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Trump-Putin summit should be welcomed, not feared

By Neil Clark | RT | June 22, 2018

The news that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are preparing to meet in Europe next month has been causing consternation among those keen to keep the temperature of the new ‘Cold War’ close to freezing point.

But these voices should be ignored, as a summit is just what is needed at the present time.

“Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war,” Winston Churchill famously observed. Which sane person, desirous of world peace, could possibly disagree with the sentiment?

Yet, it seems that some people in the corridors of power in the West and in neocon think-tanks are seriously alarmed by the prospect of the presidents of the US and Russia getting together for a tete-a-tete and possibly defusing current tensions.

The London Times has cited Whitehall sources who told the paper how worried they were about a Trump-Putin get-together. “It would be a highly negative thing to do,” one unnamed insider said. “Everyone is perturbed by what is going on, and is fearing for the future of the [Atlantic] alliance,” said another.

Meanwhile, in the New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser informs us that many Russia ‘experts’ are worried that Putin “is intent upon securing major concessions from Trump.” She also cites George W. Bush’s former ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, who lambasted the idea of a meeting as a “bonding session with another dictator.”

“Get ready for another lavish televised love-fest, this time between Trump and Putin,” warns Anne Applebaum. The Washington Post columnist fears there will be a ‘trade.’ “We stop holding military exercises in Europe. In exchange, we allow Russia to keep Crimea.”

“Also,” she adds, “we will throw in Alaska.”

If we go back to the early 1970s, we’d find Applebaum’s predecessors equally concerned that President Nixon – another Republican president loathed by liberals – was keen on a rapprochement with the Soviet Union. In fact, a review of the diplomatic moves made by Nixon and the opposition he faced from uber-hawks inside America is highly instructive.

On May 22, 1972, Nixon became the first serving US president to set foot inside the Kremlin. Four days later, the president and his Soviet counterpart Leonid Brezhnev signed SALT 1 (the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), described by Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing in their book ‘Cold War’ as “an event of considerable significance.”

“After 25 years of hostility, the Soviet Union and the United States had agreed to curb spiraling arms-race costs, and reduce the risks of nuclear war,” they wrote.

Who couldn’t be happy about this? Senator Henry Jackson – aka the ‘Senator from Boeing’ – for one. As the New York Times explained in 1988.

SALT 1 was an executive agreement, not a treaty, so it could not be blocked by the Senate. “So Jackson pushed through a resolution that set stiff terms for any future treaties, demanding, among other things, that they produce rough numerical equality,” it wrote.

Jackson also opposed the agreement on Security and Cooperation in Europe, signed in Helsinki on August 1, 1975, commonly regarded as ‘detente’s high point.’

“As if to symbolize this new spirit of goodwill, the American Apollo and the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft docked together in outer space, 140 miles above Earth. For two days, the astronauts of rival systems carried out joint experiments while orbiting Earth. Detente had replaced decades of confrontation,” note Isaacs and Downing.

And remember, all this had happened under Republican presidents (Nixon and Ford).

Fast forward to today, and it’s the disciples of ‘Scoop’ Jackson who once again seem terrified that a meeting between Trump and Putin will lead to a new ‘spirit of goodwill’ between East and West.

That would never do, as Russia must always be regarded as the enemy – unless of course it does absolutely everything the West demands of it.

Trump and Putin could be a re-run of Nixon and Brezhnev. They could start to talk about arms limitation. They could start to talk about new security and co-operation arrangements. They could embrace each other warmly and declare that the US and Russia would never go to war with each other.

Of course, if such positive moves were made, people across the world would be delighted, as they were in 1972 and 1975. But defense industry lobbyists won’t be.

In ’Fog,’ a 1969 episode of the classic UK television series ‘The Avengers,’ members of the world disarmament committee meet in London, and are bumped off one by one by a mysterious ‘Gaslight Ghoul.’ We’re led to believe that the guilty party is an old-fashioned, politically incorrect ‘Empire loyalist’ Sir Geoffrey Armstrong but in fact (Plot Spoiler Alert), it’s the more ‘progressive’ Mark Travers. And his motive? He has an armaments business. He profits from wars and conflicts. That’s why the very idea of the great powers co-operating is anathema to him.

Mark is able to ‘disguise’ himself as a good guy because he doesn’t espouse the reactionary ‘Colonel Blimp’ views of Sir Geoffrey. Sound familiar?

Any US presidents who have worked for arms limitation and better relations with the Kremlin have faced fierce opposition, even if they’ve been former hawks themselves.

In 1975, Ronald Reagan opposed Helsinki, saying “All Americans should be against it.” He stepped up the arms race when he became president in 1981 and referred to the Soviet Union as ‘the evil empire.’ But in 1984, at the time when the pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood were warning us of the dangers of nuclear Armageddon with their smash hit ‘Two Tribes,’ Reagan changed course quite dramatically. The president’s ambitious goal was a world without nuclear weapons. The hawks in the US and Britain were alarmed over this volte face. On November 19, 1985 Reagan met new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time.

“They got on famously – even better when alone together,” Isaacs and Downing record. Just over two years later, the two men signed a historic arms-control agreement in the White House.

But it could have been even more extensive. At the Reykjavik summit in October 1986, Reagan said he was willing to eliminate all nuclear weapons within 10 years. The Star Wars (SDI) defense programme proved the sticking point – but in Downing Street there was enormous relief that a deal was not struck – wedded to concerns that nuclear disarmament might still happen at a future date.

“My own reaction when I heard how far the Americans had been prepared to go was as if there had been an earthquake beneath my feet,” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher later wrote. “I supported the idea of a 50-percent direction in strategic ballistic missiles over five years, but the president’s proposals to eliminate them all together after 10 years was a different matter… Somehow I had to get the Americans back onto the firm ground of a credible policy of nuclear deterrence. I arranged to fly to the United States to see President Reagan.”

The ‘Iron Lady’ went to Camp David and persuaded Reagan to take what she saw as a firmer line. A statement was released which declared: “The president reaffirmed the United States’ intention to proceed with its strategic modernization program, including Trident. He also confirmed his full support for the arrangements made to modernize Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, with Trident.”

“I had reason to be well pleased,” wrote Thatcher.

Then, as now, it was Britain urging the US to maintain a tough stance towards Moscow. That’s worth remembering whenever you hear someone say that London always acts as Washington’s poodle – because sometimes it’s the UK government that’s the more hawkish.

Thatcher believed that Europe would have been ‘dangerously exposed’ if Reagan’s disarmament plans had been accepted. Today, we hear similar fears being expressed over a Trump-Putin summit. The future of NATO, we’re told, could be threatened. Yet significantly, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg is not among the voices articulating this concern. Speaking in London this week, the former Norwegian PM dismissed fears that a meeting between Trump and Putin would undermine Western security.

“To meet President Putin is not in any way contradictory to NATO policies… Several NATO leaders have met Putin… We do not want a new Cold War. We do not want a new arms race. We want to talk to Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

The NATO chief’s diplomatic statements are a blow to those who don’t want any meaningful dialogue between East and West. But they will be welcomed by all those who want to see the US and its allies move towards a new era of detente with Moscow, which could only be for the benefit of the entire world.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

The Pro-War Media Deserve Criticism, Not Sainthood

By James Bovard | Future of Freedom | June 20, 2018

The media nowadays are busy congratulating themselves for their vigorous criticism of Donald Trump. To exploit that surge of sanctimony, Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg rushed out The Post, a movie depicting an epic press battle with the Nixon administration. Critics raved over the film, which the New York Post enthusiastically labeled “journalism porn of the highest order.” Boston Public Radio station WBUR called it the “most fun you’ll ever have at a civics lesson.”

Spielberg, touting his movie, claimed that “the free press is a crusader for truth,” But the media hoopla around The Post is akin to geezers boasting of having shown moments of courage when they were almost 50 years younger.

The Post is built around the Pentagon Papers, a secret study begun in 1967 analyzing where the Vietnam War had gone awry. The 7000-page tome showed that presidents and military leaders had been profoundly deceiving the American people ever since the Truman administration and that the same mistakes were being endlessly repeated. Like many policy autopsies, the report was classified as secret and completely ignored by the White House and federal agencies, which most needed to heed its lessons. New York Times editor Tom Wicker commented in 1971 that “the people who read these documents in the Times were the first to study them.”

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, heroically risked life in prison to smuggle the report to the media after members of Congress were too cowardly to touch it. The New York Times shattered the political sound barrier when it began courageously publishing the report despite a profusion of threats from the Nixon administration Justice Department. After a federal court slapped the Times with an injunction, the Washington Post and other newspapers published additional classified excerpts from the report.

The Post ignores the fact that U.S. government policy on Vietnam did not become more honest after the Pentagon Papers disclosure. In such cases, the government’s notion of “repenting” is merely to substitute new and often more-ludicrous falsehoods. Besides, as retired State Department whistleblower Peter van Buren noted, “The Post has no real interest in the Pentagon Papers except as a plot device, almost an excuse needed to make this movie.”

Because the Washington Post had a female publisher, Spielberg made it, rather than the Times, the star of the show. Van Buren suggested, “Spielberg might as well have costumed Meryl Streep (who played Post publisher Katherine Graham) in a pink pussy hat for the boardroom scenes.” The movie fails to mention Graham’s cozy relationship with President Lyndon Johnson. A few weeks after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, a secret tape made by the Johnson White House captured Johnson and Graham (whom he called “sweetheart”) flirting up a storm during a phone call. She later flew to his Texas ranch for a personal visit.

Spielberg’s movie portrays Post editor Ben Bradlee denouncing dishonest government officials to Graham: “The way they lied — those days have to be over.” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who deluged the media with falsehoods about battlefront progress, did more than anyone else (except perhaps Lyndon Johnson) to vastly increase the bloodbath for Americans and Vietnamese. McNamara’s disastrous deceits did not deter the Washington Post from appointing him to its board of directors. As Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, recently observed, “The Washington Post was instrumental in avidly promoting the lies that made the Vietnam War possible in the first place.”

The Pentagon Papers proved that politicians and their tools will brazenly con the American public to drag the nation into unnecessary wars. But that lesson vanished into the D.C. Memory Hole — conveniently for bootlicking journalists such as Post superstar Bob Woodward. The late Robert Parry, a Washington correspondent for Newsweek in the late 1980s, declared that he saw “self-censorship because of the coziness between Post-Newsweek executives and senior national security figures.”

Post-Vietnam coziness

Perhaps the memory of winning the Pentagon Papers showdown with the feds helped make the media overconfident about their ability to resist the temptation to become political tools. New York Times columnist Flora Lewis, writing three weeks before the 9/11 attacks, commented in a review of a book on U.S. government lies on the Vietnam war, “There will probably never be a return to the discretion, really collusion, with which the media used to treat presidents, and it is just as well.” Within months of her comment, the media had broken almost all prior kowtowing records. CNN chief Walter Isaacson explained, “Especially right after 9/11 … there was a real sense that you don’t get that critical of a government that’s leading us in wartime.”

On March 17, 2003, George W. Bush justified invading Iraq by invoking UN resolutions purporting to authorize the United States “to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.” A year later, he performed a skit at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ annual dinner featuring slides showing him crawling around the Oval Office peaking behind curtains as he quipped to the poohbah attendees, “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere…. Nope, no weapons over there…. Maybe under here?” The crowd loved it and the Post headlined its report on the evening, “George Bush, Entertainer in Chief.” Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor and Publisher, labeled the press’s reaction that night as “one of the most shameful episodes in the recent history of the American media and presidency.”

Most of the media had embedded themselves for the Iraq war long before that dinner. The Post blocked or buried pre-war articles exposing the Bush team’s shams on Iraq; their award-winning Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks complained, “There was an attitude among editors: ‘Look, we’re going to war; why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?’” Instead, before the war started, the Post ran 27 editorials in favor of invasion and 140 front-page articles supporting the Bush administration’s case for attacking Saddam. The New York Times printed a barrage of false claims on WMDs while axing articles by Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter James Risen demolishing “the administration’s claims of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.” The New York Times also refused to publish classified documents showing pervasive illegal National Security Agency spying on Americans prior to the 2004 election, even though it had received the proof of vast wrongdoing. If the Times had not flinched, George W. Bush might have been denied a second term.

Broadcast media were even quicker to grovel for the war effort. PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer explained, “It would have been difficult to have had debates [about invading Iraq]…. You’d have had to have gone against the grain.” Lehrer neglected to say exactly how kowtowing became patriotic. News anchor Katie Couric revealed in 2008 that there was pressure from “the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of” the Iraq war.

And now, Syria

Despite the role of media gullibility (or worse) in helping the Bush administration sell the Iraq war, the press showed scant skepticism about subsequent U.S. attacks abroad. The media behave at times as if government lies are dangerous only when the president is a certified bad guy — like Richard Nixon or Donald Trump. Barack Obama’s semi-sainthood minimized media criticism of his Syrian debacle — a civil war in which the United States initially armed one side (Syrian rebels who largely turned out to be terrorists) and then switched sides, a flip-flop that resulted in far more dead Syrians. But Americans have received few insights into that bellicose schizophrenia from the media. Historian Stephen Kinzer wrote in the Boston Globe, “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press.” Even in the Trump era — when the press is openly clashing with a president — bombing still provides push-button presidential redemption. Trump’s finest hour, according to much of the media, occurred in April 2017 when he attacked the Assad regime with 59 cruise missiles, raising hopes that the U.S. military would topple the Syrian government.

When Trump announced he was sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the Washington Post editorial page hailed his “principled realism” — regardless of the futility of perpetuating that quagmire. At a time when Trump is saber-rattling against Iran and North Korea, the media should be vigorously challenging official claims before U.S. bombs begin falling. Instead, much of the coverage of rising tensions with foreign regimes could have been written by Pentagon flacks.

Richard Nixon’s henchman H.R. Haldeman warned Nixon that the Pentagon Papers might make people believe “you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgment. And the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this.” Unfortunately, much of the media continue to presume that presidents are infallible — as long as they are killing enough foreigners.

One of the starkest lessons of the Pentagon Papers was that politicians and their henchmen will tell unlimited lies — and ignore stark warnings — to plunge the nation into unnecessary foreign wars. And forgotten falsehoods almost guarantee new political treachery. Politicians don’t need to provide strong evidence as long as the media continue treating them as if they were Delphic oracles. Truth delayed is truth defused because there is no way to rescind bombs that have already detonated.

Media tub-thumpers were crestfallen when The Post struck out on Academy Awards night (it was nominated for Best Picture and other categories). But that worked out well for history, since it leaves the path more open for subsequent documentaries or movies that provide more honest exposure of how wars get started and perpetuated. Future movies might even venture into the forbidden ground of media docility regarding systemic violations of human rights.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in his 1971 opinion on the New York Times’ right to publish the Pentagon Papers, declared, “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” Unfortunately, the media often choose to trumpet official lies instead of fighting them. Permitting glorious tales from eight presidencies ago to absolve subsequent media kowtowing would be as foolish as forgetting the lessons of the original Pentagon Papers. Worshipping the media is as foolish as worshiping politicians.

 

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Korean Voices Missing From Major Papers’ Opinions on Singapore Summit

WaPo: Americans Have Figured It Out: North Korea Won!

The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin (6/17/18) epitomized the zero-sum takes of US pundits.
By Adam Johnson | FAIR | June 21, 2018

In major-paper opinion coverage of the Singapore summit, the people with the most to lose and gain from the summit, the people whose nation was actually being discussed—Koreans—were almost uniformly ignored.

Three major US papers—the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal—had only one Korean-authored op-ed out of 41 opinion pieces on the subject of the Korean peace talks.

The Post had 23 total opinion pieces, the Times had 16 and the Journal four. The only op-ed by a Korean was a pro-summit piece on June 12 by Moon Chung-in, an aide to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Of the 41 editorials or op-eds only four (9 percent), were broadly positive about the Trump/Kim summit, 29 (70 percent) were negative and eight (21 percent) were mixed or ambiguous. The full list, current as of June 19, is here.

As FAIR noted in May (5/7/18), there’s a huge chasm between how recent peace efforts are being received in ostensible US ally South Korea and how they’re being covered in US media. As we noted at the time, polling shows 88 percent of South Koreans in favor of these efforts, while the person spearheading them, President Moon, holds an 86 percent approval rating. But the bulk of US coverage ranged from snide dismissal to outright opposition (FAIR.org, 6/14/18).

Similarly, a poll taken after the Singapore summit found that 66 percent of South Koreans were pleased with the results, and only 11 percent opposed them. This contrasts sharply with the reaction in US newspapers, which has been overwhelmingly negative in tone, and dominated by NatSec-centered horse race takes over who “won.”

The New York Times published one pro-summit piece, by Victor Cha (6/12/18), and it was a very qualified and conflicted. The Washington Post was mostly negative and skeptical, with three exceptions: predictable partisan cheerleading from reliable Trump apologist Marc Thiessen (6/15/17); a measured “wait and see” take from Michael O’Hanlon, a fellow at the Brookings Institution (6/13/18); and the aforementioned piece by President Moon’s aide. The Wall Street Journal’s commentary was uniformly negative.

The US media’s reaction to the summit is almost a mirror image of that of the South Korean public: 70 percent of major US papers’ opinion columns disapproved of the summit, whereas 66 percent of South Koreans approved. Eleven percent of South Koreans disapproved,  whereas only 9 percent of professional opinion-havers at the Times, Post and Journal thought the summit was a good thing.

This raises an important question: Why? What do US pundits know that those with something actually at stake—Koreans—don’t know?

NYT: The Trump Doctrine Is Winning and the World Is Losing

Trump showed “reckless disregard for the security concerns of America’s allies,” argued Kori Schake of the International Institute for Strategic Studies–funded by Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin (New York Times, 6/15/18)

One factor is that our media system turns to professional “experts” at a small handful of establishment think tanks, and these are often funded by monied interests with a vested interest in particular kinds of policy (Extra!, 7/13). On international questions, this often means the arms industry, who are major funders of think tanks like the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). These think tanks produced predictably hawkish putdowns of the summit, such as CSIS’s Sue Mi Terry, who told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, in a rare moment of candor:

A peace treaty is not OK. That should come at the end of the process, because a peace treaty, while it sounds great and could be historic, also undermines the justification of our troops staying South Korea.

The “justification” for troops also happens to be the justification for the weapons systems they come with, namely those of CSIS’s major donors Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing (FAIR.org, 5/8/17).

Another part of the problem is partisanship. US pundits overwhelmingly view the Kim/Trump summit as a Trump-led or US-directed event, rather than an essential but limited part of a broader peace effort being undertaken by the Koreas themselves. … Full article

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Western Media Whitewash Yemen Genocide

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.06.2018

With the United Nations warning that millions of civilians could die from violence or starvation from the ongoing military siege of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, there is no other way to describe what is happening except as “genocide”.

The more than three-year war on Yemen waged by a Western-backed Saudi coalition has been arguably genocidal from the outset, with up to eight million people facing imminent starvation due to the years-long blockade on the Arabian country, as well as from indiscriminate air strikes.

But the latest offensive on the Red Sea city of Hodeida threatens to turn the world’s already worst humanitarian disaster into a mass extermination.

Hodeida is the entry point for 90 per cent of all food and medical aid into Yemen. If the city’s port stops functioning from the military offensive – as UN aid agencies are warning – then an entire country population of more than 20 million will, as a result, be on the brink of death.

The Saudi coalition which includes Emirati forces and foreign mercenaries as well as remnants from the previous regime (which the Western media mendaciously refer to as “government forces”) is fully backed by the US, Britain and France. This coalition says that by taking Hodeida it will hasten the defeat of Houthi rebels. But to use the cutting off of food and other vital aid to civilian populations as a weapon is a blatant war crime. It is absolutely inexcusable.

This past week an emergency session at the UN Security Council made the lily-livered call for the port city to remain open. But it stopped short of demanding an end to the offensive being led by Saudi and Emirati forces against Hodeida, which is the second biggest stronghold for Houthi rebels after the capital Sanaa. The port city’s population of 600,000 is at risk from the heavy fighting underway, including air strikes and naval bombardment, even before food, water and medicines supply is halted.

Since the Security Council meeting was a closed-door session, media reports did not indicate which members of the council voted down the Swedish call for an immediate end to hostilities. However, given that three permanent members of the council, the US, Britain and France, are militarily supporting the Saudi-led offensive on Hodeida, one can assume that these states blocked the call for a cessation.

As the horror of Hodeida unfolds, Western media are reporting with a strained effort to whitewash the criminal role of the American, British and French governments in supporting the offensive. Western media confine their focus narrowly on the humanitarian plight of Hodeida’s inhabitants and the wider Yemeni population. But the media are careful to omit the relevant context, which is that the offensive on Hodeida would not be possible without the crucial military support of Western governments. If the Western public were properly informed, the uproar would be an embarrassing problem for Western governments and their servile news media.

What is notable in the Western media reportage is the ubiquitous descriptor when referring to the Houthi rebels. Invariably, they are described as “Iran-backed”. That label is used to implicitly “justify” the Saudi and Emirati siege of Hodeida “because” the operation is said to be part of a “proxy war against Iran”. The BBC, France 24, CNN, Deutsche Welle, New York Times and Washington Post are among media outlets habitually practicing this misinformation on Yemen.

Both Iran and the Houthis have said that there is no military linkage. Granted, Iran politically and diplomatically supports the Houthis, and the Yemeni population generally, suffering from the war. The Houthis share a common Shia Muslim faith as Iran, but that is a far cry from military involvement. There is no evidence of Iran being militarily involved in Yemen. The claim of a linkage relies heavily on assertion by the Saudis and Emiratis which is peddled uncritically by Western media. Even the US government has shied away from making forthright accusations against Iran supporting the Houthis militarily. Washington’s diffidence is a tacit admission that the allegations are threadbare. Besides, how could a country which is subjected to an illegal Saudi blockade of its land, sea and air routes conceivably receive weapons supplied from Iran?

By contrast, while the Western media repeatedly refer to the Houthis as “Iran-backed”, what the same media repeatedly omit is the descriptor of “American-backed” or “British and French-backed” when referring to the Saudi and Emirati forces that have been pounding Yemen for over three years. Unlike the breathless claims of Iranian linkage to the Houthis, the Western military connection is verified by massive weapons exports, and indeed coy admissions by Western governments, when they are put to it, that they are supplying fuel and logistics to aid and abet the Saudi and Emirati war effort in Yemen.

Last week, the New York Times affected to lament the infernal conditions in Yemen as a “complex war”, as if the conflict is an unfathomable, unstoppable mystery. Why doesn’t the New York Times publish bold editorials bluntly calling for an end to US government complicity in Yemen? Or perhaps that is too “complex” for the Times’ editorial board?

The Washington Post also wrung its hands last week, saying: “The world’s most dire humanitarian crisis may get even worse. Emirati-led [and Saudi] offensive underway against port city of Hodeida, which is controlled by Iran-backed [sic] Houthi rebels.”

In its report, the Post did not mention the fact that air strikes by Saudi and Emirati forces are carried out with American F-15 fighter jets, British Typhoons and French Dassault warplanes. Incongruously, the Post cites US officials claiming that their forces are not “directly involved” in the offensive on the port city. How is that credible when air strikes are being conducted day after day? The Washington Post doesn’t bother to ask further.

In a BBC report last week also lamented the “humanitarian crisis” in Hodeida, there was the usual evidence-free casual labelling of Houthi rebels as “Iran-backed”. But, incredibly, in the entire article (at least in early editions) there was not a single mention of the verifiable fact that the Saudi and Emirati military are supplied with billions-of-dollars-worth of British, American and French weapons.

In the final paragraph of its early edition of the report, the BBC editorializes: “In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and eight other mainly Sunni Muslim Arab states launched a military campaign to restore [exiled president] Hadi’s government after becoming alarmed by the rise of the Houthi group which they see as an Iranian Shia Muslim proxy.”

Note the BBC’s lame and unconvincing implication of Iran. This is a stupendous distortion of the Yemeni conflict by the British state-owned broadcaster which, astoundingly, or perhaps that should be audaciously, completely airbrushes out any mention of how Western governments have fueled the genocidal war on Yemen.

At the end of 2014, the American and Saudi puppet self-styled “president” Mansour Hadi was kicked out by a Yemeni popular revolt led by the Houthis, but not exclusive to these rebels. The Yemeni uprising involved Shia and Sunni. To portray Iran as sponsoring a Shia proxy is a vile distortion which the Saudis and their Western backers have used in order to justify attacking Yemen for the objective of re-installing their puppet, who has been living in exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh. In short, covering up a criminal war of aggression with lies.

In reality, the Yemen war is about Western powers and their Arab despot client regimes trying to reverse a successful popular revolt that aspired to bring a considerably more democratic government to the Arab region’s poorest country, overcoming the decades it languished as a Western, Saudi client kleptocracy.

For over three years, Saudi and Emirati forces, supported with Western warplanes, bombs, missiles, attack helicopters, naval power, and air refueling, as well as targeting logistics, have waged a non-stop bombing campaign on Yemeni civilians. Nothing has been off-limits. Hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, funerals, wedding halls, family homes, farms, water-treatment plants and power utilities, all have been mercilessly obliterated. Even graveyards have been bombed.

Even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi-led coalition – the supposed custodian of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina – has continued to massacre innocents from the air.

Elsewhere in the region, Western politicians and media have mounted hysterical protests against the Syrian government and its Russian ally when they have liberated cities from Western-backed terrorists, accusing Syria and Russia of “war crimes” and “inhuman sieges”. None of these hyperbolic Western media campaigns concerning Syria has ever been substantiated. Recall Aleppo? East Ghouta? The Syrian people have gladly returned to rebuild their lives now in peace under Syrian government protection after the Western terror proxies were routed. Western media claims about Syria have transpired to be outrageous lies, which have been hastily buried by the media as if they were never told in the first place.

Yet in Yemen there is an ongoing, veritable genocidal war fully supported by Western governments. The latest barbarity is the siege of Hodeida with the callous, murderous objective of finally starving a whole population into submitting to the Western, Saudi, Emirati writ for dominating the country. This is Nuremberg-standard capital crimes.

With no exaggeration, Western news media are a Goebbels-like propaganda ministry – par excellence – whose duty is to whitewash genocide conducted by their governments. The barefaced lies and sly omissions being told about Yemen is one more reason among many reasons why the Western media have forfeited any vestige of credibility. They are serving as they usually do – Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria among others – as accomplices in an epic war crime against Yemen.

Photo: Geopolitics Alert

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WaPo Editors: We Have to Help Destroy Yemen to Save It

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | May 31, 2018

Over the past year, the Washington Post editorial board has routinely ignored the US’s involvement in the siege of Yemen—a bombing and starvation campaign that has killed over 15,000 civilians and left roughly a million with cholera. As FAIR noted last November (11/20/17), the Washington Post ran a major editorial (11/8/17) and an explainer (11/19/17) detailing the carnage in Yemen without once mentioning the US’s role in the conflict—instead pinning it on the seemingly rogue Saudis and the dastardly Iranians.

This was in addition to an op-ed that summer by editorial page editor Jackson Diehl (6/26/17), which not only ignored the US’s support of Saudi bombing but actually spun the US as the savior of Yemenis, holding up Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, as a champion of human rights.

In recent months, however, the Post has charted a new course: vaguely acknowledging Washington’s role in the bloody siege, but insisting that the US should remain involved in the bombing of Yemen for the sake of humanitarianism.

In two recent editorials, “Can Congress Push the Saudi Prince Toward an Exit From Yemen?” (3/24/18) and “The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis Could Get Even Worse” (5/28/18), the Washington Post board has cooked up a new, tortured position that the US should not stop supporting the Saudis––a move 30-year CIA veteran and Brookings fellow Bruce Riedel argued in 2016 would “end the war overnight”—but mildly chide the Saudis into committing slightly fewer war crimes while moving towards some vague exit strategy.

In the March editorial, the Post insisted “the United States… should use its leverage to stop this reckless venture,” and that Trump “condition further American military aid on humanitarian relief measures.” A step in the right direction, right? Quite the opposite. When one reads closer, it’s clear that while the Post wanted Trump to moderately roll back the most egregious war crimes, it still lobbied against the Lee/Sanders bill that would have actually ended the war.

Monday’s editorial took this faux-humanitarian half-measure one step further with this bit of revisionist history:

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have offered limited support to the Saudi coalition, while trying to restrain reckless bombing and the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis.

The idea that Obama and Trump offered the Saudis “limited” support is a glaring lie. The US’s support—from logistical support, to refueling, to selling $110 billion in arms, to political cover at the UN, to literally choosing targets on a map—has been crucial to carrying out the three-and-a-half-year campaign. Again, according to one of the most white-bread, establishment commentators, US support isn’t ancillary, it’s essential. Without it, there is no bombing campaign.

The problem is the Washington Post is charged with a contradictory task: to act as a Very Concerned champion of human rights while propping up the core tenets of America’s imperial foreign policy. It’s an extremely difficult sleight-of-hand when the US is backing a bombing campaign targeting some of the poorest people on Earth, so their support of this slaughter is actually spun as an attempt to rein it in. The US is going to bring down the system from the inside!

The most logical way the US can stop the slaughter of Yemen is to stop engaging it in it. But to the Washington Post, this runs against the US policy of bombing and/or sanctioning anything that has the most remote connection to Iran, so this simple course is just not on the table. Instead, the Post’s propaganda objective—after years of simply ignoring the US role altogether—is to paint its participation in war crimes as a way of preventing slightly worse war crimes; a good cop to Saudi’s bad cop. This permits business as usual while maintaining the pretense the US cares about human rights—in other words, the Post’s basic ideological purpose.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Blaming the Victims of Israel’s Gaza Massacre

By Gregory Shupak | FAIR | May 17, 2018

Israel massacred 60 Palestinians on Monday, including seven children, bringing to 101 the total number of Palestinians Israel has killed since Palestinians began the Great March on March 30. In that period, Israel has killed 11 Palestinian children, two journalists, one person on crutches and three persons with disabilities.

Monday’s casualties included 1,861 wounded, bringing total injuries inflicted by Israel to 6,938 people, including 3,615 with live fire. Israel is using bullets designed to expand inside the body, causing maximum, often permanent damage: “The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities,” says Médecins Sans Frontières (Ha’aretz, 4/22/18).

On the 70th anniversary of Israel’s so-called “declaration of independence,” the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem—a city Israel claims as its own, despite what international law says on the matter—and Palestinians undertook unarmed protests in reaction to the move and as part of the Great Return March. Although to this point, the only Israeli casualty during the entire cycle of demonstrations has been one “lightly wounded” soldier, considerable space in coverage of the massacres is devoted to blaming Palestinians for their own slaughter.

NBC: Scores Dead in Gaza Fence Protest as US Moves Embassy to Jerusalem

NBC (5/14/18) mentions “what Palestinians refer to as their ‘right of return’”; actually, it’s what international law calls it, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Two of the first three paragraphs in an NBC report (5/14/18) provided Israel’s rationalizations for its killing spree. The second sentence in the article says that the Israeli military

accused Hamas of “leading a terrorist operation under the cover of masses of people,” adding that “firebombs and explosive devices” as well as rocks were being thrown towards the barrier.

A Washington Post article (5/14/18) devoted two of its first four sentences to telling readers that Palestinians are responsible for being murdered by Israel. Palestinian “organizers urged demonstrators to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them,” read one sentence. “At the barrier, young men threw stones and tried to launch kites carrying flames in hopes of burning crops on the other side,” stated the next one, as though stones and burning kites released by a besieged people is violence remotely equivalent to subjecting people to a military siege and mowing them down.

The New York Times (5/14/18) said that “a mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire,” painting Israel’s rampage as a reaction to a Palestinian provocation. Like FAIR (2/21/18) has previously said of the word “retaliation,” “response” functions as a justification of Israeli butchery: To characterize Israeli violence as a “response” is to wrongly imply that Palestinian actions warranted Israel unleashing its firing squads.

A Yahoo headline (5/14/18) described “Violent Protests in Gaza Ahead of US Embassy Inauguration in Jerusalem,” a flatly incorrect description in that it attributes the violence to Palestinian demonstrators rather than to Israel. The BBC (5/15/18) did the same with a segment called “Gaza Braced for Further Violent Protests.”

Bloomberg: Hamas Vows to Keep Targeting Fence After Gaza Bloodshed

In Bloomberg‘s account (5/14/18), the fence seemed to be the real victim.

One Bloomberg article (5/14/18) by Saud Abu Ramadan and Amy Teibel had the same problem, referring to “a protest marred by violence,” while another one (5/14/18) attributed only to Ramadan is headlined “Hamas Targets Fence as Gaza Bloodshed Clouds Embassy Move,” as though the fence were Monday’s most tragic casualty. Ascribing this phantom violence to Palestinians provides Israel an alibi: Many readers will likely conclude that Israel’s lethal violence is reasonable if it is cast as a way of coping with “violent protests.”

The second paragraph of the Bloomberg article solely written by Ramadan says that

Gaza protesters, egged on by loudspeakers and transported in buses, streamed to the border, where some threw rocks, burned tires, and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory.

This author—like the rest in the “Palestinians were asking for it” chorus—failed to note that Israel’s fence runs deep into Palestinian territory and creates a 300-meter “buffer zone” between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which makes it highly unlikely that the kites and balloons of the colonized will have an effect on their drone-operating, rifle-wielding colonizers, let alone on people further afield in Israeli-held territory.

The New York Times editorial board (5/14/18) wrote as though Palestinians are barbarians against whom Israel has no choice but to unleash terror:

Led too long by men who were corrupt or violent or both, the Palestinians have failed and failed again to make their own best efforts toward peace. Even now, Gazans are undermining their own cause by resorting to violence, rather than keeping their protests strictly peaceful.

The board claimed that “Israel has every right to defend its borders, including the boundary with Gaza,” incorrectly suggesting that Palestinians were aggressors rather than on the receiving end of 100 years of settler-colonialism.

Moreover, like the Times and Bloomberg articles discussed above, the editorial attempts to legitimize Israel’s deadly violence by saying that it is defending a border that Palestinians are attempting to breach, but there is no border between Gaza and Israel. There is, as Maureen Murphy of Electronic Intifada (4/6/18) pointed out, “an armistice line between an occupying power and the population living under its military rule” that Palestinians are trying to cross in order to exercise their right to return to their land.

WaPo: Hamas Has Launched Another War. Israel Needs a Better Response

The Washington Post (5/15/18) condemned the “cruel, cynical tactic” of trying to exercise the internationally guaranteed right of return.

A Washington Post editorial (5/15/18) called the Palestinians hunted by Israel “nominal civilians.” Apart from being a logical impossibility (one either is or isn’t a civilian), the phrase illuminates how too much of media think about Palestinians:  They are inherently threatening, intrinsically killable, always suspect, never innocent, permanently guilty of existing.

A Business Insider piece (5/14/18) by columnist Daniella Greenbaum described “Palestinian protesters who ramped up their activities along the Gaza strip and, as a result, were targeted by the Israeli army with increasing intensity.” Greenbaum’s use of the phrase “as a result” implies that it was inevitable and perhaps just that Palestinians’ “ramped up activities” led to Israel mowing down a population it occupies, 70 percent of whom are refugees Israel refuses to allow to return to their homes.

Greenbaum then climbs into the intellectual and moral gutter, claiming that

absent from the commentary that children have unfortunately been among the injured and dead are questions about how they ended up at the border. On that question, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the extent to which Palestinians have glorified violence and martyrdom — and the extent to which the terrorist organization Hamas has organized the “protests.”

In her view, dozens of Palestinians died because they are primitive savages who take pleasure in sacrificing their own children, not because Israel maintains the right to gun down refugees in the name of maintaining an ethnostate.

In a rare instance of a resident of Gaza allowed to participate directly in the media conversation, Fadi Abu Shammalah wrote an op-ed for the New York Times (4/27/18) that offered an explanation of why Palestinians are putting their lives on the line to march. Life for the people of Gaza, including for his three young sons, has been “one tragedy after another: waves of mass displacement, life in squalid refugee camps, a captured economy, restricted access to fishing waters, a strangling siege and three wars in the past nine years. ” Recalling the concern for his safety expressed by his seven-year-old child, Shammalah concludes:

If Ali asks me why I’m returning to the Great Return March despite the danger, I will tell him this: I love my life. But more than that, I love you, Karam and Adam. If risking my life means you and your brothers will have a chance to thrive, to have a future with dignity, to live in peace with all your neighbors, in your free country, then this is a risk I must take.

Palestinians have a right to liberate themselves that extends to the right to the use of armed struggle, yet as Shammalah wrote, the Great Return March signifies a “nearly unanimous acceptance of peaceful methods to call for our rights and insist on our humanity.” Nevertheless, based on media coverage, readers could be forgiven for concluding that it was Palestinians, not Israel, who carried out what Doctors Without Borders called “unacceptable and inhuman” violence.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Did John Bolton Leak Intelligence to Sabotage a Trump-Kim Deal?

By Gareth Porter | TruthDig | April 30, 2018

The still-unscheduled Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit offers the opportunity for a denuclearization deal that would avoid a possible nuclear war, but that potential deal remains vulnerable to a hostile corporate media sector and political elites in the United States. At the center of this hostility is national security adviser John Bolton, who’s not just uninterested in selling a denuclearization deal to the public. He’s working actively to undermine it.

Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that he leaked intelligence to a Washington think tank sympathetic to his views in order to generate media questioning about the president’s announced plan to reach an agreement with North Korea’s leader.

Bolton made no secret of his visceral opposition to such a deal before Trump announced that Bolton would become national security adviser, arguing that Kim Jong Un would never let go of his nuclear weapons, especially since he is so close to having a real nuclear deterrent capability vis-a-vis the United States.

Even after meeting Trump on March 6 to discuss joining the administration, Bolton was not expecting the announcement of a Trump-Kim summit. Trump tweeted about progress in talks with North Korea that day, but when asked about such talks in an interview with Fox News later that same day, Bolton dismissed the whole idea. He portrayed Kim’s willingness to have discussions as aimed at diverting Washington’s attention from Pyongyang nearing its goal of having a “deliverable nuclear weapon.”

After the Trump-Kim summit was announced on March 9, Bolton made a tactical adjustment in his public stance toward talks with Kim to avoid an open conflict with Trump. He started suggesting in interviews that Trump had cleverly “foiled” Kim’s plan for long, drawn-out talks by accepting the proposal for a summit meeting. But he also urged Trump to assume a stance that would guarantee the meeting would fail.

In an interview with Fox News on the day of the summit announcement, Bolton suggested a peremptory demand by Trump to Kim: “Tell us what ports should American ships sail in, what airports American planes can land to load your nuclear weapons.” And in a second interview with Fox that day, Bolton suggested that Trump demand that Kim identify the ports and airfields to be used to “dismantle your nuclear program and put it at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where Libya’s nuclear program lives.” Bolton’s invocation of the Libyan example of giving up a nuclear weapons program was an ostentatious way of conveying his intention to keep open the option of using force to overthrow Kim’s regime.

Bolton was staking his opposition to negotiations with Kim primarily on the argument that North Korea would simply exploit such negotiations to complete its testing of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). But former CIA Director Mike Pompeo got a concrete commitment from Kim to end all tests during their meetings in Pyongyang on April 7-8, which Kim then announced officially on April 20.

Pompeo’s report on Kim’s commitment, coming just before Bolton’s first day in the White House on April 9, immediately vitiated Bolton’s chief argument against a denuclearization agreement. But Bolton had another argument to fall back on. When a Fox News interviewer asked him on March 6 about a possible nuclear testing freeze, Bolton replied, “A freeze won’t work. The only inspections system that you could have with any prospect of finding out what they’re up to would have to be so intrusive it would threaten the stability of the regime.”

As an argument that a testing halt wouldn’t work, that comment was nonsensical: The United States has no intrusive inspections to detect a test of a long-range North Korean missile or of a nuclear weapon. But Bolton could use the need for an intrusive inspection system that North Korea would resist as an argument against a denuclearization agreement. He was well aware that in 2008, Vice President Dick Cheney forced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to change the agreement she had reached with North Korea in October 2007 to require an intrusive verification system at a different stage of implementation—before the United States had taken North Korea off the terrorism list and ended the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act rather than after that, as had been originally agreed. North Korea refused to accept the new verification demand and then denounced the agreement in late 2008.

Within a few days of Bolton taking over as national security adviser, someone leaked intelligence to a Washington think tank on a North Korean facility allegedly intended to produce nuclear-grade graphite, a key component of nuclear reactors. The leak resulted in a post by David Albright, the executive director of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), on April 20 with satellite images of what he identified as a North Korean nuclear-grade graphite plant. Albright wrote that a “knowledgeable government official” had identified the site of the factory on the Yalu River, which divides North Korea from China.

Albright suggested that the factory “violates the spirit of the upcoming summit processes with the United States and South Korea.” And he concluded that any agreement with North Korea “must contain its verifiable commitments not to proliferate nuclear goods and abide by internationally recognized strategic export control regimes.”

But Albright presented no evidence that the building under U.S. intelligence surveillance had any bearing on negotiations on denuclearization. His report made it clear that analysts had only suspicions rather than hard evidence that it was for nuclear-grade graphite, referring to “the suspect site” and to “the suspect facility.” Albright also admitted that nuclear-grade graphite is a “dual use” material, and that an existing North Korean facility produces it for components of domestic and foreign ballistic missiles, not for nuclear plants.

Albright nevertheless implied that nuclear-grade graphite is produced and traded covertly. In fact, it is sold online by trading companies such as Alibaba like any other industrial item.

On April 21, despite the absence of any real link between the “suspect facility” and a prospective denuclearization agreement, The Washington Post published an article by intelligence reporter Joby Warrick, based on Albright’s post, that suggested such a link. Warrick referred to a “suspected graphite production facility” that could allow North Korea’s “weapons program” to “quietly advance while creating an additional source of badly needed export revenue.”

Adopting Bolton’s key argument against a denuclearization agreement, Warrick wrote, “It is unclear how the United States and its allies would reliably verify a suspension of key facets of North Korea’s nuclear program or confirm that it has stopped selling weapons components to partners overseas.” North Korea has “a long history of concealing illicit weapons activity from foreign eyes,” Warrick argued, adding that, unlike Iran, it “does not allow inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities.”

But Warrick failed to inform readers that North Korea had allowed 24-hour, 7-day-a-week inspections of their nuclear facilities from the time the agreed framework was adopted in 1994 until December 2002, after Bolton had successfully engineered the George W. Bush administration’s open renunciation of that Clinton administration agreement. And in the negotiations in 2007-08, Pyongyang only had objected to the U.S. demand for intrusive inspection—including military sites—before the United States had ended its suite of hostile policies toward North Korea.

The graphite factory episode would not be the first time Bolton had used alleged intelligence to try to block a negotiated agreement. In early 2004, Bolton, as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, was determined to prevent the British, French and German governments from reaching an accord with Iran that would frustrate Cheney’s plan for an eventual U.S. military option against Iran. Bolton gave satellite images of Iran’s Parchin military complex to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claiming that they were appropriate for certain kinds of nuclear weapons testing, as Seymour Hersh later reported. Bolton demanded that the IAEA inspect the sites, evidently hoping that Iran would refuse such an intrusive inspection and allow the Bush administration to accuse Iran of hiding covert weapons activities.

But the IAEA failed to refer to the satellite images of Parchin in two 2004 reports on Iran. Then the State Department provided them to ABC News, which reported that a State Department official “confirmed the United States suspects nuclear activity at some of [Parchin’s] facilities.” But the ABC report also quoted a former senior Department of Defense official who specialized in nuclear weapons as saying the images did not constitute evidence of any nuclear weapons-related activities. Iran let the IAEA inspect 10 Parchin sites in two separate visits in 2005. Taking environment samples in each case, the inspectors found no evidence of nuclear-related activity.

Bolton’s hopes of keeping the option of U.S. war on Iran flopped in 2004, but he still believes in a first strike against North Korea, as he urged in an op-ed in late February. And he can be expected to continue to use his position in the White House to try to keep that option open as he did with Iran in 2004, in part by covert leaks of information to allies outside the government.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Debunking the Cynics in Mainstream Media Who Spit Upon Korea’s Historic Triumph For Peace

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2018-04-28

While the leaders of multiple nations have praised the efforts of Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in to open a new chapter for peace and reconciliation between the divided Korean states, certain voices in US mainstream media remain cynical in the face of a moment of joy for the Korean people, Asia as a whole and the wider world.

When expressed in its most exhaustive fashion, the cynics point to the previous time that the two Korean states attempted to engage in a peace process during what is known as the Sunshine Policy which became the official stance of Seoul via-a-vis Pyongyang between 1998 and 2008, with several notable interruptions. Some writers such as the notorious Max Boot of the Washington Post have claimed that the current rapprochement between the two Korean states will fail because in his view, the Sunshine Policy failed. However, Boot mis-characterises both the current events in Korea and the Sunshine Policy, while failing to understand key difference between that period and recent events.

Strength versus weakness 

In the 1990s, the North Korean economy was at its lowest ebb in history. While there is no ‘famine or starvation’ in contemporary North Korea and nor was there during the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s, the 1990s were lean years for the DPRK in every sense. The economic downturn of the mid-1990s hit North Korea particularly hard and it was this reality that led leaders in Seoul to extend a hand to Pyongyang based on a combination of genuine compassion towards fellow Koreans and based on the fact that some in Seoul honestly believed that the DPRK was on the verge of collapse in the 1990s and therefore it was judged that it was more prudent to manage this collapse in an ordered and fraternal fashion, rather than a hostile and suspicious one.

Today, North Korea’s economy is incredibly strong in terms of aggregate growth rates, infrastructural development, consumer technology development, the building of modern housing and the building of public leisure, arts and entertainment centres. Without much international fanfare, Kim Jong-un has modernised the economy in ways that are far less radical than what Deng Xiaoping did in China, but are nevertheless indicative of a shift towards some of the characteristics of market socialism.

Secondly, with North Korea now in possession of modern hydrogen bombs and the intercontinental ballistic missiles with which to deliver them to the US mainland, Pyongyang now feels that it has more of an equal footing with its main international antagonist than ever before, let alone in the economically depressed 1990s.

So while the Sunshine Policy was instigated by the South at a time of Northern weakness in every sense, today’s rapprochement was launched by Kim Jong-un during his 2018 New Year’s Message. Kim acted from a position of strength and confidence and what is more, he did what he promised he would do throughout 2017’s weapons tests. The DPRK had always said that when it reached nuclear parity with the United States (which the DPRK defines as the ability to strike the US mainland with modern nuclear weapons), it would then and only then, be willing to engage in international discussions about peace. Furthermore, throughout the weapons tests, Pyongyang reiterated that the US and not South Korea remained the only foe that the country was arming itself against.

Differences in declarations

Contrary to what the Washington Post’s Max Boot says, yesterday’s Panmunjom Declaration is a far lengthier document than the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration of the year 2000. To illustrate this point, the following is the full text of the agreement signed yesterday between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in:

“During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the ‘Peace House’ at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.

The two leaders, sharing the firm commitment to bring a swift a swift end to the Cold War relic of long-standing division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner, declared at this historic site of Panmunjom as follows:

1. South and North Korea will reconnect the blood relations of the people and bring forward the future of co-prosperity and unification led by Koreans by facilitating comprehensive and groundbreaking advancement in inter-Korean relations.

Improving and cultivating inter-Korean relations is the prevalent desire of the whole nation and the urgent calling of the times that cannot be held back any further.

1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.

2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the summit.

3) South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.

4) South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity.

Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organisations, will be involved.

On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.

5) South and North Korea agreed to endeavour to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues, including the reunion of separated families.

In this vein, South and North Korea agreed to proceed with reunion programmes for the separated families on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of Aug 15 this year.

6) South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation.

As a first step, the two sides agreed to adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernisation of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju for their utilisation.

2. South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.

1) South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict.

In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarised zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 2 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line.

2) South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities.

3) South and North Korea agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts. The two sides agreed to hold frequent meetings between military authorities, including the defence ministers meeting, in order to immediately discuss and solve military issues that arise between them.

In this regard, the two sides agreed to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.

3. South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Bringing an end to the current unnatural state of armistice and establishing a robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is a historical mission that must not be delayed any further.

1) South and North Korea reaffirmed the Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other, and agreed to strictly adhere to this agreement.

2) South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.

3) During this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China, with a view to declaring an end to the war and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.

4) South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard.

South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.

In this context, President Moon Jae In agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.

April 27, 2018

Done in Panmunjom

Moon Jae In

President

Republic of Korea

Kim Jong Un

Chairman

State Affairs Commission

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.

By contrast, the much shorter declaration from 2000 reads as follows:

“In accordance with the noble will of the entire people who yearn for the peaceful reunification of the nation, President Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held a historic meeting and summit talks in Pyongyang from June 13 to 15, 2000.

The leaders of the South and the North, recognizing that the meeting and the summit talks were of great significance in promoting mutual understanding, developing South–North relations and realizing peaceful reunification, declared as follows:

  1. The South and the North have agreed to resolve the question of reunification independently and through the joint efforts of the Korean people, who are the masters of the country.
  2. For the achievement of reunification, we have agreed that there is a common element in the South’s concept of a confederation and the North’s formula for a loose form of federation. The South and the North agreed to promote reunification in that direction.
  3. The South and the North have agreed to promptly resolve humanitarian issues such as exchange visits by separated family members and relatives on the occasion of the August 15 National Liberation Day and the question of unswerving Communists serving prison sentences in the South.
  4. The South and the North have agreed to consolidate mutual trust by promoting balanced development of the national economy through economic cooperation and by stimulating cooperation and exchanges in civic, cultural, sports, health, environmental and all other fields.
  5. The South and the North have agreed to hold a dialogue between relevant authorities in the near future to implement the above agreements expeditiously.

President Kim Dae-jung cordially invited National Defence Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il to visit Seoul, and Chairman Kim Jong-il will visit Seoul at an appropriate time.

(signed) Kim Dae-jung, President, The Republic of Korea

(signed) Kim Jong-il, Chairman, Supreme Leader, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

June 15, 2000″

Therefore when someone like Max Boot says that the 2000 agreement was more substantive than the one signed yesterday, he is stating a self-evident untruth.

A totally different international context 

In the year 2000, the US was more powerful than it is today, China was far weaker than it is today and Russia was for the first time since the early 16th century, largely geopolitically irrelevant. Today, China is in many sectors, more powerful than the US and is shortly set to become the world’s number one overall economy. Russia has long reclaimed its place as a global superpower and a very diplomatically important one at that, while the US remains powerful but is nevertheless in a period of geopolitical decline.

Against this backdrop, China has taken a far more proactive role in asserting its desire to secure peace in Korea while Russia has also worked closely with both Korean states in order to help foster an attitude of peace through strength that was unthinkable in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the DPRK was far weaker in every sense than it is today.

While the US under Donald Trump is in a self-described position of needing to re-acquire “greatness”, American foreign policy is also vastly less predictable than it was under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Trump’s pattern in almost all foreign policy matters is that of issuing extravagant and often worrying threats, claiming that some sort of negotiation is still possible, going back to even more outlandish threats and then waiting to see the response of other nations.

The DPRK has in many ways out-classed Trump in this respect as throughout the process of Trump threatening the DPRK, Pyongyang armed itself to the teeth, successfully tested nuclear capable ICBMs and made it clear that if Trump made good on his threat to “destroy” the DPRK, it would result in mutually assured destruction for parts of the US. This doctrine of mutually assured destruction is one of the primary reasons that nuclear war was averted during the Cold War and North Korea has resurrected it in the name of peace through strength.

From this position of strength, the DPRK is now in a position to issue its own demands, namely trading de-nuclearisation for the withdrawal of US troops and weapons from South Korea. Furthermore, as the DPRK has rejuvenated its relationship with China and has intensified its always good relationship with Moscow, should Trump play hardball regarding US withdrawal from South Korea, the DPRK could also invite Russia and/or China to have a military presence in the North.

The fact that both Trump and US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis have suggested that US withdrawal from the South is a possibility, means that if good will exists on both sides, a more pacific Korea could be entirely possible over the course of negotiations. This does not mean the US will cease its neo-imperial ambitions in Asia, but it does mean that the US may well be eager to pivot its attention and resources to different parts of Asia and in particular, in ways that are less costly than maintaining its large presence in South Korea.

A different South Korea 

While North Korea has changed drastically since 1998, the South has changed too. With the US putting up more and more tariff walls against both rivals like China and long time partners like South Korea, Seoul has raised unfair US trade practices with the World Trade Organisation, while Seoul-Beijing relations are at their best ever. By contrast, in 1998, China and South Korea had only engaged in formal relations for six years.

Today, trade between China and South Korea continues to expand while both Presidents Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in seek to promote more economic connectivity.

Furthermore, the impeachment of anti-DPRK war-monger Park Geun-hye has led to a kind of collective revitalisation of the peace movement within South Korea. Jailed former President Park Geun-hye was removed from office after months of the largest protests that South Korea has ever seen. The collective attitude in the South was one of opposition to the corruption, paranoia, militancy and blind following of Washington that Park Guen-hye, like her brutal dictator father Park Chung-hee came to represent.

Moon is the anti-Park in the sense that he is moderate, sincerely concerned with peace and while still close to the US as all South Korean leaders necessarily are, has shown an incredibly high degree of independence in terms of attitude and policy making that remains vastly overlooked in both the west and Asia.

The contrast between Park and Moon is literally like night and day. This has had a profound effect on both the North and South Korean political psyche that bears close examination.

Conclusion 

Not only have the series of meetings between North and South progressed in a matter of months in 2018 rather than in a matter of years as was the case in the Sunshine Policy era, but already, more lengthy and concrete agreements have been made than those made at the peak of the Sunshine Policy.

As China, Russia, both Korean states and Asia as a whole become more independent of western influence, one must also realise that the events in Korea cannot be seen in isolation but must be viewed as part of a wider Asian space that is a growing economic powerhouse, a geopolitically independent space more so than at any time in the 20th century and a place where increasingly, national governments rather than far away superpowers dictate the trajectory of events.

Finally, as Kim Jong-un is a young leader who has embarked on meaningful internal economic reforms and as Moon Jae-in was a man whose spirit of peace and cooperation replaced his bellicose and old fashioned predecessor, one cannot underestimate the good will that has transpired between two leaders who have both survived one of the most tense periods in modern Korean history since the 1950s and have collectively chosen a path of peace and enlightenment over fear and hostility.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The Mainstream Media Fueled Military Action in Syria and Reprisals against Russia over the Skripals

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald tribune | April 23, 2108

The complicity of America’s Fourth Estate in the evolution of the national security warfare state is often mentioned in passing but rarely analyzed in any detail. But a recent article on Lobe Log by Adam Johnson is refreshing in that it does just that, looking at the editorials in 26 leading newspapers relating to the April 13th strike against Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons. All of the papers supported the attack in the belief that Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies had done something wrong and had to be punished. Some of the endorsements went well beyond the actual strike itself, urging the White House to do more. The article quotes the Toledo Blade’s assertion that:

“Make no mistake, this was a warning to Vladimir Putin as well as Bashar al-Assad. The United States and its two longtime allies redrew the red line that had been obliterated by a failure of nerve by the US and the West generally: There will be cost for your barbarities…. But in the larger sense, the West did what it should have done a long time ago. It stood up for decency and international law. It stood up for those who are defenseless. It stood up for itself, and for simple humanity, and redeemed some self-respect.”

Another recent editorial intended to stir up hysteria about perfidious Moscow appeared in the New York Times on March 12th. It was entitled “Vladimir Putin’s Toxic Reach”. It said in part:

“The attack on the former spy, Sergei Skripal, who worked for British intelligence, and his daughter Yulia, in which a police officer who responded was also poisoned, was no simple hit job. Like the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, another British informant, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium 210, the attack on Mr. Skripal was intended to be as horrific, frightening and public as possible. It clearly had the blessing of President Vladimir Putin, who had faced little pushback from Britain in the Litvinenko case. The blame has been made clearer this time and this attack on a NATO ally needs a powerful response both from that organization and, perhaps more important, by the United States.”

These two stories and the many others like them have something in common, which is that they were written without any evident “fact checking” and subsequently have proven to be largely incorrect in terms of their assumptions about Russian and Syrian behavior. They also share a belief that the United States and its allies can both establish and enforce standards for the rest of the world. In these cases, the stakes were very high as there was an assumption that it could be appropriate to risk going to war with a powerful nuclear armed government based on incidents that did not in any way impact upon American or British national security.

Regarding Syria, the first wave of “reporting” on the alleged gassing came from sources linked to the terrorist group that was under attack, Jaish el-Islam. This included the so-called White Helmets, who have been outed and exposed as a virtual PR outfit for those one might call the head-choppers. More recently, with government control reestablished over the Douma neighborhood where the reported deaths took place, independent journalists including the able Robert Fisk, no friend of the al-Assad “regime”, have been entering and discovering that there appears to be no evidence that a gas attack even took place.

