“I will give propagandistic cause for the release of the war, whether convincing or not. The winner is not asked later whether he said the truth or not.”
— Hitler to his generals, August 22, 1939
It started out with dead Polish soldiers, or at least their uniforms were Polish. The bodies were strewn around a German radio station, and the story went that that they had snuck into Germany from Poland, seized the station and broadcast an anti-German message, only to be cut down by heroic German soldiers defending their sacred soil. Such an outrage could not go unpunished. On September 1, 1939, the Nazi divisions rolled over the Polish border and the war was on.
The media’s hysterical response to the scrambled reports of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) using nerve gas was immediate and predictable. “Assad did it! We must …” Well, something drastic. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley thundered, “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.” Her proof that Assad did it? It “bears all the hallmarks of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.”
Superhawk John McCain threatened, “We need to stop Bashar Assad’s planes from flying. And we can do that easily. Just say don’t fly, or you’re gonna get shot down, and if you start operating out of the six bases that they have, we’re going to crater your runways with cruise missiles and other weapons.” A prescription for World War III.
The entire mainstream media chorus (you know, the chorus that proclaimed the inevitability of Hillary Clinton and Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction) went into action, writing virtually the same article over and over almost word for word. The line “but of course we have no real proof yet” slips in to cover their asses, but who reads the small print?
Yet the reaction “out there” has not been quite so gullible, some joining the hysteria, others pointing out that this “bears all the hallmarks of” the neocon media’s usual hatchet work. Respected and reliable sources have picked apart the atrocity reports with devastating effect. For detailed refutation check out Moon of Alabama, which has been regularly delivering the lowdown on the White Helmets as U.S./European tools embedded with the jihadis in Syria, and the pictures of the same victims appearing over and over in their Al Queda produced videos. Or read out the site Sic Semper Tyrannis, run by Colonel Pat Lang (ret.), a Vietnam combat veteran with background in the highest level of military intelligence circles. His contributors are similarly experts in these matters, and neither he nor any of them could be considered leftists by any definition.
Says Lang, “The rebels have proven themselves extremely capable of staging propaganda pageants and they do have chemical weapons. They make them in Syria. These are not ignorant people. The ‘White Helmets’ were a fraud. This is probably another, but the Borg [neocon Establishment] loves the noise, especially the hysterics on CNN and MSNBC. These AQ connected rebels in Idlib have been conducting an offensive in northern Hama. This has been turned back and the rebels are being driven out of Hama in the direction of Idlib having lost many men. As someone observed here the standard rebel reaction to severe adversity is to claim a chemical attack.”
Much has been written in great detail already debunking the charges against the SAA, and I see no need to get into its intricacies. Charges of false flag have been thrown all over the place. “Fake news” is the new mantra against any and all sides. The mainstream media is held in general contempt. Rational discourse is drowned out by the headlines and the commentators. So I will simply ask one of the oldest, simplest and most germane questions in investigating criminal matters: cui bono? Who benefits?
Assad is winning. A new peace conference on Syria was just coming up. The U.S. had publicly dropped its demand that “Assad must go!” Assad’s strategy has been to negotiate local settlements. As an Alawite, Assad represents a small minority of the population, and the balance of forces is such that only a wide coalition of ethnic groups and sects can bring peace to Syria. Assad knows that. He says only a political solution can bring peace.
Assad has been negotiating local agreements across the country, bringing back into the fold those militants who agree to drop their attacks on the SAA and their alliances with ISIS and Al Qaeda. Assad’s approach has been working quite well, as village after village re-enter Syrian society and die-hard jihadis are shipped out. This is despite terrorist attacks and murder of civilians entering into talks with Assad. Assad’s successful siege of Aleppo was marked by ceasefire after ceasefire, to give space for successful negotiations on a block-by-block and even building-by-building basis.
ONLY the jihadis and the neocons could possibly benefit from this incident. The support for Al Qaeda and ISIS by the neocons is well known (for those who read), and we see that both jihadis and neocons are making the most of it. The only argument put forward to explain why Assad would make such a reckless move against women and children would be to show how vicious he was.
It doesn’t pass the dead-rat smell test.
Sowing the wind …
How did it come to pass that what should have been the Left Opposition to the bipartisan 1% is now pounding on the war drums today? Leftists think themselves clever, but they are too clever by half. They promised they could support Hillary in 2016, and then hold her feet to the fire in 2017. Betrayed by the DNC, told to their faces that Hillary could do perfectly well without them, and steam-rolled at every point, millions of Sanders supporters fell into lockstep. Grudging or not. Going along with the Russian hacking frenzy, even Bernie himself stated: “To temper Russian aggression, we must freeze Russian government assets all over the world.”
After Hillary went down in a blaze of infamy, Democrats poured into the streets for the anti-Trump post-election mobilizations, mobilizations which — even had they been successful in either preventing Trump’s ascension into the White House (failed) or crippling him around the issue of avoiding war with Russia (successful) — would have led to Mike Pence being president or, in alliance with Paul Ryan, functioning as president. On the face of it, those outcomes were obvious. Did progressives have dreams of continuing the wave of protests and moving it left after Trump had been disposed of (and Pence installed)? Yes, they did. Idiot dreams. Once the Democratic Party Establishment settled down for business-as-usual, and the media returned to playing inside poker with the big boys, they folded up like a busted accordion.
Worst of all, they gleefully leaped onto the anti-Putin, anti-Russia bandwagon. As many of them admitted, “We don’t really buy this Russia Russia bullshit, but it’s a way to hurt Trump.” They let Wall Street scum like Chuck Schumer be anointed leader of the resistance. Sanders, posing as the voice of moderation, is saying, “Syria’s Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against the men, women and children of his country makes him a war criminal.” They played not only a contributing role, but a leading role in paving the way for Trump to reach for the button.
And their champion, Hillary, is saying, “I really believe that we should have and still should take out [Assad’s] air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.” The headlines blare, “Hillary Clinton calls for destruction of Syrian Air Force.”
“This is not the time for recriminations!” some cry. No, this is EXACTLY the time for recriminations, just as when a dog shits on your carpet and you rub its nose in it. We have to recognize, as 2016 Green Vice-Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka put it, “If you call yourself a progressive or even a leftist and you believe that insulting propaganda on Syria, you now have no grounds to ever question the rationality and intelligence of those folks who voted for Trump.”
The missiles are flying. Now we reap the whirlwind.
Sowing the seeds of peace.
On March 25, about 20 members of St. Pete for Peace went up to Clearwater, Florida to confront a Make America Great Again rally held by some 150 Trump supporters. Holding our banners and signs for Peace like “26,171 Bombs Dropped in 2016” and “Bombing Kids Makes Terrorists,” we weren’t sure what we would face, given the media hype about violence at Trump rallies, crazed fascists running amok, and all. There was no confrontation. We held our signs, Trump people listened to their speeches.
It was a blazing hot day. Some Trump people came by to offer us cold bottled water. I said no, it would make me pee. She laughed and said that was their clever plan. We both laughed. Though we had been fearful of them, they may have been just as afraid of us, not physically of course, but that we would try to cause a disruption. They did not want to project the image that had been cast for them by the media and what is, frankly, deliberate provocateurs working for Hillary. It seemed genuine One passer-by snickered about all the bombs Obama had dropped. We commented that the 26,171 bombs dropped in 2016 were all Obama’s. He nodded. Another couple explained that they had been Sanders supporters. But buying into the all-American logic that one should only vote for “real” candidates, they had ended up voting for Trump.
A couple days ago, I was talking with some friendly acquaintances I had been meeting at a local street market in Gulfport. (They have these two utterly adorable pug dogs, Bonnie and Charlie.) Turned out they were Trump voters (my god! Deplorables!). We talked about Syria, the Establishments, healthcare, the problems we all faced in getting healthcare for all. We had some disagreements, duly noted. They had no problem whatsoever with me being Green. We moved on to baseball (they were Red Sox fans, I’m a broken-hearted Indians fan, but we have a “principled united front” against the Yankees).
Had any of the above conversations begun along the lines of “What do you think of Trump saying [fill in the blanks]?” those conversations would never have happened. No common ground could have been found over healthcare and neocon war-mongering. Yes, there are monsters among Trump’s supporters (or is that “former” supporters). But as we have seen, there are monsters a’plenty as well among the so-called progressive camp now praising Trump for taking such “forceful action.” We live in monstrous times.
The neocons seem to be reigning supreme. They want us each to feel alone as they play Dr. Strangelove, but the only way we are alone is if we fail to stand up. Even as the rattling of the sabers becomes deafening, there is the foundation for building something new. That is a good place to start sowing the seeds of peace, not just for ourselves but for the world.
— Jeff Roby
April 7, 2016