Category Archives: Ukraine

Turkey Once More Betrays the East

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with NTO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, during the NATO Conference in Madrid on 28 June 2022. A handshake of betrayal, as Turkey accepted Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership.

One wonders what forces have influenced Erdogan to betray Russia in particular and the East in general, when accepting NATO membership of the two Nordic countries, against the interests of Russia.

Why would Turkey want to dance on two fiestas, the western lying, deceiving and collapsing NATO / G7+ wannabe empire, and the progressive, growing and peace seeking fast developing East, or better the Greater Global South?

Erdogan is a bit like India’s PM Narendra Modi, who wants to be part of the new expanded eastern alliance, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the ASEAN ten-countries’ block, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as well as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the association of 11 former USSR Republics.

At the same time Modi, like Erdogan would not want to “lose out”, in case the west may not collapse, or not as quickly as it should. Do they not realize that their “misbehavior”, a benign term to camouflage betrayal, is only tolerated in the case of Turkey because of its geostrategic and geographic location, and in the case of India, because of its sheer size – 1.4 billion people, about the same as the most populous country, China?

But, under their current leadership, neither country can be trusted as a reliable ally. Not by the east, and not even in the tarnished west.

Whether the Kremlin had hoped Turkey would stick to her objection against Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO access is immaterial. What counts is that Turkey is no reliable partner and ally for Russia which had already been proven earlier, when Turkey aggressed Syria for her own petty interests, while Russia fought and won Syria’s war against unfounded US aggressions.

“The concrete steps for our accession to NATO will be agreed among NATO allies over the next two days, but that decision is now imminent,” said Finland’s President, Sauli Niinisto. “I am pleased that this stage on Finland’s journey towards NATO membership has been completed.”

According to RT (28 June 2022), Turkey will support inviting Finland and Sweden into NATO at the bloc’s summit in Spain, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto announced on Tuesday after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

A note on Sweden and NATO: For over 300 years, Sweden and Russia have lived conflict-free side by side. Entering the aggressive NATO clan means a Swedish aggression against Russia.

The three countries, Sweden, Finland and Turkey, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the NATO meeting on 28 June, organized with the support of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The MOU stated, for example, that Finland and Sweden pledged to “condemn terrorism in all its forms” and end their support for organizations Ankara has designated as terrorist – including the Kurdish groups PKK and YPG, as well as the movement led by the exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen, Erdogan’s archenemy.

“Turkey got what it wanted,” Erdogan said after the deal was announced.

This was another lie because terrorism from Sweden and Finland were never serious threats to Turkey. They were just used by Erdogan to pressure the NATO / G7 “alliance” into some vital concessions.

Could it be lifting of the killing economic sanctions initiated by Washington and supported by the EU?

Or, could it be, like in the case of Ukraine – a step towards acceding the corrupt and faltering European Union? A Turkish quest that is already at least two decades old.

Maybe the luminary Mme. Ursula von der Leyen, unelected Fuehrer of the European Commission, has the answer.

The post Turkey Once More Betrays the East first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Convenient Omissions: The Ukraine-EU Candidacy Show

Instances of sympathy are rarely excuses to throw out the rule book.  In the case of the European Union, throwing out the rule book about admission has tended to be a feature of enlargement.  Credentials of candidate states have been, when needed, boosted or cooked for the occasion.  Others, whatever the progress, have been ignored.  For a collective that really ought to tidy the stables before admitting more occupants, the enthusiastic glee with which Ukraine’s symbolic candidacy has greeted stayed true to form.

The Ukraine War has done away with the more troubling facts of European integration and its process.  Everything is now being done to powder, paint and deodorise Ukraine as a true European power of democratic flavour facing despotic Oriental barbarism.  Out of the debris, all opponents of that barbarism are tolerant, peace loving democrats singing hymns to the rule of law.  This has the added effect of not examining the special nature of the society in question.  Regarding Ukraine, this is striking.

In terms of economy and politics, it would be hard to see Ukraine as a credible candidate under official accession procedures.  According to remarks made by Freedom House, itself a US-funded non-profit organisation of some notoriety, “corruption remains endemic, and initiatives to combat it are only partially implemented.”  It also notes that attacks on journalists, civil society activists and members of minority groups have proven all too frequent.

These are some of the problems that have been cited to explain the lengthy waiting times for other states going through the EU accession process.  The enlargement procedure is governed by a number of requirements.  For instance, Chapter 23 covers the judiciary (independence, impartiality, accountability), the battle against corruption, fundamental rights (for instance, the right to a trial, a right to a fair trial, anti-discrimination), and the rights of EU citizens.  Chapter 24 covers matters of justice, freedom and security, noting the requirements for efficient policing and cooperation across a range of areas.

Given such requirements, EU bureaucracy has been stifling and discouraging towards a number of candidate hopefuls.  They, in turn, have resorted to a suite of demands, often framed along nationalist lines.  The problem is most pronounced in the Western Balkans, where the candidates have been left lingering in a chilling waiting room.  Brussels has done wonders in damaging its own reputation in this regard, blocking, for instance, accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

In Serbia, attitudes to joining the EU have cooled.  In April, a poll conducted by Ipsos and published in the Serbian newspaper Blic, revealed that 44% of respondents were against membership, with 35% in favour. It was the first time in two decades that those against joining had topped the list.  Playing to that mood, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has argued that the “European path” would be continued and pursued in dignified fashion.  In the meantime, Serbia would keep its “independence in decision-making, at least until we become a member of the EU.”

No number of sweet, treacly assessments of Ukrainian society, even from the most messianic US funded organisations, have been able to get away from the specific problems facing Ukraine’s civil society advocates.  But war has come, and glowing opportunities have presented themselves.  In the European Council meeting held in Brussels on June 23-4, the decision was made to sign off on the European Commission’s recommendation to grant Ukraine and Moldova official candidate status.

Yet for all the foamy praise for the measure, the unified front is deceptive.  Denmark and Portugal have made the point that, were it not for the war, Ukraine would barely warrant a spot in the accession queue to commence membership negotiations.  A country like Moldova would be even further behind.  Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa sees greater priority and value in keeping the EU house in firm agreement.  “The best support that the European Union can give to Ukraine is to keep its unity.”  His preference was to focus on building “a long-term platform to support the recovery of Ukraine” rather than dabbling in protracted “legal debates”.  For Costa, it was imperative to avoid creating “false expectations that become bitter disappointment.”

Even French President Emmanuel Macron has given a range of different signals, admitting that the cases of Ukraine and Moldova were “very clearly […] linked to the context.”  This was exceptional, he conceded, as enlargement was generally incompatible with the bloc’s mission of integration.  His controversial preference has been for an alternative European political community that might even, come the time, include Russia.

In specialist and academic circles, the enlargement genie has also been attached to the coattails of war.  Vedran Džihić of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, and Paul Schmidt, Secretary General of the Austrian Society for European Politics, see a chance to speed up the show.  That project stalled with the accession of Croatia in 2013.  The authors urge Brussels to move beyond “the technocratic rigidity that has come to characterise EU enlargement and neighbourhood policies.”  They also encourage a “common geopolitical Europeanisation of the countries in the Western Balkans, together with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia”.

Even more intriguing in the propping up of Ukraine’s membership credentials ahead of other states languishing in the queue is a misunderstanding of how the EU itself operates.  The relentlessly questioning Giandomenico Majone regards the body as occupying a world where “the language of democratic politics is largely unintelligible”, seeing a closer parallel with ancient Sparta rather than Athens, “where the popular assembly voted yes or no to the proposals advanced by the Council of Elders but had no right to propose measures on its own account.”

In this world, policy arises less from an enfranchised populace than an oligarchy of cabinets, bureaucrats and diplomats.  For all the talk about independent judiciaries, anti-corruption measures, and accountability, the EU lags, making the candidate status of countries such as Ukraine and Moldova less bizarre than might otherwise be.

The post Convenient Omissions: The Ukraine-EU Candidacy Show first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Severodonetsk: Deciphering News of the War in Ukraine

Unless the Ukrainians have a decisive victory or a Russian advance is too great to hide, news of the war follows a pattern of headlines:

Russians shell dozens of Ukrainian towns in the Donbas

Casualties rise as Russia makes incremental gains in east

From the New York Times “The ruined industrial city in eastern Ukraine fell after months of Russian bombardment and weeks of urban combat. Like Mariupol, it became emblematic of the savagery of the war.”

Read similar articles and learn the content rarely follows the headline. Search Google and try to find images of a ruined and severely shelled Severodonetsk. Well, here is one. Take this headline from WION – World Is One News with global headquarters in New Delhi.

Satellite images reveal widespread destruction in Ukrainian industrial city of Sievierodonetsk

“High-resolution images collected by Maxar Technologies over a period of 24 hours on Monday show damaged buildings from artillery shelling in downtown Severodonetsk and around a hospital. From a hole in the roof, to charred buildings, the images showcase how the area has been laid waste by constant shelling.”

Note: Several online media published the exact same display of images and commentary.

Well, let’s see. Here is the first image.

Satellite image shows destroyed buildings in Rubizhne, Ukraine, near Sievierodonetsk.

Oh, not Sievierodonetsk, but a village near Sievierodonetsk.

This same photo has appeared under other headlines, such as: The Washington Post, Severodonetsk defenders holding out under merciless shelling, mayor says

“Severodonetsk, an industrial hub, is key to Russia’s plan as its fall would open up the route to Kramatorsk, the main city of Donetsk. At least 70 per cent of Severodonetsk is reported to be under Russian control, though the Ukrainian forces are fighting back. Ukraine repelling Russian attacks. The regional governor, Serhiy Haidai said tough street battles were continuing with varying degrees of success. ‘The situation constantly changes, but the Ukrainians are repelling attacks,’ he said.”

Next image.

A 40-meter crater can be seen next to destroyed buildings.

Evidently, this is not the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk.

“Sievierodonetsk important for Putin. Russia seeks victory in Sievierodonetsk, which would give it full control of Luhansk province. When Vladimir Putin began his invasion on 24 February, he pledged to “liberate” the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk where were in separatist hands.”

Next image.

This image shows a field peppered with craters caused by artillery, northwest of Slovyansk

“Russian forces have been focused for weeks on seizing Sievierodonetsk, which was home to some 106,000 people before Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, but the Luhansk region’s governor said Ukrainian forces would not surrender the city.:

Next image.

This image shows active artillery shelling in the town of Bogorodichne, Ukraine, northwest of Slovyansk

Where are photos of Sievierodonetsk?

“Widespread destruction (of Sievierodonetsk?)”

O.K.

This satellite image shows damaged buildings around a hospital in Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine

Wait a second!

(1) Where is the widespread destruction? I only see one possible bomb hit. Other dark spots are shadows.

(2) Is that really a hospital? The Red Cross is on top of vegetation. Has it been photoshopped? Note there is no parking lot nor cars parked by the “hospital.” Don’t people work there or visit?

CNN published the same image under the headline, “At least 2 hospitals hit by military strikes in Severodonetsk and Rubizhne, new satellite images show.” Does the image show a bombed hospital?

There must be some images of this heavily shelled Severodonetsk. Googled “heavily shelled Severodonetsk.”

Came up with the same previous image provided by Maxar Technologies, which showed destroyed buildings in Rubizhne, Ukraine near Severodonetsk. All other images were those of smoke rising over Severodonetsk. None of the images showed damage to the city.

Smoke rises during shelling of the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine on May 21

Tried YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuC7zqWtEpw, which featured a video of Ukraine: images of shelling over Severodonetsk | AFP

The YouTube video showed only some noise and smoke, no extensive damages

Washington Post

“Ukrainian soldiers in Severodonetsk, the eastern city under continuous Russian bombardment, are holding their positions despite relentless shelling, and troops are “doing their utmost to defend the city,” its mayor, Oleksandr Stryuk, said Tuesday. The satellite images show fields full of artillery craters, city blocks reduced to rubble and a 130-foot bomb scar.

The Ukrainian government has said that about 90 percent of the buildings are destroyed.”

Press on the link The satellite images show and it will return to the articles – no images, that’s right, no images, and no “about 90 percent of the buildings are destroyed. ”

Conclusion

Western media, which tends to always degrade its adversaries, as long as they continue to be adversaries — Russia, China, Iran. Gaddafi Libya and not the post-Gaddafi Libya — report a one-sided view of the war. Other media, attempting to capture audience, sensationalize catastrophes. Obtaining credible reports of the war in Ukraine requires shuffling through several accounts and piecing them together to make a logical analysis. Undoubtedly, Severodonetsk suffered from shelling and had some serious, but not extensive damage. The Russians encircled the city, destroyed the bridges, and then entered the city, which the Ukraine army was not equipped to defend. After two weeks of retreating within the city, the remnants of the Ukrainian army left.

The post Severodonetsk: Deciphering News of the War in Ukraine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Is Noam Chomsky a Qualified Military Analyst?

Renowned progressive intellectual Noam Chomsky, author of over a 100 books, was recently interviewed by AcTVism. The entire interview is interesting, but the focus here is on the first 20 minutes where the situation in Ukraine is discussed.

Chomsky lays out the US directive to NATO in the proxy war: “The war must continue until Russia is severely harmed.”

The professor scoffs at Russian military might. He says that western European countries “are gloating over the fact that the Russia military has demonstrated to be a paper tiger, couldn’t even conquer a couple of cities a couple of kilometers from the border defended mostly by a citizens army, so all the talk about Russian military power was exposed as empty…”

I grant that Chomsky is indeed a polymath, but is he an expert on military operations? Scott Ritter and Brian Berletic, on the other hand, are Americans steeped in militarism. Berletic is a former US marine and Ritter is a former intelligence officer for the US marines. Both of them explain the Russian strategy in shaping the battlefield. The reason for this is to minimize Russian casualties and Ukrainian civilian casualties. This is unlike American Shock and Awe warfare where “collateral damage” (as killing of civilians by US military is trivialized) is accepted to attain US military objectives. Moreover, since Donbass was the industrial heartland of Ukraine, as well as part of the wheat belt, it is in Russia’s interest to protect the infrastructure and agriculture, as well as protecting the, largely Russian speaking, people of Donbass. However, the perceived slowness of implementing the Russian strategy — surrounding enemy fighters in siege warfare and compelling their surrender — seems to make Russia a paper tiger in Chomsky’s estimation.

If Russia is a paper tiger, then what does that make Ukraine? Ukraine was trained by NATO, armed by NATO, and fed intelligence by NATO, as well as outnumbering Russian fighters while fighting on home turf?

Yet Russia has destroyed most of the Ukrainian fighters (including Ukrainian Nazi fighters), obliterated most of their weaponry, including resupplies by NATO, and has liberated Donbass and conquered other parts of Ukraine (a country on the verge of potentially becoming landlocked if it persists in fighting a losing battle).

Chomsky characterizes western countries as “free democratic societies.” [sic] He follows this by stating, “There is no conceivable possibility that Russia will attack anyone [else]. They could barely handle this [fight with Ukraine]. They had to back off without NATO involvement.”

The fighting was personalized by Chomsky as Putin’s “criminal aggression” and that Putin acted “very stupidly” because he “drove Europe into Washington’s pocket”: “the greatest gift he could give the United States.” Chomsky would heap more ad hominem at Putin’s “utter imbecility.”

“The United States is utterly delighted,” states Chomsky. The military-industrial complex is “euphoric.” “Fossil fuel companies are delighted… It’s almost unbelievable the stupidity.”

Chomsky acknowledges that Ukraine cannot defeat the paper tiger, Russia, and supposedly Russian military actions have united the western world against Russia, as if the western world were not already arrayed against Russia. Yes, Germany backed out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for delivery of gas to the German market. But who was hurt more by this?

Fossil fuel prices have soared and Russia is the beneficiary. Despite sanctions, the Russian ruble is strong. While the western Europeans have remained fidel to their American masters, Africa, South America, and Asia have ignored the sanctions. China, Pakistan, India, among others, have stepped in to import Russian oil and gas.

While Chomsky points out that the US military-industrial complex and Big Oil are overjoyed by the Russia-Ukraine warring, unmentioned is that average American citizens (and their European counterparts) are not feeling particularly gleeful at spiking gas costs and burgeoning inflation.

Chomsky keeps his focus on the invasion. “There is no way to justify the invasion. None!” Talk of justification is “totally nonsense,” says Chomsky. He admits that there was “provocation” by the US for ignoring Russian security concerns. “But provocation does not yield justification,” he asserts. “There is nothing that can justify criminal aggression.”

Why does Chomsky not mention the 8 years that Ukraine had been aggressing Donbass, criminally, where a reported 14,000 Donbass citizens were killed? Russia refers to a genocide perpetrated by Ukraine in Donbass. Russia justified its “special military operation” (what Chomsky calls a criminal aggression) by recognizing the sovereignty of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics and entering into a defensive pact (what NATO is supposed to be about).

War is anathema, but when diplomacy fails and you are faced with a violent, belligerent hegemon, then sometimes war becomes a necessity. When an animal is backed into a corner, it will come out fighting for its life. The writing was on the wall when the US, a serial violator of international agreements, broke its promise to Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch further eastward and then expanded to the Ukrainian border, a red line for Russia. Russia was being backed into a corner. Speaking to the initiator of the war in Ukraine, a question arises: is the animal backed into a corner by a predator an aggressor for realizing that fighting was the only option?

But no lives needed to have been lost. No territory needed to have been lost (aside from Crimea which had held a referendum in which the population overwhelmingly voted to join Russia; it is a United Nations recognized right of a people to self-determination). And to think that all of this could have been averted if Ukraine had upheld the Minsk agreements that they signed granting autonomy to Donbass, nixed seeking NATO membership, and declared themselves neutral. In other words, honor a contract and use money allotted to militarism for other ends (say, for example, education, employment, and social programs). Sounded like a no-brainer from the get-go, and this has been magnified since the special military operation. But it does not seem to be sinking in to the Russophobia-addled brains of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his coterie.

All this is missing from Chomsky’s analysis. The Nazified Ukrainian government somehow escapes criticism. The US does not escape criticism, but this is mild compared to the name calling and criticism of Russia. It may not be surprising considering that Chomsky has been criticized for a biased and inaccurate version of Soviet/Russian history.

The post Is Noam Chomsky a Qualified Military Analyst? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Oakland Protest Against Barbara Lee’s Vote for $40 billion to fund War in Ukraine

On June 23, 2022 a protest was  held outside the offices of Oakland’s rep, Barbara Lee, as a result of her voting in support of the US providing 40 billion to Ukraine for its ongoing war with Russia.   For additional information see this John V. Walsh article published at DV on June 18, 2022.  Here is a video of the protest:

 

The post Oakland Protest Against Barbara Lee’s Vote for $40 billion to fund War in Ukraine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Troops on the Ground Prove Canada is at War with Russia

Canada is at war with Russia. But the government doesn’t want to talk about it.

On Saturday the New York Times reported that Canadian special forces are part of a NATO network providing weapons and training to Ukrainian forces. The elite troops are also in the country gathering intelligence on Russian operations.

The Department of National Defence refused Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese’s request for comment on the US paper’s revelations. But in late January Global News and CTV reported that the usually highly secretive special forces were sent to Ukraine. (Canadian special forces have been dispatched secretly to many war zones.)

Alongside special forces, an unknown number of former Canadian troops have been fighting in Ukraine. There have been a bevy of stories about Canadians traveling to Ukraine to join the fight and organizers initially claimed over 500 individuals joined while the Russian government recently estimated that 600 Canadians were fighting there (Both the Canadian organizers and Moscow would have reasons to inflate the numbers). Early on, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Defence Minister Anita Anand both encouraged Canadians to join the fight, which may have violated Canada’s Foreign Enlistment Act.

Top commanders have also joined the war. After more than 30 years in the Canadian Forces lieutenant-general Trevor Cadieu retired on April 5 (amidst a rape investigation) and was in Ukraine days later. At one-point Cadieu was favoured to lead the Canadian Forces.

On Saturday a number of media outlets reported that former Chief of the Defence Staff Rick Hillier is heading a strategic advisory group supporting and advising Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Force. The mandate of the Hillier led council is to equip Ukraine’s 100,000-member volunteer reserve force.

Over the past four months Ottawa has delivered or allocated over $600 million in weapons to Ukraine. They’ve sent 20,000 artillery shells, 4,500 M72 rocket launchers, 7,500 hand grenades, a hundred Carl-Gustaf M2 anti-tank weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition, light armoured vehicles and other arms to fight Russia.

Canada has also adopted an unprecedented sanctions regime on Russia. According to Politico, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland led the international charge to freeze over $300 billion in Russian Central Bank assets. Ottawa is also leading the international campaign to seize Russian assets and give them to Ukraine.

Ottawa has offered more than two billion dollars in direct assistance to the Ukrainian government since the start of the year. Under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund Canada instigated the multi-donor Administered Account for Ukraine. A sizable share of Canada’s assistance has gone to prosecuting the war.

Ottawa has also put up millions of dollars for the International Criminal Court to investigate Russian officials and has labeled Russia’s war a “genocide”. Canadian officials have repeatedly described the conflict as a fight for freedom while openly spurning peace negotiations.

The past four months of fighting should be viewed — at least in part — as an escalation in a eight years US/UK/Canada proxy war with Russia. Canadians greatly assisted Ukrainian forces fighting in a conflict that saw 14,000 killed in the Donbas before Russia’s illegal invasion.

Canada played a significant role in arming and training the Ukrainian military long before Russia’s brutal February 24 invasion. The federal government spent $900 million to train Ukrainian forces following the Canadian-backed overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Between April 2015 and February 2022 Canadian troops — rotated every six months — trained 33,346 Ukrainian soldiers as part of Operation UNIFIER. Canadian military trainers helped restore Ukraine’s “decrepit” army prompting former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to dub former Canadian defence minister Jason Kenney “the godfather of the modern Ukrainian army” due to his role in instigating Operation Unifier.

