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White Helmets More Gray

"People always think something's all true." —Holden Caulfield

When a wonderful program like Democracy Now does a story on the White Helmets in Syria, the problem is not that the White Helmets don't exist, or that they're not rescuing anyone, or that they're actually filmed in Los Angeles -- all of which is ridiculously untrue.

Or perhaps it's not ridiculous. Syria has been the subject of a tidal wave of faked videos, many of them filmed elsewhere. But those things are untrue.

The problem is that the guest who's on Democracy Now to promote the rescuers repeatedly claims that the war in Syria consists of people being slaughtered by Syria and Russia -- and nothing else. And nobody corrects that. There is no mention of people killed by U.S. bombs or by U.S. weapons given to fighters on the ground.

The problem is that the White Helmets' partners, media allies, and funders promote a one-sided story and, far from working for peace, promote an escalation of the war, demanding a "No Fly Zone" from which to work for the overthrow of the government. In fact, the U.S. government gave the White Helmets $23 million with which to work on "transition" to a different government.

It's good media practice to reveal funders. We protest when retired generals go on CNN to push for war without revealing their financial ties to weapons makers. We should protest when promoters of the White Helmets go on TV without revealing that they're funded by Western governments, including the U.S. government which has been pushing for the overthrow of Syria for years.

Now, when the U.S. government funds something good, we ought to celebrate that. A color revolution in someplace like Serbia that develops creative new techniques and nonviolently overthrows a dictator to create a more democratic country is not wholly evil because the U.S. government supported it. But neither should we blind ourselves to that support or its motivations.

And when those motivations, at the highest levels of the U.S. government, appear disreputable, that of course does not tell us the motivations of all the staff people and volunteers involved. The U.S. government's dishonest demonization of someone like Milosevic doesn't make him a beloved and law-abiding leader. The U.S. facilitation of a coup in Ukraine doesn't mean there weren't Ukrainians with good grievances. The world is just not a simple place.

When it comes to Syria we need to recognize that many people in Syria had and have legitimate grievances against their government, and that the United States and allies have been working for many years now to overthrow the Syrian government, and that U.S. actions in Iraq and Libya and Syria have played a huge role in creating the current disaster, and that Russia and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Qatar and Iran and ISIS and al Nusra and other "extremist" mass murderers and "moderate" mass murderers and the United States and Syria have Syrian blood up to their shoulders.

We also need to recognize that there are a lot of people trying to help, trying to make things better. And their good work should not be used, with or without their consent, as propaganda for further escalation of the killing and destruction. The way to peace does not lie through greater war. And greater war is the goal of the organized demonization of one side, of the manufacturing of selective outrage. On the contrary, the way to peace lies through taking a different approach entirely, an approach that faces all of the facts and treats as the enemy, not this side of the war or that side of the war, but the institution of war.

ISIS uses U.S. weapons which the U.S. continues supplying to fighters in Syria who are trying to overthrow the government. Meanwhile Russia is backing the government against those fighters. In that context, the U.S. and Russia are proposing to work together while threatening each other. These are nuclear nations. What we need is not slick demonization of one side through appeals to our humanitarian concerns, but disarmament, cease-fire, and actual aid on a much greater scale.

The spokespeople for the White Helmets say they don't work in government controlled areas because the government will not let them. That may be true. And it may be true because of suspicions that are easy to understand. But it is also probably true that if the White Helmets were making movies of themselves rescuing people on that side of the war, much of their funding would dry up.

Remember that the U.S. government tried to make a case for bombing Syria in 2013 by claiming that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. President Obama claimed to have solid evidence of that, which three years later we still haven't seen. The public prevented that escalation. But a year later, following the release of ISIS videos, the U.S. public put up little resistance to the U.S. entering the war on multiple sides, including the opposite side from what it had advertised for in 2013.

But the U.S. government was stuck with a problem. How to direct the war against Syria when the U.S. public seemed not to be upset about Syria at all but seemed willing to be scared entirely out of its mind about ISIS? For the past two years we've witnessed campaigns aimed at demonizing Assad and Putin. That the White Helmets are saving lives doesn't change the fact that they are part of those campaigns. We need to observe them with open eyes.

There is, after all, a potential for support of the White Helmets to backfire against war mongers. If the general public caught on that nonviolent aid is the decent, effective, noble, and heroic path, perhaps the U.S. government would shift more than a tiny fraction of a percent of its Syria budget to that approach. If actual humanitarian aid and unarmed civilian peacework (and videography) were scaled up and done in an actually neutral manner, war would end -- and the White Helmets would have shown the way.

About Safe Zones in Syria


1) Safe zones should be established with the full cooperation of Russia which will consent to the location, extension and administration of the area; 2) They should shelter only refugees. No armed groups (both opposition and pro-government) allowed. The safe zone must not be used as as a base to launch attacks against the enemy. 3) A multinational UN peacekeeping force will administer the safe zones until free and fair (UN supervised) elections are held under a new Syrian constitution. 4) Islamic State or Qaeda attacks in the safe zones will be dealt with by US-Russia military operations under the Joint Implementation Center in conjunction with the UN peacekeeping force.

Syria News - Oct 6 , 2016

Moscow says U.S. strikes on Syrian troops jeopardize Russian servicemen, its air defense weapons stand ready to fend off any attack - Fox News

VIDEO (English Subs): Russian Defense Ministry warns US against strikes on Syrian troops creating a threat to the Russian military - YouTube

Lavrov hopes warmongers eager to attack Syria won’t gain upper hand in US - TASS

Lavrov: Russia 'ready' to cooperate with US on Syria ceasefire in multilateral formats - euronews

In Syria crisis, Russia expands alliance with Iran, increases missile presence - WSJ

3rd Russian Black Sea fleet ship leaves for Mediterranean to join anti-ISIS op - RT News 

Russia suspends nuclear agreement, ends uranium research pact with United States - Huffington Post

White House press secretary: Military action against Assad regime not in US interest but it cannot be ruled out - Sputnik

Department of State spokesperson: US discussions on military option in Syria continue despite Russia’s warning - Sputnik

Pentagon says it has the right to defend against Russian anti-air systems in Syria -


War hawks are sensing an opening in Syria - The Nation

White House may consider imposing sanctions on Russia over Syria outside UN - Sputnik

Germany considering a push for EU sanctions on Russia over Syria - WSJ


Marine Le Pen blasts EU leaders: 'You’ve done everything to bring down the government of Syria throwing the country into a terrible civil war!' (VIDEO) -



Syrian regime forces gain control of key Aleppo area - WPMT FOX43

VIDEO: The Syrian Army continues the large-scale advance inside the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo capturing Bustan al-Basha - YouTube


Assad warns rebels that unless they agree to a deal with the government, would have no option but to expel them from Aleppo - Middle East Eye

Assad accuses Western media of hushing up data on civilian casualties in Aleppo - TASS

VIDEO (English): Assad interview to Denmark’s TV 2  - YouTube

TRANSCRIPT: Assad interview to Denmark’s TV 2 – Syrian Arab News Agency

U.N. envoy De Mistura offers to personally escort al-Qaeda fighters out of Aleppo - CBS News

VIDEO: De Mistura holds press conference on humanitarian situation in Syria - YouTube

TRANSCRIPT: Press conference by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura - ReliefWeb

Syrian Coalition to discuss De Mistura’s proposal with Aleppo rebel groups -

REPORT: The strategy of Jabhat Al-Nusra / Jabhat Fath Al-Sham in regarding the truces in Syria - Noria Research

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Syria News - Oct 4 , 2016

Kerry says Russia 'irresponsible' to back Assad, America's strategy includes grounding Syrian and Russian aircraft in specific areas - Reuters

VIDEO: Kerry: Russia and Syria seem to have rejected diplomacy in the pursuit of a military victory - YouTube

VIDEO: White House spokesman Earnest: 'Everybody's patience with Russia has run out' - YouTube

Washington suspends coordination with Moscow, studies 6 options in Syria - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

