Media Erase US Role in Syria’s Misery, Call for US to Inflict More Misery


In the Guardian (2/10/18), Simon Tisdall described the US and its Western partners as “hovering passively on the sidelines in Syria,” and “restricting themselves to counterterrorism operations and vain calls for peace.” ABC’s Conor Finnegan (2/26/18) expressed concern that “the US will remain on the sidelines” in the country.

Simon Tisdall argues in the Guardian (2/10/18) that “the West let down Syria”—not by fueling a murderous civil war, but by failing to ensure that its chosen side prevailed in that war.

However, America currently controls 28 percent of Syria (Foreign Policy, 1/25/18), precisely the opposite of being “on the sidelines,” and has recently declared its intent to continue occupying the country indefinitely (New York Times, 2/22/18). As Joshua Landis (Syria Comment, 1/15/18), director of the Center for Middle East Studies, notes, the US controls “half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land.”

Anglo-American press coverage of the Syrian situation has grossly misled readers about their own governments’ role in the catastrophe, and has urged audiences to accept greater Western military intervention in the country without examining the implications of such a move.
Newsweek (2/22/18) attributes sadistic glee to Russia when its bombs kill civilians—presumably distinguishing them from US bombs, which give US leaders no special pleasure when they kill civilians.

In Newsweek (2/22/18), Frederic Hof said that both the Obama and Trump administrations’ approach to Syria has been to offer “words of outrage from the United Nations ambassador accompanied by nothing else,” with Donald Trump’s April 2017 attack on Syria apparently being the one exception. ABC’s Finnegan claimed that “the Trump administration seems powerless to push back other than issuing condemnatory statements—a problem that has faced the US since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.”

Yet over the course of the war, the US has provided far more than “words of outrage” and “condemnatory statements” (, 9/30/15, 4/7/17). A covert CIA operation aimed at ousting the Syrian government, with a budget of $1 billion per year, was used to arm anti-government militias and run secret training camps in Jordan (Washington Post, 6/12/15).

The Guardian’s Tisdall asserted that

when the US and Britain did eventually intervene directly in Iraq and Syria, as part of a multinational coalition in 2015, it was to fight the direct threat to themselves posed by Islamic State.

Set aside that the US and Britain began bombing Iraq and Syria in the name of fighting the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS) in 2014, not 2015 (Guardian, 8/8/14). According to Tisdall’s account, nothing the Western powers did prior to 2015 qualifies as intervention. However, the US has provided financial support for the Syrian opposition since at least 2012 (Reuters, 8/21/12), coordinating weapons shipments to them no later than May of that year (Washington Post,5/15/12).

The Atlantic (3/01/18) ran a piece from Uri Friedman that was less amnesiac and more apologetic, arguing that the US

supported rebel groups and more recently has focused on battling ISIS—in one sense performing a humanitarian service in challenging the murderous Assad regime and uprooting the world’s foremost terrorist organization.

Yet opposition groups that the US has enabled have carried out serious crimes against Syrian civilians, often specifically targeting ethnic and religious minorities (Electronic Intifada, 3/16/17); calling support for such organizations “humanitarian” is a gross mischaracterization. Furthermore, that same American support for the opposition in Syria was a crucial source of ISIS’s strength. When US-armed opposition groups were either defeated by ISIS or joined them, the US weapons gave ISIS a major boost (Newsweek, 12/14/17).

ABC‘s James Longman (2/26/18) describes Syria as “hell on Earth”—not because of the thousands of civilians killed in US bombing, but because the US is not willing to kill even more in an effort to stop the killing.

At ABC, Finnegan said that the Syrian war “has turned into a proxy fight by regional powers.” By failing to add that it’s also a global proxy war, he obscured the role of actors from outside the region. (That is, he obscured the US role; Russia’s presence is noted throughout the piece.) The article then collapsed into inconsistencies, reporting that “there is little appetite among the American public for increased military involvement”—an apparent admission that there is a military involvement there that could be increased, in contradiction with its earlier erasures of US activities in Syria. The article similarly refers to “US-controlled eastern Syria,” an acknowledgment that America is not “on the sidelines.”

Jason Burke of the Guardian (3/04/18) was also flagrantly inconsistent, writing that “armed opposition groups [in Syria] continue to receive logistical support and funding from the United States” and then in the next paragraph saying that “the US has stood back” in the war in Syria.

Protect Syrians by Killing Them

The argument against military intervention in Syria appears in the form of sarcastic parody by an advocate of intervention (Guardian, 2/27/18).

Reporting on the most recent developments in Syria is rife with claims that it’s necessary for the Western powers to overthrow the Syrian government in order to protect Syrian civilians. In the Guardian (2/27/18), Natalie Nougayrède proffered an evidence-free anti-anti-war tirade against what she called

the apathy of supposedly pacifist whataboutery. This is found on the radical left of Europe’s political spectrum, from London to Berlin and Athens. Its moral relativism drapes itself in “internationalism.” From the very beginning, Syria was too complex a crisis to identify sound allies, goes that thinking. The West is guilty, full stop. Regime change is bad—even when it is called for by desperate populations. Conflict is all about controlling oilfields. Sanctions and the stemming of financial flows can end it. Just talk and negotiate. Our pilots are as criminal as those of Putin—never mind the deliberate, repeated pounding of hospitals in eastern Ghouta. Beware the mainstream Western media. If we stop meddling in Syria, things will improve.

Hof, writing in the Atlantic (2/23/18) this time, argues that “unless the United States is seriously considering military strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime . . . any discussion of ‘what to do’ is empty.”

You won’t see the thousands of Syrian civilians killed by the US and its allies referred to as “mass murder” (Atlantic, 2/26/18)—indeed, you’ll rarely see them referred to at all.

Evelyn N. Farkas, in another Atlantic piece (2/26/18), wrote that Washington’s “insufficient political-military action” allows the war in Syria to continue, and criticized what she sees as “insufficient resolve on the part of the United States and its allies.” She then contended that “threatening—and if necessary using—force” against the Syrian government and its partners, and “ramping up sanctions, and increasing military and diplomatic pressure,” is the best way to “protect Syrians.”

These calls for an escalation of the war in Syria mislead readers by ignoring crucial aspects of the issue—including the fact that an invasion of Syria by the US and its allies would violate the UN charter.

