Aletho News


Gaza, A look into the eyes of barbarism

El Retorno Producciones | December 28, 2018

GAZA short documentary, nominated for the Goya 2019. It tells the human rights violations suffered by the Gaza Strip after Israel’s latest attack.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

UNESCO should cry no tears over Israel’s departure

By Dr Daud Abdullah | MEMO | January 2, 2019

There will be no tears now Israel and the US have withdrawn from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Both countries have undermined the organisation’s credibility and brought it into disrepute – UNESCO will be better off without them.

UNESCO is governed by several international accords, to which all members are treaty-bound to adhere. The 1954 “Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict” is arguably the most important international instrument for the protection of cultural property – defined as monuments of architecture, art or history; archaeological sites; buildings of historical or artistic interest; works of art; manuscripts, important books and archives, as well as scientific collections.

Both The Hague Convention and its Protocol have been incorporated into international customary law; their provisions are, therefore, binding on all parties to conflict, regardless of whether or not they are signatories to these instruments. In recent years, the protection of cultural heritage has been deemed so important that the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has recognised the destruction and seizure of buildings dedicated to religion, education, arts, science or charitable purposes, as well as historic monuments, a war crime.

Yet throughout its 70-year history, Israel has shown an alarming disregard for UNESCO’s rules and ideals, seeking exemptions and privileges not granted to any other member state. Its real grievance with UNESCO is that it wants the organisation to remain silent and, in doing so, endorse its theft and destruction of Palestinian cultural heritage.

Israeli soldiers and civilians have stolen innumerable objects of historical, cultural and archaeological importance to Palestine. Bizarrely, on the same day that Israel announced its withdrawal from UNESCO, one of the country’s leading daily newspapers, Haaretz, published an article under the title “Israel Displays Archaeological Finds Looted from West Bank”. This was in reference to a Civil Administration exhibition currently being held at the Bible Land Museum in Jerusalem.

As a contracting party to The Hague Convention, Israel is obliged “to prohibit, prevent and, if necessary, put a stop to any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against, cultural property”. Yet, with the backing of the US, it chooses to do just the opposite.

The theft of archaeological items is bad enough, but their wilful destruction is far worse. Israel’s construction of the Separation Wall –  which encircles its settlements across the occupied West Bank – has often required large-scale archaeological excavation. Palestinian officials believe that an estimated 1,100 archaeological landmarks have been ruined or destroyed by the construction of the wall.

Furthermore, as a matter of policy Israel refuses to share with Palestinian researchers the data and objects obtained from its excavations in the occupied territories. Although Israel signed the UNESCO “Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations” in 1956, it has refused to ratify the 1970 “UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property”. Instead, it continues to argue that international law does not prohibit excavation in occupied territories.

Around 53 per cent of the archaeological sites in the occupied West Bank are located in Area C, in which Palestinians are prohibited from conducting exploration, restoration and development. Unsurprisingly, during the first five years of the Oslo Accords (1993-98), only nine out of the 171 excavation permits issued by the Israeli Staff of Antiquities were granted to Palestinian academic institutions.

All told Israel has, for its own partisan reasons, never been a committed member of UNESCO. Its discomfort always lay in the fact that it could not persuade the organisation’s members to acquiesce to its theft and destruction of Palestinian cultural heritage. Disagreement and divorce seemed inevitable, given that UNESCO has declared some of the sites affected by Israel’s occupation as World Heritage sites.

Contrary to the Israeli-US claim, UNESCO has never adopted a policy of singling-out Israel for criticism or censure – the only reason it has been subjected to scrutiny is because it has, for decades, refused to act in accordance with UNESCO’s rules.

Were UNESCO to turn a blind eye to Israel’s looting and vandalising of Palestinian cultural heritage, this would be nothing less than a dereliction of duty. Furthermore, to appease Israel would set a dangerous precedent for rogue states and non-state actors to act with similar impunity.  Instead of weeping over their departure, UNESCO must now feel deeply relieved that it will no longer be called upon to act against its principles, values and interests.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

Thousands of West Bank farmers denied access to their lands in 2018

Palestine Information Center | January 3, 2019

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Israel has drastically reduced the number of Palestinian farmers who are allowed to work their lands located between the separation barrier or wall and the Green Line, according to Israeli official data.

According to Haaretz newspaper, in 2018, 72 percent of Palestinian requests for farming permits were rejected, compared to 24 percent in 2014.

There are also very few permits issued for relatives of the plot owner who work with him and paid laborers.

This information was sent by the Israeli army’s civil administration to Hamoked—the center for the defense of individual human rights—in response to a freedom of information law request, according to the newspaper.

However, that information lacks valuable data concerning, for example, the number of seasonal, short term permits which Hamoked believes often replace the long term permits.

The statistics correspond to reports submitted by farmers to Hamoked, to Machsom Watch activists and to Haaretz about bureaucratic obstacles that have been added over the past four years to get the permits to cultivate their land.

The land between the barrier and the Green Line, which Israel refers to as the “seam zone,” totals 137,000 dunums (33,853 acres), a report released by Haaretz pointed out.

Since the start of 2018 through November 25, the civil administration approved only 1,876 requests for farming permits of the 7,187 requests submitted, which constitutes an unprecedented refusal rate of 72 percent. This compares to a refusal rate of 24 percent in 2014, when the number of requests totaled 4,288, and the number of permits issued was 3,221.

Hamoked, has been assisting farmers who are denied permits since 2009, said the obtained data confirm that “contrary to the high court of justice ruling that recognizes the residents’ right to work their lands with their families and employees, the army is acting systematically to deprive the Palestinians of this basic right, to restrict the entry of Palestinian farmers into the seam zone and to gradually dispossess them of their land.”

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

PA bows to US, Israel pressure to extradite Palestinian who sold land to Jews

MEMO | January 3, 2019

The Palestinian Authority (PA) plans to extradite a Palestinian-American it convicted for selling Jerusalem land to Israeli Jews, bowing to US and Israeli pressure.

