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New York Times on “Aleppo’s Destroyers”: All the fake news that’s fit to print

By Kevin Barrett – Veterans Today – December 18, 2016

The New York Times has been leading the charge against “fake news.” Yet its own reporting and editorial positions are often as one-sided, distorted, or downright mendacious as the worst of the pseudo-alternative websites. The Times’ coverage of wars, especially those of strategic import for the US and/or Israel (not necessarily in that order) is a particularly fertile field of fake news flummery.

Most of America’s armed conflicts and interventions have been driven by New York Times war propaganda, and the current conflagration in Syria is no exception. An especially egregious, over-the-top example of “damn the facts, full speed ahead” warmongering, every bit as bad as the Judith Miller version of Iraqi WMD, is last Wednesday’s op-ed by the Editorial Board, “Aleppo’s Destroyers: Assad, Putin, Iran.”

The headline, like the diatribe beneath it, conceals the identities of the worst of the “destroyers” of Aleppo and Syria: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, the US and Israel. These governments  have created, armed, financed, advised, and otherwise enabled the various militias, mercenaries, and terrorist groups that overran Aleppo and dismembered Syria.

Assad is the elected President of Syria, and Russia and Iran have intervened at the request of Syria’s legitimate government. Naming these three the “destroyers” of Aleppo, while ignoring the aggressors responsible for the proxy war on Syria, is practicing “fake news” at its worst.

The NY Times Editorial Board writes:

“Mr. Putin’s bloody actions — the bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the destruction of hospitals, the refusal to allow noncombatants to receive food, fuel and medical supplies — are all in violation of international law.”

International law?! What about the non-aggression principle and the doctrine of national sovereignty, the twin foundations of international law as it pertains to war and peace? Are not all nations sovereign entities whose borders are inviolable? Are not the Americans, Israelis, Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis and Turks committing aggression by attempting to overthrow the government of a sovereign nation? And is not such aggression “the supreme war crime” according to international law as enshrined in the Nuremberg precedent?

We know who is committing the supreme war crime, aggression. And we know who is fighting in defense of national sovereignty.

What about the lesser war crimes, all of which are the fruits of the supreme crime, aggression?

It is difficult to separate the facts from the propaganda regarding allegations of  particular war crimes in Syria, thanks in large part to the lies of the anti-Assad propaganda industry supported by the West and its regional proxies. We do know that the worst atrocity alleged to have been committed by Assad – the August 2013 chemical weapons massacre at al-Ghouta – has been exposed as a false flag whose real authors were Saudi and Turkish intelligence agents, aided and abetted by Americans and Israelis. (Veterans Today exposed how the sarin was manufactured in Georgia at a US-run factory and smuggled through Turkey into Syria, while Seymour Hersh had to find a non-US publisher to explain how the monumental false flag fail at al-Ghouta forced Obama to abort plans for a US aerial assault on Damascus.)

Wikipedia tells us that between 281 and 1,729 people died in the al-Ghouta sarin attack. Why is the New York Times not demanding war crimes trials for the American, Turkish, and Saudi perpetrators of this monstrous massacre, which was designed to be blamed on Assad in order to trigger a US bombing campaign? Why has al-Ghouta, the worst atrocity of the war, been consigned to the memory hole?

The New York Times falsely reported that Assad bombed his own people at al-Ghouta. No more outrageous, criminal example of “fake news” could possibly be imagined — except, perhaps, for the Times coverage of 9/11 … coverage whose monumental lies, concealments and coverups have directly led to the deaths of many millions of people worldwide, including those who have perished in the “civil war” in Syria as well as the violence in the other “seven countries in five years” whose destruction was the main purpose of the 9/11 false flag operation.

The New York Times is not just a purveyor of fake news, it is a purveyor of propaganda for the supreme war crime, aggression, and several lesser crimes including genocide. If we are going to start shutting down “fake news” outlets, perhaps we should begin with the Times and the other mainstream media war criminals.


See also:

Listen to “How Manipulation of Casualty Statistics Help Form Public Opinion on Syria” on Spreaker.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia-Hack Story, Another Media Failure

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | December 19, 2016

President Obama admitted in his press conference on Friday that his government hasn’t released any evidence yet of Russian interference in the election, but he said some would be coming.

That’s proof that an uncritical press has already printed stories as if true without any evidence just on the say-so of the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization long dedicated to deception, disinformation and meddling in other countries’ elections, not to mention arranging coups to overthrow elected governments.