The argument that the US military should save Syria rests on the assumption that American militarism is benevolent, both in intent and outcome. Advancing this position depends on erasing the key contributions America and its partners have made to Syrians’ misery, not only through the above-mentioned support for sectarian armed groups but also through the US-led coalition bombing ostensibly aimed at ISIS that likely killed at least 3,500 to Syrian civilians, through derailing diplomatic efforts that might have ended the war years ago (London Review of Books, 7/16/15), and through carrying out a sanctions regime that has undermined Syrians’ access to clean water, medical equipment and food.

The articles advocating a US regime change war in Syria also neglect to inform readers of the consequences of such wars. A comparable undertaking in Libya, far from ending the war in that country, left it riven by factional fighting that has no end in sight, and brought slave markets to the country (AlterNet, 12/5/17). Regime change in Iraq resulted in approximately half a million deaths there (PLoS Medicine, 10/15/13). Advocating that such steps be taken in Syria, without giving the audience a sense of what recent history shows the likely outcomes will be, constitutes severe media malpractice.



Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber
in Toronto. His book, The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media, is published by OR Books.

Elijah Magnier - How Syria Challenges The Unipolar Order

March 28, 2018

Today Elijah Magnier published a three part piece on the war on Syria and its role in the much the global political confrontation. (Find the links at the end of this post)

The first part describes the current situation at the various fronts in Syria and the most likely next operations. The Syrian government is winning the conflict. U.S. CentCom General Votel admitted that the U.S. strategy in Syria has failed. Magnier concludes:

The US has lost the « extremist battle »- they were incapable of achieving the “regime change” objective in Syria. That was the awakening of the Russian bear from its long hibernation who realised how the US was trying to corner it. Moscow also relied on the Chinese dragon, which shares Russia’s goals to eliminate all extremists and jihadist terrorists in Syria.
Both Russia and China are now working closely to put an end to the uni-polar superpower and thus end US world dominance.

The second part looks at the development of U.S.-Russian relations over the last decade and the role U.S. 'regime change' policies in the eastern Europe and Middle East played in it. The U.S. attack on Syria was part of the wider challenging of Russia. It brought up a new coalition which is now countering U.S. moves:

Obama saw the “Islamic State” growing in Iraq, moving to Syria, watched it occupying Iraq, allowed Jihadists to travel to the Middle East, opened all Saudi jails on condition jihadist extremists imprisoned are shipped to Syria. For one entire year, with “70 countries in a coalition fighting against ISIS” in Syria, the group was in fact expanding and increasing its wealth by selling increasing quantities of oil. All that to stop Iran and Russia, and create failed states (as in Libya) and fight Muslims with Muslims.
But Moscow, Beijing and Tehran knew that Jihadists must be stopped in the Levant before they had the chance to move to their own countries.
Syria is not going to be another Libya and Russia and China agreed, along with Iran, to stop once and for all the US unilateral dominance at the gates of the Levant.

Part 3 takes an even wider view and describes how China, and the Russian-Chinese cooperation, succeeds in challenging U.S. unilateral domination of the globe:

While the United States is selling for $110 billions weapons to Saudi Arabia to kill more Yemenis and threaten its neighbours (Qatar, Syria and Iran), Russia has signed 10 year contracts with China worth 600 billion dollars, and with Iran worth 400 billion dollars. Also, China has signed contracts with Iran worth 400 billion dollars. These contracts are aimed at economic cooperation, energy exchange; they promise an advanced economic future for these countries away from US dominance.

The US believes it can corner Russia, China and Iran: Russia has a 7,000 kilometre border with China, Iran is not Iraq and Syria is not Afghanistan. In Syria, the destiny of that a world be ruled by unilateralism is over. The world is heading toward pluralism.

The question remains: Is Washington prepared to accept its defeat and acknowledge that it has lost control of the world and pull out of Syria?

With the recent visit of the North Korean leader Kim Yong-un in Beijing, China has challenged the dominating U.S. role in the discussions over North Korea. There will be no uni-polar U.S. solution in the conflict - neither by talks nor by war. A conflict over Korea could soon supersede the conflict in Syria in size and potential consequences. In the global context the war on Syria is just a starting point. It will likely be in Korea, and maybe in Taiwan, where the real battle between unilateral and multilateral order will be fought.

Links to Elijah Magnier's Articles:

Will America accept its defeat or will it challenge the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon?
- Part 1, 2, 3

Part 1)

Part 2)

Part 3)

The "moderate rebels" of Ghouta

While the forces of the Republic and the Russian forces are liberating Eastern Ghouta and 800 Syrians are finding refuge every hour in Damascus, we are publishing this study of Western-trained combatants considered as "moderate rebels".

16 March 2018

The Western media affirm that Syria and Russia are crushing brave democrats in eastern Ghouta.
According to the British and French governments, they would be three armed groups: the Army of Islam, the Rahman Legion and Ahrar al-Sham.
On the contrary, according to Syria and Russia, these three denominations would not designate separate ideologies. These three entities would in fact defend not an idea of ​​Syria, but the interests of their sponsors. They would have regrouped in favor of Resolution 2401 and the attack they are now undergoing.
Many figures are circulating about the number of soldiers in each of these groups and about the number of inhabitants of Eastern Ghouta. In reality, none of this data is verifiable to the point that the UN has given up quantification. If the civilians present in eastern Goutha are indeed Syrians, we do not know the nationality of the combatants. Admittedly, a number of them are Syrians, often convicts, but many others are foreigners (who by definition can not be "rebels"). Again, the estimates are unverifiable.
There are only two things that we know for sure about these groups:
- First, the weapons available to one of them, the Army of Islam, in 2015. This is obviously a bit old, but it is verifiable thanks to the video of a military parade organized by its leader, in Ghouta, in 2015. This group has 4 tanks and nearly 2,000 men, that is to say, 10 times less combatants than he claims to have.
- Then and finally, we know these groups through their communication: logos, flags, websites, Twitter accounts, spokespersons.
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Jeish el Islam logo

Jeish el Islam

Jeïch el-Islam, that is, the Army of Islam, is the only one of these groups to have a local presence. It was created in September 2013 by the family Allouche, from another group, the Brigade of Islam, in the mode of a gang imposing its law on merchants of the Ghouta, not hesitating to publicly execute those who challenged their power.
The group was initially commanded by Zahran Allouche, son of the preacher Abdallah Allouche, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood refugee in Saudi Arabia. From 2009 to 2011, he was imprisoned for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. He was released in a general amnesty decreed by President al-Assad at the request of third countries. For several years, Zahran Allouche terrorized the inhabitants of Damascus declaring that he was going to "clean" the city. He announced each Friday [1] the attacks he was going to commit against the capital. In 2013, he abducted Alawite families [2] in Aadra. He used some as human shields and walked a hundred in cages, before executing the men so that we’d know what fate he reserved for "infidels". After his death, a businessman, Sheikh Isaam Buwaydani called "Abu Hamam", succeeded him.
His cousin Mohammed Allouche, made famous by his repression of manners. He created the Unified Judicial Council, which imposed the Saudi version of Sharia law on all Ghouta residents. He notably organized executions of homosexuals, thrown from the roof of buildings. He represents the group at the UN negotiations in Geneva.
The Allouche family is now comfortably settled in London.
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The blazon of the Brigade of Islam (left) has been transformed into a blazon of the Army of Islam when the second group was formed from the fighters of the first.
At the time of its creation, the Army of Islam brought together about fifty small groups. In a widely circulated statement in Asia, it introduced itself as the defender of Muslims and called on Muslims around the world to join them and to make jihad in Syria.
In July 2017, the Army of Islam, following an Egyptian-Saudi mediation, agreed to recognize Eastern Ghouta as a "de-escalation zone" under Russian control.
His Twitter account in English:
His YouTube channel has just been closed.
JPEG - 56.4 kb
On this video captured from the site of the Army of Islam (consulted on March 15, 2018), we can read a sermon against non-Sunnis, whether Shiite Muslims, Christians or Jews. It ends like this: "Kill them. God torment them with your hands. He will give you victory over them.
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The Legion of the Most Merciful logo

Faylaq al-Rahman

Faylaq al-Rahman, ie "The Legion of the All-Merciful", is a mercenary group of Qatar from which it receives a modern weaponry, especially RPG. It is massively composed of foreigners.
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The Calligram of the All-Merciful Legion is subtitled in English "Al-Rahman Corps", a sign that it is primarily addressed to Western jihadists who do not read Arabic.
Its Twitter account broadcasts many videos extolling the terrorist profession:
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Ahrar el-Cham logo

Ahrar el-Cham

Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, abbreviated as Ahrar al-Sham, translates as the Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant. "Free men" do not refer here to "freedom" in the Western sense. They did not liberate themselves from a dictatorship, but were released from their human condition by practicing Salafist Islam. So that there is no doubt about the interpretation of the word, a minaret appears on the group logo.
This group, very internationalized, was created by Egyptians during the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak by the United States [3]. Syrian Muslim Brothers, who were imprisoned for belonging to a terrorist organization, joined him after being pardoned in 2011 at the request of third countries. Among them, several former collaborators of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan then in Yugoslavia. This explains their proximity to the Taliban, whom they often cite as an example of faith.
In all its publications, it defines itself as a "complete Islamic movement, fighting for Allah and defending religion".
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The flag of Ahrar el-Cham carried on horseback during a military parade.
The group is commanded by Hassan Soufan, known as "Abu al-Bara", who was imprisoned for a decade for his membership in the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Foreign Minister of this group, Labib al-Nahhas, travels to the West. He is a British, MI6 officer. In July 2015, he published free forums in the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph.
The group is supported by Qatar and Turkey. It is considered a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.
The group’s website is:
His Twitter account:
His YouTube channel:

Commonalities of these three groups

These three groups have no ideological difference. All claim to be the thought of the Muslim Brotherhood [4]. According to them, daily life is divided between what is lawful from the point of view of their Islam and what is not.
There are, however, differences between the three groups about how they can treat people who do not share their point of view. Be that as it may, no one lives under their rule without being a Sunni.
Like all the fighters of the "Islamic revolution", their men often change their group and these groups fight each other and join together frequently. It is absurd to draw substantive conclusions. At most, we can see territorial quarrels between their leaders and opportunities for their soldiers.
All of these groups and countless others have well-designed flags and logos as well as quality videos. All of this communication material is manufactured by the United Kingdom. In 2007, it had a war propaganda unit, the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) headed by MI6 (Secret Service) officer Jonathan Allen. Starting from the chemical weapons case in the summer of 2013, the RICU financed an external company to assist the communication of combatants in Syria (and subsequently those of Yemen). It was initially Regester Larkin, then Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat). Both companies are headed by an MI6 officer, Colonel Paul Tilley.
Jonathan Allen, whose rank we do not know, has become number two in the UK permanent representation at the United Nations. He is currently leading the Security Council against Russia and Syria.
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British secret service officer and charge d’affaires of His Majesty, Jonathan Allen, giving a press conference at the UN with his privileged ally, the French ambassador, François Delattre.


“Integrity Has Vanished From The West”

by Paul Craig Roberts -- 26 March 2018

“Among Western political leaders there is not an ounce of integrity or morality. The Western print and TV media is dishonest and corrupt beyond repair. Yet the Russian government persists in its fantasy of “working with Russia’s Western partners.” The only way Russia can work with crooks is to become a crook. Is that what the Russian government wants?

Finian Cunningham notes the absurdity in the political and media uproar over Trump (belatedly) telephoning Putin to congratulate him on his reelection with 77 percent of the vote, a show of public approval that no Western political leader could possibly attain. The crazed US senator from Arizona called the person with the largest majority vote of our time “a dictator.” Yet a real blood-soaked dictator from Saudi Arabia is feted at the White House and fawned over by the president of the United States.

The Western politicians and presstitutes are morally outraged over an alleged poisoning, unsupported by any evidence, of a former spy of no consequence on orders by the president of Russia himself. These kind of insane insults thrown at the leader of the world’s most powerful military nation—and Russia is a nation, unlike the mongrel Western countries—raise the chances of nuclear Armageddon beyond the risks during the 20th century’s Cold War. The insane fools making these unsupported accusations show total disregard for all life on earth. Yet they regard themselves as the salt of the earth and as “exceptional, indispensable” people.

Think about the alleged poisoning of Skirpal by Russia. What can this be other than an orchestrated effort to demonize the president of Russia? How can the West be so outraged over the death of a former double-agent, that is, a deceptive person, and completely indifferent to the millions of peoples destroyed by the West in the 21st century alone. Where is the outrage among Western peoples over the massive deaths for which the West, acting through its Saudi agent, is responsible in Yemen? Where is the Western outrage among Western peoples over the deaths in Syria? The deaths in Libya, in Somalia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan? Where is the outrage in the West over the constant Western interference in the internal affairs of other countries? How many times has Washington overthrown a democratically-elected government in Honduras and reinstalled a Washington puppet?

The corruption in the West extends beyond politicians, presstitutes, and an insouciant public to experts. When the ridiculous Condi Rice, national security adviser to president George W. Bush, spoke of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction sending up a nuclear cloud over an American city, experts did not laugh her out of court. The chance of any such event was precisely zero and every expert knew it, but the corrupt experts held their tongues. If they spoke the truth, they knew that they would not get on TV, would not get a government grant, would be out of the running for a government appointment. So they accepted the absurd lie designed to justify an American invasion that destroyed a country.

This is the West. There is nothing but lies and indifference to the deaths of others. The only outrage is orchestrated and directed against a target: the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Assad, Russia and Putin, and against reformist leaders in Latin America. The targets for Western outrage are always those who act independently of Washington or who are no longer useful to Washington’s purposes.

The quality of people in Western governments has collapsed to the very bottom of the barrel. The British actually have a person, Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary, who is so low-down that a former British ambassador has no compunction in calling him a categorical liar. The British lab Porton Down, contrary to Johnson’s claim, has not identified the agent associated with the attack on Skirpal as a Russian novichok agent. Note also that if the British lab is able to identify a novichok agent, it also has the capability of producing it, a capability that many countries have as the formulas were published years ago in a book.

That the novichok poisoning of Skirpal is an orchestration is obvious. The minute the event occurred the story was ready. With no evidence in hand, the British government and presstitute media were screaming “the Russians did it.” Not content with that, Boris Johnson screamed “Putin did it.” In order to institutionalize fear and hatred of Russia into British consciousness, British school children are being taught that Putin is like Hitler.

Orchestrations this blatant demonstrate that Western governments have no respect for the intelligence of their peoples. That Western governments get away with these fantastic lies indicates that the governments are immune to accountability. Even if accountability were possible, there is no sign that Western peoples are capable of holding their governments accountable. As Washington drives the world to nuclear war, where are the protests? The only protest is brainwashed school children protesting the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment.

Western democracy is a hoax. Consider Catalonia. The people voted for independence and were denounced for doing so by European politicians. The Spanish government invaded Catalonia alleging that the popular referendum, in which people expressed their opinion about their own future, was illegal. Catalonian leaders are in prison awaiting trial, except for Carles Puigdemont who escaped to Belgium. Now Germany has captured him on his return to Belgium from Finland where he lectured at the University of Hesinki and is holding him in jail for a Spanish government that bears more resemblance to Francisco Franco than to democracy. The European Union itself is a conspiracy against democracy. The success of Western propaganda in creating non-existent virtues for itself is the greatest public relations success in history.”

Donald Trump: Is He Too Dangerous to be Head of State?

We [the United States] spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives. … Obviously, it was a mistake… George W. Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East…

—They [President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney] lied… They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.” Donald Trump (1946- ), during a CBS News GOP presidential debate, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.

“Mental impairment and criminal-mindedness are not mutually exclusive; not only can they happen at the same time, when combined, these two characteristics become particularly dangerous.” Bandy X Lee (1970- ), an internationally recognized psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine and editor of the book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ 2017.

“An autocrat in the making is typically an elected outsider who disdains norms, questions the legitimacy of political foes, tolerates violence, and shows a willingness to curtail the free press.” Steven Levitsky(1968- ) and Daniel Ziblatt (1972- ), (in their book How Democracies Die, 2018, 312 p.)

“…An empire is a despotism, and an emperor is a despot, bound by no law or limitation but his own will; it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy. For, although the will of an absolute monarch is law, yet his edicts must be registered by parliaments. Even this formality is not necessary in an empire.” John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd American President, (1797-1801), (in ‘The Political Writings of John Adams: Representative Selections’, 2003)

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it…

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality…” George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) (1903-1950), English novelist, essayist, and social critic, (in his book ‘1984’, 1949, chap. 2)


US President Donald Trump (1946-), as a politician, has succeeded in attracting voters who are dissatisfied or partially dissatisfied with their economic or social situation, especially working class white voters without college degrees. Income inequality and wealth inequality is growing in the United States, and the balance leans toward the winners, even though the losers are more numerous and have not been compensated through job training or social services. In other words, many Americans are disillusioned regarding their chance of living the American dream and about the way the system and public policies disadvantage them. Trump attracts also single-issue voters.

All this creates a fertile ground for a populist politician. This has happened elsewhere and it is now a political reality in the United States. It is also normal that Donald Trump is strongly opposed by various establishments and attacked by those to whom his populism is repugnant.

But beyond the purely personal considerations people have to support or oppose him, what are the characteristics of this neophyte in politics that many, and not only in the United States, consider scary?

For example, some observers have drawn a parallel between the current occupant of the White House and the decadent emperor Caligula (12-41 CE) of Ancient Rome. Caligula was autocratic, unpredictable, unhinged and a self-conscious populist who lacked self-restraint. He was a sociopath who enjoyed hurting and humiliating people. Moreover, he treated politics like a show. He indulged in pornography and depravity. He was disruptive and contemptuous of existing institutions, and he was a warmonger who courted the military.

A biographer in the know has also linked Trump’s outrageous behavior, as a politician, to Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the subject of his book ‘Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil’, 1998. Indeed, author Ron Rosenbaum (1946- ) explains how a constant attack on the media and the courts by Trump was also a tactic used by Hitler to gain power, in Germany. History has a way of repeating itself, and no one should think that disastrous past experiences cannot be repeated.

Whether all this is the case or not, what can be safely said is that never in its entire history has the United States faced a president in the White House of the sort that Mr. Trump represents. Persons closed to him have warmed us: Donald Trump is “deeply mentally ill” and “no longer connected to reality” and what is more, he is prone to loose his temper and act in anger, sometimes in pure madness. These are, we will all agree, very dangerous character traits for any U.S. President, if they are true.

It has been observed that the White House under Trump’s direction is often in turmoil, in disarray and sometimes, in complete chaos, and that the American president is mentally unstable and that he is prone to act impulsively, like an unmoored loose cannon, in most anything he does. It is said that Trump often acts in a bluffing and vengeful way, firing people right and left for any motive, sometimes in a most nefarious way. That should certainly be another reason for alarm and consternation.

It may be worth recalling here what the former Director of the CIA under Barack Obama, John Brennan (1955-), said, referring to Donald Trump and his mean dismissal of the FBI’s No. 2, Andrew McCabe (1968-), Friday night, March 16, 2018, a few hours before the latter was to become eligible for a pension:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

Recently, for example, he was reported to want to launch an international trade war for the childish reason that he did not want to be “laughed at”. This is unsettling, because all this is based on faulty economic thinking and wrong facts. A protectionist U.S. President can do great harm to the world economy. —Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn had enough of that craziness, and he resigned. Trump only wants “sycophants” around him.

In the coming months, I fear that American consumers and the world stock markets will give their own assessment of Trump’s economic folly, and it won’t be pretty.

Consequently, many people have concluded that the current occupant of the White House is not mature enough and not competent enough to be president of the United States. In his book, ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’, author Michael Wolff writes that “Trump lived… as a real-life fictional character”, that he is a man detached and mostly cut off from reality, being comfortable in relying on so-called false and subjective “alternative facts”. For such a person, only appearances matter, not reality.

People who know him well have labeled him unpredictable and inconsistent. Trump is the flip-flopperpar excellence. Indeed, Trump’s intellectual inconsistency is beyond comprehension. He can adopt, almost simultaneously, two opposite positions without flinching… and without apology.

And, as if this is not enough, Donald Trump is also besieged by huge conflicts of interest, not the least is a level of nepotism not seen in the White House in modern times.

Let us try to get a more complete picture of the political situation in the United States:

1. The American electoral system favors Republicans

First of all, let us say that it is one of the peculiarities of the American democratic system that it happens quite often that the winning candidate in a presidential election becomes president while receiving fewer votes than the losing candidate. It sometimes happens that the losing candidate receives even a majority of votes, but is still not elected. This happened in the 1876 election.

In fact, American presidential elections are not necessarily decided by the popular vote. According to the rules of the Electoral College, a few hundred “grand electors”, chosen in each of the 50 states, are the ones who elect the U.S. President.

Such a system tends to advantage the Republican candidates and it disadvantages the Democratic candidates, because it gives less weight to the votes in the most populated states than to those cast in the less populated states.

For example, according to the official results of the 2016 election, the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received 48.5% of the popular votes (65,953,516 votes) but received the support of only 232 “grand electors” out of a total of 538, or 45.12% of these. However, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump only collected 46.09% of the national votes (62,984 825 votes), but received 306 or 56.9% of the “grand electors” votes. Consequently, it was Donald Trump who became U.S. president and not Hillary Clinton.

Note that in 2000, Republican candidate George W. Bush also received half a million fewer votes than Democratic candidate Al Gore, but the Electoral College system resulted in electing George W. Bush president. — In 1876 and in 1888, similar results ensued, when a Republican candidate was elected U.S. President, while receiving fewer votes than his Democratic opponent. — It can be said that the system of the American Electoral College tends to favor Republican candidates, who are generally more conservative.

2. Trump is egocentric and authoritarian

The current sitting American president, Donald Trump, does not seem to have deep-seated personal principles. He seems to be egocentric and he is always on the lookout to profit personally from any event: if someone or something gives him pleasure, prestige or money, he is all for it. No American president before him has dared to express openly his feelings or his insults of others, and even state his policies, on a social medium like Twitter, so much so that Donald Trump has been called the “toddler-in-chief”.

That is why Donald Trump is not your normal American president, even for the United States where money plays a larger role than elsewhere in electing public officials. Being a real estate oligarch who owns hotels and casinos, among other properties, he has brought to the White House the authoritarian and plutocratic ethics found in some wheeler-dealer corners of that industry, an ethics of ruthlessness.

Accustomed to running his real estate empire by himself, he was badly prepared to lead a democratic government, which is, by definition, decentralized. However, his authoritarian approach seems to appeal to his supporters. In fact, Trump acts as if he were the representative of rednecks in the White House.

In a new book, with the ominous title of “How Democracies Die”, two political scientists (Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt of Harvard University) compiled four warning signs to determine if a political leader is a dangerous authoritarian:

The leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules;
He or she denies the legitimacy of opponents;
He or she tolerates violence;
He or she shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media. According to the authors, “a politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern.” Unfortunately, in their eyes, “Donald Trump meets them all!”

Regarding violence, Trump did not hesitate to name a torturer to lead the C.I.A. Torture is an immoral practice that he has personally espoused in the past.

Basically, Donald Trump is an unscrupulous demagogue, being both populist and authoritarian, of the type that has become dictator in other countries. This should be a source of preoccupation because for some time now, American presidents have been stretching the law to govern through executing edictsand to keep the United States on a permanent war footing. Donald Trump has expanded that practice and brought it to a new level. In his first year in office, indeed, Trump has issued no less than 58 executive orders and some 30 so-called “proclamations”, without any input from Congress.

Some business leaders can be expected to line up behind the Trump administration, especially if they expect to draw financial benefits from it, when they are at the receiving end of some money largesse (such as huge tax breaks financed with more public debt). The same applies to ambitious politicians who are willing to dance with the devil, if this can advance their career. However, it is another matter when the Trump White House extends its authoritarian cult of personality to American career civil servants, supposedly sworn in to work for the nation and uphold the Constitution, not to hold allegiance to the person temporarily sitting in the White House.

Also, it could be considered odd when Donald Trump applauds himself, but when he requests, in a dictator-like way, to be applauded when he speaks, whether he tells the truth or not, and pretends that it is even ‘un-American’ not to applaud him, this should raise alarm.

It is not at all surprising that there is a widespread distaste in the United States for Trump’s personality and for his obnoxious character. A majority of Americans who cherish their democracy simply cannot stand him. He is an embarrassment even for his supporters.

3. Trump acts and speaks like a sociopath who enjoys making other people miserable

It would be comical if it were not potentially so tragic. Trump is in a permanent state of self-admiration, constantly relying on exaggerations, on overstatements and on illogical statements. No previous American president could have matched him as an adept of self-congratulation. He shows himself as a self-aggrandizing individual. He seems to be suffering from an advanced case of megalomania. In fact, Trump is an expert in erroneously declaring himself an expert in about everything. And, he does not hesitate to qualify himself a “genius”!

Trump has also confessed that he likes to “make the life of people miserable”, i.e. the life of journalists, authors, competitors and anyone who opposes him. An example, among hundreds if not thousands of frivolous and gagging lawsuits, is his meritless but expensive litigations, in time and money, against author Timothy O’Brien for writing the book “TrumpNation”. After his suit was dismissed in court, because it was a direct attack on the First Amendment, Trump stated to the Washington Post, “I did it to make O’Brien’s life miserable, which I am happy about.” Such is the modus operandi of a very sadistic and malicious person who does not hesitate to attack the free press and the right to free speech in a democracy.

4. Trump is a compulsive liar

Numerous public allegations have also made the public aware that Trump is obsessed with sex and sex, sex, and sex again. He is also an alleged sex harasser who continually disparages women.

On Tuesday March 20, former Vice-President Joe Biden (1942- ) did not mince his words, while speaking at an anti-sexual assault rally, telling students at the University of Miami what he thought of Donald Trump and the way the latter talks about women:

“If we were in high school, I’d take him [Donald Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him”, for disrespecting women.

It is well known now that Donald Trump is a pathological liar who seems to fear the truth like the pest. That is because Donald Trump is fundamentally intellectually dishonest. That is probably the main reason Trump’s lawyers are adamant in not wanting their client to testify alone and under oath, in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation about his alleged electoral collusion with Russia.

Publicly, Trump pretends to be willing to be questioned under oath by special counsel Robert Mueller, declaring: “I’m looking forward to it, actually”; “I would do it under oath.” This could be another example of a ‘good cop-bad cop’ charade by Trump, because he would never accept to be interviewed alone, without his lawyers, under oath, and he would likely blame his lawyers for another flip-flop of his own.

This is also the reason why Trump has held only one formal press conference since taking office—unlike its predecessors, who held one each month—in order to avoid being questioned by experienced journalists. He prefers partisan political rallies where no one can contradict him or steal his show.

5. Trump is a dangerous man to have control over nuclear arms

Even if it were possible to disprove half of what has been written about Trump’s eccentricities, his laughable theatrics, his twisted logic, and his lies, Donald Trump would still be a monster of a human being. We will never repeat often enough that he is a dangerous person to hold power, especially in a country like the United States, which is loaded with nuclear arms. Trump is indeed an unstable and irresponsible person; he is a person with poor judgment, besides being erratic, reckless and trigger-happy. He also employs constantly a bellicose tone in his relations with foreign leaders. This is a very bad combination for a head of state in today’s complex world.

And to add to that image, Trump would like to return to a bygone era, when well-known totalitarian leaders favored big shows of force. Trump made it known to “his generals” that he wants a large-scale, multi million dollar “beautiful” and pompous military parade, in his honor, in Washington D.C., on Veterans Day, with thousands of soldiers in tight formation, marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, with planes and helicopters buzzing by the Washington Monument and with 70-ton Abrams tanks and Patriot missiles systems rolling down before the President’s stand. Trump seems to have had this idea after attending the French military deployment of July 14th, last summer. It’s a bit as if a childish Trump had seen a toy in the neighbor’s yard and said, “I want one too!”

Such a powwow show would gratify Trump’s infatuation with military toys he would like to play with. It would be quite an irony if the United States, which fought fascist Germany during World War II, itself adopted fascist trappings, three quarters of a century later.

Regarding nuclear arms, Tom Collina, policy director of the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund, has noted that a recent poll indicates that 60 percent of Americans do not trust Trump with nuclear weapons. Consequently, he concluded: “the public is right to distrust Trump with nuclear weapons, and we all need to speak up and oppose these new, dangerous policies.” — I totally agree.

Trump has not only sociopathic tendencies, being insensitive and having no empathy for anybody else but himself; he could also be considered a would-be genocidal psychopath when he talks freely saying this is the “calm before the storm”, that it (North Korea) “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before”, even going as far as threatening to “totally destroy North Korea”, a country of more than 25 million people! This is even more scandalous, considering that Donald Trump uttered that insane threat during a speech at the United Nations, an organization specifically created to avoid war.

Therefore, one cannot completely exclude some foul acts of savagery coming from the Trump administration in the coming months and years. The current disorganization in the Trump White House could lead to inhuman disasters, considering the instability of Trump’s character and the lack of moral fortitude and vision on the part of the current Republican leadership in both the House and the U.S. Senate.

6. Trump can be expected to rely on “wag the dog” tricks to get out of trouble

It is indeed common practice for some American presidents to “wag the dog”, i.e. distract from domestic or personal domestic problems by provoking some conflicts abroad. On this score, since Trump’s domestic problems are presently piling up, with multiple lawsuits launched by women with whom he had sexual affairs in the past, with serious allegations that foreign governments were involved in his election, and with the looming Special Prosecutor’s report possibly raising an accusation of obstruction of justice against him, he could be expected to want to distract attention from his problems and to make dangerous, possibly catastrophic, policy decisions. Indeed, it is a modus operandi for him to attempt to deflect attention from his personal problems by creating problems elsewhere.

Note that Donald Trump is the first person to be elected president of the United States without any political or military experience. Recently, he has surrounded himself with sycophants who are immoral torturers and belligerent advocates of regime change in other countries. The summum of cynicism on his part—considering that he campaigned by repeating constantly that the Bush-Cheney 2003 war of aggression against Iraq was a disaster and a dumb decision—occurred on Thursday March 22, when he named one of the very architects of the Iraq War, in the person of the extremely bellicose John Bolton, as his national security adviser. I think the United States of America has a big problem in having such a person as its president.


Keeping in mind what I wrote in the introduction and the rational motives that motivate his supporters to be behind him, it nevertheless remains that Donald Trump is an emperor with no clothes, and a reliance on cognitive dissonance on the part of his partisans cannot hide that simple fact.

Indeed, when all things are said and considered, it is impossible not to conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong with Donald Trump. Many experts and observers have warned the world that his state of mind is a danger to public safety. The Republicans, in particular, who happen to control the U.S. Congress, have a great responsibility to reflect on and to act upon that information before some irreparable damage is done. If Trump were to do something catastrophic in the coming weeks or months, economically or militarily, those Republicans in Congress will have to share personal and collective responsibility in the disaster.

More than one year ago, because of Trump’s lack of seriousness and preparation, I warned that he was going to be “a threat to American democracy and an agent of chaos in the world”. Unfortunately, every day seems to bring forth new proofs of that assessment.

Therefore, as time goes on, the case for Trump’s impeachment is going to get stronger and stronger. His removal from office will become increasingly urgent and increasingly compelling. It’s a safe bet that credible steps for his impeachment as U.S. President will be taken rapidly, if the Democratic Party regains control of the House of Representatives during this fall election—and possibly faster, if enough Republicans see the light before then.


International economist Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles” and of “The New American Empire”.

Rodrigue Tremblay is a frequent contributor to Global Research

Dr. Tremblay’s site:

His multi-language international blog at:

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Prof Rodrigue Tremblay, Global Research, 2018

Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again


One must marvel at the first few paragraphs of Amnesty International’s recent press release:

“The international community’s catastrophic failure to take concrete action to protect the people of Syria has allowed parties to the conflict, most notably the Syrian government, to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with complete impunity, often with assistance of outside powers, particularly Russia. Every year we think it is just not possible for parties to the conflict to inflict more suffering on civilians, and yet, every year, they prove us wrong…

Right now, in Eastern Ghouta 400,000 men, women and children, who have been living under an unlawful government siege for six years, are being starved and indiscriminately bombed by the Syrian government with the backing of Russia. […] The international community had said ‘never again’ after the government devastated Eastern Aleppo with similar unlawful tactics. But here we are again. Armed opposition groups have retaliated by indiscriminately shelling two villages in Idleb, which they have also besieged since 2014.” [1]

This is an unambiguous call and a justification for war; it seems that AI is calling for a NATO bombing campaign similar to the one staged in Libya in 2011. There is also no ambiguity as to who AI deems to be culpable and ought to be at the receiving end of a “humanitarian bombing” campaign. Before cheering yet another US/NATO war, it is useful to analyse Amnesty International’s record in assisting propaganda campaigns on the eve of wars. It is also worthwhile reviewing AI’s reporting on Syria, and how it compares with that on other countries in the area.

A sorry record

It is not the first time that Amnesty International has played a role in a propaganda campaign in the lead up to a war. A few examples:

Before the US invasion to ouster the Iraqis from Kuwait, president George Bush Sr. appeared on TV holding an Amnesty International report claiming that Iraqi soldiers had dumped babies out of incubators. That was Amnesty International’s willing participation in spreading a hoax — a hoax fabricated by a major American PR company.

In the months prior to the US-NATO attack on Serbia, Amnesty-USA put two Croatian women on a ten city-speaking-tour to project their account of their “rape-camp” ordeal — in reality one of them was a top Croatian propaganda official, a close advisor to president Tudjman, who was also known for her acting abilities.[2] Again, this hoax was pushed by a major American PR company.

AI’s coverage/non-coverage of Israeli mass crimes also deserves to be analysed.[3] In this case, Amnesty plays a role in adulterating and reducing criticism after wars or the misery caused by its continuous occupation and abuse of the Palestinians (discussed below). Amnesty International-Israel served as a propaganda front busy manipulating “human rights” reports to suit Israel’s interests.[4] AI-London has not commented on the manipulation by its Israeli siblings.

In 2012, Amnesty erected advertising posters in the US applauding NATO’s actions in Afghanistan — “Keep the progress going”, purportedly doing something for women’s rights. This was merely crass pro-NATO pro-interventionist propaganda. [5]

Amnesty-France was instrumental in propagating anti-Libyan propaganda prior to the NATO bombing of the country in 2011.[6]

Alas, Amnesty’s sorry record is much longer than these few examples indicate.

Not anti-war

One would expect a human rights organisation to be intrinsically opposed to war, but AI is a cheerleader of so-called humanitarian intervention, and even “humanitarian bombing”.[7] In the past, when queried about its equivocal and lame statements about wars, an AI official stated that “Amnesty International is not anti-war”. Even with this predisposition AI was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize – yet another undeserving recipient for a prize meant to be given only to those actively opposed to wars. In Syria’s case, AI has given up this phoney “not anti-war” stance for one that is actively advocating war. Notice that it uses a rather dubious argument about “never again” about standing by in the face of mass crimes; in reality this is an appeal to holocaust memes meant to favour this war.

Syria today…

The Syrian government is presently rolling back the jihadis who had managed to establish themselves in an area next to Damascus. No government would tolerate to have a section of their capital city under jihadi control, an area from which the rest of the city is mortared, and an area vital to control the water supply of the city. What would happen if jihadis took over Arlington, VA, and used it to bomb the center of Washington DC? The response would be self-evident. For some reason AI doesn’t bestow this right of self-defence to the Syrian government, but instead refers to an “unlawful government siege [of Ghouta] for six years”. This is laughable.

It is remarkable to find that in none of the latest press releases or reports does AI discuss the nature of the armed groups fighting in Syria. Even those referred to as “moderates” by Washington are a rather unsavoury bunch. Most of them are foreign jihadis; a good portion of them are Saudis. (NB: Saudis offered political and criminal prisoners a way out of jail on condition of going to fight in Syria.) And they are armed/trained/financed by the US/UK/Saudi/Emirates/Turkey/Qatar… to the tune of at least $12 billion. The former US ambassador to Syria stated that the US contribution was at least $12bn [8]; this figure excludes the funds provided by the Saudis and other regimes in the area. Gareth Porter reports that the quantities of weapons supplied to the jihadis were enough to equip an army. [9] Yet, this armed gang of jihadis is barely mentioned in Amnesty’s assessment of the situation in Syria. In Ghouta, the jihadis belong to the Nusra front (or one of its rebranded versions), that is, a group with an extreme ideology; they are an Al-Qaeda offshoot. AI’s press release doesn’t mention this salient fact.

Amnesty portrays the Syrian government as at war against its own people — and Aleppo, Ghouta, etc., under siege; and not allowing the population to escape. Although AI similarly condemned the liberation of Aleppo, it didn’t interview these victims after the fact. If it interviews someone — invariably anonymous — it intones sinister fears of the government. For all its faults, the government has popular backing, and it stands in the way of a jihadi project to carve up Syria and ethnically cleanse it.

And there is a double standard

When it comes to Israeli mass crimes AI is rather cautious in the language used and in its recommendations. It is rather coy in mentioning “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”, and reference to the latter is virtually non-existent or couched in exculpatory language (favourite cushioning words: “alleged”, “could be construed as”). While it sparingly uses these accusations against Israel, it levels the same accusations against Palestinians — it applies a notion that there are crimes “on both sides”. AI’s harshest admonishment is that Israeli actions are not “proportionate”. There are no appeals to the “international community” which should not stand by, “never again…” One wonders what Amnesty has to say about the Israeli siege of Gaza, where the population has been put “on a diet” causing a dire situation for about 1.8 million people today. In this case, there are no reports, no calls to the “international community” to do anything, no accusations of “crimes against humanity”… AI uses another script altogether.

In the current press release, AI unambiguously states that both Syria and Russia are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. And if this is the case, there is an obligation for other states to act, to intervene. AI is not requesting an investigation, it is urging intervention.

While in the Israeli case AI states that crimes are committed on both sides, when it comes to Syria it is only the Syrian government that is deemed culpable. It is difficult to remove entrenched well armed jihadis who use residents as human shields. Jihadis dig themselves in and around hospitals and schools [10], and when action is taken against them there, the likes of Amnesty utter their clucking sounds.

In its latest statement AI states: “It must also send a strong message that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity will be held accountable, by referring the situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.” Fair enough. In 2002, Donatella Rovera, an AI researcher on the Middle East, was queried about why AI didn’t make a similar demand to hold Israel accountable at the ICC or ICJ, and she stated that AI didn’t make such demands.[11] Another standard applies.

An issue about sources…

Amnesty reports several statements made by residents of Ghouta, all giving harrowing accounts of the conditions on the ground. But all the statements blame the government for their predicament. “Like many Syrians, the humanitarian worker expressed deep distrust of the government.” Or “We hear rumours of reconciliation but that can never happen. The government hates us…” And other such unverifiable statements. And who exactly is reporting this? Does AI have a direct line to the “White Helmets”? All Amnesty has to do is compare the statements made before the liberation of Aleppo and the opinion of the residents now. If the residents are pleased with their condition without the jihadis around, then this should be sufficient to question the dubious statements originating from anonymous sources in Ghouta today.

Other examples

Amnesty International doesn’t want you to respect the Syrian government. Reviewing its press releases about Syria, it is all one-sided; the jihadis hardly merit a meaningful rebuke. But no report was as distorted as its multimedia presentation of the purported abuses in the Saydnaya Prison. Here Amnesty’s methodology was on show: accept hearsay, magnify it melodramatically, extrapolate and exaggerate [12]. This is not human rights reportage, it is crass propaganda. The timing of all these so-called reports is also dubious. On the eve of major reconciliation talks or negotiations, Amnesty publishes a report portraying the Syrian government as beyond the pale. Would anyone want to negotiate with such a party? The timing of several other AI reports coincide with attempts to resolve the conflict via negotiations. The timing of its latest press release coincides with a major Syrian government offensive into Ghouta — and portraying it as criminal in nature.

Human rights are not neutral

Harvey Weinstein, the sexual predator, made Amnesty International USA possible — he provided the funds necessary to establish the organisation. [13] Weinstein didn’t put up the funds because he fancied AI’s lovely researchers. People put up funds for such organisations to shape the way abuses and crimes are reported. In Weinstein’s case, his ardent devotion to Israel might explain his financial contribution to Amnesty USA. Amnesty is also a conduit to push propaganda desired by those who foster such organisations. The very nature of “human rights”, its very flexible nature, lends itself to prime manipulation.

A Syrian furniture salesman based in Coventry, a small city in the UK, runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Sitting in his living room, he produces reports about the latest atrocities, chemical attacks, and every other sordid detail to tarnish the Syrian government’s image. He reaches his mysterious sources by phone, invariably someone hostile to the Syrian government. The output of this one-man-band is then used by the BBC, CNN, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal,… and major media outlets to report on the situation in Syria. It is expensive for news organisations to have correspondents on the ground, it is dangerous; so what is better than “human rights” reports obtained for free! And does Amnesty International rely on SOHR? At least they should footnote their reports.

The main playbook

The US and some of its sidekicks have for decades been engaged in regime change in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Latin America… The usual formula for this is to create civic organisations, e.g., Journalists’ union, Lawyer and Jurist guilds, select Labour unions… and human rights organisations. These people are then trained to exercise political power effectively by staging mass demonstrations, manipulating the media, spreading rumours, disrupting the government — all the way to the take over of parliaments. These are the so-called “colour revolutions”. They tried this in Syria, but opted primarily to arm and organise jihadis. The jihadis are backed by a propaganda machinery, and the US is conducting the largest disinformation/propaganda campaign in Syria today [14]. The essence of the campaign is to tarnish the image of the Syrian government, robbing it of its international legitimacy and support. Human rights reportage is essential to this campaign. By analysing Amnesty International reportage, it is evident that it is part of this campaign; it has weaponised human rights.

Currently there is a major buildup of US warships in the Mediterranean; and the Russian general staff fear that Syria will be the target of a major cruise missile attack.[15] Possibly, Russian forces will also be targeted. Couple this with the unprecedented black propaganda campaign against Russia in the US and the UK, and it seems very likely that a major shooting war is in the offing. Given that AI has lent itself in previous propaganda campaigns on the eve of wars, one finds that the latest Amnesty International report is merely a leading indicator for such a war. Amnesty International is embedded in a propaganda campaign — it will be cheerleading with blue and white pompons when the humanitarian bombs fall.

Paul de Rooij is a writer living in London. He can be reached at

[1] AI, “Syria: Seven years of catastrophic failure by the international community”, 15 March 2018.

[2] Diana Johnstone, Fools Crusade, 20 Sep 2002. Johnstone documents the curious case of Jadranka Cijel. NB: AI was alerted to the fact that the accounts by the two women were questionable; it proceeded with the tour anyway.

[3] I have written quite a few articles about Amnesty for Counterpunch. The latest: Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre, CounterPunch, 8 May 2015.

[4] Uri Blau, Documents reveal how Israel made Amnesty’s local branch a front for the Foreign Ministry in the 70s, Haaretz, 18 March 2017. Neve Gordon, Nicola Perugini, Israel’s human rights spies: Manipulating the discourse, Al-Jazeera Online, 22 March 2017.

[5] Ann Wright and Coleen Rowley, Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars, ConsortiumNews, 18 June 2012.

[6] Also: Tim Anderson, The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research, 2016.

[7] Alexander Cockburn reports that Amnesty was present during a US State Department briefing seeking to justify “humanitarian bombing”. How the US State Dept. Recruited Human Rights Groups to Cheer On the Bombing Raids: Those Incubator Babies, Once More? CounterPunch, April 1999.

[8] Ben Norton , US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent On Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth,, 9 February 2018.

[9] Gareth Porter, How America Armed Terrorists in Syria, The American Conservative, 22 June 2017.

[10] Robert Fisk has reported on this fact in several of his articles. In “the Syrian hospital siege that turned into a massacre”, The Independent, 5 June 2015 there is a reference to tunnels under a hospital. In another article, the same, but at a school.

[11] Israel hasn’t joined the ICC, and thus ICC cannot bring any action against Israel. ICC is only meant to harass African tinpot dictators.

[12] John Wight, The Problems With the Amnesty International Report, Sputnik News, 15 February 2017. Important discussion with Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria. Also, Tony Cartalucci, Amnesty International admits Syria’s ‘torture prison’ report fabricated entirely in UK, Sign of the Times, 9 February 2017. And, Rick Sterling, Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War, ConsortiumNews, 11 February 2017.

[13] Thomas Frank, Hypocrite at the good cause parties, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2018

[14] Tim Anderson, The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research, 2016.

[15] TASS, US preparing strikes on Syria, carrier strike groups set up in Mediterranean, 17 March 2018