Syria Matters

First, and fascinatingly, is Eva Bartlett’s ‘Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns’, RT Dec. 25, 2018
Some highlights:

Utter silence. That is the sound of Western corporate media days after a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.

Journalists were present, so the silence isn’t due to lack of access. And in any case it was live streamed on the UNTV channel, and remains available on Youtube for keen observers to watch.

More likely, the silence is due to the irrefutable documentation presented on the faux-rescue group’s involvement in criminal activities, which include organ theft, working with terrorists — including as snipers — staging fake rescues, thieving from civilians, and other non-rescuer behaviour.

On the panel was one of corporate media’s favourite targets to smear, British journalist Vanessa Beeley, who gave a fact-based lecture on her years of research into the founding, funding and nefarious activities of the White Helmets, research which includes numerous visits to White Helmets centers, countless testimonies from Syrian civilians, and even an interview with a White Helmets leader in Dara’a al-Balad, Syria.

Maxim Grigoriev, the director of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy (a member of the UN’s Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network) spoke at length, detailing some of the over 100 eyewitnesses his foundation has conducted interviews with.

These include over 40 White Helmets members, 15 former terrorists, 50 people from areas where terrorists and WH operated, with another over 500 interviewed by survey in Aleppo and Daraa.” [long snip regarding organ theft, fake chemical attacks, (bellingcat and WaPo naming exposing the WH: russian disinformation.]

“Canadian journalist Cory Morningstar in September 2014 exposed the role of the New York based PR firm, Purpose Inc, in marketing campaigns for the White Helmets.

And as I wrote, “In April 2015, American independent journalist revealed that the White Helmets had been founded by Western powers and managed by a British ex-soldier, and noted the “rescuers” role in calling for Western intervention—a No Fly Zone on Syria.”

The April 2015 link above goes to Rick Sterling, including this outtake:

“White Helmets is the newly minted name for “Syrian Civil Defence”. Despite the name, Syria Civil Defence was not created by Syrians nor does it serve Syria.  Rather it was created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.

The White Helmets work primarily with the rebel group Jabat al Nusra (Al Queda in Syria). Video of the recent alleged chlorine gas attacks starts with the White Helmet logo and continues with the logo of Nusra. In reality, White Helmets is a small rescue team for Nusra/Al Queda.”

“These, and the subsequent numerous investigations by Vanessa Beeley, including on the ground in Syria, taking countless testimonies of Syrian civilians on the matter of the White Helmets, far precede any Russian media reporting on the group.

That Russian media and bodies have since done their own investigations does not equate to a “disinformation campaign”, but rather doing the job corporate media are clearly incapable of, and unwilling to do.”

Zo.  Boss Tweet claims he’ll bring the troops home from Syria because ‘we’ve beaten ISIS’.  But of course that was never the reason Amerika was IN Syria: it was to putsch Diktator Assad, as well as a proxy war against Russia an Iran, as well Syria  being ground zero for the Ultimate Pipelinestan War. (Pepe Escobar).

But western ‘leftist’ columnists were full of outrage akin to Patrick Cockburn’s ‘Trump’s Abrupt Withdrawal From Syria Might Provide Exactly the Anarchic Conditions in Which ISIS has Always Flourished’, December 21, 2018, CP.

Herr Trump’s later Tweet saying he’d bring a few thousand troops home from Afghanistan apparently pissed off Mad Dog (the only adult left in the administration) Mattis to resign.  That resignation caused the chattering classes to explode, most notably the Cruise Missile Left.

In Joseph Kishore’s Dec. 24, 2018 column at, ‘Trump administration in question as political warfare in Washington intensifies’, he writes:

“The year 2018 is coming to a close amidst a historic political crisis in the United States. In the past week, Washington has been convulsed by conflicts over Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and reduce troop levels in Afghanistan, and the ensuing resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis. This has coincided with a sharp drop on the stock market and a partial government shutdown that could extend well into next year.

It is not Trump’s fascistic attack on immigrants, his war on the working class or his belligerence toward China that has triggered paroxysms of rage within the state and from the Democratic Party. It is, rather, his seeming intention to wind down the wars in Syria and Afghanistan, both of which are undeclared and illegal.”

He offers that the future of the administration is being called into question, and offers examples I’ll shorthand.

Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, said on Sunday that the resignation of Mattis in protest over the troop withdrawals could be the “beginning of the functional end of this presidency.”

Democratic Senator Chris Coons declared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that “President Trump is handing a great big Christmas gift to Vladimir Putin in Russia and to the Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran.”

Of the Butcher of Fallujah, Democratic Senator Chris Coons declared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that “President Trump is handing a great big Christmas gift to Vladimir Putin in Russia and to the Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran.”

“Amidst the raging political warfare in Washington, there are certain voices notable by their silence. Socialist Worker, the publication of the International Socialist Organization, has said nothing. Jacobin magazine, aligned with the Democratic Socialists of America, has said nothing. Socialist Alternative has said nothing. Nor have the Democratic Party politicians they have promoted—Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, incoming New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, etc.

They are silent because they support the line of the Democratic Party. They support war and they support American imperialism.

Their real political line is articulated by the Nation’s Joan Walsh, frequently cited by Socialist Worker and other pseudo-left publications. In “As Trump Rages, God Bless Us Every One,” Walsh bemoans Trump’s decision to neglect the counsel of “a lifelong military leader and public servant like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.”

Bibi has announced that Israel plans to fill the void in Syria, Danny Zaken at al monitor posts why that is: Iran, of course.  And there’s this enigmatic ad  in recoil Magazinr, Tweeted by defense news on Twitter:

‘We are coming’: Chilling Blackwater ad triggers fears of Trump seeking to privatize Mideast wars’, 26 Dec. 2018, RT

I dunno that it’s chilling, I’d long suspected that Trump had actually taken Erik’s offer to privatize the war in Afghanistan (Acadamei: ‘Managed support services’),  so I reckon time will tell how his (ahem) ‘former company’ Blackwater fits into the mix.

The Institute for the Study of War’s tab on Syria, including the most recent: ‘The Looming Vacuum in Syria’ By the ISW Research Team, Dec. 21

Key Takeaway: Russia and Iran are poised to exploit the U.S. withdrawal from Syria announced by U.S. President Donald Trump on December 19. They and their proxies hold positions along the Syrian-Iraqi Border surrounding areas that the U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition and allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) currently hold. Russia and Iran will undoubtedly attempt to fill the security vacuum left behind by the U.S. in Eastern Syria. The Russo-Iranian Coalition is nonetheless stretched thin and likely cannot secure this new terrain without opening exploitable vulnerabilities for ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. Turkey and other regional actors will also likely attempt to exploit this opening to compete for terrain and influence in Syria.”

You’ll also remember the agitprop from ‘the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – Official Site

The Wiki:  One Sunni Syrian in the UK, but hilarious counter-narratives as well as accolades; In 2013 the New York Times reported that that Rami Abdulrahman had received small subsidies from the European Union and one European country. Medialens said that journalist Ian Sinclair confirmed “in communication with the Foreign Office” that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.

Online crowd-sourced #FakeNews bellingcat has a crowded tab on Syria, of course, but they sure loves ‘em some White Helmets!

Adding to the avalanche of disinformation on Syria is (tada!) The Integrity Initiative: Defending Against Disinformation.  Well, okay, a search for Syria on their site kicks up Russia as well, and includes one mentioning ‘talking to Eliot Higgins.’  They’re not in chronological order, so I won’t choose one to feature.  Ain’t you glad of that?

(cross-posted at

14 responses to “Syria Matters

  1. closing time for me; g’night.

  2. i’d added a lot in comments over yonder, but it seemed silly to bring them with no readers. but it’s closing time for me, and when i woke up this morning this is the song that was playing in my mind. what i imagine may have provoked it was the knowledge that a) amerika/nato (which is essentially amerika) is the largest purveyor of military violence on the planet, and b) also has the largest carbon footprint; and c) many other global military carbon footprints are down to protecting their allies from amerika’s foregin incursions and occupations, and c) that the military’s endless wars are key ingredients to the planet’s burning….

    God send a fire, not a flood next time.

    God said fire comin’ judgement day,
    He said all mankind gonna pass away.
    Brothers and sisters don’t you know?
    You’re gonna reap just what you sow.

    World’s not waitin’ for the Lord’s command,
    Buildin’ a fire that’ll sweep the land.
    Thunder out of heaven, comin’ Gabriel’s call;
    And the sea’s gonna boil and the sky’s gonna fall…

    i’ll add two nuggets i’d run into and posted in comments over yonder:

    ‘Obama, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood’, F. Wm. Engdahl, Dec. 25, 2018

    “In 2010 the US Administration under President Barack Obama developed a top secret blueprint for the most ambitious and far-ranging series of US-backed regime change across the Islamic Middle East since World War I and the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot agreement. It was to set off a wave of wars and chaos, of failed states and floods of war refugees unimaginable to the most cynical veteran diplomat, and beyond the belief of most lay persons in the world.
    In August, 2010, six months before Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution was launched by the Washington NGOs including the NED, the Soros Foundations, Freedom House and others, President Obama signed Presidential Study Directive-11 (PDS-11), ordering Washington government agencies to prepare for “change.” The change was to be a radical policy calling for Washington’s backing for the secret fundamentalist Islamic Muslim Brotherhood sect across the Middle East Muslim world, and with it, the unleashing of a reign of terror that would change the entire world.

    According to US Congressional testimony of Peter Hoekstra, former Chairman of the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Obama Administration PSD-11 directive–as of March 2017 still classified Top Secret–“ordered a government-wide reassessment of prospects for political reform in the Middle East and of the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in the process. “

    A Grandiose Task Force

    To draft the contents of PSD-11, a top secret task force was established within the Obama National Security Council (NSC), headed by Dennis Ross, Samantha Power, Gayle Smith, Ben Rhodes and Michael McFaul.
    The PSD-11 Task Force members were remarkable in many regards. Samantha Power, who would go on to become Obama’s UN Ambassador and lead the demonizing of Russia after the CIA’s Ukraine Color Revolution coup in 2014, was to play an instrumental role in convincing President Obama that Libya’s Mohammar Qaddafi must be militarily removed for what she called “humanitarian reasons.” Dennis Ross, accused by Palestinian opponents of being “more pro-Israeli than the Israelis,” co-founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-sponsored Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). He was Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the NSC for the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia when he was part of the PSD-11 task force.

    Gayle Smith would later go on in 2015 to head the USAID, the CIA-linked State Department agency that funneled US taxpayer millions to finance the NGOs of the Arab Spring and other Color Revolution regime changes. Michael McFaul, who once described himself as a “specialist on democracy, anti-dictator movements, revolutions,” was later named Obama’s Ambassador to Moscow where he coordinated opposition protests against Putin.

    The Top Secret PSD-11 report that the Task Force drew up was partially revealed in a series of legal Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department. Released official documents revealed that the NSC Task Force had concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “viable movement” for the US Government to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East. A resulting Presidential directive ordered American diplomats to make contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active support to the organization’s drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria, at the 2011 outset of the “Arab Spring.” The PDS-11 secret paper came to the bizarre conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islam, combined with its fervent nationalism, could lead to “reform and stability.” It was a lie, a lie well known to the Obama PSD-11 Task Force members.”
    “The members of the Obama Administration National Security Council PSD-11 Task Force that recommended a US Government embrace of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic countries of the Arab Middle East, knew very well who they were dealing with. Since the 1950’s the CIA had worked with the Ikhwan around the world. Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq and in Syria, al Nusra Front in Syria, as well as the so-called Islamic State or ISIS all were created out of Muslim Brotherhood networks, changing names as a chameleon lizard changes color to suit its surroundings.
    The origins of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and later of ISIS , the murderous wars and chaos sweeping across the Arab Middle East and into Western Europe since 2010, could all be directly traced back to those Washington Obama policies, their so-called Arab Spring, coming from that August 2010 PSD-11 Presidential Task Force directive. This is what threatens to come out with declassification of US Justice Department files in the coming months. Some in Washington speak of treason, a strong word.”

    operation timber sycamore on wikipedia:

    marin berger expands on CIA and riyadh involvement in syria here.

  3. interesting piece by gareth porter in the fwiw category:

  4. OT
    Sawadi pemai.
    Happy new year WD; may it be one of well being and contentment…

  5. and sawadi pemai to you and miz v.

    if ‘fullness of being’ can translate to ‘contentment’, i can at least imagine that.

  6. Thank you for slogging through such depressing stuff, wendye. You must have it very wintry up your way, since we do down here. The kind of arctic stuff I remember from back in Santa Fe days, and we’re lower than the escarpment though not by much. After no snow last year we are getting it in spadefuls at present – hope the pinons and junipers are happy!

    I salute Trump for saying the word ‘withdrawal’ since perception is nine-tenths of something, and better to say it than not. Always hoping for positive actions behind the scenes, not only in Syria. If you scroll down to the bottom of comments on NC’s watercooler today, you will come to predictions for the New Year by Rev Kev that I did appreciate tonight. Loved the first one about Davos, and they are all pretty good. Best wishes to you and Mr. WD for the New Year (It’s already gotten old Down Under, but they don’t count,heh, upside down as they be.)

    • Wow, just went back to the watercooler and. . . that great prediction roster, each month a beauty, has been totally edited away!

      Make of that what you will. I wish I had copied it now. The Davos one had a landslide in it with no aid possible to the victims thereof due to austerity cutbacks. Then on to further disasters unable to be adequately taken care of, but also some very positive outcomes in some of the months. One was about the D and R parties deciding to unite and call themselves the Progressive party, to save costs. Quite a few had rising GDP due to increasing sales of pitchforks and the like. He really did a stellar job with it , a paragraph for every month.

      And my reply also was eliminated – I had said I wanted a coffee cup like the one he was using instead of a crystal ball, and that my prediction was I would have a better vegetable garden than last year’s, ( problem being I always predict that.) And then I wished everyone a happy New Year and good garden! Oh, and I thanked Lambert for opening comments on the thread, too.

      Was that the kiss of death??? I did call myself antipodal – maybe they thought that was a satanic reference or something…

      Well, phooey, NC. It was levity much needed. But then, we can’t have that.

    • yeppers, it’s a small bizzard here now, but the one that had been predicted to hit us earlier in the week, ended up going south to your land. we may have gotten 10 inches over the last few storms, and it does feel like a blessing. but brrrr cold, zero most mornings, and neither of us really wants to get out of bed and stoke the fire.

      kinda glad you gave the rev kev cliff’s notes, as i never would have had the time to go a-huntin’, even had i cared enough to. i’ve just never thought of new years day as different than any other day, myself. iirc, i’ve made it wake until midnight twice in life, lol.

      but ii take it that most NC pieces are closed to comments again? creepy-bo-peepy if it’s so.

      welcome for the slogging, as i said, i’d dug up a lot more stuff i’d brung in comments over yonder. now the viralnews™ is that sessins says trump will down the exodus for x, y, and z. still, i loved that be had featured this george galloway tweet:

      peace to you, and a good new year for your garden, ww. no, i won’t censure you, but i will still refuse to answer jaango’s ignorant rubbish about julian assange. ;-)

  7. Yes, lambert had opened comments on watercooler, and he specifically asked for predictions for the new year. Rev Kev did a lovely Onion-style spoof that really lightened the mood, I thought. I almost copied it to send to relatives, though I doubted they would get the fun of it. It was cleverly done, and I told him so. Don’t know if he had a chance to read that as it did register at the site for a little while. (We Down Under folk have to stick together.)

    Thanks for sending us previews to the Big Dump – that is still going on, will do wonders for our aquifers. Last year no snow; this year, this. What are you up to, Mother Nature?

  8. climate is chaotic, is all. but it was our turn for snow, wasn’t it?

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