I think it’s true to say that the days of creating ‘dodgy dossiers‘(pdf) are now over, at least if the latest ‘dodgy report’ is anything to go by. Put out by the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee, it purports to offer proof that Assad gassed his own people. But aside from the fact that it offers not a shred of proof, it’s also amateurish and clearly put together in a panic.
We…have a limited but growing body of intelligence which supports the judgement that the regime was responsible for the attacks and that they were conducted to help clear the Opposition from strategic parts of Damascus. Some of this intelligence is highly sensitive but you have had access to it all. – UK Joint Intelligence Organisation, 29 August 2013
The ‘intelligence’ report (pdf) is short, barely two pages of text and short not only in size, it’s also short of any real content that backs up the mantra,’Assad, the brutal dictator did it’. Not a single fact is presented. Here are are the relevant ‘proofs’ offered by the JIC’s report:
JIC assessment of 27 August on Reported Chemical Weapons use in DamascusIt is not possible for the opposition to have carried out a CW attack on this scale. The regime has used CW on a smaller scale on at least 14 occasions in the past. There is some intelligence to suggest regime culpability in this attack.
Run this past me again? “It is not possible for the opposition to have carried out a CW attack on this scale”, ergo, it must have been Assad. This is evidence? It’s a pathetic, not to say ludicrous attempt and obviously hastily assembled from thin air. Aside from anything else, it’s just not true, there is definitive proof that the ‘rebels’ had sarin gas.
Then the ‘report’ resorts to using the numerous videos to be found on Youtube as somehow proof that Assad used toxic gas on its citizens but again the videos don’t show who did it, how could they?
Extensive video footage attributed to the attack in eastern Damascus (which we assess would be very difficult to falsify) is consistent with the use of a nerve agent, such as sarin, and is not consistent with the use of blister or riot control agents. – JIC Report
This ‘report’ is pure hokum. After you take away all the padding which constitutes 90% of the document, there’s nothing left except the allegation that because the ‘rebels’ couldn’t have done it, it had to be Assad.
I suspect that the political class here (and in the US) really didn’t expect to have so much trouble convincing people to support more Anglo-Saxon slaughter and got caught off-guard as it were, hence the paucity of the document, rushed out in a few days and aside from an alleged Syrian Army conversation (see below), nothing at all to work with.
Ok, I think I’ve dispensed with the disinfo put out by the UK Cabinet Office, it doesn’t amount to much. But I suppose the time constraints imposed by Cameron jumping the gun, all gung ho to kill some more ‘rag-heads’, forced the Empire’s hand.
The Israeli connection
To understand how this false flag operation got started we need to go back to the first article published on the debkafile website 21 August 2013.
Syrian opposition activists report between 200 and 650 dead and hundreds more wounded in a poison gas strike by Bashar Assad’s forces on rebel-held areas of eastern Damascus. They claim nerve gas canisters were dropped by Syrian Air Force fighter planes which were seen flying over the area after the attack, the most extensive reported till now. Their claim has not been verified. The regime denied the accusation, saying there was “no truth whatsoever” in reports that chemical gas was used near Damascus, and maintaining over state television that the Syrian army was conducting a conventional attack on rebel positions south and east of Damascus. – ’Reported Syrian gas attack killing hundreds after first US-trained rebel incursion from Jordan‘, debkafile, 21 August 2013 (my emph. WB)
The gas attack, according to debka was actually just part of a three-pronged attack (masterminded in Tehran), carried out to counter a major incursion from Jordan, commanded by US personnel, into Syria, in order to extend the Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’ between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights.
debkafile reports exclusively that Assad is acting to counter the first organized incursion of US-trained Syrian rebels from Jordan into southern Syria. The first group of 250 rebels, trained in special operations tactics by US and Jordanian instructors, entered Syria Saturday, Aug. 17, armed with weapons of Russian provenance supplied by the US and Saudi Arabia.
They are fighting under US and Jordanian commanders based in the Hashemite Kingdom.
A second group of 300 fighters crossed into Syria from Jordan Monday.
They are linking up with local rebel groups chosen from amongst those with no ties with the jihadist Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria).
According to our military sources, the rebel units are advancing at speed along the Syrian-Israeli border. They have forced the Syrian brigades posted there into retreating from positions inside a strip of 1-25 kilometers from the border, and captured the villages of Raihaniya, Breiqa and Beer Ajam.
This tactic has moved the Syrian army back from the area opposite the Israeli Golan, and started marking out a buffer zone between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Horan province.
This Jordan-based rebel offensive was launched shortly after Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, visited US forces in Jordan and inaugurated the underground US war room near Amman for commanding the operation in Syria.
Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has more than once declared that if the Syrian capital Damascus came under threat, he would resort to chemical warfare and the entire Middle East including Israel would go up in flames. For now, his army is fighting to keep the rebels from taking control of southern Syria. -ibid
Dragon – sorry Tehran
But by 24 August, the situation had changed and so had debka’s story. Now the poison gas shells were,
…fired from the big Mount Kalmun army base south of Damascus, one of the three repositories of Syria’s chemical weapons. In response to a demand from Moscow last December, Assad collected his chemical assets in three depots. The other two are Dummar, a suburb 5 kilometers outside Damascus, and the Al-Safira air base, west of Aleppo. – ‘The sarin shells fired on Damascus – by Syrian 4th Division’s 155th Brigade – were followed by rockets on Israel and car bombings in Lebanon‘, debkafile, 24 August 2013
And here comes the alleged Iranian connection,
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented Thursday, Aug. 22 that Iran is using Syria as its testing ground while closely monitoring international responses to its actions [like gassing hundreds of people?].
The debka piece continues,
debkafile’s military sources affirm that, just as the Assad brothers orchestrated the chemical shell attack on Syrian civilians, so too did Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah set in motion the rocket attack on Israel.
Then, on Friday night, two car bombs blew up outside Sunni mosques in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli, killing 42 people and injuring 500.
The triple coordinated outrages added up to a dire warning from Tehran and Damascus about what they have in store for the region, and especially Syria’s neighbors, as payback for foreign intervention in the Syrian civil war. – ibid
Then there’s that conversation…
Then we have the ‘evidence’ leaked separately to Focus magazine in Germany, also from Mossad which I’ve dealt with elsewhere, concerning the alleged Israeli monitoring of Syrian communications. Remember all of this ‘intelligence’ originates with Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, no matter that it’s repeated by other, Western governments as ‘their’ intelligence.
As I noted before, this monitored communication is interesting because apparently, the Israeli 8200 intelligence unit only started listening after the bombs/missiles had been launched. And why wait three days to inform the world (Focus published the story on the 24 August)? And given that Syria is on a knife edge, why not release these recordings now? (And we are still waiting for the US’ declassified report that we should have had yesterday, the 29 August, why the delay?)
It’s all hearsay; talk of a panicked army officer, the implication being that it was a ‘rogue’ soldier wot did it? No identities, it’s all conveniently left vague. Not exactly a smoking gun. And I think it explains why the political class on both sides of the (polluted) pond are all stirred up and agitated.For once, they’ve not been able to to get their way, yet…
So there we have it, all the essential elements of a false flag operation, initiated by Mossad but with the obvious collusion of the US and possibly even the UK, that used the media to insert the story ‘sideways’, first via debka and Focus, followed by Ynet, the Times of Israel and then the leap across to the UK Guardian and all points West.
But clearly, what started as a military/psyops campaign centred around the Golan Heights and designed to drag Iran into it, rapidly morphed into something far larger, perhaps because whoever was responsible for the carnage, ‘overcooked’ it and killed far too many people? But the change does explain much about the nature of the propaganda campaign and how the story has ‘evolved’.
But the fact that the Empire is not lobbing cruise missiles in Syria’s direction just yet is a temporary victory for the forces of progress. Moreover, I think independent journalism is starting to have some impact on events, perhaps at last we can begin to think about neutralising or effectively countering the MSM and the state’s massive propaganda onslaught, especially if it’s as badly managed as this one has been.
1. It was more than ten years ago when Tony Blair, his spin doctor and MI5 cooked up the Dodgy Dossier that formed the basis for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
2. Could this have anything to do with extending the occupied Golan Heights, the illegal drilling for oil by Israel on Syrian territory?
Genie Energy (NYSE: GNE, GNEPRA), said today that the government of Israel has awarded its subsidiary, Genie Israel Oil and Gas, Ltd., an exclusive petroleum exploration license covering 396.5 square kilometers in the Southern portion of the Golan Heights, and look who at who are on the board: Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, and Lord Jacob Rothschild. See: ‘Israel has granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights‘ by Craig Murray, Global Research, 21 February 2013
Source: William Bowles
Countdown to Apocalypse Now?
Tehran — Truth told, it’s a bit intense these days in Tehran as in most other countries in this region, and this observer fairly soon may be on what just might be the last Tehran-Damascus flight for some time in light of what could occur in the coming days.
Not that one is in any hurry to leave the Islamic Republic. I love Iran and its people, who in their basic values and outlook on life are about as American as apple pie. Iranians think a lot like me and my friends back home, and Americans think a lot like them, this despite the extremist, politically motivated portrayals of each other designed by their governments.
I have been attending the Habilian Association (families of Iranian terror victims) Congress on Terrorism and Terror Victims in Tehran, and continuing also an undertaking with students from Tehran University to survey the effects of the US-led economic sanctions. Both endeavors presented an excellent opportunity to listen to Iranian views on a number of current events. The students are examining a sanctions scheme that targets their families and countrymen, and part of their work involves a definition of “economic terrorism” (a term employed by the Pentagon when done by someone other than the US government or its allies). Rather amazing in their clarity of thinking, they exhibit truly inspiring optimism and humanity in these ominous times.
As it happens, economic terrorism was also one of the topics at the Iranian Congress on Terrorism, and the American delegation decided to focus solely on that subject during its presentation, a presentation that was months in preparation. As part of its work, the delegation presented a Draft International Convention outlawing the use of economic sanctions targeting civilians for political purposes, including regime change. Elaborating on the history of economic terrorism, the group urged the Tehran-based Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to use its newfound international political power to lead the campaign for global ratification of the new draft convention, and to present it to the United Nations during next month’s opening session of the General Assembly. NAM leaders promised to study the draft and to arrange a consultative follow-up meeting(s).
Sanctions targeting a civilian population for the political purpose of forcing regime change constitutes an act of terrorism as defined by several US government agencies—this was the position of the American delegation, and it would apply to any government, including their own, with a deep history of targeting peoples with economic sanctions (Cuba, Vietnam, China, Korea, Iran, and Nicaragua, among others, come to mind).
For accuracy’s sake, it should be said that, unexpectedly, due to last minute visa problems, the whole US delegation at the Congress ended up being comprised of a total number of—well, one international lawyer. A last minute effort was indeed made to coax Jeffrey Feltman, who never has visa problems to this observer’s knowledge, and who was staying at the same hotel, to attend the Terrorism Congress, hence doubling the size, weight, and authority of the US delegation. Mr. Feltman was even offered the chairmanship of the American delegation as an incentive, but, regretfully, the gentleman declined, citing other commitments.
Getting visas to visit Iran and especially Syria these days is no easy feat for Americans, given ‘payback’ or reciprocal changes in policy at both countries’ foreign ministries. Last year, revised guidelines were sent out by both governments on how to process visa requests submitted by Americans. US citizens wanting to travel to certain countries these days pay a stiff price for their government’s actions.
Talking with average Iranians and shop keepers, and especially students, one gets a fairly good idea of just how engaged public opinion is in Iran on current events. It offers a very different picture than that presented by the western media, beholden as they are to their corporate paymasters, but this is beginning to be true of much of the non-western media as well. Here on the street one finds, even in the face of the ever-rising cost of living and near-rampant inflation and the suffering they engender, pride at how this country has resisted the US-led sanctions. A common view expressed in informal discussions—and also at the Congress—is that while there are many states who practice terrorism of one kind or another, including economic terrorism, the US is unusual in that its foreign relations record argues strongly that it is officially committed to international economic terrorism. Moreover, that this is on a scale far exceeding other actors on the world stage.
One professor summarized for this observer his analysis of the effect of US-led sanctions, noting the severe impact on Iranian consumers at the grocery store, dramatically shrinking their real income, as well as government efforts to maintain some subsidies to lessen their impact. He also discussed innovative ways both the government and private sectors have been able to lessen the impact of some of the sanctions, while completely skirting others, mentioning as well a ‘circle the wagons’ public spirit that has arisen in unexpected ways, leading to, among other things, neighborhood initiatives designed to help one’s neighbors with economic problems.
One finds also among Iranians a smoldering anger over the current chemical weapons ‘red line’ issue in Syria, along with an awareness that this may well lead to regional war. The American campaign to bomb Syria is viewed here as utmost American governmental hypocrisy. More than one interlocutor expressed disdain, remembering the Reagan administration’s actions during the late 1980s, when not only did the White House take no action when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons—against Iranian forces as well as “his own people”—but the United States also aided the attacks by providing intelligence and firing coordinates. In other words, finding Iranians to kill, and providing gas to murder them with.
The Tehran Times wrote yesterday: “U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Saddam Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.” The effects of these US-facilitated gas attacks are seen everywhere in Iran today, in the skin scars and poor health of its hundreds of thousands of victims.
“How can the American people accept this double standard, where its ok and your government will help to gas Iranians and your enemy’s population?” is a common question put to this observer.
There is visible excitement and even a sort of joy this morning that the UK Parliament, to its great credit, just voted to reject the Cameron government’s motion authorizing British forces to boom Syria. A taxi driver expressed his hope that “Your Congress will follow the lead of the British Parliament?” Iranians appear to view the Parliamentary vote as a victory for themselves. Given the Islamic Republic’s role as a key pillar of resistance to the Zionist occupation of Palestine and US-Israel regional hegemonic goals, few here, if any, believe the US attack on Syria is not aimed at them.
As the war drums become nearly deafening in certain capitals, public expressions in Iran regarding the grave prospects that are looming appear to this observer less knee-jerk rhetoric than in recent years. No doubt there are many reasons for this, including the results of the recent elections in Iran—viewed here as an encouraging sign of stability and democracy in the region. Tehran made clear to Jeffrey Feltman this week that it is ready for serious cooperation in order to peacefully resolve the crisis in Syria.
As Hossein Mousavian, a researcher at Princeton University, recently pointed out, the cooperation of the US and Iran in 2001 regarding Afghanistan, resulting in the fall of the Taliban and al-Qaeda (at least for a while), is a blueprint for a new collaboration. Writes Mousavian: “This collaboration should not be limited to Syria. The Middle East requires management for the time, and therefore, crisis management (of this and other crises) would be a useful path for this collaboration.” This observer believes much of the Iranian and American public would agree, and that there are hopeful signs during this feared apocalyptic period.
Tehran – The Bandar-Zionist lobby collaboration, currently the cocktail party talk of many in Washington, is not a case of strange bedfellows given three decades of mutual cooperation which started during Prince Bandar’s long tenure as Saudi ambassador in Washington. Based in Washington, but with a palace out west and up north, Bandar developed almost familial relationships with five presidents and their key advisers. His voice was one of the shrillest urging the United States to invade Iraq in 2003. In the 1980s, Prince Bandar was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal in Nicaragua and it his intelligence agency that first alerted Western allies to the alleged use of sarin gas by the Syrian regime in February. Bandar has reportedly for months been focused exclusively on garnering international support, including arms and training, for Syrian rebel factions in pursuit of the eventual toppling of President Bashar al-Assad.
Reportedly, the Saudi-Zionist discretely coordinated effort, confirmed by Congressional staffers working on the US House Foreign Affairs Committee as well and the US Senate Foreign Relations committee, is being led by Bandar protégé, Adel A. al-Jubeir, the current Saudi ambassador and facilitated by Bahrain ambassador Houda Ezra Ebrahimis Nonoo, who is the first Jewish person, and third woman to be appointed ambassador of Bahrain. Long known, for having myriad contacts at AIPAC HQ, and as an ardent Zionist, Houda Nonoo has attended lobby functions while advising associates that the “Arabs must forget about the so-called Liberation of Palestine. It will never happen.”
The project has set its sights on achieving American involvement in its third and hopefully its forth (the Islamic Republic) war in this region in just over one decade.
Labeled the ‘surgical strike project”, according to one Congressional staffer, the organizers, as of 8/26/13 are blitzing US Congressional offices with “ fact sheets” making the following arguments in favor of an immediate sustained air assault. They are being supported by the increasingly anguished cries from neo-cons in Congress such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and their ilk.
The lobby’s missive details calculations why the project will succeed and turn out to be a political plus for Obama who is increasingly being accused, by this same team, of dithering. Bandar is arguing that Syrian threats to retaliate against Israel is only political posturing because Syria has never and will never launch a war against Israel, has no military capacity to do so and for the reason that Israel could level Damascus and the Baathist regime knows this well.
In addition, the Prince and his partners insist that Iran will do nothing but complain because it has too much to lose. Iran will not response other than verbally and has no history of attacking the US or Israel and would not risk the unpredictable consequences of a military response by the Republic Guards or even some of its backed militia in Iraq or Syria. Sources in Tehran have reported otherwise to this observer.
Hezbollah, it is claimed, will not act without orders from Tehran which has instructed it to maintain its heavy weapons in moth balls until the coming ‘big war’ with Israel.. It is widely agreed that if Israel attacks Iran, the region will ignite with Hezbollah playing an important role in targeting occupied Palestine.
