Obama’s Gun-running Operation

Obama’s Gun-running Operation

If you thought the Isis war couldn’t get any worse, just wait for more of the CIA
Even America’s top spies know that arming rebels is ‘doomed to failure’ – but that can’t stop Obama’s gun-running operation

By Trevor Timm

Information on secret weapons already flowing into Syria has been kept in hiding from most of the people who approved paying for them. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty

Information on secret weapons already flowing into Syria has been kept in hiding from most of the people who approved paying for them. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty

As the war against the Islamic State in Syria has fallen into even more chaospartially due to the United States government’s increasing involvement there – the White House’s bright new idea seems to be to ramping up the involvement of the intelligence agency that is notorious for making bad situations worse. As the Washington Post reported late Friday, “The Obama administration has been weighing plans to escalate the CIA’s role in arming and training fighters in Syria, a move aimed at accelerating covert U.S. support to moderate rebel factions while the Pentagon is preparing to establish its own training bases.”

Put aside for a minute that the Central Intelligence Agency has been secretly arming Syrian rebels with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and antitank weapons since at least 2012 – and with almost nothing to show for it. Somehow the Post neglected to cite a front-page New York Times article from just one month ago alerting the public to the existence of a still-classified internal CIA study admitting that arming rebels with weapons has rarely – if ever – worked:

As the Times’ Mark Mazzetti reported:

‘One of the things that Obama wanted to know was: Did this ever work?’ said one former senior administration official who participated in the debate and spoke anonymously because he was discussing a classified report. The C.I.A. report, he said, ‘was pretty dour in its conclusions.’

The Times cited the most well-known of CIA failures, including the botched Bay of Pigs invasion and the arming of the Nicaraguan contra rebels that led to the disastrous Iran-Contra scandal. Even the agency’s most successful mission – slowly bleeding out the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s by arming the mujahideen – paved the way for the worst terrorist attack on the US in its history.

But as anyone who has read journalist Tim Weiner’s comprehensive and engrossing history of the CIA knows, the agency’s past is a graveyard rife with literally dozens of catastrophic failures involving covert weapons deals to countless war criminals and con artists in an attempt to overthrow governments all over the world. Not only has the CIA failed repeatedly, but oftentimes its plan has completely backfired, solidifying the very power of the actor it sought to remove and leaving the people the agency claimed to be helping in a much, much worse-off spot than before the CIA gun-running mission began.

We’ve already seen Syrian fortunes turn for the worse as the US has stepped up involvement in the past few months, as Bashar al-Assad has gone on the offensive against the US-backed rebels, and as the US airstrikes have reportedly led to Isis and al-Qaida reuniting, after being sworn enemies for more than a year. The two terrorist groups then proceeded to route the “moderate” rebels in combat and are currently in possession of many of the US-made weapons previously owned by the rebels.

Two months ago, the US Congress voted to send hundreds of millions of dollars in more arms to Syria. Even the politicians voting on sending countless more US weapons into the middle of a civil war were kept in the dark about the CIA’s internal report. That should be a scandal, right up there with the torture report the CIA is trying to keep secret, too.

But at least a few in-the-know elected officials were aware of the dangers of insanity of Congress’ Syria vote. The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and Sam Stein quoted an unnamed Democratic Congressman in September who was even more blunt, insisting that the CIA’s belief in arming rebels was “doomed to failure”:

‘I have heard it expressed, outside of classified contexts, that what you heard from your intelligence sources is correct, because the CIA regards the effort as doomed to failure,’ the congressman said in an email. ‘Specifically (again without referring to classified information), the CIA thinks that it is impossible to train and equip a force of pro-Western Syrian nationals that can fight and defeat Assad, al-Nusra and ISIS, regardless of whatever air support that force may receive.’

The unnamed Congressman added: “The CIA also believes that its previous assignment to accomplish this was basically a fool’s errand, and they are well aware of the fact that many of the arms that they provided ended up in the wrong hands.”

