Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

United States Did It Again: Warplanes Use White Phosphorous Munitions in Syria

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.10.2018

The US-led coalition used white phosphorus (WP) munitions delivering air strikes in the Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor on Oct.13. The attack resulted in casualties among civilians. Last month, WP munitions were also used by two US Air Force (USAF) F-15s in an attack on the town of Hajin, Deir-ez-Zor. The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led coalition, which says the need to fight ISIS justifies its military actions while denying the fact it uses white phosphorous projectiles.

WP does not fall into the category of chemical weapons banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention but it is an incendiary weapon. As such, it cannot be used against non-combatants. Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons “prohibits the use of said incendiary weapons against civilians (already forbidden by the Geneva Conventions) or in civilian areas”. The substance ignites spontaneously upon contact with air, producing a dense white smoke. The heat could reach 800-900°C. No water will help. Severe injuries to internal organs could be caused when absorbed through skin, ingested, or inhaled. Burning particles of white phosphorus produce thermal and chemical burns if they come into contact with skin.

It’s not Syria only where the US used WP munitions. White phosphorous artillery shells were used in Iraq during the assault on Fallujah in 2004. The US admitted the fact. There have also been media reports about the WP use in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Last year, the Washington Post published photographs of US Marines equipped with white phosphorus projectiles to be used in the battle for Raqqa. The source offered similar pictures showing WP munitions with US Army units outside Iraqi Mosul.

The Human Rights Watch has warned about dangers coming from the use of WP in urban areas. According to Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, “No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians.”

In 2015, the United States used depleted uranium (DU) in Syria. DU is not banned by an international treaty but its use runs counter to the International Humanitarian Law (IHW). Article 36 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions requires to ensure that “any new weapon means or method of warfare does not contravene existing rules of international law.” It says “General principles of the laws of war/IHL prohibit weapons and means or methods of warfare that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, have indiscriminate effects or cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.” In 2012, the UN General Assembly tried to adopt a resolution restricting the use of DU. The move was supported by 155 states, with 27 abstaining and four, including the United States, voting against.

The American military has used cluster bombs against civilians in Yemen. The US is not one of the 102 states parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the weapons that open in the air, dispersing multiple bomblets or submunitions over a wide area. Many submunitions fail to explode on initial impact, acting like landmines for years. The Pentagon refuses to give cluster munitions and American field commanders are authorized to use them at their discretion.

The US continues to run biological programs, operating more than 20 laboratories around the world in blatant violation of the UN Biological Weapons Convention. An opinion paper published on Oct. 4 in the journal Science, written by an international group of researchers claims the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is potentially developing insects as a means of delivering a “new class of biological weapon.”

In 2011, US police used tear gas and other chemical irritants against Occupy protesters. Tear gas is prohibited for use against enemy soldiers in battle by the Chemical Weapons Convention but it’s all right with America’s law enforcement agencies using the dangerous substance against their own people.

There is no justification for using WP at the time ISIS has been reduced to insignificance in Syria but Washington did it again. It violated international law after having unilaterally imposed sanctions on Russia without any evidence to support the relevant accusations. It should also be remembered that, unlike Russia, the US has so far failed to meet its obligations and destroy the chemical weapons stockpile. The use of substances to harm civilians is a serious matter that should be addressed at the ongoing 79th session on UN General Assembly. America’s non-compliance with generally accepted norms is the most acute problem on the international security agenda.

October 14, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US Coalition Strikes Syrian Town Using Banned White Phosphorus – Reports

Sputnik – October 13, 2018

The reported strikes are not the first time that the US-led coalition has been accused of using the banned munitions in recent weeks. Last month, the Russian military reported that US strikes using white phosphorus had resulted in major fires and civilian casualties in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor.

The strikes, taking place Saturday across multiple districts in the town of Hajin, Deir Ez-Zor province, included the use of white phosphorus, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has reported, citing local sources.

The agency did not provide any immediate information about possible civilian casualties.

Syrian television station Ikhbariya later reported that several people had been killed and several others injured following separate coalition strikes in al-Soussa, Deir Ez-Zor in an attack which hit a local bakery.

SANA said the strikes involving the use of white phosphorus appeared to have been carried out “under the pretext of fighting Daesh (ISIS).”

The coalition has not yet made any official commentary regarding the alleged incident.

This week, the United Nations’ humanitarian watchdog expressed concern regarding the safety of an estimated 10,000 civilians believed to be trapped in the Hajin area amid reports of civilian deaths during ongoing SDF and coalition operations in the area against Daesh.

Saturday’s incident was not the first suspected use of white phosphorus by the US-led coalition. Last month, the coalition denied using the substance in Syria after the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation issued a report of airstrikes carried out using the internationally-prohibited weapons by US F-15 fighter jets on September 8. Damascus has repeatedly accused the coalition of using white phosphorus in its attacks, charging Western forces of using the agent in strikes which have led to the deaths of multiple civilians, including children, last year.

Under Geneva Conventions, white phosphorus munitions are prohibited for use against civilians or in civilian areas.

US-led coalition operations in Syria are not sanctioned by Syrian government, nor the UN.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Russia says Iran’s presence in Syria none of Israel’s business

Press TV – October 12, 2018

A senior Russian official has dismissed the Israeli regime’s demand that Iran be forced out of Syria, saying that the issue is none of Tel Aviv’s business as it is Syria’s sovereign right to authorize Iranian forces on its soil.

“Syria is a member of the United Nations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, adding that the Arab country “has equal rights” over its self-determination with Russia, the US and any other member of the UN.

“This is a sovereign country led by a legitimate government. It can agree on cooperation with any other country, including Iran, Russia, Israel,” he noted in an interview with the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS released Thursday night.

“That’s Syria’s sovereign right, and it’s not the business of a third party to intervene in these subjects of politics or policy of a sovereign country,” said Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East.

He went on to say that Moscow had already explained to Israel and the US that “this is a sovereign decision for Syria who should be on their territory.”

“They asked us and the Iranians to be there. The Iranians have said repeatedly on many levels that Syria asked them to help them in the fight against terrorists, and when Mr. Assad tells them that their mission is accomplished and they are no longer needed, they will leave Syria, just like us.”

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terror outfits.

However, over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

In the latest Israeli airstrikes on Syria a few weeks ago, a Russian Il-20 plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in Latakia Province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian S-200 missile defense system was responding to a wave of strikes by four Israeli warplanes.

Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, which killed all 15 people on board, saying the Israeli warplanes had deliberately “created a dangerous situation” that led to the crash.

Shortly after the attack, Russia delivered a modern version of its S-300 missile defense system to Syria in a bid to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Plane crash changed rules of the game

In his interview with i24NEWS, Bogdanov underlined that the Israeli pilots’ fault in that incident totally changed the rules of the game.

“The rules of the game were violated when Israeli pilots used a Russian aircraft for cover, knowing how it threatened the Russian crew,” he noted.

“You can imagine what would have happened if 15 Israeli officers had been killed through our fault,” he said.

Netanyahu’s UN theatricals on Iran nuclear site

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bogdanov mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrical performance at the United Nations, in which he used placards with satellite pictures to make claims about a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran.

“It’s naive to think that only one country and only one secret service knows something that nobody else knows,” Bogdanov told i24NEWS, refuting allegations leveled by the Israeli PM about an atomic warehouse in Turquzabad, a village close to Tehran.

“It’s the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is supposed to check this. It is a professional and serious organisation. It has authority and legitimacy,” he said, adding that the IAEA can inspect any site at any time under the agreement it has with Iran.

“To tell the whole world they have something, and show pictures, maybe some people like this and it helps him, maybe it’s intended to score points and for internal consumption,” Bogdanov noted.

“Speaking seriously… Israel should have taken a different approach and not worked with journalists and with what we call ‘megaphone diplomacy’,” he noted.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

S-300 vs. F-35: Stealth and Invincible Are Not Exactly Synonyms

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.10.2018

How effective is the S-300 PMU-2 “Favorit” that Russia has just delivered to Syria? Especially when employed against the F-35 stealth fighters that Israel intends to make more use of when attacking targets in Syria? Who has the edge? This is truly a hot topic for the press right now. It would be better, of course, to avoid the military hostilities and leave this as a theoretical, unanswered question, because no definite answer is possible until a real shootout takes place. Stealth technology includes both active and passive measures that reduce visibility and the chance of detection. Some of those are classified, as are the specifications and capabilities of the S-300. This makes it much more complicated to offer predictions or conclusions. But the known facts can be considered impartially and objectively.

Israeli officials play down the significance of the shipment of the S-300 to Syrian government forces. “The operational abilities of the air force are such that those (S-300) batteries really do not constrain the air force’s abilities to act,” said Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s regional cooperation minister. “You know that we have stealth fighters, the best planes in the world. These batteries are not even able to detect them.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in April that “if anyone attacks us, we will retaliate, regardless of S-300, S-700 or any anything else’s presence there”. The Pentagon has also cast doubt on the S-300’s effectiveness.

Let’s give the devil his due. The F-35 is a fine example of low observable aircraft with extraordinary capabilities. It’s a formidable weapon, but so is the S-300. If the worst happens, Israel’s high-end F-35I Adir aircraft will be checkmated by this Russian-made, state-of-the-art air-defense system.

A stealth aircraft is not invincible. It has its strengths and weaknesses. In Syria, Israeli F-35s will be up against a tight, integrated air-defense network with multiple radars trying to detect and track the target from different directions.

Excessive use of stealth technology restricts the combat capabilities of an aircraft like the F-35. A plane based on stealth technology does not perform exceptionally well in combat. It cannot carry many weapons because everything is hidden inside the body. Its ability to remain invisible is reduced as soon as the radar is turned on. Low frequencies can detect a stealth aircraft. A bomb bay that has been opened to launch weapons will also give the plane away.

The S-300’s 48N6E2 missiles boast single-shot kill probability of 80% to 93% for an aerial target, 40% to 85% for cruise missiles. and 50% to 77% for theater ballistic missiles. The Russian system uses the 96L6 all-altitude detector and acquisition radar, which works in L-band. It has a 300 km range and enhanced resolution. The S-300 PMU-2 version can detect and track 100 targets. The radar is said to be able to detect stealth targets.

Large wavelength radiations are reflected by “invisible” aircraft. Radar that operates in the VHF, UHF, L and S bands can detect and even track the F-35 without transmitting weapons-quality track. It is true that no accurate targeting is possible, but at least you can tell where the plane is.

The S-300’s vertically launched missiles can be re-targeted during flight. The explosion is so powerful that no kinetic kill is needed. Multiple killing elements will strike targets throughout the vicinity.

The IAF F-35s still need to be integrated with other assets in order to enhance their chances of carrying out missions. Just to be on the safe side, they will probably be escorted by electronic warfare aircraft, which are not stealth, thus giving away their position and providing the enemy with enough time to take countermeasures. Israel has only 12 F-35s, with 50 more arriving by 2024. The price tag for each is about $100 million. It’ll be a long time before they are in place and integrated into the Air Force. And twelve are simply not enough.

Besides, the aircraft still needs to be upgraded with the full operational capability of Block 3F and subsequent Block 4 software and hardware configurations.

Once the S-300s are operational, all other Israeli non-stealth planes will face huge risks any time they fly an offensive mission into Syria. It should also be taken into account that Russia will jam the radar, navigation, and communications systems on any aircraft attacking targets in Syria via the Mediterranean Sea, as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned on Sept. 24, 2018.

Israel boasts a broad repertoire of standoff weapons, along with highly advanced electronic warfare systems and enhanced cyber capabilities. It also has very experienced and well trained personnel. Nevertheless, the S-300 in Syria is a deterrent to be reckoned with. Hopefully, the peace process in that war-torn country will move forward and there will be no escalation to provoke an S-300 vs. F-35 fight.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu wants to redraw map in the Golan, Russia says – go to the UNSC

RT | October 10, 2018

Recognizing the illegally-annexed Golan Heights as part of Israel would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Russia’s foreign minister has said, in an apparent rebuke to an appeal made by Israel’s prime minister.

Changing the status of the Golan Heights would be a “direct violation” of United Nations Security Council resolutions which dictate the international community’s stance on the disputed territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted.

On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan, Syrian territory seized by Israel fifty-one years ago.

“Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me, the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu said during an inauguration of a synagogue in the Golan Heights.

In August, Netanyahu expressed hope that Washington would recognize Israel’s claim to the territory, but US National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that “there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the US government.”

Israel seized part of the Golan Heights during the Six Day War of 1967. In 1981, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, unilaterally proclaimed the occupied land to be part of the Jewish state. The declaration was swiftly declared illegal by the UN Security Council.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 10 Comments

Syrian President Assad grants amnesty to army deserters

RT | October 9, 2018

Syrian President Bashar Assad has granted general amnesty to army deserters both within Syria and those outside the country.

A decree published by state media on Tuesday says the amnesty doesn’t include “criminals” and those on the run unless they turn themselves in to authorities. Deserters in Syria have four months to do so; those abroad have six months.

The amnesty could help boost the return of refugees, some of whom have not been able to go back home because they were blacklisted, AP reported.

Government forces have managed over the past year to capture wide areas once held by insurgents, including in southern Syria and the eastern suburbs of the capital, Damascus. The flashpoint is now Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

Syria: The New Terra Nullius

By Max Forte | Zero Anthropology | October 6, 2018

SYRIA, seat of an Islamic Caliphate. Syria, site of the Middle East’s newest liberal democracy. Syria, socialist paradise. Syria, a corrupt and murderous dictatorship that practices genocide. Syria, a failed state. Syria a state that is too strong. Syria, soon to be partitioned into ethnic enclaves. Syria, a pawn of Iran. Syria, a tool of Russia. Syria, a haven for terrorists that threaten our friends and way of life. Syria, where Saddam sent his fabled WMDs. In other words: Syria is whatever you want it to be. Syria, if it exists, apparently only exists to satisfy your desires, where you get to freely confuse where you think the world ought to go, with where it is going.

Syria, if you take at face-value any of the many authoritative North American and European pronouncements about “what needs to be done,” has seemingly joined the list of “disappeared” nation-states. It was a country made to vanish into thin air, like Libya, Iraq, and Yugoslavia before it. Anything goes when it comes to Syria: it can be whatever we imagine it to be. It was as if “Syria” was just a name for a template. We speak and behave as if it were first a tabula rasa—a clean slate—or more accurately, terra nullius—a land belonging to no one. It is land that belongs to no one, that is, until we arrive on the scene and forge our models for a new Syria. Syrians are not allowed to have their Syria until we first get a say on what Syria will be.

Syria Not For Syrians

Over the past seven years we have seen in virtually every side to the foreign debate about Syria’s present and future(s) an immense amount of apparently self-gratifying wishful thinking. We have witnessed the very real danger involved in the ideological mode of thinking, especially when the ideologies are backed by real material power and conveyed as action on the ground. Whenever we have the rare chance to hear any Syrians, they are instantly dismissed and disqualified by one side or another. We are happier dealing with a “Syria” that is a figment of our political imaginations, a projection of the discontent we have with our own domestic politics, a method for beating up all “enemies, foreign and domestic”. “Syria” is the plaything of those who are equal to any of our hedge fund managers: we pick a side, and bet on it. More than that even, “Syria” is a meeting ground for fantasy and political economy, and it’s a sign of just how ugly is the recolonization effort wrought by neoliberal globalization.

And it most definitely is the case that what we are dealing with here is globalization’s destruction of sovereignty, of national self-determination. How do we know that? Watch this: while there was no real debate about the US sending troops to Syria (where they can cancel out Syria’s sovereignty), there was instead massive, urgent, melodramatic panic about the US sending troops to its own border, where they could affirm US sovereignty. If a nation can send its troops to another continent, but not to its own border (i.e., stay at home), something is really wrong. Some must have wondered what US troops were doing on the US border, as if they naturally belonged in Syria instead. The jarring juxtaposition of the two contrasting stances came out in a single question by a reporter at a White House press briefing—a reporter who nevertheless failed to note the contrast:

“there seems to be a perception that, at times, the President makes announcements and then the White House has to come up with policy to match what the President said. Like with the talk about the military at the border, there weren’t really a lot of details about that at first. And with the issue with Syria, and him saying he wanted to, kind of, pull all the troops back”.

In another White House press briefing, reporters once again failed to notice the absurd contradiction between their thinly veiled criticisms of Trump’s desire to pull US troops back from Syria, while apparently complaining about the decision to send troops to the US border. The only way one can reconcile these two apparently contradictory positions is to recognize that they both reduce to a common denominator: the destruction of nations as viable entities. Any and all nations, everywhere, have been the target. Some were surprised to learn that this included the US itself.

Syria, likewise, is denied the right to defend itself. It has no right to its own territory. Israel is free to bomb at will, as are a range of NATO members, and the US can freely decide to make a presence for itself, to create “interests” on Syrian soil (which in principle, does not exist). When other nations send forces at the request of the Syrian government, then those nations suddenly have no right to be there. Why not? Because they are there precisely as a result of decisions made by the Syrian government, and Syria can have no government because it also has no soil. Who decided on this arrangement?

For globalization to work, it required a policeman. After all, neoliberals believe that states are still useful as law enforcers. This introduced a fatal flaw into the globalist agenda, which was pushed and enforced by states: not all states are equal in power, and thus the only reliable global policeman was the US. The US, some would argue, has no right to determine who crosses its borders, yet retains the right to decide on who is allowed across Syrian borders. That such arrangements are subject to a backlash in the US itself, the power core of globalization, is the main reason that globalization is in such extreme jeopardy.

For the globalists, Syria and the US are nonetheless alike in one key respect: they both belong to the rest of the world. What they are not allowed to belong to is themselves. The world the globalists tried to invent out of thin air was one of forced associations, unwanted encounters, and false dependencies. No wonder that the reactions have in some cases been so scathing, so filled with spite. If such reactions are deemed a problem, and if one wanted to avoid such reactions, then logically you would cease creating the causes of the problem. But the world imagined by globalists is never inhabited by real people; it’s a world where everyone is subject to “learned helplessness” and like a repeatedly abused dog learns to “just take it”—a world that is unreal, inhumane, and was therefore never sustainable.

Terra Nullius

This is how Sven Lindqvist explains the idea of “terra nullius” in his book, published in English in 2007:

Terra nullius. From the Latin terra, earth, ground, land, and nullius, no one’s.

“Thus: no one’s land, land not belonging to anybody. Or at any rate, not to anybody that counts.

“Originally: land not belonging to the Roman Empire.

“In the Middle Ages: land not belonging to any Christian ruler.

“Later: land to which no European state as yet lays claim. Land that justly falls to the first European state to invade the territory.

“Empty land. Uninhabited land. Land that will soon be uninhabited because it is populated by inferior races, condemned by the laws of nature to die out. Land where the original inhabitants are, or can soon be rendered, so few in number as to be negligible.

“The legal fictions summed up as terra nullius were used to justify the European occupation of large parts of the global land surface”. (Lindqvist, 2007, pp. 3–4)

Syria was land not belonging to the Roman Empire, until it was. It is also land not belonging to the American Empire, and powerful interests in the US would obviously like to change that. Outside of the high echelons of the military-industrial-complex, other US interests have also vested themselves in Syria. A loose coalition has formed, ranging across from generals in the Pentagon right across to establishment media, freelance “journalists,” self-appointed humanitarian activists, and university-based anarchists and some Marxist academics. They all agree on one fundamental point: Syria can no longer belong to Syria alone; Syrian decision-making, and the right to make decisions about citizens on Syrian territory, is to be subject to some sort of veto wielded by foreigners, backed by US firepower.

For this mission of foreign ideological occupation to work, Syria first has to be symbolically and politically emptied. Only an empty zone can be so liberally filled with fantasy and spectral assaults: fabricated gas attacks, mysterious missile strikes in the dead of night, cities in ruins suggesting they were once occupied by a settled, peaceful civilization that has long disappeared, even mystery adversaries jamming US communications. The Onion, interestingly, had it right when in playing to the propaganda that has become the norm, it portrayed Syria as a land being trampled on by legendary monsters and super-human beasts, ruled by fears that “bombed-out buildings and blast craters could be harboring bands of angry scorpions, komodo dragons, mace-wielding cavaliers in full chain mail, or, as children recently swimming off the country’s coast discovered, giant piranhas”. Chemical weapons, the weapons of the new barbarians, are an essential feature of the kinds of made-up tales that are made to prevail in a frontier zone of projected fantasies of monsters. In the land of make-believe “evil,” Sadistic Arab “dictators” unleash troops powered by Viagra to engage in systematic rape, rip babies from incubators, threaten to massacre entire cities, and then wipe out communities with poison gas. Accusations we would never tolerate against our own, let alone treat credibly, are instead freely plastered on others. It’s amazing that in the new, fastidious and prickly racism-consciousness that prevails in North American media and academia, such routine colonial racism is instead still perpetuated, as much as the incessant myth-making.

Fantasy is useful in other ways: by dismissing the value of evidence, and replacing facts with belief, any accusations can be given the weight of “credibility”—but only if enough people have been successfully trained to mistake credibility for truth. What the US has developed, for example, is a fact-free, faith-based approach in its foreign policy rhetoric, one that is used to justify permanent US intervention. Why? Because there is no objective argument one can make for one country to occupy another. It’s not a matter of logic and rationality; it’s a matter of ideology and a thirst for power.

Having projected onto Syria an absence of “civilization,” this creates wide open space for demonization. Demonization is a valued part of Western myth-making structures, especially in justifying imperial domination. Demonization turns very human opponents into monsters (and they are referred to as such, as monsters, animals, and of course “evil”). Adversaries of the West are played up as villains in a morality tale, that always allocates to us—by default—the role of saviours and victors, if we will have our victory (as the late Charles Krauthammer put it, “The choice is ours. To impiously paraphrase Benjamin Franklin: History has given you an empire, if you will keep it”). We thus have these endless moral crusades on our part, where morality is used to mask politics.

Moral crusaders love it when in the distance they make out the outline of a new terra nullius on the horizon. Places like Syria offer the opportunity for adventure, to go out and exercise yourself, to use Syria as part of your own personal self-fulfillment, an object of your ambition and desire. Eurocentric missionary aspirations flourish in such contexts, robed as “humanitarian interventionism,” “internationalism,” “solidarity,” “civil society activism,” “democracy-building,” “conflict resolution,” “peace-building,” or just plain regime-change.

The paradox of foreign intervention is that it empties everyone, not just Syria. Britain and France earlier this year saw their foreign policy being taken over by the US, restricting any domestic parliamentary debate about the decision to militarily strike Syria, until well after the fact. The US was no exception: the decision to attack Syria in April of this year was done without Congressional approval. The process had been emptied of political representation by those elected and legally appointed to (dis)approve war-making, as dictated by the respective constitutions, which for a moment vanished. War, in violation of both international and domestic laws, damaged democracy in the US, UK, and France. This is what imperialism in the globalist age looks like, even when one of they key actors sometimes likes to sound like an angry anti-globalist.

The key themes of this renewed terra nullius are thus:

  • land without a legitimate state to own it;
  • civilization vs. barbarism (along with civilized vs. barbaric forms of violence, for example, Tomahawk missiles vs. nerve gas);
  • demonization and dehumanization;
  • a nation-state reduced to a “regime” which is reduced to one person who is reduced to a monster/animal; and,
  • a fertile site for imposed models.

One question readers might ask is: why? Why should “terra nullius” or anything resembling the idea be in use here? One simple theory is that any society works with a finite set of cultural materials. These cultural materials can be reproduced, amended, extended, or reworded. We end up with multiple translations of a small set of original sources. Imagine that centuries after European colonialism began, we are still speaking of “civilization” vs. “barbarism,” in the very same terms. A second theory, that goes with the first, is that except in cataclysmic situations (which are extremely rare—the exception), real cultural change occurs only very slowly, at an almost glacial pace. Changes to our basic cultural materials do take place in our lifetimes, but often more in form and application than a change in the original “code”.

Moral Imperialist Economy

Whenever members of a society imagine the rest of the world as a mass of “problems,” and imagine themselves as possessing the “solutions” to those problems, what we have then is the structure for a relationship that involves a transfer of capital. The producers of problems owe a permanent debt to the exporters of solutions—ideally. Reality is different of course: this structural relationship of extraction needs to be maintained, and sometimes the maintenance costs exceed the profits. First, let’s look at some of the basic elements of the moral imperialist economy. Ideologically transforming Syria into a new terra nullius is a form of creative destruction (paralleled by real, military destruction), and as we should know, crisis always creates opportunity, and opportunity attracts opportunists.

Syria is a free for all for various patrons and clients. These new Wild Wests are a great place for freelancers of all kinds to upgrade their status, for example. Syria has thus been transformed into a Wild West of misinformation, of selective information, of forms of activism and a way to invest political interests in the creation of custom-made propaganda. Inevitably there are patrons for this or that stream of propaganda, whether it’s a news agency, the CIA, a NGO of some sort, or elements of “the crowd” funding one’s work through something like “gofundme”. The result is a kind of wild stock market for values of all kinds.

New commodities are produced by the new information warfare, designed to conduct war on the minds of all media consumers, whether of the established or social media kind (it makes little difference). One of the key new commodities is, of all things, the baby photo. Not just any babies though—no, these always have to be dead babies, sometimes mangled, sometimes partly decomposed, sometimes about to die, or those that have barely escaped death but are nonetheless permanently disfigured, burnt, or without limbs. These commodities are avidly traded by all sides. The open borders/refugee advocates have their photo of a dead Syrian child on a beach; the regime changers have pictures of child gas victims; and even the anti-imperialists have their photo of a little Palestinian boy, seized from a hospital bed, looking helpless moments before being beheaded by beefy bearded jihadists. Printing dead baby photos is like printing money. Such photos call the attention of powerful patrons, supposedly “provoked” to act when the photos are sufficiently publicized. When such patrons intervene, it further raises the value of such photos, virtually creating a demand for more. Now the most conclusive way to make one’s case “credible” is by flashing the appropriate dead baby photo. This commerce is part of the humanitarian trafficking that liberal imperial globalism encourages.

Wildly inflated numbers, numbers that go up, come down, that get divided, are indicative of the existence of this kind of stock market. Thus the debates over the number of civilians “killed by the regime,” and how often the number is inflated to include all the soldiers and civilians killed by those opposed to “the regime”. So everyone who has been killed in Syria was supposedly killed by the Syrian state—that’s convenient, because after all we have the moralistic demon tales that instruct us that “Assad is a monster,” and just like a monster, he “kills his own people”. (Funny, isn’t it, how easily we always manage to imagine these low-down Third World leaders as sub-humans.)

Status upgrades come easily: take the appropriate moralistic, virtuous stance in front of the right audience—by just saying that you believe in X or Y—and lo and behold you have achieved a status upgrade. You are one of the good people, a trusted source, a credible figure, because you said the right things to the right people in the right place at the right time. This internationalized form of virtue signalling is almost as good as printing money, and nearly identical to it in its most basic sense.

Like in the Wild West, betting in the saloon is also common when it comes to Syria. The US State Department under Obama placed all its bets on some entity they invented, which they liked to call “moderate rebels” (why not “respectable terrorists” or “polite criminals”?). They lost. Numerous left-wing academics signed on to regime change years ago, and because they only pretend to be seasoned analysts for their day jobs, they did not foresee the collapse of the anti-government forces in Syria. That list included noted “post-colonial” scholars and anthropologists, united in their belief in “democracy promotion” and remaking Syria into something palatable to them, with the right leaders in place. Five years later and a smaller group—including feminists like Gloria Steinem and Judith Butler, anarchists like Noam Chomsky and the anthropologist David Graeber, the Marxist David Harvey, and advocates of recolonization like Michael Walzer—placed their bets on socialist Kurdish militias, presumably increasing the value of their bet by the important sign value of their brand name authority. Ironically, in the process of re-imagining legendary Rojava as the site of a second Spanish Civil War, they were openly collaborating with Donald Trump (not naming him directly, since “the US government” was more convenient). These signatories were thus complicit with the very same commander-in-chief of the armed forces they were calling on for support of Syrian Kurds. They wanted “the US government,” whose President is Donald Trump, to impose sanctions on Turkey, and to develop a foreign policy that put Kurdish interests at the forefront. You can be sure that, elsewhere, in front of different crowds, they return to “the Resistance” by puffing up their little chests and sounding all “anti-Trump”—but when it came to cheering their favourite band of ethnic anarchists, they could dispel with appearances. Less “prestigious” characters, publishing in a less “prestigious” outlet, countered the call to “defend Rojava”, a call which appropriated “progressive” politics for the cause of imperialism (reigniting an old marriage). (David Harvey, by the way, having cashed in on abundant sales of his volume, The New Imperialism, has recently changed his mind: he has decided that imperialism is merely a metaphor, “rather than anything real”. Out of curiosity, we have to wonder if “capitalism” is also a metaphor, rather than anything real, seeing how Marxists have linked capitalism with imperialism. Perhaps even socialism is a metaphor, rather than anything real.)

(Recommended here is “The Fake Left at the Left Forum” by Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report, June 13, 2018, and “Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace,” by Diana Johnstone, Consortium News, May 21, 2018.)

Of course activists, academics, and the freelancers that make all the Twitter noise, are just bit players in the drama of their dreams. Some of the really big heavy hitters are the various weapons manufacturers, politely termed “defense contractors,” and their army of lobbyists in Washington, DC. For them, any sniff of a chance for permanent occupation smells like permanent war, and thus permanent profit, paid for by debt in the present to be paid by future tax-payers. Advocates of permanent occupation concede only one alternative to occupation: regime change, thus recolonization, which has the same effect as permanent occupation. Advocates include beneficiaries of status upgrades like Senator Lindsey Graham, converted into the de facto US Secretary of State by his friends at Fox News and CNN.

For powerful patron states like the US, “chaos” offers valuable opportunities—in the technocrats’ language, this is duplicitously referred to as “preventing chaos”. The official assumption, intended for popular consumption, is that “chaos” predates foreign intervention. Remember: other peoples are producers of problems, chaos is thus a permanent and normal state for them. Add to the assumption that chaos predates US intervention the assumption that there is no Syrian government (the officially existing one is not acceptable to the US, so it vanishes), then Syria becomes the name for a wide-open wilderness. That means the US gets to train and reinforce “local forces”—like the separatists cheered on by a select group of leftist academics. But this all costs money, what to do? Here comes Trump’s transfer of costs for extracting capital: emphasis is placed on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States to pay for the costs of US occupation and proxy-training in Syria. This model is essentially one that places the US in the role of an international mercenary. Where such support payments are not forthcoming, then there is the fallback of debt-financed US military spending. The loans are provided by a range of creditors, domestic and foreign, including foreign central banks. Many states thus own US debt, and what we see here is essentially the rest of the planet financing its own domination by a US debt-fuelled warhorse. (This is one of the “secrets” that ought to inform revised and reworked theories of imperialism: empires function best and last longest when the ostensible objects of imperial domination actively collaborate in supporting empire. Theories uninformed by this observation can become trite conspiracy theories of imperialism.)

To maintain the value of US “investment” in Syria, the US needs to create a need for protection, while reducing the value of alternatives (competitors). One way to create a need for protection is to create that crisis that would seem to beg for it: phony gas attacks, like those happening at the end of a week of public debate that erupted after Trump announced he wished to withdraw US forces from Syria soon. Another means for bolstering US intervention in Syria is by invoking the threat of Iran.

As mentioned at the start of this section, the structural relationship of extraction needs to be maintained, and sometimes the maintenance costs exceed the profits. For example, “humanitarian activists” who plead for greater accessibility to refugees, disconnecting the fact of their homelessness from our own military interventions which uprooted those people in the first place, is one way that costs can exceed profits. Humanitarians need to prove that they are needed, and refugees prove the need. However, the backlash from citizens in receiving countries who realize that refugee entrants, in large enough numbers, will usher in a new wave of de facto austerity measures as health, education, and public housing come under pressure, represents a threat to humanitarians and their careers. With humanitarian profit-seeking threatened, one way to respond is to caricature critics as xenophobic haters, which further inflames opposition to their project—few people accept having their pockets picked and being insulted. The result is a generalized closing of doors and the rise of parties that demand an end to foreign occupations.

Finally, I do not mean to imply that all imperialism reduces to economic factors alone. There are several different types and methods of imperialism, and sometimes military imperialism is decidedly uneconomical, just as economic imperialism can appear totally pacific. Again, trite conspiracy theories about the presence of oil pipelines, or plans for building them—in other words, that there must always be some wonderfully profitable economic opportunity for imperialism to make sense—are sometimes wrong. What I am suggesting is that all types of imperialism must involve loss for the dominated, there is a transfer of values and costs, and a system of extraction, such that every type of imperialism could be analyzed as if it were economic in nature.

Dreaming of Power, Projecting Our Fantasies

No doubt most citizens in places like the US and Canada do not spend much time, or any time, worrying about Syria—and that is probably a good thing. If only their example could be followed by those with much greater power, or those with much louder voices.

One of the striking features of the Syrian war are those individuals outside of Syria who have decided to make Syria their business. This goes well beyond personal curiosity and a desire to learn about a different place—it’s instead something which is invested with a thick desire to turn Syria into something which they want and currently lack. Syria is experienced vicariously and voyeuristically. Some are learning what they can because they wish to stop our intervention in Syria, and in the process they are learning a great deal about their own society. Others, however, engage in no such reflection.

For those outsiders who would presume to have a say in Syria’s future, Syria is required to put on a pleasing performance. Syria has to perform like a “democracy” before it can be left alone; some on the left instead argue it is already democratic, and see in Syria the salvation of a true liberalism. What unites both is the assumption that Syria is culturally empty: it can create nothing of its own. At best, Syria and other places like it (target nations) are pictured as mere fertile ground ready to be planted with foreign seeds. The only job locals have is to be receivers of imports. Why would a country with a civilization that long predates either Karl Marx or Adam Smith not have a right to develop its own approaches?

As I wrote about elsewhere earlier this year, there is an internal debate among North American leftists as to whether Syria’s Ba’athists are “true socialists”. As I wrote then,

“does Syria exist to satisfy dogmatic demands in exchange for certification from those US Marxists who have never held power and thus know nothing about actual responsibility?… US Marxists in particular have an overweening sense of their centrality to the world, when they are beyond marginal at home. Perhaps their role as peripheral spectators in domestic politics is what has them casting about overseas for a mission to fulfill their frustrated ambitions”.

One would think Syria had submitted an application for a job, and “history” put us in place to acts as its judges. If Syria is not a “democracy,” or is not “socialist,” what then? Does it get destroyed as a result? I would hate to be on the receiving end of such “solidarity” and I would pray that “internationalists” learn the virtues of minding their own business.

“We’re not particularly keen to be friends with you. We’re not begging you for friendship. We want normal, civilized relations—which you arrogantly refuse, disregarding basic courtesy. You are misguided to think you have friends. Your so-called friends are just those who can’t say no to you. This is your only criteria for friendship”.—Vassily Nebenzia, ambassador of Russia to the UN Security Council, responding to US ambassador Nikki Haley on April 9, 2018.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 11 Comments

Druze Gather in Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights to Mark Support for Assad

© REUTERS / Ammar Awad
Sputnik – 06.10.2018

Gathering along a fence separating them from the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights, Druze commemorated the anniversary of the start of the 1973 Arab Israeli War while celebrating Syria’s successes in its recent war against the terrorists.

Carrying Syrian flags, portraits of President Bashar Assad, binoculars and megaphones, the Druze community in the village of Massade chanted loyalty to the Syrian government, with troops and civilians on the other side of the border shouting and waving back.

Local resident Emil Masoud told Reuters that the rally was meant to “celebrate the final stages of the war… and to celebrate with our people in Syria the final stage of victory.”

The village of Massade, part of Syria’s Quneitra District, has been under Israeli occupation since the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.

Israel occupied 1,200 square kilometers of the 1,800 square-kilometer Golan Heights during the Six-Day War, and formally annexed it in 1981. The UN Security Council condemned the decision and called the move to impose Israeli “laws, jurisdiction and administration” over the territory “null and void and without international legal effect.”

During the conflict in Syria, much of southern Syria, including the Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights, was occupied by Islamist militants, including Daesh (ISIS), a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries. This summer, Syrian forces won back control of their southern border areas from the terrorists.

Last week, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem called on the international community to compel Israel to abide by UN Security Council resolutions, including the one on the Golan Heights, and stressed Damascus’ determination to fully liberate the Golan Heights, “just as we liberated southern Syria from terrorists.”

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

S-300s and Other Military Hardware for Syria

The Saker | Unz Review | October 5, 2018

This week Russian officials declared that the delivery of S-300s for Syria was completed and that this first batch included 49 pieces of “military equipment”, including radars, control vehicles and four launchers. Russian officials added that, if needed, this figure could be increased to 8-12 launchers. Defense Minister Shoigu added that “the measures we will take will be devoted to ensure 100 percent safety and security of our men in Syria, and we will do this”. This leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

First, it is still unclear which version of the S-300 was delivered to Syria. Some sources say that this might be the S-300PMU2, others mention the S-300VM while, yet other sources speculate that this might be an S-300V4 or its export version the Antey-2500. I will spare you the technical details (those interested can look at the pretty detailed Wikipedia entry here), but it should be noted that until the specific version of the S-300 becomes known it will be very hard to assess the potential impact of this delivery. The original S-300s are by now maybe not obsolete, but most definitely not the bleeding edge of air defense technologies. (The first S-300s entered service with the Soviet military in the late seventies!). But the newest version of the S-300s are very close in capabilities to the S-400 system and thus rank among the most capable air defense systems ever built. For example, a lot has been made from the fact that the Israelis have had many years to study the S-300s delivered to Greece, but what is often overlooked is that the version delivered to Cyprus and which was later re-deployed to Greece was the (relatively outdated) S-300PMU-1. The probability that the Russians would deliver this version to the Syrians is close to zero. However, when I think of Israeli Defense Minister (and bona fide nutcase) Lieberman declaring that “one thing needs to be clear: If someone shoots at our planes, we will destroy them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an S-300 or an S-700” he probably was told by the Israeli military analysts that the S-300 is not that formidable a weapon and missed the fact that they were referring to the older version and not the kind of kit the Russians would be using nowadays.

What is sure is that just four launchers are not very many, but are enough to protect any one specific part of Syria. They will also increase the overall number of Russian/Syrian air defense missiles thus helping to achieve the officially stated goal of ensuring “the 100 percent safety” of the Russian forces in Syria. However, this is certainly not enough to create a complete no-fly zone over the entire country, at least not against a large scale attack.

Still, the Russians already have S-300s (and even S-400) in Syria and 4 more launchers do provide them with some additional firepower, but not any new capabilities. I think the most likely explanation is that the S-300s delivered to the Syrians will protect a few important strategic Syrian targets (Damascus?) while, at the same time, adding firepower to the (rather small) Russian task force in Syria. As for the statement that an additional 4-8 launchers could be delivered, that is both a sign that the Russians want to keep their options open while, at the same time, creating a deliberate ambiguity about how much firepower they actually possess at any one given moment in time.

Second, I will repeat what I said before: S-300s are not what the Syrians need most. In terms of anti-air missiles, what they need most are higher numbers of Pantsirs-S1/2 mobile medium to short range air defense systems. Not only are the Pantsirs ideal to protect against cruise missile strikes, they can also protect the S-300s, which will become a critical issue if the Israelis decide to try to destroy them (which they threatened to do in the past).

What S-300s primarily add to the Syrian capabilities is not so much the ability to intercept more missiles, but the ability to track and engage AWACS and other battle management and reconnaissance aircraft at very long ranges. In theory, an S-300V4 could make it impossible for the Israelis to put up an AWACS at any useful range. The AWACS would either have to remain too far to be of use, or take the huge risk of being shot down by a high speed and very maneuverable missile (S-300V4 missiles have a flight envelope of 400 km at Mach 7.5 or of 350 km at Mach 9!). If the Israelis conclude that the Syrians now have S-300V4′s, they will have to dramatically decrease their air operations in Syria and will switch to tactical (ground to ground) ballistic missiles and long range artillery systems. More S-300s also improve the overall radar coverage and will close some gaps created by the Syrian mountain ranges.

Third, it remains equally unclear, perhaps deliberately, which electronic warfare systems Russia has deployed (or will deploy) in Syria and in what numbers. Possible candidates include the Zhitel R-330Zh electronic intelligence and jamming system, the Borisoglebsk-2 RB-301B electronic warfare weapon system and the Krasukha-4 jamming system. As for the automated command and control system which might be deployed to Syria, my guess is that the Polyana D4M1 would be a prime candidate. Whatever the actual mix will be in the end, I would argue that this presents a more formidable capability than additional S-300 launchers. Sure, this is apples and oranges, but we have to keep in mind that these electronic warfare systems are extremely powerful force-multipliers which can dramatically increase both the Russian and the Syrian defensive capabilities by jamming GPS signals, datalinks, cellphone signals (used for targeting and intelligence), radars, by creating false targets and even by destroying electronics. Electronic warfare is one field in which the Israelis have always enjoyed a huge superiority over their Arab victims and the fact that this has now changed is an extremely distressing development for them, even if they will never admit it.

As predicted, the Israelis have declared themselves both superior and invulnerable so they will continue their policy of (completely illegal) aggression against Syria. They have several options here: the Israelis might decide to stick to basically symbolic attacks against unprotected targets and declare each time that they have destroyed a huge depot of Hezbollah missiles or a Syrian chemical weapons plant. That would greatly help to bolster Netanyahu’s “patriotic” credentials while keeping the real action at a purely symbolic level. The second option would be to use ballistic missiles and long range artillery and strike some real targets. Finally, the Israelis could try to launch a complex and large air attack on the Syrian air defense systems in an attempt to show that S-300s are no big deal for them. The option of using ballistic missiles is probably the most likely one (and if the Syrians don’t keep their S-300s fairly close to each other (so they can protect each other), the Israelis might also be able to destroy them). That is a rather risky plan since, if successful, it would just result in more air defense system deliveries from Russia. This is something the USA might strenuously object to since every time the Russians deliver military hardware to the Syrians to protect them against the Israelis, they also improve the Syrian capability to defend their country against US/NATO/CENTCOM attacks (the delivery of S-300s to the Syrians is just as much a disaster for the USA as it is for Israel so I imagine that the US commanders are rather angry with the Israelis for creating this situation).

It is important to keep in mind that while the S-300s are certainly formidable air defense systems, they are not a Wunderwaffe which could, by itself, prevent the Israelis from attacking Syria. The latest delivery of military hardware from Russia will definitely mark a sharp increase in the Syrian (and Russian) defense capabilities, but if the Israelis are determined to continue striking Syria, the Russians will have to deliver even more systems.

Speaking of the Israelis, their big delegation which traveled to Moscow apparently only succeeded in further irritating the Russians. I had speculated that they might present some kind of exculpatory evidence but I was wrong: apparently, they had nothing to say besides “Iran is bad” and “Syria is responsible”. This is what caused the Russians to show a record of the radar data of the Russian S-400 in Syria to prove that every words of the Israelis were lies, lies and more lies.

I see that as yet another proof of the absolutely amazing combination of gross incompetence and breathtaking arrogance of the Israelis. The way they conducted their entire attack is already a testimony of their gross lack of professionalism, and they only added insult to injury when they showed up in Moscow and looked the Russians straight in the eyes and lied about everything (even though they must have known that Russians had it all recorded second by second). When Putin spoke of a “chain of tragic circumstances” he was very politely trying to give them an out as long as they apologized and compensated the Russians, but to the Israeli Herrenvolk that would have been totally unacceptable. They did what they always do: they doubled down and accused all their critics of antisemitism. What else is new?

In conclusion I will say that, while I might very well be wrong, I still don’t believe that the Israelis had some sophisticated plan to achieve some still to be determined goal. During the past year the Israelis informed the Russians about their planned airstrikes in Syria via their deconfliction line only in 10% of the cases. For the remaining 90% they did not even bother, in spite of having promised to do so in their agreement with Russia. In sharp contrast, the Russians always informed the Israelis of their operations, as did the Americans towards the Russians. But the Israelis simply think that they don’t have to abide by any kind of norms of behavior. That kind of contempt for agreements (and for non-Jews in general) is typical of the Israeli mindset and it will eventually bring the downfall of the last openly racist regime on the planet.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Lies of our (Financial) Times

By James Petras | Dissident Voice | October 4, 2018

The leading financial publications have misled their political and investor subscribers of emerging crises and military defeats which have precipitated catastrophic political and economic losses.

The most egregious example is the Financial Times (FT) a publication which is widely read by the business and financial elite.

In this essay we will proceed by outlining the larger political context that sets the framework for the transformation of the FT from a relatively objective purveyor of world news into a propagator of wars and failed economic policies.

In part two we will discuss several case studies which illustrate the dramatic shifts from a prudent business publication to a rabid military advocate, from a well-researched analyst of economic policies to an ideologue of the worst speculative investors.

The decay of the quality of its reportage is accompanied by the bastardization of language. Concepts are distorted; meanings are emptied of their cognitive sense; and vitriol covers crimes and misdemeanors.

We will conclude by discussing how and why the ‘respectable’ media have affected real world political and market outcomes for citizens and investors.

Political and Economic Context

The decay of the FT cannot be separated from the global political and economic transformations in which it publishes and circulates. The demise of the Soviet Union, the pillage of Russia’s economy throughout the 1990s and the US declaration of a unipolar world were celebrated by the FT as great success stories for ‘western values’. The US and EU annexation of Eastern Europe, the Balkan and Baltic states led to the deep corruption and decay of journalistic narratives.

The FT willingly embraced every violation of the Gorbachev-Reagan agreements and NATO’s march to the borders of Russia. The militarization of US foreign policy was accompanied by the FT conversion to a military interpreter of what it dubbed the ‘transition to democratization’.

The language of the FT reportage combined democratic rhetoric with an embrace of military practices. This became the hallmark for all future coverage and editorializing. The FT military policies extended from Europe to the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Gulf States.

The FT joined the yellow press in describing military power grabs, including the overthrow of political adversaries, as ‘transitions to democracy’ and the creation of ‘open societies’.

The unanimity of the liberal and right-wing publications in support of western imperialism precluded any understanding of the enormous political and economic costs which ensued.

To protect itself from its most egregious ideological foibles, the FT included ‘insurance clauses’, to cover for catastrophic authoritarian outcomes. For example they advised western political leaders to promote military interventions and, by the way, with ‘democratic transitions’.

When it became evident that US-NATO wars did not lead to happy endings but turned into prolonged insurgencies, or when western clients turned into corrupt tyrants, the FT claimed that this was not what they meant by a ‘democratic transition’ – this was not their version of “free markets and free votes”.

The Financial and Military Times (?)

The militarization of the FT led it to embrace a military definition of political reality. The human and especially the economic costs, the lost markets, investments and resources were subordinated to the military outcomes of ‘wars against terrorism’ and ‘Russian authoritarianism’.

Each and every Financial Times report and editorial promoting western military interventions over the past two decades resulted in large scale, long-term economic losses.

The FT supported the US war against Iraq which led to the ending of important billion-dollar oil deals (oil for food) signed off with President Saddam Hussein. The subsequent US occupation precluded a subsequent revival of the oil industry. The US appointed client regime pillaged the multi-billion dollar reconstruction programs – costing US and EU taxpayers and depriving Iraqis of basic necessities.

Insurgent militias, including ISIS, gained control over half the country and precluded the entry of any new investment.

The US and FT backed western client regimes organized rigged election outcomes and looted the treasury of oil revenues, arousing the wrath of the population lacking electricity, potable water and other necessities.

The FT backed war, occupation and control of Iraq was an unmitigated disaster.

Similar outcomes resulted from the FT support for the invasions of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

For example the FT propagated the story that the Taliban was providing sanctuary for bin Laden’s planning the terror assault in the US (9/11).

In fact, the Afghan leaders offered to turn over the US suspect, if they were offered evidence. Washington rejected the offer, invaded Kabul and the FT joined the chorus backing the so-called ‘war on terrorism which led to an unending, one trillion-dollar war.

Libya signed off to a disarmament and multi-billion-dollar oil agreement with the US in 2003. In 2011 the US and its western allies bombed Libya, murdered Gaddafi, totally destroyed civil society and undermined the US/EU oil agreements. The FT backed the war but decried the outcome. The FT followed a familiar ploy; promoting military invasions and then, after the fact, criticizing the economic disasters.

The FT led the media charge in favor of the western proxy war against Syria: savaging the legitimate government and praising the mercenary terrorists, which it dubbed ‘rebels’ and ‘militants’ – dubious terms for US and EU financed operatives.

Millions of refugees, resulting from western wars in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq fled to Europe seeking refuge. FT described the imperial holocaust – the ‘dilemmas of Europe’. The FT bemoaned the rise of the anti-immigrant parties but never assumed responsibility for the wars which forced the millions to flee to the west.

The FT columnists prattle about ‘western values’ and criticize the ‘far right’ but abjured any sustained attack of Israel’s daily massacre of Palestinians. Instead readers get a dose of weekly puff pieces concerning Israeli politics with nary a mention of Zionist power over US foreign policy.

FT: Sanctions, Plots and Crises — Russia, China and Iran

The FT like all the prestigious media propaganda sheets have taken a leading role in US conflicts with Russia, China and Iran.

For years the scribes in the FT stable have discovered (or invented) “crises” in China’s economy- always claiming it was on the verge of an economic doomsday. Contrary to the FT, China has been growing at four times the rate of the US; ignoring the critics it built a global infrastructure system instead of the multi-wars backed by the journalist war mongers.

When China innovates, the FT harps on techno theft — ignoring US economic decline.

The FT boasts it writes “without fear and without favor” which translates into serving imperial powers voluntarily.

When the US sanctions China we are told by the FT that Washington is correcting China’s abusive statist policies. Because China does not impose military outposts to match the eight hundred US military bases on five continents, the FT invents what it calls ‘debt colonialism” apparently describing Beijing’s financing large-scale productive infrastructure projects.

The perverse logic of the FT extends to Russia. To cover up for the US financed coup in the Ukraine it converted a separatist movement in Donbass into a Russian land grab. In the same way a free election in Crimea is described as Kremlin annexation.

The FT provides the language of the declining western imperial empires.

Independent, democratic Russia, free of western pillage and electoral meddling is labelled “authoritarian”; social welfare which serves to decrease inequality is denigrated as ‘populism’ —linked to the far right. Without evidence or independent verification, the FT fabricates Putinesque poison plots in England and Bashar Assad poison gas conspiracies in Syria.

Conclusion

The FT has chosen to adopt a military line which has led to a long series of financially disastrous wars. The FT support of sanctions has cost oil companies billions of dollars, euros and pounds. The sanctions, it backed, have broken global networks.

The FT has adopted ideological postures that threaten supply chains between the West, China, Iran and Russia. The FT writes in many tongues but it has failed to inform its financial readers that it bears some responsibility for markets which are under siege.

There is unquestionably a need to overhaul the name and purpose of the FT. One journalist who was close to the editors suggests it should be called the “Military Times” – the voice of a declining empire.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Showdown at Tanf

Sic Semper Tyrannus | October 3, 2018

The reconciliation process initiated by the Russians in Syria has saved countless lives of soldiers, civilians and even jihadists. It also preserved SAA fighting strength, brought a lot of Syrian territory back under the control of Damascus. It brought former jihadists back into the fight on the side of the SAA. This process may appear to be tedious and without the glorious satisfaction of annihilating jihadis in a costly series of rapid offensives, but I firmly believe the reconciliation process is the right way for Syria. This strategy is now being brought to bear at Tanf.

The first evidence of this was the mid-September agreement for the removal of the US trained and backed al-Qaryatayn Martyrs Brigade and 5,000 civilians from the Rukban refugee camp to the Euphrates Shield-held area in northern Aleppo. This was the work of the Russian Reconciliation Center. More recently, tribal leaders from Damascus have met tribal leaders at the refugee camp to discuss their situation. A list of refugees wanting to engage in the reconciliation process is being prepared. Many of those not reconciling with Damascus will be shipped north to join the al-Qaryatayn Martyrs Brigade and their families. The camp evacuations are already underway. Next week the Russians will escort a UN aid convoy into the Rukban Refugee Camp.

Although the US has apparently acquiesced to the Russian plan to depopulate the Rukban Refugee Camp, I believe Russia has cleverly outmaneuvered the US. The SAA is steadily destroying the remaining jihadis on the al-Safa plateau. I believe the US forces at Tanf will soon be left alone without jihadis to control, or even any remaining jihadis to fight. The “fighting ISIS” rationale will disappear and the real reason for remaining at Tanf will become clear. At Israel’s behest, we are blocking the Teheran-Baghdad-Damascus highway.

TTG

https://southfront.org/us-backed-militant-group-in-al-tanaf-accepts-evacuation-agreement-report/

https://southfront.org/russian-us-negotiations-to-evacuate-civilians-from-al-rukban-camp-near-al-tanaf/

https://southfront.org/damascus-government-and-local-leaders-reach-initial-agreement-on-al-rukban-camp/

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-scores-big-advance-in-southern-syria-amid-heavy-resistance-from-isis-video/

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The US Military-Industrial Complex’s Worst Nightmare: The S-300 May Destroy and Expose the F-35

By Federico Pieraccini | American Herald Tribune | September 30, 2018

The tragic episode that caused the death of 15 Russian air force personnel has had immediate repercussions on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. On September 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed allies and opponents that the delivery of the S-300 air-defense systems to the Syrian Arab Republic had been approved by President Vladimir Putin. The delivery had been delayed and then suspended as a result of Israeli pressure back in 2013.

In one sense, the delivery of S-300 batteries to Syria is cause for concern more for Washington than for Tel Aviv. Israel has several F-35 and has claimed to have used them in Syria to strike alleged Iranian weapons transfers to Hezbollah. With the S-300 systems deployed in an updated version and incorporated into the Russian command, control and communications (C3) system, there is a serious risk (for Washington) that Israel, now incapable of changing the course of events in Syria, could attempt a desperate maneuver.

It is no secret that Greece purchased S-300s from Russia years ago, and that NATO and Israel have trained numerous times against the Russian air-defense system. Senior IDF officials have often insisted that they are capable taking out the S-300s, having apparently discovered their weaknesses.

Tel Aviv’s warning that it will attack and destroy the S-300 battery should not be taken as an idle threat. It is enough to look at the recent downing of Russia’s Il-20 surveillance aircraft to understand how reckless a desperate Israel is prepared to be. Moreover, more than one IDF commander has over the years reiterated that a Syrian S-300 would be considered a legitimate target if threatening Israeli aircraft.

At this point, it is necessary to add some additional information and clarify some points. Greece’s S-300s are old, out of maintenance, and have not had their electronics updated. Such modern and complex systems as the S-300s and S-400s require maintenance, upgrades, and often replacement of parts to improve hardware. All this is missing from the Greek batteries. Secondly, it is the operator who uses the system (using radar, targeting, aiming, locking and so forth) that often makes the difference in terms of overall effectiveness. Furthermore, the system is fully integrated into the Russian C3 system, something that renders useless any previous experience gleaned from wargaming the Greek S-300s. No Western country knows the real capabilities and capacity of Syrian air defense when augmented and integrated with Russian systems. This is a secret that Damascus and Moscow will continue to keep well guarded. Yet two years ago, during the operations to free Aleppo, a senior Russian military officer warned (presumably alluding to fifth-generation stealth aircraft like the F-35 and F-22) that the range and effectiveness of the Russian systems may come as a surprise.

The following are the words of Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu concerning the deployment of the S-300 to Syria and its integration with other Russian systems:

“Russia will jam satellite navigation, onboard radars and communication systems of combat aircraft, which attack targets in the Syrian territory, in the Mediterranean Sea bordering with Syria. We are convinced that the implementation of these measures will cool hotheads and prevent ill-considered actions threatening our servicemen. Otherwise, we will respond in line with the current situation. Syrian troops and military air defense units will be equipped with automatic control systems, which have been supplied to the Russian Armed Forces. This will ensure the centralized management of the Syrian air defense forces and facilities, monitoring the situation in the airspace and prompt target designation. Most importantly, it will be used to identify the Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense forces.”

If the Israelis will follow through with their reckless attempts to eliminate the S-300 (if they can find them in the first place, given that they are mobile), they will risk their F-35s being brought down. The US military-industrial complex would suffer irreparable damage. This would also explain why Israel (and probably the US) has for more than five years put enormous pressure on Moscow not to deliver the S-300 to Syria and Iran. The US State Department’s reaction over the future purchase by Turkey and India of the S-400 confirms the anxiety that US senior officials as well as generals are experiencing over the prospect of allies opting for the Russian systems. This would allow for a comparison with weapons these allies purchased from the US, leading to the discovery of vulnerabilities and the realization of the US weapons’ relative inferiority.

Given Tel Aviv’s tendency to place its own interests above all others, it would not be surprising to find them using the possibility of attacking the S-300 with their F-35s as a weapon to blackmail Washington into getting more involved in the conflict. For the United States, there are two scenarios to avoid. The first is a direct involvement in the conflict with Russia in Syria, which is now unthinkable and impractical. The second – much more worrying for military planners – concerns the possibility of the F-35’s capabilities and secrets being compromised or even being shown not to be a match against air-defense systems nearly half a century old.

An illuminating example of how the United States operates its most advanced aircraft in the region was given in eastern Syria around Deir ez-Zor. In this part of Syria, there is no threat from any advanced air-defense systems, so the US is often free to employ its F-22 in certain circumstances. The Russian military has repeatedly shown radar evidence that unequivocally shows that when Russian Su-35s appear in the same skies as the F-22, the US Air Force simply avoids any confrontation and quickly withdraws such fifth-generation assets as the F-22. The F-35 is not even ready in its naval variant, and has yet to be deployed on a US aircraft carrier near the Middle Eastern theater or the Persian Gulf; nor is it present in any US military base in the region. The US simply does not even consider using the F-35 in Syria, nor would it risk its use against Russian air defenses. Israel is the only country that so far may have already used these aircraft in Syria; but this was before the S-300 came onto the scene.

The F-35 program has already cost hundreds of billions of dollars and will soon reach the exorbitant and surreal figure of over 1 trillion dollars. It has already been sold to dozens of countries bound by decades-long agreements. The F-35 has been developed as a multi-role fighter and is expected to be the future backbone of NATO and her allies. Its development began more than 10 years ago and, despite the countless problems that still exist, it is already airborne and combat-ready, as the Israelis insist. From the US point of view, its employment in operations is played down and otherwise concealed. The less data available to opponents, the better; though the real reason may lie in a strong fear of any revelation of potential weaknesses of the aircraft damaging future sales. At this time, the Pentagon’s marketing of the F-35 is based on the evaluations provided by Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer, and on the tests carried out by the military who commissioned it to Lockheed Martin. Obviously, both Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force have no interest in revealing any weaknesses or shortcomings, especially publicly. Corruption is a big thing in Washington, contrary to common assumptions.

The combination of Israel’s ego, its inability to change the course of events in Syria, coupled with the loss of its ability to fly throughout the Middle East with impunity due to Syria now being equipped with a superior air defense – all these factors could push Israel into acting desperately by using the F-35 to take out the S-300 battery. Washington finds itself in the unenviable position of probably having no leverage with Israel over the matter ever since losing any ability to steer events in Syria.

With the Russian air-defense systems potentially being spread out to the four corners of the world, including China, India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and who knows how many other countries waiting in the queue, Russia continues to increase its export capacity and military prestige as it demonstrates its control of most of the Syria’s skies. With the introduction of the the S-500 pending, one can imagine the sleepless nights being spent by those in the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin’s headquarters worrying about the possibility of an F-35 being taken down by an S-300 system manufactured in 1969.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment