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As obsession with Trump tanks CNN ratings, network doubles down

RT | May 31, 2019

The pioneer cable news network is getting crushed in the ratings, coming in below Home and Garden TV, and has recently downsized and changed freelance payment terms – but shows no interest in changing the tone of its programming.

Both CNN and MSNBC have allowed themselves to be defined by hostility to both the administration and President Donald Trump personally since the 2016 election, breathlessly pushing the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory.

While this strategy has largely worked for MSNBC – at least until special counsel Robert Mueller was forced to admit Russiagate was bogus – CNN has struggled to attract an audience beyond those trapped at hospitals and airports.

Nielsen TV ratings for May show Fox News dominating for the 35th straight month with 1.3 million total day viewers, MSNBC lagging behind with 909,000, and CNN in the eighth place with 552,000.

CNN wasn’t even in the top 15 primetime spots (for comparison, HGTV came in fifth), and its three main primetime shows – hosted by Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon – ranked 25, 26, and 35, respectively.

Could this have anything to do with the network’s obsession with Trump and his administration that no longer bothers hiding naked partisanship? No way, says CNN leadership, insisting they are “real news” and claiming to be victims of Trump’s “attacks” on “free press.”

In the real world, CNN offered buyouts to 100 or so people at its Atlanta, Georgia headquarters, earlier this month, including CNN International executive vice president Tony Maddox. Since then, it has also laid off a number of people from its Health division and drastically cut back production at its London bureau.

Furthermore, the network’s parent company Warner Media recently sent out a notice to contractors that it is changing payment terms beginning in June, from 30 days to 90 days – essentially asking anyone it contracts to wait three months to get paid.

But hey, have you heard that the US government now owns a condominium in New York City’s Trump Tower, because of the Mueller probe? Priorities, people!

The twist is that CNN boss Jeff Zucker is laughing all the way to the bank, because CNN’s annual profits have doubled to $1.2 billion during his tenure. Some 70 percent of the network’s revenue comes not from advertisers but from carriage fees charged from cable and satellite operators. Some 90 million US households pay these fees every year, effectively subsidizing CNN and giving the network very little incentive to change its ways.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments

Fake news alert: CNN says Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido ‘won election in January’

RT | May 6, 2019

CNN took the concept of “fake news” to a whole new level with a recent report on Venezuela, in which it claimed that citizens “chose” coup leader Juan Guaido over current president Nicolas Maduro in January “elections.”

In a report on Sunday’s deadly Venezuelan military helicopter crash, CNN wrote that “pressure is mounting” on Maduro to step down “following elections in January in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaido over him for president.”

The report was finally corrected on Monday after being published on Sunday afternoon and remaining unfixed overnight. It now reflects the fact that Guaido was not elected, but “declared himself interim president” in January.

A correction added to the bottom of the piece explains that the earlier version had “incorrectly described” the situation. Elections? Military coups? Really, who can keep up these days!?

Amazingly, the botched report which initially referenced these mysterious imaginary elections, was the product of work by no less than six journalists — two whose names appear on the main byline and four more listed as contributors at the bottom. Normal practice would see the piece run past a couple of editors too, before being published. That’s potentially eight pairs of eyes — and none of them managed to catch the glaring error.

A number of journalists and Twitter users called CNN out for the “blatant” lie and “shameful” and “terrible” reporting.

It wasn’t the first Venezuela-related embarrassment for CNN. Reporter Jake Tapper was called out on social media last week after he tweeted a link with a picture of opposition army defectors wielding guns to claim Maduro’s government “mows down citizens in streets.”

CNN likes to be known for its so-called adversarial journalism when it comes to the Trump administration, but so far, it seems fully on board with its regime change policies in Venezuela — although, even the White House hasn’t gone so far as to pretend fake elections took place in January.

May 6, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Top 51 Fake News Russiagate ‘Bombshells’ Spread By The MSM

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 04/23/2019

Following the release of the Mueller report, the mainstream media tried to pull a fast one – absurdly claiming that their reporting for the last 2.5 years has been largely vindicated.

Except, they weren’t vindicated at all. In fact, they lied through their teeth, peddling falsehood after falsehood.

To that end, Breitbart‘s John Nolte isn’t about to let them get away with peddling even more fiction about their reporting, and has compiled a list of 51 instances where the MSM flat out lied, borrowing from the work of Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

John Nolte Via Breitbart

Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

Not to mention, millions and millions of establishment media tweets and Facebook posts.

Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Shepard Smith, Andrew Napolitano, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, Chuck Todd, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Brian Stelter, Erin Burnett, et al.,  are alone responsible for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of lies and conspiracy-mongering.

This list of 51 doesn’t count the half-million — half-MILLION — Russia collusion stories published over the past two years, almost all of which were premised on the idea that Trump did, indeed, collude with a foreign power to steal the 2016 presidential election.

This list cannot begin to count the countless times these 51 fake stories were repeated as fact throughout other news outlets, social media, and thousands upon thousands of cumulative broadcast hours.

What’s more, this list of 51 can’t begin to count the countless examples of fake news launched against Trump that have nothing to do with Russia — desperate and deliberate lies involving fish food and ice cream scoops…

Before we begin, credit where it’s due. This list would not have been possible without the lists already compiled by Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

  1. New York magazine, McClatchy:

Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

  1. BuzzFeed:

Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

  1. The New York Times:

Paul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

  1. Axios:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein forced out.

  1. NBC News:

Federal investigators wiretapped Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, have recordings of Trump.

  1. Associated Press:

Phony Russia dossier was initially funded by Republican group.

  1. ABC News:

Donald Trump directed Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign

  1. Talking Points Memo:

Russian social media company provided documents to Senate about communications with Trump official.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks.