Issam Aqel, a resident of the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was sentenced earlier this week to life imprisonment for selling land to Israeli Jews without the permission of Palestinian authorities. The Higher Offences Court in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, convicted Aqel of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state,” handing him a “life sentence with hard labour”.

Yet today the PA appears to have bowed to months of US pressure to extradite Aqel – who is a dual Palestinian-American national – with the US and the PA agreeing Aqel will be sent to America at the end of legal proceedings. His lawyer is expected to file an appeal against the court’s ruling, the Times of Israel reported, citing a senior Palestinian official who spoke to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan on condition of anonymity.

The Israeli daily added that though many details of Aqel’s extradition have yet to be finalised, the Palestinian official claimed the PA was eager to get Aqel “off its hands”, saying: “We want to finish this saga. He has become a burden upon us.”

The US has put pressure on the PA to release Aqel since he was first arrested in October. In November, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took to Twitter to condemn Aqel’s imprisonment, saying: “Akel’s [sic] incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US & to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence, we demand his immediate release.”

According to conservative US news site CNSNews, Israel lobby groups have also pushed the US to pressure the PA, with one group – the National Council of Young Israel – urging the US to suspend aid to the PA until Aqel was freed. The group’s president, Farley Weiss, said that “[PA President] Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority cannot expect handouts from the US while they exploit an American by locking him up and throwing away the key”.

Israel has supported the US in this pressure, with the Israeli Civil Administration – which administers the occupied Palestinian territories – in November freezing security coordination with the PA in Jerusalem in protest against Aqel’s detention. A week previously, Israel had withdrawn the VIP travel card of Palestinian Attorney General Ahmed Barrak, after he ordered an amendment to Aqel’s detention. Israel also detained the PA’s Jerusalem governor, Adnan Ghaith, over his efforts to combat the transfer of Jerusalem properties to Israeli Jews. Ghaith was eventually released on 2 December but was banned from entering the occupied West Bank for six months.

Relations between the US and the PA grew increasingly strained in 2018 after a string of punitive measures taken by the US administration under President Donald Trump, including cutting funding to UNRWA, threatening to withhold aid unless a peace deal with Israel is agreed, downgrading its Jerusalem Consulate and unilaterally declaring the city Israel’s capital.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Senior Israel official in ‘shock’ over Trump’s Iran policy

MEMO | January 3, 2019

US President Donald Trump has been rebuked by a senior Israeli official for giving mixed messages over Iran and Syria. The unnamed official cited in the Times of Israel, is said to be “in shock” after Trump implied that Iran “can do what they want” in Syria.

The controversial remark was made during a cabinet meeting where Trump is reported to have said: “They [Iran] can do what they want there, frankly,” while suggesting Tehran was removing its troops from the country.

Explaining his comments, Trump said that Iran had been weakened by the US’ decision to leave the 2015 nuclear deal and the reintroduction of fresh sanctions. “Iran is no longer the same country,” he said. “Iran is pulling people out of Syria. They can do what they want there, frankly, but they’re pulling people out. They’re pulling people out of Yemen. Iran wants to survive now.”

His comments were rebuked in Tel Aviv. “It is sad that he is not attentive to intelligence materials,” the unnamed Israeli source said. “I am quite simply in shock,” the source continued. “Trump simply does not know what is happening in Syria and the Iranian entrenchment there.”

Israel has made no secret of the fact that it sees Iran as a major threat to its security. They have repeatedly warned that America’s absence would open the door for Tehran to create a so-called “land bridge” from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, into Lebanon and to the Mediterranean Sea.

Trump however spooked his Israeli allies by announcing his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. His surprise announcement was met with shock and resignation of members of his administration.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to explain Trump’s decision to Israel by insisting that cooperation with Israel over Syria and Iran will continue. Even Trump appeared to back down from his earlier comments saying that there was no time frame for US exit from Syria. Explaining his decision, which appears to be a retreat, he said the US will get out of Syria “over a period of time” in order to protect the US-backed Kurdish fighters in the country.


January 3, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Imperialism Abhors a Void: Guest: Sarah Abed

The Rabbit Hole | January 3, 2019

Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

Final Podcast 2018

Guest: Sarah Abed
Topic: US “Withdrawal” from Syria

On this episode of Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox we discussed Trump’s announcement to withdraw US troops from Syria, the media’s reaction, and the impact this will have on Kurdish militias and Syria’s ultimate fight against imperialism.

Below are some of the points that I made during our chat (this is not a full transcript) or some thoughts I would like to expand on.

Cindy asked what I make of Trump’s announcement to withdraw 2,000 troops from Syria.

My response:

Trump had stated during his campaign and his presidency and even prior to that during Obama’s presidency in 2013 that he did not think we should be in Syria, nor should we be bombing Syria, that it was a waste of money and lives and that the Arab League and neighboring countries should be the ones to step up to the plate.

I think this was one of the reasons that many people voted for him, because of his non-interventionist foreign policy, which was in stark contrast to that of Hillary Clinton.

In April, of this year he had announced that he wanted to pull the US out of Syria and then just days later there was an alleged chemical weapons attack that was pinned on the Syrian government in Douma, to which Trump responded with attacking multiple targets along with his allies the UK and France.

This of course derailed his plan to pull out US troops, which is the exact outcome that the terrorists that staged the whole theatrical performance had wanted. And we have seen this sort of thing happen time and time again during the war. Whenever the Syrian army and government have made significant progress new allegations and attacks are made against them in corporate media in order to garner international support for military, political intervention as well as increased sanctions.

There are other factors at play with this latest withdraw announcement which was made on December 19th, in addition to standing by his America first promise, campaign statements, saving money and lives, there’s the fact that Turkey’s president Erdogan had threatened to attack the Kurdish militias on his border, if the US didn’t have them removed. He sees the YPG (People’s Protection Units) which was rebranded at the request of the US into the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) as an extension of the PKK (Kurdistan workers party) which is a terrorist group that has been in conflict with the Turkish state for decades.

As I had written about back in March the Olive branch operation in Afrin proved that NATO alliances are stronger than any other alliances and that the US will choose Turkey over the Kurds and that’s what we are seeing happen right now. Some have also speculated that Israel may have given the US a heads up that it would be engaging in an intense bombing campaign and that US troops should be sent home so that they are not caught in the crosshairs.

Cindy asked what I make of the reaction by democrats, liberals, celebrities etc.

My response:

It would be comical if it wasn’t actually dangerous. In their blind opposition to anything and everything that Trump says these overnight analysts and pundits started claiming that if US troops were to withdraw from Syria then Kurds would be annihilated by Turkey or succumb to some other equally horrible fate.

What we have seen over the past few days however is that leaders of Kurdish militias have actually reached out to the Syrian government and asked that they step in and take back Manbij and all the territory under their control west of the Euphrates in order to protect them against Turkey. This is a clear shift in their political alliance away from the US and towards Syria and Russia. Turkey will not directly confront the Syrian army so Trump’s announcement could actually signify a big step towards peace in this almost eight-year western imposed insurrection.

The US entered Syria illegally and has since set up over a dozen military bases and supported the Kurdish militias during the last few years only. Prior to using the Kurdish militias as a tool to create chaos and division in Syria, the US was predominately supporting the hardcore Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Free Syrian Army and an assortment of other alphabet soup groups who they affectionately referred to as “moderate rebels” to topple the secular Syrian government.

Had the US not supported the Kurdish militias they would have not had the motivation to turn against the Syrian state. During the beginning of the war, the Kurds were fighting with the Syrian army against terrorists, by the way some still are and many Kurds in Syria are not in agreement with the separatist ambitions of the Kurdish militias.

I want to stress the fact that before 2011 Kurds, Arabs, and Christian minorities lived peacefully in Syria and till now they are NOT the majority. They do not have any justifiable claims to the north eastern region (which also happens to be the most agriculturally and oil rich part of the country) or any other part of Syria. They are a nomadic people and I do not mean that in a condescending way at all but to illustrate that they came into Syria in waves to escape mistreatment in neighboring countries and were treated fairly and given equal rights. Not all Kurds envision a unified Kurdistan that would span four different sovereign countries (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran). Most Kurdish movements and political parties are focused on the concerns and autonomy of Kurds within their respective countries. Within each country, there are Kurds who have assimilated and whose aspirations may be limited to greater cultural freedoms and political recognition.

It’s also worth noting that only Israel is their main and really only supporter and their plans for an independent Kurdistan align almost perfectly with Israel’s greater Israel plan. They have historically been used by Israel and NATO.

Cindy asked about the demands being made that Russia or Iran should withdraw from Syria if US troops are to be withdrawn.

My response was basically that Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah are there with the Syrian government’s permission. Whereas the US, UK, France, and Turkey are there illegally and need to leave. Cindy noted and I agreed that it’s a false equivalency and a logical fallacy.

We also spoke about fasting to raise awareness #illuminateYemen for the entirely man-made and avoidable Saudi war and genocide that’s been going on for over three years and nine months. We discussed the latest developments and how Saudi Arabia is outsourcing their front line fighters with children and men from Dafur, Sudan and paying their families $10,000.

My response:

Fasting for seven days was a very humbling experience. The war on Yemen is truly heartbreaking especially because it is entirely man-made and avoidable. It’s so important for us to continue to raise awareness and get people to talk about it to literally everyone they know. For the past 3 years and nine months the murderous Al Saud regime, has been bombing civilians using weapons bought from the US, UK, and Germany, what they are doing is nothing short of committing genocide and deliberately starving Yemeni’s them through blockades. Tens of thousands have been killed since it began.

There was actually a report in the New York Times today that Saudi Arabia was recruiting children from Darfur to fight on the front lines and paying their families $10,000. Sudan has been part of the Saudi-led alliance, and deployed thousands of ground troops to Yemen. In the NYT report they said that five Sudanese fighters who had returned from Yemen told them that that children made up 20-40 percent of their units in Yemen.

The fact that House of Saud is on the UN human and woman’s rights council while also being the leading violator in crimes against humanity and the main sponsor of terror in the world shows the western worlds blatant hypocrisy. A United Nations-sponsored peace agreement was signed in Sweden earlier this month, and was agreed upon by both sides to implement a ceasefire in Hodeida. The panel will be meeting again on January 1 to discuss “detailed plans for full redeployment”. Every effort needs to be made for this conflict to end.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Reckless Behavior by Israel: Netanyahu Plays by His Own Rules

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 03.01.2019

As has become the normal practice, Christmas Day’s air raid by Israel directed against targets near Damascus was largely ignored by the US media. Given the fact that Israel has bombed Syria more than two hundred times, the attack itself, which wounded three soldiers at a warehouse, was not particularly notable. But what was significant was the fact that it was the second time that Israel has used other planes to mask the approach of its own warplanes to the target. On this occasion, the masks consisted of two civilian airliners making their approaches to the airports in Beirut and Damascus. Fortunately, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces made the decision to delay the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy” and air traffic control was able to divert one of the passenger jets landing at Damascus to the reserve military airport in Khmeimim in southern Latakia.

Syrian anti-aircraft crews did manage to intercept and shoot down fourteen of the sixteen incoming missiles that were launched by six Israeli F-16 warplanes using US-made GPS-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs). If the Syrian air defenses had been more reckless and gone after the F-16s themselves, they might have hit an airliner by mistake and hundreds of lives could have been lost.

The Russian Ministry of Defense, which was able to reconstruct the attack from radar imaging, condemned the incident, stating that “Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace.” The terse Russian announcement reveals that beyond endangering hundreds of civilians, Israel had committed several war crimes in its action, which the Israeli government claimed was intended to destroy a shipment of Iranian-made Fajir-5 rockets, which was allegedly on its way to Hezbollah.

