Category Archives: Syria

The Battle of Seattle was Fought by the Pro-war “Left” in Northern Syria

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. — Maximilien Robespierre

The ongoing series of protests, riots and unrest following the death of George Floyd culminated in the establishment of a self-declared “autonomous zone” by activists in Seattle, Washington, after police abandoned a local precinct in the city’s Capitol Hill district. Lasting just three weeks until law enforcement retook the six block territory from occupants on July 1st, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) — initially called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) — was a short-lived experiment which unfortunately exhibited all the contradictions of the so-called Left that have become characteristic in the United States today. Although it is undeniable that American police have a brutality and racism problem (having been trained by Israel), within weeks it was clear that what began as spontaneous protests were hijacked for an establishment agenda. Meanwhile, the ill-fated demise of the Seattle commune should be understood as symptomatic of a larger problem within the U.S. left as a whole.

One of the most influential figures of the French Revolution, Maximilien Robespierre, who died 226 years ago this month, famously said that “the secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” The insurrectionary Paris Commune was established after the storming of the Bastille fortress on July 14, 1789. Unfortunately, this protest movement could not be any less educational and the siege of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct was certainly no Bastille Day. Many have speculated as to why Mayor Jenny Durkan and the SPD seemingly allowed the protesters to occupy the neighborhood, while they enjoyed direct support from local politicians such as Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant of the Trotskyite Socialist Alternative organization who fancies herself the first “socialist” to win an election in the city since Anna Louise Strong in 1916. However, the more meaningful question is what has this movement accomplished besides recoiling the U.S. working class further away from progressive politics?

The biggest misconception across the political spectrum, especially on the Right, is that this leaderless and haphazard movement is somehow “Marxist.” Karl Marx, whose entire worldview was based on a material and scientific understanding of history, focused on the class system and would be spinning in his grave knowing what a mess identity politics has made in his name. In contrast, the ‘wokist’ cult at the center of these marches ignores both science and class with no political vision beyond destruction, vindictiveness, and the stifling of free speech. This is why the U.S. political establishment, which has been completely unable to implement the most elementary measures in providing healthcare and securing employment to Americans during the pandemic, is quite happy to jump on board a narrative that pits divisions of the working class against each other based on race while wealth trickles up to the 1%.

The CHOP/CHAZ occupants reportedly established a reverse hierarchical social structure where whites self-flagellated by performing quasi-religious rituals of atonement for the sins of slavery. There was also a diversity quota of “centering” certain individuals based on their ethnic background, gender and sexual orientation to cede leadership roles at the co-op, with white participants coerced into overcoming their “fragility” (or sensitivity in discussing racism). Concurrent with the protests, corporate consultant and University of Washington professor Robin DiAngelo’s intellectually fraudulent book White Fragility shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and is a perfect example of how such identity politics fails in dealing with social issues. Collective punishment is never a suitable guiding principle in addressing social problems, nor is using a conception akin to the religious idea of original sin where “white privilege” is the root cause of racism. There were even mini-reparations demanded of repenting white protesters reminiscent of the collection plate passed around by worshippers in a church. This sort of bizarre and self-indulgent identity politics is much like what was widely mocked in a viral video of a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) convention collapsing into infighting last year.

What began as protests against police brutality were not only derailed into efforts to set-up communes in major cities but a nationwide debate on statues, after the wave of demonstrations and rioting across the country led to the Taliban-style destruction of historical monuments perceived as glorifying racism. As a result, the toxic political atmosphere which surrounded the events in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 was reignited. While the calls for the removal of Confederate statues erected during the Reconstruction era is long overdue, more debatable is the removal of those honoring slave-owning Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson which were toppled in Portland, Oregon. This was followed by a statue of Union General Ulysses S. Grant being knocked over in San Francisco and calls to remove the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., two men who victoriously led the North in the Civil War. Regrettably, the prioritization of such iconoclastic gestures has not only defanged the protests but diverted them from bringing real change to social inequities in the immediate future.

This is not the first time we have witnessed this phenomena. Last year, a more troublesome example were the calls to remove a historic mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco that were capitulated to by the city school board. The thirteen panel mural, Life of Washington, painted in 1936 by Russian-American artist Victor Arnautoff was commissioned as part of the Federal Art Project, a New Deal program funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which employed visual artists to create public works during the Great Depression. One controversial panel depicts George Washington pointing to a group of armed colonizers standing over the corpse of a Native American, while another fresco portrays two colonizers surveying land as slaves toil in a field. It would seem obvious to anyone that the mural is not only explicitly anti-racist but representative of an important period in U.S. history where art was a force for social change and progressive politics was at the center of American life. Arnautoff was a Russian immigrant who was an assistant to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, while the WPA and its art program were dominated by communists such as the two men. Still, no matter the context or intent — the unflinching depiction of American history was deemed “offensive to certain communities” because students were “triggered” by the harsh realities illustrated.

This might seem unrelated, but the same illogic is behind the vigilantism of the statue removals. While the Arnautoff mural is clearly anti-racist and certain monuments may glorify slavery, the distinction is indecipherable to the social justice sect which needs its “safe space” from the uncomfortable truths of American history. The differentiation between a left-wing WPA mural opposing racism and colonial statue commending it is illegible to them. The entire purpose behind the Arnautoff mural is to make one uncomfortable because its subject matter is something no one should ever be at ease with. Yet its undeniable educational and artistic value did not prevent the San Francisco school board from voting to paint over it, while articles were published in the New York Times and even The Nation magazine applauding their decision. What on earth is happening to the left when it is censoring anti-racist art in the name of fighting racism?

The whole point of education at a high school is to teach students to analyze and interpret subjects like art and history, not just emotionally react to them. When the very fabric of culture and society like a historic mural or statue can be torn down simply because people are upset by them, the next plausible step is book burning. San Francisco High School completely failed to educate its students when they decided upon the most backwards way of interpreting the mural, just as the protesters tearing down these statues did not use their faculties to understand them in a historical context. Genocide and slavery are indeed the foundations of the U.S., but we should learn from our tragic history to grasp the equivalent injustices happening today. Simply eradicating murals and statues that remind us of it, whether they oppose or elevate them, is totally ineffectual.

While some activists have expressed concern that the protests have deviated from their original purpose, the right has fixated on the presence among the marches of “Antifa” which Trump wants to designate as a “terrorist organization”, a reckless idea given the completely decentralized nature of the group. The original Antifa movement in the 1930s had been part of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in its effort to form a popular front against fascism, but the dilettantes in the modern incarnation are closely associated with black bloc anarchism and other amateurish orientations. Two decades ago, Seattle was the site of the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO), often referred to as the ‘Battle of Seattle’, which saw 40,000 march against globalization. Some may recall this was where the black bloc first became notorious for injecting vandalism and senseless violence into peaceful demonstrations and were widely thought to have been infiltrated by law enforcement. In 2016, the current embodiment of Antifa first came to attention during protests on college campuses against speaking appearances by far right media personalities during the U.S. presidential election, including at the University of California at Berkeley which had ironically been the site of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s.

Following Trump’s election, the stage was set in Charlottesville during the Unite the Right rally and counter-protests over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in August 2017 for “Antifa” to be crowned as heroes shadowboxing the historical ghost of fascism. When the likes of the New York Times is suddenly promoting the black bloc, that’s your first clue something else is afoot. In order to prevent the emergence of a truly progressive movement in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, a false narrative was concocted by the political establishment about the significance of Trump’s victory, which we were told was the result of alleged Russian meddling and the racism of “deplorable” Trump voters. Instantly, any critique of the system which produced Trump disappeared and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party was able to neutralize the Bernie Sanders-led opposition in its ranks.