But the information on the secret weapons that were already flowing into Syria has been kept in hiding from most of Congress. John Kerry refused to answer any questions about the CIA’s activities in Syria when asked by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, despite the news of the agency’s involvement in Syria being on the front page of newspapers for years. “I hate to do this,” he said. “But I can’t confirm or deny whatever that’s been written about and I can’t really go into any kind of possible program.

Perhaps the most shocking part is that we know Barack Obama himself has read the CIA study and knows that arming rebels in Syria – or anywhere – was an incredibly dangerous idea. Seemingly referencing the study, Obama told David Remnick of the New Yorker earlier this year:

Very early in this process, I actually asked the C.I.A. to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn’t come up with much.

So even though the CIA “couldn’t come up with much” proof of any time when sending tons of weapons into a war zone full of extremists has worked in the past, or that the agency itself has told Congressmen arming the rebels was “doomed to failure,” the Obama administration is ready to do just that.

No one doubts that Isis is a horrific terrorist group that’s terrible for the entire Middle East – as it proved over the weekend by barbarically beheading another innocent aid worker – but further entrenching the CIA and its weapons into an already awful situation can really only make things worse. Much worse.

© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


Libyan `Missing Persons Ministry` Admits Falsification of War Casualty Figures

From: Mathaba

The so-called ``Ministry of Martyrs and Missing Persons`` of the illegal occupation regime in Libya has admitted that only a few thousand of its `revolutionaries` died during the war against the Jamahiriya.

During the so-called revolution during 2011 when so-called `revolutionary` forces assisted by massive 8-month long NATO bombing of the country, 4,700 of the “revolutionaries” died and 2,100 went missing, according to official figures issued by the so-called Ministry of Martyrs and Missing Persons.

The admission of the low casualty rate among the pro-NATO ground forces which included Al-Qaida and other reactionary elements in a loose alliance, commonly known by the Libyan people as “rats”, replaces the figure in which they claimed that 50,000 of their alliance died in the war.

This brings the total number of dead in Libya during the war to below 100,000, with at least 50,000 of the pro-Jamahiriya forces, including a large number of civilians as well as military casualties, died. The figures by the “ministry” do not include the pro-Jamahiriya popular forces, also known as “loyalists” or pro-Qaddafi citizens.

Earlier the “rats” had revised their figure of casualties downward from 50,000 to 25,000 until the latest revision putting the total figure at less than 5,000. Propaganda including by so-called “reputable” western media including the BBC, CNN and other news networks, claimed that tens of thousands of “revolutionaries” had died in fighting, killed by pro-Qaddafi forces.

“I can’t tell you the exact figure but, as of now, the number of martyrs from the side of revolutionaries is in the range of 4,700″, said Duwadi, “deputy minister” of the ministry.

He claimed that the number of missing persons from both the sides (Qaddafi forces and so-called revolutionaries or “rats”) is around 2,100. We are working hard to finish the final numbers. It is very important for the reconciliation process as well, that we know the exact (total) losses.”

At the height of the conflict, the National Transitional Council estimated that 50,000 had been killed by “Qaddafi’s forces”, and now admits that the real figure is less than 10 percent of this number.


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NATO preparing vast disinformation campaign

NATO preparing vast disinformation campaign

by Thierry Meyssan

Member States of NATO and the GCC are preparing a coup d’état and a sectarian genocide in Syria. If you want to prevent these crimes, you should act now: circulate this article on the Internet and alert your elected officials.

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In a few days, perhaps as early as Friday, June 15, at noon, the Syrians wanting to watch their national TV stations will see them replaced on their screens by TV programs created by the CIA. Studio-shot images will show massacres that are blamed on the Syrian Government, people demonstrating, ministers and generals resigning from their posts, President Al-Assad fleeing, the rebels gathering in the big city centers, and a new government installing itself in the presidential palace.