McClain, a former pilot in Vietnam, is even pushing “weapons to be employed” list, which includes advising the White House and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on how to do their jobs. Congressional sources report that there is tension between McCain and the Pentagon because the Senator is implying that the Pentagon doesn’t know its job or what assets it has available and how to use them.
The Saudi official acknowledges that a military strike is a game changer, especially for Russia and that it will kill any diplomatic initiative (including Geneva II), meaning that Russia will lose a serious advantage in Syria. This also means that Russia will lose its bargaining chips which could have bought them the consensus they need, political or economic. But this does not mean that Russia will stand up to the U.S. militarily, as the losses in this case would be more severe. All this is reportedly acceptable to the Prince and the lobby.
The timing of such an attack according to knowledgeable sources in Damascus and Washington would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers.
Reportedly, striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, hinges on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability for the chemical attack; continuing consultation with allies and Congress; and the Department of States International Law Bureau preparing the justification under international law.
One of the most common phases being uttered by AIPAC to congressional offices this week are the words, “Assad’s massive use of chemical weapons”.
Bandar has reportedly agreed that Israel can call the shots but that the air assault will be led by the US and involve roughly two dozen US allies including Turkey, the UK and France. The German weekly ‘Focus” reported on 8/26/13 that the IDF’s 8200 intelligence unlit bugged the Syrian leadership during the chemical weapons attack last week and that Israel ‘sold” the incriminating information to the White House.
A group from Israel arrived in Washington on 8/26/13. It included the Director of the Political-Security Staff in the Defense Ministry, Jaj. Gen. (res) Amos Gilad, Director of Planning Branch Maj. Gen. Nimrod Shefer and IDF intelligence Research Department Direcotr Brigadier General Ital Brun. After some intense discusisons, the shared some of their tapes with US officials.
The Bandar/AIPAC arguments being, pushed by this delegation and being spread around capitol hill as part of “Israel sharing its sterling intelligence” can be summarized as follows:
The US must avoid half measures to pursue a limited punitive response to the CW use. What is needed is a sustained Bosnia style bombing campaign until Bashar al-Assad is removed from office. Giving in to that temptation would be a mistake.
The use of the CW affords President Obama an, underserved opportunity to correct his errant Middle East policies. As Isreal’s agent, Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy ( WINEP) is telling anyone who is willing to listen, “Obama’s deep reluctance to engage in Syria is clear to all. This hesitancy is part of his policy to wind down U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and his championing of the idea of “nation building at home.” It is not understandable and to the millions of Americans who see Syria as a heaven-sent contest between radical Shiites and radical Sunnis, it is unwise and inappropriate. “
According to the Saudi’s,” the Obama administration now faces Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its Iranian sponsors who believe they can put a stake through the heart of U.S. power and prestige in the region by testing the president’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons (CW). “ WINEP is arguing in a memo just issued, “ For Assad, large-scale use of CW serves multiple ends — it demoralizes the rebels, underscores the impotence of their external financiers and suppliers, and confirms to Assad’s own patrons that he is committed to fight to the bitter end. For the Iranians, Assad’s CW use makes Syria — not Iran’s nuclear facilities — the battlefield to test American resolve.”
For Bander and his Zionist collaborators, the key issue is not whether Obama authorizes the use of American force as a response to Syria’s use of CW. Rather, the key imperative is that the U.S. use whatever force in necessary to achieve regime change and choose the next regime assuring that it will be friendly to Israel.
WINEP and AIPAC are arguing that If the US military action is designed to only punish Assad for violating the international norm on CW,” it will merely have the effect of defining for Assad the acceptable tools for mass killing — perhaps only the acceptable quantities of CW to use at any given time — and will have little impact on the outcome of the Syrian conflict; in fact, it might just embolden Assad and his allies.”
Bandar has told Congressional friends who he has known for decades, that if American military action must be designed to alter the balance of power between the various rebel groups and the Syrian/Iranian/Hezbollah alliance? This will require a wholesale change in U.S. on-the-ground strategy to supply and train well-vetted opposition militias.
For Israel and its agents, the worst of all is victory by the Assad/Iranian/Hezbollah axis, which a brief but fiery barrage of cruise missiles is liable to bring about. A global power thousands of miles away cannot calibrate stalemate to ensure that neither party wins; we have to prioritize the most negative outcomes and use our assets to prevent them.
The Bandar-Zionist project is still not irreversible. The Pentagon and especially Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, are very concerned and have threatened to resign in protest. For they realize that there is a grave risk that the Syrian response will lead to a clash with one of its neighbors, a US ally. Any scenario is possible from the moment that the first missile leaves American ships in the eastern Mediterranean.
Sources in Iran and Syria has advised this observers that they expect the US bombing to commence within 72 hours.
In 1964, the U.S. had for years been involved in covert operations in Vietnam designed to destabilize the North Vietnamese leadership and goad them into attacking American and South Vietnamese targets. On August 4th, U.S. naval authorities reported one of two recent “torpedo attacks” in the Gulf of Tonkin, torpedo attacks which were later admitted to be entirely faked in order to provide pretext for an open American invasion.
While Lyndon Johnson was declaring a “police action” in the region (essentially a war declared without the authority of Congress) CIA Station Chief Peer DeSilva was organizing Vietnam operations around a new strategy called “counter-terrorism”. This strategy held that terrorism, used in the hands of “the good-guys”, was not only acceptable, but necessary in order to undermine the support structures of the enemy. CIA counter-terror units were formed using mostly South Vietnamese nationals as well as men from surrounding countries. These hit teams, called Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU’s) were coordinated and led by U.S. special operations officers and CIA liaisons under the umbrella of ICEX – the Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation Program, meant to create perfect information sharing and centralization between various teams. The entire horrifying edifice would eventually be called “The Phoenix Program”:
The Phoenix Program is defended to this day by the CIA as nothing more than a practical counter-insurgency methodology meant to win the war faster, and with fewer casualties:
In fact, some in the mainstream still argue that Phoenix tactics should be used in Afghanistan and Iraq:
But Phoenix went far beyond aspirations of “winning” in Vietnam. The program utilized a “by any means necessary” strategy to warfare that included the use of random assassination and the FABRICATION of enemy atrocities in order to rally the civilian population around U.S. forces. PRU operators routinely targeted the backwater villages of Vietnam, killing at least 20,000 civilians as later admitted by CIA Director William Colby, and 40,000 civilians as estimated by the South Vietnamese Government. The slaughter of villages was frequently blamed on the Vietcong, while PRU’s ran rampant in the jungles, physically mutilating victims in order to draw greater emotional reactions from Southern citizens as well as oblivious Americans back home.
All of this took place under the close supervision of the CIA. Torture was often applied in CIA substations with high tech security. CIA officers carefully selected PRU troops, specifically seeking out ARVN deserters, VC traitors, and South Vietnamese criminals looking for a reduction in their prison sentences. The CIA planned and mapped operations, including death squad operations. They created teams of monsters and unleashed them upon Vietnam, not just to win against the North, but to create the illusion that the U.S. military presence was justified.
Skip ahead about 20 years…
The same exact theater was used in the 1980′s by the CIA in El Salvador. Militants and fascist political leaders, including El Salvadorian dictator-by-election-fraud Roberto D’Aubuission,trained at the Fort Benning, Georgia’s “School of the Americas” (also known as the School of the Assassins) where they learned the same “counter-terror” methods used during the Phoenix Program. This resulted in the formation of the Mano Blanco (the White Hand), a network of ruthless death squads utilized against Salvadorian citizens, killing tens of thousands in a bloodbath that was covertly endorsed by the U.S. government.
Skip ahead another 30 years…
The techniques and technology have become more sophisticated, but the general strategy remains identical.
The Syria crisis is swiftly escalating with the advent of yet another unverified chemical weapons attack on the civilian population that is being used as a broad permit for the Obama Administration to enter into open operations against the Assad government. A previous chemical attack at the beginning of this summer was left unverified, though the establishment went to great lengths to convince the American public that the Assad government was responsible. It certainly didn’t help that the UN was relying purely on “samples” from a French evening newspaper called Le Monde rather than an officially sanctioned source, and that the UN was forced to acknowledge that the Syrian insurgents may have been involved.
Today, the mainstream media and the U.S. government references “strong indications that Syria’s government used chemical weapons in attacks that opposition groups claimed killed more than 1,100 people” as if their version of events is already considered concrete reality:
But where are these “strong indications”? Where is this unassailable evidence of Assad’s involvement? The American public hasn’t been given a scrap of verifiable data concerning the attack and its origin. Once again, we are being asked to accept on simple “faith” that our government is telling us the truth and that military intervention must be supported.
Here is what we DO know for a fact…
The Syrian insurgency is made up primarily of Al Qaeda operatives (terrorists and criminals).
The CIA trained and supported these operatives using Bengahzi as a base for at least a year before the Bengahzi attacks.
Syrian insurgents have been caught on numerous occasions committing startling crimes, including the torture and murder of civilians, and the mutilation of prisoners and even their corpses. Captured Syrian soldiers are commonly executed.
The U.S. government continues to support the insurgents despite their death squad mentality, supplying heavy weapons including anti-aircraft missiles.
Syrian insurgents impose their own fanatical system of theological governance in regions where they have total control. Anyone remotely suspected of being an Assad supporter is tortured, and the civilian population is carefully vetted.
Clearly, Phoenix Program methods are being used by the CIA in Syria. The only difference in Syria is that the establishment has chosen to use the faction in rebellion as a tool for destabilization and war rather than a prevailing puppet government. Reports are now beginning to surface in the mainstream exposing direct U.S. and Israeli involvement on the ground in the Syrian theatre:
“According to our information, the regime’s opponents, supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos moving towards Damascus since mid-August. This attack could explain the possible use of the Syrian president to chemical weapons.
According to information obtained by Le Figaro , the first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid-August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa. A first group of 300 men, probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos, as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17. A second would have joined the 19. According to military sources, the Americans, who do not want to put troops on the Syrian soil or arming rebels in part controlled by radical Islamists form quietly for several months in a training camp set up at the border Jordanian- Syrian fighters ASL, the Free Syrian Army, handpicked.
According to this expert on the region, the idea proposed by Washington would be the possible establishment of a buffer zone from the south of Syria, or even a no-fly zone, which would cause opponents safely until the balance of power changes. This is the reason why the United States has deployed Patriot batteries and F16 in late June Jordan.”
This report from Le Figaro has not yet been confirmed by a secondary source, but it fits perfectly with the Phoenix paradigm. The so called “rebels” have been trained by CIA operatives and U.S. interests. The rebels are armed and funded by the U.S. government. The rebels are vicious and amoral in their tactics, frequently targeting innocent civilians in death squad fashion. And finally, the rebels, it appears, are being directed on the ground by U.S. assets. The natural next step in this process would be a false flag, and what better way than to use chemical weapons against non-combatants; a “red line” which Barack Obama previously stated “cannot be crossed”?
As I have pointed out in numerous articles dealing with engineered disaster events, if you aren’t examining who benefits, you aren’t seeing the big picture.
Who REALLY benefits from the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria? Assad, already nearing victory against the insurgents, gains absolutely nothing from killing hundreds if not thousands of his own people with Sarin gas on the same exact day that a UN inspections team arrives in the country. However, the insurgents gain immense military support from the West if Assad is successfully labeled a war criminal. The establishment gains a pretext for air strikes, no-fly zones, and eventually a physical invasion of the region, which is something they have obviously wanted for quite some time given the fact that they have manipulated the Syrian revolution from its very inception.
It’s all happened before, with different players, different faces, and different ideologies, but always the same winner – the global elites. Call it the “Phoenix Program”, call it the “School Of The Americas”, call it the “Arab Spring”; it doesn’t really matter. The endgame is predictable. Unilateral war without the approval of the American people or even Congress. Collapse of a nation or multiple nations resulting in the deaths of tens of thousand, hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions. Severe economic and social implications reverberating throughout the rest of the world. And American culture takes several steps closer to a totalitarian hell on Earth
I have been predicting the use of Syria as a catalyst for wider war for years:
And in recent months, I reiterated my concerns and predictions, many of which are coming true as you read this:
I do believe that the Obama Administration is going to steamroll forward with overt U.S. action in Syria, Iran, and likely Egypt. I do believe that the consequences economically and politically in America will be catastrophic. I believe that if extended U.S. or Israeli strikes occur in Syria, they will be accompanied by subsequent attacks here at home (false flag or otherwise). I believe that a Syrian strike should be considered a Red Alert event for those in the Liberty Movement preparing for the worst. We may not be able to stop the landslide of devastation that will be triggered in coming months, but we can still decide the outcome. Make yourselves ready now, and do not waver.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
A cornered rat has a deadly bite, or so says the lore from the 19th century, when rat baiting was common sport. The same is true of a cornered empire today. Every hour that goes by presents the evidence. It’s getting absolutely dangerous out there for anyone who dares to stand up against the empire and for basic human rights, which is to say that it is dangerous to corner the rat.
Recall the NSA’s Edward Snowden blockbuster revelations that the U.S. national security state has been data-mining all email, cell calls, chat and other communications and routinely investigates the results without any authority of law whatsoever. Seeing this all around him, Snowden came forward because he was disgusted by the practice, but also because the whole operation was taking place without any public knowledge, much less congressional approval.
Now, you might think that this information would be a terrible embarrassment to the agencies involved, and to the president who is supposed to be overseeing them. You might think there would be a scramble to find a fall guy, and maybe even a pullback on the part of the bureaucracies themselves. Under normal conditions — where the law matters and government was actually accountable to the governed — exposure on this level might cause the bad guys to do damage control.
But these are not normal conditions. The national security state is too well developed and too habituated to the perception of itself as the final ruler and the arbiter of all law. It believes itself to be above Congress, above any appointed official, and above the court system too, even the military court system. It is a government unto itself and it gets its way.
Snowden had only behaved as a patriot should, but he then found himself on the run from the law, trying to find safe haven somewhere in the world where the U.S. did not have control. The safe haven he found was the old Cold War enemy of Russia — a deeply embarrassing reality for those of us who cheered the U.S. victory in the Cold War.
But that was just the beginning. The national security state is out there right now trying to settle all family business, Godfather style, taking down anyone and everyone who might have assisted him in his deeds.
The fate of the email provider Lavabit is an example. This is the small company, run out of a Dallas apartment by one Web developer and a few friends, that has provided encrypted email. It is widely believed that this is the service that Snowden used to communicate with reporters.
Well, Lavabit was hit with an order from some agency within the state apparatus. It demanded access to all records and, most probably, a direct pipeline to the company’s own servers. In the past, Lavabit had complied with specific requests for information whenever it seemed reasonable. But this one was different. It was a demand for sweeping access.
Lavabit took the principled stand and shut down its own thriving business rather than go along.
This was a real act of courage. When an order like this comes from Homeland Security, it comes with a demand that the recipient not speak to anyone about the demand, on penalty of law. What about business partners? The order says no one. What about spouses? No one. What about attorneys? Again, no exceptions. You are laid bare and totally captured. It’s not different from jail. One wrong move and your life is over.
(Having been on the receiving end of one of these orders myself, I’m still reluctant to talk about it. I completely understand what it is like.)
“I could be arrested for this action,” Ladar Levison told NBC News. Indeed. In interviews, he chooses his words very carefully, fully aware that one misplaced bit of information would lead him out of compliance with the order from Homeland Security and cause him to spend untold amounts of time in prison.
Just so we are clear here, this totally arbitrary attack occurred after the Snowden revelations, in seeming and shameless retribution. And it was not the only attack. An Internet service called Silent Circle, which specializes in private communications, saw the writing on the wall and pre-emptively shut down its email service. Now the company tells its customers that email is not and cannot be secure. It is focusing entirely on cell coverage and text messaging.
These are just the two attacks we know about. Many other services that advertise secure email have most likely been approached. It wouldn’t be surprising if they failed to mention this to their subscribers. Again, this is the nature of the orders the government issues.
They say comply immediately and tell no one, or else. Maybe you think you would do the principled thing and refuse, but anyone who believes that has not been on the receiving end of such demands. There are few things more terrifying in this world than to have the imperial spotlight suddenly hit your face.
Continuing on with Homeland’s family business, a remarkable thing happened to Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who revealed Snowden’s NSA leaks. His domestic partner, who is not even a reporter, was arbitrarily detained at Britain’s Heathrow Airport on route from Germany to Brazil. The authorities took his computer, files, and even his cellphone, so that he couldn’t even communicate with those who were expecting to meet him at the airport.
He was detained without explanation for a full nine hours, which is the maximum that British law allows. The purpose of the law, of course, is to stop terrorism, but here we see how it is really used. It is used in an attempt to intimidate someone close to a journalist who leaked the Snowden stories — a clear aping of old mob tactics of going after loved ones.
It’s all part of the great drama called “the empire strikes back.”
The beauty here was that the secret of his detention came out super fast. Greenwald himself wrote a blog post for The Guardian, and within minutes, the story was all over the Internet and world press. Indeed, the next day, The New York Times featured a detail report about the detention. It was yet another black eye on the national security state, and more indication that it is on the fast track toward being enemy No. 1.
This kind of behavior seems counterproductive in every way. No private-sector business that was caught bilking its customers would respond by ramping up the rip-off. Not even politicians can get away with this sort of thing. But the FBI, the NSA, and Homeland Security believe that they are invulnerable and don’t have to obey anything or anyone, and especially not public opinion. At the same time, they want to operate in secret.
What they do not understand is that in a world of freely flowing information, nothing they do is a secret anymore. There’s no turning back: What the NSA and Homeland have done to citizens of the world, people are now doing to NSA and Homeland.
The rat is cornered. The empire is panicked and behaving exactly as we might expect, complete with nasty hissing and biting and victims all around. But this is not a sign of its strength. It is a sign of its desperation to preserve its power and privilege in world that is moving beyond these search-and-destroy tactics. The national security state has its data-mining centers, but the institution called the Internet is working daily to bring accountability to their egregious tactics.
Source: Jeffrey Tucker | Laissez Faire Today
Hey FANS, are you ready for more football? How much do you know about the business end of your favorite entertainment addiction, the NFL? The revenue stream from media contracts, ticket sales, official NFL products and products, government stadium subsidies and syndication rights has reached enormous levels. The pie has grown from a sandlot clubhouse hobby to a billionaire jet set club. Now that fantasy football is in full swing, the beleaguered but rabid buff, sticks with their voyeurism as they act out their heroism celebration. Devotees of the noble sport seek the thrill of victory, but experience the agony of defeat in their pocketbook.
The NFL (not for long) article, Fantasy is the Current Test of Reality, shows that escapism is preferable for most athletic enthusiasts.
“NFL Football is the national sport. It more closely resembles the evolving social trends than any other indicator. Our society is a mirror of a game that once encompassed the essence of the human struggle against the elements of nature and competing warriors. The symbol of this era was the spent sacrifice of an average quarterback who achieved miracles. The famous photo of an exhausted Y.A Tittle captures the meaning of the game that each fan treasured in their heart and desired to know for themselves. The America of this period was not that long ago, but now seems to be from a different century.”
Now that the purity of a game is but a mere memory, the business is all about theBenjamins. Forbes notes in The Most Valuable NFL Teams, that the “NFL’s 32 teams are worth, on average, $1.17 billion, 5% more than last year. The Cleveland Browns, a lousy team for years in a midsize market, sold for almost $1 billion last year.”The last agreement with the players association produced a new contract that “included a provision that gives players between 46 percent and 48 percent of league revenues. That’s down from the previous agreement’s 50-50 split.” Even the causal bystander must admit that the owners are wielding the hammer in free agency. If the marketing machine is geared to extract more revenue out of a hooked public, just what does the future hold?The vision from NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell in another Forbes article, reports:
This year revenues for the National Football League will be somewhere just north of $9 billion, which means the league remains the most lucrative in the world.
He has stated that he wants to reach $25 billion in annual revenues for the league by the year 2027. Here’s how the NFL can get there:
1) The first—and most significant step—will be the renegotiation of the league’s television rights deals.
2) A new labor deal. The 2011 collective bargaining agreement ends in 2020.
3) The NFL has mastered the art of dividing up its rights. In other words when, say, CBS gets the TV rights deal, it does not get the live-streaming Internet rights.
4) The NFL is in initial discussions about forming its own mobile network.
5) The NFL’s fantasy game, at 3 million players, is still well behind ESPN and Yahoo, which have an estimated 14 million and 12 million players, respectively.
This ambitious plan is looking to up the ante. Merchandising will not boost an additional 16 billion out of cash strapped fanatics. Maybe selling NFL uniforms to the military or running a bookmaking network with an anti-trust exemption might get permanent seating in skyboxes for elitist politicians, but it does nothing to bring relief to the lowly stadium season ticketholder. Soon with enhanced and intrusive security measures, many fans will just be content to be tailgaters.
Relying upon the referees to umpire a fair playing field might bring back the perception of an honesty game, but doubts linger that the point spread is often more important than the final score. The Drunk Never Knows When To Leave The Bar, might offer a better option than havingJimmy Haslam or Eddie John DeBartolo Jr. in change of public relations.
“Now you say, what is wrong with the fox guarding the hen house? Surely, you are not saying that this compares to the NFL Players Association passing judgment on all new referees, writing the rule book and picking only from their own ranks every new candidate for the job?”
Looking to the players for that wholesome image has its own pitfalls. Review the NFL Arrests Database.
“These are arrests and citations involving NFL players since 2000 that were more serious than speeding tickets. U-T San Diego reviewed hundreds of news reports and public records in compiling it. The list cannot be considered comprehensive in part because some incidents may not have been reported and some public records proved to be elusive. Increased media coverage of incidents also probably accounts for more incidents listed in recent years.”
It seems that the poster boys are running a campaign to rename the NFL to the Aaron Hernandez league. Ownership flack, when Tim Tebow Says Football Comes After Faith and Family, illustrates that selling the NFL vision of Jerry Jones is the way to the $25 billion super bowl.At some point, the public will become played out. Their satisfaction with the NFL experience will never approach the dignity of Y.A Tittle. An aficionado of the sport likeHoward Cosell would tell it like it is. “Don’t you remember the $28 million dollar judgment against the NFLPA and its affiliated marketing company (of which $21 million was punitive) for breaching their fiduciary duty to retired players?”
Players, players almost sounds like playoffs, playoffs . . . playoffs !
Soon the virtual reality of a smart phone app will provide the excitement of a two-minute drill without the cost of admission. The NFL marketing machine owes more toNFL films than to the collective wisdom of the players or the owners. The business of the end zone dance rests upon the good will of the fans.
The really important news from Egypt is not the “martyrdom” of some hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and underage human shields set up for sacrifice by their leaders. It is not the brutality of the security forces fighting the emergence of a Khalifate within the state. It is the targeting of dozens of Christian churches, institutions and individuals all over Egypt by the MB, instigated by the leaders and eagerly carried out by the rank-and-file.
The Brotherhood has finally shown its terrorist character (a host of Western news editors excusing and implicitly justifying its acts as “reprisal attacks” notwithstanding). Attacking the helpless infidel has always been the essence of the MB’s scriptural sources of inspiration, the record of its predecessors through history, and the practice of its contemporary peers. As assorted jihadists fight Assad in Syria, the Christians suffer the most by far proportionate to their numbers. In Libya there were no Christians left after Gaddafy’s fall, so several Allied war cemeteries were vandalized. In Iraq, Saddam’s pious Shiite successors and their Sunni foes have effectively destroyed the two-million-strong Christian community, one of the oldest in the world.
At least the “Bulgarian Massacres” of 1878 and the Turkish genocide of a million-plus Armenians in 1915 and thereafter had a grim logic to it, following the Russian victories at Plevna and in the Caucasus respectively. The logic of the Brotherhood’s assault on Egypt’s Christians is to be found in chapter 9, verse 5, of the Kuran and in the example set by Muhammad and his early successors, the four “rightly guided” khalifs. That logic outweighs the pragmatic need not to dissipate forces and not to lose foreign support—not that the West cares. Had a Christian mob put to torch fifty-plus mosques and Islamic centers in Russia, say, that would have been the MSM lead story for days and weeks, never mind the dead. But the persecution, violence and bloodshed that is the daily lot of Christians in most majority-Muslim countries is under-reported or else grotesquely misrepresented.
As Wael Nawara, a former fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, pointed out in an excellent article last Wednesday, the question is not “Why was it so necessary to clear the sit-ins fully knowing that the blood toll was to be high,” but rather, “If it’s not too important, why did the Muslim Brothers’ react by setting the whole country on fire?” For six weeks, Nawara explains, the Rabia al-Adawiya encampment gradually expanded its borders, creeping to claim mile after mile of neighboring streets, including the highway which connects much of Cairo to the airport. The “sit-in” gradually morphed into a sprawling, fortified city-state with its own police force, complete with torture chambers and border guards. It came to manifest the MB’s “Parallel State,” and its conflict with the state of Egypt has now reached an existential phase “where for one to survive, the other had to go, at least ideologically and organizationally:
Over the past two and half years of the Egyptian revolution, several sit-ins were dispersed in Tahrir and other squares, with very few casualties, if any. It was never a big deal. But this was not just a sit-in, this was the flashpoint in an 85-year conflict between two states, the Muslim Brotherhood’s with its promised Caliphate state and the Egyptian national state, the oldest state history has known. Political factions can negotiate and split seats of power; people from different races, faiths and walks of life can coexist, but two states trying to govern the same people on the same piece of land cannot be together. This is the nature of the conflict now in Egypt and this is one explanation why the Brotherhood fights this battle as if it was Armageddon.
Three weeks ago Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the Egyptian army did not carry out a coup on July 3 but was only “restoring democracy.” (He retracted it with some waffle a day later.) That is nonsense. There had never been any democracy in Egypt so there is nothing to restore. The Muslim Brotherhood in general—as manifested by Morsi’s year in power—and its assault on the dwindling Coptic community in particular, are the living testimonial to the incompatibility of Islam with democracy as it is commonly understood in the postmodern West.
It cannot be otherwise. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his now famous lecture at the University of Regensburg six years ago, not to act reasonably—not to act with logos—is contrary to the nature of God. For a Muslim, God is absolutely transcendent, however; his will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Indeed, it is impossible to have total transcendence and self-limitation at the same time. Logos cannot be assumed in a supreme being that is so transcendent as to be devoid of personality. As then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger wrote in 1979, “the unrelated, unrelatable, absolutely one could not be a person. There is no such thing as a person in the categorical singular.” The result is a moral philosophy and a legal code that excludes the possibility of judgment based on any other source of authority but itself: the letter of revealed law and the precedent. Analogies thus derived stand above reason, conscience, or nature. A Muslim knows that a thing is right or not simply because Allah says so, or because his prophet has thus said or done. No other standard can be invoked.
The political consequences are crucial for all societies that derive their concept of authority from this image. Any notion of politics distinct from that implicit in complete submission to Allah is forbidden and sinful. A polity not based on Sharia is infidel ab initio; the notion of a society not based on the revealed will of Allah is haram. Any Western concept of justice, prudence, equality, or individual freedom—either Christian or derived from some deist-atheist construct—is incompatible with Islam. For Muslims to live together as sovereign individuals—the hallmark of today’s West—is literally unimaginable. It is beyond incompatible with the ideal of ummah, it is its diametrical opposite. The sovereignty of the individual is inconceivable. In his 1970 Islamic Declaration the Bosnian jihadist leader Alija Izetbegovic wrote that “A Muslim generally does not exist as an individual. If he wishes to live and survive as a Muslim, he must create an environment, a community, an order; change the world or be changed himself.”
The sovereignty of the people was accepted by the Muslim Brotherhood as a perfect tool to other ends—a step on the irreversible road to Sharia—but it was always seen by Morsi and his ilk as a sinful rebellion against the sovereignty of Allah. Hence their contempt and arrogance, hence their sophistry and duplicity. Only Allah creates our acts and enables us to act, not constitutions and assemblies and courts, which can and should be manipulated and twisted to suit his will.
The result goes beyond politics. An ikhwani a priori has no capacity for logical thought. Disjointed discourse is the norm. Conspiracy theorizing passes for serious discussion. This is the result of the theological and philosophical foundations of mainstream Sunnite Islam, as they were developed in the ninth and tenth centuries. They were tantamount to an “intellectual suicide” which remains at the root of the problem to this day. Since Allah is Pure Will, outside and above reason or nature. Literally everything is possible in a world in which there is no cause and effect, where man’s thoughts and actions are subsidiary and contingent, and Allah is the only actor.
For a self-confident West of yore, confronting such confused civilization would be a breeze. “Democracy” has changed the West, however, and the rot is proceeding apace. Roger Scruton thus finds the essence of the West in what he calls the “personal state,” which he approvingly describes as characterized by constitution, rule of law, and rotation of office-holders. As I noted last fall, such “society of individuals” is the bane of the West, the poison at its core. However defined, it is also incompatible with Islam. At one level the problem is Sharia. Its key concepts are “blasphemy” and “apostasy,” both incurring the death penalty. The whole edifice is based on the basic inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women, free men and slaves.
More fundamentally, Western-style democracy—Scruton’s Personal State—is impossible in the Muslim world because the affairs of men do not belong to men in the universe not governed by natural laws. In this universe, “democracy” is reduced to the act of voting, on the one-way street to Sharia. It is an advanced form of mob rule. “Creation is not imprinted with reason,” Robert Reilly noted of Islamic voluntarism in The Closing of the Muslim Mind, and therefore cannot reflect what is not there. There is no rational order, there are only the second-to-second manifestation of God’s Will. By contrast, “democracy” presupposes an ordered universe, a Cosmos, with a detached clock-maker or an impersonal set of natural circumstances as its spiritus movens, with Man’s self-validating reason as the final check and balance.
The gap between these two Weltanschauungen is unbridgeable. An orthodox Muslim will see each act in itself as fitting an occasion rather than as a link in a chain of cause and consequence. It is blasphemous to assert that Sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning, without adding “insh’Allah!” There is no logos, no law, no freedom separate from His divine caprice. Submitting, and touching the carpet in the direction of Mecca, is the only freedom possible.
The implications are dire. On the one side the “democratic” West has divorced reason from faith and subsequently sank into moral, cultural and demographic self-destruction resulting from its embrace of an unnatural and unworkable political creed. Western decrepitude is allowing the Brotherhood and its ilk to continue divorcing faith from reason with centuries-long gusto. They are impervious now, and will always be, to the concept of democracy based on the tenet of individual freedom. In addition to demography and fanaticism, this immunity is their greatest asset in its expectation of a victory of world-historical proportions some time later this century.
The Egyptian generals sense that this world would be unpleasant in general, and dangerously uncertain for themselves personally. They have much more at stake than The New York Times editorialists and American politicians. Hence the Brotherhood’s comeuppance, well deserved and long overdue. May the state of emergency in Egypt last for another thirty years.
Last week marked the 68th anniversary of the WWII destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9) — the first and only deployment of nuclear weapons in human history. Within moments of the nuclear explosions that destroyed these cities, at least 200,000 people lost their lives. Tens of thousands subsequently died from radiation poisoning within the next two weeks. The effects linger to this day.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has implied that this would the be fate of Israel if Iran was allowed to obtain nuclear weapon-making capabilities, including the ability to enrich high-grade uranium. To prevent this from happening, the economy of Iran must be crippled by sanctions and the fourth largest oil reserves in the world must be barred from global markets, as the oil fields in which they are situated deteriorate. Israel — the only state in the region that actually possesses nuclear weapons and has blocked all efforts to create a Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone – should thus be armed with cutting-edge American weaponry. Finally, the US must not only stand behind its sole reliable Middle East ally, which could strike Iran at will, it should ideally also lead — not merely condone — a military assault against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Netanyahu invariably frames the threat posed by Iranian nuclear capability (a term that blurs distinctions between civilian and potential military applications of nuclear technology) as “Auschwitz” rather than “Hiroshima and Nagasaki”, even though the latter might be a more apt analogy. The potential for another Auschwitz is predicated on the image of an Israel that is unable — or unwilling to — defend itself, resulting in six million Jews going “like sheep to the slaughter.” But if Israel and/or the US were to attack Iran instead of the other way around, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki” would be the analogy to apply to Iran.
A country dropping bombs on any country that has not attacked first is an act of war, as the US was quick to point out when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor — and this includes so-called “surgical strikes”. In a July 19 letter about US options in Syria, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reminded the Senate Armed Services Committee that “…the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly. It is no less than an act of war” [emphasis added].
If the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during wartime remains morally and militarily questionable, one might think that there would be even less justification for a military strike on Iran, with whom neither Israel nor the US is at war. Of course, there are those who disagree: the US is engaged in a war on terror, Iran has been designated by the US as the chief state sponsor of terrorism since 1984 and so on. Therefore, the US is, or should be, at war with Iran.
“All options are on the table” is the operative mantra with regard to the US halting Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon. But if bombs start dropping on Iran, what kind will they be? In fact, the 30,000 lb. Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) that could be employed against Iranian nuclear facilities are nuclear weapons, since they derive their capability of penetrating 200 feet of concrete in the earth from depleted uranium. Furthermore, some Israelis have darkly hinted that, were Israel to confront Iran alone, it would be more likely to reach into its unacknowledged nuclear armoury if that meant the difference between victory and defeat.
Given all this, comparing the damage that would be done by bombing Iran with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not farfetched. It also reveals some troubling parallels. In the years prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in response to what the US regarded as Japanese expansionism, imposed economic sanctions on Japan in 1937. Just before the US entered the war, an embargo was placed on US exports of oil to Japan, upon which Japan was utterly dependent.
In 1945, it was already clear that Japan was preparing to surrender and that the outstanding issue at hand was the status of its emperor. There was neither a military nor political need to use atomic weapons to bring an end to the war. Numerous justifications for dropping atomic bombs on Japan were invoked, but nearly all of them were challenged or discredited within a few years after the war ended. Three are particularly noteworthy today, as we continue to face the prospect of war with Iran.
Saving lives: US Secretary of War Henry Stimson justified the decision to use atomic weapons as “the least abhorrent choice” since it would not only would save the lives of up to a million American soldiers who might perish in a ground assault on Japan, it would also spare the lives of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians who were being killed in fire bombings. President Harry Truman also claimed that “thousands of lives would be saved” and “a quarter of a million of the flower of our young manhood was worth a couple of Japanese cities.” But as Andrew Dilks points out, “None of these statements were based on any evidence.”
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland on June 12 — two days before the Iranian election that he declared would “change nothing” with regard to Iran’s alleged quest to develop nuclear weaponry — Netanyahu used the opening of an Auschwitz memorial to make his case. “This is a regime that is building nuclear weapons with the expressed purpose to annihilate Israel’s six million Jews,” he said. “We will not allow this to happen. We will never allow another Holocaust.” About the Iranians who would perish after an Israeli attack, Netanyahu said nothing.
Justifying expenditures: The total estimated cost of the Manhattan Project, which developed the bombs dropped on Japan, was nearly $2 billion in 1945, the equivalent of slightly more than $30 billion today. Secretary of State James Byrnes pointed out to President Harry Truman, who was up for re-election in 1948, that he could expect to be berated by Republicans for spending such a large amount on weapons that were never used, according to MIT’s John Dower.
A recent report by the Congressional Research Service shows that Israel is the single largest recipient of US aid, receiving a cumulative $118 billion, most of it military aid. The Bush administration and the Israeli government had agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package in 2007, which assured Israel of funding through 2018. During his March 2013 visit to Israel, President Barack Obama, who had been criticized by the US pro-Israel lobby for being less concerned than previous American presidents about Israel’s well being and survival, pledged that the United States would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress. Not to be outdone, the otherwise tightfisted Congress not only approved the added assistance Obama had promised, it also increased it. An Iran that is not depicted as dangerous would jeopardize the generous military assistance Israel receives. What better way to demonstrate how badly needed those US taxpayer dollars are than to show them in action?
Technological research and development: One of the most puzzling questions about the decision to use nuclear weaponry against Japan is why, three days after the utter devastation wreaked on Hiroshima, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. It was unnecessary from a militarily perspective. Perhaps the answer exists in the fact that the Manhattan Project had produced different types of atomic bombs: the destructive power of the “Little Boy”, which fell on Hiroshima, came from uranium; the power of “Fat Man”, which exploded over Nagasaki, came from plutonium. What better way to “scientifically” compare their effectiveness at annihilation than by using both?
The award winning Israeli documentary, The Lab, which opens in the US this month, reveals that Israel has used Lebanon and Gaza as a testing ground for advances in weaponry. Jonathan Cook writes, “Attacks such as Operation Cast Lead of winter 2008-09 or last year’s Operation Pillar of Defence, the film argues, serve as little more than laboratory-style experiments to evaluate and refine the effectiveness of new military approaches, both strategies and weaponry.” Israeli military leaders have strongly hinted that in conducting air strikes against Syria, the Israeli Air Force is rehearsing for an attack on Iran, including the use of bunker-buster bombs.
The Pentagon, which reportedly has invested $500 million in developing and revamping MOP “bunker busters”, recently spent millions building a replica of Iran’s Fordow nuclear research facility in order to demonstrate to the Israelis that Iranian nuclear facilities can be destroyed when the time is right.
Gen. Dempsey arrived in Israel on Monday to meet with Israel’s Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Israel’s political leaders. Members of Congress from both political parties are also visiting — Democrats last week, Republicans this week — on an AIPAC-sponsored“fact-finding” mission. No doubt they will hear yet again from Israeli leaders that the world cannot allow another Auschwitz.
The world cannot allow another Hiroshima and Nagasaki either.
Source: Marsha Cohen
A certain very erudite and always entertaining social critic remarked recently that he always thought the worst of people. He went on to say — perhaps, at most, half jokingly — that he was always right about them, too. He then revealed that he actually had been very trusting as a boy, that he believed everyone and often got taken advantage of. He certainly doesn’t get taken advantage of much now, I’m sure. But what he doesn’t know is that in one significant way he hasn’t changed at all.
The man’s admission of his boyhood as a doormat didn’t surprise me, for gullibility and cynicism are two sides of the same coin. They are both a function of naiveté, which can be defined as ignorance about reality. The gullible person proceeds as if everyone is good and trustworthy, whereas the cynic proceeds as if everyone is essentially bad and untrustworthy. But reality is quite different: there are, practically speaking, “good” people and “bad” people, the well-meaning and the self-serving. And possessing discernment enables one to distinguish between the two groups. Yet the gullible person trusts people even when he shouldn’t and the cynic fails to trust them even when he should.
The transition from gullible babe in the woods to steadfast cynic is easy to understand. The budding cynic, lacking in what some today called “emotional I.Q.,” is unable to draw the aforementioned distinctions among people; they all look the same to him. But being essentially good—and, as people will do, supposing that others operate as he does — he assumes that virtually everyone can be trusted. Then, of course, it isn’t long before the wrong person betrays his trust — and it happens again and again and again (this is especially problematic since con artists, generally possessed of great feel for man’s nature, will sense his gullibility and target him specifically). Not wanting to be burned again, the babe then switches modes and ceases to trust, but not just those unworthy of it. For he still can’t distinguish between the good and bad; people still all look the same to him, so the untrustworthy who scarred him now just seem like a representative sample of man. Thus does he assume that all people are basically self-serving and often mercenary.
Of course, the babe no doubt also knew people who didn’t betray him. Just as it’s usually only bad news that makes headlines, however, it’s his personal bad news that captures the headlines in his mind. Besides, cynicism becomes a survival tactic: since he never knows who would plunge that knife into his back, he finds it safer to never turn it on anyone. And so just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the babe becomes the cynic, seemingly a very different creature but actually still the same one.
This won’t be how the cynic sees it, though. He will fancy he has grown up when he has only grown soul-sick; he will assume he is worlds apart from his old self when that person is but a dime’s width away. “I’m onto you now!” the cynic may think; “You can’t fool me!” but he has fooled himself. He may stand around, with a knowing air, talking about the cynical motives of the government, the Church, environmentalists, pro-lifers and anything sentient that walks on two legs, and he may be right half the time — just as the babe was. But he is still painting everyone with the same brush; he just has changed his color choice from Angel White to Demon Night.
Cynicism is hard to recover from, too. This is not just because it’s a survival tactic, but also because it’s a simple way of comprehending the world (and people like simple explanations) and gives the cynic that sense of being a sophisticate immune to guile. Moreover, it seems to make sense. After all, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if you look for the worst in people, you’re sure to find it — even if you have to imagine it. Everyone has failings, “bad news” that easily will capture headlines in the cynic’s mind and be used to characterize the individual. Just as significantly, much of what we do and say lends itself to interpretation, which is why misunderstanding always lurks just around the corner. What did Jim really mean by what he said? And while the cynic, never having been good at reading people, isn’t the best candidate for rendering this interpretation, you know what it will be. Every innocent misstep will be insidious malevolence, every slip of the tongue a calculated, subtle slight. And every reading will further confirm what he already “knows” about people.
For this reason, the cynic is much like the woman who has been jilted romantically and hurt: having had her heart broken by a man and never wanting to experience such pain again, she hardens her heart; she puts a wall around it, never letting another fellow get close. And for the same reasons why the cynic doesn’t trust man, she doesn’t trust men: she has found it safer to just paint all men with the same dark brush (this is, by the way, one of feminism’s root causes), and anger makes this emotionally appealing. The cynic likewise feels safe behind his walls of misanthropy; this, along with the fact that he sees people as having confirmed his conception of man’s nature for many years, and because he has an ego, make him so sure of his judgments that it’s unlikely he will ever question his cynicism. This is why good religion counsels against “rash judgment.”
This brings us to the tragedy of cynicism. What the cynic mistakes for the walls of his fortress are really the boundaries of his prison; what he thinks keeps the bad at bay actually shuts the good out. His world is a dark place, where he perceives the sinful but doesn’t see the saintly — at least not most of it. To make matters worse, he magnifies the bad because he misreads much of his fellow man’s light as darkness. He has created not only his own hell, but his own devils. They surround him, and should he lower his walls he will be devoured.
But to become cynical is to give the Devil his victory. There is a social phenomenon today whereby we will sacrifice great joy and freedom for a gram of safety; we will eliminate dodgeball, high diving boards at hotels, large sodas and anything else that may imperil us as we ensconce our children in Beelzebub’s bubble wrap. But you risk your life just by living, and you can’t really live without accepting risk. This is true in the emotional realm as well. While we should mature beyond gullibility and not play the doormat, we can’t fully imbibe the human experience without opening ourselves up to other humans and risking at least the possibility of being hurt. As our capacity to trust dies, so does our capacity to live.
The irony of cynicism is that while it is the belief that all people act out of selfish motives, it is motivated by a desire to protect the self. Thus, the best way to combat selfishness isn’t to erect those walls. It is to tear them down.
In government, failure is success. That’s what I call DiLorenzo’s First Law of Government. When the welfare state bureaucracy fails to reduce poverty, it is rewarded with more tax dollars and more responsibilities. When the government schools fail to educate children, they are rewarded with more tax dollars and more power to meddle in education. When NASA blows up a space shuttle, it is rewarded with a large budget increase (unlike a private airline which would probably go bankrupt). And when the Fed caused the worst depression since the Great Depression in 2007, it was rewarded with a vast expansion of its powers.
DiLorenzo’s Second Law of Government is that politicians will rarely, if ever, assume responsibility for any of the problems that they cause with bad policies. No one group in society is more irresponsible than politicians. There are a few exceptions, but in general they will always blame capitalism for our economic problems even when capitalism is not even the economic system that we live under (economic fascism or crony capitalism would be more accurate). Nothing is more irresponsible than knowingly destroying what’s left of our engine of economic growth with more and more governmental central planning, even if it is given the laughable name of “public interest regulation.”
DiLorenzo’s Third Law of Government is that, with few exceptions, politicians are habitual liars. The so-called “watchdog media” is more appropriately labeled the “lapdog media,” for pointing out the lies of politicians is the best way to end one’s career as a journalist. Do this, and your sources of information will cut you off.
One of the biggest governmental lies is that financial markets are unregulated and in dire need of more central planning by government. Laissez-faire is said to have caused the “Great Recession.” Fed bureaucrats have lobbied for some kind of Super Regulatory Authority to supposedly remedy this problem. This is all a lie because according to one of the Fed’s own publications (“The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions”), the Fed already has “supervisory and regulatory authority” over the following partial list of activities: bank holding companies, state-chartered banks, foreign branches of member banks, edge and agreement corporations, U.S. state-licensed bank branches, agencies and representative offices of foreign banks, nonbanking activities of foreign banks, national banks, savings banks, nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies, thrift holding companies, financial reporting procedures of banks, accounting policies of banks, business “continuity” in case of economic emergencies, consumer protection laws, securities dealings of banks, information technology used by banks, foreign investment by banks, foreign lending by banks, branch banking, bank mergers and acquisitions, who may own a bank, capital “adequacy standards,” extensions of credit for the purchase of securities, equal opportunity lending, mortgage disclosure information, reserve requirements, electronic funds transfers, interbank liabilities, Community Reinvestment Act sub-prime lending “demands,” all international banking operations, consumer leasing, privacy of consumer financial information, payments on demand deposits, “fair credit” reporting, transactions between member banks and their affiliates, truth in lending, and truth in savings.
In addition, the Fed also engages in legalized price fixing of interest rates and creates price inflation and boom-and-bust cycles with its “open market operations.” In addition, financial markets are just as heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, and dozens of state government regulatory agencies. All of this is the Washington, D.C. definition of “laissez-faire” in financial markets.
DiLorenzo’s Fourth Law of Government is that politicians will only take the advice of their legions of academic advisors if the advice promises to increase the state’s power, wealth, and influence even if the politicians know that the advice is bad for the rest of society. The academics happily play along with this corrupt game because it also increases their notoriety and wealth. A glaring example of this phenomenon is the fact that, in the aftermath of the onset of the “Great Recession” there was almost no discussion at all by government officials, the media, or op-ed writers about the vast literature of economics that documents the gross failures of government regulation over the past century to promote “the public interest.”
There has always been some kind of government regulation of economic activity in America, but the federal regulatory state got its first big boost with an 1877 Supreme Court case known as Munn v. Illinois. The two Munn brothers owned a grain storage business and the powerful farm lobby in their state wanted to essentially steal their property by having the state legislature impose price ceilings on grain storage. Such laws had previously been ruled unconstitutional as a violation of the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution. But the plunder-seeking farmers prevailed, and it was hailed by statists everywhere as a victory for “the public interest.” Thus, the very first major example of “public interest regulation” was unequivocally an act of legal plunder that benefited a very narrow special interest at the expense of the public, which would have benefited more from a free market.
Either because of ignorance or corruption (or both), the statist academics of the time sang the “public interest” tune with regards to regulation, creating the myth that markets always “fail” and that the remedy is benevolent and wise government regulation in the public interest. The academics did this despite the fact that there was glaring evidence all around them that regulation was always and everywhere a special-interest phenomenon, as indeed almost all governmental activity is.
As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in his 1963 book, The Triumph of Conservatism, big business in the early twentieth century sought government regulation because the regulation “was invariably controlled by leaders of the regulated industry, and directed toward ends they deemed acceptable or desirable.” Government regulation has generally served to further the very economic interests that are being regulated. Chicago School economists labeled this phenomenon the “capture theory of regulation.”
Most academic economists, seduced by the prestige, employment, and money that came from being governmental advisors, ignored all of this reality and instead spent roughly fifty years—from the pre-World War I years to the 1960s—inventing myriad factually emptytheories of “market failure.” A popular book at the time was entitled Anatomy of Market Failure, by Francis Bator. This literature was (and is) based on the fraudulent technique of comparing real-world markets to an unobtainable, theoretical, Utopian ideal (“perfect competition”) and then condemning the real world for being “imperfect,” all the whileassuming that the politics of government regulation would perfectly “correct” these imperfections. Economist Harold Demsetz labeled this charade “the Nirvana Fallacy.” Comparing real-world markets to “Nirvana” will always cause one to conclude that markets are “imperfect” by comparison. The market failure theorists never once compared government to Nirvana to subject interventionism to the same criteria. The Austrian School of economics is the only school of thought within the economics profession that never participated in this farce.
To its credit, the Chicago School of economics joined with the Austrians in exposing many of the market failure/regulation—is-always-good fallacies. Hundreds of journal articles and books were published that rediscovered the old truth that “as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit,” as Nobel laureate George Stigler wrote in 1971.
This kind of research was expanded over the years to show that large corporations often support and lobby for onerous government “safety” and environmental regulations because they understand that the regulations will be so costly to enforce that they will likely bankrupt their smaller competitors while deterring others from entering the market in the first place. Businesses long ago discovered that the only way to have a long-lasting cartel is to have the cartel agreement enforced by the government. Privately-enforced cartels always break down because of cheating by the cartel members. The railroad and trucking industries were cartelized by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) for many decades, for example. The ICC set monopolistic prices in these industries and prohibited genuine competition. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) cartelized the airline industry by prohibiting price competition until it was deregulated in the late 1970s. There was vigorous competition in the electric power industry in the U.S. until it was ended by government regulation in the early twentieth century by the creation of monopoly franchises by state and local governments. AT&T enjoyed a government-sanctioned monopoly for many decades as well.
During the period of history when government-sanctioned monopoly was increasingly the norm, the Fed was created to facilitate the creation of a banking industry cartel. As Murray Rothbard wrote in A History of Money and Banking in the United States,
the financial elites of this country … were responsible for putting through the Federal Reserve System, as a govemmentally created and sanctioned cartel device to enable the nation’s banks to inflate the money supply … without suffering quick retribution from depositors or note holders demanding cash.
In other words, giving the Fed more regulatory authority is not unlike giving an alcoholic another bottle of whisky, a murderer another gun, or a bank robber a ski mask. It is bound to make things worse, not better.
The fact that the initiation of the Zionist project had nothing to do with the Holocaust, as it developed more than a half century earlier, and the fact of the mostly indifference to the slaughter of Jews on the part of the founders of Israel, together with its collaboration with the Nazi Party, undermines Israel’s projected, and exploited, image as innocent victim.
Both Nazism and Zionism arose in tandem from small insignificant social movements in the early part of the 20th century, arguing, with equal force, that Jews were an alien and indigestible mass living in the midst of an otherwise pure Aryan population. Both movements contributed to the more general acceptance of this argument in Europe, and particularly in Germany, as mid-century approached, and both have to be responsible for the consequences.
In 1896, journalist Theodore Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat (The Jews’ State), Herzl expressed his understanding of inevitability, permanence, and omnipresence of anti-Semitism and argued that the only solution was a separate state for Jews. Herzl stated, in his book:
The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptable numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. …1
In 1912, Chaim Weizman, Israel’s first president, and the Zionist advocate who had the most to do with lobbying the British for the Balfour Declaration of 1917, echoed this view, speaking to a Berlin audience:
… each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn’t want disorder in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews.2
Reflecting in 1949 in his autobiography, Trial and Error, Weizmann wrote:
Whenever the quantity of Jews in any country reaches the saturation point, that country reacts against them …
Weizmann, the chemist, invoking a metaphor from the sciences, added:
… the determining factor in this matter is not the is solubility of Jews, but the solvent power of the country. …
This cannot be looked upon as anti-Semitism in the ordinary or vulger sense of that word;
it is a universal social and economic concomitant of Jewish immigration, and we cannot shake it off …3
Ben Frommer, an American Revisionist, stated in 1935:
No matter what country he inhabits … [it] is not of the [his] tribal origins. … Consequently, the Jew’s attempt at complete identity with his country sounds spurious; his patriotism despite his vociferousness [sounds] hollow even to himself; and therefore his demand for complete equality with those who are of the essence of the nation naturally creates friction. This explains the intolerance of the Germans, Austrians, Poles and the increasing tide of antagonism in most European countries … It is presumptuous on the part of a Jew to demand that he be treated as lovingly as say a Teuton in a Teutonic country or a Pole in a Polish country. He must jealously guard his life and liberty, but he must candidly recognize that he does not ‘belong‘. The liberal fiction of perfect equality is doomed because is was unnatural. [Italics mine]4
Indeed, in 1925, Jacob Klatzkin, the co-editor of the massive Encyclopedia Judaica, wrote:
If our people is deserving and willing to live its own national life, then it is an alien body that insists on its own distinctive identity, reducing the domain of their life. It is right therefore, that they should fight against us for their national integrity … Instead of establishing societies for defense against the anti-Semites, who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies for defense against our friends who desire to defend our rights.5
The understanding of Herzl, as well as the Zionists, about the inevitability of anti-Semitism was possibly self-fulfilling, for rather than opposing anti-Semitism in the first half of the 20th century, the Zionists found common cause with Hitler, Eichmann, and the Nazis and used anti-Semitism and Nazism as a means of achieving their end which was the establishment of a Jewish state. The two reactionary movements shared the view that German Jews were living in that country as a ‘foreign race’ and that the racial divide was essential to maintain. The Zionists’ use of Nazism involved, among other things, the blocking of avenues of escape to other countries of Europe’s Jews and diverting them to Palestine, even as the death trains began to roll in Europe. The rise of Nazism and Hitler to power was never, or almost never, opposed by the Zionists prior to the establishment of Israel.
Thus, in an article by Siegfried Moses, which appeared in the Rundschau, the official newspaper of the German Zionist Federation, and later, its head, stated:
… it is true that the defense against anti-Semitism is not our main task, it does not concern us to the same extent and is not of the same importance for us as is the work for Palestine …6
Rabbi Stephen S Wise
In 1934, Stephen Wise, head of the American Jewish Congress said:
… I cannot be indifferent to the Galuth [the Jewish diaspora living outside of Palestine] … if I had to choose between Eretz Israel and its upbuilding and the defense of the Galuth, I would say that then the Galuth must perish.7
On October 2, 1937, two SS officers, Herbert Hagen and Adolf Eichmann, disembarked in Haifa and were met by the Gestapo’s agent in Palestine, Fritz Reichert, and later in the day, Fevel Polkes, a Haganah agent, who showed the Nazi officials Haifa from Mt Carmel and then visited a kibbutz. Some years later, when Eichmann was hiding in Argentina, he taped a story of his excursion to Palestine, stating:
I did see enough to be very impressed with the way the Jewish colonists were building up their land. … In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist.8
Eichmann had read Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat, and also studied Hebrew. In their trip report, the two SS officers paraphrased Polkes’s message to them:
The Zionist state must be established by all means and as soon as possible. … When the Jewish state is established according to the current proposals laid down in the Peel paper, and in line with England’s partial promises, then the borders may be pushed further outwards according to one wished.9
… in Jewish nationalist circles people were very pleased with the radical German policy, since the strength of the Jewish population in Palestine would be so far increased thereby that in the foreseeable future the Jews could reckon upon numerical superiority over the Arabs in Palestine.10
During his February trip to Berlin, Polkes proposed that the Haganah act as spies for the Nazi government and, as a sign of good faith, passed on intelligence information which was detrimental to their mutual enemies, the Communists. History might have been very different had the Zionist component of Jewry opposed Nazism; there might never have been a Holocaust. And there might never have been a state of Israel, as some Zionists well understood.
… of all of the active Jewish opponents of the boycott idea [of Nazi Germany], the most important was the world Zionists Organization (WZO). It not only bought German wares; it sold them, and even sought out new customers for Hitler and his industrialist backers.
The WZO saw Hitler’s victory in much the same way as its German affiliate, the ZVfD [the German Zionist Organization]: not primarily as a defeat for all Jewry, but as positive proof of the bankruptcy of assimilation and liberalism.11
Here Brenner is referring to the so-called Ha’avara agreement, or ‘transfer agreement’.
In 1933, Sam Cohen, owner of a citrus export company in Tel Aviv, approached the German government with the proposal that emigrants from Germany could avoid the flight tax by instead purchasing German products, which would then be shipped to Palestine, along with their purchasers, where the new arrivals in Palestine could then redeem their investments after the sale of the products by import merchants.
Heinrich Wolff, the German Consul in Jerusalem, quickly realized the utility of such an arrangement in tamping the international boycott effort of German import goods. He wrote to Berlin:
Whereas in April and May the Yishuv [the European Jewish community in Palestine] was waiting boycott instructions from the United States, it now seems that the situation has been transformed. It is Palestine which now gives the instructions… It is important to break the boycott first and foremost in Palestine, and the effect will inevitably be felt on the main front, in the United States.12
Cohen had promised Heinrich Wolff that he would work behind the scenes at the forthcoming Jewish conference in London to weaken or defeat any boycott resolution.
Dr Fritz Reichert, the Gestapo’s agent in Palestine, later wrote to his headquarters:
The London Boycott Conference was torpedoed from Tel Aviv because the head of the Transfer in Palestine, in close contact with the consulate in Jerusalem, sent cables to London. Our main function here is to prevent, from Palestine, the unification of world Jewry on a basis hostile to Germany … It is advisable to damage the political and economic strength of Jewry by sowing dissention in its ranks.12
Negotiations with the Nazi government were taken over by the World Zionist Organization and Cohen was replaced by Chaim Arlosoroff, the Political Secretary of the Jewish Agency. Arlosoroff traveled to Berlin in May of 1933. He and the Nazis reached a preliminary understanding to continue Cohen’s arrangement. Arlosoroff returned to Tel Aviv where he was assassinated, most probably by some members of the Revisionist wing of Zionism headed by Jabotinsky who opposed any accommodation with the Nazis.
Negotiations continued, however, and an agreement was signed in 1933 between the Nazis and the World Zionist Organization which persisted until 1939 and the German invasion of Poland. The Ha’arava grew to become a substantial banking and trading house with 137 specialists in its Jerusalem office at the height of its activities. The sale of German products expanded to include destinations outside of Palestine, but the arrangement remained essentially the same as the one originally negotiated by Sam Cohen – that German Jews wishing to emigrate, rather giving up most or all of their wealth to the German government, could invest their money in a German bank which would be used for purchasing German export goods. The purchaser could then redeem his investment when the goods had been sold and after he had arrived in Palestine. The German government set the rules and the emigrant would lose typically in excess of 30% of his investment and, eventually, 50%.
Indeed, there was a fundamental incompatibility with the upbuilding of a Jewish state in Palestine and opposition to the Nazi program of extermination of Europe’s Jews. The Ha’avara agreement allowed the transfer of LP 8,100,000 (Palestinian Pounds; then $40,419,000) to Palestine along with 60,000 German Jews between 1933 and 1939. But it also had the effect of undercutting the international boycott effort and providing an inflow of capital to the German government owing to the sale of German manufactured goods abroad.
This understanding is important, as the Holocaust has been central in provoking sympathy for the State of Israel and in amplifying the claims for reparations from European governments. Sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust, whether Jews or Roma, is no less justified, but the state of Israel cannot maintain an air of complete innocence nor be the justified recipient of billions of dollars or reparations, very little of which is actually dispersed to Holocaust survivors.
Nor has Israel accepted the universal principle that states must pay reparations to ethnicities whom it has harmed, as Israel has ignored or denied the catastrophe of ethnic cleansing and massacres which it prosecuted against the Palestinian people in 1948.
The model of Jews fleeing a burning building; i.e., the Nazi Holocaust, and thus creating a redoubt of safety in the form of the state of Israel cannot be maintained. Aside from the fact that the Zionist project was initiated at least by the time of Herzl’s Der Judenstaat of 1896 and his founding of the World Zionist Congress a year later, and well before the Nazi ascension to power in the 1930s, the Zionists were little concerned with the slaughter of Jews in Europe and almost exclusively focused on building a state in Palestine.
Delegates at First Zionist Congress.
A proposal by the British, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, of November 1938, that Britain admit a thousand children directly into Britain was sternly opposed by Ben Gurion who told a meeting of the Labor Zionist in December:
If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.13
By 1943, ample reports of massacres of Europe’s Jews were arriving in the US, though it garnered little of the mainstream press.
Jabotinsky’s “revisionist zionism”At this time, Peter Bergson, a Palestinian Jew and member of the Irgun, a militant offspring of the Revisionist Zionists, and his young colleagues, shifted their attention to saving Europe’s Jews. Bergson, who had been sent to New York City, by Revisionists leader, Jaobtinsky, in order to create American support of the establishment of a Jewish army in Palestine, and his colleagues formed the Emergency Committee to Save Europe’s Jews and initiated it with a conference attended by 1500 delegates including former President Herbert Hoover and New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The delegates ultimately adopted an eight-point rescue program, the primary feature of which was the creation of a US government agency charged with saving Europe’s Jews. They also called for their allies to immediately attack the concentration camps and bomb railroads lines leading to them.
The conference’s program sought to avoid the issue of a Jewish state in Palestine, preferring to leave that to another day. Indeed, the efforts of Bergson were perceived by the American Jewish organizations, and especially by Rabbi Stephen Wise, head of the American Jewish Conference, as an effort to divert energy and attention away from Zionism and the upbuilding of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Bergson’s group sponsored full page advertisements in the New York Timesand other newspapers with such bold headlines as, “HELP Prevent 4,000,000 People from Becoming Ghosts.” Another read, “THIS IS STRICTLY A RACE AGAINST DEATH.”
The Emergency Committee also organized public events and rallies and a march by 450 Orthodox rabbis to the White House and the US Capitol. They also staged a theatrical production, entitled, We Will Never Die, authored by Academy Award winning screen writer Ben Hecht and included actors such as Edward G. Robinson with music written by Bertoldt Brecht. The play chronicled the contributions of Jews and addressed the current situation of Europe’s Jews.
The production played to 40,000 in Madison Square Garden and, in Washington, was viewed by Eleanor Roosevelt and hundreds of members of Congress.
Though the Emergency Committee had raised the consciousness of Americans for the plight of Europe’s Jews, their efforts were strongly opposed by America’s organized Jewish groups including Rabbi Stephen Wise and his American Jewish Congress.
In Buffalo, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, local mainstream Jewish organizations attempted to block the production of We Will Never Die.
Most significant of the Emergency Committees’ actions was to provoke the sponsorship of a resolution, introduced in the House by Baldwin and Will Rogers Jr., and in the Senate by Guy Gillette, on November 9, 1943.
The full text follows:
Whereas the Congress of the United States, by concurrent resolution adopted on March 15 of this year, expressed its condemnation of Nazi Germany’s ‘mass murder of Jewish men, women, and children,’ a mass crime which has already exterminated close to two million human beings, about 30 per centum of the total Jewish population of Europe, and which is growing in intensity as Germany approaches defeat; and
Whereas the American tradition of justice and humanity dictates that all possible means be employed to save from this fate the surviving Jews of Europe, some four million souls who have been rendered homeless and destitute by the Nazis: therefore be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives recommends and urges the creation by the President of a commission of diplomatic, economic, and military experts to formulate and effectuate a plan of immediate action designed to save the surviving Jewish people of Europe from extinction at the hands of Nazi Germany.
Senator Gillette emphasized that the bill focused only on rescue and not on the issue of Palestine or a Jewish state.
It is not to be confused with the dispute over the future of Palestine, over a Jewish state or a Jewish army. The issue is non-sectarian. The sole object here is to rescue as many as possible of Hitler’s victims, pending complete Allied victory.
Stephen Wise tried unsuccessfully to persuade the sponsors of the bill to withdraw their support. But failing that, Wise traveled to Washington and testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Sol Bloom, stating that the resolution was ‘“inadequate” because it did not urge the British government to open Palestine to Jewish refugees” [italics mine].14
The lack of a reference to Palestine was, of course, intentionally absent from the bill.
Congressman Rogers also faced strong pressure from Zionists groups:
When it became known that I was becoming a member of the Bergson group, there was a terrific amount of pressure from all sorts of areas. I went back to Beverly Hills and I remember meeting with Rabbi Stephen S Wise in a synagogue. … He took me aside and said, ‘Now, young man. I knew your father very well. Now you are getting confused, you are getting mixed up with the wrong type of people. Let me tell you and steer you clear when it comes on, or want to meet the right people, the responsible people.’ He was quite the diplomat. He didn’t say, ‘If you get mixed up with them, you are not going to be reelected.’ He wasn’t that direct, but he made every pressure that he could, and where he know it would be effective.15
Gillette also faced strong opposition.
These people used every effort, every means at their disposal, to block the resolution. … [They] tried to defeat it by offering and amendment, insisting on an amendment to it that would raise the question, the controversial question of Zionism or anti-Zionism … or anything that might stop or block the action that we were seeking.15
On stationary with the letterhead of the American Jewish Congress, Stephen Wise wrote to Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickles on December 23, 1943:
I was very sorry to note, as were others among your friends, that you had accepted the Chairmanship of the Washington Division of the Committee to Rescue European Jews. … I do not like to speak ill of you, not of us, concerning a group of Jews, but I am under the inexorable necessity of saying to you that the time will come, and come soon, when you will find it necessary to withdraw from this irresponsible group, which exists and obtains funds through being permitted to use the names of non-Jews like yourself.
Nor was Bergson beyond the crosshairs of the American Zionists. Bergson received an offer from Congressman Samuel Dickstein (D-NY) to meet with him in his DC office where it turned out that several other US Congressmen had also assembled. He was told, as paraphrased by Bergson, that unless he ‘behaved”, “we will deport you. … One shouldn’t mistake democracy with lawlessness, and don’t feel that you can just come to this country without – on temporary visitor’s visa and do whatever you wish …”15
Despite the opposition of the American Zionist community, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously only to die in the entire Senate.
According to a State Department memorandum, Rabbi Stephen Wise had expressed to State Department John Pehle, that Wise “had gone so far as to inform Mr Pehle that he regarded Bergson as equally great an enemy of the Jews as Hitler, for reasons that his activities could only lead to increased anti-Semitism.”11
Reports of atrocities and mass murders in the Ukraine began arriving in the west in 1941. In January 1942, the Soviets issued a report of the working of the Einsatzgruppen, or the SS, and in May of that year, the Bund, the Jewish Workers Union of Poland and Russia, which was anti-Zionist, sent London a radio message that 700,000 people, most Jews, were exterminated in Poland. This message was repeated on the BBC two months later.
In April, even before the Bund broadcast, Moshe Shertok, later to become Israel’s second Prime Minister, wrote to British General and commander of the British Eight Army in North Africa:
The destruction of the Jewish race is a fundamental tenet of the Nazi doctrine. The authoritative reports recently published show that that policy is being carried out with a ruthlessness which defies description … An even swifter destruction, it must be feared, would overtake the Jews of Palestine.16
The focus here is on the hypothetical Nazi attack on Palestine, not on the slaughter actually taking place in Europe, but based, nonetheless, on Shertok’s understanding that such a slaughter was, in fact, taking place.
Despite the amply sufficient reports of massacres and exterminations, essentially nothing at all was done by the Zionist organizations, and reports of atrocities were consistently minimized.
Bernard Joseph (later Dov Yosef)
Dov Joseph, acting director of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department cautioned:
… against publishing data exaggerating the number of Jewish victim, for if we announce that millions of Jews have been slaughtered by the Nazis, we will justifiably be asked where the millions of Jews are, for whom we claim that we shall need to provide a home in Eretz Israel after the war ends.17
Yitzhak Gruenbaum, leader of the Jewish Agency’s Vaad Hazalah (Rescue Committee) who, in 1942 also believed the reports of atrocities taking place in Europe were exaggerated, offers a defense in his post war book, Bi-mei Hurban ve Sho’ah (In the Days of Holocaust and Destruction):
I want to destroy this assumption [that the Zionist leadership was to blame that it did not do everything possible to help the European Jews] in order to take out people from the occupied countries … it would be necessary for the neutral countries to provide refuge, that the warring nations open their gates to the refugees. …
How is it possible that in a meeting in Yerushalayim people will call: “If you don’t have enough money you should take it from Keren Hayesod [the Palestine Foundation Fund], you should take the money from the bank, there is money there.” I thought it obligatory to stand before this wave … .
And this time in Eretz Yisrael, there are comments: “Don’t put Eretz Yisrael in priority in this difficult time, in the time of destruction and European Jewry.’ I do not accept such sayings. And when some asked me: ‘Can’t you give money from the Keren Hayesod to save Jews in the Diaspora’? I said: no! And again I say no! … I think we have to stand before this wave that is putting Zionist activity into second row. … I think it necessary to say here Zionism is over everything… [Italics mine]
… [W]e must guard Zionism. There are those who feel that this should not be said at the time a Holocaust is occurring, but believe me, lately we see worrisome manifestations in this respect: Zionism is above all – it is necessary to sound this whenever a Holocaust diverts us from our war of liberation in Zionism. Our war of liberation does not arise from the fact of the Holocaust in a straight forward manner and does not interlock with actions for the benefit of the Diaspora … And we must guard – especially in these times – the supremacy of the war of redemption [Italics mine].18
The irony is overwhelming. Though the memory and imagery of the Holocaust is not far from the lips of every Israel leader, particularly the present one, and though this imagery is exploited for the sake of gaining tolerance and forbearance from the international community, as well as reparations which go well beyond actuarial merits, there was little serious concern on the part of organized Zionism for those facing extermination in Europe. Rather the Holocaust was regarded as a threat which had the potential of diverting energy and resources from the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine which was by far their highest priority.
