Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Be Ready To Fight For Peace When The Next Syria False Flag Comes

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Syrian and Russian officials are again warning about a coming false flag chemical attack. Sources in Syrian intelligence and the Russian military have both warned in the last several weeks that U.S.-backed forces in Syria are preparing to stage chemical weapons provocations that will be used to escalate Western attacks against Assad’s government. This week Russia’s defense ministry followed up Russia’s past accusations about a coming false flag, having said Al-Nusra terrorists are preparing chemical provocations in Syria’s Idlib province.

I’m not saying we should automatically trust these authorities. But the last time the Russian government warned about a coming false flag Syria chemical attack in March, it was shortly followed by just such an event. As I can’t keep repeating enough, overwhelming evidence has come out that the April 7 incident in Douma was falsely blamed on Assad: seventeen witnesses to the event publicly testified in April that no gas was involved, and the people interviewed by journalist Robert Fisk have said the same.
Fisk’s report concludes that a heavy dust storm had happened in Douma at that time, depriving many people of of oxygen and prompting the mass hospitalizations that we saw videos of. Bizarrely, the people interviewed by Fisk say that members of the White Helmets were going around the area at that time shouting that a gas attack was happening. The White Helmets, along with every other major Western institution, then reported that Assad had done such an attack.
It was an outrageous and flimsy deception. And the U.S. was still able to use it to justify several strikes on Damascus, which were luckily not substantial enough to start a major escalation in the Syrian war. But it could be different when the next false flag happens.
People on the antiwar right don’t have reason to be comfortable right now with the Trump White House’s agenda for Syria. Trump’s state department continues to fund the White Helmets, and the Trump administration’s explicitly stated goal of regime change in Iran directly entails a regime change war in Syria. When the next war deception comes, the entire antiwar coalition needs to be ready to fight back.
As Caitlin Johnstone wrote over a year ago: “In order to beat the legacy media we need to replace it, so the more psywar soldiers we’ve got creating content the better. Write articles, make videos, create memes, build a viral Twitter presence; use whatever gifts you’ve got to throw monkey wrenches in the gears of the propaganda machine.” Johnstone wouldn’t advocate these actions if they were ineffectual. The political establishment is very concerned right now about what people are seeing online, as has been shown with the fixation from politicians and the media about “Russian trolls” and “fake news.”
This obsession isn’t about protecting Americans from misinformation, it’s aboutkeeping people under the influence of oligarchic propaganda. If social media users, bloggers, and activists put as much effort as possible into exposing the lies about Syria when this next deception comes, the empire’s plans could be disrupted on a revolutionary scale.
We have the power to stop the war machine from manufacturing consent for a continued assault on Syria. If we succeed, we could set off a streak of further victories, such as a prevention of a conflict with Russia, an obstruction of the plans for Iran regime change, and a permanent damage to the effectiveness of the war propaganda machine. Use your power to make peace and truth win out this time.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Trump Supporters Are Ignoring Their Leaders’s Militarism The Same Way Obama Supporters Did

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One of the most affecting things I’ve recently read is this line from Lee Camp’s article Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutesand No One Is Talking About It:

While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names.
As I’ll describe, this reality of our constant guilt in the slaughter of innocent people is too overwhelming for many Americans to confront. And this reality has gotten bloodier than usual since Donald Trump became president a year and a half ago. Trump’s military is indeed dropping bombs on an average of twelve minutes, keeping up with the average of 121 bombs per day that the U.S. dropped in the first year of Trump’s term. Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been the main targets of this escalated global assault, with bombs having been dropped on these countries in record numbers throughout the last year. An expanded drone war has naturally been part of this, with Trump having been sued by the ACLU last December for the unethical secrecy of his administration’s increasingly deadly drone assassination practices.
Overall, Trump has outdone Obama’s famous deed of dropping bombs on seven countries, with Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and now Niger having been attacked by the U.S. in the last year. In front of these rarely mentioned warfare escalations from the Trump administration, the U.S. has twice sent missiles at Syria without provocation, and the annual military budget has been raised by more than $80 billion in the last year. And the warfare hasn’t stopped expanding, telling from the Trump White Houses’ considerations for invading Venezuela, its explicitly stated goal of regime change in Iran, and its continued willingness to intervene in Syria.
President Trump has publicly endorsed and approved all of these hawkish, destructive policies. Yet whenever I’ve mentioned them to Trump supporters, the consensus is that I’m being unfair. They say that these things haven’t happened. Or that the drone strikes are justified because they’ve only hit terrorists (despite how the CIA’s own documents have shown that only 2% of American drones are recorded as having killed people on the kill list). Or that it’s unreasonable to expect Trump to fix the system at once. In any case, it’s agreed on that Trump is not to blame, and that I’ve fallen for partisan propaganda.
Do these statements sound familiar to you too? They’re essentially the same things that many of Obama’s supporters have said when confronted with the similar pro-war policies of their president. Anyone who’s recently tried to talk about America’s warfare in online threads can probably relate to my experience; people don’t like to hear when their chosen leaders do bad things, so they push the uncomfortable information aside.
Idealizing leaders is a common human mistake, and it’s evidently been made by antiwar-minded people who support both Obama and Trump. And I don’t blame either of these camps for making it, because they’ve both fallen into the political order that the plutocracy has designed. This is an order where the liberal and conservative teams are pitted against each other, while the ruling oligarchs carry out their wars and neoliberal policies from behind the scenes.
Trump does not represent a salvation from this paradigm. His continuation of Bush and Obama’s worst policies has shown which side he’s on. The only thing that can meaningfully transform society is massive, bottom-up revolutionary action. And that requires us to apply scrutiny to all of our leaders, including the ones we’d like to think are the answer.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

You Can’t Oppose War In Syria While Pushing Anti-Assad Propaganda

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Why do so many figures on the left who are against Syria intervention in principle always go along with the empire’s claims that Assad has committed a chemical attack? It may be a strategy for getting themselves accepted in mainstream circles, since the very idea of false flags is considered a “conspiracy theory” that’s too taboo to discuss. Because of this social ban against questioning the official narrative about Syria, many opponents of intervention are convinced that questioning it would be absurd, and that the skeptics shouldn’t be listened to.

Yet any honest research into the situation in Syria gives us ample evidence that the conspiracy theorists are right. In April, seventeen witnesses to the alleged chemical attack from earlier that month testified they hadn’t been attacked with sarin. This version of events is supported by the story from famed reporter Robert Fisk, who interviewed witnesses to the incident that stated no gas attack had taken place. Additionally, the White Helmets have shown in their own clips and photographs that while handling victims of the “chemical attack,” they didn’t use any of the necessary gear for protecting themselves from sarin exposure.
The case for Assad’s guilt, meanwhile, so far rests only on dubious statements from Western institutions and leaders, and from the very big logical stretch that Assad had a good strategic reason to gas civilians in his own territory while he was already winning the war. So has been roughly the case for the supposed chemical attacks from Assad in 2017, 2014, and 2013: in all of these instances, the evidence has gone overwhelmingly against the official narrative. But the existence of the war machine requires that the official narrative is believed, so dissent has been marginalized as much as possible.
It’s debatable whether progressive figures like Bernie Sanders deserve condemnation for going along with the Syria narrative, since Tulsi Gabbard’s public profile was severely damaged by establishment propaganda last year when she questioned Assad’s guilt. But even when these figures accompany their denunciations of Assad’s supposed crimes with criticisms of U.S. intervention, they’re ultimately bringing us closer to a Syrian regime change war, and thus closer to a U.S.-Russia confrontation. As the journalist Eva Bartlett recently said in an interview with MintPress News, “You can’t say that you’re an anti-interventionist and yet support the dubious claims that you have to know will lead to intervention. It’s reckless.”
On the media level, expressly progressive people who agree with the propaganda about Syria have gone so far as to now be the main enforcers of these pro-war narratives. George Monbiot of The Guardian has been going on a strangely aggressive campaign to denounce whoever questions the Syria narratives-a pattern of disingenuous journalistic behavior that The Guardian has reflected in many other instances.
The Intercept, which has lately been moving in a more pro-establishment direction with its attacks against Julian Assange, has also cultivated an attitude of hostility towards dissent about Syria. In April, The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan published a very factually one-sided column which attacked “Assad apologists” who ignored the evidence that “your hero” had committed a gas attack. This followed an oddly biased piece The Intercept ran last year titled Why White Nationalists Love Bashar Al-Assad, which essentially tried to associate opposition to Syrian regime change with neo-Nazism.
It’s a toxic environment within journalism that discourages the genuine pursuit of the truth. And we need to not be intimidated by it. Exposing the empire’s deceptions about Syria is how we can stop the process of manufacturing consent, which is always an essential part of the empire’s plans for starting its wars. Don’t be bullied into accepting the very transparent lies we’re being told about Syria. Speak the truth loudly and unapologetically, because this is how we can prevent the catastrophe this is all leading to.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

This Isn’t The Worst It Will Get

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The reactionary immigration policies of the Democratic Party, which have come from the party’s centrist impulse to simply “enforce the law,” have been taken under Trump into an active hatred for the people these laws target. This has lead to these laws being escalated in a way that shows just how dark a place the country has entered into.

The “zero tolerance” policy, instituted by Trump in May, is a blatant attack on the ethnic group of the southern immigrants who it’s designed to harm. Before the policy, crossing the border without documentation was considered a misdemeanor, not a felony like how zero tolerance defines it as.
This has caused a massive increase in the amount of children who are being taken from their parents at the border. An increase that, despite Trump’s publicly denouncing the idea of separating families, is clearly embraced by the Trump White House and is being planned for further expansion; the Trump administration made plans earlier this week for building enough new child detention centers to hold 30,000 children by August.
The issue has been presented by Trump’s spokespeople in comforting terms: these parents have broken the law, so putting the kids in “foster care” is only a routine practice for protecting our borders. Aside from how the conditions in these “foster” facilities have been found to be abusive, and how Trump’s zero tolerance policy is a cruel perversion of the usual immigration laws, to support this practice is to endorse a brutally unjust U.S. immigration model-a model that Trump has only built on.
For decades, people who’ve entered the United States to escape danger and extreme poverty have been punished by the U.S. immigration system. The process of getting citizenship has made it impossible for many of them to simply “enter the country legally.” The fee for applying for naturalization is currently $750, something a poor person has virtually no hope of coming up with. And the waiting periods for applying take up to five years, giving someone who’s urgently trying to escape their country’s conditions the options of seeking a green card, entering American society illegally, or staying in their own desperate location. The separation of families who try to cross the border is based off of these racist laws.
In short, the United States is again the land of internment camps, like it was with the persecution of the Japanese during World War II. And it won’t end here.
Trump’s being pressured yesterday into partially repealing the zero tolerance policy is only a tactical retreat from the viciously reactionary Trump White House. Stephen Miller, who was behind the policy, has not been fired, and neither have officials who’ve openly defended the policy like Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen. Trump’s media spokespeople have shown they’re happy to defend detaining children at the border as a “get tough” deterrent policy, and surveys have shown that most of Trump’s base supports it too.
And the executive order Trump just signed has no way of reuniting the separated families, while continuing the policy of treating all who illegally cross the border as if they’d committed additional crimes. This order was also made a day after Trump made a tweet comparing immigrants to vermin.
It wasn’t a surprise that they could implement the policy. The Trump White House has already succeeded at making ICE more aggressive, further militarizing police, giving law enforcement the ability to seize property with impunity, remaking the DOJ’s definition of whistleblowing to include all government leakers, passing a religiously directed travel ban against Muslim countries, and openly merging state power with corporate power.
What’s most alarming is that if the Trump White House had tried this a year ago, it seems doubtful that it would have been carried out. There’s no telling how the political landscape will look like in the coming years. We need to fight back before the walls of authoritarianism completely close in.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

You’ve Been Lied To About Russia

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In the last two years, the mass hysteria surrounding Russia has shown the full power of the establishment’s propaganda machine. By making every news station tell people the same idea, and by attaching the idea to partisan emotions, the American deep state has convinced millions of people to believe a wildly distorted picture of Russia’s relationship with the U.S.

Evidence of a lie
The new Red Scare, as Andrew Cockburn of Harper's magazine diagnosed it in 2016, started with the West’s misleading portrayal of the events in Ukraine. I admit that Russia’s 2014 Crimea annexation violated Ukraine’s laws, and was a colonialist injustice against the region’s native Tatar people. But its having been in response to the Ukrainian people’s overwhelming support for Russia to take power makes the situation more nuanced; the argument that Putin will undemocratically try to annex additional countries if the West doesn’t intervene is unsubstantiated. And as I’ll show, the Western imperialists have had good reason to propagate such false fears.
This was followed by lies that powerfully appeal to American patriotism: that Russia stole the 2016 election, and that it’s therefore destroying our democracy. Aside from how this narrative is a visible attempt to make us ignore the clear absence of a functioning American democracy, the arguments for Russia’s impact on the election have all been thoroughly debunked.
Amid abundant evidence that Russia was not behind the 2016 DNC leak, Veteran Intelligence Professionals  for Sanity has found that a hack may not even have taken place, as evidenced by their digital tests showing that the DNC’s servers at the time quite possibly couldn’t have accomodated a remote hacking operation. The charges that Russia hacked into state election systems fell apart last September when officials from the states clarified that no infiltration had happened. The Facebook ads that Russia supposedly bought were only found to have been bought by unknown people in Russia, making the involvement of the Russian government unproven. As far as the evidence can tell us, the thirteen Russians Mueller indicted in February were not working to swing the election or “sow discord,” nor were they actually working for the Russian government. And on the list goes of Russiagate stories that have been either dubious or disproven.
Evidence of an effort to promote the lie
There are too many falsehoods about Russia for me to address them all here individually. It’s this endless piling up of Russia “bombshells,” in fact, that’s made the lies believable in so many people’s minds. Instead I’ll detail the extremely suspicious events that have been going on within the government and media centers which promote the demonization of Russia. These events give us very good reason to think that these centers are engaging in a deliberate and politically motivated campaign to distort public perceptions about Russia.
Since the Cold War, the U.S. has done all it can to keep Russia submissive, because for Russia to gain similar world status would be a threat to American hegemony. Throughout the last twenty-five years, the U.S. and its allies have broken NATO’s past promises by expanding NATO, while the U.S. has repeatedly interfered in Russia’s elections. Russia didn’t try to reassert its strength until Putin expressed this goal in a 2007 speech, which he followed up with a strong stand from Russia in 2013 to not tolerate America’s attempt to overthrow Assad’s government. After this, everything changed about U.S.-Russia relations.
A 2017 U.S. army document titled Cultural Perspectives, Geopolitics & Energy Security of Eurasia has confirmed that in recent years, America has been in what the document’s text describes as an “information, economic and diplomatic” campaign to “dethrone Putin.” This is the most direct evidence we’ve seen so far of a conspiracy within America’s deep state to manufacture anti-Russia propaganda for the purposes of restarting McCarthyism and creating a new Cold War. And it’s been accompanied by a lot of similar revelations about what’s been going on behind closed doors within media, intelligence agencies, and political campaigns.
Among these revelations is the fact that, as Obama’s ex-intelligence chief John Brennan admitted last year, the officials who authored the January 2017 “assessment” of so-called Russian interference were “hand-picked” by the Obama administration. Further hints of a politically motivated conspiracy within U.S. intelligence agencies have since come out, and not just with the fact that the intelligence agencies appear to have fabricated the claim that Russia hacked the DNC. The publication of February’s Republican House Committee memo revealed that before the 2016 election, John Brennan thought of the idea to paint Trump as “Putin’s puppet,” as an apparent ploy to ensure his continued position under a Clinton presidency.
As the still unsubstantiated “Russiagate” scandal has developed, evidence has come out that Clinton’s team has used it to their advantage by inflating its coverage in the media, and by creating news stories to try to vindicate it. In Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’ book “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” it was revealed that John Podesta thought of the idea to blame Russia for Clinton’s loss just 24 hours after the results came in. Podesta and his associates quickly worked to feed this excuse to mainstream media outlets, which put out an overwhelming amount of material about “election hacking” in the following weeks and months.
Team Clinton has since strategically added fuel to the fire they helped start, with Hillary Clinton and the DNC having paid for the research behind the Steele dossier. The salacious allegations behind the dossier, predictably, are still not verified. This isn’t the only bizarre claim that Russiagate’s central propagators have included in their arguments; for instance, their statement that “seventeen intelligence agencies” agreed with the Russian hacking charge doesn’t even make sense, since those agencies include the Coast Guard and the Drug Enforcement Administration. In reality, four agencies have agreed with the claim, and their statements have of course been well debunked.
Then there are the signs that the Mueller probe, despite its prosecutions of corruption within Trump’s circle, has been conducted with bias towards protecting the deep state’s Russia narrative. Mueller has never tried to get information from Julian Assange, a major witness to the events surrounding the Russiagate case. And Mueller’s decision to indict Russian nationals without any apparent evidence of illegal activities was also very strange.
Could Mueller, who facilitated torture during the Bush era and has been described by many as a “dirty cop,” be conducting a biased investigation to benefit the agenda of the intelligence community? We’ve seen the deep state carry out more far-fetched schemes, like the Iraq WMD hoax, the Gulf War “incubators” testimony, and the previous McCarthyite campaigns of the 1950’s.
The view that there are powerful people who aim to use Russiagate to advance imperialist agendas isn’t even a theory, because powerful people have explicitly spoken to this effect. In January 2017, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said on air that she planned to intensely attack Trump on Russiagate in order to pressure Trump into not pulling NATO troops away from Russia’s borders. And in March last year, Democratic senator Eric Swalwell said in a Tucker Carlson interview that he hoped to impose economic sanctions on Russia so that Putin’s popularity would be undermined. Western-led regime change in Russia has also been promoted by The Guardian and other establishment voices.
What should Americans do?
They say the way to find out if a conspiracy theory is true is to see whether details confirming the theory leak out over time, since human nature makes it impossible for a large group of people to all keep a secret forever hidden. The details I just mentioned definitely support the idea that a deep state agenda to restart the cold war is afoot, and that anyone who threatens this agenda-or the agenda of corporate capitalism and imperialism in general-will be punished with McCarthyite attacks from the political establishment.
As evidence of this Russia deception continues to leak out, we need to make sure the American public hears about it. The establishment propaganda machine is in a vulnerable state right now. And if the American people find out they’ve been lied to on this scale, the machine’s power could break irreparably.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

You’ve Been Lied To About Syria

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Where to start with the enormous subject of Western disinformation about Syria? It can be summarized by saying that in recent years, we have been subjected to maybe the largest and most complex propaganda campaign in history.

Plans for regime change
The current chapter in the U.S.’ decades-long interference in Syrian affairs was hinted at in 2007, when Israel and the Bush administration made a false WMD charge against the Assad government. Their claim that Syria had built a nuclear weapons facility, disingenuously supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, was found by the IAEA’s own foremost scientist Yousry Abushady to have been false. Aerial photographs of the Syria facility, Abushady pointed out, showed that the building did not have the cooling tower that was needed to produce nuclear energy, and that it didn’t have the height or supporting structures that were necessary for such a purpose.
Israel’s using this hoax to bomb the Syria facility in September 2007 correlated with a plan by the U.S. military, as revealed by General Wesley Clark, to overthrow Assad. As Clark famously said in a March 2007 Democracy Now interview, “we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” Clark said this line while quoting a conversation he’d had with one of his Pentagon colleagues in September 2002, wherein it had been revealed to him that military leaders were secretly planning such a series of invasions.
Everything we’ve seen in recent years hints that most of these countries are still targets for regime change, despite the original plan’s unrealistic timeline. The breakout of the Syrian war in 2011 was instigated by the United States, which had been financing and training anti-government forces in Syria since 2005 to prepare for an eventual assault on Assad’s forces. The unprecedented global refugee crisis that America’s destabilization of Syria has created, and the fact that the U.S.-backed rebels consist of jihadist terror groups, has been distracted from through the West’s vast attempts to demonize and slander Assad.
Hoaxes and theatrics
The false flag chemical attacks that America has managed to blame on Assad are numerous. The U.S. government has publicly confirmed that anti-Assad forces have used chemical weapons, and as Seymour Hersh has reported, Hillary Clinton helped provide chemical weapons to the rebels while Clinton was Secretary of State. The automatic blame that Assad has been assigned for all of the chemical attacks in Syria has served to increase support for the war against his government, while the rebels themselves have been portrayed as heroes. And Hersh describes that Clinton was involved with a Libya/U.S. consulate which had the goal of sending weapons into Syria for a false flag sarin gas attack. This set things up for the series of epic Syria deceptions we’ve seen in the last several years.
In August 2013, a sarin gas attack in Ghouta was blamed on Assad by many supposedly reliable institutions such as Human Rights Watch. Yet in the following year, the weapons experts Theodore A. Postol and Richard M. Lloyd analysed the site of the attack, and found that the missile that launched the sarin had a very short firing range which could therefore only have been delivered from rebel territory. To further collapse the charges against Assad, Seymour Hersh found that Turkish intelligence officials working with Jihadist rebels were the likely providers of the sarin.
In April 2014, another hoax was made. After media reports that month of a supposed Assad chemical attack in the town of Al-Tamanah, United Nations investigators interviewed witnesses in the town and found, to directly quote their report, that “in fact no incidents with chemicals took place.” Continued their account, “While people sought safety after the warnings, their homes were looted and rumours spread that the events were being staged. … [T]hey [these witnesses] had come forward to contest the wide-spread false media reports.” The few witnesses who claimed that a chemical attack had happened gave accounts that wereinconsistent, and suspiciously dependent on an apparent jihadist operation to fabricate video evidence for the attack.
As Assad has won the war and hopes for regime change have diminished, the empire has seemed to be desperately increasing its efforts. There is abundant evidence that the government’s propaganda arm (which has a long history of staging elaborate hoaxes) has used the eight-year-old Syrian refugee girl Bana Alabad to create support for attacking Syria. The implausibly sophisticated pro-war tweets from Alabad’s Twitter account-which were suspiciously deleted leading up to the release of Alabad’s book last year-are one sign that such tactics have been involved in Alabad’s story.
Then there are the White Helmets. It’s notable that the Western media’s attempts to defend this group have rarely tried to dispute their critics’ central claims, instead choosing to try to attack these critics as “Russian propagandists.” At the very least, we know that the White Helmets are being run with the goal of helping Western anti-Assad propaganda; interviewed witnesses from the sites of the White Helmets’ projects have described that the White Helmets only attend to crisis victims when they need to record one of their dramatically publicized videos, while ignoring the others. Says one of these interviewees, “they don’t care about us.”
This perception of the White Helmets is supported by reports from the journalist Eva Bartlett, who’s stated that they “purport to be rescuing civilians in eastern Aleppo and Idlib [but] …no one in eastern Aleppo has heard of them.” When a group with heavy backing from the U.S. state department and widespread positive promotion from Western media is exaggerating and strategically staging its activities, we have a right to question the official narrative about it.
This saga of deceptions has been made believable in most people’s minds through the two most recent Syria false flags, which have appropriately happened almost exactly a year apart from each other. The one from April 2017 was awkwardly dropped from mainstream discussions about Syria when James Mattis stated in February that the U.S. has no evidence for Assad’s involvement in it.
There’s also strong evidence that Assad was not behind it: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has done a private investigation into the incident, and their finding matches the claim from the Russian and Syrian governments that the chemical disaster was in fact an accident. And last November’s U.N. report about the incident said that the 100 victims of sarin poisoning were taken to surrounding hospitals before Syrian warplanes were supposed to have attacked.
The investigation into this year’s alleged chemical attack from Assad has developed similarly: the State Department concluded Assad was behind the incident immediately after it happened; U.S. officials told Reuters in the days after the incident that they “had not yet conclusively determined” Assad’s guilt; videos from Douma have shown opposition groups moving victims’ bodies; the White Helmets handled supposed gas attack victims without the necessary protective gear; a boy from the site of the disaster has said in an interview that he wasn’t injured in any way, and that he had been forcibly taken to the hospital by adults for unknown reasons; seventeen witnesses to the event have since testified at an OPCW meeting that they were not attacked by gas. We can take what we like from these facts.
The end goal
Supposedly, the U.S. has given up on regime change in Syria. Yet right now there’s a push within the CIA and the Trump administration to overthrow the Iranian government, a regime change war that would have to be tied in with a regime change war in Syria. And WikiLeaks has revealed that Saudi Arabia's long term strategy is to force regime change in Syria “by all means available.” Perhaps because of this, it looks like the U.S. is about to make yet another attempt at redrawing-and destroying-the rest of the Middle East.
The empire’s exact goal with Syria is unclear. But amid a growing collapse of U.S. global power, the empire’s hope is to regain dominance through grand invasions and endless investments in the military. So it’s spreading its resources thin around the globe, amping up war aggressions with multiple countries, and doing so with seemingly no coherent strategy.
Our only hope for averting world war is to stop this rogue military state from doing too much damage. To do this, we’ll need to reject the empire’s next barrage of Syria war propaganda. According to intelligence reports this week from the Russian and Syrian governments, this will come in the form of another false flag provocation, followed by an attack on Syria whose scale we can only guess. It all depends on what we do next.

Friday, June 15, 2018

You’ve Been Lied To About Iran

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If you think U.S.-led regime change in Iran is a good idea, the first thing I’d like you to consider is how much this operation would benefit the centers of power. Iran recently dropped the dollar, a move that goes against the agenda of the World Bank and that’s gotten other countries bombed when they’ve attempted it. And like in every war, this conflict would also be profitable for Washington’s defense contractors.

The next thing that Americans need to recognize is that our leaders are telling massive lies to us about Iran. It’s astonishing how blatant they are; the arguments that President Trump has made for pulling out of the Iran deal, for instance, have been so transparently false that the New York Times-which endorsed the Iraq War-has published articles deconstructing them. But the lack of consensus within the political and media establishment over whether to go to war with Iran comes from partisanship and differing interests among elites. The Trump/Bolton/Adelson faction is largely in command right now, and we need to defeat their propaganda efforts before they start this war.
Firstly, Trump’s case against the Iran deal was filled with major distortions of what’s happened between Iran and the U.S. in recent years. After Obama negotiated the Iran deal in 2015-one of the few antiwar actions Obama took throughout his presidency-Iran fulfilled its promise to not create weapons of mass destruction. Iran has given up the Uranium that it would need to build a nuclear weapon, as has been confirmed through inspections of Iran from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and evidently hasn’t come any closer to bringing the program back. And the situation won’t change when parts of the deal expire in the coming years, since Iran was permanently prohibited under the deal from developing nuclear weapons. The Trump administration’s attempts to claim otherwise have depended on outright hoaxes; in December, Nikki Haley’s theatrical display of a supposed Iranian Uranium bomb was found by UN inspectors to have had “no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier;” and the White House was forced last month to retract its claim that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program.”
Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation this year which accused Iran of violating the deal was falsely based as well. Not only did it not provide any new information, but some parts of it were fabricated, such as the claim that Israel had acquired a secret collection of incriminating Iranian documents.
Then there are the more accessorial lies the Trump administration has told about Iran: the claim that the nuclear deal gave Iran millions of dollars undeservedly, despite all of the frozen assets having already belonged to Iran; Trump’s statement that Iran is the “top sponsor of terror,” despite this being completely untrue; there is no indication Iran plans to attack America’s allies without provocation, and many experts have expressed doubt that last month’s famous “Iranian attack” on Israel was actually done by Iran.
The claim that Iran shares responsibility for 9/11 is baseless, mainly because none of the terrorists involved were Iranians. And the charges of an Iranian partnership with Al Qaeda are similarly misleading. Many of these claims have been passed around by the mainstream media, with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies-a neocon, pro Israel think tank-privately providing the claims to the media.
The remaining argument that I’ve seen for war with Iran is that the country’s government is an Islamic theocracy that needs to be overthrown. Aside from this  argument’s total disregard for international sovereignty laws, it shows the vast hypocrisy and arrogance of the neocon leaders who are trying to get us into this conflict.
Some estimates have put the Iraq War’s death count at around half a million. Almost 5,000 of the dead are U.S. soldiers, and 20 percent of the 1.5 million U.S. soldiers who’ve been to Iraq now have PTSD. One million American soldiers have been wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars overall. And the Iraq invasion has allowed for the rise of ISIS-a group that the U.S. has directly aided in recent years-which has committed its own series of atrocities. Now John Bolton, who should have been tried as a war criminal for his role in Iraq, is leading the Trump administration into an Iran conflict that would be even more catastrophic than his last accomplishment.
For the Iran war’s manufacturers to portray their cause as a morality mission is an insult to the millions of people who are living with the horriffic effects of the recent wars that have been started under the same guise. We need to all we can to politically sink the efforts towards this war, dismantle the imperialist system, and hold the people behind past wars accountable.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

You’ve Been Lied To About Venezuela

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America’s behavior towards Venezuela right now is an intensified version of what the U.S. has done with past leftist governments in the last century. To paraphrase Steve Kangas’ description of this regime change method, first the U.S. finds right-wing groups within the country and offers them power in exchange for their efforts to undermine the socialist government; then they overthrow the government through propaganda, economic war, political violence, and coups; then they install a brutal right-wing regime, such as the one of Augusto Pinochet.

The fact that a military invasion of Venezuela has been recently considered shows how desperate the corporate state is to get rid of what Chevez and Maduro have accomplished. This is a government that, despite all the U.S.’ attacks, maintains its popular support and keeps winning re-election. The U.S. government is partnering with Venezuela’s fascist-minded capitalist oligarchy to depose Maduro, but they might fail-if the American people aren’t fooled by the propaganda about Venezuela.
The biggest lie about Venezuela is that socialism has caused its economic crisis. Chavez reduced poverty by nationalizing Venezuela’s oil industry, and by enacting the public welfare policies that are shared by the European democratic socialist countries. The U.S./NATO power establishment has responded by waging brutal economic war against Venezuela; Saudi Arabia has driven down the price of oil to thwart Venezuela’s markets, while corporations like Kraft Heinz have been waging a coordinated sabotage of Venezuela’s food supply.
Corruption has arisen from within Venezuela, but its economic effects have been much more severe because of what the U.S. empire has done. And the claims that Chavez created this corruption are misleading, as corruption was normal in the country’s government prior to when Chavez took power. The narrative that Chavez and Maduro have caused inflation is false as well. Venezuela’s currency value is arbitrarily defined by forces outside the country, making social programs a scapegoat for Venezuela’s economic fiasco.
Meanwhile, the West has worked to slander Chavez and Maduro in ways that have often depended on completely inverting the truth. Any material that you’ve seen from the mainstream media about Venezuela’s recent election is likely to mention that the results were “derided as a sham” by Western authorities. But these reports don’t mention how the election was done with strict oversights, and how international overseers from 40 countries acknowledged the transparency of the voting process. They also probably don’t talk about the money that the U.S. pouredinto anti-Maduro forces prior to the voting.
The situation has been similar for all of Venezuela’s other recent elections. Every time Maduro’s party prevails, Western media and politicians cry electoral fraud, despite the absurdity of such a charge; Venezuela’s electoral process is among the most reliable in the world, something the U.S.’ voting system can’t come close to matching. Amid his flaws, Maduro enjoys broad support from the Venezuelan people, because he’s on the people’s side in Venezuela’s class conflict.
Additionally, polling and electoral results have shown that the people who’ve been supporting Chavez and Maduro are overwhelmingly poor, contradicting the narrative that poverty has caused Venezuelans to turn against their government. This undeniable legitimacy of Maduro’s government means the media’s characterization him as a “dictator” is inaccurate and emotionally manipulative.
All of this propaganda isn’t just about delegitimizing Venezuela’s government in preparation for regime change. It’s about hiding the popularity and success of democratic socialism in Venezuela, which has alarmed the oligarchs who sit at the top of the worldwide neoliberal order.
The assault on Venezuela is the latest in the U.S. empire’s century-long series of attempts to strangle socialism when it gets close to establishing itself. The left-wing governments in Laos, Argentina, and numerous other countries were similarly successful, until they were sabotaged by the West. This is also true for the Soviet Union; when the USSR ended, millions of Russians who depended on the country’s social protections were impoverished by the return of capitalism. Something comparable can be said about socialist Cuba, which has been pummeled by the U.S. economic embargo. And on the list goes.
Despite this, I recognize the authoritarianism and human rights abuses that have happened in many of these countries. While these events don’t prove that socialism causes tyranny, they show that every government, socialist or not, is capable of evil. Americans, whether or not they support socialism, need to apply this skepticism of authority to their own government while it threatens to destroy Venezuela. It’s always bad when Washington lies to the American people in order to interfere in the politics of a sovereign country. Let’s work to stop this from happening again.