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Has the U.S. Government Been Lying About Syria & About Ukraine?

Eric Zuesse

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From the moment it took power in the U.S. in 2009, the Barack Obama Administration was angling to overthrow Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad. And then, by the time of December of 2012, Obama’s team were relying mainly on Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch to lead the tens of thousands of the U.S.-Saudi alliance’s boots-on-the ground ‘moderate rebels’ in this overthrow-Assad war, fighters who have actually been fundamentalist Sunnis recruited from all over the world to come to Syria in order to replace the secular President of Syria, the Alawite Shiite, Assad. Propaganda in the U.S. portrays U.S. Government policy as being driven by a concern for the welfare of the Syrian people: to ‘protect their human rights’ — not to overthrow a government that refuses to cooperate with U.S. oil companies and other corporate interests in the U.S.

But even with the anti-Obama Donald Trump in the White House, there has been nothing really new about any of this U.S. Government scam, any of this attempted-but-never-publicly-acknowledged conquest against the Syrian people. The U.S. Government — along with the U.S.-aristocracy-allied fundamentalist Sunni Saud family, the world’s wealthiest family, who own Saudi Arabia, and who finance the fundamentalist-Sunni Al Qaeda and similar Sunni jihadist organizations — has been trying ever since 1949 to control Syria, and still tries. The main difference between now and 1949 is that the Saud family have become more brazen about conquest than they were, back in 1949, when they had wanted merely that the Syrian Government approve an American-built pipeline for their oil to go into Europe. In the present day, the Sauds are openly at war against Shiites everywhere, even inside Saudi Arabia itself, and are bombing the hell out of the Shiite (Houthi) areas of Yemen, basically trying to take over the entire Middle East, and to destroy Iran, which is the leading Shiite country. The U.S. is allied with the Sauds in all of this.

On 30 March 1949, the CIA, in a coup planned by James Hugh Keeley Jr. and Miles Copeland Jr., replaced the democratically elected Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli, replaced him with France’s stooge, General Husni al-Za’im, who displeased King Saud of Saudi Arabia, and so got overthrown and killed on 14 August 1949, by a different France-stooge General, Sami al-Hinnawi. Za’im had left his mark on Syria, however: “The pro-Western Za’im remained in power for three months — long enough to grant [the Saudi-American] Aramco’s Tapline concession to pipe Saudi oil to the Mediterranean.”

But Hinnawi pleased the CIA and Sauds even more than Za’im did, so got the Presidency, and Za’im simply got killed. (The CIA and the Saud family are very demanding of their stooges.)

In December 1949, the CIA, in a coup planned by Miles Copeland (Syria’s third and final coup that year), carried out the desire of King Saud, and installed as Syria’s leader, Adib Shishakli. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia implemented a new policy towards Syria by giving financial support amounting to six million dollars.”

Shishakli’s barbarism was so great that four years later, Syria’s generals formed the secular Ba’ath Party and on 6 September 1955, restored to power Syria’s democratically elected President, Quwatli, who in 1958 joined Syria into the United Arab Republic, which lasted till 1971. However, while Quwatli was still Syria’s President, the CIA, yet again, in 1957, tried to oust him via a coup, but that coup-attempt had to be called-off.

A permanent result of that brazen attempt in 1957 was to cause Syria to sever relations with the U.S.; so, from that time forward, the U.S. regime works in Syria mainly by its agents and allies, such as King Saud who owns Saudi Arabia, and Emir Thani who owns Qatar. Both families are fundamentalist Sunni Arabs — the Saud family being Al Qaeda’s main financial backer, and the Thani family being the Muslim Brotherhood’s main financial backer. (Both Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood are fundamentalist Sunni organizations, whereas Syria, at least after 1957, is strongly secular, anti-sectarian.) But now that King Saud wants to overthrow Emir Thani and take Qatar, and is trying to blockade Qatar, the U.S. regime has stayed with King Saud, but not to such an extent as to jeopardize Emir Thani’s willingness to host in Qatar America’s biggest Middle Eastern military base, Al Udeid Air Base, which the Thanis see as essential to their staying in power. So: the U.S., under Donald Trump, is mildly supportive of King Saud’s aggressions against Qatar, but not to such an extent as to withdraw from Al Udeid.

