Former US Senator on Syria

6 Apr

Think me an extremist on what is being done to Syria in our name? Hear the former Republican Senator for Virginia, Dick Black, a fortnight ago at the Schiller Institute. I’m posting in full here (transcript below) because the facts-are-sacred Guardian chose not to do so. Likewise all other corporate media.

Do I agree with all Senator Black says? No. In his shoes I would not parade my role in America’s war on the Vietnamese people. Nor hold up Syria’s services to Israel (primarily under Hafez al-Assad) as proof of virtue in Damascus.1 Nor do I share his views on abortion or gay rights. But all of this is beside the point. I’ve spoken before of how the rising phenomenon of gamekeepers turned poacher – Scott Ritter, Philip Giraldi, Craig Murray and Peter Ford to name a few – are a sign of just how much evil now stalks ‘our’ corridors of power.

Below is a rough transcript, offered here by Rawan Mahmasa. It’s a little flaky in places but the gist is clear enough.

I’m Senator Dick Black, a retired colonel who served in uniform for thirty two years. I love my country. I flew two hundred and sixty nine combat missions in Vietnam as a Marine helicopter pilot and crash landed once after machine gun fire cut my flight controls. Afterwards, I made 70 combat patrols as a ground air controller for the 1st Marine Division. I was in intense, fierce combat almost the entire time and was wounded. My radio men were both killed beside me. 

So with that background, let me say that I’m appalled by the indecency of American aggression towards Syria. Just the other day, Secretary of State Tony Blinken2 chastised his Chinese guest in Anchorage, Alaska, by saying they failed to respect the rules based order, without which there would be much more violence in the world. But what is the “rules based order” we’re always touting? Seems the rules are whatever the United States decides it wants at a given moment. By what right do we seize other nations’ ships on the high seas? 

Now, the rule says that doing so is an act of war. We’re not at war. So the rules go on to say that if you’re not at war, then seizures of ships on the high seas are acts of piracy. Are these not acts of piracy when we seize these ships? What rules allow us to establish naval blockades on Syria, Iran and Venezuela? Are those not acts of war? What rules based order says that we can punish Germany for conducting a gas pipeline to Russia? 

What rules in this rules based order allow us to dictate the trade of sovereign nations? The American march of conquest spans the globe. We’ve invaded sovereign nations like Serbia, Yemen and Syria, leaving them all in smouldering ruins. Does the rules based order not prohibit wars of aggression? Did we not prosecute Nazis at Nuremberg for just such actions? What rules make wars of aggression crimes for Nazis, but not for us? We’re told that we’re fighting a war on terror, but we’re not. 

We’re closely allied with terrorists like al-Qaida in an endless quest to destroy Arab civilizations throughout the Middle East. Few Americans can even name all of our wars. Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Ukraine: none of them attacked us. We attacked all of them. Just look at the case of Syria. Remember what Syria once was. Before the war, Syria had a nicely balanced economy, produced most of its own industrial goods. Produced its fuel and agricultural products, had very little poverty and enjoyed thriving trade, and it was financially responsible. It enjoyed 40 years of peace with Israel. 

And the Constitution drafted under President Assad guarantees equal rights for women. And importantly, it guarantees religious freedom in three different parts of the text. I read it. Syria is a model for other Arab states, especially ones like Saudi Arabia, which have no constitution at all. We call Syria’s president a dictator, but in twenty fourteen, he was overwhelmingly elected by the people of Syria, in a fair and free election. It was heavily monitored. 

There were lots of observers. All agreed it had been a true and valid election. Syria is a model of elective democracy, if you want to call it that, for the Arab world. The Americans pretend the election never happened, yet many Syrians, who spent 15 hours in the blazing sun so they could vote for President Assad, were targeted and killed by U.S. backed rebels who fired mortars into their midst and killed them. 

Now, after 10 years of war, I think it’s important to recognize that not a single rebel leader has emerged as a popular figure. The West loves the terrorists the people of Syria despise. 

You know, we’re taught to hate President Assad because he cracked down on rioters in 2011 and they say he gassed his people, but that’s not true because we decided to attack Syria 10 years before all of that. In 2001, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld ordered the Pentagon to draft plans to overthrow seven countries in the Middle East, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off with Iran. Not one of them had harmed the United States. In two thousand six, the US embassy in Damascus drew up detailed plans to destabilize and overthrow Syria. 

Those were widely disseminated to the Pentagon, to various unified command. They went to NATO. They went widely across the world, plans to destroy, stabilize [sic] and overthrow Syria. That was long before any demonstrations had ever occurred in Syria. And yet we claim them as the reason that we oppose President Assad. In March of 2011, the United States, U.K. and France attacked and overthrew Libya. They brutally executed Colonel Gaddafi. The US then turned over control of a Libyan airfield to the Turks who used it to transport advanced weapons, plundered from Libya, and send them eventually to supply the terrorists that were organizing in Syria. 

In 2011, also during the Arab Spring, the highly secretive CIA Special Activities Center sent paramilitary teams into the sovereign territory of Syria to identify, train, equip and lead terrorist to overthrow the Syrian government. In twenty thirteen, Barack Obama formalized this long-standing support for anti Syrian terrorists by secretly authorizing CIA program Timber Sycamore. The CIA Special Operations Division trained, armed and paid thousands of terrorists to fight …. those armies [were] totally under our control. 

And in one case, a group in Aleppo. We had paid over a thousand of their people salaries, giving them arms, giving them training. And it wasn’t until they kidnaped a small Palestinian boy who was being treated in a hospital. They kidnapped him. They took him to the central square in Aleppo. And in order to terrorize the people into not fleeing Aleppo, which was being cordoned off by Syrian troops, they took him to the center in a pickup truck. 

They grabbed a little boy by the hair. They took a knife and they slashed his head off. And then they paraded it. They held it up and waved it in front of the crowd as a warning. Don’t escape from Aleppo. We paid the salaries of every man who held that boy’s head aloft, we gave them their weapons, we gave them their truck, we gave them everything they needed. And it was only after that gruesome incident that we decided, well, that’s an embarrassment. We better not pay them. We have been paying terrorists like this throughout the war.  

NATO and the United States have maintained an intense propaganda campaign against Syria from the outset. Sarin gas attacks that killed civilians were blamed on President Assad. But not one reporter ever asked why Assad would use gas against children, but not against armies of terrorists bearing down on the capital of Damascus. The reason is obvious, there is no answer for that. And the journalists are smart enough to know that if they ask that question, their career in journalism is finished. 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted in twenty eighteen the US had no evidence that Assad had ever used sarin. Two courageous Turkish members of parliament were quickly accused of treason after they revealed an indictment, a criminal indictment, that showed how an al-Qaida cell had infiltrated two point two kilos of sarin gas across the border from Turkey for use in Syria, most likely going to Damascus for the initial attack. That was the red line attack that almost sent American troops into Syria. 

So why do we attack Syria? Well, there are a number of reasons, part of it ties in with Israeli foreign policy. But the US also seeks to capture oil and gas routes serving South Asian pipeline access as Saudi has an intense desire to impose harsh Wahhabi Islam on the religiously harmonious areas. The Turks cast a greedy eye on the industrial city of Aleppo. The Turks also want to capture the oil and the agricultural produce of the nation that is produced in northern Syria. 3

So there are many people who have these desires and and many reasons behind the war. Certainly, the American arms dealers profited immensely from the lucrative deals like the six hundred BMP-71 anti-tank missiles that the Central Intelligence Agency rushed to al-Qaida in 2014 to prepare them to attack across the Turkish border. It was only with those CIA provided anti-tank weapons that the al-Qaida terrorists were able to break through the Syrian armor and the Syrian lines and seize the beautiful town of Kessab and behead the Christians who were there and all of the churches and then smash ancient tombstones with  sledgehammers. 

That was done thanks to the CIA. Al-Qaida never could have broken the Syrian lines without those anti-tank missiles. Many of these terrorist groups have sworn to behead the Christians and the Alawites and to make sex slaves of their wives and daughters. One jihadist famously drove his American- made Humvee into battle with a naked slave girl, slashed, lashed to his windshield. And he knew that the soldiers would hesitate to shoot at his Humvee as long as there was an innocent girl lashed to the windshield. 

And then that’s why he used it. That’s why he put this poor girl up there and drove her first into battle as a shield. In twenty fifteen, U.S. troops illegally invaded northern Syria and unlawfully seized Syria’s oil. We authorized an American oil company to build a refinery for one hundred and fifty million dollars and to drill for more oil on sovereign Syrian land. Before the war, Syria never needed oil or natural gas because it was so self-sufficient, it exported a little bit, but it was not a big oil producing country. 

But what was important is that it provided all of the fuel, all of the gasoline, all of the heating fuel for the power plants and so forth and in Syria. But now. The legacy of the nation has been stolen by the United States, leaving Syrians to freeze to death in the winter as we steal their fuel. The same region, northern Syria is the breadbasket of the country. It grew enough wheat to feed the entire nation to export a little bit. 

But this, too, has been stolen. We gave it to the Kurds who are shipping Syrian wheat to Turkish merchants while Syrian peasants starve. To tighten the noose on Syria, Secretary Mike Pompeo bragged about cutting Syria off from sources of currency and blockading oil tankers arriving from Iran. He’s right. We’ve caused immense death, disease and suffering for poor Syrians. Americans are routinely reminded that sanctions don’t affect the common people, only the leaders. Rubbish, that’s a total lie. 

Sanctions do nothing but attack the innocent, the poor, the helpless. They are the most cruel and barbaric type of warfare that we can wage. We steal food, fuel and medicine from the poor. We blockade supplies for rebuilding so that Syrian man must fight for a living or starve. If we ended the blockade, they could work rebuilding the country. Syrians are tired of war, we’ve imposed 10 years of war on them. They want to rebuild.

For the young men, the time for fighting is over, they want to go home, to build families, rebuild homes and businesses. But the United States blockades all materials necessary for rebuilding. So those young Syrian men must fight for a living or starve. As it is, the only work is fighting, which will go on as long as we continue funding it. The world must reject … ten years against the Syrians. But we’ve oppressed the Iraqi people for 30 years, we’ve dropped over a quarter of a million bombs on Iraq. 

And we bombed them even while we sit in military base camps occupying the country. This madness must stop. I thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today. 

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See also this revealing clip – one minute fifteen – of former US Representative Tulsi Gabbard on Syria. Tell me US backing of Al-Qaeda – what economist Michael Hudson calls America’s foreign legion – is too preposterous for words.

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  1. The confusion over Syria is not confined to mainstream comment. With honourable exceptions like WSWS, the so-called far left has been atrocious, frequently recycling claims endlessly cited in Guardian and BBC; claims long known to be bogus. At the same time you get confused ‘Marxists’ (in my post on universalism, search on Fred Weston) who cite Syria’s collaboration with imperialism, again mainly under Assad senior, as if Syria was being attacked because of such collaboration! Do I uncritically back ‘bourgeois nationalism’? Of course not. Look how it panned out in Zimbabwe. Look how it’s panning out right now in Mozambique. Look for that matter at what is happening in Scotland. But it should be ABC to socialists that where nationalism is confronted by imperialism, (critical} defence of the former is an elementary duty.
  2. Tony Blinken is truly a man of our times. In my post, The king is Dead – long live the king! I quote Anti War.com on Blinken and Michelle Flournoy having “co-founded the strategic consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, where the two use their large database of governmental, military, venture capitalists and corporate leader contacts to help companies win big Pentagon contracts.” Hence another of my ‘extremist’ views; that the US and junior partners like the UK are run by and for criminals. I see the fact of the UK having a serial liar as prime minister as a minor indicator of this truth.
  3. Senator Black is correct in all his reasons for attacking Syria, but misses what may be the biggest of all. China’s One Belt One Road, linking her eastern seaboard to Europe, is safe from US naval blockade but vulnerable to attack by direct or proxy forces with bases in Syria, Afghanistan and Washington-friendly Central Asian states.

12 Replies to “Former US Senator on Syria

  1. The use of extremist Jihadists, along with the logistical and other support when convenient, goes back a long way. Their use not limited to what is described here but also, again when convenient, as a useful bogyman for propaganda purposes with domestic Western audiences.

    The current flashpoint – not yet receiving that much corporate media attention – is Ukraine with some reports suggesting that following Zelensky’s Decree 117 of 24 March to, in effect, reincorporate Eastern Ukraine/Crimea into Ukraine, Syrian ‘rebels’ may already being funneled into Ukraine through Turkey.

    • The use of extremist Jihadists, along with the logistical and other support when convenient, goes back a long way.

      Yes. From Lawrence of Arabia, through cold war Afghanistan and Mossad backing of Hamas against Fatah, to Syria’s ‘moderate Islamists’.

      Am playing catch-up on Ukraine. Here’s Ron Paul’s take as set out in 21st Century Wire.

      • Its not that easy to find reliable information at present, even on obvious outlets like RT who seem to be taking a reticent approach low profile with only two or three recent articles.

        A bit of analysis can be found on sites such as South Front and The Saker – here’s Paul Craig Roberts:

        https://thesaker.is/washington-is-misreading-russia-at-the-worlds-peril/

        Not forgetting the decree of March 24th – referenced in the Ron Paul link – which fired the starting gun for this dangerous nonsense:

        “In accordance with article 107 of the Constitution of Ukraine, I hereby decree:

        1. To put into effect the decision of the national security and defense Council of Ukraine of March 11, 2021 “on the Strategy of de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol “(attached).

        2. Approve the Strategy for de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (attached).

        3. Control over the implementation of the decision of the national security and defense Council of Ukraine, put into effect by this decree, is entrusted to the Secretary of the national security and defense Council of Ukraine.

        4. This Decree comes into force from the date of its publication.

        President Of Ukraine.ZELENSKY
        March 24, 2021”

        • Many thanks Dave and Phillip for the links to 21st Century Wire(I stopped taking Patrick Henningson’s emails, shouldn’t have obviously)and Ron Paul does frequently offer useful insights even if I disagree with him on certain matters, so this article and your saker link is excellent.

          Thanks,
          Susan 🙂

  2. Ron Paul asks why is it any concern of the US whether Crimea is part of Russia or Ukraine. The easiest and most likely answer is Sevastopol with it’s deep submarine trench access to the Black Sea. It’s been home to Russian Black Sea Fleet and both the US and Russia want it.
    I am a bit surprised Ron Paul made no mention of this important strategic military and naval base. Whoever has control over it can pilot subs and ships around it and through the Kerch Straits to the east.
    Susan:)

    • Hi Susan. Yes, access to the Black Sea is why one of Russia’s few military bases outside her borders (even if we buy the notion of Crimea as non Russian) is the Crimea. I think the total number is three, against 800 US bases outside America.

      Warm water access is touched on in this 2014 Seamus Milne piece before he became persona non grata at the Graun.

      One of many hypocrisies of Western liberal coverage of Ukraine was its cheering on of the Maidan coup which ushered in fascists and anti-semites – the real kind – before going on to denounce Corbyn as anti-semitic! Another was its indifference to fascists – the real kind – coming frighteningly close to Russia’s nuclear capacity back then.

        • A good piece. Though he can be excitable, overly optimistic on the limits to US power and too fond of colourful turns of phrase, Pepe is stimulating and well informed. Always. In this piece, trotting through the very long history of ‘containing’ Eurasia, he leaves plenty of linked clues for those wanting more detail.

          Western liberal brains turn to mush in the face of the crudest empire propaganda. (Not least because, oblivious to what advertising has to teach us, they actually believe (a) that ‘we’ don’t have it here, else (b) we don’t have it to the extent ‘they’ do, else (c) a liberal higher education renders them immune.) Cold war on the Soviet Union? Nothing to do with her vast resources and markets. All about freedom versus tyranny! Demonising of post USSR – or to be precise, post Yeltsin – Russia? All about Putin’s autocracy and Russian ‘aggression’.

          And Graun readers lap it up, on the basis that “we are the good guys” – as though Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen were wholly disconnected phenomena, and any synergy with wider imperial interests purely coincidental, in each case, to the bad guys “we” need to take out. Bah.

          • As it happens Gary Leupp, History professor at Tufts and always worth reading, has a piece today in CounterPunch on the sitch. After countering media induced amnesia on NATO encirclement of Russia (see map in an aside to today’s Mozambique post) he writes:

            So welcome back to normal, folks, after the aberrant Trump period. Welcome back to the cause of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama: NATO expansion to destroy Russia and make sure Total Spectrum Dominance will not end on decent, compassionate Joe Biden’s watch.

  3. Thanks for that Phil. Adding it to my ‘Rebuttal’ links. Unfortunately, for all his previous status, he’s now just another voice crying in the wilderness, like us. But I hope to use his post in future assaults on mainstream propaganda articles.

    • … just another voice crying in the wilderness …

      I assume you mean Dick Black. Yes, but the list of those who once held relatively high office and are now alarmed by a waning – hence triply dangerous – US imperialism is long. As such it is a small but telling sign of just how extreme the so-called mainstream now is.

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