Exclusive: Powerful forces are arrayed against any significant changes that President Trump may try to make in foreign policy, a dilemma made worse by his own ineptness and staffing troubles, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
President Trump’s emerging foreign policy is one of contradictions and chaos, caught up in a combination of old establishment orthodoxies and some fresh recognition of reality but without any strong strategic thinker capable of separating one from the other and leading the administration in a thoughtful direction.
The examples of new thinking include abandoning President Obama’s fitful – and bloody – campaign to force “regime change” in Syria; accepting a more realistic solution to the political mess in Libya; and trying to cooperate with Russia on combating terrorism, such as the fight against Islamic State and Al Qaeda, and reducing international tensions, such as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
But Team Trump also is hobbled by its inability to break free from many of the groupthinks that have dominated Official Washington for the past quarter century or so as the foreign policy establishment fell under the domination of the neoconservatives and their junior partners, the liberal interventionists, virtually banishing the formerly influential “realists” as well as the few peace advocates.
This enduring neocon/liberal-hawk strength – reflected in what all the “important people” know to be true – has left senior Trump officials still pandering to the Saudis and the Israelis; repeating the neocon mantra that “Iran is the principal source of terrorism” (though that is clearly not true given the support for Al Qaeda and other Sunni terror groups coming from U.S. “allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar); and falling into line with NATO’s hype of Russia as the new global villain.
Trapped in Old Thinking
What is increasingly clear is that Trump’s inner circle lacks a comprehensive understanding about how these various foreign-policy forces fit together. Beyond Trump’s transactional approach in demanding that “allies” – from Japan to Saudi Arabia to European nations in NATO – pay more for their costly U.S. security umbrella – Trump and his advisers lack a consistent foreign policy message.
Perhaps the most supple thinker is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who started out with a traditional fondness toward Israel and Saudi Arabia but now seems to be at the forefront of the administration’s pragmatists, looking at novel ways of resolving the crises in Iraq, Syria and Libya, even if that means dealing with the Iranians and the Russians. Kushner, however, lacks knowledge and experience in foreign affairs and is hamstrung by a lack of support staff as his portfolio of responsibilities keeps expanding.
Other senior foreign policy officials – the likes of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and United Nations Ambassador Nicki Haley – fit more into the traditionalist mold, touting the unquestioned value of the alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, NATO and the European Union – although even these more conventional voices have acquiesced on the recognition of reality in Syria, that Bashar al-Assad’s government isn’t likely to be overthrown soon and that the fight against Islamic State takes precedence.
Yet, regarding a more thorough overhaul of U.S. foreign policy – getting tough with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States for their clandestine support for Sunni militants, demanding that Israel get serious in working out a peace agreement with the Palestinians, and forging a détente with Russia – the Tillerson-Mattis-Haley triangle appears resistant to going outside the foreign policy frame that the neocons have built.
Haley, with her own political ambitions, appears to relish her role as a favorite of Israel and the neocons, getting a particularly warm welcome when she addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last week and vowed to shield Israel from U.N. criticism.
The Neocon Rise
Over the past 35 years, the neocons have managed to amass extraordinary power in Washington because – unlike most of their adversaries – they possess a purposeful vision of what they want to accomplish, principally protecting Israel’s interests in the Middle East and lavishing money on the Military Industrial Complex. They also push a Western neoliberal economic model on the world that breaks down traditional social values and enriches a global financial elite.
This combination of goals ensures a steady flow of many millions of dollars into the neocons’ coffers via think tanks, non-governmental organizations, consultancies and business interests. But the neocons have proven their worth. Generally speaking, they are bright, articulate and politically savvy.
The neocons made their first big move into the centers of power during the Reagan administration, filling a void for skilled functionaries. After getting credentialed in the 1980s, the neocons expanded their reach into the major media and big-time think tanks in the 1990s during the Clinton administration and fully claimed the levers of power in the 2000s under George W. Bush.
By the Obama administration, the neocons had so ensconced themselves in the centers of Washington power that they continued to exert great influence even though President Obama was never exactly one of them, coming more from the “realist” camp although he surrounded himself with liberal interventionists.
The world views of these liberal hawks matched closely with the neocons’, differing mostly in the rationalizations used for sponsoring “regime changes.” The neocons typically cited “terrorism” and “democracy-promotion” while the liberal interventionists would rally around “humanitarian concerns.” But they usually ended up in the same place, such as supporting the Iraq invasion in 2003 and the proxy war in Syria from 2011-2016.
Throughout his presidency, Obama never took firm control of his foreign policy. At the start, he enlisted a “team of rivals” – seasoned players who ran circles around him bureaucratically, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus – and even in his second term, Obama let liberal hawks and neocons, such as Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, respectively, box him in.
Obama would often resist the most extreme schemes that these hawks would hatch, but he rarely challenged them directly, behaving more like a foot-dragger-in-chief than a forceful President.
Obama also let the neocons and the liberal interventionists control the narratives, turning adversaries into “demons” and allies into “innocents.” Whether it was the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus (blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) or the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine (blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin), Obama didn’t let the dubious evidentiary cases interfere with the desired propaganda value of the incidents.
So, when Obama finally left office, he left behind not only a nettlesome batch of international crises – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine, South Sudan and a New Cold War with Russia – but also a series of exaggerated or false narratives that made resolving these trouble spots doubly difficult.
Under the best of circumstances, the Trump administration would have had a nearly impossible task unwinding the deceptive story lines and reaching out to foreign leaders who could actually help resolve these crises. But Donald Trump complicated the task with his own bizarre behavior, squandering his first days in office with silly complaints about whose Inauguration crowds were bigger and his absurd argument that he had really won the popular vote.
But the real challenge was how indoctrinated nearly all the “important people” in Washington had become after a quarter century or so of hearing almost exclusively the neocon point-of-view, which was built around the Israeli-Saudi viewpoint on the Middle East and on the need to demonize anyone who got in their way.
The cornerstone of Israel’s regional strategy derives from the fact that Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia bloodied the proud Israeli Defense Force when it was occupying southern Lebanon, forcing Israel to withdraw back to its borders and earning the Shiite militia the label of a “terrorist” organization. And, since Shiite-ruled Iran was helping Hezbollah, Iran soon became the chief sponsor of terrorism in Israeli eyes.
Because Israel insisted on that position, the U.S. government and the mainstream media fell in line. It didn’t matter that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni regimes were financing and arming Al Qaeda and other terror groups that were attacking the West. Between Israel’s political clout in the United States and the Saudi financial power, Official Washington parroted what it was told. Even as Al Qaeda and later the Islamic State became the major terror groups attacking the West, all the “important people” in media and government still recited the mantra: “Iran is the principal sponsor of terrorism.”
Israel’s obsession with Hezbollah and Saudi Arabia’s sectarian hatred of the Shiites led to other strategic decisions in the region. Since Syria was allied with Iran and Hezbollah – and was considered the centerpiece of the so-called “Shiite crescent” stretching from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut – “regime change” in Syria would deal a powerful blow to the regional enemies of both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
So, “regime change” in Syria became an important priority shared by the American neocons and – because Bashar al-Assad could be painted as a ruthless dictator – by the liberal interventionists as well. Half-heartedly, Obama went along with the call that “Assad must go,” but Obama still resisted pressure from Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Power to commit the U.S. military too deeply to what was becoming a messy sectarian war.
Despite this hesitancy, Obama joined with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and others in arming and/or supporting various rebel factions – some deemed “moderate” – that coalesced under Sunni extremists associated with Al Qaeda (Nusra Front), Nusra’s ally Ahrar al-Sham, and Al Qaeda’s spin-off (Islamic State).
Still, Assad and his government proved more resistant to “regime change” than had been expected. But the neocon/liberal-hawk hopes were raised in August 2013 when a mysterious sarin attack outside Damascus was blamed on Assad although the evidence seemed to point to a provocation by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists. Nevertheless, the mainstream U.S. media, key “human rights” groups, and much of the U.S. government pinned the blame on Assad amid expectations of a major U.S. bombing campaign to devastate his military.
But Western intelligence analysts shared with Obama their doubts about who was responsible and the President called off the bombing at the last minute to the fury of many in Official Washington who chastised Obama for not enforcing his “red line” against chemical weapons use.
The Putin Problem
Then, to make matters worse for the “regime change” advocates, Russian President Putin intervened with a face-saving plan in which Assad surrendered his chemical weapons while still denying responsibility for the attack. With that move, Putin – who was also assisting Obama on negotiations to constrain Iran’s nuclear program and thus heading off another neocon-desired “regime change” mission – jumped to the top of international targets.
The neocons recognized the need to punish Putin and drive a wedge between Putin and Obama before they might turn their joint attention to something as sensitive as an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Ukraine became the convenient wedge.
