Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 21, 2016

How The Military Excluded The White House From International Syria Negotiations

The NYT laments today that international negotiations about the situation in Syria now continue without any U.S. participation: Russia, Iran and Turkey Meet for Syria Talks, Excluding U.S.

Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Moscow on Tuesday to work toward a political accord to end Syria’s nearly six-year war, leaving the United States on the sidelines as the countries sought to drive the conflict in ways that serve their interests.

Secretary of State John Kerry was not invited. Nor was the United Nations consulted.

With pro-government forces having made critical gains on the ground, ...

(Note: The last sentence originally and correctly said "pro-Syrian forces ...", not "pro-government forces ...". It was altered after I noted the "pro-Syrian" change of tone on Twitter.)

Russia kicked the U.S. out of any further talks about Syria after the U.S. blew a deal which, after long delaying negotiations, Kerry had made with the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

In a recent interview Kerry admits that it was opposition from the Pentagon, not Moscow or Damascus, that had blown up his agreement with Russia over Syria:

More recently, he has clashed inside the administration with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Kerry negotiated an agreement with Russia to share joint military operations, but it fell apart.

“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation of that extremely hard to accomplish,” Kerry said. “But I believe in it, I think it can work, could have worked."

Kerry's agreement with Russia did not just "fell apart". The Pentagon actively sabotaged it by intentionally and perfidiously attacking the Syrian army.

The deal with Russia was made in June. It envisioned coordinated attacks on ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, both designated as terrorist under two UN Security Council resolutions which call upon all countries to eradicate them. For months the U.S. failed to separate its CIA and Pentagon trained, supplied and paid "moderate rebel" from al-Qaeda, thereby blocking the deal. In September the deal was modified and finally ready to be implemented.

The Pentagon still did not like it but had been overruled by the White House:

The agreement that Secretary of State John Kerry announced with Russia to reduce the killing in Syria has widened an increasingly public divide between Mr. Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who has deep reservations about the plan for American and Russian forces to jointly target terrorist groups.
Mr. Carter was among the administration officials who pushed against the agreement on a conference call with the White House last week as Mr. Kerry, joining the argument from a secure facility in Geneva, grew increasingly frustrated. Although President Obama ultimately approved the effort after hours of debate, Pentagon officials remain unconvinced.
“I’m not saying yes or no,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command, told reporters on a video conference call. “It would be premature to say that we’re going to jump right into it.”

The CentCom general threatened to not follow the decision his Commander of Chief had taken. He would not have done so without cover from Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Three days later U.S. CentCom Air Forces and allied Danish airplanes attack Syrian army positions near the ISIS besieged city of Deir Ezzor. During 37 air attacks within one hour between 62 and 100 Syrian Arab Army soldiers were killed and many more wounded. They had held a defensive positions on hills overlooking the Deir Ezzor airport. Shortly after the U.S. air attack ISIS forces stormed the hills and have held them since. Resupply for the 100,000+  civilians and soldiers in Deir Ezzor is now endangered if not impossible. The CentCom attack enabled ISIS to eventually conquer Deir Ezzor and to establish the envisioned "Salafist principality" in east Syria.

During the U.S. attack the Syrian-Russian operations center had immediately tried to contact the designated coordination officer at U.S. Central Command to stop the attack. But that officer could not be reached and those at CentCom taking the Russian calls just hanged up:

By time the Russian officer found his designated contact — who was away from his desk — and explained that the coalition was actually hitting a Syrian army unit, “a good amount of strikes” had already taken place, U.S. Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas told reporters at the Pentagon Tuesday.

Until the attack the Syrian and Russian side had, as agreed with Kerry, kept to a ceasefire to allow the separation of the "marbled" CIA and al-Qaeda forces. After the CentCom air attack the Kerry-Lavrov deal was off:

On the sidelines of an emergency UN Security Council meeting called on the matter, tempers were high. Russia's permanent UN representative, Vitaly Churkin, questioned the timing of the strikes, two days before Russian-American coordination in the fight against terror groups in Syria was to begin.
"I have never seen such an extraordinary display of American heavy-handedness," he said, after abruptly leaving the meeting.

The Pentagon launched one of its usual whitewash investigations and a heavily redacted summary report (pdf) was released in late November.

Gareth Porter still found some usable bits in it:

The report, released by US Central Command on 29 November, shows that senior US Air Force officers at the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar, who were responsible for the decision to carry out the September airstrike at Deir Ezzor:
  • misled the Russians about where the US intended to strike so Russia could not warn that it was targeting Syrian troops
  • ignored information and intelligence analysis warning that the positions to be struck were Syrian government rather than Islamic State
  • shifted abruptly from a deliberate targeting process to an immediate strike in violation of normal Air Force procedures

The investigation was led by a Brigade General. He was too low in rank to investigate or challenge the responsible CentCom air-commander Lt. Gen. Harrington. The name of a co-investigator was redacted in the report and marked as "foreign government information". That officer was likely from Denmark.

Four days after the investigation report was officially released the Danish government, without giving any public reason, pulled back its air contingent from any further operations under U.S. command in Iraq and Syria.

With the attack on Deir Ezzor the Pentagon has:

  • enabled ISIS to win the siege in Deir Ezzor where 100,000+ civilians and soldiers are under threat of being brutally killed
  • cleared the grounds for the establishment of an ISIS ruled "Salafist principality" in east-Syria
  • deceived a European NATO ally and lost its active cooperation over Syria and Iraq
  • ruined Kerry's deal with Russia about a coordinated fight against UN designated terrorists in Syria
  • kicked the U.S. out of further international negotiations about Syria

It is clear that the responsible U.S. officer for the attack and its consequences is one Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian who had earlier publicly spoken out against a deal that his Commander in Chief had agreed to. He likely had cover from Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

The White House did not react to this public military insubordination and undermining of its diplomacy.

Emptywheel notes that, though on a different issue, the CIA is also in quite open insurrection against the President's decisions:

[I]t alarms me that someone decided it was a good idea to go leak criticisms of a [presidential] Red Phone exchange. It would seem that such an instrument depends on some foundation of trust that, no matter how bad things have gotten, two leaders of nuclear armed states can speak frankly and directly.

Posted by b on December 21, 2016 at 18:34 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Thanks b for all your efforts here & for providing a place for this community...

frohe Weihnachten!
and God bless us, everyone

Posted by: xLemming | Dec 21 2016 18:59 utc | 1

Off-topic, but the New York Times should be acknowledged in the annals of propaganda-generation for having posted the photograph of "the dazed child in the orange seat" at least once every day for over four months.

Posted by: chet380 | Dec 21 2016 19:06 utc | 2

Not precisely on topic but, I believe, very important.

Snopes' Vicious Attack on Eva Bartlett

The usual approach to reporting on any issue is to focus on the single issue, not get into side issues, and to use even, dispassionate language.

The current Snopes “report” on Eva Bartlett, however, is very different. It is not written in the usual Snopes tone. It is a vicious hatchet job by, clearly, someone with an axe to grind. It is loaded with US-NATO propaganda themes against Assad and Russia, it is a wide-ranging diatribe that even asserts the legitimacy of the notorious, so-called “White Helmets” terrorist gangs.

So what's going on here? And what about the author of the “report,” a Los Angeles area reporter named
Bethania Palma?

Is she a paid NATO-US propagandist?

Is she a for-hire smear artist?

And how does one go about investigating Snopes, the supposed investigators?

At least Project Censored hasn't fallen for the neocon propaganda. They interviewed her for 30 minutes on-air this morning, and clearly support her and her efforts.

There is a very serious need for something to be done about the Snopes attack on Bartlett and her findings, but I don't know what can be done.

Any ideas . . ?

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 21 2016 19:10 utc | 3

though on a different issue, the CIA is also in quite open insurrection against the President's decisions:

It merely confirms or reinforces what was known now for quite some, rather long, time--Obama is a shallow and cowardly amateur who basically abandoned the duty of governing the nation to all kinds of neocon adventurists and psychopaths. So, nothing new here. Results are everywhere on display for everyone to see.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Dec 21 2016 20:03 utc | 4

WW3 is obviously just around the corner.

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 21 2016 20:07 utc | 5
Here's Bilal (American CIA agent) pointing out another terrorist scumbag has an explosive belt to avoid getting captured. Notice his face is covered and he appears western? Likely the American David Scott Winner or Israeli aDavid Shlomo Aram. They're going to explode their way out of Aleppo. SAA should have just exterminated the rats rather than let them leave, Bilal included

Posted by: cantmossadtheassad | Dec 21 2016 20:25 utc | 6

Well b, after multiple revelations of US treachery, the water basket can take only so much.

Bilateral relationship is at bare minimum. Communication is said to be Frozen - I posted on the previous Open Thread the link below

Then again, it is difficult to see how sanctions between the two administration could be any more "damaged": also on Wednesday, the Kremlin said it did not expect the incoming U.S. administration to reject NATO enlargement overnight and that almost all communications channels between Russia and the United States were frozen, the RIA news agency reported.

“Almost every level of dialogue with the United States is frozen. We don’t communicate with one another, or (if we do) we do so minimally,” Peskov said.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

FWIW, The State Department ‘s full transcript of Presser on the Threesome talks – Kerry out of the loop, Snubbed but briefed -

Link includes denial US had a role in the assignation of Russia’s Ambassador.
The Denial, because some have noted the curious timing and connected dots:-

((I have a pen Obama and I can dial the red phone.))

On Friday, 17 December Obama threatened Russia and maintained the no evidence hacking of the US Elections to favor Trump.
He is quoted as saying:

The only thing worse than not using a weapon is using it ineffectively. And if he does choose to retaliate, he has insisted on maintaining what is known as “escalation dominance,” the ability to ensure you can end a conflict on your terms.

Mr. Obama hinted as much at his news conference on Friday, as he was set to leave for his annual Hawaii vacation, his last as president.

“Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you,” he said. “But it is also important to us to do that in a thoughtful, methodical way. Some of it, we will do publicly. Some of it we will do in a way that they know, but not everybody will.”

On Monday 19 December, there was a hit captured on video and played worldwide. It was not by droning.

Posted by: likklemore | Dec 21 2016 20:27 utc | 7

This post confirms that neocon Ash Carter was at the heart of the attack on Deir Ezzor and that the pro-Israel faction at the Pentagon will defy the chief executive if it achieves their political objectives.

I don't know how anyone can review the details of this incident and not conclude that the split in the US government is nearing a climax-point where the removal of an obstinate president is a real possibility.

Posted by: plantman | Dec 21 2016 20:36 utc | 8

"deceived a European NATO ally..." Denmark is run by bastards, so they need not be deceived to participate in the criminal act. Same as Australia.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 21 2016 20:37 utc | 9

excellent coverage b.. thank you..

the fact this division in power is happening in the usa today is indeed scary... why is this fucker ash carter still in any position of power, let alone the dipshit Jeffrey L. Harrigian? both these military folks might be serving israels interests very well, not to mention saudi arabia and gcc's but they sure ain't representing the usa's... or is the usa still a country with a leadership command? doesn't look like it..

Posted by: james | Dec 21 2016 20:43 utc | 10

Curiouser and curiouser.

The trolls of the empire are feeding on each other. And this is a good thing ... why?

Because on their own the sheople of the US are incapable of a revolt no matter how righteous their cause. The oligarchs and their minions thrive on discord and chaos. Thus we have the beginnings of a major breakdown (at long last) as some states (California in the lead) contemplate an exit by trying to establish embassies.

My, my!

We've never had a revolution in this country. Once upon a time we had a revolt by one group of oligarchs against the other (called a civil war, and its predecessor called the revolution). But a real bloody, kill off the oligarchs (as per France and Russia) revolt? No way Jose!

No ... we stupidly accept the tripe/trope of being too damned good ... recently called exceptionalism.

Implosion! The rest of the world (like me) can't wait!

Posted by: rg the lg | Dec 21 2016 20:48 utc | 11

So that's it? Deir Ezzor is just a write off? Putin is publicly talking about "wrapping up" the Russian mission in Syria, Iran wants to turn the military focus westward, towards Idlib. At least this is what they say in public.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Dec 21 2016 20:51 utc | 12

I think the Deir EzZor attack was more of a dying gasp from the CIA/CENTCOM than anything of immense strategic value. A last shot at prepping their east Syrian head-chopper partition, but a futile one at that. Palmyra and the attack on the Syrian oil/gas hub give that same impression, too. Neither was very well though out and both efforts are proving to be failures.

All this while the Obama administration is pushing for the SF 'cleaners' to erase any left-over intel and al Qaeda/al Nusra leaders as the head-choppers flee Aleppo. The CIA/CENTCOM are obviously in on this, while they still fancy some safe place for their spies and collaborators to escape and continue the fight.

Russia's Turkish ambassador? Maybe he was an unfortunate part of the U.S. clean-up operation. He would have certainly been privy to a lot of damaging info on U.S. involvement. Obama announced the clean-up operation in mid-November - recall the unexpected 'targeting key ISIS and al Nusra leaders' spiel, followed by the dispatch of U.S. SF (and U.K. SAS) kill-teams.

The ugly part of U.S. CIA/CENTCOM support for head-choppers is that they must control them. If they can't corral them in an east Syrian Pipelanistan, then they have to kill them and eliminate evidence of U.S. (and cronies') involvement. All at a time when a lame-duck U.S. administration is packing their belongings and cleaning out their offices.

The current CIA leaders and current neocon CENTCOM lackeys are pretty much out of business in the Middle East when Trump gets in. If they can't eliminate Trump, he will eliminate them. Current CENTCOM commanders will be purged and replaced with fresh Israeli-firsters for the war with Iran. Trump's stated plans to pour more money into 'strengthening' the U.S. military means plenty of jobs for the departing generals.

MacDill AFB (CENTCOM's home) must be crawling with defense industry executive recruiters looking for some fresh meat. The Pentagram is probably going to get an enema as well. Pretty soon, there will be unshaven, dirty generals standing near freeway on-ramps in Arlington begging for change, holding crudely-lettered cardboard signs that say, "Unemployed. Will wage war for sheckels. God bless you!" [I'll have my baseball bat ready...]

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 21 2016 20:57 utc | 13

Russia's Turkish ambassador? Maybe he was an unfortunate part of the U.S. clean-up operation. He would have certainly been privy to a lot of damaging info on U.S. involvement.

If he was privy, so were, simultaneously, all intelligence people working under cover and, as a consequence, Russia's military-political top. There are some really strong indications of Karlov's assassination being a "parting gift" by US neocon mafia who, especially after Trump's victory and liberation of Aleppo, is the main loser (not that they ever won anything realistically) in a major geopolitical shift which is taking place as I type this.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Dec 21 2016 21:07 utc | 14

One of your best posts ever, b. Certainly, it shows what a terrible mess has been created by the deceptive, infamous lot, who have added fuel to the fire in this war in Syria.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 21 2016 21:07 utc | 15

AntiSpin @ 3:

I should imagine that if you Google Bethania Palma's name (she's also known as Bethania Palma Markus), you will find that as a freelance writer she will have social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, possibly LinkedIn) and you and others can try to contact her through those.

Palma has also written rubbish pieces on the Syrian White Helmets and former UK ambassador Craig Murray's claims that the DNC emails leaks were the work of a Washington insider.

The more she writes such pieces for, laying out the details of the issue and then blithely dismissing them as having no credibility, the more the website's reputation for objective investigation will fall anyway. Palma will be her own worst enemy. So perhaps we need not bother trying to argue with her.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 21 2016 21:24 utc | 16

I have never before seen a US President as weak as Obama to the point where his own military disregards his command. the fact that anyone at the Pentagon would still have a job after openly defying the commander in chief shows you the pathetic state of affairs in a crumbling US.

Posted by: Danny801 | Dec 21 2016 21:54 utc | 17

Thank you b for a splendid piece of journalism.

While it speaks to a serious changing of the guard in the US military with Trump I hold little hope that it in anyway signals a lessening of the goals of empire.....just a change in approach.

Those owning private finance are still leading our "parade" into extinction, IMO It sure looks to me like the acolytes of Trump have primary fealty to the God of Mammon.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 21 2016 22:14 utc | 18

@Jen 16

Thanks for your comments. Here's some fresh info (well, fresh to me, anyway.)

Journalist Eva Bartlett DESTROYS Mainstream Journalist Over Syria, Aleppo

Then, about 35 or so comments down, an excellent and rather devastating analysis of the Snopes attack, by one “sleepd.” In it he discusses the background of the Snopes “report's” author:

“Let's look at the background of Bethania Palmer, the author of the Snopes piece. It claims she worked as a "journalist" for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which is a media company that has been purchased by a holding company called Digital First (previously Media News Group) that was run by a private equity company managed by a hedge funder. They are known for purchasing local run small newspapers and cutting staff and consolidating content into corporate-friendly ad sales positions. She also claims work for LAist, a local style and events blog in Los Angeles, and the OC Weekly, a somewhat conservative-leaning local weekly that survives on advertising. Nothing in her background that speaks towards expertise in the Middle East, or even awareness of differences in populations there. Considering that, we have to rate her credibility as below Barlett's when it comes to reporting on Middle Eastern affairs.”

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 21 2016 22:16 utc | 19

If the Pentagon can defy the president on such an important matter, I've gotta ask: Who controls the U.S.'s nukes?

Posted by: lysias | Dec 21 2016 22:19 utc | 20

If Trump's acolytes owe primary allegiance to Mammon, could that mean that they do not owe allegiance to Mars?

Posted by: lysias | Dec 21 2016 22:21 utc | 21

Dear President Barack Obama:

Please fire Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. I'm too old to get many other Christmas gifts this year.

Thank you for your kind attention,


Posted by: blues | Dec 21 2016 22:48 utc | 22

Obama had the Secretary of Defense he wanted, Chuck Hagel, in the office for a while. But for some reason he was unable to resist the pressure that was put on him to replace Hagel with Carter.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 21 2016 22:54 utc | 23


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that in this day and age where everyone has a phone camera there exists not one picture of the alleged gore that occurred in France and German truck attacks???

Also possessing identification documents, leaving them at the scene, appears to be a special talent required of all pseudo terr'ists.

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 21 2016 23:30 utc | 24

I even saw a report in Tagesspiegel yesterday that said the authorities did not have a video. Pretty hard to believe. The place was packed with tourists. Just about everybody has a cellphone these days.

I commented on it on a site yesterday, but I don't remember which one. Might have been here.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 22 2016 0:08 utc | 25

Check out George Webb he's on to it. He should collaborate with b

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 22 2016 0:15 utc | 26

Good stuff, b. As much as I dislike Obama, I imagine he has to feel relieved his presidency is coming to an end so he doesn't have to deal with idiots like Ash Carter every day.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Dec 22 2016 0:27 utc | 27

The General should have been publicly fired by the Secretary immediately after that video conference. It didn't happen so the CIC should have fired the SOD and found someone to fire the General. Defying the CIC, what a message to the world!

Posted by: William Mcdonald | Dec 22 2016 0:37 utc | 28


The CentCom general threatened to not follow the decision his Commander of Chief had taken. He would not have done so without cover from Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
Ash Carter is certainly a neo-con, an insubordinate traitor, and is likely a CIA mole in the Pentagon. He has 29 days of monkey-wrenching left at the Pentagon.

Beneath your heading 'With the attack on Deir Ezzor the Pentagon has:' add effected a coup against the POTUS.

I agree with @12 wwinsti and @13 paveway ... at least i wanna believe that Ash 'CIA' Carter has managed to throw in his monkey-wrenches but that 'the Deir EzZor attack was more of a dying gasp from the CIA/CENTCOM than anything of immense strategic value'.

@17 danny801

Reagan was the same ... just that he was non compos mentis from the start, so didn't know he was just the cardboard cutout that he was. Obama knew, took the job anyway.

@20 lysias

i don't know who controls us nukes ... but it ain't Barack Obama. he'll just do as he's told.

@22 blues

agree with your wish ... unfortunately Ash 'CIA' Carter has already fired Barack Obama. we get coal in our stockings ... or we get turned into radioactive coal by AC, CIA.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 22 2016 0:38 utc | 29

psycho @ 18 said " IMO It sure looks to me like the acolytes of Trump have primary fealty to the God of Mammon.

IMO, you're right.

Trump will not be the second coming. Just another corporate lackie.

Thanks again b, for the therapy....

Posted by: ben | Dec 22 2016 0:42 utc | 30

todays daily press briefing, lol.. no mention of ash carter...

"QUESTION: Okay. All right. I wanted to go back for a second to an interview that Secretary Kerry gave to The Globe, The Boston Globe, in which he admitted that the deal with the Russians over Syria was basically killed here because of the divisions within the Administration. Who was that – what was the agency that killed the deal? Was it the Pentagon?

MR KIRBY: I don’t think that that’s what the Secretary said. I think the Secretary acknowledged what we’ve long acknowledged; there was nothing new in this interview. He’s been very open and candid that even amongst the interagency here in the United States we haven’t all agreed on the way forward in Syria. I’m also not sure why that should be shocking to anybody. Every federal agency has a different view --

Posted by: james | Dec 22 2016 0:43 utc | 31

on the new peace negotiation team ..

Iran, Russia, Turkey start bid to solve Syria crisis diplomatically: Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran, Russia and Turkey have started the process of finding a political solution to the Syria crisis.

Turkish Army, rebels suffer 50+ casualties in failed Al-Bab assault: Al-Amaq

According to the Islamic State's official media wing, their forces foiled the massive Turkish Army led assault, killing and wounding more than 50 military personnel in the process.

The primary cause of these high casualties was a suicide attack that was initiated by an Islamic State terrorist west of the Al-Farouq Hospital.

For nearly a month now, the Turkish Army has attempted to enter the key city of Al-Bab; however, they have been repeatedly repelled by the terrorist forces each time.

Turkish-backed rebels torture, execute civilian in northern Aleppo

Local sources said that Mahmud Akhtarini was arrested by a group of Zenki militants at midnight on charges of being a member of the ISIS terror organization. Four hours later, Mahmud was reported dead after being brutally tortured.

The sources confirmed that the victim was mentally retarded.

The Turkish backed group is notorious for beheading a 12 year-old boy in Aleppo city, for allegedly being a fighter of the Palestinian Liwaa Al Quds (Al-Quds Brigade).

... has Erdogan finally been taught the facts of life? or have all the other Turks in Turkey, and will they soon put the sultan on his magic carpet in a real, made in Turkey, coup? Terrorism at home, and abroad - with nothing to show for it - must be getting old for ordinary Turks.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 22 2016 0:46 utc | 32

Reading this, I am confused.

What happened to CIA vs. FBI & Pentagon?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't military 'assets' operating covertly in a country that that is 'hostile' to US interests be under the command of the CIA?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2016 2:15 utc | 33

We have been using "False Flag" operations to expand land since we were colonies and used white slaves kidnapped from European countries to work for the Elite 1% land owners in the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19, 20th, and continuing in the 21st Century when the 911 False Flag Operation to further erode the everyday people and further enrich the elite 1% and Masonic and Zionist ideologies.

Posted by: rhw007 | Dec 22 2016 2:47 utc | 34

"The Dow's initial move down in January of 2017 was very sharp and within a month, it was off 1900 points or almost 10%. As it is apparent from the chart, the Dow's slide was extremely volatile with big losing streaks often followed by sharp rallies. In the meantime, the Russiagate scandal was beginning to grow, as top Trump aides resigned at the end of April amid charges of obstruction of justice. The Dow's fall continued until late August when it finally bottomed at 16,357 to complete a seven month loss of almost 3600 points (over 18%). From this point, the Dow surged ahead so rapidly that the Fools were likely lulled by Wall Street traitors into believing that a new leg up was occurring. Amid October's renewed Ukraine-Syria War, Vice President Pence's forced resignation for incompetence, and an Arab oil glut sending WTI to the mid-$30s, the Dow closed at 19,387 near the end of that month for a gain of 15% off of its summer lows. The huge, two month rally left the Dow just 6% below its all time high of 20,247 set back in January, but the NYSE's advance/decline line was still in shambles. In addition, higher Fed interest rates were taking their toll on the US economy which officially re-entered a recession in November. The divergence between the large-cap stocks and smaller-cap stocks was resolved over the next five weeks as the markets experienced a brutal pounding and the Dow plunged 4000 points or over 20%. The Dow bottomed at 15,788 in early December of 2017 when NATO units were routed in Crimea by superior Russian forces, and Trump was finally forced to resign in early 2018 for corporate malfeasance of office, but this did not bring any relief to the Dow which continued to trade near the 15,000 level through most of the 2018 Recession."

Play by play, verbatim, from the last time a Republican President joined at the hip with Tel Aviv, back in 1972. It's a' comin'!

Posted by: chipnik | Dec 22 2016 3:44 utc | 35

Steve | Dec 21, 2016 3:37:44 PM | 9

"deceived a European NATO ally..." Denmark is run by bastards, so they need not be deceived to participate in the criminal act. Same as Australia.

Duplicitous, deceitful, disingenuous, subservient vassal governments of Bastards ... indeed.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 22 2016 3:48 utc | 36

I think b is being very subtle here, as these two statements are not consistent:

The White House did not react to this public military insubordination and undermining of its diplomacy.

Emptywheel notes that ... the CIA is also in quite open insurrection against the President's decisions

This might be hard to decipher for those who have not been paying attention. Suffice it to say that skepticism that Obama/Kerry ever really wanted any deal is more than warranted. Was this bungled deal just a delaying action?

Obama apologists have been making excuses this empty suit for years: 11-dimensional chess, elite factions undermining him, his focus on his "legacy", etc. Yet Obama/Kerry really don't seem too upset by the "failures" that have occurred on their watch. They don't really attempt to recover from/rectify these failures. At some point one must ask: are those "failures" intentional?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2016 3:52 utc | 37

@ Danny801 | Dec 21, 2016 4:54:22 PM | 17

How about Harry Truman and Doug Macarthur ?

Um, no, actually, Truman publicly knifed Doug ... hm, so yes, Obama, the Greatest Presidential sock-puppet ever ?

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 22 2016 4:00 utc | 38

Does make me with Michael Hastings had lived (much much) longer ... I doubt we're likely to get some honest accounting of the McCrystal/Petraeus hand-off which was Obama's Truman/McArthur (failed) moment ... and McCrystal lived to talk, teach at Yale, and be Michael Flynn's mentor and to announce he wasn't interested (in July) in being Trump's VP.

I listened to Obama's press conference a few days ago -- again, bristling at his "folksy" g-dropping delivery, to hear him argue that he really really really wanted to intervene in Syria but couldn't get support for the large-scale intervention it would have required. Who knows how many people and organizations were holding which puppet strings.

Obama has relied on JSOC (the president's army) ... most of those embeds in Syria are "special forces" ... so not-pentagon, not-CIA although it is a nominally part of CIA's Special Activities Division.

""“The CIA doesn’t have the size or the authority to do some of the things we can do,” said one JSOC operator.

The president has given JSOC the rare authority to select individuals for its kill list — and then to kill, rather than capture, them. Critics charge that this individual man-hunting mission amounts to assassination, a practice prohibited by U.S. law. JSOC’s list is not usually coordinated with the CIA, which maintains a similar but shorter roster of names.

Created in 1980 but reinvented in recent years, JSOC has grown from 1,800 troops prior to 9/11 to as many as 25,000, a number that fluctuates according to its mission. It has its own intelligence division, its own drones and reconnaissance planes, even its own dedicated satellites. It also has its own cyberwarriors, who, on Sept. 11, 2008, shut down every jihadist Web site they knew.""

WaPo: (2011) Top Secret America.

Seems like after the McCrystal debacle, Obama decided to play the cards he had ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 22 2016 4:39 utc | 39

Jrabbit @ 37 asks.."At some point one must ask: are those "failures" intentional?"

Seriously? Duh.. They're just following a script their corporate masters have written. Why would they care about failures? Or, even intent?

When they've performed the necessary services required of them, they'll fade into a life of luxury. God, life is such a bitch!

Posted by: ben | Dec 22 2016 5:12 utc | 40

These deep state parasites have the resources fighting for their reality, their narrative on three on three different fronts at the moment. And losing most of them. Enjoyable viewing. So many boogey men, so much fake news, even dropped passports (again! an oldy but a goody!). If The Don needs to clean house, there is a few obvious hints at where to start. Otherwise...more trouble.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 22 2016 6:17 utc | 41

It does put a new spin on the fact that the last 3 elected presidents have been "naïve" ... even simpletons, underqualified and unfamiliar with the way and means of power, much less presidential power. Trump seems to run his empire (such as it is) by showboating and legal maneuvering by armies of lawyers to deal with the details (for better or worse), with money (personal or loaned) to cover the rough spot and avoid embarassments. Bush and Obama, imho, had very scant resumes for the office (even compared to 'light weights' like JFK who was considered an upstart ...

On one hand "the narrative" has been that the public wants an "outsider" ... but could it be that the "deep state" also wants and has wanted (and has grown more powerful) with a naif in charge. Funny how the more experienced candidates have been cut off at the knees, eliminated from competition, in favor of relative 'children' who will be dependent on advisors in most subjects. In Reagan's mold, but then Reagan had his cabal and 20-30 years of "deep state" high-flier politicking.

When you convince people that the government "is" the problem ... and taint all experienced politicians as "insiders" ... in many ways you leave the foxes guarding the hen house .....

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 22 2016 6:31 utc | 42

Palmyra seems like a great place to liquidate 4000 chunks of pig shit.

I think the hyjab is reminiscent of a clitoral hood.

I am not anti moslem per se.

I do think Salman Rushtie was right to highlight what he called the satanic verses. Mohammed did allow the priestesses to continue in their vanities. I think Rushtie tore the fantastical fabric of post Mohammed Mohammedism and it will prove to have been the beginning of the reformation of that faith in not so many years to come.

For eschatological reasons the ambassador was slain. Many think the deed was done to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey BUT eschatology requires they be strongly bound together. Quo bono.! Several eschatologies overlap on this point.

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 22 2016 6:44 utc | 43

I can make a video about this but because the powers that be want to cripple independent journalism which reports things the establishment doesn't want reported, I will be prevented from earning any income for my efforts.
YouTube has made an underhanded policy change:

I think they want to cripple reporting on things I report on such as US foreign policy regarding not only Israel and also US foreign policy regarding Syria, look how dishonest the US politicians were here (glad they didn't get away with this scheme):

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Dec 22 2016 7:02 utc | 44

pubumwei@43: I don't think you're a complete moron, "per se", but your post gives very strong evidence in that direction.

> Mohammed did allow the priestesses to continue in their vanities.

Here, for example.

> Rushdie

Salman Rushdie was a typical "WOG" that desperately needed to accepted by the Anglo "Sahib". I think that "Crumpet" incident psychologically scarred him. Sadly for him, he lacks the prerequisite substantiality that could have made him a tragic character. As it is, he is merely a pathetic one.

Posted by: nobody | Dec 22 2016 7:17 utc | 45

Given all of what's been revealed by the comments here above and the stakes for the "deep state shadow globalist US government" I can't see how Trump will escape being shortly assassinated for the sake of the planned implementation of the NWO.

Posted by: RayB | Dec 22 2016 9:49 utc | 46

So B are you saying that there are 4 factions in the so called the 'us' who are at heads with each other?,so which faction holds the launch codes?.'evil' Putin's actions so for seems justified.

Posted by: Nur Adlina | Dec 22 2016 10:38 utc | 48

34,000 thousands plus the few thousands that left in the ten days before, chulov and b were right!

Posted by: Mina | Dec 22 2016 12:10 utc | 49

The Russia, Iran Turkey talks on resolving the Syria crisis has a good chance of success, had the US, Saudi Arabia/Qatar been involved nothing could have come of the talks. The US, Saudi/Qatar will not accept Assad as the legitimate leader, in fact Qatar has promised to continue the war even after the main centres of terrorist opposition have been defeated. The US,almost as an article of faith excluded itself by continually insisting 'Assad must go'. The only concession Turkey will receive is on the question of the Kurd's. In my opinion such a deal can be worked out.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 22 2016 13:37 utc | 50

again, bristling at his "folksy" g-dropping delivery, to hear him argue that he really really really wanted to intervene in Syria but couldn't get support for the large-scale intervention it would have required. Who knows how many people and organizations were holding which puppet strings

Posted by: netflix usernames | Dec 22 2016 13:42 utc | 51

Clarifying @37:

The two statements I highlighted are not consistent with the military's preventing the Obama Administration from seeking peace.

Instead, these statements imply that the Obama Administration and the CIA are on the same page.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2016 15:06 utc | 52


don't seem too upset by the "failures" that have occurred on their watch. They don't really attempt to recover from/rectify these failures. At some point one must ask: are those "failures" intentional?

They are and very much so. They are not completely dumb as to not at least feel that things went very wrong. One also has to consider how "failure" or "success" are defined in the WH, State Department, Pentagon or CIA. It matters that they are defined differently, not to mention that sometimes they are "defined" completely irrationally. This all, meanwhile, does not in any way undermine the case of Obama losing control of his government and, especially so, its power block almost completely. The problem here is systemic and it is even deeper and larger in scope than any particular maneuvers within state bureaucracies--US establishment as a system has largely lost any connection to reality--Obamas or Clintons of Beltway are merely symptoms not root causes of what can only be described as unmitigated disaster in US foreign policy and military adventurism.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Dec 22 2016 15:19 utc | 53

Great piece. I've been arguing for years about the deep divisions within the National Security State mainly operating underneath the surface. The events following the Kerry/Lavrov agreement were stunning--this is the first time there was such a public display of independent power by the the military wing of the neocon faction who literally mutinied against the President and proved to the world that he not only had no power but that independent policies by various factions could be easily carried out anytime they wanted to. This may have done in case the next administration got the wrong idea that any President has real power.

Trump seems to understand this so he sided with a few disgruntled factions and appointed lots of generals with real chops and the ability to mobilize both actual and virtual gunz and gunsels plus billionaires with their own private armies of lawyers, lobbyists and operatives/muscle. This is the real world not the bullshit you read about in even the alternative press. What we are seeing here in this past election and will see from now on is all-out gang warfare and Trump knew this from the beginning. If he hadn't known how divided the oligarchs were he would never have run and believed he could win. Trump may actually be the first POTUS to rule since Bush I.

Posted by: Banger | Dec 22 2016 16:05 utc | 54

Re the author of the hit piece on Eva Bartlett: The history of articles done by author Bethania Palma both at the LATimes and other papers is not remarkable. None of the pieces that I skimmed were especially noteworthy in determining why she would do a hit piece on Eva Bartlett. What IS noteworthy from her writings is that Betahania Palma has no discernable foreign policy experience. In fact her bio at reads in part:[She] "has covered everything from crime to government to national politics."

Why would choose someone who does not have a history in writing about foreign policy to debunk an independent reporter who has been on the ground in Aleppo 4 times? One of the most complicated places on earth and Snoops uses a reporter that apparently knows nothing about it.

So earlier I accidentally wrote "Snoops" instead of Snopes, but I realized that "Snoops" might be more applicable.

Posted by: some101 | Dec 22 2016 16:17 utc | 55

Banger @54

Yes you have been arguing about divisions for years.

But you never had specifics. This is important because the appearance of divisions can be used to mask the fact that one faction (neocons) are in control.

Also, I'm uncertain about your conjecture that Trump took advantage of "divisions" in the Deep State. It could be that he was recruited to run by a faction of the "deep state" (led by Mike Flynn?).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2016 16:36 utc | 56

Mina@49 Do you realize what you are saying? The MSM have been claiming 250/275,000 people in East Aleppo. How can you be so cruel to these scumbags by blurting out the truth in such an undiplomatic way. Think of their feelings.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 22 2016 16:53 utc | 57

SmoothieX12 @4 writes: It merely confirms or reinforces what was known now for quite some, rather long, time--Obama is a shallow and cowardly amateur who basically abandoned the duty of governing the nation to all kinds of neocon adventurists and psychopaths. So, nothing new here. Results are everywhere on display for everyone to see.

Jackrabbit @37 writes: Obama apologists have been making excuses this empty suit for years: 11-dimensional chess, elite factions undermining him, his focus on his "legacy", etc. Yet Obama/Kerry really don't seem too upset by the "failures" that have occurred on their watch. They don't really attempt to recover from/rectify these failures. At some point one must ask: are those "failures" intentional?"

I do not want to absolve Obama of his weaknesses, which are proven, but to set the larger historical context. There are actually two governments of the USA, one in Washington and one in Tel Aviv. The one in Tel Aviv can count on more support in the American Congress, in certain department bureaucracies, and most importantly in the US Media, than the one in Washington. Both governments attempt to set US foreign policy, not only generally, but specifically. The weakness of the US central government is not only an issue of personality.

Posted by: Castellio | Dec 22 2016 17:01 utc | 58

@33 jrabbit, here's a look at the divisions in Syria and northern Iraq, and inside the U.S. government:

(1) Pentagon-backed Kurdish groups (with a CIA group too?) operating out of Irbil. A base was established there in 2014, right around the time ISIS captured Mosul.
(2) Saudi-Qatar backed ISIS/Al Qaeda/"moderate opposition" forces, with CIA playing a role in training and arming them via training camps in Jordan and Turkey, with the aim of overthrowing Assad. These forces have clased with Pentagon-backed Kurdish forces, too.
(3) Iranian forces supporting both the Iraqi and Syrian government troops as militias and advisers, with Russian air forces, aimed at defeating ISIS and affiliated groups.


“It’s no secret that the American special forces and CIA have a close relationship with the peshmerga,” said the Kurdish official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing covert military operations. He added that the facility had operated even “after the Americans were forced out of Iraq by Maliki,” a reference to the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal after the Obama administration and the Iraqi government couldn’t agree on a framework for U.S. forces remaining in the country.


The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles. While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table.


The Iranian regime has several interests in its neighbor: Iraq provides strategic depth and a buffer against Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states that are competing with Iran for dominance over the Persian Gulf. More broadly, Tehran wants to ensure that Iraq never again poses an existential threat to Iranian interests, as Hussein did when he invaded Iran in 1980, instigating the eight-year Iran-Iraq war that devastated both countries.

Thus, there does seem to be some kind of huge internal conflict within the Pentagon, State Department and CIA over what the agenda is: half seem to want to covertly support ISIS and Al Qaeda as part of the Assad regime change agenda, and half think ridding the region of ISIS and Al Qaeda should be the top priority, and that the U.S. can live with Iran as it is. Ashton Carter seems to be in the former camp, a real Hillary Clinton pro-war insider bent on a new Cold War - he can't leave soon enough. Michael Flynn would seem to represent the latter group.

I'd also guess that support for Kurds will become the dominant theme as Trump takes office, since Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State, and the oil deals the Kurds cut with Exxon are a major factor; I don't see aggression against Iran as being likely (note the huge Boeing deal with Iran). Ideally, with diplomacy, we'll see stabiliization of the larger Sunni-Shia conflict between the Iran and Saudi groups, with Iraq as a more neutral buffer. Interesting that Russia is the one brokering this diplomatic effort with Turkey and Iran initially, despite many provocations aimed at derailing it.

Posted by: nonsensefactory | Dec 22 2016 17:19 utc | 59

Unsourced but interesting none the less

230 US Army instructors and 54 British troops, 8 French and two Dutch artillery specialists were trapped in Aleppo with ISIS jihadists by Syrian and Russian forces. The Americans asked the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to keep this quiet – for obvious reasons! I have this from a reliable source

What were NATO troops doing fighting alongside ISIS, Al Qaeda and al Nusra Front extremists ? Such rebels have massacred Christians, executed prisoners of war, held civilians hostage, shot those who tried to escape as the Syrian Army moved in and attacked coaches sent to evacuate civilians (and even their own fighters) from Aleppo.

But the twisting of news in Syria is extreme. The West has virtually no journalists on the ground (not least because our so called “rebel allies” would murder them) and relies on extremists’ versions of the truth sent out by unverifiable individuals on their iPhones (the BBC’s “local” correspondent Lyse Doucet is in fact in Beirut – 206 miles away!)

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 22 2016 17:35 utc | 60

@49 mina.. thanks. "The Red Cross says 34,000 have left the city since the evacuations began eight days ago as part of a ceasefire deal." that will be buried somewhere deep and you will never hear about the 1-200,000 that were trapped in aleppo any more from the msm! we are supposed to forget about that immediately!

@58 harrylaw response to mina... remember - collective amnesia is a regular feature of anyone who follows the msm!

@59 castello.. i see trump wants to relocate the 2nd gov't to jerusalem..

@61 alberto... how many of them got out without being recognized as such? or are they still inside?

Posted by: james | Dec 22 2016 17:51 utc | 61

@ lysias 23
I was thinking some sort of change had taken place, too. A few years ago, there was a TIME magazine article about a WH meeting on Iran with "interventionists" Kerry and Hillary pushing for action, Obama on the fence, and Gates opposed. And it was the Joint Chiefs working with Kucinich who tried to stop Hillary's Libyan War Via No Fly Zone. She put a stop to that and few in the US knew about it. The few who published stories suggested JCS was guilty of treason. And now the military is on board with arming al Nusra/IS and helping their efforts against Assad. What gives? Was there a purge of common sense from our military?

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 22 2016 17:53 utc | 62

Short descripton of the "long game"..

"At this point, the terror attacks on Russia and its allies before major diplomatic events have become routine. However, instead of sidelining those events, these terror attacks bring the major powers in Eurasia, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Kazakhstan, India and everyone else together. Essentially we see in real time how terror attacks serve as catalysis to speed up the process of unification of Eurasia in the process of pushing the US and EU out of the continent, and curbing Israel’s and Saudis’ lust for blood in the region."

From the Saker

Hopefully true. The USA/NATO/EU cabal needs to lose influence globally.

Posted by: ben | Dec 22 2016 18:26 utc | 63

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 22, 2016 12:53:39 PM | 63
A few years ago, it was assumed that Assad would fall, sooner rather than later, and -- as you will recall -- negotiations were prepared for with an aim to mapping the transition. There have been many attempts beginning back in Geneva 2014, then more recently the Riyadh Saudi-coalition of "moderate rebels" in 2015 (a negotiating table the rebels walked away from but have recently expressed interest in returning to) ... I'm guessing the JSC may not have "wanted" to intervene as long as htey believed that proxy forces could/would do the fighting (and paying) ...
KSA seems to have painted itself into a corner of deficits and humiliating defeats...with problems at home and in Yemen.
It's possible that JCS could have just been hell-bent on obstructing Obama, or the regional changes in fortune changed their minds -- or both. Clinton certainly seemed poised to "do something" ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 22 2016 18:42 utc | 64

Listening to NPRs Fresh Air (sic) explain in nauseating disinformation detail with a Khazar guest and Khazar host Hugh Downesesque call-and-response psyop team, how Putin's H8 for Rodham is 'tied to Clinton's and Yeltzen's drunken escapades in the 1990s, and Rodham's abortive attempt at a Moscow Flower Revolution in 2011', sans CIA snipers (note to Tillerson,you must include the snipers!), it occurred to me it's the Khazars who are influencing the elections, and not the Russians!

So I used my proprietary anagram algorithm to sleuth out who exactly is behind FRESH AIR, ...and sure enough, it's ARI FLEISCHER, if we don't already have enough non-survivable problems with Khazars in control of all US Gov Financial departments and the Ministry of Propaganda, they want to control the Pentagram of Great Satan too, aka 'The Wall', that $TRILLION bicycling machine that transfers all of our hard-earned SS and MC auto-deductions into their own private offshore bank accounts, in shrink-wrapped bales of $100s.

On to Tehran for the Likudhim Wet Dream!!

Maybe there never was a time that the Khazars, and their Khazar Wahhabi kin in Riyadh, didn't control USA, the banking, the media, the meat packers, the distilleries, the porn, and the Pentagon. Maybe it's all just a bad dream in some parallel universe. Maybe there will be a MAGA 2017 two-state solutiom for Israel-Palestine and for Syria-Kurdistan and Ukraine West-East, and maybe Venezuela can sell cheap oil to India and save both their people. We'll reforge the ICBMs into radioactive razor blades, then the Dow will rise to 36,000 again, and it will be Glorious to be Rich, off the $TRILLION a year stolen back from Great Satan's minions, and redeposited into our SS and MC TRUST FUND, to recycle over and over and over into the retail economy, where it belongs, Helicopter Benhamin notwithstanding.

If wishes were fishes, blind men would fly.

Frohe neues Jahr. Alles Leben geht weiter.

Posted by: chipnik | Dec 22 2016 18:46 utc | 65

To be fair, Maytham on his thread mentions that 100,000 has been pulled out by SAA before the last ones. But I want to be kind to our host!!
I suspect that the neighborhoods that were along the separation line were not the hardcore quarters of the rebellion (centred on the old city and its suqs which had been looted first thing) and these huge buildings we've seen at the beginnings hosted lots of people from whom it was known no attacks would come. They had been kept hostages by the use of snipers on their tall buildings but once those left after a few air bombings, people could manage to get out.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 22 2016 19:15 utc | 66

Stephen F Cohen says

“I’ll go one step farther and say (maybe to horror or shock of some of your viewers) that Vladimir Putin is potentially America’s most essential, valuable security partner.”

from interview with Tucker Carlson

Posted by: mauisurfer | Dec 22 2016 19:59 utc | 67

According to Tagesspiegel, suspected Berlin truck driver Anis Amri shows up on security video from a mosque in the Berlin neighborhood of Moabit hours after his atrocity. So he didn't leave Berlin immediately. Very likely he is still there.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 22 2016 21:05 utc | 68

Milosevic, Saddam, Kadafi and Assad had (have) one thing in common: as so-called "dictators" or genuinely elected / nominated / accepted, etc. no matter — they were ‘somewhat leftist’ in their re-distribution policies, ‘somewhat nationalist’ in promoting their (and other) “Nation States”, refusing some degrees of foreign control, or influence, but mostly would not slice and dice ‘their population’ according to ethnic, religious, and other characteristics - identity politics.

They all, in different ways and to different degrees, and as exemplified in different manners, refused to make distinctions between their ‘citizens.’

Putin of course fits this mold as well.

The US abhors such a stance as it is ultimately felt as a threat to the US. Genocide is part of its history, slice and dice serves to control the population.

In the US, citizen rights (aspirations, wishes, vote possibilities, participation in political organisation…) are replaced with ersatz or saccharine ‘group’ rights, not attained (!) be aware (!), as you the indvidual who belong to the group, are ‘different’ and ‘discriminated against’, all of which discourse is deliberately spewed out to divide and rule and obfuscate, see Killary.

In this way, exploitation of weaker, poorer groups (e.g. Blacks, Prison industry, War on Drugs) is simultaneously decried (very weakly btw, and never leading to any real action) and legitimised.

US instigated and handled “color” revolutions and military actions, regime change invasions, as well as long-term 'support' promote fascistic, violent / domineering religious / ethnic / splinter / groups to rule over their populations and oppress one or another section.

The supported champs might be Zionists, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (ISIL, al Nusra, etc.) blatant Neo-Nazis as in Ukraine, see also South America…. all peachy.. but see all the contradictions that can arise…that lead to downfall…

The upshot - following along - is than any group who has a radical agenda of oppression and murder can grab the attention and support of the US. I reckon even a very small group, less than one thousand ppl, with some big money in the kitty, who aims to kill off and subjugate some ‘x’ population might be very influential and succesful. It would be an interesting exercise…provided it was ‘fake’ — might make a good movie?

Of course, all this is only one angle, a view thru one prism, there are others.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 22 2016 21:07 utc | 69

Someone101 @ 55:

Just want to say thank you for your comment on Bethania Palma aka Bethania Palma Markus: a jack(ess) of all trades, mistress of none!

It seems that BPM's qualifications allowing her to pontificate on Eva Bartlett's writing are based on holding a Master's degree in Middle Eastern / Islamic history. I wonder how much first-hand research that involved and which institution awarded the degree.

Bethania Palma Markus is a former staffer with the Los Angeles Newspaper Group which covered East LA County from Pasadena through the San Gabriel Valley down to Long Beach. She hold sa Master’s degree in Middle Eastern/Islamic history. She has written for LANG, the LAist and the OC Weekly and Hunter Thompson-honoring, literary journalism zine Bat Country Word.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 22 2016 22:24 utc | 70

Ashton Carter wants to continue playing his private little war games. So much fun when it's not your blood being shed.

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 22 2016 22:59 utc | 71

What comments can people make on the reliability of these claimed casualty statistics of the Syrian war. How reliable is the source? Are there other estimates ?
Is the claim that 90% of casualties were caused by the government and only 600 or so by the coalition plausible?

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Dec 22 2016 23:40 utc | 72

sn4hr is the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an NGO established in the UK in 2011. I would be most suspicious.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 23 2016 0:04 utc | 73

The chaos created by using proxy Islamic forces to destabilize Russia and China has reached the point of being too obvious. The Assad government is not going to fall anytime soon. The longer the Mid-East Wars continue the greater the destabilization of Western Europe. Only Angela Merkel remains in power. For how long? The Democratic, Socialist, and Conservative western leaders have been swept out of office. They were all supporters of the neo-liberal-con ideology that has brought on one disaster after another across the world. The current disturbances are bureaucratic battles over who and what beliefs take the reins next year.

If the world is to have any peace, Europe must come to an agreement with Russia to end the sanctions and build secure borders along ethnic and religious fault lines. Rather than importing further chaos, mankind needs to address the accelerating combined economic and climate disaster.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Dec 23 2016 0:06 utc | 74

Re: ALberto | Dec 22, 2016 12:35:43 PM | 61

Why would Russia agree to cover up hundreds of US troops helping the head-choppers in Aleppo?
After all the endless slurs about Russian "war crimes" in Aleppo, shouldn't the Russians be capitalizing on the utter hypocrisy of US troops fighting with and training ISIS?

Posted by: Perimetr | Dec 23 2016 0:19 utc | 75

Without much doubt it does appear that Obama does not control his administrative departments. The fact that Ash Carter's defense department sabotaged Kerry's efforts to negotiate some kind of Aleppo ceasefire this last September makes that pretty clear. It became clear to me that this was happening in Jan and Feb of 2014 when Victoria Nuland and ambassador Pyet (sp??) helped orchestrate the Ukrainian coup. At the time it seemed obvious that whatever policies Obama might have thought he might be pursuing there is no way that provoking Russia in this way was one of them. Not only did Obama have no control over events but it seemed that Kerry didn't even know what was going on in his own State Department. Obama and Kerry allowed Hillary's appointments to continue to move events after Hillary left office. It was then that I realized Obama had lost control of his own administration.

Once the Russians released that tape of Nuland telling Pyet that Yat's is the one and F** the EU then Obama should have fired both of them on the spot. But,as we all know he did not. Instead he simply limped behind them and ended up supporting the Ukrainian coup. Which, of course, forced Russia to make sure Crimea would never become a NATO naval base. (Russia's reaction here was close to 100% certain).

Obama's loss of control over his own defense department and state department (even with his own hand picked Secretary Kerry) may very well help label Obama as the most ineffectual president that the US has ever suffered.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 23 2016 0:57 utc | 76

news blackouts wrt POW and other "hostage" are fairly common. The media won't necessarily report "rumors" of POW without some official comment, and they seem to agree to such black outs on "humanitarian ground" ... Russia might cooperate in-return-for similar favor in the future to avoid monkey-wrenching aka "politicizing" or escalating matters. Most Americans will pretend that they already knew that "our boys" were embedded "in advisory" capacity and ... blah, blah blah -- fog of war -- and no one cares.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 23 2016 1:02 utc | 77

VNVet@ 76 said: " Rather than importing further chaos, mankind needs to address the accelerating combined economic and climate disaster."

No doubt true, but, don't hold your breath until that happens. We're in the new dark age, driven by the lust to capture market share globally, and the ascendance of the corporate form. Without much blood, this will not change. Millions have already died, and many more must, before change happens. So very sad.

Posted by: ben | Dec 23 2016 2:30 utc | 78

Oh Nobody at 43 I don't think you think per se because it it seems to me you merely upchuck corn and pea fairies from you gutted instincts.

Barry is insane. He knows his name. He knows Barack is an anglicised form of al-buraq. He knows his middle name strongly refers to the 12th Madhi. He knows his surname is Nigerian/central African and is means garden servant of the king of the morning. Barry this has the keys.

Barry has been developing ISIS to fulfil eschatological purposes in pretty well exactly the way al-buraq is supposed to prime the situation for the return of the 12th Madhi. Barry still has the keys.

Barry through Comey checked Hillary's progress in the last few weeks of the campaign. For his purposes she needed to be juiced because an intact Hillary could be problematic come January.

Barry n Co have deliberately run a crazy Russia the monster campaign with threats of war and all that entails vis a vis US transnational business profitability to engender just the kind of push back from the handy Trump n Co we have witnessed to set Trump n Co up for the cute little fall he has set up. That fall is winging its way to us as we speak as surely as Ahab's arrow flies to its mark. You see Nobody at 43 Barry needs more time to achieve his eschatological object, namely the return of the 12th Mahdi. So Barry clears a path for Trump by way of having Killary n Co do what it can to pump prime Trump as her adversary. The Trumpeter wins as planned but he arrives stained with his call for common sense re Russia and the fight against terrorism so that in January Barry can have his good cop bad cop Intel crew meld into one very very certain and united voice confirming to all the world that Russia did in veritable fact fuck with da US elections. This confirmation gives Barry several useful things including but not limited to a strong case for not letting the Trumpster ascend to take the purple and dearest Nobody carte blanche use of force against Russia to even things up a bit. Of course once Barry hits the go buttons the world view of the Trumpster and his followers suffers disintegration...which was of course the aim all along. In an instant the Trumpeter is juiced to the same unusable state as Clinton.

As the limitation on consecutive Presidential terms is only a newish thing and as the war Barry is about to start is quite hot and as no new administration could step in a defend the nation in such a fluid and unbelievably dangerous situation Barry is all they have got left and so the newish limitation on consecutive administrations gets its arse shelved and hey presto Nobody Barry gets a third term.

Surely Nobody you can recall Barry uttering multiple times these past few years words to the effect: 'if it weren't for the limit on consecutive terms he would have no problems sitting a third term'.

Have the courage to think Nobody. Oh....and remember Barry still has the keys to global life and death.

Are you there Nobody...?

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 23 2016 3:06 utc | 79

pubumwei@81: glad you got that off your chest! :) But the therapeutic effects of a *non-sequitor vent* lasts only so long. Make sure you take the medications that your doctor has perscribed for you.

Posted by: nobody | Dec 23 2016 3:15 utc | 80

Syria Names Foreign Secret Agents Trapped in Aleppo

Posted by: ninel | Dec 23 2016 4:53 utc | 81

Thanks Nobody.!

It was fun while it lasted.

I could go on and on...

Talk the back leg off a horse.

Let's do it again sometime.

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 23 2016 5:15 utc | 82

Can someone explain why Syria was not invited to the talks in Moscow -- Having Russia, Iran and Turkey there without the US makes sense, but why not Syria.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 23 2016 5:28 utc | 83

@ ninel who provided the link to the Syrian ambassador naming the 14 agents in eastern Aleppo

Thanks for that. I find it interesting that he also said they plan to show these folks to the public. I expect getting to that point will be challenging, if at all possible. I hope they succeed and it is broadcast worldwide so the hypocrisy of the West is exposed.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 23 2016 5:30 utc | 84

I suspect that Syria is not part of the negotiation because the "rebels" have refused to negotiate with Assad ... since their first demand is that he step down. Also, it prevents the "rebels" from hog-tying any/all negotiations and saves Assad from being "toyed" with and demeaned ... The rebels have treated Assad with such disrespect in the past

Now the war in the west is coming to an end, because Assad has won, and Turkey, Russia and Iran are in a position to negotiate a settlement that helps bring the war, the killing to a conclusion. The outcome is clear, but continuing the killing is only going to breed more extremism.

So the thing these three countries can do, which would mean pressuring the opposition to accept some kind of peace arrangement, if you will, a negotiated surrender. But also pressuring the Assad regime to accept amnesty, to allow the UN monitors to make it possible for the refugees to return home.


Note that Assad has offered (and given) amnesty to some rebels in the past. I would guess that avoiding both actual killings (of rebels) as well as claims of revenge slaughter probably figure as well.

Anyone know where all those lightly armed "rebels" will be delivered? and to whose "safekeeping"? particularly the non-Syrians?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 23 2016 6:00 utc | 85

Even french qatari propaganda admits today that the east aleppo evacuation took 465 lives. Ok in the same breath they put ca 150 additional casualties in west aleppo (by mortars and suicide bombings, you recall) as caused by the syro russian but well, we ve git accustomed to their little tricks by now. Listen hear to thd news on a french public radio

Posted by: Mina | Dec 23 2016 6:44 utc | 86

Rather Syria is not there but represented by its allies because asad refused (rightly in my opinion) to bury the hatchet with Turkey when this was offered. Asad is waiting for Erdo to go and he recently described him as unstable in an interview. No one in Syria would accept a simple reconciliation after the complete destruction and looting of Aleppo's industrial zone.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 23 2016 6:57 utc | 87

IIRC, the public positioning after the attack was that it was an honest mistake but the Russians were using it as an excuse to end cooperation.

It is inconceivable that WH didn't know what had really happened very soon after the attack. Obama could've disciplined those responsible and taken steps to save the peace deal. He didn't.

IMO it's not because he is weak or has "lost control". It's because he is very much part of the team. What CIA/neocon action has he not ultimately approved of, forgiven, or stayed silent about?

Consider: Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted.
The distorted intel gave WH cover for an easy-on-ISIS policy (Obama termed ISIS the "JV team"). What has Obama said or done about this distortion of intel that helped ISIS to metasize? Nothing.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 23 2016 7:05 utc | 88

@90 jr, 'it's not because he is weak or has "lost control". It's because he is very much part of the team'

agree with you there, but he's not very involved with the day to day operations of his 'team'. his role is double-talk before and after the fact.

@89 mina,

that sounds right. people forget ... or are so used to it that they now take for granted ... the absolute devastation and destruction leveled on Syria - and Iraq and Libya - by the neo-cons, by Obama, and by his droogies, Erdogan the Saudis and Qataris chief among them. The USA will never pay a dime to rebuild what it's destroyed, just as it's never paid a dime for its devastation of Southeast Asia. It is really amazing, when you think of it, that the average American has such a high opinion of his/her country. If there was any reason for that in the last millennium there's absolutely none in this one. I imagine that American 'millennials' have grown up with a much different view of their country than did Americans my age. We had a bogus built-in perspective on who we 'were' ... that can't be the case any longer.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 23 2016 7:35 utc | 89

@ ToivoS | 85

Syria is represented by Russia/Iran (they talked with Syria about potential peace framework beforehand), while Turkey represents "the other side." Turkey was instrumental in convincing terrorists to withdraw from E.Allepo, not without issues of course. To manage a pack of rabid dogs with different agendas isnt easy, not to speak of US/Saudis/Israel trying to sabotage any treaty.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 23 2016 8:27 utc | 90

Egypt is testing the water
With an interreign in the US, at the UN and in France, it would be a perfect time to start sorting out the Libyan problems

Posted by: Mina | Dec 23 2016 8:35 utc | 91

I suspect this is rooted in the fact that Anglo-saxons are overly pragmatic when it comes to money. When I discuss with Brits or Muricans and try to explain them that they should be ashamed when they look at their governements' eternal allies (the so-called "moderate Muslim states" -which by the way are all monarchies, isn't there a pattern here?) viz. KSA, Qatar, Kuwait, or even Jordan where elections (as if the parliament had any power in comparison with the palace special agreements with the US, with Israel, etc) are delayed at the king's will more than often, they just oppose an embarrassed grim. The same with Londoners who more than anyone in the world know that their city could not have coped without Gulf money since the 70s all along. Grey finance, the invisible hand, there is something mystical in their subservience to money.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 23 2016 8:45 utc | 92

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 22, 2016 12:53:39 PM | 63

Let's assume Kerry negotiated with the Russians in bad faith, not to end the crisis but to prolong the crisis, to "bog the Russians down in the conflict, to weaken the Syrian army etc...."

What would he say if the Russians pointed out to him that his military did not follow agreements ...


Posted by: somebody | Dec 23 2016 9:45 utc | 93

@94, mina 'Anglo-saxons are overly pragmatic when it comes to money'

you're overly diplomatic to put it that way. 'Brits and/or Muricans' are on a mission to rule the world - money and power are their nearly interchangeable means of doing so. the 'rightness' of the goal is so evident to themselves that the smile - embarrassed and grim - they give you is grim in their righteous determination and embarrassed on your behalf, in wonder at your 'innocence'.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 23 2016 10:01 utc | 94

Noirette where is Episode II?
I've always thought the Illuminati was no more than stuff-for-paranoid-kids and their parents; was the pic really taken from a serious source or could it be edited?

Posted by: Mina | Dec 23 2016 12:00 utc | 95

Obama and his arse licking convert Brennan burn men alive.

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 23 2016 12:56 utc | 96


Agreed. On one hand, we're fed stories of WH "purging" the military. On the other hand, we're to believe the President/Command-in-Chief is given the finger by USM & his own SoD. And to top it off we have the official story of a fog of war.

Interesting to pursue the alternative where all above are assumed as bullshit and see what that tells us about the actual state of affairs on this planet.

Posted by: nobody | Dec 23 2016 13:36 utc | 97

Ten Turkish tanks destroyed near Al Bab

Aditionally more than 30 Turkish soldiers have been killed, the FSA has lost 150 men.

Syrian Observatory: 88 civilians, including 24 children, killed in Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria in last 24 hours.

Posted by: chaos theory | Dec 23 2016 15:04 utc | 98

For French speakers: courageous Swiss journalist interviews Le Corf, a French (who has made his own NGO) who has been living in West Aleppo for 9 months helping the people there. Excellent questions of the journalist and good debunking by Le Corf

Posted by: Mina | Dec 23 2016 15:28 utc | 99

Looks like the al Zenki child head-choppers are going to need more than a couple of battalions of Turkish armor to take back al Bab. Seems that between Turk/FSA and ISIS, there's been about a 1:1 loss of men.

I wonder if Erdogan is having second thoughts about letting various head-chopper pals cart ATGMs through Turkey into Syria? That flawed strategy cost him about a dozen Leopard 2A4s so far. ISIS claims to have captured a couple of them that still work. I guess it's not like rolling armor over lightly-armed Kurds like they're use to doing.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 23 2016 15:39 utc | 100

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