Saturday, April 14, 2018


April 14, 2018



MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey



IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY?


Friends,

Last night, in conjunction with Great Britain and France, President Donald Trump ordered an attack on Syria. And the unleashed war hawks were elated. Just to cite one example, Sebastian Gorka (who had been in the administration last year during the first Syrian “false flag” operation) literally proclaimed the coming of the Eschaton and America’s “divine role” to set right everything that is wrong in the world. Like an Abolitionist preacher of old, Gorka demanded a “moral cleansing” and, sounding like Osawatomie John Brown, proclaimed America’s destiny to go round the world, impose equality, and stamp out evil.

We must ask: Is this the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency? Is the tiny door ajar, that very small and always endangered opportunity that millions of Americans believed might possibly lead us back as a nation from the precipice of total domination by the Deep State and its panoply of global political, economic and cultural destruction of our Western Christian civilization—is it now closing?

Those feverish and frenzied evangelical partisans, those diehard enemies of everything that Donald Trump professed throughout 2016 campaign, have now apparently triumphed, at least in foreign policy. Despite their scarcely-hidden disdain for “that interloper from Manhattan” and their hatred for—and fear of—his America First agenda, they managed early on to ingratiate themselves into his inner circle.

First came the iniquitous Nikki Haley who had, during 2016, likened our future president to a KKK fellow traveler, a racist and a bigot:

I know what that rhetoric can do. I saw it happen [ and] I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our party, that is not who we want as president. We will  not allow that in our country. [http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/271177-nikki-haley-knocks-trump-over-kkk]

Yet, largely through the counsel of his Republican advisers Trump named the former Waffle House waitress to be our ambassador to the UN (and the voice not of Trump, but of the unbridled war hawk Neoconservative Lindsey Graham).

Then came the possible selection of ultra-Neocon globalist, Never Trumper Elliott Abrams to be Deputy Secretary of State under Rex Tillerson. Again, the GOP advisers and Establishment types who had immediately surrounded Trump after his election pressed for Abrams to fill the post, and only last minute lobbying and critical information passed to the president about Abrams’ virulent attacks on him prevented his naming.

Here is how The New York Times reported Abrams’ Never Trumpism in February 2017:

 “Do not allow the Republican convention to be a coronation wherein Trump and Trumpism are unchallenged,” Abrams wrote in a piece for the conservative Weekly Standard. “The party needs to be reminded that there are deep divisions, and Trump needs to be reminded of how many in the party oppose and even fear his nomination.” [https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-rejects-veteran-gop-foreign-policy-aide-elliott-abrams-for-state-department-job/2017/02/10/52e53ce6-efbd-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ed21ba360a71]

 Abrams’ selection was knocked down. But the resilient and persistent Neocon foreign policy establishment—which had been so violently anti-Trump, almost to the point of paroxysm during the campaign—now had a toehold, indeed, increasingly a stranglehold within the president’s foreign policy team, and they were not about to give it up—even if it meant swallowing their pride and denying all the critical and malicious things that they had said about the president, all the acerbic and hysterical criticisms they had launched against him, during the previous campaign.

This attitudinal “change” became readily apparent in watching the prominent Neocons on Fox or in reading the pages of The Wall Street Journal, or The Weekly Standard and other mouthpieces of Neocon globalist zealotry.

John Bolton, another fierce globalist opponent of the president’s America First agenda, was the latest conquest by the Establishment internationalists. And once again Donald Trump was convinced that Bolton—whose history of vigorous support for unsuccessful foreign interventions is noteworthy—was the right man for the right job.

There is, needless to say, a lesson here: in 2016 Americans wanted an outsider, a man not stained by the grimy and infectious politics of the Deep State and the contagion that rages continually along the Potomac, to come in and clean house, to, as it were, “drain the swamp,” to restore America to its citizens: in short, to Make America Great Again.

But just as there are major advantages to an outsider, a self-made billionaire not beholden to anyone or any faction, entering the fray, there are also major disadvantages and pitfalls. And perhaps the biggest is not knowing, not fully understanding the philosophical and political intricacies of Washington, and the simple fact that a smile and promise of loyalty and support in our nation’s capital is worth about as much as former Vice-President John Nance Garner’s “bucket of warm spit” (I think ole’ John used another term!).

Promises along the Potomac are made to be broken—allegiances exist to further overall policy aims. And in the case of the Neocon ideologues, to quote King Henry of Navarre, a Protestant who wanted to become king of Catholic France, “Paris is worth a Mass.”

Call it naivete’—call it trust in a man’s word—call it what you may, but Donald Trump’s worst enemies, those who wish to undo his America First agenda enunciated during the 2016 campaign, are now in charge of American foreign policy, and they apparently have convinced the president not only that they are on his side, but that he is actually following through on his promises when in fact he is being used as a stalking horse, a vehicle, for their agenda, which is inimical to his.

And the result may well mean the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, or, at the very least, the fact that the Washington elites, the managerial state, those globalists who have always opposed the program announced by the president, have regained the momentum. And it may also mean that the slight door ajar, the small opportunity that millions of Americans hoped and prayed for back in November 2016, has now closed.

And if that be the case, then we as a nation are just one more step on the seemingly inevitable road to something that will make George Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, seem like a church picnic on a sunny spring afternoon.
*****
Although the following research articles may now seem superfluous to some degree, given the attacks now launched, still they demand reading and consideration. I pass them on without further comment, just deep regret and sadness for our nation, once more engaged in deception supposedly based on the highest ideals.

Pentagon admitted NO concrete evidence of chemical attack in Syria by government, relying on ‘social media’



The US is “still assessing the intelligence” needed to prove the Assad regime conducted a recent alleged chemical attack in Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday.
by VLADIMIR RODZIANKOApril 12, 2018 Share
Secretary of Defense James Mattis told lawmakers in the US Thursday that the Pentagon does not have any evidence that chlorine or sarin were used in the Syrian city of Douma.
Mattis went on to say that the majority of the claims were coming from mainstream media reports and social media posts – in other words, the rising tensions between nuclear superpowers over an alleged chemical attack in Syria, inching closer towards World War 3, has been all based on ZERO evidence, only fake media reports.
Via Sputnik:
“There have been a number of these attacks. In many cases, you know we don’t have troops, we’re not engaged on the ground there, so I cannot tell you that we had evidence, even though we had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used,” Mattis said, speaking to members of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
The defense secretary said that he did believe that a chemical attack did take place, but that the US was still “looking for the actual evidence.”
“We’re still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies. We’re still working on this,” he reiterated.
Warning that he was concerned that a US strike might lead to an “out of control” escalation in the Syrian war, Mattis said that Washington was “committed to ending that war through the Geneva process through the UN orchestrated effort.”
“On a strategic level, [the issue is] how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that,” he said, likely alluding to the prospects of a confrontation between Russian and US forces deployed in the Middle Eastern country.
Mattis promised to keep Congressional leaders informed if the Pentagon did decide to strike in Syria. Asked if the US was ready for an attack, Mattis replied that “We stand ready to provide military options if they’re appropriate, as the president determined.”
Emphasizing that the use of chemical weapons was “simply inexcusable,” the defense secretary also accused Moscow of complicity in Syria’s alleged retention of a chemical weapons stockpile.
Syrian opposition media reports last week of an attack by government forces involving chemical weapons prompted the US and its allies to blame Damascus and begin preparations for a possible military response. The Syrian government denied responsibility. The Russian Center for Reconciliation sent inspectors to Douma, finding no trace of chemical weapons use. Moscow has called for an independent investigation into the matter.
Syria destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in 2013 in a deal brokered by Russia and the United States in exchange for the latter’s agreement not to attack the Middle Eastern country. In 2014, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] confirmed that Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal had been eliminated.
Townhall.com elaborates on the complexity of the information coming out of Syria:
For the moment, Western governments attributing blame for the chemical attack on Assad’s government are, based on mainstream reports from outlets like the BBC, relying almost entirely on Islamist rebel groups and the activists and NGOs that operate within their territory for information:
Syrian opposition activists, rescue workers and medics say more than 40 people were killed on Saturday in a suspected chemical attack on Douma, the last rebel-held town in the Eastern Ghouta region.
They allege that bombs filled with toxic chemicals were dropped by Syrian government forces. The government says the attack was fabricated.
(…)
In March, troops split the region into three pockets – the largest of which was around Douma, home to between 80,000 and 150,000 people. Facing defeat, rebel groups in the other two pockets agreed to be evacuated to northern Syria.
But the group controlling Douma, Jaysh al-Islam, continued to hold out.
(…)
Activists from the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which records alleged violations of international law in Syria, reported two separate incidents of bombs believed to contain toxic substances being dropped by the Syrian Air Force.
(…)
At 19:45, more than 500 patients – most of them women and children – were brought to medical facilities with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent, according to the Syria Civil Defence and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a relief organisation that supports hospitals.
 (…)
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), which supports hospitals in rebel-held Syria, also said it received reports of two incidents [of chemical attacks].
Jaysh al-Islam (JAI, “Army of Islam”), the group that controls the area alleged to have been attacked by Assad, is an Islamist group that has acted as a rival of both ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, according to Middle East Eye [emphasis mine]:
JAI formed after a merger involving around 60 groups, including Liwa al-Islam, and is itself one of the main components of the Islamic Front – a group of Gulf-backed fighting groups – and are thought to be second only to Ahrar al-Sham in terms of power and numbers.
The Islamic Front issued a charter in 2013 (prior to Jaish al-Islam’s joining) that laid its principles for the creation of an Islamic-rooted society in which Islam would be the “religion of the state, and it is the principal and only source of legislation.”
(…)
“O mujihideen brothers! We will leave these fields in which we finished our course and preparation and we will continue with preparing to wage jihad,” says the group’s leader, Zahran Alloush, speaking to the recruits from a podium.
“Today the world is conspiring against us. And we have no one but Allah, an excellent protector and helper is he!”
In the past, President Trump was much more skeptical of the idea that the United States should support Islamist rebels and believe their claims without question:      

Donald J. Trump  @realDonaldTrump   We should stay the hell out of Syria, the "rebels" are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO 8:33 PM - Jun 15, 2013


Donald J. Trump  @realDonaldTrump  Remember, all these ‘freedom fighters’ in Syria want to fly planes into our buildings. 2:57 PM - Aug 28, 2013


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  Many of the Syrian rebels are radical jihadi Islamists who are murdering Christians. Why would we ever fight with them?  2:44 PM - Sep 6, 2013

That skepticism sure appears to be gone now.

=================================================================== NOW MATTIS ADMITS THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE ASSAD USED POISON GAS ON HIS PEOPLE



BY IAN WILKIE ON 2/8/18 AT 11:44 AM

Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people last year. This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.

Mattis offered no temporal qualifications, which means that both the 2017 event in Khan Sheikhoun and the 2013 tragedy in Ghouta are unsolved cases in the eyes of the Defense Department and Defense Intelligence Agency. Mattis went on to acknowledge that “aid groups and others” had provided evidence and reports but stopped short of naming President Assad as the culprit.



There were casualties from organophosphate poisoning in both cases; that much is certain. But America has accused Assad of direct responsibility for Sarin attacks and even blamed Russia for culpability in the Khan Sheikhoun tragedy.

Now its own military boss has said on the record that we have no evidence to support this conclusion. In so doing, Mattis tacitly impugned the interventionists who were responsible for pushing the “Assad is guilty” narrative twice without sufficient supporting evidence, at least in the eyes of the Pentagon.

This dissonance between the White House and the Department of Defense is especially troubling when viewed against the chorus of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) experts who have been questioning the (Obama and Trump) White House narratives concerning chemical weapons in Syria since practically the moment these “Assad-ordered events” occurred.

Serious, experienced chemical weapons experts and investigators such as Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, Gareth Porter and Theodore Postol have all cast doubt on “official” American narratives regarding President Assad employing Sarin.

These analysts have all focused on the technical aspects of the two attacks and found them not to be consistent with the use of nation-state quality Sarin munitions.

The 2013 Ghouta event, for example, employed home-made rockets of the type favored by insurgents. The White House Memorandum on Khan Sheikhoun seemed to rely heavily on testimony from the Syrian White Helmets who were filmed at the scene having contact with supposed Sarin-tainted casualties and not suffering any ill effects.

Likewise, these same actors were filmed wearing chemical weapons training suits around the supposed “point of impact” in Khan Sheikhoun, something which makes their testimony (and samples) highly suspect. A training suit offers no protection at all, and these people would all be dead if they had come into contact with real military-grade Sarin.

Chemical weapons are abhorrent and illegal, and no one knows this more than Carla Del Ponte. She, however, was unable to fulfill her U.N. Joint Investigative Mechanism mandate in Syria and withdrew in protest over the United States refusing to fully investigate allegations of chemical weapons use by “rebels” (jihadis) allied with the American effort to oust President Assad (including the use of Sarin by anti-Assad rebels).

The fact that U.N. investigators were in Syria when the chemical weapon event in Khan Sheikhoun occurred in April 2017 makes it highly dubious that Assad would have given the order to use Sarin at that time. Common sense suggests that Assad would have chosen any other time than that to use a banned weapon that he had agreed to destroy and never employ.

Furthermore, he would be placing at risk his patronage from Russia if they turned on him as a war criminal and withdrew their support for him.

Tactically, as a former soldier, it makes no sense to me that anyone would intentionally target civilians and children as the White Helmet reports suggest he did.

There is compelling analysis from Gareth Porter suggesting that phosphine could have been released by an airborne munition striking a chemical depot, since the clouds and casualties (while organophosphate-appearing in some respects) do not appear to be similar to MilSpec Sarin, particularly the high-test Russian bomb-carried Sarin which independent groups like “bellingcat” insist was deployed.

America’s credibility was damaged by Colin Powell at the United Nations in 2003 falsely accusing Saddam Hussein of having mobile anthrax laboratories. Fast forward to 2017 and we encounter Nikki Haley in an uncomfortably similar situation at the U.N. Security Council calling for action against yet another non-Western head-of-state based on weak, unsubstantiated evidence.

Now Secretary Mattis has added fuel to the WMD propaganda doubters’ fire by retroactively calling into question the rationale for an American cruise missile strike.

While in no way detracting from the horror of what took place against innocent civilians in Syria, it is time for America to stop shooting first and asking questions later.

Ian Wilkie is an international lawyer, U.S. Army veteran and former intelligence community contractor.

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