Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

How Many American Boys will Die to Impose “Democracy” in Syria and Across the Globe?

Peter Hitchens and Pat Buchanan Ask the Question


I had intended to write today on the release of former FBI director James Comey’s “tell all” book this morning, even though both talk radio and most of “conservative media” have literally drenched us in a surfeit of the ends-and-outs—every detail, every contradiction, and every possible legal minefield—associated with Comey and his activities.

But that will have to wait. With your indulgence, I must return, briefly, to Syria again.

The ubiquitous Brian Kilmeade was at it once more this morning. Not content to parade his knowledge deficit hosting Fox News’ ideologically-skewed embrace of the Marxist narrative in its Sunday night program, “Legends & Lies: The Civil War,” that American history is defined by racism and race, and by the continuous struggle to establish an egalitarian society (while overthrowing “white oppression and supremacy”), Kilmeade on his regular “Fox & Friends” stint continues to press for far deeper military involvement in Syria.

It’s the classic praxis of globalist Neoconservatives.

And like other unleashed Neoconservative pundits and publicists he strains to get that message across, implicitly demanding that President Trump take “additional, bold and aggressive action” to even overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad…without mentioning that such an action would create a chaotic vacuum that could well be filled by the worst Islamist terrorists, far worse than anything Assad ever envisaged.

Of course, such an action would greatly please the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and the Israeli hawks who see chaos, killing and mayhem in Syria to their advantage. Assad is allied to Iran, and for them Iran is seen as a far greater threat than ISIS or al-Nusra or any of the other terrorist Jihadi groups in Syria. And murderous civil war there involving the Iranians, even if it means the deaths of hundreds or thousands of American troops, and hundreds of thousands of Syrians, is worth that price.

Kilmeade, after interviewing a Syrian dissident, who loudly proclaimed his desire for the United States to impose “democracy” in that Middle Eastern cauldron, then declared that “we once had 50,000 troops there to fight ISIS, but now ISIS have gone to the mountains. We need to go back and defeat them.”

He misspoke: the United States never had “50,000” troops in Syria; Kilmeade is obviously confused. Most likely he meant Iraq. Not only that, but ISIS operated mainly in the eastern, non-mountainous area (around Raqqa) of Syria. And it has been the Syrian army, backed by Russian might that has nearly finished off ISIS and the remnants of al-Qaeda and al-Nusra in the Syrian civil war, not the United States. American support of friendly Kurdish fighters has been largely restricted to the far eastern one-third, desert areas of the country.

There are small Jihadi Islamist groups that do exist in western Syria, and some of them we have tacitly supported, despite their having working relationships with ISIS. But Kilmeade is wrong factually, and his error illustrates the “facts-be-damned” attitude, the ideological myopia of the broader Left on Syria (to which the Neoconservatives belong), as well as their fanatical zeal for the proliferation of wars across the globe to “impose democracy and equality,” no matter how many American body bags come home, no matter if we get into a shooting war with Russia (which war hawks like Lindsey Graham lust after), and no matter if such actions unleash international terrorism on a unimagined scale.

Four short articles I send along, then, today. The first is by Peter Hitchens in The Daily Mail of London; Hitchens, the rightwing brother of leftist Christopher Hitchens, asks the fundamental question: “How on earth would killing more people rescue Syria?” It’s a fundamental question also raised by Tucker Carlson who was then told by various Neoconservative writers and pundits to “shut up.” It seems you’re not supposed to ask embarrassing questions about American foreign policy in the Middle East these days.

Then, I send on Pat Buchanan’s latest and very powerful column, emphasizing the same points—and the same fear—that I expressed in MY CORNER of this past Saturday, April 14 [http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/april-14-2018-my-corner-by-boyd-cathey.html]. And he asks, poignantly: How many American dead will it take to reverse this apparent plunge into deeper conflict and hostilities?

Lastly, I pass on additional information on the possible origin of the chemical attack in Douma, Syria, and the impending inspection by the scientific team of the international OPCW [Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare]. Just as with the attacks back in April 2015 and earlier in 2013, mounting evidence points to the responsibility of the anti-Assad pro-Islamist “White Helmets” for the attacks. And, in fact, despite current news reports on Mainstream Media, it is not the Syrians and Russians who’ve been preventing inspections…but us.
Read on.