As a result of the Sunni Sauds’ attacks against the Sunni Thanis, the Thanis have turned away from the Sauds, who hate Iran and all Shiites. Thus, the Thanis now are non-partisan in the Sauds’ longstanding efforts to conquer Iran and other Shiite-majority areas; the Thanis have become more pan-Arabic than when they were allied with the Sauds; they’re no longer dedicated to war against Shia. They are no longer allies of the Sauds against Shia.

The U.N. ‘peace’ talks on Syria are between Syria’s Government and Saudi Arabia’s Government, not between Syria’s Government and any authentically representative native Syrians versus the Syrian Government. The Saud family selected the “High Negotiations Committee” who are negotiating against Syria’s Government there, as  ‘representatives’ of ‘the opposition’.

Even the U.S. subscription-only GlobalSecurity.org site admits “The High Negotiations Committee is a Saudi-backed coalition of Syrian opposition groups. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) was created in Saudi Arabia in December 2015.”

Non-sectarian — even secular — Syria is the odd-man-out, insisting on its own national sovereignty, and secularism, no matter what, and willing to do whatever they must in order to maintain their independence. And the majority of the Syrian people thus support Assad (55% did, even at the very height of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings throughout the Arab world), and 82% of Syrians blame the U.S. Government for the presence of ISIS and other jihadists in their country.

This is history. What can the U.S. regime credibly present to the world as being justification for continuing its decades-long effort to conquer Syria? The U.S. regime condemns Syria’s non-sectarian Government for ‘humanitaian violations’ fighting against the U.S.-Saudi imported terrorists who are trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government. The U.S. has thousands of its own troops in their invasion and military occupation of Syria, and condemns Assad for leading the fight against that invasion-occupation.

As regards Ukraine, you can either see this terrific video-compilation documenting how Obama perpetrated a bloody coup which in February 2014 overthrew and replaced Ukraine’s democratically elected Government

, or you can read my “Are Michael Isikoff And David Corn CIA Agents?” which documents the lies by those two ‘investigative journalists’, who spread the falsehoods about Ukraine that the U.S. aristocracy want to be spread against Russia, and which lies go against the realities that that video shows.

Incidentally, on 10 February 2017, in the video shown here, Isikoff interviewed Bashar al-Assad, who took his stenographed transmission of quite possibly fabricated ‘evidence’ against Assad, and turned it instead against the regime whose agent Isikoff so clearly does represent.

Obama’s coup destroyed Ukraine. The World Happiness Reports, from the U.N. and Columbia University, have been published for 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Each year’s report covers, generally speaking, the surveys that were done worldwide during the preceding year. The American coup in Ukraine occurred in February 2014. So, the only pre-coup survey done was the 2013 publication, which covered the year 2012. As internationally ranked for happiness by the World Happiness Report, Ukraine went from #87 out of 156 nations, or 87/156 (the bottom 45%) in 2013, to 111/138 (the bottom 20%) in 2015, to 123/157 (the bottom 22%) in 2016, to 132/155 (the bottom 15%) in 2017, to 138/155 (the bottom 12%) in 2018. So: before the coup, Ukraine was in the worst 45%, but by 2018 it reached the worst 12%. That’s an enormous plunge. Barack Obama wanted the coup, he got it, and it destroyed Ukraine. The U.S. claims to be trying to save Ukraine from Russia, but the reality is the exact opposite: that the U.S. destroyed Ukraine in order to become enabled to bring Ukraine into NATO and position U.S. nuclear missiles less than ten minutes flight-time from Moscow. Ukrainians have every reason to hate the U.S. Government, for what it did to them. Like what it did to Afghans, and Iraqis, and Yemenese, and Hondurans — and Chileans, and Guatemalans, and so forth. And like what it’s doing to anyone who wants to avoid World War III — including the American people, who nominally (but not really) are represented by this rapacious Government, controlled by this rapacious aristocracy.

So: the documentation is unequivocally clear, that the U.S. Government lies shamelessly about both Syria and Ukraine — and Russia, and Iran, and much else.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

In Praise of the Lioness of Law: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her Jurisprudence

Punsara Amarasinghe

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image credit: Wikipedia

The death of the US Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created an abyss in the court for the liberal voice where justice Ginsburg was seen as the linchpin of the liberal block of the Supreme Court at a time when that block was shrinking. Especially late judge had vociferously advocated for women ‘rights, environmental issues and often came up with unique dissents in delivering her judgements which were propelled by her jurisprudence which embodied the solemn ideal in American legal system “Equal Protection under the Law “. She was on a quest to defend the delicate balance between honoring the timelessness of American Constitution and recognizing the depth of its enduring principles in new centuries and under new circumstances.

She grew up in an era where men held the helm in every aspect of social life and especially the legal profession was utterly dominated by men. Recalling her legal studies at Harvard law school in the 50’s judge Ginsburg had stated later how she was once asked by the Dean of Harvard law school to justify her position as a law student that otherwise would have gone to a man. Yet she had the spunk to overcome all the obstacles stood on her way and excelled as a scholar becoming the first female member of the Harvard Law Review.

In tracing her legal career that it becomes a salient fact, Judge Ginsburg marked her name in American legal history even decades before she joined the bench. While at the American Civil Liberties Union in the early seventies she made an upheaval in American in legal system in famous Supreme Court Case Reed Vs Reed. In Reed Vs Reed the brief drafted by Ginsburg provided an astute analysis on the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause. Ginsburg’s brief changed the aged long practice existed in the State of Idaho on favoring men over women in estate battles by paving the path for a discourse on gender equality rights in the USA.

Judge Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 1994 during Clinton administration marked the dawn of new jurisprudential chapter in the US Supreme Court. Two terms later, in the United States v. Virginia (VMI), Justice Ginsburg applied her lucid perspective to a sharply disputed constitutional claim. The United States challenged Virginia’s practice of admitting only men to its prestigious military college, the Virginia Military Institute. Writing for six Justices, Ginsburg held this policy unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. In reaching this result, Ginsburg adroitly cut away potentially confounding issues about women’s participation in the military or the advantages of single-sex education.

Her robust activism in securing gender equality often attracted the admirations of the feminist scholars and activists, but it should be noted that her contribution was not only confined to the protection of gender equality. She was a robust critique of racial dissemination which still pervades in American society and she frequently pointed out how racial discrimination has marred the constitutional protections guaranteed to every citizen. Especially in the case of Gratz Vs Bollitnger, she stressed on the commitment that the state ought to fulfil by eliminating the racial biases existing employment and education. Moreover, disabled citizens. In Olmstead v. Zimring, she held that “unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination” violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.45 She elaborated a two-fold concept of discrimination, noting that unneeded institutionalization both “perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life”.

In remembering the mortal departure of this prudent judge that one cannot forget her keenness in incorporating international law into her judgements regardless of the disinclination shown by conservative judges like Antony Scalia. Going beyond the mere textualism approach to the law, Ginsburg’s jurisprudence was much more akin to using international law to make substantive decisions. For instance, in her concurring verdict in Grutter Vs Bollinger, Justice Ginsburg relied upon international human rights law, and in particular upon two United Nations conventions, to support her conclusions.

Indeed, the demise of Ruth Ginsburg is a major blow for the liberalists in the USA, especially in an era where liberalist values are at stake under the fervent rise of populist waves propounded by Donald Trump. Especially late judge had been one of the harsh critics of Trump even before ascendency to the Oval office. The void created by the demise of judge Ginsburg might change the role the US Supreme Court if the successor to her position would take a more conservative approach and it will fortify the conservative bloc in the US Supreme Court. Trump has already placed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and the third pick would more deeply entrench the conservative views in the US Supreme Court, which would inevitably undermine the progressive policies taken during Obama’s administration towards issues such as the environment. The political storm appeared after the death of the late judge has already created a tense situation in US politics as president Trump is determined to appoint a judge to fill before the presidential election in November.

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The Politics of (In)security in Mexico: Between Narcissism and Political Failure

Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza

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Image credit: Wikimedia

Security cannot be that easily separated from the political realm. The need for security is the prime reason why people come together to collectively form a state. Providing security is, therefore, one of the most basic functions of the state as a political and collective entity.

Last Friday, the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) laughed during his daily morning press briefings over a national newspaper headline about 45 massacres during his presidency. This attitude summarises in a macabre way his approach to insecurity: it is not his top priority. This is not the first time that AMLO has showed some serious and deeply disturbing lack of empathy for victims of crimes. Before taking office, he knew that insecurity was one of Mexico’s biggest challenges, and he has come to realise that curbing it down will not be as simple as he predicted during his presidential campaign.

Since the start of the War on Drugs in 2006, Mexico has sunk into a deep and ever-growing spiral of violence and vigilantism as a result of the erosion of the capacity of the state to provide safety to citizens. Vigilantism is when citizens decide to take the law into their own hands in order to fill the vacuum left by the state, or to pursue their own very particular interests. Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz have over 50 vigilante organisations that pose substantial danger to the power of the state.

Vigilantism is not the only factor exacerbating the security crisis in Mexico: since 2006, young people have also started to join drug cartels and other criminal organisations. There are important sectors of the population who feel that the state has failed to represent them. They also feel betrayed because the state has not been able to provide them with the necessary means to better themselves. These frustrations make them vulnerable to the indoctrination of organised crime gangs who promise to give them some sort of ideological direction and solution to their problems.

As a result, it is not enough to carry out a kingpin arrest strategy and to preach on the moral duties we have as citizens as well as on human dignity. People need to be given enough means to find alternative livelihoods that are attractive enough to take them out of organised crime, Mexico can draw some important lessons from Sierra Leone who successfully demobilised and resettled ex-combatants after the armed conflict. Vigilantism, recruitment by organised crime, and insecurity have also flourished because of a lack of deterrence. The judicial system is weak and highly ineffective. A large proportion of the population does not trust the police, or the institutions in charge of the rule of law.

A long-term strategy requires linking security with politics. It needs to address not only the consequences but also the roots of unemployment and deep inequality. However, doing so requires decisive actions to root out widespread and vicious corruption. Corruption allows concentration of wealth and also prevents people from being held accountable. This perpetuates the circle of insecurity. Mexico has been slowly moving towards a borderline failed state. The current government is starting to lose legitimacy and the fragility of the state is further perpetuated by the undemocratic, and predatory governance of the current administration.

Creating a safer Mexico requires a strong, coherent, and stable leadership, AMLO’s administration is far from it. His popularity has consistently fallen as a result of his ineffective policies to tackle the pandemic, worsening insecurity, and the economic crisis. Mexico has reached over 72,000 Covid-19 deaths; during his initial 20 months as incumbent president, there has been 53,628 murders, among them 1800 children or teenagers, and 5888 women (11 women killed per day) This criminality rate is double than what it was during the same period in the presidency of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012); and 55% higher than with the last president, Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). Mexico is also experiencing its worst economic recession in 90 years.

Insecurity remains as the issue of most concern among Mexicans, seeing the president laughing about it, can only fill citizens with yet more despair and lack of trusts in the government and its institutions. AMLO’s catastrophic performance is not surprising, though. Much of his failures and shortcomings can be explained by both ideology and a narcissistic personality. Having someone with both of those traits ruling a country under normal, peaceful times is already dangerous enough, add an economic crisis and a pandemic to the mix and the result is utter chaos.

AMLO embodies the prototypical narcissist: he has a grandiose self-image; an inflated ego; a constant need for admiration; and intolerance to criticism. He, like many other narcissists, thinks about himself too much and too often, making him incapable of considering the wellbeing of other and unable to pursue the public interest. He has a scapegoat ready to blame for his failures and mistakes: previous administrations, conservatives, neoliberalism, academics, writers, intellectuals, reporters, scientists, you name it, the list is long and keeps getting longer.

AMLO keeps contradicting himself and he does not realise it. He has been claiming for months that the pandemic is under control: it is not. He declares Mexico is ready to face the pandemic and we have enough tests and medical equipment: we do not. He says Mexico is on its way to economic recovery: it is not. He states corruption is a thing of the past: it is not. He says Mexico is now safer than ever before: it is not. When told the opposite he shrugs criticism off and laughs, the behaviour of a typical narcissist.

AMLO, alike narcissists, due to his inability to face criticism, has never cared about surrounding himself by the best and brightest. He chose a bunch of flunkies as members of his cabinet who try to please and not humiliate their leader. A further trait of narcissistic personalities is that they love conflict and division as this keeps them under control. The more destabilisation and antagonism, the better. AMLO since the start of his presidency has been setting states against states for resources and for pandemic responses, instead of coordinating a national response. He is also vindictive: playing favourites with those governors who follow him and punishing those that oppose him.

Deep down, narcissistic leaders are weak. AMLO is genuinely afraid to lead. He simply cannot bring himself to make decisions that are solely his. This is why he has relied on public referendums and consultations to cancel projects or advance legislation. He will not take any responsibility if something goes wrong: It was not him who decided, it was the people, blame them. He inherited a broken system that cannot be fixed during his term, blame the previous administrations, not him.

AMLO is a prime example of a textbook narcissist, unfortunately he is not the only one: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Recep Erdogan, Rodrigo Duterte are only a few more examples of what seems to be a normalised behaviour in contemporary politics. Every aspect of AMLO’s and other leaders presidencies have been heavily marked by their psychopathology. Narcissism, however, does not allow proper and realistic self-assessment, self-criticism, and self-appreciation therefore such leaders will simply ignore the red flags in their administration and have no clue how despicably and disgracefully they will be remembered.

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Minor Successes And The Coronavirus Disaster: Is Trump A Dead Duck?

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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That reminder from the Bible, ‘He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone’ may give us pause — but not journalists who by all appearances assume exemption.  And the stones certainly bruise.

Evidence for the bruises lies in the latest poll numbers.  Overall, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 50 to 43 percent, a margin that has continued to increase since January.  It is also considerably wider than the few points lead Hillary Clinton had over Trump four years ago.  It gets worse for Trump. 

In the industrial states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, which Trump in 2016 won by razor thin margins, he is losing by over 4 percent.  Also key to his victory was Wisconsin where, despite his success in getting dairy products into Canada, he is behind by a substantial 7 percent.  Key states Ohio and Florida are also going for the Democrats.

Trump was not doing so badly until the coronavirus struck and during the course of his news conferences he displayed an uncaring persona larded with incompetence.  Dr. Anthony Fauci, the man he fired for correcting Trumpian exaggerations became a hero and Trump the bully.

If that bullying nature won him small rewards with allies, he hit an impasse with China and Iran … while bringing the two closer to each other.  Then there is the border wall, a sore point for our southern neighbor Mexico.  President Lopez Obrador made sure the subject never came up at the July meeting with Trump,   Thus Mexico is not paying for it so far and will not be in the foreseeable future.

The United Arab Emirates, a conglomeration of what used to be the Trucial States under British hegemony. have agreed to formalize its already fairly close relations with Israel.  In return, Israel has postponed plans to annex the West Bank.  Whether or not it is in Israel’s long term interest to do so is a debatable question because it provides much more powerful ammunition to its critics who already accuse it of becoming an apartheid regime.  However, it had become Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sop to the right wing who will have to wait.  Of course, the reality is that Israel is already the de facto ruler.

If Mr. Trump was crowing about the agreement signed on September 15, although it is akin to someone signing an agreement with Puerto Rico while the United States remains aloof.  As a postscript, the little island of Bahrain also signed a peace deal with Israel.  Bahrain has had its own problems in that a Sunni sheikh rules a Shia populace.  When the Shia had had enough, Saudi and UAE troops were used to end the rebellion.  Bahrain is thus indebted to the UAE.

How many among voters will know the real value of these historic (according to Trump) deals particularly when he starts twittering his accomplishments as the election nears?

There things stand.  As they say, there is nothing worse than peaking too early.  Bettors are still favoring Trump with their money.  The longer anyone has been in politics the more there is to mine, and for an opponent to use to his/her advantage.  Time it seems is on Trump’s side.  

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