As a result, the vast majority of the left became convinced by the interpretation that Trump’s election was purely the outcome of a resurgence of “fascism”, thus making Trump the singular, most immediate danger — while U.S. imperialism and endless war continue unopposed, including the support for actual fascists in Ukraine. It should be understood that what Trump and the wave of pro-Zionist, Islamophobic right-wing populists in the EU represent is something qualitatively different. Still, anyone on the left who dares oppose U.S. imperialism today is risking being branded a ‘red-brown’ collaborator. The Democratic Party, which spearheaded the Orwellian idea of “humanitarian interventionism” used to justify the wholesale destruction of uncooperative nations by the American war machine in recent decades, has since tricked the majority of the left into unwittingly backing U.S. imperialism to unseat “dictators.” Even when the Left today ostensibly opposes war, it is often forced to qualify its objections by repeating the same talking points about countries attacked by Washington used to justify it.

The U.S. foray in the Syrian war is a perfect example. Trump’s idea to designate Antifa as a terrorist group would be especially ironic considering that many American leftists who self-identify using the “Antifa” black and red standard have thrown their support behind the creation of another infamous “autonomous zone” in Northeast Syria established by mostly-Kurdish militias known as Rojava — with the help of none other than the U.S. military. There is even a self-proclaimed International Freedom Battalion of American and European volunteers fighting to defend the enclave that purports to be in the tradition of the International Brigades which defended the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. These “Antifa” conscripts fight alongside the YPG (People’s Protection Units), a Kurdish-majority militia which has been rebranded by the Pentagon as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). These leftists are apparently in serious need of a history lesson, considering it was the Soviet Union alone which intervened to defend the Spanish Republic from fascism, not the United States. From Washington’s perspective, CHOP/CHAZ should be considered blowback from this policy.

The U.S. creation of the SDF has not been without controversy, as the YPG is widely regarded as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey which Washington’s NATO ally regards as a terrorist organization. While the Kurds and their Western volunteers may believe they are creating an anarchist utopia, in reality they are infantryman for the Zionist plan to balkanize Syria and prevent Damascus from accessing it own resources. So it makes perfect sense that they would try to replicate what they learned in Afrin in an American city using Rojava as a model. When Trump tried to follow through on his anti-interventionist pledges as a candidate and pull U.S. troops out of Syria, it sparked outrage from the pro-war “left” which glorifies Rojava as a ‘libertarian socialist’ and ‘direct democracy’ experiment, even though non-Kurds such as Arabs and Assyrian Christians face ethnic cleansing at hands of Kurdish nationalists in their efforts to create an ethno-state.

The ideological inspiration for the Rojava federation is the Jewish-American Zionist anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin who was especially influential to PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan. Unbeknownst to many, Bookchin was also a noted Zionist — but this is not as unlikely a paradox as it may seem. After all, Israel itself was initially established with the settlement of communes and the Zionist form of “autonomous zones” known as kibbutz (“gathering” in Hebrew). Even prior to WWII, European Zionists and early kibbutniks came to Mandatory Palestine as illegal immigrants and began living in their communes while fusing Jewish nationalism and their own conception of socialism, an amalgamation not unlike what the Kurds are practicing in Syria today. One other highly influential thinker in the anarchist community who purports to be a ‘libertarian socialist’, Noam Chomsky, was himself part of the Zionist kibbutz movement in his youth. This explains why Chomsky would call for a continuation of the U.S. occupation of northern Syria on the basis of “protecting the Kurds“, who are trying to repeat the formula used to found Israel to create a Syrian Kurdistan as another U.S. protectorate in the Middle East.

It is no coincidence that in the manifesto listing the demands of the sit-in in Seattle, nowhere to be found is the defunding of the Pentagon — the primary supplier through the 1033 Program of the militarized police violence being protested. The same cognitively dissonant left calling to “defund the police”, which will almost certainly be used as a pretext to privatize them, completely ignores endless U.S. wars abroad and opposed efforts by the Trump administration to scale back expansionism in Syria. The focus on the tearing down of statues from America’s colonial ‘past’ has also coincided with Israel’s preparations in colonizing what remains of Palestinian territory with the annexation of the West Bank — where are the mass protests to stop that? If Black Lives Matter dared focus on AIPAC, it would be shut down very quickly. In 2016, when BLM endorsed the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to boycott Israel, their previously enjoyed benefits suddenly were in jeopardy and was revealed to be the direct result of sabotage by the Zionist lobby.

In the last several decades, there has been a retreat of class conscious forces in U.S. political life, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. The degenerate form of the left that exists today is an unfortunate result of the academization of social issues and the influence of the Frankfurt School critical theorists whose bourgeoisification of Marxism reduced it to a lens by which to critique culture and the arts while removing its class politics. The politically correct obsession with the policing of language by the postmodern cult of identity politics is excluding the working class from the conversation and counteracting its revolutionary potential. The CIA fronts in the Open Society, Ford, and Kellogg Foundations of the non-profit industrial complex have successfully corralled the protests while no substantial change has been made to the real ills in U.S. society where the 1% has made trillions during the pandemic and subsequent economic depression. While the masses are busy tipping over statues and monuments in a crusade to purify history, the ruling class is laughing all the way to the bank.

US Builds New Air Base in Syria

A militant from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard at the entrance of the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz, on March 13, 2020. (Photo by AFP)


The United States has built a new military base, including an airport for military aircraft, for its occupying forces in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources told Syria’s state news agency SANA on Wednesday that the new base and its airport had been established in Jazira Region, located between Um Kahif Village and Tal Alu silos.

The sources said the American forces, along with the US-sponsored so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), brought in equipment and logistic materials and set up buildings there. Furthermore, they constructed an asphalt road leading to the silos.

According to the report, the SDF, which is mainly composed of Kurdish militants, is tightly guarding the area surrounding the silos.

US military convoy enters Hasakah in northeast Syria from Iraq: SANA

Since late October 2019, the US has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of American President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group. But Trump himself has said Washington pursues economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

A military coalition, led by the US, has been conducting purported airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations (UN) mandate.

US Builds New Air Base in Syria

A militant from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard at the entrance of the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz, on March 13, 2020. (Photo by AFP)


The United States has built a new military base, including an airport for military aircraft, for its occupying forces in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources told Syria’s state news agency SANA on Wednesday that the new base and its airport had been established in Jazira Region, located between Um Kahif Village and Tal Alu silos.

The sources said the American forces, along with the US-sponsored so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), brought in equipment and logistic materials and set up buildings there. Furthermore, they constructed an asphalt road leading to the silos.

According to the report, the SDF, which is mainly composed of Kurdish militants, is tightly guarding the area surrounding the silos.

US military convoy enters Hasakah in northeast Syria from Iraq: SANA

Since late October 2019, the US has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of American President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group. But Trump himself has said Washington pursues economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

A military coalition, led by the US, has been conducting purported airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations (UN) mandate.

Caesar Tries to Suffocate 17 Million Syrians

Since 2011, the US and allies have promoted, trained and supplied militants trying to bring about “regime change” in Damascus. Having failed in that effort, they have tried to strangle Syria economically. The goal has always been the same: to force Syria to change politically. This month, June 2020, the aggression reaches a new level with extreme sanctions known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act.

The new law is fraudulent on two counts. It is called “Caesar” in reference to a 2014 propaganda stunt involving an anonymous Syrian who was alleged to be a military photographer. He claimed to have 55,000 photos showing about eleven thousand victims of Syrian government torture. As the Christian Science Monitor said at the time, the “Caesar” report was “A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar.”  A 30 page analysis later confirmed that the “Caesar” report was a fraud with nearly half the photos showing the OPPOSITE of what was claimed: they documented dead Syrian soldiers and civilian victims of  “rebel” car bombs and attacks.

The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act is also fraudulent by claiming to “protect civilians”. In reality, it is punishes and hurts the vast majority of  17 million  persons living in Syria. It will result in thousands of civilians suffering and dying needlessly.

Pre-Existing Sanctions

The US has been hostile to Syria for many decades. Unlike Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Syria under Hafez al Assad refused to make a peace treaty with Israel. Syria was designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” and first sanctioned by the U.S. in 1979.

