You are hereIraq

Iraq


Day 2: Iraq Tribunal

A Good Time to Review Bush's War Crimes

I'll be speaking at the upcoming Iraq Tribunal about war lies of 2002-2003 vintage. I'm nostalgic for the days when presidents had to lie to Congress and the public and obtain some modicum of support before bombing a foreign country.

Already by the day after this week's election we saw the return of street protests, of big plans for mass mobilizations, and of preparations to urge a presidential impeachment as soon as Trump commits the first obviously impeachable offense not routinely committed by Barack Obama.

But we are not going to see the return of the office of the presidency as it was inherited by George W. Bush or even as it was passed along to Barack Obama. When Bush became president, spying on everything everybody did was deemed unacceptable. Imprisoning people without charge or trial was an outrage. Torture was illicit. Going through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays to pick whom to murder with a drone would have filled the streets with protest. When Congress passed laws, presidents were supposed to veto them, sign and obey them, or quietly ignore them in secret until caught, not sign them and publicly announce which parts they would violate.

Lobbyist for Dakota Access Formerly Led Army's "Restore Iraqi Oil" Program

Photo Credit: C-SPAN Screenshot

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Robert Crear, one of the lobbyists working for Dakota Access pipeline co-owners Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, formerly served as a chief of staff and commanding general for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Security Firm Running Dakota Pipeline Intelligence Tied to U.S. Military Work in Iraq, Afghanistan

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran.

Focus: The Iraqi Shiite Militias and the Mosul offensive

 

A spokesman for the Iraqi Shiite militias said thousands of fighters "started operations this morning to clean up the hotbeds of Daesh (Islamic State) in the western parts of Mosul”. Accordong to Reuters, “their goal is to cut off any option of retreat by Islamic State insurgents into neighboring Syria or any reinforcement for their defense of Mosul." Iraqi Shiite militias are backed by Iran, but first of all they are Iraqi patriots strongly dedicated to fight Islamic State. Their contribution is essential to win this battle. They will weaken Islamic State and help the Iraqi army and the U.S. troops who are suppporting this operation (5,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Iraq.)


Amnesty International has reported that Iraqi Shiite militias in previous campaigns have committed "serious human rights violations, including war crimes" against Sunni civilians. The Iraq government says that violations were limited and were investigated, denies that they were widespread and systematic. It is up to the Iraq government and army to make sure that in the Mosul offensive the Shiite militias’ conduct complies with the international humanitarian law which seeks to protect civilians who are not participating in hostilities and regulate the means of warfare available to combatants. But the fact is that in Iraq the Shiites have been the victims of the Sunni Islamic State terrorism. Recently there has been a spike in violence perpetrated by the Islamic State against the Iraqi Shiites with frequent bombings on streets, markets, mosques, army and police stations. According to a July statement of a senior Baghdad police officer, there are around six to ten explosions every day.

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: Turkey's President Erdogan - Oct 27, 2016


Obama, Erdoğan discuss fight against ISIL in Iraq, Syria - hurriyetdailynews.com


Statement: President Erdoğan and U.S. President Obama discuss anti-DAESH fight - Presidency of the Republic of Turkey


Erdogan says Turkey will target Syrian towns of Manbij and Raqqa, demands role in Mosul offensive - The Washington Post


Erdogan speech: 'Turkey will definitely take part in any development in Iraq and Syria’ - Presidency of the Republic of Turkey


Turkey rejects US plan for Raqqa offensive involving Kurds, Erdogan tells Obama to exclude the ‘terrorist’ PYD and YPG - Military.com


Turkish minister says US must 'keep its word' on Manbij - aa.com


Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces accuse Turkey-backed rebels of ethnic cleansing, call for investigation - ARA News


Erdogan says Turkey would not allow a PKK presence in the Iraqi region of Sinjar: 'We will go on this campaign...and now in Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar and Sinjar' - Worldbulletin News


Turkish and Saudi weapons supplied to ISIS found in Mosul, says Shia leader - Iraqi News


Turkish, US, French defence ministers discuss anti-Daesh fight, military sources say they agreed on basic principles - trend.az


Turkey’s new maps are reclaiming the Ottoman Empire - Foreign Policy


Land ownership certificates around Mosul and Kirkuk could provide the basis for future legal challenges by Turkey: Archive Department head - middleeastmonitor.com


Assad allies bomb Turkish-backed FSA, warn that attempts to move on Aleppo would be a breach of 'red lines' - Middle East Eye


Turkey’s military operations in Syria targets Manbij not Aleppo: President Erdoğan - hurriyetdailynews.com