US considering strikes on Assad again, but there’s little prospect President Obama will ultimately approve them - The Washington Post

U.S., UK, France, Italy, Germany to meet on Wednesday on Syria: Germany - Reuters

US military builds a new air base in Northern Syria - Sputnik

NATO to deploy E-3 AWACS to Middle East as early as October -

Inside the shadowy PR firm that’s lobbying for regime change in Syria - Alternet

Alert memorandum: Obama warned to defuse tensions with Russia by a group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials – Consortiumnews

Opinion: The Obama Administration’s suspension of Syria talks with Russia is the most dangerous development in a new cold war - The Nation



Russia-US dialogue on Syria failed as Washington has no unified stance: Russian FM spox to RT - RT News

Lavrov: Russian-US deal on Syria ruined by advocates of military solution - Sputnik

Most groups US supports in Syria integral part of al-Nusra Front: Russian Defense Ministry - Sputnik

Russia: If not for our campaign in Syria, jihadist ‘black flags’ could be flying over Damascus - CNS

Russia slams UN Security Council resolution on Syria, says it singles out aviation where terrorists on the ground would be allowed to do whatever they want - DW.COM

Russia deploys advanced anti-missile system S-300 to Syria for first time, US officials say - Fox News

Russia Defense Ministry: S-300 missile system designed to ensure the safety of the naval base in [Syrian city of] Tartus and ships located in the coastal area - RT News

Russia sends more warplanes to a base in northern Syria to back the Assad air forces in the battle for Aleppo -

Duma to ratify unlimited Syria airbase agreement this week: MP - RT Russian politics

Damascus agreed & Russia is ready to send several thousands of special forces & other various units officers this month to Syria - Elijah J. Magnier on Twitter

Moscow counts on BRICS support for Russia's approach in Syria, summit will take place in Goa October 15-16 - Sputnik

Vladimir Putin exits nuclear security pact, citing ‘hostile actions’ by U.S. - The New York Times

40 million Russians involved in annual 4-day defense drills - RT News



Syrian pro-government forces press attack on city of Aleppo - AP

Syria: Government tanks roll into rebel-held Aleppo - Al Jazeera

Syrian army, Kurdish forces liberate Syria’s Shkeif area in northwest Aleppo - Sputnik

Dialogue with armed opposition possible if bloodshed in Syria stops: Assad - Sputnik

‘Same people shedding crocodile tears over Syria, support terrorists in country’: Syrian amb. to UN - RT Op-Edge

Jane’s Defence Weekly: US and its allies (including Turkey and Saudi Arabia) use illicit arms trafficking to channel enormous shipments of light weapons to Syrian rebels -

Syria rebels draw closer to al Qaeda-linked group - WSJ

Turkey-backed rebel group in Syria joins jihadist alliance which includes al-Nusra, The group also received aid from the CIA until 2005 - ARA News

Russian expert says Syrian opposition wrecks talks in hope of aid from new US president in the person of Hillary Clinton - TASS

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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."

Syria News - Sept 29, 2016

John Kerry: U.S. is 'on the verge' of suspending talks with Moscow on Syria - US News

VIDEO: Interview with Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria, Iran, and diplomacy - YouTube

U.S. weighs tougher response to Russia over Syria crisis: officials - Reuters

VIDEO: United States Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken can't tell Congress what Plan B in Syria is - YouTube

Syrian rebels get new Grad rockets from foreign states: commander - Reuters

'Aleppo must not fall': US reportedly to allow its Gulf allies to flood the city with shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles, according to a rebel source - Middle East Eye

Ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke: How the US armed-up Syrian jihadists - Consortiumnews

Special Ops pushing Pentagon to define Islamic roots of terrorism, The 2015 version of the National Military Strategy does not mention Islamic ideology -

U.S. and EU sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians and crippling aid work, U.N. report reveals -

Saudi Crown prince’s Turkey visit to cement ties between regional heavyweights, Syria will likely be top issue on the agenda - Arab News

Politics and economy on the agenda of Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Turkey - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT



Kremlin says continuing Russia's 'anti-terrorist' air operation in Syria - Business Insider

Kremlin: US failed to fulfil promise of separating Syria opposition, terrorists in 1 Week - Sputnik

Lavrov draws Kerry's attention to reports Jebhat al-Nusra receives weapons from US - TASS

Russia says it would support 48-hour truce in Aleppo, not a 7-day pause because it would give militant groups time to regroup - Fox

Russian Su-34 front-line fighter jets reappear in Syrian sky due to aggravation of the situation (VIDEO) -

Terrorists mull ‘chemical attack’ in Aleppo to frame Syrian govt: Russia’s Defense Ministry - RT News

Pro-Syrian government forces control Aleppo's Handarat camp: rebel - THE DAILY STAR

Syrian army takes control of Kindi Hospital in northern Aleppo - Sputnik

Syrian troops and an estimated 5,000 foreign Shia fighters plan imminent advance to capture east Aleppo - The Guardian

Pro-government Palestinian militia fights in Aleppo - The Long War Journal

Syria's UN envoy says: 'We don't bomb civilians’ - THE DAILY STAR

VIDEO: US failed to fulfill any of their promises & commitments in Syria: Assad adviser - YouTube

Russian campaign saved Syria from ‘becoming part of new Ottoman empire': Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim - Sputnik

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US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing

By Dave Lindorff


If the danger of the anti-Putin, anti-Russian disinformation propaganda campaign out of the Pentagon and promoted by the US corporate media weren't so serious, the effort itself might be laughable. I did laugh,

Syria News - Sept 27, 2016

Syrian troops advance in central Aleppo near old quarter - AP

VIDEO: Syrian flag flies on the Citadel of Aleppo - YouTube

Nusra & armed groups in E Aleppo are threatening residents who decide to leave for western part will have their houses burnt - EHSANI2, Twitter

Russian Foreign Ministry: Aleppo to be liberated with assistance of Russian aerospace forces - Sputnik

Bunker-buster bomb reports may mark new stage in Russia's Syrian assault - The Guardian

Moscow slams the United States and Britain for accusing Russia of 'barbarism', says their statements on Syria at UN ‘unacceptable’ -

Russia aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to arrive to Eastern Mediterranean Sea in Mid-October - Already Happened on Twitter

Moscow makes public full text of Russia-US Deal on Syria - Sputnik

Assad's aide: Russia seeks Damascus approval of all Syrian settlement deals - Sputnik

U.S. officials: 3,000 Iran-backed fighters converge on Aleppo amid deadly Syria airstrikes - Fox News

400 Iraqi fighters joined Iran-backed militia in Aleppo: source - ZAMAN ALWSL

Iran admits conducting drone strikes in Syria - NOW

Commander: IRGC supplies intelligence to Russia for airstrikes in Syria - The Long War Journal

Iraqi Shiite militia commander close to Qassem Soleimani killed in Aleppo - The Long War Journal



House Dems back Obama on Syria despite bloodshed, calling on him to "persevere in this diplomatic path" - POLITICO

Letter of nearly 60 House Democrats to Obama on Syria - POLITICO

White House spokesman: Obama ‘reviewing all of the available options' on Syria -

Gulf countries may arm rebels with shoulder-fired missiles against Syrian and Russian warplanes now Syria truce is dead: U.S. officials - Reuters

Russia claims that Nusra in Aleppo receives military hardware from its backers, 'with the US, presumably, turning a blind eye' - South Front

US not willing to attack Nusra: Russian FM -

In interview Nusra commander says US arming jihadists indirectly via 3rd countries: 'They support the countries [Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar] that support us’...‘Americans are on our side’ - RT News

VIDEO (English Subs): Interview with Nusra commander about foreign support in Syria - YouTube

TRANSCRIPT: Interview with Nusra commander about foreign support in Syria - M of A

"Experts" fail to debunk the Nusra commander interview as a hoax - M of A

US denies providing anti-tank missiles to Nusra - Sputnik

Damascus says it has audio of Daesh talks with US military before strike on Syrian Army - Sputnik

Pentagon dismisses Syria's ‘ludicrous' allegations of coordination with Daesh - Sputnik

Turkey's presidential spokesman urges Syria safe zones -

Turkey’s de facto safe zone in northern Syria, Ankara is planning to send troops 45 kilometers into the country - NOW

Turkey faces decision over boots on the ground in Syria -

Turkey says Kurdish militia role in Raqqa offensive would endanger Syria - Reuters

Ankara needs Damascus' consent to conduct military op in Syria: Russian Envoy - Sputnik

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Syria News - Sept 22, 2016


U.S., Russia fail to reach Syria deal at the meeting of the International Syria Support Group -

John Kerry says negotiations for Syrian ceasefire at an impasse - AP

Kerry demands Russia, Syria ground warplanes to save truce - Reuters

VIDEO: At the UN Security Council Kerry calls for no-fly zone over parts of Syria - YouTube

Syria crisis: Read John Kerry's comments to the UN Security Council in full - The Independent

Russia rejects Kerry's idea of grounding Russian, Syrian planes as unworkable - Reuters

VIDEO: Lavrov: No more unilateral pauses in Syria used by militants, including Jabhat al-Nusra, to regroup and get reinforcements - YouTube

VIDEO: Full Lavrov speech at UN Security Council on situation in Middle East and North Africa - YouTube

Russia does not rule out strikes against Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar Al-Sham - TASS


Russia to deploy its flagship aircraft carrier off the Syrian coast -

Russian Election Commission inadvertently reveals Russian troop numbers in Syria, more than 4,000 soldiers are stationed in the country -

China, Russia and Iran come together in a tripartite alliance supporting the Syrian government, fighting Islamic State and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (former Nusra) -

EXCLUSIVE: Text of Syria cease-fire deal reached by the United States and Russia on Sept. 9, 2016 - AP



Syrian army announces new Aleppo offensive as truce talks fail - Al Jazeera

VIDEO: Syria and Russia mount heavy air strikes against rebel-held districts of Aleppo, defying U.S. calls for a halt to flights - Reuters

Syria's Assad says US 'lacks will' to work with Russia to defeat terrorists (VIDEO) -

Assad denies striking Aleppo aid convoy, says U.S. intentionally killed Syria's soldiers - Chicago Tribune

Full transcript of AP interview with Syrian President Assad - Fox News

Sec. Carter: Russians responsible for airstrikes on Aleppo aid convoy, 'whether they conducted it or not because they associated themselves with the Syrian regime' - NBC News

Top US general: ‘No doubt' Russia to blame in Syria convoy attack, Syrian planes were also in the area so he couldn't definitely say who dropped the bombs - AFP

Top U.S. general: Unwise to share intelligence with Russia on Syria - KFGO-790

VIDEO: Russia's Defence Ministry denies involvement in attack on aid convoy - YouTube

A wiki analysis of the attack on Red Crescent convoy in Urm al-Kubra (Aleppo) - A Closer Look On Syria

Pentagon: U.S., Russian defense officials continue dialogue on Syrian airspace ' to mitigate incidents' - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE 

U.S. forces will be in the Middle East long after ISIS, Carter says - Military Times

POLL: After 15 years of war, America's active-duty troops has about had it with 'nation building' - Military Times

Clinton’s new hard line on Moscow: As president, she is prepared to take a much tougher stance on Russia than Trump — or even Obama. Syria’s civil war will be the first test. - Foreign Policy



Obama considers arming Syrian Kurds against ISIS, plans assault on Raqqa before he leaves office - The New York Times

Count us out if PKK’s Syrian wing joins Raqqa offensive, Turkey warns US - Daily Sabah

Turkey bombs Kurdish positions near Syria's Tel Abyad - ARA News

Turkey aims to establish safe zone in northern Syria -


Top whistleblower exposes how Turkey is arming and funding ISIS, 'I am the police chief who was asked to guard ISIS terrorists' - Medium

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

Talk Nation Radio: Reese Erlich and Coleen Rowley on Syria, War, and Peace

Reese Erlich is a foreign correspondent and book author. The paperback edition of Erlich's book Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect, has just been published this week. See

Coleen Rowley is an FBI whistleblower, peace activist, retired FBI agent, former legal counsel who taught law enforcement ethics, and member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. See

Coleen Rowley will be participating in No War 2016. See

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Syria News - Sept 17, 2016

US says it may have struck Syrian troops by mistake while targeting IS, at least 62 soldiers were killed and more than 100 wounded - AP

U.S. Central Command statement: Coalition halts airstrike in progress against possible Syrian military position - Laura Rozen on Twitter

US conveys 'regret' for anti-ISIS strike that by mistake killed Syrian troops, official says - Fox News

US official says condolence payments to Syrian families of troops killed in airstrike will be considered based on claims presented - Starr on Twitter

US Ambassador Samantha Power says UN meeting a ‘stunt,' accuses Russia of bombing civilians and blames Assad for the rise of ISIS - Sputnik

Russia: If the strikes were a targeting error, they are evidence of Washington's stubborn refusal to coordinate its military action in Syria with Russia -

Vladimir Putin questions US commitment to Syria ceasefire deal - The Guardian

Putin: Terrorists use Syria ceasefire to regroup - RT News

US & US-controlled forces haven't fulfilled any Syria ceasefire deal obligations: Russian Army - RT News

Aid Convoys for Syria's Aleppo delayed amid rising violence - ABC News

US to Russia: Assad must allow aid into Aleppo, No joint Syrian operations if aid can't get through - TheHill

Obama says concerned Syrian gov't blocking humanitarian aid: White House - Reuters

Clinton says cease fire in Syria is largely up to Russians -

Syria says it is doing all required to allow aid access - Reuters

Report: Cost of US post 9/11 wars approaching $5 Trillion - World Truth.TV

REPORT: US budgetary costs of wars through 2016: $4.79 trillion and counting -

IMF: Mideast conflict has ‘massive' economic impact - VOA

REPORT: IMF Working Paper: Syria’s Conflict Economy -


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The Almost-War on Syria Three Years Ago



When Putin Bailed Out Obama




Editor Note: As pressure again builds on President Obama to attack Syria and press a new Cold War with Russia, the extraordinary events of three years ago after a sarin attack near Damascus are worth revisiting.

By Ray McGovern

Three years ago, when a reluctant President Barack Obama was about to launch an attack on Syria, supposedly in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad crossing a “red line” against using chemical weapons, Obama smelled a rat – or rather he sensed a mousetrap.

Focus: Turkey Military Intervention in Syria - Aug 29, 2016

Dozens of civilians killed in Syria as Turkey bombs Kurds -

Turkey warns of more strikes if Syrian Kurds don’t withdraw east of the Euphrates River 'immediately' - AP

Turkey says aims to prevent Kurdish militia corridor in Syria -

SDF forces won’t withdraw from western Euphrates: official - Kurdpress News Aganecy

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels gain control of 21 villages - Latin American Herald Tribune

ISIS launch offensive against SDF south of Manbij capturing al-Kadro and Tell Hawthan - Map of Syrian Civil war

ISIS targets YPG with suicide bomb near Manbij, Syria -

PHOTO: ISIS commander has joined Turkish backed Jihadis/FSA to attack on SDF in Jarablus - curdistani on Twitter

SDF retreated from all this locations: Red - EupheratesShield vs SDF, Black - ISIS vs SDF - Aleppo24 on Twitter


50 Turkish tanks in Syrian city of Jarablus: Head of Kurdish group - AhlulBayt News Agency

Turkish-backed 'Syrian Interim Government' moving to Jarabulus: Reports -

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels aim for Manbij city, commander says - Reuters

Syrian Kurdish spokesman says Manbij reinforced, but not by YPG - Reuters

VIDEO: FSA abusing and beating YPG fighters, including child soldiers - Rudaw



US urges halt to Turkish, Kurdish clashes in northern Syria - The New York Times

Turkish push complicates front against Islamic State: White House - Reuters

France, Germany warn Turkey against attacks on Syrian Kurds - NRT English

Turkish leader Erdogan vows to pursue Syria offensive, ignoring US rebuke - Sky News

No one has right to tell us who we can fight: Turkey’s minister for European Union affairs - Reuters

US should force PYD to step back in Syria: Turkey gov’t -

Erdogan calls Putin as Russia seethes at Turkey’s Syrian incursion - The Vineyard of the Saker

Damascus armed PYD to prevent foreign incursion, claims Syrian MP - Rudaw

Turkish intervention in Syria may complicate Raqqa operation: US analysts -


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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.

Focus: Turkey Military Intervention in Syria - Aug 24, 2016

Turkish forces cross into Syria to wrestle control of Jarablus from Islamic State and thereby prevent Kurdish forces from taking the city - DW.COM

With U.S. backing, Turkey pushes into Syria to hold the line against Kurds -

PM says Turkish operation in Syria to go on until YPG moves east of Euphrates - Reuters

Turkey will not accept new Kurdish entity in Syria: Prime Minister - Reuters

YPG: We will not withdraw from west of the Euphrates - Rudaw

Syrian Kurds accuse Turkey of 'blatant aggression' in Syria and and warn that Ankara is entering a 'quagmire' - Reuters

'Or we'll force them out': Kurdish PYD demands Turkey's withdrawal from Syria - Sputnik

Jarablus Military Council is claiming that Turkey is "deliberately" targeting Kurdish neighbourhoods in Jarablus -

Clashes between Turkey-FSA and SDF Manbij Military Council in the south of Jarablus -

Kurds accuse Turkish intelligence of assassinating military leader in Syria's Jarabulus, say two MIT agents captured and interrogated - ARA News

Turkey-FSA take Jarablus from IS without fight -

Surprise! Washington Post: "rebels had reached the center of Jarabulus after encountering almost no resistance from IS fighters” - Peto Lucem on Twitter

Int community, Peshmerga &Iraqi army near Mosul should ask Turkish army/FSA 2hand over manual "how-to-defeat-IS-in-hours-without-casualties" - Harald Doornbos on Twitter


IS members online say the quick loss of Jarablus was because IS had pulled out its fighters from the city a week ago & regrouped elsewhere - Hassan Hassan on Twitter


Jihadists left Azaz and Aleppo province to assist Turkish Army in capture of Jarabulus - Joshua Landis on Twitter

Zenki brigades, which have been so active in Aleppo, spearhead push with Turks to take Jarablus - Joshua Landis on Twitter 

ARCHIVE: Zenki Brigades, Syria Islamist group accused of war crimes - Wikipedia

Ahrar al-Sham is also involved (confirmed by source) in the Jarablus offensive, though more quietly than other FSA/vetted groups - Charles Lister on Twitter

Key Syria [rebel] units involved [in Jarablus]: Faylaq al-Sham Jabhat al-Shamiya Nour al-Din al-Zinki Sultan Murad 13th Division Suqor al-Jebel (1/2) - Charles Lister on Twitter


Key Syria [rebel] units involved [in Jarablus]: Jaish al-Tahrir Hamza Division Jaish al-Nasr Mutassim Brigade Ahrar Tel Rifaat Liwa al-Fateh (2/2) - Charles Lister on Twitter



U.S. backs Turkey call for Kurds to retreat East of Euphrates, says aid for the YPG would be stopped if it doesn’t comply - Bloomberg Politics

Turkish op in Syria indicate progress in closing border to Daesh: White House - Sputnik

Russia says 'deeply concerned' at Turkish operation in Syria, warning of rising tension over Ankara's targeting of Kurdish militia fighters - AFP


‘Blatant violation of sovereignty’: Damascus condemns Turkish operation in Jarablus - RT News

Syrian opposition group welcomes Turkish military operation near Jarablus - Sputnik

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

A Lawless Plan for More Carnage and Wider War in Syria



A Lawless Plan to Widen War in Syria




Editor's Note: Official Washington’s disdain for international law – when its doing the lawbreaking – was underscored by ex-CIA acting director Morell reiterating plans for murdering Iranians and Syrians in Syria, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says.

By Ray McGovern

On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a “mulligan” for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too.

Which Side Are You On?

Last week 'In These Times' published an article hostile to the stances taken by the US Peace Council Delegation to Syria and to a number of other well known antiwar and anti-imperialist activists and some of the best and most independent reporters of our time.   The US Peace Council is sharing the following response.
Pentagon and State Department, or the People of Syria?
The U.S. Peace Movement Has to Decide Which Side It Is On — And Soon
An “Anti-Regime-Change” Position on Syria is NOT the same as a “Pro-Assad” Position!
That is for the Syrian People to Decide Free of Foreign Intervention!
U.S. Peace Council
August 18, 2016
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state....”
— Article 2 of the United Nations Charter
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations....”
    Article 52 of the United Nations Charter
And one does not need to be only an “anti-imperialist” to stand for the principles of the United Nations Charter.
*  *  *
It is a sad irony that a significant segment of the U.S. peace and anti-war movement has now fallen prey to the distortions and misrepresentations promoted by the U.S. State Department, blindly repeating, and even insisting on, the distortions and falsehoods fed to the public by the war-mongers and their corporate media.
A vivid example of this fact was the vicious attacks that started soon after the return the U.S. Peace Council’s fact-finding delegation to Syria on July 30th. Immediately after the delegation’s Press Conference at the United Nations on August 9th, an article subtitled “Syria Serves up the Kool-Aid for Sympathizers,” appeared on the so-called “Talk Media News” web site, which, instead of dealing with the substantive issues raised by the delegation members, blasted a barrage of baseless accusations and slanders against not just the delegation members but the U.S. Peace Council itself, calling it, in a McCarthyite style, a “formerly Soviet-backed council,” in the hope that reviving Cold-War fears in the minds of possible listeners would keep them from hearing the hard facts provided by our delegation.
But being the target of such attacks by “news” outfits like “Talk Media News” is one thing, hearing similar accusations from our friends in the peace movement, like the writers and contributors to In These Times, is quite another.
The August 15th issue of In These Times contained an article titled “U.S. Peace Activists Should Start Listening to Progressive Syrian Voices,” by Terry Burke, described in the footnote as “a long-time peace activist.” It was our hope that her “long-time” activism and experience would have brought her to see the true nature of what is going on not only in Syria, but in all other countries that have been, and still are being, victimized by the United States’ wars of aggression. It was very disappointing to see the opposite.
Implicitly claiming that she knows Syria much better than the rest of the peace movement, Terry Burke starts by saying that “many peace activists know little about Syria’s peaceful uprising,” and as a result, “major organizations in the peace movement,” are now supporting “a dictator accused of monstrous war crimes.” She then goes on to lump together a whole number of diverse organizations with different views and political orientations in her newly invented “pro-dictator” camp. What is the evidence? In her own words: “The March 13 ... UNAC anti-war protest” (clearly not “pro-Assad protest”) in which many “left-wing” organizations, including the “pro-Assad Syrian-American Forum,” participated. And what is the charge? Some “people” were “carrying the flag of brutal Assad regime” and “some even wearing T-shirts with Assad’s image....”!
First, it is ironic that people like Terry Burke, who are claiming to be “fighting for democracy” in Syria, have no stomach for it in the United States. Do some Syrians (who are by the way the majority) have the right to support their government and have their President’s image on their T-shirts? Or, from her point of view, they should not exist at all? Isn’t that what ISIS is trying to do?
Second, is the falsification (or lack of knowledge) of the facts despite the author’s claim to knowing Syria better than others in the peace movement: Ms. Burke, Syrian flag is not “the flag of brutal Assad regime.” This flag was adopted as the flag of Syria when Syria became a part of United Arab Republics in 1958, 13 years before Hafiz Al-Assad first became the President of Syria. It does not stand for the “brutal Assad regime,” but officially represents “Syria’s commitment to Arab unity”! Why are you trampling on Syria’s national honor just to score an invalid point?
Third, and more important, is the lumping together of all organizations that participated in the March 13 anti-war protest and using “guilt by association” as a means of accusing “major peace organizations” of the “crime” of being “pro-Assad.” In doing so, Terry Burke is shifting the debate from one about whether people are for or against the war of aggression on Syria to one about whether they are pro- or anti-Assad. And this is exactly what the State Department and the corporate media are trying to do: “you are either with us or with Assad.” And within the peace movement: “You are not a genuine peace organization if you don’t join the anti-Assad camp”!
But this pro- or anti-Assad dualism is a false one that only serves the State Department and its war and regime change policy. It is meant to split, confuse and disarm the peace movement: if you oppose the regime change policy, you must be pro-Assad, and that’s it! And it seems it has been a successful strategy so far in both confusing and splitting the peace movement. With this dualism at work, the only choice left for the peace movement is to either join the State Department or the Assad government—nothing else.
It is in the context of this false dualism that Terry Burke talks about the “progressive Syrian voices” and sets them up against those in the peace movement she mockingly calls “anti-imperialists.” However, she herself falls victim of the same dualism she has created and inevitably ends up on the side of the State Department. Let’s take a look:
First, throughout the whole article, all you constantly read about is the “crimes” of the “Assad regime” and not a single word about the savage crimes of mercenaries and terrorists like ISIS, or about the innocent civilians that have been killed by US bombs and Saudi weapons. This is only a natural outcome of her argument: with regard to Syria, you can only be on one side or the other. And for her, the safe side is the side of the State Department. Thus the absolute silence on crimes that the US government and its allies are committing in Syria.
Another fact that reveals her true position is the terminology she uses and the “progressive Syrian opposition” she identifies with. First, she (probably inadvertently) refers to the ISIS-occupied territory of Syria as “liberated areas”! Interesting. Now ISIS has become a “liberating” force for Syrians. Then she goes on to talk about the “remarkable ongoing successes and organizing efforts of grassroots groups” in these “liberated areas.” Well, the scenario becomes complete: ISIS has “liberated” parts of the Syrian territory and has empowered the “progressive Syrians” to “organize” in these “liberated areas.” Didn’t George Bush claim that he “liberated” women of Afghanistan and the freedom-loving people Iraq? Didn’t Obama “liberate” the Libyan people from the “criminal dictator” Qaddafi? Are we looking for the same kind of “liberation” in Syria with the help of ISIS and the “progressive Syrians” it is harboring in the “liberated areas”? Could these “progressive Syrians” survive the wrath of ISIS if they demanded anything other than the toppling of Assad government? Have we not witnessed the beheadings that are going on in those “liberated areas”? Only “barrel bombs” are killing the Syrian people?
Anticipating objections from the peace movement that the same fate is awaiting all of the Syrian people, she simply claims that the case of Syria is different: “The analysis that the United States was promoting regime change was correct in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1960-2015), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). But Syria is not Iraq. It is not Afghanistan. Syria is Syria. It has its own unique history and culture—and its own Arab Spring of a genuine popular uprising against nearly five decades of the brutal Assad family dictatorship. This revolution is real, and beyond U.S. control.”
Indeed, a “real revolution” with the help of U.S. arms, Saudi and Qatari funds, Turkish logistical support and Israeli intelligence is under way. But it is certainly not the Syrian people’s revolution. In fact, such revolutions were planned by the Bush Administration for 7 countries including Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran, as testified by Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO. And one by one they are being implemented.
We certainly oppose this kind of “revolution” and “liberation.” For us, the choice is much more than what Terry Burke has put before us. The Syrian situation is more complicated than that. We are dealing with two levels of reality that should not be collapsed into one. One level is the war imposed by the U.S. Government and its allies against the independent state of Syria. In this war, we are on the side of the Syrian Government and the U.N. Charter. The second level is the relationship between the Syrian Government and the Syrian people. On this level, we are always on the side of the Syrian people. The Syrian people have the right to change their government if they want to. But it is solely their decision. And the only way they can express their will is when they are free of any foreign intervention.
Terry Burke goes so far as accusing all independent journalists and others in the peace movement — all those whom she repeatedly mocks as “anti-imperialists” — as racists who are  behaving like imperialists,” by not listening to the “progressive Syrian voices” and “imposing their point of view on poorer countries voices.” But she is putting herself in the same “imperialist” boat by taking an anti-Assad position as an American — no American has any right to decide Syria’s future — and ignoring the voice of the majority of Syrian people. The true progressive opposition forces are inside Syria, not in the ISIS-“liberated areas,” and our delegation has met with many of them. They have many disagreements with the Assad government, but strongly believe that they should join with their government against foreign attack and invasion, like any patriot would. The “progressive Syrian voices” that Terry Burke is identifying with do not have the monopoly on truth. She would be well served if she listened to the other opposition forces within Syria as well.
It is one thing for the Syrian people to oppose their government if they choose to. It is another thing for the foreigners to take the position of “Assad must go!” The latter is a clear imperialist demand that violates the international law. Our support in this case, as in any other case, is for the international law, the U.N. Charter, and the people’s right to self-determination — and not for or against any particular government or leader.
We hope that this has become clear once and for all.
U.S. Peace Council
P.O. Box 3105
New Haven, CT 06515-0205, USA

How to Get Yourself Named "Pro-Assad"

It's not hard to do. You can probably accomplish it at home quite easily. In These Times just published an article, for example, that calls Veterans For Peace, United National Antiwar Coalition, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Seymour Hersh, Gareth Porter, Kathy Kelly, Counterpunch, Consortiumnews,, and many more, including me supporters of Bashar al Assad.

How did I win this honor? I spent years denouncing war making by all parties in Syria. I wrote article and books questioning the hypocrisy that held Assad to have been a good torturer when he was working for the United States but a bad torturer now. I severely criticized my fellow peace activists when some of them cheered for Russian bombings in Syria. I even went after Russia for its warmaking in Syria repeatedly on Russian television. I wrote not one article or blog post and gave not one speech defending Assad's atrocities in any way, shape, or form. That record ought to have been enough, I suppose, to get me accused of supporting Assad and Putin. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.

But I also made the truly fateful mistake of trying to accommodate the "You're an Assad lover" crowd. Someone named Andy Berman sent me nasty messages with that false accusation. I proposed that he write down exactly what he thought I had been so nefariously censoring. He did. And I published it with my own response afterwards but with not a word or a comma edited. Here was an attempt at civil discourse over an issue that has divided peace activists, and what did it get me?

Andy Berman's wife, Terry Burke, is listed as the author of the attack piece for In These Times accusing me of all the same tired old lies. She didn't contact me. No editor, if In These Times has those, contacted me. There's no quote or paraphrase of anything I supposedly said. Instead, there's a denunciation of having been a speaker at a rally. But, as I would have pointed out if asked, I wasn't at the rally at all or within 500 miles of it. It was, however, a rally that I had helped promote before it happened. Burke might have looked at those promotions, rather than at what someone showed up at the rally waving, in order to figure out what I was for or against.

Clearly that would have been too much to ask. Others became Assad lovers on even less basis. Some were denounced for having gone to Syria and met with Assad. I interviewed someone who went on that trip and asked her whether they had confronted Assad with his crimes. You can listen to the response on my website. Clearly Burke didn't bother to even contact the people she libeled. But most of those condemned as Assadites by In These Times are so condemned on no stated basis whatsoever.

Now this is getting very tiresome after all of these years of it, and a couple of dangers loom ahead for activists who can't seem to graduate from preschool mentalities. The fact is, of course, as many of us are sick to death of having to explain, that denouncing the war making by all parties in Syria does not put you in the camp of cheering for whichever party somebody else has chosen as the Bad Guy.

If the United States and Russia escalate a joint bombing campaign in Syria, things will go from very bad to even worse for those not killed in the process. Will those who have thus far believed that bombing by only one of those parties or the other is evil come to grips with the evil in bombing conducted by the pair of them?

And if Hillary Clinton launches a greatly escalated effort to overthrow the Syrian government by bombing campaign, will those who oppose that criminal catastrophe have to listen to more chants of "Assad lover!" "Assad lover!" Does criticizing Hillary Clinton about anything win one the accusation of "privilege" anyway? As if living in one of the countries she doesn't want to bomb isn't a huge privilege for all of us!

This was my response to Berman's article:

Thank you to Andy Berman for giving me and Code Pink a bit of credit in this article. I think more credit is do more groups and individuals. In particular, I think the public pressure in the U.S., UK, and elsewhere that stopped a massive U.S. bombing campaign of Syria in 2013 deserves a great deal of credit and far from being an example of a peace movement that has completely failed constitutes the most noteworthy success for peace of recent years. Of course it was incomplete. Of course the U.S. went ahead with arming and training and bombing on a much smaller scale. Of course Russia joined in, killing even more Syrians with its bombs than the United States was doing, and it was indeed deeply disturbing to see U.S. peace activists cheer for that. Of course the Syrian government went on with its bombings and other crimes, and of course it’s disturbing that some refuse to criticize those horrors, just as it’s disturbing that others refuse to criticize the U.S. or Russian horrors or both, or refuse to criticize Saudi Arabia or Turkey or Iran or Israel.

All of this selectivity in moral outrage breeds suspicion and cynicism, so that when I criticize U.S. bombing I’m immediately accused of cheering for Syrian bombing. And when I read an article like this one that makes no mention of the 2013 bombing plan, no mention of Hillary Clinton’s desired “no fly zone,” no mention of her position that failure to massively bomb in 2013 was a mistake, etc., I have to struggle not to wonder why. Then when it comes to what we ought to do about this war, I’d love to have seen some acknowledgment that the party that has repeatedly blocked exactly what is proposed in point #5 (a negotiated settlement) has been the United States, including rejecting a Russian proposal in 2012 that included Assad stepping down — rejected because the U.S. preferred a violent overthrow and believed it was imminent.

I would also like to have seen greater recognition that people usually have the most influence over their own governments, as opposed to over the governments of others. I think one also has to have a view of U.S. imperialism to explain U.S. actions in Syria, including its failure to condemn Russian cluster bombs and incendiary bombs while U.S. cluster bombs are falling in Yemen, and while Fallujah is newly under siege. One has to have an understanding of Iraq and Libya to know where ISIS and its weapons and much of the weaponry of other fighters in Syria come from, as well as to understand the conflicted U.S. policy that can’t choose between attacking the Syrian government or its enemies and that has resulted in CIA and DOD trained troops fighting each other. I also think a negotiated settlement has to include an arms embargo and that the greatest resistance to that comes from the greatest arms dealer. But I think the broader point here, that we should oppose and be aware of and work to end war, regardless of who is doing it, is the right one. And I think part of making that work will be both including a comprehensive list of criticisms of all parties in any mention we make of a conflict, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt rather than making accusing each other our top priority.

Coleen Rowley added this comment to my response:

"A good place for Berman to look to regain some of his own dignity would be to stop pushing for U.S. “regime change” in Syria and elsewhere. When he parroted the official pre-condition for any peace negotiations that “Assad must go,” and when he constantly promoted speakers and writers, even neocon groups, engaged in the bloody effort to topple the Syrian government, they essentially doomed Syria to continuing and worsening war and the destabilizing vacuum that allowed ISIS to grow. From the start, Berman sided with speakers who advised not to worry about the al Qaeda presence among the “rebels” but to focus only on toppling the Syrian government. In any event, here is an article that Margaret Safrajoy and I co-wrote in December 2014 when this sick hypocrisy had become so painfully clear:

"Another sign of Berman’s constant pushing for more US military intervention on the side of the “rebels” (which includes jihadists aligned with Al Qaeda) can be seen in his social media posts encouraging people to contact members of Congress to support HR 5732, the “Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act.” The bill would be great if it actually would serve to protect civilians but in actuality, it increases sanctions against Syria and requires the U.S. President to present proposals regarding the establishment of safe zones and a no-fly zone as U.S. policy options in Syria. (“No fly zone” being a code used by “humanitarian war hawks” for bombing a country to smithereens if you recall what happened to Libya.)

"(Naturally) MN Rep Ellison who supported the previously announced plan to bomb Syria in 2013 (and I think even supported the earlier US-NATO bombing of Libya) is one of 17 co-sponsors of H.R 5237, which bill was introduced by Israel’s best friend, Eliot Engel, with uber-hawk Ros-Lehtinen another co-sponsor."

Talk Nation Radio: Judy Bello on Syria, Gar Alperovitz on Ending War

Judy Bello (pictured) is on the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and is a founding member of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.   In the previous decade she has traveled with Peace Delegations to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria. She has just returned from a fact finding mission in Syria with a delegation from the U.S. Peace Council.

Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as a historian, political economist, activist, writer, and government official. He's been a Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, and is a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University and Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He is the author of critically acclaimed books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy. Alperovitz has served as a legislative director in both houses of Congress and as a special assistant in the State Department. He is also the president of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives and is a co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative and co-chair of the Next System Project. And he will be speaking at No War 2016, a conference we are organizing in September in Washington DC through World Beyond War. See

Total run time: 29:00

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Mike Morell: Travels With Charlie (Rose)



Mike Morell’s Kill-Russians Advice




Editor's Note: Washington’s foreign policy hot shots are flexing their rhetorical, warmongering muscles to impress Hillary Clinton, including ex-CIA acting director Morell who calls for killing Russians and Iranians.

By Ray McGovern

Perhaps former CIA acting director Michael Morell’s shamefully provocative rhetoric toward Russia and Iran will prove too unhinged even for Hillary Clinton. It appears equally likely that it will succeed in earning him a senior job in a possible Clinton administration, so it behooves us to have a closer look at Morell’s record.

Focus: Aleppo - Aug 8, 2016

Government forces and rebel factions send hundreds of reinforcements to Aleppo as both sides brace for a crucial battle - AFP

SouthFront: Syrian Army deploys 100 tanks, 400 BMP's to Aleppo -

Rebels face onslaught by regime forces after breaking siege of Aleppo, intense air strikes continue unabated - Irish Times

Aleppo: Narrow corridor bombed heavily by Russian jets, blocking rebels from opening a path to go through and bring supplies - Farsnews

VIDEO: Russian airstrikes on rebel positions in southern Aleppo - YouTube

VIDEO: Syrian Army’s warplanes conduct a series of sorties targeting jihadi fighters inside the Artillery School in south Aleppo -

Syrian Arab Air Force destroys a rebel convoy heading from Idlib province to southwestern Aleppo -

Media: dismissed the commander of the Syrian troops in Aleppo - News Israel today

Syrian government delivers supplies to Aleppo via alternative route: monitors - Reuters

Syrian Army makes advances in Latakia, Jaish Al-Fateh jihadist conglomeration on southwest Aleppo has weakened the rebel defense lines on other fronts (VIDEO, MAP) -

Iraqi, Lebanese militias deploy to Syria's Aleppo to shore up Syrian President Assad's forces - The New York Times

Eight Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria's Aleppo - THE DAILY STAR

Iran says ready to assist Russian humanitarian operation in Syria's Aleppo - Sputnik



Russia, US tensions grow over Aleppo -

UN envoy Samantha Power says no swift victory in Aleppo, despite overwhelming force of Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah - Daily Mail

Foreign help behind rebel advances in Aleppo, opposition replenished with new weapons and cash across Turkey’s border -

Aleppo offensive is being heavily backed by Turkey whose role seemingly minimally affected by failed coup - Charles Lister on Twitter

Russia (in Aleppo) believes (I quote) "Jihadists received MANPADs with the knowledge of the USA, through countries of the region” - Elijah J. Magnier on Twitter

Iranian source: US warships in Mediterranean sending intelligence to terrorists in Aleppo - Farsnews

Heroes? Jihadists with Al Qaeda links break Assad siege of Aleppo, seize the initiative in northern Syria - The Daily Beast

English translation of the Army of Conquest's (Jaysh al-Fateh's) announcement on plans to take control of the whole of Aleppo City -

Hard 2 believe Jaish alFateh [Army of Conquest] wont commit crimes when operation named after officer who killed Alawis based on sect - Jenan Moussa on Twitter

VIDEO (Arabic): New statement by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham [former Nusra] declaring intent to separate Sunnis fr Nusairis (Alawis) & kill them - YouTube

VIDEO: US-backed rebels who beheaded a Palestinian child show up in Aleppo battlefield - YouTube

There are no good terrorists in Syria, Iraq: Russia’s Putin - en.alalam

Russia: US-backed Syrian rebels used poison gas on civilians - Veterans Today

Obama questions Russian commitment to peace in Syria -

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

Top 10 Reasons Why It's Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children

Is it really necessary for me to explain to you why it's acceptable, necessary, and admirable for the United States and its minor allies to be blowing up houses, families, men, women, and children in Syria?

This latest story of blowing up 85 civilians in their homes has some people confused and concerned. Let me help you out.

1. Somebody mistook them for ISIS fighters, determined that each of them was a continuing and imminent threat to the United States, verified a near zero possibility of any civilians being hurt in the process, and determined that some more bombing was just the way to advance a cease-fire in Syria. So this was not only an accident, but a series of unfortunate events, mistakes, and miscalculations of such proportions that they're unlikely ever to all align again for at least a few days to come.

2. This isn't actually news. That the United States is blowing up civilians by the hundreds in Syria has been endlessly reported and is really of no news value, which is why you don't hear anybody at presidential conventions or on TV talking about it, and why you shouldn't talk aboiut it either if you know what's good for you.

3. Quite a lot of families actually got away without being blown up and are now refugees, which is truly the ideal thing to be in Syria, which is the most totally prepared place for more refugees in the history of the earth, or would be if liberal internationalist do-gooders would provide some aid and stop whining about all the bombs falling.

4. Who gets labeled a "civilian" is pretty arbitrary. The United States has killed thousands of people who clearly were not civilians, and who likely had no loved ones or anyone who would become enraged by their deaths. So why lump particular groups of families into the category of "civilian," and why just assume that every 3-year-old is a civilian, and then turn around and complain with a straight face when the government labels every 18-year-old male a combatant?

5. Houses do not actually have feelings. Why be so bothered that people are blown up in their houses? I'll let you in on a little secret: The word "battlefield" hasn't meant anything that looks like a field for decades. They don't even have fields in some of these countries that don't know any better than to get themselves bombed over and over again. These wars are always in houses. Do you want the houses bombed or do you want the doors kicked in? Because when the Marines start kicking in doors and hauling people off to torture camps you whine about that too.

6. People who live in an ISIS territory are responsible for ISIS. Even those who didn't vote in the most recent ISIS election have a responsibility to get themselves burned alive, and if not then they are responsible for the evil of ISIS and ought to be burned alive by Raytheon missiles which at least make somebody some money in the process for godsake. And if ISIS won't let people flee its territory, but won't burn them alive, then it's time for the international community to step in with efficient burning-alive systems that meet international standards.

7. Donald Trump has sworn he would start killing families. If the U.S. government does not continue its centuries-old practice of killing families, Trump might gain support and endanger us all by creating the new policy of killing families.

8. When airplanes take off from Turkey to commit mass murder in Syria, it helps to bring Turkey back into the community of the rule of law and international respect for human rights, following the recent coup attempt. Keeping U.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey serves a similar purpose.

9. Sometimes when you blow people up in their houses, their heads can remain on their bodies. When U.S.-armed moderates behead children, they're doing it for the goal of moderating the moderation of moderate allies and allied moderates. But when the United States kills directly, it is important that there be a chance of some heads remaining on bodies.

10. Unlike every other country on earth, the United States is not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so, in the words of the great Thomas Friedman, suck on this.

Focus: Syria News - July 19, 2016

Syrian troops besiege rebel-held parts of Aleppo, a decisive battle that could turn the war in favor of the government - AP

Syria, Russia seek rebel surrender with Aleppo seige -

Aleppo rebels accuse Kurds of aiding regime siege - NOW

Kurdish YPG forces combatting Islamists in Syria's Aleppo - ARA News

Pressure mounts in Aleppo, Since government forces closed off Castello Road supplies have dwindled and prices have skyrocketed - Al Jazeera

Syrian opposition plans to launch full-scale offensive across Aleppo - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Jihadists, mostly composed of the Al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra, launch a large-scale offensive on Al-Mallah Farms and the Castillo road in an attempt to lift the Aleppo siege -

Huge blast rocks government arms factory near Aleppo as ISIS, Al-Nusra shell city & attack Syria troops (VIDEO) - RT News

VIDEO: Ancient city of Aleppo ravaged by relentless conflict - YouTube

Aleppo Governor, ICRC representative discuss cooperation in relief work – Syrian Arab News Agency

Field Report: Syrian Army makes fresh gains in Darayya (VIDEO) -

Syrian army foils jihadi attack in Quneitra: frontline report -

Syrian Forces Recapture Key Town on Latakia Coast -

Lebanon Army targets Nusra, ISIS on northeast border - THE DAILY STAR

Russia to test new ship-based helicopters in Syria -



Fierce clashes between US backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants erupt in western Manbij - Rudaw

Syrian Democratic Forces advancing toward Manbij city center -

US Central Command says anti-ISIS operation in Manbij will take time due to 'countless snipers and explosive belts’ - ARA News

US-Led coalition, supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, destroys 22 Daesh positions near Syria’s Manbij: CENTCOM - Sputnik

US-led coalition denies ISIS access to critical supply routes north Syria near Manbij - ARA News

Unconfirmed report: 3 US soldiers killed by guided missile in Manbij northeastern Aleppo - Alalam

French special forces on the ground in Manbij - Rudaw

Manbij operation uncovers treasure trove of ISIS documents - Rudaw

Syrian opposition says U.S. must stand up to Russia which is committing 'war crimes' - Reuters

New Syrian opposition interim government excludes the Kurdish National Council - ARA News

Clinton backer and advisor Panetta: Obama’s strategy in Syria has resulted in ‘worst-case’ scenario, The U.S. will need to challenge ISIS, Assad and the Russians as well - Daily Caller

VIDEO: Leon Panetta talks Syria and the next U.S. president - YouTube

Statement by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Obama administration’s delusional talks with Russia - United States Senator John McCain

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

Syria: Reasserting Dignity in the US Antiwar Movement

[Note: I'm publishing this with no edits, but with a note from myself at the end, as I think this article may serve as a useful corrective to various mistakes but am convinced it makes a few of its own. --David Swanson]

By Andy Berman

After 5 years of intense bloody conflict in Syria, resulting so far in the death of half a million people, the severe injury of millions more, the destruction of major parts of the nation’s housing and infrastructure and the displacement of 12 million persons, literally half the nation’s population, it is abundantly clear that the entity that calls itself the “US antiwar movement” has failed.

The US antiwar movement contributed significantly to ending the US war in Vietnam, and successfully prevented a US invasion of Nicaragua, and gave tremendous solidarity to the people of El Salvador in their struggle against their death-squad government. It made a major contribution of solidarity to the South African people in the struggle against apartheid.

But its record to date in mitigating the violence in Syria, much less helping to bring about a just solution to the conflict, is one of abject failure. It is also, in the opinion of millions of Syrians, a great betrayal.

After 5 years of death and destruction, following an initially non-violent uprising against a brutal dictatorship, there is no legitimate excuse for concerned antiwar activists to say they are still “confused” by the conflict, and to hold back from condemning the ongoing war crimes that occur on a nearly daily basis in Syria today. Bloodshed and conflict are occurring in a number of places around the globe. But in its scope of violence, its years of unceasing slaughter, its extent of civilian suffering, Syria arguably leads the pack. Syria should be very high on the agenda of peace and justice organizations.

Focus: U.S. and Russia on Syria, Trump and Clinton on Nice terror attack - July 16, 2016

Putin-Kerry talks made no progress on Syria deal, Kremlin says - Bloomberg Politics

Kremlin spokesman says Putin, Kerry did not discuss Syria military cooperation, 'unfortunately, we are not much closer' - Almanar

U.S., Russia extend talks in search for Syria cooperation deal -

Kerry: World 'waiting' for U.S.-Russia cooperation on terrorism - Washington Examiner

Kremlin: Moscow ready for coordinated anti-terrorist efforts with US, Putin regrets over our American partners’ rejecting cooperation - TASS

Russian Defense Minister urges US to joint action to normalize situation in Aleppo - TASS

US, Russia talk Syria military coordination despite Pentagon concerns -

Pentagon resists Obama’s new plan to work with the Russians in Syria - The Daily Beast

Obama’s Syria plan teams up American and Russian forces - The Washington Post

Text of the U.S. Syria plan: Terms of reference for the Joint Implementation Group - The Washington Post

While the Obama administration works to shift its Syria policy away from pressuring the Assad regime, Congress launches Syria sanctions drive - The Washington Post

Interview: Bashar Al-Assad says U.S. is ‘not serious' about defeating ISIS (VIDEO) - NBC News

Assad: No talks with Russia about leaving power - BBC News

Journalist Colvin responsible for own death: Syria s Assad - Yahoo7

Syrian troops aided by Russian jets recapture 586 settlements: defense minister - TASS

Syrian Arab Coalition troops move toward center of Manbij in Syria - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Death of Islamic State's ‘minister of war’ Shishani may damage foreign recruitment, Pentagon says that he has been the target of an attack near Mosul - defenceWeb



Trump says he would ask Congress to declare war on terrorism - The New York Times

Trump on Nice attacks: 'Extreme vetting' of immigrants; 'A different world and we're trying to be politically correct’ (VIDEO) - RealClearPolitics

VIDEO: Donald Trump: Use NATO ‘for a purpose’, to destroy ISIS - Fox News

Clinton on Nice: We need to launch an ‘intelligence surge' in war against ‘radical jihadist groups’ (VIDEO) - RealClearPolitics

Hillary: Europeans not cooperating with US on terrorism -

VIDEO: Donald Trump full interview on Nice, France terrorist attack - Fox News

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton full interview on Nice, France terrorist attack - Fox News

Debate rages in Clinton camp over Syria policy - TheHill

Hillary Clinton’s likely Defense Secretary Michelle Flourney wants more US troops fighting ISIS and Assad (and Michelle Flourney reply) - Defense One

Defeating the Islamic State: A bottom-up approach - Center for a New American Security

Admiral Fabuloso: Hillary, Syria and the destructive career of James G. Stavridis -

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

Intel Vets Take The State Dept. 51" to Task





Intel Vets Call ‘Dissent Memo’ on Syria ‘Reckless’





Editor Note: A group of U.S. intelligence veterans urges President Obama to resist the “reckless” call for a wider Syrian war from 51 State Department officials in a recent “dissent memo.”

MEMORANDUM FOR:  Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Subject:  Beware Foggy Bottom Dissent

Syria News - June 19, 2016

U.S. backed Kurdish and Arab forces advance two km from center of Islamic state-held Manbij: source - Reuters

US Special Forces active in Manbij offensive, says YPG official - Rudaw

Islamic State mounts fierce defence of besieged Syrian bastion Manbij, launches a wave of suicide and car bombings - Daily Mail

Hundreds of Kurdish villagers near Manbij taken by ISIS as human shield - Rudaw

SDF forces break ISIS defense lines and reach trapped civilians in Manbij (VIDEO) - Rudaw

ISIS extremists execute whole family for trying to escape Manbij city - ARA News

'I felt liberated': Syrian girl reveals joy removing niqab after US backed Syrian forces expel ISIS - Reuters

Kurdish commander: ISIS no longer able to cross the border, send terrorists from Syria to the outside world - ARA News

Federal plan for Syrian Kurdistan advances with U.S.-backed forces - ekurd

Syrian government forces impose heavy losses on ISIS military hardware in Raqqa province -

UN human rights panel concludes ISIS is committing genocide against Yazidis - United Nations News Centre

REPORT: “They came to destroy”: ISIS crimes against the Yazidis - UN Human Rights Council


Why the Islamic State Is Weaker Than It Seems - Stratfor

ARCHIVE: Islamic State sees sharp drop in its revenue - Jerusalem Post



Russia bombs U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near Jordan border -

Images suggest that Russia cluster-bombed U.S.-backed Syrian fighters - The Washington Post

Pentagon chief Carter hits Russia for attacking U.S.-backed Syrian rebels - AP

U.S. seeks answers over Russian strikes on Syrian rebels - Reuters

Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on U.S.-Russia Video Conference - U.S. Department of Defense

Russian defense minister meets Assad, inspects Khmeimim airbase in Syria (VIDEO) - RT News

Russia says Syria campaign death toll moves into double figures - THE DAILY STAR

Syrian rebel groups, including Nusra Front, capture government-held areas, dozens dead - ABC News

Islamist group kills seven members of a Kurdish family in Aleppo (VIDEO) - Rudaw

Syrian forces stop al-Nusra Front offensive near Turkish border - Sputnik

Iran’s Qods Force general vows to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last jihadist is killed - The Long War Journal

John Kerry is said to side with diplomats’ critical memo on Syria - The New York Times

Brain-dead diplomats: Why did 51 American State Dept. officials ‘dissent' against Obama and call for bombing Syria? - Alternet

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

51 US Diplomats Are Wrong--Assad Regime Change by Force Would Result in Uncontrollable Anti-American Anger

By Ann Wright

 51 mid-level U.S. diplomats have written a dissent cable to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Obama administration to conduct military strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop its "persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war."

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."

Let's Back All Moderates in Syria and the World

I've come around in favor of backing all moderates. The question appeared to me for a long time as a difficult one. Should one give anti-aircraft weaponry, for example, to al Qaeda fighters in Syria in order to better combat ISIS (which could some day develop the airplane)?

The answer is yes, if, and only if, those fighters are moderates.

Now, who's a moderate? Some people get confused on this part, but it's not really that difficult to get straight. Fighters who want to blow up buildings and airplanes and cars and pedestrians and playgrounds can be either moderates or extremists, since war has nothing to do with their categorization. After all, we're picking which people to arm in the war.

Also, the question of whom a fighter is fighting for or against is completely irrelevant. The CIA and the Department of Defense have armed and trained forces that are fighting against each other in Syria. Obviously, both are moderate.

The answer to "Who is a moderate?" actually comes down to this: What sort of an ideal world would they like to see in the future, and is there anyone else who would like to see some sort of world that sucks worse than theirs? That's it. Simple. And you have to keep it simple. Don't go looking into whether they're actually creating that ideal world. That's not relevant. Both the moderates and the extremists are obviously creating a world of death, injury, trauma, bitterness, vengeance, rubble, starvation, and toxic pollution. The moderates, again, are the ones who are doing this while envisioning a utopia that's not as grotesque as someone else's.

This is also why I'm routing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs. All the teams dribble and pass (well, except Oklahoma City) and shoot. But if you survey the players as to what sort of society they'd like to live in, the Cleveland players have the best answers -- or at least that's what my 18 intelligence agencies guess without actually, you know, asking them.

I believe we should be applying this policy to rapists as well. Just as fighters in a war all murder people, rapists all rape. But some of them must be moderates, and those are the ones we should support. We just need to determine their political ideologies. The same goes, I think, for sweatshop owners, and ought to be a guide to ethical investment and shopping. One need only keep up on the political views of the new owners after every sale.

The U.S. government has been distributing military weapons to local police forces in a rather haphazard manner heretofore. Some have asked that police departments that murder too many unarmed citizens not receive free military weapons any longer. This misses the point entirely. The departments that should be cut off are those whose members envision the worst future society.

You see the universality of this? All things in moderation, as the saying goes.

I'm personally delighted to have discovered this guide to life's difficult decisions. I plan to use it in voting come November, and to abandon all active thought processes immediately.

Speaking Events

David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.


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