Category Archives: Uncategorized

you get so tired of the white helmets

Syrian State TV: Government Forces Advance in Aleppo
AP, Sep 27 2016

BEIRUT — Syrian state TV is reporting that government forces are advancing in the old quarter of the northern city of Aleppo and have captured several buildings. The station said Tuesday troops are now advancing toward the central rebel-held neighborhood of Farafra. The offensive comes after days of intense airstrikes on rebel-held eastern parts of the city, during which scores of people were killed and a number of buildings demolished. Over the weekend, government forces captured the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat north of the city but rebels regained control of it hours later.

Unrelenting Assault on Aleppo Is Called Worst Yet in Syria’s Civil War
Rick Gladstone, Somini Sengupta, NYT, Sep 26 2016

Undeterred and infuriated by Western accusations of war crimes and barbarity in the aerial assault on Aleppo, the Syrian government and its ally Russia intensively bombed the city in northern Syria on Monday for the fourth consecutive day. Residents and rescuers there described the bombardment as among the worst yet in the five-year war. Both the Kremlin and the Syrian government appeared to harden their position that the United States and its partners had caused the disintegration of a fleeting cease-fire last week. The Russians went as far as suggesting that the Western portrayal of them as war criminals in the Syria conflict risked a further alienation in relations. Insurgent-held neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo were hit with dozens of air attacks in the predawn hours, killing and wounding many people, according to doctors, nurses and activists in the city. By some estimates the deaths totaled 100 or more for the fourth day. A number of monitor groups disseminated graphic photos and video clips portraying the medical mayhem wrought by the bombings. The Aleppo Media Center, a group of anti-government activists and citizen journalists who have sought to document the conflict, posted video footage of civilian victims on a dirty hospital floor getting little more than simple bandages for wounds:

Stockpiles of food and supplies have dwindled to near nothing on the rebel-held side, according to a report from AFP. It also said a shortage of blood for transfusions had forced doctors at the few functioning hospitals to amputate limbs of the seriously wounded. Save the Children, the international charity, said children were “dying on the floors of hospitals” for lack of ventilators, anesthetics and antibiotics.

The crisis in Aleppo has drastically worsened since Thursday, and the volume of bombings has increased, residents and rescue workers in Aleppo have said, and incendiary weapons and heavy-duty bombs that can destroy underground shelters have been used for the first time, wreaking havoc on crowded neighborhoods. One Syrian ambulance crew called Shafak said Sunday that half the dead it had collected over the weekend were children, according to Save the Children. 40% of the population in eastern Aleppo are children, Save the Children said, a statistic that helps to explain the high rates of young casualties. Ahmad Mustafa Makiyya, a volunteer with the ambulance team, said he had to pull his own family members from the rubble of their house, which was struck on Monday. The house was close to a gathering point for day laborers, he said, making the area especially crowded. At an emergency meeting of the UNSC on Sunday, Pindostan, Britain and other allies said that the Russians were abetting war crimes in Aleppo by the government of Assad. Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the UNSC session:

Bunker-busting bombs, more suited to destroying military installations, are now destroying homes, decimating bomb shelters, crippling, maiming, killing dozens, if not hundreds.

Rycroft said that “in short, it is difficult to deny that Russia” is committing war crimes. (note position of unquote mark! – RB)

Samantha Power accused the Russians of “barbarism”:

Russia’s government, which has called the military campaign a necessary response to terrorist groups in Syria, responded harshly on Monday to the criticism. Dimitri Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters in Moscow:

We note the overall unacceptable tone and rhetoric of the representatives of Anglostan & Pindostan, which can damage and harm our relations. Moderate Syrian opposition groups backed by Pindostan and Western and Arab allies have not complied with the terms of the ceasefire by failing to separate themselves from Nusra. Terrorists continue their encroachments, they continue offensives, so that naturally the fight against terrorists is ongoing, and must not be stopped.

Video posted by Qasioun News Agency, an opposition media group showed residents of the Mashad neighborhood in the rebel-held part of Aleppo rescuing children after an aerial assault:

The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, a Cincinnati-based group that supports hospitals in Syria, said the use of bunker-busting bombs in recent days had made the crisis more desperate. The group said in a statement:

These bombs have the capacity to destroy fortified hospitals, medical points and underground shelters (where tens of thousands are taking shelter) at high risk.

Ban Ki-moon, who has repeatedly denounced what he has called the Syrian government’s culpability in most civilian casualties of the war, also expressed shock at the use of bunker-busting bombs, saying:

These bombs are not busting bunkers. They are demolishing ordinary people looking for any last refuge of safety. International law is clear. The systematic use of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas is a war crime.

James Le Mesurier, parent of the White Helmets, said:

The power of these bombs is far more destructive than the barrels stuffed with explosives and shrapnel that Syrian government forces have been dropping on rebel-held areas, where they kill and maim indiscriminately. An ordinary building hit by the so-called barrel bombs will crumble, but the bunker busters obliterate buildings and also leave deep and wide craters. The power of these bombs is far more destructive than the barrels stuffed with explosives and shrapnel that Syrian government forces have been dropping on rebel-held areas, where they kill and maim indiscriminately. An ordinary building hit by the so-called barrel bombs will crumble, but the bunker busters obliterate buildings and also leave deep and wide craters. While underground bunkers in eastern Aleppo have afforded civilians some measure of protection from barrel bombs, the bunker busters leave no place to hide.

Caroline Anning, a spokeswoman for Save the Children in southern Turkey, said Syrian relief workers she had spoken to in recent days told her they no longer felt safe in underground bunkers. Schools, such as they are, operating in basements, have been shut since early July in rebel-held eastern Aleppo. They were scheduled to resume on Saturday, though that now seems unlikely, Anning said. There was little indication Monday that diplomacy could be revived to stop the Aleppo assault, with each side blaming the other. The Syrian government have said over the past week that they intend to retake the entire city by force if necessary. Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, said in a television interview that he considered Pindostan responsible for the collapse of the cease-fire and that Ban’s comments on the Aleppo bombings were “shameful.” Josh Earnest told reporters at the White House that diplomacy remained for now the only viable option for reducing the fighting in Syria and ending the war. He said:

It is hard to imagine Pindostan reaching any other negotiated agreement with the Russians until they have lived up to the commitments they have already made.

donald is just the front man, for something…

so we’ll just keep fighting and the pindos can say what they like

Kremlin says worried that terrorists regrouping in Syria
Dmitry Solovyov, Reuters, Sep 26 2016

MOSCOW – The Kremlin said on Monday it was gravely concerned by the situation in Syria where it said terrorists were using a ceasefire to regroup and wage offensives against government troops. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters:

The Kremlin views the situation as extremely complicated. We are chiefly concerned that the terrorists were using the ceasefire to regroup their forces, to replenish their arsenals, to make obvious preparations for waging offensives. Moderate opposition forces were not being separated from the terrorists. Because there was no separation of moderates from terrorists going on, the terrorists were able to continue their encroachments and continue their offensives. Naturally, the fight against the terrorists is ongoing now. It must not be stopped. Regrettably, the ceasefire regime has not been effective enough to date. But nonetheless Moscow is not losing hope, and what is more important, not losing political will to spare no effort to achieve a steady process of political settlement in Syria. So far it’s been very hard. We can see absolutely no prospect for a summit. Western condemnations will hinder any resolution to the crisis and hurt bilateral relations with Russia.

Turkey welcomes withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters from Manbij: Deputy PM
Ercan Gurses, Ayla Jean Yackley, Reuters, Sep 26 2016

A significant portion of Kurdish YPG militia fighters who were in the northern Syrian town of Manbij are withdrawing to the east of the Euphrates river in a move welcomed by Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters on Monday.

Relations with EU, Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria, fight against FETÖ tops Cabinet meeting
Merve Aydogan, Daily Sabah, Sep 26 2016

ANKARA – The Turkish government’s Cabinet convened on Monday at Çankaya Palace in Ankara under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş informed the media members present that Turkish – EU relations were discussed as he underlined that the relationship between the two goes far beyond the refugee deal. In addition Kurtulmuş also spoke on the recent developments in Operation Euphrates Shield, underlining that the aim is to clear Daesh from Turkey’s borders. Though Turkish – EU relations were tense following the failed July 15 coup attempt due to the controversial stance of some EU officials, Deputy PM Kurtulmuş stated that the EU had comprehended the rising democracy and spirit of unity and togetherness in Turkey. Speaking to media persons during the Cabinet meeting, Kurtulmuş said:

Turkey – EU relations is not a matter to be approached under the framework of the refugee crisis, as it would be faulty to degrade relations due to the refugee matter.

As the Turkish deputy prime minister further addressed issues of ongoing investigations on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and claims of the possibility of a new coup attempt, Kurtulmuş also noted that Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ had done a presentation to the Cabinet’s members where he had also suggested an amendment to the criminal procedures act. Commenting on Turkey – EU relations Kurtulmuş further stressed that additional chapters must be opened by the EU in Turkey’s membership process, added:

Turkey is in favor of opening new chapters with the EU as Turkey does not have any hesitations for these chapters to be opened, especially the chapters 23 and 24.

As Chapter 23 is on judicial and fundamental rights and Chapter 24 on justice, security and freedoms, Kurtulmuş said Turkey has no hesitations regarding these matters and that there is no need to take a step back on these topics. Continuing on by addressing the ongoing Euphrates Shield military operation, which is being conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) jointly with the FSA, Kurtulmuş reminded the media of the three red lines for Turkey in carrying out the operation, saying:

The first is Turkey’s necessity to protect its borders from terror organizations in Syria. The second is Turkey supporting the territorial integrity of Syria, thus willing to do all means of interfering to preserve it. The third is preventing any PYD corridor in northern Syria, which would also affect the territorial integrity of Syria.

As the withdrawal of the terrorist PKK-affiliate, the PYD, to the West of the Euphrates River continues gradually, the Turkish deputy prime minister stressed that the matter has always been the withdrawal of the PYD’s forces.

In this respect, Turkey has persistently reiterated for the withdrawal of PYD to the West of the Euphrates River. We will continue our determination in the region until all means of terror is eliminated completely.

In regards to the discussions on a possible operation in Raqqa and Mosul, Kurtulmuş reminded those gathered that Turkey is in favor of local forces conducting such an operation, as he further underlined that the operations must be conducted under the surveillance of the international coalition. Adding on to his remarks by touching upon the ongoing investigations on FETÖ and the complaints on possible faulty dismissals, Kurtulmuş stressed that the country is going through a very sensitive period and he urged everyone to respect these sensitivities of the government. He said the government will be fair, as he highlighted that those who make anonymous tips are also conducting criminal activity. Commenting on claims of a possible new coup attempt, Kurtulmuş stated that though July 15 may have failed, the FETÖ terror group will still try to disturb the country. However, he assured that the government is taking all necessary measures to prevent such an incident from reoccurring.

i’m surprised maduro gives jackass the time of day

Jackass meets Venezuelan president amid escalating tensions
AP, Sep 27 2016

68de2467325a4c6694d594d5720b564fJackass & Maduro in Cartagena, Sep 26 2016. (Photo: Vivian Salama/AP)

CARTAGENA, Colombia — Jackass Kerry said Monday that he is “deeply concerned” about escalating political tensions in Venezuela as he held his first official meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The two met in Cartagena, Colombia, following the signing of Colombia’s historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and rebels with FARC. Jackass told reporters ahead of the meeting:

We’re very, very concerned for the people of Venezuela, for the level of conflict, starvation, lack of medicine. The humanitarian situation is of enormous concern.

Leading opposition politicians in Venezuela are demanding to hold a complex recall process on whether to cut short Maduro’s term before it ends in 2019. Venezuela’s opposition vowed Monday to press forward with its bid to recall (ie dismiss – RB) Maduro this year and promised street demonstrations should the government continue to stymie the vote. Opposition leaders spent most of the weekend holed up in a posh hotel debating how to respond to elections officials torpedoing what has been their main political effort, ousting Maduro and holding new elections. Venezuela’s professional class that makes up the bedrock of the opposition’s support is eager for a quick response. Anti-Maduro candidates swept legislative elections in December in the biggest defeat yet for the movement started by the late Hugo Chavez, but they have been outmaneuvered ever since with their legislation blocked by the government-stacked supreme court. The economy has only gone further into its tailspin as the price of oil remains low. Many basic foodstuffs and medicines have become impossible to find without turning to the black market, driving Maduro’s approval ratings down to a nine-month low of 21%. Jackass said delays to the recall (ie the dismissal of Maduro – RB) have been “problematic” (sic) and said:

We need a way forward that can provide a consensus that provides relief to a nation under siege. We’re not looking for conflict. We’re looking for a solution here that works for the people of Venezuela writ broadly.

there’ll be plenty to censor

IDF Censor redacts 1 in 5 articles it reviews for publication
Haggai Matar, +972 Magazine, Sep 26 2016

The Israeli Military Censor has outright banned the publication of 1,936 articles and redacted some information from 14,196 articles over the past five years. That is 1,936 articles that professional journalists and editors decided were of public interest but which never saw the light of day. In fact, the IDF Censor redacted at least some information from one in five articles submitted to it for review since 2011, according to data provided by the Israeli army at the request of +972 Magazine, its Hebrew-language sister site Local Call, and The Movement for Freedom of Information. Under the new chief IDF censor who entered the job last year, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of instances in which the Censor contacts publishers with demands to alter or remove items that have already been published, almost double the number of post-publication censorship attempts in years past. At the same time, the new IDF Censor is intervening slightly less in articles submitted to her office for review prior to publication. Since the start of 2011, the years that saw the most censorship were those in which Israel was engaged in warfare in the Gaza Strip. The highest rates and frequency of censorship took place in 2014, the year of Operation Protective Edge, and the second-highest was 2012, the year of Operation Pillar of Cloud. Furthermore, the data confirms that the IDF Censor’s office bans the publication of documents and materials from the State Archives, documents that have already approved for publication, and some of which have already been published in the public domain.

The Israeli military censor in Israel draws its authority from emergency regulations put in place during the British Mandate period, many of which have remained on Israel’s law books for upwards of 70 years. While other countries have formal mechanisms for requesting that journalists refrain from publishing certain information relating to national security, Israel is all but alone among Western democratic states that have a legally binding state censor. Nowhere else must reported materials be submitted for prior review. Media outlets in Israel, lately expanded to include independent blogs and websites (like +972 Magazine) are required to submit to the IDF Censor for prior review any articles that fall under a broad list of topics relating to national security and foreign relations. The Censor may forbid publication of part or all of the article. That said, the decision of which articles and news items are submitted to the censor for review is made on a case-by-case basis by news organizations and editors themselves. However, once an article has been censored by the military, the journalist is forbidden from revealing what information has been removed, or even to indicate that information has been censored. Adding to the lack of transparency is the fact that the IDF Censor is technically a part of IDF Intelligence branch (AMAN). Attorney Nirit Blayer, executive director of the Movement for Freedom of Information:

Because of that institutional association, it is not subject to freedom of information laws. Nevertheless, the person in charge of freedom of information censorship in the IDF has an approach of publishing anything that can be published. Therefore, we received the requested information quickly and without much difficulty.

Here is the data. Between the years 2011 and Aug 2016, between 13,000 and 14,000 items were submitted to the IDF Censor for prior review each year. During 2011 and 2013, between 20% and 22% of items submitted for review by the IDF Censor were redacted either in part or in full, although in the vast majority only in part. In 2014 there was a significant spike in the frequency of censorship, most likely explained by the war in Gaza that year. Of the articles submitted for prior review by the censor that year, 26% (3,719 articles) were partially or fully blocked for publication (22% were partially redaction, 4% were fully censored). In the past two years, however, there has been a slight reduction in the percentage of articles that were redacted or censored. The IDF Censor partially or fully censored 19% of items submitted for review prior to publication. From the start of 2016 through August, that number dropped even further to 17%, the lowest rate of censorship intervention in the past five-and-a-half years. However, from the very beginning of her tenure as the current IDF Censor last year, Col Ariella Ben-Avraham has been expanding the scope of the IDF Censor’s purview, putting an emphasis on Facebook pages and blogs that self-identify as news or media pages. In late 2015, she contacted dozens of such Facebook pages (including +972 Magazine’s) and sent them a military censorship order requiring them to submit relevant materials prior to publication.

It is now apparent that Ben-Avraham’s proactive policies are not limited to demanding the submission of materials. The current IDF Censor has also been actively seeking the removal, in part or in whole (the data we received does not distinguish), of materials that have already been published. Between 2011 and 2013 the IDF Censor sought the removal of already-published materials, on average, 9, 19 and 16 times per month, and 37 times a month during 2014 (when a war took place). In 2015, a year that saw no wars take place, the IDF Censor contacted publishers on average of 23 times a month with demands to remove content that had already been published. Thus far in 2016 (through August), that number has soared to an average of 37 times a month, the same rate as in wartime, or in other words, nearly two-times more frequently than in 2012. The censor also revealed that between 2014 and 2016, roughly 9,500 files from the State Archives relating to national security were submitted for review. According to the censor, roughly 0.5% of those documents were partially or fully censored. It was not clear how many individual documents were contained in the 9,500 files.

The IDF Censor, in response to our questions, said that it has never approached third-party hosts of news or media (like ISPs or social media platforms) in order to seek the removal of information that was published despite its censorship attempts. However, authorities in Israel use other means of controlling the flow of information and censorship online, even when that information was not published by a person who falls under Israeli jurisdiction, as was reported on +972 earlier this summer. In that case, like many others, the state used another tool for blocking the publication of information it sought to keep secret: judicial gag orders. Gag orders are issued by judges, often without much deliberation and almost always without any consideration of the public interest to know. The number and frequency of judicial gag orders in Israel has grown dramatically in recent years. The number of gag orders issued by Israeli courts has more than tripled in the past 15 years, according to soon-to-be published research conducted last year by Noa Landau, editor of Haaretz’s English edition. Collecting data from Israeli police, the court system, the Israeli army, and Haaretz, Landau found that in the past five years alone, the number of gag order requests went up by roughly 20%. So while the IDF Censor is keeping the use of its powers at levels that remain relatively static, in some ways even reducing them except during wars, Israeli authorities have found a work-around in judicial gag orders. The one piece of data that is missing from the picture is self-censorship. How often do journalists and editors decide on their own not to investigate, look into or write about sensitive topics because they believe the military censor or a judge will stop them from publishing their story? How many stories simply disappear that way every year? We’ll never know.

fed up with zio-trolls

Newsweek Middle East editor posts anti-Semitic invective following criticism
JTA, Sep 14 2016

An editor for Newsweek Middle East magazine posted classic anti-Semitic expressions on Twitter in response to pro-Israel critics of a magazine feature titled “Where is Palestine?” The article, accompanied by a video, appeared on the magazine’s website on Aug 24 and was written by Ben White, described by the HonestReporting watchdog website as “a well-known anti-Israel activist.” The video sets out to prove that a state of Palestine exists and has for more than a century. It uses original documents dating back to the late 1800s to show that a state of Palestine existed and complains that Google uses the term Israel and not Palestine on its maps. The article and video are debunked on Elder of Ziyon and Israellycool. Pro-Israel activists began responding to the feature on the Twitter page of Newsweek Middle East’s senior deputy editor, Leila Hatoum, after she retweeted it to Electronic Intifada with the message:

dear @intifada I do hope you like the video which @NewsweekME team has recently created. Share and let everyone know the facts

In a tweet on Sep 9, Hatoum wrote:

unlike most of zionist trolls. I’m not owned by any corporate+ I don’t worship the $ nor do I care what zionists think of me.

She also wrote on the same day:

I am semite, unlike most of zionist cry-babies+I’m a native of this land.

Hatoum also said that Ashkenazi Jews are not Semites and are not at all connected to the land of Israel. The watchdog groups have called on those who are appalled by Hatoum’s tweets to post messages on her personal social media accounts as well the social media accounts for Newsweek Middle East to complain. Newsweek Middle East is editorially independent from the main Newsweek title, according to Honest Reporting. Hatoum has tweeted statements in the past that appear to be anti-Semitic. In Jul 2014 she tweeted:

Hitler’s mom was Jewish. Prostitute who gave him an STD was Jewish his GF was Jewish, his dr. was Jewish.

Early Wednesday morning she tweeted:

I’d like to thank trolls for helping me enjoy the past week (since my team published: where is Palestine?) Haven’t laughed this hard in ages.

Here’s a sequence of her tweets:

adelson will need political help with his “macao sands” problems

Adelson to give $25m boost to Trump Super-PAC
Peter Stone, Graun, Sep 23 2016

Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson plans to donate as much as $25m to a Super-PAC supporting Donald Trump, five times what he had been expected to contribute. Adelson will give the money to Future45 for ads attacking Hillary Clinton and backing Donald Trump, the Guardian has learned. The commitment by the Las Vegas mogul will bring the total raised by Future 45 to $30m, according to a donor briefed on the Super-PAC’s fundraising. But even with the bigger check, Adelson’s support for Trump amounts to much less than the $100m that a few months ago he was reportedly looking to give to help his fellow billionaire win the election. Not long after Trump won the nomination, Adelson offered a strong endorsement in an op-ed in the WaPo, and the two men had the first of a few private meetings over the summer. Adelson’s decision to give considerably less than he had earlier contemplatedstems from his concerns with the candidate’s political gaffes, incendiary rhetoric, mixed poll numbers and other issues, according to two allies of the casino owner. A Future 45 spokesperson didn’t respond to several queries about the $25m commitment by Adelson.

Future 45 also has pulled in a $1m check from Joe Ricketts, the founder of investment firm TD Ameritrade and the owner of the Chicago Cubs. Future 45, which the Ricketts family was instrumental in launching last year, is poised to begin an ad blitz in battleground states that also have key and very competitive Senate races. According to CNN, the states include Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For Ricketts and his family, the $1m check is a big about face. During the primaries Ricketts family members gave $5m, more than any other donor, to another Super-PAC aiming to stop Trump from winning the nomination. Adelson’s $25m to Future 45 comes on top of two other eight figure Super-PAC donations the 83-year-old mogul is making to help keep Congress in GOP hands. He has donated $20m to the Senate Leadership Fund, a Super-PAC with close ties to majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. This Super-PAC is run by Steven Law, a former chief of staff to McConnell and is part of a quartet of outside groups that was co-founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove, with whom Adelson is close. On Monday, the Senate Leadership Fund hosted a fundraiser in Dallas that was slated to feature McConnell and Bush 43, according to two donors who had invitations to attend. The Guardian reported a few weeks ago that Adelson had earlier this year given $10m to One Nation, a politically active nonprofit run by Law which doesn’t have to reveal its donors. Adelson also has kicked in $20m to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super-PAC that is chaired by former senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who is also close to the casino owner.

The $65m that Adelson has committed to Super-PACs so far make him the biggest donor in either party this election cycle, but is less than the $93m that he and his wife Miriam gave to Super-PACs in 2012 to help Mitt Romney and congressional candidates. Adelson also gave roughly $50m in 2012 to several politically active nonprofit groups which can keep donors’ names secret, including Pindostanis for Prosperity, which is part of the sprawling advocacy network led by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Super-PACs are independent groups that are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money but are not permitted to coordinate directly with candidates.

the final piece of hokum: six-year-old boy ‘adopts’ syrian refugees

The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch, Sep 26 2016

If the British Empire was built on the playing fields of Eton, Pindostan’s world hegemony gets its training in Hollywood studios and advertising agencies. Selling your product or yourself by looking sincere is a cultivated Pindostani art. Current top Pindo leaders are expert practitioners. In the space of a few days, Samantha Power, Jackass Kerry, and Barack Obama all turned in war-winning performances.

Three Deadly Pindosi Blows to Hopes of Peace In Syria
Last Aug 8, on that serious think-tank the Charlie Rose show, former acting DCI Michael Morell said that Pindo policy in Syria should be to make Iran and Russia “pay a price.” Russians and Iranians should be killed “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it,” he said. Morell proposed that Pindo forces begin bombing Syrian government installations in order to “scare Assad.” Probably angling for a good job next year, he is on record supporting Hillary Clinton as a “highly qualified commander in chief” and a “strong proponent of a more aggressive approach” in Syria.

Act I – An Act of War
Then, on Saturday Sep 17, the USAF did exactly what that CIA insider had called for. In sustained air strikes, four Pindo jets bombed a key SAA position that had been defending the town of Deir ez-Zor from Daesh. More than sixty Syrian soldiers were killed and over a hundred wounded. Daesh immediately took advantage of the strikes to overrun the government position. In effect, the USAF acted as air cover for the Islamic fanatics of Pindostan to advance against the legitimate army of Syria. This was not only a violation of the ceasefire painstakingly worked out by Sergei Lavrov and Jackass Kerry. It was an open military aggression by Pindostan on the territory of a sovereign state. The Russians immediately called an emergency session of the UNSC to respond to this deadly violation of the truce supposedly intended to facilitate peace negotiations and humanitarian aid. When Vitali Churkin took the floor to speak, Samantha Power, draped in her long red mane, walked out to give a press conference that clearly illustrated the difference between Russian and Pindosi diplomacy. Churkin, like Lavrov a few days later, cited facts and analysed the situation rationally. Samantha Power put on a show of evasion and insults. Why all the fuss? was her opening theme. After all, we halted the attack when we were informed that “it was possible we might be hitting Syrian regime personnel and vehicles,” she stated, adding that “if” we did so, “that was not our intention.” That should settle the question. Who could believe that Pindostan might deliberately attack the regime their politicians have been saying “must go”? The best defense is offensive, and Power can be most offensive. She declared:

Even by Russia’s standards, tonight’s stunt, replete with moralism and grandstanding is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.

Samantha Power, that conniving arriviste whose carefully constructed career has been built on moralism, grandstanding, cynicism and hypocrisy, had all the nerve in the world to turn these epithets against the prime target of her own habitual moralism, grandstanding, cynicism and hypocrisy. If the air strikes hadn’t been enough to destroy Russian confidence in dealing with Pindostan, Samantha Power’s contemptuous reaction was sure to do the trick.

Act II – Change the Subject
Next ploy: change the subject. Our little accidental bombing is nothing, Power implied, compared to the alleged fact that “since 2011 the Assad regime has intentionally been striking civilian targets with horrifying, predictable regularity.” Here is the core of the Samantha Power fraud, containing two elements:

  1. While good-hearted bumbling Pindostan occasionally kills a few people by accident, the others do it all the time and above all intentionally.
  2. Killing civilians is what war is all about. War is not about battles between armed forces for control of territory. It is not about geopolitical power struggles. It is about “civilian victims.”

At the close of her stunt, grandstanding and scoring cheap points, Samantha Power exhorted Russia “to stop the cheap point-scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them.” Good faith? They are supposed to believe we negotiated “in good faith” an agreement which we just flagrantly destroyed? Lo and behold, only two days after the Pindosi bombing of Deie ez-Zor, the subject was definitively changed when an international humanitarian aid convoy was attacked on its way to Aleppo. Twenty aid workers were killed and the aid mission was halted. Without waiting for any evidence, the unanimous cry went up from Washington that “the Russians did it!” In the UNSC this time, Jackass Kerry took the stage. Again, the critical point was the contrast between what we certainly did and what they allegedly did. Yes, we committed “a terrible accident.” But what they (allegedly) did was worse. Jackass declared:

I got to tell you, people running around with guns on the ground, from the air, is a very different thing from trucks in a convoy with big UN markings all over them.

He was implying that the difference was between an understandable accident, whose victims were “running around with guns,” and an attack on civilians. Yes, but in war, attacking soldiers is the whole point. It can make a difference in the outcome. Hitting an aid convoy is “collateral damage,” as Pindostan calls it when the bombs are Pindosi. By bombing Deir ez-Zor, Pindostan was taking part in a war in which Syria is fighting for its life. It cannot be ruled out that Syrian forces attacked the aid convoy because the truce was already broken at Deir ez-Zor and they believed it concealed weapons being transported to Daesh. Such things happen. Or the attack could have been carried out by rebels as an act of propaganda, a “false flag” designed precisely to be used to accuse the adversary. Such things also happen. It has already been established by careful research that the notorious al-Ghouta chemical weapons attack, attributed to Assad, was almost certainly carried out by rebels precisely in order to incite Pindostan to cross the “red line” set by Obama and bomb Damascus. The War Party which by now controls the Pentagon, much of the State Dept, most of Congress, as well as leading media and think tanks, has been castigating Obama ever since for not having seized that opportunity to wage a full-scale “regime change” war against Syria. The critics have never forgiven Obama for accepting the Russian proposal to use the occasion to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal, instead of overthrowing the Syrian government. But in recent weeks, as the Hillary Clinton campaign grows more frantic, Obama himself has joined the War Party.

Act III – Wallow in Sentimentality
On Sep 20, Obama used a Leaders Summit on Refugees to portray the Syrian episode in what increasing appears to be WW3 as a sentimental children’s story. Obama read the letter from 6-year-old Alex, who lives in Scarsdale NY, expressing his wish to adopt Omran Daqnish, the bewildered 5-year-old boy with a mop of dusty hair whose photo sitting in an orange ambulance seat was iconized across the world. The letter, provided to mass media by the White House, with its childish writing but nearly perfect spelling, was full of touching details about butterfly collections and shared toys. Obama read the letter, as people reached for Kleenexes all over the country, and then commented:

Those are the words of a six-year-old boy, a young child who has not learned to be cynical or suspicious or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray. We should all be more like Alex! Imagine what the world would look like if we were!

The little boys are very cute, very sweet. Fortunately, Omran Daqnish’s parents are alive, so there is no need to adopt him. Many other children are dead, notably in Yemen, killed by the Toads with arms provided by Pindostan. Too late to adopt them. “We should all be more like Alex,” Obama tells his good people. Imagine, indeed, if all Pindosis were as innocent and naïve as six-year-old children! And indeed, that seems to be the goal of government propaganda. This propagandistic heartstring-tugging is aimed at distracting from Pindo involvement in a long-term joint criminal enterprise to overthrow a government that indeed did not discriminate against people because of “how they pray,” and replace it by fanatics who are ready to behead people because of “how they pray.” An infantilized public will believe that “geopolitics” and “national sovereignty” are just big words that don’t mean anything. An infantilized public will believe that when Pindostan goes to war, it is all about protecting little children from their bad, mean dictators, whose only aspiration is to “bomb their own people.” They will believe that the world out there is Little Red Riding Hood, threatened by the Big Bad Wolf, and that there really is a Santa Claus. It will never occur to an infantilized public that the war to destroy Syria has been planned for years, even though someone like General Wesley Clark revealed this years ago. Or that it is carried out to eliminate Israel’s enemies, keep Arabs busy killing each other, and incidentally help the Toads spread their Wahhabi fanaticism. No, that will never occur to them. They won’t even notice that the Obama administration has now effectively given up any effort to justify the Nobel Peace Prize so foolishly bestowed on the apprentice president, and is now engaged in a scenario designed to prepare for Hillary’s next successful regime-change war in Syria. And it won’t occur to them that the photo of the little boy in the orange seat was quite deliberately iconized by Western media as part of the campaign promoting the Nusra-connected White Helmets for the future Nobel Peace Prize. Another subtle step in demonizing the “Assad regime” before Hillary takes over to administer the planned coup de grace. The future chuckler-in-chief is looking forward to seeing another head fall. This is called “smart power.”

grotesques

On the eve of the Pindo election debate: The politics of the grotesque
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Sep 26 2016

The debate tonight between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump begins the final stage in the 2016 election campaign. The two main capitalist candidates will appear together for the first time, before a television audience expected to top 100 million people. Even by the deplorable standards of Pindo politics, the present elections take matters to a new low. The population of Pindostan is being presented with a degraded spectacle of a contest between two despised candidates, the most unpopular in modern Pindosi history: Trump, a fascistic billionaire and former reality show star, and Clinton, the chosen candidate of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus. The event itself will not any genuine sense be a debate, that is, an exchange of political ideas and arguments, but rather an assortment of stock phrases, rehearsed one-liners, verbal provocations and mudslinging. Moderator Lester Holt of NBC News will ensure that the issues discussed do not transcend the general consensus accepted by both parties. A report in the Sunday Times of London gives a glimpse of the real feelings of the public towards the two candidates. The newspaper commissioned a focus group conducted among voters in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC, who felt, as the Times put it, that “It was the candidates, not the voters, who were the real deplorables.” When asked to describe Clinton, the terms used included “deceitful,” “entitled,” “unpleasant,” “untrustworthy,” “liar,” “corruption,” “uninspiring” and “crooked.” Trump’s name produced such responses as “crazy,” “unstable,” “arrogant,” “megalomaniac,” “vindictive,” “unbalanced,” “dumb,” “charlatan,” “bigot” and “hateful.”

Tens of millions of people will be watching tonight not out of any love for the candidates involved, but more as witnesses to a horrible train wreck. At the same time, there is an understanding that the elections, whoever ends up in the White House, mark a significant milestone in Pindosi politics. To understand what will come out of these elections, one has to understand the conditions in which they are taking place. Even as the media builds up a circus-like atmosphere around the debate, it is avoiding any discussion of the serious issues facing the Pindo sheeple, regardless of who is elected in November.
Internationally, the world is closer to a global conflict than at any point since the years leading up to WW2. Pindostan is teetering on the brink of a massive military escalation in Syria. JCoS Dunford acknowledged last week that the imposition of a “no-fly zone,” which Clinton supports, would mean war with Russia; that is, a conflict between the two largest nuclear-armed powers in the world. Both candidates, along with the media, are deliberately and systematically concealing from the Pindo sheeple how precarious the situation is. And what is happening within Pindostan? There is an atmosphere of deep dysfunction, expressed in massacres at malls and other tragedies. The mounting anger over police violence, which has been inflicted not just on African-American Black men but on the entire working class, is a signal of what will become the hallmark of the next Pindo administration, whether headed by Trump or Clinton: the outbreak of open class conflict in Pindostan. The Democrats’ insistence that things are “pretty darn great” is an attempt to ignore and cover up the reality of mass poverty, unemployment and economic distress.

The drive to war and the intensification of class conflict are driven by the intractable crisis of the world capitalist system, demonstrated not only in the hundreds of millions of unemployed and underemployed workers in the major industrialized regions of the world, but in the evident perplexity of capitalist politicians and central bankers, who have no solution to the prolonged economic stagnation that has followed the 2008 Wall Street crash. Last week the Fed again postponed a planned interest rate hike, for fear that such a move would trigger a panic in Pindosi and world financial markets on the eve of the elections. The debate itself will tackle none of these issues, for which neither of the candidates have any solution. The effort to present the elections as a contest between diametrically opposed candidates conceals the fact that Trump and Clinton share far more in common than their relatively minor tactical differences. The two are drawn from the same social layer, the millionaires and billionaires who constitute the top one-tenth of one percent of American society. As far as the financial aristocracy is concerned, Hillary Clinton is the near-unanimous choice, as demonstrated by the fact, reported by the WSJ on Saturday, that not a single CEO of the Fortune 100 largest corporations is backing Trump, while many are supporting and have contributed financially to Clinton. She has the support of the dominant sections of the military-intelligence apparatus and endorsement of the vast bulk of the Pindo media, while not a single major daily newspaper has endorsed Trump.

The concern of the ruling class is not that Trump would be too reckless, but that his professed admiration of Putin cuts across the war plans directed against Russia and China which have been developed over the past decade under both Republican and Democrat administrations. Moreover, there is concern that the election of Trump could set off uncontrollable social conflict. Given this near-unanimous ruling-class support, it is reasonable to ask the question, posed by Clinton in remarks last week, “Why aren’t I leading Trump by 50 points?” The candidate herself had no real answer. Nor did the NYT, which made its predictable endorsement of Clinton in a lengthy editorial published in its Sunday edition. While acknowledging that the “2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Pindosis,” the NYT expresses a certain befuddlement over the inability of Clinton to “connect” with working-class voters. The answer, however, is straightforward. Masses of people recognize in the Democrat Party an institution no less committed to the interests of the corporations and the wealthy than the Republicans. The critical question is to prepare for what is to come. Disgust with Pindo politics is not enough. A political leadership of the working class must be built, based on an understanding that the crisis facing workers and youth in Pindostan and internationally is rooted in the capitalist system.

i should put more love into what i do

Donald tells Bibi he would recognise Jayloomia as the Greatest
Harriet Agerholm, Independent, Sep 25 2016

trump-netanyahu

Donald Trump has told the Israeli Prime Minister that Pindostan would recognise Jayloomia as a capital of Israel. This claim would make a decisive shift in Pindo foreign policy. Although Israel calls Jayloomia its capital city, few countries accept that, and not Pindostan. Most embassies are kept in Tel Aviv. During his meeting with Netanyahu at Trump Tower in New York, Trump told Bibi that Pindostan would “recognise Jayloomia as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” Contrary to custom, the media was banned from the hour-long talk that took place between the two figures, reportedly at Trump’s request. Trump’s recognition of the ancient city as belonging to Israel was announced on the Trump campaign website afterwards. The Trump campaign “acknowledged that Jayloomia has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3,000 years, and that Pindostan, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognise Jayloomia as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” During the meeting, Trump also drew parallels with Israel’s separation border and the wall he plans to build along the Pindo-Mexican border. He praised the 440 mile-long fence, saying that it had been “successful.” Netanyahu also met with Hillary. According to the Clinton campaign, she reaffirmed her commitment to the USrael relationship and vowed to take it to the next level. Alongside stating her commitment to “Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state,” she said a solution to the conflict must be found that “provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty and dignity.” The Trump campaign said he agreed with Netanyahu that peace could only be achieved when “the Palestinians renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish State.”