04/8/17

Nikki Haley Receives Text At UN: “Thank you for what you said today. It’s so good to see America lead.”

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Nikki Haley received a surprise text at the United Nations. It allegedly said, “Thank you for what you said today. It’s so good to see America lead.” I’m not surprised she got that text. For all I know, that could have been Israel sending it, but it is indeed good to see actual leadership in America again. I know that many Trump supporters don’t agree with me. They claim we should not be the global police and should not interfere in other country’s affairs. I’ve got news for all of you… what happens globally affects America period. You may not want conflict or war, but other countries don’t give a damn about that. You may not believe in war, but it believes in us.

We have waited years for various gassing attacks in Syria to be investigated and for the United Nations to do something, anything and we are still waiting. I think that what President Trump did this week was the right thing to do and it sent not only Syria, but Russia, Iran, China and North Korea a strong message that there is a new sheriff in town and he doesn’t play with red lines and rhetoric. He’s deadly serious about stopping our enemies and have no doubt that Syria, Russia, Iran, China and North Korea are just that… American enemies. Grow up… this isn’t some theoretical reality where we can just turn our back on the world. This is real life and we have to stop these evil blackhats before they attack America. Hesitation is viewed as weakness and acquiescence.

From the Independent Review Journal:

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley boldly confronted Russia and Syria during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday, staring down the Russian ambassador in moment that went viral.

“How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked the Russian ambassador in front of the world.

Later that night, Haley made an appearance at the Women in the World Summit in New York City and revealed the text message she subsequently received from another member of the U.N. Security Council.

“Thank you for what you said today. It’s so good to see America lead,” the text reportedly read.

Haley insinuated that the message was meaningful to her because leading is exactly “what we’re trying to do.”

There is nothing that will move a heart like watching dozens of children… babies… die horrifically. Assad and the Russians could care less. Given the opportunity, they would use that tactic anywhere they land if it won them power, wealth, real estate and natural resources. Nikki Haley is right here. It is long past time we act like the world leaders we are. No nation building… but when tyrants kill the innocent and rage unabated and someone needs to step in, we have a moral obligation to do so. And we have a military presence that should show strength, not the cowardice the Obama administration mandated.

“The way you lead is to make sure they know what you’re for, they know what you’re against, and they never question where you are,” Haley added. Exactly right. You actually LEAD, you don’t vacillate. President Trump’s actions this week in response to a chemical attack by Assad against his own, shows a definitive shift in America military policy. And don’t say, “Well, it could have been the rebels!” No, it wasn’t. They would have no way of dispersing those chemical agents since they don’t have planes and Assad and Russia always blame these actions on their victims. It’s right out of their playbooks.

Our allies are cheering the action and breathing a huge sigh of relief. Our enemies are calling it an act of aggression. It’s an act as old as time. But President Trump is no ‘lead from behind’ president as Barack Obama was. Peace through strength has once again taken center stage.

04/7/17

Cruise missile strike in Syria: Assad regime – and Russia – on notice

By: J.E. Dyer | Liberty Unyielding

USS Ross (DDG-71) launches a Tomahawk missile at Syria’s Shayrat Air Base from the Med, 7 Apr 2017. (Image: USN, PO3 Robert S. Price)

In the early morning hours of 7 April in Syria – between 8 and 10 PM Eastern on 6 April, in the U.S. – two U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers began launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at an air base in Syria just east of the city of Homs.  In total, the ships launched at least 59 cruise missiles.  All were reportedly directed at the single air base, indicating the attack was meant to take the facility out of operation.

President Donald Trump, in a recorded address (video below), explained that USS Ross (DDG-71) and USS Porter (DDG-78) were striking the air base in Syria from which the chemical weapons attack that inflicted ghastly damage on civilians in Idlib Province was launched on Tuesday.

The target, according to the latest reporting, was Shayrat Air Base, located about 15 miles southeast of Homs.  Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin indicated in the 10 PM hour that the Pentagon would be providing a track of the Syrian Su-24 Fencer – a tactical bomber – that it says conducted the chemical weapons attack on 4 April.  In other words, the U.S. military has direct evidence that the attacking aircraft was a Syrian bomber jet.  (This is not only feasible, it’s probable and routine.)

Shayrat Air Base was never one of Assad’s biggest, most developed bases.  It is overshadowed by T4 air base (often referred to as Tiyas Air Base) further east, which has been the front line of the fight against ISIS for some months now.

Overview of area where Shayrat Air Base was struck with U.S. cruise missiles 7 Apr 2017. (Google map; author annotation)

But Shayrat has seen a lot of use for combat logistics in the last 18 months.  The Russians persistently denied it, but there have been numerous reports that they made improvements to Shayrat in 2015 in order to use it as a base.  And Arabic and social media have recorded Russian helicopters making use of Shayrat as an interim base for logistics stops, including mission refueling.  (Fox reports that the U.S. military used its hotline with Russian forces to give them warning of the attack.)

Some reporting has indicated that the Iranians have delivered weapons and materiel there too, and that “Iranian squadrons” were to operate from the base once it was improved by the Russians.  (The Iranian presence in T4/Tiyas has been better documented.)

(See The Tower’s report here.)

The Russians’ use of the base means, at a minimum, that the U.S. has put Russia as well as the Assad regime on notice that there will be no tolerance for chemical weapons attacks.

Syrian facilities implicated in 4 April chemical weapons attack in Idlib Province. (Google map; author annotation)

Shayrat’s use for launching a chemical weapons attack makes sense, given its proximity to the Al-Furqlus storage facility for Assad’s chemical weapons, which is located about 11 miles north-northwest of Shayrat Air Base, just east of Homs.  Shayrat itself stored chemical weapons prior to 2011, and given its regular operational use, probably has chemical weapons prepared for deployment located next to the taxiways on occasion.  It is not thought to be a main storage site now, however.

Notably, the Israeli Air Force is long thought to have attacked another chemical weapons facility in south Homs, closer to the city center, in 2013.

And the IAF reportedly attacked a Syrian air base between Homs and Palmyra the night of 16-17 March, when the Syrian regime launched anti-air missiles at the IAF strike-fighters.  The base in question was thought to be T4, and the reason for the attack: an Iranian delivery of special weapons intended for Hezbollah.

The U.S. engagement in Syria – which ramped up last month with the deployment of Marines to Raqqa – has thus clearly entered a new phase.  Since 2014, our air activities in Syria have been limited to attacking emergent ISIS targets, almost all in northern Syria.  U.S. forces have been kept out of the fight in western Syria, where Russia and Iran have ruled the roost.

Now, however, we have struck into the heart of Assad’s center of gravity: the part of Syria where he maintains his operational strength and hosts the principal regional outpost of Iran.  The corridor from Damascus to Homs is Assad’s core.  Iran has made use of it as a line of communication with Hezbollah and Hamas for decades.

