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President Trump FURIOUS as holes continue to appear in American Syria narrative

Divided camps on Syria policy may have just backfired and created an embarrassment for the American President

Seraphim Hanisch

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President Donald Trump has been angry quite a bit lately. This seems to be the main theme that is trumpeted on the Trump-hating networks like CNN and the other mainstream news media networks. On the morning of April 18, this author was stunned to see how CNN actually called its own people to all “Stay in the same camp” about Russia and Syria, as the drone of the network continued to try to play Trump as an indecisive leader or a Russian sycophant because he upended his UN Envoy Nikki Haley in refusing to impose new sanctions on Russia. The Clinton News Network continues to advocate “for war” but really it is “anything to do to get rid of Donald Trump.”

I guess it doesn’t matter if the reason President Trump is gone is because the whole United States is a smoldering pile of slag. Just so the job gets done, right, CNN?

But Trump’s anger comes from more than the issues with CNN. In fact, CNN and the mainstream media have always been really playing into the President’s hands since before he took office.

The real problem appears to be a divided government, and in a random act of journalism, the Washington Post even exposes what the situation actually appears to be:

The relatively modest airstrikes that Trump ordered Friday were designed to deter Assad without provoking a broader military conflict with Russia.

Some European diplomats in Washington question whether the tough moves have Trump’s full support. “This wouldn’t be the policy unless Trump supports it. . . . Yes?” asked one ambassador.

Russia analysts seem just as mystified. “This is a man who if he had his druthers would be pursuing a much more open and friendly policy with Russia,” said Angela Stent, a former White House official and professor at Georgetown University. “The United States essentially has three Russia policies: the president’s, the executive branch’s and Congress’s.”

This is a remarkably true statement. Hawks like Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) applaud pretty much any use of firearms against anyone. Democrats, including liberals, support attacks against Syria or Russia just because… they may do damage to President Trump (of course, disregarding their own policy flip from when Obama was President.)

And there is the policy aim of the President himself, which is strongly supportive of rapprochement with President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation. This tension between these three camps has been in view ever since the Trump presidency began, but never has it been more obvious and more peculiar than in the recent couple of weeks.

Early last week, the President clearly stated that the American troops needed to leave Syria. But in just days came a report that there was a chemical attack, allegedly carried out by President Bashar al-Assad against his own people, though this made absolutely no sense and was reported as such by many loyal Trump supporters on Fox News and other conservative media outlets.

A few days later on April 13 (14th in Syria) a coordinated series of missile strikes rained down Syria, apparently taking out some innocent empty buildings. Russia reported that of the 103 missiles fired, only about 32 reached their targets, as aged Syrian antimissile defenses eliminated the aged Tomahawk missiles that were inbound.

Then, yesterday, a report from the Russian military revealed the presence of a chemical weapons storehouse in Douma, owned by Syrian rebels, and not in any way associated with Assad or his government.

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Привет. Это Хасан Диаб. Ему 11 лет и он снимался в ролике Белых касок за еду (финики, рис, печенье) 7 апреля в Думе. Хасан жив и здоров и передает привет всем, кто так сильно переживает за пострадавших в Думе от отравления, и одобряет удары по Сирии. ************************************************************In return for playing a victim in #WhiteHelmets propaganda video 11 year old #HassanDiab got some badly needed food a few dates, rice, and a cookie He is alive and well and sends his greetings to everyone#whitehelmets #douma #syria #chemicalattack

A post shared by Евгений Поддубный (@evgeny.poddubny) on

Two other reports conflict, one saying that there was a chemical weapons attack, and others like this one from RIA Novosti – although the article is in Russian, we have translated a pertinent section here below:

Syrian boy Hasan Diab, presented in the production clip ‘White Helmets’ as a ‘victim’ of the chemical attack in the city of Douma, revealed the details of the filming…

‘We were in the basement; my mother told me that today there is nothing to eat, we will eat only tomorrow.’ We heard a shout in the street, someone yelling, ‘go to the hospital.’ We ran to the hospital, and as soon as I entered, I was seized and hosed down with water. After this we were put on the bed with other people, ‘ said the boy on the air of TV channel ‘Russia-24.’

The military correspondent of the television channel Yevgeny Poddubny noted that the boy was forced to appear in the video.

‘The boy had nothing to eat; he was offered rice, dates and cookies for this filming,’ he said.

The boy’s words were confirmed by his father, who added that there was no chemical attack in the city.

‘When I found out that the child was in the hospital, I asked to quit my job and ran there.’ There was no chemical weapon, I smoked in the street, felt nothing, went to the hospital and saw my family. ‘The militants gave dates, cookies , rice and everyone was allowed to go home.My child was feeling great,’ the boy’s father told the television channel.”

This kind of serial disconnect is creating problems. One problem is that all things Syria suffer from massively slanted reporting from all sides of the conflict. The most factual descriptions of events on the ground are not coming from US and Western media sources, either, so this creates a problem. The reason that we do not get much reliable from Western sources appears to be that these outlets are largely sold out to a preexisting narrative that dictates to the media what the news must be, rather than what it is. Since Russia supports its ally, it is natural that they will report news that helps support their own narrative.

But in the battle of narratives, it is that of the West that seems to be full of holes. And this is a problem for the US president, who put lives at risk, perhaps needlessly, by ordering a missile strike.

If reports from Russia and Syria – that the missiles were indeed largely destroyed and those that got through hit empty targets, killing nobody – if these reports are true, then the US President may have just been granted a blessing. It is even possible, though unlikely, to ascertain that the targeting of these places was done knowing they were empty for the purpose of “the optics of strength.” However, this is a very thin bit of speculation and given the spectacle of the attack, it is unlikely that this was actually the plan.

There is one further rumor that has been reported – that the US President ordered the airstrike as a press event to divert attention away from the matter regarding Stephanie Cliffords (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels) and attorney Michael D. Cohen allegation. The narrative of this piece proposes that Mr. Trump would actually do such a heinous thing as military action to divert attention away from this sort of scandal.

This is almost certainly untrue. Donald Trump is a businessman, and everything about his manner suggests generosity and a willingness to work with people. He is a ruthless and tough negotiator, but he is not without a soul to the point where a display of deadly force is a viable alternative to some media persecution.

President Bill Clinton might have had the spirit to do something like this in his time, but President Trump is made of different stuff.

However, with most of the mainstream press and a lot of Washington DC embeds and even some in his own administration taking radically different and opposing views, it does indeed begin to look like the President has a lot to be angry about.

The biggest battle America faces with regard to Syria is not happening in that country. It is happening here in the United States. It has, sadly, become the latest theatre in a political war between the power bases in Washington, D.C. against a President who rightly opposes “establishment” rules.

Here is a final point to consider:

All media outlets – whether liberal, conservative, alternative, super right-wing or super left-wing – ALL media outlets usually portray their own reporting as the “truth” and as such the expression of wisdom and knowledge. Further, the media tries to drive its own narrative that suggests that the newsies know more than the government of the US does, most notably the President of the United States.

This may be a great technique for selling papers, but it creates several different competing and often dramatic narratives, and often, none of them are true. While the embeds may indeed have evil motives, it is difficult for me at this time to believe that the media is better informed than the President is.

The tragedy with regards to Syria and Russia in this matter is that while the USA and West gyrate in a media frenzy of slander and lies, people are dying as pawns, forgotten to the world except to their own loved ones, and a nation that has suffered massive brutality of a seemingly endless war has become nothing more elevated than a topic for discussion by the Talking Heads on TV. There is something about this that is just absolutely wrong.

And one can probably bet that President Trump knows this, and is trying to fix it.

 

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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