PETER HITCHENS: How on earth would killing MORE people rescue Syria?

PUBLISHED: 20:24 EDT, 14 April 2018 UPDATED: 04:22 EDT, 15 April 2018

Why do so many people in politics and the media want to start wars? Since I toured a sordid hospital full of wounded people in Bucharest at Christmas 1989, and even more after I saw for the first time (in Vilnius in 1991) what a human head looks like after a bullet has passed through it, I have seen it as an absolute duty to warn against armed conflict. It is a filthy thing. No doubt there are times when we must fight. But there are plenty more when we should not. 

Any fool can kill a man in a second and ruin a city in a week. But it takes long years of nurture to raise a child to adulthood, and centuries to build a civilisation.

Yet I look around me and see the mouths of intelligent people opened wide, yelling for an attack on Syria, when the only certain outcome of that will be blood and screams and ruins, and the deaths of innocents in 'collateral damage'. What good will this do? 

What is wrong with them? They are not cruel and stupid, yet they call for actions which are both.

Haven't we got enough misery in Syria already? The place is a mass of ruins, graveyards and refugee camps. To what end? The only mercy for Syria will come when the war ends, yet we seek to widen and extend it.

Don't we have more than enough of such disaster in Iraq and Libya, where state-sponsored panic and emotional claims of atrocities excused the launching of wars so stupid and dangerous that I wonder if these places can ever recover? 

Perhaps worse, by creating an unending river of migrants through the Middle East and the Mediterranean, I suspect they have ruined Europe for good.

Why are we even taking sides in Syria? As Julian Lewis MP, chairman of the Defence Select Committee, rightly pointed out last week, President Assad is a monster. But his opponents are maniacs. 

The Syrian jihadi gangsters which our Government crazily helps and backs – the Al-Nusra Front and Jaish al-Islam – are the sort of fanatics we would arrest on sight if we found them in Birmingham.

Anyway, Boris Johnson's Foreign Office is firmly pro-monster in all parts of the world where it suits it to be so. 

British Royals and Ministers literally bow down as they accept medals from the head-chopping fanatics of Saudi Arabia, now engaged in a bloody, aggressive war in Yemen. Britain maintains a naval base in Bahrain, whose rulers in 2011 crushed protests with severe violence followed by torture. 

As Amnesty International puts it, 'using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out'.

Britain daren't even admit that our 'friend' Egypt is ruled by a military junta that seized power illegally in defiance of elections which we had supposedly supported but which produced the wrong result.

Field Marshal Sisi's August 2013 Cairo massacre, in which almost 600 peaceful protesters were killed and thousands more wounded, is politely forgotten. 

So is the Chinese communist regime's mass murder (1,000 are estimated to have died) in Peking in June 1989. 

The men whose power rests on that ruthless massacre are welcome to dine at Buckingham Palace. But surely we can't allow Assad to use chemical weapons? 

We would never tolerate that. Would we? Well, when Saddam Hussein was our ally against Iran back in 1988, he undoubtedly used poison gas against Kurds in Halabja. 

And in September 1988 the Foreign Office declined to get outraged, saying: 'We believe it better to maintain a dialogue with others if we want to influence their actions. 

Punitive measures such as unilateral sanctions would not be effective in changing Iraq's behaviour over chemical weapons, and would damage British interests to no avail.'

Which brings me to the final point. Do we even know that Assad used chemical weapons? 

I have actually read the reports of the last such alleged attack in Khan Sheikhoun a year ago, and they prove nothing. In fact, they are quite fishy.

At the time of writing, I have yet to see a British or US media report on this alleged attack from closer than Beirut, 70 miles from the scene. 

Many seemingly confident and graphic accounts come from Istanbul, 900 miles away, or from London or Washington. 

Where are they getting their information from? Here's a clue. The Saudi-backed faction in control of Douma at the time of the alleged attack, Jaish al- Islam (the Army of Islam), were themselves accused of using poison gas against Kurds in Aleppo in April 2016.

THEY are not especially nice. Their other main claim to fame is that they displayed captured Syrian Army officers in cages and used them as human shields. 

They have spent several years indiscriminately shelling Damascus from Douma, having taken the local inhabitants hostage, and then squawking about war crimes if the Syrian government hit back at them, which it did much as the Iraqi government (our friends) did to Islamic State in Mosul and Fallujah.

I would not look for any heroes in this cauldron. And if you want to watch war games on a TV screen, can I suggest that you buy your own virtual reality equipment? 

The real thing may look pretty and neat, but real people die as it happens and, if you supported it, their deaths will be on your conscience.


Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?

By Patrick J. Buchanan     Tuesday - April 17, 2018

"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay." Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term."

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war "for the long term"? If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump's commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is "inoperative."

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

"The better U.S. strategy is to ... turn Syria into the Ayatollah's Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves."

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation. Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria. Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will."

The Journal's op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon: "Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits."

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this? What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as "fatalistic" and "misguided."

We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a "land corridor" across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this "land corridor."  The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953. The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.  The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

Syria Live Updates: Russia Finds Syrian Rebel Chemical Weapons Lab in Douma

Haaretz    Apr 17, 2018 4:51 PM

The U.S., France and the U.K. launched an overnight strike on multiple Syrian targets Saturday, in response to Bashar Assad regime's chemical attack a week ago. The targets included research centers in Damascus believed to have produced chemical weapons.

After the strikes, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the Syria mission was a "Mission Accomplished!". Newly released satellite images showing the sites before and after the Western coalition strikes show the attack caused damage. Some U.S. officials, however, are saying that the sites may have been inactive, as indicated by the fact that there were no casualties or chemical leaks from the facilities. 

Live updates:

6:08 P.M.  April 17: Russia claims it found Syrian rebel chemical weapons lab

The Russian military says that it has found rebel chemical weapons stockpiles in the Syrian town hit by a suspected chemical attack.

Alexander Rodionov of the military's chemical weapons protection unit said Tuesday its experts found chlorine and components for producing mustard gas at a rebel laboratory in Douma.

Rodionov said the canister with chlorine was similar to the one shown in images released by [anti-Assad] “activists.” (Associated Press)

Russia’s envoy to OPCW says “irrefutable proof” UK behind Syria false flag                    http://theduran.com/russias-envoy-to-opcw-says-irrefutable-evidence-uk-behind-douma-false-flag/?mc_cid=fea32e83a0&mc_eid=42e11870e2

Moscow has evidence that the chemical attack in Douma was staged

by ALEX CHRISTOFOROUApril 16, 2018   Share
The propaganda and false flags initiated by the western Deep State establishment are well documented…but the latest Douma false flag chemical attack may be the one that finally exposes the disgusting lies told by Haley, Trump, Macron, May, Boris, western mainstream media, and all the other actors who pushed for war with Syria.
The Russian envoy to the OPCW has stated that Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States.
Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council….
“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7.”
According to RT, the diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”
“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” Shulgin said, adding that “attack” was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” which are under the patronage of the Syrian government’s foreign adversaries.                                                                                         “Pseudo-humanitarian NGOs” = US/UK funded NGO ‘The White Helmets.’   This would not be the first time the ISIS/Al Qaeda ‘first responder’ group staged a chemical weapons attack in order to ratchet up the conflict in Syria.
Russian radiological, chemical and biological-warfare units carefully examined the scene of the alleged attack mentioned in the NGOs’ reports immediately after the liberation of Douma from the militant groups, Shulgin said. He then drew attention to the fact that the Russian military specialists found “not a single piece of evidence” substantiating the claims about the alleged chemical attack. Instead, they found local witnesses who said that the video allegedly showing the aftermath of the perceived attack was in fact staged.
The timing of the attack was also bewildering, the Russian diplomat said, adding that the Syrian government had absolutely no reason to gas its own citizens when the city was already almost liberated from the militants. Under such circumstances, the accusations against Damascus look “absurd,” he said. “The senselessness of these claims is striking,”Shulgin added, referring to the statements of Western leaders.
The US and its allies are not interested in a real investigation into the alleged Douma attack, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said. Washington, London and Paris immediately pinned the blame for the incident on Damascus, and launched strikes against Syrian military and civilian facilities without waiting for the OPCW team even to start its investigation on the ground.
Shulgin extended his gratitude to the OPCW investigators for their work in Douma and called on the organization’s executive council to adopt a document supporting their efforts. He also denounced the actions of the US, the UK and France as “military aggression,” adding that “this crime can be by no means justified.” Washington, London and Paris “are playing the hypocrite as they pretend to be the defenders of the international law. In fact, however, no one except for their allies… has any doubts that the major threat to the world comes from these ‘leaders’ of the Western [political] camp,” Shulgin said.
Washington and its allies launched a missile strike targeting Syrian military and civilian facilities on Saturday, in retaliation for the alleged “chemical attack” in Douma. Russia denounced the strikes, calling them “hooliganism” in international relations and “an aggression against a sovereign state.”
Meanwhile, the OPCW investigators are expected to start their work in Douma on Monday. They met with Syrian officials on Sunday to discuss the details of their work. Damascus says it hopes that the experts will “stay neutral and not yield to pressure.” The OPCW team plans to finish its work on Wednesday and present its preliminary report to the UN before its departure from Damascus, local media report.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey


ABBEVILLE INSTITUTE (“Victor Davis Hanson Hates the Confederacy…and the South”) and THE UNZ REVIEW (Is this the Beginning of the End for the Trump Presidency?”)


Today I pass on links to my most recent columns that have been published by national web journals: First, “Victor Davis Hanson Hates the Confederacy…and the South,” which appeared on The Abbeville Institute site on April 12, and, then,  “Is This the Beginning of the End for the Trump Presidency?” which was published by The Unz Review, Sunday, April 15. Both are versions of items I placed on my blog, “MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey.”

On March 30:

And April 14:

As I tuned into Fox News’ much-ballyhooed program, “Legends & Lies: The Civil War,” last night—I literally forced myself to watch it—the sad truth of what I call “the great brain robbery of the ‘conservative movement’,” became once again readily apparent, even offensively so.

There was Fox’s co-host of its popular morning show aimed at professed “conservatives,” “Fox & Friends,” Brian Kilmeade, far over his head intellectually and sounding like Archie Bunker attempting to address a meeting of distinguished astrophysicists about nuclear fission. But that didn’t stop him from pounding hard—and with palpable ignorance—the narrative that he and the Neoconservative talking heads, writers and pundits share with those on the even farther Left: that the South—and the Southern Confederacy—were all about “defending slavery,” that Abraham Lincoln was inspired by the zealous Abolitionist and Communist-sympathizer Frederick Douglass (yes, Douglass was profoundly influenced by Karl Marx, through his mistress German Marxist and feminist Ottilie Assing—never mind that he was married), that the War was all about “defeating racism” and “recovering the real idea of America” which was “that all men are created equal,” and that “equality must be imposed” (okay, Kilmeade’s script didn’t use those exact words, but the meaning and context of everything he read—badly—from his prepared text said as much).

Kilmeade exemplifies the ideologically-tendentious Neoconservative view of American history, specifically of the War Between the States and its relationship to the American Founding. In his case and in the case of Fox’s “Legends & Lies,” it is both woefully pedestrian and offensively uninformed. But worst of all it adopts and assumes a blatantly Marxist view of American history and the war—America is all about “ending racism” and “establishing equality.” Indeed, it is a vision and interpretation that not only could but did come from the febrile minds of Marxist historians such as Eric Foner (remember, he is the “favorite historian” of vaunted GOP consultant Karl Rove) and which dominate the historical profession today. [Notice how many Marxist historians were invited to make comments during the Fox program. Where were Clyde Wilson, or Thomas di Lorenzo, or Philip Leigh, or William Marvel? ].

And like other thematic templates that undergird the philosophical and historical principles of the dominant Neocons who control both the so-called “conservative media,” but also the Republican Party, their American Founding and War Between the States narrative is essentially the same as that of their supposed enemies on the farther Left. Such “opposition,” then, cannot and will not succeed, as it cannot actually “oppose” those principles which it actually shares.

And what we have is essentially a Kabuki dance, shadow boxing…with enough posturing and mouthing of phrases to inveigle and mislead many well-meaning conservatives, but in the end resulting in continual defeat and retreat for those views and beliefs that we hold dear.

Here are the web links for the two columns:

“Is This the Beginning of the End for the Trump Presidency?” April 15, 2018 [https://www.unz.com/article/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-the-trump-presidency/]

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 14, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey



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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