At the moment, we have no preview of any further military intentions for U.S. forces in this part of Syria.  The U.S. reportedly intends to reenergize the Geneva talks on Syria and negotiate to get Assad removed from power – something it would have been preferable to do in 2011, if we had had an administration with the vision and competence for it.  It’s not clear how feasible it will be in 2017.

The backlash from tonight’s work hasn’t been previewed yet either.  I don’t fear for regional “stability,” which isn’t likely to change much merely from the cruise missile attack.  But within a couple of weeks, the overall conditions for negotiation will have changed, because of the scramble set off by the U.S. action.  It will be interesting to see how Trump’s team takes the challenge on.

It can’t do worse than Obama’s.  My sense at the moment is that Trump – if he wants to – can quickly assume the “catbird seat” that Putin has been angling to occupy in settling the future of Syria.  Most of the various players – Turkey, the Arabs (the Saudis, Jordan, Egypt), Iraq – would be enthusiastic about having a strong America to act as a great-power broker.  Russia can live with it, if Trump accepts that Russia has legitimate interests in Syria.  I think Trump would do that.

The wild card will be Iran.  But I’d expect Iran to try to lie low for now in Syria, and avoid losing too much rather than try to keep it all by keeping Assad in power, through some confrontational means.  Iran has fingers in a lot of pies now, and usually takes the long view.  Unless Trump starts striking targets in Lebanon, Iran is probably prepared to let even Assad go, if that’s what it takes to keep the U.S. out of deeper political and military involvement in Syria.

The ball is very much in Trump’s court now.  For my money, he needs, at the moment, to keep a rally going.  The conditions aren’t right yet for a decisive point against anyone – other than perhaps Assad.

USS Porter goes through her paces in this video from DOD.  Stick with it for the best smoke plumes.

04/6/17

US Strikes Syria With 60 Tomahawk Missiles [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

I started to hear rumors of this late today and it has now happened. My sources say that the US launched 60 Tomahawk missiles at Syria just a short time ago. This is in response to a chemical weapons attack this week that killed 83 people… including 25 children and at least 350 injured. President Trump had said earlier today that something needed to be done. At the same time Rex Tillerson warned the Russians that we would be moving against Assad and to choose who they side with carefully. No time was wasted and now we wait to see if we actually took out Assad and what the repercussions militarily will be.

I understand that two different airfields were taken out, so I doubt that Assad was ‘removed’ from his position of power, but we’ll see. The missiles took out large portions of the military infrastructure there in Syria. Destroyers in the Mediterranean launched the missiles into Syria. This happened fast and I predicted it earlier today. However, I didn’t see it happening this fast. I am now getting other reports from CNN and a friendly source that it was 60 missiles. Our warships have been training for two days for this, so this was decided right after the attack. I have also heard that Iran sent two transports to remove personnel from Syria. Russia was pulling people out as well.

From Fox News:

The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield early Friday in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians.

The Tomahawk missile strikes destroyed portions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military infrastructure. Fox has learned there was one primary target an airbase in Shayrat, located outside Homs, a US official tells Fox News

The military plans called for 43 Tomahawks to be fired from the USS Porter and USS Ross. The two Destroyers in the Med can carry 70 Tomahawks altogether.

US defense officials tell Fox the two warships have been training for the past two days to execute this mission.

“Our forward deployed ships give us the capability to quickly respond to threats… these strikes in Syria are a perfect example – this is why we’re there,” said a Navy official.

“Our forward deployed ships give us the capability to quickly respond to threats,” said a Naval official. “These strikes in Syria are a perfect example – this is why we’re there.” From President Trump earlier today: “I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes and shouldn’t have happened and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Trump told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Florida, where he was holding a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The strike came as Trump was hosting Xi in meetings focused in part on another pressing US security dilemma: North Korea’s nuclear program. Trump’s actions in Syria could signal to China that the new president isn’t afraid of unilateral military steps, even if key nations like China are standing in the way. This acts also as an obvious warning to both China and North Korea… we are no longer playing games.

This may be what I have predicted which is full scale war. It will all depend on how the new Axis of Evil: Russia, China and Iran react to the strike. Things are about to get hot militarily. Buckle up America.

04/6/17

Rex Tillerson Warns Assad That America Is Coming For Him… Puts Russia And Iran On Notice [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | I Have The Truth

The Trump administration has undergone a major shift in policy towards Syria and Assad in the last 24 hours. After a horrific chemical attack on Syrians by Assad, Rex Tillerson is now saying that the US is organizing a coalition to remove Assad from power there. This goes directly against the Russians and Iranians who have provided cover for Assad from the beginning. I have sources informing me that the US military watched a Syrian fixed wing aircraft drop the bombs that hit a hospital with a nerve agent and this was after the first chemical weapon bomb was dropped. The aircraft used was likely a Russian aircraft that was on loan to Assad. The evidence that the White House and State Department has seen on this attack is damning and monstrous.

“It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime,” Tillerson said. Yes, it is… and if we step into this, Americans need to realize this is not just a fight against Assad and ISIS. The minute we commit military might in this fight, we take on the Russians, Iranians and Chinese. In other words, this could be a world war and there will be no turning back. Our military leaders have been predicting this for some time. And don’t forget, we have the North Korean problem to deal with and soon. This is the new Axis of Evil I have written on for years now. The time to dance is upon us.

From the Washington Examiner:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that steps are “underway” to organize an “international community effort” to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, a major policy shift triggered by the latest chemical weapons attack in the country’s ongoing civil war.

“With the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no rule for him to govern the Syrian people,” Tillerson told reporters. “The process by which Assad would leave is something that I think requires and international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country to avoid further civil war, and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving.”

Tillerson added that “those steps are underway” already.

It’s a marked shift from last week, when Tillerson told reporters in Turkey that Assad’s future would be up to the Syrian people — an apparent departure from former President Barack Obama’s stated position that he had to leave power. And it adds a new layer of complexity to Tillerson’s upcoming trip to Moscow, as Russia has provided Assad with major military and diplomatic support.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government is now indicating that Assad might not enjoy “unconditional support” from them, as they disclaimed responsibility for the Syrian gas attack. “It is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This is totally wrong.” So, there is a slim chance that the Russians may back down. I doubt the Iranians will, but we will see. A show of force from the US under the Trump administration may be enough to contain this. I have my doubts.

“There is no doubt in our minds and the information we have supports that the Syria, the Syrian regime under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, are responsible for this attack,” Tillerson said. As I pointed out earlier, they have intel we have not seen and I understand there is no doubt on this at all now. The US blames Assad for a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, a rebel-controlled town in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. The attack left 72 people dead and possibly hundreds more wounded. Originally, it was claimed that the rebels had hidden chemical weapons in a warehouse and that when blown up, they spread. But that is being disproven as I write this. The rebels also have no way of dispersing a chemical weapon even if they had one.

Tillerson was asked whether the US is considering military strikes against the Syrian government: “We are considering an appropriate response for this chemical weapons attack, which violates all previous U.N. resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements between parties including the Syrian regime, the Russian government and all other members of the Security Council,” he said. According to a CNN report today, members of Congress told the network that President Donald Trump has told them the US has considered a military response to the gas attack as one of its options. CBS reported that military options could include cruise missile strikes from Navy ships targeting command and control operations, suspected chemical weapons facilities and military forces.

“…we think its time that the Russians really need to think carefully about their continued support of the Assad regime,” Tillerson said Wednesday. “Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions. Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable,” Tillerson added. We are quickly running out of options and the war drums are ever louder now. Assad should know that America is preparing to come for him and soon.

04/6/17

Nikki Haley Faces Off With Russia… “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Nikki Haley surprised the heck out of me when she called Russia on the carpet at the United Nations over a monstrous chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by Assad in Syria. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” Haley asked, her eyes locked on the Russian ambassador. And that is the rub of the matter. Of course, Russia claims it was the rebels fault… that they stockpiled the weapons and when Assad blew up their warehouse, they were dispersed. You can’t trust anything the Russians say and I believe that is a monstrous lie.

We are very, very close to war now on multiple fronts. I actually think that we either need to have a trained Black Ops team take out that troll in North Korea, or we need to preemptively strike the Hermit Kingdom. We are now out of options. As for Syria, if we decide to go to war there, realize that we will not just be at war with Assad. We will be at war with Russia, China and Iran as well. Hello World War III. I have warned about this for years and we have finally arrived at the Eve of Destruction.

From Western Journalism:

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stared down her Russian counterpart in a fiery speech at the U.N. Security Council Wednesday, criticizing Russia for its continuing defense of the Syrian government following a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Haley held up photos of child victims as she recited eyewitness accounts of the attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib province on Tuesday.

“Men, women, the elderly and children gasping for their very last breath,” she told the Security Council. “And as first-responders, doctors and nurses rushed to help the victims, a second round of bombs rained down. They died in the same slow, horrendous manner as the civilians they were trying to save.”

How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” Haley asked, her eyes locked on the Russian ambassador.

Russia’s defense ministry argued that fault for the chemical weapon attack lies with Syrian rebels who oppose President Bashar al-Assad’s government. They said that a rebel-held warehouse producing and storing chemical weapons was destroyed during the bombardment by the Syrian Air Force, causing the release of the chemical agents that took the lives of over 100.

Nikki Haley is a pit bull. She’s tenacious and she stood toe to toe with her Russian counterpart over this and didn’t back down. She didn’t even flinch. I’m impressed. Even President Trump, who had been against doing anything in Syria, has had a change of heart. After you see what was done to children there, first you are shocked… then tears come to your eyes… then you get righteously angry. The games with Russia are about to end.

Death was not quick or easy for these people. It was a slow, agonizing monstrous way to die. Only a brutal tyrant could condone such a thing. Russia used the warehouse excuse to block a strongish Security Council response to the attack, a move that earned the country near-universal condemnation. “Time and time again Russia uses the same false narrative to deflect attention from their allies in Damascus,” Haley said during her speech. “The United States sees yesterday’s attack as a disgrace at the highest level and assurance that humanity means nothing to the Syrian government.” And that has been the brash truth all along.

Nikki Haley closed her speech with: “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” she said. “For the sake of the victims, I hope the rest of the Council is finally willing to do the same.” In other words, just as President Trump says that if China will not stop North Korea, we will… if the UN will not act on Syria, America will. See where this is going?

The “unacceptable” chemical weapons attack “crosses many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines,” Trump said during a joint press conference on Wednesday with King Abdullah of Jordan. “I will tell you that it has already happened, that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.” The drums of war are deafening now. America, are you ready?

01/24/17

For Those Scoffing at Russian Penetration into American Democracy

By: Denise Simon | FoundersCode.com

This site has posted often on General Gerasimov and his doctrine. The games and propaganda that the Kremlin applies is still not taken seriously by the American people as they continue to scoff at Russian intrusions into our culture.

Russia is playing a double game and it is time to set aside manufactured notions and seek the expertise of countless Russian scholars as well as what the Pentagon and intelligence communities are publishing.

Related reading: Russia’s “Ambiguous Warfare” and Implications for the U.S. Marine Corps, 2015

Using the sources that Russian officials use themselves is a valuable tool as noted here:

“Military-industrial courier”

International Maritime Defence Show

«Military-industrial courier» is a weekly illustrated All-Russian newspaper. The main topics of the newspaper are politics and economics, role of legislative and executive power in the process of military reform providing. «Military-industrial courier» is position on the newspaper market as a respectable edition which highlights defence industries and institutions, adds to military products promotion to the domestic and foreign markets.The newspaper boasts of domestic military chiefs and defence leaders interviews in which most important issues of that sector of the economy are raised.

For a short period of time «Military- industrial courier» has achieved recognition with the Russian high-ranking military officials.

The newspaper is distributed on a subscription and by retail within the Russian Federation and abroad. The circulation is more than 50000 copies.

Here goes yet another attempt.

****

Narrative, Cyberspace and the 21st Century Art of War

In February 2013, an article insipidly entitled “The Value of Science in Prediction” appeared in the Russian publication Military-Industrial Courier. The article was penned by Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Federation. Few in the West recognized the article at all, much less its significance, at the time of its publication.

In the article, Gerasimov analyzed “new-type conflicts.” These conflicts entail an array of strategies and tactics employed in the gray zone to achieve national interests, even military, without a declaration of war and without crossing the threshold that would provoke a kinetic response.

“The very ‘rules of war’ have changed,” Gerasimov wrote.

Dr. Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian history and security issues who annotated an English translation of Gerasimov’s article, identified the most important line as, “The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.”

Gerasimov’s “nonmilitary means” included “broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian and other nonmilitary measures – applied with the protest potential of the population.”

Experts see one hybrid tactic – narrative and cyber – playing an increasingly prominent role in current conflicts.

War Narratives

An old Wall Street adage goes, “You’d have to be a paranoid Russian poet to understand global finance.” Today, that maxim might be paraphrased for an equally unexpected insight: “It helps to be a literary critic in understanding contemporary warfare.”

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu described the “five constant factors” of conventional warfare, but none included narrative. Experts now point to the influential role of narrative in military, geopolitical and ideological “new-type conflicts.”

Nations like Russia and China, as well as terrorist organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are using narrative to motivate audiences, advance agendas and engage adversaries.

Scholars have long argued that literary techniques are not the special purview of novelists, poets and playwrights. From philosophers’ research on metaphor to cognitive scientists’ investigations into parable, literary devices reveal and appeal to basic human cognition. Perhaps that’s why narrative’s use by governments, institutions, businesses and ideologues is not new.

When employed in military or geopolitical conflicts, Brad Allenby and Joel Garreau, co-directors of The Weaponized Narrative Initiative of the Center on the Future of War, call it “weaponized narrative.” And they believe its recent effectiveness will encourage further use.

In an email interview, Allenby said, “Weaponized narrative is not a temporary or passing phenomenon. It is based on significant recent advances in science, technology and social use of technology.”

Combined with tactics afforded by cyberspace, narrative’s influence broadens. But Dr. Ajit Maan, affiliate scholar at the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution and CEO of Narrative Strategies, notes that narrative’s power precedes technology.

In an email interview with Fifth Domain, Maan said:

Advanced technologies work to disseminate messages farther and wider than they would be otherwise, but narratives are already there, on the ground, in people’s heads. The enemies of the U.S. and her allies understand this very well. Advanced technology is a tool. The center of gravity is the narrative.

The “Era of Cybered Conflict”

Current conflicts play out, at least partly, in cyberspace.

Dr. Chris C. Demchak, RDML Grace Murray Hopper professor of cybersecurity and director of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies at the U.S. Naval War College, characterizes today’s environment as one of “cybered conflict.”

In an interview – in which she offered her views and not the views of the U.S. government, U.S. Navy or U.S. Naval War College – Demchak said:

Due to the massively insecure technology of the global cyberspace, we in the West have created a widely spread, poorly secured cyberspace “substrate” that allows attackers in any numbers, from anywhere, with any tools and for any reason to cheaply reach into our critical systems with minimal chances of being punished. The result is that the world has been thrust into an era of “cybered conflict.”

Like Gerasimov’s blurred line between war and peace, Demchak described cybered conflicts as “stretch[ing] from peace through traditional war.” Importantly, Demchak highlighted the strategic advantages of cybered conflict relative to conventional war:

Most cybered conflict – which can have existential consequences – does not involve killing anyone or destroying something explosively. Rather, it is marked by exceptional advantage to deception in what tools are used and opaqueness in who, in what numbers, are using them. Going to the end of the spectrum – to “cyberwar” – is relatively inefficient and opens oneself up to direct retaliation throughout one’s own societal systems. Instead, one can slowly demolish an opponent without ever killing someone or destroying something with a kinetic tool traceable back to oneself … [which] is much safer, reliable and easier to outsource.

Russia, China and ISIS are all leveraging the advantages afforded by cybered conflict to employ hybrid warfare tactics – from hacking to weaponized narrative.

Russia and the Grand Nationalist Narrative

Russia’s use of hybrid warfare long predates Gerasimov’s article. Noting the Soviet Union’s traditional outward posture since the Cold War’s advent, Demchak said, “Russia innovated the strategy of disinformation and personalized brutality to ‘eat a democracy from the inside out’ … producing the involuntary servitude of the former Warsaw Pact.”

Allenby noted favorable conditions for disinformation persist today: “The Russian system tends to reward the cynical, morally relativistic psychology that best aligns with developing and deploying weaponized narratives.”

As foreshadowed by Gerasimov, Russia has displayed its hybrid capabilities during the Ukraine conflict. Allenby points to Russia resurrecting the historical “Novorossiya” and adopting the newer “Russian Eurasian Empire” narratives.

Such narratives matter, Allenby explained, “Because suborning an adversary through weaponized narrative is far, far less costly than a conventional attack. Weaponized narrative offered an important way to achieve Russian ends while not justifying a conventional response under the UN charter.”

Allenby also noted the hybrid approach, which included narrative and “fomenting insurrection and insurgency, and judicious application of ‘little green men,’” or suspected Russian troops.

Allenby added, “Was the invasion [of Crimea] effective? Absolutely. Was it a strategic success? For that, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Asked about the similarities and differences between Russia’s tactics in Ukraine and the alleged activities carried out during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Allenby said:

The two are similar, in that causing a degree of confusion and social fragmentation in the target is a major strategic goal. The tools are different because the cultures are very different, and the follow through is different … Nonetheless, the underlying processes, operations and design of weaponized narrative campaigns must be similar because they are based on the same advanced science, new technologies and rapidly evolving understanding of human psychology.

China and the Sovereignty Narrative

China is also using narrative to further its geopolitical agenda. China’s interest in expanding territorial sovereignty in the South China Seas is well known. Less so is China’s “cyber sovereignty” narrative, which Demchak has examined.

At issue is, Demchak wrote, “China wants her borders in cyberspace and will take nothing less.” Whereas the West sees the internet as a tool for global democratization, “the Chinese narrative accentuates the instability and greater dissent that can accrue with a border-spanning open internet.”

China’s view implicitly acknowledges Gerasimov’s “protest potential of the population.”

To achieve cyber sovereignty, China has employed hybrid gray-zone tactics.

“China,” Demchak wrote, “is also hoping to hurry along the [U.S.’s] apparent decline with narratives, money and stealth and yet control the narrative of a no-threat peaceful rise well enough to stay short of physical conflict.”

China’s cyber sovereignty is part of a grander narrative. “China justifies its rise in the world – its ‘rightful place’ – on the basis of its population,” Demchak said. “China will not over time tolerate U.S. obstruction of its ‘rightful’ rise as the global hegemon.”

ISIS and the Narrative of the Islamic Caliphate

The rise of ISIS surprised many in the West. Narrative and cyberspace played a central role, experts say.

Counterterrorism scholars have studied the “messaging and counter-messaging” of ISIS. Maan thinks ISIS’s narratives are more “profound and pervasive” than simple messaging.

“It is through narrative that identity is constructed: Personal identity, communal/clan identity and national identity,” she said. “It is formative in the identity layers of all parties to communication long before any communication has taken place between them.”

In her writing, Maan has examined a common idea across ISIS’s communications: “Islam is under attack.” That is a title, not the narrative, she explained.

Despite the West’s claims otherwise, “Islam is under attack” resonates with ISIS followers in many forms. “Narrative provides and determines the meaning of events,” Maan said. “Events don’t speak for themselves. Narratives speak for events.”

Maan argues, rather than focusing on counter-narrative, which oftentimes “emboldens” the original, the West should develop its own. To succeed, Maan thinks the West’s narratives must be credible and based on the “production of common sense.”

“That is how successful narratives appear. They don’t seem like a construction. They seem to reflect ‘just the way things are,’” she said.

01/13/17

Our Warmonger President and the Lapdog Press

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

President Obama has moved the nation toward war with Russia, up to 500,000 are dead in Syria, Libya is a disaster, and Germany is welcoming a Muslim invasion of Europe that threatens the collapse of the European Union and NATO. Two million refugees are leaving the Middle East, some of them destined for the U.S.

Yet, Department of Defense News, an official Pentagon public relations outfit, released a story announcing that “Defense leaders hailed the commitment and accomplishments of departing commander in chief President Barack Obama in a formal military ceremony as he closes out his presidency.”

We were told that “During the ceremony, the president reviewed the troops from the five military branches, and received from [Defense Secretary Ashton] Carter the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The event featured a 21-gun salute, and music from the U.S. Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own’ and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.”

If we had anything approaching an honest and objective news media, Obama would not even have attempted such a spectacle, out of fear that he would become a laughingstock. He has presided over a humanitarian disaster in Syria, where American troops are now dying, and his no-win war on the Islamic State has never been approved by Congress.

The CIA and the Terrorists

PBS Newshour ran an interview with Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, in which he said regarding Syria: “If we had a chance to do it over again, would there have been some adjustments and changes? I can’t speak for policy-makers. I’m not a policy-maker. But when I look back, in light of the way things evolved, I think that there could have been some adjustments to some of the policies, not just by the United States, but by other countries, in order to address this question earlier or, and not allow the ISILs and the Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaidas to gain momentum and steam and taking advantage of the destruction of that country.” Brennan went on to say, “…I think the way that the situation unfolded was—is regrettable.”

How does Obama’s CIA director get away with simply saying that the human misery and suffering in Syria spilling over into Europe are “regrettable?” Where is the accountability for this debacle? And on what legal and constitutional basis is America at war in Syria anyway?

Welcome to the world of what can be called media malpractice. Our media have fallen and they can’t get up. These matters of war and peace, life and death, are not significant enough to rise to the level of sustained media interest. After all, they might interfere with Obama’s approval ratings and tarnish his legacy.

It’s not as if the media don’t understand what Obama’s CIA has been doing. The Washington Post reported that a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria had cost $1 billion by the middle of 2015. The Post said the program the CIA program set up in 2013 was “to bolster moderate forces.”

But according to Brennan on PBS, more radical groups joined the fight, leading to a “regrettable” situation.

If we had journalists trained in objective news reporting, we would have a media demanding accountability from the Obama administration over a “regrettable” policy that has spun out of control, leading to a human disaster of astounding proportions throughout the Middle East and Europe. Some are calling the Russian/Iranian/Syrian counterattack “genocide.”

On the left, fortunately, the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has taken note of the fiasco, highlighting the fact that The Washington Post ran a column by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) insisting that the U.S. had “done nothing” in Syria. That’s nothing to the tune of $1 billion by the middle of 2015. FAIR wondered, as did I, whether the editors of the Post considered attaching a note to the McCain column stating that “the CIA has spent up to $1 billion a year on the Syrian opposition, or roughly $1 out of every $15 dollars the agency spends.”

Our Warnings

Back in 2013, this columnist warned that Obama’s Syria policy, which was supported by McCain, threatened to embolden al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria. That is precisely what happened.

When Brian Kilmeade of Fox News objected to “moderate” Syrian rebels yelling “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,” McCain shot back: “Would you have a problem with an American or Christians saying ‘Thank God, Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”

“Jihad Watch” director Robert Spencer commented that “Allahu akbar” does not mean “Thank God.” Rather, he said, “It is a war cry which means ‘Allah is greater,’” and “is essentially a proclamation of superiority.” Spencer notes that it is the same cry that Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members shout as they kill Christians and destroy Christian churches.

At the time, however, many different publications, including Politico, The Huffington Post, Business Insider and Mediaite, ran stories about the exchange which claimed that McCain had somehow “shamed” Brian Kilmeade and Fox News, as if McCain knew what he was talking about and that Kilmeade had been exposed as an ignoramus.

Spencer wrote, “McCain’s appalling ignorance and Obama’s ongoing enthusiasm for all things Muslim Brotherhood, including the Syrian opposition, are leading the U.S. into disaster.”

That disaster has come to pass, not because the U.S. did “nothing,” as claimed by McCain, but because the U.S. did “something” to the tune of $1 billion and still failed. Now, McCain wants strong sanctions against Russia, over what he calls a hacking operation that constituted an “act of war” against the United States.

Using dubious “intelligence” reports, including one from the same CIA that engineered the Syrian disaster, Obama has announced sanctions against Russia and expulsions of Russian officials from the U.S.

No Declaration of War

Needless to say, Congress never declared war on Syria, in order to justify CIA funding of the “rebels” there. The Congress has also not declared war on the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, and yet we are at war in the Middle East against them, and American troops are dying on the battlefield.

In a matter-of-fact manner, The Washington Post recently reported, “In his first floor speech since he and Hillary Clinton lost the election, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) revived one of his signature issues Wednesday: urging Congress to authorize military force against the Islamic State terrorist group.”

That “signature issue” happens to involve the constitutional requirement that Congress alone can declare war. The term “signature” suggests that Kaine has made it into his own unique cause, and that other members don’t share his enthusiasm. The media certainly don’t care for what he is doing. After all, his analysis undermines the legal and constitutional basis of much of what Obama has been doing in the Middle East.

Is this not an issue about which the media, left and right, can agree: that the Obama administration and Congress should be held accountable when wars are conducted without proper authority? Does a Commander-in-Chief deserve the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and a 21-gun salute for going to war without the advice and consent of Congress?

In a speech paying tribute to Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton of Woodbridge, Virginia, who was killed in combat in Syria, Kaine highlighted “the costs of two and a half years of war against ISIL.” Kaine said, “I continue to believe, and I will say this in a very personal way as a military dad, that the troops we have deployed overseas deserve to know that Congress is behind this mission. As this war has expanded into two-plus years…more and more of our troops are risking and losing their lives far from home, I am concerned and raise again something I’ve raised often on this floor—that there is a tacit agreement to avoid debating this war in the one place it ought to be debated: in the halls of Congress.”

It has been reported that there are approximately 300 American troops on the ground inside Syria. Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in November near Ayn Issa, Syria.

Department of Defense News reported his death in a tiny story which carried the headline, “Department of Defense Identifies Navy Casualty.” He lost his life on Thanksgiving Day, November 24.

Senator Kaine is Right

The war against ISIS is based on the Congressional passage of the authorization for use of military force in September of 2001 to go after al-Qaeda for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. “We see that that authorization has been stretched way beyond what it was intended to do,” Kaine noted.

Demonstrating that he was not willing to get Obama off the hook, Kaine went on to say, “President Obama recently announced that the authorization is now going to be expanded to allow use of military action against al-Shabab, the African terrorist group—a dangerous terrorist group to be sure—but al-Shabab did not begin until 2007. So an original authorization that was very specific by this body to allow action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks is now being used all over the globe against organizations that didn’t even exist when the 9/11 attack occurred.”

The New York Times reported Obama’s move in a matter-of-fact way under the headline, “Obama Expands War With Al Qaeda to Include Shabab in Somalia.” The Times explained, “The administration has decided to deem the Shabab, the Islamist militant group in Somalia, to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials.”