  1. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal:

Robert Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank records.

  1. ABC News:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with Russia intelligence-connected official as late as December 2017.

  1. The New York Times:

Trump Deputy National Security adviser K.T. McFarland lied about another official’s contacts with Russians.

  1. CNN:

Trump’s campaign was never wiretapped.

  1. NBC News:

Manafort notes from Russian meeting refer to political contributions.

  1. The New York Times:

Seventeen intelligence agencies concur Russia hacked the 2016 presidential race.

  1. CNN:

Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.

  1. The New York Times:

Former FBI Director James Comey says Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him not to call Russia probe an investigation but “a matter.”

  1. CNN:

James Comey will testify he never told Trump he was not under investigation.

  1. NBC News:

Putin admits he has compromising information about Trump.

  1. Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal:

Trump fired Comey after Comey asked for additional resources for the Russia investigation.

  1. The New York Times:

Numerous contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.”

  1. MSNBC:

Among others, a Trump family member will be indicted on February 8.

  1. The Guardian:

Paul Manafort visited WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on three occasions.

  1. The Washington Post:

Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Ukraine.

  1. The Atlantic:

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

  1. McClatchy:

Michael Cohen really did visit Prague.

  1. CNN:

Trump is lying when he calls Russia dossier “phony.”

  1. Fortune:

RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and C-SPAN “confirmed” it had been hacked.

  1. USA Today, MSNBC, Associated Press:

Russia’s hacked the election systems of 21 American states.

  1. The Washington Post, ABC News, CNN:

Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.

  1. The Washington Post:

“More than 200 websites” were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season.”

  1. NBC News, MSNBC:

Russia is the main suspect in the sonic attacks that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats.

  1. Slate:

Trump created a secret Internet server to covertly communicate with a Russian bank.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump knew in advance of the Trump Tower meeting.

  1. CNN:

Mueller Report will show Trump “has helped” Putin “destabilize” the United States.

  1. NBC:

Russia supports Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

    1. CNN:

Sessions failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador.

  1. Vox:

“There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.”

  1. The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPRReutersthe Guardian, USA Today, CNN, BuzzFeed:

Trump revealed classified information to Russians.

  1. The Washington Post:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Russia paid Trump.

  1. Fox News:

Mueller can show Trump campaign “had a connection to Russian intelligence.”

  1. MSNBC:

“Rudy Giuliani just told America that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.”

  1. The Washington Post:

Evidence suggests Trump could be a Russian “asset.”

  1. NBC:

Russians began hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails on the day Donald Trump joked about it in July 2016.

  1. Mic.com:

Russia spy visited Trump’s Oval Office.

  1. CNN:

Phony Russia dossier has been “corroborated.”

  1. NPR:

Donald Trump Jr. lied under oath about Trump Tower deal in Moscow.

  1. NBC, The Hill, New York Daily News:

Russia successfully hacked voting systems in a number of states.

  1. CNN:

Trump is “bonkers” for claiming Hillary Clinton behind Russia dossier.

  1. CNN:

“Every intelligence expert, both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration,” agrees with the assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

  1. BBC:

Ukrainian president “authorized” an illegal payment of $400,000 to Michael Cohen for additional face time during a June 2017 meeting with President Trump.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reality check: CNN’s claim that Trump has been unwilling to confront Putin is total bulls**t

By Bryan MacDonald | RT | April 2, 2019

Fareed Zakaria is a veteran Putin conspiracy theorist. And you can assume he feels this obsession has helped further his career, especially at CNN.

Back in 2017, he made a pseudo-documentary on Russia’s president, titled “The most powerful man in the world,” which was widely pilloried. Indeed, the Kremlin labeled it “hysterical” and “odious,” and dismissed it as “often complete fiction.”

Russia expert Dominic Basulto summed it up as “what slick propaganda for the masses looks like in the digital era.” Further pointing out how Zakaria failed to disclose his own “Russian collusion” as a host at the 2016 St Petersburg Economic Forum. An appearance which didn’t go very well for the CNN anchor.

Over the past couple of years, Zakaria has been one of the loudest voices pushing the “Trump/Russia” hoax. But, instead of accepting reality after Robert Mueller’s report kiboshed the yarn, he doubled down. And his latest video is unhinged.

Dubbed ‘Fareed’s take,’ the segment’s blurb states “the real puzzle remains: Why has Trump been unwilling to confront Putin in any way on any issue? And will Venezuela be the moment when Trump finally ends his appeasement?” And note the use of the word “appeasement,” intended to ‘Chamberlain’ Trump.

Anyway, let’s not beat around the bush, the clip is complete bulls**t. President Trump has confronted Putin on many issues and their relationship has been hyper-adversarial. In the real world, of course, not the fantasy-land of American network TV.

The ways in which Trump has frustrated his Russian counterpart are myriad:

  • He has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing Russian non-compliance – a charge the Kremlin rejects.
  • Trump has accepted Montenegro into NATO and will probably add North Macedonia before his term is up. Both countries are in the Balkans, a traditional Russian sphere of influence.
  • Under Trump, the US armed Ukraine with lethal weapons in 2017, a step his predecessor Barack Obama was reluctant to take.
  • The US president expelled dozens of Russian diplomats last year in response to the alleged poisoning of a Russian spy, who defected to Britain. He also closed Russia’s consulate in Seattle (he’d already shuttered the San Francisco equivalent a year earlier).
  • In the spring of 2018, Trump ordered airstrikes against Syria, Russia’s Middle Eastern ally, which Putin condemned “in the most serious way.”
  • The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a major piece of infrastructure for both Germany and Russia, and both countries have invested considerable energy in its completion. But Trump accuses Berlin of “paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia” adding how Germany is “totally controlled by Russia.” US media reported last month that Trump told German Chancellor Merkel: “Angela, you got to stop buying gas from Putin.”
  • Russia has backed the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, which the Americans hope to remove. Just last week, Trump ‘ordered’ Russia to “get out” of Venezuela, despite the fact that they have been there under a treaty with Caracas.

So, there we go again, yet another CNN Russia-related falsehood debunked. If this carries on much longer, the once-respected channel might as well rebrand as “Conspiracy Network News.”

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

THE VETO: Exposing CNN, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, western media propaganda war in Syria

Vanessa Beeley | March 21, 2019

I met journalist and friend Rafiq Lutf and cameraman Abdul-Mun’aim Arnous in January 2018 and I was honoured when Rafiq asked me to work with him on his film project, The Veto.

As Dr Shaaban said to me in August 2016, “Western propaganda is paid for in Syrian blood”. This is true. The horrifying bloodshed and loss of life in Syria could never have happened without the colonial media manufacturing consent for another illegal war against a Sovereign nation.

The Veto tracks the evolution of the propaganda campaign waged by Western media against Syria. From Baba Amr in Homs 2011/2012 until the modern day “propaganda construct” – the NATO-member-state funded White Helmets.

It honours Russia and China’s vetoes that have consistently defended Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the UN.

George Orwell said “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Western media has been tasked with writing the history of the Syrian conflict to serve the aggressors in the US Coalition of terrorism. As Dr Shaaban also told me:

“The US alliance and its media are focusing on our history, material history, cultural history, identity, our army. Any power that keeps you as an entire state, or any statesman that represents strength or unity will be demonized and destroyed.”

The Veto exposes the criminal intentions of Western media and it archives the progression of the propaganda war waged by the West against Syria. Syrians are writing the history of the Syrian conflict because Syria and her allies have courageously resisted the Imperialist machine.

As Rafiq has said so eloquently “ we are the Veto” and we must use it against the Industrial Media Complex in the West.

Syria’s history belongs to the Syrians and Syria’s final victory must ensure that Western media is never again given the power to destroy a nation, divide its people and promote international terrorism both military and economic.

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

US War Crimes in Syria Whitewashed in Real Time

Strategic Culture Foundation | 15.03.2019

It was quite amazing to watch reports from Syria this week by US news channel CNN. American bombing of a remaining redoubt of the ISIS terror group near Baghouz on the border with Iraq was presented as some kind of heroic final onslaught against the terror group.

The inversion of reality is a staggering case study in propaganda and “perception management” under the guise of “free media”.

CNN broadcast on-the-ground reports from its correspondent Ben Wedeman in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province. In the background were evident signs, according to the channel’s video footage, that the US air force was dropping white phosphorus incendiary munitions in support of the offensive against militants.

Indiscriminate use of white phosphorus bombs is arguably a war crime. Yet the US media openly reported this as if it was a legitimate war operation in order to “defeat terrorism”.

Nothing in the CNN reportage suggested anything illegal about the US military campaign. On the contrary, the events were presented as a valorous attempt to “defeat ISIS”.

There are several reasons why this latest US military operation in eastern Syria is disturbing, not least because of mounting civilian deaths as a result of American air strikes.

For a start, American military presence in Syria is a gross violation of international law. The US has no legal mandate to be in that country, operating their since 2015, either as ground forces or warplanes.

Secondly, it is well-documented that Washington has been covertly funneling military aid to various anti-government militia, including terrorist groups like ISIS, in a bid to overthrow the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad. This has been conducted as part of an eight-year covert war sponsored by Washington and its allies for illegal regime change against the sovereign government in Damascus.

President Trump has given orders for US forces to withdraw from Syria. He says it’s time to bring “our boys” home. As if “our boys” have performed a noble duty there. The fact is American forces in Syria constitute a war crime. They shouldn’t even be there.

So, belated US media reports of American forces bearing down on the remnants of ISIS in eastern Syria are, to say the least, a little anomalous, given the systematic support that Washington has been covertly plying to assorted jihadist terror groups for the purpose of regime change. That is an entirely criminal aggression against Syria.

But the latest operation in eastern Syria is particularly hard to take. It has been the Syrian army along with Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah forces that largely liberated Syria from the scourge of foreign-backed Islamist terror groups. The war in Syria has been won against the US and its malign criminal partners, not, as American media would have us believe, due to Washington’s “heroic efforts”.

Western news media have lately focused on a small pocket of ISIS hold-outs in eastern Syria as if the US is the liberator of the Arab country – a country which Washington and its NATO allies have infiltrated with jihadists for criminal regime change.

CNN’s coverage this week was especially perverse. Ben Wedeman and his team were showing US military dropping banned white phosphorus incendiaries on civilian areas of eastern Syria in the name of “fighting terrorism”.

CNN’s reportage was without the slightest hint that such military actions amount to gross war crimes. The entire US military presence in Syria is an even bigger violation of international law. The “normalization” of such violations and war crimes by the US media in real time is an illustration of how such supposed news channels are nothing but a propaganda arm for Washington’s imperialist warmongering.

The banal normalization by US news media of what should be viewed as enormous war crimes is something to behold, if not to be nauseated by.

American forces in Syria have killed thousands of civilians. Their latest operations to “liberate” the eastern region from jihadists that they infiltrated with in the first place has caused, this week alone, dozens of civilian deaths from US air strikes. This is a gruesome reminder of the horror that US air strikes inflicted on the Syrian city of Raqqa which was flattened in 2017 by American bombardment.

The charnel house that Syria has been turned into is a direct consequence of American regime-change machinations. And yet US media report a microcosm of the horror in terms suggesting that the American forces are somehow liberators. How grotesque.

Such an obscene distortion is partly why Washington is allowed to continue its criminal wars in other parts of the world. It is because of US media whitewashing war crimes in real time. And CNN has the shameless audacity to call its war propaganda “journalism”.

March 15, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

CNN analyst claims Trump’s speech sounded like HITLER’s, but script was written by… PUTIN?!

RT | March 3, 2019

A CNN analyst and adviser at the Biden Institute has showcased her unmatched skill to roll all in one by comparing Donald Trump to Hitler for using a turn of phrase once shouted by Joe Biden and at the same time written by Putin.

Offering her thoughts on the president’s speech at the 2019 Conservative Action Conference (CPAC), Sam Vinograd told her CNN colleagues that she was horrified that Trump had spoken about “reclaiming our nation’s priceless heritage.”

For Vinograd, this was clearly a message lifted straight from Mein Kampf.

“His statement makes me sick, on a personal level, preserving your heritage, reclaiming our heritage, that sounds a lot like a certain leader that killed members of my family and about six million other Jews in the 1940s,” she said.

She went on to lament how Trump had used his CPAC address to “spread misinformation and conspiracy theories,” and that certain things he said “really” made it seem as if “Vladimir Putin scripted his speech.”

It wasn’t long before her eyebrow-raising remarks caught the attention of social media users – who found some glaring problems with her logic.

For starters, former vice president Joe Biden made a nearly verbatim declaration in 2011, when he told the Florida Democratic Party Convention that “it’s time to reclaim our heritage.” He yelled it, too – which seems like something Hitler might do.

To add salt to the open hypocrisy wound, Vinograd is a former Obama administration official who currently serves as an adviser to the Biden Institute, a think tank named in honor of – yes, you guessed it – Joe Biden.

Then, of course, there’s the inconvenient reality that Trump’s daughter converted to Orthodox Judaism in keeping with her husband’s Jewish faith. Others pointed out that the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad – a government agency that uses that scary Hitler word! – is chaired by an Orthodox Jew.

Vinograd’s comments about Putin also didn’t quite add up, with Twitter pundits expressing regret that she had failed to elaborate on which parts of Trump’s speech were allegedly written by the Russian president.

Twitter users were especially impressed by Vinograd’s lack of self-awareness, after she accused the president of “pretending that there are foreign people trying to influence our country in a way that just isn’t accurate.” Seconds later, she suggested Vladimir Putin wrote Trump’s speech.

The televised train wreck also got two thumbs down from radio host and former CIA analyst Buck Sexton, who summed up his feelings about the segment with a perceptive observation.

“CNN is a joke. Just not a funny one,” he mused.

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments

Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America

By Mark Cook | FAIR | February 22, 2019

I was sitting in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, reading the online edition of Time magazine (5/19/16), which carried a report that there was not even something as basic as aspirin to be found anywhere in Venezuela: “Basic medicines like aspirin are nowhere to be found.”

I walked out of the apartment to the nearest pharmacy, four blocks away, where I found plenty of aspirin, as well as acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) and ibuprofen (generic Advil), in a well-stocked pharmacy with a knowledgeable professional staff that would be the envy of any US drugstore.

A few days after the Time story, CNBC (6/22/16) carried a claim that there was no acetaminophen to be found anywhere, either: “Basic things like Tylenol aren’t even available.” That must have taken the Pfizer Corporation by surprise, since it was their Venezuelan subsidiary, Pfizer Venezuela SA, which produced the acetaminophen I purchased. (Neither Time writer Ian Bremer nor CNBC commentator Richard Washington was in Venezuela, and there was no evidence offered that either of them had ever been there.)

I purchased all three products, plus cough syrup and other over-the-counter medications, because I doubted that anyone in the United States would believe me if I couldn’t produce the medications in their packages.

Unrelenting drumbeat of lies

In fact, I myself wouldn’t have believed anyone who made such claims without being able to produce the proof, so intense and unrelenting has been the drumbeat of lies. When the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela gave a concert in New York in early 2016, before I moved to Caracas, I went there thinking, “Gee, I hope that the members of the orchestra are all well-dressed and well-fed.” Yes, of course they were all well-dressed and well-fed!

When I mentioned this in a talk at the University of Vermont, a student told me that he’d had the same feeling when he was following the Pan American soccer championship. He wondered if the Venezuelan players would be able to play, because they’d be so weakened from lack of food. In fact, he said, the Venezuelan team played superbly, and went much further in the competition than expected, since Venezuela has historically been a baseball country, unlike its soccer-obsessed neighbors Brazil and Colombia.

Hard as it may be for followers of the US media to believe, Venezuela is a country where people play sports, go to work, go to classes, go to the beach, go to restaurants and attend concerts. They publish and read newspapers of all political stripes, from right to center-right, to center, to center-left, to left. They produce and watch programs on television, on TV channels that are also of all political stripes.

CNN was ridiculed recently (Redacted Tonight, 2/1/19) when it carried a report on Venezuela, “in the socialist utopia that now leaves virtually every stomach empty,” followed immediately with a cut to a demonstration by the right-wing opposition, where everybody appeared to be quite well-fed.

But surely that’s because most of the anti-government demonstrators were upper-middle class, a viewer might think. The proletarians at pro-government demonstrations must be suffering severe hunger.

Not if one consults photos of the massive pro-government demonstration on February 2, where people seemed to be doing pretty well. This is in spite of the Trump administration’s extreme economic squeeze on the country, reminiscent of the “make the economy scream” strategy used by the Nixon administration and the CIA against the democratic government of President Salvador Allende in Chile, as well as many other democratically elected governments.

Rival demonstrations

That demonstration showed considerable support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro and widespread rejection of Donald Trump’s choice for president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó, who proclaimed himself to be president of the country and was recognized minutes later by Trump, even though a public opinion poll showed that 81 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of him, comes from the ultra-right faction in Venezuelan politics.

The pro-Maduro demonstration suggested, not surprisingly, that Guaidó had failed to win much popular support outside the wealthy and upper-middle class. But Guaidó couldn’t even win support from many of them. The day before rival rallies February 2, Henrique Capriles, the leader of a less extreme right-wing faction, gave an interview to the AFP that appeared in Últimas Noticias (2/1/19), the most widely read newspaper in Venezuela. In it, Capriles said that most of the opposition had not supported Guaidó’s self-proclamation as president. That may explain the surprisingly weak turnout at Guaidó’s demonstration, held in the wealthiest district of Caracas, and obviously outshone by the pro-government demonstration on the city’s main boulevard.

The New York Times did not show pictures of that pro-government demonstration, limiting itself to a claim by unnamed “experts” (2/2/19) that the pro-government demonstration was smaller than the anti-government one.

Readers can look at the photos of the rival demonstrations and judge for themselves. Both groups did their best to pull out their faithful, knowing how much is riding on a show of popular support. The stridently right-wing opposition paper El Nacional (2/3/19) carried a photo of the right-wing opposition demonstration:

If that was the best photo it could find, it was remarkably unimpressive compared to the photos in the left-wing papers CCS (2/2/19)….

… and Correo del Orinoco (2/3/19), which were only too happy to publish pictures of the pro-government event:

Unlikely humanitarian

A huge anti-government demonstration was supposed to make possible a coup d’état, a maneuver the CIA has used repeatedly—in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964 and many more, straight through to Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2015. The turnout at the Trump administration’s demonstration was disappointing, and the coup d’état never occurred. The result is that Trump has expressed a sudden interest in getting food and medicine to Venezuelans (FAIR.org, 2/9/19).

Trump, who let thousands die in Puerto Rico and put small children in cages on the Mexican border, seems to be an unlikely champion of humanitarian aid to Latin Americans, but the corporate media have straight-facedly pretended to believe it.

Most have suppressed reports that the Red Cross and the UN are providing aid to Venezuela in cooperation with the Venezuelan government, and have protested against US “aid” that is obviously a political and military ploy.

The corporate media have continued to peddle the Trump-as-humanitarian-champion line, even after it was revealed that a US plane was caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela, and even after Trump named Iran/Contra criminal Elliott Abrams to head up Venezuelan operations. Abrams was in charge of the State Department Human Rights Office during the 1980s, when weapons to US-backed terrorists in Nicaragua were shipped in US planes disguised as “humanitarian” relief.

Canada’s CBC (2/15/19) at least had the honesty to acknowledge that it had been had in swallowing a lie from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Venezuelan government had blockaded a bridge between Colombia and Venezuela to prevent aid shipments. The newly built bridge has not yet been opened: it has never been open, apparently because of hostile relations between the two countries, but the non-opening long predates the US government’s alleged food and medicine shipments.

The absurdity of $20 million of US food and medicine aid to a country of 30 million, when US authorities have stolen $30 billion from Venezuela in oil revenue, and take $30 million every day, needs no comment.

‘Failed state’

The campaign of disinformation and outright lies about Venezuela was kicked off in 2016 by the Financial Times. Ironically, it chose the 14th anniversary of the 2002 failed coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez—April 11, 2016—to claim that Venezuela was in “chaos” and “civil war,” and that Venezuela was a “failed state.” As with the Time and CNBC reports, the Financial Times reporter was not in Venezuela, and there was no evidence in the report that he had ever been there.

I asked right-wing friends in Venezuela whether they agreed with the Financial Times claims. “Well, no, of course not,” said one, stating the obvious, “there is no chaos and no civil war. But Venezuela is a failed state, since it has not been able to provide for all the medical needs of the population.” By that standard, every country in Latin America is a failed state, and obviously the United States too.

The New York Times has run stories (5/15/16, 10/1/16) claiming that conditions in Venezuelan hospitals are horrendous. The reports enraged Colombians in New York, who have noted that a patient can die on the doorstep of a Colombian public hospital if the patient has no insurance. In Venezuela, in contrast, patients are treated for free.

One Colombian resident in New York said that his mother had recently returned to Bogotá after several years in the United States, and had not had time to obtain medical insurance. She fell ill, and went to a public hospital. The hospital left her in the waiting room for four hours, then sent her to a second hospital. The second hospital did the same, leaving her for four hours and then sending her to a third hospital. The third hospital was preparing to send her to a fourth when she protested that she was bleeding internally and was feeling weak.

“I’m sorry, Señora, if you don’t have medical insurance, no public hospital in this country will look at you,” said the woman at the desk. “Your only hope is to go to a private hospital, but be prepared to pay a great deal of money up front.” Luckily, she had a wealthy friend, who took her to a private hospital, and paid a great deal of money up front.

Such conditions in Colombia and other neoliberal states go unmentioned in the US corporate media, which have treated the Colombian government, long a right-wing murder-squad regime, as a US ally (Extra!, 2/09).

Well, OK, but are the reports of conditions in Venezuelan hospitals true or grossly exaggerated? “They are much better than they were ten years ago,” said a friend who works in a Caracas hospital. In fact, he said, ten years before, the hospital where he worked did not exist, and new hospitals are now being opened. One was dedicated recently in the town of El Furrial, and another was opened in El Vigia, as reported by the centrist newspaper Últimas Noticias (3/3/17, 4/27/18). The government has also greatly expanded others, like a burn center in Caracas and three new operating rooms at the hospital in Villa Cura.

Meanwhile, the government is inaugurating a new high-speed train line, The Dream of Hugo Chávez, in March (Correo del Orinoco, 2/6/19). Since the US media have never allowed reporting on any accomplishments in the years since  Chávez took office in 1999, but only any alleged, exaggerated or, as noted, completely invented shortcomings, readers have to consult an alternative history. Here is one offered by a Venezuelan on YouTube (3/31/11): “Por Culpa de Chávez” (“It’s Chávez’s Fault”). Depicting new hospitals, transit lines, housing, factories and so on built under Chavismo, it might help many understand why the Maduro government continues to enjoy such strong backing from so many people.

Economic warfare

This is not to minimize Venezuela’s problems. The country was hit, like other oil-producing countries, and as it was in the 1980s and ’90s, by the collapse of oil prices. That failed to bring down the government, so now the Trump administration has created an artificial crisis by using extreme economic warfare to deprive the country of foreign exchange needed to import basic necessities. The Trump measures seem designed to prevent any economic recovery.

Like any country at war (and the Trump administration has placed Venezuela under wartime conditions, and is threatening immediate invasion), there have been shortages, and products that can mostly be found on the black market. This should surprise no one: During World War II in the US, a cornucopia of a country not seriously threatened with invasion, there was strict rationing of products like sugar, coffee and rubber.

The Venezuelan government has made food, medicine and pharmaceuticals available at extremely low prices, but much of the merchandise has made its way to the black market, or over the border to Colombia, depriving Venezuelans of supplies and ruining Colombian producers. The government recently abandoned some of the heavy price subsidies, which resulted initially in higher prices. Over the past few weeks, prices have been coming down as supplies stayed in Venezuela, especially as the government gained greater control over the Colombian border to prevent smuggling.

There has never been a serious discussion of any of this in the US corporate media, much less any discussion of the campaign of lies or the Trump administration warfare. There has been no comparison with conditions in the 1980s and ’90s, when Venezuela’s neoliberal government imposed IMF economic recipes, resulting in a popular rebellion, the bloody 1989 Caracazo, when wholesale government repression took the lives of hundreds (according to the government at the time) or thousands (according to government critics), and martial law took the lives of many more.

Efforts by the right-wing opposition to provoke a similar uprising, and another Caracazo that could justify a foreign “humanitarian intervention,” have failed repeatedly. So the US administration and corporate media simply resort to the most extreme lying about Latin America that has been seen since the Reagan administration wars of the 1980s.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Telling Only Part of the Story of Jihad

By Daniel LAZARE | Consortium News | February 21, 2019

A recent CNN report about U.S. military materiel finding its way into Al Qaeda hands in Yemen might have been a valuable addition to Americans’ knowledge of terrorism.

Entitled “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” the 10-minute segment, broadcast on Feb. 4, featured rising CNN star Nima Elbagir cruising past sand-colored “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” armored vehicles, or MRAPs, lining a Yemeni highway.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” she says. “And this is not under the control of [Saudi-led] coalition forces. This is in the command of militias, which is expressly forbidden by the arms sales agreements with the U.S.”

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she adds. “CNN was told by coalition sources that a deadlier U.S. weapons system, the TOW missile, was airdropped in 2015 by Saudi Arabia to Yemeni fighters, an air drop that was proudly proclaimed across Saudi backed media channels.” The TOWs were dropped into Al Qaeda-controlled territory, according to CNN. But when Elbagir tries to find out more, the local coalition-backed government chases her and her crew out of town.

U.S.-made TOWs in the hands of Al Qaeda? Elbagir is an effective on-screen presence. But this is an old story, which the cable network has long soft-pedaled.

In the early days of the Syrian War, Western media was reluctant to acknowledge that the forces arrayed against the Assad regime included Al Qaeda. In those days, the opposition was widely portrayed as a belated ripple effect of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the region.

However, in April-May 2015, right around the time that the Saudis were air-dropping TOWs into Yemen, they were also supplying the same optically-guided, high-tech missiles to pro-Al Qaeda forces in Syria’s northern Idlib province. Rebel leaders were exultant as they drove back Syrian government troops. TOWs “flipped the balance,” one said, while another declared: “I would put the advances down to one word – TOW.”

CNN reported that story very differently. From rebel-held territory, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh described the missiles as a “possible game-changer … that may finally be wearing down the less popular side of the Shia-Sunni divide.” He conceded it wasn’t all good news: “A major downside for Washington at least, is that the often-victorious rebels, the Nusra Front, are Al Qaeda. But while the winners for now are America’s enemies, the fast-changing ground in Syria may cause to happen what the Obama administration has long sought and preached, and that’s changing the calculus of the Assad regime.”

Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times all reacted the same way, furrowing their brows at the news that Al Qaeda was gaining, but expressing measured relief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was at last on the ropes.

But now that Elbagir is sounding the alarm about TOWs in Yemen, CNN would do well to acknowledge that it has been distinctly more blasé in the past about TOWs in the hands of al Qaeda.

The network appears unwilling to go where Washington’s pro-war foreign-policy establishment doesn’t want it to go. Elbagir shouldn’t be shocked to learn that U.S. allies are consorting with Yemeni terrorists.

U.S. History with Holy Warriors

What CNN producers and correspondents either don’t know or fail to mention is that Washington has a long history of supporting jihad. As Ian Johnson notes in “A Mosque in Munich” (2010), the policy was mentioned by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was eager, according to White House memos, “to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect” in his talks with Muslim leaders about the Cold War Communist menace.” [See “How U.S. Allies Aid Al Qaeda in Syria,” Consortium News, Aug. 4, 2015.]

Britain had been involved with Islamists at least as far back as 1925 when it helped establish the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both the U.S. and Britain worked with Islamists in the 1953 coup in Iran, according to Robert Dreyfus in “Devil’s Game” (2006).

By the 1980s a growing Islamist revolt against a left-leaning, pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan brought U.S. support. In mid-1979, President Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed the Afghan mujahideen — not at first to drive the Soviets out, but to lure them in. Brzezinski intended to deal Moscow a Vietnam-sized blow, as he put it in a 1998 interview.

Meanwhile, a few months after the U.S. armed the mujahideen, the Saudis were deeply shaken when Islamist extremists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca and called for the overthrow of the royal family. While Saudi Arabia has been keen to repress jihadism at home, it has been a major supporter of Sunni extremists in the region, particularly to battle the Shi‘ite regime that came to power in Tehran, also in 1979.

Since then, the U.S. has made use of jihad, either directly or indirectly, with the Gulf oil monarchies or Pakistan’s notoriously pro-Islamist Inter-Services Intelligence agency. U.S. backing for the Afghan mujahideen helped turn Osama bin Laden into a hero for some young Saudis and other Sunnis, while the training camp he established in the Afghan countryside drew jihadists from across the region.

U.S. backing for Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamist government in Bosnia-Herzegovina brought al-Qaeda to the Balkans, while U.S.-Saudi support for Islamist militants in the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000 enabled it to establish a base of operations there.

Downplaying Al Qaeda

Just six years after 9/11, according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the U.S. downplayed the fight against Al Qaeda to rein in Iran  – a policy, Hersh wrote, that had the effect of “bolstering … Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, policy toward Al-Qaeda turned even more curious. In March 2011, she devoted nearly two weeks to persuading Qatar, the UAE and Jordan to join the air war against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, only to stand by and watch as Qatar then poured hundreds of millions of dollars of aid into the hands of Islamist militias that were spreading anarchy from one end of the country to the other.  The Obama administration thought of remonstrating with Qatar, but didn’t in the end.

Much the same happened in Syria where, by early 2012, Clinton was organizing a “Friends of Syria” group that soon began channeling military aid to Islamist forces waging war against Christians, Alawites, secularists and others backing Assad. By August 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the [anti-Assad] insurgency”; that the West, Turkey, and the Gulf states supported it regardless; that the rebels’ goal was to establish “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria,” and that “this is exactly what the supporting powers want in order to isolate the Syrian regime….”

Biden Speaks Out

Two years after that, Vice President Joe Biden declared at Harvard’s Kennedy School:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria… The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” (Quote starts at 53:25.)

The fact that Obama ordered the vice president to apologize to the Saudis, the UAE and Turkey for his comments provided back-handed confirmation that they were true. When TOWs turned up in the hands of pro-Qaeda rebels in Syria the following spring, all a senior administration official would say was: “It’s not something we would refrain from raising with our partners.”

It was obvious that Al Qaeda would be a prime beneficiary of Saudi intervention in Yemen from the start. Tying down the Houthis — “Al Qaeda’s most determined foe,” according to the Times — gave it space to blossom and grow. Where the State Department said it had up to 4,000 members as of 2015, a UN report put its membership at between 6,000 and 7,000 three years later, an increase of 50 to 75 percent or more.

In early 2017, the International Crisis Group found that Al Qaeda was “thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy.”

In Yemen, Al Qaeda “has regularly fought alongside Saudi-led coalition forces in … Aden and other parts of the south, including Taiz, indirectly obtaining weapons from them,” the ICG added. “… In northern Yemen … the [Saudi-led] coalition has engaged in tacit alliances with AQAP fighters, or at least turned a blind eye to them, as long as they have assisted in attacking the common enemy.”

In May 2016, a PBS documentary showed Al Qaeda members fighting side by side with UAE forces near Taiz. (See “The Secret Behind the Yemen War,” Consortium News, May 7, 2016.)

Last August, an Associated Press investigative team found that the Saudi-led coalition had cut secret deals with Al Qaeda fighters, “paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment, and wads of looted cash.” Saudi-backed militias “actively recruit Al Qaeda militants,” the AP team added, “… because they’re considered exceptional fighters” and also supply them with armored trucks.

If it’s not news that U.S. allies are providing pro-Al Qaeda forces with U.S.-made equipment, why is CNN pretending that it is? One reason is that it feels free to criticize the war and all that goes with it now that the growing human catastrophe in Yemen is turning into a major embarrassment for the U.S. Another is that criticizing the U.S. for failing to rein in its allies earns it points with viewers by making it seem tough and independent, even though the opposite is the case.

Then there’s Trump, with whom CNN has been at war since the moment he was elected. Trump’s Dec. 19 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria thus presented the network with a double win because it allowed it to rail against the pullout as “bizarre” and a “win for Moscow” while complaining at the same time about administration policy in Yemen. Trump is at fault, it seems, when he pulls out and when he stays in.

In either instance, CNN gets to ride the high horse as it blasts away at the chief executive that corporate outlets most love to hate. Maybe Elbagir should have given her exposé a different title: “Why arming homicidal maniacs is bad news in one country but OK in another.”

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia shouldn’t go ‘tooth for a tooth’ after Facebook bans Russian-linked media – Lavrov

RT | February 19, 2019

Sergey Lavrov says he is opposed to retaliating against foreign media in Russia after the Facebook ban of Russia-linked pages. Moscow should instead focus on upholding the rights of its journalists abroad.

The recent suspension of four Maffick Media Facebook pages after a CNN report on their links to RT is “definitely another example of pressure against Russian media and against free speech,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told media after a meeting with his Slovak counterpart and current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Miroslav Lajcak.

Lavrov said he had also brought to Lajcak’s attention recent cases of discrimination against Sputnik and RT, including journalists being arbitrarily banned from official events in Spain.

When asked whether Moscow would retaliate against foreign media in Russia, however, Lavrov said he is “firmly against” such measures.

The fact that we still have not done so is not only testimony to our restraint, but also to our strength. We are an open society.

He pointed out that Ukrainian journalists are freely operating in Russia, including those reporting “rather aggressively” on both internal Russian events and Moscow’s relationships with the West.

The authorities responsible for deciding on a response should not employ the “tooth for a tooth” principle, Lavrov said.

“We should focus on maintaining comfortable working conditions for foreign journalists in Russia, while at the same time firmly defending the rights of our journalists abroad,” using the resources of international media rights institutions, the Russian foreign minister said.

During the weekend, CNN reported on the “Russian links” of several Facebook pages hosting political videos with millions of subscribers and over two billion views. Shortly afterwards, Facebook suspended four pages run by Maffick Media, half of which is owned by RT subsidiary Ruptly, and the other by In The Now host Anissa Naouai. No prior warning or explanation had been given for the ban, which Naouai called an act of “blatant censorship.”

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Blocked RT-Linked Facebook Accounts Sign of Geopolitical Confrontation

Sputnik – 18.02.2019

Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Sputnik and RT, said that Facebook’s suspension of accounts operated by Maffick Media over ties to RT was a sign of “open geopolitical confrontation,” where media platforms are being used as “tools.”

“Obviously, things will be getting only worse. Nobody even tries to believe in any freedom or talk about any freedom. This has already become an open geopolitical confrontation, where media platforms… serve as tools,” Simonyan said.

The editor-in-chief of RT pointed out that Facebook had no complaints about the videos on the suspended pages or their content in general.

“However, since CNN contacted [Facebook] and asked ‘how could you allow these Russians to communicate with our population,’ Facebook removed this account,” Simonyan said.

According to the RT editor-in-chief, CNN acted as “the right hand… of the State Department, NATO and everything linked to that.”

CNN admitted it had been tipped off about Maffick Media’s funding by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an advocacy group that is part of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) policy research centre. The fund considered an “undesirable organization” under the Russian law, receives some of its funding from the US and German governments, NATO and other organizations. According to CNN, the ASD does not receive financing from the GMF and is supported through private funds and grants, rather than by governments.

Facebook said it would ask the three suspended accounts — Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed — to submit information on their affiliations.

“People connecting with Pages shouldn’t be misled about who’s behind them. Just as we’ve stepped up our enforcement of coordinated inauthentic behaviour and financially motivated spam over the past year, we’ll continue improving so people can get more information about the Pages they follow,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, as quoted by RT.

Moscow considers the blocking of Facebook pages related to RT unacceptable, adding that these authoritarian actions violate the principles of freedom of expression. Moreover, Russia is waiting for a response from “OSCE structures” to these actions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

However, the social network has not, until now, required accounts to disclose information about their parent companies. Maffick remarked in its statement that plenty of media outlets supported in part by governments do not post information about their funding on their Facebook pages.

Last week Facebook suspended pages of projects run by Maffick Media, an independent journalistic group that is partly owned by the Ruptly video agency, which is a subsidiary of RT. Facebook did not give Maffick Media any prior warning. According to Maffick’s statement, the social network was “pressured” into doing this by CNN, which ran a story on Maffick Media and its perceived ties to the Kremlin.

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

US Top General Takes to CNN to Dispute Syria Withdrawal

Sputnik – 15.02.2019

US General Joseph L. Votel, who has presided over stagnant results in America’s wars since being named commander of US Central Command last year, recently publicly disagreed with US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops from Syria.

“It would not have been my military advice at that particular time,” Votel told CNN of the plan to withdraw troops. Of course, the advice of US generals has brought the country 18 years of war with nothing to show for it except the Pentagon’s expanded budget. The United States now spends about 40 percent more on the military per year than it did during the height of the Iraq War in 2005.

“I would not have made that suggestion, frankly,” said Votel, referring to the decision to bring the troops back home to the US — a process that’s evidently ongoing and also a source of mystery. Exits are notoriously dangerous military maneuvers, so the US has kept quiet on the precise number of forces it has maintained across Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some analysts have suggested that the military’s consistent refusal over the years to be transparent about troop numbers in the above-mentioned countries has backfired, leaving them with little evidence for their assertions that Trump is killing a critical mission.

The US Constitution, of course, leaves final military decisions up to the president and not the generals, who are subordinate to the office.

Trump has advocated withdrawing US personnel from costly foreign military engagements that lack clear objectives, but his administration has waffled on putting those desires into motion for about two years, variously saying Daesh has been defeated, calling out the need to prevent a Daesh resurgence and combat Iran and plainly admitting that there is nothing in Syria for the US military except “sand and death.”

On Friday, Votel was back on the Pentagon’s message that Daesh is not actually defeated, even though the terrorists’ land holdings have been reduced from the size of Britain to less than a square mile. Daesh “still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network,” said Votel to CNN, as reported by The Hill.

In any event, achieving the top post in US Central Command (CENTCOM) is often seen as a boon for the careers of military officers. Former CENTCOM chiefs include retired generals David Petraeus and James Mattis, who would go on to become the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and US Secretary of Defense, respectively, after their stints as CENTCOM commanders.

Former UK Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford tells Sputnik not to read too much into Votel’s comments but instead to observe the “continuing efforts of the media and political establishment to undermine Trump,” who has expressed far more anti-interventionist sentiments than his predecessor both during his campaign and while in office.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments