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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Trump needs a war. Looks like he's getting one.

Last night, for the first time in a while, the discussion on MSNBC annoyed the hell out of me. Everyone is acting as though the WP never published these words in that bombshell "let's party in the Seychelles" piece:
The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.
The obvious conclusion, which everyone missed: Trump gave up on Assad at some point before January 11.

Putin doesn't really care about Assad. Not really really. He cares much more about those sanctions, which are killing the Russian economy and endangering his own rule. The Russian leader will throw the embattled Syrian leader under that proverbial bus if, in return, America lifts sanctions, stays out of Ukraine, weakens NATO, and doesn't interfere with Russian attempts to subvert other European elections. 

It's been obvious to me for a while that the big prize is Russia's oil. Putin wants the stuff flowing into Europe and shipped to America, and he wants the price to rise much higher than it is now. (The current price of oil is ridiculously -- unsustainably -- low, a fact you should in mind if you're shopping for a new car. You can pick up a Prius pretty cheap these days.)

Putin knows that if he plays ball with Trump, Russia can become rich. That's the prize, compared to which Assad is nothing. Yet all of those talking heads on MSNBC reacted as though Trump's anti-Assad statement indicates a rift between the Donald and the Vlad. Like hell it does!

For right now, though, it may serve the purposes of both men to pretend that a rift exists. After all, there's a Senate "Russiagate" investigation which needs to be quashed.

The chemical attack. Everyone has presumed that Assad carried out the most recent attacks, but right now, no hard evidence backs this presumption. Lawrence Wilkerson has pointed out -- reasonably -- that using chemical weaponry is a desperation measure, one that you might expect from someone about to lose a war. Assad is winning right now. How the hell could an attack on a civilian population benefit his cause?

The attack served only to give Trump an excellent excuse to send troops the Syria. Remember: A covert troop buildup has already been underway for weeks. Whatever plan Trump has in mind, the attack gave it cover.

The attack also gives Putin cover. When the time is right, he'll go along with the program hammered out in the Seychelles.

The Al Masdar News -- a UAE-based outlet occasionally cited by Western media -- questions the presumption of Assad's responsibility. Please understand that I am not claiming that what follows is Gospel Truth: I'm simply saying that before we all do the great conclusion-hop, we need to consider a few alternative scenarios. Here's one.
It is known that about 250 people from Majdal and Khattab were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists last week. Local sources have claimed that many of those dead from the chemical weapons were those from Majdal and Khattab.

This would suggest that on the eve of upcoming peace negotiations, terrorist forces have once again created a false flag scenario. This bares resemblance to the Ghouta chemical weapons attack in 2013 where the Syrian Army was accused of using the weapons of mass destruction on the day that United Nations Weapon’s Inspectors arrived in Damascus.

Later, in a separate chemical weapon usage allegation, Carla del Ponte, a UN weapons inspector said that there was no evidence that the government had committed the atrocity. This had however not stopped the calls for intervention against the Syrian government, a hope that the militant forces wished to eventuate from their use of chemical weapons against civilians in Khan-al-Assal.
AMN goes on to claim that Orient News (a Damascus-based rival news service focused on Syria) tweeted a report of the chemical attack hours before it happened.
Meanwhile, pick up trucks have been photographed around bodies of those killed. Again, it must be questioned why there are people around sarin gas without any protective gear, and not affected at all when it can begin attacking the body within seconds? Also, the pick up trucks remain consistent to what local sources have said that many of those dead were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists from pro-government towns in rural Hama.
There may be a reasonable way to rebut these points; if you have such a rebuttal to offer, please share. My purpose here is simply to open up a discussion. Whatever your opinion of what you've read so far, the following paragraph seems difficult -- perhaps impossible -- to argue away.
With the Syrian Army and its allies in a comfortable position in Syria, making advances across the country, and recovering lost points in rural Hama, why would they now resort to using chemical weapons? It is a very simple question with no clear answer. It defies any logic that on the eve of a Syria conference in Brussels and a week before peace negotiations are to resume, that the Syrian government would blatantly use chemical weapons.
Bottom line: Trump needs a war to erase his Russian woes. This incident gives him an excuse to send in American troops in massive numbers. During the campaign he clearly indicated his desire to re-invade that part of the world to eradicate ISIS. If he is seen as the man who conquered ISIS, he will serve as president for eight years; Americans will forget his boorishness, his incompetence and his kleptocratic ways.

And at this moment, if he is seen -- temporarily -- as acting in opposition to Putin, so much the better.

So many people on DU and Kos and Twitter have predicted a rapid Trump impeachment. The same voices also predicted, with equal confidence, a Hillary win so massive that it would turn the Senate blue. Stop kidding yourselves. The Trumpian hordes have clearly indicated that they want to see Susan Rice and perhaps Obama himself indicted -- and now that Bannon no longer has a day job, he can devote all of his time to "Trumping up" the evidence. Watch it happen.
There was an article in Times of Israel, which I can't find right now, that said that Israeli intelligence was convinced that Assad used the chemical weapons because the Syrian army is down to 50,000 men and relies on militias to fight the battles. Fifty thousand soldiers is not enough to control the country and therefore the use of chemical weapons is a way of enforcing control. What nobody seems to be talking about is that the real issue right now is not what Russia gave Trump, but what Trump will give Russia. You are one of the few who mentioned the possible outing of US agents in the Russian intelligence services. It seems to me that is the real story and one which should be followed up. Naturally, Russia wants a war in the Mid-East because that would drive up the price of oil. And by the way, there are experts who think oil will sink to $30 a barrel. I tend to think it will stay where it is.
Trump probably knows that the quickest way to "defeat" ISIS would be for America and it's allies to stop funding and arming them. Obama knew that too. It's plain to anyone who thinks about it for a few seconds that Assad has absolutely nothing to gain, and a whole lot to loose, by using chemical weapons on his own people. This was true the last time, in 2013 (and you Joseph presented very convincing evidence at the time that it was the US supported "rebels" that were responsible, i.e. ISIS).

You know, you must have rubbed off on me, because the more I see my friends on the left, and the left in general, claiming that Trump is not long for the oval office, the more I become convinced that we will be stuck with him for at least the full 8 years. I sure hope we are both wrong, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I was dismayed, but not surprised, when NPR's reporting yesterday all assumed that Assad had done it, and generated a whole lot of speculative blather based on that assumption--Why did Assad do it? What are the implications of Assad doing it? How will the UN react to Assad doing it? What will be the results of Assad having done it? How massive should the US response be to Assad doing it?

It strikes me that such speculation is absolutely the cheapest kind of "journalism" possible--no need for any actual investigation.

Today NPR is at least reporting Assad's denial that he did it--though they're "balancing" that with opinions from Assad-hating "experts" who tell us ludicrously that rebels would not have stored chemical weapons in a manner such that bombing could activate them.

I'm thankful that Col. Wilkerson had the courage to challenge the frenzy. He first came on my radar about ten years ago when firedoglake reported that he had told a Senate Committee that 100 prisoners had died in US custody of homicide. I did not know firedoglake, and did not trust them, so I went looking for the story elsewhere and did not find it anywhere in the mainstream news. All I found was a gossipy piece that reported that Doug Feith failed to show up for a Senate hearing because Col. Wilkerson was going to be there. It didn't explain Mr. Feith's behavior.

But I dug deeper and went to the website and found the transcript of the hearing and verified that Col. Wilkerson had said what he said. Then I went to the ACLU website and found the actual autopsy reports on the prisoners--some had broken hyoid bones consistent with strangulation, some had boot prints on their legs from stomping--and resultant sepsis.

"...the real issue right now is not what Russia gave Trump, but what Trump will give Russia. You are one of the few who mentioned the possible outing of US agents." I agree with Joseph Spiezer here, from a total non-conspiracybuff's view. Meaning, I don't disbelieve in any conspiracies per se, it's just too difficult for a nonbuff to follow most of it. What struck me from all your posts was all those disappeared Russian agents a few days after Trump's presidential briefing...and then the cessation of those briefings. My overriding interest lies in this Spy vs Spy.

The US is looking to establish a Sunni protectorate in northern Syria on the Turkish border. It would be occupied by US military and provide a safe haven for Islamists to conduct continuing actions to bring down the Assad government. So the latest incident provides further political support for that move.
Friction between Putin and Netanyahu today if you are looking for something positive.
Pat Lang says Israel has no answer for Hezbollah so pro-Palestinians might hope it can slip the leash.
In your opinion, will there be a reenactment of a military draft? Trump talks of military buildup - where will the troops come from?
The draft will include women now.
Trump has been reigned in by the military industrial complex. Probably to save his skin.

The media reported that Trump claimed the Sarin Gas was launched from a Syrian Military Base. Yet all we see are the same shots of missiles being launched from the American BattleShip. Why not show the satellite footage of the Sarin Gas actually being launched from the Syrian Base?
I was wondering about some of the people who were involved in the helping of the victims. Some of them seemed very clean cut, which I would not necessarily expect if the Sarin Gas was sent in by missile. There would be dust in the air hanging everywhere, everyone in the area would be coated in dust.
But if the victims were trucked in, that is a scenario that might be possible as well. Have any images of buildings being destroyed by the Sarin Attack been released, since they were launched via missile?
I realize I don't know what I don't know. I don't know how Sarin Gas is launched from a military base and simply is released upon impact, without a big explosion? Is that right? It just seems that if a missile is used to launch the sarin gas, that requires fuel. Unless the gas is release while in the air and drops down in some type of container and then breaks apart upon impact?
Anyone know the answers to how the gas is actually activated and if there is an explosion or not?
Also, did the U.S. capture actually video of the launches, or not? They released a BW photo of a bunch of grid lines that I could not understand when it was shown on the screen for just a few seconds.
Our presidents seem to refer to evidence they have, but never show. I don't like that. If a president is referring to evidence to justify a war, then show the evidence.
Let's not forget something basic: the US attack on Syria was unlawful.

It was not in self-defence, it was not authorised by the UN Security Council, and it was not requested by the Syrian government.

The US is a country. It is not a court that decides the rights and wrongs of events in other countries. It has absolutely no right to bomb another country except under one of the conditions I just mentioned.
"Show the evidence"... Yes, to the UN Security Council.
What happened to the post after this titled "Syria"? Not only did I read it and enjoy it, but I recommended it to others.
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