The paper acknowledged this “stretching of the 2001 war authorization against the original Al Qaeda to cover other Islamist groups in countries far from Afghanistan—even ones, like the Shabab, that did not exist at the time—has prompted recurring objections from some legal and foreign policy experts.” The Times added, “Under the 2001 authorization, the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with a specific organization, not every Islamist militant in the world. But that authority has proved elastic.”

So the Constitution is being disregarded in favor of the “stretching” of an old resolution that has proven to be “elastic.” How can weasel words like these be reported in a paper that is supposed to hold the government accountable?

Senator Kaine noted, “When the new Congress is sworn in in early January, I think 80 percent of the members of Congress were not here when the September 14, 2001 authorization was passed. So the 80 percent of us that were not here in 2001 have never had a meaningful debate or vote upon this war against ISIL.”

Kaine pointed out that when Obama spoke about “the need to go on offense against ISIL” in September of 2014, “it took him six months from the start of hostilities to even deliver to Congress a proposed authorization.”

Congress never acted on it and Obama continued the war anyway. Kaine added, “As my President knows, who not only is a Senator but a historian, the founding documents of this country are so unusual still today in making the initiation of war a legislative rather than an executive function.”

He went on to say that “…it seems to me to be almost the height of public immorality to force people to risk and give their lives in support for a mission we’re unwilling to discuss.”

Obama’s lawless and unconstitutional actions had actually begun earlier, when he waged a war on Libya that ultimately produced the Benghazi massacre of four Americans. My June 2, 2011, column had noted, “In the Senate, McCain, who has turned into an advocate for Al-Jazeera, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the war, conducted with the approval of the Arab League and the United Nations but not Congress. Al-Jazeera, committed to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, openly backs the ‘pro-democracy fighters’ in Libya, playing down their links to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

Syria was a virtual replay of the Benghazi debacle, only on a much larger scale.

What was happening in Libya, as Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi had documented, was that the U.S. under Obama had “switched sides” in the war on terror in favor of the terrorists.

The war in Libya was not only immoral but illegal and unconstitutional. But the media failed to acknowledge the facts. Under the War Powers Act, a president can go to war on his own only if there is an imminent threat to the U.S., and there is a 60-day deadline for the withdrawal of forces. Obama violated both provisions of the law. There was no direct or immediate threat to the U.S. from Libya, and Obama ignored the 60-day deadline for approval from Congress.

Yet in 2007 then-Senator Obama had loudly declared that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Trump’s Challenges

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s detractors claim he is entering the presidency in the midst of a constitutional crisis stemming from alleged Russian hacking into the email systems of Democratic Party politicians.

But we are already in a constitutional crisis caused by Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional actions. The failure of the media to hold Obama accountable for the wars which take the lives of members of the Armed Forces is a dramatic indication of how “media malpractice” goes beyond false facts and fake news.

The facts are not in dispute in regard to Obama’s actions that committed the U.S. to wars in the Middle East without the approval of Congress. The issue is clear-cut.

Obama, the alleged historian and legal scholar, doesn’t want to talk about that. Instead, at the military ceremony in his honor, he said, “Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love.” In fact, Defense Secretary Carter has opened up the military, under Obama’s direction, even to the transgendered, with the Pentagon paying for their sex change operations.

This is what it has been all about for Obama—social experimentation and diversity, not fighting or winning wars. But his wars have not been without cost—in lives and refugees and more global terrorism.

Senator Kaine has been willing to go beyond political partisanship to demand that the Constitution be obeyed. Let’s hope that he finds a sympathetic ear in President Trump. It would be a way to move forward on a bipartisan basis to confront foreign dangers and threats.

The media’s dereliction of duty in matters of war and peace would then be exposed for all to see.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

01/11/17

Obama’s Legacy of Endless Wars and Transgender Soldiers

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Left-wing Democrat Norman Solomon says fellow Democrats are “more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency” to Donald J. Trump. Democrats should spend some time learning “how they’ve lost touch with working-class voters,” he says.

He is referring to how Democrats are saying what the media want to hear—that Trump was elected because of Vladimir Putin and the Russians. This was the claim first advanced by President Obama’s CIA in leaks to The Washington Post and The New York Times.

But this is not just a political dispute involving Democrats failing to understand why they lost to Trump. Solomon says “the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous” and “could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each has thousands of nuclear weapons,” and which could trigger a “nuclear holocaust.”

Solomon, a former Democratic congressional candidate, says that Democrats, by “teaming up with the likes of Republican Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) to exert bipartisan pressure for escalation,” could help “stampede the Trump administration in reckless directions” and provoke Russia into a war.

There is no evidence that the Trump administration could be “stampeded” in that way. Trump has said repeatedly that he is not interested in a confrontation with Russia. What seems to be consuming the attention of the incoming Trump administration are the no-win wars with ISIS and al-Qaeda that Obama will leave behind, and the corruption in the Intelligence Community that has been responsible for claims that the U.S. is winning the war against radical Islam.

Trump’s new CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and participated in a congressional joint task force that documented in a report how U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) manipulated intelligence to downplay the threat from ISIS. Three months after Pompeo and his colleagues issued their report, he said that those responsible for downplaying the threat from ISIS had not yet been held accountable.

Pompeo said the manipulation of intelligence resulted from “an administration-wide understanding that bad news from Iraq and Syria was not welcomed.” He added, “Claims that ISIS was the ‘JV team’ and that al-Qaeda was ‘on the run’ were both a result—and a cause—of the politicization of intelligence at CENTCOM. This intelligence manipulation provided space for both ISIS and al-Qaeda to grow and it put America at risk.”

Obama, of course, was responsible for the claims that ISIS was the “JV team” and that al-Qaeda was “on the run.” He lied to the American people about progress in the war on terror.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on December 15 that ISIS was “failing” and that “the campaign to defeat the terror group in Iraq and Syria is on track.” Five days earlier, Carter had announced that 200 additional American special operations troops would be heading to Syria to liberate Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria. That will bring the total number of U.S. troops in Syria to 500.

Obama’s war in Syria has never been authorized by Congress.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs magazine has published an article demonstrating that, after a defeat and a loss of territory, “ISIS members don’t simply give up their cause or switch their allegiance; they merely change their tactics,” reforming into small units conducting insurgency campaigns.

According to the article, these terrorists operate under different flags. The authors cite the case of an ex-Iraqi policeman who fought for al-Qaeda and later emerged under the ISIS banner. It is possible, the authors say, that “insurgent group numbers will only continue to increase, as will their power.” The authors say there is little room for optimism that the Baghdad regime being supported by the U.S. will address the sectarian grievances that fuel the conflict.

ISIS has expanded into Afghanistan, where a counterterrorism official says the terrorist group is “present in at least 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.”

Reflecting the deteriorating situation, Obama’s decision that the U.S. would draw down to 5,500 troops in the country has been changed. Now, approximately 8,400 military personnel will remain at the time that Trump takes office.

Fighting terrorists isn’t the only item on the agenda. American sailors deployed in Afghanistan underwent Transgender Policy Training in Kabul on November 24. According to an official press release, sailors were told about the policy that took effect on October 1, whereby they could “begin the process to officially change their gender in the Navy administrative systems following DoD policy and in accordance to the standards delineated.”

A website reflecting the views of Christian military officers described the training this way: “The US Navy began teaching its Sailors about women thinking they’re men, and vice versa, even as they’re deployed in Afghanistan—a nation, incidentally, in which transgenders would probably be tossed in jail or executed.”

Not to worry. The official Pentagon spokesman says the Afghanistan mission also remains “on track.”


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

12/15/16

The Blood of Aleppo is on Obama’s Hands

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

It’s amazing how CNN’s talking heads can devote so much time to the “scandal” of Donald J. Trump’s sons participating in interviews of cabinet picks, but can’t connect the dots between the bloody tragedy in Aleppo and President Barack Obama’s pro-terrorist policy in the Middle East.

During the day on Wednesday, we saw CNN repeatedly air gruesome film footage of the massacre of civilians in Aleppo by the Russians and their Iranian and Syrian puppets. Not once did any CNN talking head bother to point out that Obama’s policy of intervention, through support of terrorist groups in Syria who are losing the war, may have had a role in the unfolding massacre.

In a scandal that makes the alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails appear minor by comparison, a Democratic member of the U.S. House has taken to the House floor to say that Obama’s CIA has been aiding the Islamic terrorist groups ISIS and al-Qaeda for the purpose of overthrowing the Syrian regime.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced legislation to curb the Obama administration’s pro-terrorist policy, calling it the Stop Arming Terrorists bill (H.R. 6405).

A member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and continues her service as a major in the Army National Guard.

In a December 8 press release, Gabbard said, “Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”

By U.S. government she means the Obama administration.

Specifically, she named the CIA, saying, “The CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. This support has allowed al-Qaeda and their fellow terrorist organizations to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo.”

Gabbard made similar remarks on the House floor.

Since Gabbard is a Democrat, these seem to be extraordinary allegations that cannot be dismissed as partisan sniping from Obama’s political enemies. Can it be that Obama is arming terrorists at a time when the U.S. is supposed to be fighting them? This seems like insanity, even treason.

You may recall that Obama once threatened the Syrian regime not to cross a “red line” in its offensive military operations. The “red line” today is covered with the blood of people in Aleppo because Obama never enforced it. All he did was support terrorist and other groups opposed to the regime. They are losing the war.

Is it actually true that Obama has been arming terrorists through the CIA? It’s interesting to point out that Gabbard quoted news accounts from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

But these papers did not make this into even a minor scandal. The media have now moved on to the CIA’s allegations against Trump and the Russians. It’s a convenient change of subject that is designed to shield Obama’s legacy from the evidence of how he contributed to the conflict, and did nothing to stop a massacre, once his side began to lose.

On Jake Tapper’s CNN show on December 8, the issue got some attention, as Tapper seemed caught off-guard and was unfamiliar with what Obama’s CIA has been doing in the region. This is the exchange with Gabbard that took place:

Tapper: You say [loopholes] have allowed American taxpayer dollars to fund terror groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. Are youare you suggesting that the U.S. government is funding these terrorist groups?

Gabbard: I’m not only suggesting it. This isthis is the reality that we’re living in.

Tapper: Not directly, though.

Gabbard: Most Americansyou know, if you wereI were to go and provide money, weapons, or support or whatever to a group like Al Qaeda or ISIS, you would immediately be thrown in jail. However, the U.S. government has been providing money, weapons, intel assistance and other types of support through the CIA, directly to these groups that are working with and are affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS.  

Tapper: So, you’re saying the CIA is giving money to groups in Syria, and those groups are working with Al-Nusra and ISIS.

Gabbard: There arethere have been numerous reports from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets who have declared that these rebel groups have formed these battlefield alliances with Al Qaeda…essentially [it] is Al Qaeda groups [that] are in charge of every single rebel group on the ground fighting in Syria to overthrow the Syrian government.  

Tapper: And the U.S. government says they vet the groups that they give money to very, very closely. And that you’re wrong, there are not alliances between groups that the American taxpayers fund and these other groups. Obviously, they all are fighting Assad.

Gabbard: I beg to differ. Evidence has shown time and time again that that is not the case, that we are both directly and indirectly supporting these groups who are allied with or partnered with Al Qaeda and ISIS, in working to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. And we’ve also been providing that support through countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to do that.

Obama’s alleged support for terrorism does not get the kind of attention that the media, led by The Washington Post and New York Times, lavish on anonymous charges from unnamed intelligence officials regarding Russia supposedly helping Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Obama’s CIA director John Brennan has said in the past that he will not sanction the waterboarding of terrorists to get information about their plans. “I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” Brennan said. By institution, he means the CIA.

No wonder he won’t use controversial interrogation tactics on terrorists to prevent terrorist attacks. According to Gabbard, his CIA is arming the same terrorists for the specific purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks.

Perhaps the President-elect talked about this subject with Gabbard when she visited him at Trump Tower. Perhaps Trump wants to know what the CIA has been doing.

It appears that Rep. Gabbard is an independent and dissident voice in the Democratic Party who is willing to blow the whistle on a Democratic President whose pro-terrorist policies are resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

Let’s face it: the media don’t care about Obama arming terrorists because he’s Obama and has to be allowed to get away with policies that would result in another president of another political party being impeached.

CNN would rather talk about Donald J. Trump, Jr. sitting in a meeting to discuss cabinet picks.

Never mind that the Obama policy, designed to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, was an embarrassing failure, and that thousands of innocent civilians are paying the price in blood.

Our media will move on so that Obama’s benevolent legacy can be preserved.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

12/13/16

Aleppo: Tell Our Story After We Are Gone

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Update as of 2:24 EST, December 13, 2016, a truce and a cease fire announced.

The Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. More from CNN.

It was October of 2016, that I interviewed Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo that is mentioned weeks later, today, in this article. He told me the same then, don’t cry for us, tell our story. You could hear the reckoning in his voice, his time on earth was short. (Segment 2) Barack Obama and John Kerry own this genocide and hence should be the mantle of their policy legacy.

 

Last Rebels in Aleppo Say Assad Forces Are Burning People Alive

As the Syrian dictator’s coalition captures the last rebel-held neighborhoods, residents are bidding the world farewell and opposition media says mass atrocities have already begun.

DailyBeast: Amid celebratory gunfire and cheers from Assad loyalists, foreign militias under Iranian command and troops loyal to the regime on Monday captured about 90 percent of the opposition-held areas of eastern Aleppo.

The last hope of the besieged rebels, most of whom seem to have withdrawn in the face of certain defeat, had been to receive reinforcements or resupplies from their counterparts in the southern and western suburbs. That option has now been foreclosed upon as these routes are completely interdicted by the regime.

The triumphal takeover of the citadel of the Syrian revolution followed a day of intense bombing of houses and apartment buildings, destroying so many that it was impossible to determine the death toll. The neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Kallasa, al-Farod and al-Salhin in the Old City, as well as Sheikh Saed, in the southern district, are all now under regime control.

The Syrian Civil Defense, or White Helmets, an internationally renowned team of first responders, said more than 90 bodies of people presumed to be still alive are under debris and that its volunteer staff reported they could hear the voices of children trapped in the rubble of their houses.

A member of the group in Aleppo told al-Arabiya TV on Monday night that men, women, and children were huddling and crying in the streets and at the gates of empty buildings in the few neighborhoods that remained in the hands of the opposition. He described the situation as hopeless, because precision munitions and indiscriminate barrel bombs had destroyed the city’s medical facilities, ambulances, and fuel supply.

Unconfirmed reports, circulated by opposition media, suggest that mass atrocities have already begun, such as the summary executions of 17 in al-Kalaseh neighborhood, 22 in Bostan al-Kasrand, and the immolation of four women and nine children on al-Firdous Street. The Daily Beast could not independently confirm these figures.

The official Syrian news agency SANA claimed that eight people were killed and 47 were injured in regime-held Aleppo after opposition fighters bombed the city. Most of the victims were women and children, according to the agency.

Activists and residents of the ever-dwindling opposition pocket, an urban islet of about five square kilometers and home to as many as 100,000 people, spent the day signing off from social media, asking journalists to tell their story, and warning of their impending demise.

The Daily Beast was able to get in touch with Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo, a university teacher in the besieged city. The brief conversation was as follows:

TDB: “I hope you’re safe.”

AA: “I don’t think I will be tomorrow.”

TDB: “Do you expect all the remaining besieged neighborhoods will fall by tomorrow?”

AA: “No. Except over the body of every civilian. I won’t surrender my body, and my wife, and my daughter to the Assad regime without defending them… I hope that you’ll tell everyone what I’m saying.”

On a publicly visible WhatsApp feed belonging to the Aleppo Siege Media Center, al-Hamdo was more fatalistic. “Doomsday is held in Aleppo,” he said. “People are running don’t know where. People are under the rubble alive and no one can save them. Some people are injured in the streets and no one can go to help them [because] the bombs are [falling on] the same place.”

Award-winning blogger and activist Marcell Shehwaro, a native of Aleppo, shared on Facebook a message from one of her most “peaceful” and least-sectarian friends. “No Marcell, don’t worry,” it read. “I will kill myself, I won’t let them arrest me.”

Lina al-Shamy, a 26-year-old woman, posted a video of herself to Twitter. Speaking in fluent English, al-Shamy said: “To everyone who can hear me. We are here exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video. More than 50,000 civilians who rebelled against the dictator, al-Assad, are threatened with field executions or dying under bombing. According to activists, more than 180 people have been field executed in the areas the regime has recently retook control of by Assad’s gangs and the militias that support them. The civilians are stuck in a very small area that doesn’t exceed two square kilometers. With no safe zones, no life, every bomb is a new massacre. Save Aleppo, save humanity.”

Jouad al-Khateb had a similar message—one hesitates to call it valedictory— for the world. In Arabic, he told the camera: “Behind me is the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood. Since last night up to the present moment, it is being bombed with every kind of weapon; vacuum rockets, missiles. The rockets have not stopped since last night. The people coming out of Bustan al-Qasr are telling me it’s become a city of ghosts. More than 20 families remain under the rubble across various districts.” The White Helmets were unable to reach any of the victims, al-Khateb added.

“My message to those watching: Just stop the waterfall of blood for us. We don’t want to leave the besieged areas. Just stop the waterfall of blood. It’s as if this has become very normal for the international community, you know, a rocket falls, 20 or 30 people are killed, under the rubble, they can’t pull them out—that’s a totally normal thing. In any case, there’s no space for graves to bury them in. Let them be buried under the buildings. I think this will be my last video, because we’ve gotten bored of talking, bored of speeches.”

Al-Khateb was interrupted by a loud groaning sound.

“That’s a barrel bomb,” he said, referring to one of the regime’s most notorious improvised munitions, a metal canister filled with high explosives and shrapnel, which are dropped indiscriminately from helicopters.

Another trapped resident, Ameen al-Halabi, boasted on Facebook, “I’m waiting for death or imprisonment by the Assad forces. I would rather die on the soil of my land than be arrested by their faithless militias.” Al-Halabi asked his friends to forgive him if this was the last message he wrote.

On several rebel chat forums on the popular messaging application Telegram, there were calls for the youth of Syria to wage “jihad” against the conquerors of Aleppo, if only to defend the honor of women who had allegedly been raped in the course of the Assadist blitzkrieg.

Whether or not that particular war crime has yet occurred in Aleppo—though human-rights monitors have documented mass rape in Syrian regime prisons since the start of the conflict—the call for holy war against the regime may yet take hold. For this reason, the CIA and Joints Chiefs of Staff earlier advised the Obama administration that the fall of eastern Aleppo, apart from being a humanitarian catastrophe, would also constitute a counterterrorism threat to the United States. The radicalization of survivors is all but a foregone conclusion.

As for those already radicalized, they’ve had a remarkably auspicious week. While the regime was focused on reclaiming Aleppo, ISIS, or the self-proclaimed Islamic State, was able to completely retake another ancient Syrian city, Palmyra, which it had lost, to much international fanfare, last March.

Despite the gravity of the day’s events, and the many breaches of international law that led to the collapse of the rebel-held area, U.S. political leaders were slow to comment. President Obama has watched in silence as Russia and the Assad regime have committed what Secretary of State John Kerry called crimes against humanity, and Donald Trump has not once publicly mentioned the word “Aleppo” on his favorite social-media platform, Twitter, since being elected president of the United States a month ago. Kerry even meekly invited the Kremlin over the weekend to show “a little grace” in how it recaptured eastern Aleppo.

“The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as—it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Quran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.”

So did Obama tell a receptive audience in Cairo, in 2009, in a much-scrutinized maiden speech of his administration. (The second line in this sacred allusion, as it happens, is also the mantra of the now-helpless White Helmets.)

The president who came to office promising to repair the breach between the United States and the Islamic world, putatively caused by the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, is now set to leave office having done little to stop to the slaughter or displacement of millions in Syria or the wholesale destruction of one of Islam’s most venerated cities.