After the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, Syria accepted about one million Iraqi refugees and supported the Iraqi resistance in various ways. In retaliation, the US escalated punishing sanctions in 2004.

In 2010, US Secretary of  State Hillary Clinton pressured Syria to change their foreign policy and be more friendly to Israel. Syrian President Bashar al Assad pointedly declined. Twelve months later, when protests and violence began in Syria in 2011, the US,  Europe and Gulf monarchies (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) quickly supported the opposition and imposed more sanctions.

In 2016, after five years of crisis and war, a report on the humanitarian impact of sanctions on Syria was prepared for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. It noted that “U.S. and E.U. sanctions on Syria are some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed.” The 30 page report went on document with case studies how humanitarian aid which is supposed to be permitted is effectively stopped. The sanction regulations, licenses, and penalties  make it so difficult and risky that humanitarian aid is effectively prevented. The report concluded with thirteen specific recommendations to allow humanitarian and development aid.

But there was not relaxation or changes in the maze of rules and sanctions to allow humanitarian relief.  On the contrary,  as the Syrian government was expelling terrorists from east Aleppo, southern  Damascus, and Deir Ezzor,  the US and EU  blocked all aid for reconstruction.  The US and allies were intent to NOT allow Syria to rebuild and reconstruct.

In 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Idriss Jazairy, prepared a report on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights in Syria. He noted, “Unilateral  coercive measures on agricultural inputs and outputs, medicines, on many dual use items related to water and sanitation, public electricity and transportation, and eventually on rebuilding schools, hospitals and other public buildings and services, are increasingly difficult to justify, if they ever were justifiable.” 

Before 2011, 90% of pharmaceutical needs were filled by Syrian factories. Those factories which remain have trouble getting raw materials and cannot get replacement parts for equipment. For example an expensive dialysis machine or MRI machine from Siemens or General Electric is rendered useless because Syria cannot import the spare part or software. On paper, they can purchase this but in reality they cannot.

Over 500,000 civilians returned to Aleppo after the terrorists were expelled at end of 2016. But reconstruction aid is prohibited by US sanctions and UN rules. They can receive “shelter kits” with plastic but rebuilding with glass and cement walls is not allowed because “reconstruction” is prohibited. This article describes numerous case examples from war torn Aleppo.

The author had a personal experience with the impact of sanctions. A Syrian friend could not get hearing aid batteries for a youth who was hard of hearing. Sanctions prevented him from being able to order the item because financial transactions and delivery is prohibited without a special license. A stockpile of the specialized batteries was easy to purchase in the USA but took almost a year to get to the destination in Syria.

US Economic Bullying and Terrorism

The Caesar Act extends the sanctions from applying to US nationals and companies to any individuals and corporations. It claims the supra-national prerogative to apply US laws to anyone. “Sanctions with respect to foreign persons” include blocking and seizing the property and assets of a person or company deemed to have violated the US law. This is compounded by a fiscal penalty which can be huge. In 2014, one of the largest international banks, BNP Paribas, was fined $9 Billion for violating US sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan.

The Caesar Act claims the Syria Central Bank is a “primary money laundering” institution and thus in a special category. It aims to make it impossible for Syrian companies to export and import from Lebanon. It will make it extremely difficult or impossible for Syrians abroad to transfer money to support family members in Syria.

In addition to these extraordinary attacks, the US is undermining and destabilizing the Syrian currency.  In October 2019, the Syrian currency was trading at about 650 Syrian pounds to one US dollar. Now, just 8 months later, the rate is 2600 to the US dollar. Part of the reason is because of the threat of Caesar sanctions.

Another reason is because of US pressure on the main trading partner, Lebanon. Traditionally, Lebanon is the main partner for both imports and exports. In spring 2019 US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, threatened Lebanon if they did not change their policies. It was blatant interference in Lebanese internal affairs. In Fall 2019 street protests began, and the Lebanese and Syrian banking crisis also began.

With the devaluation of their currency, prices of many items has risen dramatically. Agricultural, medical, industrial and other raw materials and finished goods are almost impossible to acquire.

The shortage of  food is compounded because wheat fields in North East Syria, the bread basket of Syria, have been intentionally set on fire.  In the past week, sectarian groups in Lebanon have blocked World Food Program trucks carrying food aid to Syria. Meanwhile, in eastern Syria,  the US and its proxy militia control and profit from the oil fields while the Syrian government and civilians struggle with a severe shortage oil and gas.

James Jeffrey and US Policy

In a June 7 webinar, the Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador James Jeffrey, brazenly stated the US policy.  The US seeks to prevent Syria from rebuilding. He said, “We threw everything but the kitchen sink …. into the Caesar Act.”

The exception to punishing sanctions are 1) Idlib province in the North West, controlled by Al Qaeda extremists and Turkish invading forces and 2) north east Syria controlled by US troops and the proxy separatists known as the “Syrian Democratic Forces”. The US has designated $50 million to support “humanitarian aid” to these areas. Other US allies will pump in hundreds of millions more in aid and “investments”.  US dollars and Turkish lira are being pumped into these areas in another tactic to undermine the Syrian currency and sovereignty.

In contrast, the vast majority of Syrians — about 17 million – are being- suffocated and hurt by the extreme sanctions.

The US has multiple goals. One goal is to prevent Syria from recovering. Another goal is to prolong the conflict and damage those countries who have assisted Syria.  With consummate cynicism and amorality, the US Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey described his task: “My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.” Evidently  there has been no significant change in foreign policy assumptions and goals since the US and Saudi Arabia began interfering in Afghanistan in 1979.

In his 2018  “End of Mission” statement the United Nations Special Rapporteur was diplomatic but clear about the use of unilateral coercive sanctions against Syria:  “the use of such measures may be contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the UN Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States.”

Caesar and the Democrats

The economic and other attacks on Syria have been promoted by right wing hawks, especially fervent supporters of Israel. Eliot Engel, chairman of the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, pushed to get the Caesar Act into law for years. This was finally done by embedding it in the humongous 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

In a hopeful sign that times may be changing,  a progressive candidate named Jamaal Bowman may unseat Engel as the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election. Eliot Engel is supported by Hillary Clinton and other foreign policy hawks.  Jamaal Bowman is supported by Bernie Sanders.

While this may offer hope for the future, the vast majority of Syrians continue as victims of US foreign policy delusions, hypocrisy, cynicism and cruelty.

Do Not Belittle Protesters in the U.S. by calling their Struggle a “Color Revolution”

For almost a decade, I have been covering “Color Revolutions” in virtually all parts of the world. While making a film for TeleSur, I was facing Egyptian tanks, risking my life under sniper fire, getting roughed-up in the middle of clashes of the supporters of al-Sisi and Morsi.

Together with Syrian commanders, I was also facing the terrorists in Idlib; challenged the Ukrainian fascists; encountering Bolivian indigenous elders high in the Altiplano after the revolution of Evo Morales and MAS was crashed by the U.S.-sponsored coup in 2019. I regularly worked in Venezuela, Lebanon, and Iraq. And, of course, again and again, I have been returning to Hong Kong, reporting on systematic Western attempts to radicalize SAR’s youth and to harm China.

I mention all this just in order to establish that I am very well aware of how those “Color Revolutions” are triggered and implemented.

“Color Revolutions!” Unlike many “analysts” who are now tossing this term left and right, often without ever experiencing the events first hand, I spoke with the people on the ground, examining dynamics, asking endless questions. On many occasions, I was risking my life to get a philosophical context and the story right.

Frankly, I am sick of conspiracy theories, ignorance, clichés, and arrogance of those “analysts” who, from the comfort of their couch, somewhere in Europe or North America, are passing judgments and conclusions, with that proud look of superiority.

Since the police murdered Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis, since the United States literally exploded, since the African Americans, Native Americans and other appallingly oppressed people went to the streets in hundreds of the cities demanding justice; a substantial group of mainly white ‘we-know-everything’ ‘analysts’ began belittling protesters, calling them ‘violent,’ calling them ‘riots,’ calling them ‘creations of Soros and the Zionists’! And at the end, with dark sarcasm, declaring that the United States itself is now suffering from what it has been spreading all over the world for years – from the so-called “Color Revolution.”

Many of those ‘analysts’ became so aggressive and vocal that they literally managed to monopolize the ‘alternative narrative.’ Suddenly, there was hardly any space left for those of us who were continuously writing, using traditional internationalist, left-wing perspective.

*****

First of all, even the term itself – “Color Revolutions” – became a bad cliché.

The Western empire has been destroying the world for some 500+ years, in the most brutal ways imaginable. Hundreds of millions of lives were lost. Entire continents were plundered. People have been enslaved.

At the end of the colonial era, in various parts of our planet, at least some semi-independence was achieved. But countless governments in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America were still taking diktat directly from Washington, London, Paris, and other Western capitals.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the situation looked desperate. But with the rise of China and Russia, as well as Iran, great hope returned, and many countries embarked on the second stage of de-colonialization.

The process was confused and confusing. Each country was different. There were attempts to trigger real revolutions (Egypt), but there were also some clearly anti-revolutionary and right-wing movements (Syria, Ukraine) born.

In many countries where genuine grievances of the people brought masses to the streets, masses which were demanding mainly social and political reforms, the West quickly infiltrated several movements and literally kidnaped the revolutions. This is what happened in Egypt, but also, a few years later, in Lebanon and Iraq.

But to claim that Egypt had not attempted a revolution would be insulting, patronizing, and incorrect! Egypt was suffering from the terrible pro-Western regime and from the military. Egyptian people rose. I was working with a group of Marxist doctors during the process; I saw it all, from the ground, so to speak. But the revolution was infiltrated and finally destroyed.

Cairo battles

In Lebanon, too. For five years, I was based there; in Beirut and Asia. People were fed up with the so-called ‘confessional democracy,’ of the religions tearing-apart the nation, of savage capitalism, collapsed infrastructure, and non-existent social services. Hezbollah, hated by the West and Israel, has been the only solid provider of social services to all deprived Lebanese people, for years and decades. And so, in Lebanon, too, people rose. Late, in 2019, but rose. Sure, a few weeks after, I began spotting clenched fists of “Odpor” and “Canvas” on the Martyr’s Square (those used in Serbia, when President Milosevich was forced out of power, with full sponsorship of the West). Sure, the West began supporting rebels, because it wanted to get rid of Hezbollah, which has been part of the ruling coalition. But people of Lebanon do have thousands of legitimate grievances; reasons to rebel. However, the West has been skillfully infiltrating and, to some extent, manipulating the uprising, which is still going on until this day. And we have no idea where it is all going to lead.

Lebanon

Do you see how complex the situation is? It does not fit any of the simplifications, and clichés! And, of course, it is even more complicated than how I describe it here. It takes entire books to explain.

Syria

Syria: another totally different story, and absolutely distinctive species of “Color Revolutions,” if it is how you want to call it. Some grievances, yes. But also, a solid pan-Arab socialist state, which the West, Saudis, Qataris, Israelis, and other allies of Washington wanted desperately to destroy; government they were aiming to overthrow. After a relatively mild rebellion in Aleppo and Holms, supported by Gulf states coalition, and the West, Saudis and Turks began injecting monstrous, murderous combat forces into Syria from ISIS to Uyghurs, and everything in between.

All these cases of interference from the West are totally distinctive, although some patterns can be detected. And we are still in the same cultural and geographical area.

Maidan from above

Now look further away: Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Hong Kong (China).

In all these places, there are direct interventions, clear counter-revolution! It is financed, supported, and coordinated from Washington, London, Berlin, Paris, and other Western capitals.

Victims of the coup: indigenous elders

In Bolivia, white, racist, fundamentalist Christian elites overthrew, with the full support of the White House, the legitimate multi-cultural, democratic, and enormously successful government of President Evo Morales. It was done after agitation by a small sector of Bolivians, clearly financed from abroad and by the local elites. One month after the coup, I was working all over the Altiplano, taking down testimonies of indigenous people who were humiliated, tortured, abused, even killed by a new illegitimate regime.

That’s quite different ‘scenario,’ isn’t it; different from that in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt? Is it really legitimate to hide it all under one single “Color Revolutions” label?

Look at Cuba: decades and decades of terror against this marvelous island! Passenger airplanes being blown out of the sky. Countless assassination plots against its leaders. Chemical warfare, biological warfare, the bombing of cafes, restaurants, and hotels. All proven and documented. And constant attempts to recruit, radicalize Cuban citizens – to force them against their own government.

Venezuela, a nation that offered tremendous hope to the entire divided continent. Venezuela compassionate, brave, built on solidarity. Look what has been done to her. One coup attempt after another. Embargos. Recruitment of treasonous cadres. Attacks from neighboring Colombia. Another “Color Revolution?” Or merely a campaign of terror?

Hong Kong love for the US

Hong Kong:  a city, former British colony, which has been ‘sacrificed’ by the West, while literally converted into a battleground against the most optimistic country on Earth – China. There, the symbol used to be umbrellas, not colors. Now, there seems to be no symbol, whatsoever, just spite and violence and hate.

It is easy to understand that somehow the label of “Color Revolutions” is trivializing everything.

I am surprised that some conspiracy theorists did not come up with a scheme yet that would say that the very term – “Color Revolutions” – has been invented to belittle what has been done to the world by the imperialist West. To throw everything to one bag and to confuse everything.

*****

Back to the United States.

“Color Revolution” there, too? For heaven’s sake, really?

After the murder of Mr. Floyd, protests are being discredited, again and again, by the people who, one would believe, should be standing by the side of the oppressed. Instead, they call rebellion ‘riots,’ they claim that they are backed by Soros, Gates, others!

The terrible truth emerged: in the United States, there is almost no left anymore. No real left. No internationalist left.

Instead, there are tons of conspiracy theory sites.

Significantly, on the streets of Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, black people are not just demanding justice for themselves; they have been shouting internationalist slogans, demanding justice for the world. It is something new, something marvelous, something you hardly hear in Paris or Berlin.

But this fact goes unnoticed, hardly reported.

The explosion of rage, brave uprising all over the United States, has been targeting those basic foundations of over 200 years long monstrous history on which the country is based. First, the colonialist invasion by the genocidal Europeans, then extermination of the great majority of native people, and simultaneously the most repulsive slavery which was endorsed and used by the founding fathers.

The state of the oppressed people in the U.S.A. today is clearly and directly related, connected to that past. But not only that: the entire state of the world could only be comprehended if viewed in the context of what has been done to the native people and brutalized black slaves in the United States, itself.

Colonialism, extermination campaigns in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are inter-connected with the plight of non-white people in the United States.

Now, black people in the United States are fighting for themselves and their children, but also for their brothers and sisters in all corners of the world, which is still colonized and plundered by Washington and London.

Do all of the protesters know this? Some do, some don’t, and many feel it, intuitively.

Now, to the point which is made by those who are trying to discredit this uprising: is all this also a power-struggle inside the U.S. establishment? Are Democrats, for instance, trying to manipulate the situation, using it to their advantage?

I have no doubt that there are such attempts. Almost everyone in the United States is always using things, looking for advantages. This is what people are taught to do, living in a savage capitalist system.

But these are two distinct issues!

Even if Gates, Soros, deep state, Democrats, mass media outlets, and who knows who else, wants to kidnap the narrative and derail the uprising, it changes nothing on the fact that the peoples whose lives were, for generations, ruined, are now pissed off no end, and that their rebellion may shake the foundations of the entire country, and the terrible world order!

Even now, as this is being written, the uprising in the U.S. already inspired new movement @PapuanLivesMatter, which is referring to an ongoing genocide in West Papua, performed by the Indonesian state on behalf of Western governments and mining companies.

And this is just a beginning.

Grievances are legitimate. Struggle for justice is legitimate. The essential thing now is to separate the fight against racism, colonialism, and imperialism, from the political interests of the establishment, or part of it.

This separation can only happen on the barricades. And since the education has been kidnapped by the regime, there has to be an accelerated injection of the revolutionary education administered to both protesters and the general public. Education about both the past and the present.

But we should not give up on the protesters!

And calling their uprising “Color Revolution” is disrespectful and, yes, racist!

Their rage is legitimate. And, of course, the rage of the people all over the world is legitimate, too, without any doubt.

Conclusion

Point one: Blanket term “Color Revolutions” is wrong. Those who are promoting it are actually confusing the situation. During the last years and decades, the West has been using many different tactics on how to overthrow governments, subvert legitimate movements and revolutions, and deter revolutionary and anti-colonialist struggle. Each has to be examined and exposed separately, individually. Otherwise, it would create indigestible, on purpose confusing mass, and further damage independence struggle. Otherwise, nihilism would be spread, and revolutionary zeal deterred.

Point two: in the United States – the ongoing struggle against racism, segregation, and imperialism is a legitimate struggle, which is having a tremendous and positive influence on the entire world. If there are political interests that are trying to undermine and derail it, they should be exposed by the people in the United States. But it does not mean at all that the protesters should be discouraged, let alone ridiculed. Those who are fighting for justice, and for the entire world, should be embraced and full-heartedly supported!

• All photos by Andre Vltchek

Foreign Troops: What is too Close for Comfort?

Tensions in the skies. RT presented a news story of the United States intercepting a fleet of Russian bombers off the Alaskan coast. Four Russian Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by Su-35 and MiG-31 fighters jets, flew from Siberia toward Alaska where they were shadowed by US F-22 fighters. The US and NORAD admitted that the Russian planes stayed in international airspace and did not enter American sovereign airspace.

Siberia and Alaska are close. At its narrowest point the Bering Strait separates Russia and the US by only 88.5 km (55 mi), so it wouldn’t take long upon leaving one coastline to approach the other country’s coastline.

As for the tensions, they were attributed to the Russian bombers and fighter jets being “too close for comfort.”

Siberia and Alaska are very close, but the South China Sea is quite distant from the continental US and US Pacific territories. Nonetheless, the US sends its warships into the South China Sea — this to the consternation of China.

If China were to send its warships through the Straits of Florida would the US reaction be muted?

The provocations have their impetus in former president Barack Obama’s Pivot to Asia, which has been an abysmal failure, as it has failed to prevent the rise of China.

Another failed US foreign policy objective was to prevent the Democratic Republic of Korea from becoming a nuclear state. US belligerence toward the government in the north of the Korean peninsula has not been effective in causing the North Koreans to cower. While US president Donald Trump has taken steps to engage North Korea, it has been mixed with hyperbolic threats and bombast.

The US, with South Korea, practices decapitation exercises targeting the leadership of the nearby DPRK — a country that is also distant from the continental US.

The examples of the US being too close for the comfort of other nations are myriad.

Russia is one country indignant at America provocations near its borders. Back during the Ronald Reagan administration, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received a promise that NATO would not advance “one inch to the East.” The US reneged on its promise and has expanded ever closer to Russia, placing missiles and basing soldiers nearby.

Presently, in Syria the US is not just nearby; it is physically ensconced on the sovereign territory of Syria. There the uninvited and unwelcome US troops are helping to plunder Syrian oil.

US troops are also unwelcome in Iraq, which told the US troops to leave the country. Trump responded by threatening to impose sanctions against Iraq. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and resistance to the US troop presence has caused the evacuation of some US bases in Iraq.

Following 9-11, the US invaded Afghanistan when it failed to turn over the accused mastermind Osama bin Laden. The Taliban said they would consider surrendering bin Laden to the US if the US provided evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. However, the US refused to provide evidence, and subsequently the US finds itself militarily mired in Afghanistan approaching 20 years onward, and at a cost approaching $1 trillion dollars.

From Asia to Africa. The US meddling in the backyards of other countries is spread far and wide. No matter that Africa is another continent across the Atlantic from the US. US forces are involved in the fighting in Somalia, Kenya, Niger, and other African countries.

From Africa to South America. Trump has deployed US warships to the waters near Venezuela. Then, in early May of this year, there was a bizarre attempt to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela and capture president Nicolás Maduro. The coup attempt ended in utter ignominy for the would-be coupists, which included two former US special forces soldiers. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, a self-confessed and proud liar, stated, “There was no US government direct involvement in this operation.” [italics added] Makes one wonder exactly what the indirect US government involvement was.

Later in May, Trump warned Iran and Venezuela to not engage in trade with each other. Nonetheless, both countries, already under US sanctions, ignored the threats and Iran dispatched five tankers loaded with gasoline to help Venezuela. Despite the thousands of kilometers that Iran is from the US, it still has to contend with the presence of US warships in the Persian Gulf.

In Closing

Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

Given the fact that the US reacts aggressively to the presence of foreign militaries that it considers too close for comfort, how ought one view the juxtaposition of the US military to countries that do not appreciate the presence of the US military?

Foreign Troops: What is too Close for Comfort?

Tensions in the skies. RT presented a news story of the United States intercepting a fleet of Russian bombers off the Alaskan coast. Four Russian Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by Su-35 and MiG-31 fighters jets, flew from Siberia toward Alaska where they were shadowed by US F-22 fighters. The US and NORAD admitted that the Russian planes stayed in international airspace and did not enter American sovereign airspace.

Siberia and Alaska are close. At its narrowest point the Bering Strait separates Russia and the US by only 88.5 km (55 mi), so it wouldn’t take long upon leaving one coastline to approach the other country’s coastline.

As for the tensions, they were attributed to the Russian bombers and fighter jets being “too close for comfort.”

Siberia and Alaska are very close, but the South China Sea is quite distant from the continental US and US Pacific territories. Nonetheless, the US sends its warships into the South China Sea — this to the consternation of China.

If China were to send its warships through the Straits of Florida would the US reaction be muted?

The provocations have their impetus in former president Barack Obama’s Pivot to Asia, which has been an abysmal failure, as it has failed to prevent the rise of China.

Another failed US foreign policy objective was to prevent the Democratic Republic of Korea from becoming a nuclear state. US belligerence toward the government in the north of the Korean peninsula has not been effective in causing the North Koreans to cower. While US president Donald Trump has taken steps to engage North Korea, it has been mixed with hyperbolic threats and bombast.

The US, with South Korea, practices decapitation exercises targeting the leadership of the nearby DPRK — a country that is also distant from the continental US.

The examples of the US being too close for the comfort of other nations are myriad.

Russia is one country indignant at America provocations near its borders. Back during the Ronald Reagan administration, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received a promise that NATO would not advance “one inch to the East.” The US reneged on its promise and has expanded ever closer to Russia, placing missiles and basing soldiers nearby.

Presently, in Syria the US is not just nearby; it is physically ensconced on the sovereign territory of Syria. There the uninvited and unwelcome US troops are helping to plunder Syrian oil.

US troops are also unwelcome in Iraq, which told the US troops to leave the country. Trump responded by threatening to impose sanctions against Iraq. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and resistance to the US troop presence has caused the evacuation of some US bases in Iraq.

Following 9-11, the US invaded Afghanistan when it failed to turn over the accused mastermind Osama bin Laden. The Taliban said they would consider surrendering bin Laden to the US if the US provided evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. However, the US refused to provide evidence, and subsequently the US finds itself militarily mired in Afghanistan approaching 20 years onward, and at a cost approaching $1 trillion dollars.

From Asia to Africa. The US meddling in the backyards of other countries is spread far and wide. No matter that Africa is another continent across the Atlantic from the US. US forces are involved in the fighting in Somalia, Kenya, Niger, and other African countries.

From Africa to South America. Trump has deployed US warships to the waters near Venezuela. Then, in early May of this year, there was a bizarre attempt to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela and capture president Nicolás Maduro. The coup attempt ended in utter ignominy for the would-be coupists, which included two former US special forces soldiers. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, a self-confessed and proud liar, stated, “There was no US government direct involvement in this operation.” [italics added] Makes one wonder exactly what the indirect US government involvement was.

