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Sun, 23 Oct 2016
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Monkey Wrench

Manufactured discontent: Syrian people never desired revolution

Apparently, the US Left has yet to figure out that Washington doesn't try to overthrow neoliberals. If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were a devotee of the Washington Consensus - as Counterpunch's Eric Draitser seems to believe - the United States government wouldn't have been calling since 2003 for Assad to step down. Nor would it be overseeing the Islamist guerilla war against his government; it would be protecting him.

There is a shibboleth in some circles that, as Eric Draitser put it in a recent Counterpunch article, the uprising in Syria "began as a response to the Syrian government's neoliberal policies and brutality," and that "the revolutionary content of the rebel side in Syria has been sidelined by a hodgepodge of Saudi and Qatari-financed jihadists." This theory appears, as far as I can tell, to be based on argument by assertion, not evidence.

A review of press reports in the weeks immediately preceding and following the mid-March 2011 outbreak of riots in Daraa—usually recognized as the beginning of the uprising—offers no indication that Syria was in the grips of a revolutionary distemper, whether anti-neo-liberal or otherwise. On the contrary, reporters representing Time magazine and the New York Times referred to the government as having broad support, of critics conceding that Assad was popular, and of Syrians exhibiting little interest in protest. At the same time, they described the unrest as a series of riots involving hundreds, and not thousands or tens of thousands of people, guided by a largely Islamist agenda and exhibiting a violent character.

Bad Guys

No peace for Yemen: Saudi-led coalition resumes airstrikes despite UN call to extend truce

© AP Photo/ Hani Mohammed
The Saudi Arabia-led coalition resumed its airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen on Sunday despite the UN calls to resume truce active in the country for the past days, local media reported.

According to the SABA news agency, on Sunday morning the coalition conducted at least 9 airstrikes in various regions of Yemen. A ceasefire in Yemen started in the early hours of October 20 and lasted for 72 hours.


More Wikileaks #Podesta emails: Clinton staffers aimed for 'moral high ground' in Benghazi testimony

© Joshua Roberts / Reuters
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton exhales while testifying to the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington October 22, 2015.
A leaked email thread from Hillary Clinton's staff and lawyers reveals that her team disagreed over elements of her Benghazi testimony and sought to achieve the 'moral high ground' ahead of the hearing.

The email chain, released in the latest batch of leaked emails from her campaign chair John Podesta, began on October 16, 2015 and ended on October 20, 2015 - just two days before the former Secretary of State testified in front of the House Select Committee.

US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, US Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during an Islamic militant attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. Clinton was Secretary of State at the time.

Snakes in Suits

UK outrage after govt admits training Saudi pilots despite war crimes allegations

© Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters
The UK is still training the Saudi Air Force despite growing evidence of the Saudi-led coalition's crimes against civilians in Yemen, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon admitted, replying to an MP's question. The statement outraged the opposition.

Fallon was responding to the written questions asked by Stephen Doughty, Labor MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, on the UK involvement in the Yemen military intervention, when he admitted that "UK has provided training to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) both in the UK and in Saudi Arabia," in particular, to "improve their targeting processes" and ensure its better compliance with international law.

At the same time, Fallon denied that UK military has been involved in decision-making process in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, saying that UK "has not provided training on political authorization of military operations."

Comment: Of course there is outrage but there is nothing being done to stop the weapons sales or training which is even more outrageous.

Star of David

Clinton to drop Israel from 'public' speeches, put it back in 'with donors'

Joel Benenson, Clinton pollster
I've been on the road for days, and a few more Clinton emails have thudded down from the Wikileaks heavens revealing deliberations about Israel inside the Clinton braintrust. Some day we will put together a leatherbound edition with morocco covers of Clinton's Israel emails, but for now we're just trying to chase the latest.

And these three are stunners because they baldly expose the importance of Israel to donors and the party establishment.

First, there was this amazing email thread among top strategists from May 2015 about revising Clinton's talking points in her speeches at rallies and fundraisers in the weeks before she officially launched her candidacy. You just gotta read these comments as they fall. The conversation started out on a bunch of different talking points, but everyone quickly turned to Israel, and the public and private messaging.

Comment: More information about Zionist influence on US elections:

2 + 2 = 4

President Assad interview with Swiss SRF 1 TV: 'Fighting terrorists is the way to protect civilians in Aleppo' (VIDEO)

Damascus, - President Bashar al-Assad stressed that protecting civilians in Aleppo necessitates getting rid of the terrorists.

Speaking in an interview with the Swiss SRF 1 TV channel, the President said "Of course, it's our mission according to the constitution and the law. We have to protect the people, and we have to get rid of those terrorists in Aleppo. That's how we can protect civilians."

He added that it goes without saying that the way to protect the civilians in Aleppo is to attack the terrorists who hold the civilians under their control and are killing them.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Journalist: Mr. President, thank you very much for having welcomed Swiss Television and our program Rundschau here in Damascus.

President Assad: You are most welcome in Syria.

Question 1: First, please, allow me to clarify one thing: may I ask you every question?

President Assad: Every question, without exception.

Comment: Assad really proves his mettle here by answering such obviously uninformed and Western narrative-slanted questions with such rigor and aplomb.


Zakharova: Russian Foreign Ministry's official website hacked

© Maksim Blinov / Sputnik
The Russian Foreign Ministry's official website has been hacked, ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told Russian media, adding that an investigation is currently underway.

"The website has been hacked. By whom - that's what the experts are trying to figure out," Zakharova told the Govorit Moskva radio station.

Earlier, a hacker named 'the Jester' claimed he had penetrated the website and left a note there, CNN reported.

"Comrades! We interrupt regular scheduled Russian Foreign Affairs Website programming to bring you the following important message," the alleged note said.

"Knock it off. You may be able to push around nations around you, but this is America. Nobody is impressed," it added.


Seriously? Sweden wants to welcome terrorists home from Syria with free driver's license, housing & tax perks

© Center for Security Policy
"...and we have a 'to-die-for' fast-track customized benefits package tailored for all Jihadi needs and services...just think about it..."
A Swedish city is considering giving jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq free housing, a driver's license, and tax benefits to ease their reintegration, but social media users have slammed the proposal, saying it ignores the terrorists' victims.

The support for extremists was proposed by Anna Sjöstrand, a municipal coordinator against violent extremism in the city of Lund in southern Sweden. "There may be criticism, but [I think] that you should get the same help as others who seek help from us. We can't say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no rights to come back and live in our society," Sjöstrand said on Swedish Sveriges Radio.

Sjöstrand's proposal was based on a report written by author and criminologist Christoffer Carlsson, who says that it is difficult for people to abandon extremism and reintegrate into society without support. "It's a straight social, economic and material question. You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need to have a driving license, debt settlement and shelter," he said.

Comment: Yeah, let's reintegrate captagon (MDMA)-addicted, sex-crazed, heart-eating, murderous rapists. What could possibly go wrong?

Comment: Terrorists with benefits... wow. National "make nice" program run amok? This idea is clearly coming from the top because the US State Dept was first to propose it back in February. More from The Sweden Report:

Following the example of the U.S. State Department's Jobs for Jihadis idea, let's see how Stockholm intends to handle terrorist-trained and combat-hardened terrorists. Here are a few translated highlights to capture the gist of things:
When a person wishes to leave a violent extremist grouping or coming home from combat overseas, it is crucial to provide customized inclusion efforts. Even then, it is important to have a local cooperation between various actors. Voluntary organizations can provide targeted support and advice. Even faith communities working with advice, but also psychosocial support.

When it comes to people who participated in combat there is likely to be great need of health efforts. Therefore, it is important to establish cooperation between social services, social psychiatry and drug units, as well as health centers and psychiatric services (trauma, PTSD, etc.)

When it comes to security, it is important that cooperation between social services, income support, employment and other efforts by the Labour Department, as well as assistance with job placement.

Finally, the accommodation issue is a prerequisite that must work. Therefore, cooperative housing companies needs to be included in the post-perspective."

To summarize: The city of Stockholm will make it a priority to provide the returning ISIS fighters with housing, free health care (physical and mental) and full financial support, until they have received earmarked jobs. All this of course fast-tracked past the line of law-abiding immigrants and indigenous Swedes.
'The West' under American tutelage has become an complete mad-house.


Tory MP Andrew Mitchell blasts Royal Bank of Scotland attempt to close RT's accounts

© RT / Going Underground
Former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell MP has criticized the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for the partly state-owned bank's attempts to freeze RT's UK accounts through its NatWest subsidiary.

He told RT UK's Going Underground: "It's important that RT carries interviews, if you carry interviews like this, then you are promoting free speech, and I wouldn't want to put RT out of business."

Comment: See also: Royal Bank of Scotland Group blocks RT's UK bank accounts


Syrian Army repels ISIS attack at key oil field in east Homs

The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) conducted another large attack in the northeastern countryside of the Homs Governorate on Saturday, targeting the strategic Al-Mahr Oil Field near the Sawwanah Hill.

ISIS began their assault by targeting the checkpoints outside of the Al-Mahr Oil Field; this attack would prove successful as they reached the outskirts of this government site.

With ISIS at the doorsteps of the Al-Mahr OIl Field, the Syrian Armed Forces quickly regrouped and launched a counter-offensive to recapture the territory they lost to the terrorists.

Comment: As AMN reports, the Al-Mahr oil field is one of the most important oil fields for the Syrian Army:
The al-Mahr oil well 1 produces 400,000 cubic meters oil daily, while oil well 2, 3 and 4 produce 660,000 cubic meters oil daily when operational.

This makes it one of the most important suppliers of oil to the Syrian Government which suffers from western trade embargos and has lost most of its oil fields during the war.
Further reading: Russia Checkmates US in Syria: Expect More Terrorism, Not Nuclear War