By late September 2013, neocon Carl Gershman, president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, had identified Ukraine as the “biggest prize” as well as an important step toward eventually removing Putin from power in Russia. Between Gershman’s NED lavishing money on activists and Assistant Secretary Nuland’s machinations supporting violent protests in Kiev, the stage was set for Ukraine’s “regime change,” ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych and installing a fiercely anti-Russian regime.
After Yanukovych’s ouster – with neo-Nazi and ultranationalist street fighters leading the charge on Feb. 22, 2014 – Crimea, an ethnic Russian stronghold where Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet was based, reacted to the coup in Kiev by voting to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Putin committed some Russian troops already stationed on the peninsula to protect Crimea’s decision, a move that Western propaganda portrayed as a “Russian invasion.”
Across Europe and the U.S., an anti-Russian hysteria took hold that entrenched the neocons/liberal hawks in even greater control of Western thinking. At this point, Obama essentially capitulated and joined in the Russia-bashing.
His expected successor, Hillary Clinton, was even more committed to the neocon/liberal-hawk narrative. But Clinton’s inept campaign and the last-minute intervention by FBI Director James Comey (briefly reopening an investigation into her use of a private email server while Secretary of State) led to the surprise result of Donald Trump’s victory.
Oddballs and Outsiders
Trump, however, was unprepared for victory. He had around him a motley crew of oddballs and outsiders. Many detested and distrusted the Washington foreign policy establishment, which was dominated by neocons and liberal hawks, but Team Trump had no sophisticated understanding of the complex global and political challenges that faced the new and inexperienced President.
Many of his advisers also had absorbed the dominant groupthinks, especially those pushed by Israel, such as the falsehood that Iran was the principal source of terrorism.
At first, Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner seemed to think that they might be able to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace by getting Saudi Arabia to strong-arm the Palestinians into accepting Israeli dictates for a solution, called the “outside-in” plan. So, initially, there was the usual cozying up to the Israeli and Saudi “allies.”
Meanwhile, Official Washington was busy trying to repel the Trump presidency much as a body deploys white cells to kill an infection. The chief method of attack was the charge of “Russian meddling” in the election and suspicions that it was coordinated with the Trump campaign. To achieve the goal of Trump’s ouster, the mainstream media and the political elite adopted a revisionist history of the campaign, ignoring Clinton’s numerous missteps and the key role played by Comey when he revived the FBI investigation into Clinton’s email server just days before the Nov. 8 election.
Instead, the new groupthink was that some leaked emails earlier in the campaign revealing how the Democratic National Committee had tilted the playing field against Sen. Bernie Sanders and how Clinton’s campaign had been hiding details of her speeches to Wall Street had somehow decided the election – and that Russia had hacked into those email accounts and passed the information onto WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks denied getting the emails from Russia but that claim was brushed aside, along with memories of the earlier analysis of what had caused Clinton’s surprising defeat: her own incompetent campaign and Comey’s intervention.
The poisonous climate created by Russia-gate further constrained Trump’s possible outreach to Moscow for cooperation on resolving a number of global hotspots.
Although the Russia-gate accusers lacked evidence of collaboration between Team Trump and the Kremlin, the endless repetition of the charges had a powerful effect. In effect, the neocons and the liberal hawks exploited the “scandal” to protect their core interests. It now will be difficult for Trump to resolve Ukraine or cooperate with Russia on Syria and Libya or to team up with Russia to finally compel Israel to accept a reasonable agreement with the Palestinians.
Saudi Arabia also came up a winner with the Trump administration extending its support for the Saudi war on impoverished Yemen and the lifting of human rights constraints on arming Bahrain. In both cases, Sunni rulers are repressing Shiite-related populations and the violence is rationalized by the old mantra: “Iran is the principal source of terrorism.”
There’s also the hope among many in Official Washington and inside the mainstream media that Russia-gate can be transformed into an impeachment proceeding to remove Trump and put neocon-friendly Vice President Mike Pence in charge. He, in turn, would likely turn control of U.S. foreign policy over to the likes of neocon Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The status quo ante would be restored.
That is why wielding the anti-Russia stick has been so tempting, offering a way to both bludgeon Trump and beat to death any nascent détente with Russia, which would give new hope for more “regime change” wars. For the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, that would be a win-win-win.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Yes, Andy Jones, and a lot of other NeoKhan, er Neocon, skullduggery as well. “Death-cult” is an apt nominative.
George Washington, or even Barry Goldwater, would turn over in their graves if they could see this heinously un-American garbage.
Why did we go through all that trouble to get the King Louie 16 to give us all that money to harass the British into leaving our shores, just so we could later turn into something far worse that TJ ever accused them of being? Mind boggling.
Congratulations Robert, Brilliant. And thank you. This article is possibly the best (quick) analysis of the situation I have read anywhere in the last 30 years. Dead center in the 10X ring.
Iran is a not-insignificant problem–however, there is a way forward…IF…we have the political balls to take it. Saudi Arabia is the #1 problem currently–something about petro-dollars and jihad. Soon that lofty position will be usurped by Turkey and its aggressive dreams of a new Ottoman Empire. Only this time Erdogan promises to send “refugees” to the gates of Vienna, instead of soldiers with military uniforms. Stay tuned for a new season of Creative Adventures in Jihad.
BTW, notice how all 3 of these “countries” are avowed followers of a crazy-but-brilliant guy that died about 1,385 years ago.
Another excellent discussion of the situation. Mr. Parry can be relied upon to publish an accurate view of the increasingly dangerous reality.
The neocons are a doomsday cult who are trying to start WW III and bring about the destruction of civilization. If Trump wants to discredit them he should use his power to declassify their role in the coup in Ukraine and support for jihadists in Syria.
I never see the MSM point out how US pressure on NATO “allies” (puppets and lackeys would be more accurate) to increase their military spending means more money for US military industrialists — just one example is recent Norwegian purchase of new equipment to take on Russian naval forces and submarines. How convenient that more “defense” spending by Europeans means bigger coffers for US arms merchants.
Haley is as much a war hawk as Hillary. What a grossly insulting choice for a UN rep.
I think all you have to know about the new regime’s tendencies is the involvement of Erik Prince as an unofficial (covert?) adviser.
Founder of the bloody mercenary firm Blackwater.
Meet da new boss, same as da old boss.
With Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos (née Prince) in Trump’s cabinet, that is guaranteed.
Anon says “Democracy can never be restored peacefully.” The problem is that there has never been a real democracy on this planet. We do not even understand what that would be, and how it would work or maintain it’s existence over time. Democracy has existed only as a vague ideal, or a pretence full of serious flaws.
I cannot say how a real democracy would come into being or function, but I think it would require the participation of large numbers of people operating from a clearer consciousness free of the defective memes and narratives that most people bring to every situation of their lives. Only fundamentally different and better people can create a real democracy together. Their prime inner directive and motivation would undoubtedly involve love for one another. A society based primarily selfish and materialistic behavior will never produce a true democracy.
Doubtless your motives are good, but you are ignoring the causes of oppression.
1. The fact that no democracy has been perfect does not argue that we do not have the task of restoring democracy.
2. It is completely false that “Democracy has existed only as …preten[s]e”
3. While “better people can create a real democracy together” this is irrelevant to the restoration of democracy.
4. You would need non-existent historical examples to make any such argument relevant to the present.
So no one should imagine that pleasant “somehow, someday, maybe” thoughts address the question of today.
That is usually pacifist propaganda designed to prevent the restoration of democracy.
Let us be realistic and not merely watch others suffer and struggle for our liberation.
Those who care about humanity care about democracy, and do not hide from public service.
Democracy can never be restored peacefully.
From Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous Riverside Church speech, given April 4, 1967, a year to the day before his assassination:
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. “
It takes a lot of money and planning to make an organization, even a terrorist organization. The Taliban appears to have been manufactured by the U.S. in Afghanistan. The threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction was manufactured by the U.S. to get into the war with Iraq. ISIS appears to have been manufactured by the U.S. to overthrow the government of Syria. I doubt very much that the Saudis or the other Gulf States are doing this of their own accord (funding ISIS). I think they’re just little lackeys who are told what to do – or else they’ll go the way of Gaddafi!
I think the play goes something like this: somebody isn’t doing what they’re told, they’re being too independent, so they and their country must be crushed. Money is found and, voila, a new terrorist organization is born! They’re just manufactured, as needed. A few people get wealthy from the sale of arms, and even the grave diggers get rich. A few more people get rich off robbing the country after it’s crushed.
Then it’s on to the next poor country and the manufacture of another opposition. Media plays along; the American people are duped again and further indebted.
Yes, the Saudis were once thought to be afraid of jihadis, and are now said to be funding them. Their security was not threatened by Shiites so much as by domestic radicals. So likely they have been forced by the zionist-corrupted US government to sponsor radicals elsewhere as a front for Israel, like the US.
“The neocons recognized the need to punish Putin and drive a wedge between Putin and Obama before they might turn their joint attention to something as sensitive as an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Ukraine became the convenient wedge.”
Wow, what a line! Does Israel really have this much clout?
