatever comes of Obama’s confrontation with Assad, an even more dangerous confrontation lies in wait–the one with Iran. If another round of negotiations with Tehran should fail, Obama may soon be obliged to make good on his vow to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. “I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests,” Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2012.

But to his critics, Obama does hesitate, and trouble follows as a result. With more than three years left in his presidency, he has the opportunity to reverse that impression. Success in Syria and then Iran could vindicate him, and failure could be crushing. “The risk is that, if things in the Middle East continue to spiral, that will become his legacy,” says Brian Katulis, a former Obama campaign adviser now with the Center for American Progress.

Obama does “hesitate to use force”–is that his problem? Since 2009, US drone strikes have killed more than 2000 people in Pakistan, including 240 civilians, 62 of them children. Since Obama took office, they’ve killed more than 400 in Yemen; drone deaths in Somalia are harder to quantify.

Obama roughly tripled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, from 33,000 to 98,000 (Think Progress, 6/22/11). In 2011, he sent naval and air forces into battle to overthrow the government of Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi. In Iraq, Obama tried and failed to keep tens of thousands of troops in the country beyond the withdrawal deadline negotiated by the Bush administration (New York Times, 10/22/11).

This is a record that would not seem to indicate a particular hesitancy to use force. Oddly, Crowley acknowledges much of this: “Obama …sent more troops to Afghanistan, escalated drone strikes against Al-Qaeda terrorists,” he writes. But his military actions are presented as a sign of his unwillingness to take military action: “In Libya, he at first stood by as rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi’s forces found themselves outgunned and on the run.”

No matter how many wars you engage in–Obama has had six so far–there are always wars you could have started but didn’t. Crowley seems to be suggesting that those unfought wars ought to take the blame for any problems Obama leaves behind.

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Legal loophole: US offers no apologies for hacking internet encryption

RT | September 6, 2013

The US Director of National Intelligence has issued a statement in response to a report revealing that the National Security Agency, with help from international allies, secretly inserted backdoors into various encryption and internet security services.

Intelligence agencies in the US and United Kingdom have spent millions to bribe technicians – perhaps even planting agents inside telecommunication companies – in a bid to penetrate the encryption used by hundreds of millions of people to protect their privacy online.

The report detailing the intelligence agency’s efforts was published Thursday by The Guardian, and is the latest result of the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The office of James Clapper, director of US national intelligence, has responded by saying the government would simply not be doing its job if it did not use legally dubious techniques to quietly monitor Americans’ everyday communications.

“It should hardly be a surprise that our intelligence agencies seek ways to counteract our adversaries’ use of encryption,” read the statement issued Friday. “Throughout history, nations have used encryption to protect their secrets, and today, terrorists, cyber-criminals, human traffickers and others also use code to hide their activities.”

Close readers may focus their attention on the statement’s mention of “and others,” a loophole that conceivably writes the government a blank check to spy on anyone it sees fit.

“I am the other because I do not trust my government in general, or the people working for its security apparatus in particular,” wrote Ken White of the Popehat law and civil liberties blog.

“I am the other because I believe the security state and its representatives habitually lie, both directly and by misleading language, about the scope of their spying on us. I believe they feel entitled to do so,” he adds.

Among the representatives of the so-called “security state” is US President Barack Obama, who again drew the ire of civil liberty advocates this week when he appeared to admit that he lacks the knowledge of what exactly the NSA is doing.

Obama participated in a press conference at the G20 summit in which he was questioned about accusations from Brazil and Mexico that the NSA has spied on their heads of state.

“I mean, part of the problem here is we get these through the press and then I’ve got to go back and find out what’s going on with respect to these particular allegations,” said President Obama in St. Petersburg. “I don’t subscribe to all these newspapers, although I think the NSA does, now at least.”

Obama took time out of his G20 schedule to hold a closed doors session with Brazil’s President Rousseff for nearly 30 minutes on Thursday, to address the country’s outrage at allegations that her communications with top members of her government had been intercepted.

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rousseff yet to decide on US visit

Press TV – September 7, 2013

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff says she will decide on whether to call off her visit to the United States over allegations of Washington’s spying on her based on President Barack Obama’s full response.

On Friday, Obama said that his administration would work with the Brazilian and Mexican governments to resolve tensions over allegations of spying.

Obama met separately with Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on the sidelines of G20 international economic summit in the Russian city of St. Petersburg and discussed reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on their personal communications.

Earlier on Friday, Rousseff indicated she was not completely content with Obama’s assurances that the alleged spying on her communications by the NAS would be looked into during their meeting late on Thursday.

Rousseff added that the US president had agreed to provide a fuller explanation for the reported spying by September 11, and that she would decide whether or not to visit the US next month based in part on his response.

“My trip to Washington depends on the political conditions to be created by President Obama,” Rousseff told reporters on Friday.

Brazil’s TV Globo reported on September 1 that the NSA spied on emails, phone calls and text messages of Rousseff as president and Pena Nieto when he was a candidate.

The report was based on documents released by US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor.

Angered by the report, Rousseff and her government have asked for a more complete explanation of the alleged spying.

Brazil argues that counterterrorism or cybersecurity concerns did not sufficiently explain why the NSA would spy on Rousseff’s communications.

The Brazilian government has already canceled a trip by an advance team to prepare for Rousseff’s next month visit to Washington.

Rousseff is scheduled to visit the White House in late October to meet Obama and discuss a possible 4-billion-dollar jet fighter deal, cooperation on oil and biofuels technology between the two biggest economies in the Americas, as well as other commercial projects.

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 2 Comments

EU court verdict on Iran sanctions angers US

Press TV – September 7, 2013

A new EU court ruling that rejected sanctions on a number of Iranian entities has drawn the ire of the United States, prompting Washington to extend its illegal embargoes against more individuals and businesses.

The EU’s General Court in Luxembourg lifted the bloc’s sanctions against seven Iranian companies on Friday, ruling that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify the embargoes.

The top EU court ruled that the bloc wrongly blocked the accounts of Post Bank of Iran, the Iran Insurance Company, Good Luck Shipping and the Export Development Bank of Iran, from 2008 to 2011.

“We are very disappointed by the [EU] court’s decision today,” a spokesman for the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Friday.

The US Treasury later announced that it blacklisted six individuals and four businesses over their alleged links to Iranian oil sales.

At the beginning of 2012, the US and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors aimed at preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s nuclear activities have non-civilian purposes.

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Obama fails to rally international support for his war plans

Obama WAR MONGER

Press TV – September 7, 2013

US President Barack Obama has failed to rally international support for conducting military strikes on Syria after two days of lobbying in Russia.

Obama, who arrived in St. Petersburg on Thursday to attend the Group of 20 summit, could not persuade foreign leaders to support his war plans as they urged him not to launch any attack without the United Nations’ permission.

During a long debate, Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir V. Putin each argued their positions on the issue.

Putin argued that a majority of the leaders, including the leaders of China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Germany and South Africa, oppose a military strike independent of the United Nations.

Not only did the Russian president oppose military action against Syria, but he also rejected Washington and its allies’ allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack last month.

“We hear each other and understand the arguments,” Putin said. “We simply don’t agree with them. I don’t agree with his arguments and he doesn’t agree with mine, but we hear and try to analyze.”

The only members of the Group of 20 nations which supported Obama were Canada, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Putin added.

Nevertheless, Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, said Australia, Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain and South Korea could also be added to the list of US allies supporting an attack on Syria.

The US president’s failure to rally international support for his war plans against Syria will make it even more difficult for him to convince US lawmakers and voters to support a strike on Syria.

Obama himself said that he had a “hard sell” and that he might not succeed in winning over the US public which, according to polls, still opposes a strike.

Obama said that he would lay out his case during an address on Tuesday before Congress votes on a resolution authorizing his administration to attack Syria.

According to a whip count by Think Progress, an overwhelming majority of the members of the US House of Representatives are either undecided or likely to vote against a US attack on the Middle Eastern country.

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Mind the gap! Democratic deficit in UK, US has never been bigger

By Neil Clark | RT | September 6, 2013

The issue of Syria has demonstrated the massive gap that has opened up between the elite and ordinary people in both the US and Britain.

Poll after poll after poll shows very large majorities against strikes on Syria. People are war-weary, and the last thing they want is for their countries to become embroiled in another Middle-East war.

One Congressman in the US tweeted earlier this week that he had asked 200 people if they supported strikes on Syria and only four said ‘Yes’– that’s just 2 percent. Another said that 99 percent of calls to his office were against military action.

Let’s get one thing straight: the only people who are keen on war with Syria in the US and UK are the elites. Ordinary people on both sides of the Atlantic want absolutely nothing to do with it.

In Britain, the overwhelming majority of people were delighted that our parliament voted against war last week and that enough of our legislators finally listened to the people to defeat the serial warmongers.

A BBC poll showed that 71 percent of people thought parliament had made the right decision. Yet our neocon/’liberal interventionist’ elite is furious that legislators listened to the views of ordinary members of the public and not them. “You’re a disgrace,” screeched neocon Minister Michael Gove at MPs who voted against the government. Behaving like spoilt brats having a temper tantrum because they were not allowed to get their own way, the Permanent War brigade have been calling for a “second vote” in parliament, showing arrogant contempt for the views of the majority of ordinary people who don’t want war with Syria.

Neocon historian Andrew Roberts threw a hissy fit in a newspaper column last Sunday, attacking the “hideously amoral selfishness” of “new Britain” for not supporting war with Syria. Serial warmonger and drama queen Lord Paddy Ashdown declared “In 50 years trying to serve my country I have never felt so depressed/ashamed” – after parliament finally listened to public opinion and not to warmongers like Ashdown.

Nick Cohen, poster boy for Britain’s pro-war faux-left tweeted “Can’t help thinking that the British parliament’s vote will be remembered as a low and mean point in our history.” Have you got that? Parliament listening to ordinary members of the public is a “low and mean point.” Such is the fundamentally undemocratic neocon/liberal interventionist mindset, which says that no point of view on foreign policy counts except their own and that of their neocon pals.

Since last week’s parliamentary vote, UK establishment figures have been lining up to give Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, a jolly good thrashing for daring to defy the War Party’s line on Syria. Writing in The Times, aptly described as ‘The Warmongers Gazette’ by anti-war conservative writer Peter Hitchens, David Aaronovitch called Miliband a ‘political vulture’. Aaronovitch’s attack on Miliband was hailed as ‘devastating’ by Ian Katz, the editor of Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship Current Affairs program, which wheeled out a ‘Dr. Rola’ from ‘Hand in Hand For Syria’ to criticize Miliband’s failure to back the government.

Since the vote Newsnight has promoted a series of pro-intervention figures, seemingly desperate to try and get us plebs to change our minds. What part of ‘WE DON’T WANT WAR WITH SYRIA’ do our elite not understand? Now the high priest of ‘Liberal Interventionism’, the multi-millionaire war criminal Tony Blair, has joined the ‘Get Miliband’ lynch mob, saying that he was “disappointed” that parliament hadn’t supported the government, adding, “This is something where I just have to disagree with the leadership of the [Labour] party.”

For our neocon/liberal interventionist elite, Miliband is a shocker, a bounder, a rotter, and a ‘political vulture’. But most ordinary people in Britain are very pleased that he and his party listened to the public and opposed the government on Syria. You’d never have known it from listening to neocon newspaper columns, but after last week’s vote, bookmakers shortened the odds of Labour winning the next election to 8-13.

If Miliband and his party had voted the way the neocons wanted, then it’s highly likely that earlier this week US and British forces would have launched their attack on Syria. Which is why of course the Permanent War gang are so angry with him.

The pro-war lobby may be numerically tiny, but in both the US and UK it is massively overrepresented in the mainstream media. Despite the Iraq debacle, the same columnists who urged on that particular catastrophe, are still in front of their keyboards, propagandizing for yet another Middle East ‘intervention’, and are still treated with enormous deference whenever they appear on the likes of CNN or the BBC. Which is very, very often.

“Did you know there are people who supported the Iraq War getting invited on news programs to talk about Syria?” tweets comedy writer Graham Linehan. S’TRUE!!!

The disproportionate voice that necons and ‘liberal interventionists’ have in the UK and US media makes it appear that their views are more widely held in the public at large than they are. But in fact their extremist pro-war views are very rarely found outside elite, Establishment circles.

The gap between the elites in the US and the UK is now larger than at any time in the last 100 years. If we do go to war with Syria, despite the overwhelming public opposition, then it will show that democracy is well and truly dead in both our countries.

Are we countries where the views of the majority are listened to, or are we countries where a tiny, unrepresentative, pro-war clique always gets their way? We’re about to find out.

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment