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What Most Syrians See of Their War

The people of Syria have a completely taken perspective of the war in their country than the one promoted by Western governments and media.

Eric Zuesse

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Here is a video of what most Syrians are seeing and experiencing of the war, and it’s titled “Living in the crosshairs, May 29th 2016 ENG SUBS”.

It refers to attackers being the “Free Syrian Army” (who were founded by Riad al-Asaad, no relation to Bashar al-Assad — and spelled and pronounced differently — and he was a proponent of a fundamentalist Sunni Syrian constitution). It also refers to (and shows victims of) the “canisters” which the FSA is firing westward, from the Aleppo city area that the FSA controls, into the city’s “Midan District,” which is controlled by the Syrian government.

The FSA is America’s chosen group of fighters (Barack Obama’s terms for them are ‘the moderate opposition’ and ‘moderate rebels’, but they’re just the people that the U.S. government overtly back — not back covertly like Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda and some other groups). All these groups are trying to overthrow the Syrian government, and, though they often cooperate with one-another, like with Al Qaeda in Syria (called “Al Nusra”), and ISIS (also called “ISIL” and “Daesh”), the groups also occasionally attack each other, because each of the groups is trying to increase its territory and wants to emerge victorious to control all of Syria, or of as much of Syria as possible, in the final settlement.

Virtually all members of each one of these groups are jihadists, but different foreign countries are backing different ones of these groups, and America’s preferred group happens to be the FSA — the group that’s firing these “canisters.”

At 1:46 in the video, the flag of the “Sultan Murad Faction” is being flown; at 1:50  it’s the flag of Al Nusra. So, this time the groups are all working together, because of their shared goal of conquering the Syrian government in the Midan District, which they’ve apparently just done here, at least for the time being. The Sultan Murad group are backed by Turkey (which, under Erdogan, has become a fundamentalist-Sunni country, like the Arab monarchies are, but without the oil). Al Qaeda is mainly backed by the Sauds, U.S. allies against Assad.

Each of these groups is bankrolled by somewhat different financial interests, but all of those interests are united in their desire to overthrow the non-sectarian government that has been ruling in Syria, and that the U.S. CIA has been trying, ever since 1949, to overthrow and replace by a fundamentalist Sunni government (which will favor the fundamentalist-Sunni Sauds, our allies). Though the majority of Syrians have always supported a non-sectarian Syria, various factions of Sunni Islam in fundamentalist-Sunni foreign countries have (especially after the severe 2007-2010 drought in Syria, and the consequent intense “Arab Spring” anti-government movement in Syria during 2011) supplied weapons and fighters to jihadists to overthrow Assad, and they also finance propaganda to recruit jihadists from all around the world, to fight in Syria and maybe become heavenly martyrs in this ‘holy war’ or jihad, against the ‘infidel’ non-sectarian Syrian government, which, moreover, is led by the Shiite Bashar al-Assad — and all Shiites should be killed, according to such fundamentalist Sunni teachings (which originate in, and are led by, Saudi Arabia).

The United States is allied here actually with the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and with their friends the Thani family who own Qatar, and also with their friends the Sabah family who own Kuwait, and also with the six royal families who own UAE; and all of these fundamentalist-Sunni royal families are aiming to supply their oil and gas, and pipelines for oil and gas, selling into the world’s largest energy-market, Europe. Those pipelines would be built through Syria, which is the reason why the U.S. and its Gulf-state allies want to take Syria over, or at least to conquer enough of a strip through what today is Syria, so as to enable construction of these pipelines into Europe.

Whereas America’s goal in this is mainly to strangle Russia, which is the biggest current supplier of oil and gas into the European market, the main goal of the royal Arab families is to expand their markets, to grab a bigger share of Europe’s energy sales. Pipelined oil and gas tends to be cheaper and therefore more cost-competitive than trucked or shipped oil and gas; so, this is a “pipeline war,” to expand markets.

That’s what the Syrian war is all about. Whereas for America it’s to conquer Russia; for the Arab royals, it’s to supply a bigger share of Europe’s energy-imports. For Turkey, it’s to grab a share of the oil-sales stolen by these jihadists, oil from Iraq and Syria, and also to serve within NATO as the agents of royal Arab families, a bridge between NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council. That bridge is a valuable and profitable function to fulfill.

The millions of refugees that are being produced by this war, many of whom are fleeing to Europe, are just the results, basically, of this land-clearing operation in Syria, to get rid of the people who are supporting the current Syrian government, which is allied with Russia, instead of with the U.S. and its allies.

So: those “canisters” are intended to terrify enough Syrians to flee, so that (it’s hoped) enough land can be cleared of population, in order for the desired pipelines to be built.

And Syrians know this. Consequently, not only are the various jihadist groups despised by from two-thirds to around 80% of the Syrian public, but at least 55% of Syrians would vote for Bashar al-Assad to be the country’s leader, in any free and fair election — and Obama knows this, which is the reason why he has strenuously opposed democracy in Syria, and even Ban ki-Moon has (though very quietly) condemned Obama’s position that rejects democracy in Syria. Furthermore, the Syrian people overwhelmingly (by 82%, to be exact) cite the U.S. as being the main source of the immense suffering they face.

In other words: terrorizing the population is good, not bad, from the standpoint of the U.S. and its allies — and many Syrians know this. But the few anti-Assad fighters who loathe ISIS and who have been praised by the U.S. government don’t necessarily know or understand this. The few anti-Assad fighters who, for whatever reason (be it that they’re competing against ISIS, or maybe even that they genuinely detest ISIS) have tried to help the U.S. CIA against ISIS, have even been stunned to find the U.S. government uninterested. It doesn’t make sense to them.

To clear the land, terror is good, not bad; the CIA mustn’t get in the way, and they don’t. It’s one reason why those FSA fighters who had taken seriously the U.S. government’s anti-ISIS rhetoric, have, in many cases, subsequently become disillusioned, and cooperate now with al-Nusra and other such groups, which are only marginally less extremist than ISIS is. At least ISIS isn’t lying to them, like the U.S. government does.

Since the European governments are allied with the U.S., those governments are torn about what to do with the refugees that the U.S.-and-allied operation is producing (and is intended to produce). At least up till now, far more Europeans hate the refugees than hate the U.S. government, and so the problem is merely a political annoyance to EU leaders, not yet a cause for breakup of the Western Alliance (European countries’ alliance with the U.S. government), which still seems strong, and which is still strongly supported by Europeans (including even by the ones who hate these refugees — refugees who are result of that very alliance, which they support).

Though this land-clearing operation creates a nuisance in Europe, it’s far more than that, a life-and-death matter, in Syria. For Arab aristocracies, it’s being done mainly for business (it’s not about ideology, except Sunni versus Shia); but for America’s aristocracy, it’s mainly for power: conquering Russia, by getting rid of Russia’s allies, surrounding Russia, then going in for the kill — unless the Russian government first submits and posts a white flag of surrender (in which case the West will take over Russia’s oil and gas etc., ‘peacefully’).

Perhaps the Western Alliance will continue as it is. But maybe it won’t. For the millions of Syrians in the midst of the hell that Washington and its allies are causing there, a lot might depend on whether it will continue as it is. Without the Western Alliance, the foreign jihadists who are destroying their country would have to leave. Those jihadists are utterly dependent upon the support of Barack Obama, King Saud, Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel, and the other leaders of the Western Alliance. None of those leaders can continue this ongoing invasion of Syria, without the continuing support of their Western comrades. The destruction of Syria is a team-effort. But maybe the team will fall apart before it can achieve the type of victory that’s required for real ‘success’. Which side will give up this war first?

One thing’s for sure: What Syrians see of their war is not going to endear them to The West. And this also means: it’s not going to endear them to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States. Will it endear them to the EU? Certainly not if the EU turns them away as refugees. However, if the EU separates from the U.S., then maybe, just maybe, there can emerge favorable relations between Europe and the secular Arabs who have long constituted the majority of Syrians. The problem for them has been the U.S. government and the fundamentalist Sunni Arab royal families. The question then is: Will Europeans continue to be allied with them? Or, if not, then how soon will the Western Alliance break up?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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