I’ve heard it said that Zionist money and Israel control Congress and the Senate. If true, welcome to the United States of Israel.
Mr. Parry – excellent writing. I think Trump’s foreign policy was simple and straight forward: get out of everybody else’s business, reduce or dismantle NATO, and stop the wars.
Here’s how I see the problem – one side wants to continue the wars and will ASSASSINATE anyone who stands in their way, and the other side wants to end the wars and would never dream of assassinating anyone. That’s a very big difference!
A simple “Do you value having Ivanka around?” ought to do it. Try going up against anyone who threatens your life or someone you love. And these guys don’t just threaten, they actually follow through. They are deadly serious. Try fighting that. You can’t.
Without the backing of the population, there is not much Trump can do to change this. The only thing that can save the U.S. is for the American people to actually step up, speak out and get behind Trump. But, as is evident even on this blog, too many people do not see the imminent danger.
It seems that any politician who believes in anything will not be deterred by death threats: he would instead order massive purges and investigations. It is not the people whose backing is needed to push through changes, it is political party organization, of which he apparently had essentially nothing, and ended up appointing the neocons familiar to Repubs.
The failure to purge the ranks means failure to plan any change. Empty promises to delude the sheeple. What else does America believe in?
Sam F – yeah, I think Trump figured that because he wanted wars stopped, somehow everybody else would agree and get on board. Not! I don’t think he had a foreign policy. All that he had in mind was no more wars. He has been very naive in not seeing the true nature of the MIC. I think – I hope, anyway – that he sees it now. If not, he soon will. He’s not stupid.
This Russia business has set Trump back, but he needs to step up and fight back. Purge, purge and purge.
“we have been propelled to the curioser and curioser situation of a CENTCOM that invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq; distributed death and destruction free of charge; provoked a myriad, monster refugee crisis; is back at war in Iraq; is still implicated in regime change by all means in Syria; and “leads from behind” the Saudi destruction of Yemen, is now de facto, on the record, allied with Daesh – which it let fester – to take out Iran.
“Feel free to call it CENTCOM’s jihad.”
Pentagon – and Daesh – Target Iran
By Pepe Escobar
“From the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, US intervention politically or militarily all but guarantee escalating tensions, uncertain futures, socioeconomic instability and even armed conflict […]
“Since the conclusion of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has continued to expand toward Russia’s borders. Far from a defensive alliance, NATO clearly serves as a multinational military conglomerate used as cover for expanding US hegemony worldwide. NATO operations in far-flung Afghanistan and Libya illustrate the shape-shifting nature of its alleged mission statement, revealing it to be but a pretext for an otherwise unjustified, aggressive front.
“Its expansion into Eastern Europe and the ongoing military build-up along Russia’s borders mirrors similar tensions fostered by Nazi Germany during the 1930s. NATO’s sponsorship of the violent coup which overthrew the Ukrainian government between 2013-2014 likewise provides an example of how US ‘stability’ often manifests itself instead as failed states, perpetual violence and the constant threat of further escalation […]
“Ultimately the US seeks hegemony, not stability. Hegemony by necessity requires the division and destruction of competitors, which in turn requires constant and ever-escalating sociopolitical and economic instability. While the US has all but declared its intent to establish global hegemony for decades, it uses the pretext of seeking global peace, security and stability as cover along the way.”
US Foreign Policy: Global Hegemony or Stability, Not Both
By Ulson Gunnar
Thanks much, Mr Perry-check is in the mail.
This article captures the true scope of the stupidity and evil that is present in our foreign policy “establishment.” It is depressing and tragic for this citizen who has been around the block a few times to recognize that nothing ever changes. The sheeple will follow and the neo con manipulators will continue to prevail when tons of money and complete lock step power is available.
Take a look at mccain/graham, the kagan family business of war, why would they step back to responsibility, the money and power are too attractive.
It is absolute that your work is invaluable! Sometimes the turning is unbelievably slow but God knows we need help!
Trump’s Foreign Policy Incoherence
April 3, 2017
By F.M. SHAKIL
APRIL 3, 2017
The Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) is a subject on which Pakistan has blown hot and cold. It has neither been keen to fully join the 39-nation coalition nor prepared to remain entirely aloof from it.
IMAFT was formed at the end of 2015. Mohammed bin Salman – Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and Defence Minister – declared its aim was to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. “There will be international coordination with major powers and international organizations in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq,” he explained. Nations in its embrace included Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, Muslim countries in Africa and, in the Gulf, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates but neither Iran nor Iraq, both of which have Shiite majorities. In fact, without Shiite representation, its character seemed decidedly sectarian.
Pakistan seems to have committed to the alliance half-heartedly, knowing it was joining something of a “Sunni alliance” that would put it at odds with its neighbour, Iran, and ramp up the tension in the region – a fear that seems to have been borne out after India, Iran and Afghanistan, all on the sidelines of IMAFT, last year signed a strategic agreement centered on Chabahar Port, in Souther Iran.
Such was Islamabad’s hesitancy, indeed, that when bin Salman announced its involvement, many in Pakistan were taken by surprise. The country’s civilian and military leadership alike initially refrained from denying or confirming the development, before the country’s then-Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, professed total ignorance about Pakistani involvement. “The ambassador in Riyadh was asked to get clarification from Saudi Arabia,” he told journalists. Another senior official said Pakistan had not been consulted about its inclusion in the alliance.
By and by, and under pressure from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan reluctantly confirmed it had joined the coalition, but with the reservation that its participation would be dependent on sufficient information-sharing about the coalition’s activities from Riyadh.
The first test of that uneasy relationship came with the IMAFT’s decision to appoint Pakistan’s former army chief, General (Retd) Raheel Sharif, as its commander. The Pakistani government had not ratified the posting when it was announced and, even now, with Sharif about to assume his new role this month, its misgivings are on record. Some have even warned that he risks losing his good reputation at home, and he has endured public mockery from across the political spectrum in Pakistan, and from Shiite religious leaders, for accepting the offer.
So far, the only response from General Raheel’s camp has been to insist that he will make efforts to bring Iran into the fold of the alliance. However, without the full backing of his own country, he is likely to have his work cut out from the beginning.
John Doe: Saudi-led Islamic Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) ! Am I reading it right? Saudi Arabia – This is where this snake (Terrorism!) is hiding. The World beyond the Western World knew it since 1979. Remember Taliban and Al-Qaeda, we started way back in 1979-80 in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. That is where the notorious Osama Bin Laden (called Freedom Fighter by U.S. then) got his training with the weapons and Trainers supplied by U.S.- when he was our Front Man (comrade-in-arms) to fight the Progressive-Left Afghan Govt. and Soviets. The Project was funded by Saudi Arabia and U.S. That was the birth of what we call Islamic Terrorism. It has been funded by Saudi Arabia since then- as the whole World knows it, this extreme Wahhabi type of Islam funded and disseminated by Saudi Arabia nurtures Terrorism.
Saudi-led IMAFT! It is laughable. Finally, some important public figures in U.K have started talking about it.
Please watch the famous British Journalist Peter Hitchen’s “EU is the continuation of Germany by Other Means” on youtube. Lecture by him followed by question/answer session at Keele University, U.K. in November, 2015. He tells it – where the head of the snake (Terrorism) is – in Riyadh. He also talks about Ukraine Problem, Crimea, and Russia. Peter Hitchens was stationed in Moscow when Soviet Union broke up.
Turning Reality upside down, Converting Lies into Truth; that is what the primary function of the vast network of Information disseminating Media we have all over the World. This whole project is mind boggling.
Noam Chomsky goes over some of it in his book ” Manufacturing Consent”.
As noted at OffGuardian, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearings featured a Bellingcat fanboy as its star witness:
“Clint Watts, a bounty of unsubstantiated Russophobic gossip, and all out paranoia…his testimony was a goldmine for headline writers and scaremongerers the world over[…] putting together his seeming lack of serious credentials, his penchant for over-stating wild speculations as if they were established facts, and his statement that all his work is done with ‘three laptops, from my house’…one begins to get the impression he’s a kind of American Elliot Higgins. Self-important enough to believe his own BS, and crazy enough to say it out-loud, without realising he’s being used to voice a position with which more important people refuse to tarnish their ‘credibility’.”
“Experts” reveal their “evidence” of Russian “hacking”
Active Measures: Watts shouts out on Twitter
Good on you, Abe.
You Won’t See The Info Below In The Mainstream Media. What a Criminal “Foreign Policy.”
Yemen war crimes inquiry launched by Met Police as PM sets out to woo Saudi regime
Published time: 3 Apr, 2017 13:28
As Prime Minister Theresa May sets out to charm Saudi Arabia while touting the regime’s vital trade and security relationship with Britain, London’s Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is examining allegations of war crimes in Yemen.
The Met confirmed their war crimes unit is examining claims of atrocities carried out by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, where it has been waging an air war since 2015….
[read more at link below]
Genocide In Yemen: Media Complicit In US-Saudi War Crimes
Writer and political analyst Catherine Shakdam shines a light on the routinely under-reported crisis in Yemen, telling Mnar Muhawesh on ‘Behind the Headline’ what’s really motivating the Saudi-led, US-backed war on the most impoverished country on the Arabian Peninsula.
By Mnar Muhawesh |
Thank you, Mr Parry, for yet another erudite and incisive analysis of American foreign policy and its main players. Your articles continue to provide a counter-balance to the nonsense almost universally expounded elsewhere.
People are waking up, however, look at Europe. They’re sick of the reality foisted on them by the domination of the EU, and by the breakdown in their societies by the aftermath of the Middle East wars (started by US) which have unleashed a Clash of Civilizations, as Samuel Huntington’s book calls it, which is true. A clash of religions, also, much unrest, unbelievable violence by terrorism. There could also be economic collapse, the economy is a house of cards, money is just printed out of nothing. The US is really in trouble, and the Lords of Capital are trying everything they can to hold onto control. But this time, it just may not work.
There is one and only one way out for the USA..the USA should withdraw from Europe, withdraw from South America withdraw from Africa.. Let wall street and the federal reserve Bankrupt; eliminate copyright, patent and license restrictions, let the megabuck monopolies collapse, let wages fall to 1970s level or lower, give no American money or assets to any foreign anyone, tax the hell out of anything imported or not produced in America by Americans.. then get the USA to allow Americans to get back to making America great again. With no federal reserve and no wall street, America stands higher, better and greater than all of the nations in the rest of the world. Already Russia, China and Iran have joined to avoid the US Dollar in a new global interbank exchange based on currency exchange . They have a system and it will be made to work because they are fed up with US Dollar Hegemony; that association will bring on a military alliance, and a trading alliance, and leave the USA and the Americans it governs out of the loop..
‘Oil produced in America was about $11 a barrel (.$50/gallon retail) before wall street and the USA got involved in the middle EAST to America oil cartel and Transport business. What made America great then was open source.. by that I mean there were few patents, copyrights and license (PCL) restrictions, the USA monitored and prevented monopolies, and patents and copyrights had very short lives, a man with a new idea won a respectable profit, but all of America won because of his invention, because everyone, in every industry, adopted it, so the winner in business was the man whose business ran more efficiently than his or her competition; it was not because of the monopoly power of the copyright, patent or special license that made corporations and individuals wealthy, it was efficient competition.
I recall a trip I made to Egypt in the 1970s.. Just to get my travelers checks cashed took the stamp and seal of five different bureaucrats all located a different place, and a fee paid to each, just to stamp the enabling documents. There was a military guard on every corner, and nothing seemed ever to get done.
Mr. Bodden is probably correct, the USA cannot overcome the Israeli Lobby, but Americans will recognize what Dave said.. As the USA bankrupts more and more of the Americans it governs.. and as the USA imposes more and more rules and regulations, and as the USA imposes more and more tax burdens and license burdens on Americans while the beneficiaries of the USA are collecting and concentrating the wealth of American in the bank accounts of the few: opinions about the USA are going to change in the minds of Americans. The media has been exposed.. no one believes Johnny Carson is Roy Rogers.
You are quite right about monopolies, but patents and copyrights are not the problem. Why rob artists and inventors of their labor? Perhaps we should require copyright profits to go entirely to the original creator, with a small percentage to the publisher. Patent profits should be limited to a large bonus for innovation plus all private R&D costs including those that did not produce the patent; less repayment would suppress innovation.
Good article, I sent a check today, enjoy intelligent comments as usual, found Abe’s especially interesting. Only comment for me is, how long has it been since there has been a coherent foreign policy in the US? I know this is focused on Trump, and his entire 100 days start is woeful, foreign policy not the least. But thinking back to the dreadful foreign policy of this government, and trying to find one coherent foreign policy approach, I have to say the closest I can come to statesman is JFK. Since then, not so much, it’s been pretty much a downhill ride on a war rollercoaster.
Do it. We need this fresh air of truth. The MSM is suffocating us with lies and heavy spin, otherwise known as propaganda.
I shared this valid history on Facebook with the public. Mr. Parry builds upon his solid foundation of truth in each successive revelation. He should be Senior Editor at the NY Times or some such. I find his writing to be the most interesting of any that I have encountered, including Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges. He needs $30,000 to continue working in this corner of the field. I gave him $30, and if only 1000 other readers do the same today, he would be set for the next half year. Please do it.
Gregrory, Thanks for reminding. Robert Parry, with his outstanding journalistic work, is doing a great service. I contributed $30 today after reading your comments.
Thanks Dave. You have good insight into what these inhuman blood suckers are up to. To sum it up; they are drunk with the madness of wanting to dominate the world totally – the ultimate aim of the ubercapitalist. They are exactly on the same page as Hitler and his thousand year Reich.
Agreed; the maximal abuse of power is their fundamental motive. The oligarchy is exactly the same as the monarchists, the czarists, the Nazis, and every other oppressor of history. And their fate is the same: death in the gutter. Democracy cannot be restored peacefully. You can rebel now or live in misery, and know that your descendants will live in misery until they do what you should have done. Democracy cannot be restored peacefully.
… [D]emanding that Israel get serious in working out a peace agreement with the Palestinians …
Never happen in the foreseeable future. It would mean getting the Israel lobby’s courtesans to confess the error of their ways and move out of Congress and into a nunnery.
… [L]ooking at novel ways of resolving the crises…
Here is a novel way that would be extremely unique with a potential of reversing courses heading for disasters or getting out of disasters in which we are already mired: Admit to the people we have wronged that we were wrong and apologize and offer to work together to make amends. It works on individual levels but, presumably, it isn’t sophisticated enough for the big league players in Washington who are incapable of admitting they were ever wrong no matter how obvious their guilt may be.
Yes, but resolution of conflicts requires unselfish leaders rather than the half-witted racketeers running all branches of state and federal government and both parties. Replacing them requires elimination of oligarchy funding of mass media and elections, which cannot be done peacefully because those are the tools of democracy.
Democracy is never restored peacefully.
Perhaps a generation of geriatric suicide bombers will take out the mass media and halls of government. Perhaps militias will raid gated communities and slaughter the .01 percent in their homes. Perhaps riots in the streets will spread to the wealthy suburbs.
If not, then generations will suffer the insanity of life under oligarchy, until the enemies of the US have defeated, reduced and embargoed the bully rogue state into abject poverty. Even then the riots and purges are necessary. The selfish poor who prefer to be slaves should be peaceful, and your lives will be raped. The honorable should take militant action. Democracy is never restored peacefully.
Robert Parry’s analysis is excellent, on the mark. However, it misses a core point of long term Neoliberal Agenda, and NeoCon’s dream of worldwide domination.
The following lines are from a paragraph in John Steppling’s article “Are You Now, or Ever Have Been, a Secret Agent of Vladimir Putin” in “Counterpunch” on March 6th :
“. . . The deep state does not want the Donald. Honestly, I am not sure why, but they don’t. And they are teaching him to heel. Sit, roll over, piddle yourself, and we might let you stay. If not, well see what happened to that chump Flynn. Or worse, those lesser humans like Qaddafi, . . . the son of a Bedouin sheep herder, Or Saddam . . .”
It is almost clear now that Donald Trump has already learnt what they (deep state) were teaching him. And It is not a good news for the people beyond the borders of the Western World. There will be no getting along with Russia. And from what we see during the last five or six days; the protests in Moscow, Minsk, and the worsening situation in Eastern Ukraine, unless something intervenes, to push forward this Neoliberal World Economic Order ideology agenda, it is going to be Russia First. China is out for now; U.S. and Western Europe have investments in China worth Trillions of dollars.
The Masses cannot understand or comprehend that the country is now run by people who are NeoCons or who are totally in the hands of Neocons. The vote for accession of Montenegro into the NATO in the Senate was 98-1. There is simply no opposition. Not even Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sander’s Foreign Policy is not particularly progressive. (We sent money to his first campaign for Senate seat many years ago – and to Elizbeth Warren’s campaign too). Only Rand Paul was the Dissenting voice in the senate. Most of the Politicians in Washington, the people in Executive Branch, in Think Tanks, Military and Military Industrial Complex, and in Media are NeoCons, or are with NeoCons; are out of touch with Reality, inhumane, and corrupt one way or the other. And in my view, Insane.
It is instructive to read Francis Fukuyama’s Essay “The End of History”, 1989; and the later writings by Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Crystal, Kagans, and other Neocons – the authors of Full Spectrum Dominance and all the Wars which are going on now. And the Neo-Cons running the U.S. (EU is just our extension) are determined to impose their ideology over the World People by force. Every instrument of Power and Ownership; Finance, Political, Media, Military, Corporations, Think Tanks are in their hands. Even in Communist ideology, there was human element in it. In NeoLiberal World Economic Order ideology, there is none. It is a very brutal, inhumane, and dangerous ideology. It stands for Production, Consumption, Profits, Cheep Slave (kind of) Labor all over the World, Destruction of World’s Resources and Environment, and Rule by .01%. And Wars to implement it under the tutelage of U.S. and Vassal States of Western Europe.
And I forgot to mention the parallel project of the NeoCons – “Creating New Realities”. With a 24/7 “Russia’s Interference in U.S. Elections” propaganda going on major TV networks, and in N.Y. Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other outlets, most of the public believes it now. In this progressive house, my spouse believes it. This is what happens when all the news they get is by watching CNN, MSNBC, PBS, BBC, and all the other propaganda outlets. Like Iraq war, it is realistic to think that the public is being prepared for some type of “Russia Operation”, now looming on the horizon.
I watched Steven Cohen here and there on a few TV stations – where they still allow him though rarely now – pleading about the dangers of a Nuclear War with Russia. But a public, schooled in violence and wars for so long now, is immune to Cohen’s pleas. But he is not wrong.
Francis Fukuyama in the end paragraph of his Essay “The End of History” says:
“. . . In the post-historical period, there will be neither Art nor Philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of The Museum of Human History”. . .
And if the people do not organize to act soon, it is quite possible that humans may be taking care of the “The Museum of Human History” from their graves.
We live in very perilous times now. Foreign Policy is the major issue. We spend about a Trillion dollars on Defense – Pentagon, and sixteen intelligence agencies. With Ocean on East and West, and Canada and Mexico as neighbors, about three hundred billion dollars is adequate for Defense of the country. All other legislation is not that important unless the U.S./West lets the Nations of the rest of the World exercise their sovereignty.
Just imagine, with the West’s Wealth and Power, what could have could have been accomplished in the World for peace and prosperity – If only the West would have taken a different path after the cold war ended. Instead, we have death and destruction in the large part of Middle East, and in Africa- but it is not new, the Western Nations have a history of four or five hundred years doing it. And the looming confrontation with Russia, and may be with China too after it.
The protests now ongoing in Russia, genuine dissent against Putin, or more of Soros’ NGO-sponsored shenanigans? Apparently the American media were trying to subliminally link them with the bomb blast in the metro today by showing photos of the protests whilst discussing the attack. Shameless.
Yes, one is already looking around for a new president before even “breaking in” the present one. And, what you say about the entire congress, save one man, being in lockstep on NATO expansion into every remaining crack and crevice of territory left in Europe simply to surround Russia (next we’ll be recruiting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and after that Svalbard, aka Spitzbergen) leads me to perhaps the only acceptable and electable choice, especially if the Queen of Chaos, newly emergent from the woods, runs again as threatened: Rand Paul.
And, I don’t mean he should run as a Republican, because they will never let that happen. He should go for broke, quit the GOP and join the Libertarian Party. He should campaign for the next four years as the true peace candidate, as his father used to do. There should be enough time to get on the ballot in every state if they start now. Either Trump will run again as a Republican, weakened in the aftermath of a disastrous conflict both with the Democrats and his own party, or a weak alternative from a party that failed to get anything accomplished in four years due to perpetual gridlock, like Big Bad Ted Cruz or Little Marco, will get the nod and be the media favorite. Mike Pence could finagle the nomination but probably not the media endorsement. But, if Rand Paul is adroit and open to real change, he can expose all those grasping weasels for what they are. Hillary will be like a punch-drunk palooka ready to go down for the count once again. It would be madness by the Democrats to run her again, but they have absolutely no depth on the bench. Could a near-80 year old warmongering neocon like Joe Biden take the prize? Ha! Jimmy Carter would be more electable than the old plagiarist (and still has four more years of eligibility for the office). The fools who say Michelle Obama or Chelsea Clinton would be winners (or in any way acceptable) are deluded partisans to the nth degree. Maybe Rand Paul could get Tulsi Gabbard to join him on the ticket while he speaks out in the Senate and she in the House over the next four years. I might have said Dennis Kucinich, but my generation is getting too old for this job. We need to find a way out of this tar pit our entire system of governance has been entrapped in by the Deep State and the Neocons. We need to get creative, and the first step is to find sane potential leaders who are courageous and can win by delivering the truth to the people.
The protests in Russia – Most of them in the crowd are spoiled, so called Liberals by the West – like latte sipping liberals here. These kind of people (mostly economically well off ) are there in big cities in all emerging third world countries who love this consumption oriented, Hollywood type America. They are U.S. supporters. There may be very few genuine protesters in there in those crowds who want action to stop corruption or whatever else.
With harsh sanctions imposed on Russia by the West, people in the small towns those that are really hurting economically. But they support Putin. They love their culture, they are proud. They want stability.
There is an agenda to destabilize Russia. As a commentator in the communist Party newspaper in China warned last week that Russia must deal with protests harshly; this western style liberal democracy being peddled is not good news. That Russia needs stability. There are always NGO’s behind it, in Russia and in Belarus. Russia must watch.
Yes, the privileged ones are usually the U.S. supporters, because America stands first and foremost for protecting capital, not human rights. Do they understand that the America they so idolize, because they see its modus operandi as a path to acquiring great wealth, itself has many more poor people than rich ones? My quick Google indicates 45 million, or 14.5% of the total population, below the so-called “poverty line.” In contrast, about 10 million households across the country are worth 1 million dollars or more, ranging from a high of about 7.5% in Maryland to about 3.7% in Mississippi. Not bad for the modest “upper middle class,” but only the top 1% owns more than all the bottom 90% put together (this admitted by the NYT). Just recently it was reported that a mere eight individuals own more than half the population of the planet combined. I suppose those dissidents figure it’s an easy leap to such lofty aspirations if only they lived in the USA.
Nikki Haley looks like Sarah Palin…without the warmth and charm. Is the empire collapsing? Well, the closest historical analogy I can think of is Caligula putting his horse, Incitatus in the Roman senate. New “sheriff” in town? Imagine that. She thinks her job is to “clean up the town” out yonder on the U.N. frontier. Of course, our country is oblivious. It’s like the advice Gene Wilder gave to Cleavon Little in ‘Blazing Saddles’. “These are simple people. The common clay of the new West. You know…morons.” Of course, they eventually figure out that they’re being screwed, but they usually have to get screwed really good before they wise up. In the process of getting that really good screwing, Ambassador(sic) Haley may have already helped foster a kinetic response on behalf of three fifths of the enlightened world’s population. Her first speech should have gotten her fired, but that would have unleashed a barrage of “social justice warrior” recriminations of sexism and gender stereotyping. Marine LePen could probably get away with bashing her based on lack of merit and diplomatic ineptitude, but short of that, we’re probably stuck with her unless public awareness improves. If she survives the current administration, her bona fides could land her in the White House. Imagine what a horse named Incitatus could accomplish there!
If politicians on the ‘Left’ or what we call the left, hadn’t sold out their souls to Israel and the MIC these characters such as LePen, and Trump for that matter wouldn’t be the ones to run their campaigns on some slight gesture of making peace.
My greatest fear, is that Trump will follow in W’s foot steps when there is a terrible enough false flag to respond too, and when that occurs it will be interesting to see how the scoundrels in our MSM spin that false flag…and will they blame it on Russia somehow?
I think you’re right regarding Trump possibly following in W’s foot steps. He is an idiot surrounded by very dangerous people; and if they can’t play him like a violin, they will get rid of him.
Nikki Haley looks like a decade-aged and Zionized Tulsi Gabbard.
On November 21, 2016, Gabbard became the second Democrat to meet with President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team at Trump Tower, after Michelle Rhee. She described the meeting as “frank and positive” and said she accepted the meeting to influence Trump before Republican neocons grew in influence and escalated the war to overthrow the Syrian government.
On November 23, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Haley for Ambassador to the United Nations. Haley is described by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as a “strong supporter of the State of Israel”.
In her opening remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/011817_Haley_Testimony.pdf Haley stated that “nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel”.
Unsettling is that Nimrata Randhawa was born in our fair country and may be qualified for running for president in 2024.
Ha, ha, ha.
As usual, Robert, you give the most coherent analysis of all the factual material relevant to understanding the various forces behind U.S. foreign policy. Will Trump ever reveal U.S. intelligence about MH-17? That’s just one of the many strands in the official tapestry that may have diminished in importance with the passage of time. Even the hugely sensitive “Operation Northwoods.” the false flag scenario regarding Cuba, presented to the Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy , eventually became public over 30 years after the fact.
Deception operations have many layers, and have a lot to do with what is known in marketing parlance as “positioning”.
in his latest 7 March 2017 screed at the Intercept, “Leading Putin Critic Warns of Xenophobic Conspiracy Theories Drowning U.S. Discourse and Helping Trump”, uncritical journalist Glenn Greenwald demonstrates his peculiar enthusiasm for the Memory Hole.
Greenwald decries “an offensive assault on reason […] emanating from the most established and mainstream precincts of U.S. political and media elites”.
According to Greenwald, these elites have been “desperately latching onto online ‘dot-connecting’ charlatans and spewing the most unhinged […] conspiracies that require a complete abandonment of basic principles of rationality and skepticism”.
In his own abandonment of rationality and skepticism, Greenwald “cannot recommend highly enough” the latest screed by former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service director Masha Gessen,
“Leading Putin Critic” Gessen has been flogging mainstream media conspiracy theories about the purported the “DNC hack” for months.
For example, in “The New Politics of Conspiracy” in the New York Review of Books (2 November 2016), Gessen declared: “Russia did hack the DNC. Yes, it did—and apparently the hackers who carried out the attack, following what the FBI believes was a high-level assignment, bothered little with covering their tracks.”
Gessen’s latest “analysis” is a propaganda retread of her usual fare of “conspiracy thinking” about Russia.
In her latest 6 March 2016 screed at the New York Review of Books, “Russia: The Conspiracy Trap,” Gessen does not retract or even acknowledge her previous enthusiasm for “flawed intelligence” about alleged Russian perfidy.
When yesterday’s lies are exposed, serial liar Gessen simply writes a new article “debunking” them.
Gessen’s propaganda track record makes her one of the Atlantic Council’s favorite Russian “journalists”, along with Moscow Times tabloid writer and Mikhail Khodorkovsky-pleasing sycophant turned “Russian media analyst” Vasily Gatov.
Bought and paid for propaganda banshees like Masha Gessen, PropOrNot “Related Projects” info-warriors Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss of Interpreter Mag, and former Moscow Times screed writer turned “media analyst” Vasily Gatov are all on the payroll of Russian criminal oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Nothing about this in Greenwald’s homage to Gessen.
This ain’t the first time that Greenwald has bloviated on behalf of propagandists.
The Intercept’s 26 November 2016 story about the Washington Post / ProporNot debacle, uncritical journalists Greenwald and Ben Norton noted: “PropOrNot listed numerous organizations on its website as ‘allied’ with it, yet many of these claimed ‘allies’ told The Intercept, and complained on social media, they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story.”
Greenwald and Norton then saw fit to publish verbatim the Twitter remarks from Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat and James Miller of the InterpreterMag.
Displaying a shocking lack of rationality and skepticism, Greenwald and Norton did not bother to conduct even the most basic investigation of PropOrNot’s purported “Allies” Bellingcat and InterpreterMag.
The Intercept entirely bypassed the reality that Bellingcat is allied with the Washington Post and directly affiliated with numerous organizations listed by PropOrNot, including Stopfake, and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab.
In addition, self-acclaimed “expert on verifying citizen journalism” Miller has frequently promoted self-acclaimed “citizen investigative journalist” Higgins. The Intercept allows Miller to do what he does best: simply chime in to “confirm” Higgins’ claims.
After giving a platform for Bellingcat and InterpreterMag, posting direct links to the Twitter remarks of Higgins and Miller, the Intercept simply accepts these alibis at face value.
Greenwald and Norton then noted that PropOrNot had updated its site:
“after multiple groups listed as ‘allies’ objected, the group quietly changed the title of its ‘allied’ list to ‘Related Projects.’ When The Intercept asked PropOrNot about this clear inconsistency via email, the group responded concisely: ‘We have no institutional affiliations with any organization.’”
If Greenwald and Norton had used the opportunity to visit the Bellingcat site, it would have become instantly apparent that Higgins’ group of so-called “independent researchers” precisely matches the Intercept’s description of ProporNot.
Indeed, Higgins’ group “far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters”.
Interestingly, on November 25, the day before the Intercept article appeared, Higgins Tweeted: “So it’s clear, @ bellingcat in no way endorses the work or methodology of @ propornot, and have found their behaviour unprofessional”.
What is clear about the Intercept article is that Bellingcat is positioned as a “professional” organization in comparison to PropOrNot.
The deeper layer of deception underlying the Washington Post episode is that PropOrNot functions as a conspicuous straw man.
Repudiation of PropOrNot can be leveraged to project the appearance that Bellingcat and “Related Projects” are “professional” organizations of true “independent researchers” by comparison.
This disinformation strategy is reinforced by the fact that Bellingcat is allied with the Washington Post and New York Times, the two principal mainstream media organs for “regime change” propaganda, via the First Draft Coalition “partner network”.
In a triumph of Orwellian Newspeak, this Google-sponsored Propaganda 3.0 coalition declares that member organizations will “work together to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process”.
The Washington Post / PropOrNot episode is no accident of journalistic malfeasance. (WaPo had no need to embellish its track record.)
The PropOrNot hoopla is a highly streamlined Propaganda 3.0 process designed to elevate the “professional” status of Bellingcat.
By disgracefully promoting Higgins and Bellingcat, Greenwald and Norton have verifiably served as “useful idiots”. Or worse.
The whole PropOrNot “fake news” project is designed to re-position rank propagandists like “Passion of Pussy Riot” Gessen and fake “citizen Investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins and as paragons of “professional journalism”.
Gessen’s essays demonstrate the “post-truth” fake “fact-check” propaganda strategy used by Bellingcat, StopFake, Interpreter Mag, the Atlantic Council, and all the other PropOrNot “Related Projects”.
Anti Putin oligarchs like Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky rose to power in the post-Soviet era, buying up huge sections of newly privatized industries before moving on to the markets of propaganda (television) and politics.
Human Edge, an educational television hosted by Canadian journalist Ian Brown on TV Ontario, presented a documentary film titled “The Rise and Fall of the Russian Oligarchs”.
Also titled “The Oligarchs: The Struggle for Russia”, the documentary by director Alexander Gentelev shows how the oligarchs’ downfall was just as swift as their rise due to the leadership of Vladimir Putin. A key segment of the documentary, showing Putin’s presidency and the demise of Khodorkovsky. provides a big clue as to why Putin is so utterly demonized today by the West.
The oligarchs are exemplars of what the West calls “democracy”, but which is in reality heartless oligarchy: “free” elections created and stage-managed by rich donors and PR companies, usually with foreign investment courtesy of NGOs whose goals are antithetical to the nations in which they operate.
Corrupt individuals like Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky are portrayed as the good guys in Western media.
Most revealing are the candid remarks made by the oligarchs themselves. For example, here is what Berezovsky had to say about his role in Yeltsin’s successful 1996 election: “It’s said that the media acted on orders. To these accusations all I can say is, yes, it’s true. Directives were given, news coverage wasn’t objective, but it’s all part of a democratic process.”
And latching onto online ‘dot-connecting’ charlatans like Masha Gessen and Eliot Higgins is all part of a democratic process in the “Post-Truth” era.
I would advise any modern day American president that if he or she were to want to clean house in DC regarding rogue elements of the CIA or Think Tank born Neocon’s, then he or she should read the book of whatever Castro did to stay in power, and stay a live. There is more than enough evidence out there, for those who wish to learn about it, but when after JFK fired Allen Dulles from the CIA, and JFK vowed to scatter the spy agency to the wind into a thousand pieces, that revengeful Allen Dulles turned his home into CIA Central. (read James W Douglas ‘ JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters’ – Also David Talbot’s ‘The Devil’s Chessboard’) Look at this country’s debt of 20 trillion dollars where most of it has been spent on military endeavors, and that might give you some idea to how important it is to the MIC for them having a compliant commander in chief in the White House. Any president deciding to go down a road of reform to clean house, better have a food taster and a lot of eyes watching out for his or her butt, and that is no lie.
The American public has to be made aware of the fact that this terrorist threat has been cooked up by the same people who bought into the Zbigniew Brzezinski’s clever little plan to have the terrorist wear down the Russian Army, back when the Russians were fighting in Afghanistan. Hail oh brilliant Zbigniew was the praise then, and with a little tweak here and a little pinch of the plan there we now have Terrorist Inc., and since the birth of that the 21st Century has gotten off to a terrible start.
The other thing Americans need to know, is none of these wars in the Middle East has had anything to do with the U.S. as much it has had everything to do with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Ask you next door neighbor if they had ever heard of the Yinon Plan or the Clean Break Strategy, and I’ll bet they haven’t ever heard of it before. This knowledge should be made standard public knowledge, so as to educate our fellow Americans.
Besides all the waste of money, and the tremendous tragic loss of life, we Americans have loss even more when it comes to our rights. We yield to this new security state out of fear, but out of fear of what? A terrorist threat born out of a questionable plot which unfolded on 911? A terrorist threat which even was suspect to good conclusions by some of the 911 Report Commissions own board members? Again look at the 20 trillion dollar debt., and then look at the money spent on defense and also include security in your assessment, and then you tell me how much is to be monetarily made by continuing to stay in our country’s constant war mode.
I agree that for now Tulsi Gabbard is the most promising of all the political figures we have when it comes to this subject of the Middle East, and how we should proceed. My hope is Gabbard will lead the way, and not allow herself to be sucked into the establishments group think. Only time will tell, but for now we should support this noble Representative with all we got. If we do, will it be possible that other politicians will follow, if they see Tulsi with all of our love and support? Lastly, with all this fuss over Russian interference where there is none, the question should be why do American politicians fall all over themselves to get Israeli money and Saudi money, and why isn’t this an issue? The real crime of foreign influence happened over at the Clinton Foundation, and yet there are those who still defend this woman as her being a good American….wake up America!
Eric Fromm in his intro to ‘Marx’s Concept of Man’ stated (if I may paraphrase), ‘The trick for any generation is to not become what it loathes about it’s parents”. I ain’t easy getting things right . Right now , the knee jerk liberal Anti Vietnam War Generation is looking extremely inconsequential. As promising as Tulsi Gabbard might be she is overcompensated for in the negative direction by Nikki Haley at the UN , who makes Samantha Power look like a veritable Golden Glee Girl . Trump’s foreign policy incoherence looks like a repeat of Bush’s Empire of Chaos. The net result has to be looked at in terms of troop deployments and increased belligerence in Syria. Today Haley said the Syrian people ” Do not want Assad”. She did not say what the Syrian people wanted and did not qualify her remark in any way. That is the run up to the Xi then Putin meetings. I ‘m not a fly on the wall but I do not think Trump is going to get much if he gets anything at all from either except increased lassitude.
One must be careful to avoid efforts to blame or simplify, because these sow division among those who need unity. There is of course no “generation” that is “knee jerk liberal” or anything else: just look at your own “generation.” Talk about “generations” is not productive for any purpose. Let’s use communication among groups as a means to unite those of similar views and correct wrongs.
Correct, All Power To All the People. Oligarchs thrive on wedge issues.
I’m a baby boomer born 1958. Many of the protestors were just a bit older than me. They bought us younger guys off by eliminating the draft just about the time that we would have had to register They said we could smoke all the pot we wanted , listen to our records and grow our hair and not get hassled too much. Yes it happened. Sorry about the knee jerk liberal label, I should have said phonies who hated Nixon and all things military but now have stocks and holding in MIC powerhouses and supported Obama restarting the Cold War and fracking too etc. Banana boat, life is a wedge issue The class struggle never left town it just got a make over
Nearly all of the boomers I knew were quite sincere, although diverse, not always practical, and as bewildered about real paths to reform as people are today. I would not say that they were revealed as hypocrites simply because they grew up, in a heartless society of unregulated business and oligarchy, and so had to support families and make investments for retirement etc. No doubt many idealistic young people become heartless in a heartless society, but that is true in every period.
The illusion of bad seniors comes from the fact that the oligarchy scammers gain power with age, and those with the most power are usually over 50; but of course not everyone of that age is of that character. There are always a few bad apples, and in business they rise to the top and become visible problems. Also a large fraction who go along to get along, whether young or old, which leads them from fake idealism to fake support of oligarchy.
LJ I have written here a few times how my hope for America and the World to have a better future, is in the hands of our youth. That is if they are allowed to participate in fair election processes, unlike what the DNC did to those hopeful Bernie voters with the $27 donations this past election.
Haley is a nightmare ambassador to represent us at the UN. Lately I have been losing faith in the UN, so while as faith slips away from me I ask myself does it matter. Of course it does and you mark my words Nikki Haley will be the most visible UN ambassador America has had since Adlai Ewing Stevenson II, otherwise know as Adlai Stevenson. After reading about how Ambassador Haley went big at her recent appearance in front of AIPAC, it is clear that Former SC Governor Nikki isn’t representing America.
Why we don’t lead and bring everyone to the table to end the Korean War is beyond any sensible reasoning. Instead Trump by talking tough is from all accounts from various sources of the news, is like lighting a match in a tender box. There are plenty of moving parts spinning inside this N Korean missile threat news that make this affair something to keep our eye on. In my darkest parts of my mind, I could see America making a two possibly three front war across the globe. N Korea on the East Asian region, and Iran the focus in the Middle East, and Ukraine as a head on charge when the time comes….and all that is insane.
Joe, Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, Now Generals rather than Chicken Hawks are running the show and it seems and that might not be any better. I’m not too impressed by Trump’s “Foreign Policy” so far. It seems like he’s going backwards from his election themes and there does appear to be the possibility for hotter military actions (As opposed to Obama’s Covert actions and deployments) in several theaters. His Administration could get messy if the economy turns down and Main Street, not Wall Street, is showing signs of weak growthdate back at least a year while the FED seems compelled to tighten money. . I don’t think Trump’s in a strong enough position to play the WAR card but do not doubt that he would try it if he felt it would serve him politically.
LJ…. yes, lassitude. The Chinese and Russians will make a deal but I believe that they are holding Aces. They’re in much better financial condition then us with our 20T debt….and they know it’s only a matter of time until we have a giant financial meltdown. If that happens there will be chaos here, and I can see insurrections breaking out all over the US. It’s imperative that our defense budget gets dialed back, we have plenty with our FBM’s and any money spent on re-habbing those outdated missile silos would be more wasted dollars. I’ve never heard Trump mention one thing about cutting our foreign aid to our so called “Coalition”. These meetings are going to be crucial for the world going forward.
Yeah, it was quite absurd, was it not, to believe that Iraq or Iran, without having long range ICBM’s to deliver nuclear warheads, which they also did/do not have, could fight their way across the Middle East, across Europe, and hit the beaches of the United States using their armada of speed boats after crossing the Atlantic and defeating the U.S. Navy all along the way? Yet, Dubya, Colon, and Condaleezza sold that baloney, on white bread with mustard, to the American people. Not even present-day Russia or the old Soviet Union could have done the equivalent thing. NO other country is a genuine threat to the United States, unless Washington is foolish enough to make another nuclear power with high tech missiles think that WE are going to strike them first with a barrage of nukes. Yet that is the very thing our beloved neocons simply cannot resist doing. I tell you, anyone who is offered a government job must have to pass a battery of psychological tests to screen out the psychopaths. Most of present day DC would have to be sent home under such standards.
If American and it’s European vassals were to be exposed by an objective and honest media, possibly none of this could have happen. Maybe one of the reasons I think JFK’s assassination is one of modern times most pivotal moments, would be because with Kennedy’s murder came the massive rogue governments cover story which got propped up by a more than willing media accomplice who worked a lot of overtime to fool the masses. These partners in crime ever since that fateful day on November 22th 1963 have been able to bore through our society’s eagerly gullible mindset to where now the Deep State has brought perfection of their mastery art of deception too a tee, and we the people continue to buy their invented narratives.
In the beginning of this new century, now looking back, America had to start somewhere such as it did in Afghanistan. Then it was onward to Iraq. Wesley Clark let the cat out of the bag in 2005 when he said that America was going to invade 7 countries within 5 years, and America did just exactly that. Now the U.S. is bogged down into a troubling and difficult time of it inside Syria and Iraq, and here is where the Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah have sided with Assasd, and where this allied coalition has tied themselves to the stack, and in this region of the Middle East is where resistance could be met. All of this for the making possible a Greater Israel, and for the Saudi’s to introduce their Wahabi beliefs upon a newly created Glorious Sunni Empire.
In the end America has done just the opposite of what it has told it’s citizens it set out to do, and that was to make America safe again. America will suffer from punishing debt. if it doesn’t suffer more physically from war. Be sure and thank your congress representative and your two senators for their service. Oh and tell whatever president who’s still alive…nice acting, you should have won an Oscar.
Here is a detailed essay on the Greater Israel Plan.
Hi joe. Go over to EIR and read “the insurrection against the president and its British controllers…”. It is very important to realize where the enemy is located. Israel and Saudi Arabia and USA (and UK, Australia, Canada, NZ…the Five Eyes) are just tools in the hands of the modern day, covert “British Empire” of City-of-London and Wall Street, combined. This is to know what weapon will bring down the enemy: Glass-Steagall, a Public Credit National Bank for investing in Infrastructure, and alliance with Russia/China/India/Japan for Silk Road development projects, and the Premier science-driver project of space exploration/fusion power generation. Mere moving against SA & Israel is swating at the hand of the enemy, NOT going for his jugular. What I’ve said represents going for the enemy’s jugular.
F William Engldahl recently published a piece describing pretty much what your linked eir essay had said, but not in as much detail.
Brad and Joe,
I read both pieces you mentioned. Thank you for sharing, I had not discovered EIR until recently and it is a wonderful site. The Insurrection article you mention, repeatedly extols Roosevelt’s ‘American Policy’ or Hamiltonian economics. Few questions:
EIR is anti-market or alleged ‘market’ based policy, driven by British Empire 2.0 (Wall St./London financiers, US/British Intelligence and their agents in media and academia). Roughly in-line with Alex Jones (Globalists). What do you make of him and infowars?
Do you agree that this fundamental difference in socio-economic policy, Hamiltonian vs market based, collective vs individual is really at the core of all of the wars, color revolutions, coups, etc sponsored by the BE 2.0?
I have a bias towards free-market economics, but I agree with so much of what is presented in the EIR article, I’m open to a better understanding of the American Policy and what that could like under Trump.
For example, Silk Road, Partnership with Russia, etc. My takeaway from EIR is that ‘free-market’ really just means free to be controlled by an oligarchy or corporate fascist state. LaRouche’s plan, a nationalized banking system, and therefore more state-driven economy, is friendlier option in democracy although closer to what is traditionally thought of as fascism.
It seems like a lesser of two evils choice, i’m for a decentralization of power, the internet appears to breaking the BE 2.0 ability to control the narrative, issue is who’s side is MIC on. If you believe AJ, they’re on the side of the American people, and that Russiagate is really about distracting from Deep State’s use of pedophilia as a means of controlling technocrats. If true, can’t wait to see what comes next.
HI Patrick. Yeah, EIR is awesome. Hamiltonianism is Dirigism; in simple english, it’s a mixed economy with a strong Public sector AND a strong Private sector (typical of what was in America in the sixties), and both are needed as the organs need the skeleton to hold them upright and in the right relationship to one another to stay healthy and alive; likewise the skeleton needs the body’s organs or it isn’t alive. National Banking is Public Credit banking in modern parlance, applied to infrastructure, science-driver R&D, investing in the real economy of manufacturing, mining, farming, science R&D, etc… (or Credit as a Public Utility, like the Bank of North Dakota; the BND). There can be no free market without rules & regs enforced by an “uncaptured” Public Sector, for the good of all (ie.The General Welfare). It just devolves into piratical power-plays, leading to local CrimeLord “Robber Barons”, turning a free people into serf-like status, beholding to the CrimeLords for their existence. The Great Battle, for Western Civilization, since Roman times, has been The Republic (of, by, for the people, the 99%ers) vs The Empire (Oligarchs’ looting operations for the 1%ers, to the harm of the 99%ers). In recent times, since the end of the Seven Years War, it has been America vs the British Empire (and French Empire, Dutch Empire, Spanish Empire, Portuguese Empire, Belgian Empire, ad nauseum)… the German Empire of Bismark was inspired by Lincoln’s example, and his economists; Henry Carey and Friedrich List, so King Edward VII organized WWI against it, also using Anglophile Faction in America to pull us into that war on Britain’s side, against Germany. The Russian Empire has always befriended us, since we had mutual enemies in the British Empire, and THIS has been the three-way dance for the last 250 years or so; the Cold War was actually a coup against us & our Nat’l interest…this era of Geopolitics is now ending, as the New Silk Road paradigm takes hold of the Worlds’ aspirations and imagination.
Here’s an article that contains a lot of common sense regarding the blow-back from our imperialist foreign policy.
I don’t think we could ever overstate the power of MSM propaganda. Tulsi Gabbard is a real truth teller, and because of that she better watch out. The Deep State will tolerate people like her and Rand Paul as long as they are marginalized. She has military experience, so one can only hope that she knows how to “watch her 6.”
Interestingly 911 denier Noam Chomsky is now fearful that America will experience a false flag. Although in Chomsky’s false flag concern, the professor thinks it will be due to Trump’s scapegoating of minorities. Either way when this blowback occurs it will be blamed on people who hate us for our liberties and freedoms. When or if this terrible event does go down we the people of Europe and America should go into the streets, and shut down this insane quest our leaders have put us on for world hegemony.
It would be much better to find a way to expose the lies of the MSM to the masses now, before a false flag befuddles their thinking and makes them reactionary. I long for the good old days when we had the fairness doctrine. Nine times out of ten I’d side with the person giving their rebuttal to the previous night’s editorial. Imagine getting equal time to present an opposing point of view on the major networks in this day and age. The whole propaganda machine would fall apart in no time.
Stephen I count you as among those who are calling those who are perpetrating these atrocities of modern times by their true name: evil. This has no necessary correlation with religious ideas of what constitutes evil actions or persons, but simply refers to that which is unspeakably wrong and harmful to all that is good and loving and worth our highest admiration and efforts.
Another excellent article from Robert Parry . . . It’s time for all of us to pony up–the spring pledge drive for Consortium News is underway–and support a news source that has the moral courage to tell the truth.
“Neo Con,” noun, sing., combination of “neo” Greek for “new” + abbrev. for conniver, confidence man, con artist, convict, counterfeiter. The gist implying a new cadre of liars, deceivers, swindlers, cheaters, fleecers, charlatans, mountebanks and hosers.
Here is a link to a compendium of information that shows the treachery of those in power. (Past and present.)
I believe there is overwhelming evidence that “our leaders” past and present have been funding Terrorism. I also believe they should be put on trial for war crimes, treason and crimes against humanity.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said this:
“Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.[i]… Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, December 8, 2016,Press Release.
tulsi is on the right track, but whether it is against “the law” that is on the books or not, the moral law that accepts giving billions to israel and making a major contribution to what has become the war on terror – which means for the first time in a history that always found as bombing and killing in far away places it has come home to america! – is far more serious and costly in being broken, and the people who work for a foreign interest that costly to america are, if not traitors, maybe something much worse. we should all think about that every time this nonsense about trump and putin costing us “our” owned-by-the-rich supposed democracy. what has it, and is it costing us to allow our (?) government to work in the interests of a foreign power that costs us billions in dollars and thousands of lives, and the middle east hundreds of thousands of lives and several shattered if not completely destroyed nations?
A masterful analysis of where we are now and how we got here. It is a story of how incredibly hateful and evil people called neocons or whatever, pursued their selfish goals while destroying the lives of millions of innocent people. If these people are not evil incarnate, then who the hell is?? It is important to be very clear on this point, so that we can counter and deal with these monsters effectively. Refusing to call them what they truly are can only end in inadequate measures to stop them. And they must be stopped, or this period may become the final failure of humankind to learn to live together in peace. That failure wiould probably be sealed with our final extinction on this planet. If this imminent threat is not enough for us to wake up and do everything we can to prevent this ultimate disaster, then we are self-doomed to extinction.
Mike K , my thoughts as I was reading this also. The Neocons started as a cancer and has now metasticized…and unless dealt with strongly will kill the host. That being by bringing on a nuclear holocaust. They are vile sick psychopaths, bent on domination no matter what the cost.
“They are vile sick psychopaths, bent on domination no matter what the cost.”
Thanks God that Israel is geographically rather close to Russian Federation. Guess the DC warriors receive a reality check from their precious Israelis from time to time. The greatest danger is the loss of sense of reality by the warriors, whether it is the parasitoid Lobby or the parasitoid MIC. We witness a march of the incompetent ignoramuses and opportunists leading the US to a catastrophe.
It is also a bit inaccurate to claim that Bannon isn’t aware of foreign policy issues when he has a master’s degree in “national security studies” & remains a part of a Georgetown security think tank.
To refer to the incompetency of HRC’s campaign is a bit overblown considering that there have only been 2 elections in US history, 1836 & 1980, when the 8-year incumbent has successfully been replaced by a member of his own party. The pattern is that “change” is the only thing that matters, after an 8 year run by the same party, to a significant share of the electorate no matter if it is a Trump type candidate or someone more normal. Add to that the use of analytics (see Fortune interview) by Kushner & his Silicon Valley supporters & you have a sure repeat of a common pattern that had happened with amazing regularity in US POTUS politics.
In think you mean 1988: election of G.H.W. Bush (R) succeeding Ronald Reagan (R).
please excuse my scurrilous diction: what a great f’g article. I want the truth. You want the truth? I want the truth…
It is very good analysis of where we are as Trump’s 100 days come to an end, and where we might have been.
Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor may do so here:
He may prefer to be independent, and there may be better polling websites, but pressure on the NYT to recognize the superior reporting of their opposition is a good thing. I will repeat this post from time to time.
As I remember O was ready to missle attack Syria, but was tharwted by Congress refusing to assent, the USA citizens opposition and the opposing vote in the British Parliment, only after opposition from these three bodies did O backdown. A Lebonese newspaper report that the missiles seen at that time were not Isreali practice exercise but in fact Russia missile intercepting USA missile.
BB, can’t trust Lebanese media or Israeli sources ever , not even Hezbollah. You are correct but left out that there was significant opposition from the Military brass, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Also Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-2014 was adamant in his Agency’s assertion that the removal of Assad would be a colossal mistake. Flynn? Remember him? Obama had little support outside the West Wing and lukewarm support in it.
THANKS TO R. PARRY…
Agreeing with Robert Kelly and others that Parry’s ;piece is
With the recent meeting with al-sisi if Egypt, Jordan, etc., Israeli
allies all, one looks forward to further analyses o Ayria alone and
of the US-Israeli cooperation alone. And its meaning for the very
soon eliminated Palestinians. I refer to Thomas Suarez’
book; STATE OF TERROR.
—Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA