The Anti-Empire Report: United States vs. ‘Russian devils’ 1917-2017 – By William Blum

The United States and the Russian devil: 1917-2017

Conservatives have had a very hard time getting over President Trump’s much-repeated response to Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly’s calling Russian president Vladimir Putin “a killer”. Replied Trump: “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent?”

One could almost feel a bit sorry for O’Reilly as he struggled to regain his composure in the face of such blasphemy. Had any American establishment media star ever heard such a thought coming from the mouth of an American president? From someone on the radical left, yes, but from the president?

Senator John McCain on the floor of Congress, referring to Putin, tore into attempts to draw “moral equivalency between that butcher and thug and KGB colonel and the United States of America.”1

Ah yes, the infamous KGB. Can anything good be said about a person associated with such an organization? We wouldn’t like it if a US president had a background with anything like that. Oh, wait, a president of the United States was not merely a CIA “colonel”, but was the Director of the CIA! I of course speak of George Herbert Walker Bush. And as far as butchery and thuggery … How many Americans remember the December 1989 bombing and invasion of the people of Panama carried out by the same Mr. Bush? Many thousands killed or wounded; thousands more left homeless.

Try and match that, Vladimir!

And in case you’re wondering for what good reason all this was perpetrated? Officially, to arrest dictator Manuel Noriega on drug charges. How is that for a rationalization for widespread devastation and slaughter? It should surprise no one that only shortly before the invasion Noriega had been on the CIA payroll. 2

It’s the “moral equivalency” that’s so tough to swallow for proud Americans like O’Reilly and McCain. Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell also chipped in with: “And no, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does.”3 Other Senators echoed the same theme, all inspired by good ol’ “American exceptionalism”, drilled into the mind of every decent American from childhood on … Who would dare to compare the morals of (ugh!) Russia with those of God’s chosen land, even in Moscow’s current non-communist form?

The communist form began of course with the October 1917 Russian Revolution. By the summer of 1918 some 13,000 American troops could be found in the newly-born state, the future Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Two years and thousands of casualties later, the American troops left, having failed in their mission to “strangle at its birth” the Bolshevik state, as Winston Churchill so charmingly put it. 4

US foreign policy has not been much more noble-minded since then. I think, dear students, it’s time for me to once again present my concise historical summary:

Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

  • Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
  • Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
  • Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
  • Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
  • Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries. 5
  • Though not as easy to quantify, has also led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance by American instructors. 6

Where does the United States get the nerve to moralize about Russia? Same place they get the nerve to label Putin a “killer” … a “butcher” … a “thug”. It would be difficult to name a world-renowned killer, butcher, or thug – not to mention dictator, mass murderer, or torturer – of the past 75 years who was not a close ally of Washington.

So why then does the American power elite hate Putin so? It can be dated back to the period of Boris Yeltsin.

During the Western financial looting of the dying Soviet Union the US could be found meddling in favor of Yeltsin in the election held in 1996. Under Yeltsin’s reign, poverty exploded and life expectancy for men actually decreased by five years, all in the name of “shock therapy.” The US/Western-backed destabilization of the Soviet Union allowed global capitalism to spread its misery unfettered by any inconvenient socialism. Russia came under the control of oligarchs concerned only for their own enrichment and that of their billionaire partners in the West. The transition of power to Vladimir Putin in the 21st century led to a number of reforms that curbed the disastrous looting of the nation by the oligarchic bandits. Putin and his allies vowed to build an independent, capitalist Russia that was capable of determining its own affairs free from US and Western domination. Such an orientation placed Putin in direct confrontation with US imperialism’s plans for unipolar global hegemony.

Washington’s disdain for Putin increased when he derided US war propaganda leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, the Russian leader played a crucial role in getting Iran to curtail its nuclear program and arranging for Syria to surrender its stockpiles of chemical weapons.

Washington’s powerful neo-conservatives had been lusting for direct US military strikes against those two countries, leading to regime change, not diplomatic agreements that left the governments in place.

Lastly, after the United States overthrew the Ukrainian government in 2014, Putin was obliged to intervene on behalf of threatened ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. That, in turn, was transformed by the Western media into a “Russian invasion”. 7

The same Western media has routinely charged Putin with murdering journalists but doesn’t remind its audience of the American record in this regard. The American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades, has been responsible for the deliberate deaths of many journalists. In

© Russian government photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol from the Nazis

Iraq, for example, there’s the Wikileaks 2007 video, exposed by Chelsea Manning, of the cold-blooded murder of two Reuters journalists; the 2003 US air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded; and the American firing on Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine, a known journalist residence, the same year that killed two foreign news cameramen.

The Trump honeymoon is over for me. It was never actually love; hardly more than an intriguing curiosity; mainly that he wasn’t Hillary Clinton; that he was unlikely to start a war with Russia or close down the Russia Today (RT) TV station in the US, which I and many others depend on daily; and that he was not politically correct when it came to fighting the Islamic State. Trump’s “moral equivalency” remark above gave me some hope. But this all vanished with his appointment to high office of one war-loving, bemedalled general after another, intermingled with one billionaire Goldman-Sachs official after another; his apparent confirmation of his Mexican Wall; and, worst of all, his increasing the military budget by $54 billion (sic, sick) … this will certainly be at the expense of human life and health and the environment. What manner of man is this who walks amongst us?

The word is “narcissism”. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni (February 28, 2017) captures this well: “Why do I get the sense that fighter jets are Donald Trump’s biceps, warships are his pectorals and what he’s doing with his proposed $54 billion increase for the Pentagon is flexing?”

Will there ever be an end to the never-ending American wars?

How should we react to terrorism?

I hadn’t planned on returning to this subject so soon, if ever, because of the distasteful experience of last summer when at least 50 of my subscribers canceled because I said that terrorism carried out by Islamics was to some extent motivated by their religion, an hypothesis rejected by what I see as the “politically correct” who took it to be an unjust attack upon an ancient and noble religion. The fact that I, a leftist, a comrade, would say such a thing was especially hard for them to take.

Since then I have regularly received emails pointing out that neither I nor the media have the right to categorically condemn brutal terrorist actions because the terrorists are reacting to decades of Western, particularly American, violence against the Muslims of the Middle East and elsewhere; and that if only the West would stop their bombing they would stop creating new terrorists. Liberal columnists often echo these sentiments, but at the same time cannot accept the role played by radical Islamic beliefs in instigating the Islamic terror.

Comment: The primary source of these beliefs has been Saudi Arabia, a major Western ally. So while radical Islamic beliefs may provide the inspiration, they wouldn’t be anything like they are today without massive Western economic and military support.

See: Eric Zuesse: The Saudi Wahhabi origins of jihadism

Not every American soldier in World War II was a knowledgeable and convinced anti-fascist; nor were all of those fighting in Vietnam knowledgeable and convinced anti-communists; but they deeply believed in American exceptionalism. I proceed from the assumption that Islamic terrorists deeply believe in the leading tenets of Islam though many of them may have been drawn to ISIS for a variety of reasons and may have only a passing knowledge of the Koran and may only rarely enter a mosque.

Why is it that terrorists routinely shout “Allah Akhbar” (“God is great”) while carrying out a bloody attack?

Why is it that so much of Islam teaches that non-Muslims are the enemy, that “disbelievers” are to be executed?

Why do they speak of their duty to perform “jihad”, which is usually defined as a struggle against the enemies of Islam or against the “infidels”?

Why do they speak of “martyrs”, which is often used as an honorific for Muslims who have died fulfilling a religious commandment, especially those who die waging jihad, or historically in the military expansion of Islam?

Why do they speak of martyrs going to paradise after dying and receiving heavenly rewards? Even being resurrected on earth, to once again die as a martyr, going again to paradise.

Yes, yes, I know about the terrible crimes of the IRA Catholics and the Israeli Jews, but on the scale of human moral evolution they don’t compare to the routine cutting off of heads; the whippings; demolishing 2000-year-old monuments; sternly banning alcohol, music, gays and sex; covering up women’s faces; forcibly imposing religious law; and on and on, including the worst of all: the never-ending horrific suicide bombings. ISIS has done the impossible: It has made American foreign policy look almost halfway decent.

Occasionally I reply to critics with something to this effect: Even if I completely accepted your premises, I’d still feel that it was too late. We can’t undo the harm that US foreign policy and the West have caused. The barn door is wide open and all the horses have escaped. There is an entire generation, or two generations, in the Muslim world totally committed to gaining bloody revenge against the West. It appears to be that it’s either us or them.

Explaining the cause of terrorism is not the same as excusing it.

It might be different if the terrorists focused on killing only those in the West responsible for the horror carried out against their people, but their acts of violence are largely indiscriminate; they attack Westerners at random, often with Muslim victims included; often with only Muslim victims.

As I’ve pointed out in the past, we should consider this: From the 1950s to the 1980s the United States carried out all kinds of very harmful policies against Latin America, including numerous bombings, without the natives ever resorting to the uncivilized, barbaric kind of retaliation as employed by ISIS. Latin American leftists generally took their revenge out upon concrete representatives of the American empire: diplomatic, military and corporate targets – not markets, theatres, nightclubs, hospitals, schools, restaurants or churches.

France, the site of numerous terrorist attacks, has experimented with deradicalization centers in an attempt to combat homegrown extremism. The centers subjected those they housed to intense courses in French history and philosophy. But after five months the experiment has been abandoned as a complete failure.8 My guess is that one reason for the failure is that French officials, like their American counterparts, were too politically correct when it came to questions of religion. If I were a teacher at one of these centers I would ask the students how they know – I mean really know – that “martyrs” go to paradise. They are, after all, considering sacrificing their lives for this belief. Seriously confronting this question for perhaps the first time ever, the students’ minds may well become somewhat confused, leaving them open for other challenging questions and thoughts.

For the record: I don’t support the US fighting ISIS in Syria. I don’t trust the Pentagon’s motivation, or their choice of bombing targets. They’re probably still into regime change. I’d leave the job to Russia and its allies.

Notes

  1. Washington Post, February 9, 2017
  2. See William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 50 for the details of the Panama intervention.
  3. Associated Press, February 6, 2017
  4. Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Vol. IV(1951), page 428.
  5. William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapter 18
  6. Ibid, chapter 5 (ends in 2005; much more is now known)
  7. See Bob Parry, “The Politics Behind ‘Russia-gate”, Consortiumnews.com, March 4, 2017
  8. Washington Post, February 25, 2017
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Terror at Work: Terrorists Bombs, Western Military Coordinates Kill Russian Paramedic in Aleppo – By Paul Mansfield

As soon as the headlines broke of militants having shelled a mobile Russian hospital in Aleppo, killing a female paramedic and wounding two doctors, the smell of a deliberate provocation hung heavy in the air.

How did the terrorists know where a mobile hospital was? I dare say they wouldn’t. They would have to be given the coordinates by we know whom: US, UK or French intelligence.

This action is similar to the deliberate bombing of Syrian troops in Deir ez-Zor: a war crime designed to stop the liberation of Aleppo, a huge step in defeating terrorism in Syria.

It comes immediately after a Russian/US agreement on withdrawing opposition forces from Aleppo. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the plan “aims at a full withdrawal of all gunmen from the eastern part of the city, which Russia has been seeking since long,” the ministry said. Experts are also expected “to coordinate the routes and timeframe of the withdrawal of all militants. As soon as this happens, a ceasefire will be put in place to begin evacuating them,” the ministry said.

Just like the actions in Deir ez-Zor, this smells like the Pentagon sabotaging a long fought for agreement between the US and Russia.

This is the deep state at work. The swamp monsters are at play. The swamp badly needs draining, not just for the sake of US citizens, but the entire world.

The Russian Ministry of Defence is at the end of its tether, its patience stretched to breaking point. Igor Konashenkov makes some biting comments which would embarrass any government officials with a conscience, but he stays within diplomatic boundaries. Here he has crossed those lines, and rightly so. He said:

Beyond any doubt, militants of the ‘opposition’ were delivering fire. We understand who the militants received accurate data and coordinates of the Russian hospital admission department from.

The hands of those who instigated this murder are also coated with the blood of our servicemen. Those who created, fed and armed those beasts in human disguise, naming them ‘opposition’ for justification before their own conscience and voters. Yes, [this blood is on your hands], terrorists’ patrons from the US, UK, France and their sympathizers.

These are the types of accusatory statements we usually hear from US officials, buffoons like Boris Johnson, European lackeys and corporate fakerstan media. The difference is when these clowns make such statements it is all hot air, hyperbole given free rein. Konashenkov’s statement is justified.

Some may say we should exercise caution and not hurl around accusations before the jury is in. After all that is usually the domain of fakerstan media and western diplomats. I will however be very surprised if the immediate impression is proved wrong.

The ground occupied by the terrorists is being gobbled up square metre by square metre by the Syrian Army and its allies. The terrorists are on the verge of collapse and the liberation of Aleppo could be complete by Christmas.

Such a disaster from the NATO and Gulf States perspective requires a drastic response. The more heinous the crime, the more likely it may have an effect of halting momentum. Or at least that is the thinking in NATO and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia dreamland. The long-suffering people across Aleppo and the rest of Syria are cheering on the advance and wait with baited breath for liberation to be finally realised. I hesitate to say it is a crucial turning point, as intense battles continue elsewhere, and regaining Aleppo will only make the sponsors of terrorism intensify their efforts elsewhere. The partition of Syria and control through planned chaos is still the agenda.