Forty years ago, the established press would have been skeptical to buy anything the CIA was selling after a series of Congressional committees exposed a raft of criminal acts and abuses of power by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Today’s journalists work for newspapers that fraudulently still bear the names New York Times and Washington Post, but they are no longer the same papers.

The vast U.S. news media also is not the same. The working journalist today is living off the reputation for skepticism and determination to get beyond government pronouncements that was established by their papers decades ago. Rather than add to that reputation, the credibility of the biggest newspapers continues to erode.

Both the Times and the Post should today be stained by their credulous reporting of official lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Instead of showing professional skepticism, the big papers became cheerleaders for an illegal invasion that killed hundreds of thousands of people and left behind a disaster that still reverberates today. Neither the Times nor the Post suffered any consequences and have picked up where they left off, still uncritically reporting anonymous U.S. officials without demanding proof.

On the contrary, any reporter who did demand evidence was in danger of career consequences. An editor for a newspaper chain that I was reporting for called me to chew me out because he said my stories were not in support of the Iraq war effort. He told me his son was a Marine. I told him I was sure he was proud but that my job was to report the news based on the evidence. On the very day when the invasion began, I was fired.

Of course, the television networks, including CNN, were most egregious for selling the war. I was shocked when I heard reporter Kyra Philips from aboard a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf gleefully announce: “Welcome to Shock and Awe!” just after a cruise missile was shown being fired. The people it killed on the receiving end were almost never mentioned.

CNN, which has accepted Russian interference in the U.S. election as a given, is also living off its reputation of a once very serious news organization. On its very first broadcast on June 1, 1980, Cable News Network aired as its second story a lengthy investigative report on faulty fuel gauges in commercial airliners. It broadcast an in-depth live report from the Middle East, and veteran newsman Daniel Schorr interviewed and challenged President Jimmy Carter.

But 1980 was when the period of skeptical, professional journalism that demanded proof from its own government started to decline as Ronald Reagan was elected. He worked to stamp out the skepticism bred from Watergate, Vietnam and the Congressional intelligence hearings. Reagan did this, in part, by resurrecting the most obvious and adolescent myths about America. And he worked with the CIA to manage America’s perceptions away from the critical thinking of the 1970s, as journalist Robert Parry has extensively reported.

There have been a few periods in American journalism when demanding proof from government was expected. The muckraking period led by Lincoln Steffens of the Progressive Era was one. The 1970s was another. But mostly it has been a business filled with careerists who live vicariously through the powerful people they cover, disregarding the even greater power the press has to cut the powerful down to size.

Egregious Case

The reporting on the supposed Russian hack of the elections is one of the most egregious examples of unprofessional journalism since 2003, particularly because of the stakes involved.

There have now been a slew of stories, each of which seems to offer a new promise of evidence, such as one under the ludicrous New York Times headline, “C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence.” But when you read the piece, its only sources are still unnamed intelligence officials. A later 8,000-word Times article was the same, as though the length by itself was supposed to lend it more credibility.

If there were any doubts, Obama wiped them away with his admission that no evidence had been released. Worse still, perhaps, is that counter-evidence has been suppressed, another consistent feature of today’s journalism.

The former British diplomat Craig Murray, has written and told at least two radio interviewers that the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta emails were not obtained by WikiLeaks through hacks, but instead from leaks by American insiders.

This story was totally ignored by established media until the Daily Mail in London reported it online, but incorrectly said Murray had himself received the leak. In the U.S., only The Washington Times reported the story, quoting the Mail. But that story took a swipe at Murray’s reputation, merely saying he was “removed from his diplomatic post amid allegations of misconduct.” In fact, Murray was let go for blowing the whistle on U.K. use of evidence extracted by torture by the corrupt Karimov administration in Uzbekistan. The rest of the Washington Times story just repeats what every other reporter has written about Russian interference.

Two Obstacles

Even if it were proven that Russian government operatives hacked these emails as part of their intelligence gathering, there remains the additional evidentiary hurdle that they then supplied the data to WikiLeaks, when the recipients, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, say the source or sources weren’t Russians.

It’s also noteworthy that none of the information in the emails has been shown to be false. The leaks provided real insights into how the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders and revealed some shady practices of the Clinton Foundation as well as the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street bankers that she had tried to hide. In other words, the leaks gave voters more information about Hillary Clinton, confirming what many voters already believed: that she was beholden to the financial sector and benefited from her insider connections. But none of that was particularly news.

It is important to note, too, that Obama himself in his press conference said there is zero evidence Russia tried to hack into the electronic voting systems. In fact it now emerges from dogged reporting by a local Atlanta TV station that the Department of Homeland Security appears to have been behind earlier attempted hacks of voting systems in several states.

So, it would be virtually impossible to prove that the DNC and Podesta emails were the deciding factor in the election. Indeed, before the election, pro-Clinton corporate media downplayed the email-related stories and Podesta said the emails may have been faked (although none of them appears to have been made up).

The emails also revealed numerous instances of reporters colluding with the Clinton campaign before publishing stories, something no hard-boiled editor from an earlier era would have stood for.

Democratic Misdirection

By focusing on the alleged Russian role now, Democrats also have diverted attention from other factors that likely were far more consequential to the outcome, such as Clinton largely ignoring the Rust Belt and not going once to Wisconsin or her calling many Trump supporters “deplorables” and “irredeemable.” Further, Clinton was a quintessential Establishment candidate in an anti-Establishment year.

And, there was the fact that in the campaign’s final week, FBI Director James Comey briefly reopened the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, a move that reminded many Americans why they distrusted Clinton.

Yet, as the mainstream U.S. media now hypes as flat fact the supposed Russian role, there remains the inconvenient truth that the Obama administration’s intelligence community has presented no verifiable evidence that the Russians were the source of the leaks.

Demanding to see the evidence on Russia, the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee called the CIA, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to a closed-door briefing. Though these agencies are obligated to show up in response to requests from their Congressional oversight committees, the three agencies flatly refused. Then, DNI James Clapper refused to brief concerned Electoral College voters whose votes for or against Trump may have been influenced by the news media frenzy about alleged Russian interference. Clapper reportedly is preparing a report on Russia’s “hacking” for Congress.

Political Strategy

The Russia fiasco appears to have been part of a political strategy that I first wrote about on Nov. 5 – three days before the election – that a fallback plan, if Trump won a narrow victory, would be to influence the electors to reject Trump when they assemble in state capitals on Dec. 19. Playing the Russian card was designed to appeal to the electors’ patriotism to defend their country against foreign interference.

Assuming that Electoral College long shot failed, there would be one more chance for Clinton to stop Trump: on Jan. 6, when Congress meets to certify the election. The Clinton camp needs one Senator and one Representative to sign an objection to Trump’s certification (no doubt citing Russia) forcing a vote by both chambers.

If Trump loses – and there are a number of anti-Trump Republicans in Congress – the election would be thrown to the House where Clinton or a more conventional Republican could be selected as President.

Given those stakes for the American democracy and the risks inherent in U.S. relations with nuclear-armed Russia, the fact that the most influential establishment media has bought into this extremely flimsy story about Russian hacking should condemn them further in the minds of the public.


Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@gmail.com and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel renews travel ban against Jerusalemite Palestinian woman

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Ma’an – December 19, 2016

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities renewed a travel ban against a Palestinian woman from occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, after she has already been banned from the Old City’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as well as from the occupied West Bank.

Khadija Khweis told a Ma’an that Israeli intelligence summoned her to Jerusalem’s Russian Compound police station, where she was handed a renewable one-month travel prohibition order signed by the Israeli Minister of Interior.

A previous one-month travel ban against Khweis had expired on Wednesday.

According to Khweis, the new order read that she was prevented from traveling for “security reasons.”

“They say I have connections with the Murabitat group and think I could travel on missions to promote them,” she said.

In addition to being banned from international travel, Khweis has been prohibited from traveling to the West Bank for six months, an order that she said was still effective.

Furthermore, Khweis is on Israel’s so-called “blacklist” created by Israeli police in August 2015 to deny dozens of Palestinians access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israeli authorities have also revoked Khweis and her family’s national insurance allowance.

In December last year, Khweis was banned from the entirety of the Old City as well as West Jerusalem.

She was also among a number of Palestinian women who were assaulted by Israeli forces when they were denied entry to Al-Aqsa for their affiliation with the Murabitat, a group of women who gather at the compound to demonstrate against what they see as increasing Israeli control over the holy site and provocative visits by Israeli rightists under armed guard.

In September last year, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon outlawed the Murabitat and their male counterpart, the Murabitun.

The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through detention campaigns targeting Palestinians, Israeli settlement construction, and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook’s ‘anti-fake news’ plan looks like effort to curb alternative media

By Bryan MacDonald | RT | December 18, 2016

There are serious concerns over a social media giant’s plans to debunk spurious news stories. And many are puzzled about the real agenda at play.

You don’t need to worship at the altar of George Orwell to see where this is going. Under tremendous assault from the American establishment media over the proliferation of what they define as ’fake news’ on the platform, internet behemoth Facebook has finally caved in and agreed to regulate content. While, in principle, the concept sounds relatively noble, the manner in which it’s proposed to implement it merits many questions.

Among them are the continuing dangers of American domination of the world wide web and the liberal bias of that country’s popular press. But most worrying is the uncharted territory we are entering. Because there has never been a media portal as dominant as Facebook. In the past, big broadcasters or newsagent chains might have enjoyed outsized influence, but Mark Zuckerbeg’s firm is an effective monopoly.

Whereas papers have always been curated by editors, their power was limited by the sheer number of competitors in every national market. And the more different they were, the better for society in general. However, there is only one Facebook, and its power, in this regard, is extraordinary.

Of course, another big problem here is that one person’s “fake news” could be another’s truth. And that’s before we mention how some of the outlets pressuring Facebook are often guilty of making up stories themselves.

Strange Bedfellows

To filter content, Facebook has joined up with Poynter, a self-proclaimed “international fact-checking network,” which presents itself as a neutral body with great integrity. Yet, a cursory glance at its funding sources is enough to set alarm bells ringing. They include Pierre Omidyar, George Soros and Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA soft-power cutout. As it happens, regular RT readers will remember these three as the primary foreign backers of Ukraine’s Maidan coup in 2014.

Thus, it’s clear that this project could easily wind up as some sort of “ministry of truth” with only organizations who adhere to liberal Washington’s official line permitted unfettered access to Facebook’s primary news feeds. And this is very dangerous.

Additionally, the fact that Poynter’s sponsors, which also include Bill Gates and Google, almost uniformly supported Hillary Clinton in the recent US election is very troubling. Because it’s another indication of how, having endured a series of electoral setbacks this year, the globalist elite is now effectively trying to block out dissenting voices.

That said, nobody is disputing whether “fake news” is a problem. It’s just hard to find agreement on its definition. For instance, very few in the west would define the Washington Post, Guardian, Daily Telegraph or New York Times as providers of fictional reportage, but viewed from Moscow it’s often a different story.

Mainstream Muck

Only last month, WaPo accused 200 non-mainstream sites of acting on behalf of the Kremlin, in a story which has been definitively debunked by numerous credible sources. And, just last week, the NYT carried a front page story alleging that Vladimir Putin was using “kompromat” to destroy the reputations of his political opponents. For ‘proof’ they used the case of Vladimir Bukovsky, who was being investigated by British police over possession of child pornography.

The paper’s readers were greeted with this soft-soap intro from correspondent Andrew Higgins: “His indomitable will steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the K.G.B. and a bout of near fatal heart disease, Vladimir K. Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride.” And to back up his yarn, Higgins made a series of unsubstantiated claims linking Russian state meddling to other similar schemes.

Yet, sadly for Higgins – and Bukovsky, of course – his hero admitted a few days later that he actually collected the child porn images himself, as “research.”

Then there’s the Guardian, where its former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding has been alleging for years that Putin is the richest man in Europe, if not on earth. A statement that is frequently repeated in similar outlets, where his fortune – without any explanation – suddenly leaped from $40 billion to $200 billion recently, according to the same Washington Post.

These journals of renown base their figures on a single, very shaky, source. And we can’t forget the Daily Telegraph, which appears to have given up on using professional journalists to cover Russia, and has produced some right porkies in recent times. Including outrageous stuff like Putin jetting to Switzerland, incognito, to oversee the birth of a love child and Moscow developing a Star Trek-esque teleportation device.

Are all these not examples of “fake news?” But given that they are establishment names in the western press, don’t expect Poynter to subject them to the same treatment as newer alternative outlets. And this is the problem with the entire exercise.

Fragile Foundations

The list of signatories to the International Fact-Checking Network also sets alarm bells ringing. For they include some fairly dubious organizations. Take Politifact, for example. This group has been accused of having a left-wing bias and openly favoring Clinton during the US election campaign. As Breitbart observed: “When Trump said Clinton wants “open borders,” PolitiFact deemed his statement “mostly false” — despite the fact that Clinton admitted as much in a private, paid speech to a Brazilian bank on May 16, 2013. “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” she said at the time.”

There is no doubt that blatantly made up, let alone poorly fact-checked, stories are poisoning political discourse. And Facebook is right to tackle the type of companies who produce twaddle such as “Hillary invented the Aids virus” or “Trump wants to distribute Mein Kampf to school kids” or whatever nonsense is being pushed today.

However, will it also censure “respected” mainstream outlets who allege that Putin has stolen $200 billion for himself or is planting child porn on dissidents?

Because unless they are also labelled with the “fake news” badge, this looks more like an exercise in the US liberal establishment trying to gain control of the distribution of news on social media, as they once did with newspapers and broadcasters.

Orwell might have called it a sort of “Minitrue.”

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo

Journeyman Pictures | December 12, 2016

Winner of the European Short Film Award at the European Film Awards.

In August 2012, Syrian photographer Issa Touma awoke to the dawn of the rebel uprising in the city of Aleppo. He spent the next nine days holed up in his apartment, filming the emerging civil war outside.

“It’s 8:15 AM”, says Touma, recording the morning sky and fading moon through his window, on a day that signalled a turning point for life in Syria’s largest city. “Strangers take position in my street.” he says, “they look unprepared, without any kind of war experience”. Young men in t-shirts, resembling students more than fighters, drag sandbags into a blockade below Touma’s window. A rebel appeals by loudspeaker to a regime soldier, “leave your post and come to us!”. He is answered by the sound of gunfire. Touma’s raw commentary and eye for photographic detail give an unprecedented glimpse into the beginnings of a war that rages to this day. …

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

UN Security Council unanimously passes resolution on monitoring Aleppo evacuations

RT | December 19, 2016

The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution requiring the monitoring of evacuations from Aleppo.

The resolution, initially drafted by France, was originally called a “disaster” by Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin.

However, Moscow and Paris came to an agreement on the text after more than three hours of closed-door consultations by the Council on Sunday.

The resolution asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to take urgent steps to make arrangements, including security arrangements in consultation with interested parties, to allow the observation by the United Nations and other relevant institutions of the well-being of civilians… inside the eastern districts of the city of Aleppo.”

It asked for “adequate, neutral monitoring and direct observation” of the evacuations to take place, as well as for all parties to provide monitors with “safe, immediate, and unimpeded access.”

The evacuations are part of a Russia- and Turkey-brokered deal between the Syrian government and opposition. It allows for the evacuations of militants and their families from eastern Aleppo, in exchange for the departure of civilians from the northern rebel-held villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, Idlib province.

Syria’s UN ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, said the final evacuations of militants are currently taking place in Aleppo, and the city will be “clean” by Monday evening.

“The last terrorists… are evacuating their strongholds and Aleppo this evening will be clean,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

The Bad Losers (And What They Fear Losing)

Photo by Cliff | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Cliff | CC BY 2.0
By Diana Johnstone | December 19, 2016

Paris – If the 2016 presidential campaign was a national disgrace, the reaction of the losers is an even more disgraceful spectacle. It seems that the political machine backing Hillary Clinton can’t stand losing an election.

And why is that?

Because they are determined to impose “exceptional” America’s hegemony on the entire world, using military-backed regime changes, and Donald Trump seems poised to spoil their plans.  The entire Western establishment, roughly composed of neoconservative ideologues, liberal interventionists, financial powers, NATO, mainstream media and politicians in both the United States and Western Europe, committed to remaking the Middle East to suit Israel and Saudi Arabia and to shattering impertinent Russia, have been thrown into an hysterical panic at the prospect of their joint globalization project being sabotaged by in ignorant intruder.

Donald Trump’s expressed desire to improve relations with Russia throws a monkey wrench into the plans endorsed by Hillary Clinton to “make Russia pay” for its bad attitude in the Middle East and elsewhere. If he should do what he has promised, this could be a serious blow to the aggressive NATO buildup on Russia’s European borders, not to mention serious losses to the U.S. arms industry planning to sell billions of dollars worth of superfluous weapons to NATO allies on the pretext of the “Russian threat”.

The war party’s fears may be exaggerated, inasmuch as Trump’s appointments indicate that the United States’ claim to be the “exceptional”, indispensable nation will probably survive the changes in top personnel. But the emphasis may be different. And those accustomed to absolute rule cannot tolerate the challenge.

Bad Losers On the Top

Members of the U.S. Congress, the mainstream media, the CIA and even President Obama have made fools of themselves and the nation by claiming that the Clintonite cabal lost because of Vladimir Putin.  Insofar as the rest of the world takes this whining seriously, it should further increase Putin’s already considerable prestige.  If true, the notion that Moscovite hacking could defeat the favorite candidate of the entire U.S. power establishment can only mean that the United States’ political structure is so fragile that a few disclosed emails can cause its collapse. A government notorious for snooping into everybody’s private communication, as well as for overthrowing one government after another by less subtle means, and whose agents boasted of scaring the Russians into re-elected the abysmally unpopular Boris Yeltsin in 1996, now seems to be crying pathetically, “Mommy, Vlady is playing with my hacking toys!”

Of course, Russians would quite naturally prefer a U.S. president who openly shies away from the possibility of starting a nuclear war with Russia. That doesn’t make Russia “an enemy”, it is just a sign of good sense. Nor does it mean that Putin is so naïve as to imagine that Moscow could throw the election by a few dirty tricks. The current Russian leaders, unlike their Washington counterparts, tend to take a longer view, rather than imagining that the course of history can be changed by a banana peel.

This whole miserable spectacle is nothing but a continuation of the Russophobia exploited by Hillary Clinton to distract from her own multiple scandals. As the worst loser in American electoral history, she must blame Russia, rather than recognize that there were multiple reasons to vote against her.

The propaganda machine has found a response to unwelcome news: it must be fake. The Washington conspiracy theorists are outdoing themselves this time. The Russian geeks supposedly knew that by revealing a few Democratic National Committee internal messages, they could ensure the election of Donald Trump. What tremendous prescience!

Obama promises retaliation against Russia for treating the United States the way the United States treats, well, Honduras (and even Russia itself until blocked by Putin). Putin retorted that so far as he knew, the United States was not a banana republic, but a great power able to protect its elections. Washington is loudly denying that. The same mainstream media who brought you Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” are now bringing you this preposterous conspiracy theory with straight faces.

When intelligence agencies become aware of the activities of rival intelligence agencies, they usually keep the knowledge to themselves, as part of the mutual spook game. Going public with this wild tale shows that the whole point is to persuade the American public that Trump’s election is illegitimate, in the hope of defeating him in the electoral college or, if that fails, of crippling his presidency by labeling him a “Putin stooge”.

Bad Losers On the Bottom

At least the bad losers on the top know what they are doing and have a purpose. The bad losers on the bottom are expressing emotions without clear objectives. It is false self-dramatization to call for “Resistance” as if the country had been invaded by extraterrestrials. The U.S. electoral system is outmoded and bizarre, but Trump played the game by the rules. He campaigned to win swing states, not a popular majority, and that’s what he got.

The problem isn’t Trump but a political system which reduces the people’s choice to two hated candidates, backed by big bucks.

Whatever they think or feel, the largely youthful anti-Trump protesters in the streets create an image of hedonistic consumer society’s spoiled brats who throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want. Of course, some are genuinely concerned about friends who are illegal immigrants and fear deportation. It is quite possible to organize in their defense. The protesters may be mostly disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters, but whether they like it or not, their protests amount to a continuation of the dominant themes in Hillary Clinton’s negative campaign. She ran on fear. In the absence of any economic program to respond to the needs of millions of voters who showed their preference for Sanders, and of those who turned to Trump simply because of his vague promise to create jobs, her campaign exaggerated the portent of Trump’s most politically incorrect statements, creating the illusion that Trump was a violent racist whose only program was to arouse hatred. Still worse, Hillary stigmatized millions of voters as “a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” These remarks were made to an LGBT rally, as part of her identity politics campaign to win over a clientele of minorities by stigmatizing the dwindling white majority. The identity politics premise is that ethnic and sexual minorities are oppressed and thus morally superior to the white majority, which is the implied oppressor. It is this tendency to sort people into morally distinct categories that divides Americans against each other, every bit as much – or more – than Trump’s hyperbole about Mexican or Islamic immigrants. It has served to convince many devotees of political correctness to regard white working class Americans in the “fly-over” regions as enemy invaders who threaten to send them all to concentration camps.

Terrified of what Trump may do, his opponents tend to ignore what the lame ducks are actually doing. The last gasp Clintonite campaign to blame Hillary’s defeat on “fake news”, supposedly inspired by The Enemy, Russia, is a facet of the growing drive to censor the Internet – previously for child pornography, or for anti-Semitism, and next on the pretext of combating “fake news”, meaning whatever goes contrary to the official line. This threat to freedom of expression is more sinister than eleven-year-old locker-room macho boasts by Trump.

There will and should be strong political opposition to whatever reactionary domestic policies are adopted by the Trump administration. But such opposition should define the issues and work for specific goals, instead of expressing a global rejection that is non-functional.

The hysterical anti-Trump reaction is unable to grasp the implications of the campaign to blame Hillary’s defeat on Putin. Do the kids in the street really want war with Russia? I doubt it. But they do not perceive that for all its glaring faults, the Trump presidency provides an opportunity to avoid war with Russia. This is a window of opportunity than will be slammed shut if the Clintonite establishment and the War Party get their way. Whether they realize it or not, the street protesters are helping that establishment delegitimatize Trump and sabotage the one positive element in his program: peace with Russia.

Adjustments in the Enemy List

By its fatally flawed choices in the Middle East and in Ukraine, the United States foreign policy establishment has driven itself into a collision course with Russia. Unable to admit that the United States backed the wrong horse in Syria, the War Party sees no choice but to demonize and “punish” Russia, with the risk of dipping into the Pentagon’s vast arsenal of argument-winning nuclear weapons. Anti-Russian propaganda has reached extremes exceeding those of the Cold War. What can put an end to this madness? What can serve to create normal attitudes and relations concerning that proud nation which aspires primarily simply to be respected and to promote old-fashioned international law based on national sovereignty? How can the United States make peace with Russia?

It is clear that in capitalist, chauvinist America there is no prospect of shifting to a peace policy by putting David Swanson in charge of U.S. foreign relations, however desirable that might be.

Realistically, the only way that capitalist America can make peace with Russia is through capitalist business. And that is what Trump proposes to do.

A bit of realism helps when dealing with reality. The choice of Exxon CEO Rex W. Tillerson as Secretary of State is the best step toward ending the current race toward war with Russia. “Make money not war” is the pragmatic American slogan for peace at this stage.

But the “resistance” to Trump is not likely to show support for this pragmatic peace policy. It is already encountering opposition in the war-loving Congress. Instead, by shouting “Trump is not my President!” the disoriented leftists are inadvertently strengthening that opposition, which is worse than Trump.

Avoiding war with Russia will not transform Washington into a haven of sweetness and light. Trump is an aggressive personality, and the opportunistic aggressive personalities of the establishment, notably his pro-Israel friends, will help him turn U.S. aggression in other directions. Trump’s attachment to Israel is nothing new, but appears to be particularly uncompromising. In that context, Trump’s extremely harsh words for Iran are ominous, and one must hope that his stated rejection of “regime change” war applies in that case as well as others. Trump’s anti-China rhetoric also sounds bad, but in the long run there is little he or the United States can do to prevent China from becoming once again the “indispensable nation” it used to be during most of its long history. Tougher trade deals will not lead to the Apocalypse.

The Failure of the Intellectual Establishment

The sad image today of Americans as bad losers, unable to face reality, must be attributed in part to the ethical failure of the so-called 1968 generation of intellectuals. In a democratic society, the first duty of men and women with the time, inclination and capacity to study reality seriously is to share their knowledge and understanding with people who lack those privileges. The generation of academics whose political consciousness was temporarily raised by the tragedy of the Vietnam war should have realized that their duty was to use their position to educate the American people, notably about the world that Washington proposed to redesign and its history. However, the new phase of hedonistic capitalism offered the greatest opportunities for intellectuals in manipulating the masses rather than educating them. The consumer society marketing even invented a new phase of identity politics, with the youth market, the gay market, and so on. In the universities, a critical mass of “progressive” academics retreated into the abstract world of post-modernism, and have ended up focusing the attention of youth on how to react to other people’s sex lives or “gender identification”. Such esoteric stuff feeds the publish or perish syndrome and prevents academics in the humanities from having to teach anything that might be deemed critical of U.S. military spending or its failing efforts to assert its eternal domination of the globalized world. The worst controversy coming out of academia concerns who should use which toilet.

If the intellectual snobs on the coasts can sneer with such self-satisfaction at the poor “deplorables” in flyover land, it is because they themselves have ignored their primary social duty of seeking truth and sharing it. Scolding people for their “wrong” attitudes while setting the social example of unrestrained personal promotion can only produce the anti-elite reaction called “populism”. Trump is the revenge of people who feel manipulated, forgotten and despised. However flawed, he is the only choice they had to express their revolt in a rotten election. The United States is deeply divided ideologically, as well as economically. The United States is threatened, not by Russia, but by its own internal divisions and the inability of Americans not only to understand the world, but even to understand each other.

Johnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

British cluster bombs used in Saudi Arabia’s Yemen campaign, research finds

RT | December 19, 2016

Despite strenuous denials, UK-made cluster bombs are indeed being used by Britain’s theocratic ally Saudi Arabia in its war on impoverished Yemen, according to the government’s own inquiries.

The new details have emerged through a leak to the Guardian from sources which claim that internal investigations support claims in the media that the outlawed munitions are in use.

The source said that the findings had been known by the government for up to a month.

However, the paper has also been told that Saudi Arabia – a major UK ally and one of its top arms customers – has not confirmed itself that the banned munitions are being used.

The revelations seem set to pile even more pressure on the UK to stop selling arms to the authoritarian regime.

The UK is a signatory to the 2010 treaty banning cluster munitions, which drop many tiny bomblets from the main device and can create what is in effect a minefield.

A senior defense source told the Guardian that the issue had been “raised at the highest possible levels and we have been trying to establish definitively for some time [if cluster bombs have been used].”

The “highest levels” are said in this case to include Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

In statement Monday after a spokesman for the military said: “The Government takes such allegations very seriously.

“We have analysed the case carefully using all available information, considering all possibilities, and raised the issue with the Saudi-led coalition.”

The UK has also been involved in training Saudi forces in air warfare skills and artillery, it emerged in 2016. Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel are also embedded in Saudi operations headquarters.

It was reported in April that courses were being run by RAF officers as recently as 2015 on ‘international targeting’ over three separate three-week blocks.

This included training on the Storm Shadow missile, which is launched from aircraft to destroy enemy bunkers.

Gunnery instruction on targeting and locating enemy gun batteries was also carried out by a seven-strong detachment of personnel from the Royal Artillery.

The artillery team delivered 52 hours of training to Saudi gunners and included a senior major, a captain, a sergeant major and a sergeant.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the course had been delivered to “a mixed group of soldiers and officers” from the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) field artillery.

The military said its personnel were not involved in “carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets, and are not involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process.”

December 19, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

After Aleppo: The US Needs a New Syria Policy

By Ron Paul | December 19, 2016

Over the past week, eastern Aleppo was completely brought back under control of the Syrian government. The population began to return to its homes, many of which were abandoned when al-Qaeda-linked rebels took over in 2012. As far as I know, the western mainstream media did not have a single reporter on the ground in Aleppo, but relied on “activists” to inform us that the Syrian army was massacring the civilian population. It hardly makes sense for an army to fight and defeat armed rebels just so it can go in and murder unarmed civilians, but then again not much mainstream reporting on the tragedy in Syria has made sense.

I spoke to one western journalist last week who actually did report from Aleppo and she painted a very different picture of what was going on there. She conducted video interviews with dozens of local residents and they told of being held hostage and starved by the “rebels,” many of whom were using US-supplied weapons supposed to go to “moderates.”

We cannot be sure what exactly is happening in Aleppo, but we do know a few things about what happened in Syria over the past five years. This was no popular uprising to overthrow a dictator and bring in democracy. From the moment President Obama declared “Assad must go” and approved sending in weapons, it was obvious this was a foreign-sponsored regime change operation that used foreign fighters against Syrian government forces. If the Syrian people really opposed Assad, there is no way he could have survived five years of attack from foreigners and his own people.

Recently we heard that the CIA and Hillary Clinton believe that the Russians are behind leaked Democratic National Committee documents, and that the leaks were meant to influence the US presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor. These are the same people who for the past five years have been behind the violent overthrow of the Syrian government, which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. Isn’t supporting violent overthrow to influence who runs a country even worse than leaking documents? Is it OK when we do it? Why? Because we are the most powerful country?

We are a country sitting on $20 trillion in debt, living far beyond our means. Power can oftentimes be an illusion, and in any case it doesn’t last forever. We can be sure that the example we set while we are the most powerful country will be followed by those who may one day take our place. The hypocrisy of our political leaders who say one thing and do another does not go unnoticed.

We should end that hypocrisy starting with Syria. That government, along with its allies, seems to be on track to take their country back from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. The only sensible Syria policy is for the US to stop trying to overthrow their government, to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. It is a rule that is always good to remember, but perhaps especially important to recall at this time of year.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments