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How long will the people permit it?

By Daniel L. Davis
September 29, 2016
The American Conservative

One has to wonder just how much longer the American people will silently permit the categorical failure of American foreign policy, both in theory and in practice. The evidence confirming the totality of our failure is breathtaking in scope and severity. Changes are needed to preserve U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

Recent headlines have captured the character of this failure. Fifteen years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released findings that “corruption substantially undermined the U.S. mission in Afghanistan from the very beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. … We conclude that failure to effectively address the problem means U.S. reconstruction programs, at best, will continue to be subverted by systemic corruption and, at worst, will fail.”

Earlier this month, a British Parliament study found that the result of Western military intervention in Libya “was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.”

Airstrikes and drone attacks are accidentally killing thousands of civilians, aid workers, wedding parties, and now even the troops of a nation against whom we are not at war. Each of these mistakes, repeated hundreds of times over the past 15 years, creates more antagonism and hatred of the United States than any other single event. Whatever tactical benefit some of the strikes do accomplish, they are consumed in the still-worsening strategic failure the misfires cause.

Bottom line: The use of military power since 2001 has:

  • Turned a previously whole and regionally impotent Iraq that balanced Iran into a factory of terrorism and a client of Tehran;
  • Turned Afghanistan from a country with a two-sided civil war—contained within its own borders—into a dysfunctional state that serves as a magnet for terrorists.
  • Turned a Libya that suffered internal unrest, but didn’t threaten its neighbors or harbor terrorists, into an “unmitigated failure” featuring a raging civil war, serving as an African beachhead for ISIS and a terrorist breeding ground;
  • Contributed to the expansion of al-Qaeda into a “franchise” group, spawned a new strain when ISIS was born out of the vacuum created by our Iraq invasion, and seen major terrorist threats explode worldwide;
  • Joined other nations in battles in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other areas within Africa whose only result has been the expansion of the threat and the deepening of the suffering of the civil populations.

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Paul Joseph Watson and Stefan Molyneux
InfoWars.com
Sept. 28, 2016

September 25, 2016
Consortium News.com

Exclusive: The mainstream U.S. media has largely ignored a U.K. report on the West’s lies used to justify the Libyan “regime change,” all the better to protect the ongoing falsehoods used in Syria, as James W Carden explains.

By James W Carden

Earlier this month, a select committee of British parliamentarians released a report which condemned the U.K. government under David Cameron for its role in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. The report makes plain that the principal basis on which the intervention was predicated – that then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was on the verge of committing a wholesale slaughter of the rebel stronghold Benghazi – was a lie propagated by Western and Gulf State media outlets.

It also shows the extent to which the crisis was driven by Libyan exiles who – perhaps quite understandably – had an axe to grind with the Gaddafi regime. In this – and in other ways, as we shall see – the Libyan crisis shares a number of similarities with the Syrian crisis. Indeed, it would be fair to view the debacle in Libya as a dress rehearsal for the war outside powers have been waging against the sovereign government of Syria for the past five years.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

The U.K. report documents the extent to which the narrative of impending genocide was driven by the delusions of Libyan exiles: “Libyan exiles based in France were influential in raising fears about a possible massacre in Benghazi. Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Professor George Joffé, told us that ‘the decisions of President Sarkozy and his Administration were driven by Libyan exiles getting allies within the French intellectual establishment who were anxious to push for a real change in Libya.’”

Indeed, the U.K. Select Committee was told that “émigrés opposed to Muammar Gaddafi exploited unrest in Libya by overstating the threat to civilians and encouraging Western powers to intervene.”

The narrative crafted by Libyan exiles was swallowed hook, line and sinker by a willingly credulous Western press. Similarly dynamics were at play during the initial phase of the crisis in Syria.

Professor Tim Anderson of the University of Sydney notes that Syrian clerics in exile in Saudi Arabia, like Sheikh Adnan Arour “called for a holy war against the liberal Allawi muslims” who dominated the Assad government.

The journalist Eva Bartlett, who has been on the ground in Syria, has written that the problem with many of the Western media accounts of the Syrian crisis is that “Many talking heads draw from one sole source, UK-based Syrian Rami Abdulrahman of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).”

Abdulrahman, who runs the oft-quoted SOHR out of his home in Coventry, England, “hasn’t,” according to Bartlett, “been to Syria for 15 years.” What is more, Abdulrahman’s operation is reliant on the reports of opposition figures. This, as Bartlett notes, is no impartial source.

Other exile groups, like the Syrian National Council, has received millions of dollars in funding from the declared enemies of the Assad regime like Qatar and UAE. Meanwhile, regime change groups like the Aleppo Media Centre (AMC), the Washington-based Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO) have, according to Anderson, received “hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from un-named sources.”

Professor Anderson tells us that “Like many other U.S.-created front groups (The Syrian Campaign, the White Helmets) the SEO is committed to the overthrow of the Syrian Government. That also happens to be the aim of the U.S. Government.”

Machiavelli was perhaps righter than he knew when he wrote: “how dangerous a thing it is to believe those who have been driven out of their country … such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art.”


No Angels

And then there is the role Western media has played in ginning up the twin crises. The U.K. report on Libya – citing Amnesty International – notes that, “Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.”

In fact, the opposite was the case: security forces in both Libya and Syria came under attack by Islamist radicals from the very start: these were hardly the “peaceful” protests as portrayed by the Western media. As the U.K. report points out, “It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.”

What is more: “The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.”

Likewise, the dominant myth surrounding the Syrian crisis is that “millions” of peaceful Syrians took to the streets as part of the liberalizing wave which roiled the Arab world in the spring of 2011. Human Rights Watch declared that the Syrian protesters “only used violence against the security forces” as a “last resort.”

Indeed, all of the violence which soon unfolded was said to be the fault of Assad’s police state and Assad’s subsequent refusal to step down – so the story goes – is one of the main causes of the growth in strength and numbers of radical Islamists terrorists.

As recently as last summer, none other than former Prime Minister David Cameron called Assad a “recruiting sergeant for ISIS.” And while this claim is as nonsensical as it is disingenuous, it is a line which has been dutifully echoed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in April told CNN that “ISIS was primarily the result of the vacuum in Syria caused by Assad first and foremost.”

From the very start, the opposition to Assad included sectarian extremists who chanted: “Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave.” And the first documented incidents of violence in Daraa were against, not by, the Syrian security forces.

Professor Anderson cites an Israel National News report from March 21, 2011, which told of “Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed.” Anderson notes, “The armed forces came to Daraa precisely because police had been killed by snipers.” [emphasis mine]

The journalist and analyst John Rosenthal translated a Jan. 12, 2012 report from Homs by a Dutch Jesuit, Father Frans van der Lugt, who was later murdered, likely by al-Nusra militants, in April 2014.

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September 22, 2016
by WashingtonsBlog

The UK Parliament just confirmed what the alternative media has been saying for years.

Specifically, a new report from the bipartisan House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – based on interviews with all of the key British decision-makers, review of documents, and on-the-ground investigations in Africa – found that the Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide.

The War Based On Bogus Intelligence … Like the Iraq War

Initially, the report finds that the threat to civilians from Libyan government forces was dramatically overstated:

Former French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, who introduced Resolution 1973 [imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, and laying the groundwork for overthrowing the government], asserted in his speech to the Security Council that “the situation on the ground is more alarming than ever, marked by the violent re-conquest of cities”. He stressed the urgency of the situation, arguing that “We have very little time left—perhaps only a matter of hours.” Subsequent analysis suggested that the immediate threat to civilians was being publicly overstated and that the reconquest of cities had not resulted in mass civilian casualties.

The proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi [which was the basis for the West’s war to overthrow Gaddafi] was not supported by the available evidence. The Gaddafi regime had retaken towns from the rebels without attacking civilians in early February 2011 …. Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. More widely, Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year record of appalling human rights abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians.

On 17 March 2011, Muammar Gaddafi announced to the rebels in Benghazi, “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya and other places did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.” Subsequent investigation revealed that when Gaddafi regime forces retook Ajdabiya in February 2011, they did not attack civilians. Muammar Gaddafi also attempted to appease protesters in Benghazi with an offer of development aid before finally deploying troops.

An Amnesty International investigation in June 2011 could not corroborate allegations of mass human rights violations by Gaddafi regime troops. However, it uncovered evidence that rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence. The investigation concluded that much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.

In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty. US intelligence officials reportedly described the intervention as “an intelligence-light decision”.

Just like the ginned up intelligence used to justify the Iraq war. And the “humanitarian wars” waged over the last couple of decades.
The Libyan Government Was Fighting Terrorists

The report also notes that the Libyan government really was – as Libyan dictator Gaddafi claimed at the time – fighting Islamic terrorists:

Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate.

Abdelhakim Belhadj and other members of the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were participating in the rebellion in March 2011.

Secret intelligence reports from 2011, written before and during the illegal US-led attack on Libya and recently obtained by the Washington Times, state:

There is a close link between al Qaeda, Jihadi organizations, and the opposition in Libya…

Indeed, the Libyan rebel commander admitted at the time that his fighters had links to Al Qaeda.

We reported in 2012:

The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists. According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:

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by Pepe Escobar
22 Sep, 2016
RT.com

Forget about those endless meetings between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry; forget about Russia’s drive to prevent chaos from reigning in Syria; forget about the possibility of a real ceasefire being implemented and respected by US jihad proxies.

Forget about the Pentagon investigating what really happened around its bombing ‘mistake’ in Deir Ezzor.

The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos’s real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year.

As you scroll down the document, you will find page 291, section C, which reads (in caps, originally):

“THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)”.

The DIA report is a formerly classified SECRET/NOFORN document, which made the rounds of virtually the whole alphabet soup of US intel, from CENTCOM to CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA and the State Department.

It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State.

It’s already in the public domain that by a willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? – as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra).

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Sept. 22, 2016
The Corbett Report

Additional notes

By Jordan Fabian –
Sept. 23, 2016
The Hill

President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S courts, setting up a high-stakes showdown with Congress.

“I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured,” Obama wrote in his veto message. “Enacting JASTA into law, however would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

Obama’s move opens up the possibility that lawmakers could override his veto for the first time with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Republican and Democratic leaders have said they are committed to holding an override vote, and the bill’s drafters say they have the support to force the bill to become law.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) unanimously passed through both chambers by voice vote.

But the timing of the president’s veto is designed to erode congressional support for the bill and put off a politically damaging override vote until after the November elections.

Obama waited until the very end of the 10-day period he had to issue a veto, hoping to buy time to lobby members of Congress against the measure.

White House officials also hope congressional leaders will leave Washington to hit the campaign trail before trying for an override, kicking a vote to the lame-duck session after the election.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the upper chamber will remain in session until the veto override vote is done.

“Now that we have received the veto message from the president, the Senate will consider it as soon as practicable in this work period,” said David Popp, a McConnell spokesman.

Under current law, 9/11 victims’ families may sue a country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, such as Iran. JASTA would allow U.S. citizens to sue countries without that designation, including Saudi Arabia.

The measure has touched a political nerve ahead of an election in which terrorism has emerged as a central issue. It has strong bipartisan support and is backed by 9/11 families’ organizations.

Those families have sought damages from Saudi Arabia, since 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001 hailed from that country.

Critics have long been accused the Saudi government of directly or indirectly supporting the attacks, though a concrete link has never been proven.

In a statement, the 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism said they are “outraged and dismayed” by the veto and call his reasoning “unconvincing and unsupportable.”

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Paul Craig Roberts interviewed
By Greg Hunter
September 21, 2016
USA Watchdog.com

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Finian Cunningham
Sept. 20, 2016
Strategic Culture Foundation

There are several sound reasons for concluding that the US-led air strike on the Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor last weekend was a deliberate act of murderous sabotage. One compelling reason is that the Pentagon and CIA knew they had to act in order to kill the ceasefire plan worked out by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.

Not only that, but the tentative ceasefire was also exposing the elements within the US government responsible for driving the war effort. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – the head of the Pentagon – reportedly fought tooth and nail with Obama’s top diplomat John Kerry while the latter was trying to finalize the ceasefire plan with Russia’s Lavrov on the previous weekend of September 9 in Geneva.

While Sergey Lavrov and media reporters were reportedly kept waiting several hours for Kerry to finally emerge to sign off on the deal, the American foreign secretary was delayed by intense haggling in conference calls with Carter and other military chiefs back in Washington. Even days before Kerry’s diplomatic shuttle to Geneva, Carter was disparaging any prospective deal with Russia on a Syrian ceasefire.

It is well documented that both the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been running clandestine programs for arming and training anti-government militants in Syria since the outset of the war in March 2011. Officially, Washington claims to be only supporting «moderate, vetted opposition». However, on occasion, Western media reports allude to the deeper sinister connections between the US military and terrorist groups when it has been reported that American weaponry «accidentally» finds its way into the hands of extremist jihadist networks.

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Would redirect to caring for vets, education and lowering national debt

by Grant Smith
September 20, 2016
Antiwar.com

A solid majority of Americans would redirect $38 billion the Obama Administration pledged to Israel toward other priorities.

The Obama administration last week signed an executive agreement with Israel pledging $38 billion ($3.8 billion per year) in foreign aid for fiscal years 2019- 2028. The majority of the proposed spending is for Foreign Military Financing to provide Israel advanced and upgraded jet fighters, to continue developing Israel’s missile defense systems and to purchase other U.S. weapons. Although the White House has released a Memorandum of Understanding fact sheet, the actual MOU has not been made publicly available.

An IRmep poll fielded by Google Consumer Surveys reveals 80.8 percent of the US adult Internet user population says they would redirect the proposed spending toward other priorities. Caring for veterans (20.7 percent) was their top priority, followed by education spending (20.1 percent) and paying down the national debt (19.3 percent). Rebuilding US infrastructure was favored by 14.9 percent, while funding a Middle East peace plan received 5.8 percent of support.

Only 16.8 percent said the $38 billion of pledged foreign aid should be spent on Israel.

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