The fact that the initiation of the Zionist project had nothing to do with the Holocaust, as it developed more than a half century earlier, and the fact of the mostly indifference to the slaughter of Jews on the part of the founders of Israel, together with its collaboration with the Nazi Party, undermines Israel’s projected, and exploited, image as innocent victim.
At the end of the war a document, dated 11 January 1941, produced by Avraham Stern, proposing a military alliance and an understanding between the Third Reich and the Zionists was found in the German embassy in Ankara. It had been presented to two German diplomats in Lebanon, under Vichy at that time. The document was entitled, “Proposal for the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany.” The NMO, later to adopt the name Lohamamei Herut Yisrael, or lehi for short, was universally known by its British designation as the Stern gang.
The document read:
The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries … The NMO, which is well acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:
1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium would be possible; and,
3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement, are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side [italics mine].
This offer by the NMO … would be connected to the military training and organization of Jewish manpower in Europe, under the leadership and command of the NMO. These military units would take part in the fight to conquer Palestine, should such a front be decided upon.
The indirect participation of the Israeli freedom movement in the New Order in Europe, already in the preparatory stage, would be linked with a positive-radical solution of the European Jewish problem in conformity with the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Jewish people. This would extraordinarily strengthen the moral basis of the New Order in the eyes of all humanity.19
The Irgun, (the MNO) under Manachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, are sometime blamed, by mainstream Zionism, as being uniquely responsible for the more grotesque atrocities of Israel’s fight against both the Arabs and against the British in its quest for statehood; for example, the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, in which 96 mostly civilians were killed, and the massacre at Deir Yassin. In fact, both of these actions involved the coordination of these ‘dissident groups’ with the Haganah — the military under the direction of David Ben Gurion.
Yitzhak Yzernitsky — later to call himself Yitzhak Shamir,
Yitzhak Yzernitsky — later to call himself Yitzhak Shamir, and later to become Israeli Prime Minister, in fact, the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel except for David Ben Gurion — became the operations commander of the Stern Gang after Avraham Stern was killed by the British army in February of 1942. Under Shamir’s leadership, 14 assassinations were attempted of British officials with two successful ones, of Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East, sitting in Cairo, and the UN Representative to Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, who received three bullets in the heart on the order of Stern’s operations commander and future Prime Minister – Yitzhak Shamir.
The Charter of the Stern Gang, or more accurately, the principles promulgated by Stern, included the establishment of a Jewish state “from the Nile to the Euphrates”, the ‘transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to regions outside of the Jewish state, and the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. It maintained offices outside of the Middle East – including Warsaw, Paris, London, and New York City, the latter headed by Benzion Netanyahu, the present Prime Minister’s father.
- Herzl, Theodore, The Jewish State, p 9, 2007, BN Publishing [?]
- Weizmann [?]
- Weizmann, Chaim, Trial and Error, pv90-91 [?]
- Frommer, Ben, The Significance of the Jewish State, Jewish Call, (Shanghai, 1935), p 10-11. [?]
- Agus, Jacob, The Meaning of Jewish History, vol II, p 435. [?]
- Edelheim-Muehsam, Margaret, Reactions of the Jewish Press to the Nazi Challenge, Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol V, (1960), p 312. [?]
- Rabbi Wise, The New Palestine (14 February 1934), p 5-7. [?]
- Eichmann, Adolf, “Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story”, Life (28 Nov. 1960) p 22. [?]
- Polkehn, Klaus, “The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany 1933-41″, Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring 1976), p 337. [?]
- Hohne, Heinz, The Order of the Death’s Head, p 337. [?]
- Brenner, Lenni, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, Lawrence Hill, (1983). [?] [?]
- In Yisraeli, David, “The Third Reich and the Transfer Agreement,” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. VI (1971), P 131. [?] [?]
- Gelber, Yoav, “Zionism and the Fate of European Jewry (1939-42),” Yad Vashem Studies, vol. XII, p 171. [?]
- Brownfield, Peter Egill, “The Jewish Establishment’s Focus on Palestine: Did it Distract from Holocaust Efforts?” (Summer 2003). [?]
- Ibid. Also, Brenner Lenni, Zionism in the Age of Dictators. [?] [?] [?]
- Laqueur, “Jewish Denial and the Holocaust,” Commentary (December 1979, p 46. [?]
- Gelber, Zionist Policy and the Fate of European Jewry, p 195. [?]
- Gruenbaum, Yitzhak, Bi-Mei Hurban ve Sho’ah, p 62-70. [?]
- Brenner, op. cit., p 267. [?]
William James Martin has written many articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Middle East. He can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will it Work?
Western side of Yarmouk Camp, Damascus — For more than a year, Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, one of nine in Syria, has been a war zone between supporters of the Syrian government and those seeking its overthrow. But the number of camp residents actively engaged in fighting on either side is negligible, according to Dr. Hamed Mouad.
Mouad is author of the first book on Yarmouk camp history and its sociology. Many of his relatives are camp residents, orwere at any rate, until they had to flee eight months ago. Despite great pressure to help “liberate” the camp—pressure put upon them from both sides of this war—the residents here, insisting on neutrality, overwhelmingly refused to join either side in the conflict. And for this they have paid a big price.
All “legal” entrances to Yarmouk and its neighborhoods are blocked by the Syrian army or rebel gunmen, and government and rebel snipers inhabit many rooftops. However, along the western side it is possible to enter some parts of the camp with the assistance of a friendly teenager. Approximately only 20% of the 170,000 who lived in Yarmouk pre-crisis have remained, with a majority of those seeking housing outside in Damascus suburbs. Many parts of the camp are now largely a deserted wasteland, and most residents remaining have little or no water, electricity, or safe camp infrastructure or shops of any sort. The Syrian government, however, continues to allow free medical aid at public health facilities, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) helps many with food parcels.
Palestinians interviewed inside this western area of Yarmouk explain that the only reason anyone still remains at all is that they have run out of options. They risk their lives daily, a sort of Russian roulette fate in view of snipers and mortars, to remain in what is left of their homes—either that or they camp out near the piles of rubble that were their homes. Still others try to survive outside the camp, squatting on blankets, flattened cardboard boxes or plastic tarps, in the shadow of schools and mosques. There are even some fortunate families who have a small gas burner to cook with.
Damascus experiences very high summer heat, far exceeding temperatures commonly seen in Beirut and Saida Lebanon, where many of the Palestinian refugees from Syria have fled—many but by no means all. For inside the Syrian capital can be seen additional Yarmouk residents, lots of them, milling amongst the more than one million refugees who have fled here from other parts of the country over the past nearly 29 months. A few of these desperate people drape some blankets in alleyways, gambling that the authorities will not roust them, or fearing, even worse, that they may become victims of robbery or kidnapping. In Damascus, kidnapping has especially become a significant business.
Damascus cops, some of them at any rate, will on humanitarian grounds allow people to sleep in a few of the city’s smaller, more inconspicuous playgrounds or green spaces, a policy applied as well to Roma Gypsies, whose main neighborhood was destroyed. But this lenience stops at the borders of the main parks, which are probably the most beautiful and manicured, even during the current fighting, of any Arab country in the Middle East. In these parks, camping is not allowed. Yet that being said, when a mortar or car bomb demolishes part of a street, some of its residents do spill into the central parks, reminding this observer of how many times since the Lebanese civil war and Israeli aggressions that Beirut’s Saniyeh gardens in Hamra has been overcrowded with refugees living rough.
Classes will start in Syria in less than a month, meaning that school buildings will no longer be available as temporary refugee shelters. Some Palestinians, like their Syrian neighbors, are still fleeing to Lebanon, but the government has recently raised the exit fee at the Masnaa border crossing from 550 Syrian pounds to 1,100 (roughly $6) per person—not a big bite for most foreigners, certainly, yet for Syrian and Palestinian families hoping to postpone death, it is a rather hefty, nigh unaffordable, chunk.
Though it’s hard to generalize, many residents of Damascus, including some of the remaining Palestinians, seem to feel the violence will continue slowly to subside as government forces go on pushing rebel forces further away from the city center. This appears also to be the case with Syrians as a whole, despite the fact that the population is numbed and exhausted, horrified at what has become of their country, and pessimistic about the future of their beloved Syria and its chances at remaining intact. Most of course have suffered incalculable losses—tragically in terms of killed loved ones, but there are also material losses, losses of livelihoods, jobs, and businesses, without much prospect for recovery, at least anytime soon. Nonetheless, there is exhibited a sense that life may soon improve. Mazin, the driver for Al Alam TV, explained to this observer the other night: “ It may seemed strange, but we Damascenes hear more shelling these days as government forces push rebels out of some of the suburbs, but we also feel more secure despite more shelling because the rebels are being driven back away the our suburbs. But there is a long way to go.”
As signs of approaching better times, some people point to Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation, seen frequently in public these days discussing plans being put into place for the return of the Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Another example is President Bashar al-Assad’s August 1 visit to the town of Daraya. Located outside Damascus, Daraya was a rebel bastion for more than a year. Now it is mainly under government control. It was the Syrian President’s first such public trip since his 3/12/12 visit to Baba Amr in central Homs—a location which ironically yesterday saw a huge explosion at a government weapons depot in which approximately 50 people were killed. A defiant speech nonetheless was given by Assad, who pledged victory over forces seeking to topple Syria’s government, and he seems to have buoyed some as he chatted with soldiers, expressing the country’s gratitude for its military’s performance. This kind of connecting with the general population is replicated by an increasing number of Syrian officials, officials who are being seen more and more in public outside their heavily protected offices. While not a complete restoration of public optimism, it does seem to offer hope for an end to the civil war.
As the pendulum swings, at least for now, in favor of the current regime, Syrian and Palestinian friends and acquaintances still express dismay, for more specifics are becoming apparent in regard to what they may face should the extreme Islamist, Salafist and Wahabist forces ultimately prevail and set up a Salafist caliphate. Just this week, for instance, a sharia committee in the rebel-held region of secular Aleppo banned the baking or eating of croissants, this despite shortages of bread. The reason given? The French croissants, according to some Salafist-Wahabist “scholars,” are secret symbols of colonial oppression. The belief of the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, both affiliated with al-Qaeda, seems to be that because Syria is a former French colony, this symbol of Frenchness is obviously connected with imperialism. And of course the pastry’s crescent shape celebrates European victory over Muslims. Conspiracy theorists abound everywhere, it seems.
Also, various groups increasingly are issuing fatwas designed to ensure that the planned new order dismantles the current secular Syrian society, the sooner the better. Over the past several months a raft load of Fatwa’s, which apparently any wannabe Islamic “scholar” can issue when in the mood, has included just about the wholesale importation of Saudi Arabian culture and lifestyle. In fact, some of these Fatwa’s make the KSA appear almost moderate.
Within the past few months, Rebel-held regions of Aleppo have become more and more dominated by extremist elements, further marginalizing more moderate rebel groups, and putting many Syrians at their mercy. The Islamic law council of Aleppo’s Fardous neighborhood recently issued a fatwa banning all women, not only Muslims, from wearing “immodest” dress. This includes not only tight-fitting clothing but also a ban on cosmetics. Another Fatwa decrees a one year jail sentence for failing to fast during the month of Ramadan, again, Muslim or not.
In the face of this decidedly dismal backdrop, the PLO leadership in Ramallah is reaching out to Palestinians in Syria, as well as to the Syrian government, with a proposed solution to the current Palestinian refugee crisis, a crisis that for the moment, despite hopeful signs, continues to worsen. Reportedly a four-member delegation was sent to Damascus at the end of July from PA headquarters in Ramallah. Upon arrival, the envoys presented the 14 Palestinian factions in the Syrian capital with a two-step initiative to end the fighting in Yarmouk. A copy of the “secret plan” was obtained by this observer. The proposal has, on good authority, been approved by the Syrian government, with a decision expected from the PLO groups during the first half of August. Meant to build on Mahmoud Abass’ July visit to Lebanon, the PLO declaration reads essentially as follows:
“Based on the principled position declared by the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership regarding all the internal developments taking place in the Arab countries – particularly the crisis in Syria – which is not to interfere in the internal affairs of these countries, and prevent the involvement of either the Palestinians or their camps in these struggles, by maintaining their neutrality and preserving the camps as secure environments for their Palestinian and Syrian residents, empty of both weapons and fighters, in order to keep the Palestinian struggle directed against our primary enemy, the Israeli occupation.
Mindful of the above, and after the developments which led to the dispersal of hundreds of thousands of our people in the camps, which were then turned into insecure and dangerous zones, we the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, propose the following initiative, with the hope that in cooperation with all those concerned, we can work together to achieve the following:
First, based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:
– End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.
– Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.
– Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.
– Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.
– Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.
Second, follow up and coordinate efforts in order to execute the steps outlined in the proposal by eliminating all obstacles, providing all that is required for its success.”
It is a fine sounding, presumably well-meaning initiative, but one that has been met with grave doubts among Palestinians here, including camp popular committees. The plan is considered unworkable since some groups that are even more extremist than al-Qaeda have started moving families of their members and community into Yarmouk, pledging to stay despite what any other rebel groups decide, reminding us of the fate of Nahr al Bared camp near Tripoli, Lebanon.
The overwhelming sense among Palestinians here with whom this observer has discussed the proposal, is that there can be no progress with respect to returning Palestinian refugees to their homes in Yarmouk until a political solution is reached among all the major parties to the Syrian Crisis. And some predict that may take decades.
There was a time during the 30-month covert dirty war on Syria when the Western governments and mainstream media would make a clamor over reported massacres.
Why? Because it is increasingly clear that the groups committing these crimes against thousands of Syrian civilians are the foreign-backed mercenaries, whom the Western media and their governments have tried to lionize as “rebels” fighting for “democratic freedom”.
That charade is rapidly disintegrating, exposing not just criminal Western governments sponsoring the violence against civilians, but an entire media industry that is also guilty of war crimes through its willful complicity.
This is not mere hyperbole. To disseminate false information and lies about conflict – under the guise of independent news – is to be complicit in covering up war crimes. You can hardly get more serious misconduct than to tell lies about crimes against humanity.
These toxic lies and propaganda are now being exposed as the Western-backed plot to subvert the sovereign state of Syria unravels; this unraveling is accentuated by the West’s death squads becoming even more unhinged as they stare at looming defeat at the hands of the Syrian army.
The latest massacre occurred in the town of Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo. Some 150 people, mostly civilians, were reportedly slaughtered in cold blood. Many of the victims were shot in the head execution-style. The groups claiming responsibility are the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and Ansar al Khalifa.
Reliable sources say that the killers tried to cover up their barbaric crimes by mutilating the corpses and burning the remains. Only days before this orgy of murder, the same groups are believed to have massacred at least seven civilians in the town of Maqbara in the province of Hasakah.
Elsewhere, as the Syrian national army makes searing advances against the militants, it is apparent from the identities of the dead that the majority of these fighters are foreigners, from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Turkey, as well as from the US and Europe, including Britain, France and Germany.
Just last week, it was reported that Saudi Arabia bought $50 million-worth of heavy arms from Israel to supply this foreign network in its endeavor to terrorize the people of Syria into submission.
Already, the US, Britain and France have stumped up over $200 million which they claim is provided to “the Syrian opposition” in the form of “non-lethal aid”.
This is just cynical semantics to cover up the fact that the Western governments and their regional Turk, Arab and Israeli proxies are sponsoring genocide in Syria.
Over the weekend as the mass murders in Khan al-Assal and Maqbara emerged there was a telling silence in the Western media. A cursory glance at outlets such as New York Times, Washington Post, Voice of America, the Guardian, BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle, Reuters, among others, showed no or negligible reports on the atrocities.
A notable exception was the London-based Financial Times, which headlined: “Syria opposition condemns rebel attack”. The FT tried to obfuscate the mass murder of civilians by claiming that “extremist rebels” had executed captured Syrian army soldiers and by giving prominence to condemnation of the “abuses” by the exile non-entity group, the Syrian National Coalition.
Similar Western silence followed another massacre last month in the village of Hatlah in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour. In mid-June, more than 60 mainly Shia inhabitants were slaughtered again by Western-backed foreign militants. Most of the victims were women and children. Syrian government appeals for international condemnation
at the United Nations were ignored.
Contrast this void in Western government and media reaction to earlier massacres. In May and June 2012, the Western media went viral with reports of mass killings in the villages of Houla and Qubair where some 108 and 78 inhabitants were murdered, many of them with throats slit. Immediately, the Western media then claimed or implied that the perpetrators were Syrian state forces and roundly condemned President Bashar al-Assad.
Back then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Assad of “ruling by murder and fear” and led the chorus of Western governments calling for Assad to step down.
It later transpired that the Houla and Qubair massacres were the work of the Western-backed foreign militants. But Western media did not follow-up with corrective reporting. This is the conduct of a propaganda ministry, not independent journalism.
The same propaganda formula of sensationalist headlines and innuendo, with minimal evidence, was repeated in subsequent massacres, such as in Tremseh in July 2012, or the bomb attack on Aleppo University in January this year in which more than 80 were killed. Also in that same month, more than 100 bodies were fished out of the Queiq River in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo – all of those victims with gunshot wounds to the head. Never mind that the district was under the control of foreign militants, the Western media continued their campaign of innuendo that it was the Syrian state forces that carried out the executions.
The Syrian government has consistently alleged that all these mass killings are the work of Western-backed militants. This sickening terrorist methodology concatenates with the Takfiri mentality of killing everyone who is deemed to be an infidel – Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Christian, non-believer alike, who does not subscribe to their fundamentalist twisted theology.
It is entirely in keeping that Western governments and Wahhabi Arab despots sponsor such groups given the long history of collusion between these protagonists, going back to the creation of al-Qaeda by Western military intelligence in Afghanistan during the 1980s to fight the then Soviet-backed government in Kabul.
The indiscriminate murder of civilians in wholesale massacres by Western-backed death squads operating in Syria to overthrow the Assad government is also consistent with the countless no-warning car bombs that have ripped through markets, streets, hospitals and schools all across Syria. Days before the latest slaughter in Khan al-Assal, a car bomb killed at least 10 in the Jaramana district of the capital, Damascus.
A few months earlier, another deadly bomb attack also targeted Jaramana, killing more than 30. The district is a mixed community of Muslim, Christian and Druze, which is largely supportive of the Assad government. As with the many other massacres in Syria, the aim is to terrorize the civilian population, to sow sectarianism and to coerce
the populace to relinquish support for the government.
As the foreign criminal conspiracy to force regime change in Syria flounders – with the turning point being the Syrian army victory in Qusayr early last month – the Western-sponsored terrorists are resorting to more and more desperate methods. This depravity was manifested yet again in the slaughter of civilians in Khan al-Assal and Maqbara. Tragically and despicably, we can expect more such atrocities in the coming weeks and months as the Western criminal conspiracy suffers more defeats.
But what is truly remarkable is how the Western governments and their propaganda machine, known euphemistically as the mainstream news media, are ignoring these latest massacres. That is because their vile game is up. They can no longer dissimulate on the reality of who is carrying out these massacres and how it is all part of a criminal genocidal campaign directed from Washington, London and Paris. That is why they are feigning to ignore such atrocities. To look into them honestly would uncover the ugly face of Western imperialism and the unconscionable role played all along by so-called Western news media.
Meanwhile, proper journalistic services like Press TV that are reporting the reality of what the Western governments are really doing in Syria via their death squads are being banned from satellite networks controlled by Western authorities.
Indeed, a very real extension of this censorship is how Press TV correspondent Maya Nasser was murdered last September by Western-backed death squads in Damascus for the very reason that he was helping to uncover the truth about what is being inflicted on Syria. Assassination is just an extreme act of censorship, as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once noted.
Western government and media silence over the latest massacres in Syria is not just a matter of indifference or sloppy journalism. It is indicative of their complicity in the covert genocidal war on Syria.
Finian Cunningham, originally from Belfast, Ireland, was born in 1963. He is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio
Source: Press TV
The era of Arab Spring euphoria is long ended, having devolved into doubt, confusion or wholesale rejection. Libya and Syria put an abrupt end to the Arab Spring celebrations, with the current situation in Egypt adding to the frustration.
Part of the problem in deciding whether a particular side in these conflicts deserves support or rejection is a lack of criteria that can help to clearly define what is happening. Thus, different analysts describe the same events as a coup, revolution, or civil war. These definitions are totally different perspectives as to what is happening, and imply that the situations should include different levels of political support or rejection.
In Syria the question remains: is the situation a revolution or a civil war? What should be the basis for judging whether or not a situation in general is “revolutionary,” and why does it matter?
Below is an attempt to put forth a common sense definition of revolution and apply it to the events in Syria. When such a basic criterion is applied to Syria, it becomes clear that the ongoing events in Syria should not be labeled a revolution.
The label “revolution” is critically important because it implies that the overwhelming majority of people have decided and are dedicated to a specific path for society. This means that the “masses” are passionately intervening to change society, overcoming fear and repression until their objectives are met.
In this sense revolution is the highest form of democracy, since it’s the clearest expression of the People’s will, expressed through ongoing massive deliberate action, as opposed to the non-participatory form of democracy that is the western hallmark. The label “revolution” is especially important because a movement that has earned a clear revolutionary mandate should be supported without condition, albeit not without criticism.
In order to judge whether a revolution is afoot the evidence should be examined. Clues must be unearthed to decipher the attitudes, feelings, and energy of the social movement in question. Studying revolution is an attempt to gauge mass consciousness — not an exact science but a politically crucial one. All politicians do this as they attempt electoral campaigns, and all dictatorships gauge revolutionary consciousness to see if they have the power to crush it.
What are ways to gather evidence into revolutionary mass consciousness? In some ways the old adage, “you’ll know it when you see it,” is helpful in describing revolution, since revolutions produce floods of people all expressing pent up emotions, fighting in a united cause, which creates new forms of social solidarity that’s impossible to form during non-revolutionary situations. These surreal scenes made no one question whether the toppling of the dictator Mubarak was a “revolution.” It was simply obvious.
More specific evidence of revolutionary mass consciousness may include: gigantic demonstrations with united demands, mass civil disobedience, mass labor and student actions and strikes, occupations of public buildings, new forms of direct democracy (which may include new labor unions, new political parties, neighborhood committees, etc.) and other bold actions taken by masses of people who otherwise would take no such actions, such as confronting police and/or military, fighting off right-wing attacks, civil disobedience, ignoring military curfew rules, etc. Through these types of extraordinary experiences the majority of the population undergoes a personal transformation during the course of revolution.
The ultimate sign that a situation has entered a revolutionary period is that the masses have directly intervened into social life as an independent, powerful force, through ongoing collective action. The people seek to actualize their power, creating a dynamic that shifts the balance of power away from the elites and their institutions. Governments becomes “destabilized,” elite authority is lost, and enforcement of laws becomes difficult or impossible. Even martial law is easily defeated by a strong revolution of the majority. Governments melt away.
Whether or not the social power can be fully and permanently shifted depends on the success or failure of the revolution; but the path of revolution has been entered when social equilibrium has tilted — the elites cannot rule in the same way. The people have invested in ongoing, mass actions to change society. The targeted regime thus becomes unbalanced and splits, unable to act collectively to suppress the revolution or neutralize it through concessions; every step the regime takes to resolve the situation only pushes the revolutionary movement forward. The surest sign of a revolution is its effect on the targeted regime, which becomes splintered and ineffective, its power made powerless.
Revolution is a display of power by working and poor people, who collectively choose to assert themselves into public life in order to change it. In non-revolutionary times working people do not actualize their power; they aren’t even aware that they have any, as they passively ignore any role in social life as individuals, silently delegating their political power to corporate-bought politicians.
There is no other social power equal to a revolutionary movement in modern society, since revolutions are famous for exposing the weakness of the elite and the elite-run state: armies crumble under revolutionary pressure as soldiers refuse to fire on peaceful protestors; police repression motivates the people to repress the police; secretive “security” agencies are shown powerless, and long-standing elite political parties are smashed. If successful in the long term, a revolutionary movement can fundamentally change society.
Let us now apply these basic criteria of revolution to Syria.
The first essential threshold of revolution was not crossed in Syria: the movement was not able to intervene in a way that was powerful enough to alter the power dynamic of society. The revolutionary movement did not grow large enough to truly challenge the Syrian government, and very soon the “revolutionaries” took the path of a guerrilla war — led not by the Syrian people, but a minority of religious extremists.
The evidence of this is plain to see: the only two social forces currently exercising their power in Syria are completely outside the control of working people — the Syrian government and the Islamist extremist militias. There is no third option for victory here, because the masses have not been powerful enough to assert themselves in an independent way — a basic precondition of revolution.
The two largest cities in Syria — Damascus and Aleppo — never experienced the mass demonstrations that you see in Cairo, Egypt. In fact, there have been several enormous pro-Assad demonstrations in Syria’s two largest cities, a fact always ignored by those who argue that there is a revolution afoot in Syria. A similar dynamic occurred in Libya, which showcased anti-government demonstrations in the eastern city of Benghazi, but never occurred in the Libyan capital in Tripoli. Obama thus declared that Libya as a whole was undergoing a “revolution,” so that the United States could militarily intervene.
The rebellion in Syria also never found soil in the other religious and ethnic minorities, who remain either passive or dedicated to the Syrian government for fear of ethnic-religious cleansing from the Sunni extremist rebels. The one exception is the Kurds, who have used the conflict to set up an autonomous zone that they are vigorously defending against the Islamist extremist ‘rebels.’
The uprising remains a largely Sunni Islam uprising, dominated by Sunni extremists who are armed and funded from the heartland of religious extremism, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and their paymaster the United States (a true axis of evil in regards to Middle East policy). This is a fact that many on the left refuse to see, or dangerously minimize in order to maintain their pro-rebel support.
Most Syrian analysts, however, admit that the most effective fighting force among the Syrian rebels is Jabhat al-Nursa, religious extremists that use terrorist tactics and are directly affiliated with al-Qaeda. But now this group’s dominance is being threatened by another Islamist extremist terror group, Ahrar al-Sham, which is funded and populated by Qatar and which is thought to have 10,000-20,000 fighters in Syria.
A list of the top ten powerful militias in Syria — with the exception of the Kurds — are fighting predominantly for an Islamic state, i.e., they are religious extremists who want nothing to do with democracy, equality or freedom. The Muslim Brotherhood cannot be characterized as a “moderate” group in Syria.
This is a crucial fact. The Islamist extremists are not mere “players” under an umbrella of rebel groupings. The extremists are the motor force of the rebels, who do the vast majority of the fighting, who dominate the “liberated” areas of Syria where fundamentalist Sharia law has been implemented, and who will rule the rest of the country if the Syrian government falls. In essence, they have become what claims to be the “revolution.”
By defining the extremists as mere “players” in the anti-Assad “coalition,” the true nature of the rebels is distorted: a political movement is defined by who leads it, who exercises power, and by the pursuit of specific political goals. By this more accurate definition the “rebels” must be described as Islamic extremists, who receive support from other minor political players who seek to oust the Syrian government.
In the rebel-controlled regions of Syria one can be executed for “blasphemy” or adultery, lose a limb for minor theft and other misdemeanors, and if you’re a woman you’ll be relegated to a permanent state of house arrest, except for the moments where a close male relative chooses to escort you out of the house, assuming you are completely hidden behind clothing.
To focus only on the “moderate” rebels and “revolutionary” minority is to purposely blind oneself to the lead actors in this drama, thus giving invaluable political cover to the most reactionary groups in existence, who make the current Syrian government look like liberals.
These facts are crucially important, and must be considered when comparing the current Syrian government — where women have many freedoms similar to American women — to its alternative, which places women as property of men without any semblance of civil rights. If the rebels of Syria are to be called “revolutionaries,” they are of the reactionary type.
It is true that there are smaller, non-extremist militias amongst the rebels, or those that function to protect neighborhoods, etc., but these militias do not constitute a powerful social force. They are essentially non-entities in this conflict amongst giants, and focusing almost exclusively on these groups ignores the fundamental reality of the conflict and purposely distorts what is actually happening.
The local “democratic” militias cannot be used as a justification for further militarizing a conflict that will inevitably bring western-backed religious zealots to power, to the detriment of all Syrians. To demand that these rebels be armed is to demand that Syria be fragmented and destroyed in an Iraqi-like fashion.
While glorifying the smaller militias, pro-rebel analysts also overstate the number of Syrian soldiers who’ve defected to the rebels. The exact number is impossible to know at this time. There are, of course, defectors in all wars, especially civil wars, but the myth that the Syrian rebels are densely populated by defecting soldiers of the Syrian army is best exposed by the fact — recognized by nearly all observers — that the Syrian army has remained very cohesive. A true “flood” of defectors is blatantly inconsistent with this fact, though always ignored by the pro-rebel groups.
Revolutions are notorious for cracking armies like eggs, especially in a prolonged revolutionary upheaval. The firmness and stability of the Syrian army offers yet more damning evidence against labeling the conflict a “revolution.”
This fact is rationalized away by pro-rebel analysts who argue that the Syrian military’s cohesiveness is due to the army’s dominance by Shia Muslims, specifically President Assad’s Alawite sect — and are therefore unquestionably loyal to the government, making them an especially unique sectarian army.
In reality, the Syrian military is composed overwhelmingly of Sunni Muslims, who constitute the majority of Syrians. It’s true that the Alawites have an over-representation in the military’s upper echelons, but the rank-and-file solider is predominantly Sunni, many from Syria’s countryside. A majority of these stereotypical Syrian soldiers would not mindlessly mow down their countrymen as the western media claims they have done.
The Syrian defectors’ story was mostly a useful propaganda piece for western countries — the U.S. specifically — to push people’s attention away from the Islamist extremists who make up the overwhelming majority of the armed struggle. Although there have been a couple of high-level defectors from the Syrian government, they’ve never expanded beyond token amounts, as the unity of the Syrian government continues to testify. The regime as a whole remains united and stable, which would be impossible if it were confronted by an ongoing nationwide powerful revolution.
More proof that Syria has not entered a revolutionary phase is the non-participation of the Syrian labor movement. All revolutions attract the attention and powerfully affect the nation’s labor movement. But Syria’s labor movement has either been passive or pro-Assad. The pro-rebel groups blame this fact on the labor movement’s blatant subservience to the Syrian government, but this explanation lacks obvious merit.
For example, before Egypt’s revolution the Egyptian labor movement was deeply connected to the Egyptian government, as was the Venezuelan labor movement’s connection to its government in pre-revolutionary Venezuela. But revolutions transform labor movements in the same way they splinter armies. Syria’s labor movement would have bent under the pressure of a real revolutionary movement, as all labor movements do when faced with the force of a real revolution.
It’s also untrue that Syria’s labor movement has been totally subservient to the Syrian government. Syria’s labor movement has directly confronted the government several times over the years, after the Assad government began adopting a privatization agenda and other neoliberal reforms in the country, which has put negative pressure on working class Syrians. Syrian unions are perfectly capable of acting independently and would have done so if they believed a revolution existed in their country that would have benefited working class Syrians.
More proof that Syria is not undergoing a revolution can be found by asking a simple question: how can the “revolutionary” movement in Syria realize its goals?
For example, if we accept the false premise that the revolutionary movement was “forced to take up arms,” and then accept the fact that Islamic extremists completely dominate the rebel battlefield, then we must conclude that the “revolution” has ended, since any prospect for a truly revolutionary conclusion is excluded from the basic math of the conflict.
Initially, the pro-democracy revolutionaries were united with other rebels that operated under the umbrella demand to oust President Assad; but now the “revolutionary” demand of the Islamists — who control the rebels — is the demand for an Islamic state.
The demand for an Islamic state should have instantly shattered any alliance between pro-democracy revolutionaries and the Islamists, but the pro-democracy rebels have largely refused to do this. They haven’t rejected the Islamists because without them they would be completely powerless. Zero evidence of a revolution would exist. If there are revolutionaries fighting under the Islamic black flag in extremist militias, they are doing a disservice to themselves and the future of their country.
The revolution thus finds itself without a way forward, since there is no independent demand that can currently be realized by the Syrian pro-democracy revolutionaries, who are currently unable to assert their power against the Islamic extremists or the Assad government. This “revolution” is a car without an engine or gas, stalled. A precondition of revolution is the ability for the masses to powerfully assert themselves into social life. A revolution without a revolutionary movement is no revolution.
It is thus highly irresponsible to demand that the Syrian rebels be armed, while at the same time insisting that Syria be protected from “western intervention.” In fact, supplying arms to the rebels is a strategic form of U.S. intervention; arming, funding, and training rebels doesn’t happen without strings attached, loyalties and alliances created, promises made, and pro-western geo-political goals pursued.
To insist that the NATO or Gulf monarchies supply arms to the rebels is, in essence, to invite the United States to directly participate in the Syrian conflict on a deeper level (the Obama administration is already neck-deep involved, supplying thousands of tons of arms to the Syrian rebels covertly through the CIA).
The U.S. is already buying and trafficking arms, training and funding rebel fighters, all of which are considered U.S. investments in the future of the conflict, which, at any time, can be paid with interest via a direct U.S. military invasion — starting with a “no fly zone.” In fact, without the massive rebel support from the U.S. and its allies this conflict would have ended long ago and thousands of lives would have been spared. Demanding that this bloodletting continue — especially without ANY prospect for a successful end — is to demand the destruction of Syria.
The last refuge of the pro-rebel analysis argues that, because there are “revolutionary democratic structures” that have been created in rebel-held areas, then we have indisputable evidence of revolution, and thus the rebel cause must be supported. Often cited as proof is the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC) in rebel areas, which are credited with food distribution and other forms of local administration.
But in a conflict covered in depth by cell phone videos and other means of communication, evidence of mass-based local coordinating committees — i.e. a revolutionary democratic structures — is scant. The LCCs have a snazzy website that puts forth the occasional pro-rebel statement — and YouTube videos of rebel military assaults — but it’s otherwise difficult to find any convincing evidence of a powerful revolutionary organization, nor is any ever offered by pro-rebel writers who champion the righteous cause of the LCC’s.
This is not to say that LCC’s do not exist, but like the neighborhood militias, their relevance has been greatly exaggerated in an attempt to define the Syrian situation as revolutionary and thus grant it a status of “unconditional support.”
In reality, all semi-objective media observers have noted that local administration and food distribution in rebel-held areas is dominated by the ruling political and military groups of the Islamic extremists. This fact relegates the LCC’s to a minor role at best, if they can even be considered politically relevant at all.
It’s certainly true that civilian democratic structures exist in Syria where there are power vacuums, much like civilian militias to protect neighborhoods. But temporary power vacuums should not be glorified as proof of a real revolutionary movement; it can just as easily prove that a country is being physically destroyed. These vacuums are filled, as they were in the city of al-Raqqa, when the Islamists enter the void.
A real revolution does not need to search for evidence of its existence; it displays its power for all to see in massive mobilizations that shake the power of the targeted regime. But in Syria’s greatest city, Damascus, there does not exist a whimper, let alone a roar of revolution. If it’s true that the people in Damascus are “too scared” to openly rebel — as some pro-rebel groups claim — then they have obviously not yet entered the path of revolution, since overcoming fear is one of the first preconditions of revolution; without it there can be no revolutionary movement or action.
Without accepting some of the above criteria for judging a situation as “revolutionary,” a political analysis can run into deep trouble. The pro-rebel analysis has no real criteria that can decide when this “revolution” ceases to be revolutionary. By their method of analysis it seems possible to conclude that the revolution will go on forever — the situation will always remain “revolutionary” so long as certain revolutionary-appearing democratic structures can be unearthed, regardless of how well attended, effective, or whether or not they have any semblance of actual power. This watered down definition of a revolution would qualify the U.S. Occupy Movement as a revolution, which of course it was not.
A revolutionary movement is inevitably a battle for power. It is the people asserting their power in order to change the power dynamic of society in their favor. For a revolution to exist the people must be in a position to assert their power. At this point President Assad can only be removed by either the Islamic extremists or the U.S. military.
A nation can be inhabited by entirely revolutionary-minded people, but there is no revolution unless people are massively asserting their power in the streets, workplaces, and neighborhoods. This is not the situation in Syria, where no revolution exists at this time.
It’s about advancing America’s imperium. There’s nothing civil about it. It’s about toppling another independent government. They’re not tolerated. Washington wants pro-Western puppet ones replacing them.
War rages. Tens of thousands died. Dozens more do daily. Obama remains unaccountable. His hands are blood-drenched. He’s a war criminal multiple times over. He thrives on death and destruction.
Western-sponsored death squads invaded Syria. Assad’s wrongfully blamed for their crimes. He’s battling to save his country. He doing so responsibly.
He’s doing what every leader would do. Defeating foreign invaders matters most. The vast majority of Syrians support him. He’s their last line of defense.
He achieved impressive gains. He’s routing foreign terrorists. Monday news reports said Syrian forces gained full control over Homs district. It’s an important strategic victory. It’s Syria’s third largest city.
Insurgents call it “the capital of the revolution.” It’s a key central western city close to northern Lebanon. It links Damascus to the sea.
Victory came a day after Syrian forces captured the historic Khalid Bin al-Walid mosque. It’s in Homs’ Khaldiyeh neighborhood. It dates from the 13th century. Insurgents controlled it for over a year. Heavy fighting caused extensive damage.
Khaldiyeh’s population once numbered about 80,000. Several thousand at most remain. Months of conflict took its toll. Many died. Others fled.
On July 29, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined “Syrian army and Hizbollah capture Homs – opening way to (full control of Aleppo) and decisive Assad victory.”
Syrian forces continue to pound insurgent positions. Many flee to escape death or capture.
Israel’s nonplussed. According to DF, “Washington, Jerusalem and Ankara have run out of time for quibbling whether to step into the Syrian conflict. The critical decision facing them now is whether to” get involved or keep “stand(ing) aside.”
Obama “must now decide very quickly whether Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers should be allowed to win the Syrian ‘civil’ war or” jump in to stop him.
The battle for Syria continues. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Assad’s forces “continued hunting terrorists in Homs and its countryside and inflicted heavy losses upon them.”
“An official source in the province told SANA that the army units have achieved new progress in al-Khalidiyeh neighborhood and destroyed a number of terrorists’ dens, in addition to killing and injuring scores of them.”
Syrian forces “destroyed a number of terrorists’ dens and gatherings along with the weapons and ammunition inside them in al-Hamidiyeh, Jouret al-Shayah, al-Qusour and Bab Houd neighborhoods in Homs and in al-Dar al-Kabeira, al-Ghanto and al-Mashajar al-Janoubi in Talbisa and in al-Rastan city.”
SANA discussed other important Syrian gains. They repeat with impressive regularity. Aleppo area terrorists were routed. Many were killed. Their weapons were captured or destroyed.
Army units “carried out operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings in the eastern Ghouta in Damascus Countryside, killing and injuring several terrorists, in addition to regaining control over a number of buildings in al-Qaboun neighborhood in the city.”
Terrorists affiliated with “Tahrir al-Sham Brigade” in eastern Ghouta were killed. Others attacking Daraa military checkpoints were repelled. They suffered heavy losses.
“Non-Syrian terrorists (were) killed in Lattakia countryside.” Others “suffer(ed) heavy losses in Idleb.” More were routed in Hama.
Victories haven’t turned the tide. Ending conflict matters most. Washington didn’t start things to quit. Balkan wars persisted throughout the 1990s. Years more fighting could affect Syria.
Peace talks are illusory. Last year’s Geneva conference failed. Plans for Geneva II won’t fare better. Syria has no Western peace partner.
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Washington’s subverting conflict resolution efforts. Attacks on Syrian forces are planned. Doing so contravenes peace attempts. Obama pretends support. His actions speak louder than words.
He’s armed terrorist fighters all along. He’s sending more weapons. Doing so furthers conflict. Peace remains elusive. It’s illusory. Washington prioritizes war. Proxy death squads wage it.
Plans suggest greater US involvement. Doing so means full-scale war. Another regional charnel house looms. Libya 2.0 assures one. America’s legacy reflects unconscionable mass killing and destruction.
Post-9/11 alone, millions died. Many more were injured or displaced. America wants the entire region redrawn. Millions of deaths are a small price to pay.
Washington-controlled NATO bears full responsibility. Israel shares its own. Voice of Russia’s John Robles said “NATO and the West have an agenda, and that agenda is complete and total military domination of the world.”
“No matter that the Cold War has long been over, and the West and NATO’s beloved reason for expansion, the ‘evil specter’ of Communism in Europe, has been relegated to the pages of history, the US and its NATO allies need phantoms and demons, rogue nations and terrorists, evil aggressors and vicious invaders to justify their own existence and, even more so, to justify their own endless aggressive expansion and disguise the fact that such a global expansion is illegal and in fact a plan aimed at the domination of the world by one power.”
“The US and the Western military industrial complex are not interested in peace.”
Fake terrorist threats fuel its war priorities. They’re pretexts for Washington’s plan to rule the world.
With NATO partners and Israel, it’s waging war “against peaceful countries.” They’re nonbelligerent. They threaten no one.
Washington’s aggression may destroy humanity in the process. The “single biggest threat to peace” today isn’t Syria, Iran or North Korea.
It’s US-led NATO’s global ambitions. Overreach may destroy the world to dominate it.
Former Congressman Ron Paul thinks Obama’s Syria policy resembles Bush on Iraq. Rhetoric is familiar, he said. He’s seen it before, saying:
“Because of this use of gas, the president claimed, Syria had crossed his ‘red line’ and the US must begin to arm the rebels fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.”
A previous report said Obama decided much earlier. He did so “when the intelligence community did not believe ‘with high confidence’ that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons.”
“Further, this plan to transfer weapons to the Syrian rebels had become policy much earlier than that, as the Washington Post reported that the CIA had expanded over the past year its secret bases in Jordan to prepare for the transfer of weapons to the rebels in Syria.”
“The process (today is) identical to the massive deception campaign that led us into the Iraq war.”
Like Bush/Cheney & Co., Obama “fix(es) the intelligence and facts” to fit policy.
“And Congress just goes along, just as they did the last time.”
History does more than repeat. It prioritizes mass slaughter and destruction.
According to Senator Rand Paul, “Americans would probably be surprised to learn that their government was arming affiliates of Al Qaeda” and other anti-Syrian extremists.
They’re Washington’s most effective fighting force. Obama wants them more heavily armed. Congress is AWOL.
Proper oversight’s absent. “(I)f the Constitution still matters, the president needs (congressional) authorization to arm these rebels.” He lacks it.
He’s secretly supplying weapons. Doing so is “complicated and dangerous.”
“If the United States wants to choose a side in Syria, there is no clear moral choice. More important, there is no clear US national interest in Syria.”
“That is why I have introduced bipartisan legislation along with Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that would prohibit the president from providing military aid to the Syrian rebels without congressional consent.”
“The United States should never get involved where we have no clear national interest.”
“We should not intervene militarily in a country like Syria, where we can’t separate friend from foe and might end up arming the very people who hate us the most.”
America’s a warrior nation. War is permanent policy. Peace is deplored. Global domination matters most. Independent countries are targeted. Conflicts persists without end.
When wars become the national pastime, catastrophic outcomes are certain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Damascus — It may well have seemed like a fine idea at the European Union’s Foreign Ministers cocktail reception in Brussels, where ample alcohol freely flowed the night before last week’s vote to blacklist the “military wing” of Hezbollah. But shortly after the vote the EU appeared to be experiencing a severe hangover as the stark reality of its impetuous decision began to soak in.
After periodical discussion of the US-Israel demand for blacklisting Hezbollah for more than a year, and adding its name to the EU list of 26 organizations and 11 individuals currently being designated as ‘terrorists’ is in becoming clearer by the day the EU actions may not have been in anyone’s interest except possibly Israel’s.
It is true there was never much enthusiasm at EU HQ for taking the blacklisting step given some fundamental uncertainties of what it would mean in reality. But American and British pressure, and headlines from Israel screaming: “We told you about rising anti-Semitism from Europe” following the EU decision to blacklist illegal Zionist colonies implanted on the West Bank portion of occupied Palestine, weeks earlier. To round up EU votes, the US State Department staff designated to lobby the 28 EU foreign ministries also focused on the unproven Bulgaria bus attack, and Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as reasons to go along with the blacklisting decision which required a unanimous vote for the 28 EU countries foreign ministers.
Minutes after the EU vote, problems began to appear and it became obvious that buying into the US-UK Hezbollah “military wing” blacklisting project was not an attractive product after all.
Some of the reportedly emphasized ‘talking points’ to the EU Foreign Ministries from Washington and London included the following:
· The EU blacklisting Hezbollah’s military wing would “compensate” Israel, as it has been demanding, for the EU vote early this month that essentially boycotted Zionist colonial projects throughout the illegally occupied West Bank
· The action would not affect UNIFIL or UNSCR 1701 because Hezbollah has good relations with UNIFIL and they would likely continue to work with the 15 European countries nations making up UNIFIL including the five EU members ,France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Ireland who have troops patrolling the Lebanon-Palestine border;
· Israel would be assuaged and can claim a victory in its war with Hezbollah;
· The Lebanese political parties backed by certain EU member states and the Gulf Countries such as Saudi Arabia would benefit in terms of establishing a new pro-March 14th dominated government, significantly pressuring Hezbollah’s delegation in Parliament and at the ballot box by the blacklisting—although it was not spelled out precisely how to would work;
· US-led western aid to the Lebanese army would likely increase and Hezbollah’s international reputation would suffer;
· There would be no damage to EU-Lebanese relations and any negative reactions would soon dye down.
However great all this may have sounded in some capitols before the ill-considered vote, a rude awakening began to dawn almost immediately after the votes were counted. Criticisms, complications and doubts from the EU action are continuing to be voiced and second thoughts are spreading despite efforts of the EU Ambassador to Lebanon, Ms. Angeline Eichhorst at damage control.
Even before the EU’s decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s “military wing” was publicly released, Ms. Eichhorst sought and was granted appointments with Hezbollah’s Ammar al-Musawi, Liaison for International Relations, and Minister of State Mohammad Fneish, at which she repeatedly offered assurances that the EU vote will have zero effect on relations with the group’s “civilian wing.” She assured the gentlemen that the EU votes do not reflect on the Lebanese government in any way, explaining that the EU “has no problem with Hezbollah participating in any future government.”
Ambassador Eichhorst declared that “this decision is a political message to Hezbollah for the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, which is a terrorist attack on European soil.”
She added, however, that this does not reflect on the Lebanese government in any way, explaining that the EU “has no problem with Hezbollah participating in any future government.” After her meeting with Hezbollah’s minister in the current caretaker government, she stated, “Financial assistance will continue, of which Minister Fneish’s ministry gets a sizable share, and we want for this cooperation to continue.”
For his part, and ever gracious towards the EU’s well-meaning Ambassador , who appeared to understand some of the diplomatic complications the EU action unlearned, Hezbollah MP Fneish reminded the ambassador that “Israel occupied our land for many years, and we did not hear a single objection (from the EU) “we were careful to maintain good relations with Europe, despite the terrible legacy Europe left behind among our people – from the Palestinian cause to colonialism – and despite this, you choose to remind us again of this painful history.”
Minister Fneish reiterated Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s statement that the European decision will provide Israel with political cover for any future attack on Lebanon, in which case Hezbollah would consider the EU a partner in such a crime. Eichhorst replied that the EU decision has nothing to do with Resistance to Israel or Lebanese sovereignty.”
Both Musawi and Fneish stood their ground in their discussions with EU ambassador Eichhorst, insisting that the decision was an insult to the Resistance. They dismissed the decision as politically motivated, particularly given that the outcome of the Burgas investigation is rooted in allegations and conjecture, even by the admission of the ambassador herself who conceded that there are no firm results regarding responsibility for the Burgas incident that cost innocent lives.
Ms. Eichhorst’s hosts were reportedly far too polite to ask the EU ambassador just how the EU planned to somehow go about distinguishing a “civil wing” and a “military wing”.
And they are not alone in appearing a bit puzzled. According to a lawyer at the American Society of International Law in Washington DC, the EU decision was a big mistake from an international law standpoint and could be an international lawyer’s worst nightmare or a dream come true. Which would depend if the lawyer was representing the EU in trying to unravel the civil-military conundrum or advising thousands of EU member states businesses and agencies wanting to continue any business with the Lebanese government, UNIFIL, or countless NGO’s who regularly interact with Hezbollah.
“It’s a real legal mess!” the ASIL source explained, as he described the legal confusion the EU action caused. “The best thing for EU credibility and international relations right now on this subject would be for the EU to forget what it did and to desist from any implementation whatsoever. And then let the designation be removed after the six months trial period as provided by EU regulations. Otherwise, their decision will swamp courtrooms and complicate Middle East-European political and economic relations with challenges from all points on the compass with uncertain outcomes to say the least.”
It is not only Hezbollah, the leader of the National Lebanese Resistance and American international lawyers who have expressed concerns about the EU action last week. It seems that nearly everyone else does too and this reaction is adding to the EU’s ‘morning after’ queasiness.
Many citizens of Lebanon are expressing concern that the EU brush stroke aimed at Hezbollah’s “military wing” may tar them as well due to the ‘terrorism’ label toxicity these days. A Sunni taxi driver wondered if his children could now get visas to Europe because of the ruling. Lebanon is very sensitive to the issue of Visas as they see fellow citizens are being forced out of Gulf countries due to fabricated claims of association with Hezbollah. In these countries hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have had visas for decades. It is the uncertainly among many-understandably paranoid Lebanese living and working abroad than is causing near panic among some in Lebanon.
It’s hard to find in Lebanon, even among Hezbollah detractors, a political party that is publicly endorsing the EU decision because they basically see no advantage for Lebanon of their own tightly controlled sects, whether Christian, Muslim, or Druze.
On 7/27/13 Former premier Fouad Saniora, head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, no friend of Hezbollah, voiced “concern and regret over the reasons that led the European Union to take the decision of putting Hezbollah’s so-called military wing on its terror list.” Saniora added in a statement released from his party’s media office:
“We had commented on this issue in the bloc’s statement and voiced our regret and also our concern over the reasons that led the EU to take such a decision, especially that we in Lebanon have ties of solid friendship with 28 European countries, and thus none of us would have liked to see this happening.”
Saniora’s friend and colleague, Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel argued over the week-end that the European Union’s decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing is “ambiguous,” pointing out that it will have a negative impact on the country. In an interview with Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) he argued that “The decision confused the Lebanese situation and will constitute negative repercussions on all matter especially the cabinet formation process,” Gemayel said. He pointed out that the decision targets Hezbollah members who his party considered “ghosts,” saying: “The members that are responsible for Hezbollah’s military action are unknown.”
Even Israeli officials have problems with the EU’s decision. Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman and MK Avigdor Lieberman slammed the EU’s decision to put military wing of Hezbollah on terrorist list, saying that not only military wing, but the entire organization should be blacklisted. “
As usual, Lieberman found some antisemitism lurking among the Europeans, claiming that they were satisfied with going only halfway, and like the West Bank Settlements EU decision, the EU wants to punish not the terrorists but those (like-Israel!) who reject terrorism and fight it. Half a dozen other Israeli officials including the ever garrulous Shimon Peres chimed in to form a chorus condemning the EU.
Far be it for this observer to advise the European Union’s Foreign Ministry or to promote an American association’s legal analysis and advice. However, the American Society of International Law lawyer, quoted above, makes a valid point.
The best move for the EU now, as it tries to recover from the current self-inflicted debacle is to do nothing to inflame the situation by cooking up some dubious terrorist lists. Rather, in six months the EU should assure that this month’s blacklisting decision acquiesced in under US-Israel pressure, lapses.