Sunday, December 18, 2016

Increased Transparency Protects Against Information Warfare. (Only Works if You're Not a Lying, Conniving POS)



counterpunch |  What stood out most during the verbal broadside unleashed by Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, at her Iranian, Syrian and Russian counterparts over the fighting in Aleppo, was her ability to do so with a straight face. It was testament to the ability of US exceptionalism to keep its proponents cocooned from reality.

“Aleppo will join the ranks of those events in world history that define modern evil, that stain our conscience decades later. Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and, now, Aleppo,” Power said, from the vantage point of a moral high ground resting on foundations of quicksand.

Rather conveniently, the US Ambassador neglected to add Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, or Libya to her list, countries ravaged and destroyed in service to US and Western imperialism. Or how about Gaza and Yemen, where Israel and Saudi Arabia, Washington’s closest Middle East, have engaged in the mass slaughter of civilians? Yes, there was no mention of that either by Ms Power.

When it comes to Aleppo’s suffering, the scenes of celebration by thousands of its citizens over their liberation refutes the attempt by  Power and others in the West to paint the Syrian Arab Army, made up of soldiers from every sector of the country’s religious, ethnic, and cultural mosaic, as a latter day Waffen SS, an army of occupation executing women and children at random. At the same time, of course, Salafi-jihadist groups such as the Nusra Front (now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) and Jaysh al Islam have been painted as the modern day equivalent of the French resistance or Partisans.

It has been preposterous to behold, part of an intense campaign of demonization motivated not by any concern for human rights or civilians, as maintained, but over the fact that Washington and the West’s objective of regime change in Damascus has been denied.

antiwar |   If it’s not a pipeline war, why is the US intervening in Syria? The US decision to support Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their ill-conceived plan to overthrow the Assad regime was primarily a function of the primordial interest of the US permanent war state in its regional alliances. The three Sunni allies control US access to the key US military bases in the region, and the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and the Obama White House were all concerned, above all, with protecting the existing arrangements for the US military posture in the region.
After all, those military bases are what allow the United States to play at the role of hegemonic power in the Middle East, despite the disasters that have accompanied that role. The degree to which the US determination to preserve its present military profile in the region is illustrated by the case of US-Qatar relations over that tiny monarchy’s arming of extremist Sunni groups in Syria in 2012. The Obama administration was very unhappy with Qatar’s choice of proxies in Syria, and the National Security Council discussed a proposal to pull a squadron of US fighter planes from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as a way of putting pressure on the government over the issue, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
But the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which had moved its headquarters to Al Udeid in 2003, argued that the base was critical to its operations in the region, and that it was about to renegotiate its agreement with Qatar over the use of it. The Pentagon supported CENTCOM’s opposition to any move that would disturb relations with Qatar over the issue and vetoed any such pressure on Qatar. The administration ended up doing nothing about the issue, and in 2013, the US-Qatar Defense Cooperation Agreement originally reached in 2003 was renewed for another ten years.
The massive, direct and immediate power interests of the US war state – not the determination to ensure that a pipeline would carry Qatar’s natural gas to Europe – drove the US policy of participation in the war against the Syrian regime. Only if activists focus on that reality will they be able to unite effectively to oppose not only the Syrian adventure but the war system itself.