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Tue, 09 Feb 2016
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Are Syria and Russia more democratic than the US?

© SANA / Reuters
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
"Assad is a dictator." I hear it a lot, in the news, in conversations with people in person and from callers to the radio show I co-host. But I'm still taken aback every time I hear it. To be fully honest, I guess I should start out with a shocker: I don't necessarily think a dictator is a bad thing. Take a moment to compose yourself before I continue.

The word 'dictator' comes from ancient Rome, where the office of dictator was filled by an individual for a period of 6 months originally, and for the express purpose of performing a specific task. Gaius Julius Caesar modified the office to full-year terms, before being voted dictator perpetuo - dictator for life.

Like any public office, the position can be abused, as it was by Sulla in ancient Rome. But that's not always the case. If a leader is genuinely well-intentioned towards the people and has their support, a 'benevolent dictatorship' has several advantages over a system where the head office changes every 4 years or so. For example, a short-term system favors short-term goals. What's the use of long-term planning if you'll be booted out of office in just a few years? That's the problem Caesar faced: his enemies in the reactionary aristocratic oligarchy could simply rescind any laws or projects he had initiated while in office. What's the point in even trying to make beneficial, lasting changes in a government like that? As long as a leader continues to live up to the standard of making wise decisions that benefit the state, why not keep them in power as long as possible, rather than have them replaced after a few years by some mediocre, corporate shill.

But even if the term had a very specific meaning in ancient Rome, nowadays it tends to conjure up images of the "evil dictator": usually a man who rules for life (or at least decades), wields a lot of power, and, most importantly, oppresses his own people. If that's how you define it, sure, a dictator would be a bad thing, simply because by definition that person would be evil. But is there anything wrong, in theory, about serving for life or wielding a lot of power?

USA

Closing the BUK on MH17? Dutch final report is clearly biased

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Like so much other propaganda that issues from the official Western channels in recent years, the 'official' story about what happened to MH17 has been presented to the public upside down, inside out and backwards.

Within a day of the crash, Western governments and their subservient press were screaming "Putin's missile!", without a shred of hard evidence to back up their hysterical claims. Yet with the recent release of the final report by Dutch authorities that pointed the finger at a "9N314M warhead as carried on a 9M38-series missile and launched by a Buk surface-to-air missile system" as the cause of the destruction of the plane, the response from the same Western powers and press has been shockingly muted.

The reason for this should be clear to all: the real goal behind the shoot-down of MH17 was achieved in the immediate days and weeks after the crash.

Soon after Putin's immediate "trial by Western media", sanctions were imposed on Russia and the South Stream pipeline agreement between Russia and the EU was cancelled. These and other punitive anti-Russian measures benefited the USA in its long, ultimately futile, war aimed at preventing the emergence of a strong Russia onto the international stage. So, as some suggest about the 9/11 attacks, was the shooting down of MH17 by Ukrainian rebels a stupendously lucky break for Western warmongers in that it came at just the right time to add fuel to its ongoing anti-Russian propaganda campaign? Or is it possible that Western warmongers themselves were responsible for the shooting down of MH17?

Before you decide, there are a few things you should consider.

Sheeple

Canadian Election 2015: Telling the truth costs political candidates their nomination

© Ottawa Citizen
What difference does it make?
On October 19th, voters head to the polls to decide who will be Canada's next Prime Minister. Unlike the United States, which is dominated by two parties, Canadians have a whopping three main political parties to choose from: the right-wing Conservative Party, the centre-right Liberal Party and the centre-left New Democratic party.

Canada's political system is based on the British model of a parliamentary democracy, where the leader of the party that wins the most seats becomes the acting head of state. Under this model, elected members of parliament are not allowed to speak freely on matters of personal opinion or even to give voice to the needs of their local constituents, but must vote along party lines as outlined by the leader and dictated by the party 'whip' who 'whips' party members into line and prevents them from telling the truth, if possible.

Regardless of which of the three main political parties in Canada a person belongs to, any prospective political candidate that chooses to tell the truth about controversial subjects like Israel or 9/11 may quickly find themselves out of a job.

Megaphone

Whose side are we on? The collapsing narratives in the 'War on Terror'

© Unknown
It's somewhat understandable that many in the West are confused by statements and rhetoric coming from certain Western quarters since Russian airstrikes commenced in Syria on September 30th, leaving them wondering: 'whose side are we on anyway?'. Given that the Western media has spent the last two years portraying ISIS as the epitome of evil, shouldn't the Russians' intervention, at the invitation of the Syrian government, be seen as a good thing? The results so far are impressive. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the following ISIS assets have been destroyed in the first week of bombing:
  • 71 armored vehicles
  • 30 other vehicles
  • 19 command facilities
  • 2 communication centers
  • 23 depots with fuel and ammunition
  • 6 plants used to make IEDs, including car bombs
  • several artillery pieces
  • several training camps
World leaders, if they really believe what they claim about ISIS being the number-one threat to global security, should be ecstatic. But they're not. Instead, we hear NATO Sec.-Gen. Jens Stoltenberg screaming about Russian 'aggression', and calling once more for more NATO troops all along Russia's European border and in Turkey.

America's 'coalition of 60+ countries' have allegedly been bombing ISIS inside Syria for just over a year. Given the contrast with Russian results in just one week, US-led airstrikes have been dismal (to say the least), with 'Islamic State' increasing, not decreasing its control of territory in Syria. What else can we conclude from this but that the US-led airstrikes have helped, not hindered, ISIS?

In retrospect, you really have to wonder about those reports of weapons air-drops 'accidentally' falling into the hands of ISIS terrorists. If we put that down to 'bad luck', then the US-led operation has been a complete failure, something acknowledged by top US military commanders testifying before the US Senate in recent months.

But it's one thing to be 'less than ecstatic', another to be so furious as to attack Russia's efforts to rout ISIS from the moment it got involved. 36 civilian casualties on the first day, they told us, citing the dubious, UK-based 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights', an outfit run by one man from his 3 bedroom house in Kent, England.

Comment: See also:


2 + 2 = 4

Russia, Syria and the anglo-American existential gas war in the Middle East

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Russian destroyers in the Caspian Sea launch cruise missiles at terrorist targets in Syria, 7th October 2015
On our weekly radio show last Sunday, I commented that the response from the U.S. and its Western allies to Russia's launch of an actual war on terrorism in Syria has been largely silence, deafening silence, a bit like Netanyahu's 'silence spectacle' at the UN recently, only even more deafening. So deafening in fact, that it came full circle and I began to hear something.

At first it was just a mealy-mouthed American-accented, 'Russia is making things worse'. But it quickly grew in strength to announce in a Queen's English accent, "we're bombing ISIS too you know!" And before long it had become a cacophonous coprocopia of nonsense about Russia "killing innocent civilians in Syria" and, most recently, "dangerously invading the airspace" of our NATO ally Turkey.

Still, it was, and is, all 'sound and fury', because the bottom line is that U.S. has had its 'war on terror' bluff called in spectacular fashion by Russia and there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that the terror masterminds in Washington and Langley can do about it, short of declaring war on Russia.

The only more or less honest statements about Russia's move into Syria from the West have come from the same person, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, head of U.S. European Command. Speaking on Sept. 28th at a meeting in Berlin of the 'German Marshall Fund' - a US think tank that commemorates the Marshall Plan, an initiative through which the USA gained economic control over most of Western Europe after WW2 - Breedlove said that Russia had installed "very sophisticated air defense capabilities/anti-access area denial" that were not aimed at the Islamic State but "about something else". Of course, "something else" here means "NATO bombs".

Cloud Lightning

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - September 2015: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Comment: Please note that due to planetary/climate chaos increasing month by month, we can only show a limited selection of global events. Considering that these 'localized' events, multiplied many times over, are occurring simultaneously all over the planet, the scale of destruction and impact on people's lives becomes almost unimaginable.


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© Sott.net
No matter the season or 'normal' climate, these days vehicles, homes and people are being washed away in deluges - the world over - on a regular basis. Forget "one month's average rainfall falling within hours" - last month, TWO MONTHS' average rainfall fell within a day and turned parts of southern Japan into inland seas. In the US, Utah experienced its worst ever flash-flooding, and the entire Eastern Seaboard was soaked with up to a foot of rain. This month, we also have clips of deluges in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Sierra Leone, and New Zealand.

Violent volcanic eruptions in Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Indonesia foreshadowed a massive 8.3 magnitude earthquake off Chile, which sent a 4.5 meter tsunami crashing into the coast and causing widespread damage. Hailstones the size of footballs fell in Naples, Italy. Brisbane, Australia, was buried in up to 4 inches (8cm) of hail, while a gigantic hole opened up on a nearby beach and swallowed a campsite. The rate of meteor fireball sightings continues to increase; in September there were spectacular sightings over Bangkok and Los Angeles.

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© Sott.net
Wildfires continue burning up much of California, which last month saw its 'third-largest' wildfire in history as whole towns were consumed and tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee. The other major outbreak of wildfires on the planet in September occurred in Indonesia, from where a smoky haze enveloped much of southeast Asia for the second time in three years. 'Slash-and-burn' farming is being blamed, but the fires occur in peatlands that release lots of methane, leaving us wondering if the primary fuel source for these fires is coming up from below.

Extreme weather also hit the Middle East, which was engulfed in an 'unprecedented' sandstorm that stretched from Iraq to Cyprus and south to Saudi Arabia. A tragic and incredibly symbolic event occurred in the heart of Islam's 'holy city' on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when a powerful and unusual thunderstorm descended on Mecca and winds blew a large construction crane belonging to Bin Laden Construction onto the Grand Mosque. 111 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

These were the signs of the times in September 2015...


Black Magic

Western warmongers killed 1.5 million Muslims in 'war on terror'; falsely accuse Russia of '30 civilian casualties' in airstrikes against ISIS

"I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face."

- U.S. General Stanley A. McCrystal in his inaugural speech as ISAF Commander in June 2009.
The dust had hardly settled on Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria before Western media reports claimed that 'civilians' had been killed "including women and children".

Leaving aside the dubious nature of these allegations - the first of which was made before Russian airstrikes had even begun, according to Putin - Western propaganda outlets and the politicians they serve are in no position to point the finger at Russia over any purported "collateral damage".

Comparing recent BBC headlines with BBC headlines from 4 years ago when NATO obliterated several cities in Libya, you could be forgiven for thinking that BBC journalists and editors have only now realised that bombs kill people, in particular Russian bombs (the British, French and American variety only ever killing 'bad guys' with 'pin-point accuracy').
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NATO bombs destroyed Sirte, killing thousands, in 2011

Megaphone

Information war goes into overdrive as West reacts to Russian intervention in Syria

We recently wrote about the 'parade of horribles' in Syria attributed to Assad's forces all coming from one primary source: the 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' (SOHR), an 'opposition group' run by a Syrian 'expat' living in Coventry, England. RT has since picked up the trail of the elusive 'Rami Abdulrahman' and his fantastic claims about events in Syria:


From the moment Russia launched airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria on September 30th, Abdulrahman's word was again repeated as fact across Western media, this time providing the claim that the initial wave of Russian airstrikes against terrorist sites had killed 36 Syrian civilians. Abdulrahman's powers of observation appear to be so astute that he 'confirmed' those civilian deaths before the airstrikes even began.

Far from being "isolated by the international community", as Obama claimed in New York City on Monday, Putin arrived today in Paris for talks with French president Hollande and German chancellor Merkel - ostensibly to discuss next steps for peace in Ukraine, but Russia's intervention in Syria and the systemic shift in the global balance of power it heralds will probably be top of their agenda.

'ISIS', meanwhile, has reacted to the airstrikes by posting a tweet warning 'Death to Putin: We are coming #soon' with a picture of the Kremlin in flames. Note the logo top-left: we once again have private US-Israeli SITE intelligence group to thank for 'speaking on behalf of the terrorists'...

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© SITE Intelligence

Bomb

Russia in Syria: When the propaganda is kind of true - Russia bombing 'U.S.-trained' nutjobs

© Reuters / YouTube
Amateur video allegedly shows aftermath of a Russian airstrike.

Comment: Scroll to the bottom of the article for updates.


Putin's strategy in Syria has worked like a charm. First, there were around 2 weeks of murky, rumor-filled reports of a build-up of Russian military activity in Tartus and Latakia, Syria. Some were false, some had a seed of truth, but it got everyone talking -- this at the same time that Western media was hyping the refugee crisis and the danger of ISIS 'infiltrating Europe'. Second, there was talk of a new coalition to fight ISIS. This irked the West: Russian assistance in Latakia makes any no-fly zone in Syria a no-go. And a real coalition risks actually defeating ISIS, which the West doesn't really want. (They were counting on ISIS as the means or pretext of taking out Assad.) Now, quick on the heels of Putin's talk at the UN and his meeting with Obama, Russia has begun airstrikes in Syria using the West's own pretext - the threat of radicalized nationals 'returning home' . (Of course, Russia has other reasons for going to Syria, too.)

Already, after just one day of airstrikes, the U.S. has pretty much folded, stating that they are stopping any additional training of radical Syrian jihadis, and 'adjusting' their policy regarding Assad, at least temporarily. News is coming fast, so here are a few of the highlights from the past two days. (Check out Joe Quinn's SOTT Focus for some real gems from yesterday's news.)

Russian Defense Ministry releases video of first day's airstrikes (Russian TASS - Sept. 30)

The footage shows what Russia identifies as ISIS command posts, destroying ammunition depots, weapons, fuel, and military equipment storage in the mountainous areas. As noted by Defense Ministry-General Major Igor Konashenkov, "all strikes were done after aerial reconnaissance and better clarify the data obtained from the headquarters of the Syrian army. According to him, Russian aircraft and weapons have not been used in the vicinity of civilian infrastructure."


Airplane

Russia establishes 'no fly' zone for NATO planes over Syria, moves to destroy "ISIS" - Pentagon freaks out

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Check-mate. Putin outfoxes U.S. warmongers
You may, or may not, have noticed the growing body of evidence over the past year or two that strongly suggests that the U.S. government and its European "allies" are not really serious about destroying "ISIS".

The first hint came early last year when the jihadi mercenaries took large swathes of Iraq and Syria, and the West did nothing but wring its collective hands and fret, and resolve to bolster the fighting capability of the wonderful "rebels".

The second hint came this year when the U.S. and their partners began piecemeal airstrikes against "ISIS" that appeared to merely spur the head-choppers on to more success.

The third hint came with reports that weapons supplies being sent to "Syrian rebels" were 'accidentally' ending up in the hands of the head-choppers.

The most recent confirmation that Western politicians and military types effectively view "ISIS" as 'their guys' came in the last few weeks when the Pentagon reacted to news that Russia was in the process of establishing an air base in western Syria, from which to attack all foreign forces in Syria involved in the four-year-long attempted coup against the Syrian government.