The efforts of Syrian forces, Russian aerospace forces, Hezbollah, Iranian forces and Palestinian militias have freed over 90,000 people in recent days from the grip of terror. People who were held as human hostages, contrary to fakerstan western media who told us repeatedly that they were being bombed mercilessly and deliberately by Assad and Russia, are now free for the first time in more than four years.

These people have been provided much-needed relief. Food, medical assistance, a safe space, all delivered with a helping hand and a friendly smile. Contrast this with western governments wringing their hands, hiding their contempt for Syrians behind ostentatious displays of fake concern.

Russia has delivered over 150 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the residents of areas of Aleppo this week, the Russian military said on Sunday. The whiners from the UK who accuse Russia of hampering humanitarian aid haven’t delivered one blanket, one pill or one baby bottle. They certainly haven’t been short of a dollar when it comes to funding their propaganda asset, the White Helmets.

Again as Igor Konashenkov said: “If the UK government really wants to send humanitarian aid to residents of eastern areas (of Aleppo), there are all conditions for that, just tell us where it is stuck now. If there is no British humanitarian aid to Aleppo, don’t interfere with others’ efforts to help.”

Paul Mansfield

Paul is a budding freelance writer who currently works in the welfare industry in Melbourne, Australia.

Areas of interest include: Russia/US conflict, wars in the Middle East, particularly Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, the occupation of Palestine by Israel, the damage to our economies from the global financial markets, the debt trap imposed on states by bankers seeking to privatize assets and “reform” economies while they line their pockets with cash and impoverish local populations.

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How Trump Could Turn the Tables on His Political Enemies…and Crack Open the Deep State at the Same Time – By Richard Edmondson

911fol

Donald Trump seems to be like the guy in the old song: “Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.”

Between the clownish protesters-for-hire prancing around the streets of American cities, and the evil jokers of the deep state lurking in the shadows and aiming to annihilate him from the right, Trump seems to be getting into deeper and deeper difficulties. And to make matters more precarious, his transition team apparently is being infiltrated by some pretty shady characters. But there is a way Trump could turn the tables on his political enemies: launch a new investigation into 9/11 upon assuming office in January.

Suppose the Trump Justice Department were suddenly to “discover” the evidence of controlled demolition of the World Trade Center buildings. Or suppose the president were to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the matter. There are any number of ways the matter could be approached. But imagine if you will–Larry Silverstein being subpoenaed to testify about the insurance policies he took out less than 90 days before the 9/11 attacks; or expert after expert from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth being called upon to give evidence about the unlikelihood of steel-frame buildings collapsing due to office fires. And if things got really down and dirty and nasty, Trump could issue an extradition warrant for the five dancing Israelis.

The deep state’s media apparatus would of course respond by accusing Trump of being a loony conspiracy theorist, but all the president would have to do is invite some 9/11 family members to the White House. Imagine a tearful 9/11 widow thanking the president for making it possible to see justice done at last. That would probably shut them up, or at least some of them at any rate.

The official 9/11 Commission Report is deeply flawed. The report doesn’t even mention the collapse of Building 7. All Trump would have to do is point to this to justify reopening the investigation. Such a move would immediately put Trump’s political enemies on the defensive, and would probably also have the effect of neutralizing some of the street protests. Additionally it could perhaps serve as a form of assassination insurance. Were the president to be assassinated in the middle of a newly-opened 9/11 investigation, hardly anyone would be willing to believe the “lone gunman” theory or buy into the possibility that it was an accident. Public suspicion would be aroused enormously. This does not necessarily mean Trump’s enemies would forego attempts to eliminate him through assassination. But it would make them more reluctant to try.

Maybe Trump should at least consider firing a shot over their bows. This could take the form of, say, a casual, fleeting reference in a speech to some aspect of 9/11–say for instance the fact that Building 7 was never hit by an airplane, and isn’t that curious. It would at least put his enemies on alert that if they don’t back off they could find their house of cards crumbling.

The following is an open letter to President-elect Trump from Christopher Bollyn, author of the Solving 9/11 series of books.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
Trump Tower
725 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10022

November 11, 2016

Dear President-elect Trump,

My name is Christopher Bollyn. I am the author of Solving 9/11: The Deception that Changed the World. During my recent speaking tour across the United States, I was often asked about your position on 9/11 truth. The American people know that the government and media have covered-up the truth about 9/11. As president, many Americans hope you will help find the truth by carrying out a fully-fledged criminal investigation to determine who is really responsible for the terror atrocity that changed our nation.

The events of 9/11 profoundly changed this country and brought us the “War on Terror” with costly and disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

How can we go forward as a nation, crafting policies and waging war based on nothing but a pack of lies about what happened on 9/11?  How can we make America great again if we allow our nation to be governed by lies?

The 9/11 Commission members have gone on record saying that the government officials lied to the commission. John Farmer, for example, senior counsel to the commission, wrote:

“What government and military officials told Congress, the Commission, the media, and the public about who knew what when was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue.”

The American people are demanding a proper criminal investigation into the events of 9/11 to determine who is truly responsible for the terror atrocity that changed the world. We have every right to expect that from our government.

President Trump, will you initiate a proper criminal investigation into the events of 9/11?

Sincerely,

Christopher Bollyn

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Greece’s Neoliberal Wolves In Anti-Austerity Sheep’s Clothing – By Michael Nevradakis

Far from representing truly alternative voices, three Syriza leaders crafted empty public images as anti-austerity renegades and champions of democracy and justice.

Greece Bailout

ATHENS — (Analysis) In January of 2015, opponents of neoliberalism and the harsh policies of economic austerity rejoiced at the electoral victory of Syriza in the Greek parliamentary elections.

Touted as the “first-time left,” the new Syriza-led government was portrayed as a “would-be savior” for Greece. It was further hailed as the regime that would reverse the country’s fortunes and stand up to the demands of Greece’s lenders in the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund–the trio collectively known as the “troika.”

Flash forward to today: One year after ignoring the result of a referendum which rejected further austerity measures proposed by Greek lenders, the Syriza-led government is enforcing the dictates the third memorandum, an even more onerous austerity agreement agreed to in August 2015. In the interim, further legislation has been passed which has ceded control over the entirety of Greece’s publicly-owned assets for 99 years and relinquished the sovereign parliamentary right to pass legislation on key budgetary and economic issues.

The end results of these agreements and the new austerity plan which has followed have been catastrophic. Already-battered pensions have been further slashed by as much as 50 percent or more. The port of Piraeus, 14 profitable regional airports, the national railway system, and the prime site of Athens’ former international airport have been sold off to foreign investors at bargain-basement prices and privatized. The sell-off of Greece’s municipal water utilities, which Syriza officials at one time claimed would occur “over our dead body,” is the next in line to be completed. Further, automatic budget cuts lurk ominously ahead, to be implemented automatically if Greece does not meet its troika-imposed fiscal targets.

After a long period of dormancy, lulled by the promise of a government that was purportedly engaged in hard negotiations with Greece’s lenders, the people of Greece have roared back to life. Air traffic controllers recently staged a wildcat strike, walking off from their jobs in protest of the privatization of Greece’s airports–a process slated to be expanded to the remaining facilities in which the Greek state still owns a share. With nothing left to lose, pensioners have taken to the streets to protest the virtual elimination of their already meager pensions.

A protester chants anti austerity slogans during a demonstration in central Athens, on Friday, May 6, 2016. A protester chants anti austerity slogans during a demonstration in central Athens, on Friday, May 6, 2016.

While back in January of 2015, the world celebrated as the “saviors” in Syriza removed barricades around the Hellenic Parliament and promised to dissolve the violent, corrupt riot police, nowadays the Syriza government prefers to unleash the very same riot police on elderly, impoverished protesters, who are also targeted with generous sprays of tear gas. Instead of tearing up the memorandum and austerity agreements, as had been promised prior to January of 2015 by current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other Syriza officials, Syriza officials now express regret that the word “memorandum” has been “demonized.”

Within Greece at least, the hero worship previously afforded Syriza has transformed into a wide-ranging sentiment in which many citizens and voters now openly support “anyone but Syriza.” In such a climate, voters have once again begun searching in earnest for a new “savior” to rescue Greece from its death spiral of austerity, hopelessness, and crippling economic depression. Several such political personalities loom large in the imaginations of many voters, including “radical” economist and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, former speaker of the Hellenic Parliament and founder of the “Course of Freedom” party Zoe Konstantopoulou, and former energy minister and founder of the Popular Unity party Panagiotis Lafazanis.

Do these personalities represent a true hope for change and optimism? Or are they merely the next in line to follow Syriza’s footsteps in promising radical change but delivering continued austerity instead? Their respective backgrounds and actions while in positions of power reveal the likely answer.

 

Yanis Varoufakis: Radically promoting austerity

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis attends a news conference about the launch of a new left-wing pan-Europe political movement called 'Democracy in Europe Movement 2025' in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP)

Yanis Varoufakis has crafted a reputation for being a “radical,” “anti-austerity” renegade economist who is unafraid to break conventions and tackle the status quo.

However, his record–particularly during his time as Greece’s finance minister from January to July 2015–tells a different story.

In his early days as Syriza’s finance minister, Varoufakis entered negotiations at the February 2015 Eurogroup summit proposing the continuation of 70 percent of previously implemented austerity measures for an additional six months. He refused to raise the possibility of a eurozone departure for Greece, not even as a “plan B” or a negotiation tactic. The 70 percent proposed by Varoufakis ultimately became an agreement for the continuation of 100 percent of the existing austerity measures for four additional months. Varoufakis, in his usual style, described the agreement as an exemplar of “creative ambiguity,” while suggesting that the troika now be referred to as the “institutions” instead.

In these early days of the “first-time left” government, Varoufakis hired Wall Street firm Lazard to advise the Greek finance ministry. This is the same firm which advised the government of George Papandreou (whom Varoufakis advised for six years) on the signing of the first memorandum agreement in 2010, the government of unelected technocrat Lucas Papademos on the introduction of further austerity in 2012, and the previous New Democracy-PASOK coalition government on the privatization of public assets.

Varoufakis’ “radical” rhetoric continued when he repeatedly stated, as finance minister, that Greece’s debt was legal and would be repaid “ad infinitum,” even while a parliamentary committee which was purportedly investigating the legality of this very same debt was in session.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Varoufakis stated that he would “squeeze blood out of stone” in order to repay the IMF, while in another interview, Varoufakis stated that he sought to develop good relations with Christine Lagarde and the IMF, which holds views that he said he personally agreed with. In an interview with Australia’s ABC, Varoufakis further stated that even if the government wanted to proceed with the “Grexit,” it was unable to mint its own currency, claiming that Greece’s mint was destroyed when the country joined the eurozone. In reality, Greece’s mint is still operational; it’s where €10 notes are printed today.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, explains why he thinks Brexit could trigger dire economic consequences for the European Union.

Watch Yanis Varoufakis explain why he thinks Brexit could trigger dire economic consequences for the European Union:

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/warning-against-brexit-yanis-varoufakis-104400924.html?format=embed

As finance minister, Varoufakis tapped Elena Panaritis as Greece’s representative to the IMF. This is the same Panaritis who was a former World Bank official and who was the architect of the catastrophic “Fuji Shock” policies implemented in Peru under the regime of the now-jailed Alberto Fujimori.

These policies drove millions of Peruvians into poverty, resulted in price increases of up to 8,000 percent on basic goods, and led to the privatization of hundreds of public assets. Later, as a member of parliament with PASOK, Panaritis voted in favor of austerity and the memorandum agreements. In turn, Varoufakis, as finance minister, stated that previously implemented privatizations would not be rescinded and that he supported the privatization of public airports and harbors “under certain conditions.” He also spoke out favorably of the so-called “investments” of China’s COSCO, including the privatization of the port of Piraeus, describing this as a “positive development” for Greece.

Forging ahead in the spring of 2015, Varoufakis, in his capacity as finance minister, oversaw the implementation of a governmental decree which confiscated the cash reserves of the entirety of the Greek public sector. Later ratified by parliament, including Varoufakis’ vote, the decree authorized the payment of the May 2015 installment of Greece’s loans to the IMF with the confiscated funds. This action was then followed up by a 47-page proposal crafted by the finance ministry under Varoufakis’ watch as part of supposedly “fierce” negotiations with the troika. That proposal foresaw €8 billion in new austerity measures, including a perpetually increasing primary budget surplus (which would mean more cuts in order to maintain a surplus in a sinking economy) and the privatization of major public assets.

At around this time, Varoufakis presented a proposal for the introduction of a parallel currency, similar to the IOUs that had been issued by the state of California in 2009. He also announced the impending implementation of capital controls in the form of weekly limits on withdrawals from domestic bank accounts. These capital controls remain in place today and have significantly crippled the Greek economy, particularly small and medium-sized businesses which have been stripped of access to their own capital.

This set the stage for the July 5, 2015 referendum which was scheduled soon thereafter. Varoufakis did not present any proposals to the people of Greece nor give any indication of what the government’s plan would be should the “no” vote against austerity prevail, as it ultimately did. Following his resignation from his post as finance minister–a well-timed move which allowed him to make a heroic exit in time to avoid the forthcoming trainwreck, Varoufakis was absent from the parliamentary vote which ultimately authorized Prime Minister Tsipras to make a deal with the country’s lenders. Varoufakis did publicly state, however, that had he voted in parliament, he would have voted to give Tsipras authorization to reach an agreement—authorization which led to the third, and harshest, memorandum agreement for Greece.

Other highlights of Varoufakis’ tenure include his vote for corrupt conservative former New Democracy minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos as president of the Hellenic Republic, his asinine plan to hire tourists as “tax snitches” to report on cases of tax evasion, his high praise for Margaret Thatcher, and his statements calling for Greeks to lead an “austere existence” while he posed alongside his wife for a photoshoot at his luxury residence in Athens with a view of the Acropolis and a table set with a rich lunch spread.

On a terrace of the family building Danae in Athens, Sunday, March 8.

A scion of a family of wealthy Greek industrialists, Varoufakis is comfortable mingling with a crowd far removed from the “leftist” rhetoric he supposedly embodies. In January of 2015, just prior to that month’s elections, Varoufakis’ new book in Athens was presented by television talking head Babis Papadimitriou, infamous for proposing that the conservative New Democracy consider a future governing coalition with a “more serious” Golden Dawn, Greece’s far-right party.

This is the same Varoufakis who is now poised to “save Europe from itself” through his new pan-European “pro-democracy” movement, DiEM25. The movement claims to have a plan to “reform” EU institutions, yet ignores the deeply undemocratic, authoritarian foundations upon which it has been constructed. And it further refuses to raise the specter of abolishing the grossly neoliberal European common currency project or to advocate for the bloc’s weaker economies to depart from the eurozone, including Greece.

 

Zoe Konstantopoulou: Charting a new course or more of the same?

Zoe Konstantopoulou acknowledges the supporters during a pre-election rally, in central Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015.

Even more so than Yanis Varoufakis, the political figure who has been presented as a beacon of hope and change in Greece in recent months is Zoe Konstantopoulou, president of the Hellenic Parliament during the first Syriza-led government of January to August 2015. Like Varoufakis, she stems from a prominent family: Her father, Nikos Konstantopoulos, had been the head of Syriza’s predecessor party, Synaspismos, while her mother, Lina Alexiou, is the acting president of the (essentially defunct) National Committee for Radio and Television, a rough equivalent of the United States’ FCC.

As president of the Hellenic Parliament, Konstantopoulou (via the same mass media which was purportedly battling her at every turn) engineered an image of a fierce champion of law and justice. This perception was formulated both as a result of the establishment of a parliamentary commission to audit Greece’s debt—overseen by Konstantopoulou—and by seemingly not being afraid to speak out against the male-dominated Greek political establishment.

The devil is in the details, however, and many of the details of Konstantopoulou’s tenure were overlooked. The debt audit commission began its investigation in parallel with statements repeatedly being made by Yanis Varoufakis, Prime Minister Tsipras, other Syriza government ministers, and even the newly-elected president of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, promising that Greece’s debt would be repaid in full.

Watch Zoe Konstantopoulou speak out against the Greek government’s agreement with the European troika regarding the political and economic countermeasures to the Greek government-debt crisis:

The otherwise outspoken Konstantopoulou did not respond to these statements, nor did she address actions such as the implementation of a decree to confiscate the cash reserves of the Greek public sector for the purpose of repaying an IMF loan installment. In fact, Konstantopoulou voted for Pavlopoulos in the parliamentary vote to confirm him as the Hellenic Republic’s president, just as she voted to confirm all of the austerity bills passed by the Syriza-led government during its initial term in power.

Far from speaking out, Konstantopoulou publicly stated in May 2015 that Syriza’s pre-election promises to “tear apart the austerity agreements” were a mere “figure of speech.” These are hardly the actions of a dynamic anti-austerity advocate of justice, and neither was her show of support in favor of the Tsipras government following the betrayal of the July 5, 2015 referendum result which rejected the lenders’ austerity proposals. Instead of speaking out against the government or resigning from her post–even at that late moment, even following the passage of the third and harshest memorandum agreement to date, Konstantopoulou continued to publicly support Tsipras and the Syriza-led government, just as she, as president of parliament, never suspended parliamentary debate as further austerity bills were being debated. Konstantopoulou courageously voted “present” (as opposed to “no”) in the parliamentary vote ratifying the third memorandum agreement. The public proclamations of support for the Tsipras government only ceased when Konstantopoulou and other Syriza “renegades” were informed that they would not be included on the ballot for the September 2015 snap parliamentary elections.

This tenure has apparently served as the perfect preparation for Konstantopoulou to now swoop in and save the day for Greece and its people. This past spring, she announced the establishment of the Course of Freedom political party, which promises to deliver an end to austerity and to chart a course for a “plan B” for the country—a plan, however, which does not encompass a departure from the eurozone or the European Union, but instead proposes a parallel domestic currency in circulation alongside the euro and the likely formation of a two-tiered economy of “haves” and “have nots.”

 

Panagiotis Lafazanis: Hardly a fresh face

Panagiotis Lafazanis, former energy minister and head of the left-wing Popular Unity party, flashes the victory sign during a pre-election rally, in central Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015.

Panagiotis Lafazanis is no stranger to the political landscape. An old mainstay of the Greek “left,” Lafazanis has passed through Greece’s Communist Party (KKE), Syriza’s predecessor party Synaspismos, and Syriza prior to founding the Popular Unity political party ahead of the September 2015 elections.

In the first Syriza-led government of January to August 2015, a particularly sensitive time for such issues in Greece, Lafazanis served as energy and environment minister. His portfolio encompassed the issue of the controversial and environmentally damaging gold-mining activities in Skouries in northern Greece, as well as the potential privatization of Greece’s largest water utilities. Syriza, prior to being elected, campaigned heavily against the activities in Skouries and against the privatization of water utilities, which Tsipras had once said would occur “over our dead body.”

While Lafazanis did suspend two licenses issued to the operators of the Skouries mine, the Canadian-owned Barrick Gold Corp., gold mining activity in the region continued, as did the government’s talks with Suez and other foreign corporations which are interested in buying up Greek water utilities. Lafazanis delivered mixed messages, stating his opposition to the mining activities while referencing Greece’s “commitments” to its investors. Like Yanis Varoufakis and Zoe Konstantopoulou, Lafazanis voted in favor of the election of Prokopis Pavlopoulos as president of the Hellenic Republic; he also voted yes for all of the austerity bills presented by the Syriza-led government leading up to the July 5, 2015 referendum.

Like Konstantopoulou, Lafazanis also continued to support the Syriza-led government even after the betrayal of the July 5, 2015 referendum outcome. This support continued until Lafazanis, like Konstantopoulou, was not included on the Syriza ballot for the September 2015 snap elections. It was at this time that Lafazanis hastily announced the formation of Popular Unity, a purportedly anti-austerity party which essentially regurgitated the old Syriza promises from prior to its initial elections, while presenting mixed messages regarding its stance on a “Grexit” and whether Greece should remain in the eurozone or return to a domestic currency.

 

Discovering the savior within

A supporter of the communist-affiliated union PAME takes part in an anti-austerity rally in front of the parliament in Athens, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.

Far from representing truly alternative voices, Yanis Varoufakis, Zoe Konstantopoulou, and Panagiotis Lafazanis have acted as political opportunists. They’ve crafted a public image as anti-austerity renegades and champions of democracy and justice, even as their real actions while in a position of power and authority belied that empty rhetoric.

This matches Syriza’s ascension to power and its current ludicrous efforts to pass off the harsh austerity and privatization regime that they are enforcing as an example of “leftist” politics and a triumph of “social justice.” It is absurd to believe that political figures who voted for and justified the policies that they are supposedly denouncing, are capable of delivering on those same promises.

Instead of placing all their hopes with the next establishment-anointed political savior or an official electoral process, Greek voters have a golden opportunity to make their voices heard and demand real change. Each day is a chance to call for an end to stifling austerity and privatizations that are further crippling the domestic economy, the much-needed reform of Greece’s corrupt justice system and collapsing educational and health care systems, and a departure from the European Union and the eurozone, two institutions which have been so destructive for Greece, its people, and its economy.

Even as more and more rumors circulating in Greece of impending snap parliamentary elections, the time has come for the people of Greece to become their own saviors rather than place their homes with tired, discredited political retreads.

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The Western propaganda machine – how it works – By Nikolai Starikov

© WordPress.com

1. Its key core principle is fragmentation. This may sound strange, but fragmentation is the ultimate foundation for Western brainwashing.

It’s no secret that the education system in “advanced democracies” is designed to artificially create a very narrow view of the world. On the contrary, the Soviet school system tries to create a holistic view of the world even among the laziest of underachievers, filling their reluctant heads with higher mathematics, physics, chemistry and astronomy, however unlikely that they would use all this knowledge. Understanding the way our world is connected, cause and effect, and the ability to put together and analyze various facts is called “analytical thinking”. It is the first step in creativity. All those things are suppressed in the Western system of education.

Our country has tried to adopt this system as part of “education reform”, which has one clear goal: the fragmentation of society, not simply into classes, but into castes. The ruling caste receives a classical education in privileged schools, the Cambridges and Eatons, where a holistic view of the world is taught and where future leaders and the elites of the Western world are forged. Everyone else gets an “advanced educational system”, which has virtually abolished homework, leaving students barely able to read. Anyone who went to school in the USSR and is also familiar with Western schools will tell you how much stronger the program in the Soviet Union was. Our high school students solved problems that Westerners studied in college.

The emphasis on this education system in the West is no accident.

The fragmentation of consciousness and lack of a holistic world view are characteristics of a child’s perception of reality. Children, after all, live in their own world, a world of games, fairy tales, and dreams. They eventually develop an adult worldview based on experience, seeing their surroundings for what they truly are.

2. The goal of the Western education system is to raise children. Grown-up children. The only adults in the system are graduates of elite universities who receive a real education. Hence the startling naiveté of Westerners who easily fall for all kinds of nonsense, if it is repeated to them on TV. For example, the idea that the US is a beacon of freedom and democracy for the entire world which, rather than pursuing its own interests only seeks to disseminate a rather nebulous “freedom”.

A child is easy to convince of anything – the key is to keep telling the story persuasively and vividly. The Western information machine is convincing because the same point of view is regurgitated everywhere: no other view is presented. A similar effect is achieved when a little boy poses the same question first to his mom, then to his dad, and finally to his grandmother. Having received the same answer, he decides that it must be so.

3. Children love to play and have fun, and modern Western civilization extends play and fun forever. There are thousands of games, and hundred of apps for games. There are movies, books, entire networks and special places to play. Everything is done to make sure that adults can play as much as they want. Is it important for society and humanity as a whole for individuals to play so much? What is the purpose of play for the human species? There is no conceivable benefit. But it is convenient to be able to manage individuals who only want to have fun, like a little child. This trend leads to immaturity. People do not want to have children — not surprising, since children do not create families or give birth. It’s unnecessary for them. Having families and raising children of your own generally leaves little time for games and ‘fun’.

These three features of Western civilization are behind the strategy used to manipulate “Joe Sixpack”.

Colorful, fragmented thoughts are successfully placed in his head. This man-child, the average Western Joe, has no real understanding of what is happening, and is perfectly willing to believe a tall tale if it is colorful enough and repeated often enough.

So how do you tell a manipulation from an honest presentation of the facts?

  1. Manipulators will appeal to your emotions, using feelings – and a bare minimum of facts – to create a false impression.
  2. Manipulators will present facts in the wrong sequence, in violation of logic, flipping cause and effect. They will invariably show a fragment of what is happening, but never the complete picture.

Notice how Western media campaigns, as well as those of our pro-Western liberals, who are attached to the West by an invisible umbilical cord, are always fragmented and emotional.

In August 2008, “they were all Georgians”. Another time, they were fighting against the “tyranny of Saddam Hussein”. A few years later “freedom reigned supreme in Ukraine” when they burned and stoned the unarmed “Berkut” police force. Then, all of a sudden, they are overcome by concern for the fate of Aleppo, although just yesterday, they couldn’t care less about the fate of Donetsk or Damascus and Homs. Then they will wring their hands over “Putin poisoning Litvinenko with polonium”, and nobody cares that had this been true, the method would have certainly poisoned more than one person, possibly the entire city of London.

They put a small fragment of information into the Western man-child Joe Sixpack’s mouth and wrap it in a beautiful television picture. The picture shows burned trucks, but a total absence of shell craters. Everyone watching believes that the picture shows the result of a Russian air force attack on a humanitarian convoy. Nobody reports the fact that had the convoy really been hit by aerial bombs, the trucks would not just catch fire, they would have been pulverized. But the picture is in vivid color, and oh-so-convincing.

Who is to blame for the deluge of refugees in Europe? Obviously, the European leaders who opened the floodgates of the continent to a million refugees, mainly from Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle East. But what does the Western propaganda machine say? The inundation of refugees is Russia’s fault, because she makes it so difficult to overthrow Assad. Had Russia not interfered, the war would have been over by now and no one would have had to flee to Europe. The lie is not just obvious, it’s a double-header: If you yearn for peace in Syria, don’t support those who violated it – the “opposition” that is. Six years ago, there were no Syrian refugees heading to Europe, even though Bashar al-Assad was alive and well as their leader. Russia’s actions are aimed at restoring that pre-war status quo. Instead, Russia is being blamed for the bloodshed and destruction in Syria, and also, for the fact that some 100,000 refugees ended up in Germany.

When the Pentagon or the State Department, in all seriousness, point out “evidence from Facebook”, they are not kidding or being dishonest. They, too, were brought up OVER THERE. And that’s why some of them genuinely believe this information to be true. Surely, the adults, Mom and Dad, could never lie to their little boy, could they? So the child genuinely believes that if he refuses to eat his breakfast, a scary Jabberwocky will pay him a visit, displeased with his lack of appetite – with all the consequences. The child cannot even conceive of the idea that a Jabberwocky does not exist and that his mother made him up to achieve her practical objective (feed the petulant child). A Westerner cannot believe that the film about “Russian attacks on a humanitarian convoy” may have been fabricated, or that MI-6 could have poisoned Litvinenko with thallium salts, or that the Western media could sink so low as to show “riots in Moscow” with palm trees in the background (because this was actually the footage of the riots in Athens). Surely, a “civilized country” would never stoop to such fakery?

So today, the West and the Fifth Column in Russia “are residents of Aleppo” (“Je suis Aleppo!”), even though neither of them give a damn about Syria in general and Aleppo in particular. It’s just that today, the spotlight of the Western info-circus is directed that way. So everybody is obediently staring in that direction, discussing only what they are shown.

But fear not, in almost no time at all, they will forget all about Aleppo. They will be shown and told a brand new scary tale, and the infantile Joe Six-packs will believe it. They will begin to worry about someone or something… up until the moment the propaganda machine highlights other facts in another country, still failing to notice the tragedy of the Donbas or the various cities in Syria, or Yemen, or hundreds of other places on the planet whose daily tragedies are given the cold shoulder by the Western media.

Comment: The West is eliminating critical thought, solid educations, work opportunities…a culling of the minds and masses in prep for NWO. Fortunately, for humanity, the whole world doesn’t agree. By subjecting its citizens to unrelenting propaganda and methodical control, the US/West is in jeopardy of a self-fulfilled demise. It has forgotten that people, able to access untampered truth and seek higher standards for all, are its most important resource.

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The 13 tentacles of the Big Pharma octopus – By Cassius Kamarampi

This is a preview to the Era of Wisdom documentary “Toddlers on Adderall: History of “Big Pharma” and the Major Players,” to be released December 28, 2016.

Written and directed by Cassius Kamarampi, narrated by Josh Mur. Music by Cassius Kamarampi. (Link to image credits and sources)

Transcript (video below):

In our society, we often correlate legality with safety. We use household products, spray pesticides, and religiously consume drugs such as ritalin, adderall, oxycontin, and prozac.

We consume all of this, but how many know who made the drugs, and where the corporations came from? Who produces the chemicals we trust on a daily basis?

These 13 corporations tend to be a blind spot in our understanding of history.

Tens of thousands of American toddlers are being prescribed Amphetamine; a result of this blind spot.

Neos Therapeutics is responsible for candy flavored children’s Amphetamine, sold as Adzenys. Shire created Adderall.

An understanding of Big Pharma is conducive to a big picture understanding of the world and power itself: it is an essential puzzle piece in understanding disease, hegemony, and health.

For instance, we have Purdue.

Purdue Pharma was created in 1892 New York. They are arguably responsible for the epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States, producing hydrocodone, OxyContin, fentanyl, codeine, hydromorphone, and oxycodone.

Novartis is the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporation by revenue, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, a 1996 merger between Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz.

Novartis is responsible for many drugs, from Ritalin to LSD.

Novartis has a long criminal record. They are known for animal cruelty, from drilling the heads of cats open, to experimenting on primates.

Sandoz polluted the Rhine River in the 1986 Sandoz Chemical Spill.

Novartis owned Syngenta, one of the world’s largest producers of pesticides and GM seeds. Recently. Syngenta was sold to the Chinese government. State-owned “Chem-China” is now one of the world’s largest producers of pesticides and GM seeds.

Novartis coerces entire countries into banning cheaper, generic versions of their cancer drugs: namely Colombia. Leaked letters revealed Novartis’ control over the Senate Finance Committee, as Colombia was warned their 450$ million dollars in “Peace Colombia” money would be in jeopardy if they did not crack down on generic versions of the cancer drug “Gleevec.”

Eli Lily was created in 1876 Indianapolis. They are responsible for Prozac, anti-psychotics, cancer causing bovine growth hormones in cows, and cancer drugs to treat the cancer they may have given people through IGF-1, a product of rBGH-treated cows.

Created in 1849 New York, Pfizer is responsible for Zoloft, Xanax, SSRI antidepressants, Viagra, Advil, Chapstick, Robitussin, and more. In 2014, Pfizer spent 2.6 million dollars paying off politicians.

The Nuremberg Trials of Nazi Germany produced three corporations on this list: German chemical cartel IG Farben was split into Bayer, BASF, and Hoechst (currently Sanofi). IG Farben was Hitler’s largest financial backer, and was vital to the extermination of millions in Auschwitz, supplying the poison gas and more.

Bayer was founded in 1863 Germany. They invented mustard gas and pioneered chemical weapons for Germany. This painting of chemical warfare was commissioned for the breakfast hall of Bayer’s Carl Duisberg: he ate breakfast looking at a painting of chemical warfare.

Bayer merged into IG Farben Trust in December 1925, to become Bayer again after the Nuremberg trials.

Today, Bayer is known for giving thousands of children AIDS through tainted hemophiliac medicine, while internal documents prove they knew it was contaminated.

Bayer bought Monsanto in 2016 to create the world’s largest seed and pesticide company.

Oh, and they also made aspirin.

Sanofi, who absorbed Hoechst from IG Farben, is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines. They also produce the allergy medicine Allegra.

Severe psychosis in a BBC reporter following Sanofi’s Yellow Fever vaccine is just the tip of the iceberg with this corporation.

BASF was another product of IG Farben. Unfazed by the Nuremberg Trials, today they are the world’s largest chemical corporation. They produce raw materials for pharmaceuticals, plastics, GM seeds, and more.

Johnson & Johnson is a household name, known for Splenda, Band-Aids, and baby powder. Unfortunately their famous talcum powder actually causes ovarian cancer, and they were forced to pay 72 million dollars to a woman who used their product religiously and got cancer.

Margaret Hamburg held the highest office at the FDA, commissioner, from 2009- 2015. She ensured Johnson & Johnson’s profits through minimal regulation, to ensure the profits of her husband’s hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, owning a large stake in J&J.

Hamburg’s father was president of Carnegie Corporation: both father and mother served as directors of the American Eugenics Society.

Toddlers on Adderall: History of Big Pharma and the Major Players will provide insight into this blind spot of historical understanding.

Coming December 28, 2016

Related Articles

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Clouds of secrecy: Over and over again, the military has conducted dangerous biowarfare experiments on Americans, without their knowledge – By Kevin Loria

© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
San Francisco

On September 20, 1950, a US Navy ship just off the coast of San Francisco used a giant hose to spray a cloud of microbes into the air and into the city’s famous fog. The military was testing how a biological weapon attack would affect the 800,000 residents of the city.

The people of San Francisco had no idea.

The Navy continued the tests for seven days, potentially causing at least one death. It was one of the first large-scale biological weapon trials that would be conducted under a “germ warfare testing program” that went on for 20 years, from 1949 to 1969. The goal “was to deter [the use of biological weapons] against the United States and its allies and to retaliate if deterrence failed,” the government explained later. “Fundamental to the development of a deterrent strategy was the need for a thorough study and analysis of our vulnerability to overt and covert attack.”

Of the 239 known tests in that program, San Francisco was notable for two reasons, according to Dr. Leonard Cole, who documented the episode in his book Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Tests Over Populated Areas.

Cole, now the director of the Terror Medicine and Security Program at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, tells Business Insider that this incident was “notable: first, because it was really early in the program … but also because of the extraordinary coincidence that took place at Stanford Hospital, beginning days after the Army’s tests had taken place.”

Hospital staff were so shocked at the appearance of a patient infected with a bacteria, Serratia marcescens, that had never been found in the hospital and was rare in the area, that they published an article about it in a medical journal. The patient, Edward Nevin, died after the infection spread to his heart.

© WMrapids/Wikimedia Commons
Bacillus subtilis, then known as Bacillus globigii, was one pathogen that was used in testing.

S. marcescens was one of the two types of bacteria the Navy ship had sprayed over the Bay Area.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Americans, as Cole wrote in the book, “learned that for decades they had been serving as experimental animals for agencies of their government.”

San Francisco wasn’t the first or the last experiment on citizens who hadn’t given informed consent.

Other experiments involved testing mind-altering drugs on unsuspecting citizens. In one shocking, well-known incident, government researchers studied the effects of syphilis on black Americans without informing the men that they had the disease — they were told they had “bad blood.” Researchers withheld treatment after it became available so they could continue studying the illness, despite the devastating and life-threatening implications of doing so for the men and their families.

But it was the germ warfare tests that Cole focused on.

“All these other tests, while terrible, they affected people counted in the hundreds at most,” he says. “But when you talk about exposing millions of people to potential harm, by spreading around certain chemicals or biological agents, the quantitative effect of that is just unbelievable.”

“Every one of the [biological and chemical] agents the Army used had been challenged” by medical reports, he says, despite the Army’s contention in public hearings that they’d selected “harmless simulants” of biological weapons.

“They’re all considered pathogens now,” Cole says.

Here are some of the other difficult-to-believe germ warfare experiments that occurred during this dark chapter in US history. These tests were documented in Cole’s book and verified by Business Insider using congressional reports and archived news articles.

From Minneapolis to St. Louis

© Official USAF photo
A C-119 Flying Boxcar, one type of plane used to release chemicals.

The military tested how a biological or chemical weapon would spread throughout the country by spraying bacteria as well as various chemical powders — including an especially controversial one called zinc cadmium sulfide. Low flying airplanes would take off, sometimes near the Canadian border, “and they would fly down through the Midwest,” dropping their payloads over cities, says Cole.

These sprays were tested on the ground too, with machines that would release clouds from city rooftops or intersections to see how they spread.

In the book, Cole cites military reports that documented various Minneapolis tests, including one where chemicals spread through a school. The clouds were clearly visible.

To prevent suspicion, the military pretended that they were testing a way to mask the whole city in order to protect it. They told city officials that “the tests involved efforts to measure ability to lay smoke screens about the city” to “hide” it in case of nuclear attack, according to Cole’s account.

The potential toxicity of that controversial compound zinc cadmium sulfide is debated. One component, cadmium, is highly toxic and can cause cancer. Some reports suggest a possibility that the zinc cadmium sulfide could perhaps degrade into cadmium, but a 1997 report from the National Research Council concluded that the Army’s secret tests “did not expose residents of the United States and Canada to chemical levels considered harmful.” However, the same report noted that research on the chemical used was sparse, mostly based on very limited animal studies.

These air tests were conducted around the country as part of Operation Large Area Coverage.

“There was evidence that the powder after it was released would be then located a day or two later as far away as 1,200 miles,” Cole says. “There was a sense that you could really blanket the country with a similar agent.”

© Joe Raedle/Getty Images
St. Louis.

City tests were conducted in St. Louis, too.

In 2012, Lisa Martino-Taylor, a sociology professor at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, released a report theorizing that the army’s experiments could be connected to cancer rates in a low-income, mostly black neighborhood in the city where zinc cadmium sulfide had been tested. She said she was concerned that there could have been a radioactive component to some testing, though she did not have direct evidence for that possibility.

Her report, however, prompted both senators from Missouri to write to the Army secretary, “demanding answers,” the Associated Press noted at the time.

While Martino-Taylor’s suggestion remains purely hypothetical, “the human dimension is never mentioned” in most Army documents, Cole writes in the book. Instead there’s just a discussion of how well the particulates spread and what they learned about the possibility of biological attacks from them.

1966: “A Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Attack with Biological Agents”

© Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
The Times Square subway station during rush hour.

The New York subway system experiments are among the most shocking in terms of the numbers of people exposed, according to Cole.

In a field test called “A Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Attack with Biological Agents,” military officials tried to see how easy it would be to unleash biological weapons using the New York City subway. They would break light bulbs full of bacteria on the tracks to see how they spread through the city.

“If you can get trillions of bacteria into a light bulb and throw it on the track as a train pulls into a station, they’ll get pulled through the air as the train leaves,” Cole says, travelling through the tunnels and into different stations.

Clouds would engulf people as trains pulled away, but documents say that they “brushed their clothing, looked up at the grating apron and walked on.” No one was concerned.

In a 1995 Newsday story, reporter Dennis Duggan contacted retired Army scientist Charles Senseney, who had testified about the experiments to a Senate subcommittee in 1975. In his testimony, he explained that one light bulb full of bacteria dropped at 14th Street easily spread the bacteria up to at least 58th Street.

But he declined to reveal anything to the Newsday reporter. “I don’t want to get near this,” Senseney said to Duggan. “I [testified], because I was told I had to by the people at the Department of Defense … I better get off the phone.”

Experiments continued in New York for six days using Bacillus subtilis, then known as Bacillus globigii, and S. marcescens.

A paper from the National Academy of Sciences analyzing military experiments notes that B. globigii is “now considered a pathogen” and is often a cause of food poisoning. “Infections are rarely known to be fatal,” the report said — though fatal cases have occurred.

Particularly controversial tests

© U.S. Navy photo by Bill Campbell
A US Navy vessel at Norfolk Supply Center, the location of a particularly controversial experiment.

Another controversial experiment described in Cole’s book involved a test at the Norfolk Naval Supply Center. The experimenters packed crates with fungal spores to see how they would affect the people unpacking those crates.

Cole’s book notes that “portions of a report about an army test in 1951 involving Aspergillus fumigatus … indicate that the army intentionally exposed a disproportionate number of black people to the organism.” Most of the employees at the supply center were black.

In the military reports cited by Cole, researchers claim they are preparing for an attack that might target black citizens. He quotes from a section that reads: “Since Negroes are more susceptible to coccidioides than are whites, this fungus disease was simulated.”

When these experiments were first revealed in 1980, the racial aspect of these tests engendered controversy and skepticism about the “army’s interest in the public welfare,” according to Cole.

Tests revealed by an unexpected source

© U.S. Army Activity in the U.S. Biological Warfare Programs
An unclassified report on the Army’s germ warfare activities.

Many of these experiments on the American public were first investigated by what we would consider questionable sources.

One 1979 Washington Post news story discusses open air experiments in the Tampa Bay area involving the release of pertussis, or whooping cough, in 1955. State records show that whooping cough cases in Florida spiked from 339 (one death) in 1954 to 1,080 (12 deaths) in 1955, according to that story.

But it’s hard to trace how accurate the information about the whooping cough release is: The only documentation goes back to an investigation by the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology formed a group called American Citizens for Honesty in Government that spent a significant amount of time investigating controversial experiments run by the Army and CIA, according to the Post. Through FOIA requests they uncovered a number of documents related to these experiments in the late 1970s.

Cole understands why some people are skeptical of those reports. “I certainly am not a member and I think a lot of what they do is quackery,” he says, but “in this case, I have no reason to believe any of this isn’t real.”

Many of the documents Scientologists made public were the same documents he’d received doing his own research, redacted in the same places.

Perhaps the hardest question is how much information is still missing.

As Cole writes in the book:

Many details about the army’s tests over populated areas remain secret. Most of the test reports are still classified or cannot be located, although a few of the earlier ones have become available in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and in conjunction with the Nevin case. Among those available, sections have been blocked out and pages are missing.

What we learned

© via blog.uprinting.com
The “Cold War mentality” was one of persistent fear.

Military officials were called to testify before Congress in 1977 after information about these biological warfare experiments was revealed.

At the time, those officials said that determining just how vulnerable the US was to a biological attack “required extensive research and development to determine precisely our vulnerability, the efficacy of our protective measures, and the tactical and strategic capability of various delivery systems and agents,” according to a record of that testimony quoted in “Clouds of Secrecy.”

Cole too says it’s hard to see these events now from the perspective that people had then.

There was “a different mindset in the country then … [a] Cold War mentality,” he says. But, he argues, that doesn’t justify glossing over the already known potential danger of the agents used.

At the same time, part of what the military knows about how clouds of chemicals spread comes from these experiments. Cole says that knowledge gleaned from these biological warfare testing programs helped inform the US reaction when reports came in on the potential use of chemical weapons in the first Gulf War.

So what’s happening now?

Cole says that the obvious question that’s on people’s minds is what’s happening now. After all, if secret tests could occur then, what prevents them from continuing? Are they, in fact, still going on?

He doesn’t think it’s likely.

“I would never swear on your life or my life that nothing illegitimate is happening, but based on what I do know, I don’t have any sense that there’s illicit activity now that would involve risking exposure to tons of people, as happened in the 50s and 60s,” he says.

Biological agents are still studied and tested, but informed consent is more widely appreciated now. There’s also less of a Cold War mentality that would be used to justify this research.

Still, more recent reports show that experiments in this area went on longer than we thought.

In 2001, a New York Times report revealed projects testing biological weapons that began under the Clinton administration and continued under the second Bush administration. A 1972 treaty theoretically prohibited developing biological weapons, but this program justified it with the argument that new weapons needed to be studied in order to develop adequate defenses.

And the “War on Terror” raises other concerns, according to Cole.

© Jason Reed/Reuters
We now have different fears as a society.

After the 2001 anthrax attacks, funding for bioterrorism research spiked by $1.5 billion. Then in 2004, Congress approved another $5.6 billion bioterror research project.

These projects are meant to protect society from the dangers of biological agents, but they may have an unintended consequence, Cole says.

“Thousands and thousands of people became familiar with pathogens that they were not familiar with before,” he says. “You now have many more people that could potentially do bad with these organisms, and it only takes one person.”

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BATTLES ALL OVER SYRIA, THE TURNING POINT IS NEAR; BANZAI!! SYRIAN ARMY STRIKES EAST ALEPPO IN MOST AWSOME ASSAULT OF THE WAR – By Ziad Fadel

SPECIAL FORCES OVERRUN TERRORIST DEFENSES; HUNDREDS OF RODENTS KILLED AS ARMY LIBERATES FARAAFIRA QUARTER NEAR CITADEL

“Exclusive to SyrPer” by Canthama

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/DAR3A.jpg

The multiple battlefields in Syria are aflame today with several advances by the SAA and its allies.

 

NE Latakia

Fighting has resumed with further advances in the hills around the remaining villages of Jabal Akrad and Jabal Kurdi. This is a slow- paced front with lots of hills, but,  the SAA and allies have fire control over the Turkish border. The latest advances place the Syrian and allied forces close to the key towns of Bidaama and Al-Naajiyah, the towns looking over Jisr al Shughour. No news of advance toward Kubaana so far.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=35.802096&lon=36.202011&z=13&l=&ifr=1&m=b

 

Qunaytra

Skirmishes and no further offensives from both sides. There are on-going movements to improve the safety perimeter to the packed Druze city of Haadhir.

 

East Ghouta

As mentioned several times in the past 6 months, the remaining terrorists inside East Ghouta have zero capabilities for any serious offensive. They have “burned both ends of the candle” and now are on the defensive. They are able to defend though with enough resources and weapons and many tunnels all over the area (hundreds, if not thousands of kms of tunnels). Though the war of attrition is slow, the results in East Ghouta demonstrate that the terrorists are about to lose it all.

The key on-going battle is for the closing of the 1 km bottleneck of the Tal Kurdi cauldron at Al-Rayhaan Village.  The SAA and allies are close to this objective. As the past 12 months of battle in East Ghouta have shown, expect a shift to another area soon.  This tactic has been extremely successful, and has liberated huge areas during the last year.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CtY__3fWIAQNQcB.jpg

Map credited to @Hamza_780

 

Palmyra

After a long defensive war, the SAA is on the move.  The fight is near Araak gas field and Araak village.  I’m not sure whether this is a diversion to lure ISIS into stretching its forces thin.  It’s worth following up closely,  though.

 

Homs:  Al-Shaa’ir Mountain Area:

Fighting resumed last night for the vital Jabal Sawwanaat , hill 901, hill 904.  The Al- Mahr  Oil field was liberated last night and this morning.  The SAA and its allies are rolling over ISIS in the gas fields as we speak. Good news from here soon.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=34.922547&lon=37.900729&z=12&l=&ifr=1&m=b

 

Homs City:

Al Wa’er neighborhood is another great diplomatic victory for the Syrian Government. Reconciliation and extirpation of militants were very successful. Most of the terrorists willing to die were removed to Talbeesa and many, I mean many, (about one thousand) laid down their weapons to achieve amnesty.  Civilians were sent to either safe places under the Government’s control or to Talbeesa with the terrorists, if they so chose. Homs city will be the first large Syrian city to be terrorist-free in few days.

 

Northern Hama

The situation continues to be complicated.  The momentum is still with the terrorists, though few counter- offensives by the SAA and allied forces were played out recently.  In any case, none have resulted in substantial gains. The defensive lines north of Hama city area are so solid such that the terrorists had to come out with a new tactic attacking the villages on the northeast perimeter of it. There are enough forces available to mount a successful counter offensive, and this is what is unfolding today.  Multiple battles are on-going on all frontlines. The awaited counter offensive has started. News will be released soon.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CtZJB4YWcAA2pBP.jpg

Map credited to Islamic World News @A7_Mirza

 

Aleppo 

Many solid advances inside Aleppo in all 3 axis.

Northeast axis: Handarat camp is a battle field, though Liwaa` Al-Quds and the SAA do not control it.  But, neither do the terrorists.  The whole camp is a battlefront, and as such, is a net loss for the terrorists.

There are actions in Hanaanu district as well, but it’s not clear if it’s a diversion or not.

Central axis: With the liberation of Faraafira neighborhood near the citadel, the SAA and allies are now advancing toward Bayyaada and Qastal Musht districts. This is an arena once dependent on the terrorist’s defensive lines in Farafira, and, thus, is about to fall at any time. As soon as the northern and eastern side of the Citadel is safe, expect the SAA and allied forces to storm the southern side with incredible force and speed. This is intended to cut the terrorists down to the ring road and isolate a very large area in Aleppo city while pushing the terrorists toward the eastern side.

Western/Southern axis: Some 20-30% of Sheikh Sa’eed is now liberated, this is the first time in 4 years that the SAA has a presence there. Besides, Al-‘Aamriyya is now verging on total liberation.

There are strong indications of SAA and allied forces mounting a new operation from Al-Azeeza village to storm Al-Shaykh Lutfi Village, that would force the terrorists to choose whether to stay in Al-Shaykh Sa’eed and die, or regroup in the eastern side of the city. A quick look in the map will show that when this strategy becomes successful, the SAA and allied forces will be very close to the cemetery and the gap to the Citadel will be very narrow.  The two offensive axes will meet and the terrorists will have lost, at that point, half of their previously-held ground in the city – a blow from which they won’t recover.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CtYoQ5wWgAAH3sW.jpg

Map credited to @PetoLucem

 

Deir El-Zor

The defensive lines are holding well. Several ISIS attacks have been repelled, new reinforcements were sent to the airbase and a counter-attack is underway to recover the entire Jabal Al- Thardah.

Some links to the important interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer to a Al Qaeda leader in western Aleppo. He says that they receive weapons directly from “The Coalition” and that US, Israel, Turkish and KSA army personnel train them with the weapons. So much for the people that doubted Ziad’s article about the Russian Kaliber cruise missiles striking coalition terrorist enablers who were confirmed to be personnel from the US, UK, Israel, Turkey, Qatar and KSA.

 

Full interview by MoA.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/todenh%C3%B6fer-interview-with-al-nusra-commander-the-americans-stand-on-our-side.html

 

Jürgen Todenhöfer interviewed by RT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWNgYNHAmis 

_______________________________________

image: http://jpnews-sy.com/ar/images/news/big/109895.jpg

الجيش السوري يسيطر على حي الفرافرة شمال غرب قلعة حلبALEPPO:  It has happened.  Combined elements of the 4th Mechanized Armored Division (a part of the Syrian First Army and based in Damascus) backed by 4 Alpha Units of the Syrian Army’s Special Forces out of Qatana struck one of the most lethal blows of this war on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. Damascus Time.  They struck from 4 axes from the north and south moving directly into the eastern neighborhoods where citizens began to give them immediate assistance. With the Syrian and Russian air forces dropping walloping payloads of ordnance on areas which have been depopulated because of the army’s warnings to citizens to leave places where the rodents are positioned, the ground forces have full reign to smash into the useless fortifications built up by this Saudi-concocted oleo of obnoxious orangutans.

The Syrian Army has also completely deloused the Al-Faraafira Quarter adjacent to the ancient Citadel which is the living symbol of this great industrial city.  All IEDs and mines have been dug up and dismantled.  All explosives will be sent to a special depot in Damascus for use in manufacturing the bombs Syria is going to use to exterminate every Wahhabist Saudi who crawls on the face of the earth.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.201949&lon=37.161641&z=16&m=b

The Syrian and Russian Air Forces have begun softening up terrorist rodent strong points in Daarat ‘Izza (formerly an area designated by NATO for logistical help to terrorists), Qubtaan Al-Jabal, Kafr Hamraa, ‘Anadaan, Hayyaan.  

Salaahuddeen Quarter: The SAA has pulverized a Nusra/Alqaeda Command-Control Center used for leadership meetings.  No details yet on rodent casualties.

The rats are deliberately putting out propaganda about their acquisition of GRAD missiles and launchers of a more advanced type.  The donating party is Saudi Arabia which is trying to buoy up their Jaysh Al-Fath child molesters.  I have been told that no such missiles have arrived in the Aleppo area and that they are not a particularly useful instrumentality for the terrorists, anyways.  The SAAF and RuAF will find these weapons and annihilate them.

Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2016/09/battles-all-over-syria-the-turning-point-is-near-banzai-syrian-army-strikes-east-aleppo-in-most-awsome-assault-of-the-war-special-forces-overrun-terrorist-defenses-hundreds-of-rodents-killed-as.html#uLPpEFVtOq5qfYbP.99

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Putin ups the ante: Ceasefire sabotage triggers major offensive in Aleppo – By Mike Whitney

© AFP 2016/ GEORGE OURFALIAN

“Syria is the summation of all the errors of a dysfunctional empire collapsing upon itself. History forgotten. Science ignored. Facts denied. Propaganda cannot hide that West is supporting and killing Islamists at the same time in a World War that risks escalating into a nuclear holocaust.” Vietnam Vet, comments-line, Sic Semper Tyrannis

The attack on Deir Ezzor was a flagrant act of betrayal. For the first time in the five year-long war, US warplanes targeted an SAA military outpost killing 62 Syrian regulars. The surprise attacks — which lasted for the better part of an hour and were followed by a coordinated ground assault by members of ISIS – were intended to torpedo the fragile ceasefire agreement and send a message to Moscow that the US was prepared to achieve its strategic objectives in Syria whether it had to launch direct attacks on defenders of the regime or not.

The attacks – for which the Pentagon eventually accepted responsibility – were followed by a callous and thoroughly-unprofessional tirade by the administration’s chief diplomat at the United Nations, Samantha Power. Power dispelled any doubt that either she or anyone else in the Obama administration cared at all about the people who lost their lives in the bombing raid. She also made it clear that she didn’t care if the US had violated the terms of the ceasefire just two days before critical parts of the agreement were scheduled to be implemented.

Naturally, Moscow was taken aback by Washington’s reaction, it’s blatant disregard for the soldiers they killed, and its obvious determination to sabotage the ceasefire. Having reflected on Obama’s de facto rejection of the agreement, Putin pursued the only viable option left open to him; more war. As a result, he has intensified his efforts on the battlefield particularly around Aleppo where the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and crack-units from Hezbollah have launched a three-prong attack that will dispose of the US-backed jihadists that have destroyed much of Syria over the last half-decade and displaced over 7 million civilians.

Bottom line: Having foreclosed the political option for reducing the violence, the Obama administration will now face the consequences for its rejection.

Here’s an excellent summary of developments on the ground around Aleppo from decorated veteran and retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) Colonel W. Patrick Lang. The article was posted on September 24:

“As of today, forces have been massed at Aleppo for the purpose of eliminating the East Aleppo rebel pocket. This pocket has now been without re-supply for an extended period. This is true for both the jihadi rebels and the civilian population, many of whom are rebel supporters.

IMO (In my opinion) the main effort by R+6 is taking place at the SE side of the East Aleppo pocket. That is now underway with massive CAS from Russian aerospace forces. At the same time Palestinian militia allies with CAS have attacked the fortified Handarat refugee camp at the NE corner of the pocket. IMO this is a secondary attack intended to prevent the rebels moving forces south to oppose the main R+6 effort.

This is an excellent plan.

At the same time there is an unconfirmed report from SOHR in London (pro-rebel) that a Russian force with 3,000 men has been positioned at al-Safir about 12 km. SE of the main attacks on the Aleppo pocket. If this report is correct this force is well positioned to reinforce the main attack or be used in a defensive move against a rebel effort elsewhere. It would be in the Russian operational tradition to pass a reinforcing “wave” or echelon of forces through the initial assault forces when they become exhausted by combat….

The foreign policy establishment (Borg) in the West wants to believe that war is obsolete as a factor in the story of humanity…. They believe that they have inherited the earth and that their cleverness will always prevail over mere force.

We will now have a demonstration that this is not true.” pl

(“Flash! Washpost discovers that Syria War may be “winnable.”, Sic Semper Tyrannis)

Obama’s de facto rejection of the ceasefire has created the conditions for a decisive military defeat in Aleppo. The fate of the CIA-trained “moderate” terrorists hunkered down in East Aleppo is not that different from that of General George Armstrong Custer at the Little Bighorn who was surrounded by a superior military force and summarily slaughtered to the man. This is the option Pentagon warlord, Ash Carter chose when he decided to sabotage the joint military implementation agreement and go rogue. Carter opposed the ceasefire deal and in doing so signed the death warrant for hundreds of US-backed extremists who chances for survival are growing slimmer by the day.

According to recent reports, pro-government forces are advancing on a number of fronts. At the same time, the Syrian and Russian air forces have intensified their bombing campaign reducing large swathes of the city to rubble and killing several hundred Sunni militants. While the jihadists have performed better than many had expected, their fate is no longer in doubt. The cauldron is encircled, their front lines are collapsing, their supply lines have been severed, and the end is in sight.

Aleppo will fall and the US-backed effort to topple the Assad government using a proxy army of Islamic extremists will fail.

A few things need to be said about the ceasefire to set the record straight.

First, there was never any chance that the US was going to abide by the terms of the agreement. The US has no way of separating the “moderates” from the extremists which was one of the main requirements of the deal. That was never going to happen. But, more importantly, the Pentagon – which opposed the agreement from the get-go – had no intention of complying with its demands.

Why?

Well, for one thing, as Syrian President Bashar al Assad said himself:

“…the United States doesn’t have the will to work against al-Nusra or ISIS, because they believe that this is a card they can use for their own agenda. If they attack al-Nusra or ISIS, they will lose a very important card regarding the situation in Syria. So, I don’t believe the United States will be ready to join Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria.”

Bingo. Assad is not suggesting that al-Nusra or ISIS are controlled by Langley. He’s merely saying that – inasmuch as the goals of these groups coincide with US strategic objectives (which they certainly do in Syria) Washington will continue to support their activities. In other words, Obama would rather see a “Salafist principality” emerge in Syria then allow an independent, secular government to remain in place. Everyone who has followed events closely in Syria for the last five years, knows this is true.

The other reason the Pentagon opposed the agreement was because they didn’t want to comply with the military-to-military coordination plan. The western media has been particularly opaque on this issue. For example, according to the New York Times deal would be “an extraordinary collaboration between the United States and Russia that calls for the American military to share information with Moscow on Islamic State targets in Syria.” (“Details of Syria Pact Widen Rift Between John Kerry and Pentagon“, New York Times)

Okay, but why is that a problem? Wouldn’t that be the most effective way to defeat ISIS and Al Qaida? Of course, it would. So, what’s the rub? Here’s more from the NYT:

“Chief among Pentagon concerns is whether sharing targeting information with Russia could reveal how the United States uses intelligence to conduct airstrikes, not just in Syria but in other places, which Moscow could then use for its own advantage in the growing confrontations undersea and in the air around the Baltics and Europe.”(NYT)

This is complete baloney. The fact is the Pentagon doesn’t want to have to get approval for its target-list (identify and verify) from the Russian military. That’s what’s really going on. And the reason for this is obvious, the strategic objectives of the US are exact opposite of Moscow’s. Washington has no interest in defeating terrorism in Syria, in fact, as we pointed out earlier, Washington is just fine with terrorism as long it helps them move the ball closer to the goalpost. What the US wants is to topple the regime, replace Assad with a US-stooge, splinter the country into multiple parts, and control vital pipeline corridors. These goals cannot be achieved if the Pentagon has to get a green-light from Moscow every time they go on a bombing raid. How are they going to assist their jihadist assets on the ground if they have to follow that rule?

They won’t be able to, which is why it’s no surprise that SECDEF Ash Carter put the kibosh on the deal by bombing the SAA positions at Deir Ezzor. The massacre effectively ended all talk about “coordination” with the Russians. Mission accomplished.

Comment: Not to mention that cooperating with Russia would go against the anti-Russia propaganda going on now.

But even this does not completely explain why the Pentagon launched this unprecedented attack that killed 62 Syrian soldiers and moved the two superpowers closer to a direct confrontation. To grasp what’s really going on behind the endless recriminations, we need to understand that the Obama administration has abandoned its original plan to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and moved on to Plan B; partitioning the country in a way that establishes a separate Sunni state where US troops will be based and where vital pipelines will be built to transfer natural gas from Qatar to the EU.

This ambitious plan is more than a redrawing of the Middle East and a pivot to Asia. It is a critical lifeline to a country (USA) whose economic prospects are progressively dimming, whose credit card is maxed out, and who is counting on a Hail Mary pass in Syria to save itself from cataclysmic economic collapse and ruination. Washington must succeed in Syria because, well, because it must, because the red ink has finally penetrated the pinewood hull and is fast filling the galley. A defeat in the Middle East could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, the tipping point in the agonizingly-protracted unipolar-new-world-order experiment. In other words, it’s Syria or bust. Here’s a little background that will help to clarify what’s going on:

“Washington has previously made it clear that if it cannot achieve its plan A; regime change, it will go for its plan B; to balkanize the country and help to create a Kurdish and/or Sunni state in eastern Syria…

Attacking the Syrian Army, and allowing ISIL to capture the city will make Deir Ezzor a probable target for the US-backed proxies to attack and annex.” (“The Ceasefire Failed; What happens now?“, The Vineyard of the Saker)

So, Washington wants to control Syria’s eastern quadrant (where Deir Ezzor is located) for military bases, pipeline routes, and a Sunni homeland, which is more-or-less the pretext for continued military occupation. Here’s more from an article by Christina Lin:

“Writing in Armed Forces Journal4, Major Rob Taylor joined numerous other pundits in observing that the Syrian civil war is actually a pipeline war over control of energy supply, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey needing to remove Assad “so they can control Syria and run their own pipeline through Turkey.”….

…if the Saudi/Qatar/Turkey backed Army of Conquest can control just enough land in Syria for a salafist statelet (aka – Sunnistan) to build the Qatar-Turkey pipeline, then these sunni states can finally realize their pipeline dream. Indeed, the 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report6 corroborates their desire to carve out a salafist statelet in Syria east of Assad-controlled territory in order to put pressure on his regime.” (“Chinese stratagems and Syrian buffer zone for Turkey-Qatar pipeline“, Christina Lin, Times of Israel)

The idea of splintering Syria into numerous fragments (and controlling the eastern portion of the state) has been promoted by western elites across the board, from neocon John Bolton who said:

“Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone…..Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.

This “Sunni-stan” has economic potential as an oil producer….and could be a bulwark against both Mr. Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad.” (“To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State“, New York Times)

Liberal interventionists at the Brookings Institute are pushing for the same balkanization remedy. Here’s a clip from an article at Brookings titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war” by chief military analyst, Michael O’ Hanlon:

“…the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria….the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad or ISIL….”

(“Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war“, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)

So, there you have it; divide and conquer. Split up the country, install new leaders, and let the plundering begin. Sound familiar?

But the Russian’s will have none of it, in fact, Putin has responded to Carter’s escalation by escalating himself. The circle around Aleppo has closed, supply lines have been cut, the airstrikes have intensified, and the three-pronged ground assault has already begun. So while Washington may have big plans for Syria, they appear to be failing where it counts most…..on the battlefield.

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Journey To Aleppo Part II: The Syria Civil Defense & Aleppo Medical Association Are Real Syrians Helping Real Syrians By Vanessa Beeley

Vanessa Beeley meets with members of the Syria Civil Defense and the Aleppo Medical Association, who shed more light on the mainstream media lies distorting the public’s perception of what’s really happening in Syria.

Aleppo Medical Association

Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a two-part series of one Western journalist’s journey to Aleppo, a city ravaged by an insurgency supported by the United States, NATO member states, and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel.

 

In Part I, Vanessa Beeley lays out the mainstream narrative on Syria, revealing a neoconservative agenda promoted by NATO-funded NGOs. These NGOs paint the destruction of the historic city as being caused by the Syrian government under Syrian President Bashar Assad, not the violent armed insurgents which receive arms, funding and training from Western governments and their allies in the Gulf and Israel.

 

Part II focuses on the suffering and resilience she encountered among the Syrian people in western Aleppo, an area that’s been under siege by the Nusra Front and other “moderate rebel” groups and “opposition forces” for the last four years.

 

ALEPPO, Syria — From the town of Bani Zaid in northern Aleppo, we made our way to the Aleppo Medical Association in the al-Azizia district of Aleppo.

We met with Dr. Zahar Buttal, the director, and Dr. Bassem Hayak, who heads the psychological and malnutrition trauma units which, among their many services, treat civilians who manage to flee terrorist-held eastern Aleppo into the government-held western Aleppo via the humanitarian corridors established by Russian and Syrian authorities.

Dr. Zahar Buttal, director of the Aleppo Medical Association, standing next to photos of previous directors at the Aleppo Medical Association building. (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

More than 2,000 civilians–mostly women and children–had been received not long prior to our visit, Dr. Hayak said. They flooded into western Aleppo via the humanitarian corridors that were opened on July 29, the day after Syrian President Bashar Assad issued the amnesty decree for all armed factions embedded throughout eastern Aleppo.

Dr. Hayak’s team stationed medical groups at the exits of the humanitarian corridors to receive civilians before sending them to designated houses for medical evaluations. Initially, three humanitarian corridors were in operation, with four others to be opened at a later date.

He also said that only three main hospitals exist in eastern Aleppo: Al-Daqqaq, Al-Zahraa, and the Omar bin Abdulaziz Hospital, founded and built by the Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and various other charities.

This runs counter to the NATO-aligned media and humanitarian NGO complex narrative, which gives the impression that there are at least ten hospitals in eastern Aleppo without differentiating between the facilities or the services they provide and to whom. Western media infers that those being targeted are civilians, not members of the Nusra Front and other foreign-funded terrorist brigades, and that all these “civilians” are being mercilessly bombed by Russian and Syrian air strikes.

All three main hospitals are fully occupied by the various armed insurgencies led by the Nusra Front, according to Dr. Hayak, who said they use the top floors as sniper towers. Terrorists–the various groups of so-called “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces” backed by the United States, NATO member states, their Gulf State allies and Israel–take priority over civilians, and only surgical intervention is now carried out in the three hospitals in eastern Aleppo. The armed insurgents refuse to allow U.N. agencies inside these facilities, according to Dr. Hayak.

In addition to the three main hospitals, there are seven other, less well-equipped private health clinics also under terrorist control, according to Dr. Hayak.

One of the primary producers of propaganda regarding the hospitals being targeted in eastern Aleppo is Doctors Without Borders, the international aid NGO often referred to by its French acronym, MSF. MSF laid claim to al-Quds Hospital, which was allegedly targeted on April 27 by a variety of missiles, according to conflicting reports from Pablo Marco, the NGO’s Middle East operations manager.

In an open letter to MSF dated May 4, Rick Sterling, a geopolitical analyst and writer, pointed out these glaring discrepancies and a number of other flagrant anomalies in the MSF reports:

“There are many discrepancies in reports about the April 27 attack on Al Quds Hospital. MSF Middle East Operations Manager Pablo Marco, interviewed the next day on CNN and PBS Newshour, said ‘there were two barrel bombs that fell close to the hospital …. then the third barrel bomb fell in the entrance of the hospital’. Barrel bombs are only delivered by helicopters. In contrast, your press release the same day says ‘the hospital was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, reducing it to rubble.’ A CBC report continued this version, claiming ‘An MSF-supported hospital in the northern Syria city of Aleppo is now a pile of rubble. Airstrikes brought down the building on Wednesday.’”

Dr. Nabil Antaki, a gastroenterologist based in western Aleppo, also questioned the objectivity of the MSF reports and the Western media narrative. In a statement to Arret sur Info (my translation can be found here) on May 1, he said:

“For three days now, these media outlets have been accusing the ‘Assad regime’ of bombing an MSF hospital [Medecins sans Frontieres] to the east of Aleppo and of killing the last paediatrician in the city. This demonstrates that, for these media, the only priority is this pocket of the city where terrorists are embedded.

The three quarters of Aleppo under Syrian Government control where numerous paediatricians are practicing is of no consequence for this media.”

Dr. Hayak of the Aleppo Medical Association estimated that 200,000 to 220,000 people are living in eastern Aleppo, including 50,000 members of the armed insurgencies and their families. The area’s civilian population has been driven from their homes, and the majority are living without shelter or work, fearing for their lives if they try to escape or protest the occupation of terrorist-held eastern Aleppo. Young men, in particular, are either co-opted into the terrorist ranks or killed if they try to leave even via the humanitarian corridors.

During our talk, I filmed Dr. Hayak when I asked him about the the White Helmets, a group which claims to operate as first responders in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo.

Dr. Hayak described how none of his relatives or family friends in eastern Aleppo know of this organization which is embedded only in the Nusra Front strongholds in Aleppo, Idlib and other governorates across Syria. According to their own promotional literature and videos, the White Helmets operate extensively in eastern Aleppo, “saving all humanity when the bombs fall.” So it is revealing, that according to Dr. Hayak, they are virtually unknown to the civilians and official aid organizations, like the U.N., World Health Organization, and Red Crescent, living or working in eastern Aleppo.

During this interview, Dr. Hayak also stated that the civilians in eastern Aleppo are held hostage by the Nusra Front. Should anyone attempt to leave for Syrian government-held western Aleppo, their families are threatened with execution. He cited the case of his cousin, a surgeon, who is unable to leave to work in western Aleppo because her family would be killed. She is forced to continue working for the Nusra Front-occupied hospitals, mostly treating terrorists.

Watch Vanessa Beeley’s interview with Dr. Bassem Hayak:

One Aleppo resident told Ruptly in July:

“The government gave the opportunity for civilians to come here, but the rebels are not letting them; they are shooting at them. This is not acceptable. The ‘rebels’ should let the civilians come here to avoid bloodshed. Those are our relatives, our people. If the civilians come here we can save the babies and the women. If the rebels want to fight they can fight, why include the civilians?”

On Sept. 19, however, videos emerged of civilians fleeing areas in Aleppo held by the Nusra Front via humanitarian corridors. Even as they rush to safety, shielded by Syrian Arab Army soldiers, the civilians are fired upon by the Western-backed “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces.”

Watch “Syria: Aleppo residents flee fighting through humanitarian corridors” from Ruptly TV:

Video posted to Facebook by Sayyed Ali News:

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‘Those who called themselves MSF were standing side by side with the terrorists’

Over the course of several meetings with Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun in July and August, the Grand Mufti emphasized that the hospitals, including his own project, the Omar bin Abdulaziz Hospital, were occupied by terrorists.

The Grand Mufti has been a fierce advocate of the Syrian secular state and an outspoken critic of NATO’s dirty war on Syria. According to the Grand Mufti and to the majority of Syrians I met during my four weeks in Syria, it is a war that’s been fomented along sectarian lines that never existed prior to this externally imposed crisis.

Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun during a meeting with Vanessa Beeley on Aug. 24.  (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

During one of our talks, the Grand Mufti said:

“This association [the Grand Mufti’s charity] for raising standards has been licensed in Syria since 1955. I have built that hospital with my money and with donations from people who have worked with us, starting from 1985. That hospital started operating in 1992, and we used to treat the poor people from the neighborhood. The hospital is located in a poor area, and we used to treat more than 400 people per day for free. The hospital had nine dialysis machines. When the terrorists came they drove out the doctors, killed three nurses, and killed more than 10 patients inside the hospital before taking over the hospital.

They then claimed that MSF is the one operating the hospital, but in that hospital they receive only terrorists, no civilians who remain in the neighborhood. There was a group of terrorists standing guard at the front door of hospital, they have not allowed the maternity department to operate since 2013. There were 12 premature baby incubators–all stolen. They kept the hospital like a field hospital to treat terrorists. That is the hospital [we] built with our own hands and now they lie and say it’s their hospital.

Those who call themselves MSF were standing side by side with the terrorists to kill our children and to requisition charity hospitals, schools and associations. That is what was done in Aleppo.”

Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun. (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

 

 

Propaganda merchants silent on terrorist attacks on western Aleppo

During our meeting on Aug. 15, Dr. Zahar Buttal informed us that, from Aug. 1 to to 14, 143 civilians, including 54 children and 23 women, had been murdered by terrorist missile attacks in western Aleppo. The routinely worst hit areas are shown on the map below; Aziziya, where we stayed in during our visit, was also regularly targeted by terrorist mortar fire and explosive ammunition.

Map showing the areas of western Aleppo hit hardest by the Nusra Front and other terror groups’ “hell cannon” mortar fire. (Screenshot provided by Vanessa Beeley)

During our meeting with the Aleppo Medical Association, news came in of two armored vehicles packed with explosives driving into the Zahraa residential area of northern Aleppo.

Perhaps coincidentally, Riyadh-educated Sheikh Abdallah al-Muhaysini, chief of the Nusra Front, had been issuing one of his regular calls for suicide bomber volunteers just two days prior to our visit. This time, the call had gone out meters away from Aleppo’s ancient citadel walls.

That call was apparently heeded by the two men who drove armored vehicles packed with enough explosives to massacre hundreds of civilians. Dr. Hayak explained that the trucks had bulletproof windscreens that the drivers would not have been able to see out of, so they were guided into their target by radio instructions.

However, the trucks were successfully intercepted by airstrikes that destroyed them before they could complete their deadly mission. No civilian casualties were reported, but it was yet another Western-backed attack by “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces” not reported in Western media.

 

‘We are disgusted by these sanctions’

An Aug. 31 statement from the Syrian American Council made the extraordinary claim that because Syrian blood banks have historically been run by the country’s defense ministry, the blood stored in those banks is being given to soldiers as a priority over civilians. That statement reads:

“SAC wishes to note that even payments to seemingly innocuous regime-linked sources can be rerouted to Assad’s killing machine. For example, the UN has made millions of dollars in payments to Assad’s fuel supplier, which also fuels the warplanes bombing Syrian civilians; to Assad’s Agriculture Ministry, which also feeds the regime troops storming Syrian cities and towns; and to Assad’s blood bank, despite ‘concrete concerns’ that the blood would be reserved for regime troops. SAC has received countless reports over the years of UN aid in fact being used by Assad soldiers.”

The statement effectively calls upon the United States to further perpetuate the suffering of the Syrian people — people who are already being collectively punished by the crippling U.S. and EU sanctions that affect all sectors of civilian life, including health, agriculture, and education.

Speaking to Be Curious TV in May (my translation can be found here), Dr. Nabil Antaki said:

“We are disgusted by these sanctions because these sanctions and these embargoes have not been implemented against the Syrian government but against the Syrian people, all the Syrian people. For example, me personally, as person x, living in Syria, does not have the right to conduct the smallest transaction. If I wanted to send $1,000 to my children, I am unable to do so. I can neither import or export anything. This is crippling. I am a doctor, I wanted to replace one part of a piece of medical equipment.  Normally this would take one week; it took a year and a half to get hold of the part because we couldn’t import it from Japan, as it was a multinational company.

So these sanctions penalize the Syrian people and at a certain moment the EU lifted the sanctions but only for the people living in the terrorist-controlled zones. Those people living in areas under the control of the Syrian state could do nothing. Contrary to their claims, this does not penalize the ‘regime,’ it punishes the Syrian people.”

Maria Saadeh, a member of the Syrian parliament, in Damascus on Aug 22. (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

In March 2015, a member of the Syrian parliament, Maria Saadeh, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, presenting a paper titled, “Unilateral Economic Sanctions against Syria and Terrorism: Two sides of the same coin.”

In June 2016, Saadeh addressed the UN again. Speaking at the Institute of Democracy and Co-operation’s side event at the UNHRC’s session in Geneva, she said:

“Economic sanctions have been applied to punish the Syrian regime. Since 2011, member states of the UN have undertaken collective punitive action against the Syrian people. In March 2015, I presented here at the Human Rights Council a document entitled ‘economic terrorism’ which compared the results of terrorist organisations in Syria with the effects of coercive measures taken under the label of ‘economic sanctions.’

These sanctions violate international law in the same way as terrorism does. Their results and effects are the same; the aim in both cases is to attack Syrian society and to violate human rights, especially the right to life.  

As a result of the sanctions, unemployment has risen from 8.6% in 2010 to 50% in 2014; poverty reached 75% in 2013 where it was 9% in 2010; the number of children in primary education has fallen to 50%; the same number of hospitals and factories have closed as a result of the sanctions as as a result of terrorism. In the same paper, I also showed the relations between the states applying the sanctions and the terrorist organisations they support. I also discuss the relationship between them in despoiling Syria of its natural, economic and cultural resources.”

 

Giving blood in Aleppo

While we were in western Aleppo, we decided to give blood, which seemed particularly critical after just hearing about the increasing numbers of civilians maimed and mutilated by terrorist missiles, explosive bullets and mortars, and gas attacks.

Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley giving blood in Aleppo on Aug. 15, 2016. (Photo provided by Vanessa Beeley)

The blood banks in Syria rely on daily donations to keep hospitals stocked with enough blood to cope with the increase in terrorist rockets against civilian areas in government-held areas of western Aleppo and across Syria.

We were told that a few days before we arrived in Aleppo, a group of 250 teachers had come in to donate blood. Just after we finished, a young man entered to give blood for his brother who had been critically injured in a recent “moderate rebel” shelling attack. Like so many others, the injured brother was hospitalized and required a daily blood transfusion to survive.

A friend from Aleppo later told me that he had requested that his blood be given to the Syrian Arab Army as his recognition of their bravery in defending Aleppo. He said he was told unequivocally that the blood bank would not agree to that. Blood would be given to those who need it most urgently, blood bank workers said, adding that there would be no prioritizing.

Like so many aspects of Syrian life, the blood storage units have been adversely affected by U.S. and EU sanctions. In Aleppo they ran out of plastic blood storage bags and they have had to improvise an alternate storage system–one of the innumerable ways Syrians have adapted to a crisis with resourcefulness and invention.

In light of what we heard and witnessed in the Aleppo blood bank, the Syrian American Council’s statement is another example of the propaganda that ensures the misery and suffering of the Syrian people has no end until the neocolonial objectives of the United States, European Union, and NATO members are achieved.

 

The White Helmets are not the Syria Civil Defense

One of the main reasons that I stayed in Syria for four weeks, was to continue a long-running investigation into the White Helmets. This group is funded and equipped by the United States, United Kingdom, EU and Japan. The White Helmets are trained by former British military,mercenary, James Le Mesurier, and are often referred to as the “Syrian Civil Defense.”

The alleged first responder group is embedded exclusively in areas held by terrorist groups like the Nusra Front and Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group known in the West as ISIS or ISIL).

The White Helmets paint a picture of humanitarian catastrophe in western Aleppo to facilitate NATO’s goal of generating public support for a no-fly zone and more sanctions against Syria. Crimes committed by the Nusra Front and the myriad terrorist groups in Aleppo are portrayed as those of the Syrian government and armed forces.

The White Helmets were established in 2013, and despite making claims of impartiality and independence, they have received over $50 million in funding from the United States and United Kingdom alone.

Infographic produced by UK Column for Vanessa Beeley showing the James Le Mesurier & White Helmet’s deep state connections.

However, an updated entry in Wikipedia demonstrates clearly, the multi-million dollar funding tap that has been turned on for this US & NATO shadow state construct.  This phony first responder unit is nothing more than a NATO state and US funded invention being deployed alongside US & NATO funded & armed terrorist brigades inside Syria. They exist to produce the regime change, No Fly Zone,  justifying propaganda and to support an army of mercenaries and genetically modified terrorists.

“SCD is supported by the aid agencies of a number of external donor governments. Initially the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office was the largest single source of funding through the newly constructed aid group, Mayday Rescue, then based in Istanbul though headquartered in the Netherlands.[26] Now funders include the Danish government, the German government, [24] the Japan International Cooperation Agency,[23] United States Agency for International Development (USAID),[27] the United Kingdom Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF),[28] and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[29]USAID now appears to be the largest donor, having contributed at least $23 million since 2013”

Read Saleh left, the head of the civil defense units in the northern city of Idlib, and Farouk al-Habib, right, a media campaigner for the White Helmets, sit on a panel to draw attention to their work in Syria in midtown New York, September, 2014.

At an April 27 press briefing, Mark Toner, a State Department deputy spokesman, publicly admitted that the State Department funded this outreach operation with $23 million via USAID. About a week before that briefing, however, the leader of the group, Raed Saleh, was denied entry to the United States when he arrived on a flight from Istanbul to Washington in April.

After Toner relayed the United States’ condemnation of a recent aerial attack on a station of the “Syrian Civil Defense,” one journalist at the press briefing asked Toner: “You’re saying that basically he is suspect but his group is not?” To which Toner replied that the State Department is “not condemning the group in any way whatsoever.”

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In a disturbing development that received little media coverage, Saleh, who had been deported for unexplained reasons in April, was allowed to enter the United States this month. On Sept. 22, he reportedly accompanied the Dutch Mission to the United Nations in New York.

That same day, Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted his support for the White Helmets, a group which already enjoys plenty of financial and training support from the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.

This is not the first time the United States has entertained suspect or questionable individuals with “extremist connections.” In December 2015, Labib al-Nahhas, the self-proclaimed “chief of Foreign Political Relations at Ahrar al-Sham,” was allowed entry into the United States.

The United States protects Ahrar al-Sham’s ties to both Daesh and al-Qaida from being exposed, thus enabling the group to carry out its policy of mass murder and ethnic cleansing of minorities inside Syria. It’s able to do so not just unhindered, but with the tacit approval of the U.S. government.

In a May 2016 report for McClatchy, Hannah Allam wrote:

“A senior figure from a Syrian rebel group with links to al Qaida was allowed into the United States for a brief visit, raising questions about how much the Obama administration will compromise in the search for partners in the conflict.”  

I’ve amassed a body of work, “Who are Syria’s White Helmets?,” which exposes the White Helmets, a group Toner also refers to as the “Syrian Civil Defense,” as sectarian fifth columnists armed and funded by Western neo-colonialists and who operate as a terrorist support group.

The White Helmets, it should be noted, are not the real Syria Civil Defense. And efforts to refer to the group as such are an affront to the real Syria Civil Defense, the members of which risk their lives every day to protect the Syrian people.

There’s no public phone number where the White Helmets can be reached in Syria. To reach the real Syria Civil Defense in Syria, though, one only needs to dial 113.

 

The real Syria Civil Defense

In the university area of western Aleppo, we pulled into one of the real Syria Civil Defense’s centres. Aleppo University was targeted by terrorist rocket fire in January 2013, which killed 87 and injured over 160. It was an attack designed to inflict maximum damage, taking place on the first day of exams.

The real Syria Civil Defense’s Aleppo Headquarters are in Hamdaniyah, one of the areas regularly pummelled by the mortars and missiles fired by the various groups of armed insurgents.

When we were met by the crew of this unit, I was immediately struck by the exhaustion etched on their faces, their ramshackle sleeping quarters, the paucity of equipment, and the worn, threadbare condition of the various boots, hoses and jackets that were on the ground or hanging from the fire truck doors and fenders.

Boots and a fire hose sit in the corner of the yard of the real Syria Civil Defense, waiting for the next call. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

From 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Aug. 15, they had been battling a fire in a plastics factory that was sparked by terrorist mortar attacks on the area.

The crew was initially hesitant to go into too much depth about their operations or the White Helmets, but they eventually opened up.

The Syria Civil Defense organization was established in 1953. The Aleppo crews currently have around 150 volunteers who are fully-trained paramedics with extensive training in all aspects of search and rescue. The volunteers are between 25 and 45, and the minimum age for joining and training is 18.

One of the real Syria Civil Defense’s fire engines parked at their unit in western Aleppo. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The crew said they were called out to a heavy “hell cannon” attack on the old citadel in central Aleppo on Aug. 2. Upon arriving on the scene, they noticed a pungent smell in the air which warned them of a toxic gas attack by the Nusra Front.

They were wearing lightweight paper oxygen masks. Because of U.S. and EU sanctions being imposed on Syria, these rescue workers are unable to replace their supply of high-spec gas masks that would have been a lifesaver on many occasions.

The concentration of gas was so high that the flimsy oxygen masks did not effectively prevent the toxic fumes entering their lungs. One of the crew members, Mohammed Ahmed Eibbish, 36, died while trying to rescue a woman from an affected building.

Other crew members and civilians reported symptoms of gas poisoning, such as dizziness, nausea, burns, spasms, and difficulty breathing. Four women died from inhaling toxic fumes during this attack, and 25 civilians were affected and hospitalized as a result.

Rather than report on these chemical attacks by “moderate rebels,” the mainstream media prefers to apportion blame to the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army despite the fact that the only chemical factory in Aleppo was taken over by the Nusra Front in 2012.

A helmet used by the real Syria Civil Defense is perched on the dashboard, ready for action.  (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

We then got onto the subject of the White Helmets, who portray themselves as the Syrian Civil Defense, despite the long history and continued operations of the very real, and genuinely heroic, Syria Civil Defense.

One member of the crew told us that he had been stationed in eastern Aleppo when the terrorists, including those who later morphed into the White Helmets, began to arrive around 2012. Some members of the existing Syria Civil Defense were kidnapped and some were murdered, and this crew member said the terrorist groups demanded that he join them. He managed to escape at night into western Aleppo but was forced to leave behind his three sons.

In retaliation, the same groups of terrorists burned his house to the ground and his name was put on all the checkpoints manned by terrorist groups, including the Nusra Front, in eastern Aleppo, ensuring that he would be executed if he ever returned. He said his teenage sons are taking care of themselves, but he fears for their safety.

Members of the group told me I could not publish any photos or names of the members of the Syria Civil Defense because of the huge security risks associated with their proximity to terrorist positions. These terrorists, they said, have marked them for assassination.

These are the same terrorist groups that the White Helmets support, celebrate with and live among. Yet the White Helmets are praised as saints and saviors by the well-oiled George Soros and U.S. government-manipulated propaganda apparatus.

The crew members all described how the White Helmets don’t carry out any rescue operations in Aleppo; they are weapons-carrying mercenaries described by the REAL Syria Civil Defense as “terrorists.” The use of the word “rebel” is scorned and despised by the majority of Syrians who do not support “killing Syria to improve Syria,” as Dr. Nabil Antaki told Be Curious TV in an interview in May (a translated transcript of that interview can be found here).

Some of the White Helmets are from Aleppo, but others were brought in from outside Aleppo and even from outside Syria, the members of the real Syria Civil Defense said.

Quote taken from the Be Curious TV interview with Dr. Nabil Antaki. (Courtesy of Vanessa Beeley)

At the same time that members of the real Syria Civil Defense were routed, murdered, and kidnapped in 2012, the incoming terrorists and White Helmets-to-be stole equipment from the group, including three fire engines and all of their ambulances.

And while the U.S. and U.K. governments praise the White Helmets as heroes, Netflix produces a documentary about their Hollywood-style exploits, the Middle East Institute, which counts former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford as a member, nominates the group for the Nobel Peace Prize, these members of the real Syria Civil Defense have been risking their lives and the lives of their families to rescue civilians from the terrorist missile onslaught and invasion of their homeland.

The worst injuries they see are from the “hell cannon”-fired gas canisters, which are often filled with glass and metal that rip into children’s bodies and tear limbs apart.

One crew member broke both his legs jumping from a targeted building during a rescue operation. Another lost an eye in a “hell cannon” attack.

They work 24-hour shifts, often without a break.

Asked why he continues this volunteer work, one member of the real Syria Civil Defense replied: “It is humanitarian work for our country. We were there in the good times, and we are here when the times are bad and we are needed most. It’s our duty.”

These are the heroes ignored by the world which chooses instead to focus on the obscene parody that is the White Helmets.

When asked what they’d tell the United States, NATO member states and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel which are enabling the war on Syria, the first responders said:

  • Lift the sanctions so they can keep doing their work;
  • Stop the terrorists from entering Syria, and stop funding and arming them;
  • If terrorists keep entering Syria, eventually it will affect the world, not just Syria. There has been enough bloodshed. It needs to stop now.

 

‘Nobody listens to us. Why?’

After a meeting-packed 36 hours we decided to stroll around the small park in al-Azizia district.

Two men enjoying a moment of respite from the war raging around them. (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

Here, we were greeted by a mix of refugees, families, and students enjoying a brief respite from the war that was being fought around them.

One man who was in the park with his grandchildren told me he was a professor of English who had spent a lot of time abroad in Europe and the United States. He said:

The people in Europe simply don’t believe us when we tell them what is really happening in Syria. When I was in Europe I realized they all still think we have tails beneath our dresses. Here it is just perpetual bombing and nobody listens to us. Why?”

The streets of western Aleppo are dotted with the Syrian flag, either painted on doors as it is across so much of Syria or billowing in the wind from balconies or shopfronts. Displaying the flag in any way is a proud defiance of the U.S.-backed “moderate rebels” and their corrupted national flag that is an insult to the majority of the Syrian people and the Syrian Arab Army which is giving its all to cleanse Syria of the terrorist invasion.

The Syrian flag painted in proud defiance onto storefront shutters in western Aleppo. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

We left at dawn the next day. As I took the bags down the flights of stairs to the street below, I noticed two women chatting animatedly across the way. Life goes on in Aleppo, stubbornly and defiantly.

Two ladies have an animated chat at dawn in Aziziya, western Aleppo. (Photo by Vanessa Beeley)

The dust settled on the road behind us as we passed a checkpoint where we were told: “Put your foot down. There is a high risk of mortar fire.”

It was then that the enormity of the mainstream media lies and obscurantism really began to hit home. We had entered the NATO-erected propaganda tent and we had found the truth, not from the propaganda mill but from the Syrian people living through the hell that has been imposed upon them by Western governments, NATO member states, and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel–all of whom are intent upon pursuing their geopolitical agenda in the region with scant regard for the bloodshed they’re leaving in their wake.

I went to Syria, and specifically to Aleppo, because, as journalists, investigators, analysts it’s our job, our obligation, and our duty to dismantle every story back to its roots and verify its truth. I have failed to see Western mainstream media do this. All too often they support a knee-jerk government foreign policy response that inevitably ratchets up the pressure on a target nation, with their own amplification of the propaganda that conveniently justifies non-peaceful resolution of a conflict and escalation of proxy or direct military intervention.  

None of us will get it right all the time, but we owe it to the people who are directly affected and damaged by these lies, to do our utmost to produce the closest we can get to the truth. That is not done by sitting at a desk in Washington, Paris or London and relying upon reports from Western government-funded institutions and deep state outreach units masquerading as activists, citizen journalists and humanitarians. It is done by going to Syria and talking to the people on the ground, the majority of whom are living in government-held areas for good reason.

Nobody understood propaganda better than Adolf Hitler, and nobody practices this form of intellectual conceit better than the Mockingbird mainstream media. The Syrian people deserve better. They deserve to be heard and to be allowed to decide their own future free from hostile media, hostile sanctions and hostile occupation by mercenaries and terrorists backed by the United States, NATO, and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel–a criminal occupation that no amount of rebranding or Manhattan PR campaigns will whitewash.

In his autobiography and outline of his plans for Germany’s political future, “Mein Kampf,” Hitler wrote:

All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be exerted in this direction.”

On the road out of Aleppo back to Damascus, we got out of the car to take one last photo of the city we were leaving behind us. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

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