ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Israelis Must Begin By Acknowledging “the Nakba”, If Any of Them Really Think About Peace

Peace begins with Israel ending the Nakba

On Monday, the Trump administration broke with more than 70 years of official US policy and the position of the international community by moving its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As if to rub salt in their wounds, it was be inaugurated the day before Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (the Catastrophe), when nearly a million Palestinians were displaced and became refugees during Israel’s establishment. In Israel, the Nakba is not only ignored, it is outright denied or even justified. Yet if there is to be peace in this region – and I think it is possible – it begins with acknowledging the Nakba, understanding it, and working to reverse it.

Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, which saw the transformation of half of Palestine’s population into stateless refugees, is not a mere historic event: it has persisted unabated until today.  Since 1967, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were either expelled from or denied re-entry when they traveled outside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, inside Israel’s recognized borders, its policy of “Judaizing” the south and north of the country often result in a quiet transfer of Palestinians through expropriation of land and demolition of villages, as is occurring in Umm al-Hiran today, where an entire Palestinian community is being destroyed so a town for Jewish Israelis can be built in its place.

Today more than six million Palestinians are homeless due to the 1948 Nakba and its subsequent chapters. Failing to acknowledge their rights will not only lead to continued instability in the region but also prevents any lasting peace. By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Trump is encouraging Israel to accelerate its dispossession of Palestinians in the city and elsewhere.

Only by revisiting the events of 1948 can one understand the essence of the conflict in Israel and Palestine, as well as the reasons for the failure to solve it. Even if there are still today, despite the clear archival evidence, people who refuse to acknowledge Israel’s responsibility for the catastrophe – the demolition of half of Palestine’s towns and villages and the exodus of 750,000 people – no one denies that the refugees were not allowed to return (in clear violation of the UN decisions and the international law).

The reasons for the expulsion and for the refusal to allow repatriation are the same. From the very onset of the Zionist project in Palestine, the main obstacle for the establishment of the Jewish state was the native population of Palestine. This still remains the problem for Israelis who regard themselves as Zionists, whether they are liberals, socialists or nationalists. The various political groups in Israel differ on the tactics of how to overcome the demographic reality of an Arab Palestinian country. They nonetheless concur on viewing the native Palestinians as a demographic existential threat simply because they are not Jewish.

The Palestinian leadership since the 1980s was willing to compromise on the territorial configuration of Israel, but could never, and will never, lend its consent to the overall Judaization of its homeland. Israeli laws that forbid Palestinians in Israel from commemorating the Nakba, Israeli demands that the Palestinians agree to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State,” – despite the fact that more than 20% of its population is Palestinian – are an insult added to an injury.  Israel is an established fact, but so are the circumstances of its establishment on the ruins of Palestine. For Palestinians territorial compromise does not include a license for a global amnesia or the acceptance of Israeli historical fabrications.

The Nakba defines many of the Palestinians who have been totally excluded by the “peace process”. This is particularly true about the younger generations. Whether in Israel, in the refugee camps or in the exile communities around the world, through cyberspace and actual meetings, these young Palestinians are creating a new vision for Palestine. While it is still not complete or articulated as a political program, it has a striking pair of messages:  a solution for Palestine has to include all Palestinians and cover all historical Palestine, and it has to rectify the worst consequence of the Nakba by implementing the Right of Return.

The Great Return march in Gaza, which was initiated and led by young people, has generated much excitement and enthusiasm. Many others are engaged in oral history projects, interviewing their grandparents and elders about the horrors of 1948, building models of villages and neighborhoods that were destroyed and imagining how the reconstructed ones would look like after they are finally allowed to return home.

American peacemakers, whether cynical or genuine in their efforts, have consistently failed to understand the essence of the conflict in Palestine. If they ever want to solve it, they need to revisit the dispossession of Palestinians that occurred in 1948 and understand its significance and the fact that 70 years later, Israel continues to systematically displace Palestinians from their homes.

With the collapse of the two-state solution, addressing the Nakba and events of 1948 should become the focus of a peace agenda. This is the original sin of the conflict in Israel/Palestine and it must be dealt with in an honest and just manner if we are ever to move forward.

And we should let this young generation lead us on that path. For them, rectifying what happened in 1948 and subsequently is an issue of human and civil rights and not of retribution, and their vision of the future is of a place where normal human life can be resumed, where it was denied for the last seventy years.

About Ilan Pappé

Professor Ilan Pappé is the Director of the European Center for Palestine Studies in University of Exeter and the author of 15 books among them The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2007), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2006), The War on Gaza (with Noam Chomsky) (2010) and his latest book in 2014 The Idea of Israel.

 

British Propaganda and Disinformation–An Imperial and Colonial Tradition

British Propaganda and Disinformation: An Imperial and Colonial Tradition

British Propaganda and Disinformation: An Imperial and Colonial Tradition

 

Wayne MADSEN

When it comes to creating bogus news stories and advancing false narratives, the British intelligence services have few peers.

In fact, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6) has led the way for its American “cousins” and Britain’s Commonwealth partners – from Canada and Australia to India and Malaysia – in the dark art of spreading falsehoods as truths. Recently, the world has witnessed such MI-6 subterfuge in news stories alleging that Russia carried out a novichok nerve agent attack against a Russian émigré and his daughter in Salisbury, England. This propaganda barrage was quickly followed by yet another – the latest in a series of similar fabrications – alleging the Syrian government attacked civilians in Douma, outside of Damascus, with chemical weapons.

It should come as no surprise that American news networks rely on British correspondents stationed in northern Syria and Beirut as their primary sources. MI-6 has historically relied on non-official cover (NOC) agents masquerading primarily as journalists, but also humanitarian aid workers, Church of England clerics, international bankers, and hotel managers, to carry out propaganda tasks. These NOCs are situated in positions where they can promulgate British government disinformation to unsuspecting actual journalists and diplomats.

For decades, a little-known section of the British Foreign Office – the Information Research Department (IRD) – carried out propaganda campaigns using the international media as its platform on behalf of MI-6. Years before Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir became targets for Western destabilization and “regime change.” IRD and its associates at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and in the newsrooms and editorial offices of Fleet Street broadsheets, tabloids, wire services, and magazines, particularly “The Daily Telegraph,” “The Times,” “Financial Times,” Reuters, “The Guardian,” and “The Economist,” ran media smear campaigns against a number of leaders considered to be leftists, communists, or FTs (fellow travelers).

These leaders included Indonesia’s President Sukarno, North Korean leader (and grandfather of Pyongyang’s present leader) Kim Il-Sung, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Cyprus’s Archbishop Makarios, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Chile’s Salvador Allende, British Guiana’s Cheddi Jagan, Grenada’s Maurice Bishop, Jamaica’s Michael Manley, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Guinea’s Sekou Toure, Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara, Australia’s Gough Whitlam, New Zealand’s David Lange, Cambodia’s Norodom Sihanouk, Malta’s Dom Mintoff, Vanuatu’s Father Walter Lini, and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.

After the Cold War, this same propaganda operation took aim at Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Somalia’s Mohamad Farrah Aidid, and Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Today, it is Assad’s, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s, and Catalonian independence leader Carles Puigdemont’s turn to be in the Anglo-American state propaganda gunsights. Even Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, long a darling of the Western media and such propaganda moguls as George Soros, is now being targeted for Western visa bans and sanctions over the situation with Muslim Rohingya insurgents in Rakhine State.

Through IRD-MI-6-Central Intelligence Agency joint propaganda operations, many British journalists received payments, knowingly or unknowingly, from the CIA via a front in London called Forum World Features (FWF), owned by John Hay Whitney, publisher of the “New York Herald Tribune” and a former US ambassador to London. It is not a stretch to believe that similar and even more formal relationships exist today between US and British intelligence and so-called British “journalists” reporting from such war zones as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Gaza Strip, as well as from much-ballyhooed nerve agent attack locations as Salisbury, England.

No sooner had recent news reports started to emerge from Douma about a Syrian chlorine gas and sarin agent attack that killed between 40 to 70 civilians, British reporters in the Middle East and London began echoing verbatim statements from the Syrian “White Helmets” and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In actuality, the White Helmets – claimed by Western media to be civilian defense first-responders but are Islamist activists connected to jihadist radical groups funded by Saudi Arabia – are believed to have staged the chemical attack in Douma by entering the municipality’s hospital and dowsing patients with buckets of water, video cameras at the ready. The White Helmets distributed their videos to the global news media, with the BBC and Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News providing a British imprimatur to the propaganda campaign asserting that Assad carried out another “barrel bomb” chemical attack against “his own people.” And, as always, the MI-6 financed Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad news front claimed to be operated by a Syrian expatriate and British national named Rami Abdel Rahman from his clothing shop in Coventry, England, began providing second-sourcing for the White Helmet’s chemical attack claims.

With President Trump bringing more and more neo-conservatives, discredited from their massive anti-Iraq propaganda operations during the Bush-Cheney era, into his own administration, the world is witnessing the prolongation of the “Trump Doctrine.”

The Trump Doctrine can best be explained as follows: A nation will be subject to a US military attack depending on whether Trump is facing a severe political or sex scandal at home.

Such was the case in April 2017, when Trump ordered a cruise missile attack on the joint Syrian-Russian airbase at Shayrat, Syria. Trump was still reeling from the resignation of his National Security Adviser, Lt. General Michael Flynn, in February over the mixing of his private consulting business with his official White House duties. Trump needed a diversion and the false accusation that Assad used sarin gas on the village of Khan Sheikoun on April 4, 2017, provided the necessary pabulum for the war-hungry media.

The most recent cruise missile attack was to divert the public’s attention away from Trump’s personal attorney being raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a sex scandal involving Trump and a porn actress, and a “tell-all” book by Trump’s fired FBI director, James Comey.

Although these two scandals provided opportunities for the neo-cons to test Trump with false flag operations in Syria, they were not the first time such actions had been carried out. In 2013, the Syrian government was blamed for a similar chemical attack on civilians in Ghouta. That year, Syrian rebels, supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, admitted to the Associated Press reporter on the ground in Syria that they had been given banned chemical weapons by Saudi Arabia, but that the weapons canisters exploded after improper handling by the rebels. Immediately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian rebel organizations operating out of Turkey claimed that Assad had used chemical-laden barrel bombs on “his own people.” However, Turkish, American, and Lebanese sources confirmed that it was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that had badly bungled a false flag sarin nerve agent attack on Ghouta.

Few Western media outlets were concerned about a March 19, 2013, sarin nerve agent by the Bashair al-Nasr Brigade rebel group linked to the US- and British-backed Free Syrian Army. The rebels used a “Bashair-3” unguided projectile, containing the deadly sarin agent, on civilians in Khan al-Assal, outside Aleppo. At least 27 civilians were killed, and scores of others injured in the attack. The Syrian Kurds also reported the use of chemical weapons on them during the same time frame by Syrian rebel groups backed by the United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The usual propaganda operations – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Doctors Without Borders, the BBC, CNN, and Sky News – were all silent about these attacks.

In 2013, April 2017, and April 2018, the Western media echo chamber blared out all the same talking points: “Assad killing his own people,” “Syrian weapons of mass destruction,” and the “mass murder of women and children.” Western news networks featured videos of dead women and children, while paid propagandists, known as “contributors” to corporate news networks – all having links to the military-intelligence complex – demanded action be taken against Assad.

Trump, now being advised by the notorious neocon war hawk John Bolton, the new National Security Adviser, began referring to Assad as an “animal” and a “monster.” Bolton, along with Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby, helped craft similar language against Saddam Hussein prior to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was not coincidental that Trump – at the urging of Bolton and other neocons – gave a full pardon to Libby on the very same day he ordered the cruise missile attack on Damascus and other targets in Syria. Libby was convicted in 2005 of perjury and illegally disclosing national security information.

The world is being asked to take, at face value, the word of patented liars like Trump, Bolton, and other neocons who are now busy joining the Trump administration at breakneck speed. The corporate media unabashedly acts as though it never lied about the reasons given by the United States and Britain for going to war in Iraq and Libya. Why should anyone believe them now?

US hiding thousands of terrorists in Syria

US hiding thousands of terrorists in Syria

A Russian diplomat says the public won’t hear a peep from the US about the several thousand terrorists detained in Syria whom Washington would like to get off the hook

© EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA

KERCH, May 16. /TASS/. The United States has remained mum about several thousand militant extremists detained in Syria whom Washington would like to let off scot-free, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

“We have taken note of the fact the US administration is keeping quiet about the several thousand foreign terrorists, who have been detained by the US-led coalition and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces in Transeuphratia,” she said. “The explanation that it is allegedly impossible to agree on extradition procedures and parameters of legal assistance with the countries of origin are totally far-fetched.”

“Apparently this legal vacuum is being created deliberately with the aim to conceal the real aim: to let the militants dodge responsibility. It is noteworthy that in defiance of complicity in terrorism no charges are put forward or investigative measures taken.”

Zakharova said Russia knew well the number of militants and the conditions in which they were being kept.

“According to our sources, there are two or three thousand militants, mostly from Europe, Arab countries and the CIS,” she said. “The so-called restrictive measures are confined to limiting the freedom of movement. They enjoy three meals a day, medical assistance and the opportunities for exercise to stay in good physical shape.”

Such actions by the United States and its allies in the region, Zakharova believes, are fraught with the re-emergence of the terrorist state in the region.

“In view of President Donald Trump’s announcement of the forthcoming US pullout from Syria there emerge high risks of a Caliphate’s re-emergence in Transeuphratia under the Iraqi type scenario we saw when after the successful withdrawal of the US contingent in 2011 entailed the emergence of the group Islamic State (outlawed in Russia – TASS), she said. “By refraining from criminal prosecution of the mentioned militants the US administration in fact covers up their criminal activity.”

Moscow, Zakharova said, insists on inevitable punishment for the terrorists detained by the United States and the coalition it leads.

“In this context we would like to focus attention on the principle of inevitability of punishment of the detained terrorists for the committed crimes in accordance with the extradite-or-put-on-trial principle,” Zakharova said. “We believe it is utterly impermissible to manipulate with anti-terrorist tasks for using double standards to attain geopolitical aims.”.

The Syrian Conflict Is A Distraction From A Secret War

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Back in March 2010 I published an article titled ‘Will Globalists Trigger Yet Another World War?’under the pen name Giordano Bruno describing what I felt would be the most effective triggers for a new global conflict. In that article I pointed to Syria as the primary powder keg, followed in close second by Iran and Yemen. This was written well before the Syrian civil war was engineered by establishment interests. I focused on potential false flags that could be used as a rationale by the U.S. or Israel to invade the region, thereby giving Russia and China reason to retaliate, for the most part economically. Ultimately, this scenario would play out perfectly as a cover for the deliberate collapse of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency.

In August 2012 I reiterated my concerns in an article titled Syria And Iran Dominoes Lead To World War, right after the Syrian civil war began to gain momentum.

Needless to say, I have not changed my general thesis since those days; however, I would like to touch upon certain factors now that the dangers I examined in those articles are mostly coming to pass in 2018.

First, no hard evidence has been produced by western intelligence agencies to support the claim that Bashar Al Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. None. Therefore, there is no basis for the latest missile attacks on the regime. This same exact false flag tactic was attempted under the Obama administration to draw the U.S. people into open war in Syria, and it failed. Now the chemical weapon card is being played again, this time with a “conservative” president. The establishment must be hoping that Republicans will find excitement in becoming the war party so long after the Bush years.

As I queried the last time a chemical false flag was attempted, what exactly does Assad have to gain by initiating a chemical attack against innocent civilians when he has the tactical momentum and upper hand in the civil war?  The answer is nothing.  The only people that have anything to gain by asserting such an attack, either real or fabricated, are people seeking to create chaos for their own benefit.

The insinuation of neocon warmonger John Bolton into the Trump cabinet suggests that the neocons are very much back in charge and that ongoing war is guaranteed. At this late stage in the game, it is unlikely that our government or any other government involved in the Syrian theater even cares to explain its actions. When establishment criminals no longer care if their criminality is transparent to the public, THEN it is time for a large scale societal collapse.

Second, each successive Trump involved theater, from the trade tariffs to international war tensions, has become progressively more dramatic, and I believe this is meant to hide the effects of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet cuts and interest rate hikes. The real and secret war being waged is not against Syria or Syria’s allies, but against the American people and our economic stability.

In January of this year, I warned that central banks were preparing to enter into an accelerating process to deflate the massive market bubbles they created to prop up our fiscal system over the past several years. That process is indeed continuing, and each successive rate hike and balance sheet cut will act in a cumulative fashion. Meaning, central bankers are treating the global economy like an oversized Jenga tower, pulling blocks here and there until the system topples completely from lack of stability.

This latest event in Syria is yet another grand gesture of illusion, designed to provide cover for the banking cabal as they pull the plug on financial life support. It also is timed rather conveniently for the Fed’s next policy meeting on May 1-2. The meeting is likely to include yet another interest rate hike as well as a large reduction in the balance sheet, resulting in another sizable plunge in stocks. All negative moves in our manipulated markets will now be blamed on Trump administration activities as well as blamed on trade retaliations by eastern nations. The mainstream media will no longer discuss the reality that central banks are the true cause behind a systemic breakdown.

Third, the current pattern of events suggest there will be a joint economic retaliation by Russia and China. China has publicly admonished the U.S. government for its strike in Syria, and this is merely added to the increasing tensions over trade tariffs by Trump. Again, this is a perfect opportunity to undermine the U.S. economy, primarily through China and Russia initiating a dump of the dollar as the world reserve currency.

The dump of the dollar has already begun in a semi-covert fashion. China’s currency has been inducted into the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket system, and China has also launched the first international oil exchange that does not use the dollar as the petro-currency. What many people are ignoring is the fact that the shift away from the dollar is being championed and helped along by the globalists at the IMF itself.

An impending change in the global monetary framework is often referred to as the great “global economic reset” by IMF members like Christine Lagarde. This change will be facilitated by central banks as they sabotage their respective national economies through the creation and destruction of market bubbles. Ultimately, it will not be the Chinese Yuan that replaces the dollar as world reserve currency, but the SDR basket system, controlled by the IMF.

The question of how this can be done by the globalists without an unprecedented liquidity crisis often comes up. I’m not so sure they care if there is a liquidity crisis, at least for a short time. Yes, the U.S. dollar has some of the most liquid markets in the world, but it is wrong to assume the globalists will not sacrifice those markets in order to force the public into accepting one world centralization of monetary administration (the biggest and most important step in establishing global government).

People who argue that the dollar will never be demolished by the globalists cling to the false notion that there is no liquidity replacement for the dollar. In reality, there is a replacement — cyrptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The IMF has recently applauded blockchain systems and crypto as a potential rejuvenating force in international money transactions. Far from being opposed to cryptocurrencies, global elitists have been piling into them with praise and with investment dollars.

The global economic reset is not about East versus West. It is not about trade wars and nationalism. No, the global reset is about banker centralization of assets and consolidation of power. Beyond that, it is about the public ACCEPTING the reset as necessary and “good” for society. Globalists want us to beg for their rule. When one understands this simple truth, all the current events and disasters of our era begin to make sense. Crisis is the quickest path to complacency and tyranny.

The Syrian quagmire is a path to engineered and guided calamity.  Its effects will continue to leach into the economic world as an international excuse for a trade war tit-for-tat.  Syria is a smoke and mirrors game.

The true war, a secret war, is being fought between liberty champions and lying globalists. For now it remains a cold war, a battle of principles and facts versus disinformation and fear. One day this war will become a hot one. Until that time, distractions will assail the public like a hailstorm. My hope is that we can educate enough people to see through the fog of this hidden war; enough people to come out the other side and change things for the better.

The Lies That Make America’s Interventions Possible

The Lies Behind America’s Interventions

No one wants to be manipulated into war. So why do we keep letting it happen?

President Bush accompanied by Secretary of State Colin Powell (far left), Vice President Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton (far right), President George W. Bush talks with the media, September 12, 2001, about the previous day’s terrorist attacks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. (George W. Bush Presidential Library)

Official Washington and those associated with it have misrepresented the facts numerous times in the service of military actions that might not otherwise have taken place. In the Middle East, these interventions have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab civilians, brought chaos to Iraq and Libya, and led to the expulsion of a million Christians from communities where they have lived since biblical times.

The most famous of these episodes, of course, was the U.S. government’s assurance to the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which formed the basis for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The government also insisted Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda, bolstering the call to war. Of course neither was true.

But even before that there was the first Iraq war in 1991, justified in part by the story of Iraqi soldiers reportedly dumping babies out of incubators to die in a Kuwaiti hospital. The 15-year-old daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador cleverly lied to a set-up congressional committee. The Christian Science Monitor detailed this bizarre episode in 2002.

There were also the lies about the Iraqi army being poised to invade Saudi Arabia. That was the ostensible reason for the U.S. sending troops to Kuwait—to defend Saudi Arabia. Writing in the the Los Angeles Times in 2003, Independent Institute fellow Victor Marshall pointed out that neither the CIA nor the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency viewed an Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia as probable, and said the administration’s Iraqi troop estimates were “grossly exaggerated.” In fact, the administration’s claim that it had aerial photographs proving its assertions was never verified because, as we later learned, the photos never existed. The Christian Science Monitor also reported on this in 2002 ahead of the second Iraq war.

America attacked Iraq in 1991, bombing and destroying that nation’s irrigation, sanitation, and electricity plants. (See here regarding Washington’s knowledge of and planning for the horrific mass contamination of Iraqi drinking water.) Then we blockaded reconstruction supplies for nine years while some half-million children died of disease and starvation. We blamed it all on Saddam, although we controlled Iraq’s money flows through the UN food-for-oil program. Fortunately, we have a rare admission by Madeleine Albright on 60 Minutes about what was done.

Before that, there was the Kosovo war when America attacked Serbia on the basis of lies that 100,000 Kosovans had been massacred by Serbs in suppressing their civil war. This led to massive American bombing, brutally destroying much of that nation’s civilian infrastructure and factories, including most of the bridges in the country, and all but one of those over the Danube River. The Americans imposed peace, then expelled most Serbs out of their former province. Subsequently there was the mass destruction of hundreds of ancient Christian churches and the creation of a European enclave now filled with Saudi money that sponsors Wahhabi education, with its rote memorization of the Koran and its 13th-century hatred of Christians.

More recently there was the British, French, and American attack on Libya in response to lies that Moammar Gaddafi was planning to massacre civilians in Benghazi. The U.S. destroyed his armed forces and helped to overthrow him. Widespread looting of his weaponry subsequently filled black markets in Asia and Africa and contributed to the ability of Boko Haram terrorists to sow chaos in Nigeria and parts of Northern Africa. Masses of African refugees have been flooding Western Europe ever since, traveling through Libya. Some of those weapons also made their way into the hands of the Islamic State, which overran parts of Iraq and Syria.

Most recently we had cable news inundating us with stories of a new poison gas attack in Syria. The “news” came from rebel sources. The American Conservative has published a detailed analysis by former arms inspector Scott Ritter questioning the evidence, or lack of it, that the Assad regime initiated the attack. The former British ambassador to Syria also cast doubts on the poison gas attack and its sources from rebel organizations.

It doesn’t make sense that Assad would use poison gas just as Trump was saying that he wanted to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. It does make sense for the rebels to have staged a set up to get America to stay and attack Assad. This happened before in the summer of 2014 when President Obama nearly went to war over similar accusations. Only after asking Congress to vote on the matter did he decide against the attack because Congress wasn’t interested. Some congressmen’s mail was running 100-to-one against bombing. It was a welcome reminder of why Washington doesn’t want actual votes on starting wars: because most Americans don’t want more Washington wars.

Investigative journalists Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry expertly poked holes in the veracity of that 2013 attack. Other reports suggested that Syrian bombs unleashed poison gas the rebels had been storing in civilian areas. The New York Times finally published in December 2013 a detailed report that expressed doubts about its earlier conclusion that the 2013 “red line” gassing was carried out definitively by the Syrian military. False flag operations to goad America into war, it seems, can be successful.

After all the hundreds of thousands of innocents abroad killed by America and the human misery caused because of clever U.S. and foreign manipulations, one would think we might pause before attacking Syria and running the risk of killing Russians who are advising the Syrians. That could ignite an entirely new kind of war with a nuclear-armed Russia—all without congressional approval.

Obama, whose policies were predicated on the view that Assad must go, seemed to think Syrians would live happily after in some magically sprouting democracy. To believe this one would have to ignore the prior examples of Iraq and Libya. Nor do these war party advocates seem in the least concerned about the 10 percent of Syria’s population who are Christians, many of whom would surely by massacred after any overthrow of Assad.

Further, the so-called Free Syrian Army is a hodgepodge of rebel groups that include many Islamist radicals. With funding from fundamentalist Saudis and Turkey, they took over from more liberal forces early on. It’s worth noting also that Turkey provided the black market for ISIS to sell Syria’s captured oil.

Going back a hundred years there were the clever British lies that helped coax America into joining the Allies in World War I. England controlled the trans-Atlantic cables and most of our “news” about the war. That intervention resulted in the Treaty of Versailles instead of a compromise peace between Germany and England/France that would have prevented the wreckage of Europe out of which came the rise of communism and Nazism.

For an analysis of the risks of accidental nuclear war, see my 2017 January Publisher’s Report, in which I once wrote about how Osama bin Laden’s ultimate aim was to get Russia and America to destroy each other. It still could happen, triggered by false atrocity stories, cable TV’s 24-hour hyping of any and every threat, and Washington’s propensity to believe lies—and sometimes perpetrate them—to promote wars.

Jon Basil Utley is publisher of The American Conservative.

Saudi crown prince goes into hiding since last month’s attack on royal palace

[SEE: Incident in Saudi Arabia Sparks Tweets About Unconfirmed Possible Coup Attempt.]

 

The handout provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 16, 2018, shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using binoculars to follow the "Persian Gulf Shield 1" military drills at their closing ceremony in the eastern Saudi region of Dhahran, on the sidelines of the 29th Arab League summit. (Photo via AFP)
The handout provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 16, 2018, shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using binoculars to follow the “Persian Gulf Shield 1” military drills at their closing ceremony in the eastern Saudi region of Dhahran, on the sidelines of the 29th Arab League summit. (Photo via AFP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has not been seen in public since heavy gunfire and explosions reported from outside the royal palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh late last month.

No new photo or video of bin Salman has been released by Saudi state media since that incident, which happened just after the young heir to the throne wrapped up a whirlwind global tour meant to advertise himself as the new power in the kingdom.

Bin Salman was not even seen on camera when new US Secretary of State Mike Popmeo paid his maiden visit to Riyadh in late April.

Although reports said the crown prince had hosted a working dinner with the top American diplomat, only images of Pompeo’s meetings with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were published.

The long disappearance has raised speculation about the fate of the crown prince.

Some sources claimed that the attack on April 21 was part of a coup led by Saudi royals who are opposed to King Salman, while other reports indicated that the shooting occurred when the palace guards targeted a small drone which came too close to Salman’s residence.

Saudi activists said that the shooting had nothing to do with the drone, but it was an attack from vehicles carrying heavy machine guns and shooting randomly.

It was claimed that bin Salman had been evacuated to a nearby bunker at a military base for his safety.

A number of journalists in Riyadh were reporting heavy fire outside palace compound.

Saudi opposition groups also suggest that the April shooting had forced Bin Salman to ban the royal family members from leaving the country for fear that his cousin and former crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, would try to topple him.

In addition to internal power struggle within royal family, Bin Nayef and Mutab Bin Abdullah, son of a late king, both were dissatisfied with Saudi-led aggression against Yemen and siege of Qatar.

The attack on palace came after a self-promoting campaign at home, which saw hundreds of royals and businessmen detained and tortured. Most of them were later released after reaching financial settlement deals with the kingdom.

Since the raids targeting hundreds of influential businessmen and the old political leadership, fear is present in every conversation, the fear of being the next one to be interrogated, arrested or even tortured.

Reports from those who were locked up, in addition to reports of a death at the Ritz, indicate that such fears may not be farfetched.

This is while bin Salman has refused to reveal his own wealth, saying it is a private matter amid reports of his opulent lifestyle at a time the oil-rich kingdom is introducing austerity measures.

Perhaps the strangest thing about this uprising against the wealthy and the powerful, though, is that it is coming from above, from a 32-year-old who is rebelling against his own class in the hopes of ultimately being the last man standing.

Although there has always been competition from within the royal family, and criticism of its behavior from outside, the approximately 15,000 princes and princesses and their hangers-on were widely seen as untouchable.

Bin Salman possesses a deep desire for power. But he also has little experience, which some consider to be a potentially dangerous combination.

The reckless crown prince has offended the Muslim nations by repeatedly taking an anti-Palestinian stance.

The warming of Riyadh-Tel Aviv relations has gathered pace since June 2017, when bin Salman became the crown prince.

In recent months, the kingdom has been gradually softening its public posture toward Israel in what analysts describe as an attempt by Riyadh to prepare public opinion at home and elsewhere for potential normal relations with Israel.

Last November, Lebanon’s al-Akhbar daily published a secret undated letter from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to bin Salman, in which he outlined a roadmap for normalizing ties with Israel with the ultimate goal of uniting against Iran, their common enemy.

Bin Salman in March during his three-week tour of the United States also met with leaders of a number of pro-Israeli lobbying groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Bin Salman  during the US visit also  said that Palestinians should either accept peace proposals or “shut up.”

The remarks caused a storm of fury among Muslim nations.

Bin Salman is a close friend of US President Donald Trump’s aide and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Analysts believe that the great danger in the Middle East today is that bin Salman and Kushner appear to have a skewed and unrealistic understanding of the world around them.

Bin Salman and most of Arab leaders from the Persian Gulf states have largely remained silent after over 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on Monday in besieged Gaza.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner headed a US delegation which opened the new American embassy in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The developments come as Saudi Arabia’s “dream” of becoming the dominant power in the Arab world has ended in “disastrous” failure.

The Saudis and their coalition of terrorists have not been able to achieve that in Syria.

Indirect Saudi intervention in Syria failed when Saudi-funded militants were defeated in their last big urban strongholds in the conflict-hit country  and Riyadh’s direct military intervention was botched, in Yemen, when it failed to reinstate a former ally as president .

Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen has contributed to the country’s humanitarian crisis, damaging bin Salman’s image both internationally and regionally.

The House of Saud’s designated successor has also been attempting to portray himself as a “reformer” and an advocate of women’s rights.

On the economic front, analysts have cast doubt on bin Salman’s so-called Vision 2030 project, which aims to wean the Saudi economy off petrodollars and make the country more like “a normal non-oil state.”

Opinion Boston—When governments go looking for war

When governments go looking for war

Considering the lengthy history of “false flag” incidents laid out in Stephen Kinzer’s “Hoisting the false flag” [SEE ARTICLE BELOW], it’s important to question the truth of the chemical attacks in Syria. In an interview on CNN, Senator Rand Paul said, “I still look at the attack and say, you know, [Bashar al-Assad] either must be the dumbest dictator on the planet or maybe he didn’t do it.” The people of this country have been lied into war many times. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, which led to escalation in the Vietnam War, and misleading reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before 2003 are other examples of dishonesty by our government to garner support for war.

Unfortunately, I feel we’re striking at a branch rather than the root of the problem. The use of chemical weapons, whoever the culprit, is deplorable. But is that the issue in question? We are not at war with Syria, nor has Congress authorized the presence of our forces there. Yet thousands of our soldiers remain in Syria. Why? How is that legal?

The false flag that concerns me most is the one we’ve hoisted ourselves. It’s the flag of empire.

Brian Garvey

Brighton

 

Hoisting the false flag

 

 

A Syrian girl holds an oxygen mask over the face of an infant at a make-shift hospital following a reported gas attack on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on January 22, 2018.
HASAN MOHAMED/AFP/Getty Images
A Syrian girl holds an oxygen mask over the face of an infant at a makeshift hospital following a reported gas attack on Douma, the besieged rebel-held town on the outskirts of Damascus.

Brave Guatemalan air force pilots rebelled against a leftist regime in 1954 and used their planes to bomb the regime’s bases. Army commanders also rebelled; Guatemalans could hear them directing troop movements over the radio. Finally these patriots won their revolution. The United States trumpeted their victory around the world.

This was a “false flag” operation — staged by one force but made to look as if someone else did it. Planes that bombed targets in Guatemala were painted with Guatemalan air force insignia, but the pilots were CIA contractors. Radio messages about troop movements had been pre-recorded at a CIA base in Florida. A revolution that seemed to be emerging from one country, Guatemala, was actually the project of another, the United States.

False flag operations are a well-established tactic. Many intelligence agencies have staged them. Often they are successful. They lead the world to blame a crime or atrocity on an innocent party while the true culprit remains obscure. Computer technology has brought a host of new “false flag” possibilities, as hackers and counter-hackers compete to leave misleading electronic trails.

Some critics of American involvement in Syria’s civil war doubt that the recent poison gas attacks near Damascus were launched on orders from President Bashar al-Assad, as the United States and its allies have asserted. The last such attack came just days after President Trump vowed to pull American troops out of Syria. It led Trump to reverse course, denounce “animal Assad,” and order bombing instead. That brought cheers from those who wish for an open-ended American presence in Syria, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Syria’s government again appeared demonic.

These events — along with the fact that intelligence agencies operating in the Middle East are highly sophisticated — raise the question of whether some other force could have staged gas attacks in order to cast blame on Assad. The French government produced an intelligence report concluding that “there is no plausible scenario other than that of an attack by Syrian armed forces.” One day more information may emerge. More than a few false flag operations have become public after they were botched, or after researchers discovered evidence that perpetrators tried to hide.

Throughout history, false flag operations have been used to provide casus belli — a justification for war. In 1788 a squad of Swedish soldiers dressed in Russian uniforms attacked a Swedish military outpost, giving King Gustav III grounds to attack Russia. Japan seized Manchuria in 1931 after its forces bombed its own rail line there and blamed the Chinese. In 1939 the Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich dressed concentration camp inmates in Nazi uniforms, had them shot, and then, seeking to win sympathy for the Nazi occupation of Poland, claimed that Polish partisans had killed them. That same year, Soviet forces bombarded a Russian village near the border with Finland, blamed it on the Finns, and four days later invaded Finland.

Some false flag operations require committing murder and other crimes that can be blamed on the enemy. The effect is greatest when the crime is especially horrific. During the 1970s, Africans working for an elite Rhodesian force called the Selous Scouts killed hundreds of civilians while disguised as Mozambican soldiers. Security forces in Turkey staged attacks and blamed them on Kurdish guerrillas. Algerian commandos disguised as terrorists carried out killings that were used to justify police repression. Security forces in Russia have been accused of staging bombings that they blamed on Chechen rebels.

Not all false flag operations come to fruition. In 1954, as the British were preparing to withdraw troops from Egypt, Israel tried to scare them into staying as protection against Arab nationalism. Israeli operatives recruited agents to set off bombs at American and British cinemas, libraries and schools. The bombings were to be blamed on Communists and the Muslim Brotherhood, but the plan was discovered. Israel’s defense minister was forced to resign.

In 1962, senior American officers proposed a large-scale false flag operation aimed at providing what one memo called “justification for US military intervention in Cuba.” At various stages, it involved plans for sinking a boat full of Cuban refugees, shooting down a civilian airliner, and assassinating Cuban exile leaders in Florida — all to be blamed on Cuba. One related proposal urged that if the launch of astronaut John Glenn failed, the United States should blame it on Cuba. Another suggested a military attack on a Latin American country staged to look as if Cuba had ordered it. Officers even proposed organizing an assault on the US base at Guantanamo so they could use it as proof of Cuba’s hostility. They presented these plans to President Kennedy at an Oval Office meeting, but he rejected them.

In the cyber age, intelligence services have become adept at staging attacks on computer systems that can be attributed to others. This is a modern permutation of an age-old technique. False flag operations succeed because many people reflexively jump to accept official narratives. Conveniently timed attacks that give pretexts for war, however, are not always what they seem. History suggests that we should await clear evidence before falling into well-laid traps.

 

Stephen Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Follow him on Twitter @stephenkinzer