When Washington Decides Democracy Is Dangerous: Stoking Opposition In Venezuela And Syria

A Venezuelan protester holds a poster that reads in Spanish “Against Imperialist aggression, respect Venezuela” during a protest outside the National Assembly in Caracas Venezuela. (AP/Howard Yanes)

By Ramiro S. Fúnez for Mint Press News – QUITO (Analysis)– If you’ve been following international news in recent years, you know that two countries, in particular, have served as punching bags for establishment pundits: Venezuela and Syria. Sure, other countries on mainstream media’s target list — including Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — have also been persistently bombarded with hit pieces. But then these sovereign nations have alwaysbeen under attack since declaring their independence from Washington’s imperialist grip. What distinguishes recent corporate news attacks against Venezuela and Syria from media treatment of the countries mentioned above, however, is the role of their respective Western-backed opposition “movements.” Claiming to fight for “democracy” and “freedom,” protesters from both countries have participated in violent actions aimed at overthrowing their democratically-elected governments — Venezuela since 2014 and Syria since 2011. This hasn’t been the case, at least in recent years, in Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and the DPRK. In Venezuela, right-wing opposition groups have attempted to topple the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela. They hope to follow the path of Brazil and Argentina, where social programs for the poor have been slashed and neoliberal austerity reigns.

Black Peace Advocate Wonders If Trump Can Rein In CIA

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Bruce A. Dixon for Black Agenda Report – President Trump’s cancellation of the CIA’s longstanding mission to train, arm and finance a jihadist overthrow of the Syrian government is recognition that “the Obama war has basically failed,” said Ajamu Baraka, spokesperson for the newly organized Black Alliance for Peace and the Green Party’s 2016 vice presidential candidate. Given that the military and intelligence services rebelled against President Obama’s attempts to cooperate with the Russians in Syria, last year, “it remains to be seen to what extent these elements of the ‘deep state’ are going to obey that directive,” said Baraka, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report.

Did Trump Really End The CIA’s Secret War In Syria?

by Kenny Cole | CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Mackler for Counter Punch – “Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad,” read a July 19 New York Times headline. Citing The Washington Postas its source, the article noted that the official termination of the “secret” U.S. program “was never publicly announced, just as the beginnings of the program four years ago were officially a secret, authorized by President Barack Obama through a ‘finding’ that permitted the C.I.A. to conduct a deniable program.” “Mr. Trump’s decisions,” said The Times, “amounted to an acknowledgment that no escalation of the program, which began in 2013 in concert with the C.I.A.’s counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, was likely to yield a different result.” The CIA and its “counterparts” were intervening in Syria even before 2013, if not congruent with the brief Arab Spring mobilizations of 2011, when poor peasants, democratically minded youth, and others protested against the Bashar Assad government’s neo-liberal and repressive policies. The New York Times revealed on June 21, 2012, that the CIA had been ferrying arms, recruiting, and training anti-Assad groups based in Turkey. The U.S. was simultaneously the major power behind the Syrian National Council (SNC), which it established to be the new Syrian “government in waiting.”

Trump Faces Down CIA And Co-Opts Pentagon On Syria (For The Time Being)

From blackagendareport.com

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – It’s not like Donald Trump to “stifle” himself, as TV’s Archie Bunker used to say, but the president has been relatively subdued about his decision, reportedly made last month, to terminate the CIA program that has armed, trained, directed and protected jihadist fighters in Syria. Trump’s uncharacteristic reticence on the matter is understandable, given the agency’s homicidal culture and history. It is also likely that Trump’s gaggle of White House generals, led by Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and national security advisor H.R. McMaster, have kept the Pentagon in check, preventing a reprise of the mutiny that sabotaged President Obama’s cease-fire and intelligence-sharing agreement with Russian forces in Syria, on September 17 of last year. In a blatant rebellion against civilian authority, U.S. warplanes killed 100 Syrian soldiers at Deir Ez-Zor, allowing ISIS to overrun half the city. The next week, with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at his side, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “The U.S. military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians.” The Pentagon had “punked” lame duck President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry.

Rivers of Blood Action: We All Must Come Together to Stop War

NCNR Rivers of Blood Action July 2016

By Joy First for National Center for Nonviolent Resistance. The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) keeps its focus on the US wars of aggression. NCNR has been acting in resistance to the crimes of our government with its illegal wars since 2003. We are at war in seven different countries today and members of NCNR think it is critical to make the connection between war and all the other problems affecting our world today. With that in mind NCNR planned the Rivers of Blood action – noting that Rivers of Blood flow through the US Capitol as our Congress continues to vote for funding for war. We did a Rivers of Blood action 10 years ago in the crypt of the Capitol and decided to do this second Rivers of Blood action outside on the steps of the Capitol where we hoped we would be seen by more people. Members of our group spoke so eloquently about why we were there. Alice began by saying, “Senator Schumer as our Senate leader must take a stand to stop the escalating horrific warfare that the current administration is waging on some of the poorest, most vulnerable people on the planet. We are devastating entire nations, causing cholera and starvation in Yemen, slaughter of the people of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, threatening war with North Korea. The Congress must not sit by. Senator Schumer has stood up to this administration on other important issues, but we need him to raise his voice to stop these wars, these bombings these drone attacks.”

US Deep State: Sabotaging Putin-Trump Ceasefire Agreement In Syria

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By Federico Pieraccini for Strategic Culture Foundation – The most eagerly anticipated meeting of the year, that between Putin and Trump, lasted far more than the scheduled 20 minutes, extending past two hours. This is not too much of a surprise given the points of friction that needed to be discussed, the many outstanding issues in international relations, and the fact that this was the first official meeting between the two world leaders. The results achieved exceeded initial ambitions, and the personal chemistry between Putin and Trump seems to have been sufficient to reach an important agreement in Syria as well as to conduct discussions surrounding cyber security. Trump even asked Putin about the alleged Russian hacking in the US presidential election as a way of appeasing detractors back home. The statements of both presidents following their meeting underlined their positive intentions. Putin called Trump a very different person from the one portrayed in the media, mentioning that he was reflective and very attentive to details. Trump, for his part, praised the meeting with Putin, stating the importance of dialogue between nuclear-armed superpowers. The most important agreement concerned a ceasefire in southern Syria along the border with Israel and Jordan.

Net Neutrality National Day Of Action, And More

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Net Neutrality ensures that big telecoms like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast etc. can’t slow down or restrict your access to any site. If you want to visit my show page via occupy.com, they can’t stop you. If you want to watch porn or cat videos – hopefully not any combination of the two – ISP’s or internet service providers can’t stop you, or demand that you pay more in order to access Mr. Whiskers knocking his food off a table like a boss. Democratic Confederalism may sound yawn-worthy but it is in fact what has successfully stopped ISIS from advancing into Northern Syria and done so while simultaneously building a flat-structure, democratic, feminist society. Known as the Rojava region, this predominantly Kurdish area of Northern Syria has been home to both oppression and resistance for decades, if not hundreds of years. It is here that the Kurdish resistance movement started manifesting progressive alternatives to the capitalist patriarchy already in the 80s.

Newsletter: Power Dynamics Changing In World Order

Solidarity without Borders G-20 Hamburg by Reuters

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The G-20 summit highlighted a transition in geopolitical power that has been developing for years. The process has escalated in recent months since President Trump took office, but its roots go much deeper than Trump. The United States is losing power, a multi-polar world is taking shape and people power is on the rise. The G-20 bordered on being a G-19, with the US a loner on key issues of climate change, trade and migration. These are some of the biggest issues on the planet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been saying lately “We as Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands.” This is an indication they no longer see the US as the leader or even a reliable partner on some issues. In a summation of the G-20, Politico writes: “Hamburg will also go down as a further mile marker in Europe’s slow emancipation from the U.S.”

The Syrian Test Of Trump-Putin Accord

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By Ray McGovern for Consortium News. The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists?

US Expands Military Footprint In Syria To EIGHT Bases

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By Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire – With very little fanfare from the western media, the US is quietly creating a hostile military footprint inside Syria. By establishing a chain of airbases, military outposts and missile bases inside Syria, the US is illegally, stealth-occupying a sovereign nation. The number of US military installations in Syria has increased to eight bases according to recent reports, and possibly nine according to one other military analyst. We should also not forget the malevolent presence of Israel in the criminally annexed southern Syrian territory of the Golan Heights. This could just as easily be included in the list of US military outposts inside Syria. Two regional intelligence sources disclosed mid-June that the US military moved a new truck-mounted, long-range rocket launcher from Jordan to a US base in al-Tanf in Southeastern Homs, near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, stepping up its presence in the area. The sources said the (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems – HIMARS) had moved into the desert garrison, which saw a buildup in recent weeks as tensions escalate after the US-led coalition struck positions of the Syrian forces to prevent them advancing toward the al-Tanf base.

Media’s Propaganda War On Syria

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By Jonathan Cook for Jonathan Cook Blog. If you wish to understand the degree to which a supposedly free western media are constructing a world of half-truths and deceptions to manipulate their audiences, keeping us uninformed and docile, then there could hardly be a better case study than their treatment of Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. All of these highly competitive, for-profit, scoop-seeking media outlets separately took identical decisions: first to reject Hersh’s latest investigative report, and then to studiously ignore it once it was published in Germany last Sunday. They have continued to maintain an absolute radio silence on his revelations, even as over the past few days they have given a great deal of attention to two stories on the very issue Hersh’s investigation addresses.

White House ‘Warning’ Of ‘Imminent Threat Of Chemical Attack In Syria’ Is Phoney.

An anti-war demonstrator is seen outside the White House before President Photo By Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty

By Alexander Mercouris for The Duran – A few hours ago the German publication Welt published Seymour Hersh’s exposure of the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack. In this report Hersh says that the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun never happened. The Jihadis in control of Khan Sheikhoun used the effect of a toxic cloud released by the Syrian bombing of a building which hosted a meeting of important Jihadi leaders in order to claim that there had been a chemical attack. The attack was however conventional, and the toxic cloud was caused by the release of chemicals stored in the building’s basement. Hersh also reports that the Russians had informed the US of this bombing raid in advance, and that the US intelligence and defence bureaucracy was aware that there had been no chemical attack. However they were unable to get the President to accept this. After seeing television pictures of the aftermath of the attack he became convinced that a chemical attack had taken place and no amount of persuasion by his intelligence and defence officials could dissuade him. An attack on Syria’s Al-Shayrat air base was accordingly launched, supposedly in retaliation.

Three Nations With Most Refugees Were Targets Of US Intervention

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By Whitney Webb for Mintpress News. CHILE– A United Nations report has shed light on the world’s burgeoning crisis of displaced peoples, finding that a record 65.6 million were forced to vacate their homes in 2016 alone. More than half of them were minors. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which drafted the report, put the figure into perspective, stating that increasing conflict and persecution worldwide have led to “one person being displaced every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence.” UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi called the figure “unacceptable” and called for “solidarity and a common purpose in preventing and resolving the crisis.” However, what the UN report failed to mention was the role of U.S. foreign intervention, indirect or direct, in fomenting the conflicts responsible for producing most of the world’s refugees.

How The US Armed Terrorist Groups In Syria

Free Syrian Army fighters in Saqba, a suburb of Damascus (Photo: Freedom House / CC-BY-2.0)

By Gareth Porter for The American Conservative – Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators. Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups—meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism. That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

Is There A Western Plot To Overthrow Assad?

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By William Van Wagenen for The LIberatarian – The Western narrative of the Syrian conflict, which began in the Spring of 2011, suggests that the Syrian people began to peacefully protest for an end to the Assad regime, which then responded with brutal oppression; killing, imprisoning and torturing innocent Syrian civilians in an effort to maintain power. In time, Syrian soldiers defected from the army (because they refused orders to shoot peaceful protesters), began to arm themselves, and created the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to fight the regime. The West then began to support the Syrian rebels, in an effort to protect civilians and allow Syrians to realize their aspirations for democracy and freedom. The Syrian government of course rejects this narrative, claiming instead that it has the support of the majority of Syrians, and is in fact the victim of a “conspiracy” or “plot” by the Western powers to support “terrorists” in an effort to overthrow it. While Western journalists at times report on claims of such a plot by Syrian officials, the tone of such reports is always from the perspective that that these claims are regime propaganda meant to justify the killing of civilians.