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CIA promotedRobert F. Kennedy, Jr: Jihadist coups in Arab world

(1) U.S. Coalition "Operations Room" in Syria destroyed by Russian Missile Attack
(2) Mossad, other foreign agents killed in Aleppo strike
(3) US not arming Nusra, but our allies might – State Dept
(4) CIA promoted Jihadist coups in Arab world - ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR
(5) Hillary's Hard Line against Russia; calls for a no-fly zone in Syria
(6) Top US general warns Syrian "no-fly" zone means war with Russia
(7) RAND Corporation says Trump wrong about Cost of Keeping U.S. Troops Overseas
(8) CIA accuses Trump advisor Carter Page of holding talks with Russia
(9) Trump foreign policy advisor reportedly being probed for ties to Russia
(10) Battle for Aleppo; US Syria policy in tatters
(11) Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' is funded by US and UK governments
(12) Dalai Lama says refugees from the Middle East should return home to rebuild their countries

(1) U.S. Coalition "Operations Room" in Syria destroyed by Russian Missile Attack

Kelvin Heslop<> 22 September 2016 at 12:50

U.S. Coalition Intelligence "Operations Room" Inside Syria, Destroyed by
Russian Missile Attack: Thirty Israeli, American, British, Turkish,
Saudi, Qatari Intelligence Officials Killed, Report

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, September 22, 2016

The US and its allies  had  established a Field Operations Room in the
Aleppo region integrated by intelligence personnel. Until it was
targeted by a Russian missile attack on September 20,  this
"semi-secret" facility was operated by US, British, Israeli, Turkish,
Saudi and Qatari intelligence personnel.

According to Fars News, this intelligence facility was attacked by
Russia in the immediate wake of the US Air Strikes against Syrian SAA
forces at Deir Ezzor in support of the ISIS-Daesh terrorists. "The
Russian warships stationed in Syria’s coastal waters targeted and
destroyed a foreign military operations room, killing over two dozen
Israeli and western intelligence officers"

     "The Russian warships fired three Caliber missiles at the foreign
officers’ coordination operations room in Dar Ezza region in the Western
part of Aleppo near Sam’an mountain, killing 30 Israeli and western

     The operations room was located in the Western part of Aleppo
province in the middle of sky-high Sam’an mountain and old caves. The
region is deep into a chain of mountains.

The Fars report conveys the impression that the Operations Room was
largely integrated by Israelis. In all likelihood, the US was "calling
the shots" and the facility was coordinated by Washington’s regional
allies, in close liaison with (and on behalf) of the US military and
intelligence apparatus.

With the exception of the Fars report and Sputnik Arabic, this Russian
attack directed against a US-led coalition intelligence facility has not
made the headlines. In fact there has been a total news blackout. The
accuracy of the Fars report is yet to be fully ascertained.

What is significant is that the Operations Room situated in rebel held
territory in the Aleppo region is manned by the main state sponsors of
ISIS Daesh and Al Qaeda inside Syria, namely the US, UK (largely
involved in the air raids), plus four countries of the region: Turkey,
Saudi Arabia, Israel and Qatar. The respective roles of the four
regional countries relating to recruitment, training, logistics and the
financing of terrorism have been amply documented.

This Operations Room (i.e Combat Information Center) in the Aleppo
region as well as field operations rooms in other regions (in
territories controlled by rebel forces) are in permanent liaison with
the US, Israeli and allied military command and control.

We will recall that in October 2015,  Obama announced that he was
dispatching US Special Forces to operate on the ground inside Syria in
the alleged counterterrorism operation against ISIS-Daesh. These US
Special Forces would "involve fewer than 50 Special Operations advisers,
who will work with resistance forces battling the Islamic State in
northern Syria but will not engage in direct combat" (WP, October 30, 2015).

They will not engage in combat, they will be involved in"advisory"
activities, –i.e. both within rebel formations as well as in the field
operations rooms.

In recent months (May 2016), Washington confirmed that another 250 US
special forces were to be deployed on the ground in Syria. A select
number of intelligence officials were no doubt assigned to the field
operations rooms.

This dispatch of US special forces coincided with the influx of thousand
of newly recruited "jihadist mercenaries" who joined the ranks of the
various terror formations.  "Thousands of terrorists" were reported to
have crossed the Turkey-Syria border in early May 2016, to be deployed
against government forces in the Aleppo region.

Voice of America (undated)

The Operations Room in the Aleppo region was used to coordinate actions
on the ground, drone surveillance as well as air-strikes. According to
the Fars report, the intelligence personnel assigned to the US led
coalition Operations Room destroyed by Russia was  involved in
coordinating US and allied sponsored terrorist attacks in Aleppo and
Idlib. In all likelihood, the Operations Room destroyed by Russia was
also involved in the planning and implementation of the Deir Ezzor
attack by the US Air force against Syrian SAA forces, carried out in the
immediate wake of the Geneva ceasefire agreement.

The Syria based "Operations Rooms" were also in liaison with US and
allied command as well as Special Forces on the ground (including
Western military personnel hired by private mercenary companies)
embedded within the various rebel terror groups including ISIS-Daesh and
Al Nusra.

The existence and location of the Aleppo region Operations Room facility
must have been known and (until recently) tolerated by both the Syrian
government and the Russian military. And until recently no action was taken.

According to the Fars News Agency report (yet to be fully confirmed), it
would appear that Moscow chose to target the Aleppo region
("semi-secret") Operations Room in the immediate wake the Pentagon’s
decision to order the USAF airstrikes against Syrian government forces
involved in combating the ISIS-Daesh terrorists in Deir Ezzor.

The Russian attack against a US-NATO intelligence facility reported by
Fars News Agency has not been picked up by the media, nor has it been
acknowledged at the official level.

Assuming that the Fars New Report is accurate, the Russian attack
against the US led coalition operations room has significant
implications. Does it create a precedent? Russia attacks a US-led
intelligence facility in reprisal for the Deir Ezzor attack against
Syrian forces

It constitutes a potentially dangerous watershed in the evolution of the
war on Syria, which should be seen within the broader context of
military escalation.

Yet at the same time the Operations Room is an undeclared intelligence
facility. Washington has not acknowledged it and Moscow has not provided
an official confirmation of the attack. The Russian media is mum on the
subject and so is Washington. Neither side has interest in making this
issue public.

(2) Mossad, other foreign agents killed in Aleppo strike

From: "Come Carpentier [shamireaders]" Date:
Sat, 24 Sep 2016 12:22:52 +0530 Subject: [shamireaders] Fwd: 30 foreign
agents killed in Aleppo strike | The Times of Israel

This represents a real ecalation: payback for the attack on the Syrian
army and the UN convoy.

Russia: Mossad, other foreign agents killed in Aleppo strike

Citing ‘battlefield sources,’ state media says its warships bombed 30
officers from Israel, Qatar and Western countries


Times of Israel

September 22, 2016, 7:21 pm

Russian state media reported that Israeli Mossad agents and other
foreign military officers were killed in Aleppo on Tuesday in a Russian
missile strike.

According to the Arabic-language version of Russia’s Sputnik news
agency, some "30 Israeli and Western officers" died when they were hit
by three Kalibr cruise missiles fired by Russian warships in a "foreign
officers’ coordination operations room" in western Aleppo, near Mount

In addition to the Mossad agents, the Russian report claimed, military
officials from the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United
Kingdom and Turkey — virtually every country hated by Iran, Syria and
Russia — were killed in the strike, according to "battlefield sources."

The foreign officers were "directing the terrorists’ attacks in Aleppo
and Idlib," the Iranian Fars news reported, referring to the rebel
groups that control the Syrian cities.

The Israeli government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

More than 300,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict erupted
in March 2011 with protests calling for the ouster of President Bashar

There was meant to be a halt to the fighting around Aleppo, beginning on
September 13. Despite several alleged breaches, the truce had led to
calm in the city, and last week, the Syrian army announced that it would
observe a freeze on fighting until midnight on September 19.

Once the Arab country’s largest city, Aleppo has been a horrific
battleground since 2012, divided between government- and rebel-held
areas. Over the summer, the 250,000 people living in the opposition
districts endured more than 40 days under complete blockade after
government forces captured all roads out of the area.

Rebel reinforcements broke a hole in the blockade in August. But in
heavy bombardment over the following weeks, more than 700 civilians were
killed. Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes retook the roads and
clamped the siege back on. Then the truce came into effect, sealing both
sides’ positions in place.

News agencies contributed to this report

(3) US not arming Nusra, but our allies might – State Dept

Published time: 26 Sep, 2016 23:50

Barakat / Reuters Al-Nusra Front is a terrorist group and the US will
never provide it with any aid, said the State Department, reacting to
revelations in a German newspaper – while admitting that unnamed US
allies might be backing the jihadist militants in Syria.

On Monday, the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger published an
interview with an Al-Nusra commander in Syria, identified only as "Abu
Al-Ezz." In the interview, conducted 10 days ago outside of Aleppo,
Al-Ezz said that US allies were providing Al-Nusra with tanks and artillery.

"The Americans are on our side," Al-Ezz reportedly said.

The US government has categorically denied providing any aid to
Al-Nusra, while admitting awareness that its allies in the region may be
arming the militants.

"That’s complete poppycock," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told
reporters at the press briefing Monday. "Whatever he’s saying, no."

"We would never provide Nusra with any kind of assistance at all," Toner
continued, explaining that the group is a designated foreign terrorist

Asked why the US has been unable to persuade the "moderate opposition"
in Syria from separating itself from Al-Nusra, Toner replied it was the
rebels’ responsibility, and that they would need a seven-day ceasefire
to do so.

He blamed the Syrian government offensive against East Aleppo, which he
said would drive "some of those forces, not all of them" into the arms
of Al-Nusra. If the Syrian government continues to insist on the
military solution, "there are those – not the US – who back various
opposition groups in Syria, who might also seek to arm them," and that
would lead to escalation, Toner said.

Asked to clarify if that meant that US allies might be arming Al-Nusra,
Toner replied that "countries that support the opposition may want to
supply them with assistance."

Al-Nusra has been receiving funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait,
and has obtained tanks and artillery from Libya via Turkey, according to
what the commander, Al-Ezz, told the German newspaper. The group
especially appreciated the US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.

"The missiles were given directly to us," he said. "They were delivered
to a certain group."

The issue of Al-Nusra receiving outside aid was brought up by Russia’s
ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, at the special session of the
Security Council on Sunday.

"They are armed by tanks, APCs, field artillery, multiple rocket
launchers… All of this has been received by them and is still being
shipped to them by generous Western backers, with the US, presumably,
turning a blind eye," Churkin said.

"We have to see proof that there is a genuine desire to separate
US-allied rebel groups from the Al-Nusra Front, then destroy the
Al-Nusra Front and bring the opposition into a political process.
Otherwise our suspicions that this was only meant to shield the Al-Nusra
Front would only grow stronger," the Russian envoy added, referring to
the ceasefire agreed between Moscow and Washington that collapsed last week.

On Monday, however, the State Department talked about expecting
"significant gestures" from Russia or the Syrian government to "restore
their credibility" so the talks might continue, suggesting that the
Syrian government should stand down its air force and cease the
offensive on East Aleppo.

"The ball is somewhat in Russia’s court right now," said Toner. However,
he said the US was not ready to walk away from the talks. "If you’re
asking about the legendary Plan B, we’re not there yet."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shrugged off the US rhetoric
about Aleppo, however, pointing out that it was the US airstrike against
the Syrian Army position besieged by Islamic State (IS, formerly
ISIS/ISIL) that ended the ceasefire.

"I would like to emphasize that the Americans and their Western allies,
for one thing, want to distract public attention from what had happened
in Deir ez-Zor," Lavrov told NTV on Monday.

(4) Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria - by ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR

Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria

They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals
in their own countries — for oil.


2/23/16, 8:50 AM CET

Updated 9/16/16, 10:12 AM CET

In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I’ve made an effort
to understand the impact of U.S. policy in the Mideast and particularly
the factors that sometimes motivate bloodthirsty responses from the
Islamic world against our country. As we focus on the rise of the
Islamic State and search for the source of the savagery that took so
many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look
beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology. Instead we
should examine the more complex rationales of history and oil — and how
they often point the finger of blame back at our own shores.

America’s unsavory record of violent interventions in Syria —
little-known to the American people yet well-known to Syrians — sowed
fertile ground for the violent Islamic jihadism that now complicates any
effective response by our government to address the challenge of ISIL.
So long as the American public and policymakers are unaware of this
past, further interventions are likely only to compound the crisis.
Secretary of State John Kerry this week announced a "provisional"
ceasefire in Syria. But since U.S. leverage and prestige within Syria is
minimal — and the ceasefire doesn’t include key combatants such as
Islamic State and al Nusra — it’s bound to be a shaky truce at best.
Similarly President Obama’s stepped-up military intervention in Libya —
U.S. airstrikes targeted an Islamic State training camp last week — is
likely to strengthen rather than weaken the radicals. As the New York
Times reported in a December 8, 2015, front-page story, Islamic State
political leaders and strategic planners are working to provoke an
American military intervention. They know from experience this will
flood their ranks with volunteer fighters, drown the voices of
moderation and unify the Islamic world against America.

To understand this dynamic, we need to look at history from the Syrians’
perspective and particularly the seeds of the current conflict. Long
before our 2003 occupation of Iraq triggered the Sunni uprising that has
now morphed into the Islamic State, the CIA had nurtured violent
jihadism as a Cold War weapon and freighted U.S./Syrian relationships
with toxic baggage.

This did not happen without controversy at home. In July 1957, following
a failed coup in Syria by the CIA, my uncle, Sen. John F. Kennedy,
infuriated the Eisenhower White House, the leaders of both political
parties and our European allies with a milestone speech endorsing the
right of self-governance in the Arab world and an end to America’s
imperialist meddling in Arab countries. Throughout my lifetime, and
particularly during my frequent travels to the Mideast, countless Arabs
have fondly recalled that speech to me as the clearest statement of the
idealism they expected from the U.S. Kennedy’s speech was a call for
recommitting America to the high values our country had championed in
the Atlantic Charter; the formal pledge that all the former European
colonies would have the right to self-determination following World War
II. Franklin D. Roosevelt had strong-armed Winston Churchill and the
other allied leaders to sign the Atlantic Charter in 1941 as a
precondition for U.S. support in the European war against fascism.

But thanks in large part to Allen Dulles and the CIA, whose foreign
policy intrigues were often directly at odds with the stated policies of
our nation, the idealistic path outlined in the Atlantic Charter was the
road not taken. In 1957, my grandfather, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy,
sat on a secret committee charged with investigating the CIA’s
clandestine mischief in the Mideast. The so called "Bruce-Lovett
Report," to which he was a signatory, described CIA coup plots in
Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab
street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at
face value, their government’s denials. The report blamed the CIA for
the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root "in
the many countries in the world today." The Bruce-Lovett Report pointed
out that such interventions were antithetical to American values and had
compromised America’s international leadership and moral authority
without the knowledge of the American people. The report also said that
the CIA never considered how we would treat such interventions if some
foreign government were to engineer them in our country.

This is the bloody history that modern interventionists like George W.
Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio miss when they recite their narcissistic
trope that Mideast nationalists "hate us for our freedoms." For the most
part they don’t; instead they hate us for the way we betrayed those
freedoms — our own ideals — within their borders. * * *

For Americans to really understand what’s going on, it’s important to
review some details about this sordid but little-remembered history.
During the 1950s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers — CIA
Director Allen Dulles and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles —
rebuffed Soviet treaty proposals to leave the Middle East a neutral zone
in the Cold War and let Arabs rule Arabia. Instead, they mounted a
clandestine war against Arab nationalism — which Allen Dulles equated
with communism — particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil
concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in
Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with
conservative Jihadist ideologies that they regarded as a reliable
antidote to Soviet Marxism. At a White House meeting between the CIA’s
director of plans, Frank Wisner, and John Foster Dulles, in September
1957, Eisenhower advised the agency, "We should do everything possible
to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect," according to a memo recorded by his
staff secretary, Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster.

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949 — barely a year after
the agency’s creation. Syrian patriots had declared war on the Nazis,
expelled their Vichy French colonial rulers and crafted a fragile
secularist democracy based on the American model. But in March 1949,
Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Quwatli, hesitated
to approve the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to
connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via
Syria. In his book, Legacy of Ashes, CIA historian Tim Weiner recounts
that in retaliation for Al-Quwatli’s lack of enthusiasm for the U.S.
pipeline, the CIA engineered a coup replacing al-Quwatli with the CIA’s
handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im
barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline
before his countrymen deposed him, four and a half months into his regime.

Following several counter-coups in the newly destabilized country, the
Syrian people again tried democracy in 1955, re-electing al-Quwatli and
his National Party. Al-Quwatli was still a Cold War neutralist, but,
stung by American involvement in his ouster, he now leaned toward the
Soviet camp. That posture caused CIA Director Dulles to declare that
"Syria is ripe for a coup" and send his two coup wizards, Kim Roosevelt
and Rocky Stone, to Damascus.

Two years earlier, Roosevelt and Stone had orchestrated a coup in Iran
against the democratically elected President Mohammed Mosaddegh, after
Mosaddegh tried to renegotiate the terms of Iran’s lopsided contracts
with the British oil giant Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP). Mosaddegh
was the first elected leader in Iran’s 4,000-year history and a popular
champion for democracy across the developing world. Mosaddegh expelled
all British diplomats after uncovering a coup attempt by U.K.
intelligence officers working in cahoots with BP. Mosaddegh, however,
made the fatal mistake of resisting his advisers’ pleas to also expel
the CIA, which, they correctly suspected, was complicit in the British
plot. Mosaddegh idealized the U.S. as a role model for Iran’s new
democracy and incapable of such perfidies. Despite Dulles’ needling,
President Harry Truman had forbidden the CIA from actively joining the
British caper to topple Mosaddegh. When Eisenhower took office in
January 1953, he immediately unleashed Dulles. After ousting Mosaddegh
in "Operation Ajax," Stone and Roosevelt installed Shah Reza Pahlavi,
who favored U.S. oil companies but whose two decades of CIA sponsored
savagery toward his own people from the Peacock throne would finally
ignite the 1979 Islamic revolution that has bedeviled our foreign policy
for 35 years.

Mohammed Mosaddegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran
from 1951-1953, pictured left in 1951, the same year he was named TIME
Person of the Year, right. His tenure was cut short by a United
States-led coup in 1953, which installed Shah Reza Pahlavi

Flush from his Operation Ajax "success" in Iran, Stone arrived in
Damascus in April 1957 with $3 million to arm and incite Islamic
militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to
overthrow al-Quwatli’s democratically elected secularist regime,
according to Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA, by John
Prados. Working with the Muslim Brotherhood and millions of dollars,
Rocky Stone schemed to assassinate Syria’s chief of intelligence, the
chief of its General Staff and the chief of the Communist Party, and to
engineer "national conspiracies and various strong arm" provocations in
Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan that could be blamed on the Syrian Ba’athists.
Tim Weiner describes in Legacy of Ashes how the CIA’s plan was to
destabilize the Syrian government and create a pretext for an invasion
by Iraq and Jordan, whose governments were already under CIA control.
Kim Roosevelt forecast that the CIA’s newly installed puppet government
would "rely first upon repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of
power," according to declassified CIA documents reported in The Guardian

But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers.
The soldiers reported the CIA’s bribery attempts to the Ba’athist
regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy,
taking Stone prisoner. After harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised
confession of his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA’s aborted
attempt to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government. The Syrians ejected
Stone and two U.S. Embassy staffers—the first time any American State
Department diplomat was barred from an Arab country. The Eisenhower
White House hollowly dismissed Stone’s confession as "fabrications" and
"slanders," a denial swallowed whole by the American press, led by the
New York Times and believed by the American people, who shared
Mosaddegh’s idealistic view of their government. Syria purged all
politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed for treason all
military officers associated with the coup. In retaliation, the U.S.
moved the Sixth Fleet to the Mediterranean, threatened war and goaded
Turkey to invade Syria. The Turks assembled 50,000 troops on Syria’s
borders and backed down only in the face of unified opposition from the
Arab League whose leaders were furious at the U.S. intervention. Even
after its expulsion, the CIA continued its secret efforts to topple
Syria’s democratically elected Ba’athist government. The CIA plotted
with Britain’s MI6 to form a "Free Syria Committee" and armed the Muslim
Brotherhood to assassinate three Syrian government officials, who had
helped expose "the American plot," according to Matthew Jones in "The
‘Preferred Plan’: The Anglo-American Working Group Report on Covert
Action in Syria, 1957." The CIA’s mischief pushed Syria even further
away from the U.S. and into prolonged alliances with Russia and Egypt.

Following the second Syrian coup attempt, anti-American riots rocked the
Mideast from Lebanon to Algeria. Among the reverberations was the July
14, 1958 coup, led by the new wave of anti-American Army officers who
overthrew Iraq’s pro-American monarch, Nuri al-Said. The coup leaders
published secret government documents, exposing Nuri al-Said as a highly
paid CIA puppet. In response to American treachery, the new Iraqi
government invited Soviet diplomats and economic advisers to Iraq and
turned its back on the West.

Having alienated Iraq and Syria, Kim Roosevelt fled the Mideast to work
as an executive for the oil industry that he had served so well during
his public service career at the CIA. Roosevelt’s replacement as CIA
station chief, James Critchfield, attempted a failed assassination plot
against the new Iraqi president using a toxic handkerchief, according to
Weiner. Five years later, the CIA finally succeeded in deposing the
Iraqi president and installing the Ba’ath Party in power in Iraq. A
charismatic young murderer named Saddam Hussein was one of the
distinguished leaders of the CIA’s Ba’athist team. The Ba’ath Party’s
Secretary, Ali Saleh Sa’adi, who took office alongside Saddam Hussein,
would later say, "We came to power on a CIA train," according to A
Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite, by Said Aburish, a
journalist and author. Aburish recounted that the CIA supplied Saddam
and his cronies a murder list of people who "had to be eliminated
immediately in order to ensure success." Tim Weiner writes that
Critchfield later acknowledged that the CIA had, in essence, "created
Saddam Hussein." During the Reagan years, the CIA supplied Hussein with
billions of dollars in training, Special Forces support, weapons and
battlefield intelligence, knowing that he was using poisonous mustard
and nerve gas and biological weapons — including anthrax obtained from
the U.S. government — in his war against Iran. Reagan and his CIA
director, Bill Casey, regarded Saddam as a potential friend to the U.S.
oil industry and a sturdy barrier against the spread of Iran’s Islamic
Revolution. Their emissary, Donald Rumsfeld, presented Saddam with
golden cowboy spurs and a menu of chemical/biological and conventional
weapons on a 1983 trip to Baghdad. At the same time, the CIA was
illegally supplying Saddam’s enemy, Iran, with thousands of anti-tank
and anti-aircraft missiles to fight Iraq, a crime made famous during the
Iran-Contra scandal. Jihadists from both sides later turned many of
those CIA-supplied weapons against the American people.

Even as America contemplates yet another violent Mideast intervention,
most Americans are unaware of the many ways that "blowback" from
previous CIA blunders has helped craft the current crisis. The
reverberations from decades of CIA shenanigans continue to echo across
the Mideast today in national capitals and from mosques to madras
schools over the wrecked landscape of democracy and moderate Islam that
the CIA helped obliterate.

A parade of Iranian and Syrian dictators, including Bashar al-Assad and
his father, have invoked the history of the CIA’s bloody coups as a
pretext for their authoritarian rule, repressive tactics and their need
for a strong Russian alliance. These stories are therefore well known to
the people of Syria and Iran who naturally interpret talk of U.S.
intervention in the context of that history.

While the compliant American press parrots the narrative that our
military support for the Syrian insurgency is purely humanitarian, many
Arabs see the present crisis as just another proxy war over pipelines
and geopolitics. Before rushing deeper into the conflagration, it would
be wise for us to consider the abundant facts supporting that perspective.

In their view, our war against Bashar Assad did not begin with the
peaceful civil protests of the Arab Spring in 2011. Instead it began in
2000, when Qatar proposed to construct a $10 billion, 1,500 kilometer
pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Qatar shares
with Iran the South Pars/North Dome gas field, the world’s richest
natural gas repository. The international trade embargo until recently
prohibited Iran from selling gas abroad. Meanwhile, Qatar’s gas can
reach European markets only if it is liquefied and shipped by sea, a
route that restricts volume and dramatically raises costs. The proposed
pipeline would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via
distribution terminals in Turkey, which would pocket rich transit fees.
The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would give the Sunni kingdoms of the Persian
Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen
Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive
American military bases and the U.S. Central Command’s Mideast headquarters.

The EU, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, was equally hungry
for the pipeline, which would have given its members cheap energy and
relief from Vladimir Putin’s stifling economic and political leverage.
Turkey, Russia’s second largest gas customer, was particularly anxious
to end its reliance on its ancient rival and to position itself as the
lucrative transect hub for Asian fuels to EU markets. The Qatari
pipeline would have benefited Saudi Arabia’s conservative Sunni monarchy
by giving it a foothold in Shia-dominated Syria. The Saudis’
geopolitical goal is to contain the economic and political power of the
kingdom’s principal rival, Iran, a Shiite state, and close ally of
Bashar Assad. The Saudi monarchy viewed the U.S.-sponsored Shiite
takeover in Iraq (and, more recently, the termination of the Iran trade
embargo) as a demotion to its regional power status and was already
engaged in a proxy war against Tehran in Yemen, highlighted by the Saudi
genocide against the Iranian backed Houthi tribe.

Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to
Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In
Putin’s view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status
quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle
the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy
market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the
agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria "to protect the
interests of our Russian ally."

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a
Russian-approved "Islamic pipeline" running from Iran’s side of the gas
field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline
would make Shiite Iran, not Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the
European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in
the Middke East and the world. Israel also was understandably determined
to derail the Islamic pipeline, which would enrich Iran and Syria and
presumably strengthen their proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence
agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline,
military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that
fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative
Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of
completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks,
soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began
funding opposition groups in Syria. It is important to note that this
was well before the Arab Spring-engendered uprising against Assad.

(5) Hillary's Hard Line against Russia; calls for a no-fly zone in Syria

 From Reset to Realpolitik, Clinton’s New Hard Line on Moscow

As president, Hillary Clinton is prepared to take a much tougher stance
on Russia than Trump — or even Obama. Syria’s civil war will be the
first test.

By Molly O’Toole

September 22, 2016

Before leaving the State Department in early 2013, Hillary Clinton wrote
President Barack Obama a final note on Russia. The hoped-for "reset"
with Moscow, she said, was in the end a setback. She urged Obama to set
a "new course" by taking a harder line against Russian President
Vladimir Putin.

It would be several months until the Obama administration would accuse
the Moscow-backed government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of
crossing the White House’s red line on chemical weapons, and roughly
two-and-a-half years until a Russian official would show up at the
American Embassy in Baghdad with an hour’s warning before Moscow began
dropping bombs in Syria. But the Syrian conflict had already begun to
emerge as a new fault line in a tectonic clash between the United States
and Russia.

Clinton cautioned Obama that the relationship between Washington and
Moscow would "likely get worse before it got better," and he had to be
"realistic" about the danger Putin posed to both his neighbors and the
world order, she wrote in her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices, which was
published before her campaign for president — her second — this year.

"We should hit the pause button on new efforts. Don’t appear too eager
to work together. Don’t flatter Putin with high-level-attention," she
said, imploring Obama to cancel a summit in Moscow that September. "And
make clear that Russian intransigence wouldn’t stop us from pursuing our
interests and policies" in Syria and elsewhere. "Strength and resolve
were the only language Putin would understand."

Obama ultimately canceled that meeting, after Putin granted asylum to
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. But the White
House overruled Clinton’s broader advice on taking a harder line toward
Moscow and doing more earlier to train and equip the moderate Syrian
opposition. And now, as she seeks to burnish her national security
experience in her run for the presidency against Republican nominee
Donald Trump, Clinton is increasingly distancing herself from Obama’s
foreign-policy failures — even as she tries to balance them against her
credentials as his secretary of state.

In the Democratic primary’s first presidential debate last October, she
made one of her clearest breaks from Obama, calling for a no-fly zone in
Syria, a demand later echoed by many of the Republican candidates.

"It’s important, too, that the United States make it very clear to Putin
that it’s not acceptable for him to be in Syria creating more chaos,
bombing people on behalf of Assad," she said. "And we can’t do that if
we don’t take more of a leadership position."

In pushing for a no-fly zone, Clinton said: "I’m trying to figure out
what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. You know, diplomacy is
not about getting to the perfect solution. It’s about how you balance
the risks."

When asked in a later debate if she was prepared to order the shoot-down
of Syrian or Russian aircraft, she said she doubted "it would come to that."

Clinton’s aggressive approach to Moscow — that Putin cannot be trusted
and must be met with force — diverts sharply from Trump’s cozy take. But
it also commits her to a far more confrontational policy in Syria if
elected, giving the clearest indication yet that there and elsewhere,
she’d try to handle the Russian bear head-on.

Moscow already sees Clinton’s call for a no-fly zone in Syria as a
signal she’s ready to go to war with Russia. And so do many senior
Republican officials, including those who agree with her foreign-policy
strategies over Trump’s.

"We’d all be well served to have done that years ago," former Trump
rival Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said of the prospects of a no-fly
zone. "So I appreciate her saying it."

Skeptics say that could lead to even more bloodshed.

"If you’re going to tell Russia, ‘We will shoot you down,’ it’s hard to
see Putin saying, ‘I’m not going to fly anymore,’" said Stephen F.
Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and
Princeton. He called Clinton’s endorsement of a no-fly zone merely a
"bumper sticker" slogan in a campaign where national security issues
serve as a key dividing line between the two candidates.

For all the election-year talk of how to deal with Russia, neither Trump
nor Clinton has detailed their planned policies toward Moscow. The
Clinton campaign declined to comment for this article, and the Trump
campaign did not respond.

But Clinton’s years of experience in dealing directly with the Cold War
adversary give insight into how she’d approach the blood-soaked and
intractable Syrian conflict facing her on Day One if she’s elected.

This week, a Syrian cease-fire agreement brokered by Washington and
Moscow erupted into flames. Even as U.S. military officials and their
Russian counterparts were to begin sharing targeting lists as part of
the agreement, American warplanes conducted a deadly strike Saturday
that killed as many as 60 Syrian soldiers. U.S. officials say they meant
to kill Islamic State extremists, but Moscow claims it was an
intentional attack on Assad’s forces.

On Sunday, Damascus unilaterally called off the cease-fire, though
bombings had never completely stopped. And on Monday, a U.N. convoy
delivering humanitarian aid near Aleppo was attacked by what U.S.
officials say were Russian strikes.

At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry called on Moscow and Damascus to ground
their air forces and give the cease-fire — which he already referred to
as a last resort — one final chance to succeed.

"The future of Syria is hanging by a thread, and I urge this council not
to give up," Kerry said as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looked
on. "And I urge the entire international community to get behind the
best chance that we have yet had."

On Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford
told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "For now, for us to control
all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war with Syria and

Still, in comments last week, Clinton made clear that she, like many
still in the Obama administration, remains cynical about the latest
attempts to persuade Russia to help negotiate a political resolution in

"It is up to whether or not Vladimir Putin decides that it’s time to do
what the Russians can do to bring this conflict into a period where
there can be the beginning of political discussions," Clinton at a news
conference. She renewed her call for a "protective zone" in Syria that
is free of airstrikes and a commitment from Moscow to go after the
Islamic State, rather than U.S.-backed rebel groups. [...]

(6) Top US general warns Syrian "no-fly" zone means war with Russia

By Bill Van Auken

24 September 2016

The enforcement of a "no-fly" zone in Syria would mean a US war with
both Syria and Russia, the top US uniformed commander told the Senate
Armed Services Committee Thursday.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
spelled out the grave implications of the policy advocated by both
predominant sections within the Republican Party as well as Democratic
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton amid rising violence in Syria and
increasing pressure by Washington on the Russian government to
unilaterally agree to grounding its own aircraft as well as those of the
Syrian government.

Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly demanded that Russia adhere
to what would essentially be a one-sided "no-fly" zone under conditions
in which US warplanes would continue carrying out airstrikes.

Kerry presented his proposal as a means of reviving and restoring
"credibility" to a ceasefire agreement that he and the Russian Foreign
Minister negotiated on September 9. This cessation of hostilities
collapsed less than a week after its implementation in the face of
hundreds of violations by US-backed Islamist "rebels" who have refuse to
accept its terms, as well as two major back-to-back attacks.

The first was carried out by US and allied warplanes one week ago
against a Syrian army position, killing as many as 90 Syrian soldiers
and wounding another 100. Washington claimed that the bombing was a
mistake, but Syrian officials have pointed to what appeared to be a
coordination of the airstrike with a ground offensive by Islamic State
(also known as ISIS) fighters who briefly overran the bombed position.

This was followed on September 19 by an attack on a humanitarian aid
convoy in Aleppo that killed at least 20 and destroyed 18 trucks. The US
immediately blamed Russia for the attack, without providing any evidence
to support the charge. Russia and the Syrian government have denied
responsibility and suggested that the so-called "rebels" shelled the convoy.

The US position was reflected in the testimony of both Dunford and
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter before the Senate panel Thursday. The
general admitted to the committee, "I don’t have the facts," as to what
planes carried out the attack, but quickly added, "There is no doubt in
my mind that the Russians are responsible." Similarly, Carter declared,
"The Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it
or not."

The collapse of the ceasefire under the weight of these incidents
abrogated an agreement that had been bitterly opposed by both Carter and
the Pentagon’s uniformed command. The latter have publicly declared
their opposition—in terms bordering on insubordination—to the deal’s
provision for coordinated actions and intelligence sharing with Russia,
which America’s top generals see as the main enemy.

This view was reiterated Thursday by General Dunford, who declared that
based on the "combination of their behavior and their military
capability, Russia is the most significant threat to our national
interests." Asked if he supported the proposal for intelligence sharing,
Dunford responded, "We don’t have any intention of having an
intelligence-sharing arrangement with the Russians."

Speaking in New York Thursday night after the so-called International
Syria Support Group ended a meeting with no progress toward restoring
the US-Russian ceasefire agreement, Secretary of State Kerry declared:
"The only way to achieve that [cessation of hostilities and violence] is
if the ones who have the air power in this part of the conflict simply
stop using it—not for one day or two, but for as long as possible so
that everyone can see that they are serious."

After leaving the same meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
rejected the demand that the Syrian government take "unilateral steps"
under conditions in which the US-backed "rebels" reject the ceasefire.
"We insist and find support for steps being taken by the opposition as
well, so as not to let Jabhat al-Nusra take advantage of this
situation," he said.

This, however, is precisely the aim of Washington. The US military and
intelligence complex is increasingly concerned that with the backing of
Russia and Iran, the Syrian government is on the brink of breaking the
five-year-old siege waged by the Islamist militias armed and paid by the
CIA and Washington’s principal US allies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and
Qatar. Syrian and Russian planes began intense bombardment of
"rebel"-held eastern Aleppo Friday in what has been reported as
preparation for a major ground offensive to retake this area of the
city. If the offensive proves successful, the US war for regime change
will have suffered a strategic reversal.

Al Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, which is formally designated
by both the US and the UN as a terrorist organization, constitutes the
backbone of the proxy forces employed by US imperialism to effect regime
change in Syria. One of the major controversies surrounding the
US-Russian truce agreement was its call for the US to persuade the
"rebels" on its payroll to separate themselves from Al Nusra. This
Washington was unable and unwilling to do, both because they are so
closely integrated with the Al Qaeda elements and because they could not
survive as a fighting force without them.

The imposition of a no-fly zone over Aleppo and other Al
Nusra-controlled areas is increasingly seen as a life and death matter
for the US-backed Islamists. As Thursday’s Senate hearing indicated,
while Kerry is appealing to Russia to voluntarily stand down, there are
significant elements within the US state that are calling for the
imposition of the no-fly zone by force.

Gen. Dunford was asked by Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker if
the US could take "decisive action" in imposing a no-fly zone. Wicker
indicated that he had discussed the matter with Democrats, who indicated
that they would support such a venture if the US intervention were given
another name.

"For now, for us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us
to go to war with Syria and Russia," Dunford replied to the Senator.
"That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make."

Dunford’s remark provoked an intervention by the committee chairman,
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, who pushed him to clarify
that total control of the Syrian airspace would require war with Russia
and Syria, while a no-fly zone could potentially be imposed short of that.

The hearing provided a chilling exposure of the discussions going on
within the US state and its military over actions that could quickly
spiral into an all-out confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia, bringing
humanity to the brink of catastrophe.

In separate remarks the day before the Senate hearing, both Carter and
Dunford stressed that the US will maintain its military deployment in
the Middle East long after the defeat of ISIS, the pretext for the
current interventions in Iraq and Syria.

Speaking to the Air Force Association conference, Dunford declared, "If
you assume, like I do, that we’re going to be in that region, if not
Iraq, for many, many years to come," decisions would have to be taken on
the establishment of permanent military headquarters and
command-and-control infrastructure.

"What is obvious and very clear is that we’re going to be in that region
for a while," Carter declared in a "troop talk" streamed live on social
media. He added: "ISIL is a big problem, but one we’re going to take
care of through defeat. But we have Iran over there, we have other
issues in the Middle East."

In other words, Washington is planning the continuation of its unending
wars in the Middle East, including military action directed against
Iran, with the aim of imposing American hegemony over the region’s vast
energy resources and strategically weakening the principal targets of US
imperialist aggression, Russia and China.

(7) RAND Corporation says Trump wrong about Cost of Keeping U.S. Troops Overseas

Study: Trump’s Wrong About the Cost of Keeping U.S. Troops Overseas

By Dan De Luce

September 23, 2016 - 4:38 pm

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says the cost of keeping
troops overseas and protecting allies is bankrupting the United States.
But a new study has crunched the numbers and found that America’s
security commitments are a net economic gain, to the tune of hundreds of
billions of dollars.

Researchers at the RAND Corp. think tank looked at security treaties and
the presence of U.S. troops around the world, along with bilateral and
regional trade trends. The authors concluded America’s military
footprint abroad — and its array of security accords — bolsters U.S.
bilateral trade and even trade among American allies.

Without those treaties and troops, U.S. trade would suffer. The study
estimated the cost of cutting back the U.S. presence overseas would be
more than three times any savings gained by lower defense spending.

Trump has alarmed allies from Tokyo to Berlin — and Republican national
security experts  — with his campaign rhetoric that questions the
benefits of alliance arrangements and the value of keeping American
troops overseas. He has suggested that Japan and South Korea should
acquire nuclear weapons of their own to protect themselves, and that if
he was commander in chief, the United States might not come to the aid
of some NATO states.

Asked by CNN in March about his views on the advantages of U.S. military
commitments, Trump said: "There’s a benefit, but not big enough to
bankrupt and destroy the United States, because that’s what’s happening.
We can’t afford it. It’s very simple."

Some advocates of reining in the U.S. military’s global footprint have
estimated that the savings from a major retrenchment overseas could
amount to more than $139 billion.

But the RAND study estimates that a 50 percent cut in security
commitments could reduce U.S. bilateral trade annually by up to $577
billion, excluding trade with Canada and Mexico. That would represent
roughly 18 percent of the country’s total trade. The drop in trade would
mean an annual decline in GDP of about $490 billion, according to the study.

"Policymakers who reduce these commitments would face not only the
immediate problems of how and where to make the reductions but also the
future problems of a poorer United States," the study said.

U.S. security treaties and deployed forces tend to reduce insurance
costs for companies and provide stability as well as a measure of
confidence for a business looking to enter a new market, said the
study’s lead author, Daniel Egel, an economist at the RAND Corporation
and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

"From a broader perspective, it makes it cheaper to do trade," he told
Foreign Policy. "If you have these security commitments, you don’t need
as many assurances. "

Diplomats have long argued that U.S. military commitments provide
tangible and intangible benefits, by establishing a rapport with a
government that can eventually result in broader trade ties.

The study, however, did not find conclusive evidence that U.S. troops or
treaties prevented or contained wars.

The U.S. military has about 250,000 service members stationed in about
150 countries and has various security commitments with about 140
nations. In most cases, the American footprint is small, and all but 50
countries are home to fewer than 25 American troops.

Experts and fact-checking sites have already rejected Trump’s portrayal
of U.S. overseas commitments, pointing out that the cost of keeping
troops in allied countries is often miniscule.

Host nations usually cover a myriad of costs associated with the
American forces. Japan, for example, spends about $4 billion a year on
base-related expenses. And numerous allies also buy billions of dollars
worth of U.S.-made weapons and aircraft, while Washington spends
relatively small sums on training and military education in those
countries.  Foreign military aid and training makes up 0.16 percent of
all U.S. government spending.

(8) CIA accuses Trump advisor Carter Page of holding talks with Russia

Trump Advisor Under Investigation for Russia Ties: Report

By Molly O’Toole, Elias Groll

September 23, 2016 - 5:36 pm

U.S. intelligence officials are investigating whether Carter Page, a
businessman described by Donald Trump as a foreign policy advisor, has
been making backroom promises to Moscow to lift some sanctions against
top Kremlin officials if Trump is elected.

In recent briefings with senior members of Congress about apparent
attempts by Moscow to influence the presidential contest between Trump
and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, intelligence officials have
raised concerns about Page’s travels to Moscow, according to a Yahoo
News report on Friday afternoon. Intelligence officials believe Page has
had meetings with Russian officials currently sanctioned by the Treasury
Department for involvement in Russia’s "illegitimate and unlawful
actions in the Ukraine." Many top Kremlin officials and business
associates of President Vladimir Putin are in U.S. sanctions crosshairs.

The report is only the latest in a series to suggest that the Trump
campaign, and especially his aides, have some bottom-line interest in
boosting chummy ties with Moscow. But now, with an ongoing federal
investigation, the Page revelations provide the strongest hint yet at
negotiations with Russian officials, and drop a bombshell into the 2016
campaign just days ahead of the first presidential debate on Monday.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment Friday and
Page’s current role remains unclear.

On Thursday, the ranking members on the House and Senate intelligence
committees, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff
(D.-Calif.), sharply criticized Moscow for attempting to boost Trump’s

"We have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a
serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election," they
wrote. "We believe that orders for the Russian intelligence agencies to
conduct such actions could come only from very senior levels of the
Russian government."

Their Republican counterparts in Congress have been far more quiet on
Trump’s friendly stance toward Russia, even as evidence has piled up
that hackers working on behalf of Moscow are infiltrating American
political groups and posting stolen material online.

A spokesperson for Sen. Richard Burr, (R-N.C.), the chair of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, suggested in July that the intelligence
community should be allowed to complete its investigations into these
incidents before any conclusions be drawn.

Burr, who has endorsed Trump, is currently battling for reelection in
one of the most competitive races in the country as the Republicans
fight to keep their majority in the Senate. Burr’s office did not
respond to multiple requests for comment Friday.

House Intelligence Committee Chair David Nunes (R-Calif.), did not deny
the Russian interference, but downplayed its significance.

"Well I think Russia’s very good at influencing elections and they do it
all over the world," he told CBS’ "Face the Nation." "It wouldn’t
surprise me that they’d try to do it here, it wouldn’t surprise me that
they tried to break into the DNC and RNC — and think we just shouldn’t
panic that the Russians would try to do this because they always try to
do it."

Russia has carried information operations aimed at influencing elections
in its more immediate sphere of influence, but recent breaches in the
United States have expanded such operations to American shores.

While the motive of the U.S. breaches remains unclear, American
intelligence officials are reportedly investigating the scope of Russian
information operations against the United States, and whether Moscow is
seeking to influence the outcome of November’s election. Hackers linked
to Russian intelligence have broken into the servers of the Demoractic
National Committee, and emails from its servers later appeared on WikiLeaks.

Those emails revealed that party officials had attempted to undermine
the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, (D-Vt.), and led to the
resignation of DNC chief Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

Stolen material from other American political groups, non-profit
organizations, and officials have also appeared online. The targets have
included the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, former NATO
commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, and the philanthropic organization of
George Soros.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has raised alarm both among U.S.
officials and American allies in Eastern Europe. He suggested he may
pull the U.S. military out of NATO, or refuse to defend penny-pinching
NATO allies against Russian invasion.

Trump aides intervened in the drafting of the GOP’s policy platform this
summer to minimize military assistance for Ukraine, pleasing Russia. And
in the wake of the DNC leak in July, Trump asked Moscow to hack
Clinton’s emails, a remark he later suggested was a joke.

Last month, Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort resigned after ledgers
surfaced detailing that he had been paid millions in cash by pro-Russian
Ukrainian politicos.

But Trump hasn’t backed off, repeating time and again his admiration for
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his leadership style, and
suggesting the U.S. work more closely with Moscow.

Yet his coziness toward the Kremlin has split the party, already
conflicted over his candidacy and concerned it could damage the chances
of keeping control of the Senate.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, (R-Tenn.), and
Armed Service Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), along with
Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), who dropped out of the 2016 Republican
primary, all recently expressed their concerns to Foreign Policy.

"I think one needs to be careful about responding to flattery," Corker
said of Trump’s compliments for Putin. "I mean, let’s just be honest."

(9) Trump foreign policy advisor reportedly being probed for ties to Russia

Christine Wang

One of Donald Trump's foreign policy advisors is being probed by U.S.
intelligence officials to determine whether he has had private
discussions with senior Russian officials, Yahoo News reported, citing

In particular, members of the intelligence community are concerned that
Carter Page has spoken with the Kremlin about the possibility of lifting
economic sanctions on Russia, sources told Yahoo.

Page and Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to requests for

The report comes amid growing concerns that Moscow may be trying to
influence the U.S. presidential election. On Thursday, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff of California issued a joint statement
expressing their concern about Russian hacking and called on President
Vladimir Putin "to immediately order a halt to this activity."

"Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian
intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to
influence the U.S. election," Feinstein and Schiff said. "At the least,
this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election
and may well be intended to influence the outcomes of the election—we
can see no other rationale for the behavior of the Russians."

Feinstein is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Schiff
is a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.

(10) Battle for Aleppo; US Syria policy in tatters

Sat Sep 24, 2016 | 8:33pm BST

Battle rages near Aleppo, air onslaught continues

Warplanes press attack on rebel-held eastern Aleppo

By Tom Perry | BEIRUT

Syrian government and rebel forces battled for control of high ground on
the Aleppo outskirts on Saturday as warplanes bombed the city's
opposition-held east relentlessly in a Russian-backed offensive that has
left Washington's Syria policy in tatters.

In their first major ground advance of the offensive, the army and its
militia allies seized control of the Handarat Palestinian refugee camp,
a few kilometres north of Aleppo, only for rebels to counter attack as
night fell.

"The fighters are waging ferocious battles because it is a battle of
existence," a senior rebel official told Reuters.

Rebels said they had recovered some or all of Handarat, a claim denied
by a pro-Damascus militia commander. The Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights said the battle was ongoing.

It marks the most significant battle in Aleppo since the army announced
a major new offensive to win full control of the city on Thursday,
unleashing fierce air strikes that have killed scores of people in the
rebel-held east.

The assault on Aleppo, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped in
a besieged opposition sector, could be the biggest battle yet in a civil
war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11
million from their homes.

Two weeks after Moscow and Washington announced a ceasefire, President
Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies appear to have
launched a campaign for a decisive battlefield victory that has buried
any hope for diplomacy.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who hammered out the truce over the
course of months of intensive diplomacy, was left this week pleading in
vain this week with Russia to halt air strikes.

Residents say air strikes on eastern Aleppo have been more intense than
ever, using more powerful bombs. Rebel officials said heavy air strikes
on Saturday hit at least four areas of the opposition-held east, and
they believe the strikes are mostly being carried out by Russian
warplanes. Video of the blast sites shows huge craters several metres
wide and deep.

"There are planes in the sky now," Ammar al Selmo, the head of the Civil
Defence rescue service in the opposition-held east, told Reuters from
Aleppo on Saturday morning.

The group draws on ambulance workers and volunteers who dig survivors
and the dead out of the rubble, often with their bare hands. It says
several of its own headquarters have been destroyed in the latest
bombing. "Our teams are responding but are not enough to cover this
amount of catastrophe," Selmo said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 45 people, among
them 10 children, were killed in eastern Aleppo on Saturday. Selmo put
the two-day death toll at more than 200.


The war has ground on for nearly six years, with all diplomatic efforts
collapsing in failure. Half of Syria's population has been made
homeless, the war has drawn in world powers and regional states, and
Islamic State - the enemy of all other sides - seized swathes of Syria
and neighbouring Iraq.

For most of that time, world powers seemed to accept that neither Assad
nor his opponents was likely to be capable of decisive victory on the

But Russia's apparent decision to abandon the peace process this week
could reflect a change in that calculus and a view that victory is in
reach, at least in the western cities where the overwhelming majority of
Syrians live.

Assad's fortunes improved a year ago when Russia joined the war on his
side. Since then, Washington has worked hard to negotiate peace with
Moscow, producing two ceasefires. But both proved short-lived, with
Assad, possibly scenting chances for more battlefield success, showing
no sign of compromise.

Moscow says Washington failed to live up to its side of the latest deal
by separating mainstream insurgents from hardened jihadists.

Outside Aleppo, anti-Assad fighters have been driven mostly into rural
areas. Nevertheless, they remain a potent fighting force, which they
demonstrated with an advance of their own on Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said rebels,
including the jihadist Jund al-Aqsa group, had seized two villages in
northern Hama province, an area that is strategically important and
close to the coastal heartland of Assad's Alawite minority sect.

A Syrian military source said the army was "fighting fierce battles"
around the two villages, Maan and al-Kabariya. [...]

Asked about the weapons being used, the source said the army was using
precise weapons "suitable for the nature of the targets being struck,
according to the type of fortifications", such as tunnels and bunkers,
and "specifically command centres".

In New York, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem told the U.N.
General Assembly the Syrian government's belief in victory is even
greater now that the Syrian army "is making great strides in its war
against terrorism".

(Additional reporting by Ellen Francis and Laila Bassam and Stephanie
Nebehay in Geneva, Michelle Nichols and Yara Bayoumy in New York;
Writing by Tom Perry and Peter Graff; Editing by Alison Williams)

(11) Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' is funded by US and UK governments

Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:39:53 +0100 Subject: Whatever happened to
integral  REAL Journalism??? From: ""


Propaganda spin cycle: 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' is  funded
by US and UK governments

Beau Christensen

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:57 UTC   For 5 years, bloody mayhem has been going
on in Syria, and in all  that time only independent media has picked up
on the really  obvious flaw in the official narrative about the "Syrian
civil war"  ...

Officially, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is a UK-
based organization providing data to the Western press about troop
movements, government policy and public sentiment in Syria. The  Western
press then reprints the information they are given - no  questions asked:

What Western media editors conceal from the public however, is that  the
"Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" is neither based in Syria  nor is
it an observer of what actually goes on there. It is  essentially one
man - Abdul Rahman, aka Rami Abdulrahman, aka Osama  Suleiman - a
three-term convicted criminal in Syria, based out of a  small house in
Coventry, England, and his 'team of four activists  in Syria'.

Apparently all it takes to inform the entire Western media about
everything that is happening on the ground in Syria is four people.
Four people could, theoretically, provide reasonably objective  reports,
but only if they were open to receiving information from  many sources,
including ones supportive of the Syrian government.  They might even be
able to produce - using objective discernment -  reliable statistics of
casualties, refugees and terrorists/rebels.  But SOHR has consistently
reported the 'civil war' from only the  perspective of the so-called
'rebels', discounting Syrian  government reports out of hand, as well as
reports from civilians  that reveal rebels' crimes.

That fact alone makes SOHR about as reliable a source of  information on
the Syrian conflict as the US State Department and  the British Foreign
Office, who have a vested interest in spinning  the war to produce one
end: the death or removal of Syrian  President Bashar Al Assad.

Rahman, by his own admission, is a member of the 'Syrian  opposition'
and seeks the ouster of Al Assad, so that clearly  removes any semblance
of objectivity in his 'reporting'.

But there's more. Rahman, and the SOHR that he runs, has long ago  been
exposed as a Western propaganda front. As Tony Cartalucci  writes in his

One could not fathom a more unreliable, compromised, biased source  of
information, yet for the past two years, his "Observatory" has  served
as the sole source of information for the endless torrent of  propaganda
emanating from the Western media. Perhaps worst of all,  is that the
United Nations uses this compromised, absurdly overt  source of
propaganda as the basis for its various reports."  This man is as far
from a 'human rights activist' as anyone can be.  His funding comes from
the European Union and "an unnamed European  state," most likely the UK
as he has direct access to former  Foreign Minister William Hague, who
he has been documented meeting  in person on multiple occasions at the
Foreign and Commonwealth  Office in London and shares Rahman's
enthusiasm for removing Assad  from power. The NYT in fact reveals that
it was the British  government that first relocated Abdul Rahman to
Coventry, England  after he fled Syria over a decade ago because of his
anti- government activities: "When two associates were arrested in 2000,
he fled the country,  paying a human trafficker to smuggle him into
England. The  government resettled him in Coventry, where he decided he
liked the  slow pace."

"Hold the line, Jafar, I've got MI6 on another call..."

'Rami Abdulrahman', one-man lie factory Et voila! What was once a
criminal with subversive tendencies is  now a 'human rights activist'
(but really a British intelligence  asset). Does anyone really think
that any of these organizations  would pay a convicted criminal to be
anything other than their  mouthpiece for seeding the lies printed in
Western media? As Joe  Quinn and Niall Bradley noted last year, figures
provided by the  SOHR are routinely cited by Western media to generate
public  support for airstrikes and regime change in Syria.

So who in the Western media uses such a biased propaganda source?  It
would be easier to provide a list of who doesn't. CNN, Reuters,
Associated Press, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Huffington Post, Fox and Vice...
just to name a few. These presstitute organizations apparently  don't
care that they're taking the word of someone who has a  political
interest in the outcome and who is funded toward that end  by the
British government. Are there any investigative journalists  left in
mainstream media? Those with two firing neurons are few and  far between
these days...

Western intelligence agencies set up the armed opposition/terrorist
proxy forces in Syria, so they would obviously want to control the
media narrative about what happens there. Rahman does his part by
vacuuming up information reported by those same proxy forces. This
information is then given out to the Western media with SOHR as  source.
The whole operation is so patently shady, it should scream  'spooks' to
any real journalist. And to be honest, Western  journalist really should
know better.

What's that phrase that George Dubya Bush mangled: 'fool me once,  shame
on you, fool me twice, shame on me'. Mr. SOHR is basically a  less
sophisticated Syrian war version of the Iraq war's 'Curveball'  or Rafid
Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi (for those interested in his real  name). Alwan
was the guy that the US government used to back up  their 'Saddam has
WMDs' claim that justified the invasion and 10  year occupation of Iraq,
and the murder of 1.5 million Iraqi  citizens. To his friends, Alwan was
a congenital liar who fled Iraq  in 1999 when he was caught trying to
embezzle state funds. When he  fled to Germany in 1999, and told German
intelligence that he  graduated top of his chemical engineering class at
Baghdad  University and worked on a team that built mobile labs to
produce  WMDs, he became 'curveball'.

When this information was passed on to US intelligence, they
conveniently ignored the evidence that he was a congenital liar and
embezzler who placed last in his university class and drove a taxi  for
a living before fleeing to Germany, and decided that everything  he was
saying about Iraqi WMDs was true. To further prove his  credentials,
'curveball' identified a a particular Iraqi facility  as a "docking
station for mobile labs". When UN weapons inspectors  visited the site
on February 9, 2003, they found a warehouse used  for seed processing.

Feb. 2003, Colin Powell at the UN peddling 'curveball's' lies to  the
world to justify war.

So with this information, then Sec. of State Colin Powell decided  to do
the right thing, and ran to the UN and told them all about  'curveball'
and his damning 'evidence' of Iraqi WMDs. Why? Because  US politicians
had long before decided that they were going to  invade and destroy Iraq
and loot its resources. They were, as the  saying goes, 'fixing the
facts around a war policy' by using the  bogus claims of known liars to
justify their war. This is precisely  what Mr. SOHR is doing for the US
government today, and still, the  media sucks it up and regurgitates it
for the general public.

So this is what our media has become, a gaggle of morons  brainlessly
repeating lies vomited up by our psychopathic reality- creators, thereby
manipulating public perception of world events  and making sure we all
see the world the way they want us to see  it, and not how it really is.
One thing is certain: if you believe  what Rahman and the SOHR is
telling you about what's happening in  Syria, you are believing in lies.

(12) Dalai Lama says refugees from the Middle East should return home to rebuild their countries

Dalai Lama And Donald Trump Agree Syrian Refugees Should Return Home

By Alex Garofalo @Ja9GarofaloTV


Americans who believe the U.S. should not accept refugees from Syria and
the Middle East have an unlikely ally: the Dalai Lama.

The 14th Dalai Lama, the head of the Tibetan Buddhist monks and one of
the world's most recognized religious leaders, spoke Thursday with Piers
Morgan on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" and reiterated his belief that
refugees from the Middle East should return home to rebuild their
countries. While the Dalai Lama may not be a fan of Republican
presidential nominee Donald Trump — the Dalai Lama mocked the
businessman during his interview with Morgan — the pair seem to agree on
this issue, even if for different reasons.

"The main effort should go to help their own country bring peace, in
Syria, Libya or even Afghanistan. Generally the people always feel, 'oh,
one day we return'," the Dalai Lama told Morgan. "[They] should rebuild
their own country."

The Dalai Lama is a refugee himself. Tenzin Gyatso, 81, the current
Dalai Lama, has not been able to return to his home country of Tibet
since 1959, following an uprising against the Chinese occupation of the

This is not the first time the Dalai Lama has spoken out on the global
refugee crisis. While the religious leader has applauded countries like
Austria and Germany that have opened their doors to refugees, he has
also pointed out the limits of a nation's ability to provide a safe
haven to thousands of additional people.

"When we look at the face of each refugee, but especially those of the
children and women, we feel their suffering, and a human being who has a
better situation in life has the responsibility to help them. But on the
other hand, there are too many at the moment," he said in May. "Europe,
Germany in particular, cannot become an Arab country, Germany is Germany."

Dalai Lama Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he
attends a meeting with youth in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 15, 2016.
Photo: REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Trump also believes that refugees from the Middle East would be better
off back home.

While Trump has admitted, "It’s living in hell in Syria, there is no
question about it," he promised to send any refugees accepted in the
U.S. back to the Middle East. "I’m putting the people on notice that are
coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if
I win, they’re going back," he has said.

Trump has also repeatedly called for a ban on Muslim immigration to
address the threat of terrorism and criticized President Barack Obama's
policy of accepting Syrian refugees. Donald Trump Jr., the candidate's
son, recently courted controversy by comparing the threat he says
refugees in the U.S. pose to a bowl of Skittles candy in which a few are
poisoned. Trump also linked the Obama administration's refugee policy to
last week's bombings in New York and New Jersey reportedly carried out
by a naturalized citizen who was born in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled Syria as a result of the
country's civil war and are seeking asylum elsewhere. The U.S. has
pledged to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Peter Myers