As Israel is not at war with Iran or Syria or Lebanon and it persists in attacking targets in Syria based on its own perception of threats, it meets the United Nations definition of an aggressor. And its violation of Lebanese air space to stage the attack on Syria was also an act of aggression. Both would normally be condemned in the UN Security Council but for the American veto protecting Israel.

Analysts have confirmed that the Israelis carried out the strikes in Syria by deliberately using scheduled airline departures and arrivals as cover to foil the improved and upgraded Syrian air defenses. Security sources in the region now believe that any civilian flights entering or leaving Damascus or Beirut are potentially in danger due to the Israeli tactics, which clearly accept endangering civilians to mask the movements of the warplanes.

The Israelis also used a Russian intelligence plane as a mask off the coast of Syria back in September, with fatal results for the crew after Syrian air defenses responded to the attack. Israel, of course, claimed innocence, insisting that it was the Syrians who shot down the Russian aircraft while the Israeli jets were legitimately targeting a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.”

The Russian aircraft was returning to base after a mission over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast monitoring the activities of a French warship and at least one British RAF plane. As a large and relatively slow propeller driven aircraft on a routine intelligence gathering mission, the Ilyushin-20 had no reason to conceal its presence. It was apparently preparing to land at its airbase at Khmeimim when the incident took place.

Syrian air defenses were on high alert because Israel had attacked targets near Damascus on the previous day, including a Boeing 747 on the ground that Israel claimed to be transporting weapons.

The Israelis used four F-16 fighter bombers to stage the surprise night attack targeting sites near Latakia, close to the airbase being used by the Russians. They came in from the Mediterranean Sea using the Russian plane to mask their approach as the Ilyushin 20 would have presented a much larger radar profile for the air defenses.

The Israelis might have been expecting that the Syrians would not fire at all at the incoming planes knowing that one of them at least was being flown by their Russian allies. If that was the expectation, it proved wrong and it was indeed a Syrian S-200 ground to air missile directed by its guidance system to the larger target that brought down the plane and killed its fourteen crew members.

There was also a back story. The Israelis and Russian military had established a hotline precisely intended to avoid accidents. Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was irate. It saw the exploitation of the intelligence plane by the Israelis as a deliberate high-risk initiative. It warned “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

It’s the same old story. Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support. The downing of the Russian plane and the current endangering civil aviation has created a situation that could easily escalate. What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Iraq Not Obliged to Abide by US anti-Iran sanctions: FM

Al-Manar | January 3, 2019

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim, said his country is “not obliged” to abide by unilateral US sanctions against Iran, adding that Baghdad is seeking ways to bypass those sanctions and continue trade with Tehran.

“These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged [to follow] them,” al-Hakim said, speaking to a gathering of journalists on Wednesday.

He said a number of “possibilities” had been suggested that could keep trade routes open with Iran, “including dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade,” and creating a fund for payments to Iran.

Following the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran in early November, the US gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran, and extended the waiver for 90 days in December. Iran also provides around 40 percent of Iraq’s electricity needs.

The current level of annual bilateral trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion, with a target to raise that figure to $20 billion in the near future.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World: A Review

By Danny Haiphong | Black Agenda Report | January 2, 2019

The U.S. military state overthrows democratically-elected governments that it deems to be a threat to corporate interests.

Dan Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer, but most of all he is an anti-imperialist and an author of three books. Kovalik’s first two books tackled the specific US war drives against Russia and Iran. His third installment, The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World, addresses the broad scope of US election meddling abroad. The book provides much needed political and ideological life support to an anti-war movement in the U.S that has been rendered nearly invisible to the naked eye.

The Plot to Control the World is as detailed in its critique of U.S. imperialism as it is concise. In just over 160 pages, Kovalik manages to analyze the various ways that the U.S. political and military apparatus interferes in the affairs of nations abroad to achieve global hegemony. He wastes no time in exposing the devastating lie that is American exceptionalism, beginning appropriately with the U.S. imperialist occupations of Haiti and the Philippines at the end of the 19thcentury and beginning of the 20th. The U.S. would murder millions of Filipinos and send both nations into a spiral of violence, instability, and poverty that continues to this day. As Kovalik explains regarding Haiti, “While the specific, claimed justifications for [U.S.] intervention changed over time- e.g., opposing the end of slavery, enforcing the Monroe Doctrine, fighting Communism, fighting drugs, restoring law and order — the fact is that the interventions never stopped and the results for the Haitian people have been invariably disastrous.”

US expansionism has relied upon the ideology of American exceptionalism to silence criticism and weaken anti-war forces in the United States. American exceptionalism claims that the U.S. is a force for good in the world and completely justified in its wars of conquest draped in the cover of spreading “democracy and freedom” around the world. Kovalik challenges American exceptionalism by showing readers just how much damage that US expansionism and militarism has caused for nations and peoples in every region of the planet.Russia, Honduras, Guatemala, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vietnam and many other nations have seen their societies devastated by U.S. “election meddling.” In Honduras, for example, a U.S.-backed coup of left-wing President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 made the nation one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, indigenous person, or trade-union/environmental activist. Thousands of Hondurans have been displaced, disappeared, or assassinated since the coup.

Another important aspect of The Plot to Control the World is its exposure of U.S hypocrisy surrounding the subject of “election meddling.” Since the end of the 2016 Presidential elections, the U.S. military, political, and media branches of the imperialist state have accused Russia of virtually implanting Donald Trump into the Oval office. The U.S. public has been fed a steady dose of anti-Russia talking points in an apparent effort on the part of the elites to beat the drums of war with the nuclear-armed state. No evidence has been presented to prove the conspiracy, as a recent National Public Radio (NPR) analysis states plainly. However, there is plenty of evidence that the United States is the most depraved and dangerous “meddler” in the affairs of other nations that history has ever known.