Later in May, Trump warned Iran and Venezuela to not engage in trade with each other. Nonetheless, both countries, already under US sanctions, ignored the threats and Iran dispatched five tankers loaded with gasoline to help Venezuela. Despite the thousands of kilometers that Iran is from the US, it still has to contend with the presence of US warships in the Persian Gulf.

In Closing

Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

Given the fact that the US reacts aggressively to the presence of foreign militaries that it considers too close for comfort, how ought one view the juxtaposition of the US military to countries that do not appreciate the presence of the US military?

Beware the hijacking of U.S. Protests into a “Color Revolution”

The May 25th killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota shocked the world and set off mass protests against racism and police brutality in dozens of cities from the mid-western United States to the European Union, all in the midst of a global pandemic. In the Twin Cities, what began as spontaneous, peaceful demonstrations against the local police quickly transformed into vandalism, arson and looting after the use of rubber bullets and chemical irritants by law enforcement against the protesters, while the initial incitement for the riots was likely the work of apparent agent provocateurs among the marchers. Within days, the unrest had spread to cities across the country including the nation’s capital, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to invoke the slavery-era Insurrection Act of 1807 to deploy the military and National Guard on American soil, federal powers not used since the 1992 Los Angeles riots following the Rodney King case.

The debate over the catalyst for the uprising into its period of lawlessness has drawn a range of theories. The suspicious placement of pallets of bricks in the proximity of numerous protest sites have spurred rumors of sabotage by everything from white supremacist groups to “Antifa” to law enforcement itself. Predictably, liberal hawks such as Susan Rice, the former National Security Advisor in the Obama administration, made ludicrous assertions suggesting “Russian agents” were behind the unrest, a continuation of the narrative that the Kremlin has been behind inflaming racial tensions in the U.S. that began during the 2016 election. While Democrats like Rice and Senator Kamala Harris of California have revived an old trope dating back to the Civil Rights movement of Moscow exploiting racial divisions in the U.S., Trump and the GOP have similarly resurrected the ‘outside agitators’ myth attributed to segregationists of the same era. Hypocritically, many of those claiming to be in support of the protests have denounced the latter theory while endorsing the former, when both equally show contempt for the legitimate grievances of the demonstrators and deny their agency. However, both false notions overlook the more likely hidden factors at play attempting to hijack the movement for its own purposes.

Believe it or not, there could be a kernel of truth in accusations coming mostly from the political right as to the possible role of the notorious liberal billionaire investor and “philanthropist” George Soros and his Open Society Foundation (OSF). Ironically, if any of the right-wing figures of whom Soros is a favorite target were aware of his instrumental role in the fall of communism staging the various CIA-backed protest movements in Eastern Europe that toppled socialist governments, he would likely not be such a subject of their derision. The Hungarian business magnate’s institute, like other NGOs involved in U.S. regime change operations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is largely a front for the CIA to shield itself while destabilizing U.S. adversaries, the spy agency’s preferred modus operandi since the exposure of its illicit activities in previous decades by the Rockefeller Commission and Church Committee in the 1970s. In the post-Soviet world, nations across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and beyond have become well acquainted with the political disruptions of the international financier and his network. In particular, governments that have leaned toward warm relations with Moscow during the incumbency of President Vladimir Putin have found themselves the victims of his machinations.

Under Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin, Soros made a killing off the mass privatization of the former state-run assets in the Eastern Bloc, as journalist Naomi Klein explained in The Shock Doctrine:

George Soros’s philanthropic work in Eastern Europe — including his funding of (Harvard economist and economic advisor Jeffrey) Sachs’s travels through the region — has not been immune to controversy. There is no doubt that Soros was committed to the cause of democratization in the Eastern Bloc, but he also had clear economic interests in the kind of economic reform accompanying that democratization. As the world’s most powerful currency trader, he stood to benefit greatly when countries implemented convertible currencies and lift capital controls, and when state companies were put on the auction block, he was one of the potential buyers.

 In contrast, the Putin administration over a period of two decades has since restored the Russian economy through the re-nationalization of its oil and gas industry. Its two energy giants, Gazprom and Rosneft, are state-controlled companies serving as the basis of the state machinery‘s reassertion of control over the Russian financial system, a move that has gotten Mr. Putin branded a “dictator” by the West. As a result, most of the notorious Russian oligarchs enriched overnight during the extreme free market policies of the 1990s have since left the country, now that such rapid accumulation of wealth to the rest of the nation’s detriment is no longer permitted. While economic inequality in Russia may persist, it is nowhere near that of the Yeltsin era where the average life expectancy was reduced by a full decade.

In the last decade, the United States has gotten its own taste of the incitement and agitations that have previously fallen upon governments across the global south. Instead, domestically the CIA cutouts in the non-profit industrial complex have played a pivotal counterrevolutionary role in co-opting and ultimately derailing such uprisings meant to bring systemic change to the U.S. political system. In late 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged at Zuccotti Park in New York City’s financial district against the deepening global economic inequality following the Great Recession and the protests quickly spread to other cities and continents. In just a few months, the sit-in was expelled from Lower Manhattan and the anti-capitalist movement itself largely was diverted towards reformism and away from its original radical intentions. It was also revealed the origins of OWS and its marketing campaign were traced to Adbusters, a media foundation that was the recipient of grants from the Democratic Party-connected Tides Foundation, a progressive policy center which receives significant endowments from none other than George Soros and the OSF.

Emerging just two years later, the roots of Black Lives Matter were not just in community organizing but partially took inspiration from the Occupy movement. Unfortunately, the similarities between them were not limited to a shared lack of clarity in their demands but facing the same dilemma of being absorbed into the system. While OWS was quickly suppressed after hopeful beginnings, the BLM leadership became career-oriented apparatchiks of the Democratic Party and left grass-roots organizing behind. Through the non-profit industrial complex, the Democratic Party has mastered bringing various social movements under its management on behalf of Wall Street in order to funnel public funds into private control through various foundations. Along with the Ford Foundation which has given BLM enormous $100 million grants, Soros and the OSF have been one of the principal offenders. Still, many who correctly identify right-wing protests such as the Tea Party movement and the recent ‘anti-lockdown’ demonstrations as the work of astro-turfing by the Koch Brothers and Heritage Foundation seldom apply the same scrutiny to seemingly authentic progressive movements assimilated by corporate America.

One figure who mysteriously appeared on the scene in the early days of OWS connected to Soros was the Serbian political activist Srđa Popović, the founder of Otpor! (“resistance” in Serbian) and the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) political organizations which led the protests in 2000 which ousted the democratically-elected President of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević, known as the “Bulldozer Revolution.” Not long after Popović’s consulting of activists in Zuccotti Park, Wikileaks documents revealed the Belgrade-born organizer’s significant ties to U.S. intelligence through the global intelligence platform Stratfor (known as the “shadow CIA”), exposing the real motives behind his involvement in U.S. politics of outwardly supporting OWS while trying to sabotage the popular movement. Since their role as instruments of U.S. regime change in Serbia, Otpor! and CANVAS have received financial support from CIA intermediaries such as the NED, OSF, Freedom House and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as the Boston-based Albert Einstein Institute founded by the American political scientist, Gene Sharp.

Despite ostensibly professing to use the same civil disobedience methods of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Gene Sharp‘s manual for “non-violent resistance” entitled From Dictatorship to Democracy has been the blueprint used by political organizations around the world that have only served the interests of Western imperialism. Beginning with the Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia, the successful formula which ousted Milošević spread to other Central Asian and Eastern European nations overthrowing governments which resisted NATO expansion and the European Union’s draconian austerity in favor of economic ties with Moscow. These were widely referred to in the media as ‘Color Revolutions’ and included the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia, the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine and its 2014 Maidan coup d’état follow-up, as well as the 2005 Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, among others.

Subsequently, Srđa Popović and CANVAS also lent their expertise in Egypt during the predecessor to its Arab Spring in the April 6 Youth Movement which appropriated Otpor!’s raised fist logo as its emblem. In preparation for the organization of anti-government demonstrations, the activists pored over Gene Sharp’s work in coordination with Otpor! whose fingerprints can be found all over the Arab Spring uprisings which began as protests to remove unpopular leaders in Egypt and Tunisia but were carefully reeled in to preserve the despotic Western-friendly systems that had put them to power initially. Where Sharp’s “non-violent” template failed, countries with U.S. adversaries in power such as Libya and Syria saw their protests rapidly morph into a resurgence of Al-Qaeda and a terrorist proxy war with catastrophic consequences. This recipe has also been exported to Latin America in attempts to remove the Bolivarian government in Venezuela, with self-declared ‘interim president’ and opposition leader Juan Guaido having received training from CANVAS.

While the right seems to have a bizarre misconception that the parasitic hedge fund tycoon is somehow a communist, there is an equal misunderstanding on the pseudo-left where it has become a recurring joke and subject of mockery to naively deny Soros’s undeniable influence on world affairs and domestic protest movements. Less certain, however, are the claims from conservatives that Soros is a supporter of “Antifa” which Trump wants to designate as a domestic terrorist organization, a dangerous premise given the movement consists of a very loose-knit and decentralized network of activists and hardly comprises a real organization. Various autonomous chapters and groups across the U.S. may self-identify as such, but there is no single official party or formal organization with any leadership hierarchy. While the original Antifa movement in the 1930s Weimar Republic was part of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), the current manifestation in the U.S. has a synonymous association with black bloc anarchism (even inverting the colors of the original red and black flag), though it is really made up of a variety of amateurish political tendencies.

Amidst the ongoing nationwide George Floyd protests, the demonstrations in Seattle, Washington culminated in the establishment of a self-declared “autonomous zone” by activists in the Northwestern city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood — known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). In response, Trump doubled down on his threats to quash protests with the use of the military while blaming “anarchists” in “Antifa” for the unrecognized commune occupying six city blocks around an abandoned police precinct. Anyone who has paid close attention to the war in Syria for the last nine years will find this highly ironic, given the U.S. military support for another infamous “autonomous zone” of Kurdish nationalists in Northern Syria’s Rojava federation. The Kurdish sub-region and de facto self-governing territory purports to be a “libertarian socialist direct democracy” style of government and has been the subject of romanticized praise by the Western pseudo-left despite the fact that the autonomous administration’s paramilitary wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), were until recently a cat’s paw for American imperialism as part of the U.S.-founded coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Not coincidentally, many of those who use the Antifa vexillum are enthusiastic supporters of and even volunteer mercenaries fighting with the YPG/SDF in an ‘International Freedom Battalion’ which claims to be the inheritors of the legacy of the International Brigades which volunteered to defend the Spanish Republic from fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Unfortunately, these cosplayers forgot that the original International Brigades were set up by the Communist International, not the Pentagon. Meanwhile, despite their purported “anti-fascism”, there are no such conscripts to be found defending the Donetsk or Luhansk People’s Republics of eastern Ukraine against literal Nazis in the War in Donbass where the real front line against fascism has been. Instead, they fight alongside a Zionist and imperial proxy to help establish an ethno-nation state while the U.S. loots Syria’s oil.

Prior to Trump’s decision last October to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria which preceded a Turkish invasion, Ankara and the U.S. repeatedly butted heads over Washington’s decision to incorporate the Kurds into the SDF, since the YPG is widely acknowledged an off-shoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the militant and cult-like political group regarded as a terrorist organization that has been at war with Turkey for over forty years. It is also no secret that jailed PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan’s theories of “democratic confederalism” are heavily influenced by the pro-Zionist Jewish-American anarchist theorist, Murray Bookchin. So when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Trump that there were links between the U.S. protests and the PKK, there was a tiny but core accuracy in his exaggerated claim. As Malcolm X said, “chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad.”

The George Floyd protests, like previous uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore, certainly began spontaneously, nor does any of this discount the legitimate issue of ending the militarization of U.S. law enforcement which disproportionately victimizes black Americans. Nevertheless, time and again we have seen how bona fide social movements become political footballs or quickly go to their graves. Like BLM, it is practically inevitable the protests will become a partisan tool for the Democratic Party in the coming 2020 election when it has no concrete political articulations of its own, even if it does bring substantive change to domestic policing. In January, Trump was impeached for temporarily withholding security aid to the Ukraine and Democrats advocated his removal because he is regarded as insufficiently hawkish toward Moscow. Since 2016, they have actively diverted all opposition to Trump into their own reactionary anti-Russia campaign and soft-coup attempt in the interests of the military- intelligence community, a shared agenda with Soros. When all of corporate America, the media, and even the NED have publicly declared their support for a movement, it is no longer just about its original cause of getting justice for Mr. Floyd, whose funeral became a virtual campaign rally for Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden. It is too early to say determinedly whether what is taking place in the U.S. is indeed a ‘Color Revolution’, but by the time we realize it, it may too late.

Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?

On May 6th, President Trump vetoed a war powers bill specifying that he must ask Congress for authorization to use military force against Iran. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign of deadly sanctions and threats of war against Iran has seen no let-up, even as the U.S., Iran and the whole world desperately need to set aside our conflicts to face down the common danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So what is it about Iran that makes it such a target of hostility for Trump and the neocons? There are many repressive regimes in the world, and many of them are close U.S. allies, so this policy is clearly not based on an objective assessment that Iran is more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other monarchies in the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration claims that its “maximum pressure” sanctions and threats of war against Iran are based on the danger that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. But after decades of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and despite the U.S.’s politicization of the IAEA, the Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

If Iran ever did any preliminary research on nuclear weapons, it was probably during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, when the U.S. and its allies helped Iraq to make and use chemical weapons that killed up to 100,000 Iranians. A 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, the IAEA’s 2015 “Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues” and decades of IAEA inspections have examined and resolved every scrap of false evidence of a nuclear weapons program presented or fabricated by the CIA and its allies.

If, despite all the evidence, U.S. policymakers still fear that Iran could develop nuclear weapons, then adhering to the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), keeping Iran inside the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and ensuring ongoing access by IAEA inspectors would provide greater security than abandoning the deal.

As with Bush’s false WMD claims about Iraq in 2003, Trump’s real goal is not nuclear non-proliferation but regime change. After 40 years of failed sanctions and hostility, Trump and a cabal of U.S. warhawks still cling to the vain hope that a tanking economy and widespread suffering in Iran will lead to a popular uprising or make it vulnerable to another U.S.-backed coup or invasion.

United Against a Nuclear Iran and the Counter Extremism Project

One of the key organizations promoting and pushing hostility towards Iran is a shadowy group called United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI). Founded in 2008, it was expanded and reorganized in 2014 under the umbrella of the Counter Extremism Project United (CEPU) to broaden its attacks on Iran and divert U.S. policymakers’ attention away from the role of Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other U.S. allies in spreading violence, extremism and chaos in the greater Middle East.

UANI acts as a private enforcer of U.S. sanctions by keeping a “business registry” of hundreds of companies all over the world—from Adidas to Zurich Financial Services—that trade with or are considering trading with Iran. UANI hounds these companies by naming and shaming them, issuing reports for the media, and urging the Office of Foreign Assets Control to impose fines and sanctions. It also keeps a checklist of companies that have signed a declaration certifying they do not conduct business in or with Iran.

Proving how little they care about the Iranian people, UANI even targets pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical-device corporations—including Bayer, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Abbott Laboratories—that have been granted special U.S. humanitarian aid licenses.

Where does UANI get its funds? 

UANI was founded by three former U.S. officials, Dennis Ross, Richard Holbrooke and Mark Wallace. In 2013, it still had a modest budget of $1.7 million, nearly 80% coming from two Jewish-American billionaires with strong ties to Israel and the Republican Party: $843,000 from precious metals investor Thomas Kaplan and $500,000 from casino owner Sheldon Adelson. Wallace and other UANI staff have also worked for Kaplan’s investment firms, and he remains a key funder and advocate for UANI and its affiliated groups.

In 2014, UANI split into two entities: the original UANI and the Green Light Project, which does business as the Counter Extremism Project. Both entities are under the umbrella of and funded by a third, Counter Extremism Project United (CEPU). This permits the organization to brand its fundraising as being for the Counter Extremism Project, even though it still regrants a third of its funds to UANI.

CEO Mark Wallace, Executive Director David Ibsen and other staff work for all three groups in their shared offices in Grand Central Tower in New York. In 2018, Wallace drew a combined salary of $750,000 from all three entities, while Ibsen’s combined salary was $512,126.

In recent years, the revenues for the umbrella group, CEPU, have mushroomed, reaching $22 million in 2017. CEPU is secretive about the sources of this money. But investigative journalist Eli Clifton, who started looking into UANI in 2014 when it was sued for defamation by a Greek ship owner it accused of violating sanctions on Iran, has found evidence suggesting financial ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

That is certainly what hacked emails between CEPU staff, an Emirati official and a Saudi lobbyist imply. In September 2014, CEPU’s president Frances Townsend emailed the UAE Ambassador to the U.S. to solicit the UAE’s support and propose that it host and fund a CEPU forum in Abu Dhabi.

Four months later, Townsend emailed again to thank him, writing, “And many thanks for your and Richard Mintz’ (UAE lobbyist) ongoing support of the CEP effort!” UANI fundraiser Thomas Kaplan has formed a close relationship with Emirati ruler Bin Zayed, and visited the UAE at least 24 times. In 2019, he gushed to an interviewer that the UAE and its despotic rulers “are my closest partners in more parts of my life than anyone else other than my wife.”

Another email from Saudi lobbyist and former Senator Norm Coleman to the Emirati Ambassador about CEPU’s tax status implied that the Saudis and Emiratis were both involved in its funding, which would mean that CEPU may be violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to register as a Saudi or Emirati agent in the U.S.

Ben Freeman of the Center for International Policy has documented the dangerously unaccountable and covert expansion of the influence of foreign governments and military-industrial interests over U.S. foreign policy in recent years, in which registered lobbyists are only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to foreign influence. Eli Clifton calls UANI, “a fantastic case study and maybe a microcosm of the ways in which American foreign policy is actually influenced and implemented.”

CEPU and UANI’s staff and advisory boards are stocked with Republicans, neoconservatives and war hawks, many of whom earn lavish salaries and consulting fees. In the two years before President Trump appointed John Bolton as his National Security Advisor, CEPU paid Bolton $240,000 in consulting fees. Bolton, who openly advocates war with Iran, was instrumental in getting the Trump administration to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

UANI also enlists Democrats to try to give the group broader, bipartisan credibility. The chair of UANI’s board is former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, who was known as the most pro-Zionist member of the Senate. A more moderate Democrat on UANI’s board is former New Mexico governor and UN ambassador Bill Richardson.

Norman Roule, a CIA veteran who was the National Intelligence Manager for Iran throughout the Obama administration was paid $366,000 in consulting fees by CEPU in 2018. Soon after the brutal Saudi assassination of journalist Jamal Khassoghi, Roule and UANI fundraiser Thomas Kaplan met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, and Roule then played a leading role in articles and on the talk-show circuit whitewashing Bin Salman’s repression and talking up his superficial “reforms” of Saudi society.

More recently, amid a growing outcry from Congress, the UN and the European Union to ease U.S. sanctions on Iran during the pandemic, UANI chairman Joe Lieberman, CEPU president Frances Townsend and CEO Mark Wallace signed a letter to Trump that falsely claimed, “U.S. sanctions neither prevent nor target the supply of food, medicine or medical devices to Iran,” and begged him not to relax his murderous sanctions because of COVID-19. This was too much for Norman Roule, who tossed out his UANI script and told the Nation, “the international community should do everything it can to enable the Iranian people to obtain access to medical supplies and equipment.”

Two Israeli shell companies to whom CEPU and UANI have paid millions of dollars in “consulting fees” raise even more troubling questions. CEPU has paid over $500,000 to Darlink, located near Tel Aviv, while UANI paid at least $1.5 million to Grove Business Consulting in Hod Hasharon, about 10% of its revenues from 2016 to 2018. Neither firm seems to really exist, but Grove’s address on UANI’s IRS filings appears in the Panama Papers as that of Dr. Gideon Ginossar, an officer of an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands that defaulted on its creditors in 2010.

Selling a Corrupted Picture to U.S. Policymakers

UANI’s parent group, Counter Extremism Project United, presents itself as dedicated to countering all forms of extremism. But in practice, it is predictably selective in its targets, demonizing Iran and its allies while turning a blind eye to other countries with more credible links to extremism and terrorism.

UANI supports accusations by Trump and U.S. war hawks that Iran is “the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” based mainly on its support for the Lebanese Shiite political party Hezbollah, whose militia defends southern Lebanon against Israel and fights in Syria as an ally of the government.

But Iran placed UANI on its own list of terrorist groups in 2019 after Mark Wallace and UANI hosted a meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York that was mainly attended by supporters of the Mujahedin-e-Kalqh (MEK). The MEK is a group that the U.S. government itself listed as a terrorist organization until 2012 and which is still committed to the violent overthrow of the government in Iran – preferably by persuading the U.S. and its allies to do it for them. UANI tried to distance itself from the meeting after the fact, but the published program listed UANI as the event organizer.

On the other hand, there are two countries where CEPU and UANI seem strangely unable to find any links to extremism or terrorism at all, and they are the very countries that appear to be funding their operations, lavish salaries and shadowy “consulting fees”: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Many Americans are still demanding a public investigation into Saudi Arabia’s role in the crimes of September 11th. In a court case against Saudi Arabia brought by 9/11 victims’ families, the FBI recently revealed that a Saudi Embassy official, Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, provided crucial support to two of the hijackers. Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the families whose father was killed on September 11th, told Yahoo News, “(This) demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”

The global spread of the Wahhabi version of Islam that unleashed and fueled Al Qaeda, ISIS and other violent Muslim extremist groups has been driven primarily by Saudi Arabia, which has built and funded Wahhabi schools and mosques all over the world. That includes the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles that the two 9/11 hijackers attended.

It is also well documented that Saudi Arabia has been the largest funder and arms supplier for the Al Qaeda-led forces that have destroyed Syria since 2011, including CIA-brokered shipments of thousands of tons of weapons from Benghazi in Libya and at least eight countries in Eastern Europe. The UAE also supplied arms funding to Al Qaeda-allied rebels in Syria between 2012 and 2016, and the Saudi and UAE roles have now been reversed in Libya, where the UAE is the main supplier of thousands of tons of weapons to General Haftar’s rebel forces. In Yemen, both the Saudis and Emiratis have committed war crimes. The Saudi and Emirati air forces have bombed schools, clinics, weddings and school buses, while the Emiratis tortured detainees in 18 secret prisons in Yemen.

But United Against a Nuclear Iran and Counter Extremism Project have redacted all of this from the one-sided worldview they offer to U.S. policymakers and the American corporate media. While they demonize Iran, Qatar, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as extremists and terrorists, they depict Saudi Arabia and the UAE exclusively as victims of terrorism and allies in U.S.-led “counterterrorism” campaigns, never as sponsors of extremism and terrorism or perpetrators of war crimes.

The message of these groups dedicated to “countering extremism” is clear and none too subtle: Saudi Arabia and the UAE are always U.S. allies and victims of extremism, never a problem or a source of danger, violence or chaos. The country we should all be worrying about is – you guessed it – Iran. You couldn’t pay for propaganda like this! But on the other hand, if you’re Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates and you have greedy, corrupt Americans knocking on your door eager to sell their loyalty, maybe you can.