Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 12, 2017

The White House "Intelligence Assessment" Is No-Such-Thing - It Shows Support for Al-Qaeda

UPDATED at the end of the post

The Trump White House published three and a half pages of accusations against the governments of Syria and Russia. These are simple white pages with no header or footer, no date, no classification or declassification marks, no issuing agency and no signatures. It is indiscernible who has written them.

U.S. media call this a Declassified U.S. Report on Chemical Weapons Attack. It is no such thing.

It starts with "The United States is confident that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapon attack, ..."

The U.S. (who exactly is that?) "is confident", it does not "know", it does not have "proof" - it is just "confident".

The whole paper contains only seven paragraphs that are allegedly a "Summary of the U.S. intelligence community assessment" on the issue. The seven paragraphs are followed by eight(!) paragraphs that try to refute the Russian and Syrian statements on the issue. Some political fluff makes up the sorry rest.

That "intelligence community assessment" chapter title is likely already a false claim. Even a fast tracked, preliminary National Intelligence Assessment, for which all seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies must be heard, takes at least two to three weeks to create. A "long track" full assessment takes two month or more. These are official documents issued by the Director of National Intelligence. The summary assessment the White House releases has no such heritage. It is likely a well massaged fast write up of some flunky in the National Security Council. The release was backgrounded by dubious statements of an anonymous "Senior Administration Officials" (not by "Intelligence Officials" as has been the case on other such issues.)

The claimed assessment starts with definitely wrong or at least very misleading point: "We assess that Damascus launched this chemical attack in response to an opposition offensive in Hama province that threatened key infrastructure."

The Hama offensive had failed two weeks ago. Since then the Syrian army has regained all areas the al-Qaeda "opposition" had captured during the first few days. (Al-Qaeda in Syria renamed itself several times and now calls itself "Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham".) Key infrastructure had never been seriously threatened by it. Over 2,000 al-Qaeda fighters were killed in the endeavor.

Peto Lucem, a well known and reliable media source for accurate maps of the war on Syria, posted on March 31, four days before the chemical incident:

Peto Lucem @PetoLucem

NEW MAP: "Rebel" frontline in #Hama is collapsing, #SAA reverses most #AlQaeda gains made in first days of their failed offensive. #Syria


The attack in Hama had already failed days before the chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun happened. Khan Shaykhun is not on the front line. The incident and the failed al-Qaeda attack in Hama can not possibly be related. It makes no sense at all to launch a militarily useless incident in a place far away "in response" to a defeat of the enemy elsewhere - this in a moment where the global political and military situation had turned in favor of the Syrian government. (The Defense Intelligence Agency surely never signed off on such an illogical claim.)

The following paragraphs of the released paper reveal that the assessment is largely based on a "significant body" of "open source reporting" which "indicates" this or that. This means that the White House relied on pictures and videos posted by people who are allowed to operate freely in the al-Qaeda ruled Khan Shaykhun. (Khan Shaikhun had been in the hands of an Islamic State associated group Liwa Al-Aqsa until mid February. The group moved out after fighting al-Qaeda and after slaughtering some 150 of its fighters. Al-Qaeda since moved in and now rules the town and surrounding areas.)

Several of the released video were introduced and commented by Dr. Shajul Islam who has been removed from the British medical registry and had been indicted in the UK for his role in kidnapping "western" journalists in Syria. He fled back to Syria. One of the journalists kidnapped with the help of Dr. Shajul Islam, James Foley, was later murdered on camera by the Islamic State.  The videos the "doctor" distributed of "rescue" of casualties of the chemical incidents were not of real emergencies but staged. Under who's conditions and directions where the many other pictures and videos taken and published? Why are no female children or young women among the emergency patients and casualties? Why is there no picture or video of where the people were hit by gas and were found? All videos are from "aid stations", none from "the wild".

Other videos and photos are by the White Helmets "rescuers", a U.S./UK financed propaganda prop, which is so "neutral" that it works with ISIS (vid) and al-Qaeda but not in government held areas where the actual Syrian population lives.

The Hama offensive by "the opposition" was personally planned and directed by the founder and head of al-Qaeda in Syria al-Joliani. Photos of the planing sessions were published by "opposition" agencies and widely distributed.


The White House paper only talks of "the opposition". How can there be an "intelligence assessment" (and reporting about it) that does not note that the incident in question took place in an area where AL-QAEDA rules and that the allegedly related (but defeated) offensive was launched by AL-QAEDA. Is AL-QAEDA now officially the "Syrian opposition" the U.S. supports? The neoconned former General Petraeus lobbied for an open U.S. alliance with al-Qaeda since 2015. The new National Security Advisor to Trump, General McMaster, is a Petraeus protege. He, together with Petraeus, screwed up Iraq. Is the Petraeus alliance now in place?

The next step then will be for the U.S. to informally ally with the Islamic State. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is already arguing for that:

We could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad. After all, they’re the ones overextended in Syria, not us. Make them fight a two-front war — the moderate rebels on one side and ISIS on the other. If we defeat territorial ISIS in Syria now, we will only reduce the pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah and enable them to devote all their resources to crushing the last moderate rebels in Idlib, not sharing power with them.

The U.S., Friedman says, should let ISIS run free so it can help al-Qaeda which is ruling in Idleb governate. Friedman talks of "moderate rebels in Idleb" but these are unicorns. They do not exist. There is al-Qaeda and there is the smaller Ahrar al Sham which compares itself with the Taliban. All other opposition fighters in Idleb have joined these two or are now dead.

But why not use these gangs of sectarian mass murderers against the Syrian government and others? Hey, Israel wants us to do just that. And why don't we hand out anti-air missiles to them, Friedman asks, and lend them air-support. This at the same time. Surely the combination will do well.

In Syria, Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujahedeen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan.

Well, you know, that mujahedeen thing worked out so well that nearly forty years later the U.S. is mulling again to send additional troops to Afghanistan to defeat them. Do we really want a repeat of that at the borders of Europe?

Lunacy has truly taken over the White House but even more so the U.S. media. How can sanity be brought back to town?


Professor emeritus at MIT Theodor Postol, a former science adviser to U.S. Navy command and missile expert, has analyzed the "evidence" the White House presented. The short, preliminary report is available here. (I have verified that this is the original one.)

Postol finds nothing in the White House assessment that lets him believe the incident was from an air attack. He finds signs that the incident that was launched on the ground by intentional exploding some container of 122mm ammunition with some other explosives.

He calls the White House assessment amateurish and not properly vetted by competent intelligence analysts who, Postol says, would not have signed off on it in is current form (just as I said above.)

Postol presumes that the incident was with Sarin. He makes no analysis of that White House claim (it is not his field). I don't agree with the Sarin claim. Many other organophosphate substances (pesticides) would  be "consistent with" the symptoms displayed or played in the videos and pictures. Some symptoms expected with Sarin, for example heavy convulsions, spontaneous defecation, are no visible in any of the videos or pictures.

I do not concur with Postol on the picture of the alleged impact crater of the "attack". I have seen several "versions" of the impact crater on social nets with different metal parts, or none, placed in it. Postol seems to have only seen one version. His conclusions from that version seem right. But the crater "evidence" is tainted and to make overall conclusions from it is not easy. I concur though that the crater is not from an air impact but from a ground event. I am not sure though that it is related to the incident at all.

Posted by b on April 12, 2017 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

« previous page

Tensions between Washington and Moscow, following the US cruise missile strike on Shayrat airbase Syria, are not cooling off. RF has unequivocally said it would respond immediately, should the US decide to target Syrian military sites again.

Vice Chairman of the State Duma for Defense, Yuri Hvitekin, however, said that Russia would likely not respond to any US aggression directly, noting that the Syrian air defense alone is strong enough to address any possible threat. According Hvitekin, steps taken by Russia, are sufficient and represent everything Russia can do within the scope of international law.

He also added that there are Russian military facilities and installations on Syrian territory, pointing out that should the Trump administration ever decide to strike them, there will be consequences. "it will not be words. Instead, it will be actions.", he stated.

Viktor Ozerov, Chairman of the Russian Federal Council Defence and Security Committee, said that it is primarily the task of the Syrian Armed Forces to respond to the US or any other foreign aggression, adding that the Syrian Army has the legal right to do it.

Moscow promptly suspended the RF/US coalition De-confliction MOU & communication channel on ensuring the safety of air flights over Syrian territory after the CM strike & formally called upon the UNSC schedule & subsequently convene an emergency meeting in order to specifically discuss the US strike on Syria.

The Russian statements follow the US administrations announcement on Monday that further strikes await Syria, should its army resort to the use of chemical weapons one more time ...

A little relevant recent history that matters:

The Empire, under the GOP alcohol-addled Bush Jr, along with McCain, Condoleezza Rice, et al specifically, manipulated and deceived Georgia thru their puppet 'Agent-of Influence', Saakashvili, to invade Sth Ossetia/Abkazia in the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, and in the process the Georgian Lt Infantry BNs with limited armor & artillery formations in support deliberately targeted the RF peacekeeping battalion (army) operating as part of a joint peacekeeping formation & command under OCSE mandate. The BN took severe casualties, but held.

The response was swift and dramatic. Via land, air and sea. The 58th Army Group, with supporting airborne and mech inf formations decisively obliterated the Georgian forces in matter of days... whilst the Empire sat on its hands, mouthing feeble empty re-assurances to Georgia. And that was 9 years ago ... much has changed since ...

So ... should the Trump administration ever decide to strike them (RF Forces), there will be consequences. "it will not be words. Instead, it will be actions."

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12, 2017 10:22:55 PM | 102

Re: Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 12, 2017 4:28:13 PM | 76

China will not "sell out" North Korea. They have some redlines of their own.

Kim's survival isn't one of them.

Their "Red" (Geddit) Line is no adversarial troops on the other side of the Yalu River.

What could possibly happen is this.

Kim sets off a nuke test this Saturday for the celebrations for his grandfather.

US lobs a series of missiles at North Korea in "retaliation" for this purely domestic event.

The Norks respond by massive invasion of South Korea.

The Chinese respond by invading North Korea from the North.

All the time, calling for the North Koreans to surrender.

With North Korea facing the combined militaries of China, USA & South Korea - don't you think some intelligent North Korean general (or several of them) will capture and arrest Kim and negotiate surrender?

Fighting against China & USA would be madness.

Whoever makes the move likely becomes the new President of North Korea - hell of an incentive there - with Chinese backing.

The other point to this is. China's price for intervening in North Korea - and not themselves pushing forward into South Korea I imagine would be a few things.

1. US to back off in the South China Sea.

2. All US troops off the Korean Peninsula by the end of this year.

3. Improved trade deals.

4. And maybe something about 'hands off' Taiwan. Maybe. But this might be asking a bit too much.

To agree to intervene against North Korea without having agreement on at least the first 3 points would be completely pointless from China's point of view wouldn't it?

They'd be selling themselves down the river.

And the other point is - how could Donald Trump possibly expect China to do the 'dirty work' of the US for it? Ie, by invading and pacifying North Korea themselves.

No way China would enter into a military conflict against North Korea purely on behalf of the Americans.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 12, 2017 10:30:17 PM | 103

The purpose of this document is to give cover for the propaganda campaign in the media. It's meaningless to discuss its falsehoods. It is now the basis of all reporting on this subject and will be the basis of policy going forward.

The swamp won you see. There was only ever about a 5% that Trump would break the cycle of endless war, and he failed. He failed the moment Flynn was ousted.

We are now very deep down the rabbit hole. The war mania will become turbocharged. No much can be done now. History will have to run its course.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 12, 2017 10:38:00 PM | 104

FYI: update to my comment @54

I updated my post (see below) to include:

1. Sec Def Gen. Mattis remarks during the Defense Dept press conference of "59 targets" at the airfield. This means the number of missiles fired was controlled by higher-ups that approved target selection.

2. That NSA Gen. McMaster, a noted military historian, may be the person who used the "lessons of the Berlin Crisis" to convince Trump to take a hard-line approach wrt Syria.

Cold War Messaging Yields Insight into US-Russian Conflict

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 12, 2017 10:38:25 PM | 105

Not sure if this has been posted here yet, but the perfect complement to the Postol report is the briefing coming today from the Russian General Staff. Here's the YouTube, with English subtitles (for which you may have to click the CC button):

You can find the whole transcript at Saker, no link possible here but titled: "Briefing of Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy".

The General offers a terse and very clear set of facts and events of recent history that lead up exactly to his question of whether the attack was a false flag, and offers global collateral for thinking it may be, but stops short of conclusions. It's a typical Russian masterpiece of reporting the facts that are known.

The Postol report offered in b's UPDATE perfectly fits in and follows from the groundwork laid by the general, and together they make tight reading - recommended.

My own UPDATE: I see now that RT has it all on one page, with a video of Postol as well as the General's briefing. Your one-stop shop can be here:
White House claims on Syria chemical attack ‘obviously false’ – MIT professor (VIDEO)

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 12, 2017 10:58:58 PM | 106

harrylaw @88:

Lavrov to Tillerson "We would like to see any evidence, any hard practical evidence," he said. "So far we haven't seen any ...
Instead, there is a history of lies and bad behavior:
Iraq War I: babies thrown from incubators!!!!

Iraq War II: Aluminum Tubes

Lybia: UN-approved No-fly Zone ===> Bombing campaign

Syria 2013: Ghouta attack

Bonus Points:
Obama: "Change you can believe in"

USA is still in Afghanistan and would still be in Iraq if USA hadn't been thrown out when the Iraq's refused to extend immunity for US troops & Guantanmo is still open (oh, and bankers got bailouts)

Trump: 'America First' fighting 'radical Islamic terrorists' ===> unjustified attack on a sovereign country

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 12, 2017 11:04:53 PM | 107

@ Posted by: Julian | Apr 12, 2017 10:30:17 PM | 103

There is no secret non-aggression pact reminiscent of Molotov/Rippentrop circa '39 between US & China.

China will not invade NK to 'help' the US/Empire.

China will never permit the Empire to get any closer to the Chinese border than where they currently stand at the 38th parallel.

Nothing would entice the US to abandon its forces and occupation troops on Korean soil other than their complete annihilation/destruction (SK locale), or the US economic collapse.

The entire fundamental purpose and motivation of the US/Empire for everything that has happened since the beginning of the Korean War in '50, is to get military forces abutting the Chinese/NK border in order to directly threaten China from land, since the mainland KMT (a mid '40s to '49 US puppet/vassal) was overthrown in '49 and kicked off the mainland and its remnants evacuated to Taiwan.

The Empire dreams of one day being able to hold a knife to Chinas throat.

That has been the goal since '49. That is the ultimate strategic objective of ALL maneuvering/posturing/provocations re Sth & Nth Korea by the Empire since. And China is well aware of it.


Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12, 2017 11:07:22 PM | 108

Thanks for the therapy, and an island of sanity in a screwed world b...

Posted by: ben | Apr 12, 2017 11:19:55 PM | 109

@93/102 outraged.. thanks for the overview.. stephen cohen and your comments aligns with my own view here too..

@106 grieved... thanks for sharing the video...

for those who want to make it quick, skip to 9'45" thru the end at 11'52".. otherwise, the whole 12 minute video is worth watching..

Posted by: james | Apr 12, 2017 11:45:14 PM | 110

IS this US answer to Theodor Postol and other critics?

US intelligence intercepted communications between Syrian military and chemical experts

The US military and intelligence community has intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week, a senior US official tells CNN.

The intercepts were part of an immediate review of all intelligence in the hours after the attack . . .

This is very very similar to the 2013 Ghouta attack where intercepts - that ultimately turned out to be bogus, were depicted as being a "slam dunk" case for Syrian/Assad guilt.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13, 2017 12:24:36 AM | 111

Posted by: Pft | Apr 12, 2017 6:45:44 PM | 86

Oops! A bit klumsy of Khodorkovsky. His vision of future Russia sounds ominously like that beacon of Mockracy - Israel.
Accident, or design?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 13, 2017 12:33:20 AM | 112

Outraged @ 108

What are China-NK really like?

I've read nothing of China-NK relations other than what I see occasionally fed into ZeroHedge, which I perceive (correctly or not) as neocon propaganda on some subjects. (To me, ZH coverage of a few places, esp. Iran, NK and Venezuela, veers towards "myopic" or "double standard". While reading and interpreting, I "correct" for their bias -- unless they're actually debunking a BS MSM narrative blaming one of those countries.)

With my admission of naivety up front, I ask is it possible:

- That China massing troops on the border with NK is to provide on-peninsula support to NK, in case of invasion? Perhaps set up missiles closer in proximity to retaliate against NATZO assets in SK? (POTUS Trump isn't the only person who

- That China stopped taking NK coal exports not for the reasons Big Brother Media explains (meant to convey the meme that "even China thinks they're crazy") but because it has enough and prefers not to deprive NK of using that coal for its own local power generation?

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 13, 2017 12:39:31 AM | 113

>> What are China-NK really like?

Meant to ask "What are China-NK relations really like?"

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 13, 2017 12:40:07 AM | 114

Re: Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12, 2017 11:07:22 PM | 108

Believe me, I understand that, which is why I drew some red lines that China might well have for offering any "help" in dealing with North Korea.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 13, 2017 12:41:26 AM | 115

Re: Posted by: dumbass | Apr 13, 2017 12:40:07 AM | 114

I imagine China would be very happy to swap the long-term useful "buffer state" of North Korea, with the much more prosperous "buffer state" of a United Korea.

US Troops out of the Peninsula would have to be a part of that bargain.

Trump is a dealmaker though isn't he.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 13, 2017 1:02:09 AM | 116

@ Posted by: Julian | Apr 13, 2017 12:41:26 AM | 115

All good, Julian. 'tis all good. Had no intention to imply otherwise. My textual 'voice' can come across, as Juannie describes, grade 60 sandpaper ;) A text only interaction lacks tone/inflection/meter/pacing/pitch/eye-contact/expression/body language/etc. Also too late for me to overcome ingrained 'briefing' style re such. Cheers :)

@ Posted by: dumbass | Apr 13, 2017 12:39:31 AM | 113

China massing troops on the border with NK

Independent, credible, accurate, reliable corroborated source please ? Appears to be 'planted' disinformation. China has officially declared such, #Fake news, bogus.

Re coal stocks, not up to date, however, my understanding is China built up & has maintained years worth of strategic coal & other minerals (Oil/gas ?) stockpiles while the markets were depressed post GFC, no ?

As posted before, within 2.5 years, china will have implemented and completed $400Billion USD of large scale renewable energy projects and start to rapidly reduce existing dirty coal power stations, with the added benefit of partially offsetting strategic Oil/gas dependencies. That is the equivalent of two years of national Defense budget, or 2/3 of a year of the US Defense Budget. And only one of numerous large scale energy & infrastructure projects ...

I do not know, no idea re NK, only ever from the Sth side of the DMZ, and that was very brief. Though almost everything western media reports re NK, in my view, is largely manipulated worthless Psyop propaganda harking back to the worst of same re USSR during the Cold War. There is almost always a complete disconnect between the actual still photos and the accompanying captions and article text, IMHO.

China has stood by them since '49 thru thick & thin. They were both occupied and fought against the Japanese. Both suffered brutal atrocities. China bled heavily for NK in the Korean War. My perception, and merely only that, is they look down on the NKs, but far prefer them to the jackals of the Empire, given the Imperial age of China/Korea being brutalized (from their perspective).

Surely there must be Sino or Korean commenters lurking with in depth cultural insights ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 1:10:27 AM | 117

" the ornate room with President Trump and Xi -- devouring the rich, velvety, creamy, chocolate cake -- brimming with hedonism -- relishing the idea of killing people solely for the purpose of expressing power."

"let them eat cake" comes to mind.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 13, 2017 1:17:12 AM | 118

The Empire dreams of one day being able to hold a knife to Chinas throat. That has been the goal since '49. That is the ultimate strategic objective of ALL maneuvering/posturing/provocations re Sth & Nth Korea by the Empire since. And China is well aware of it.
Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12, 2017 11:07:22 PM | 108

Pilger The Coming War With China

It's a circa 100 minute doco to be screened on Sunday.
One of the reviews on the search-result page begins Pilger's doco has been overtaken by recent events...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 13, 2017 1:31:31 AM | 119

@ Hoarsewhisperer

First released Dec 5 2016(UK), downloading now, tho often find Pilger has to tone down, pull punches, to ensure a livable professional income and not be MSM blacklisted ... not a criticism, merely an observation, still good all the same. Hat-tip :) time for some zzz's

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 1:43:05 AM | 120

interesting development. I would not have expected this considering the incredible the ferocity of anti-russian propaganda coming out of the US and UK, all of whose 'major media' have gone completely looney, and should be committed

G7 Shoots Down US Call for More Anti-Russian Sanctions
Italy and Germany stood firm against Anglo-Americans

The G7 was meant to be an insipid forum that unfailingly followed the US diktat, but the worm is apparently turning. The G7 foreign ministers meeting today in Lucca failed to fall in line with the British-American proposal to impose more sanctions against Russia over the Syrian crisis. The host country, Italy, upfront disagreed with adopting any hard line toward Russia – “we must not push Russia into a corner”, as foreign minister Angelino Alfano put it.

Interestingly, Germany supported the Italian stance. Equally, the G7 agreed on the importance of a independent inquiry being conducted on the chemical attack in Idlib on April 4 (which had ostensibly triggered the US missile strike.)......

Evidently, Russia is circling the wagons, preparing for an eventuality of cascading tensions in Syria. In the talks with Tillerson, Russia’s prime objective will be to know if the US strike in Syria was a one-time affair or if it signals a policy shift toward deeper military involvement.

.....As a thumb rule, Russians give primacy to predictability and reliability in foreign policy even when the interlocutor could be an adversary. Whereas, the central problem with Trump is his unpredictability. Impulsive behaviour and wayward foreign policy has become the hallmark of the Trump administration.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Apr 13, 2017 1:50:08 AM | 121

@121 mj72, 'Impulsive behaviour and wayward foreign policy have become the hallmarks of the Trump administration'

just like erdogan. dumber, though. the only people he managed to get appointed to 'help' him are financiers, fusiliers, and fossil-fuelers. all well-known for their deaf-, dumb-, and blindness to the interests of life on earth.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 2:14:23 AM | 122

A very interesting analysis here:

"The Chemical Fake in Idlib"

Although the article is in Russian, a person who sent me the link gave me some instruction on how to read that extremely interesting stuff –
since the textual part of the article is rather short, it’d be quite easy to copy-paste chunks of the russian text that are between the article's images into the Google Translator

Posted by: Abdul Katzman | Apr 13, 2017 2:53:57 AM | 123

Hoarsewhisperer Outraged

Pilger has a fresh article dated 12th April

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 3:19:40 AM | 124

You cant make this up:
Pulitzer Prize goes to Anti-Russian Journos - Receive Media’s Highest Honor in business!

This is the insanity that grow everyday. These sick people wont stop until nuclear war with Russia.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 13, 2017 3:24:51 AM | 125

@124 anon1

'Joseph Pulitzer introduced the techniques of yellow journalism to the newspapers he acquired in the 1880s. He became a leading national figure in the Democratic Party and was elected congressman from New York.'

'Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.'

alfred nobel invented dynamite, sold munitions, funded a peace prize.

the norwegian nobel committee are his stable of whores, columbia university is joseph pulitzer's.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 3:38:00 AM | 126

China has actually been putting pressure on NK to give up its nuclear weapons. Banning coal imports and so forth. I don't see NK giving up their nukes for anyone.

Trump acting tough and showing US might with the carrier strike force.
China putting pressure on NK making life harder, and more isolated.
NK ready for another nuke test.

Trump bragging how tough he is. Kim lets of a nuke. What happens then? Trump will look a real dick if he doesn't walk the talk.
Next few days will be interesting.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 4:05:42 AM | 127

Trump have obviously fooled the Chinese, they couldnt even veto a neocon resolution in the UN, now Trump could attack North Korea too just like Syria and he know China wont military involve itself.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 13, 2017 4:10:35 AM | 128

@127 Peter AU

China banned coal imports from NK.
Guess who stepped in? The USA: importing coal to NK since Feb 2013.
Yea, never ever miss the chances of a crisis!

Posted by: maningi | Apr 13, 2017 4:21:16 AM | 129

@128 maningi

(should have written:)
The USA: exporting coal to NK since Feb 2013.

Posted by: maningi | Apr 13, 2017 4:28:37 AM | 130

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 4:05:42 AM | 126
(China's sanctions on NK coal)

China 24 Illustrated this a day or so ago. However, the much-overdone video (several ships, travelling from screen Left to screen Right, being 'turned away' from unidentifiable 'Chinese' port and stationary jam of nose-to-tail loaded coal trucks stretching to the/a horizon) suggest Chinese Humour which, imo, often rivals Russian Humour.
(NASA was buying rocket engines from 'sanctioned' Russia).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 13, 2017 4:44:20 AM | 131

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 4:05:42 AM | 127

Trump obviously does not mind looking like a real dick.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13, 2017 4:57:30 AM | 132

I just had a look through the US DoD site and the only US aircraft in the air in Syria, are for Tabqa. The destruction of Syrian oil fields stopped the day of the missile attack.
No bombing at Raqqa or anywhere else, only Tabqa.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 6:18:18 AM | 133

Re 133
Missed the report for the 11th. Seems they did bomb Raqqa and Deir Ezzor on that day.
Breaking news in sputnik now is that US bombed an ISIS chemical storage in Dier Ezzor.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 6:37:24 AM | 134

Like a tree that falls in the woods, this report of a chemical cache most likely will go no further than the audience which reads Sputnik. As far as the West is concerned, it never happened.

Posted by: Musburger | Apr 13, 2017 7:26:44 AM | 135

“The Syrian General Staff said that the US-led coalition struck a Daesh depot storing chemical weapons in Deir ez-Zor on Wednesday.

The Syrian military said that this fact proves that terrorists possess chemical weapons.

“The jets of the so-called US-led coalition launched a strike at about 17:30-17:50 [local time, 14:30-14:50 GMT] on a Daesh warehouse where many foreign fighters were present. First a white cloud and then a yellow one appeared at the site of the strike, which points at the presence of a large number of poisonous substances. A fire at the site continued until 22:30 [19:30 GMT],” the Syrian army’s command statement obtained by Sputnik said.

According to the Syrian General Staff, the US-led coalition’s strike killed several hundred people, including civilians. Hundreds were poisoned as a result of the strike on Daesh’s headquarters and depot with chemical weapons”.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 13, 2017 7:52:03 AM | 136


Indeed, also the very reason why the same neocon/west/msm dont want their populations to read outlets like Sputnik.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 13, 2017 7:56:56 AM | 137

Does anyone have a link to a translated transcript of the Tillerson/Lavrov press conference?

I saw it on CNN, and it seemed Lavrov cleaned Tillerson's clock from a debate-level perspective.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Apr 13, 2017 8:22:36 AM | 138


US army making sure that there is not anothery "Syrian army chemical weapons attack?

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13, 2017 8:29:08 AM | 139

Polish news portal :

"USA mają ostateczny dowód na odpowiedzialność reżimu Baszara Al-Asada za użycia broni chemicznej w Chan Szajchun. Amerykański wywiad przechwycił rozmowy syryjskich wojskowych i ekspertów od broni chemicznej na temat przygotowywanego ataku." -> "USA have definite proof for responsibility of the regime of Bashar-al-Asad for using chemial weapons in Khan Shaytun. American intelligence intercepted conversations of Syrian military and chemical weapon experts on the subject of the attack being prepared". Comments of the readers (Polish Russophobia):

Unfortunately, the credibility of American accusations concerning chemical weapons in null.

I remind that USA had no doubts on Iraqi chemical weapons, and then they could not find them.

If you want to hit a dog, you will find a stick [a proverb]

USA lies

[... who knows who and when was talking ... ]

[ a bit incoherent, "propaganda/who cares" ]

Olgino upset, how is it, they have found it [ this is a persistent anti-Russian troll ]

Bravo USA [ another lazy troll ]

After the fact you can dig out and record anything.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 13, 2017 9:11:56 AM | 140

@138, transcript here.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 13, 2017 9:12:26 AM | 141

The Dollar as reserve currency and military hegemony are all of a piece; the latter is all about sustaining the former and vice versa. The deep state or permanent govt. in the U.S. knows this and the craziness of current foreign policy probably reflects the deep anxiety, desperation perhaps, occasioned by their realization that it is all in danger of slipping away.
It will, of course, maybe not right away, but certainly within the next few decades. "defending our freedoms" is actually code for retaining our wealth.

Posted by: Casowary Gentry | Apr 13, 2017 10:14:08 AM | 142

The released text is remarkable. Remarkably bad, and it reminds one of the famous lying 'dodgy dossier' cobbled together in Downing Street to advance the case for war with Iraq and containing a brazen row of falsehoods. That our media, with the resources at their disposal have accepted the White House text and 'analysis' as 'genuine' is absolutely extraordinary. Suddenly the Trump White House is a fountain of knowledge and truth, and about something as serious as war... when did that change happen? In reality this 'chemical attack' episode in Syria, the way it's been covered by the western media, is one of the worst examples of 'fake news' promotion ever and a journalistic scandal rivaling Iraq and their non-existent WMDs.

Posted by: MichaelK | Apr 13, 2017 10:49:25 AM | 143

139 - the Pentagon denies ...

For some reason the denial is in Turkish and Israeli media.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13, 2017 10:56:22 AM | 144

So British spies did spy on Trump

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13, 2017 10:59:20 AM | 145

I've always thought a war was inevitable since viewing Pentagon's New Map. It takes a lot of confidence to announce on C-Span that the plan is to invade the rest of the world and integrate them into the empire. It was just a matter of working its sway through the nonaligned countries with the large conventional forces.

Posted by: Les | Apr 13, 2017 10:59:41 AM | 146

Julian @ 103

Why would north korea invade the south? To make hollywoodian narratives come true?

I would guess that if yankee missiles start raining in pyongyang that'll be answered with a thunderstorm of same over sth korea and , if reachable, japan. Wonder what the effects of such destruction would be in wall street...

Posted by: estouxim | Apr 13, 2017 11:02:58 AM | 147

That line(s) between DAESH and the "rebel forces" have eroded significantly (possibly totally as both groups find themselves weakened and facing defeat) is becoming painfully obviously -- I've noticed some people have stopped including the rebels in the equation, often suggesting that "Islamists" (including Al-Qa’eda and gradually DAESH) are some "lesser evil" next to the vast black-hole-of-evil that is Assad ... Since I really don't include "evil" in my calculations ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 13, 2017 11:27:37 AM | 148

"North" Korea. There's only ever been one Korea. The "North" "invaded" the "South" to keep it out of the hand's of Merka's fascist allies.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 13, 2017 11:31:06 AM | 149

@148 I've noticed that too. I expect to see a new opposition group announced be called the FDSIF, Free Democratic Syrian Islamic Forces.

Posted by: dh | Apr 13, 2017 11:42:33 AM | 150

@139 sb

by us lights this qualifies as a us chemical weapons attack in syria. probably is, too. they probably knew what they were hitting and the likely (hoped for) result ... 'the US-led coalition’s strike killed several hundred people, including civilians. Hundreds were poisoned as a result of the strike on Daesh’s headquarters and depot with chemical weapons'.

will excalibur missiles now rain down upon the base in qatar - or wherever it is the us planes were based?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 11:43:05 AM | 151

@ Posted by: dumbass | Apr 13, 2017 12:39:31 AM | 113

Highly recommend, and to anyone else interested, viewing the two following largely(?) situationally historically accurate films (In context), one Chinese, the other Sth Korean, though some liberties are taken.

'Assembly' gives insights into Chinese culture & military political issues then & now re the Korean War and touches on veterans issues in China.

'The Brotherhood of War' gives a personal insight into the tragedy that was the Korean War, on so many levels, and represents strong cultural views held by many SKs re unaddressed central issues still unresolved to this day going all the way back to the Korean War, and the continuing forced division of families, relatives and whole communities.

Both are informative and also very powerful cinema in their own right, IMHO

Assembly (film) - Wikipedia

Assembly is a 2007 Chinese war film written by Liu Heng and directed by Feng Xiaogang. ... Production company. China Film Co-Production Corporation. Distributed by, Huayi ... Gu volunteers to fight in the Korean War as an enlisted soldier. ... Lieutenant Zhao Erdou, from a landmine and loses his right eye after being hit by ...

Taegukgi (The Brotherhood of War)(film) - Wikipedia

Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War is a 2004 South Korean war film directed by Kang Je-gyu. ... The U.N. coalition is eventually forced to retreat all the way back to Seoul when the Chinese intervene in the war on the North Korean side. ... Trying to rescue his brother, Jin-tae loses consciousness and wakes up to believe ...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 11:58:44 AM | 152

@146 les,

from your helmer link ...

Russia’s forces are incomparably stronger now than they were in 1939; for another the Americans are incomparably weaker at home and on the war fronts than the Germans were. Finally, Trump can neither understand his generals nor control them. Hitler wasn’t as irrational or as impotent.

... neither understand nor control ... neither as irrational nor as impotent.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 12:08:04 PM | 153

Followup to 152

Correction! Should read:

'Assembly' gives insights into Chinese culture & military political issues then & now re the latter stage of the Chinese Civil War since, PLA v NRA (KMT, US armed, financed, supported, vassal puppet especially from early '40's to '49 defeat) and lesser the Chinese involvement in the Korean War and touches on veterans issues in China.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 12:17:19 PM | 154

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 11:43:05 AM | 151

It is just being reported in German news with a US denial calling it "purposeful disinformation"

Frankly I would be amazed if it was true but don't count it out. They admitted killing their own SDP forces by accident.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13, 2017 12:25:42 PM | 155

b says in his update -

"Postol presumes that the incident was with Sarin. He makes no analysis of that White House claim (it is not his field). I don't agree with the Sarin claim. Many other organophosphate substances (pesticides) would be "consistent with" the symptoms displayed or played in the videos and pictures. Some symptoms expected with Sarin, for example heavy convulsions, spontaneous defecation, are no visible in any of the videos or pictures."

"I do not concur with Postol on the picture of the alleged impact crater of the "attack". I have seen several "versions" of the impact crater on social nets with different metal parts, or none, placed in it. Postol seems to have only seen one version. His conclusions from that version seem right. But the crater "evidence" is tainted and to make overall conclusions from it is not easy. I concur though that the crater is not from an air impact but from a ground event. I am not sure though that it is related to the incident at all."

Scott Ritter, former Chief Weapons Inspector for the UN Special Commission in Iraq, wrote a piece that refutes the sarin gas use, the Syrian AF using any chemical weapon whatsoever, the geospatial evidence via satelite imagery used by the NSC to bolster its case, the laws broken by this unilateral Act of War AND the crater.

The article is long but well worth the time to read - Dereliction of Duty, Redux by Scott Ritter -

Posted by: h | Apr 13, 2017 12:26:36 PM | 156

@ Posted by: h | Apr 13, 2017 12:26:36 PM | 156

Another excellent in-depth piece by Scott Ritter. Thank you for the link.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 12:37:50 PM | 157

148, 150

The problem is that Turkey's moderate FSA is violently opposed to the US and Russia's SDF.

from the memory hole -

American commandos 'forced to run away' from US-backed Syrian rebels

Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said the confrontation was sparked when FSA rebels accused the Americans of supporting the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13, 2017 12:39:00 PM | 158

Many, world, have drawn a parallel between the brutally tossed incubator babies, C. Powell and the phantom WMD in Iraq concentrated in a mini-vial, all the “chem” Syria attacks Obama refused to acknowledge ‘properly’ (e.g. Ghouta) and this latest 'chem attack'..

Much of standard opinion has caught up, all over the “W”- land (US + 5 eyes + EU + satellites..), Auntie Clara and cousin Gwendolyn now know the claims, descriptions, explanations of ‘chem attacks’ are fanciful, fictitious. Still the Masters deem the hype is ‘worth it’ in some way, to keep the subservient slaves, mal-informed, etc. in check, or kinda pretend that is a motivation. (It is clear that there is no need even for that, imho.)

The days when Amerithrax prompted valiant housewives to buy duct tape and hoard bottled water and pray to Jesus are gone.

We make our own reality - Rove . N. Haley's pix of dead babies or whatever, is just the same old. These moves - invoking fake attacks, actions, that are supposed to provoke blood-chilling horror, tears, suspension of judgment - are now low-level institutionalised symbols that are flaunted to all parties to signal this is serious, pay attention here!

Anyone who counts, even in a very minor capacity, understands the BS and that the charade, the show, serves to draw lines, between believers and not-so-much so, the de-bunkers, to delineate camps, etc.

The ‘real issues’ have to be obscured, kept in the dark mantle. All parties must deal with ‘codes’ and ‘fake TV’ etc. as there might be genuine, and marginally bothersome, revolt/revolution if the symbolic cover-up layer was ripped away.

In that sense, Trump even mentioning ‘beautiful dead babies’ or whatever, is without any doubt the ultimate capitulation, as it exemplifies passing from one world to another.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 13, 2017 12:40:08 PM | 159

Of the Korean Penisular, Vladivostok is pretty near the NK border. I doubt Russia will be thrilled having US infantry and artillery nearby the city.

Fat Kimboy killed a lot of pro China officials previously, so they know the son ain't like the father. And I think Beijing finally feels that Seoul can go fuck themselves with the THAAD site and Zumwalt base at Jeju.

They will probably ready bring this back the Northeast Project and effect it with Trump's help.

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Apr 13, 2017 12:45:38 PM | 160

Crazy-land ... AFP reports the USA just dropped "largest non-nuclear bomb" on ... wait for it ... Afghanistan ... no details as yet ... but a quick google for details reveals today's WAPO "bombshell" (wonder what the target was)
wapo: While the U.S. wasn’t looking, Russia and Iran began carving out a bigger role in Afghanistan.

KABUL — Iran and Russia have stepped up challenges to U.S. power in Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials say, seizing on the uncertainty of future U.S. policy to expand ties with the Taliban and weaken the country’s Western-backed government.

The moves come as tensions have flared between the United States, Iran and Russia over the conflict in Syria, and officials worry that the fallout could hurt Afghanistan’s chances for peace. For years, Iran and Russia have pushed for a U.S. withdrawal.

Now, as the Taliban gains ground and the White House appears to lack a clear Afghan policy, Iran and Russia have boosted support for insurgents and sidelined the United States from regional diplomacy on the war.

There was a widely publicized summit wrt Afghanistan in, iirc December 2016 (?), discussing essentially post-US management of Afghan terorrism on the assumption the Trump would be drawing down involvement ... fucking insanity.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 13, 2017 12:49:12 PM | 161

oh, more

Russia on Friday will host high-level talks on Afghanistan with Iranian, Pakistani and Chinese diplomats, the Kremlin said. But the United States, irked by Moscow’s recent outreach to the Taliban, has not confirmed whether it will attend.

Russia has “begun to publicly legitimize the Taliban,” and recent Russian and Iranian actions in Afghanistan “are to undermine the United States and NATO,” the top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson Jr., said in Senate testimony in February.

"sending a message" -- how many died?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 13, 2017 12:51:41 PM | 162

Case anyone is interested in, oh, I don't know, Doctor Assasd's version of recent events?

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 13, 2017 1:11:38 PM | 163

forgot h/t to Vanessa Beely , twitterer

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 13, 2017 1:14:02 PM | 164

French gov radio which is directly connected to the Qatari line has a Guardian journalist and a Syrian journalist who supposedly managed to get to the place of the attack and say -of course- it was grain silo and that omg what an horrible crater and omg what a smell... more to come on all your tv screens probably

Posted by: Mina | Apr 13, 2017 1:16:50 PM | 165

Little known specifics of the North Korea–Russia border - Wikipedia , infrastructure and related State-to-State aspects.

The border between Russia and North Korea, according to the official Russian definition, consists of 17 kilometres (11 mi) of "terrestrial border" and 22.1 km (12 Mi) maritime border.

Overview of historical to recent and wider aspects of overlooked North Korea–Russia relations - Wikipedia

Russia was the original guarantor of Korea, prior to the defeat of the US aligned KMT in China circa '49.

US occupation of South Korea - United States Army Military Government in Korea

With the American government fearing Soviet expansion, and the Japanese authorities in Korea warning of a power vacuum, the embarkation date of the US occupation force was brought forward three times.[21]

On September 7, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur announced that Lieutenant General John R. Hodge was to administer Korean affairs, and Hodge landed in Incheon with his troops the next day. The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, which had operated from China, sent a delegation with three interpreters to Hodge, but he refused to meet with them.[22] Likewise, Hodge refused to recognize the newly formed People's Republic of Korea and its People's Committees, and outlawed it on 12 December.[23]

In September 1946, thousands of laborers and peasants rose up against the military government. This uprising was quickly defeated, and failed to prevent scheduled October elections for the South Korean Interim Legislative Assembly.

The ardent anti-communist Syngman Rhee, who had been the first president of the Provisional Government and later worked as a pro-Korean lobbyist in the US, became the most prominent politician in the South. On July 19, 1947, Lyuh Woon-hyung, the last senior politician committed to left-right dialogue, was assassinated by a right-winger.[24]

The government conducted a number of military campaigns against left-wing insurgents. Over the course of the next few years, between 30,000[25] and 100,000 people were killed ...

North Korea: Following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel by the United States and the Soviet Union, with the north occupied by the Soviets and the south by the Americans. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948, two separate governments were formed: the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–1953). The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, and no actual peace treaty was ever signed.

The division of Korea between North and South Korea was the result of the Allied victory in World War II in 1945, ending the Empire of Japan's 35-year rule of Korea. The United States and the Soviet Union occupied the country, with the boundary between their zones of control along the 38th parallel.

With the onset of the Cold War, negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union failed to lead to an independent, unified Korea. In 1948, UN-supervised elections were held in the US-occupied south only. This led to the establishment of the Republic of Korea in South Korea, which was promptly followed by the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in North Korea. The United States supported the South, and the Soviet Union supported the North, and each government claimed sovereignty over the whole Korean peninsula.

The Korean War (1950–1953) left the two Koreas separated by the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the later part of the Cold War and beyond. The 21st century has seen some improved relations between the two sides, particularly during periods of liberal governments in the South.

Forgotten history:

Chinese Civil War - Immediate post-war clashes (1945–1946) & Resumed fighting (1946–1949), US involvement.

After the war with the Japanese ended, Chiang Kai-shek quickly moved KMT troops to newly liberated areas to prevent Communist forces from receiving the Japanese surrender.[43] The US airlifted many KMT troops from central China to the Northeast (Manchuria). President Harry Truman was very clear about what he described as "using the Japanese to hold off the Communists". In his memoirs he writes:

It was perfectly clear to us that if we told the Japanese to lay down their arms immediately and march to the seaboard, the entire country would be taken over by the Communists. We therefore had to take the unusual step of using the enemy as a garrison until we could airlift Chinese National troops to South China and send Marines to guard the seaports.
— President Truman[50]

Using the pretext of "receiving the Japanese surrender", business interests within the KMT government occupied most of the banks, factories and commercial properties, which had previously been seized by the Imperial Japanese Army.[43] They also conscripted troops at a brutal pace from the civilian population and hoarded supplies, preparing for a resumption of war with the Communists. These hasty and harsh preparations caused great hardship for the residents of cities such as Shanghai, where the unemployment rate rose dramatically to 37.5%.[43]

The US strongly supported the Kuomintang forces. Over 50,000 US Marines were sent to guard strategic sites, and 100,000 US troops were sent to Shandong. The US equipped and trained over 500,000 KMT troops, and transported KMT forces to occupy newly liberated zones as well as to contain Communist-controlled areas.[43] American aid included substantial amounts of both new and surplus military supplies; additionally, loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars were made to the KMT.[51] Within less than two years after the Sino-Japanese War, the KMT had received $4.43 billion from the US—most of which was military aid.

History, matters ;)

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 1:26:32 PM | 166

you know, when you begin to string together china's actions or inactions of late, it seems that the us has already managed to split the russian-chinese 'alliance'.

china has been mia in syria forever.

left russia on its own in the cold - with bolivia - at the security council.

sanctioned north korea, and is seemingly joining with the us in pressuring korea on its nuclear armament.

it looks as though china is attempting to come to a separate accommodation with the us.

team-mate today, team-leader tomorrow.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 2:12:34 PM | 167

and IS too was carving a greater role in Afghanistan (see articles by Bhadhrakumar on that). the US to their rescue?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 13, 2017 3:18:37 PM | 168

The various MSM members are now showing and disparaging the AFP interview with Assad where he says the chem weapons incident is a fabrication. Hopefully more in the US will notice the coverage of the Syrian war has been biased and consisted of focused accusations of child/hospital "directed" attacks and insulting interviews with Assad. No reporters/investigators on the ground. No one went to Aleppo to find out what happened under the "rebels" except Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley. And their reports did not make it to the MSM. And no one has discussed Libya since its destruction let alone analyzed why it had to be destroyed.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 13, 2017 3:25:50 PM | 169

Outraged @166--

A sanitized recap, but it certainly shows the Cold War was in full swing by the end of 1945. The horrors inflicted on Koreans by the Outlaw US Empire were Genocidal and known to be so by those directing them by their own admission. M*A*S*H is thus perhaps the most successful propaganda show of all time as it wrongly educated many about the horrific nature of what was done there. Unfortunately, the Koreans know their history very well while the propagandized wonder why the North acts the way it does.

The relationship between KMT and USA and its enmity is discussed at length by Kolko in his Politics of War, revealing that Stillwell as early as 1942 saw KMT "merely as a form of gangsterism, totally decadent," and by "1943 was certain the Chinese would overthrow Chiang after the war." (210) The following description of KMT/Chiang methods could be applied to today's neoliberalcons and deserves to be quoted in full:

"If one regards Chiang's actions as destructive to his personal control of China but not his private fortunes, then gangsterism is a serious and fundamental basis for comprehending the nature of the Chinese situation at the end of the war, and the reasons why Chiang rather than the Communists made the Chinese Revolution inevitable. For the Japanese did not impose the speculative inflation and chaotic financial structure on China, they did not require officers to operate the army as an appendage to a vast system of human bodies exploited as part of an enormous racket, nor did they close all the options to an alternative to both Communism and the Kuomintang." (230)

The above is further explained in a very long paragraph totally at odds with the massive propaganda effort mounted by the US government's explanation of how China was lost:

"Neither American money nor troops could save Chiang's government under the conditions of endless greed, inefficiency, and corruption. Chiang ceased to represent any well-rooted element of Chinese society; he degenerated from the leader of a class to the ruler of a clique.

"China was disintegrating when the Japanese invasion helped to create, as Chalmers Johnson* has rightly suggested, a merger of nationalism and peasant radicalism, labeled 'Communism,' in relatively isolated areas that contained about one-fifth of the Chinese population at the end of the war. Yet there was no external reason to compel the Chinese peasantry outside of the Japanese-controlled regions to revolt to save itself, and only a full appreciation of the magnitude of the advanced social and economic disorganization in the non-Communist, non-Japanese area can explain that metamorphosis. The nature of the army and its impact is vital to any complete understanding. But even beyond this floating sea of tortured oppressors, no less horrifying to the masses than were the Japanese, was the impact of inflation on the peasantry. The Chinese landlord had always been exploitive, but the external pressures compelled him to transfer new risks and obligations to the peasantry, and many moved to the cities as even more ruthless men took their places. As these landlords incessantly manipulated crop prices, prices paid, and services rendered, hoarding, artificial shortages, and sudden gluts became more common. Inflation made the already great risks of peasant life totally unbearable to many, and for the poor masses in the south the impact of the war, even where there were no foreign invaders, was a great disaster. The process of disintegration spread throughout China at lightening speed even where the people failed to organize an opposition and there were no Communists to give them political direction. We can only comprehend the ease with which the nation fell by examining the collapse of the social system everywhere. Chiang and his coterie alone made that possible. Japan did not dictate these necessities because there was no real war against Japan, only a process of accumulation for Chiang's clique and the war lords within the non-Japanese areas not under Communist control. Any moderately honest government might have stopped the polarization of the political options between Communism or endless misery facing the urban and rural classes." (231) *Chalmers Johnson, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China, 1937-1945.

Yes indeed, History most certainly matters!

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 13, 2017 3:27:42 PM | 170

@170 karlof

from chiang to the saudis / al-cia-duh the us ruling clique has never met a fellow gangster clique it didn't hop in bed with. it's greatest fear has always been that a people might gain power and the means of self-determination. and the plutocrats are back in power in china again ...

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 3:49:52 PM | 171

jfl @171--

I presume you know of Monthly Review, and you might find its current item curious,

I think reducing elite philosophy to Gangsterism might be very useful, but I can't think anyone's done that since Butler's War is a Racket.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 13, 2017 4:19:54 PM | 172

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 13, 2017 3:27:42 PM | 170

Yes, indeed heavily sanitized, and most do not follow links, hence the 'highlights'. Between '45 & '49 the KMT lost ~1 million troops per year, who deserted to the Evil Chicoms, until there was nothing left come the flight to taiwan in '49. The intention was for the KMT to turn China into a mafioso ruled and exploited version of Cuba, to the max. hence why China, under the KMT, was given one of the 5 permanent member veto seats on the UNSC, as a US puppet/vassal, along with UK & France. 4 to 1 v Russia/USSR. It didn't quite work out as planned, and wasn't until '71(?) China got control of its UN seat back, so 3 v 2 UNSC since. Anyone who thinks China would ever trust or submit to the Empire or be fooled by US faux entreaties or attempted splits re Russia-China, does not know their Chinese history, nor the deep knowledge and passion of the common Chinese on the 'street', of all ages, re the events described, let alone what followed on from '49, IMHO.

Excellent Chalmers J quotes. Bravo.

After final, total, defeat in '49 and the KMT/ROC remnants fleeing with US air/naval assistance to Taiwan:

PRC v ROC - Military Stalemate to Diplomatic War

Most observers expected Chiang's government to eventually fall in response to a Communist invasion of Taiwan, and the US initially showed no interest in supporting Chiang's government in its final stand. Things changed radically with the onset of the Korean War in June 1950. At this point, allowing a total Communist victory over Chiang became politically impossible for the US, and President Harry S. Truman ordered the United States Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent the ROC and PRC from attacking each other.[65]

In June 1949 the ROC declared a "closure" of all mainland China ports and its navy attempted to intercept all foreign ships. The closure was from a point north of the mouth of Min River in Fujian to the mouth of the Liao River in Liaoning.[66] Since mainland China's railroad network was underdeveloped, north-south trade depended heavily on sea lanes. ROC naval activity also caused severe hardship for mainland China fishermen.

After losing mainland China, a group of approximately 12,000 KMT soldiers escaped to Burma and continued launching guerrilla attacks into south China during the Kuomintang Islamic Insurgency in China (1950–1958) and Campaign at the China–Burma Border. Their leader, Gen. Li Mi, was paid a salary by the ROC government and given the nominal title of Governor of Yunnan. Initially, the US supported these remnants and the Central Intelligence Agency provided them with aid. After the Burmese government appealed to the United Nations in 1953, the US began pressuring the ROC to withdraw its loyalists. By the end of 1954 nearly 6,000 soldiers had left Burma and Li Mi declared his army disbanded. However, thousands remained, and the ROC continued to supply and command them, even secretly supplying reinforcements at times...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 4:21:10 PM | 173

Correction! re 173: ... or attempted splits re Russia-China since especially circa 2001.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13, 2017 4:25:15 PM | 174

Outraged @173--

Thanks for your reply. It seems current US policy is just as incoherent as it was 70+ years ago.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 13, 2017 6:23:19 PM | 175

Outraged 173
Good you brought all that information up.
In looking at the public face of what is happening at the moment - China, NK, US - I had forgotten about the WWII remembrance days in China. Same as Russia - full on military might parade, rather than sadly laying wreaths for those who died for empire as we/some do here.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13, 2017 7:02:23 PM | 176

@173 or, 'Anyone who thinks China would ever trust or submit to the Empire or be fooled by US faux entreaties or attempted splits re Russia-China, does not know their Chinese history, ...'

well of course i hope you're right. but a plutocrat is a plutocrat, whether anglo, american, or chinese ... and reading william hinton's account of the state of chinese society during the struggle against the plutes there reminds me of the other chinese history, pre-revolution ...

'... nor the deep knowledge and passion of the common Chinese on the 'street', of all ages, re the events described, let alone what followed on from '49' '

... now you're talking. if the ordinary chinese refuse to allow the plutes to rule there'll be hope for us all. i don't see a trace of such a good and necessary example arising in the west.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 7:37:27 PM | 177

jfl 167

what we do know,

murkka has been the agent provocateur in korean peninsula,
under washington/sk's incessant provocations, nk started its nuke program.

china brokered a deal with clinton, washington to supply nuke power station to nk, in exchange for phongyan ditching its nuke program.
the bush /cheney/wolverwiz gang sabotaged that win/win arrangement,
from then on nk vowed to continue with its nuke program with a vengence.

washington has exploited its nk bogeyman to the hilt, to
*overcome the intense okinawa opposition to murkkan base citing the nk 'threat',
*automatic roll over the murkkan/sk 'defence' pact when it's due for review,
*justify the deployment of aegis warships in jeju,
*ram thaad down sk's throat.

the fact that nk always seem to do the 'wrong' thing at the 'right' time prompted some observers to wonder, is nk a witting collaborator in putting beijing in such a bind ?

witting or otherwise, due to phonyang's unilateral actions [1]
nk has long ceased to be china's 'ally', or even 'pit bull' as parroted in the msm, its more like a thorn in beijing's side.
mind you moscow is also displeased with nk for
the thaad deployment.

one more point,
china is in a very unenviable position as the only country surrounded from all sides by nuke powers , some of which are very hostile. india
for example advertised china as the target of its nuke missiles program. !
the last thing beijing needs is a nuke armed korea, china wanted a de nuked korean peninsula all along, its not a capitulation to washington's
wish now, as suggested.

like the time Kim informed washington in advance, but not beijing, of its nuke test.

Posted by: denk | Apr 13, 2017 10:36:06 PM | 178

@172 karlof

thanks for the link to john bellamy foster, i hadn't read him or monthly review in some time. he's always an historical tour de force, as he is this time as well.

i think things are moving very fast, or have, and will now perhaps slow down a bit. it occurs to me that the departure of bannon may be related to a tee-rump swing toward china - away from russia - as the new dispensation in tee-rump's gala (great ambition little ability) administration.

tee-rump is no believer in ideas, ideologies, or principles. he's interested only in tools ready to hand which he can pick up off the floor, put to purpose, and drop again. certainly fascism is 'a problem' with tee-rump, as with any demoblican to be named later, because both are driven by an increasingly desperate capitalist class with one eye on the clock and a growing conviction that things could collapse in their own actual lifetimes.

Meanwhile, the restructuring of the U.S. economy in the context of its declining global hegemony has contributed to the widespread impression that its diminishing global power — dramatized by its endless and seemingly futile wars in the Middle East, which produce few victories — is the source of all the pain and hardship endured by the lower middle and working classes.

An effective resistance movement against the right thus requires the construction of a powerful anti-capitalist movement from below, representing an altogether different solution, aimed at epoch-making structural change. Here the object is overturning the logic of capital, and promoting substantive equality and sustainable human development. Such a revolt must be directed not just against neofascism, but against neoliberalism — i.e., monopoly-finance capital — as well.

jbf takes the long view. i've downloaded a copy of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. thanks again for the link. it's a very good read, as ever.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 11:06:50 PM | 179

Russia had notified the US of plans to strike the warehouse 24 hours in advance and indicated their belief that toxic chemicals were being stored there

Posted by: Les | Apr 13, 2017 11:08:23 PM | 180

@178 denk

thanks for sharing your observations on the subject, you certainly follow china more closely than i do, have a better perception thereof. i don't know what's going on between the us and china - and i'm sure whatever it is is perceived in vastly different lights at either end of the tunnel.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13, 2017 11:12:16 PM | 181

G'day Pilgrims,

The rhetoric by President Trump and his Administration needs to be considered in context and after full exposure of the facts including that Judea Inc and the US Deep State are determined to impeach and/or kill Trump.

Apart from needing to neutralize the narrative that Judea, Inc maintains in the US Congress, judiciary and political systems about Trump being a ‘puppet of Putin’, he has to disarm Judea Inc's use of the charge that he's an ‘anti-Shemite’ who ‘hates Jooz’ and wants to bring about another Hollerco$t. See eg:

"The fact that he has just launched almost 60 cruise missiles at the cost of about 80 million dollars at one of Israel’s oldest and most hated enemies–the Assyrians–takes the black magic out of the charge which Netanyahu and his people will undoubtedly use against Trump once he starts putting the screws to Israel over the creation of a Palestinian state. In Israel itself, where the bulk of the people are delusional and suffer from full-blown Jtosis ... what will be achieved is that Israel–complaining that Trump is out to ‘destroy’ the Jewish state–will have a tough case to make in the aftermath of this latest bombing and by trying to make this case, will paint themselves as the clearly irrational player in all of it.

... Netanyahu and his people–despite smiling before the cameras and cheering the strikes–are seething underneath, because in this case, Trump has out-Jewed the Jews by taking away from them the baseball bat they intended to use in beating him to death–the charge of being a ‘Russian spy’.”

Clearly nothing is as it seems in this episode but if any Syrians were killed as a result of US missile impacts this elaborate ruse will still tend to reflect negatively on Trump despite its vital covert purposes and his efforts to eliminate human casualties by warning Russia (and hence Syria) of the attack.

As always, the publicly available information on this saga and on the "threats" to North Korea is deliberately conflicting and confusing. Arguably Trump has no intention of causing a direct conflict with Russia, Syria, North Korea or China, or their allies. Moreover, the warning given to the Russians and the largely symbolic damage actually inflicted by the US missiles evidences that Trump did not intend to damage Syria’s ability to defend itself from the West’s terrorist proxies.

One likely outcome of the missile "attack" on Syria is that it has ensured that Russia will arrange for Syria to becomes a “No Fly Zone” which will exclude the US and its Coalition, and Turkey. That would hasten the defeat of ISIS and of all the terrorists in Syria. If the US ceases to be able to fly air cover for the US military in Syria it will be unable to ensure their safety or that of their Kurdish allies. As the US military cannot fight effectively (and probably will not fight) without air cover, the result could well be that the US military will withdraw from Syria and the plan to assist the Kurds to evict ISIS from, and assume control of, Raqqa will be aborted. That eviction function would then be left to the SAA and its allies. DITTO re Deir Ez-Zor and north eastern Syria generally. Syria could then become a unified, sovereign nation again and Trump could not be blamed for that outcome since it would be the result of the missile attack which the terrorists and all of their US and covert nation state supporters connived at and demanded. In other words Trump has reversed the effects of the terrorists' False Flag "gas" attack and silenced his 'Russian puppet' critics so that he can now get on with furthering the Pedogate and Susan Rice 'unmasking' and Clinton treason allegations etc.

The Pentagon already knew that Russia’s S400 air defence systems and its electronic jamming systems are totally lethal and that is almost certainly why the US “cleared” their missile assault with the Russians before it took place. The fact that a majority of the US missiles failed to reach their target combined with the fact that Russia has cancelled its co-operation and co-ordination agreement with the US Coalition AND has indicated that it will strengthen Syria’s air defences has placed the US military on notice that Syria’s air space is now out of bounds, ie Syria is now, de facto, a “No Fly Zone”. Russia and Iran have also stated publicly that they WILL respond WITH FORCE to ANY future breach of Syria's "Red Lines".

All in all, this much ballyhooed US “strike” appears to have been a ‘smoke and mirrors’ exercise which the Western mainstream media and Trump critics everywhere will be unable to admit now that they have publicly endorsed it so vehemently. And those who have criticised Trump for this missile attack may eventually have to revise their views of what actually occurred and why.

Bix Weir has sussed out some of what president Trump is up to. See his recent vids at: (the first 20 minutes).

Arguably, if US boots are allowed to remain on the ground in Syria they will do what Trump says they will, namely help eradicate ISIS (which actually means ALL terrorists in Syria.

IMHO the Ugly Truth gets it right.
'ed note–now that this thing has been put into motion with the recent missile strikes, the only way to avoid it escalating to the next step which Judea, Inc is demanding is something along the lines of what took place recently with the high-profile arrest of the wannabe terrorist in Israel sending the bomb hoaxes, and this is more than likely what is coming, where some player–probably not Putin and definitely not Trump, comes forward with a slam-dunk conviction that the recent gassing of Syrians was not Assad’s doing but rather that of the Israeli/Western backed terrorists. Trump will be forced to eat crow and apologise for the made-for-show missile strikes on an empty airfield, and then–VOILA–Israel will have yet another of her poison darts–the use of WMDs by her terrorist proxies–taken out of her blowgun.' See:
See also

The Joos' motto is" by deception you shall do war. BUT, two can play that game.

There are wheels within wheels and God moves in mysterious ways.
Peace and Blessings,

Posted by: Ron Chapman | Apr 14, 2017 7:34:41 AM | 182

Circe 70
' Hey XI grow a fucking spine!!!

“Che” Guevara

'I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all. You live in the belly of the beast.'

Whatever happens to the murkkan anti war movement , MIA ?

Posted by: denk | Apr 15, 2017 12:58:39 AM | 183

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