John Chuckman



“Will Trump Hold Firm on Syrian Pullout?”


Well, it is hard to see Trump being “firm” on anything, except in statements admiring himself.

He is a fickle man.

And he has amply demonstrated cowardice. We’ve seen that quality over and over, and especially in his bullying.

Apart from Trump’s fickleness and the powerful opposition already hard at work against this decision – you can tell from various leaks, such as the one intended to embarrass him that the decision was taken without any consultation with advisors and cabinet and allies – this whole affair may prove a kind of elaborate hoax.

There were reports yesterday that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are sending troops and weapons to Kurdish areas American forces now occupy.

We also shouldn’t forget that France has forces in the area, and they’re not leaving as far as we can tell.

Could it be that we are just seeing substitutions for the departing American forces?

That’s an entirely different matter than a clean break with the illegal and murderous activity America has been engaged in.

It would amount only to a “technical” fulfillment of Trump’s campaign words.

One fact that tends to work against this idea is the sudden resignation of Mattis, but even that could fit. He may have opposed such an effort at substitution. He is not known as an especially imaginative man.

I have been pretty sceptical about the whole matter because it so clearly opposes two very active and powerful forces at work in Washington.

One is the American establishment’s new drive for global power with all that stuff about “full-spectrum dominance” from the Pentagon.

And the other is the Israel lobby, which carries a great deal of weight in Congress, at the Pentagon, and with Trump. He has come to be viewed as a great benefactor to Israel. It is difficult to see Trump having the backbone to deal with them as opponents, and they are very much opposed to this decision.

Netanyahu has relished the war in Syria, grinding away at people he hates, Assad and his Iranian allies, always wanting to make the Syrian territory occupied since 1967 on the Golan Heights an integral part of Israel, and at one point he was even eager to grab another slice of land next to the Golan.

But having largely lost the proxy war to the Syrian Army and Russia and Iran, I’m pretty sure he was counting on a back-up plan of de facto separation of the Kurdish region in the northeast which would significantly weaken Syria for the future, given that region’s oil wealth. Independent Kurds there would also be natural allies on another Syrian border.

That’s I think the main reason why the American troops were put there. Of course, this plan comes into direct conflict with Turkey, which has no tolerance for a Kurdish state anywhere near its borders. Turkey’s Erdogan accuses Kurds fighting in Syria of just being a branch of the Kurdish separatist movement inside Turkey, a movement he has brutally suppressed.

Trump said that the United States would no longer be the “policeman of the Middle East,” but it has never served the role of policeman, except in its own imagination.

Its role has been as praetorian guard to regimes it favors and as open threat to those it does not favor. Police enforce laws, but the only “laws” that the United States enforces in the region are its own political biases.

Every regime America defends is at least as lawless and brutal as any it opposes, and I certainly count Israel in that category because the rule of law does not exist on the territory it occupies and is ignored in all of Israel’s efforts to bolster its position in the region, from several thousand assassinations to illegal bombing sorties by the hundreds in neighboring countries.

Law is in great part about stability and legitimacy, and Israel’s efforts have done little beyond promoting instability for others. That indeed has been a goal for much of Israel’s activity, to render others unstable or even chaotic while it sits in a heavily-armed crusader fortress. And where instability hasn’t been a goal, it has supported the relative comfort of absolutism in its neighbors, as in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

The long war in Syria and several other ugly matters in the Middle East are largely Israeli projects, carried out in covert cooperation with Saudi Arabia and America and Britain and France. Syria’s War is not a true civil war.

Of course, there were originally elements of legitimate opposition, but their relatively small numbers were drowned out by mercenaries and foreign intervention by bombing, missiles, and special operations. Assad has always been supported by all the powerful segments of Syrian society and by a majority of people. He is a unifying and stabilizing force. Just look at the army’s long, grueling loyalty through all of this. And minorities, such as Christians, tend to see Assad as their protector.

Ever since Afghanistan, America has regularly adopted a strategy of using proxies. The Northern Alliance – the pre-existing local political opposition to the Taleban, one, mind you, containing much of the same brutality and backwardness as the Taleban – did most of the fighting on the ground in Afghanistan while the United States did what it does best, bomb people. Variations on the theme have been used in Libya and Syria.

The events at Benghazi, Libya, so embarrassing to Hillary Clinton, also were related to this concept of proxy war. The American Ambassador was involved in recruiting cutthroats and shipping weapons from war-torn Libya to promote more hell in Syria. Some of the cutthroats saw the Ambassador himself as a good target for whatever reason. That is the real reason the attack has never been scrutinized for the public.

In Syria, we have several phony jihadi groups, who are in fact paid mercenaries. Any genuine Islamic radicals would have had as their first targets Israel and the corrupt rulers of Saudi Arabia, but we never see that. We see these groups – ISIS, al-Nusra, others – attacking only people Israel hates.

We also see weapons caches of stuff from Israel and the United States discovered, time and again, by the Syrian Army as it advances. We’ve even seen Israeli and American helicopters move some of the leaders of these thugs at critical moments. Some of the wounded have been treated at hospitals in northern Israel.

And we have the phony White Helmets, aligned with al-Nusra and effectively in the business of promoting increased American and British bombing through propaganda films and provocative acts, all done while carrying on with a much-publicized image of brave rescuers. This dirty outfit was formed by France and is financed by Britain, two governments pretty much as heavily influenced by the Israel lobby as the government of the United States.

It would be wonderful if the withdrawal proves honest, but powerful groups in Washington don’t just fold their tents and ride off because a proven erratic President makes a sudden decision against their interests.



I notice in news the next day a story on Trump’s having spoken of “the slow and highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area” as reported of a telephone conversation with Turkey’s Erdogan. That’s a rather worrying, courtroom-lawyer kind of phrase. We’ll see.


On the day after Christmas, Trump, making a visit to troops in Iraq said:  “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria,”  The United States has several bases in Iraq and is said to have about 5,000 troops.

The number being withdrawn from Syria is about 2,000. Whether they also will go to Iraq is not known, but NATO fairly recently called for a larger effort at stabilization in Iraq.


It has been reported that the American military recently built two new bases in Iraq along the Syrian border.

So, it does appear that Trump’s controversial decision about leaving Syria has a lot less to it than meets the eye.

But that would be in keeping with the noise and lack of substance of virtually everything the man does.

Posted December 22, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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John Chuckman


American Isis fighter says ‘war on Islam’ has made US more vulnerable to attack in video message to Donald Trump
African American Isis fighter appears in propaganda video saying Islamophobia will help fuel support globally

This is just a stupid article giving publicity to low-grade propaganda.

ISIS is an American-Israeli-Saudi creation with generous assistance from Britain and France plus a couple of others. Turkey was deeply involved, but appears now to have backed off.

Reports like this one serve only to keep the murderous charade going, the charade of gangs of non-uniformed mercenaries – people who receive regular paychecks, training, supplies, and air support – posing as jihadi warriors.

They serve both to do some of America’s dirty work and to perpetuate the myth of a vast uprising of Muslim terrorists in the world, the very myth which supports America’s decade-and-a-half-long blood-drenched war through the Middle East in support of Neocon imperial goals.

It still amazes me the way our corporate press reports the doings of ISIS as though it were some independent entity. The reporting just provides more evidence, as though more were needed, of how the establishment regards the general public’s intelligence, and that’s remarkably low.

Yet they largely get away with it. The press and government officials are never seriously questioned or doubted. Nor is there ever any investigative reporting into any of these matters, outside of independents and some other government news services.

My favorite ridiculous example is the CBC’s Middle East correspondent who regularly reports from Jerusalem where he magically obtains material about places like the heart of Syria. But all the major Western news services are the same. None wants to be viewed as upsetting America’s elaborately prepared schemes and narratives. Their governments and their major advertisers would simply not tolerate it.

That’s why we never see interviews with people actually in the thick of things, like Assad or Gadhafi or even the head of Hamas or Hezbollah or even academics with some independence and deep understanding. We only hear other people, people representing definite interests, telling us what to think.

It is the old story of the “big lie” repeated often. There are so many instances of it now in Washington, no one can easily tell just what is happening. From tales of Russia and Trump to the last rag-tag lies still about the Kennedy assassination. As far as official sources go – both government and corporate press – we live in something pretty close to a hermitically-sealed space in which nothing too “dangerous” is allowed to enter.

ISIS is a tool, a tool of governments. It is not a cause. And it is not independent.

Individual members do sometimes misspeak or carry on in terrible ways, but what else could you expect from a mercenary army of violent idiots recruited from a dozen broken lands?

Of course, some fools from Western countries have taken the bait provided on the Internet and other places, providing the press and government officials with neat anecdotes to frighten people and keep the phony narrative going. Endless crap about recruitment and terrorist conditioning.

But this relatively tiny number of fools and discontents have nothing to do with the aims or direction of ISIS. Their experience is nothing but what intelligence services call “blowback.” They serve also to reveal to intelligence services where there may be some disagreeable sympathies at home, something always to be looked into by the kind of people we see in the FBI, for example, whose history includes such glorious achievements as providing about a third of the membership of the old American Communist Party.

Saying the tiny numbers of foolish ISIS volunteers from the West are any real threat is much like claiming a few brainless groupies on the rock music circuit do something important in popular music.

Indeed, America has seen to it that there is now a substantial concentration of ISIS in Afghanistan, a recent story from Afghanistan suggesting eight thousand of them now there, Afghanistan being yet another land America is trying still to completely conquer.

ISIS, if it were indeed what its publicity claims it to be, would have little interest in fighting Taleban.

But America does fight Taleban for local control and now appears to be recruiting unofficial allies in the form of ISIS and others, just as it did in its efforts to destroy Syria and Libya.

Remember, in the original Afghan invasion, America avoided what it did in Vietnam – that is, sending in a vast traditional army of foot soldiers, a true disaster by every measure for the Pentagon. Something which, at its height, came close to creating a new civil war in America and stamped America’s military with shame and disapproval from the public for years.

What America did in Afghanistan was to bomb heavily in support of the Taleban’s natural political opponents in the country, tribes of the so-called Northern Alliance, many of whose members were people no more modern than, and just as ruthless as, the Taleban. Their only merit was that they opposed the Taleban long before America arrived on the scene.

The Northern Alliance were the guys, behind a wall of carpet-bombing supplied by America, who actually chased the Taleban into the hills, not American soldiers. And no one at the time dared pursue the Taleban into their natural redoubts, so over time they have gradually returned with a vengeance. Although America did plenty of bombing in places they thought Taleban might be hiding, as in Pakistan, undoubtedly killing thousands of innocent people.

The Taleban is a threat to no one, except to the government America has installed in Afghanistan and to the Pentagon’s pride. The Taleban, despite endless propaganda in the press, are not international terrorists bent on subverting the West. They are just a tribal party interested in governing their own land of Afghanistan without foreign interference, as they were doing when America’s intervention first started.

American soldiers in the original invasion defeated no one and served mainly “to secure” “liberated” areas. Their work consisted of terrifying house-to-house raids, blowing down doors and holding whole families at gunpoint, running around in armored vehicles shooting at things they hadn’t even identified, many times massacring masses of people and establishing secret torture centers and prisons.

American planes joined in the same dirty work, strafing or bombing groups and parties they hadn’t even properly identified. More than once, they were fooled by malicious reports into killing innocent groups an enemy wanted killed. This is, after all, a land of ancient grievances and grudges, a tribal place resembling a little the American Ozarks during old blood feuds.

But the Taleban has remained strong because it is not just a party but virtually a basic division in the country. You cannot defeat them in any traditional sense of war, unless you are ready to go into mass exterminations, something I believe only the terrible publicity has stopped the US from doing.

There are, indeed, no ethics or principles in anything we see anywhere from contemporary Washington’s murderous efforts in country after country. But there is always a keen awareness of public opinion. Plenty of spokespeople, plenty of press releases, plenty of denials of this or that, and always a readiness to come down hard on anyone from the corporate press who breaks ranks. It all has to be given a constant sense of everyone’s agreeing the right thing is being done and the truth is being told.

Indeed, there have been mass exterminations several times. A group of about three thousand Taleban prisoners were “disappeared” in the early days after the invasion. Donald Rumsfeld, a man who would have been perfectly content working for the Nazi hierarchy had that been his time and place, was quoted in public as saying those prisoners should be walled away for life or all killed. Imagine, a man who knew nothing about a group of prisoners thousands of miles away, saying that?

Well, one of the local Northern Alliance warlords allied with America perfectly accommodated Rumsfeld. General Dostum had his people put the prisoners in batches into the backs of trucks which were then sealed up and driven out into the hot desert until they expired. Three thousand of them while American troops stood around watching and picking their noses. A Scottish film-maker actually made a documentary about it.

Now, America’s current wave of killing Afghans with bombs – involving everything from striking hospitals and schools to such horrors as using America’s gigantic non-nuclear bomb (called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast or MOAB), which created devastating effects and pollution on a colossal scale – is going to be supplemented by paid ISIS lunatics.

Imagine the morality of people who would secretly ship thousands of cutthroats into a country to let loose? Well, that’s America today. Of course, they are only repeating something they’ve done now a number times and largely with success, if you judge the chaos and ruins of a Libya as success, as surely the Pentagon does.

Of course, when ISIS (or al Qaeda or any of a number of other such created outfits) is sent somewhere else like this, it gives the US an escape refuge for them, as when we saw clearly, thanks to Russian intelligence, hundreds of ISIS thugs being helped to evacuate parts of Syria and given a safe-conduct by American forces.



“…stay course…”?

More stupid American war speech infecting Canada like a contagious disease.

Some Canadians now say “the boys” and we have the brainless McGuinty offering of “the Highway of Heroes.”

And, of course, the pathetic, stick-on plastic yellow ribbons.

Our CBC Radio in its decline produced and broadcast an idiotic series called Afghanada. Every word and sound of that propaganda could have passed for something from America, save only the actor with the phony Newfoundland speech.

These are all signs of how destructive this business has been to Canadian values.

The Pentagon is like the fabled tar-baby. You can’t touch it without pitch stuck to your hands.


“… I disrespected parents of dead soldiers?”

Sorry, but there’s another example of trash American speech.

There is no such word as “disrespected.” You “show disrespect,” unless you come from Arkansas or the streets of Detroit.

Further, if parents have the sheer arrogance to beg the government to stay in the killing business just to make the loss of their children somehow more meaningful, they themselves are opening the door to justified attacks on their judgment.

Having lost someone doesn’t give you a special right to advocate like that. It is shameful and abusive.

It is exactly the kind of non-think we see in America’s professional-victim society.


“Sorry, old bean. Disrespect may also be used as a transitive verb”

Only by those who also use barbarities like “flied out.”

War is, if you will, the secret life of chimpanzees. It is when humans drop all the rules and decencies we have patiently built up over time and set out to murder, rape, and destroy.

That’s why, for example, soldiers in Afghanistan are warned by the Canadian authorities to ignore the bloody rapes of boys that take place regularly in this place we’re supposed to be saving.

Many have witnessed our own allies and workers like interpreters literally leaving children bleeding on the ground from gang rapes.

I point out that I believe the corruption of language reflects this corruption of values.

America has been a society dedicated to war for decades. It has killed millions needlessly, three million just in Vietnam.

Propagandists now are working overtime to alter our culture in the same direction.


“Most of us have the power to use logic and factual information. Use it.”

Thus says someone whose entire comment shows little of either.

The Taliban were the government of the country, and they attacked no one. The U.S. invasion drove them out.

The very word “insurgents” is a weasel-word. The Taliban are not invaders. They are not foreigners. They are a large portion of the population of the place.

The governors America has put in their place belonged to the Northern Alliance, people every bit as backward as the Taliban, their former opponents. Indeed, it was the Northern Alliance who permitted bin Laden to reside in Afghanistan.

After the Russians withdrew, the Northern Alliance took power, and ran the country the way a bloodthirsty mafia would. There was chaos in the streets. Fighting everywhere. Injustice everywhere. Corruption everywhere.

The Taliban actually were formed as a “clean government” party, and they did clean things up on taking power, as for instance by totally stopping opium production.

They are not to our tastes, but, believe me, none of the parties in Afghanistan are. They all have 14th century views because the country lives in the 14th century.

Indeed, the drugs are pouring out of Afghanistan, completely ignored by the U.S. because it is some of their people profiting.

You want modernity? You help the economy develop. You do not bomb people.

America went there to kill, it went for vengeance. Everything else is window-dressing. And Canadian soldiers are part of the decorations.