“Nowhere to Run”: Chaotic Exodus as Yemenis Flee Saudi-UAE Bombardment of Hodeida – By Ahmed Abdulkareem (MINT PRESS)

Displaced Yemenis, who fled their homes amid a deadly Saudi/UAE invasion of the port city of Hodeida, sit in a school allocated for IDPs in Sanaa, Yemen, Jun. 23, 2018. Hani Mohammed | AP

Thousands of Yemenis have fled the port city of Hodeida amid a deadly Saudi/UAE invasion causing a mass exodus of internally displaced people in the already war

HODEIDA, YEMEN — Mohammed Mousa, 31, has sharp wide eyes. Enthusiastic and angry, he shouts slogans against Yemen’s latest invaders while in the midst of a huge rally in Hodeida. Mousa was one of the thousands of Yemeni residents of the Tihamah region to take to the streets on Friday to protest the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition’s assault on their city. Carrying banners, Kalashnikovs, and Yemeni flags, they chanted lyrics from Yemen’s national anthem “my heartbeat shall remain that of a Yemeni … no foreigner shall ever hold dominion over Yemen.”

The protesters hold the United States responsible for crimes committed in the war and for the consequences of the U.S.-backed Saudi-coalition blockade, welcoming fighters from across Yemen who have descended upon Hodeida to help in the defense of their city. They also condemn the United Nations for its inaction, calling on it to shoulder its responsibility to protect civilians and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Mousa, who lives only 300 meters from the embattled Hodeida airport, is one the many residents of Tihamah who fled home days ago. Family in tow, he walked six kilometers, hiding behind walls and under trees to avoid Saudi airstrikes before finding shelter at a school inside the city.

“They told us that buses could not come in or out so we started walking, carrying our children and stopping every once in a while to rest while Apaches hovered above,” Mousa told MintPress. “We were scared; we saw dead bodies in al-Gharasi.” Six civilians, including four women, had been killed by an airstrike that targeted a bus full of displaced residents near al-Gharasi earlier that week.

“Now we’re in this school, no mattresses, no electricity, no water, no bathrooms, nothing, and we have children who need food and medicine” Mousa said, sitting on the floor of an empty classroom housing those displaced by Saudi and UAE attacks. Dozens of families have sought shelter in local schools, unable to secure assistance elsewhere thanks to a coalition blockade of the city’s port, the sole entry point for up to 80 percent of the country’s humanitarian aid.

A Yemeni mother and her child, displaced by a deadly Saudi/UAE invasion, sit in a school allocated for IDPs in Sanaa, Yemen, Jun. 23, 2018. Hani Mohammed | AP

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has warned that the U.S.-backed Saudi-coalition attacks on Hodeida could endanger the lives of millions, forcing civilians to seek shelter in schools further away from the fighting. He added, “the Saudi and Emirati coalition’s ongoing attacks on Hodeida could cause enormous civilian casualties and have a disastrous impact on the life-saving humanitarian aid to millions of people, which comes through the port.”

 

They chose to die on their land

Just as al-Hussein warned, thousands of families have fled the intense fighting near Hodeida’s contested airport, as coalition forces ramp-up indiscriminate airstrikes in a bid to wrest control from Houthi forces. UAE Apache helicopters have been striking schools and homes in the neighborhood of Manzar abutting the airport and at least four civilians were killed and a girl injured when an airstrike targeted their home in the Hawk district, a neighborhood near the airport.


Read more of MintPress’ exclusive reporting from Yemen

A family member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told MintPress:

They refused to be displaced from their home or farm, they preferred to die on their land instead of leaving it to foreign mercenaries.”

 

“What are we going to do now?”

Other residents in the area have fled to cities further from the fighting, seeking shelter inland in Sanaa, or northeast to the mountainous city of Hajjah. Days ago, Sanaa’s southern entrance, which links Sanaa to Hodeida, was packed with buses and cars fleeing Hodeida. Traffic was at a virtual standstill as cars — some packed with up to 20 people, mostly women and children — entered the city.

Samah, a 19-year-old resident of Hodeida, fled to Sanaa with 20 other displaced families, hoping it would be safer than Hodeida. “We didn’t have time to gather our clothes; we lived in hell in a school, and I knew warplanes would target us,” Samah told MintPress from behind a torn burqa.  Samah lost her aunt and her aunt`s family when two Saudi airstrikes targeted a camp for internally displaced people in al-Hali on April 2, 2018, killing more than 20 refugees, mostly women and children.

Displaced Yemenis, who fled their homes amid a deadly Saudi, UAE invasion of the port city of Hodeida, arrive in Sanaa, Yemen, Jun. 23, 2018. Hani Mohammed | AP

Since March of 2015, when the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition began its military campaign against Yemen, several camps for the internally displaced have been targeted by coalition forces. Last July, at least 20 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a Saudi-coalition airstrike in the village of al-Atera in the Taiz province.

At the Abu Bakr Center for internally displaced people located in southwest Sanaa, men, women, and children stood in long lines under the blazing sun waiting to register their names before being transferred to schools in other regions. Anxious, exhausted and gripped by fear, they carry the few personal belongings they were able to secure before fleeing Hodeida.

There, a woman can be overheard telling her husband “our numbers are very large, what are we going to do now? I’m scared for my kids; we don’t even have blankets, maybe we’ll stay here tonight.” He replied simply, “God will help us.”

Abdul-Wahab al-Sharif, director of the National Commission for Humanitarian Affairs, told MintPress that as of Saturday about 300 families had reached Sanaa. “We have 47 centers for the displaced and only three of them are ready to receive people, with only simple accommodations.” Many of the displaced suffer from malaria, rashes, diarrhea and some are suspected to have cholera, but al-Sharif says there is no medicine or medical care: “We are already in a humanitarian crisis.”

A Yemeni mother and her children, displaced by a deadly Saudi, UAE invasion, sit in a school allocated for IDPs in Sanaa, Yemen, Jun. 23, 2018. Hani Mohammed | AP

 

No place to run

The suffering of Yemen’s internally displaced people is severe. Some have relatives in Sanaa and other places outside of Hodeida, but many do not, forcing families to seek shelter in small makeshift tents inside of unfinished buildings, on the edges of roads, and sometimes even in waste dumps.

Most of them spend their time begging for food in the street, oftentimes relying on remnants of bread and rice to satisfy their children’s hunger. As the situation continues to deteriorate, most are unable to find jobs or secure a regular source of income.

Others, deciding their prospects are bleak anywhere they go, have entrenched themselves in their homes. Sauad, a 50-year-old mother of six living in Hodeida, has been unable to flee her home. Her husband died from cholera last year and she now faces constant bombardment, a lack of clean water, and power cuts. She told MintPress,

We have lived in a state of terror for three days because of the warplanes and Apaches. We couldn’t escape, I have children and no place to run.  We haven’t even had water for 28 hours.”

Top Photo | Displaced Yemenis, who fled their homes amid a deadly Saudi/UAE invasion of the port city of Hodeida, sit in a school allocated for IDPs in Sanaa, Yemen, Jun. 23, 2018. Hani Mohammed | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

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Syrian military takes full control over Eastern Ghouta – By TASS

April 12, 8:15 UTC+3

Russian military police units will be deployed in Douma to maintain law and order during its transition under control of Syria’s legitimate government

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© REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

DAMASCUS, April 12. /TASS/. The Syrian government army has taken full control over the city of Douma that was held by the Jaysh al-Islam group and now all of Eastern Ghouta is under the control of the government forces, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing parties in Syria Yuri Yevtushenko said on Thursday.

“Today marked a landmark event in Syria’s history. The state flag was hoisted on the Douma building which signaled [Damascus’] control over this settlement and, hence, over all of Eastern Ghouta,” he said.

According to Yevtushenko, Russian military police units will be deployed in Douma following its liberation from the terrorists to maintain law and order during its transitional period to come under control of Syria’s legitimate government.

The Russian reconciliation center said earlier that it was wrapping up the evacuation of militants and their families from Douma. Yevtushenko said on Wednesday about 4,000 militants and their family members had left the city during the past day, surrendering more than 400 pieces of weaponry, including large-caliber machine-guns, grenade launchers, sniper and assault rifles.

 

Since late February, more than 41,000 people have left Douma, and more than 165,000 have fled from Eastern Ghouta. As many as 250 hostages held by militants have been released.

 

 
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Thousands evacuated as families, injured leave E. Ghouta during ceasefire (PHOTOS, VIDEO) – By RT

Thousands evacuated as families, injured leave E. Ghouta during ceasefire (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Thousands of Eastern Ghouta residents – the biggest number leaving the area so far – have embarked on a journey to escape the shattered suburb during a humanitarian pause.

Almost 11,000 civilians have been safely evacuated, the Russian military said.

Some 800 civilians were leaving the area every hour through a humanitarian corridor established by the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria and the governmental forces, the footage taken on the ground was showing crowds of civilians moving through the corridor. While some of them go by car, most still travel over this long distance on foot. Entire families are seen leaving the area, with the people often carrying their children. Some are also seen carrying stretchers with injured or sick relatives.

READ MORE: Militant groups split & clash in E. Ghouta, civilians seek shelter – Russian MoD

The people who managed to flee the areas controlled by the armed groups told RT that militants continue to use civilians as human shields and commit various atrocities against the locals, preventing them from leaving. “The terrorists did not let us leave. They hid behind our backs,” a young man who came from the militant-held territory told RT. He went on to say that “the situation there [in the areas controlled by the armed groups] is dire,” adding that the locals are being “exploited and starved” by the militants.

The extremists do not give food to the locals, supplying only those who help them, the man said, adding that their own warehouses are “full of foodstuff.” An old man, who also left eastern Ghouta through the humanitarian corridor on Thursday, said that there are no locals among the militants that control the region. He also said that they kill every local who dares to “say something against them.”

Earlier, evacuees also provided accounts of how militants controlling Eastern Ghouta drove up food prices and imposed harsh punishments for even the slightest transgressions.

 
 

The mass exodus has been facilitated by the fact that hostilities in some parts of eastern Ghouta have nearly ceased. The situation in Douma, the biggest town in the region, which is still held by various armed groups, has “significantly stabilized,” the Russian military said.

The humanitarian pause also allowed aid to be provided to civilians, according to an earlier statement from the Russian Reconciliation Center, which added that the ceasefire between the warring parties in the area held for three days in a row. The center sent two humanitarian convoys last week, delivering 318 tons of food and medicine to Douma. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also said on Thursday that a joint UN-Syrian Red Crescent convoy of 25 trucks with humanitarian aid has entered a militant-held area in eastern Ghouta.

The militant-held suburb of Damascus has been the scene of intense fighting since Syrian government forces launched an offensive in February in a bid to dislodge rebel fighters from their last bastion outside Damascus. Russia has been assisting Damascus in an effort to help evacuate civilians via humanitarian corridors and bring in the vital aid and supplies.

 
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We Have Independent Evidence That al-Nusra Was Arrested With Sarin Gas – Author – By SPUTNIK

A picture taken on February 28, 2018 shows flames erupting in the horizon following a reported rocket attack in al-Shaffuniyah, in the enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus

© AFP 2018/ Ammar SULEIMAN
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Washington is looking into the possibility of launching new attacks against Syria, according to US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, as the new strikes could come as a response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Radio Sputnik spoke with senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, Dr. Tim Anderson.

Sputnik: In your view, how likely is it that a new US attack against Syria is going to happen?

Dr. Tim Anderson: Well it’s unpredictable because the rationales keep changing and the US commitment to this war is uncertain at the moment because they have steadily been losing for the last couple of years, but these sorts of threats have become rather routine. 

It might sound a little bit different because we have a new intelligence spokesperson here appointed by President Trump last year but he has been in their intelligence committee since the beginning of the conflict, so he is really part of the establishment of this war. But it’s a repetition of what we have seen several times before.

READ MORE: Anti-Militant Protests Erupt in Syria’s East Ghouta in Support of Syrian Army

Sputnik: Last year when President Trump ordered these strikes the world was very negative, it was a very divisive action that happened and probably a bit out of surprise in terms of what he was talking about before. So if these new strikes do happen, what are the repercussions that may happen and bring for the Syrian government as it stands at the moment and for the peace process in the country? It certainly looks like it’s going to go backwards, by the sound of things.

Dr. Tim Anderson: Well if you listen to the rhetoric, I suppose, coming out of Washington, that’s the problem that the rhetoric is at a very high level. In some ways it’s at a high level because they are running out of options and really they have been losing for quite some time, as I said. 

Remember that it was US intelligence back six years ago that said they knew that extremists were in the insurgency and that is exactly what they wanted. Only just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Mattis said that, well, they didn’t have any evidence directly of use of sarin gas in Syria. 

READ MORE: Israeli PM Calls US Envoy to UN ‘Hurricane Haley’

We know, however, from independent evidence that Jabhat al-Nusra*, the group you just mentioned, was arrested in Turkey with sarin gas and that the UN investigated the use of sarin gas early in 2013. So if you look at the facts, the independent evidence has said that the al-Qaeda** groups have used sarin gas and the Syrian government has not. But it doesn’t stop the US from keeping using that rhetoric to try and heat up things and try to undermine the possibilities of a political settlement. 

Sputnik: As the rhetoric continues it is very confusing what the end game is, as I mentioned before; what comes next for the Syrian peace process from your point of view, what can you share with our listeners?

Dr. Tim Anderson: The local on the ground military solutions in many respects have been very important and also the reconciliation, let’s not forget that since 2012 there has been this process of trying to reintegrate fighters who didn’t have blood on their hands, who weren’t directly involved in killing people. 

READ MORE: AfD MPs in Damascus: Media Coverage of Syrian Conflict is Fundamentally Untrue

People who have assisted those groups or those who have been bought over with Saudi money and so on, and that has led to more than ten thousand people, I can’t give you an exact figure on that. So there has been some process inside the country and then there was a process in Sochi just recently after the Astana talks, where significant number of groups, internal opposition as well as external opposition, which is important, agreed to adoptive framework of leading to a new constitution. 

I think the US is really upset with that it doesn’t have a say in that and it’s been taken out of its hands by the regional players and Russia and perhaps a lot of these recent provocations have been trying to undermine the fact that, not only on the military level but at a diplomatic level and political level, there is movement towards a resolution here.

*Jabhat al-Nusra is a terrorist group banned in Russia

** al-Qaeda is a terrorist group banned in Russia

 

The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Tim Anderson are those of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

USS Carl Vinson in Vietnam port: Americans hammer out new scheme to deter China – By RT

USS Carl Vinson in Vietnam port: Americans hammer out new scheme to deter China
The arrival of an American aircraft carrier in Vietnam indicates Washington’s intention to make the country a part of its new anti-Chinese block, which also includes Japan, Australia and India, an expert on Asia told RT.

USS Carl Vinson and two other US Navy vessels were greeted in the port of Danang on Monday, marking the largest American military presence in the country since the Vietnam War in 1955-1975.

The five-day visit of the 103,000-ton aircraft carrier is “a minor provocation against China…aimed at inciting or strengthening the anti-Chinese moods among the Vietnamese,” said Yury Tavrovsky, a professor at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia. 

He added that the countries have overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea and a history of military conflicts, including the Sino-Vietnamese border war of 1979, in which both sides claim victory. “By letting the US battle group in its port, the Vietnamese are telling China that it should take Vietnam into account otherwise it may switch to the American side.”

“The Americans have begun hammering together a new scheme of deterring China, called the ‘Quad.’ It includes the US, Japan, Australia and India… It seems that they’re hoping to pull in Vietnam into this quadrangle, turning it into a kind of an anti-Chinese star,” he said. The leaders of the ‘Quad’ countries have held their first talks during an ASEAN summit in Manila, Philippines in November last year, among other things, discussing such issues as “upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight.”

However, the expert was skeptical of the US’ ability to actually make Hanoi one of the ‘Quad’ members. “I don’t think that this’ll work out for purely economic reasons. China is currently the largest export market for Vietnam. And the successful economic development is now more important for the Vietnamese than any prejudice, memories of the 1979 war and even territorial disputes.”

READ MORE: ‘Chinese province of the Philippines?’ Duterte says Beijing’s military bases only threaten the US

“By spoiling relations with China, Vietnam will get nothing. Besides, the Americans have a habit of screwing up their allies as they did to the South Vietnamese authorities in the end of the Vietnam War,” he added.

Tavrovsky said the US has constantly made attempts to encourage various countries in the Asia-Pacific to “bark at China or even try to bite it.”

“They had high hopes for the Philippines in this regard because there are disputed islands between Beijing and Manila. But it didn’t work out… Philippine president, [Rodrigo] Duterte, who came to power [in 2016] said: ‘No, we’ll maintain good relations with China.’ He went to Beijing and returned with billions of dollars in trade deals and aid packages.”

“When the bet on Duterte failed, the US decided to try it with Vietnam. If this also doesn’t play out, they’ll try it with Laos, Burma or even South Korea. The Americans are playing their usual games,” he added.

According to the expert, the Chinese are taking notice of the US’ steps and are likely to respond by building more weaponized artificial islands in the South China Sea.

“The deterrence of China is a part of larger American strategy of chaotization of the world,” Tavrovsky said. “The more tension there is in relations between countries, the better it is for the US, which will take the role of a referee in those disputes and extend its existence as a sole superpower, which is currently hanging in the balance due of the economic and domestic political reasons as well as the increasingly evident pushback from China and Russia.”

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How Come Thousands of ISIS Militants Have Suddenly Gone Missing? – By Martin Berger (New Eastern Outlook)

Author: Martin Berger

 

 

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In recent months, American politicians have presented the public with a constant barrage of statements about various Islamic State (ISIS) strongholds in Iraq and Syria falling in their hands one after another. One can recall that last year the so-called Islamic State lost both of its capitals: the Iraqi city of Mosul, and the Syrian city of al-Raqqah. In fact the above mentioned radical Wahhabi formation has already lost all of its territorial claims in the Levant. The speed with which ISIS has been surrendering its territories may lead a casual observer to the conclusion that its militants have simply vanished in the dim morning mist.

It’s worth mentioning that as early as 2016, ISIS warlords began arriving in Libya from both Syria and Iraq to assess the dire situation this country was in, with it virtually unchanged since the toppling of Muammar Qadaffi. The rationale behind their decision to move the better part of their assets to Libya is rather simple, since there’s been no real government to speak for seven years. The Western media has suggested that ISIS militants would likely ravage Libya if pushed out of Iraq and Syria.

At the same time, there’s been quite a few reports about ISIS operations being carried out in Afghanistan with rapidly increasing frequency. At the senior levels of leadership within the terrorist organization, orders to begin a campaign of asymmetric warfare have been made in the event that ISIS suffers catastrophic defeat on the battlefield.

Before such a campaign can begin, however, ISIS sympathizers must reach distant regions in both Syria and Iraq to begin forming partisan detachments there.

Additionally, ISIS militants were supposed to disperse themselves inconspicuously among local populations, creating sleeper cells in order to resume hostilities when “the time is right”.

It is possible for fleeing ISIS militants to also escape the region entirely – to Central Asia or Europe under the cover of refugee status, creating similar sleeper cells abroad and creating an enduring security threat as seen in Europe.

We have also heard that many ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria have died in battle or were executed, that some surrendered, and some taken prisoner. But what is disturbing is that there’s no exact figures whatsoever. The only thing one can state with certainty is that the absolute majority of them have managed to escape retribution. So, where are they now?

Mind you that four years ago the CIA would announce that there were approximately 50,000 ISIS militants operating in Iraq and Syria. Other governmental bodies would state figures twice as high. As for local Kurdish leaders, they have claimed the number was as high as 200,000.

According to a report issued by the Iraqi military in August 2017, there was at least 30,000 foreign mercenaries fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq, including 8,000 Europeans and 6,000 Tunisians. Allegedly, some 28,000 were killed.

In December 2016, the Pentagon would announce the figure of 50,000 ISIS fighters killed in Iraq and Syria over a two year period. Next year it would announce than 40,000 foreign mercenaries were neutralized in Syria alone.

Of course, none of the above mentioned figures can be verified, however it is clear that the casualties that ISIS allegedly suffered are greatly exaggerated. After all, without those nonexistent deceased militants being counted in the tens of thousands, Washington would have no justification for its ongoing presence in Iraq and Syria, as its contribution to the actual fight against terrorism is negligible. It is also worth asking that if such a large number of militants have been killed, why hasn’t evidence regarding mass graves turned up?

In addition, we must not forget that thousands of people who were captured by ISIS militants are still reported as missing. Their relatives are trying to establish their fate, assuming they escaped custody after ISIS’ defeat in Iraq and Syria. Therefore, even if some graves are to be found in the cities that were occupied in Syria and Iraq, it is most likely that those would be the graves of the hostages taken for slave labor by ISIS, since it is unlikely that those militants would try to transport them to other regions of the world.

The EU Coordinator for Combating Terrorism, Giles de Kerchove, announced last August that some 5,000 European militants were trained in Syria and Iraq, and that a third of them returned home. If this statement is true, have European security services identified them, especially considering only 1% of those who returned home were immediately arrested upon arrival?

It turns out that ISIS militants who have escaped death and remain at large are now fighting Syrian armed forces in a bid to destroy Syria. Somehow American officials are always able to find a common language with terrorists when it suits their interests.

The mystery of the “disappearing” militants is solved as Syrian SANA news agency reported on yet another “CIA operation”, filming Western military helicopters coming to rescue ISIS militants they were supposed to be fighting. In broad daylight the US-led coalition aircraft were seen evacuating their sworn enemies, which was later confirmed by the British BBC. A month earlier, the British reported that more than 250 field commanders and 3,500 members of their families were evacuated from liberated al-Raqqa to the north of the country by the same US-led coalition. From there, some militants were able to travel across the border to Turkey or disappear by blending into local populations.

And here the truth of pro-Western “freedom fighters” is exposed. Their cause shifts with the whims of its foreign sponsors, and when sponsorship is no longer feasible, the narrative collapses completely, exposing them as the mercenaries and terrorists they were from the beginning. And despite this fact, the US and its partners are still attempting to salvage them for future use.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”   
https://journal-neo.org/2018/03/04/how-come-thousands-of-isis-militants-have-suddenly-gone-missing/

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‘Made in America’: El Salvador’s mass graves are the worst “shitholes” – By Roberto Lovato (Latino Rebels)

Victims of the El Mozote Massacre

© Magnum Photos/CC
Victims of the El Mozote Massacre

My journalist’s hiking boots still have leftover feces and dirt from the ultimate shitholes of El Salvador: its mass graves. Many of the thousands of graves that my sources there have mapped were dug by U.S.-trained and funded security forces in the 80s. Most of the rest were dug more recently by L.A.based-gangs steadily deported to El Salvador by U.S. immigration authorities since the 90s.

President Trump’s characterization of Africa, Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” disturbed me, but I wasn’t sure why. The comments were made during a discussion about the temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran, Haitian and other immigrants Trump had just rescinded. In search for an answer, I went home and pulled out and studied my boots , which were tattered after too many visits to mass graves, mass graves with the remains of Salvadorans-in El Salvador, in Mexico and in the deserts of south Texas. Wearing my hiking boots during visits to numerous sites along this chain of devalued life led me to the conclusion that mass graves were the ultimate shitholes.

What made me most uncomfortable was less about Mr. Trump’s choice of word than how he used it: he mistook the shithole part for the whole country. Trump’s rhetorical fallacy feels like a cover-up, a distraction from the fact that El Salvador’s mass graves contain fingerprints and other evidence that point to the United States as an accomplice to the mass murder and violence that created them. Viewed from this perspective, Trump’s “shithole” comment said in words what all US presidents have said with their policies towards countries like Haiti and El Salvador.

Consider, for example, the Salvadoran case of El Mozote, the site of the massacre of almost a thousand peasants, a crime whose irresolution still haunts many. Some 37 years after the mass massacre, forensic evidence from mass graves proved that 553 of those victims were children, many of them under six years old.

Protest against US involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War in Chicago, Illinois, in March 1989

© Linda Hess Miller/ Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Protest against US involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War in Chicago, Illinois, in March 1989

El Mozote is the best documented of El Salvador’s thousands of mass graves, many of which remain unexcavated. Forensic experts with El Salvador’s Institute for Legal Medicine and the world renown Argentine forensic team told me that their evidence -bones, shoe marks, hair samples, bullet shells- of the mass killing at El Mozote pointed to elite Salvadoran soldiers trained in places like Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, Georgia, formerly known as the notorious “School of the Americas.” Evidence from recent Salvadoran and international court cases corroborates this. The boots, bullets, weapons, helicopters and uniforms used during the massacre were all Made in the U.S.A. And the evidence trail isn’t limited to El Mozote.

A United Nations Truth Commission established by agreement between the Salvadoran government and the FMLN guerrillas at the end of the civil war in 1992 concluded that U.S. trained security forces had perpetrated 85% of the killings of innocents during the war that left over 75,000 dead. Most of the perpetrators remain free. The forensic evidence left by El Salvador’s US-trained and funded military is undeniable at El Mozote, in the murder of El Salvador’s only saint, Monseñor Romero, in the case of the 4 Maryknoll nuns raped and killed in 1980, just as it is in the cases of the tens of thousands of other, lesser-known slaughtered innocents.

The war-era mass graves I visited around an area called Panchimalco are located right next to the more recent mass graves dug by gangs in the area. Like the weapons and training used by the Salvadoran military, the gangs themselves were also born in the United States, specifically Los Angeles’ Pico Union neighborhood. I remember because I was there in the early 90s, when police of the Rampart police division -the site of the worst police scandal in U.S. history- started pushing the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs to escalate the warfare between them. The Rampart division’s well-documented tactics -planting guns for false arrests, taking a young man in gang from one neighborhood into the hostile territory of rival gangs, shooting and even killing gang members and make it seem like rival gangs did it- did much to foment violence among the gangs.

Most damaging for El Salvador and its shitholes was the way LAPD then broke sanctuary laws designed to protect people fleeing extreme violence and other disasters from deportation. In the early 90s, the LAPD and INS began the fatal practice of handing the young gang members over to the then Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for deportation. In the process, these agents of US policy helped create a gang culture in a country with no history of U.S.-style gangs and gang warfare. These gangs have since gone on to fill the mass graves that mark El Salvador as one of the most violent countries on earth.

In immigration terms, the shithole is a distraction. Calling the countries shitholes, but also designating them as counties ready to both receive hundreds of thousands of deportees and lose billions of dollars sent home by them is also a logical -and tragic- fallacy, another policy failure. But if the President is going to use such language, he should back up his words with policy that recognizes U.S. responsibility for the foreign war and immigration policies that create catastrophes. In other words, I would prefer Trump walk the shithole talk-and can give him the hiking boots to do it with.

Comment: See: Senators Cotton and Perdue: “Trump didn’t say shithole”For more on the supposed Trump comment and it’s relevance to the state of world affairs, check out SOTT radio’s: The Truth Perspective: Left by the Wayside on a Right-hand Turn: What Happened to SOTT.net?

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Russia defeated ISIS in Syria so what was the US doing? – By David William Pear Op – Ed News

Russia army military

Who defeated the Islamic State In Syria?

With a $1 trillion annual military budget why did it take the US six years to ‘beat’ a ragtag militia?

Before answering that question. What is the ISIS? Can the public overcome its chronic amnesia and think back to the sudden appearance of ISIS dressed in brand new black uniforms, gleaming white NIKE’s and driving Toyota trunks? They seemed to appear out of nowhere in 2014. ISIS looked as if it were a mirage when it appeared, or more likely a CIA staged scene from Hollywood.

No sooner had ISIS appeared than it went on a head chopping binge that repulsed and frightened the US public. Washington officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry rang the alarm that this hoard of Islamic crazies wanted to invade the US and “kill us all”. A well-compliant mainstream media swallowed Washington’s script and regurgitated it to frighten a US public. The public gave its silent consent for more war really aimed at Bashar al-Assad.

The next question is who created ISIS? ISIS “can trace its roots back to the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian. In 2004, a year after the US-led invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq” [BBC News December 2, 2016]. Al-Qaeda in Iraq did not exist until after the US invasion by the Bush-Cheney administration.

The US invasion of Iraq was based on pure unadulterated lies that Saddam Hussein supported al-Qaeda, was involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and had weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was predictable blowback, resistance against a US illegal invasion. Bush who admitted that he creates his own reality, had hallucinations of a grateful Iraqi people, who had just been bombed back to the Stone Age with Shock and Awe, throwing kisses and flowers at the US expeditionary force as liberators.

Then came the failed Surge in 2007 [The Nation], when the US allied with Sunnis to defeat the remnants of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party, which was an Arab Nationalist Party neither Sunni nor Shia. The cynical sponsoring and siding with radical Islam goes back to the British “Great Game” of the early 1900’s. It was the British double-dealing with both Sunnis and Shias to supplant the Ottoman Empire, and turn Sunni against Shia to divide and conquer Southwest Asia. It is the story of Lawrence of Arabia, Winston Churchill and World War One.

One could then pick up the story after World War Two when the US was opposing Arab anti-colonial nationalism and communism during the Cold War. It was the “Grand Chessboard” strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski who convinced Jimmy Carter in 1980’s to back the Islamic radical mujahideen mercenaries and destroy Afghanistan in order to lure the Soviet Union into a Vietnam-type trap. Brzezinski was so proud of his success that he would later rhetorically ask to his shame, which is more important “Some stirred-up Moslems” or winning the Cold War.

If Brzezinski was so clever he would have learned from the British early 1900’s Southwest Asia super spy Gertrude Bell. As she would later say, the British Empire encouraging and sponsoring of radical Islam backfired into a big failure. But the US does not know history, even its own history of repeated blunders of encouraging and sponsoring radical Islam against Arab anti-colonial nationalism.

So instead the US enlisted the most radical right-wing fascist regime in the history of the world, the Absolute Monarchy of Saudi Arabia to bankroll Sunnis against Arab nationalism. They gladly funded US regime change projects against secular Arab states. The US flush with cash from the Saudis went about encouraging, training and paying mercenaries from all over Southwest Asia to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Assad did not share the US role as the world leader of capitalist globalization. Instead Assad was using Syria’s wealth for the benefit of the Syrian people, just as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. “Assad must go”, chanted Obama, Clinton, Kerry and Saudi Wahhabis. To the US it did not matter how many Syrians, Libyan or Iraqis died. As Madeleine Albright had said, “500,000 dead Iraqi children are worth it”.

It was the US and its allies the Absolute Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States that created ISIS. Mercenaries from all over the Muslim world were recruited and even supported with their own air force, the United States Airforce. The mainstream media gave the US the cover story the US was backing “well-vetted moderate [‘Jeffersonian democrats’ really] Islamists”. The mainstream media are criminal coconspirators for spreading war propaganda, the Guardian being one of the worst offenders, with a few rare exceptions, such as Trevor Timm’s reporting.

Now with the ringing in of the 2018 New Year, we can expect the US to be patting itself on the back for defeating ISIS in 2017 . The real story is that it was Assad, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran that defeated ISIS (so far). For those without amnesia they may remember back to when Russia released videos of endless convoys of black-market ISIS oil tankers heading into Turkey. ISIS was partially funding itself with stolen oil and enriching black marketeers of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Somehow, the US with all of its technology and thousands of bombing missions in Syria never saw all those tankers. Nor could they find ISIS fighters, so instead they bombed the Syrian army. The US only saw what it wanted to see and what it wanted to bomb. It was not ISIS. Here are the videos of Russian jets taking out ISIS oil tankers:

Some of the mainstream media grudgingly acknowledges that Russia had a hand in rolling back ISIS. Even then the mainstream media downplays the Russian contribution to a support roll, rather than the primary force. Instead the US mainstream media gives the credit to ” the US and 67 other nations from around the world”. It was, they say the US that “trained, supported and provided air support” to local Syrian rebel good-guys, the mythical democratic moderates, that the US was supporting that defeated ISIS. City after city, and village after village were destroyed by ISIS, US bombing and an invisible US moderate rebel force as it created hundreds of thousands of Syrian casualties and refugees.

According to the mainstream media, the Russians stepped in late “to provide air support for the Syrian government” backing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad against rebels threatening his rule, but also targeting some ISIS territory”. Unmentioned is that Russia was legally “invited” by the legitimate government of Syria, while the US and its coalition are committing a war crime of aggression against a fellow member country of the United Nations.

Now we are going to be hearing that one year of Trump did what 8 years of Obama could not do. We are going to be hearing more of how in just one year “ISIS went from attracting thousands of foreign fighters to its anti-Western cause and plotting devastating terror attacks all over the world, to surrendering en masse”. It was the “US-led bombing campaign and US-backed and trained forces” that defeated ISIS, supposedly.

Yes, after six plus years of the most powerful military force in the history of the world, with the most technologically advanced weapons ever invented, and an annual military budget of $1 Trillion the US finally defeated a rag-tag mercenary paramilitary of about 30,000 fighters.

The whole story of the US war on terrorism is an incredible and unbelievable tale of pabulum that Washington and its mainstream repeaters have been feeding to the US public since 9-11. It stinks.

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Trump Claims US Defeated ISIS, But Terrorists Still emerging from US bases in Syria – By Andrés Perezalonso

US supplied Syrian rebels

© Associated Press/Hammurabi’s Justice News
Dodgy alliance: Syrian ‘rebels’ side-by-side US troops

Last Thursday, US president Donald Trump posted what appeared to be a self-congratulatory tweet on the achievements of the US military in the war against ISIS:

These numbers may or may not be accurate, but the implicit message is that they are the result of the efforts of the US-led coalition rather than the combined Russian, Iranian/Hezbollah and Syrian/Iraqi forces.

Trump’s Pentagon numbers conflate the operations against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, thereby overwriting the more specific numbers produced by the Russian military intervention in Syria alone, which changed the tide of the war in both countries: 60,318 jihadists killed, including 813 commanders; the destruction of 718 clandestine arms factories; and the liberation of 1,024 cities and settlements.

In pursuing its goals of eliminating Western-backed jihadist mercenaries in Syria, Russian forces took extreme care to safeguard civilian lives and minimize damage to infrastructure. This was in stark contrast to US policy in both Syria and Iraq, which involved little if any attacks on ISIS forces in the field, concentrating instead on ‘liberating’ strategic cities like Mosul and Raqqa by way of massive and indiscriminate bombing (compare the painstaking liberation of Aleppo with the flattening of Mosul). This difference in military strategy was, of course, to be expected given that Russia has a vested interest in maintaining Syria as a viable and independent nation state under Assad, while the US, from the very onset of the conflict, was interested only in the ruin of Syria and the overthrow of Assad.

While there is little hard evidence of the US real intentions in Syria, there have been many strong indications that supporting ISIS was (and still is) US policy, ranging from providing safe passage to terrorist groups, airlifting their senior members, providing air cover against the Syrian Army, delivering weapons, and even an admission from former Secretary of State John Kerry that the US allowed ISIS to grow as a way of putting pressure on Assad.

At the very least it is clear that the US preferred to see criminal groups of fanatics ruling Syria than a democratically-elected secular government such as Assad’s, even if the extent to which it actively sought to ‘make this a reality’ can be disputed.

Strictly-speaking, Trump is correct that ISIS collapsed on his watch. But how much, if any, of that progress – with respect to Syria anyway – is due to US action in the country? The terrorist front in Syria disintegrated over the course of 2017 once the siege of Aleppo was ended by Syrian forces in December 2016, enabling them to begin methodically liberating the country from west to east.

That Trump was president-elect, then president, during this timeframe is coincidental, not causal. He may wish to see the scourge of ISIS gone from the face of the Earth, and win the US some of the glory in delivering its ignominious retreat, but since becoming president Trump has had ample opportunity to learn what US forces are really up to.

The day before Trump’s tweet, Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valeri Gerasimov revealed in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda that US forces had turned their illegitimate base in Al-Tanf, in the southeast of Syria and conveniently located within the 55 km ‘de-confliction’ buffer zone, into a training camp for the remnants of ISIS – a group which he described as a de facto regular army, given their weaponry, training and tactics.

“According to satellite and other surveillance data, terrorist squads are stationed there. They are effectively training there,” Gerasimov said, when asked about what’s going on at the base.

The general also said the US has been using a refugee camp in northeast Syria, outside the town of Al-Shaddadah in Al-Hasakah province, as a training camp for the remnants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group, including those evacuated from Raqqa, and other militants.

“This is essentially ISIS,” Gerasimov said. “They change their colors, take different names – the ‘New Syrian Army’ and others. They are tasked with destabilizing the situation.”

Gerasimov says that there are currently some 750 militants in Al-Shaddadah and 350 in Al-Tanf. We are left to wonder if those are the same 1,000 ISIS fighters that the Pentagon estimates are left in Syria, as per Trump’s tweet.

Syria map Al-Tanf

The New Syrian Army, aka the Revolutionary Commando Army, is, according to the ‘fact-checkers’ at Wikipedia, a “Syrian rebel group” consisting of army defectors and other ‘rebels’ who “sought to expel ISIS” from eastern Syria. They claim to have received training and weapons from Saudi-backed ‘rebel’ groups and the CIA. But if their goal is to ‘fight ISIS’, why then does Gerasimov report that they have launched offensives on Syrian forces from the eastern bank of the Euphrates after ISIS militants were previously routed there?

In early October, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov described the US base in Al-Tanf as a “black hole” protected by a “human shield” of refugees from where ISIS carried out sabotage and terror attacks. He pointed out:

“The Pentagon’s representatives have repeatedly stated that instructors from the US, the UK and Norway staying there under the cover of tactical aviation and multiple-launch rocket systems are training New Syrian Army militants. However, in actual fact, al-Tanf has turned into a 100-kilometer ‘black hole’ on the Syrian-Jordanian state border. Instead of the New Syrian Army, mobile ISIL groups, like a jack-in-the-box, carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks against Syrian troops and civilians from there.”

Konashenkov added that the illegal US base in Al-Tanf was publicly justified “by the need to conduct operations against ISIL”; however, no public information has been received of any US operations against ISIS during the six months of its existence. Indeed, the Pentagon and Trump can make all the claims they want about ‘fighting ISIS’ in Syria, but in stark contrast with the Russians, who publish videos, satellite images, war maps, and send journalists to front lines, the Americans have almost no documentary evidence to show for it.

Just yesterday, local residents told Syrian media that US helicopters evacuated ISIS commanders from several districts of Deir ez-Zor province. Earlier this week, the Syrian government sent a communiqué to the United Nations accusing the US-led coalition of dealing and coordinating with ISIS.

Significantly, on the same day as the publication of Gerasimov’s interview, militants shot “several missiles” from Bdama at Latakia International Airport and the Russian Aerospace Forces’ deployment site at Hmeymim airbase. No damage was caused as two of the missiles were shot down and at least one landed off-site. While Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speculated that the provocation was “aimed at disrupting the positive trends in the development of the situation in Syria and, in particular, at creating obstacles to convening and holding the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi on January 29-30,” it is also possible that this heralds an attempt to bring ISIS back from the dead – either under that name or a different one. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but the explosion at a supermarket in St. Petersburg which injured thirteen people – an event Putin described as a terrorist attack – also occurred on the same day. Is someone sending Russia a message?

Imperial Wishful Thinking

The New York Times published an op-ed article written by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – also that same day – which summarized current US foreign policy positions with respect to North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, Russia, China and Iran. What Tillerson wrote about Syria was in line with Trump’s triumphant tweet:

Defeating terrorism remains one of the president’s highest priorities. The administration’s aggressive strategy to counter the Islamic State delegates greater authority to American military commanders on the battlefield, giving our forces more freedom and speed to do what they do best, in partnership with indigenous fighting forces. As a result, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS has accelerated operations and has recaptured virtually all of previously-held Islamic State territory in Iraq and Syria. While our military was helping clear Iraq and Syria of Islamic State forces, our diplomats were following up with humanitarian aid and assistance, such as clearing land mines, restoring water and power, and getting children back in school.

Tillerson is naturally counting on the fact that Western audiences almost exclusively consume the narrative Western media tells them – that the US was fighting ISIS instead of aiding them. It’s a great story, one anyone would want to own, but it’s not the US’ to tell. The US has not been clearing land mines, providing humanitarian aid, restoring water and power and getting children back to school: Russia has.

Despite earlier reports that the White House had finally accepted he would stay in power until, at least, Syria’s next-scheduled elections in 2021, Tillerson went on to recite the litany of Russian Evils before segueing into a resurrection of the “Assad must go” mantra:

On Russia, we have no illusions about the regime we are dealing with. The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of Western nations by meddling in our election and others’. The appointment of Kurt Volker, a former NATO ambassador, as special representative for Ukraine reflects our commitment to restoring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Absent a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine situation, which must begin with Russia’s adherence to the Minsk agreements, there cannot be business as usual with Russia.

While we are on guard against Russian aggression, we recognize the need to work with Russia where mutual interests intersect. Nowhere is that more evident than in Syria. Now that President Vladimir Putin has committed to the United Nations-backed Geneva political process for providing a new future for Syria, we expect Russia to follow through. We are confident that the fulfillment of these talks will produce a Syria that is free of Bashar al-Assad and his family.

Aside from the fact that there was no Russian aggression in Georgia or Ukraine, nor any evidence of election-meddling in the US or elsewhere, and that it is Kiev which regularly violates the Minsk agreements, it’s interesting that Tillerson sneaked in that threat to Assad: “This is not over!” If you read Tillerson’s entire NYT op-ed, see how many veiled or open threats you can spot. If this tone is anything to go by, 2018 doesn’t look promising as far as conflict-resolution goes.

However, we can perhaps take solace in the knowledge that the US has failed, especially in Syria, and there is no reason they should succeed in the future if tried again. As the popular saying goes:

Insanity quote doing the same thing over and over again

Andrés Perezalonso

Andrés Perezalonso has been a contributing editor for Signs of the Times in both its English and Spanish versions since 2007. He holds a PhD in Politics, an MA in International Studies, a first degree in Communication, and has a professional background in Media Analysis. He thinks that understanding world events is not unlike detective work – paying attention to often ignored details and connections, and thinking outside of the box. He was born and raised in Mexico and currently resides in Europe.

 

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The American People Are Coming to Terms With The Fact That Their Government Is A Dictatorship – By Eric Zuesse

pulling the strings

Gallup headlined on December 18th, “Americans View Government as Nation’s Top Problem in 2017”. Their report made clear that though this finding was unprecedented, it’s part of a longer-term trend, toward Americans naming America’s own “government as the most important problem facing the nation.” In a democracy, the public do not view the nation’s government to be (as in America) their enemy (which is the case if they view the “government as the most important problem facing the nation”). Americans increasingly view the Government as their enemy.

In a dictatorship, only the people who control the government are satisfied with the government; but, in a democracy, the public are satisfied with the government – or else that government will be replaced in elections by people who control the government and who do provide government that the public approve of. In the United States, we’re instead moving in the exact opposite direction: steadily going from one government to another, none of which wins the public’s approval; and the present American government winning the public’s approval even less than its predecessors did. This is not the situation that exists in authentic democracies. It’s what one expects to find in a country that’s ruled by a dictatorship. Dictators don’t need to worry so much about polls, because they don’t represent the public; they exploit the public – they use the public.

The only scientific study that has yet been done on the question of whether the U.S. is, in fact, run by a democratic government, or instead by a dictatorial one (specifically by an oligarchy, or a government that represents only the richest citizens), was published in September 2014, and it found clearly that the U.S. is definitely not a democracy, but the other type: that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy”, whereas “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy”; and, furthermore, that, “The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater” than their statistics indicate, because the researchers weren’t able to measure the impact that the super-rich have on policy, but only the impact that the rich have on policy (versus the impact that the total American public have on policy). The rich control America’s Government, but whether the richest do, wasn’t able to be researched, as of 2014.

This academic study’s scientific methodology was so good, so that no one, as of yet, in the more than three years since its publication, has been able to find any flaw in its data or methodology. Its headline, like its writing, was as dull as possible, “Testing Theories of American Politics”, and this (and especially its atrocious writing) might at least partially explain why America’s mainstream press overwhelmingly has ignored that seminal and landmark study in the social sciences, and especially has ignored that study’s enormous implications, regarding contemporary U.S. politics and government. (A vastly clearer presentation of that study, and of its findings, can be found here in this 6-minute video summary of it.)

Increasingly after that time, particularly after Donald Trump’s becoming U.S. President on 20 January 2017, polls are confirming strongly that what this scientific analysis said, describes, even more starkly than before, the American reality – that the U.S. federal Government now blatantly ignores public opinion, and is controlled instead only by the rich.

One example of this phenomenon was recently headlined by me “Poll: By 2-to-1, Americans Oppose Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem”, and it reported that in the only two published national polls in the U.S. that were taken prior to Trump’s announcement that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will be moved from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem – one having been a November 2017 poll of 2,000 Americans, published on December 11th, and the other being a September 2017 poll of 1,000 U.S. Jews – the overall U.S. public opposed any such move by 63% to 31%, and U.S. Jews opposed it by around similar percentages (though the polling-questions on the two polls differed significantly and therefore their findings are not directly comparable). Furthermore, that article also linked to another question which was included in the November poll, and which showed that only a minority of Americans – almost all of whom are Democrats – believe that Russia is a “foe” of the United States; and, of course, the U.S. federal Government (even the existing Republican one) does consider Russia, more than any other country, to be America’s foe; so, that, too, presents a stark contrast between the Government and its public.

Furthermore, on December 14th, Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, the pollster Mark Penn, whom she had mis-cast into the role of her campaign’s strategist in 2008, headlined at The Hill, “Mueller, FBI face crisis in public confidence”, and he summarized numerous polls which were finding that whereas Americans overwhelmingly distrust President Donald Trump, Americans distrust even more the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that’s trying to find reasons to impeach and remove him from office. Americans are getting increasingly scared of their Government, and now distrust both sides of it.

Another addition to these polls that show America’s public to be ignored by America’s Government (other than for the public to be manipulated by means of the major newsmedia that the billionaires who control this Government own), was also issued on December 18th, and this poll was headlined “Half The Public Say Their Taxes Will Go Up Under GOP Plan”. It scientifically sampled 806 Americans, and reported that:

“Nearly half the American public (47%) disapprove of the tax reform bills passed by the Senate and House and just 26% approve. … Strong disapproval (35%) of the proposal far outweighs strong approval (13%). … In ‘swing’ counties where the margin of victory for either candidate was less than ten points, 30% approve of the plan compared with 38% who disapprove. … Many Americans see this bill more as an attempt by Republicans to gain a political victory and would rather see Congress scrap this plan and start over. … Half of the public (50%) predict that the federal taxes they pay will go up with the plan now under consideration by Congress. Just 14% say their taxes will go down. … The public was much more optimistic right before Trump took the oath of office in January. Back then, two-thirds expected that the middle class would benefit from the policies of a Trump administration.”

All polls show that the American public believe overwhelmingly that only the rich will benefit from the Trump/Republican tax-law changes. (If purely the long-term impacts, such as the resultant soaring public debt, are considered, then this perception, by the public, of the tax-law changes, is almost certainly accurate.) The blatancy with which U.S. federal policy violates what the polls show that the American public overwhelmingly want (such as reducing the federal debt), and imposes instead upon the public what they clearly don’t want (such as increasing that debt), is now stunning.

Such findings provide yet additional evidence that the far more extensively documented findings in the massive study “Testing Theories of American Politics” apply with special force today, probably even more so than they did in the period from 1981 to 2002, which was the period that that empirical study had examined in detail. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter expressed publicly on 28 July 2015 (even before Trump was President), that, “Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members.” He was stating what is, by now, an increasingly proven fact. America is a dictatorship.

However, current U.S. Government office-holders haven’t publicly expressed any such view, although the Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate whom Hillary Clinton ‘beat’ in 2016, Bernie Sanders, has come the closest to saying it.

It’s not even clear, however, whether a majority of Americans actually want a democratic government. On 9 September 2015, the YouGov poll headlined “Could a coup really happen in the United States?” (which question presumed that a U.S. coup hadn’t already happened, such as on 9 December 2000, or on 22 November 1963, though there is evidence that it happened in both cases), and YouGov reported that “when people are asked whether they would hypothetically support the military stepping in to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution, 43% of Americans would support the military stepping in while 29% would be opposed.” Perhaps many in that large 43% plurality of Americans were somehow blissfully ignorant that the American Government routinely not only was “beginning to violate” but routinely had been and were violating, the U.S. Constitution, such as by placing onto its Supreme Court, anti-Constitutional ‘Justices’ who arbitrarily label political money as “speech” that’s unlimitedly protected by the First Amendment, so that unlimited political spending by billionaires can effectively control the U.S. Government (such oligarchy as is now scientifically established to be the case), or by violating the Constitution in so many other ways, such as by simply not enforcing certain laws in certain cases, such as by refusing to prosecute the banksters whose frauds caused (and who profited from) the 2008 financial crash – they perpetrated a massive unpunished crime against the public, and this is supposed to be ‘democracy’.

But regardless: a 43%-to-29% plurality of the nation’s public are so pro-military as to favor a U.S. coup under that vague condition; they would prefer the military, an intrinsically anti-democratic authoritarian institution, to take direct control over the U.S. Government – as if there could be some valid excuse for this intrinsically dictatorial institution to overthrow the established and supposedly legal government, and to replace it by one that’s not just supposedly, but blatantly, illegal to be in control of the Government. This would mean that America’s billionaires – people who already own and profit from the military’s weapons-making firms – will take control of America, even if they don’t already have control. They control the military-industrial complex, because they control the Deep State that, in any capitalist country, IS the military-industrial complex. They control the weapons-manufacturing firms such as Lockheed Martin, and also the megabanks, and the lobbying firms, and all the rest of the systematic corruption (the Deep State), which controls the U.S. government.

That same poll (question 13) also asked “Do you believe that the military has a duty to protect the Constitution against domestic enemies?” and 72% answered “Yes” and 12% answered “No.” Thus, by a 6-to-1 margin, Americans don’t know the difference between the function that the military and CIA are supposed to perform, versus the function that the police and the FBI and entire Justice Department are supposed to perform. As if that’s not frightening enough about America, Americans now support the nation’s military-industrial complex above all other institutions, public or private. The war-making institution isn’t used only for defense (though its PR euphemism is ‘the defense establishment’ and it should instead be called “the invasion-and-coup establishment”), but it is also – and now almost exclusively – used for invasions and coups that are based on lies (from ‘the defense establishment’, boosting their own business), such as invasions and coups against Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, and Ukraine 2014. Instead of despising that institution of conquest, Americans now admire it, above all others – and far above all the rest of the U.S. Government.

So: “Could a coup really happen in the United States?” A coup wouldn’t even be necessary in order to produce a dictatorship here, which has already long existed in this country. And, while domestic spending is being slashed by the existing U.S. regime, military spending (which already is as large as the next ten largest national military budgets in the world) is soaring. Why would America’s generals want to perpetrate a coup? They’re already getting almost everything they want – and without the opprobrium they’d suffer from a coup. It would be plain stupid for them to do that. The very question which was asked in that poll was a bad joke, but a full 72% of the U.S. public not only didn’t ridicule the idea, but actually endorsed it. They endorsed what’s commonly called a ‘police state’, but which actually is a “military state” – rule by the military. Maybe that’s what we’ve already got. But, behind the military-industrial complex, stand the nation’s billionaires – the people who really run U.S. foreign policies.

If that brute fact can’t become understood by the American people, then not only does democracy no longer exist in the U.S., but the basis to create (or restore) democracy here is likewise absent. Americans are big supporters of the military-industrial complex. The U.S. public have been deceived about what it is, and what it isn’t – so deceived, that they place it at the top, as the most respected of all institutions. How much more upside-down – black is white, white is black – like Big Brother’s “Newspeak,” could the U.S. public be duped to be, than that? If America’s invasion-and-coup institution is at the top, then why are all the others held in lower esteem than this – the most-corrupt of all institutions in America?

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