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France’s Role in Africa

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | May 17, 2018

Fake news, propaganda, public relations, advertising — it goes by many names, but at the core of all these terms is the idea that powerful institutions, primarily governments and corporations, strive to manipulate our understanding of world affairs. The most effective such shaping of opinion is invisible and therefore unquestioned.

Left criticism of French imperialism in Africa provides a stark example. Incredibly, the primary contemporary criticism North American leftists make of French imperialism on that continent concerns a country it never colonized. What’s more, Paris is condemned for siding with a government led by the lower caste majority.

To the extent that North American progressives criticize ‘Françafrique’ they mostly emphasize Paris’ support for the Hutu-led Rwandan government after Uganda/Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded in 1990. Echoing the Paul Kagame dictatorship’s simplistic narrative, France is accused of backing Rwandan genocidaires. In a recent article for thevolcano.org, a leftist outlet based on unceded Coast Salish Territories, Lama Mugabo claims, “the organizations that organized this anger into genocide, and the instruments of murder that they wielded, were outfitted by French colonial power.” In Dark Threats and White Nights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism Sherene H. Razack writes that “French peacekeepers made a number of decisions that prolonged and exacerbated the conflict.” The “post-colonial” Canadian academic also decries “French support for him [Hutu President “Hanyarimana” — her (repeated) misspelling] scuttled any fledging peace efforts.”

In taking up Kigali/Washington/London’s effort to blame France for the mass killings in Rwanda (rather than the Uganda/RPF aggressors and their Anglo-American backers), Razack and others even imply that Paris colonized the country. But, Germany conquered Rwanda and Belgium was given control of the small East African nation at the end of World War I. The nearest former French colony — Central African Republic — is over 1,000 km away.

What Razack, Mugabo and other leftists ignore, or don’t know, is that Washington and London backed the 1990 Uganda/RPF invasion. Officially, a large number of Rwandan exiles “deserted” the Ugandan military to invade (including a former deputy defence minister and head of military intelligence). In reality, the invasion was an act of aggression by the much larger neighbour. Over the next three and a half years Kampala supplied the RPF with weaponry and a safe haven.

Throughout this period Washington provided the Ugandan government with financial, diplomatic and arms support (Ottawa cut millions in aid to Rwanda, prodded Habyarimana to negotiate with the RPF and criticized his human rights record while largely ignoring the Uganda/RPF aggression). Washington viewed the pro-neoliberal government in Kampala and the RPF as a way, after the Cold War, to weaken Paris’ position in a Belgium colonized region, which includes trillions of dollars in mineral riches in eastern Congo.

Echoing Kigali/Washington/London/Ottawa, many leftists have taken up criticism of Paris’ policy towards a country France never colonized and where it sided with a government from the lower caste (over 85% of the population, Hutus were historically a subservient peasant class and the Tutsi a cattle owning, feudal ruling class). Concurrently, leftists have largely ignored or failed to unearth more clear-cut French crimes on the continent, which Washington and Ottawa either backed or looked the other way.

In 1947–48 the French brutally suppressed anticolonial protests in Madagascar. Tens of thousands were also killed in Cameroon during the 1950s-60s independence war. Paris’ bid to maintain control over Algeria stands out as one of the most brutal episodes of the colonial era. With over one million settlers in the country, French forces killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians.

To pre-empt nascent nationalist sentiment, Paris offered each of its West African colonies a referendum on staying part of a new “French community”. When Guinea voted for independence in 1958, France withdrew abruptly, broke political and economic ties, and destroyed vital infrastructure. “What could not be burned,” noted Robert Legvold, “was dumped into the ocean.”

France hasn’t relinquished its monetary imperialism. Through its “Pacte Coloniale” independence agreement, Paris maintained control of 14 former colonies’ monetary and exchange rate policy. Imposed by Paris, the CFA franc is an important barrier to transforming the former colonies’ primary commodity based economies. As part of the accord, most CFA franc countries’ foreign exchange reserves have been deposited in the French treasury (now European Central Bank), which has generated large sums for Paris.

Alongside its monetary imperialism, France has ousted or killed a number of independent-minded African leaders. After creating a national currency and refusing to compensate Paris for infrastructure built during the colonial period, the first president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio, was overthrown and killed by former French Foreign Legion troops. Foreign legionaries also ousted leaders in the Central African Republic, Benin, Mali, etc. Paris aided in the 1987 assassination of famed socialist Burkina Faso leader Thomas Sankara.

While undermining independence-minded leaders, Paris has backed corrupt, pro-corporate, dictatorships such as four-decades long Togolese and Gabonese rulers Gnassingbé Eyadema and Ali Bongo Ondimba (their sons took over).

France retains military bases or troops in Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Mali, Chad and Niger. French troops are also currently fighting in Mali and Niger.

Compared to Paris’ role in Rwanda, French influence/violence in its former colonies gets short shrift from North American leftists. Part of the reason is that Washington and Ottawa largely supported French policy in its former colonies (Ottawa has plowed nearly $1 billion into Mali since the 2013 French invasion and gave Paris bullets and other arms as 400,000 French troops suppressed the Algerian independence struggle). Additionally, criticizing France’s role in Rwanda dovetails with the interests of Kigali, Washington, London and Ottawa.

The North American left’s discussion of France’s role in Africa demonstrates the influence of powerful institutions, especially the ones closest to us, in shaping our understanding of the world. We largely ignore what they want us to ignore and see what they want us to see.

To build a movement for justice and equality for everyone on this planet, we must start by questioning everything governments, corporations and other powerful institutions tell us.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation .

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Ignoring the Astana Talks, the US Is Increasing Its Military Presence in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Province

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.05.2018

President Trump’s announcement that he intends to order the US military out of Syria attracted a lot of public attention, unlike the war preparations that preceded and followed those statements.

Three months ago, the American military established an outpost in Manbij, in the wake of Turkey’s threats to seize control of the area. The US has some 300 soldiers based at two facilities there. In March, US Marines beefed up the military presence at the Al-Tanf base in southern Syria that is located just a few miles from the Jordanian border. The American military has established a 55-km. no-go zone around that facility.

On May 15, US personnel were reported to be setting up a new base in Badiyeh al-Sha’afa in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province. It’s hard to believe that this move is justified by the need to confront the Islamic State — that once-powerful enemy now on the brink of extinction. One does not need new bases to finish it off. The Syrian army is well versed in how to do that.

Last month US forces were also reported to be building a new outpost at the al-Omar oil field in southeastern Deir ez-Zor. They were deployed to positions around the Conoco and al-Jafreh oil fields. On April 7, the area around the oil fields in Deir ez-Zor was declared a military zone by the US-led SDF. That group has already clashed with Syrian forces in the fight to control the province.

The SDF is constantly reinforcing its positions in Deir ez-Zor as part of its ongoing Operation Al-Jazeera Storm, which was launched on May 1. It recently seized al-Baghuz and is pushing the remaining ISIS forces out of the pocket of Hajin and al-Dashisha along the border with Iraq. These operations are coordinated with the Iraqi air force. The SDF Arab-Kurdish forces have liberated about 65 square kilometers from Daesh. Making short work of whatever is left of the Islamic State is certainly a good thing, but Syrian troops will not be allowed in. The territory will become part of a quasi-state created to become a separate entity.

Despite its recent claims to the contrary, the US is hunkering down in Syria for the long haul. The US, Saudi Arabia, and France have already discussed the possibility of joint actions against Iran. The administration is pressing its Arab allies to do more. French forces are already operating in Deir ez-Zor together with the SDF.

The US buildup in northeastern Syria is important for cutting off any direct land route from Tehran across to the Mediterranean.

It is symbolic that the United States was not present at the Astana round of talks on May 14-15. It shows that Washington is no longer interested in de-escalation zones. It wants a divided Syria, with a new, pro-US entity on the map of the Middle East. It is creating local governing bodies that operate independently from Damascus, with enough money flowing in to keep them functional. And it would like to see other parts of Syria plunge into an all-against-all war. Instead of nation-building, Washington is engaged in nation-destruction. That’s why it continues to train rebel forces at Al-Tanf. The militants are not undergoing special exercises to hone their skills for peacekeeping operations, but rather for subversive activities.

Syria’s territorial integrity is guaranteed by UN Resolution 2254 — a binding document that the US, along with France, is in flagrant violation of.

But what if the US achieves in Syria what it wanted to do in Iraq — create a prosperous, pro-Western “democratic” state that can become a shining example for other Arab states to follow? The Iraqis have failed to grasp this “opportunity.” On May 15, they proved that once again by voting for Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Saraya al-Salam, who fought against the US-imposed “liberation.”

The UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Washington’s decision to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem shows how badly the US needs a success to rescue its waning clout in the region. Becoming the leader of the anti-Iranian coalition is how they’ve decided to do that and the location for that is Syria. The creation of a pro-Western entity in northeastern Syria will weaken Iran’s influence in Iraq and keep Russia contained.

But things could go the other way around. What if the Kurdish-dominated forces plunge into clashes with the local Arab population and the problems of inefficient local governance mount, while the Astana process makes progress thanks to the cease-fire and restoration of peaceful life in the de-escalation zones? A Kurdish-dominated entity, even if it is pro-US, is not something that Turkey may like or accept. Will the partition of Syria boost US standing in the region? Other Arab nations will think twice about letting America play a role in the management of any conflict. There are more questions than answers, but we have what we have — the US military presence in Syria is ballooning, hampering peace efforts and provoking armed conflicts.

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Chemical attack accusations ‘fake’: Assad interview

ALEXIS PAPACHELAS | Kathimerini | May 10, 2018

In an exclusive interview with Kathimerini, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons against civilians, while taking aim at both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.

Saying that Syria gave up its chemical arsenal in 2013, Assad said the

“Western narrative started after the victory of the Syrian Army, not before.”

He accused Erdogan of being “affiliated” with the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement and called Turkish troops “terrorists” over their intervention in Afrin.

As for Trump, who has called Assad an “animal,” the Syrian leader said it did not bother him “because I deal with the situation as a politician, as a president.”

Alexis Papachelas: There have been accusations from the US and the Europeans about the use of chemical weapons, and there was an attack after that. What is your response to that? Was there a chemical attack? Were you responsible for it?

President Bashar al-Assad: First of all, we don’t have a chemical arsenal since we gave it up in 2013, and the international agency for chemical weapons conducted investigations about this, and it’s clear or documented that we don’t have any. Second, even if we did have, we wouldn’t use them, for many different reasons. But let’s put these two points aside, let’s presume that this army has chemical weapons and it’s in the middle of the war; where should it be used? At the end of the battle? They should use it somewhere in the middle, or where the terrorists made an advancement, not where the army finished the battle and the terrorists gave up and said, “We are ready to leave the area,” and the army is fully in control of that area. So the Western narrative started after the victory of the Syrian Army, not before. When we finished the war, they said, “They used chemical weapons.”

Second, the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in a crammed area with a population like Douma – the supposed area, it’s called Douma and they talk about 45 victims – when you use WMD in such an area, you should have hundreds or maybe thousands of victims. Third, why do all the chemical weapons – the presumed or supposed chemical weapons – only kill children and women? They don’t kill militants. If you look at the videos, it’s completely fake. I mean, when you have chemical weapons, how could the doctors and nurses be safe, dealing with the chemical atmosphere without any protective clothes, without anything, just throwing water at the victims, and the victims become OK just because you washed them with water. So, it’s a farce, it’s a play, it’s a very primitive play, just to attack the Syrian Army, because… Why? That’s the most important part: When the terrorists lost, the US, France, the UK and their other allies who want to destabilize Syria lost one of their main cards, and that’s why they had to attack the Syrian Army, just to raise the morale of the terrorists and to prevent the Syrian Army from liberating more areas in Syria.

AP: Are you saying that there was a chemical attack and someone else is responsible, or that there was nothing there?

PBA: That’s the question, because the side who said – allegedly – that there was a chemical attack, had to prove that there was an attack. We have two scenarios: Either the terrorists had chemical weapons and they used them intentionally, or maybe there were explosions or something, or there was no attack at all, because in all the investigations in Douma, people said, “We didn’t have any chemical attack, we didn’t see any chemical gas or smell any,” and so on. So, we don’t have any indications about what happened. The Western narrative is about that, so that question should be directed at the Western officials who said there was an attack. We should ask them: Where is your concrete evidence about what happened? They only talk about reports. Reports could be allegations. Videos by the White Helmets – the White Helmets are funded by the British Foreign Office – and so on.

AP: In a tweet, US President Donald Trump described you as “animal Assad.” What is your response?

PBA: Actually, when you are president of a country, you have first of all to represent the morals of your people before representing your own morals. You are representing your country. Does this language represent the American culture? That is the question. This is very bad, and I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a community in the world that has such language. Second, the good thing about Trump is that he expresses himself in a very transparent way, which is very good in that regard. Personally, I don’t care, because I deal with the situation as a politician, as a president. It doesn’t matter for me personally; what matters is whether something would affect me, would affect my country, our war, the terrorists, and the atmosphere that we are living in.

AP: He said “mission accomplished in Syria.” How do you feel about that?

PBA: I think maybe the only mission accomplished was when they helped ISIS escape from Raqqa, when they helped them, and it was proven by video, and under their cover. The leaders of ISIS escaped Raqqa, going toward Deir ez-Zor just to fight the Syrian Army. The other mission accomplished was when they attacked the Syrian Army at the end of 2016 in the area of Deir ez-Zor when ISIS was surrounding Deir ez-Zor, and the only force was the Syrian Army. The only force to defend that city from ISIS was the Syrian Army, and because of the Americans’ – and of course their allies’ – attack, Deir ez-Zor was on the brink of falling into the hands of ISIS. So, this is the only mission that was accomplished. If he’s talking about destroying Syria, of course that’s another mission accomplished. While if you talk about fighting terrorism, we all know very clearly that the only mission the United States has been carrying out in Syria is supporting the terrorists, regardless of their names, or the names of their factions.

AP: He also used such language with the North Korean leader, and now they’re going to meet. Could you potentially see yourself meeting with Trump? What would you tell him if you saw him face to face?

PBA: The first question you should ask is: What can you achieve? The other: What can we achieve with someone who says something before the campaign, and does the opposite after the campaign, who says something today, and does the opposite tomorrow, or maybe in the same day? So, it’s about consistency. Do they have the same frequency every day, or the same algorithm? So, I don’t think that in the meantime we can achieve anything with such an administration. A further reason is that we don’t think the president of that regime is in control. We all believe that the deep state, the real state, is in control, or is in control of every president, and that is nothing new. It has always been so in the United States, at least during the last 40 years, at least since Nixon, maybe before, but it’s becoming starker and starker, and the starkest case is Trump.

AP: When will you accomplish your mission, given the situation here in Syria now?

PBA: I have always said, without any interference, it will take less than a year to regain stability in Syria; I have no doubt about that. The other factor is how much support the terrorists receive, which is something I cannot tell you, because I cannot predict the future. But as long as it continues, time is not the main factor. The main factor is that someday, we’re going to end this conflict and we’re going to reunify Syria under the control of the government. When? I cannot say. I hope it’s going to be soon.

AP: There has been some criticism lately, because you apparently have a law that says that anybody who doesn’t claim their property within a month cannot come back. Is that a way to exclude some of the people who disagree with you?

PBA: No, we cannot dispossess anyone of their property by any law, because the constitution is very clear about the ownership of any Syrian citizen. This could be about the procedure. It’s not the first time we have had such a law just to replan the destroyed and the illegal areas, because you’re dealing with a mixture of destroyed and illegal suburbs in different parts of Syria. So, this law is not about dispossessing anyone. You cannot, I mean even if he’s a terrorist. Let’s say, if you want to dispossess someone, you need a verdict by the judicial system – you cannot make it happen by law. So, there’s either misinterpretation of that law, or an intention, let’s say, to create a new narrative about the Syrian government in order to rekindle the fire of public opinion in the West against the Syrian government. But about the law, even if you want a procedure, it’s about the local administration, it’s about the elected body in different areas, to implement that law, not the government.