Iran, Russia, Syrian FMs to meet in Moscow - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

------------------------------------------------------------


Erdoğan pursues his plan for even greater power, Seizing on post-coup popularity ramps up the rhetoric to boost a presidential referendum – POLITICO


Turkey ramps up pressure on U.S. to extradite 'murderer' Gulen, Justice Minister met his U.S. counterpart Loretta Lynch - POLITICO


Turkish Justice Minister: Fethullah Gulen is our Osama bin Laden - ABC News


Human Rights Watch report accuses Turkish police of torture - VOA


Turkey replaces most province police chiefs, shake-up continues - Reuters


Turkey detains dozens of air force pilots in coup probe - hurriyetdailynews.com


Violence flares in Turkey's tense southeast after mayors' arrest - Reuters


Turkey cuts Internet for 6M people in 11 Kurdish cities to ‘prevent protests’ - The Daily Dot


Turkey launches probe into Kurdish leader after speech - Middle East Eye


Journalist on trial in Turkey for alleged pro-PKK tweets - ABC News


Interview: U.S. judge says Turkey's judiciary ‘taken over' by Erdogan - rferl.org


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

Focus: The Mosul Offensive Against Islamic State - Oct 24, 2016


Wave of U.S. coalition’s air strikes as ISIS puts up tough defence of Mosul - Channel NewsAsia


US drops 1400 bombs on ISIS in first week of Mosul fight - The Daily Caller


U.S. troops, embedded with Iraqi brigades and battalions, push toward Mosul’s city center - militarytimes.com


Navy explosives expert from California first U.S. death in battle for Mosul - UPI.com


Ferocity of ISIS Kirkuk counter-attack points to tough fight for Mosul - Reuters


The worst is yet to come in Mosul, US leaders say - Defense One


Pentagon: Daesh arming administrative personel, recruiting from outside Mosul to reinforce its defense of the city - aa.com


Labyrinth of tunnels revealed as ISIS try to dodge assault on Iraq's second city - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: A tour of a tunnel where ISIS fighters hide out from satellite detection, drone strikes and artillery - YouTube


ISIS carries out mass relocation of civilians amid Mosul offensive - Rudaw


In opposition to the Iraq government Turkey says its artillery playing role in Mosul, jets on standby - Reuters


US scrambles to contain flaring Turkey-Iraq tensions over Mosul - VOA


Iran's Rohani says Turkish Intervention In Iraq ‘very dangerous’ - rferl.org


VIDEO (Persian): Iran leader Hassan Rouhani expresses his opposition to Turkey military operation in Iraq and Syria - YouTube


The attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster. We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb. VOTE TRUMP and WIN AGAIN! - Donald J. Trump on Twitter


VIDEO: Trump: Now we're gogged down In Mosul because Obama gave away the element of surprise, The enemy is much tougher than they thought - RealClearPolitics


White House: 'Too early' to claim Mosul is a failure, Obama has confidence the battle will be successful - Washington Examiner


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton goes after Donald Trump for tweet about ‘total disaster’ In Mosul, adding that it is 'dangerous' declaring defeat before the battle has even started - YouTube


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: The Mosul Offensive Against Islamic State - Oct 22, 2016


News reports shows that Islamic State is retreating from villages near Mosul but it is digging in the city. It launched waves of suicide bombers, burned sulfur stocks leading to civilian injuries, blowed up the Mosul biggest hotel, used civilians as a human shield and threatened to kill everybody who tried to flee. According to an unconfirmed CNN report Islamic State executed men and boys. The group launched a counterattack in Kirkuk with grenades and suicide bombings to divert attention from their Mosul bastion. These events are troubling signs. It is too early to assess the Mosul offensive but I have strong reservations about the Obama administration anti-terrorism plan and the Clinton plan is even worse. 


Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc) and Turkey finance, arm and maybe provide training and logistical support to the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. There is evidence of this support but no U.S. official publicly acknowledges it. Furthermore it is unthinkable that Islamic State was able to build an army and conquer vast territory in Syria and Iraq in a short period of time without foreign support. Gulf states and Turkey have invested hundreds of millions if not billions to fund and arm jihadi terrorism through Muslim institutions, banks, schools and clandestine operations. The U.S. led coalition’s war on terror will go on and on with no end in sight if the flows of money and weapons to Islamic State from these countries are not stopped. And the costs in terms of lives, displacements, destructions, military expenses will grow proportionally. Gulf states and Turkey should be condemned in international forums for their sponsorship of this barbaric terrorism and warned that they will pay a price for doing so. By the way, Turkey is also bombing and killing the U.S. backed Kurdish forces in Syria which are the ones who fought Islamic State successfully. 


In my opinion it is not possible to defeat and eradicate Islamic State without the full participation of Russia. A joint U.S.- Russia military command was envisioned in the September agreement which called for the establishment of a Joint Implementation Center to coordinate activities against the Islamic State. This will send a signal to the Islamic State and its sponsors that the world is united and determined to fight terrorism with all its capacities. U.S. should drop the demand that Assad is be removed from power before democratic elections are held in Syria because this is the stumbling block impeding the cooperation with Russia. Today Putin’s spokesman reiterated that demands for Assad’s departure are “thoughtless” and Assad must remain in power to prevent the country by falling into the hands of the jihadists. 


A note about the Sirte offensive in Libya that is similar of the Mosul offensive but on a smaller scale. The U.N. designated Libya government, which is located in Tripoli, decided to launch the Sirte offensive against Islamic State without seeking the consent and participation of the Tobruk government, which is the parliament elected by the Libyans. Subsequently the Tobruk government, which has been successful in fighting the jihadists in Benghazi, opposed the Sirte offensive. To this day after a six-month campaign  Islamic State militants are surrounded in a district less than one-kilometre square in Sirte. Sheltering in tunnels and improvised bunkers, Islamic State defends itself with snipers, booby-traps and car bombs. More than 500 pro-government Misrata fighters have been killed. Western special forces teams are advising on the ground and since August U.S. has launched more than 300 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Sirte. Overall this military strategy appears to be weak and costly because the Tobruk government did not participate.

Focus: The Mosul Offensive Against Islamic State - Oct 18, 2016


Tough resistance from Islamic State slows Iraqi advance on Mosul - The Washington Post


Iraqi forces face Islamic State snipers, rockets and suicide bombers during Mosul offensive - LA Times


Tensions arise among allies fighting to retake ISIS-held Mosul, On second day of offensive Kurdish fighters accuse the Iraqi army of inaction - WSJ


Islamic State said to use human shields as coalition advances on Mosul - Reuters


'Anyone who flees is shot dead': Mosul locals trapped as ISIS digs in for fight - The Guardian


U.S. expects Islamic State to wield chemical weapons in Mosul fight - Reuters


Masked ISIS fighters taunt allied forces in new video as they patrol the streets of Mosul in battledress declaring America will leave Iraq 'dragging its tail in defeat’ (VIDEO - English Subs) - Daily Mail


VIDEO (Arabic): IS news agency amaq published video from Mosul where promise "U.S. will be forced to leave Iraq in humiliation”- Juan Maza Calleja on Twitter


On video and social media ISIS says business as usual in Mosul despite attacks - Vocativ


VIDEO: Amaq Agency showing normal life ongoing in Mosul under IS control, on the first day of Mosul battle - Forests and News on Twitter


Unconfirmed - At Least 70 Iraqi soldiers dead in suicide bomber attack on convoy in Mosul: ANF - ekurd


ISIS claims to recaptures 3 villages in east Mosul - almasdarnews.com


Baghdadi survives coup attempt by ISIS Islamic Police in Mosul? - Iraqi News

 

---------------------------------------------

President Obama: 'Mosul will be a difficult fight and there will be advances and setbacks’ - CNNPolitics.com


ISIS preparing for protracted fight in Mosul with many of its foreign fighters remaining in the Iraqi city, US officials say - Fox News


Battle for Mosul could take 'months': French defence minister - France 24


ISIS failing in Iraq but will fight for Mosul: British defence minister - THE DAILY STAR


Iraqi Kurdish Foreign Minister: Mosul fighting could go on for months, depending on the morale of ISIS fighters - Al Jazeera


Mosul refugees: 'This is going to take a long time – ISIS won't give up' - The Guardian


Iraqi anti-terror chief details Mosul plan: Corridors have already been opened to allow Daesh [IS] escaping from Mosul to go to Syria - alaraby.co.uk


Syria says U.S. plans safe passage for militants from Mosul into Syria, it will confront this attempt with all its means - Reuters Reuters


Statement by the Syrian Army Command about ISIS terrorists attempting to flee Mosul into Syria - Syrian Arab News Agency


Lavrov: We will take 'political and military decisions' if ISIS flees Mosul for Syria - RT News

 

EU anti-terror chief: Mosul offensive could send ISIS fighters to Europe - POLITICO


Erdogan voicing concern for future of Sunnis in Mosul: 'We have a historical responsibility in Iraq...They say 30,000 Shia militants are coming. They should be prepared for what they will face’ - Al Jazeera

 

‘Get out, Erdogan!’ Huge demo in Baghdad protests Turkey’s Iraq presence - RT News


Only 2 cities ISIS has given up without putting up fights: Jerablush & Dabiq (small). Both to Turkey - ilhan tanir on Twitter


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

We got 8 years of change, but not much hope: President Barack Obama’s Crappy Legacy

By Dave Lindorff

 

Barack Obama came into the White House on a wave of passionate new voters, many of them black or young and white, becoming the nation's first black president and promising a new era of "hope and change."

Security Firm Guarding Dakota Access Pipeline Also Used Psychological Warfare Tactics for BP

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

G4S, a company hiring security staff to guard the hotly contested Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), also works to guard oil and gas industry assets in war-torn Iraq, and has come under fire by the United Nations for human rights abuses allegedly committed while overseeing a BP pipeline in Colombia and elsewhere while on other assignments.

ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders

ABC Television's 20/20 will air a program on Friday called "The Girl Left Behind," the main thrust of which is already apparent on ABC's website.

The horribly tragic story is that of Kayla Mueller, an American held hostage and reportedly raped and tortured by ISIS before dying -- it's unclear how, possibly at the hands of ISIS, possibly killed by bombs dropped by U.S. ally Jordan.

Another hostage who was freed reported that ISIS blamed Kayla Mueller for U.S. actions in the Middle East. Among those actions, we learned this week, was imprisoning future ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at Abu Ghraib, not just at Camp Bucca as previously reported.

Mueller, like fellow ISIS victim James Foley, meant well and was in Syria to try to help people nonviolently. But U.S. policy has made it unsafe for Americans to travel to many places.

ABC will seek to pin blame for what happened to Mueller on Doctors Without Borders. She was kidnapped out of a Doctors Without Borders car, and that organization negotiated the freedom of its employees while refusing to help Mueller or even to trust her family enough to share with them information intended for them from ISIS.

But Doctors Without Borders was in Syria to help people and appears to have meant well. Blaming the doctors is easy to overdo here, and not just because the United States has been bombing its hospitals -- acts that may not involve rape or torture, but do involve murder and maiming. The U.S. government could have helped Mueller by never having destroyed Iraq in the first place, never having sought to overthrow Syria, never having overthrown Libya, or never having flooded the region with weapons. Or the U.S. government could have negotiated with ISIS or allowed victims' families to do so -- something it now allows, too late for Kayla Mueller. Or the U.S. government could have announced new policies that ISIS would likely have accepted as ransom.

ISIS asked, in exchange for Mueller's freedom, for the freedom of Aafia Siddiqui or $5 million Euros. If the U.S. government had, instead, offered an apology to the victims of its wars and prison camps, and massive reparations to the region, ISIS might very well have responded in kind. Instead, the U.S. government proceeded to bomb people, including many civilians, for a cost many times greater than $5 million Euros.

The telling of Mueller's story is, in itself, worthwhile. But the focus on an American victim of a war that is victimizing all kinds of people fuels dangerous attitudes. Focusing on the crimes of ISIS, but not of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain or, for that matter, the United States, looks like propaganda for more war. When a New Yorker like Jeffrey Epstein rapes, nobody proposes to bomb New York, but when Baghdadi allegedly rapes, the appropriate response is widely understood to be bombing people.

I don't think the suffering of Kayla Mueller or James Foley should be used to justify the infliction of more suffering. As 9/11 victims have been used as a justification to kill hundreds of times the number of people killed on 9/11, some of the victims' relatives have pushed back. James Foley is pushing back from the grave. Posted online is a video of Foley talking about the lies that are needed to launch wars, including the manipulation of people into thinking of foreigners as less than human. Foley's killers may have thought of him as less than human. He may not have viewed them the same way.

The video shows Foley in Chicago helping the late Haskell Wexler with his film Four Days in Chicago -- a film about a protest of NATO. I was there in Chicago for the march and rally against NATO. And I met Wexler who tried unsuccessfully to find funding for a film version of my book War Is A Lie.

In the video you can watch Foley discussing the limitations of embedded reporting, the power of veteran resistance, veterans he met at Occupy, the absence of a good justification for the wars, the dehumanization needed before people can be killed, the shallowness of media coverage -- watch all of that and then try to imagine James Foley accepting the use of his killing as propaganda for more fighting.

When Foley's mother sought to ransom him, the U.S. government repeatedly threatened her with prosecution. So, instead of Foley's mother paying a relatively small amount and possibly saving her son, ISIS goes on getting its funding from oil sales and supporters in the Gulf and free weapons from, among elsewhere, the United States and its allies. And we're going to collectively spend millions, probably billions, and likely trillions of dollars furthering the cycle of violence that Foley risked his life to expose.

New York Times shames itself: Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange for Doing What Journalists are Supposed to Do

By Dave Lindorff

 

While I periodically have written commentaries dissecting and pillorying news articles in the New York Times to expose their bias, hypocrisy half-truths and lies, I generally ignore their editorials since these are overtly opinions of the management, and one expects them to display the elitist and neo-liberal perspective of the paper’s publisher and senior editors.

Misusing a quote about peace: Obama Calls for Peace and Comity at Home, But Favors Wars and Killer Drones Abroad

By Dave Lindorff

 

            President Barack Obama made an eloquent plea for sanity and peace following the latest deadly assault on police officers -- this time a gunman with an assault rifle shooting and killing three cops in Baton Rouge and wounding another three, one critically injured.

On forgetting and forgiving: Killing and Our Current American Crisis

By John Grant

 

Kill one person, it’s called murder.

Kill 100,000, it’s called foreign policy.

        - A popular bumper sticker

Barbarism, civilization and modern politics: PTSD as a Political Football in a Hobbesian Age

By John Grant

 

If our wars were to make killers of all combat soldiers, rather than men who have killed, civilian life would be endangered for generations or, in fact, made impossible.

Unreported Mass Killing Leaves Thousands Dead

In what's being called the worst mass killing by the United States in the past six months, numerous mentally disturbed individuals, with the extensive backing of a well-financed terrorist organization, and support from a growing circle of allied gang members, have gruesomely slaughtered 1,110 to 1,558 innocent men, women, and children.

This incident, which has left shocked and speechless a handful of people who've heard and thought about it, took place between December 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016, during which interval the killers got off 4,087 airstrikes, including 3,010 over Iraq and 1,077 over Syria.

Aiding and abetting the slaughter, and now also being sought by law enforcement, are France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, and Canada. In what is widely understood as an appeal for judicial mercy, Canada has expressed remorse. None of the other alleged perpetrators has done so. Several have openly acknowledged their participation, including by displaying the gang symbol of a U.S. flag tattooed on their glutei maximi.

An offshoot terrorist group said to have been inspired by the United States and going by the name of "Russia," during the same period has brutally murdered 2,792 to 3,451 innocents using similar techniques apparently copied from those of the U.S. gang.

Despite being well documented, these murders have gone largely unreported in U.S. media outlets working overtime to focus on a smaller slaughter in Orlando, Florida. The death counts are imprecise but highly selective, as they intentionally exclude all casualties deemed to be those of combatants.

In a coincidental connection, the Orlando killer blamed the U.S. bombings in Iraq and Syria for his own murderous rampage.

Adding to the bizarre connections, members of the U.S. public have been heard blaming the Orlando slaughter for additional airstrikes to come.

Commented an alien in a ship approaching the planet earth: "Reverse engines! Get us out of here! Let's try back in 10 years and see if anyone is left."

Iraq Needs Actual Aid More Than Ever

Statement Adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Iraq Solidarity Association

May 19, 2016

The people of Iraq are tormented by continued violence and destruction.

Decades of war are never ending. It is one of the world ́s worst crises. The UN

fears that 10 million Iraqis are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

Fear of ISIS Used to Justify Continued Military Intervention in Middle East

By David Swanson, Just World Books | Book Excerpt

Why was the US public willing to tolerate new US war-making in Iraq and Syria in 2014–2015, after having opposed it in 2013? This time the advertised enemy was not the Syrian government, but terrorists scarier than al Qaeda, called ISIS. And ISIS was shown to be cutting the throats of Americans on videos. And something switched off in people's brains and they stopped thinking -- with a few exceptions. A few journalists pointed out that the Iraqi government bombing Iraqi Sunnis was in fact driving the latter to support ISIS. As if to hammer this point home, ISIS produced a 60-minute movie depicting itself as the leading enemy of the United States and virtually begging the United States to attack it. (When the United States did attack, recruitment soared, just as ISIS had expected.) Even Newsweek published a clear-eyed warning that ISIS would not last long unless the United States saved it by bombing it. Matthew Hoh warned that the beheadings were bait not to be taken. And of course I shouted the warnings of this book everywhere I could. But the US government and much of the public took the bait.

READ THE REST AT Truthout.org.

Why I won’t be voting for Hillary in November: A Neolib Posing as a Progressive vs. a Reality TV Star Posing as a Fascist

By Dave Lindorff

 

            I won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic Party nomination for president, and I won’t heed Bernie Sanders if, as he has vowed to do, he calls on his supporters to “come together” after the convention, should he lose, to support Clinton and prevent Donald Trump or another Republican from becoming president.

 

How Would Knowing the Truth Change U.S. Policy on ISIS?

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Scholars have documented the consistent pattern. What makes a country far more likely to be invaded, attacked, "intervened in," or in other words, bombed, is not its lack of democracy or its government's crimes and abuses, or the crimes and abuses of some non-governmental group, but its possession of oil. Yet, with each new war, we are told to imagine that this one is different.

Fight War Not Wars ddf9e

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is to be applauded for publishing an article headlined "Syria: Another Pipeline War." The very idea that "doing something" about ISIS (which, let's face it, at this point in the imperialization of the U.S. republic means bombing) could be driven by oil might strike many as outrageous. I'm not suggesting that it's rational. U.S. corporations could buy Middle Eastern oil for about the same price without all the wars. The United States would save trillions of dollars and millions of lives that way. It could also avoid some destruction of the earth's climate by, instead, leaving that oil in the ground. I'm also not suggesting that because the real driver of U.S. militarism is an insane passion for oil, the crimes and abuses of ISIS or of Assad or Russia or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Israel or Turkey or anyone else are not real, or are of less concern or more concern than they actually merit, or that well-justified nonviolent opposition to Assad in Syria has never existed, or any similar inanity. Nor am I denying that there are employees of the U.S. government who are actually driven by humanitarian concerns, only that they aren't the employees who have risen to such heights that anyone's ever heard of them.

Senator Bernie Sanders is to be applauded for repeatedly bringing up the CIA's disastrous 1953 overthrow of democracy in Iran, 1954 in Guatemala, etc. But why is that the beginning? What about 1949 Syria? Does that not count because the U.S. president was a Democrat? Like Iran and Vietnam and so many other nations that the United States has attacked, Syria had worked to establish a democracy in line with U.S. rhetoric. But its democracy wasn't supporting a U.S.-proposed oil pipeline between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. So, the CIA overthrew the president of Syria and installed a dictator.

One explanation for the silence surrounding this incident is how quickly it failed. The Syrian people tossed out their U.S. puppet in 14 weeks. The U.S. government then spent 65 years learning absolutely nothing from the experience. It has spent those years arming and supporting Middle Eastern dictators and religious fighters, while rejecting out of hand all Soviet proposals to leave the region free to govern itself. In 1956, the CIA tried another coup in Syria, arming and funding Islamic militants, but without success. For years, the CIA kept trying -- perhaps less comically than with its efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, but certainly with greater consequences.

This history is relevant not only as a guide to what not to do, but also because the people of Syria and the region know this history, so it illuminates how they view current events.

Wesley Clark says Syria was on a Pentagon list of governments to overthrow in 2001. Tony Blair says it was on Dick Cheney's list around that time. But Syria had already been on that list for decades.  WikiLeaks has let us know that in 2006, the U.S. government was working to create a civil war in Syria. And we hardly need WikiLeaks when people like Senator John McCain have been openly and repeatedly saying on television that Syria must be overthrown to weaken Iran which must be overthrown. But WikiLeaks does confirm that the U.S. strategy was to incite Assad into a brutal crackdown that would inflame opposition to his rule, and that the U.S. has been arming Islamists in Syria since 2009 when Assad rejected a pipeline from Qatar that would have supplied Europe with Middle Eastern rather than Russian climate-destroying poisons.

At the root of the new U.S. priority for overthrowing Syria is then, once again, the desire to run an oil pipeline through Syria. The heart of the U.S. plan has been, again, arming and training Islamic militants. Two years before any of us heard about ISIS, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) noted that "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (now ISIS), are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria. . . . If the situation continues unravelling, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime." This is why the United States spent years thwarting U.N. efforts for peace in Syria, and dismissed out of hand a 2012 proposal from Russia for peace in Syria. The U.S. government had dreams of a violent overthrow of the Syrian government, and viewed the rise of ISIS as a price worth paying.

There were glitches in the plan. First the British, and U.S., and world populations said no to bombing Syria in 2013 on the same side as al Qaeda. Then al Qaeda (ISIS) released beheading videos that, as intended, motivated U.S. Americans to back war -- against them rather than with them. ISIS saw its potential for growth in appearing to be the leading enemy of the United States, not a U.S. tool for another overthrow. It produced videos imploring the United States to attack it. But in so doing, it didn't isolate the Syrian government; rather it united the world with the Syrian government. The U.S. government began denying it had ever met ISIS, or blaming Saudi Arabia and Turkey for supporting ISIS (while doing little to cut off that support).

But the origins of ISIS are not really in dispute. "ISI[S] is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion," admitted President Obama. The U.S. military destroyed Iraq and disbanded without disarming its military. Then it divided Iraq along sectrarian lines and brutalized people for years in prison camps where they were able to organize and plot vengeance. The U.S. armed Iraq, and al Qaeda/ISIS seized those weapons. The U.S. overthrew the government of Libya, and its weapons spread all over the region. And the U.S. armed and trained fighters for Syria, playing into Saudi Arabia's desire for overthrow and now its newfound desire to fight more wars, as well as Turkey's desire to attack Kurds. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted to Congress on September 3, 2013, that Saudi Arabia had offered to foot the bill for a U.S. invasion of Syria -- which sounds a lot like the foreign policy vision of candidate Bernie Sanders when he's compelled to present one. In fact, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar financed the U.S. arming of Syrian fighters including ISIS (Sanders dreams of Saudi Arabia financing a war against ISIS). The Pentagon dumped a half billion dollars into arming and training fighters, something the CIA had long been doing at a cost of billions. "Four or five" loyal fighters were the Pentagon's result. The rest had apparently ceased to be "moderate" murderers and become "extremist" murderers. How many got themselves armed and "trained" more than once, as Afghans have had a habit of doing, we don't know.

Why was the U.S. public willing to tolerate new U.S. war-making in Iraq and Syria in 2014–2015, after having opposed it in 2013? This time the advertised enemy was not the Syrian government, but terrorists scarier than al Qaeda, and supposedly unrelated to al Qaeda, called ISIS. And ISIS was shown to be cutting the throats of Americans on videos. And something switched off in people's brains and they stopped thinking—with a few exceptions. A few journalists pointed out that the Iraqi government bombing Iraqi Sunnis was in fact driving the latter to support ISIS. Even Newsweek published a clear-eyed warning that ISIS would not last long unless the United States saved it by bombing it. Matthew Hoh warned that the beheadings were bait not to be taken.

The public and the media swallowed it whole, and the U.S. government almost choked. It had wanted to enter the war on the same side as ISIS. Now it had an opportunity to enter against ISIS. It viewed this as a means of entering on both sides by making a case for arming fighters who would oppose both ISIS and Assad, even if such fighters didn't exist.

To make the new war more respectable, along came the supposed need to rescue civilians trapped on a mountaintop and awaiting death at the hands of ISIS. The story wasn't completely false, but its details were murky. Many of the people left the mountain or refused to leave the mountain where they preferred to stay, before a U.S. rescue mission could actually be created. And the U.S. seemed to drop bombs more with a goal of protecting oil than protecting people (four air strikes near the mountain, many more near oil-rich Erbil). But, whether it helped those people or not, a U.S. war was created, and the war planners never looked back.

The world, as represented at the United Nations, didn't completely fall for it and didn't authorize this war any more than the proposed attack a year earlier, in large part because the UN had authorized a supposed humanitarian rescue in Libya in 2011 and seen that authorization predictably and swiftly misused to justify a wider war and the overthrow of a government.

In addition to the dubious claims about people needing to be rescued on a mountain, the United States also pulled out that old standby of saving U.S. lives, namely the lives of Americans in the oil-rush town of Erbil, all of whom could have been put onto a single airplane and flown out of there had there been a real need to rescue them.

Completely false, on the other hand, was another story about evil. Just in case people were not sufficiently scared, the White House and Pentagon actually invented a non-existent terrorist organization, which they named the Khorasan Group, and which CBS News called "a more immediate threat to the U.S. Homeland." While ISIS was worse than al Qaeda and al Qaeda worse than the Taliban, this new monster was depicted as worse than ISIS and plotting the immediate blowing up of U.S. airplanes. No evidence of this was offered, or apparently required by "journalists." One U.S. war makers were safely into a new war, all mention of the Khorosan Group ended.

If you weren't frightened enough, and if you didn't care enough about people on a mountain to drop bombs on people in a valley, there was also your patriotic duty to overcome "intervention fatigue," of which U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power began writing and speaking, actually warning that if we paid too much attention to what bombing places like Libya had done to them we'd fail in our obligation to support the bombing of new places like Syria. Soon enough, the U.S. corporate media was hosting debates that ranged from advocacy for launching one type of war all the way to advocacy for launching a little bit different type of war. A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that inclusion of antiwar guests in the major U.S. media was even more lacking in the 2014 buildup to war than it had been in the 2003 run-up to the Iraq invasion.

U.S. interest in war in Syria and Iraq since 2014 has taken on this new guise of unavoidable opposition to Evil. But U.S. interest in overthrowing the government of Syria has remained front and center, despite the disasters created in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other "liberated" nations. As in each of those other wars, this one has U.S. weapons on both sides, and U.S. interests on both sides. As in the "war on terror" as a whole, this war is creating more terrorism and fueling more anti-U.S. hatred, not protecting the United States, to which ISIS is not a serious threat. More people have been hurt at Donald Trump rallies and far more killed by cigarettes or automobiles than by ISIS in the United States. What attracts disturbed people in the United States and the world to ISIS is, in large part the counterproductive U.S. attacks on ISIS.

If U.S. motives were humanitarian, it would cease fueling the violence, and it would not be arming wars and crackdowns by vicious governments around the globe including in the Middle East, perhaps most prominently right now Saudi Arabia, the leading purchaser of U.S. weapons which bombs civilians in Yemen using those weapons, murders far more individuals at home than ISIS has, and which has actually sponsored significant terrorism in the United States.

Tim Clemente told Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that he saw a major difference between the 2003- war on Iraq and the more recent war on Syria: "the millions of military aged men who are fleeing the battlefield for Europe rather than staying to fight for their communities. 'You have this formidable fighting force and they are all running away. I don't understand how you can have millions of military aged men running away from the battlefield. In Iraq, the bravery was heartbreaking—I had friends who refused to leave the country even though they knew they would die. They'd just tell you it's my country, I need to stay and fight,' Clemente said. The obvious explanation is that the nation's moderates are fleeing a war that is not their war. They simply want to escape being crushed between the anvil of Assad's Russian backed tyranny and the vicious Jihadi Sunni hammer that [the U.S. government] had a hand in wielding in a global battle over competing pipelines. You can't blame the Syrian people for not widely embracing a blueprint for their nation minted in either Washington or Moscow. The super powers have left no options for an idealistic future that moderate Syrians might consider fighting for. And no one wants to die for a pipeline."

Kennedy proposes as a first U.S. step to resolve the crisis: cease consuming oil from the Middle East. I would simplify that to: cease consuming oil. Putting Europe onto Middle Eastern oil instead of Russian oil is not just about U.S. energy use. It's about rivalry with Russia. The United States needs to go renewable and sustainable in its energy use and its thinking. It owes the Middle East reparations and aid on a massive scale. It owes the world assistance in the greening of energy on a massive scale. Such projects would, of course, cost less financially and in every other way than continued counterproductive militarism.

This will not happen unless people learn history, including the history of the leadup to World War II, the myths about which sustain every U.S. loyalty to the institution of war. That means taking huge leaps beyond the discussions of this past Sunday's presidential debate regarding schools with mold and rats and mass shootings. It means a system of communication in which there is just no place for something like CNN. We will remake our media and our schools, or we will destroy ourselves and have no idea how we did it.

David Swanson is the author of War Is A Lie: Second Edition, to be published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016.

Libya Intervention Part Deux Based on False Intelligence

The gears of war are spinning up once again as the US and its partners go about preparing to implement Libya Intervention Part Deux. Latest report from the Sunday Telegraph indicate the planned invasion is based on FALSE INTELLIGENCE!


Now where have we heard that before? Oh that's right, this website was originally founded as AfterDowningStreet.org and dedicated to exposing the US's previous war criminal president's lies that led to the US invading Iraq and causing a million+ civillian casualties and costing a few trillion dollars of treasure.

So now under the current war criminal president it just makes sense to do it ALL OVER AGAIN....

more details below the fold -

DNC defection: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Surprise Endorsement Gives Sanders a Chance to Change the Whole Primary Game

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Just as the media, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s landslide win in South Carolina’s Democratic primary Saturday, are predictably writing the obituary for Bernie Sanders’ upstart and uphill campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has handed him an opportunity to jolt the American people awake.

An Offer the Candidates Shouldn't Refuse

 

 


VIPS Offers Advice to Candidates

 

 

Editor Note: Former Secretary of State Clinton, whose campaign is brimming with establishment foreign policy advisers, has chided Democratic rival Sen. Sanders for lacking a roster of experts. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says an untapped resource for any candidate is the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

By Ray McGovern

A Memo to: Dr. Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill Stein, and Donald Trump

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.