Four Lessons From the Strike on Syria

The lessons from last weekend’s strike on Syria by the United States of America and two of its allies do not bode well for the future of democracy or the future of peace, says Inder Comar. 

By Inder Comar

Lessons from the U.S. strike on Syria reveal uncomfortable truths about the current state of international affairs.

But they must be confronted, and dealt with, in order to create a better future.

Here are four lessons to take from the Syria strike:

Lesson One: Dictatorial Power

The Syria strike underscores that the powers of the Presidency, in matters of foreign affairs, are now those of a dictator. 

President Trump, like his forebears, swept aside tepid concern that Congress had to weigh in on the legitimacy of any strike against a foreign power.

Instead, and like his predecessors, the President has taken a broad, Caesar-like view of his powers, marshaling American military might as a unitary actor, without any scrutiny.

The most that a few senators and members of Congress could do in the run up to the attack was raise tepid, half-hearted questions over Twitter about the need for Congress to authorize an act of war, as the Constitution says. 

That members of the most powerful legislative body in the world could do nothing other than tweet in the face of missile strikes speaks for itself.  

As noted in  “the Saleh v. Bush case”, the Judiciary will not scrutinize executive conduct, either, because the President is presumed as acting in the best interests of the nation — even when committing heinous international crimes.

The Legislative and the Judicial branches have walked away from their constitutional roles, and are declining any mandate to oversee the Executive branch in matters of war.

Checks and balances are swept away. And the strike now sets further precedent for unilateral executive authority to attack or invade another country based. It is one person, and one person alone, who commands American military might, without scrutiny or later accountability.

Lesson Two: Death of Collective Security

The Syria strike underscored that the United Nations system of collective security is at death’s door, and perhaps never coming back.

The U.N. suffered a critical blow to its legitimacy in 2003 because of the U.S. invasion of Iraq without Security Council authorization or evidence that the U.S. acted in self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.

But the Syria strike further advances the perception that the U.N. has lost its role as a neutral, honest broker.

Smaller countries are realizing they are nakedly at the whim of the great powers. Bolivian president Evo Morales, in perhaps the strongest critique of the strikes to date (other than from Russia), warned that the United States is now the greatest threat to democracy in the world today.

It seems that like the League of Nations, the U.N. can only stand by as the storms of war gather.

The world is one attack away from a destructive, global war that could spread far beyond the borders of Syria or the Middle East.

Lesson Three: Bi-Partisan Perpetual War

The Syria strike affirms the American two-party consensus that perpetual war, and perpetual imperialism, is the open and intended purpose of American government and economic institutions.

Media outlets, concentrated by a handful of corporate owners, understand and exploit the perverse incentives that make war profitable, and they cheer on a war because it sells viewers to advertisers.

The revolving door in Washington D.C. means that government officials go on to lucrative consulting and think-tank jobs, where they research and advise the next generation of government leaders on how to promote imperialism abroad. 

Tellingly, the voices questioning the Syria strike came from a minority wing of both parties. Perpetual war is the bipartisan consensus.

Lesson Four: Spiritual Crisis 

There is a grave political, cultural and spiritual crisis in the United States today. 

War has eaten at the country’s soul and left Americans deprived of a consistent sense of ethics. 

In any other country, an attack on another country would be a matter of grave concern, with protests threatening a ruling party in a parliamentary system.  

But in the United States, where attacks are common in a presidential system, another bout of militarism is absorbed with the morning coffee. 

Hannah Arendt spoke of the banality of evil; she would write today about the banality of militarism, and the neutering of American public conscience. 

The U.S. could be a tremendous source of good if it could change its ways and act as a real leader in building meaningful peace, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity.

But there are almost no prominent voices advocating a peacetime economy and an end to imperialism. There are few influential voices with the imagination to think of something other than empire.

Inder Comar is the executive director of Just Atonement Inc., a legal non-profit dedicated to building peace and sustainability, and Managing Partner of Comar LLP, a private law firm working in technology. He is a recognized expert on the crime of aggression, the legality of the Iraq War, and international human rights. He holds a law degree from the New York University School of Law, and a B.A. and Master of Arts degree from Stanford University.

55 comments for “Four Lessons From the Strike on Syria

  1. DJoe
    April 22, 2018 at 18:07

    My postings concerning all these four issues on social media are probably considered “ranting” and are habitually taken as evidence that I have become unhinged.

  2. von Col
    April 20, 2018 at 04:02

    Excellent article. Thank you Inder Comar!

    I guess the world has now plenty of evidence, the US (and many of its allies) are turning into fascist dictatorships, threatening the whole world, while hiding under the pretence of democracy and freedom.

    It is responsibility for every individuals to act appropriately and boycott those violent imperialist aggressors.

  3. April 19, 2018 at 20:21

    Until the truth of what happened on Sept.11, 2001 is revealed the masses will believe that the United States government is justified in it’s war on terror even though the Nations we bomb, invade, & attack by proxy have never attacked or killed any American.

  4. KiwiAntz
    April 19, 2018 at 18:08

    The Irish Statesman, Edmund Burke said & I quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (& women) to do nothing”?
    That’s what these elite, evil bastards want us to do & that is NOTHING! These evil, money grubbing mongrels are going to kill us all, if they aren’t stopped? And yes they can be stopped, the Peace movement protests of the 1960’s, especially in America proved, this to be true, despite the recent propaganda nonsense in the Documentary called “The Vietnam War” which attempted to rewrite history by saying it was the Christmas Day bombings that ended the War, but everyone knows it was public opposition & protest that ended it! So in the spirit of the 1960’s Peace movements, LETS DO SOMETHING! We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here the precedents have already been set for us? It can start on a local level, encourage your friends & family to read the articles in Consortium News & watch alternative news channels such as the RT Channel so they can understand what’s really going on here & to open their eyes? Remember, knowledge is power & every major forest fire starts with a small spark, so let’s be that small spark of fire & knowledge & truth? If enough of us are informed then we can take it further by organising & then mobilising then protesting against our various Govts leading us all to destruction? The future belongs to us, not these evil greedy scumbags! Light the fire!

    • willow
      April 21, 2018 at 04:19

      Bring back the draft. Then we’ll see massive protests. Until then, the peace movement is dead.

  5. rosemerry
    April 19, 2018 at 16:45

    The USA and its “partners” attacked the already devastated country of Syria in complete refusal to take any account of international law, no matter what the US congress had or had not decided. This “red line” netanyahu-ish behavior, as if any country should punish another for a particular form of warmaking eg by deciding “chemicals” are bad, has no place in rational, let alone legal actions. In any case, what do the USA and Israel think white phosphorus, napalm, depleted uranium are, if not “chemical weapons” they use with great joy, as Trump would say? Hypocrisy, wanton destruction, from the world’s great democracies??

    • Sam F
      April 19, 2018 at 22:29

      Yes, the notion of chemical weapons as a less moral form of killing is absurd. It is simply a distinct form of killing that can be tagged as immoral so as to create false-flag triggers for wars paid for by the political campaign bribes of the MIC/Israel/WallSt. The US has instigated such killing around the world with complete lack of concern for any rational basis, no history of any humanitarian effort outside of the advertising budget, and no history of setting up democracies, even within its borders.

      The largest nations claiming to be democracies are no longer; the world’s great democracies are small and few.

  6. Truth
    April 19, 2018 at 15:50

    As long as Americans remain ignorant of the nature of their monetary system, the problem will persist since the usurers rely on governments and citizens to borrow endlessly so that they and their families will benefit for generations, a pyramid scheme. How do they do this? War is one way, home mortgages is another, taxation another, student debt another. Every dollar brought into existence is borrowed, created like counterfeit by these usurers. If every debt was paid off, the US Dollar would cease to exist, so you want to stop the hegemony and imperialism? Then like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Russia, and China, stop accepting and using the US Dollar as your medium of exchange and use other mediums. Anyone who expect politicians that got rich off this very usurious system to change anything is fooling themselves.

    I’ll quote Thomas Edison:
    “People who will not turn a shovel full of dirt on the project nor contribute a pound of material, will collect more money from the United States than will the People who supply all the material and do all the work. This is the terrible thing about interest …But here is the point: If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money broker collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%. Whereas the currency, the honest sort provided by the Constitution pays nobody but those who contribute in some useful way. It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency. Both are promises to pay, but one fattens the usurer and the other helps the People. If the currency issued by the People were no good, then the bonds would be no good, either. It is a terrible situation when the Government, to insure the National Wealth, must go in debt and submit to ruinous interest charges at the hands of men who control the fictitious value of gold.”

  7. Frank
    April 19, 2018 at 15:20

    There’s fifth, even more groundbreaking. US Military has lost air dominance. This is what made Pentagon unease on Friday. It was indeed military blunder. Thanks God politicians and public don’t know it. Hope they never will. Because if they knew, John Bolton would get this dream 500+ missiles Blitzkrieg. And with serious consequences for all us.

  8. Nancy
    April 19, 2018 at 12:00

    I’m wondering why new comments are appearing first, all of a sudden? I like to read the early comments first–it’s easier to follow the discussion.
    Or is it my device?

    • Zachary Smith
      April 19, 2018 at 12:34

      I’m guessing they either installed some new software or activated unused features of the old. If you still want to read the old comments first, try the Control-End combination on your keyboard – it ought to take you to the beginning/bottom of the page.

      The individualized “avatars” we all got were a surprise. I read the site on my Firefox browser with cookies, images, etc. turned off so I didn’t notice them until going to another browser to make a post. Just now verified previously used images continue unchanged beside poster names.

      • Nancy
        April 19, 2018 at 12:57

        Thanks, I’ll try that. I’m using my phone right now. I wonder what options there are for that.
        While they’re making changes, they should set up a way to notify commenters of replies.

      • Realist
        April 19, 2018 at 15:20

        If you think about it, the highly complex individualized avatars are pretty clever since they preclude someone from counterfeiting your identity, as has happened a time or two to me. You can still put up your own avatar or photo if you so choose, but most people here, me included, are apparently not into that style. I use this nom de plume only here, it’s occasional appearance elsewhere is not me.

    • mike k
      April 19, 2018 at 15:02

      I’m getting the same problem of being unwillingly thrust to the top of the thread, Nancy. Probably the Moderator will take notice soon.

  9. Garrett Connelly
    April 19, 2018 at 11:19

    Please quit referring to representative democracy as democracy, vocabulary is important. Gargantuan gushers of goo, for example, are quite purposefully named, “spills.”

    Democracy is more than yes/no and win/lose. That is exactly why representative democracy is an opiate for the administered by oligarchs.

    The attack on Syria by capitalist rulers of France, England and the US was a desperate act of people believing their own lies.

  10. mike k
    April 19, 2018 at 10:36

    This excellent essay and the enlightening discussion following it is food for my soul, which is hungry for intelligent company on this sometimes lonely journey to truth. I am very grateful that this CN forum is almost entirely lacking the obnoxious behavior that characterizes many forums on the web. Thanks to all of you who help keep it that way. This forum and others liked it play an important role in our recovery from the serious problems facing us.

    • Lowell
      April 20, 2018 at 23:57

      You are not alone.

  11. michael crockett
    April 19, 2018 at 10:21

    Good insights Abe. The use of a Bellingcat to provide the confirmation intelligence needed to support the propaganda narrative sends a chill down my spine. Just bypass the CIA to avoid any possible contradictions that might call the narrative into question. This is sick!

  12. stan
    April 19, 2018 at 10:15

    It all makes sense if you accept that our political parties are mobsters running the country as a business syndicate. And they control the money, the judiciary, congress, the executive branch, and the mass media.

  13. mike k
    April 19, 2018 at 09:55

    Brilliant essay, and excellent comments. To understand as clearly as possible the nature of the predicament we are in, is the first step towards finding solutions for it. We are in the diagnosis phase of considering our profound cultural malaise. To jump ahead and wildly begin offering treatments would be premature. We need to understand how we got here, and what the deep roots of our situation are. Much that we need to know has been intentionally hidden and lied about, so we are thrust into the role of cultural detectives. Those who insist on quick solutions may be impatient with us, and denigrate this phase of our work, but we must persist in spite of their shallow criticisms.

    Inder Comar’s concise analysis of our Situation is very helpful in focusing our minds on what is essential in understanding our situation, as opposed to the plethora of interesting details. I especially commend his recognition of Lesson Four – Our Spiritual Crisis. Failure to diagnose and treat this deep dimension of our cultural illness will never result in effective treatment of it.

  14. Bob Van Noy
    April 19, 2018 at 09:45

    Jessica, we need your input.

  15. Bob Van Noy
    April 19, 2018 at 09:42

    These International Political Systems were brought to their knees by Propaganda and sophisticated Political maneuvering by shining a light on how it was done; it can be unraveled…

  16. Sam F
    April 19, 2018 at 08:17

    To restore public conscience, we must restore and stabilize democracy by:

    1. Amendments to protect elections and mass media debate from economic power;
    2. Restriction of executive power; checks and balances within federal branches;
    3. Investigation and purging of our corrupt judiciary and Congress;
    4. Monitoring of government officials for corruption;
    5. Regulating business so that oligarchic bullies cannot control economic power;
    6. Re-purposing 80% of our MIC to foreign aid, later making that a distinct agency;
    7. Reforming our secret agencies to end secret political wars and operations.

    Only when we have the power to do that, can we dump AUMFs, join the ICC, dump our law to attack the Hague etc., re-negotiate NATO as strictly defensive, limit foreign wars to UN auspices, repudiate deals with warmonger nations, end our secret wars, and thereby eliminate US warmongering.

    Only then can literature, media, education, and public interaction encourage moral community, and only then can public debate find the moral policies that honor the rights of all persons and seek justice for all.

    • willow
      April 21, 2018 at 04:32

      And I’ll add to your list:

      1. Repeal the “modernization” of the Smith-Mundt Act of 2013. This made government propaganda on US citizens legal. It had been prohibited since the end of WW2. Obama repealed it in 2013

      2. Repeal Citizens United (corporate personhood) legalized corporate bribery of politicians

      3. Repeal the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that legalized media consolidation.

  17. Sam F
    April 19, 2018 at 08:05

    Truly the US “public conscience” has been destroyed by money control of mass media and elections, the dictatorship of the rich that has destroyed democracy. Bribery to US politicians controls the entire nation, a fraction of its budget fed back through the MIC/Israel/WallSt to corrupt political parties. Control of mass media by the rich hides the real governing mechanisms. A state of war permits primitive tyrant politicians to invent foreign enemies to pose with the flag as fake protectors, to demand power and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. We can stop this tyranny.

    When the mass media are protected from domination by money, we will have public debate of all policy viewpoints by experts instead of propagandists. When elections and the federal branches are reformed, we will have far more beneficial policies. This requires constitutional amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions. It requires better checks and balances, restriction of executive power, renegotiation of NATO as purely defensive, and elimination of AUMFs.

    Our poorly regulated economy allows unethical bullies to prevail. Their belief system and principal skills are lying, cheating, and stealing, and we have allowed them to deny us democracy. Requiring quality and truth in manufacturing and advertising, plus heavy taxation of incomes more than twice the average, will remove most incentives for unethical conduct. Together these reforms will restore the public conscience.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 19, 2018 at 09:21

      Thank you Sam F. I have been impressed by your clear and analytical mind for years now on this site realizing that it will take an extra-governmental act by the Commons to resolve our profoundly illegal government. Fortunately we can rely on people such as yourself to guide us on what must be a renewal of our completely failed democratic system. Too, it seems possible, in these times, that a properly structured and safe internet environment could provide that contemporary Town Hall environment where that may happen. I’m relying on Patriots like William Binney to help provide that environment.

    • James Robinson
      April 19, 2018 at 09:37

      Well said, and a s wealth becomes more concentrated in fewer hands, the effects you describe become more pronounced

  18. April 19, 2018 at 07:10

    The two thousand trolls the Pentagon warned about are out spreading truth and multiplying like rabbits. It is extraordinary to watch the building of consensus of a America that Inder Comar describes and while it seems peace movements are dead, one wonders.

    “There is a grave political, cultural and spiritual crisis in the United States today.

    War has eaten at the country’s soul and left Americans deprived of a consistent sense of ethics.

    In any other country, an attack on another country would be a matter of grave concern, with protests threatening a ruling party in a parliamentary system.

    But in the United States, where attacks are common in a presidential system, another bout of militarism is absorbed with the morning coffee.”

    Inder Comar hits the nail squarely on the head.

    • Sam F
      April 19, 2018 at 08:08

      Yes a good article that reaches to the core problems of corruption of institutions and public conscience.

    • Daniel
      April 19, 2018 at 08:28

      Not just the US. The indifference here in the UK is shocking.

      Probably as the corporate/state press (BBC) are downplaying the dangers.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 19, 2018 at 09:27

      We can see that the corruption is spread uniformly across various political institutions and will have to be stamped out and those systems modified to compensate for the corruption. Fortunately there is plenty of historical information available to attack this problem

  19. john wilson
    April 19, 2018 at 04:44

    The only problem I have with this piece is that of lesson two. The writer says that the United Nations is at deaths door which I think is wrong. The UN died years ago and has long since decomposed into irrelevancy.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 19, 2018 at 09:31

      True john wilson, but the physical institution is there. We need to find a massive way to clean it out (mass resignations), whatever. I’m sure there are tacticians out there that could organize that.

      • Bob Van Noy
        April 19, 2018 at 09:32

        Sorry, I’ll be quiet for a while…

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      April 19, 2018 at 16:04

      I think the U.N. lesson is important. It may be that the UN is sometimes quite toothless, but first it doesn’t have to be, and secondly it does contribute quite a lot, IMO. With the debates, we can scrutinise the positions of the different sides, Bolivia got to give a candid description of the situation (and brave), and the terrible program of the Troika was stated that they will accept the opinion of the U.N. only when it suits them. Sadly, it seemed there was no objection from my country to that (except from a little muttering by our foreign minister).
      Also, the UN SC no made the attack on Syria even more illegal.

    • Tom F
      April 19, 2018 at 16:43

      Well it maybe that the UN is just moribund or is effectively dead but whichever, it is does not matter as the effect is the same. What actually matters is why this has happened and getting done what is needed to restore respect for international law. A big job considering the total lawlessness at large in certain western nations and some of their allies. We all know who these guilty nations are.

      • Martin - Swedish citizen
        April 19, 2018 at 17:27

        Yes, everything must be done to reestablish respect for international law. And we know who are guilty (although, most are guilty on some occasion).
        It was revealing, and frightening, how the three western permanent members of the UN SC at one of the latest sessions in turn stated that in their opinion, Russia had used their veto too much, and that they therefore thought it their right to act without the mandate of the UN. Apparently, they wanted to create a precedent and undermine the authority of the UN (even further, if you will). This is outrageous. Isn’t the very idea of the SC to find compromises?
        Strengthening the authority of the UN, on the other hand, would help restore respect for international law.

        Can’t help wondering, a little beside the point: isn’t it about time, in view of the evolving world, to replace the UK and France as permanent members? India? Japan? Brazil? Indonesia?

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          April 19, 2018 at 17:30

          One might suspect the Western countries may wish to replace UN mandates with NATO missions or similar?

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          April 19, 2018 at 17:54

          A thought: doesn’t the Western attack on the authority of the U.N. demonstrate that they, after all, do think the U.N. has some power?

  20. Realist
    April 19, 2018 at 02:39

    Back in the early 1950’s Isaac Asimov published a series of sci-fi books called the Foundation Trilogy, in which statistical analysis had been so perfected that the future could be predicted with great accuracy if not near certainty by simply analysing the current data in great detail: sort of like Sabermetrics even before such was a gleam in anybody’s eye because because its creators hadn’t been born yet.

    Now we know that Nate Silver has, with the exception of Trump’s totally unanticipated win over Hillary, called virtually every major political race dead on using computer analysis at least since Obama’s victory over McCain. Computers can crunch hella-numbers virtually instantaneously, predicting most division winners in most major sports, if not the ultimate champion, before the season begins. Deep Blue has kicked Garry Kasparov’s ass in chess. Watson humiliated Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on Jeopardy. And, AlphaGo blitzed the best human Go player Lee Se-dol. Some of these accomplishments are already years old, and the computers inexorably get better. Type in two letters in the Google box and chances are your computer will already have completed the word you are researching. Computers are taking over biomedical imaging and diagnosis with greater accuracy than humans. It is clear they are going to replace humans in legal research and similar information retrieval fields. How much of Asimov’s Foundation was pure whimsy and how much was predictive of what is now the near future? Thirty years ago already, Hollywood made a Matthew Broderick movie of a computer that learned through experience that nuclear wars could not be won. Who knows, an actual HAL9000 might already be out there, in spite of Elon Musk’s and Stephen Hawking’s greatest fears of super-human AI, that has done the calculations and come to its own conclusion on the matter.

    With the seeming readiness of humans to now engage in a nuclear war for the most preposterous of reasons, it would seem that the species is now at an inflection point in its evolutionary history. Will it eschew the choice to engage in such a war, or will it fool-heartedly give in to its inner demons and push the button just because it can, feels enraged, feels suicidal, just doesn’t care or loses all control of its faculties. Carl Sagan wondered till the day he died whether we would make the right choice when it got down to cases or whether our lizard brain would defeat our better angels. Right now, I’m wondering what an actual HAL9000 that Jeff Bezos might well have hidden in some underground vault is advising him on the matter. Do all the reported trends when analysed to a fair-thee-well predict sanity and survival or madness and the ultimate tragedy of mankind? Is Trump to be our agent of “deliverance” or someone else? That’s one small switch flip for a man, one giant fireball for mankind.

    Everyday should be a lesson for all of us. If only we learned from them. Just think “42” when the sky lights up and hope the cockroaches make a better go of it than our lot.

    • April 19, 2018 at 07:20

      I am in awe of the people, most of them anyway, on this site. I spend more time reading the comments than the articles with my morning coffee. Realist, you are one among the “most”. And without intending to be critical, a little hyperbole offered by CN regulars does not detract to any significant degree.

  21. Zachary Smith
    April 19, 2018 at 00:25

    Lesson Four: Spiritual Crisis
    There is a grave political, cultural and spiritual crisis in the United States today.
    War has eaten at the country’s soul and left Americans deprived of a consistent sense of ethics.

    This isn’t wrong, but I find it to be seriously incomplete. There are a lot of other things which led to the “Spiritual Crisis” the author speaks of.

    The country’s been looted and pillaged with rapacious fervor in recent decades while a unaccountable class of people I refer to as top-tier predators operate at will with total impunity. The man on the street’s thrown in jail for the smallest offense, while financiers who destroyed the global economy with fraud retire comfortably to their mansions.

    It’d be one thing if your average American was benefiting from U.S. empire, but they aren’t. Rather, the spoils are all going to a small handful of people from the top tier predator class, while life for tens of millions is characterized by dilapidated infrastructure, a completely broken healthcare system, continued unaccountable Wall Street looting, a decimation of of civil liberties, and an overall precarious economic existence that seems modeled off of the Hunger Games.

    The rich bastards have finally gotten things in the US so we’re almost powerless to change the situation. So I take issue with claims that “we the people” are entirely or even mostly to blame for the mess we’re in.


  22. Pft
    April 19, 2018 at 00:03

    Lets face our Democracy based on Christian ideals is fake.

    We no longer hold a moral compass.

    Maybe we never had one, but at least our leaders were kind enough to give us an illusion of one.

    The most disturbing element is they no longer feel the need to give us credible reasons. Its a show of contempt and arrogance. What you going to do they sneer know the answer is nothing. They are an Empire and Empires don’t need to explain themselves to their audience.

    Karl Rove said it 15 years ago.

    “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    And thats basically the way it is. Enjoy the show.

  23. Joe Tedesky
    April 18, 2018 at 21:46

    Seeing no signs of accountability along with no corrective conscience as to right any wrong I sense only a great catastrophe of a serious horrific magnitude may alter the course of this out of control American empire.

    • Gregory Herr
      April 18, 2018 at 22:12

      So tragically true Joe. Because “perpetual war is the bipartisan consensus”. And just as bad, television producers and their morally bankrupt pundits love war even more than they hate Trump.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 18, 2018 at 22:17

        Boy you got that right Gregory. I find it utterly amazing how the pundits reverse course on Trump from trashing and bashing to heralding high Trump’s war efforts… just bizarre and disgusting. Even more saddening is the lack of citizen response to these heinous war criminals parading themselves off as humanitarian liberators… & this sells in America! Okay Gregory good one. Joe

      • JanJ
        April 19, 2018 at 10:37

        Yet they take advantage of hatred of Trump in so-called progressive circles to frame any of his anti-war leanings as “soft on Russia”. These “progressives” are the same people who recoiled in disgust at the Bush II invasion of Iraq. I know one who is still smarting over a tiny bunch of social media ads.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 18, 2018 at 22:13
  24. john
    April 18, 2018 at 20:42

    Just a question? Who is making money on this? Is anyone really looking into it?
    Who are the banks involved?

    • backwardsevolution
      April 19, 2018 at 08:38

      john – “Who are the banks involved?” All of them, or at least the big Wall Street banks. It’s the same as it always has been.

  25. Abe
    April 18, 2018 at 20:30

    Lesson 5: “Government Assessments” F.UK.US

    Bellingcat: Tool of Information Warfare

    In several notable episodes, the United States has used a strange document called a “Government Assessment” as a pretext for aggressive sanctions and, more recently under Donald Trump, direct military attacks:

    – the August 2013 Ghouta incident in Syria

    – the July 2014 crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 in Ukraine

    – the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun incident in Syria

    – the April 2018 Douma incident in Syria

    As Ray McGovern pointed out in “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17” on Consortium News (August 17, 2015):

    “The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

    “The absence of an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia, just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this ‘Government Assessment’ arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”

    In every one of the “Government Assessment” episodes mentioned above, the one person in common who generated what McGovern accurately described as “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was U.K. blogger and mainstream media darling Eliot Higgins.

    The purpose of deception operatives like Higgins and Bellingcat is to provide a channel for Western propaganda to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.

    While attention is given to the “media reaction” to the attack, little attention is given to the role of the media – especially “First Draft” propaganda coalition “partners” – New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, and especially the fake “online investigations” site Bellingcat – in promoting U.S. military attacks.

    Fake “citizen investigative journalist” Higgins and fake “chemical weapons expert” Dan Kaszeta are long-time propaganda launderers for Al Qaeda terrorist-affiliates and their White Helmets allies in Syria.

    The “Bellingcat method” uses signature phrases “appear to show”, “appear to depict”, “appear to be” to purportedly “verify” video and photos supplied by the terrorist-affiliated groups in Syria.

    The latest example is Bellingcat’s “open source survey” on the 7th April 2018 incident at Douma

    On 14 April 2018, ABC News reported that the United States Government “Assessment” was supplied to Congress by the National Security Council, now under the direction of rabid pro-Israel Lobby figure and terrorist supporter John R. Bolton.

    The ABC News report stated: “In the moments after President Donald Trump ordered coordinated attacks on chemical weapons facilities in Syria, the White House sent a briefing document to members of Congress prepared by the National Security Council outlining the thinking behind its air strikes.”

    ABC News “obtained a copy of the document, sent to at least one senator”.

    The ABC News report quoted a segment from the published Government “Assessment” claim concerning the April 7, 2018 incident.

    According to ABC News, in response to arguments made by the Syrian and Russian governments that the April 7 attack was fabricated by Western governments, the NSC memo stated, “Such a widespread fabrication would require a well-organized and compartmented campaign to deceive multiple media outlets while evading our detection.”

    Like so many statements in the U.S. Government “Assessment” of alleged “chemical use” in the Syrian conflict, the NSC statement is merely an assertion with no direct evidence to support it.

    The official U.S. Government “Assessment”, reflected in the NSC memo to Congress confirmed by ABC News, is based on nothing other than so-called “public information” supplied by “social media users, non-governmental organizations, and other open-source outlets”.

    The Government “Assessment” emphasizes “reporting from media, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other open sources”.

    The U.S. Government “Assessment” only mentions “Reliable intelligence” once, but presents no further information regarding the specific form of the alleged “intelligence”, nor how its “reliability” was determined, nor whether it came from a foreign nation.

    Israel, for example, has a long history of supplying the U.S. with dubious or obviously false “intelligence”. Indeed, Bellingcat’s Kaszeta has been a megaphone for fact free “Israeli intelligence” claims.

    It now appears that the U.S., British and French Government relies almost entirely on so-called “independent” media and non-governmental agencies to “verify” information.

  26. Jeff
    April 18, 2018 at 20:28

    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    The US could be a force for good in the world. Pigs could also fly. The United States has revealed itself to be no different than any other grubby authoritarian power looking out first and foremost for #1. We care naught for all those characteristics that we proclaim are closest to our heart. John J. Norris wrote A History of Venice and in the course of writing about the denouement of the most serene Republic, proposed a corollary: The presence or absence of such qualities as liberty, fraternity, equality etc in a society is in inverse proportion to the frequency with which they are publicly proclaimed.

    You now know all you really need to know about the United States.

    • Wayne Chirnside
      April 18, 2018 at 21:30

      What gets me is my government was bought so cheaply.

      I mean money amounts to what without integrity to ones self?

      • backwardsevolution
        April 19, 2018 at 08:55

        Jeff – good post.

        Wayne – “I mean money amounts to what without integrity to ones self?” I don’t think these guys would know the meaning of “integrity”. It’s not important to them; they don’t value it. I like this video clip of a fellow who is about to run for senator, but was just called out for cheating by his former teacher. The would-be senator is a chip off the old block. His father (also a senator) didn’t value integrity, he would have scoffed at integrity, and that’s what he passed on to his son. But his own son might think differently.

        • Bob Van Noy
          April 19, 2018 at 09:49

          Brilliant. Perfect!

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