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North & South Korea may announce official end to war – local media

RT | April 17, 2018

Seoul and Pyongyang are reportedly set to make a huge step in the peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula, as officials from the two states are negotiating a joint statement outlining a formal end to hostilities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South’s president, Moon Jae-in, are scheduled to meet at a rare inter-Korean summit on April 27. A local media report indicated that the date could put an end to more than half a century of confrontation.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are to meet in the demilitarized zone in the village of Panmunjom, 53km north of Seoul. It will be the third event of its kind in the history of the two nations. Two previous meetings in 2000 and 2007 focused on political and economic issues.

Delegations from the North and the South have been holding meetings prior to the high-level talks to discuss a joint statement. The document may lead to “the end of confrontation,” newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing a government official.

War broke out between the two Koreas in 1950, and they formally remain at war despite the de facto end of hostilities in 1953.

The thaw in relations began on the eve of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, when the two nations formed a joint women’s ice-hockey team and agreed to march under a unified banner at the opening ceremony.

On Monday, South Korean envoy to Russia Wu Yun Gin said that Seoul will “do its utmost” to persuade the North to support the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula during the forthcoming talks. North Korea has repeatedly stressed that it is not going to stop its nuclear program until the US abandons its ‘hostile’ policy towards Pyongyang and halts military drills on the country’s doorstep.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

Neutral and unbiased? Why ‘think tanks’ lobby for war in Syria

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 17, 2018

When US President Donald Trump fired a barrage of Tomahawk missiles at Syrian government targets last week, it was a good day for defense contractors, at least.

In the aftermath of the strike, which Trump claimed was in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government, stocks in Tomahawk missile manufacturer Raytheon surged. Raytheon stock has climbed more than 18 percent in 2018 so far. In fact, stocks in defense companies have been climbing in general since Trump entered office promising “historic” increases in military spending.

Almost a year ago to the day, Trump delivered another bump to the defense companies after attacking Syrian government positions for the first time – also in response to an alleged chemical attack, evidence for which remains in question.

After that strike Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics also rose, gaining nearly $5 billion in market value when trading began the next day, even as the wider market slumped.

Later, when Trump appointed the famously militaristic John Bolton as his national security adviser in March, guess what happened? Shares in US energy and defense companies surged yet again. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out: war is profitable. The more missiles Trump fires, the more money these companies make.

But where do the think tanks come in?

There is a pervasive myth that Washington DC ‘think tanks’ are neutral and unbiased players in foreign policy analysis. But where do these centers for foreign policy ‘analysis’ get their money from? You guessed it: defense companies.

There are a few think tanks which dominate in American foreign policy debates. They include the Center For European Policy Analysis (CEPA), the Atlantic Council, the German Marshall Fund (GMF), the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation. All five of them receive generous donations from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Three of them also receive funding from the Boeing Company.

Corporations like Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Bell Helicopter are also big donors to think tanks. Bell Helicopter is a funder of CEPA, while Exxon funds Brookings, GMF and the Atlantic Council. BAE Systems donates to CEPA, while Northrop Grumman gives to the Atlantic Council. This is not to even mention the money they get directly from US government departments and NATO, which also helps explain their consistently anti-Russian analysis.

Nonetheless, these think tanks enjoy an undue air of independence. Experts who work for these defense contractor-funded institutes are quoted frequently in mainstream newspapers and invited on mainstream channels, where they are presented as independent voices. But those independent voices somehow always seem to be in favor of policies that benefit weapons manufacturers.

War profiteers are filling their coffers in return for ‘analysis’ which promotes military action and massively inflates the threat posed to America by countries like Russia, for example.

A glance at the Twitter feed of CEPA reveals almost obsession-like focus on the so-called threat from Russia. In 2016, the Lockheed and BAE Systems-funded think tank suggested in a report on information warfare that people who have “fallen victim to Kremlin propaganda” should be “deradicalized” in special programs.

The NATO-funded Atlantic Council has consistently lobbied for regime change in Syria. In the days surrounding Trump’s military actions against Syria last week, the Atlantic Council published multiple  pieces of analysis and interviews with a single theme: that Trump did not or would not go far enough with one night of strikes. Earlier, when the alleged chemical attack took place, the think tank argued that Syrian President Bashar Assad was “indulging an addiction” and called on the US to take new military action against him. For some reason, diplomacy does not seem to be high on the Atlantic Council’s agenda.

It seems the more money defense contractors throw at think tanks, the more those think tanks will argue in favor of the military policies that will make those companies the most money. It’s a vicious cycle, but one which doesn’t take much think tank-style ‘analysis’ to  figure out.

The sad thing for the think tank lobbyists, is that the money they make calling for war is nothing in comparison to the money Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing and the rest make from it. Maybe they should ask for a raise.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan: Arab occupational force and Arabs will pay for it – report

RT | April 17, 2018

Washington reportedly wants Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to replace the US in terms of troop deployments and funding in “stabilizing northeastern Syria,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The US currently has two major points of military presence on the ground in Syria: one on the border with Jordan in the south and one in northeastern Syria in an area controlled by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Force (SDF). President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw American troops from Syria, apparently dismayed by the cost of the operation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration wants to shift the burden of occupying northeastern Syria – which is touted as an effort to stabilize the area by the newspaper – to Arab countries.

The WSJ says John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if the Arab nation with the largest standing army was willing to contribute to the planned changing of guard. Washington also asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars into a buildup in northern Syria and asked to send troops as well.

“The mission of the regional force would be to work with the local Kurdish and Arab fighters the US has been supporting to ensure Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] cannot make a comeback and preclude Iranian-backed forces from moving into former Islamic State territory, US officials say,” according to the newspaper.

The plan is apparently meant as an easy way out for America, which found itself in a perilous situation in Syria, having troops there with no legal ground and balancing amid countering goals and interests. For instance, Washington’s NATO partner Turkey sees America’s Syrian Kurd allies as terrorists and a legitimate target for military action.

However, having the Americans replaced with other foreign troops would entail challenges, too. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are otherwise preoccupied with their stalled military involvement in Yemen and may find it politically awkward to deploy troops alongside Qatar, a nation they accuse of supporting terrorism and of being close to Iran.

Egypt’s troops are busy fighting against jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula in the east and securing the lengthy desert border with Libya in the west. Both regions became major security threats after the events of the Arab Spring, during which Libya was reduced with the help of NATO to a patchwork of warring militant groups. Egypt suffered several years of political turmoil and a military coup, after which the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood found themselves under government pressure again.

The willingness of the Kurds to accept foreign Arab troops is far from certain. With some Syrian Kurds already feeling betrayed by the US over Washington’s failure to protect them from Turkey, getting a foreign Arab force deployed near their lands may be too much to swallow. Especially since some of the Islamist groups that the Kurds fought against during the seven-year war were funded and armed by the same Arab countries.

The WSJ also points out that cost reduction expected by the replacement may not be as big as the Trump administration hopes. The Arab expeditionary force would still require air support, logistical supply and possibly at least some presence of US troops among their ranks.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • April 17, 2018

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.”

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

“The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a “one-shot” deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: “The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will.”

The Journal’s op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon:

“Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits.”

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush’s war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”

We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this “land corridor.”

The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953.

The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.

The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

Copyright 2018 Creators.com.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

War, Abuse and Other Peoples: A Personal Account

By Tim Anderson | American Herald Tribune | April 17, 2018

Why support other peoples, especially during conflict? Some explanation seems necessary because wartime debates often degenerate into simplistic clichés, personal abuse and confusion. I am one of many who have been subject to this abuse. Even the sanity of the critics of war is attacked, in attempts to disqualify opposing voices. Confusion is sown through the extreme nature of war propaganda, and its invented pretexts.

In the most recent half dozen Middle East wars, all driven by Washington and its minions, it has become common to dismiss dissenters as ‘apologists’ for this or that enemy. In reality, whatever the virtues or flaws of these ‘regimes’, they are all independent, and targeted precisely for their independence. For this same reason they are branded ‘dictatorships’. Consequently the loyal western corporate and state media, on a war footing, replaces reasonable discussion with abuse and shows little interest in respect for other peoples under attack.

The clichés and abuse replicate the aggression of war mentality. People abandon their normal rules of verbal engagement, reducing discussion to combative point scoring. Having been subject to some of these attacks in recent years, mainly for my defence of Syria, here is a personal account of motives and some of that abuse.

As I see it, human society is founded on cooperation and reinforced by communities determining their own affairs and building their own social structures. We are social beings and our natural human urge is to help others. Social dysfunction comes after social cooperation, and the most toxic of all such dysfunctions is imperialism. Those outside interventions are always disastrous, destructive and tainted with the ambitions of the interveners. That is why uninvited interventions are rightly banned, these days, under international law.

I believe that support for popular self-determination, and the defence of peoples under attack, is an essentially human urge. In my opinion this comes before the pathological drive to dominate. The natural sense of support for other human communities must especially include support for formerly colonised peoples. That is consistent with human values such as respect for others, and not putting one’s voice in the place of others.

At any rate, that is the thinking behind my support for independent peoples under threat or attack. In my experience of recent decades this has included support for the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Syria. However I have refused to be part of the multi-billion dollar aid industry, remaining an independent writer, academic and volunteer.

This is not only altruism. Engaging with other peoples in this way is a rewarding learning experience, indeed a privilege. I believe in and remain open to learning from other cultures.

Yet imperial pathology is also a reality. Its demands, the refusal to listen, domineering, interventions and outright war represent a fundamentally anti-social mentality. From that perspective I came to see the wars of the 21st century – propaganda, economic and real wars – as a continuation of the older politics of imperialism, while often adopting the contemporary language of ‘human rights’.

I saw such abuses in my own country’s intervention in neighbouring East Timor, in 2006. There an internal conflict attracted Australian intervention, largely on false pretexts. Australian state media gave prominence to claims that East Timor’s then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri had killed dozens of political opponents (Jackson 2006). The Prime Minister was deposed, the journalists involved were given awards; but the claims turned out to be quite false (Anderson 2006).

I spent years defending Cuba and Venezuela from a barrage of fake ‘human rights’ propaganda, including from supposedly independent agencies such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (Anderson 2005; Anderson 2010, Anderson 2013).

Amnesty International, for example, attacked Cuba in 2003 for arresting several dozen US-paid agents (dubbed ‘dissidents’ in the US media), just as Havana anticipated that the mad emperor George W. Bush, having just invaded Iraq, was about to invade Cuba (Amnesty 2003). In fact, Cuba had documented US payments to these people as part of a Washington program to overthrow the Cuban government and its constitution (Elizalde and Baez 2003). There is virtually no state in the world that would not criminalise such activity.

Yet these agents became the ‘Cuban dissidents’ of Amnesty, which used ‘human rights’ as the pretext to back US aggression against its island neighbour (Barahona 2005; Anderson 2008; Lamrani 2014). That same human rights group took several years to say anything about the torture prison President Bush established at an illegally occupied part of Cuba, in Guantanamo Bay (Anderson 2009). The prisoners there (unlike the US agents in Cuba) faced no charges or trial, abuses that used to be the substance of Amnesty International’s activity.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), for its part, made repeated savage political attacks on Venezuela and Cuba, while saying next to nothing about the appalling human rights violations by Washington and its close allies. Many western liberals went along for the ride, but the partisan nature of HRW was obvious to any serious observer. A group of academics and writers assailed HRW over its heavily politicised reports on Venezuela (NACLA 2009). Later several Nobel Prize winners condemned HRW for its refusal to cut ties with the US Government (Alternet 2014).

So when this ‘human rights’ industry (Anderson 2018) turned on Libya and Syria I was half-prepared. I had already written on my own country’s shameful involvement in the aggressions against Afghanistan and Iraq, detailing Australian involvement in war crimes in both countries (Anderson 2005b; Kampmark 2008; Doran and Anderson 2011). [I would go on to document Australian war crimes against Syria (Anderson 2017a).]

However in early 2011 I did not have detailed knowledge about Libya or Syria. In March 2011 I had to look on a map to find Daraa, the border town where the violence in Syria began (Anderson 2013a). Further, I did not then know that the petro-monarchy Qatar – owner of the successful Al Jazeera media network – was funding and arming sectarian Islamist terrorists in both Benghazi (Libya) and Daraa (Syria) (Khalaf and Smith 2013; Dickinson 2014).

Once President Gaddafi was murdered and the state was destroyed, Amnesty International (France) would admit that most of the claims they had made against the Libyan President were baseless (Cockburn 2011). US analysts confirmed the fakery (Kuperman 2015).

The violence in both countries deserved scrutiny, especially when Washington, the main aggressor in the world, was urging ‘regime change’, and most independent countries were urging caution. I wrote a dozen articles against the war on Libya, over the NATO ‘double speak’, ‘regime change’ motives and NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ missile attacks (Anderson 2011a, 2011b). Yet that little country, with the highest living standards in Africa, was rapidly destroyed.

My first article on Syria in May 2011, ‘Understanding the Syrian Violence’, simply urged people to read more widely. The conflict was clearly not just ‘demonstrators v. police’ (Anderson 2011). After that I searched on a wider range of sources, of course including Syrian sources. I began to document the ‘propaganda war’, the deceptive doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’, the failures of the western ‘left’, and ‘the lies that fuel regime change’. I shared a detailed list of sources for ‘Reading Syria’ and began to explore several ‘false flag’ massacres (Anderson 2011c, 2012, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c).

There was very little western critical discussion of the conflict in Syria so, in 2012, a number of us, mainly Syrian-Australians, formed the group ‘Hands Off Syria’. Later that year I wrote of a ‘malignant consensus’ which had been created over Syria, one which supported a foreign-backed insurgency and a drive to wider war (Anderson 2012d). It was clear to me that a campaign of lies was afoot, just as there had been with the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

The official war narrative – from Washington and its minions – was that ‘peaceful protestors’ were being slaughtered by the forces of a ‘brutal dictator’ intent on ‘killing his own people’. This was said to be a ‘civil war’, with no foreign aggression (see Anderson 2016: Chapter 3). It was an extraordinary claim, with little reason, but reliance on jihadist-linked sources and repetition of the claims made it effective, at least amongst western populations.

Yet sectarian Islamist insurrections, linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, had a long history in Syria. Since the 1950s such violence had always been backed by Syria’s enemies, particularly Washington and Israel. There was virtually no recognition of this in the loyal western media. Their governments demanded an extreme, fabricated story which could serve as a basis for ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

However the ‘peaceful protestor’ lie was contradicted by independent witnesses and fatally undermined by multiple admissions of US Government officials. The witnesses spoke of sectarian violence from the beginning, which drove political reform rallies off the streets. The leaked documents showed that Washington knew, from the beginning, that extremists were fomenting the violence, with the aim of imposing a religious state.

Regardless, Washington, Israel and the former colonial powers Britain and France armed these extremists, both directly and indirectly, through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar (Anderson 2016: Chapters 2, 4, 6 and 12). The ‘peaceful protestors v regime’ fiction served as the basis for arming terrorists, while imposing a cruel economic blockade on the entire Syrian nation.

In late 2013 I helped organise an Australian delegation to Syria, to meet with government and non-government people to find out more about Syria and to express solidarity with a people under attack. Most of us stayed on after the official tour to meet new friends, exploring Damascus. On our return we were attacked by much of the Australian state and corporate media, in particular for a meeting we had with President Bashar al Assad, the principal target of mindless western demonization (Worthington 2013). I had expected criticism from those who backed the war, but the Murdoch media made some special efforts.

In January 2014 Christian Kerr from The Australian newspaper rang me up for a very brief interview about the trip. It lasted less than one minute. The next day Kerr published a 1,600 front page article ‘Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus’ (Kerr 2014). This was mainly a personal attack, with little reference to the actual visit. The reporter dishonestly claimed that I was on “a pilgrimage to honour a dictator”. The hit piece says I was an ‘extremist’ for supporting Cuba, Venezuela and Palestine, for opposing Aboriginal deaths in custody and for writing about the destructive role of the World Bank in the Pacific.

The Murdoch paper called on then then Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, to “remind” universities that they “should be partners” to the government in the goal to “build revenue … by growing the international student market … and ensure that their reputations support rather than hinder that ambition”. This meant that universities should distance themselves from controversy. Pyne presented a nice summary of the commercial imperatives placed by successive Australian governments on universities. These days that same commercialisation is regarded by an overwhelming majority (84%) of academics as at the root of a decline in the quality of Australian tertiary education (Evans 2017).

Soon after that the Channel Seven television program Today Tonight invited me into their studio for an interview with presenter Nick Etchells. However, once there, the Chanel Seven people placed me in a separate room of the same building, so that I could not hear Etchells’ introduction, which was a vicious personal attack on me. They had only pretended an interest in the Syria visit. They cut out any answers they did not like. The Australian and Channel Seven personal attacks show how closed the Australian corporate media was to hearing another side to the war in Syria.

Over 2014-2015 I wrote a book ‘The Dirty War on Syria’ (Anderson 2016), to address the western myths and to begin a documented history of the conflict. The book was published in Canada in January 2016 and, over the next two years, was translated into and published in ten languages (English, Arabic, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Bosnian, Swedish, Farsi and Icelandic). Over 2016-2018 I did an average of 4 or 5 interviews per week, from media in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Korea, Italy, China, Canada, Germany, Russia and the USA. I was invited to speak at conferences in Greece, Iraq and Germany. There was less interest in my own country.

After September 2015, when Russia and Iran began a more direct involvement in the conflict, in defence of Syria, the tide of the war began to turn in Syria’s favour. But the propaganda war remained strong. Personal attacks against me and other prominent defenders of Syria became more organised. Dissident voices were seen as a threat to the war’s legitimacy.

Independent journalists Eva Bartlett (Canada) and Vanessa Beeley (England), in particular, attracted hostile attention for helping expose the grossly distorted western media coverage of the liberation of the city of Aleppo, in late 2016. The UK Guardian for example – a strong backer of the ‘humanitarian war’ against Syria – commissioned a long hit piece from a San Francisco based journalist with no experience in the Middle East (Solon 2017). Britain’s Channel 4 (Worrall 2016) and self-appointed ‘fact checkers’ – like the US family business ‘Snopes’ – pretended to debunk the consistent critical reports from Bartlett and Beeley. The would-be gatekeepers backed the Washington-led ‘humanitarian’ war story on Syria: this was a ‘civil war’ in which ‘we’ had to help the people of Syria overthrow their ‘brutal dictator’.

In early 2017 the new US President Donald Trump ordered a missile attack on Syria’s Shayrat airbase, after a chemical weapon provocation had been carried out by terrorist groups in Khan Sheikhoun (Idlib). This happened just as we were preparing an academic conference on the Syrian conflict at the University of Sydney (CCHS 2017). On social media I called Trump, Obama and Bush ‘the masterminds of terrorism in the Middle East’ (Anderson 2017).

The Murdoch media responded with another personal attack, running front page smears against myself and a colleague. This abuse began with a Daily Telegraph article by Kylar Loussikian (2017), titled ‘Sarin Gasbag: academic claims Trump a terrorist and tyrant Assad didn’t launch chemical attack’, next to a picture of me in Syria. This was a response to my assertions – based on detailed research – that chemical weapons claims against the Syrian Army were baseless (Anderson 2016: Chapter 9). There was not the slightest corporate media interest in evidence over the chemical weapons allegations. When we criticised journalist Loussikian on social media, he ran to university authorities, complaining he was a victim of a ‘personal attack’.

Underlining the absurdity of Trump’s 2017 attack, in 2018 the US Secretary of Defence admitted that, while ‘others’ were saying it, ‘we do not have evidence’ of Syria’s use of sarin gas (Wilkie 2018; Graphic 1). This had been one of the key pretexts for US aggression against Syria, over several years. But war propaganda was never concerned with evidence.

Graphic 1

A similar media attack occurred after I visited North Korea, in July 2017. By this time I had begun studying several countries subject to Washington-led ‘sanctions’. These included Cuba, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea (DPRK). Not that the loyal western media was interested in any such study.

On seeing some social media photos, Murdoch reporter Loussikian penned another smear story, titled ‘Sydney University’s Tim Anderson praises North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a solidarity visit’. An introductory paragraph read:

“A controversial Sydney University lecturer who backed Syria’s murderous al Assad regime has travelled to Pyongyang and pledged “solidarity with the North Korean dictatorship against “aggression” from the west (Loussikian 2017a).

It certainly was a solidarity visit, but the lie behind the headline and its sub-head should have been obvious. There was no quote in Loussikian’s article to justify that claim that I had praised any North Korean leader. I did not even mention them. Nor had I mentioned solidarity with the government (‘dictatorship’). In principle, solidarity is always with peoples.

Further, the night before the article Loussikian had asked me, by email: “It was unclear whether you were expressing concern about warfare … or whether you had a view in supporting the North Korean Government”. Because of his previous dishonesty over Syria I did not reply.

This sort of abuse, mostly launched because of my defence of Syria, also came from some of the western ‘left’; or rather what many of us now call ‘the imperial left’. These are small groups of Trotskyists and Anarchists who swallowed the Washington line that the conflicts in Libya and Syria were popular ‘revolutions’. They repeated the western state and corporate media clichés that the highly internationalised conflict in Syria was a ‘civil war’, and that the fanatical jihadist-terrorists were ‘revolutionaries’ (e.g. Karadjis 2014; and in Norton 2014).

Some of these people – having observed that some extreme right wing figures also questioned the war on Syria, or supported Russia, or opposed Israel – decided to smear me with the lie that I ‘work with’ or am ‘friends’ with fascists. The ‘evidence’ they show for this is that some extremist and right figures attended some of my many public talks; and that those figures and I both attended a funeral wake for the murdered Russian Ambassador to Turkey, at the Russian consulate in Sydney. On that basis I was said to ‘work with Nazis’ (see Graphic 2).

Graphic 2

My first response to this sort of childish abuse was to just ignore it. Now I think there might be some educational value in showing others the worst cases.

Such attacks do not mean much from tiny groups, barely relevant except when they oppose imperial wars. Yet many western liberal-leftists today join with Washington, NATO, the Saudis, Israel – and their fanatical, reactionary mercenaries – against the remaining independent states of the Middle East.

What these left-liberals miss is that the new fascism in the world is precisely that chain of wars aimed at destroying independent African, Arab and other West Asian states. Western cheer squads for these wars are necessary to minimise opposition and keep imperial plans alive.

This century’s military, economic and propaganda wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya and Syria have successfully conscripted western liberals, leftists, NGOs and of course the corporate and state media. Very few question the war narrative; and those who do are abused.

But that is not the future. The world is changing. BRICS and other regional groupings and states, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, are on the rise. In my opinion, support and respect is due to all independent peoples. It is not about whether we agree with everything they do. It is about respect for other peoples. Their self-determination is also our human responsibility.

Sources:

Alternet (2014) ‘Nobel Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch’s Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government’, 8 July, online: https://www.alternet.org/world/nobel-peace-laureates-slam-human-rights-watchs-refusal-cut-ties-us-government

Amnesty International (2003) ‘Cuba: Massive crackdown on dissent’, April, AMR 25/008/2003, online: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/104000/amr250082003en.pdf

Anderson, Tim (2005) ‘Contesting ‘Transition’: the US plan for a Free Cuba’, Latin American Perspectives, Vol 32, No 6, November, pp.28-46

Anderson, Tim (2005a) ‘Cuba: the propaganda offensive’, Online Opinion, 15 March, online: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=3243&page=0

Anderson, Tim (2005b) ‘Indictment and prosecution of John Winston Howard’, The Guardian, Sydney, 17 August, p.2, online: http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian-pdf/2005/Guardian1241_17-08-2005_screen.pdf

Anderson, Tim (2006) ‘Timor Leste: the second Australian intervention’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, December, pp.62-93

Anderson, Tim (2008) ‘Cuba and the ‘independent journalists’, Green Left Weekly, 24 May, online: https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/cuba-and-independent-journalists

Anderson, Tim (2009) ‘Hypocrisy over Cuba’s ‘political prisoners’, Green left Weekly, 19 September, online: https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/hypocrisy-over-cubas-political-prisoners

Anderson, Tim (2010) ‘How Credible Is Human Rights Watch on Cuba?’, MRonline, 16 February, online: https://mronline.org/2010/02/16/how-credible-is-human-rights-watch-on-cuba/

Anderson, Tim (2011) ‘Understanding the Syrian violence – check your sources’, 7 May, Facebook, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/understanding-the-syrian-violence-check-your-sources/10150186018711234

Anderson, Tim (2011a) ‘The Double Speak on Libya: conflict resolution or regime change?’, Facebook, March 19, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/the-double-speak-on-libya-conflict-resolution-or-regime-change/10150125374666234

Anderson, Tim (2011b) ‘Humanitarian attack on Libya – first volley, 112 tomahawk missiles hit two cities’, Facebook, 20 March, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/humanitarian-attack-on-libya-first-volley-112-tomahawk-misiles-hit-two-cities/10150126117161234

Anderson, Tim (2011c) ‘Propaganda war rages over Syrian violence’, Facebook, 8 August, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/propaganda-war-rages-over-syrian-violence/10150273915031234

Anderson, Tim (2012) ‘Humanitarian Intervention and the Left in Imperial Cultures’, Facebook, 1 March, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/humanitarian-intervention-and-the-left-in-imperial-cultures/10150603967576234

Anderson, Tim (2012a) ‘The lies that fuel intervention and ‘regime change’ – Iraq, Timor Leste, Libya, Syria’, Facebook, 8 May, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/the-lies-that-fuel-intervention-and-regime-change-iraq-timor-leste-libya-syria-/10150806025926234

Anderson, Tim (2012b) ‘Reading Syria’, Facebook, 24 May, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/reading-syria/10150862173381234

Anderson, Tim (2012c) ‘Massacres in Syria: the awful truth’, Facebook, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/massacres-in-syria-the-awful-truth/10150895942696234

Anderson, Tim (2012d) ‘The malignant consensus on Syria’, The Conversation, 19 September, online: https://theconversation.com/the-malignant-consensus-on-syria-9565

Anderson, Tim (2013) ‘Hugo Chávez, Venezuela and the Corporate Media’, Online Opinion, 9 April, online: http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14882&page=0

Anderson, Tim (2013a) ‘Syria: how the violence began, in Daraa’, OpEd Opinion, 13 May, online: https://www.opednews.com/articles/Syria-how-the-violence-be-by-Tim-Anderson-130513-875.html

Anderson, Tim (2016) The Dirty war on Syria, Global Research, Montreal

Anderson, Tim (2017) ‘Masterminds of terrorism in the Middle East.’, Twitter, 7 April, online: https://twitter.com/timand2037/status/850516689036861440

Anderson, Tim (2017a) ‘Implausible Denials: The Crime at Jabal al Tharda. US-led Air Raid on Behalf of ISIS-Daesh Against Syrian Forces’, Global Research, 17 December, online: https://www.globalresearch.ca/implausible-denials-the-crime-at-jabal-al-tharda-us-led-air-raid-on-behalf-of-isis-daesh-against-syrian-forces/5623056

Anderson, Tim (2018) ‘Syria: the human rights industry in ‘humanitarian war’’, Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies, Research Paper 1/18, online: https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/humanitarian-war-rp-1-18/

Barahona, Diana (2005) ‘Reporters Without Borders Unmasked’, Counter Punch, 17 May, online: https://www.counterpunch.org/2005/05/17/reporters-without-borders-unmasked/

CCHS (2017) ‘Syria Conference 2017’, online: https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/category/conf/sc-2017/

Cockburn, Patrick (2011) ‘Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war’, The Independent, 23 June, online: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/amnesty-questions-claim-that-gaddafi-ordered-rape-as-weapon-of-war-2302037.html

Dickinson, Elizabeth (2014) ‘The Case Against Qatar’, Foreign Policy, 30 September, online: http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/30/the-case-against-qatar/