Just ask the much-vaunted Russians. Kovalik devotes an entire chapter to the 1996 Presidential election in Russia that re-elected the wildly unpopular Boris Yeltsin. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 began an era of “shock therapy” in the newly erected Russian Federation, a euphemism for the wholesale theft and transfer of socialized wealth into the hands of oligarchs and multinational corporations. Millions would perish in Russia from an early death due to the sudden loss of healthcare, housing, jobs, and other basic services. In 1996, President Bill Clinton ensured that Yeltsin maintained his near total grip on state power in Russia by providing the Russian President with a team of U.S. political consultants and over a billion dollars’ worth of IMF monies directly to the campaign. U.S. political and monetary support allowed Yeltsin to rig the election in his favor despite his dwindling popularity. Kovalik shows that if anyone should worry about election meddling, it should be the people of Russia and not the US elites that control Washington.

The Plot to Control the World takes readers into the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the CIA’s coup of revolutionary Patrice Lumumba continues to haunt the resource rich nation in the form of endless US-backed genocide. It travels to Guatemala, where the CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz led to a U.S.-backed slaughter of a quarter million Guatemalans under the auspices of several military dictatorships. Kovalik shows us that the election of the fascistic Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil was no aberration, as the U.S. was primarily responsible for the rise in fascism in Brazilthrough its direct role in placing the nation under the control of a military dictatorship in 1964. The military dictatorship predated the CIA’s ouster of Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973, which handed the once socialist state to Augusto Pinochet’s murderous and repressive leadership.

The entire skeleton of the U.S. military state is on full display in The Plot to Control the World. The U.S. military state utilizes an array of tools to overthrow democratically-elected governments that it deems to be a threat to corporate interests. These tools include the U.S. intelligence agencies, so-called Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the National Endowment for Democracy, and the various branches of the military itself, to name a few. Regardless of the tools employed, the mission is always the same: to destabilize independent nations that refuses to bow down to the dictates of U.S. imperialism.Thus, while Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Vietnam may possess unique histories, their economic and political development has been shaped by the destructive interference of the United States.

Dan Kovalik is not likely to be reviewed in the New York Times or other corporate outlets. That’s because Kovalik unapologetically speaks out against U.S. empire and all that upholds it. In doing so, Kovalik’s The Plot to Control the World walks in the footsteps of anti-imperialists such as Michael Parenti and William Blum. Blum, a former State Department employee, spent his post-State Department life providing humanity with knowledge about how US imperialism operates on the global stage. The New York Times wasted no time in slandering Blum in their obituary . This showed the great lengths that the ruling elites will go to discredit, defame, and condemn critics of the military industrial complex and how important it is for those who oppose war let go of any expectation that the corporate media will cover Kovalik’s work or anyone else who speaks out against war.

With that said, one of the reasons that the left in the U.S. is so weak is because it has been numerically and politically isolated by the lies of the Empire. White supremacy is the biggest lie of all and is completely embedded in the ideology of American exceptionalism. Despite the ruthlessness of the austerity and incarceration regimes, many Americans continue to be convinced that the U.S. is the most exceptional nation in the world and do not balk when its military wages wars abroad at the expense of U.S. tax dollars and civilian lives. U.S. imperialism has made sure that Americans feel that they are special colonizers who see the victims of the U.S. military state as savages worthy of slaughter. The Plot to Control the World is based on a different premise: internationalism. The book links the struggle against US imperialism to the needs of the oppressed and working class living in the heart of empire, making it an essential read for those who are sick and tired of the prevailing narrative of American exceptionalism and want to be armed with knowledge that is essential toward changing it.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the forthcoming book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

SYRIA: The Western Rogue States Must Confess their Crimes Against Humanity and be held Accountable

Christmas 2018 in Damascus, Old City, without mortars from Eastern Ghouta since its liberation in April 2018. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)
By Vanessa Beeley | 21st Century Wire | January 2, 2019

The West and its allies in the Gulf States, Turkey and Israel have waged an eight year war against the Syrian people. The West has besieged, starved and deprived the Syrian people of humanitarian aid while pouring “aid” into the areas controlled by their extremist sectarian proxy armies.

The West has violated international law and it has enabled the destruction of Syria’s history, heritage and cultural footprint. The West has behaved as a collective rogue state without conscience and without pity for a people its media has systematically dehumanised to enable such a crime to take place.

Despite this war of attrition and despite battling disproportionate force, the Syrian people have refused to capitulate or to abandon their secularism in favour of an extremist tyranny that would destroy their society and persecute the minority communities into extinction. Christmas 2018 has demonstrated the victory of Syrian unity over the regime change project incubated in the West which is now a failed campaign lying in tatters at the feet of the self determination of the Syrian people, the valiant defence by the Syrian Arab Army and the steadfastness of the Syrian Government and its President, Bashar Al Assad.

In Aleppo I spoke with Pastor Ibrahim Nseir of Aleppo’s Presbyterian Church, whom I had also interviewed in 2017.  The following is a mixture of quotes and paraphrase from our conversation on New Year’s Eve 2018/19.

Reverend Ibrahim Nseir, Presbyterian Church, Aleppo. December 31st 2018. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The Presbyterian Church in the Old City of Aleppo was destroyed by the Western-backed terrorist groups in November 2012. An article in the Mennonite World Review in July 2018 described the destruction of the church – “In the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Ibrahim Nseir stands on the pile of rubble that used to be his church. The building where his congregation worshiped is now broken stones and dust. It’s a sunny day, the bright sky a stark contrast to the destruction on the ground.”

After eight years of resistance against the threat of persecution and mass exodus of Christians from Aleppo, Nseir remains defiant and upbeat about the future of Aleppo and Syria. Of the 300,000 Syrian Christians in Aleppo, only 30,000 remain. This is the legacy of sectarian oppression that has been imprinted upon Syria by Western hegemony and it will take generations for it be turned around.

Nseir described the rebuilding process for the Presbyterian Church as difficult but he insisted that it would be rebuilt from its original stones to preserve its historical identity. For Nseir the priorities for Aleppo and Syria are to address the economic situation which has clearly taken a hit on many levels and is suffering in a typical post-war slump. Education is another top priority for this intelligent and enthusiastic Reverend. The intention is to create a center for retreats and conferences at the current Presbyterian Church offices in the center of Aleppo, including a student dormitory.

“We will increase educational capacity by 1000 in the very near future and continue to build upon this progress” Nseir told me.

Education, according to Nseir, is the greatest weapon against extremism and is the only way to re-habilitate children who spent seven of their formative years under occupation of extremist and sectarian factions who worked hard to brainwash almost an entire generation of Syria’s children.

“Ethically the West and the East are responsible for Syria’s destruction. This is not a “Christian” issue, it is a World issue.” Nseir insisted.

The role of the Western media in manufacturing consent for the collective punishment of the Syrian people was clearly a primary cause of the devastation that Nseir and other faith leaders across Syria are now dealing with:

“Western media played more than a negative role, they literally urged the terrorists to take action against the Syrian people by providing false information and blinding people in the West to what was really happening in Syria for eight years. This should never be forgotten.”

Nseir stressed that the healing process for children traumatised by the war would not be easy.

“How do you erase the hatred and horror planted in the brains of 7-10-year-old children by these fanatics? What do you expect from children who have played football with the head of a Syrian Arab Army soldier or who have witnessed the violent abuse of their mother by these terrorists or have seen their father executed by the armed groups? This is the greatest challenge for Humanity and for Syria to put right these terrible wrongs.”

Nseir spoke of the shocking estimated figures of 82,000 children whose father is unknown, referring to the huge number of young women raped or forced into multiple marriages by the terrorist groups and their fighters. How do these children regain their identity and re-integrate into Syrian society? The rebuilding of schools and hospitals must be a priority. The terrorists destroyed “the most developed hospital in the Middle East, Al Kindi” in 2013 and since then, and the destruction of more hospitals across Syria by the terrorist groups, Nseir told me Syria has seen an increase in Cancer and new diseases. Nseir also suggested that this may be attributed to the weapons used by the US Coalition proxies and the U.S itself, which include depleted uranium.

Another important challenge, according to Nseir, is the environmental one. Syria needs to rebuild its natural environment which has also been hugely affected by the conflict. 100,000 trees have been destroyed in Aleppo alone which could lead eventually to desertification of the province if not dealt with. The Governor of Aleppo has recently planted 2,000 new trees but this is an issue that must be addressed with urgency for Nseir.

Nseir strongly believes that Western people should come to Syria independently to see the truth for themselves and report the truth as they see it without any agenda. The Church and the media in the West have maintained a sectarian, divisve narrative which is confusing for people in the West and far from reality.

Nseir addressed the position and status of Syria in the Middle East and described how it has not changed, all that has changed is the perception of Syria portrayed by the media and world leaders who have aligned themselves with the West’s criminal project to partition Syria into sectarian statelets and to remove the elected Syrian government from power by force:

“What has changed since 2011 in reality? Nothing. Syria has always been the protector of the Middle East before 2011, during the conflict and now. The only thing that has changed is the positions of those who turned against Syria, betrayed Syria and who now wish to come back to Syria for protection. We see the Gulf States now change their stance and the UAE has re-opened its embassy in Damascus. The Arab League will welcome Syria back into its fold. Nothing has changed, Syria has remained the same while others have been opportunists and traitors.”

The fact that Syria will forgive its betrayers is testament to what has given Syria victory over its enemies throughout history. With regards to the West, Nseir is not so forgiving:

“The West must go beyond simply stopping its financing of terrorism and the supply of weapons. The West must confess to its crimes against the Syrian people in order to be forgiven. The West must lift the economic sanctions which are a siege upon the Syrian people and it must allow the Syrian people to rebuild in peace without meddling in their affairs. The Syrian people will rebuild according to what the Syrian people want not what the East or the West want. The West has sold the idea that this war was against President Assad but in reality it was against the will of a nation and the people of that nation must be respected”.

Nseir confirmed that the western NGOs are nothing more than political instruments and devices who further the cause of war but he insisted that the West must effectively pay reparations to Syria and expect nothing in return. This is the only way the West can be forgiven by Syria.

Nseir told me that his church will be establishing a medical and health center in the coming months which will be open to everyone in Aleppo to offer medical check-ups and treatment for free. Staff will be trained to deal with the children afflicted by the effects of the war and the terrorist occupation and the plan is to eventually set up special schools to continue the work of rehabilitation for these children. This will enable the coming generations to stand against radicalism and terrorism in the future.

“The West has a duty to respect our dignity and territorial integrity. The Syrian Arab Army has saved the image of our God of Peace, Love and Unity – this has been a spiritual war in Syria not only a military war. The God of love has been embodied by the SAA and our allies and has been victorious over the God of terrorism and hatred. The whole world will change after this war and after Syria’s victory. Syria will be a transformational catalyst for all of Humanity. Syria was never going to be defeated, you only have to study our history to know this. Our society has always embraced diversity and this is the essence of our country. Fanaticism was never going to survive breathing the pure oxygen of our humanity. Actually this demonstrates the stupidity of leaders in the West – to even imagine that extremism has a place in our culture”.  Nseir told me.

Nseir ended our talk by stating that the crisis in Syria must be an alarm bell for the country and for its leaders.

“We must re-prioritise our schedule, our agenda and make sure it is not only political but that we address all issues – religious, educational, health care. We must rethink our priorities to ensure a future of peace and stability. At the end I believe strongly that all the negative consequences of this terrible war will be transformed into positive consequences if we address them in the right way. Out of adversity are born the greatest opportunities for the future of Syria and Humanity.”

Horse rides on offer at the foot of the Citadel in the Old City of Aleppo. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)


Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and associate editor at 21st Century Wire.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

White Helmets, Black Hearts

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | January 3, 2019

In 2016 the White Helmets were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Justin Timberlake thought they should get it. So did Bear Grylls, Ben Affleck, Michael Palin, Daniel Craig, Rowan Williams, Ridley Scott, George Clooney, Sacha Baron Cohen, Vanessa Redgrave and various other artists, writers, and politicians who put their signatures to the petition on the White Helmets web site.

‘Give it to Syria’s White Helmets’ the Guardian, a media mainstay of the terrorist war on Syria from the beginning, implored the Nobel committee. ‘They embody a spirit of civic resistance.’

The actor George Clooney also identified their essential goodness. ‘In a world full of hate these people put on helmets and run towards violence while everyone else is running away from it,’ he said in London when attending a showing of the glowing documentary the White Helmets made about themselves.

‘Where there is no structure in society they are there to protect. First and foremost they are heroes.’

On their website, the White Helmets describe themselves as ‘former tailors, bakers, teachers and other ordinary Syrians’ who had come together to form the ‘Syria Civil Defence’. In fact, Syria has, and has had since the 1950s, a government civil defense organization of the same name, which operates across the country, unlike the White Helmets, which has operated only in ‘rebel’ held areas.

Furthermore, far from being an organization set up by ‘ordinary Syrians’ who saw a need for ‘civil defense’ and decided to fill it, the White Helmets were not even Syrian in origin but the brainchild of a former British intelligence officer. Furthermore, again, they were never financially independent, as they claimed, but were funded from the beginning by the same governments making war on Syria through armed proxies tied to their intelligence services. They were a carefully constructed arm of this war.

The White Helmets were a sustained lie from the start. They were deliberately packaged to give the corporate media the images it wanted, dominated by the White Helmet hero scurrying across a rubble-strewn foreground with a dusty, crying child in his arms. In the background, out of sight but figuratively represented in the wailing of children and the bodies on the street were the architects of these horrors, the ‘regime’ in Damascus and the dictator sitting in his palace.

It was not long before holes began to appear in the narrative. These rescues were not genuine but were being staged for media consumption. Journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett were the first to pick holes in the narrative and the more they picked the more the holes widened, to the point where it was clear that the White Helmets were a scam of the first order.

But they were a scam the governments making war on Syria wanted their people to believe and a scam that the corporate media perpetuated, when the most cursory research would have revealed the lies.

The White Helmets were not just working in ‘rebel-held’ areas, a media euphemism for civilian districts taken over by the most violent terrorist groups on the face of the earth. They were an extension of these groups. They boasted of their affinities on their Facebook pages. They hated the Syrian government with the same fervor as the takfiris. They also reviled the Alawi, the Shia, Christians and Sunni Muslims who fell short of the takfiris’ exacting standards.

Many White Helmets doubled up as ‘first responders’ and takfiri gunmen. They operated completely under the instructions of the takfiris. They took away the bodies of the newly executed for burial and staged chemical weapons attacks as required. As evidence gathered by Russian researchers indicates, they were also involved in the harvesting of body organs from the bodies of wounded civilians.

These activities were all funded by the ‘liberal democracies,’ including the UK, the US, the EU and individual EU governments, including Denmark and Germany, nominally committed to fighting terrorism around the world.

By 2017 the British Foreign Office alone had paid the White Helmets an acknowledged $80 million. Outside money had even come from the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in memory of the British Labor politician, murdered in 2016, to work for a ‘fairer, kinder and more tolerant world.’

The contradictions in western attitudes were exemplified when Raed Saleh, the head of the White Helmets, and the recipient of millions of dollars in US aid, travelled to the US in 2016 to receive a humanitarian award and was turned back at Dulles International Airport in Washington.

Although the Department of Homeland Security never makes its reasons public, Saleh was clearly on a security/terrorist watch list. He had been allowed into the country before but this time he was turned away.

Waiting to greet him, the well-meaning but naïve members of the InterAction NGO alliance donned white helmets in his absence. Unfortunately, they are not likely to see the White Helmets being outed anywhere in the US media.

The Russian Foundation for the Study of Democracy recently compiled evidence based on extensive interviews in Syria with hundreds of witnesses, including former White Helmets and takfiri fighters, physicians and civilians living in areas that had been taken over by takfiri groups.

The interviews indicated that many of the White Helmets were not volunteers as claimed. In East Aleppo men were imprisoned and given time to decide whether to join Jabhat al Nusra or the White Helmets. It had to be one or the other. There was no third option unless saying ‘no’ to both and facing execution can be considered an option.

For some, joining the White Helmets was the only means of survival for themselves and their families but once inside the organization, everyone knew orders had to be obeyed whatever they were.

These orders came from the takfiri groups. A member of Jaysh al Islam’s internal security services told Russian researchers that instructions were delivered to the White Helmets by phone or personal messenger but either way, they were under the full control of Jaysh al Islam.

After eastern Ghouta was taken over by the takfiris it was divided into four sectors. The White Helmets in the district were integrated with the takfiri group assigned responsibility for each sector.

Along with faked chemical weapons attacks, setting up faked ‘regime’ bombings in line with instructions from the takfiri groups was a specialty of the White Helmets media unit. Witnesses gave evidence of bodies being brought from the morgue and the wounded from the hospital in preparation for faked attacks. Wrecked cars would be dragged to the site. The stage having been set with the apparent consequences of a ‘regime’ bombing, tyres and trash would be set on fire and the cameras would begin to roll.

In Douma, the White Helmets constructed barriers, dug trenches and tunnels, and transported fighters, weapons, and ammunition to the front lines. According to witness evidence, they were permanently engaged in preparing battle positions for the takfiris. White Helmet or ‘rebel’ media rooms or centers kept the global corporate media supplied with a steady flow of lies which were eagerly lapped up, no questions asked. The lies included the faked 2018 chemical weapons attack in Douma.

Theft was a common perquisite of being a White Helmet. Money and gold would be stolen from houses and jewelry stripped from the living – usually women – as well as the dead. Senior White Helmet figures enriched themselves, one in Douma buying cars and summer houses.

In the districts, they occupied the takfiris and the White Helmets shared office space. They took over schools and kindergartens. Under the threat of death, teachers in eastern Ghouta were told to send their students to religious schools. Students at the Gaza school in Aleppo were told to seek their education at the mosque.

The most heinous of White Helmet activities was the harvesting of body organs. Statements made to the Russian researchers indicated that organs were being removed in Turkey for transplantation into the bodies of wounded fighters and that the White Helmets and takfiri groups such as Ahrar al-Sham acted as an integrated team throughout the whole process.

The Russian researchers heard extensive prima facie evidence of the wounded being taken away for treatment by the White Helmets and being returned as corpses stripped of their body parts. A doctor in Aleppo gave evidence relating to a driver in Aleppo who weighed about 70 kgs when taken away and about 30-45 kgs when his corpse was returned. He had been cut from his throat to his stomach.

‘The skin almost touched his back,’ the doctor said. ‘I touched him with my hand and understood that there were clearly no organs left.’

In Aleppo the mother of a boy whose organs had been removed was only allowed to see his head and neck. An injured girl was taken to Turkey for ‘treatment’ and her body returned three days later with her internal organs missing. Even a person with a minor injury would be taken away and returned with the stomach cut open and the organs removed. It was understood, according to witnesses, that people taken away for medical treatment by the White Helmets often did not come back alive.

In July, 2018, 429 members of the White Helmets were smuggled out of Syria across the occupied Golan Heights and moved immediately to Jordan. The transfer was facilitated by the government of Israel which had armed the takfiris and given hospital care to their wounded since the beginning of the war. It had also helped and protected them by attacking Syrian military installations and now it was saving their White Helmet enablers from the retribution of the Syrian state and people.

From Jordan, the White Helmets were dispersed among the countries whose governments had supported them. They were quickly whisked away into a life of anonymity, supported by the British, European or American taxpayer. No one would know where they were or who they were so no critical questions could be asked. The truth was being buried with them.

This is a shocking story, of government criminality and media irresponsibility, of which the lies fed to the world about the White Helmets is only part.

The Russian report is a significant addition to the enormous body of prime facie evidence about the real nature of the White Helmets but as anything coming out of Russia is instantly dismissed as ‘fake news’ the corporate media already has a licensed reason to ignore this report.

The caravan of celebrities who moved quickly to capture some of the limelight created by the White Helmets, without asking any questions about what they were actually supporting, without caring as long as some of the spotlight fell on them, will move on in their narcissistic, feckless fashion.

The truth must have dawned on George Clooney by now. Certainly, it would be surprising to see him going ahead with his feature film on the White Helmets unless he intends to show what they were really like behind the lies he and many others swallowed. That’s the story that certainly needs to be told.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reporter Quits NBC Citing Network’s Support For Endless War

By Caitlin Johnstone | American Herald Tribune | January 3, 2019

A journalist with NBC has resigned from the network with a statement which highlights the immense resistance that ostensibly liberal mass media outlets have to antiwar narratives, skepticism of US military agendas, and any movement in the opposite direction of endless military expansionism.

“January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good,” begins an email titled ‘My goodbye letter to NBC’ sent to various contacts by William M Arkin, an award-winning journalist who has been associated with the network for 30 years.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis,” the email continues. “My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.”

The lengthy email covers details about Arkin’s relationship with NBC and its staff, his opinions about the mainstream media’s refusal to adequately scrutinize and criticize the US war machine’s spectacular failures in the Middle East, how he “argued endlessly with MSNBC about all things national security for years”, the fact that his position as a civilian military analyst was unusual and “peculiar” in a media environment where that role is normally dominated by “THE GENERALS and former government officials,” and how he was “one of the few to report that there weren’t any WMD in Iraq” and remembers “fondly presenting that conclusion to an incredulous NBC editorial board.”

“A scholar at heart, I also found myself an often lone voice that was anti-nuclear and even anti-military, anti-military for me meaning opinionated but also highly knowledgeable, somewhat akin to a movie critic, loving my subject but also not shy about making judgements regarding the flops and the losers,” he writes.

Arkin makes clear that NBC is in no way the sole mass media offender in its refusal to question or criticize the normalization of endless warfare, but that he feels increasingly “out of sync” and “out of step” with the network’s unhesitating advancement of military interventionist narratives. He writes about how Robert Windrem, NBC News’ chief investigative producer, convinced him to join a new investigative unit in the early days of the 2016 presidential race. Arkin writes the following about his experience with the unit:

“I thought that the mission was to break through the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness. It was also an interesting moment at NBC because everyone was looking over their shoulder at Vice and other upstarts creeping up on the mainstream. But then Trump got elected and Investigations got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush, the national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself — busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play.

“I’d argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn’t missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. I’d also argue, ever so gingerly, that NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). I accept that there’s a lot to report here, but I’m more worried about how much we are missing. Hence my desire to take a step back and think why so little changes with regard to America’s wars.”

Arkin is no fan of Trump, calling him “an ignorant and incompetent impostor,” but describes his shock at NBC’s reflexive opposition to the president’s “bumbling intuitions” to get along with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, and his questioning of the US military’s involvement in Africa.

“I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?”

“There’s a saying about consultants, that organizations hire them to hear exactly what they want to hear,” Arkin writes in the conclusion of his statement. “ I’m proud to say that NBC didn’t do that when it came to me. Similarly I can say that I’m proud that I’m not guilty of giving my employers what they wanted. Still, the things this and most organizations fear most — variability, disturbance, difference — those things that are also the primary drivers of creativity — are not really the things that I see valued in the reporting ranks.”

That’s about as charitably as it could possibly be said by a skeptical tongue. Another way to say it would be that plutocrat-controlled and government-enmeshed media networks hire reporters to protect the warmongering oligarchic status quo upon which media-controlling plutocrats have built their respective kingdoms, and foster an environment which elevates those who promote establishment-friendly narratives while marginalizing and pressuring anyone who doesn’t. It’s absolutely bizarre that it should be unusual for there to be a civilian analyst of the US war machine’s behaviors in the mainstream media who is skeptical of its failed policies and nonstop bloodshed, and it’s a crime that such voices are barely holding on to the fringes of the media stage. Such analysts should be extremely normal and commonplace, not rare and made to feel as though they don’t belong.

Click here to read William M Arkin’s full email, republished with permission.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment