“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

According to Congressman Nunes, no “official intelligence” launched it.

The Counterintelligence Probe’s Phantom Origin

The guilty note that Susan Rice wrote to herself after Trump’s inauguration takes on more and more meaning as the shocking details of Obamagate come into focus. The Obama administration’s decision to spy on the Trump campaign was not, in her words, “by the book” but scandalously irregular. It turns out, according to Congressman Devin Nunes, that not even a semblance of “official intelligence” justified the spying. It was the probe from nowhere to nowhere, undertaken simply to satisfy the partisan hunches of John Brennan and other Trump haters in the Obama administration.

“The counterintelligence investigation uses the tools of our intelligence services that are not supposed to be used on American citizens. So, we’ve long wanted to know, well, what intelligence did you have that actually led to this investigation? So, what we found now after the investigators have reviewed it is that in fact, there was no intelligence,” Nunes told Fox News last weekend.

The probe didn’t start “by the book.” It started largely on the say-so of John Brennan, whose CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign. We know from Brennan’s own testimony and leaks that he had been lobbying the FBI to start the probe since at least the spring of 2016. But whatever alleged intelligence Brennan gave to the FBI, it was too flaky for the FBI to commit to print.

The probe was the product of a shell game played by a cast of Trump haters — from Brennan to Peter Strzok (the FBI’s liaison to the CIA, which is a key fact in all of this) to Hillary hired gun Christopher Steele. Brennan, since at least April of 2016, had been shaking foreign intelligence agencies down for any dirt on Trumpworld. He claimed that he had come up with some from Estonia, England, and other trusted “counterparts” and shoveled it to Strzok, who then dumped it on the desk of other Hillary partisans in the FBI/Justice Department’s senior leadership. Strzok would later confess to his mistress, in between calling Trump a “douche,” that the probe was just a fishing expedition with no “big there there.”
Brennan’s bumptiousness was so great in pushing and publicizing this bogus probe that even Harry Reid would remark upon it to David Corn and Michael Isikoff. Brennan had an “ulterior motive” in leaking the existence of the probe to him, Reid told the authors. The very thought of Donald Trump as president made Brennan see red and caused him to lose all judgment.

Out of embarrassment at having started a counterintelligence probe on the hunch of such an unhinged Hillary partisan, the FBI has scrambled to find a better reason for launching it and thought it had found one in the George Papadopoulos yarn. But that one just gets weirder and weirder. According to the Daily Caller, Alexander Downer, the Aussie diplomat who partied with Papadopoulos and claims the Trump volunteer made an incriminating remark, had sought out the meeting, making it look like entrapment. Downer is known for greasing the wheels of the Clinton Foundation and belongs to the jet set of international busybodies up in arms over Trump. But whatever he squeezed out of Papadopoulos, it wasn’t specific or weighty enough to include in the originating document for the probe, according to Nunes.

The Papadopoulos leak was the FBI’s attempt to divert attention from its absurd reliance on Brennan and Christopher Steele. The FBI doesn’t want to have to admit that it harassed a presidential campaign on the basis of opposition research Hillary Clinton financed, at the prodding of a CIA director in the tank for her. To make matters worse, Brennan’s alleged intelligence from the British on Trump-Russia collusion was just laundered Steele opposition research for Hillary (Steele had been feeding his work to British spies, who contacted Brennan). At the center of almost all the streams of phony intelligence flowing into the FBI was Steele. Through his relationship with the FBI, he served as a direct stream of bad intelligence. Through foreign intelligence agencies, he became an indirect stream of bad intelligence (with anything he gave those agencies re-routed to the FBI through Brennan). He also served as a conduit for opposition research from Hillary partisans at or connected to the State Department (Cody Shearer, a Hillary hatchet man, passed his opposition research through John Kerry aide Jonathan Winer to Steele, who then fed it back to the FBI).

It is no wonder why the originating document for the probe is so cryptic. It was a probe of, by, and for Hillary partisans, who, out of a toxic combination of Trump hatred and blinding liberal entitlement, had long ago thrown away the book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trump's European Strategy

The United States has a relatively small trade deficit with France, and Paris spends over 2 percent of its GDP on defense, the minimum amount recommended for NATO members. America’s large trade deficit with Germany, on the other hand, has been a source of constant irritation to Trump, as has its low defense spending. Moreover, Merkel’s decision to permit over a million migrants and refugees to enter Germany created the impression in Trump’s mind that she stands foursquare against him on the issue that defines his political career: the defense of national borders.

Merkel Has Disastrously Bungled Her Relationship With Trump

The chancellor’s approach has been typical of German foreign policy: moralistic, hypocritical — and completely ineffective.

This week, the leaders of France and Germany make back-to-back visits to Washington. On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump will honor his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, with his first state dinner; three days later, he will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. High up on both leaders’ agendas will be trade, with the European exemption from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs set to expire on May 1, and the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has insisted European leaders “fix” by May 12.

But beyond specific policy disagreements, Trump has presented a fundamental challenge for continental Europe’s two most important powers — a challenge to which France and Germany have responded very differently. The two approaches, which can essentially be boiled down to French pragmatism versus German petulance, are entirely characteristic of their respective political cultures. One of the two approaches – likewise characteristically – has proved far less effective.
From the moment Trump’s shocking election victory was announced in November 2016, the response of German officialdom, media, and the public has been a mix of moralism and hysteria. “Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views,” Merkel said in a statement the day after the election, adding, “I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.” Merkel was, in essence, presenting a qualified and conditional olive branch to the incoming American president, whose erratic behavior and incendiary rhetoric on the campaign trail indeed raised troubling questions about his commitment to the shared values of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

At a campaign rally the following year, Merkel delivered an even blunter message. “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent,” she told a Munich beer hall after attending a G7 summit where both Trump and Brexit loomed large. “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands — naturally in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain. … But we have to know that we Europeans must fight for our own future and destiny.”

Merkel has been relatively restrained among German leaders. “Trump is the pioneer of a new authoritarian and chauvinist international movement,” her then-Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel declared the day after Trump’s victory. Gabriel, a Social Democrat, would later broaden his criticism beyond the mere person of the president, affirming that “even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the U.S. will never be the same.”

In the months after Trump’s election, a narrative began to emerge among the global chattering class that, with the United States now having gone the way of “America First,” Germany, and Merkel personally, had assumed the mantle of “leader of the free world.” Given Germany’s paltry military expenditure and aversion to using force, this was always a fantasy. As the German journalist Clemens Wergin put it, his country “talks the talk, but it hardly even tries to walk the walk” when it comes to defending the liberal world order from its antagonists.
But some in Germany, goaded on by the unpredictability and boorishness of Trump, seem to have believed their own good press. Last February, the influential weekly Der Spiegel produced a sanguinary cover image of Trump decapitating the Statue of Liberty, which the artist claimed represented “the beheading of democracy.” Giving voice to decades-old yearning for “emancipation” from American hegemony, two prominent editors at Die Zeit published an essay calling for “a new foreign policy after Atlanticism” in which they complained that “the U.S. can no longer and will no longer be the stabilizer and protector of Europe,” as “the former guarantor of freedom and democracy is itself democratically out of control.” Such feelings are backed by public opinion; a recent poll found that 79 percent of Germans consider Trump a greater threat to world peace than Russian President Vladimir Putin.

If the collective German response to Trump can been characterized by its sanctimony, France’s has been marked by maturity. Trump is hardly more popular among the French than Germans (14 percent vs. 11 percent), but such dislike for the American president has not led to drastic and categorical reassessments of the Franco-American relationship. Rather than lecturing Trump (and, by implication, America), Macron’s strategy has been to hug the president close — inviting him and his wife, Melania, to Paris for Bastille Day celebrations — and express disagreements frankly when necessary. (Macron’s offer of millions of euros in “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants for American scientists to relocate to France certainly did not go unnoticed in Washington.) With Macron, Trump seems to recognize, despite their ideological differences, a fellow political revolutionary who similarly defied all the naysayers in upending an exhausted and corrupt political order.

There are, of course, deeper and more substantive reasons for the divergent French and German attitudes toward the American president. On the issues of trade and defense spending — two bugbears for Trump — France finds itself in America’s good graces. The United States has a relatively small trade deficit with France, and Paris spends over 2 percent of its GDP on defense, the minimum amount recommended for NATO members. America’s large trade deficit with Germany, on the other hand, has been a source of constant irritation to Trump, as has its low defense spending. Moreover, Merkel’s decision to permit over a million migrants and refugees to enter Germany created the impression in Trump’s mind that she stands foursquare against him on the issue that defines his political career: the defense of national borders.

As a country that was defeated in war, rebuilt, and militarily occupied by America, Germany has a relationship with the United States that is far more complicated than that of its neighbor across the Rhine. Like a big brother, America has been simultaneously loved, feared, and hated by Germany in the more than 70 years since the end of World War II. Germany remains dependent on the United States for its security, and as in any relationship, dependency can breed resentment. Popular German attitudes toward America are like mood swings, with bitter lows (the eight years of George W. Bush) followed by soaring highs (Hope! — Das Obama Musicalwas a real thing). In Donald Trump, Germans feel that they have lost their illusions about America. The French, by contrast, never quite romanticized America as the Germans did; having always jealously maintained a Gaullist “independence” and room for maneuver in foreign affairs and military policy, they possessed fewer illusions to lose. While the Germans loved Barack Obama for his grace and multilateral instincts, he was a letdown to the hard-nosed French, who were obliged to call off retaliatory air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2013 after the U.S. president refused to enforce his red line on chemical weapons use.

The German penchant for following rules is not just a cultural stereotype; as an export nation dependent upon the United States for its security, Germans care deeply about the rules-based liberal order, and their criticisms of Trump usually take the form of frustration and incomprehension at his flagrant disregard for its norms. But Germans can afford to be sentimental about the liberal world order because they do so little to maintain it. If Germans love to speak of rules, the French better understand that enforcing them requires the power to do so. “In the case of the France–U.S. relationship, cooperation has been promoted politically as a way to pursue common strategic interests rather than as the realization of a moral and normative bond,” write Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer and Martin Quencez of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “As a result, French leaders have learned to be relatively comfortable working with U.S. presidents who were deeply unpopular in France.”

The pragmatic versus petulant approaches to dealing with Trump mirror the ways both countries responded to another American outrage: National Security Agency espionage conducted against their politicians and citizens. In 2015, when WikiLeaks, drawing on documents obtained from the fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden, revealed that the United States had spied on French presidents, the reaction in Paris was a collective shrug. The French understand that this is part of life for great powers — of which France is certainly one. The French attitude toward Trump is not unlike their nonchalance at NSA spying: If Americans decide to elect a boorish television game show host as president, they will deal with him and not feel the need to whine and cry about it — and it’s not like the French themselves aren’t used to prima donna presidents.
Germany’s response to the NSA revelations could not have been more different. The press, public, and politicians demanded that the Americans be punished, a parliamentary committee was formed to investigate NSA practices, and the Berlin CIA station chief was expelled. This was, to put it simply, a hysterical overreaction, made even more apparent when compared to the lack of public outrage over Russia’s hacking Bundestag computer servers in 2015. Whatever one feels about Trump, it is preposterous to think that he poses a greater threat to world peace than the former KGB thug whose regime perpetrated the first armed annexation of territory on the European continent since World War II, backs Assad in Syria, and allegedly used a chemical nerve agent on British soil.
The result of these various dynamics is that Macron has eclipsed Merkel as Europe’s chief interlocutor with the United States, a rather momentous development considering how the German chancellor occupied that role for the full duration of the Obama presidency. There is risk in assuming this position, however, as illustrated by the experience of Merkel’s predecessor in the job: Tony Blair. The British prime minister’s prominent part in selling George W. Bush’s Iraq War “made Blair, once [one] of the U.K.’s most popular politicians, one of its most reviled,” writes Yasmeen Serhan of The Atlantic. Thus far, it is difficult for Macron to point to any significant victories his approach has garnered, as Trump has broken with European prerogatives on climate, the Iran nuclear deal, trade, and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

But it’s far from clear that Merkel’s more openly confrontational stance will be more productive. If anything, it has only aggravated Trump’s volatile temper and sensitivity to slights, real or perceived. It seems safe to say that Macron, watching Trump’s treatment of Merkel after returning to Paris, will have occasion to feel a very German emotion: schadenfreude

More from Foreign Policy
By Taboola

Sunday, April 22, 2018

James Comey; Leaker, Liar, and Subversive - John Brennan, Leaker, Liar Traitor, Blackguard

Comey and Brennan, Leaders of the Coup

Even as Jim Comey and John Brennan lecture the American people on what is “normal,” they adopt an astonishingly abnormal role for former heads of the CIA and FBI — the role of coup leaders whose partisanship grows more reckless by the day.

“This is not a tin-pot dictatorship,” says Comey. But aren’t Brennan and Comey acting like officials of a displaced one? They are trying to claw back to power by spreading unverified charges against a duly elected president. Brennan says without evidence that the Russians have “something” on Trump. Comey says without evidence that it is “possible” Trump paid prostitutes in Moscow to urinate on each other. Here we have the two former guardians of the nation’s secrets showing less restraint than gossip columnists at TMZ.

Comey compares a president who gained power lawfully to a “mobster,” while he casts his own illicit power grabs as “ethical.” It is Comey and Brennan who are behaving like deep state thugs, staging a coup through cronies in the press to whom they had been criminally leaking before Trump’s victory. Thanks to that cozy relationship, Comey and Brennan can spread their smears far and wide.
It turns out that Mueller hasn’t even interviewed Brennan, the original spinner of the Trump-Russia fable. That’s all you need to know about the bogusness of Mueller’s investigation. It was never about Russia but simply a pretext to impeach a president the ruling class despised. If Brennan had any real information on collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mueller would have certainly spoken to him by now. The fact that he hasn’t is confirmation that the genesis of the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign was a sham.

But that, of course, doesn’t stop Brennan from continuing to stoke it. In his interview with Chuck Todd, he entertained the unverified claim that Trump’s lawyer went to Prague for a nefarious meeting with the Russians. Brennan said the charge is “devastating,” if true, while providing zero evidence for it. Naturally, Todd, a former Democratic staffer, aided the smear by saying that the charge, along with the others in the Hillary-purchased Steele dossier, merit discussion since they haven’t been “disproven” yet.

What an insanely unfair standard of evidence. Americans should tremble at this spectacle. If even a president isn’t safe from such smears, peddled by former heads of the CIA and FBI, who is? How many people did Comey prosecute on similarly flaky grounds? How many “intelligence assessments” did Brennan issue on nothing more than his own hunches?

It is hard to imagine a worse advertisement for the CIA and FBI than Brennan and Comey. Whatever aura of apolitical credibility those agencies once enjoyed these two partisan hacks have shattered. Brennan told Todd that members of the intelligence community are privately cheering him on in his coup attempt. His “former colleagues,” he said, say, “Thank you, John.” Wow, how reassuring.
Comey’s coup attempt, meanwhile, is backed by his wife and daughters, who proudly identify as Hillary supporters and anti-Trump activists. In his drippy way, Comey was almost saying to George Stephanopoulos: hey, my family put me up to it. In one of ABC’s promo shots, Comey and his wife are sitting next to each other, poring over the New York Timeslike two very concerned liberals.

Comey gave himself away in the ABC interview by anchoring his “moral” case against Trump on smug liberal grounds — that Trump’s comments “in Charlottesville” make him “unfit” to be president and so forth. The interview was only notable for the exposure of Comey’s entitled liberalism, punctuated by his admission that he didn’t even inform Trump about the partisan origins of the Steele dossier. That wasn’t part of his “goal,” he said.

A leaker, liar, and subversive, Comey is now off to teach “ethical leadership” at William and Mary (his alma mater, for whose basketball team he once falsely claimed to play, according to the book’s review in the Washington Post), while Brennan, who urges members of the federal government to disobey the chief executive, keeps an eye on Trump’s “moral turpitude.”

Their delusions of grandeur show no signs of dissipating. Brennan, who supported the Soviet-controlled American Communist Party in the 1970s, has even taken to speaking up for the “deceived,” as if he is the voice of an oppressed and unenlightened proletariat. Comey is operating off a similar conceit, seeing himself as a figure simply too singular to be fired. For some reason, Comey thought it sympathy-inducing to tell Stephanopoulos that he drank wine from a “paper cup” on the flight back after his sacking — an image of Comey not as a moral giant but a pathetic partisan drunk on his own rectitude.

Saturday, April 21, 2018



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bill O'Reilly - Cohen raid and where this all leaves President Trump

Bill O'Reilly - Cohen raid and where this all leaves President Trump
In this extensive interview, Bill questions Joe diGenova, former U.S. Attorney for D.C., on various members of the FBI and their role in the coup d'etat. Plus, O'Reilly gets to the bottom as to why Sessions didn't release the portion of the IG report on Comey. There is a large amount of information coming out at this time, head to BOR.com to get the answers you need

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mike Pompeo’s Senate hearing revealed an important truth. America has been perverted by the left.

The Perversion of America

The question from Sen. Cory Booker was blunt: “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion? Yes or no?” Sitting in the witness chair at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing was CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominated by President Trump to be Secretary of State. The former Kansas congressman began to answer, but Booker interrupted: “Yes or no, sir. Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion that is what you said here in one of your speeches? Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

Watching this televised interrogation last week, I halfway hoped Pompeo would make the obvious joke: If they’re not having perverted sex, what’s the point of being gay?

Words mean things, and “pervert” originated in 14th-century France, as a verb meaning “to turn away” from correct religious belief, or as a noun synonymous with “apostate.” In the 1890s, the English psychologist Havelock Ellis used “perversion” to describe homosexual behavior in his Studies in the Psychology of Sex, thus borrowing the language of medieval Catholicism for the allegedly “scientific” study of sexual behavior.

Of course, neither Ellis nor anyone else who has made a career of studying sex should be presumed to be neutral and objective about the subject. Like many later such “experts” (including Wilhelm Reich and Alfred Kinsey), Ellis was decidedly weird in his sexual behavior, and his “objective” writing about homosexuality must be viewed with suspicion in light of his own abnormality. Nevertheless, it is to Ellis that we are most indebted for shifting the context of Western society’s understanding of homosexual behavior from the traditional category of religious morality (sin) to medical science (perversion).

This shift from Bible-based language to scientific terminology as the common basis for describing sexual behavior was advanced in the 20th century by Sigmund Freud and his psychoanalytic disciples. Those who had formerly been deemed sinners in need of prayer were reclassified as patients in need of therapy, and psychiatric “experts” replaced clergy as the guiding authorities in such matters. What had formerly been a crime called sodomy (a term derived from Genesis 19) subject to legal punishment, became instead the symptom of a disease called homosexuality, subject to psychiatric “treatment.” Instead of being sentenced to jail for an illegal act, or seeking advice from a pastor, priest, or rabbi on how to escape sinful temptation, the person diagnosed with homosexual tendencies was sent to the therapist’s office or, in some cases, committed to a mental institution. Words mean things, and this change of terminology about sexual behavior was significant of a major cultural shift in 20th-century America.
Mike Pompeo didn’t have a chance to explore the etymology of the word “perversion” in his Senate testimony last Thursday. Cory Booker wasn’t seeking a historical overview of our society’s understanding of sexuality, but rather was asking about remarks Pompeo made during a June 2015 “God and Country” rally at Summit Church in Wichita, Kansas. Pompeo quoted the words of Summit Church’s senior pastor Joe Wright: “We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.” In fact, those words are from a very famous prayer Pastor Wright gave in 1996 at the Kansas state legislature, which provoked nationwide attention as the evangelical minister asked God’s forgiveness for a number of sins. That 277-word prayer has been reprinted many times and circulated widely over the Internet and, while it may seem shocking to Democrats and their media allies, the words Pompeo quoted from Pastor Wright reflect the Bible-based beliefs of the vast majority of Christians in America today.

“Yes or no,” Cory Booker demanded, “do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”
Of course it is, if words have any meaning, but Mike Pompeo was there to be confirmed as Secretary of State, not to give a lecture about etymology, theology, or moral philosophy. A student of rhetoric might observe that Booker was not asking Pompeo whether homosexuality can be defined as a perversion; anyone could consult a dictionary for that. Rather, the New Jersey Democrat was interested in the negative connotation of the word “perversion.” In large measure due to the influence of Havelock Ellis, “pervert” became a vulgar insult in the 20th century. To be a pervert was to be sick — mentally defective — and as psychology replaced Christianity as the prevailing standard of social and legal judgment, “pervert” carried a stigma, a connotation of disapproval. For the sake of rhetorical accuracy, therefore, Sen. Booker’s repeated questions in Thursday’s hearing might be rephrased: “Do you disapprove of homosexual behavior?”

Here we arrive at the real truth of the matter. Pastor Wright might provide a scriptural exegesis, invoking various Bible passages (e.g.,Genesis 1:27-28Leviticus 18:22Romans 1:24-28) to justify the Christian faith’s disapproval of homosexuality. Americans are guaranteed both freedom of religion and freedom of speech by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and so no Christian can be compelled to approve of homosexuality, nor can any American be forbidden to express their opinion on the subject. It might have behooved Pompeo to turn the question around on Sen. Booker: “Does the Democratic Party believe in the First Amendment or not? Yes or no, Senator?”

Do we have a right to our own opinions, or is it now “hate speech” for anyone to say they disapprove of homosexuality? This concerned the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the series of decisions — Lawrence v. Texas (2003), United States v. Windsor (2013), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) — in which the Supreme Court first struck down the right of states to outlaw sodomy, then voided the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and finally mandated that same-sex marriage must be recognized in all 50 states. Anyone can read Scalia’s dissent in the Lawrence case, where he prophesied the “far-reaching implications” of the 5-4 majority ruling as ominous of “a massive disruption of the current social order.” Four times in that dissent, Scalia quoted the majority’s claim that an “emerging awareness” of sexual freedom justified overturning the Court’s 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick decision, which had upheld Georgia’s sodomy law. The majority opinion in Bowers was written by Justice Byron White, who had been appointed to the Court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, indicating that not long ago — within the lifetime of many readers — there were actually Democrats who disapproved of homosexuality.

Times change, and we are now governed by what I’ve called the Emerging Awareness Doctrine. Once an “awareness” of sexual liberation begins to “emerge” as a principle of law, who knows where it might lead? If the Supreme Court could locate a federal “right” to same-sex marriage somewhere in the Fourteenth Amendment, what other unexpected mischief might be found there? Some people have interpreted the Obergefell ruling to mean that citizens can be compelled to provide wedding cakes for same-sex marriage ceremonies, and why stop there? Perhaps next we’ll all be required to attend the nearest Gay Pride parade, under penalty of laws forbidding “discrimination” against the LGBTQ community.
Sarcastic humor about homosexuality is not yet illegal, of course, although it would be unwise to make any such jokes on a university campus in America, where the activist mobs are intolerant of anyone who refuses to participate in the compulsory celebration of “diversity” and “inclusion.” At Harvard University, for example, an evangelical Christian student group was recently “suspended” and “defunded” — to all intents and purposes, banned from campus — because it asked one of its leaders to step down after she became involved in a lesbian relationship. Christianity is now practically prohibited at Harvard, a school founded by Puritans for the training of Christian clergy, one of those 21st-century ironies we’re supposed to ignore, the same way we are expected to ignore how much Sen. Booker’s interrogation of Pompeo resembles the anti-Communist crusade of Joe McCarthy: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a homophobe?”
Words mean things, and the accusation of “homophobia” — which is what Sen. Booker was driving at in his questions about “perversion” — requires us to believe that Mike Pompeo’s disapproval of homosexuality is rooted in an irrational fear. Thus the scientific pretensions of Havelock Ellis have been reversed. Whereas once Ellis claimed “expert” knowledge of the causes of perversion as a mental disease, nowadays it is normal people who are subject to diagnosis as being afflicted with a “phobia” if they express disapproval toward homosexuality.
Pompeo was quick to disavow engaging in any illegal discrimination in such matters, but Booker felt a need to publicly shame him for what he’d said in a 2015 speech at a Kansas church event. If Christianity is unacceptable at Harvard, it certainly can’t be tolerated at the State Department. And if it is no longer permissible for any government official to say what Pompeo said, how much longer will preachers be allowed to say what Pastor Wright said?

America has become perverted, in the original 14th-century sense of the word, having turned away from the doctrines on which the nation was founded. We have worshipped other gods — “diversity” and “inclusion” chief among them — and the Supreme Court itself has “endorsed… an alternative lifestyle.” As Justice Scalia warned 15 years ago, there are “far-reaching implications” of our nation’s turning away from its founding principles and it remains to be seen how long America will survive the resulting “massive disruption” of its social order.

How Obama, Clinton, McCain and Kerry own Libya, Syria & ISIS


The Truth about Benghazi

Judicial Watch Unravels Benghazi Scandal with New Documents
Mexican Government Helicopter Crosses Into U.S. and Attacks Border Agents

Obamacare Lawlessness to the Supreme Court?

Judicial Watch Unravels Benghazi Scandal with New Documents
Judicial Watch has blown open the Benghazi scandal yet again. We forced the release of new smoking-gun documents that show that the Obama administration knew almost from the outset that the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, was coordinated and pre-planned. The news about these documents was broken by Catherine Herridge of Fox News.

Your JW obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.

These just-released documents were not given voluntarily, but forced out of the secretive Obama administration thanks to a court order that followed a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against both DOD and State asking for communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.” The documents provide us with the first official confirmation that the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria. (Interestingly, it is not clear if the information was ever shared with Congress, even though the documents were responsive to a request about communications with Congress.)
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were both killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012. Several hours after the initial assault, a second terrorist attack took place targeting a different compound located just one mile away. Two CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed in this second attack and 10 others were injured.

Let’s see how Obama and Clinton operatives (such as George Stephanopoulos) explain away a Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, which details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” This document was sent to Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted DOD “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ [al Qaeda] ideologies:”
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, and “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.” The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”
The Defense Department reported that the group maintained written documents in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”
It should be noted that Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.

The DOD documents provide confirmation that the Obama administration knew weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. This had been the source of much speculation, as many have asked, including Judicial Watch, just exactly what we were up to in Benghazi that would require a rushed facility that was unsecured (the Benghazi Special Mission Compound). Some darn big clues are in the October 2012 DIA report:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. 
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
The DIA document further details:
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]
The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons. The level of detail presented suggests that the Obama administration, in the least, was in a position to stop any transfers.

Why is the weapons transfer issue important? Because the Libya fiasco was allowing weapons to move into a jihadist madhouse in the Syria-Iraq region.
Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:
The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISIS could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked-out, but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

It turns out the DIA warnings were right on the nose. In a recent crushing victory, ISIS terrorists took over Ramadi. The Iraqi military cut and ran. And now the murderous Islamic radicals, with volunteers courtesy of Obama’s Libya creation, have embarrassed America and taken many American military assets that we gave to the Iraqi military!

From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created by Hillary Clinton’s offices and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat the morning after the Benghazi attack, which was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant). At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:
Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….
The State Department has yet to turn over any documents to Judicial Watch from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials. However, the State Department released some of these secret emails recently – again thanks in no small measure to our oversight pressure. For corrupt politicians, the long Memorial Day weekend is the best time to release damaging information in the hopes most miss it during the holiday.

These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has been in motion for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them. If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also show connections between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Constitution expressly gives Congress significant power over the military.

Most notably, Congress has power to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” Nothing in the Constitution requires these “Rules” to be consistent with the President’s desires:

The president is not our ‘commander-in-chief’

Politicians should stop referring to the President of the United States as “the commander-in-chief,” as he is often referred to.  Most recently Hillary Clinton, who I admire, said the following about Republican senators who wrote an open letter to Iran:

“Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy.”
But the president is not the commander-in-chief for purposes of diplomatic negotiations.  This characterization mistakenly implies that President Obama—or any president—is our commander, and that his decisions should receive special deference.  This is a misreading of our constitution, which creates a presidency that is subject to the checks and balances of co-equal branches of the government.  The president is only the commander-in-chief of “the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.” This provision was intended to assure civilian control over the military and to serve as a check on military power. 
The only people he is empowered to command are soldiers, sailors and members of the militia—not ordinary citizens. 

This important limitation on the president’s power is highly relevant to the current debate about Congress having the authority to check the president’s decision to make the deal, currently being negotiated with Iran.  The Constitution is clear about this.  The president is not the commander-in-chief of our nation’s foreign policy.  When he is involved in “high-stakes international diplomacy,” his involvement is not as commander-in-chief of our armed forces, but rather as negotiator-in-chief, whose negotiations are subject to the checks and balances of the other branches.

As president, he cannot even declare war, though he can decide how a war should be fought after Congress declares it.  He cannot make a treaty without the approval of 2/3 of the Senate.  He cannot appoint ambassadors without the consent of the Senate.  And he cannot terminate sanctions that were imposed by Congress without Congress changing the law.  Were he the “commander-in-chief” of our country—as Putin is of Russia or as Ali Khamenei is of Iran—he could simply command that all of these things be done.  But our Constitution separates the powers of government—the power to command—into three co-equal branches.  The armed forces are different: power is vested in one commander-in-chief.
To be sure when politicians call our president the “commander-in-chief,” they are using that term rhetorically.  But it is dangerous rhetoric, because it suggests a concentration, rather than a division, of power.  Military metaphors are as inappropriate in a democracy as is martial law, which does empower the executive to act as the commander of all people, but only in cases of extreme emergency. 
So let’s describe the president by his actual constitutional role:  the head of the executive branch of our tripod government that stands on three equal legs.  As the head of the executive branch, he gets to negotiate treaties, agreements and other bilateral and multilateral deals.  But Congress has a say in whether to approve what the president has negotiated. 

Turning to the deal with Iran over nuclear weapons, there are sharp disagreements between the executive branch and the legislative branch over the merits of what appears to be the deal now on the table.  No agreement has yet been reached, but assume, for argument’s sake, that the president negotiates a deal with which a majority of Congress fundamentally disagrees.  Who gets the final word?  That depends on several factors.  

First, of course, is whether the deal negotiated by the president constitutes a “treaty,” within the meaning of the constitution.  If it does, then it requires the formal ratification of the Senate.  The Obama administration has taken the position that this is merely an executive agreement and not a treaty.  That of course is a knife that cuts both ways, because treaties are binding until formally revoked, whereas executive agreements can be undone by future presidents.  The law is anything but clear as to what makes a bilateral or multilateral agreement a treaty, but this one has elements that are treaty-like in its content.  So even if it does not formally meet the definition of a treaty, this agreement should require some form of approval by the legislative branch, particularly if it is to remain an enduring part of American foreign policy. 

Another factor that impacts the role of Congress is whether the agreement requires Congress to remove existing sanctions that were put in place by congressional action.  If it does, then the approval of Congress in the removal of such sanctions will be required.  The president does have some sanctioning power and he can remove sanctions that he or past presidents have imposed.  This deal would seem therefore to require congressional approval, since it includes the removal of congressional sanctions. 

These important issues will be debated over the next weeks and months, but what should not be debated is the role of the president in a democracy based on the separation of powers.  So let’s stop calling the head of our executive branch the “commander-in-chief,” and let’s stop creating the false impression that the president alone can make an enforceable and enduring deal with Iran regarding its nuclear weapons program. 

Dershowitz is a lawyer, constitutional scholar, commentator and author, whose latest book is an e-book titled Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel’s Just War Against Hamas (Rosettabooks 2014).

Sunday, April 15, 2018

False Flag Gas Attack Predicted on March 17, 2018

On April 13, 2018, One Month After This Prediction The Russians, the US, UK, Israel  and France attacked Syria 

Published on Mar 17, 2018

Russia’s Defense Ministry says “US instructors” are training militants to stage false flag chemical attacks in south Syria. The incidents are said to be a pretext for airstrikes on Syrian government troops and infrastructure. \Check out http://rt.com RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c... Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews Follow us on Telegram https://t.me/rtintl Follow us on VK https://vk.com/rt_international Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT


Chemical Attacks, False Flags and the Fate of Syria

Once again Eastern Ghouta is the epicenter of a confrontation between the White House and Bashar al-Assad. On April 7, medics in Douma, the largest city in the agricultural belt surrounding Damascus, blamed him for authorizing the aerial bombardment of chlorine gas that cost the lives of at least 40 people and injuries to hundreds of others. While chlorine gas has been used in the past by Assad’s air force, it has not had the devastating impact it had this time.

Syria, Russia and Iran dismissed such reports as a “false flag” in which jihadists used fraudulent photos and videos to pressure American imperialism into taking their side in an all-out attack such as the one that took place against Iraq in 2003. For those of a conspiracist bent, this was a con job just like the Apollo Moon landing hoax when film simulations supposedly substituted for the real thing.
In past “false flag” incidents, the scenario was somewhat different. Assad’s camp was willing to agree that the corpses were real but that they had been killed by the jihadi terrorists they supported in order to seduce the White House into a “regime change” operation. This time RT.com filed a report that described Douma as having suffered no attack whatsoever:
The Russian military has found no trace of chemical weapons use after searching parts of Syria’s Douma allegedly targeted by an “attack.” Photos of victims posted by the White Helmets are fake, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
Experts in radiological, chemical and biological warfare, as well as medics, on Monday inspected the parts of the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma, where an alleged chemical attack supposedly took place on Saturday, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria said in a statement.
As also happened in the aftermath of the sarin gas attacks in East Ghouta on August 21, 2013 and in Khan Sheikhoun almost a year ago, the White House threatened to retaliate. In 2013, Obama decided to call off a military strike after he was assured by Russia that Assad would agree to relinquish his chemical weapons stockpile. Four days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, Trump ordered the navy to fire 59 Cruise missiles at the air force base from which the attack was launched. Since Trump tipped off the Kremlin before the missiles were fired and since the base was launching new attacks within a few days, there were some grounds for viewing the missile attack as mostly for show. This go-round Trump tweeted that nice, new and “smart” missiles would be coming. Whether they will have any long-term impact on a war that is largely over is debatable.

And also as has happened in the past, much of the left accepts the “false flag” narrative. In an interview with teleSUR, Max Blumenthal dismissed reports of casualties as untrustworthy because they have been furnished by what he called jihadist-supporting elements such as the White Helmets and the mainstream media. His advice to the audience was to trust the much more reliable Russian media. At the risk of sounding like a reactionary goon, I prefer the NY Times to Sputnik especially for Melissa Clark’s recipes.

It is not just the left that absolves Assad. Despite their overall support for Trump, especially his racism, a number of prominent alt-right figures are disappointed that he has been snookered by jihadi fake news. Among them is Tucker Carlson who spent ten minutes on his Monday night show making the same points as Blumenthal. Carlson is in a budding bromance with Blumenthal because of their shared opposition to the Russiagate investigation. Instead of baiting Blumenthal over his opposition to Israel, he instead found common ground in their shared hatred of fake news dispensing, sharia-law embracing, head-chopping terrorists. Carlson was quite the fire-breathing anti-imperialist:
Trump has to take action in Syria. Everyone nods sagely. That ought to make you nervous. Universal bipartisan agreement on anything is usually the first sign that something deeply unwise is about to happen. If only because there is nobody left to ask skeptical questions. 
And we should be skeptical of this. Starting with the poison gas attack itself. All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course, they don’t really know that. They are making it up. They have no real idea what happened.
Writing for DavidDuke.com, Dr. Patrick Slattery sounded a similar note:
The absolute low point of the first year of the Trump administration was when Trump bombed the Syrian airbase in response to Ivanka crying to her dad about a picture of a baby in a gas mask. It was a hoax then and it is a hoax now. Everything that (((CNN))), (((NPR))), (((NBC))), (((CBS))), (((ABC))), (((PBS))), (((The New York Times))), and (((The Washington Post))) say about Russia, Russian collusion, Syrian gas attacks, Russian nerve agent attacks, and everything else is 100% certified kosher bull honk.
Even the highly respectable (and totally based) Professor Stephen F. Cohen described the alleged poisoning of a Russian double agent as a “false flag.”
In case you are not familiar with “(((“ and “)))”, those are meant to self-identify Jews on Twitter. Slattery has another use for them apparently.

The Bellingcat website is perhaps the only place where you can find fact-based reporting on chemical attacks in Syria. It was launched by Eliot Higgins, a British citizen-journalist who relies heavily on open source material and field reports from the affected areas. In an April 11 entry, there is an attempt to ground the Douma incident in verifiable data such as the characteristic yellow cylinders in which weaponized chlorine gas is delivere. There are also videos of corpses in the basement of a building that was within the impacted area, each with the tell-tale sign of white foam around the nose and mouth. Video one:

Video two:

Are they another Apollo Moon landing hoax? Judge for yourself.
An earlier chlorine gas attack took place in Douma on January 22. On that occasion, Rex Tillerson warned about the consequences but Trump demonstrated about as much interest in retaliation as he would have in reading a Jane Austen novel. Why this latest incident has provoked saber-rattling is not easy to answer. It is tempting to write it off as a gesture intended to demonstrate that Russiagate is based on a false premise but more likely it is to remind the world of America’s global reach. In any case, the Trump administration has no business bombing Syria, even when the target was ISIS—a massive campaign that somehow escaped the left’s attention. Exterminate ISIS? Why not?

One argument against Assad’s guilt is the often-heard claim that since he was winning the war, why would he use a tactic that would give the USA an excuse to intervene. Perhaps the muted response of both Obama and Trump was enough to persuade Assad’s military to go full steam ahead. One might also ask why Harry Truman decided to drop A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki when Japan’s days were numbered. It was Gar Alperovitz who correctly interpreted it as a warning to Russia that the USA was going to become the number one imperial power. So did Assad have a motivation anything like this? I would say that he certainly did. Chemical attacks have a way of educating the population that he will stop at nothing to continue the family’s dynastic rule. Ten years from now as a new revolutionary wave gathers momentum in Syria, perhaps it will be constrained by memories of the brutal measures the regime was ready to take.

While it is true that Assad was winning, a ground attack on East Ghouta would have been costly. The Syrian army has been depleted after 7 years of war and the resistance in an area under rebel control would have been considerable. 

Additionally, the lack of a response to the January 22 attack might have convinced Assad that Trump was willing to maintain a hands-off policy especially since sarin gas was not going to be used. In fact, between December 12, 2016 and April 7, 2017 there were a dozen chemical attacks by the Syrian military that except for Khan Sheikhoun went unnoticed not only by the Trump administration but by most of the left. The first and most costly (92 lives) probably mattered the least since the victims lived in ISIS-controlled Palmyra. The Guardian reported:
“Most of the dead were families,” said Ahmad al Hamawi, head of a regional council. “They had built primitive shelters and they ran to them, not knowing it was poison gas. While they were in the shelters the gas entered because of the wind direction, and killed dozens, mostly women and children.”
Why would Trump lift a finger to protect such people? Even if they loathed ISIS, they committed the cardinal sin of living under its control.

These are the poor, obscure and undeserving souls who found themselves in the unenviable position of living in rebel-controlled areas such as East Ghouta. Given so much of the left’s eagerness to superimpose the history of the war on Iraq on Syria, there is little engagement with their class differences. The Bush administration cultivated the loyalties of the Shia bourgeoisie in Basra and Baghdad that was eager to serve American interests. With someone like Ahmed Chalabi stepping up to make their case, this seemed like a match made in heaven (or hell). Chalabi had amassed a $100 million fortune and cultivated close relations with neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz. Unfortunately for the dwellers of East Ghouta and other such boondocks, they had nobody like that to speak for them.

The Sunni poor made the mistake of putting their confidence in men like Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib who was a college graduate and a one-time imam of a Damascus mosque before assuming the leadership of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. He never would have gotten far with the likes of either Paul Wolfowitz or Barack Obama making outrageous statements such as this:
Appearances may differ but the core is similar, and whether that core is French, British, Russian or American, the ultimate goal is the same; intervention, domination and supremacy and all in the name of human rights.
The facts have proven beyond any doubt that the claws of international politics are tainted and that the world’s super powers are seeking, through the distribution of roles in the open and behind closed doors, to undermine the legitimate interests of the peoples of the world and trade in them by inciting sectarian sentiments, and the examples are plenty: from Syria and the Middle East, to Sudan and Rwanda, to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The left chose Assad over politicians like al-Khatib. Perhaps al-Khatib’s failure to speak in the name of communism and having had a job as an imam on his CV compromised him. It was the Syrian Communist Party that obviously resonated best with the left with familiar and reassuring words such as these: “Facing this complicated and hard situation, Syria had to request help from the Russian Federation. Moscow provided Syria with the support it needed to resist this barbarous aggression.”

When the history of this tragic war is written, it must take into account the class dimensions of a society that was as sharply divided as Cuba under Batista or Nicaragua under Somoza. Much of the left missed this because it saw Syria through the lenses of the Cold War. As long as Russia supported Syria, that was all you needed to know even if it was not Soviet Russia but a Russia in which strikes are virtually illegal and Putin damns Lenin for executing the Czar. Naturally, Putin would feel a great affinity for Assad who until the Arab Spring was someone Tony Blair would welcome to England on a state visit, where he even met her royal highness. His public image was so polished at this point that Vogue Magazine nearly featured a profile on him and his très chic wife.

The Syrian rebels are generally drawn from the poor, rural and unrepresented majority of the population, the Arab version of John Steinbeck’s Joad family. Despite the tendency of some on the left to see them as sectarians who rose up against a generous Baathist welfare state because it supported a different interpretation of who was the true successor to Muhammad, the revolutionary struggle in Syria was fueled by class hatred.

In agricultural belts like East Ghouta, conditions had become unbearable because a perfect storm of drought, neoliberalism and corruption had descended upon them. Myrian Ababsa, a research fellow in social geography at the French Institute for the Near East in Amman, Jordan described the calamity in a chapter in Raymond Hinnebusch and Tina Zintl’s Syria: from Reform to Revolt. Two years before the Arab Spring erupted in Syria, 42 percent of the largely agricultural Raqqa governorate suffered from anemia because of a shortage of dairy products, vegetables, and fruit. Between 2007 and 2009, malnutrition among pregnant women and children under five doubled. Under drought conditions, farmers resorted to polluted river water for irrigation. This led to outbreaks of food poisoning stemming from the sewage and chemicals that seeped into rivers in rural areas near Aleppo, Lattakia, and Raqqa.

Suffering from malnutrition and poverty, small-scale farmers, pastoral herders and the landless no longer sent their children to school. According to the UN some schools in the agricultural belt in eastern Syria decreased by 70 percent after April 2008. Illiteracy levels reached 38.3 percent in the Raqqa governorate, 35.1 percent in Hassaka governorate, and 34.8 percent in Deir ez-Zor governorate. More than a third of the population was illiterate, including more than half of the female population. Between 160 and 220 villages were abandoned in Hassaka governorate. With dried up wells, the population could not afford to bring water from private tankers at a cost amounting to $37 per month. These were Syria’s version of the people living in Flint except that they were ready to rise up in defense of their class interests.

Unfortunately for them, they lacked the means to defend themselves from barrel bombs, chemical attacks and a worldwide propaganda offensive that was sandwiched on the right by Tucker Carlson and Max Blumenthal on the left. They certainly deserved better.

Louis Proyect blogs at http://louisproyect.org and is the moderator of the Marxism mailing list. In his spare time, he reviews films for CounterPunch.