Doran, Chris and Tim Anderson (2011) ‘Iraq and the case for Australian war crimes trials’, Crime, Law and Social Change: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 23 August, online: http://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/doran-anderson-war-crimes-2011%20%282%29.pdf

Elizalde, Rosa Miriam and Luis Baez (2003) “The Dissidents”, Editora Política, La Habana; partially online here: http://www.redandgreen.org/Cuba/Disidents/index.html

Evans, Michael (2017) ‘State of the Uni Survey: Thousands of uni staff have their say’, NTEU Advocate, online: https://www.nteu.org.au/article/State-of-the-Uni-Survey%3A-Thousands-of-uni-staff-have-their-say-%28Advocate-24-03%29-20157

Jackson, Elizabeth (2006b) ‘E Timor Prime Minister denies new ‘hit squad’ claims’, ABC

Radio, AM, 10 June, online: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1660023.htm

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Karadjis, Michael (2014) ‘Why the Syrian rebels oppose U.S. air strikes’, Socialist Worker, 6 October, online: https://web.archive.org/web/20161105044008/https://socialistworker.org/2014/10/06/why-syrian-rebels-oppose-us-air-strikes

Kerr, Christian (2014) ‘Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus’, The Australian, 4 Jan 2014

Khalaf, Roula and Abigail Fielding Smith (2013) ‘Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms’, FT, 16 May, online: http://ig-legacy.ft.com/content/86e3f28e-be3a-11e2-bb35-00144feab7de#axzz5BBZYAcu2

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Lamrani, Salim (2014) Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, Monthly review Press, New York

Loussikian, Kylar (2017) ‘Sarin Gasbag: academic claims Trump a terrorist and tyrant Assad didn’t launch chemical attack’, Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 10 April

Loussikian, Kylar (2017a) ‘Sydney University’s Tim Anderson praises North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a solidarity visit’, Daily Telegraph, 4 September

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Norton, Ben (2017) ‘Michael Karadjis whitewashes Syrian al-Qaeda as “decent revolutionaries”’, 10 May, online: https://bennorton.com/michael-karadjis-syrian-al-qaeda-jabhat-al-nusra/

Solon, Olivia (2017) ‘How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine’, The Guardian, 18 September, online: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/18/syria-white-helmets-conspiracy-theories

Wilkie, Ian (2018) ‘Now Mattis admits there was no evidence Assad used poison gas on his people’, Newsweek, 8 February, online: http://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-801542

Worrall, Patrick (2016) ‘Eva Bartlett’s claims about Syrian children’, 20 December, 4 News, online: https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-eva-bartletts-claims-about-syrian-children

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Dr. Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. He has published dozens of articles and chapters in academic journals and books, as well as essays in a range of online journals. His work includes the areas of agriculture and food security, health systems, regional integration and international cooperation.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Whose Wars?

Israel continues to wag the dog for Middle Eastern wars

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • April 17, 2018

In March 2003, Pat Buchanan wrote a groundbreaking article entitled “Whose War?” in opposition to the Bush Administration fueled growing hysteria over Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction which was producing demands for an armed intervention to disarm him. Buchanan rightly identified a number of prominent Jewish officials and journalists closely tied to the Israel Lobby as the principal driving force behind the rush to go to war.

Buchanan is still a powerful voice arguing against the war fever in its 2018 manifestation, which is all too similar to the hysteria prevailing in 2003. But if he were writing his article today, even though those demanding war are pretty much the same people with the same names including Podhoretz, Krauthammer, Kristol, Kagan, Brooks and Boot, he would have to broaden his purview to ask “Whose Wars?” as it is no longer a simple case of going after one third-world autocrat and overthrowing him, we are now instead being urged to attack Syria, Iran and even nuclear superpower Russia due to Moscow’s support of Damascus and its friendship with Tehran.

Lest there be any confusion, the same country keeps surfacing as a central player in the lead-up to America’s regime-change wars, which now have included an illegal attack on Syria, the second such intervention in the past year. That nation is Israel.

Israel’s fingerprints are all over American interventionism, reflecting Jewish power in the United States and the presence of a plethora of well-funded Israel-centric lobbies, think tanks and media outlets. Just last week, the only persistent voice in the mainstream media who, prior to Trump’s cruise missile attack, asked why on earth the United States should be contemplating a major power confrontation that could end life on this planet as we know it over Syria, where Washington has no vital interests, was Tucker Carlson of Fox News. His memorable monologue blasting the “talk show generals” who have “no idea of what is really happening” skewered the pretexts for war being bandied about in spite of the lack of any actual threat directed against the United States or a vital national interest is a model for what the Fourth Estate should be doing but isn’t. Carlson later followed up with an interview of Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. He asked what might be an American national interest that would mandate military involvement in Syria. Wicker hardly hesitated before responding, “If you care about Israel, you have to be interested in what’s going on in Syria.”