UNIFIER reinforced Ukrainian forces fighting in the east and enabled Kyiv to avoid its commitments under the Minsk II peace accord, which was overseen by France and Germany in February 2015. When UNIFIER was launched the Russian Embassy in Ottawa released a statement labeling the mission a “deplorable” move “to assist the military buildup playing into the hands of ‘party of war in Kiev’”, which was their pejorative description for Poroshenko’s government.

Prior to the February 24 Russian invasion, the US and UK had also spent billions of dollars training and arming the Ukrainian military. The CIA ran a secret training program in Ukraine and over the past four months the agency has helped direct Ukrainian war efforts. Over the past few months, the US, UK and other NATO states have plowed tens of billions of dollars of weaponry into the country.

While more details on the scope of Western involvement will likely emerge in the coming months and years, there is enough information in the public record to conclude that Canada’s indeed at war in Ukraine. Further escalation is likely, particularly with Lithuania’s recent blockade of the Russian territory of Kalingrad. The 700 Canadian troops leading a NATO mission in Latvia will be on the frontline if fighting spreads to the Baltic states.

Despite facts on the ground, there’s been no vote in Parliament about whether it’s a good idea for Canada to go to war with a nuclear armed state.

The post Troops on the Ground Prove Canada is at War with Russia first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Stalled Out on the Road to Damascus, Syria

The pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles

— Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” 1965

A lot of folks, including this writer, were surprised to learn in the Spring of 2018 that the United States had a significant troop presence on Syrian soil.  Of course, America had shot some “Home of the Brave!” cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield only the Arab Spring before (April 7, 2017), marking the first time in the 6-year old conflict that the USA had officially attacked Syria.  The administration of Donald Trumpistan was quite new at the time, and the Corporate Press that was already addicted to Russia-phobing his novel presidency was falling all over themselves with praise for this unhinged action.  Why?  The cruise missile strike was explicitly framed as an “appropriate” response to an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, a claim that has since come under considerable scrutiny; indeed, so much so that employees walking the halls of the OPCW HQ are constantly shifting their eyes, wondering who will blow the whistle next…

Official American involvement, or threat of involvement, really began during the Summer of 2012, when Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize winning predecessor, Barack Obushma, declared that any Syrian use of WMD would constitute a “red line” for direct U.S. intervention.  Suddenly, visions of another “Iraq” were swirling in the foggy, Mesopotomac air.  The nimble Obama, however, quickly pivoted to assure all and sundry that any American response to such a dastardly deed would not involve “boots on the ground.”  Curiously enough, one year later, an alleged chemweaps attack occurred in the Damascus suburb of Gouta, the blame for which was immediately pinned on the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.  Well, we all know what happened next: nada. Obama cited a lack of Congressional support (like he “needed” it) for punitive action against Syria, and thus his bold “red line” vanished like a desert mirage over Syrian sands…

The timelines in the Syrian conflict — or conflicts — tend to be a bit more than blurry, but the Obama administration was clearly playing a double game with the American public over Syria.  While blowing some “red line” smoke across mainstream airwaves, Obama, in late 2012, had secretly authorized a CIA mission — Operation Timber Sycamore — to train, then arm, jihadi-style mercenaries for the violent overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  Of course, the American people and their elected representatives were kept in the dark about all of this Syrian skullduggery while a compliant Corporate Press spewed whatever anti-al-Assad talking points they were fed that day.  The Syrian regime change operation became — or always had been — a pet project of the Obushma administration and those crazy gun-slingers at the CIA, no doubt emboldened by the “success” of the Libya operation.  Timber Sycamore would eventually be phased out by Trump in 2017, but by then the Pentagon was doing most of the heavy lifting for regime change in Syria because — any guesses? — the U.S. already had a few thousand “boots on the ground” there, doing whatever American “boots on the ground” do in countries where they have been covertly “inserted,” and– definitely not invited

This clandestine, and obviously illegal, American invasion of Syria occurred no later than the end of 2015, but the record is still not clear due to official obfuscation on the subject; indeed, most Americans are still not aware that the Obama administration invaded Syria in the first place, nor that, under the Trump-following administration of Joe “Malarkey,” a large contingent of U.S. troops are still in Syria today, “guarding” 70% of Syria’s oil production against…Well, anyone “We don’t like!”, including the Syrian government.

Incidentally, the phrase “Syrian Civil War” is totally a Western propaganda construct.  There may have been an iota of credence to this description in 2011, due to the defection of some Syrian military members to the “rebellion” then, but it seems pretty clear by now that this conflict has been overwhelmingly driven by foreign actors.  The major players include, in no particular order:  Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France (“Hey, shout out to Sykes-Picot!”), U$A, Russia, Qatar, Israel, and Iran.  Wow, but how truly “International” this war is!  Of course, various al-Qaeda affiliates and whatever’s left of ISIS — that somewhat nebulous Islamomorphic phenomenon — should be listed as well, except that:  If we followed the money, we’d find that their “jihadist business ventures” are entirely traceable to donors who comprise all of the major international sponsors of this catastrophic conflict, catalogued above.  Considering the fact that American, Russian, Turkish, and Iranian troops operate inside of Syria, while the Israelis have been bombing Syrian “targets” with impunity for years, the myth of a “Syrian Civil War” evaporates under the most cursory inspection.

“But, What about all of those Terribly Trump-Abandoned Syrian Kurds I heard so much about on NPR in the Fall of 2019?”

Nevertheless, to return to the issue of American “boots on the ground” in Syria, where they are still, tending to most of Syria’s sacred oil wells, a “humanitarian” mission if ever there was one…It is noteworthy that His Orangeness made a Big Noise about withdrawing all American Forces from Syria in December 2019.  In the event, the Corporate Press was horrified by this “abandonment” of “so Ancient an Ally!” as the Kurds of Syria, and the Pentagon quickly moved to ignore Trump’s blustering on the subject; after all, the Death Star’s in charge these post-9/11 days.  The War Drum Beat goes on, no matter whose Reality Show Starring, or Zombie-ing, in the current case, the Oval Office.

The power of propaganda for the War Machine after 9/11, of course, cannot be exaggerated; this is especially true of the Syrian Regime Change Operation which, hopefully, represents the last of the 9/11-sprung regime change wars in the “Greater Middle East.”  As a real world example of the power of this propaganda, particularly in the Syrian context, I cite a disputative experience I had with two “Blue-Check Liberal” friends at an Open Mic venue in December of 2019 pertaining to the “Trump withdrawal” of violently trespassing American troops in Syria.  Apparently, NPR, along with every other mainstream Corporate Media outlet, had been blaring the message that Trump was “Abandoning the Kurds!” all day.  Of course, this is a “War Cry!” seldom heard in American media, but there it was, in all of its newly minted talking point glory.

Not initiating the conversation, as I had not been subjected to this particular propaganda bombardment in toto, I naively commented that the military Americans in Syria had no right to be there in the first place; therefore, it was quite an easy — thus correct and rational — decision to remove these American crisis facilitators from that foreign country.  Both of my friends, who were almost “violently” disagreeing with me, are absolute peaceniks, at least according to their own understandings of their respective “politics,” as far as I can tell.  The most amazing or bizarre a priori fact of this “conversation” is that any acknowledgement of the illegality of an American troop presence in Syria was completely off-limits, or out-of-bounds.  Quite obviously, American soldiers were not illegally inserted on to Syrian soil for the express purpose of shielding Syrian Kurds from harm; instead, they were “infiltrated” there specifically to boost a longstanding effort to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.  By the way, it almost goes without saying, my two Bluetocratic, anti-Trump peacenik friends had probably never had a single solitary thought about the plight of Syrian Kurds — not to mention any other Kurds! — in the entire consciousness of their lengthy lives.  Such is the power of the post-9/11 propaganda for the War Machine, the Death Star, that is currently stoking a “fake crisis” over Ukraine (more on this in a moment–), with Taiwan waiting in the wings…

Syria, perhaps, provides the most ironic of all possible bookends to the 9/11-inspired regime change War Regime.  As in Afghanistan, ultimately, after two murderously long decades, the Regime Change War Series seems to have finally crapped out.  Bashar al-Assad’s still in power in Damascus, and the Caliban Taliban are once again the force to be reckoned with in Afghanistan (truth be told, to any Pentagonal Prosperos out there listening, the Taliban never went away, despite the best laid plans of General David Patreus and the Obushma “surge”…).  Iran, of course, as always, is seen as the ultimate “prize” in this latest, post-9/11est rendering of the “Great Game.”  That “game” is obviously up, over, kaput, and doneski.  Small question, a bit rhetorical:  Can the “boys in power” finally grow up and take some responsibility for the World they keep blowing up but pretend to rule by “Rule of Law”?

Further Note: a Correction

This piece was originally written back in January 2022, when talk or chatter about a Russian move into Ukraine was just that.  At that time I saw this Media circus — or typical hysterical hype — through a “wag the dog” lens, thus the above phrase “fake crisis over Ukraine.”  After all, one year into the current American regime, it was abundantly obvious that the administration of Joe “Bidenopolous” is a clear and present failure, a political fact that even some of the sleepiest walkers among us are waking up to…

Well, lo and we were Western Intel Agency told, Mr Putin actually launched his “Special Military Operation” into Ukraine on February 24.  Many an analyst missed the boat on this “special launch,” and for all sorts of reasons, like the possibility of Nuclear War, depending on NATO’s counter-move, or the threat of Russian economy-crippling sanctions, among others.  However, in retrospect, I think it’s worth noting that the initial “wag the dog” optical returns were spectacular for the “Collective West” and Mr Biden, absent-mindedly skippering our economic Titanic.  Suddenly, all of the TransAtlanticans’ self-inflicted problems were “Mad Vlad’s” fault.  Inflation going Weimar-style sideways bonkers?  Hey, no worries, because it’s just “Putin’s Price Hike!”  Yet, this distraction airy spin has worn quite thin by now, it seems.  Far from crushing the Russian economy, an avalanche of Western sanctions has badly boomeranged, leaving Western leaders scrambling amidst the shambling of their own economies, while the Russian military gobbles up more of Ukraine every day, one morsel at a time.  Until further notice, Mr Putin is calling the shots, not Brussels, London, nor the DC regime change crew.

The other “Thing” to note here, perhaps, is the collapse of the Covid Regime and the attempt to splice its sorry remains into a “Putin’s the Virus!” kind of narrative, with Taiwan still “waiting in the wings.”  Many commentators have emphasized this baton pass, from Covid to Putin, of official Western ideology; CJ Hopkins and Fabio Vighi immediately spring to mind in this context.

But to return to Syria:  With some degree of geopolitical justice it can be said that the current conflict in Ukraine can be described as “Syria 2.0”.  Many of the same players are in play, including the Oscar-winning “White Helmets” (according to reports) in this Ukrainian showdown although, quite notably, not Israel.  So, what’s up with America’s BFF in the Middle Easternlands?  Well, many a Saul has been blinded “on the road to Damascus,” but the crazy Israelis know a thing or two, and they apparently value their “condominium” with Russia over Syria above their “special relationship” with the United $tates in regard to Ukraine.  Saudi Arabia, too, as well as China, India, and the list goes on and on.  Wasn’t the whole idea to “isolate” Russia?  It would appear that the West is “isolating” itself, instead.

“Something’s happening here,” as the late 1960s band Buffalo Springfield once sang (“For What It’s Worth”), and it certainly looks like a “paradigm shift” of geo-tectonic proportions is presently playing out upon this Planet.  Who’s to say who “wins,” but maybe, just maybe, “winning” the “Great White Western Way” isn’t the only Game in Town these days?

The post Stalled Out on the Road to Damascus, Syria first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Market God + Private Profits = Public Loss

All people need food, shelter and health care. In an alleged democracy, none of them need the religion of market forces governing their ability to get them. Nor do those of us temporarily comfortable while enjoying the benefits that come to a minority which does well with capitalism (as it did with slavery) but now face a choking atmosphere that no individual status or identity as glorified house negroes of slavery days will protect us since the house itself, our planet, is under deadly attack.

Brutal abuse of logic, savage assaults on morality, perverted molestations of reason; do those describe Russian military behavior in the Ukraine or western political-media market practice? Incredibly booming profits in the death industry accompany the world tour of a Ukrainian political hustler for NATO as he is treated as an international hero for escaping his country on a world go-fund-me trip to raise more weapons to assure more murder of his people with a potential bonus of hosting a late night TV show in America while the bodies are being counted.

The incredible reporting (?) of the Russian defense of its borders has it being depicted as an ugly rape of neighbors led by a comic book madman supposedly bent on building an empire by defending his nation from an imperial monster failing desperately by the day and threatening to destroy the world in a frenzy of trying to maintain its criminal domination of the market god religion. This while its own nation shows signs of crumbling with citizens lashing out at one another and losing faith in all aspects of what passes for leadership but reduced to blaming special villains and identity groups while pursuing decency and freedom for other and often the same villains and identity groups. The one most dangerous and unjust group, the incredibly rich who own and operate what passes for a democracy under thought control, are only just beginning to get the attention they have always deserved.

Low election day turnouts are an American tradition but worse than ever as divisions forced on a public taught to identify as anything but a democratic majority – while paying lip service to something called “our” democracy, which amounts to slaves claiming “our” plantation – while foreign slaughter is accompanied by homeland mass murders that reduce citizens to more fear, sorrow and anger directed at everything but the systemic breakdown and focused by media on scapegoats.

Class society is composed of all of us but we are hardly all members of the same class in a market-dominated capitalism in which rulers separate us by everything but class. Do we have testicles or vaginas? We are all human beings. Lighter skin or darker skin? We are all human beings.  But when a tiny minority among us are rich and everyone else ranges from fairly comfortable to relatively comfortable to uncomfortable to suffering severe discomfort to being ground to pulp by marketism, that defines class society, which is absolutely necessary under the market forces controlled by the rich and their servants in government, industry and media.

American dollar democracy finds 8% of us being millionaires, multi-millionaires, billionaires, and multi billionaires. The 92% majority, of course, control everything democratically. That is the definable truth if you believe deep nose-picking is a way of performing self lobotomy or that the tooth fairy is really a gay dentist. Sadly, a minority of us, including all too many voters, might as well be stuck in such a mental trap. But a growing majority sense that something is terribly wrong and that real change is necessary for humanity and not just one or another identity group’s survival is causing greater desire than ever for substantial change in the way we organize our society. Unfortunately, that desire is still under the control of the profit-making industries of division, violence, ignorance and more division.

It is possible to believe that a billionaire and a pauper are equal when shopping at the market, if one is among the nose picking tooth fairy faith. The rest of us must see the numbers which do not lie and get worse every day when it comes to what is called economic inequality. While that is the foundation of marketism which affords massive estates and riches so vast it takes several banks to hold them, hundreds of thousands of humans, whether possessing testicles, vaginas, or both, light skin, dark skin, or both, heterosexual, homosexual or both, do not have shelter, publicly beg for food and forage through garbage for clothing. This while millions of residents in a so-called democracy have no health care and more than a million die of a virus which is believed by some to have been created by one or another villainous force but hardly due to the capitalist market system which demands money for most of what is needed for survival while essentially telling those without enough money they can drop dead.

While formally educated and mentally deranged manipulators of policy are using Ukraine to affect murdering Russians and using Taiwan to encourage murder of Chinese, common sense and near universal desires for global peace are impossible to find in the mass murder market dominated and controlled by minorities at growing danger to the overwhelming majority of earth’s inhabitants. The socially diseased imperial beast calling itself a force for global peace and democracy has become a raving monster desperately in need of a truly democratic force of the American people to take control before the rest of the world, led by China, Russia and the many nations fed up with a disintegrating economic, social and political environment, have to exercise control, democratic or otherwise.

Peace is impossible while life is controlled by minority profiteers whose control of information is as menacing as its weapons making. The world outside the USA is growing restive, fed up, and beginning to tell us to bug off, as at the recent farce of an alleged meeting of Latin American countries formerly under our total domination showed. Nato countries reduced to suffering for obeying American orders to sanction Russia are being to think about banding together to sanction The USA. There has never been a greater time for real democracy in America but it won’t come about by making war on one another, which will only make the imperial situation worse. Our identity is as human beings, not sub-categories of humans with no need for food, clothing and shelter but only separate-but-allegedly-equal status slaves to a market god, and our fate is in coming together and acting as such. We need to do that in greater numbers and more quickly than ever.

The post Market God + Private Profits = Public Loss first appeared on Dissident Voice.

June 23 Oakland Protest Against Barbara Lee’s Vote for $40 billion to fund War in Ukraine.  Join Us.

On Thursday June 23 people will gather outside Rep Barbara Lee’s office in Oakland at 11:30 am to protest her recent vote for $40 billion for the war in Ukraine. The demonstration is called in conjunction with the International Day of Action for Peace in Ukraine called by the Peace in Ukraine Coalition.  There will be a companion demonstration on the same day in at the Northampton, MA, office of Rep. Jimmy McGovern who also voted for the murderous $40 billion, and accompanied Pelosi in her recent visit to Ukraine.

This massive funding package represents a clear escalation of the war in Ukraine by the government of the United States using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in a proxy war with Russia.  The funding pours fuel on the flames of that war.  It will prolong the war, resulting in thousands more Ukrainian and Russian deaths, at the very least.

And this funding is one more step in escalating and widening the scope of the war – up to and including nuclear war.

WHAT: Protest of Barbara Lee’s vote for $40 Billion for the War in Ukraine. This protest is in conjunction with a global day of action against the war, preceding the NATO summit in Madrid, called by the Peace in Ukraine Coalition.

WHERE: 1 Kaiser Plaza, Oakland, California. (Barbara Lee’s Oakland Office)

WHEN: Thursday, June 23rd at 11:30 am.

WHO: Community and AntiWar activists and organizations including Code Pink, Democratic Socialists of American (DSA), East Bay Vets for Peace, Peace in Ukraine Coalition, United Against War & Militarism.

Despite promising just two months ago to “work relentlessly toward de-escalation” of the war in Ukraine, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee voted in lockstep with every Democrat in Congress behind President Biden’s war policy.  This includes not only Barbara Lee but all the other self-styled progressives in Congress, including Bernie Sanders, AOC and the rest of the “Squad.”

Barbara Lee because of her lone vote in opposing the two decade war in Afghanistan, is held up as an icon proving that there are progressive Democratic politicians who will vote for peace.  The promise held out by Lee and her Democratic colleagues that they could be a force for peace now lies in ruins.

Why U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine must be opposed.

One can look at the war in several ways.

If it is a war between Russia and Ukraine, then it is no business of the United States.

If one believes that it is a war by an idealistic to US to defend sovereignty and national borders, ask the people of Iraq if the US respects sovereignty – or the people of Afghanistan or Libya or Vietnam or Venezuela … the list goes on and on.

If one believes that this is a war to defend democracy, then ask the Palestinians suffering under Apartheid imposed by Israel which is supported by the US government or the people of Saudi Arabia or the many other dictatorships around the world that the US has supported.

No, this is a proxy war of the US against Russia being waged to the last Ukrainian.  If that has not been evident since the role of the US in backing the violent coup in 2014 against a duly elected Ukrainian President, then it is beyond doubt now with the declaration of Defense Secretary Austin that the goal of the US is to “weaken” Russia, the declaration of Joe Biden that Putin must not be allowed to govern and the declaration of Nancy Pelosi that the US must have total “victory” over Russia.  The Biden administration has chosen to confront another major nuclear weapons power, Russia – and that confrontation constitutes an existential threat to all of humanity.

Ukraine now wages war only to improve its bargaining power at the inevitable negotiations which will end the conflict admitted David Arakhamia, who leads Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia and is one of Volodymyr Zelensky’s closest advisers. 200-500 Ukrainian soldiers dying each day with a total of 1000 dead or wounded daily, the latest numbers given by Ukraine, simply to improve a negotiating position is a highly immoral exercise.  Ukraine has now become essentially a puppet state at the mercy of the US for arms and aid.  It is naïve beyond belief to believe that Ukraine proceeds in this immoral fashion without approval of the US – or even perhaps coercion by the US to fight on so as to save face for its patron Biden.

The Biden administration can stop the proxy war.  And we have the power to influence the Biden administration and the pols who support it.  It is our right and responsibility to exercise that power and stop this war.

Who benefits from the war and who is damaged?

Cui bono? Billions in funding for the war serves the interests of weapons manufacturers, military contractors, who pocket untold profits from the war in Ukraine.  Some of these dollars go to funding the endless proliferation of hawkish think tanks whose well paid employees show up as talking heads or op-ed writers in the mainstream media doing all in their power to convince us that “the other” is evil and that war is the answer.  These are media manikins and are ideologues driven by a desire for US world domination and therefore very dangerous

At the same time funding cannot be found for the many problems we face in the US – homelessness, inadequately funded schools, crumbling infrastructure, failure to deal adequately with climate change and now even shortages of baby formula!  Inflation in the U.S. was already running at over 7% before the conflict began due to the tragically inadequate response to Covid-19 and out of control “quantitative easing”; i.e., printing money with abandon.  But the war and sanctions have worsened the inflation which is now running at over 8%.  The average American sees this daily at the gas station and supermarket where soaring prices are now the rule.

Beyond that we must look to the entire world and especially the Global South both of which are suffering beyond belief from inflation and food shortages due to the US sanctions and the continuation of the war.  Led by India, China and nations representing the overwhelming majority of humanity, the world has refused to respect the illegal sanctions.  That leaves only the US and its European allies, former colonial powers, in supporting the US proxy war.  It is not Russia but the US that is isolated.

  • No weapons for war in Ukraine
  • No Proxy War with Russia
  • No to Nuclear War
The post June 23 Oakland Protest Against Barbara Lee’s Vote for $40 billion to fund War in Ukraine.  Join Us. first appeared on Dissident Voice.