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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Times: Are they a-changing?

Here's an interesting juxtaposition. Take a look at this Independent article from the summer of 2013, when the Syrian war was heating up. The headline tells the story: "Does Obama know he’s fighting on al-Qa’ida’s side?"

At the time, few other mainstream news sources dared to speak of the DC-Al Qaeda alliance.

Now look at this remarkable new CNN opinion piece: "Why the most dangerous group in Syria isn't ISIS": The "most dangerous group" is, of course, Nusra -- the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.

Suddenly, it is okay to admit, once again, that Al Qaeda fighters are the bad guys. 

Wasn't it just yesterday when David Patraeus and James Clapper were telling us to join forces with Nusra/Al Qaeda? We accused the Russians of attacking "moderates" when they attacked Nusra. Hell, we applied the "moderate" label to any group of Islamic extremists that did not explicitly call itself ISIS.

Things are different now. Moon of Alabama notes that the recent ceasefire excludes Nusra:
Every "western" media report on the agreement and its likelihood to proceed now has to admit what has long been denied. That the unicorn U.S. supported "moderate rebels" are in deep alliance with al-Qaeda.

Even the grey lady now concedes:
many of the anti-Assad groups aligned with the United States fight alongside the Nusra Front
The readers of such piece note that the U.S. is actually supporting the terrorists it claimed to be fighting for the last 13 years. Somehow that does not compute. This will put pressure the Obama administration. It can hardly blame Russia and Syria for continuing a campaign against Al-Qaeda even during a cessation of hostility with U.S. supported "moderates". The U.S. lauds itself over killing alleged Al-Qaeda followers in drone strikes all over the world. How can it blame Russia for doing like in Syria?
The NYT, a month ago, published a piece which told a surprising amount of truth (though not, of course, the whole truth):
When President Obama secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for money and discretion in far-off conflicts: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since then, the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.
There's a change in the air: The powers-that-be can no longer maintain the illusion that America has been supporting only "moderates" -- and thus, it becomes permissible to admit certain truths about the origins of the American/Saudi/Turkish attack on Syria.

Not long ago, Wikileaks got hold of a 2012 Saudi communication which sheds more light on the role played by the Kingdom. Brad Hoff provides this analysis:
A WikiLeaks cable released as part of “The Saudi Cables” in the summer of 2015, now fully translated here for the first time, reveals what the Saudis feared most in the early years of the war: Russian military intervention and Syrian retaliation. These fears were such that the kingdom directed its media “not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them” at the time.

Saudi Arabia had further miscalculated that the “Russian position” of preserving the Assad government “will not persist in force.” In Saudi thinking, reflected in the leaked memo, Assad’s violent ouster (“by all means available”) could be pursued so long as Russia stayed on the sidelines. The following section is categorical in its emphasis on regime change at all costs, even should the U.S. vacillate for “lack of desire”:
The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria. As regards the international position, it is clear that there is a lack of “desire” and not a lack of “capability” on the part of Western countries, chief among them the United States, to take firm steps...
Amman-based Albawaba News—one of the largest online news providers in the Middle East—was the first to call attention to the WikiLeaks memo, which “reveals Saudi officials saying President Bashar al-Assad must be taken down before he exacts revenge on Saudi Arabia.”
So there you have it. From the beginning, Obama did not want to play the Saudi game: That's what the phrase "lack of desire" means. Yet play he did, though only to a point. He countenanced the rise of ISIS, he allowed the CIA to fund and arm the jihadists, but he would not make direct use of the American military.

The instigators of war feared one thing above all else: Russian intervention. That is why Nusra staged the false-flag sarin attacks in Damascus in 2013. The intention was to prod Obama into action before the Russian bear finally awoke. Obama, thank God, did not fall for this deception -- and two years later, the bear finally came to life.

Now the bear fights, red in fang and claw -- and the Saudis are shitting themselves.

The most important question we must now be asking ourselves is this: How did the warmongers capture so much of the American mainstream media? Conspiracy theorists like to think that "The Gummint" controls the media, but that simplistic view doesn't square with the facts. Some outside force was at work here -- a bellicose entity that tried to use the media to compel Obama into an action which (as that secret Saudi cable demonstrates) he never had any desire to take.

If Romney had won in 2012, American troops would be fighting alongside Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria right now. Keep that fact in mind next time some idiot tries to convince you that voting does not matter.

(And if you intend to use the previous paragraph as an excuse to launch into an all-too-predictable anti-Hillary tirade, don't bother. I won't publish your comment.)
Thank you for voiding the Hitllery comments. I'm sick of hearing all that crap from the clueless who get all their political intelligence from Salon.

Obama is no friend of Russia. As Stephen Cohen says Trump comes the closest, not Sanders or she who must not be uttered.
No, just a time out for the neo-conns. Think the suppose end of Nam.
Boris Nemtsov is back in the news on the anniversary of his assassination. Western media are running the hagiography. MoA cites remarks by former Indian ambassador to Russia M K Bhadrakumar. Putin reportedly made a speech to the FSB on 22 Feb that its officers had uncovered a Western plot for a Russian color revolution in 2016 (Unfortunately I can't source the actual Putin text that Bhadrakumar cites).

Mark Ames at Pando has a good piece on St Nemtsov with many revealing (and unflattering) details. Here's one:

"Nemtsov was tasked with breaking up Russia’s natural monopolies and introducing fair, free-market competition. So he 'took on' the state utilities monopoly, RAO-UES by placing his favorite young Nizhny Novgorod banker, Boris Brevnov, in charge of the company. Brevnov had by this time married an American woman who was one of the World Bank's top officers in overseeing its investments into Nizhny Novogorod when Nemtsov was governor. Less than a year after Nemtsov put Brevnov in charge of the utilities monopoly, the company's board of directors charged Brevnov with corruption and abuse of office, including the use of company jets to fly to Kentucky to pick up Brevnov's wife, mother-in-law and dog and bring them back to Moscow. After getting fired from RAO-UES, Brevnov moved to the US and went to work for Enron."

Justin Raimondo also has some useful details.

Apparently 2016 is the year we will be repeatedly asked: "Would you like more propaganda shit with your meal, Sir?"
I would like to care but bernie makes it to Calli I will vote for him but I'm voting Green
Well, I wouldn't expect anything better from she who must not be named. She won't let the neo-cons down. That is all I will say on that subject (if you even let it through, and I totally understand if you don't).

As to the rest, I expect the propaganda to shift. In what direction is hard to say, but I don't think the public has been buying the "Russian and Syria indiscriminately killing innocents" line anymore. It's pretty obvious to most who the bad guys are.
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