Israel indeed. And Israel is not at all shy about what it wants to happen, namely a war in Syria targeting both Damascus and Tehran, leading to a much bigger war with the Iranians. Fought by Uncle Sam, to be sure, as Jewish lives are far too precious to waste.

Tel Aviv has long been feeding the propaganda line relating to why war with Syria and Iran are desirable. Gilad Erdan, who is Netanyahu’s deputy in Likud and serves as Public Security Minister, addressed the latest alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, saying “The shocking attack shows the incredible international hypocrisy of the international community focusing on Israel confronting the terrorist organization Hamas that is sending civilians to our [border] fence, when dozens are being killed in Syria every day. It shows the need for strengthening the presence of Americans and other international forces, because without them the genocide we are seeing will only intensify.”

Construction Minister Yoav Galant, a former IDF major-general and a security figure close to Netanyahu, also called for military action against the Syrian leader. “Assad is the angel of death, and the world would be better without him.”

The compassion for Syrian civilians, being expressed both in Washington and in Tel Aviv, is, of course, a joke. Donald Trump and John Bolton could care less about Syrian babies and if Trump were genuinely concerned about civilian deaths due to war crimes by governments the first country he would attack would be Israel. Erdan and Galant, meanwhile, serve in a government that has recently shot and killed or injured 2,000 unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, in some cases involving snipers having fun by shooting boys running away and cheering when they were successful, so their hypocrisy is evident.

Israel has also been busy at creating a pretext for using Syria as a stepping stone to Iran itself. The Associated Press is reporting comments by Yossi Cohen, head of Mossad, who claims to be “100 percent certain” that Iran remains committed to developing a nuclear bomb, which is the old “weapons of mass destruction” ploy used to jumpstart the Iraq War. Israel’s bombing attack on Syria that took place one day after the reports of the alleged chemical weapon incident, deliberately targeted Iranians, killing 7 at a military base near Damascus. Iran has promised to respond, guaranteeing that the conflict will expand and draw in both regional and foreign players, definitely including the United States.

More recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the U.S., the U.K, and France for bombing Syria, an operation that was coordinated in advance with Israel by National Security Advisor John Bolton. Netanyahu went on to assert that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must understand that “his provision of a forward base for Iran and its proxies endangers Syria,” an analysis of the situation which is, of course, self-serving bullshit.

Unfortunately, Israel has a receptive quasi-American audience in the team that Donald Trump has pulled together under his son in law Jared Kushner to deal with the Middle East. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who is supposed to represent U.S. interests, has become adept at repeating Israeli Foreign Ministry talking points as if they were American policy, while Chief Negotiator Jason Greenblatt has warned demonstrating Gazans to avoid provoking Israel while also failing to advise the Israeli Army that shooting unarmed protesters just might be considered unacceptable.

Kushner-Friedman-Greenblatt is an Israeli dream team in place, backed up by a subservient Congress that reflexively does whatever Israel wishes. One wonders why Congressmen and the media are not screaming about the slaughter in Gaza and pondering how and why the United States has surrendered its sovereignty to a tiny client state in the Middle East, but never fear, Jewish power backed by lots of money is firmly in control of any entity that might challenge bad Israeli behavior. On top of Friedman, Greenblatt and Kushner, one might also add National Security Adviser John Bolton, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And Trump himself? Who knows what he actually thinks if he bothers to think at all. He has just announced that it is “mission accomplished” in Syria, suggesting that he is delusional as well as ignorant.

Media coverage of Syria, apart from Carlson, scrupulously avoids the issue that the United States is in Syria completely illegally and has been cynically supporting terrorist groups in spite of its pledge that it is in the country to get rid of such vermin. It is a measure of how divorced from actual U.S. security America’s Syria policy has become that the White House has not hesitated to launch a second illegal cruise missile barrage against a government that hasn’t attacked the U.S. and doesn’t threaten Americans. Bombing the Syrian government hasn’t made the U.S. or any other country more secure, and it will likely weaken President Bashar al-Assad just enough to prolong Syria’s civil war and add to the suffering of the civilian population. It is a perfect example of a military intervention that is being done for political reasons with no connection to any discernible interests or overall strategy.

Syria is only part of a much larger problem. It is remarkable the extent to which Israeli concerns dominate those of the United States, which now has a foreign policy that often is not even remotely connected to actual U.S. interests. Congress and the Special Counsel are investigating Russia’s alleged interference in America’s political system while looking the other way when Israel operates aggressively in the open and does much more damage. Netanyahu and his crew of unsavory cutthroats are hardly ever cited for their malignant influence over America’s political class and media. Bomb Syria? Sure. After all, it’s good for Israel.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website – http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment