Friday, April 7, 2017

Today's Links

"The conflict that has erupted will not end with Tomahawk missiles. The drive of the United States for global hegemony cannot be resolved outside of an endless series of military escalations, each more reckless than the one before, leading ultimately to catastrophe." Bill van Auken, WSWS




1--US launches cruise missile attack against Syrian government


The pretext for the US attack is the sinister and dubious allegation that Assad’s air force used chemical weapons in an attack on a rebel-held town on Tuesday. The claims are dubious, above all, because the Syrian government had no motive to use such weapons, knowing that it would be seized upon to demand that Trump order a direct US-led intervention. The Islamist rebels, by contrast, along with their CIA advisors, had ample motive under conditions in which they are facing complete military defeat. Moreover, the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra militia is known to be in possession of, and to have used chemical weapons.

2--The bombing of Syria: A new chapter in the US drive for global hegemony


With the cruise missile attack on Syria, the United States has opened up a new chapter in its war for global hegemony that it began more than a quarter century ago with the invasion of Iraq.

The claim that this attack is a response to the Syrian government’s use of poison gas is a transparent lie. Once again, as in the air war against Serbia in 1999, the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, and the attack on Libya in 2011, the United States has concocted a pretext to justify the violation of another country’s sovereignty...


Moreover, the attacks signify at least a partial resolution of the bitter conflict over foreign policy that has been raging within the highest echelons of the American state since last November’s presidential election. With the support of the most powerful factions of the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency, the Democratic Party’s demand for war against Syria and intensified confrontation with Russia has prevailed. The Trump White House has been compelled to execute an astonishing about-face from the policy that it had publicly announced only days earlier.



What is most extraordinary about these developments is the speed with which they have unfolded. The launching of cruise missiles against Syria came barely 48 hours after the first report of an incident in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, an area largely controlled by the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, in which approximately 70 people were allegedly killed by poison gas.


Literally within minutes of the incident becoming known, the US corporate media swung into action denouncing the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the culprit. Editorialists for the New York Times and other major newspapers, along with the talking heads of television news, all worked off of the same script, voicing moral outrage and demanding that Washington carry out retribution. Everything points to the media having been thoroughly briefed beforehand in order to carry out a carefully orchestrated war propaganda exercise....


The case of who was responsible for the alleged chemical weapons attack was “solved” in less time than the New York Police Department devotes to investigating a street mugging. The verdict was in and the sentence is now being carried out....


There is no doubt that the incident in Syria was a concocted pretext for the launching of a long planned US military intervention. The first place to investigate in order to get to the bottom of what happened in Idlib is the division of the CIA responsible for dirty operations in Syria and coordination with US proxy forces organized around Al Qaeda.


We have been here so many times before that it is hardly worth wasting the time required to refute the official story. It is now 14 years since the US launched its invasion of Iraq over similar lies about weapons of mass destruction, setting into motion a vast slaughter that has claimed the lives of over one million people and turned millions more into refugees. Similar lies were told in 2011 to provide the pretext for the US-NATO war for regime change in Libya.


The media breathes not a word about these notorious precedents. Nor for that matter is there even a hint that this new US war is being carried out in alliance with Al Qaeda. The days of “embedded” journalism during the Iraq war now seem almost quaint. The media has abandoned the slightest pretense of independent journalism....


The war against Syria has no popular support. The political shakeup in Washington and the preparations for renewed military aggression have unfolded behind the backs of the American people. The indifference of the ruling establishment to popular sentiment is reflected in the absence of even so much as an opinion poll on this new war of aggression.....


The conflict that has erupted will not end with Tomahawk missiles. The drive of the United States for global hegemony cannot be resolved outside of an endless series of military escalations, each more reckless than the one before, leading ultimately to catastrophe.


3--Trump’s Far-Right Supporters Turn on Him Over Syria Strike


4--Donald Trump's biggest fans desert him over Syria air strikes

The decision to launch air strikes on Syria marks a major U-turn from the president's previous policies


the people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence available are saying that the essential narrative we are all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham. The intelligence confirms pretty much the account the Russians have been giving since last night which is that they hit a warehouse where al Qaida rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear, and people both in the Agency and in the military who are aware of the intelligence are freaking out about this because essentially Trump completely misrepresented what he should already have known -- but maybe didn't--and they're afraid this is moving towards a situation that could easily turn into an armed conflict.

6--Trump the war criminal


Donald Trump's decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie.  In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:

The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians....

This attack was violation of international law. Donald Trump authorized an unjustified attack on a sovereign country. What is even more disturbing is that people like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and NSA Director General McMaster went along with this charade. Front line troops know the truth. These facts will eventually come out. Donald Trump will most likely not finish his term as President. He will be impeached, I believe, once Congress is presented with irrefutable proof that he ignored and rejected intelligence that did not support the myth that Syria attacked with chemical weapons


More than seven years after the Great Recession officially ended, there is yet more depressing research that at least half of Americans are vulnerable to financial disaster.

Some 50% of people is woefully unprepared for a financial emergency, new research finds. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) Americans have nothing set aside to cover an unexpected emergency, while nearly 1 in 3 (31%) Americans don’t have at least $500 set aside to cover an unexpected emergency expense, according to a survey released Tuesday by HomeServe USA, a home repair service. A separate survey released Monday by insurance company MetLife found that 49% of employees are “concerned, anxious or fearful about their current financial well-being.”

One explanation: Americans are crippled under the same amount of debt as they had during the recession. The New York Federal Reserve on Monday predicted that total household debt will reach its previous peak of $12.68 trillion in 2017. The last time it reached that level was in the third quarter of 2008, during the depths of the Great Recession. Indeed, it’s already close: Total household debt in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $12.58 trillion. Fewer borrowers have housing-related debt in 2017 and, instead, have taken on auto and student loans.

8--Maria Zakharova  on chemical weapons (excellent)

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