This operation of disinformation, directly managed from Washington by Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, aims at demoralizing the Syrians in order to pave the way for a coup d’etat. NATO, discontent about the double veto of Russia and China, will thus succeed in conquering Syria without attacking the country illegally. Whichever judgment you might have formed on the actual events in Syria, a coup d’etat will end all hopes of democratization.

The Arab League has officially asked the satellite operators Arabsat and Nilesat to stop broadcasting Syrian media, either public or private (Syria TV, Al-Ekbariya, Ad-Dounia, Cham TV, etc.) A precedent already exists because the Arab League had managed to censure Libyan TV in order to keep the leaders of the Jamahiriya from communicating with their people. There is no Hertz network in Syria, where TV works exclusively with satellites. The cut, however, will not leave the screens black.

Actually, this public decision is only the tip of the iceberg. According to our information several international meetings were organized during the past week to coordinate the disinformation campaign. The first two were technical meetings, held in Doha (Qatar); the third was a political meeting and took place in Riyad (Saudi Arabia).

The first meeting assembled PSYOP officers, embedded in the satellite TV channels of Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Fox, France 24, Future TV and MTV. It is known that since 1998, the officers of the US Army Psychological Operations Unit (PSYOP) have been incorporated in CNN. Since then this practice has been extended by NATO to other strategic media as well.

They fabricated false information in advance, on the basis of a “story-telling” script devised by Ben Rhodes’s team at the White House. A procedure of reciprocal validation was installed, with each media quoting the lies of the other media to render them plausible for TV spectators. The participants also decided not only to requisition the TV channels of the CIA for Syria and Lebanon (Barada, Future TV, MTV, Orient News, Syria Chaab, Syria Alghad) but also about 40 religious Wahhabi TV channels to call for confessional massacres to the cry of “Christians to Beyrouth, Alawites into the grave!.”

The second meeting was held for engineers and technicians to fabricate fictitious images, mixing one part in an outdoor studio, the other part with computer generated images. During the past weeks, studios in Saudi Arabia have been set up to build replicas of the two presidential palaces in Syria and the main squares of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. Studios of this type already exist in Doha (Qatar), but they are not sufficient.

The third meeting was held by General James B. Smith, the US ambassador, a representative of the UK, prince Bandar Bin Sultan (whom former U.S. president George Bush named his adopted son so that the U.S. press called him “Bandar Bush”). In this meeting the media actions were coordinated with those of the Free “Syrian” Army, in which prince Bandar’s mercenaries play a decisive role.

The operation had been in the making for several months, but the U.S. National Security Council decided to accelerate the action after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, notified the White House that he would oppose by all means, even by force, any illegal NATO military intervention in Syria.

The operation has a double intent: the first is to spread false information, the second aims at censuring all possible responses.

The hampering of TV satellites for military purposes is not new. Under pressure from Israel, the USA and the EU blocked Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian TV channels, one after the other. However, no satellite channels from other parts of the world were censured.

The broadcast of false news is also not new, but four significant steps have been taken in the art of propaganda during the last decade.
• In 1994, a pop music station named “Free Radio of the Thousand Hills” (RTML) gave the signal for genocide in Rwanda with the cry,Kill the cockroaches!
• In 2001, NATO used the media to impose an interpretation of the 9/11 attacks and to justify its own aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq. At that time already, it was Ben Rhodes who had been commissioned by the Bush administration to concoct the Kean/Hamilton Commission report on the attacks.
• In 2002, the CIA used five TV channels (Televen, Globovision, ValeTV and CMT) to make the public in Venezuela believe that phantom demonstrators had captured the elected president, Hugo Chávez, forcing him to resign. In reality he was the victim of a military coup d’etat.
In 2011, France 24 served as information ministry for the Libyan NTC, according to a signed contract. During the battle of Tripoli, NATO produced fake studio films, then transmitted them via Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, showing phantom images of Libyan rebels on the central square of the capital city, while in reality they were still far away. As a consequence, the inhabitants of Tripoli were persuaded that the war was lost and gave up all resistance.

Nowadays the media do not only support a war, they produce it themselves.

This procedure violates the principles of International Law, first of all Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relating to the fact of receiving and imparting information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Above all, the procedure violates the United Nations General Assembly resolution, adopted after the end of World War II, to prevent further wars. Resolutions 110381 and 819 forbidto set obstacles to free exchange of information and ideas (like cutting off Syrian TV channels) and all propaganda provoking or encouraging threats to peace, breaking peace, and all acts of aggression”. By law, war propaganda is a crime against peace, the worst of crimes, because it facilitates war crimes and genocide.

Komsomolskaïa Pravda 


If there were Global Justice, Nato would be in the Dock over Libya

If there were Global Justice, Nato would be in the Dock over Libya

Liberia’s Charles Taylor has been convicted of war crimes, so why not the Western leaders who escalated Libya’s killing?

Seumas Milne

Seumas Milne- guardian.co.uk, 

Belle Mellor 1605

Illustration by Belle Mellor

Libya was supposed to be different. The lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan had been learned, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy insisted last year. This would be a real humanitarian intervention. Unlike Iraq, there would be no boots on the ground. Unlike in Afghanistan, Nato air power would be used to support a fight for freedom and prevent a massacre. Unlike the Kosovo campaign, there would be no indiscriminate cluster bombs: only precision weapons would be used. This would be a war to save civilian lives. (**** yes in some TV show or cinema script the reality was different!!!)

Seven months on from Muammar Gaddafi’s butchering in the ruins of Sirte, the fruits of liberal intervention in Libya are now cruelly clear, and documented by the UN and human rights groups: 8,000 prisoners held without trialrampant torture and routine deaths in detention, the ethnic cleansing of Tawerga, a town of 30,000 mainly black Libyans (already in the frame as a crime against humanity) and continuing violent persecution of sub-Saharan Africans across the country.

A year after the western powers tried to make up for lost ground in the Arab uprisings by tipping the balance of the Benghazi-led revolt, Libya is in the lawless grip of rival warlords and armed conflict between militias, as the western-installed National Transitional Council (NTC) passes Gaddafi-style laws clamping down on freedom of speech, gives legal immunity to former rebels and disqualifies election candidates critical of the new order. These are the political forces Nato played the decisive role in bringing to power.

Now the evidence is starting to build up of what Nato’s laser-guided bombing campaign actually meant on the ground. The New York-based Human Rights Watch this week released a report into the deaths of at least 72 Libyan civilians, a third of them children, killed in eight separate bombing raids (seven on non-military targets) – and denounced Nato for still refusing to investigate or even acknowledge civilian deaths that were always denied at the time.

Given the tens of thousands of civilians killed by US, British and other Nato forces both from the air and on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen over the last decade, perhaps Nato commanders prefer not to detain themselves with such comparative trifles. And Human Rights Watch believes that, whatever the real number of civilians directly killed by Nato bombing, it was relatively low given the 10,000-odd sorties flown.

But while Nato’s UN mandate was to protect civilians, the alliance in practice turned that mission on its head. Throwing its weight behind one side in a civil war to oust Gaddafi’s regime, it became the air force for the rebel militias on the ground. So while the death toll was perhaps between 1,000 and 2,000 when Nato intervened in March, by October it was estimated by the NTC to be 30,000 – including thousands of civilians.

We can’t of course know what would have happened without Nato’s bombing campaign, even if there is no evidence that Gaddafi had either the intention or capability to carry out a massacre in Benghazi. But we do know that Nato provided decisive air cover for the rebels as they matched Gaddafi’s forces war crime for war crime, carried out massacres of their own and indiscriminately shelled civilian areas with devastating results – such as reduced much of Sirte to rubble last October.

There were also Nato and Qatari boots on the ground, including British special forces, co-ordinating rebel operations. So Nato certainly shared responsibility for the deaths of many more civilian than its missiles directly incinerated.

That is the kind of indirect culpability that led to the conviction last month of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, in the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. Taylor, now awaiting sentence and expected to be jailed in Britain, was found guilty of “aiding and abetting” war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s civil war in the 1990s. But he was cleared of directly ordering atrocities carried out by Sierra Leonean rebels.

Which pretty well describes the role played by Nato in Libya last year. International lawyers say legal culpability would depend on the degree of assistance and knowledge of war crimes for which Nato provided cover, even if the political and moral responsibility could not be clearer.

But there is of course simply no question of Nato leaders being held to legal account for the Libyan carnage, any more than they have been for far more direct crimes carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only Briton convicted of a war crime over the bloodbath of Iraq has been Corporal Donald Payne, for abuse of prisoners in Basra in 2003. While George Bush has boasted of authorising the international crime of torture and faced not so much as a caution.

Which only underlines that what is called international law simply doesn’t apply to the big powers or their political leaders. In the 10 years of its existence, theInternational criminal court has indicted 28 people from seven countries for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Every single one of them is African – even though ICC signatories include war-wracked states such as Colombia and Afghanistan.

That’s rather as if the criminal law in Britain only applied to people earning the minimum wage and living in Cornwall. But so long as international law is only used against small or weak states in the developing world, it won’t be a system of international justice, but an instrument of power politics and imperial enforcement.

Just as the urgent lesson of Libya – for the rest of the Arab world and beyond – is that however it is dressed up, foreign military intervention isn’t a short cut to freedom. And far from saving lives, again and again it has escalated slaughter.

Twitter: @SeumasMilne


BRICS to end dollar rule and USA’s supremacy

BRICS to end dollar rule and USA‘s supremacy

BRICS to end dollar rule and USA's supremacy. 47042.jpeg

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in late March held a summit in New Delhi, which can be considered the beginning of a new global financial and political order. In five years this world will be unrecognizable. The Anglo-Saxon model of governance of the world that flourished in the 1990s is losing its way and is being replaced by the Sino-Russian one. Yuan came close to international recognition, and with the adoption of Brazil and India into the UN Security Council the West will lose its political hegemony.

In 2008, the Wall Street’s practice of inflating financial bubbles in alliance with the U.S. Congress led to the collapse of neoliberalism. As Western politicians have not been able to build a coherent model of its resuscitation, the financial crisis is smoothly transforming into the political one. If President Obama advocates for the return of the industry to the country, what kind of subsequent prosperity of the United States are we talking about? The globalized economy has gradually shifted production to China, India and Brazil, where labor is cheaper, and tax and other legislation is much softer. So far there are no obvious reasons as to why Obama will return it to the United States.

This year, the BRICS countries provided 56 percent of world GDP growth, while the share of the richest of seven (G7) is only 9.5. In 2035 the BRICS countries will outrun G7 in terms of the economic potential. The volume of trade within the block grew from $27 billion in 2002 to $250 billion in 2011.

The main interests of the groups include the need to change the present world order, which is based on the global leadership of the U.S. dollar and its leading position as a major world currency. This order was approved by the agreements in Bretton Woods in 1944, at the end of World War II. The U.S. allies in Europe panicked before the inevitable spread of Soviet socialism and were happy to have hidden under the wing of the economically powerful neighbor in the Atlantic.

The economic rationale for cooperation among the BRICS is clear today, but more serious political points of contact are found. Here Russia rules, because it was President Medvedev who most emphatically called for political unity. The unity for the first time was obvious on the Libyan issue.

The countries agreed to abstain on the vote of resolution 1973 of the UN Security Council, and after the military operation were critical of the coalition of NATO. This unity can be described today as “friendship against NATO.” Russia, despite a smaller contribution to the global economy (two to three percent of 18), is considered promising for investments due to the large potential of the consumer market and sustainable autonomous growth.

South Africa (39 per cent of the GDP of all sub-Saharan Africa) joined the block on the invitation to make the alliance global and build a “bridge” to Brazil. In addition, the partners of South Africa in the BRICS gained access to the promising African market, which is particularly important for Brazil and China.

At a recent summit in New Delhi two important statements were made. The first one is geo-financial (about creating a joint Development Bank in future) and the second – geopolitical (condemning the war rhetoric and sanctions of the West against Iran and Syria). It should be noted that the leading U.S. media angrily commented on these statements.

The Financial Times, for example, published an article stating that the BRICS countries are asking for more power in the IMF. The paper concludes that if the BRICS are unable to overthrow the American director and replace him with a single candidate, the block will cease to fund the IMF and will focus on the Development Bank mentioned in New Delhi. The American press has stressed that the Development Bank is not to rival the IMF. This is a strange statement, considering that the China Development Bank has a capital of two times greater than the entire capital of the IMF.

The Washington Post noted the BRICS’s opposition to Iran and Syria. The newspaper wrote that the block has made a significant geopolitical move, namely, condemned the military threats against Iran and Syria. In fact, the collective claims were filed against the sanctions of the West that are detrimental to trade with these countries. This means that in case of the negative development of events this position may become more serious.

This was stated by the President of Brazil Dilma Russef, who promised that at the next summit of G20 in July the BRICS will make a joint political statement. Perhaps, the criticism will be heavier at the end of the campaign in the U.S. The BRICS are unwilling to press Obama, who is more acceptable for them than any of the Republican “hawks.”

The Washington Post pointed out that the countries of the block will never find a common platform for a political union. The newspaper quoted a former Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Lalit Mansinha, who assured that all the countries of the Union have issues with China, and said that before challenging the United States they should think hard. He thinks that Beijing and New Delhi have strong border disputes and Russia is increasing its military spending to counter China. There is also rivalry between Brazil and China in Africa and the expansion of the Chinese goods causes discontent of the Brazilians.

However, first, the NATO countries do not always come to a consensus on all issues, and, second, every country has its own internal benefit. The foreign factor that unites the BRICS countries is the desire to push the US dollar from the leading positions, to oust the U.S. from the Middle East, not to decolonize Africa and to deprive it of the economic and hence political influence in developing countries. This is what the Development Bank will engage in. It assumes the creation of lines of credit in national currency and financing of the developing economies.

The work in this direction has been already started, and both China and Russia in recent years reduced their national reserves in US dollars, preferring to invest in other assets. Everything leads to the fact that in five years the Yuan will be a major world currency, and China – the main engine of the global economy.

The mutual trade turnover of the BRICS over the years will reach $500 billion with growth of 28 percent per year. The BRICS will become a major global player in the political arena, all the leaders of the block are convinced. Dmitry Medvedev said after a meeting in New Delhi that “Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa must transform their alliance into a full-fledged mechanism for international influence and move from discussion of purely economic issues to developing positions on political issues.”

Medvedev said that the BRICS countries are not satisfied with the fact that the UN is used to cover the actions to offset unwanted modes, and will advocate for the inclusion of its partners as a permanent member of UN Security Council. He was echoed by Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh, who noted that “the prosperity of the BRICS is associated with the geopolitical situation.” While China is the economic leader, Russia is the political leader of the BRICS. This “axis” is a serious concern for the West, and later through the media it will in every way try to minimize the successes of the BRICS, as it feels threatened.

The political benefits of Brazil and India are also obvious. Traditionally on the sidelines of the world politics, these countries finally got the opportunity to realize their ambitions through the BRICS. For the first time they are talked about as a giant, and not only on the regional scale. With regard to South Africa, after its entry into the union for the first time sub-Saharan Africa ceased to be referred to as “miserable and poor.”

Lubov Lyulko