Skeptics examining the incident from the beginning noted that the Syrian government had every reason to avoid a provocation in its rollup of the remaining rebel pockets near Damascus while the so-called rebels would have been highly motivated to stage a false flag attack to bring in outside forces in support of their cause. If there was a chemical attack of any kind, it almost surely originated with the terrorists.

Even assuming that the United States was acting in good faith when it attacked Syrian “chemical sites” believing that the al-Assad “regime” had actually used such weapons, one should also assume, given the time frame and lack of definitive intelligence resources, that the decision was based on an assessment that relied on limited information coming from sources hostile to Damascus as well as White House perceptions of persistent bad behavior by the Syrian government.

So a poorly informed Washington clearly went to war without exactly knowing why. As the story continues to unravel, there will, however, be no apologies forthcoming either from the White House or the national media, both of which got it so wrong. The mainstream media never even questioned whether Trump should bomb the Syrian “regime” at all, instead merely debating exactly how much punishment he should inflict.

To their credit, the British public and some former senior officials are beginning to ask questions about Syria through a reluctant media filter and opposition leader in Parliament Jeremy Corbyn has refused to be silenced. Similarly, the story of the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury has also begun to come apart. Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray has detailed how the narrative was cooked by “liars” in the government to make it look as if the poisoning had a uniquely Russian fingerprint. Meanwhile U.S. investigative reported Gareth Porter sums up the actual evidence or lack thereof, for Russian involvement, suggesting that the entire affair was “based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence.”

Here in the United States the mainstream media, which has supported every war since 9/11, has yet to account for its deliberately slanted reporting that has fueled both military action in Syria and reprisals against Russia over the Skripals. Unfortunately, the resulting actions undertaken by the United States and Britain have not been consequence free. The attack on Syria, given the fact that Damascus in no way threatened either the U.S. or U.K., was a war crime under international law. The mass expulsions of Russian officials over the Skripals affair has produced a diplomatic chill not unlike the Cold War, or perhaps even worse, with American U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley declaring that the White House is “locked and loaded” if Syria should again step out of line. One might ask Haley what is to be done when Washington steps out of line? It would be interesting to hear her answer.

 

*(Snapshot courtesy of the WashingtonPost )

April 23, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Media Support US Violence Against Syria, but Long for More

By Gregory Shupak | FAIR | April 20, 2018

Corporate media outlets were glad that the US, France and Britain bombed Syria in violation of international law (FAIR.org, 4/18/18), but lamented what they see as a dearth of US violence in the country.

In The Atlantic (4/14/18), Thanassis Cambanis described the war crime as “undoubtedly a good thing,” and called for “sustained attention and investment, of diplomatic, economic and military resources”—though the latter rubbed up against his assessment in the same paragraph that “a major regional war will only make things worse.” Moreover, he described “the most realistic possibility” for the US and its partners in Syria as “an incomplete and possibly destabilizing policy of confrontation [and] containment. But a reckoning can’t be deferred forever.”

This “reckoning” was his somewhat oblique way of referring to a war pitting the US and its allies against the Syrian government and its allies, the very “wider regional war” he just warned against. In Cambanis’ view, “confrontations” between nuclear-armed America and nuclear-armed Russia are “inevitable,” which implies that there is no sense in trying to avoid such potentially apocalyptic scenarios.

A Washington Post editorial (4/14/18) said that “Mr. Trump was right to order the strikes.” The paper was glad that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Donald Trump “properly left open the possibility of further action.” The Post’s rationale for continuing to attack Syria was that “the challenge to vital US interests in Syria is far from over,” and that Trump was therefore wrong “to call Friday’s operation a ‘Mission Accomplished.’” These “interests” include ensuring that Iran does not “obtain the land corridor it seeks across Syria.” (Cambanis, similarly, described as “justified” US efforts to “contain Syria and its allies.”)

The paper was concerned because Trump says that he’d like to subcontract US activities in Syria to US regional partners like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt. None of these states, the Post fretted, “are capable of working with local forces [in Syria] to stabilize and hold the large stretch of [Syrian] territory now under de facto US control east of the Euphrates River.”

The editorial failed to note that this territory amounts to “about one-third of the country, including most of the oil wealth” (New York Times, 3/8/18) and “much of Syria’s best agricultural land” (Syria Comment, 1/15/18). The legitimacy of “de facto US control” over Syrian territory and some of its most valuable resources is apparently beyond question, as is the US’s alleged right to determine which governments are allowed to be friendly with each other: The Iranian “land corridor” refers to the Iranian government having warm relations with the governments of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, something the Post appears to regard as a grave danger.

The editorial says that the US and its allies sought to “minimize the risk of a direct military confrontation with Russia or Iran” and that this was “prudent,” but that “if Russia takes retaliatory action, including in cyberspace, the United States must be ready to respond.” According to this view, projecting US power in Syria is so essential that no form of opposition to US violence in Syria can be brooked, the concern for prudence having vanished.

The Post contended that the US must demand “an acceptable political settlement brokered by the United Nations”—“acceptable” signifying “the departure” of the Syrian government. Functionally, this means keeping the war going: Saying that negotiations should take place but that the only “acceptable” outcome is the dissolution of the Syrian government amounts to the same thing as saying that no negotiations should take place, particularly now that the Syrian government is working from a position of strength and unlikely to agree to its own surrender as a pre-condition for talks.

Andrew Rawnsley, writing in the Guardian (4/15/18), supported US violence in Syria by attacking its critics. He said that those who oppose the Anglo-American-French airstrikes on Syria out of “indifference” to Syria’s plight have the “sole merit of being candid,” unlike those who are

less honest . . . the self-proclaimed peace-lovers. Mainly to be found on the hand-wringing left, they are too busy looking in the mirror admiring their own halos to face the moral challenges posed by a situation like Syria.

Luckily Rawnsley has the requisite courage to meet “the moral challenges” and advocate more war: He says that the West should have “impos[ed] no-fly zones” early in the war in Syria, a policy that would have entailed attacking Syria’s air forces, an act of war by any definition. No-fly zones over Iraq and Libya ultimately led to regime change in both countries, with hideous results for their people.

Rawnsley’s complaint that the West applied “no meaningful pressure” to “bring [the Syrian government to the negotiating table” is wildly misleading; the Western powers in fact applied “meaningful pressure” to prevent negotiations.

Rawnsley also legitimized US violence against Syria by expunging the damage it has inflicted. He trotted out the well-worn lie that the West “stood by” and “fail[ed] to act” in Syria, a canard that FAIR has repeatedly de-bunked (e.g., 9/20/15, 4/7/17, 3/7/18). He characterized the West’s approach to seven years of war in Syria as “years of unmasterly inactivity,” having their hands “wedged firmly under their bottoms,” an “impotent posture,” “failures to act,” making the “grav[e] decision not to act,” “inaction,” “non-interventionist” and as “inaction” a second time. Yet the CIA’s effort to oust the Syrian government has been one of the costliest covert-action programs in the agency’s history; has built ten military bases in the country, with two more on the way; and has killed thousands of Syrian civilians in a bombing campaign ostensibly aimed at ISIS (Jacobin, 4/18/18).

“Non-interventionists,” Rawnsley concludes his article, “the horrors of Syria are on you.” Yet there is no shortage of horrors that are on the interventionists. Sanctions imposed by the US and its allies have punished the Syrian population (9/28/16). These states are implicated in sectarian violence that anti-government armed groups have carried out against minorities (Electronic Intifada, 3/16/17). The US bombed a mosque in Aleppo, Syria, in the name of fighting Al Qaeda, killing almost 40 people (Independent, 4/18/17), and America used toxic depleted uranium against ISIS-held territory in Syria (Foreign Policy, 2/14/17): It would be rather difficult to claim that these horrors were caused by “non-interventionists.”

Cambanis, moreover, exclusively listed Syria, Iran and Russia among those governments who “have serially transgressed the laws of war” and “gotten away with murder” in Syria, but the atrocities attributable to the US and its allies surely constitute “serially transgress[ing] the laws of war” and having “gotten away with murder.”

The Syrian government and its partners are also responsible for a substantial share of carnage in the war, but Rawnsley’s accusation that “non-interventionists” are to blame for Syria’s bloodshed is completely untenable. His argument that Western states have inflicted insufficient harm on Syrians amounts to war propaganda.

And he’s far from the only media figure about whom this can be said.

Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • April 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But where is the evidence for this?

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

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

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

Yet consider how Iran acquired this “land corridor.”

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2018 Creators.com.

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