A world facing catastrophic climate change cannot afford the nonsense of war. We cannot afford to be governed by thieves, liars and killers. If we remain complacent and complient, inert and silent, as the leering wolves of war again and again contemptuously invite us to eat from the trough of their regurgitated lies, then we are co-conspirators, complicit again and again in the murder of countries, communities and children. Ultimately, and soon, we become the co-authors of our own extinction.
I remember a poem I learned at school:
‘Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
It always seemed silly to me to rage so much at one’s own death, at any individual death. I have no fonder wish for myself and those I love than that we should, “go gentle … at close of day”.
But together against a night that yet need never fall, Rave, rage and burn, old age and youth and all, Rave against the betrayal of the true and the right, Rage against the cruel predators of the night, Burn against the silent dying of the light.
No person with good sense and decency could for one second think that a war against Iran is in any way justified. However the governments of the US and its cronies, particularly the UK, France, Israel, the KSA and the UAE but also all of the NATO countries, lack a truly moral compass and operate on a logic based on their own predatory interests as ruling elites rather than on the common interests and perceptions of the rational world or even of their own citizens.
These countries and their mainstream media will support or offer only token resistance to a US narrative that every honest and informed person knows to be carefully constructed in order to secure the continued dominance of their elites.
Evidence that Iran carried out the attacks on the two tankers is slight and the narrative spun about the attacks has been contradicted by the Japanese owner of one of the tankers:
The owner of the Japanese tanker attacked on Thursday said US reports have provided “false” information about what happened in the Gulf of Oman. The ship operator said “flying objects” that may have been bullets were the cause of damage to the vessel, rather than mines used by Iranian forces, as the US has suggested. Yutaka Katada, chief executive of the Japanese company operating the ship called Kokuka Courageous, one of two vessels attacked near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, said the damage could not have been caused by mines or torpedos that are shot underwater, since the damage was reportedly above the ship’s waterline.
The likelihood is that this was a false flag attack by the US or by its Israel or the KSA, impatient that Iran has not responded to US provocation. Iran has effectively been under seige by the US which has forbidden other countries, its so called ‘international community’, from trading with Iran. Without trade the Iranian people will starve thus their government, in the absence of just international law, would have clear motive and justification in making a calibrated military response of this sort as a warning that they are capable of shutting down shipping routes and starving America’s allies of oil. However while the Iranians have such motive, justification and capability to carry out this attack there is no evidence that they did nor any reason why such an attack would be covert. Other players have clearer motives for this kind of attack. The EU has been opposed to Trump’s pulling out of the deal with Iran and I believe that Trump himself is not sold on the war that his neocon dominated administration want. Trump likely sees his sanctions as a ‘clever’ bullying tactic, a ‘genius’ ruse to get a better deal than the one Obama negotiated. This attack preemptively scuttles or tries to scuttle any such deal which would involve the EU and Russia, parties to the previous deal. It is not insignificant to this thesis that Japan’s Prime Minister Abe was in Iran at the same time as the two tankers were attacked.
War would be an unmitigated disaster for the Iranian people and their leaders and they will do everything to avoid it while doing their best to ensure their own safety and to ensure that they are not militarily castrated. The Iranians are open to diplomacy because it remains the best option for their survival. But if diplomacy is war by other means it makes sense that the Iranians should take military action. They, and their Shia allies in Iraq and Lebanon and elsewhere, have the capabability to set the region aflame. The Sampson option, bringing down the temple on your enemies even as you die yourself, is never a desirable one, for anyone, but it is an understandable and honourable one, and for all their flaws, as a religious people, understand the concept of honour.
If we have honour and wish to avoid war we should not simply dismiss the incidents in the Gulf of Oman as probable false flags but understand the context in which the US and its allies are bullying a nation as proud as our own and with a longer history of peace than our own and stand not ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the US, but with Iran.
Trump is not an anomaly in US politics, nor is he uniquely evil, he continues the policies of previous administrations. This is particularly true with regard to the Middle East. These policies are not only US policies they have been supported by the UK through the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq by Blair and Bush, the destruction of Libya by Cameron and Obama, their support for terrorism in Syria and the current aggressions against Iran and Venezuela.
Those who oppose Trump on the grounds that he is a ‘misogynist’, a ‘racist’, an ‘Islamaphobe’ and that he has been rude to London’s Mayor (who has been rude about him – I don’t care who started it), and other ‘royal’ people, are missing the point. They should be opposing Trump, but as the leader of the American Empire, they should be opposing the wars of regime change, the use of economic power to coerce and starve countries like Venezuela and the perpetuation of a policy of confrontation rather than partnership with Russia and China.
Those who say that they, respect the office of President but not the man who holds it, who think that the ‘special relationship’ with the US is something to be proud about, are really missing the point. The visit of Trump should be an opportunity to revisit the relationship with America – particularly as it coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landing and what might be seen as the inception of the present world order. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or protest but focusing on the personal failing of Trump makes them politically irrelevant. Even if they were, improbably, to lead to whatever just retribution the protesters wish to befall Trump, they would still make no difference to the wider imperialist projects of the US, UK, KSA, Israel and France.
Glenn Greenwald’s position on the Trump collusion story is one that I entirely agree with. Donald Trump is a horrible individual but there is no evidence that he colluded with the Russians to win the presidency or that he is serving Russian interests because the Russians hold compromising information on him. Cenk Uygur held the view that there was collusion but is backing away from that now that the Muller investigation has found no evidence of such collusion. Cenk continues to hold the view that there are past and present ties between Trump and Russian oligarchs that could influence Trump’s decision making. When Greenwald points out that Trump has taken actions that are very hostile towards Russia, Cenk points to meetings between Trump and Putin whose content Trump has refused to publish and suggests that Trump does not know what will harm Russia unless Putin makes it explicit to him. This is clearly absurd. and it genuinely puzzles me that intelligent people like Cenk Uyger can maintain absurdities and continue to endorse narratives that have no grounding in evidence and are even contradicted by evidence and argument.
Syrian Girl is a vlogger whom I’ve followed for some years. She’s part of a network of news dissidents. Here she talks about AIPAC – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, self described as “a bipartisan organization of U.S. citizens committed solely to strengthening, protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship. “, and about Ilhan Omar a young congresswoman
Ilhan on 10 February responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald that reads, “GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”She replied, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,”
‘Benjamins’ is American slang for money but it was characterised as being an antisemitic reference, a ‘trope’ as some like to say, indicating the control of the American political system by ‘Jewish’ money. Ilhan apologised for the unintended ‘trope’ but reaffirmed her concerns about the role of lobbyists in American politics.
It’s hard to believe that I posted these pictures of some newspapers to Facebook just two days ago. In the space of three days since Monday morning the world has come to the point where the two most powerful nuclear armed nations are threatening to go to war with each other.
Douma is part of the East Ghouta where the Syrian government have been fighting the rebel/jihadi groups that have occupied the area. THey had defeated most of the rebels and recaptured most of East Ghouta when the Douma incident happened and the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on Douma.
Over the past three days I have posted a lot of stuff to Facebook and taken part in a number of discussions in Facebook groups. I don’t want to lose track of that content so I am reproducing some of my Facebook posts to this blog.
Propaganda and media distortion has been a feature of the Empire’s war on Syria since 2011.
Blaming Assad for all the killings in Syria is part of the West’s strategy to destabilise or destroy that country but people who have been to Syria and spoken to Syrians often report widespread support for Assad and question the ‘Butcher of Damascus’ narrative. This 2013 report by Mairead Maguire challenges that narrative:
“The US and the CIA should stop this illegal and counter productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and should stay focussed on fighting who our enemy is, the Islamic extremist groups.”
I like this congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard. But Wolf Blitzer’s attempt to blame 200,000 to 300,00 deaths on Assad should be challenged. As well as supporting the insurgents militarily the US and its allies have been waging a propaganda campaign targeting Assad. We should not trust anything we hear on the mainstream media without examining it thoroughly.
For anyone who does not remember the liberation of Aleppo in December 2016. The US was doing its best to talk up an impending massacre a humanitarian disaster Samantha Power asked of Russia “have you no shame?”
Maria Zakharova had this reply from Russia:
When Aleppo was retaken by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies in December we did not see the massacres of civilians that Clinton and much of the US and UK mainstream media predicted instead we saw people relieved, celebrating their liberation from the oppression of the terrorists that Clinton, Obama, Cameron and Hollande had enabled. I highly recommend that you watch this short French documentary featuring interviews with the people of Aleppo:
As East Ghouta is liberated from the terrorists we see moving videos of their hostages exiting the liberated neighbourhoods. They are grateful to the army, they shout ‘God, Syria, Bashar’. This looks like a film produced by a state broadcaster but can anyone look at the faces, the emotions of these people and tell me that they are not genuine?
False Flag in Douma
The Russians informed the UN about chemical armaments found in liberated areas of East Ghouta almost a month ago.
They warned that “In East Ghuta, rebel jihadist fighters were preparing the staging of another alleged use of chemical weapons, which would then be blamed on the Syrian government and serve as a cause for a USA “reprisal” strike against Damascus.”
This video of suffering and dead children is distressing. Maybe it indicates that they were victims of chemical agents but it does not indicate that the were victims of the Syrian government using chemical weapons. It is counter intuitive, contrary to reason, to believe that with the Syrian Army on the brink of victory in Ghouta that they would needlessly use weapons whose use would give the worrld’s most powerful armed forces to attack them.
I don’t know how the chemicals might have gotten to the rebels/jihadists but look at this video from Tom Duggan a British journalist living in Damascus. He is walking through an arms factory in a liberated area of East Ghouta. It is clear that the rebels/jihadists have access to quite sophisticated armaments. It is clear that military supplies are coming in from somewhere.
The stakes are high. I’m not going to speculate about the Skripal case here but the way it has been used is to try to isolate Russia. This fits in with an agenda to attack Syria while Russia is on the backfoot. There is clearly coordination between the US and UK governments.
For me this image says it all – Syria, by the way, is the lady in the middle:
They are liars. And they know that they are liars
Here Syria’s ambassador Bashar Ja’afari responds to the threats of the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Halley, quoting the famous writer Najib Mahfouz:
“They are liars. And they know that they are liars.
And they know that we know that they are liars.
Even so, they keep lying very loudly so”
Exactly so. Everyone who looks knows that the US/UK are lying. Ja’afari tells them that he expects them lie about a chemical attack in order to justify an attack and a month later there is a chemical attack and they are using it to justify attacking Syria.
It is no big secret that false flags are standard practice for the Americans
Speaking of liars, here is Boris Johnson explaining how much the UK was giving in ‘non-humanitarian aid’ (what that) to help the White Helmets and to fund ‘police forces’ in Hama, Aleppo and Idlib, you know, the areas that were occupied by rebel/jihadists aka terrorists, at the time. What justifies setting up police forces in someone else’s country?
Unlike the case in other incidents Russian forces now have control of part of Douma and are able to inspect and invite inspections of the alleged chemical attack site.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, opened the meeting by describing the reports about the alleged chemical attack in Douma and the subsequent airstrike against the Syrian T-4 air base. He called for an “independent investigation” of the alleged chemical incident and urged restraint for all sides, in view of the airbase attack.
Russia is deeply concerned by the fact that some capitals, Washington as well as London and Paris, which are “blindly following” their US allies, have engaged “in a confrontational policy against Russia and Syria without any justification,” The Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said during the meeting. He went on to say that Moscow recently faced “slander, hawkish rhetoric, sanctions, blackmail” and even “threats of force.”
When push comes to shove will Russia shove back?
There is no evidence that ‘Assad’ carried out a chemical attack, there is no verifiable evidence that there was a chemical attack, evidence is beginning to emerge that there was no chemical attack.
US Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is asked in this interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if she believes the Russian narrative over that of the Pentagon. She responds that what she or anyone else ‘believes’ is irrelevant, what matters is the facts and the fact is that a US president took an illegal action on the basis of an unsubstantiated claim.
Blitzer’s talk about Pentagon radar data is disingenuous as he should know that this information was shared by the Russians prior to the attack.
This video contains imagery of children gasping for air as a result of a purported chemical attack. It is presented as an atrocity of war. It is distressing. The aftermath of any act of war is distressing. Images of children with limbs blown off would be no less distressing. The video of a child having his head sliced off by terrorists would be no less distressing. This video is presented as a special case, as specially atrocious, for a reason.
Although the video says clearly that, while the US blames the incident on the Syrian government, this is denied by the Syrian government and the Russians blame it on an inadvertent strike on a terrorist held chemical munitions factory, the impression we come away with is that the culpable party is the Syrian government and that ‘something must be done’. For something to be done we must understand what is happening here and too many of us do not.
I don’t know whether the chemical incident was the result of a conventional attack that struck a terrorist chemical gas repository and released the toxins, as the Russians say or if it was staged in some way by the terrorists and their backers. I tend to believe that the latter scenario is correct given the quality of the video production and the immediate and seemingly coordinated response by the US and their allies.
What I do not believe, and what defies common sense and circumstantial evidence, is that the Syrian government deliberately used a weapon whose use would give the excuse for action against them. I doubt that President Trump believes this because, despite his many flaws, he recognises a scam when he see one (who better?). Trump’s speech about being flexible changing his mind felt to me like that of a captive with a gun at his back.
Whatever Trump’s motivation we must not fall for this. We must not allow anyone we know to fall for this. This is part of the imperialist modus operandi, name something as an atrocity or potential atrocity and then go to war committing far worse atrocities that the one they named. Those who the ‘gods’ would destroy they first defame as mad or bad.
Idlib is a terrorist stronghold supported by the US, UK and Israel. They will not allow the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to retake it. Also they will not permit a resolution to the Syrian conflict that leaves Bashar al Assad as president and Syria as a whole and independent secular state. As the conflict moves towards its end state Syria’s enemies become anxious to frustrate that resolution.
Following his speech Trump launched an attack on a Syrian airbase.
Ray McGovern a former CIA analyst summarises the facts:
On 4 April 2017, the town of Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, was struck by a heavy airstrike followed by massive civilian chemical poisoning.
At the time of the attack the town was under the control of Tahrir al-Sham,formerly known as the al-Nusra Front.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, blamed the attack on the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while the Russian and Syrian governments said it was caused by the Syrian Air Force’s destruction of a nearby rebel-operated chemical weapons warehouse.
In response, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat Air Base, which U.S. Intelligence believed was the source of the attack.
McGovern argues that this is what most likely happened:
The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.
The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believes was a weapons and explosives depot for Islamic rebels.
The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.
There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.
We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you.