|Residents inspect a damaged site from airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force in Nawa city, Deraa, Syria, November 21, 2015|
'We’ve never been bombed like this': Russia's military campaign in Syria has escalated to new levels
By Natasha Bertrand
22 December 2015
On Sunday, Russian airstrikes over a busy marketplace in the rebel-held city of Idlib, Syria, killed at least 70 civilians and wounded dozens more.
“We’ve never been bombed like this," Issa Khaled, a resident of the Aleppo suburb of Ghouta, told The Guardian the day after the attack.
"The skies above us looked like Hiroshima," he said, referring to the Japanese city targeted by an atomic bomb during World War II. "There were clouds like mushrooms everywhere we looked. The destruction was incredible." More...
Business Insider also predicted the effect this would have on the already looming Syrian refugee crisis. Some would escape the bombing only to be drowned in the Med:
Amnesty says Russian bombing of Syria may be a war crime
By Maria Tsvetkova
23 December 2015
Russia's bombing of Syria has killed many civilians and may amount to a war crime, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, presenting what it said was evidence that Moscow's actions had violated humanitarian law.
"Russian air strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas, striking homes, a mosque and a busy market, as well as medical facilities, in...attacks that show evidence of violations of international humanitarian law," Amnesty said in a report. More...
The raids, targeting rebel supply lines and civilian infrastructure, have created "an emerging humanitarian crisis" and exacerbated a refugee crisis that already has Europe near its breaking point.This was exactly what Putin wanted. In Moscow, they had a celebration! To provide what might be called "diplomatic cover" for the horrific crimes the Kremlin was committing in Syria, they held a gala affair, a conference to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Putin's #1 international propaganda outlet, Russia Today, renamed RT so as to better deceive. Less letters in the name made it no less an arm of the Russian state. Accuracy in Media wrote about this event. Mike Flynn is now a Trump adviser:
In trying to attract and confuse an American audience, RT regularly features Marxist and radical commentators in the U.S. such as Noam Chomsky, Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and 9/11 “inside job” advocate and radio host Alex Jones. It is preferable for the Russians to use foreigners, especially Americans, to make their propaganda points. Flynn is probably the most important American ever snared in RT’s web. He has added propaganda value because of his impressive background and years of service in the U.S. Army.
The RT conference was held at a time when the Russian regime was determined to divert global attention away from its military intervention on behalf of its long-time client state of Syria. Research analyst Hugo Spaulding of the Institute for the Study of War notes that Russia’s current air campaign in Syria “is focused on targeting Syrian armed opposition groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rather than ISIS.” The Syrian Network for Human Rights reports that Russian military strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians during the course of bombing hospitals, bakeries, and markets. The result has been increasing refugee flows into Turkey and Europe.
RT, however, promotes a different version of reality, a “false narrative,” as Spaulding calls it. Indeed, that is the purpose of RT—to whitewash military aggression by the Russian state and focus attention on what the United States and its allies are supposedly doing in the world.
|Jill Stein, Mike Flynn have dinner with Putin & friends|
|Julian Assange couldn't come in person|
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was also there. Like Flynn, she talked to Putin personally. While Russian bombs were killing Syrian babies, she stood in front of the Kremlin and talked about the Russian contributions to peace. She didn't have a single word of criticism for what Russia was doing in Syria, neither did she raise any objections to Putin's treatment of reporters, human rights activists or the LGBT community.
Published on Dec 20, 2015Bill Weinberg's Countervortex says Jill Stein's party "is practically a stateside propaganda organ of the Bashar Assad regime." He then goes on to elaborate:
AntikriegTV - In Moscow, Presidential Candidate Stein Calls For US Foreign Policy of Principled Collaboration Rather than Lawless Domination http://www.jill2016.com/news
"It's been very exciting to see our message and our vision really resonate with others who are really looking for a way to bring us all together around a world that works for all of us and that's really what our message has been here, that we don't need war in Syria. We don't need nuclear confrontation. We don't need climate meltdown. We do have a way forward based on a green economy, a peaceful economy, and on diplomacy, and working with each other across our histories of conflict to transcend that, and actually sit down in respect, and replace a US policy of domination with a way forward based on respect, collaboration, international law, and human rights."
The Green Party platform contains not a single word about Syria, despite a lengthy section on the "Palestinian-Israeli Conflict." This committment to human rights is rather (shall we say?) selective. Let's start by examining Stein's "Green Shadow Cabinet"—which openly shills for the Assad regime. Stein's "Attorney General" Kevin Zeese runs a website with the hilariously ironic name of Popular Resistance, which we have had to call out as a platform for Assad regime propaganda, repeatedly seeking to exculpate Assad of the Ghouta chemical attack and portraying the Syrian opposition as monolithically jihadist. Worse yet, the Shadow Cabinet's Ajamu Baraka, identified as "Public Intervenor for Human Rights" (sic!), actually hailed Assad's thoroughly controlled psuedo-elections which confirmed his inherited dictatorial rule in 2014 as a victory against "foreign intervention," crowing about Assad's widespread "support," and how the opposition was "fomented" by the "gangster states of NATO."Clearly, Jill Stein is no friend of what is almost certainly the most pivotal revolutionary struggle of the current period. In contrast to this, Ruth Sherlock reported in The Telegraph, 29 July 2016, that Clinton plans to break with Obama's Syria policy:
Green Party Watch notes that after the Ghouta attack, when Obama briefly threatened air-strikes against Assad's military forces, Stein said: "President Obama's rush to war risks a repeat of 2003, when President Bush's order to invade Iraq prevented UN inspectors from discovering that Saddam Hussein’s alleged WMDs, one of the stated reasons for war, did not exist." Talk about fighting the last war! To say this days after a chemical massacre in which some 1,400 perished simply demolishes all the Green Party's empty talk about human rights. The chemical weapons in Syria assuredly existed—and in fact, gas attacks have continued (repeatedly) even after Assad ostensibly disposed of his chemical arsenal under the deal that averted air-strikes. To complete silence from Stein and her party, of course. And as for "rush to war"—are we supposed to believe Syria (now the biggest refugee crisis on the planet) is at peace as long as the US isn't involved?
In an interview on Soundcloud, Stein even repeated the discredited jive about how the rebels gassed their own people at Ghouta as a provocation. The interview now seems to have been deleted—maybe Stein realized this was just a bit too much? But we'll note that Stein's predecessor as Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney actually travelled to Damascus in the aftermath of the Ghouta attack to express her support for the Assad regime!
Hillary Clinton will order a "full review" of the United States' strategy on Syria as a "first key task" of her presidency, resetting the policy to emphasise the "murderous" nature of the Assad regime, foreign policy adviser with her campaign has said.Not only is Hillary Clinton's position far more sympathetic to the Syrian people and their plight, as a purely practical political matter, she is correct to embrace the reality that any solution that does not involve the overthrow of the Assad regime can never succeed in bringing peace to Syria or allowing the millions of Syrian refugees to go home. So while Jill Stein, whose campaign is really against Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, makes something like "Just say no to the lesser evil" the cornerstone of her campaign, at least on Syria as compared to Clinton, she isn't even the lesser evil!
Jeremy Bash, who served as chief of staff for the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, said Mrs Clinton would both escalate the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and work to get Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, "out of there".
"A Clinton administration will not shrink from making clear to the world exactly what the Assad regime is," he said in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph. "It is a murderous regime that violates human rights; that has violated international law; used chemical weapons against his own people; has killed hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of children."
Jill Stein says this, but of course she's in no way parroting Kremlin propaganda: https://t.co/JY16FIMEI6 pic.twitter.com/L5M4ENXJkg— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) August 8, 2016
This fraud involved the printing of 1.5 million leaflets and the purchase of spot radio ads "urging Negro voters to write in the name of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for President when they vote tomorrow" according to a 3 November 1964 New York Times article about the charade. The whole thing was done in the name of a non-existent front group, Committee for Negroes in Government, and was never meant to be traced back to the GOP or my father. It was, only because he made what I'm sure he looked back on as a rookie mistake. As the Times told it:
The Republican official who ordered the leaflets from an Atlantic City printing company was identified today by New Jersey Attorney General Arthur J. Sills as Clay Claiborne, assistant to the chairman of the Republican National Committee in charge of Negro affairs.My father never said how many of the leafleters were paid versus tricked into doing it for "the cause." When the news broke, Dr. King called a press conference in Atlanta:
“This is a cruel and vicious attempt to confuse Negro voters and to nullify their votes. So I would like to take this opportunity to urge every Negro voter to vote for one of the candidates on the ballot.Now, why am I revealing this family secret to you? Because I want to make a point. My father was a very hard-nosed politician, and a successful one at that! Successful enough to have come out of the Baltimore ghettoes and send junior to a private Midwest university - (where he promptly fell in with the SDS types.) He would tell you first that politics is the art of the possible, and in 1964 it was only possible for Goldwater or Johnson to get enough votes to be elected president. He would have told you that as far as he was concerned, a vote that didn't go to Johnson was the next best thing to a direct vote for Goldwater and it didn't matter to him whether a potential Johnson voter stayed home or voted for a 3rd party. Johnson already had a well deserved reputation as a Southerner and a racist, although his presidency is perhaps best remembered for its progress on civil rights. Goldwater was deservedly seen as even worst. My father knew that most black voters were determined to go to the polls and vote for what they saw as the lesser evil - Johnson. My father knew that the party had little chance of convincing black voters that Goldwater was the lesser evil, so he had devised this scheme, secretly funded by GOP dollars, to tear black voters away from Johnson by convincing them to make a symbolic vote "for the greater good."
“I am not a candidate; please do not vote for me. This will waste the entire ballot.
“The handbills and radio announcements urging you to write in my name are part of an attempt to cancel out your vote. I call on you to repudiate this plot by getting out and voting for one of the candidates on the ballot.
“This is typical of the kind of attempts that have been made to disenfranchise Negroes for the past 100 years, and a healthy democracy must not continue to tolerate this kind of denial of all for which our nation stands.”
If my father were still alive and active politically today, I like to think he would be among the growing ranks of Republicans that are breaking with Donald Trump. Those are the people he spent a lifetime working with. Either way, he would tell you that as far as the election goes, the role Jill Stein and the Green Party will play is little different from his phony write-in campaign. He might even suggest the GOP make some campaign contributions - secretly, of course. They could easily be hidden among the ones she has already received from the likes of AON, IBM and UPS.
Putin is also a smart enough politician to see the value of Jill Stein's campaign in getting Donald Trump elected. I offer no proof that any Kremlin money has ever been offered or accepted and I'm sure Putin would be happy to receive services for free. My point is unscrupulous oppositions often pays for the kind of spoiler effort Jill Stein is mounting, and she knows it is likely to help put Trump into the White House. She said as much on Democracy Now:
The lesser evil is a losing strategy, because people stop coming out to vote for lesser evil politicians throwing them under the bus. So the Republicans will win anyhow.The Republicans will win if enough Democrats either stay home or vote for Jill Stein. Stein knows "Donald Trump is about the rise of right-wing extremism," not to mention white supremacy (she doesn't), but she is focusing her attacks on Clinton anyway, saying "Hillary Clinton is the problem; she is not the solution to Donald Trump. We are the solution." Just what that last bit means isn't quite clear. What are her plans for carrying on the struggle under a Trump presidency?
She would probably tell us they are pretty much the same as they will be for a Clinton presidency because central to the idea that the lesser of two evils is a losing strategy is the reality that in the past there has been very little difference in the two evils. In Karl Marx's words, the Republican and Democrat parties are both two wings of the same bird of prey. We know that every four years the US public is given a choice between two preselected nominees that can be expected to rule in more or less the same neo-liberal manner.
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To make the argument that people should vote for Stein instead of Clinton, the Greens have to say that this is just another two party election. Hillary Clinton is your typical Democrat and Donald Trump is your typical Republican. That is a very dangerous argument to be making now because it ain't true. Donald Trump is not your typical Republican presidential candidate. What kind of Republican is nominated at a national convention that the two past living GOP presidents, the two most recent GOP nominees, and the Republican governor of the state where the convention is held, refuse to attend? A white supremacist coup, led by Donald Trump, has hijacked the Republican party. That's why we will keep seeing things like the letter of opposition to Trump signed by 50 GOP spooks and defections like Senator Susan Collins last night.
The Left has made big errors in the past by failing to look deeply at new developments and blindly assuming its what its always been. It did that when it claimed the revolutions in Libya and Syria were no different than the imperialist war against Iraq, and now it is in danger of doing it again by acting as if this election is no different than the past dozen. Many may be prone to this because eight years ago they bought into the fairytale that Obama's candidacy made that election different, only to later be disillusioned. The hope then was false but the danger now is very real. Fascism has been voted in before. getting rid of it, another matter entirely.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a long history of tracking hate groups in the United States, and they have become very alarmed by what they see happening:
From the candidacy of Donald Trump to the British decision to leave the European Union (EU), from the rise of a radical movement of antigovernment county sheriffs to a metastasizing rage aimed at political and economic elites, something important and incredibly dangerous is happening in the Western world.Of course, not everybody sees it that way. In their attempt to get liberals to throw away their vote "for the greater good" Jill Stein supporters need to convince us that there's really very little difference between the two real choices. In doing that they find themselves focusing of Hillary Clinton's faults and belittling Donald Trump's. Since they are trying to win voters away from Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, their campaigning will be mainly against Clinton. Other than capturing votes that otherwise might hurt him, like my father did with his bogus MLK write-in campaign for Goldwater, this is another way the Green Party is helping the Trump campaign.
The vast majority of black voters are on the "Defeat Trump/Stop Fascism bandwagon" as some Green Party supporters condescendingly call it. At least I think that is what the numbers show. In the past, thanks, in part to the efforts of people like my father, the GOP could count on a small black vote. Bush got 9% in 2000 and 11% in 2004. Obama got 93% of the black vote and now that he isn't running, the GOP was hoping to get back some of that black vote. But with Trump heading the ticket, it doesn't look like that will be the case. Trump is expected to get 1% of the black vote. Some polls have him with 0%. At least black voters are clear, this ain't my daddy's GOP. One can only hope that those white liberals planning on using their vote to feel good about themselves wake up to the reality that a violence prone white supremacist regime is knocking on the door of the White House and most important thing that has to happen in this election is that he be firmly and overwhelmingly denied.