AP: It is clear that your biggest allies in this fight are Russia and Iran. Are you worried they might play too important a role in the future of the country after this war is over?

PBA: If you talk about my allies as a president, they are the Syrian people. If you talk about Syria’s allies, of course they’re the Iranians and the Russians. They are our strongest allies, and of course China that supported us politically in the Security Council. As for them playing an important role in the future of the country, these countries respect Syria’s sovereignty and national decision making and provide support to insure them. Iran and Russia are the countries which respect Syria’s sovereignty the most.

AP: It’s been a few years since you visited Greece. Your father had a very close relation with some of the Greek political leaders. How have the relations been between Greece and Syria these days, and what kind of message would you like to send to the Greek people?

PBA: At the moment, there are no formal relations between Syria and Greece; the embassies are closed, so there are no relations. At the same time, Greece wasn’t aggressive towards what happened in Syria. It always supported a political solution, it never supported war or attacks against Syria. You didn’t play any role to support the terrorists, but at the same time, as a member – and an important member – of the EU, you couldn’t play any role, let’s say, in refraining the other countries from supporting the terrorists, violating the international law by attacking and besieging a sovereign country without any reason, without any mandate by the Security Council. So, we appreciate that Greece wasn’t aggressive, but at the same time, I think Greece has to play that role, because it’s part of our region. It is part of the EU geographically, but it’s a bridge between our region and the rest of Europe, and it’s going to be affected, and it has been affected by the refugee situation, and terrorism now has been affecting Europe for the last few years, and Greece is part of that continent. So, I think it’s normal for Greece to start to play its role in the EU in order to solve the problem in Syria and protect the international law.

AP: How about Turkey? Turkey invaded part of your country. You used to have a pretty good relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. How is that relationship now after the Turkish invasion?

PBA: First of all, this is an aggression, this is an occupation. Any single Turkish soldier on Syrian soil represents occupation. That doesn’t mean the Turkish people are our enemies. Only a few days ago, a political delegation visited from Turkey. We have to distinguish between the Turks in general and Erdogan. Erdogan is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Maybe he’s not organized, but his affiliation is toward that ideology, I call it this dark ideology. And for him, because, like the West, when the terrorists lost control of different areas, and actually they couldn’t implement the agenda of Turkey or the West or Qatar or Saudi Arabia, somebody had to interfere. This is where the West interfered through the recent attacks on Syria, and this is where Erdogan was assigned by the West, mainly the United States, to interfere, to make the situation complicated, again because without this interference, the situation would have been resolved much faster. So, it’s not about personal relations. The core issue of the Muslim Brotherhood anywhere in the world is to use Islam in order to take control of the government in your country, and to create multiple governments with this kind of relationship, like a network of Muslim Brotherhoods, around the world.

AP: At an election campaign rally this week, he said that he’s going to order another incursion into Syria. How are you going to respond to that if it happens?

PBA: Actually, Erdogan has supported the terrorists since the very beginning of the war, but at that time, he could hide behind words like “protecting the Syrian people,” “supporting the Syrian people,” “supporting the refugees,” “we are against the killing,” and so on. He was able to appear as a humanitarian president, let’s say. Now, because of these circumstances, he has to take off the mask and show himself as the aggressor, and this is the good thing. So, there is no big difference between the head of the Turkish regime sending his troops to Syria and supporting the terrorists; this is his proxy. So, we’ve been fighting his army for seven years. The difference between now and then is the appearance; the core is the same. At that time, we couldn’t talk about occupation – we could talk about supporting terrorists – but this time we can talk about occupation, which is the announcement of Erdogan that he’s now violating the international law, and this could be the good part of him announcing this.

AP: But how can you respond to that?

PBA: First of all, we are fighting the terrorists, and as I said, the terrorists for us are his army, they are the American army, the Saudi army. Forget about the different factions and who is going to finance those factions; at the end of the day, they work for one agenda, and those different players obey one master: the American master. Erdogan is not implementing his own agenda; he’s only implementing the American agenda, and the same goes for the other countries in this war. So, first of all, you have to fight the terrorists. Second, when you take control of more areas, you have to fight any aggressor, any army. The Turkish, French, whoever, they are all enemies; as long as they came to Syria illegally, they are our enemies.

AP: Are you worried about a third world war starting here in Syria? I mean, you have the Israelis hitting the Iranians here in your own country. You have the Russians, you have the Americans. Are you concerned about that possibility?

PBA: No, for one reason: Because fortunately, you have a wise leadership in Russia, and they know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict. Since Trump’s campaign, the main agenda was against Russia, create a conflict with Russia, humiliate Russia, undermine Russia, and so on. And we’re still in the same process under different titles or by different means. Because of the wisdom of the Russians, we can avoid this. Maybe it’s not a full-blown third world war, but it is a world war, maybe in a different way, not like the second and the first, maybe it’s not nuclear, but it’s definitely not a cold war; it’s something more than a cold war, less than a full-blown war. And I hope we don’t see any direct conflict between these superpowers, because that is where things are going to get out of control for the rest of the world.

AP: Now, there’s a very important question about whether Syria can be a unified, fully sovereign country again. Is that really possible after all that has happened?

PBA: It depends on what the criteria of being unified or not is. The main factor to have a unified country is to have unification in the minds of the people, and vice versa. When those people look at each other as foreigners, they cannot live with each other, and that is where you’re going to have division. Now, let’s talk about facts and reality – not my opinion, I can tell you no, it’s not going to be divided, and of course we’re not going to accept that, but it’s not about my will or about my rhetoric, to say we’re going to be unified; it’s about the reality.

The reality, now, if you look at Syria during the crisis, not only today, since the very beginning, you see all the different spectrums of the Syrian society living with each other, and better than before. These relationships are better than before, maybe because of the effect of the war. If you look at the areas under the control of the terrorists, this is where you can see one color of the Syrian society, which is a very, very, very narrow color. If you want to talk about division, you have to see the line, the separation line between either ethnicities or sects or religions, something you don’t see. So, in reality, there’s no division till this moment; you only have areas under the control of the terrorists. But what led to that speculation? Because the United States is doing its utmost to give that control, especially now in the eastern part of Syria, to those terrorists in order to give the impression that Syria cannot be unified again. But it’s going to be unified; I don’t have any doubt about that.

AP: But why would the US do that if you’re fighting the same enemy: Islamic terrorism?

PBA: Because the US usually has an agenda and it has goals. If it cannot achieve its goals, it resorts to something different, which is to create chaos. Create chaos until the whole atmosphere changes, maybe because the different parties will give up, and they will give in to their goals, and this is where they can implement their goals again, or maybe they change their goals, but if they cannot achieve it, it’s better to weaken every party and create conflict, and this is not unique to Syria. This has been their policy for decades now in every area of this world.

AP: Looking back, do you feel you’ve made any mistakes in dealing with this crisis and the civil war, when it started?

PBA: If I don’t make mistakes, I’m not human; maybe on a daily basis sometimes. The more you work, the more complicate the situation, the more mistakes you are likely to make. But how do you protect yourself as much as possible from committing mistakes? First of all, you consult the largest proportion of the people, not only the institutions, including the parliament, syndicates, and so on, but also the largest number of people, or the largest part of society, to participate in every decision.

While if you talk about the way I behaved toward, or the way I led, let’s say, the government or the state during the war, the main pillars of the state’s policy were to fight terrorism – and I don’t think that fighting terrorism was wrong, to respond to the political initiatives from different parties externally and internally regardless of their intentions, to make a dialogue with everyone – including the militants, and finally to make reconciliation. So, about the pillars of our policy, I think the reality has proven that we were right. As for the details, of course, you always have mistakes.

AP: How much is it going to cost to reconstruct this country, and who is going to pay for that?

PBA: Hundreds of billions, the minimum is 200 billion, and according to some estimates it’s about 400 billion dollars. Why is it not precise? Because some areas are still under the control of the terrorists, so we couldn’t estimate precisely what the figure is. So, this is plus or minus, let’s say.

AP: There has been a lot of speculation. For example, people say in order for a political solution to be viable, you might have to sacrifice yourself for the good of the country. Is that something that has crossed your mind?

PBA: The main part of my future, as a politician, is two things: my will and the will of the Syrian people. Of course, the will of the Syrian people is more important than my will, my desire to be in that position or to help my country or to play a political role, because if I have that desire and will and I don’t have the public support, I can do nothing. After seven years of me being in that position, if I don’t have the majority of the Syrian people’s support, how could I hold it for more than seven years now, with all this animosity from the strongest and the richest countries? Who supports me? If the Syrian people are against me, how can I stay? So, when I feel that the Syrian people do not want me to stay anymore, of course I have to leave without any hesitation.

AP: A lot of blood has been spilt. Can you see yourself sitting across from the opposition and sharing power in some way?

PBA: When you talk about blood, you have to talk about who spilt that blood. I was president before the war for 10 years. Had I been killing the Syrian people for 10 years? No, definitely not. So, the conflict started because somebody, first of all part of the West, supported those terrorists, and they bear the responsibility for this war. So first of all the West, who provided military and financial support and political cover, and who stood against the Syrian people, who impoverished the Syrian people and created a better atmosphere for the terrorists to kill more Syrian people. So, part of the West, mainly France, UK, and US, and also Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey are responsible for this part. Of course blood has been spilt – it’s a war – but who’s responsible? Those who are responsible should be held accountable.

May 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Murderous Strikes on Syria (via “Pacified” Lebanon)

By Andre Vltchek | New Eastern Outlook | May 1, 2018

On April 9, 2018 at least 14 people were killed during the murderous strike by the Israeli air force on the Syrian T-4 airfield at Homs.

Israeli F-15 fighter jets flew over Lebanese airspace, as they have done on many previous occasions, in total disregard of international law.

Both Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war, and the latest action could easily be considered as yet another shameless provocation. Apparently, whatever terror Western allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel decide to spread throughout the region, their actions will always go unpunished.

To add insult to injury, instead of condemning Israel, the Western mass media outlets began their predictable and embarrassing servile howling against the government in Damascus, some ‘correspondents’ even calling President al-Assad an “animal” (The Sun, 9th April, 2018).

This time, Lebanon, which in the past suffered from several brutal Israeli invasions, and where Israel is commonly referred to as ‘Palestine’, decided not to protest too loudly against the violation of its airspace. There were some statements made by individual Lebanese politicians, as well as a statement by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which objected to the attack against Syria, claiming that Lebanon will file a complaint to the UNSC. Most of the statements, however, appeared only in the Arabic language. There was definitely no robust national response, as one would have expected.

Ms. Zeinab Al-Saffar, an Iraqi educator and television anchor based in Beirut, Lebanon, shared her thoughts on the subject:

It is not the first time that this is happening.  Israeli forces have been violating the airspace of Lebanon, as well as the land and sea belonging to Lebanon. Violation of the territory of Lebanon [by Israel] became something ‘regular’. What happened recently is a flagrant intrusion which should not go unanswered, as they were using Lebanese air space in order to attack the Syrian land. I believe this is the right time for the U.N. to do something more than just to make the reports and write numbers. This is an extremely serious situation; to use the territory of a neighboring country in order to attack a third nation; it is a barefaced crime.

*****

Why do Lebanon’s protests not resonate louder?

There are several reasons. One: the country recently ‘secured’ an enormous package of mostly loans from the West, at a ‘Paris conference’, amounting to more than 11 billion dollars.

Two: A great percentage of the ‘elites’ of Lebanon is accustomed to taking orders from the West. The West is where their villas are, where their relatives live, and their permanent residency cards issued.

A much greater war may be nearing; both the U.S. and Europe are now attacking Syria directly. In this decisive time, the Lebanese rulers are opportunistically showing where their allegiances lie: not with the people of the devastated Middle East, but with Paris, London, Riyadh and Washington.

But back to the first point – to money. As reported by Reuters on April 6, 2018:

“The pledges include $10.2 billion in loans and $860 million in grants, France’s ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher said on Twitter…”

Donors in turn want to see Lebanon commit to long-stalled reforms. In a nod to those demands, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri pledged to reduce the deficit of the budget as a percentage of GDP by 5 percent in the coming five years.

Macron told Hariri in a news conference the aid aimed to give Lebanon a fresh start, adding that it put “an unprecedented responsibility” on authorities there to carry out reforms and preserve peace in the country.

“It is important to continue reforms in the coming months,” Macron said, adding: “We’ll be by your side.” …

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the conference: “… Lebanon needs major reforms of its economy, structural and sectoral.””

‘Structural reforms’ is a key term. This shameful package of loans which will further tie the hands of Lebanon could insure the complacency of the country: both economic and political obedience at the time when the West is ready to unleash a new wave of its military onslaught in the region.

There is hardly any transparency in Lebanon, and therefore almost no guarantee that the loans will be used to improve the standard of living of the suffering population. Corruption in Lebanon is endemic – it is institutionalized – to the point that it is often not even called ‘corruption’ anymore.

Social services are almost non-existent. Here, the contrasts are truly appalling. Ferraris and Lamborghinis, as well as outrageously expensive sailing boats, co-exist side-by-side with absolute misery and lack of social services, such as, at least periodically, garbage collection.

Hezbollah, a movement which is on the so-called terrorist list of many Western countries, is often the only reliable source of social services in the country.

The West will now demand more and more neo-liberal ‘reforms’. Almost nothing social will be built. Funds will disappear into the deep pockets of the shameless Lebanese ‘elites’ and ‘leaders’. It will be the poor, who will be expected to service the loans, as the rich in Lebanon hardly pay taxes.

In exchange for their booty, many Lebanese politicians will be further obliged to follow the Western line towards the region, including the neo-liberal and increasingly neo-colonialist policy of Washington and France (Lebanon’s former colonial master) towards Syria and the rest of the region.

******

And across the border line, the war is still raging. Washington and London fulfilled their shameful promises to perform ‘punitive actions’; to ‘chastise Syria’ for something that was clearly invented/manufactured just in order to justify an invasion, destabilization and in the end, the destruction, of this small but strong and proud nation.

A Syrian intellectual, who lives in both Beirut and Damascus, offered his analyses for this article. However, he requested not to be identified by his name, afraid of repercussions from both Lebanon and the West:

The Israeli attack comes at a time when the Syrian army is winning its fight against terrorist groups in Damascus suburbs, and it could be read as an indirect answer to these wins. It is also a dangerous move since the T4 airbase is heavily involved in the fight against the remaining of ISIS in Syria. This attack is unacceptable aggression against a sovereign nation and it is a violation of international laws. It also shows that Israel is helping directly and indirectly various terrorists groups operating on the Syrian territory.

*****

However, the commentaries that are being spread by the Western mainstream press are increasingly defying all logic. They are progressively turning out to be racist, supremacist. Well, actually now they are what they have always been earlier, throughout the centuries of European and then North American colonialism.

In Damascus, shelling a park right next to the Four Seasons Hotel, the UN accommodation from East Ghouta

Just read The Guardian article from April 9th, 2018- “Israel has launched countless strikes in Syria. What’s new is Russia’s response”:

Israel has launched many previous strikes into Syria, mainly to protect its borders from a buildup of Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces and armaments on the Golan Heights. Israel, has not, as a rule, attacked al-Qaida or Islamic State positions in Syria.

On all previous occasions, Russia – which has controlled Syrian air space since it sent troops to defend the regime of Bashar al-Assad in 2015 – has turned a blind eye. There had been an understanding that Israeli interests in Syria would be preserved by Russia, primarily by limiting the presence of Iranian-backed troops in Syria’s south-west. The Israeli fear is that access to the Syrian side of the Golan Heights allows Hezbollah to launch attacks into Israel.

At least The Guardian does not pretend that it believes in the Western fabrications that President Assad is poisoning his own people…

But the article is clearly trying to justify and find logic behind the Israeli terrorist attacks against the independent nation.

‘Poor Israel – it is worried about ‘Hezbollah forces and armaments on the Golan Heights.’

Spy-surveillance base on the hill overlooking Syria

But the Golan Heights is by international law an inseparable part of Syria. I repeat: by all international norms! Including, the United Nations Security Council UN Resolution 497. Golan Heights had been attacked, occupied and forcefully (and it looks like indefinitely) annexed by Israel, during the so-called ‘Six-Day War’ in 1981.

I visited the Golan Heights. I worked there, for several days, clandestinely, some 5 days ago. What I encountered there was true horror: ancient villages were totally destroyed, most of the original population deported from their land, Israeli-paid spies and provocateurs approaching and scrutinizing random visitors. All around – scattered rich Israeli agricultural enterprises protected by barbed wire and tall concrete walls. It all felt like working in Angola or Namibia, during the South African apartheid, or perhaps even worse; divided communities, stolen land, electric wire, and omnipresent fear and oppression.

Horrid border at Majdal al-Shams

But it is Israel which now has the right to ‘worry’ and to murder people in the name of its ‘security’. That is precisely what the tone of the Western mainstream periodicals clearly suggests.

Israel had stolen more than a thousand kilometers square of the Syrian territory in 1981, and now it is mercilessly bombing its victim; from Lebanese territory, in order to assure its ‘safety and security’. It is doing so from the territory of Lebanon, a country which was invaded by the Israeli military, on several occasions.

And the West is cheering.

*****

Of course, Israel is acting with total impunity, because it enjoys both the support and encouragement from its allies: The United States, the U.K. and Macron’s France.

Lebanon is panicking. Its’ ‘elites’ are trying to both survive, and not to anger the West.

Syrians have, it often appears, nerves of steel.

They worry but are determined not to give one single inch of their land to the invaders.

My friend in Damascus wrote to me, just a few hours before I submitted this report:

People are worried and they constantly follow up the news. My brother asked us to go to Safita for one month, as it is safer there. I’m not sure if we do it, but we are closely monitoring the situation.

My colleagues and comrades on the ground in Syria are angry, very angry. They can clearly see through the lies, which are being spread by the West.

Israel is repeatedly bombing heroic Syria.

On April 29, 2018, the Israeli attacks killed 26 Syrians and Iranians, just before Midnight, near Hama and Aleppo.

The U.S. and Europe are bombing and threatening to cause even more damage.

But this is 2018, not those dark years when the West could murder and rape without any consequences. If these attacks continue, there will be a counterpunch: fully justified, determined and powerful.

Then even the tiny Lebanon would have to decide where it stands.

• Photos by Andre Vltchek

May 5, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US Dispatches More Military Gear to Kurds in Syria – Reports

Sputnik – 05.05.2018

The US sent a new military convoy to the Kurdish militants’ bases in the Tal Beidar region, between the towns of Qamishli and Tal Tamr in northeastern Hasaka, the Lebanese al-Manar TV network reported.

The convoy included ten trucks full of arms and ammunition.

Local sources said that the Kurdish fighters have detained a number of civilians southwest of the town of Ra’as al-Ein in Northwestern Hasaka in order to train them in military camps.

Earlier this week, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) informed Sputnik that there is a growing French military presence in the area of Manbij in Syria.

Sputnik received a photo showing two armored vehicles with military personnel in the area of the Sajur River in the territory of Manbij. One vehicle has a US flag on it, while the other has a French flag.

A senior member of the Military Council of Manbij told Sputnik that about 50 French soldiers are stationed on duty in the area. While in the north of Manbij work is currently underway to establish a French military base.

​Al-Manar further confirmed the reports saying that three military vehicles under French flags had entered a Kurdish militia base in the al-Aliyeh region, south of the town of Ra’as al-Ein in northwestern Hasaka.

The network went on quoting field sources as seeing the US convoy of armored vehicles moving towards al-Shadadi from a military base north of the Khabour Dam.

Another Arabic media outlet, the Moraseloun news website, also reported today that the US Army has set up a new military base in Hasaka province, despite Donald Trump’s claims that Washington is set on withdrawing its forces from Syria.

The latest information adds to several other reports on the US’ alleged establishment of new military bases in Al-Hasakah, as well as in eastern Deir ez-Zor last month.

The US military presence in Syria has been dubbed an “aggression” by Damascus, as it has neither been approved by the government nor has it received a UN mandate.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

The West Closes its Ears to Douma Testimony

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | April 28, 2018

The response from the US, UK and France to a briefing on Thursday at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague was perverse, to say the least. Russia had brought 17 witnesses from Douma who stated that there had been no chemical weapons attack there earlier this month – the pretext for an illegal air strike on Syria by the three western states.

The witnesses, a mix of victims and the doctors who treated them, told accounts that confirmed a report provided last week from Douma by British reporter Robert Fisk – a report, it should be noted, that has been almost entirely blanked by the western media. According to the testimony provided at the OPCW, the victims shown in a video from the site of the alleged attack were actually suffering from the effects of inhaling dust after a bombing raid, not gas.

The first strange thing to note is that the US, UK and France boycotted the meeting, denouncing Russia for producing the witnesses and calling the event an “obscene masquerade” and “theatre”. It suggests that this trio, behaving like the proverbial three monkeys, think the testimony will disappear if they simply ignore it. They have no interest in hearing from witnesses unless they confirm the western narrative used to justify the air strikes on Syria.

Testimony from witnesses is surely a crucial part of determining what actually happened. The US, UK and France are surely obligated to listen to the witnesses first, and then seek to discredit the testimony afterwards if they think it implausible or coerced. The evidence cannot be tested and rebutted if it is not even considered.

The second is that the media are echoing this misplaced scorn for evidence. They too seem to have prejudged whether the witnesses are credible before listening to what they have to say (similar to their treatment of Fisk). Tellingly, the Guardian described these witnesses as “supposed witnesses”, not a formulation that suggests any degree of impartiality in its coverage.

Notice that when the Guardian refers to witnesses who support the UK-UK-French line, often those living under the rule of violent jihadist groups, the paper does not designate them “supposed witnesses” or assume their testimony is coerced. Why for the Guardian are some witnesses only professing to be witnesses, while others really are witnesses. The answer appears to depend on whether the testimony accords with the official western narrative. There is a word for that, and it is not “journalism”.

The third and biggest problem, however, is that neither the trio of western states nor the western media are actually contesting the claim that these “supposed witnesses” were present in Douma, and that some of them were shown in the video. Rather, the line taken by the Guardian and others is that: “The veracity [of] the statements by the Russian-selected witnesses at The Hague will be challenged, since their ability to speak truthfully is limited.”

So the question is not whether they were there, but whether they are being coerced into telling a story that undermines the official western narrative, as well as the dubious rationale for attacking Syria.

But that leaves us with another difficulty. No one, for example, appears to be doubting that Hassan Diab, a boy who testified at the hearing, is also the boy shown in the video who was supposedly gassed with a nerve agent three weeks ago. How then do we explain that he is now looking a picture of health? It is not as though the US, UK and French governments and the western media have had no time to investigate his case. He and his father have been saying for at least a week on Russian TV that there was no chemical attack.

Instead, we are getting yet more revisions to a story that was originally presented as so cut-and-dried that it justified an act of military aggression by the US, UK and France against Syria, without authorisation from the UN Security Council – in short, a war crime of the highest order.

It is worth noting the BBC’s brief account. It has suggested that Diab was there, and that he is the boy shown in the video, but that he was not a victim of a gas attack. It implies that there were two kinds of victims shown in the video taken in Douma: those who were victims of a chemical attack, and those next to them who were victims of dust inhalation.

That requires a great deal of back-peddling on the original narrative.

It is conceivable, I suppose, that there was a chemical attack on that neighbourhood of Douma, in which people like Diab assumed they had been gassed when, in fact, that they had not been, and that others close by were actually gassed. It is also conceivable that the effects of dust inhalation and gassing were so similar that the White Helmets staff mistakenly filmed the “wrong victims”, highlighting those like Diab who had not been gassed. And it is also conceivable, I guess, that Diab and his family now feel the need to lie under Russian pressure about there not being a gas attack, even though their account would, according to this revised narrative, actually accord with their experience of what happened.

But even if each of these scenarios is conceivable on its own, how plausible are they when taken together. Those of us who have preferred to avoid a rush to judgment until there was actual evidence of a chemical weapons attack have been invariably dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”. But who is really proposing the more fanciful conspiracy here: those wanting evidence, or those creating an elaborate series of revisions to maintain the credibility of their original story?

If there is one thing certain in all of this, it is that the video produced as cast-iron evidence of a chemical weapons attack has turned out to be nothing of the sort.

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

What if Trump dumps the Iran deal?

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 28, 2018

The last big European effort to dissuade US President Donald Trump from abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear pact ended without success Friday with the ‘working visit’ by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House. Earlier in the week, French President Emmanuel Macron also tried his hand. Perhaps, all that remains is a phone call from British PM Theresa May to Trump.

Macron and Merkel met with no success. Macron floated an ingenious idea of linking the Syrian conflict, Iran’s ballistic missile program, Iran’s regional policies and the nuclear deal and negotiating a new package deal. But Trump didn’t sound enthusiastic. He’d rather tear up the Iran deal and move on. Macron estimated finally that Trump would act for “domestic reasons.” Mike Pompeo, the newly appointed secretary of state, also said Friday that the US is unlikely to remain in the deal.

At the joint press conference with Merkel at the White House on Friday, Trump was rhetorical and took a hard line. Merkel, while conceding that the 2015 pact might not have been a perfect deal, flagged that it was a “first step” that significantly slowed down Iran’s nuclear program and left scope for improvement – “one piece of the mosaic, one building block, if you like, on which we can build up this structure.”

Indeed, the remarks by Macron and Merkel vaguely hint at their acceptance that the 2015 pact needs to be re-negotiated. If so, they have caved in to Trump’s bullying. On the other hand, what they said does not reflect the common European Union position. The EU has never discussed the idea of a new Iran deal. The vast majority of EU countries seem perfectly pleased with the implementation of the 2015 deal and see no reason to reopen the agreement that was painstakingly negotiated. Any shift in the EU stance will need unanimity of opinion, which is highly unlikely to favor a re-negotiation of the 2015 deal.

The big question is what Iran’s reaction is likely to be to Trump’s decision to leave the nuclear deal. The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke on this in a conversation with Robin Wright at the New Yorker magazine. This is what Wright wrote:

  • Tehran has three broad choices if Trump opts out, according to Zarif. In the first, Iran could withdraw from the deal, terminate compliance, and resume—even increase—its uranium enrichment… “America never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear bomb,” Zarif said. “But we will pursue vigorously our nuclear enrichment.”
  • Iran’s second option exploits a dispute mechanism in the deal, which allows any party to file a formal complaint with a commission established to adjudicate violations. Iran has filed eleven complaints—to Federica Mogherini, the E.U.’s foreign-policy chief, who heads the commission—citing U.S. violations on three different counts, Zarif said. The process allows forty-five days for resolution. “The objective of the process is to bring the United States into compliance,” Zarif said.
  • Iran’s third option is the most drastic: the country could decide to walk away from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or N.P.T… In Tehran, debate is still intense about which option Iran should choose. “Iran is not a monolith,” Zarif said.

The growing impression is that the 2015 deal cannot be saved. But then, there is a flip side to it. One, Trump has shown that his strident rhetoric need not necessarily be followed by corresponding action. The North Korean example is in front of us. Two, Washington never really implemented the Iran deal. So, what difference does it make if Trump pulls out?

In the downstream, the US options are very limited. More US sanctions? Well, Iran has lived with US sanctions for four decades. Regime change? Just forget it. Military attack? Simply suicidal. Then, there are the ground realities. Iran is well entrenched in the so-called northern tier of the Middle East (Iraq, Syria and Lebanon) where the Shi’ite predominance is a geopolitical reality. Above all, there are other players in that region also who don’t like the US presence.

Importantly, Russia and China will never cooperate with Trump on the Iran file. The only significant variable, if at all, could be Europe’s implementation of the deal, which is of course crucial for Tehran. This was how Wright concluded: “I asked Zarif if there was a prospect, if the deal dies, that Iran would negotiate again with the United States. “Diplomacy never dies,” he told me. “But it doesn’t mean that there is only one avenue for diplomacy, and that is the United States.” Whatever Iran’s final decision, he said, it “won’t be very pleasant to the United States. That I can say. That’s a consensus.” Read Wright’s piece here.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Western Media Complicit in War Crimes

Strategic Culture Foundation | 27.04.2018

This week saw an horrendous massacre of up to 50 women and children at a wedding party in Yemen, carried out by the US, British and French-backed Saudi air force.

Two wedding halls in Hajjah Province were obliterated in the air strikes. Body parts were strewn among the debris in a hellish scene.

Among the carnage, a little boy was found by civilian rescuers clinging desperately to the body of his dead father. He refused to let go of his father’s bloodied corpse, clinging to the hope that his parent was still alive.

There was hardly any coverage of the slaughter in Western news media.

Yet the incident was nothing other than a massacre of civilians by Saudi warplanes, armed and fueled by the US, Britain and France. A war crime.

Abominably, the Hajjah bombing was just one of many such war crimes committed by the Western-backed Saudi regime on Yemen over the past three years.

Contrast that Western media indifference to Yemen’s suffering with the saturated coverage given to an unverifiable, and as it turns out, fabricated incident in Syria over an alleged chemical-weapons attack in Douma on April 7.

Videos of dubious provenance were played over and over on Western media purporting to show children suffering from chemical exposure in Syria. Strangely, the pitiful scene of the Yemeni wedding hall massacre and the little boy among the carnage gained negligible Western media coverage.

A week after the Douma incident, on April 14, after much hysterical condemnation of the Syrian government and its Russia ally, US President Donald Trump and his British and French counterparts ordered a barrage of missile strikes on Syria in what was supposed to be revenge for the alleged atrocity in Douma.

Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron made anguished statements about “human suffering” in Syria. On Yemen, they say nothing.

This week, Russian authorities facilitated testimonies by families from Douma at the Hague headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. British and American officials decried it as Russian “theatrics” without even bothering to listen to the testimonies.

Children who had previously appeared in dubious videos released by the militants in Douma, testified that they were orchestrated unwittingly for a propaganda video on April 7 purporting to show chemical weapons had been used. It turns out that no chemical weapons were used. Medics in Douma confirmed that too.

The Douma incident was undoubtedly a false flag. There was no chemical-weapons attack. It was a brazen fiction amplified by Western media.

Shamefully, Western media this week have blatantly dropped the Douma “story” probably in light of the evidence emerging about the false flag.

But based on that stunt, the US, France and Britain launched over 100 missiles on Syria. The US-led air strikes were based on a lie. The strikes were therefore a grave violation of international law. A war crime.

The Western media in their reckless, hysterical coverage of the Douma incident alleging a chemical-weapon attack thus stand accused of complicity in the subsequent criminal US-led air strikes.

But where is the Western media coverage and outcry over a real atrocity which happened this week in Yemen? Like many other real atrocities that have occurred in Yemen from Western-backed Saudi air strikes, the Western media act as conduits for covering up the crimes by omitting to report on the horror.

Another distorted priority in Western media was the massive coverage given to an incident this week in Toronto where some deranged individual killed 10 pedestrians with a van. A terrible crime in Toronto no doubt. But nothing on the scale of dozens of women and children being butchered in Yemen by US, British and French-backed Saudi warplanes.

The near-complete absence of reporting on the barbarity inflicted in Yemen with the support of Western governments is an example of how Western media operate like propaganda services.

No wonder that Western governments get away with such crimes in Yemen and elsewhere when the news media in those countries are shamefully derelict in reporting on the crimes of Western governments, and holding the latter to account.

To accuse Western media of being derelict is perhaps too generous a criticism. They are in fact complicit in war crimes by their deliberate distortion and omission.

Their complicity is compounded by their arrogance in proclaiming to be “independent, professional journalism”. It is sickening when Western media outlets continually boast about their “excellence in journalism”. Celebrity self-inflated journalists like Christiane Amanpour at CNN or Stephen Sackur at the BBC talk about “digging for truth and understanding” and “hard talking”.

Why isn’t Amanpour digging for “truth and understanding” in the blood-soaked rubble of Yemen; why isn’t Sackur hard-talking to Western foreign ministers about their crimes in Yemen and Syria, like he rudely tried to do recently with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov? They don’t because they are vastly overpaid propaganda artists in the service of imperial power.

These people, like the news organizations they work for, are vile charlatans. The Western media are propaganda cleaners for their criminal governments. This week’s distortion about a false flag in Syria and the horror in Yemen is the proof.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Syrian children should be seen, not heard

Apparently, evidence is to be claimed, and not shown

By Frank Sellers | The Duran | April 27, 2018

As the Russian delegation to the OPCW conducts a press briefing at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ headquarters, the Western media is blasting the evidences that it is presenting, which includes the testimony of some of the very alleged victims of the suspected chemical attack that took place in Douma on April 7th, allegedly by Syrian government forces under the direction of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.

One of those witnesses who has come forward at the briefing is the boy, Hassan Diab, who was featured prominently in the video that the White Helmets NGO released in a twitter post, and which was then used by Western governments and media as evidence of the supposed chemical attack which was utilized as a pretext to conduct an illegal  joint military ‘precision’ strike on the Syrian capital of Damascus.

In the video produced by the White Helmets, the ‘evidence’ of the chemical attack, Hassan Diab is shown allegedly suffering from the symptoms of a chlorine gas attack, and being hosed with water while White Helmets ‘volunteers’ shout ‘chemical attack’, rushing about with children in their arms.

The briefing also hosts medical personnel who witnessed the incident and who also treated people at the site, who are adamant that no one who was treated at the site shown in the White Helmets video was experiencing symptoms of such an attack.

This video footage, which is now being described as showing a scene that is inconsistent with the claims made by Western governments and media, shows no real evidence for a chlorine gas attack, other than the shouts made by White Helmets participants.

To date, this video footage, posted to Twitter, is the only evidence that has been released to the world of a supposed chemical attack in Douma on the 7th of April. Based on the testimony of these witnesses, over a dozen of whose testimonies are presented at the briefing, the video therefore cannot be considered legitimate evidence of a chemical attack, let alone a justification of Western military intervention in Syria.

Russia and Syria are declaring that the video is that of a staged event, and therefore is not genuine, while the testimonies of witnesses at this press briefing are consistent with this finding, as no real victims or casualties of chemical weapons have so far turned up as a result of the alleged chemical attack. Much less evidence that a chemical weapons attack was launched by Syrian government forces, or even at the behest of the Syrian President.

The West is calling the press briefing a ‘mounting propaganda campaign’, with the British Ambassador to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, calling it ‘a stunt’ to ‘misuse’ the OPCW as a ‘theatre’ to ‘undermine the OPCW’s work’.

Similarly, the French Ambassador to the OPCW, Phillippe Lalliot, is denouncing it as an ‘obscene masquerade’, and is indirectly lodging accusations that the contents of the briefing are bogus.

Additionally, the AFP, in this article, is even going so far as to hint that the boy testifying before the press briefing may not actually be Hassan Diab.

In a mounting propaganda campaign, Hassan, who is seen in the footage being hosed down and shivering, told a press conference in a hotel in The Hague that he didn’t know why people began pouring water on him in the hospital.

He was among a dozen people presented as victims or doctors or hospital workers, who all told similar stories — that someone had shouted out “chemical weapons” as hospital staff were treating injured people from a missile bombardment and panic spread.

“Unknown people started creating chaos, and pouring water on people. We were specialists and we could see there were no symptoms of the use of chemical weapons,” said physician Khalil, who said he was on duty in the emergency care unit.

He said “patients with choking symptoms” had begun coming to the hospital about 7:00pm, but it “was the result of people breathing in dust and smoke” from the bombardment.

Everyone was treated and sent home, Khalil added, denying reports from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the White Helmets who jointly said dozens of people had died.

Britain boycotted the group’s earlier briefing at the OPCW, saying it was a stunt, in a move followed by France, the United States and EU countries.

“The OPCW is not a theatre. Russia’s decision to misuse it is yet another Russian attempt to undermine the OPCW’s work,” said British ambassador to the OPCW Peter Wilson in a statement.

French ambassador Philippe Lalliot also denounced the briefing as an “obscene masquerade”.

“This masquerade only betrays the huge nervousness of those who organised it and who have the most to fear from the OPCW investigation,” Lalliot said.

“No-one is fooled. The truth will come out.”

– ‘We saw no poison’ –

Hassan, who was said to be 11 years old, told dozens of journalists: “We were in the basement. We heard cries on the street that we should go to the hospital. We got scared.”

“We went to the hospital through the tunnel. They started pouring water on me in the hospital I don’t know why.”

His father, Omar Diab, said: “The children were taken without explanation. After that we learnt it was fake. We never saw any poison or chemical agents. Neither I nor my family.”

The OPCW has also criticised the meeting in its headquarters, saying it had recommended to Russia that it should wait until its inspectors had completed their work.

AFP then goes on to label the White Helmets organization ‘a humanitarian organization’, who are being unfairly targeted by the Syrian government for the label of ‘terrorists’.

The White Helmets, a humanitarian organisation made up of some 3,000 volunteers, has regularly been the target of disinformation campaigns by the Syrian regime which has labelled them “terrorists”.

But the White Helmets have a history of cooperating with terrorist organizations in Syria, and of conducting horrific atrocities, as documented here:

Meanwhile, Western governments insisted that they were in possession of ‘proof’ of the chemical weapons attack and that the Syrian government perpetrated it. The US has alleged that they are in possession of blood and urine samples from the site of the alleged attack which provided conclusive proof that chlorine and some unidentified nerve agent were used in the attack.

France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, is also insisting that his government is in possession of “proof”, which is declared without providing any details relative to what the proof is or how it was acquired, that not only were chemical weapons employed in this attack, but that Bashar al-Assad’s regime was indeed behind it all. Additionally, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, declared that nearly 600 people were killed in the attack, all the while pointing to the video produced by the White Helmets on Twitter.

These alleged ‘proofs’ which were never released for examination by any independent authority, were never publicly presented, but were nevertheless utilized as the catalyst to launch a joint offensive against the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The video in question, however, does not show 575 people suffering from or dying from exposure to a chemical and ‘mystery’ nerve agent. Neither, however, have such casualties appeared in the town of Douma in or around the site as a result of exposure to the banned chemical agents. Hence, evidence that a chemical weapon was utilized in Douma is severely lacking.

It begs the question, from whence the blood and urine tests that the US and WHO are claiming as their ‘evidence’? How was this ‘evidence’ obtained? Where are these victims of chlorine gas and the ‘nerve agent’? Why are the testimonies of witnesses from the site of the alleged attack not describing events consistent with a legitimate chemical attack? Further, why is the West being so rash to judgment against the presentation of the testimonies of these witnesses? Why are France and the US boycotting the briefing? If the chemical research lab in Damascus that was struck by US led coalition air strikes was indeed manufacturing or storing chemical weapons, why has the OPCW declared that their investigation has found no such evidence?

Apparently, evidence is to be claimed, and not shown. Victims are to be seen, and not heard. Claims are to be made, and not verified. Guilt is to be assumed, and not proven. Military strikes are to be conducted, but not justified. Military campaigns are to be carried out, but not for cause. The forces of the West are righteous, but not for reason.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Russia ‘won’t allow’ another US military action in Syria based on false flag – OPCW envoy

RT | April 26, 2018

Russia’s envoy to the OPCW said it was crucial to avoid new false-flag attacks in Syria and that Moscow “won’t allow” US military action there, as he described details of Russian findings on the site of the alleged Douma incident.

New false-flag operations against Damascus are “possible, since our American partners are once again threatening to take military action against Syria, but we will not allow that,” Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Aleksandr Shulgin, said during a press conference in The Hague on Thursday.

The meeting was called by Russia’s OPCW mission and featured witnesses of the April 7 alleged chemical incident in the city of Douma. It highlighted the findings of Russian military experts, who were among the first to reach the site of the purported attack and locate the “munitions” that supposedly hit the residential buildings.

“Russian experts performed a detailed analysis of the information on the ground,” Major-General Igor Kirillov, the head of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (RKhBZ) Troops, said. “Two gas cylinders, allegedly dropped by the government forces from helicopters, were found in two apartments.”

The cylinders and the damage they supposedly caused did not fit the tale of an airstrike entirely, Kirillov said. One of the cylinders lacked any makeshift upgrades, such as fins, to make it usable as an aerial munition, and, surprisingly, it was not even deformed.

“An empty gas cylinder found at the top floor. The apartment was partially destroyed earlier by an aerial bomb explosion, parts of roof and outer wall were missing,” Kirillov stated. “Other walls were sprayed with shrapnel. It’s quite peculiar that the cylinder was not deformed, which doesn’t fit its purported fall from a big altitude on concrete floor.”

The other cylinder, while fitted with some crude fins, also remained in nearly pristine condition despite its “fall.” The device miraculously did little to no damage to the room it supposedly hit, besides a large hole in the ceiling, which, however, was unlikely made by the object, according to military specialists.

“The cylinder has partially retained impermeability and is almost undamaged, which is impossible after a fall from some 2,000 meters, the usual altitude used by the Syrian army helicopters,” Kirillov said. “A tail part of an unguided rocket has been uncovered on the roof near the gap in the ceiling. The munition was likely to make the hole, but we cannot rule out an artificial nature of the damage made to the roof, since we discovered a pinch bar at the stairwell of the building.”

The cylinder was likely hauled by the “authors of the staged video” from outside, the official stated, as “multiple chips and dragging marks at the stairwell” indicated. An apartment below was being used by its owner to breed chickens, and all the livestock miraculously “made through the so-called chemical attack alive,” according to Kirillov.

“Moreover, the RKhBZ troops have uncovered a booby-trapped chemical laboratory and chemical stockpile in the city of Douma, which was liberated from the militants. They’ve been presumably used by the terrorists to manufacture toxic substances,” the official said, adding that a chlorine-filled canister that was very similar to the purported munitions used during the Douma incident was recovered from the militant-run warehouse. OPCW-controlled substances, which can be used to produce mustard gas, have been also found there.

The Douma incident was featured in videos released by the controversial White Helmets group and spread through militant-linked social media accounts. It was seemingly taken at face value by the US and its allies, who promptly pinned the blame on Damascus and launched a massive missile strike on the country in “retaliation” on April 14. The attack came hours before the OPCW experts were set to embark on their fact-finding mission in Douma.

The experts have already visited the site of the purported incident. Shulgin, meanwhile, called on the OPCW to visit the chemical laboratories left behind by the militants to see for themselves who is actually behind the use of chemical arms in Syria.

“We urge the OPCW technical secretariat and experts to make use of their time in Syria and examine the undercover underground chemical laboratories of the militants, the terrorists, who used them, as we believe, to produce chemical munitions, including those used for all kinds of false flag attacks,” Shulgin stressed.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Illegal foreign presence in Syria serves to revive terrorism front: Iranian official

Press TV – April 25, 2018

Iran’s top security official says the illegitimate military presence of certain countries in Syria is meant to put the Takfiri terrorists, who have suffered defeat in the region, back on their feet.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the remarks on Tuesday during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Nikolay Patrushev, in Sochi, where he is to attend a security conference of senior officials from more than 100 countries.

“Through their illegitimate military presence in Syria, some countries have only further complicated the circumstances on the ground there, and are practically taking steps towards the reinforcement of the defeated front of Takfiri terrorism,” he said.

The two officials discussed a wide range of issues, including bilateral anti-terror cooperation, insecurity in Afghanistan, and the threat facing the region from the relocation of terrorists to the Central Asian country following their defeat in Syria and Iraq.

Shamkhani also spoke in condemnation of an April 9 Israeli strike against the T-4 airbase in central Syria, which killed more than a dozen people, including seven Iranian military advisors.

He said the attack on the people, who are in Syria for anti-terrorism military advisory assistance at the request of the legal government, “exposed the identity of the real supporters of terrorists.”

The official also condemned a recent coordinated attack by the US, the UK, and France against Syria, saying the strikes showed the West is seeking out excuses to damage the standing mechanisms for finding a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

The Russian official, for his part, said the conference in Sochi is meant to explore ways to replace militarism and violence with dialog and understanding.

Some countries, he added, resent successful Iran-Russia cooperation, and have launched “full-scale and suspicious” efforts at hurting their ties.

Patrushev said the US is continuously trying to deliver economic and political blows to Iran and Russia to restrict their joint efforts to restore stability to the region, adding, however, that Washington will fail to achieve its goal.

Iran and Russia have been both assisting Syria in its counter-terrorism offensive and mediating, together with Turkey, a diplomatic process to help restore calm to the Arab country.

On the contrary, the United States and its allies have been launching attacks on Syria since 2014, claiming they seek to root out Daesh without getting the Syrian government’s approval or a UN mandate.

The US and its allies have defied the Damascus government’s call to leave Syrian soil despite the collapse of the Takfiri terror group late last year.

In recent months, Russia has on various occasions reported that the US military is allowing Daesh members to leave its former strongholds in the Middle East to Afghanistan, where the terrorists have carried out bloody acts of violence.

Iran has also censured the US for supporting Daesh, with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei saying in January that Washington has been transferring Daesh to Afghanistan to rationalize its military presence in the region.

Russia backs Iran deal

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian official condemned Washington for failing to stay committed to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Russian Federation decisively backs the preservation and implementation of the deal and believes that Iran should be able to enjoy the benefits of the accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Certain states play into hands of terrorists by using military force: Russia president

Press TV – April 25, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin says certain countries play into the hands of terrorists and endanger regional security by bypassing international law and resorting to military force.

Putin made the remarks in a greeting message to the participants in a security conference in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Wednesday.

He stressed that the policy of unilateralism practiced by certain states is hindering efforts to ensure regional and global security.

“Some members of the international community have been increasingly trying to ignore the generally recognized norms and principles of the international law and resort to the use of military force bypassing the UN Security Council and refuse to hold talks as a key tool of resolving international disputes,” he said.

“This, in its turn, generates political and social instability and plays into the hands of terrorism, extremism and transnational crime, leading to the escalation of local conflicts and crises,” he added.

Earlier this month, the US, Britain and France launched a coordinated missile attack against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s “capability” to produce chemical arms.

The trio blamed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected gas attack in the Damascus suburb town of Douma on April 7.

Moscow said it has “irrefutable” evidence that the Douma incident was a “false flag” operation orchestrated by British spy services.

Elsewhere in his message, Putin expressed Russia’s readiness to engage in close security cooperation with foreign partners in both multilateral and bilateral formats.

The Russian president further noted that the Sochi conference will provide a good opportunity to discuss the options for countering various threats and challenges to international security.

The two-day event has gathered senior officials from more than 100 countries. Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani is among the participants and is set to address the conference.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment