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14 December 2016


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My reading, based on several sites including SST and MoA, agrees with yours, EO. Here is Eva Bartlett, whom I find much more credible than the Western MSM.


Sam Peralta


What is instructive is the language used by the Borg.

"Civil war" implying this was a fight between Syrians who had two different visions for their country. Nowhere except among fringe gatherings is the language of proxy war. An invasion by jihadists and Al Qaeda funded and armed by nation states with the intent to overthrow a legitimate government.

Then there is the use of the word "regime" to label the Syrian government. And the head-chopping, liver eating jihadists from outside Syria who wanted to establish a medieval vision of an Islamic state being labeled as "rebels" and even "moderate rebels". And forgotten conveniently is that the "regime" ran a secular state.

And then of course the personalization and demonization of Assad as the tyrant and butcher.

No wonder they are in meltdown as their Syrian project is on the shoals. Not much different than the meltdown around the defeat of the sure thing Borg Queen in the recent campaign.

Peter Reichard

English Outsider,
Fighting in cities has historically caused the greatest of civilian casualties, the liberation of Warsaw and Manila each took on the order of 100,000 civilian lives and the multi-year siege of Leningrad upwards of a million. Aleppo by comparison has been a walk in the park yet the mainstream media has used terms like "genocide", "scorched earth", "daily carpet bombings" and compared it to "Dresden and the destruction of Carthage" secure in the knowledge that the public understandably is ignorant of the gory details of such things. Thus they can get away with claiming a 55 gallon drum improvised munition known as the barrel bomb (invented by the Irgun) is some kind of an unprecedentedly horrendous weapon as opposed to say a single B-52 which can rain down 100 mark 82 500 lb general purpose bombs each of which leaves a whole in the ground 50 feet across and 30 feet deep. I'm hardly an expert in these matters but a little historical research can place Aleppo in a context that refutes the MSM propaganda adding to your already excellent take down of the current narrative.


"Allowing the Saudis and the Gulf States to support them with large amounts of money, allowing the supply routes through a NATO ally, Turkey, and also at first through Jordan, running weapons to them from places like the Ukraine and Bulgaria, and allowing a recruitment operation that fetched Jihadis from as far away as China, all these actions mean that we, or at least our governments, must take the primary responsibility for the Syrian disaster."

I am not altogether certain whether Jordan, as mentioned here, did indeed completely cease its supporting role in the south of the country. It is true that no effort at re-labeling and re-organizing the unicorn-crews into one bloc was made in the SW-corner the same way as was done in Idlib province and around Azaz to the north. Yet there is this vast stretch in the south-eastern corner of Syria on which info is murky to non-existant, that is variously attributed to be under "New Syrian Army" control as of a few months ago - an outfit supposedly disbanded, last I heard. Of course, back in summer this year there was this episode where two sites of this crew were struck by RuAF. Whether due to "mistake" or due to those fellows being caught doing dealings under the table with ISIL out in the waste, who knows.

Else, I fully agree with the piece. What I can add, however, is that, surprisingly enough, I found similar observations as to the role of western countries in the war in my local newspaper here in Germany just today - in a comment on the title page, no less. Even more remarkably, the comment concluded that "peace is possible_only_with Assad". The paper may just have regional reach - gets quoted sometimes in major TV news sites, though -, but mayhaps this indicates that those that still prefer to screech hysterically as per the worn-out regime change-script will retreat into their think-tank and discussion-club bubbles to fume in their own delusions. One can hope, at least.


Confronting someones world view, asking them to modify or change it is a task beyond most of us. perhaps not for the amazing Eva Bartlett though.



If somebody cares to listen to the words of Virginia state Senator Richard Black, him being an ex-military person as a former helicopter pilot in Vietnam, about the Syrian war and the besiege of Aleppo, it will become very clear, that Senator Black shares the views of "English Outsider" almost entirely. For me as an European Outsider as well it was quiet astonishing to hear a high ranking US-politician talking like he did, though i am not sure about his rather optimistic prediction of future events. I am afraid, we are still in the phase, where anything, that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Link to Senator Blackˇs interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlGmWQnBCFE


Just to cheer everyone up, our major online news vendor Stuff.co.nz published a perfidious article in which they recommended donating to the White Helmets among other things. 90% of the comments are calling out the propaganda


The Beaver


info is murky to non-existant, that is variously attributed to be under "New Syrian Army" control as of a few months ago - an outfit supposedly disbanded, last I heard

You are referring to what happened at the end of June when, in trying to outsmart the SAA, U.S.trained (5 months training) New Syrian Army (moderate rebels/ activists) was defeated by ISIS around Albu Kamal & pulled out from al-Hamadan airport leaving many dead & wounded.
"40 NSyA militants killed & 15 captured & rest fled into desert after clashes in al-Hamdan AB @ Albo Kamal" claimed ISIS at that time.

They fought for nearly 12 hours and did not get the cover of the coalition AF, as promised, since they were tasked to go to Fallujah -24 hours after it was liberated by the Iraqi forces.

American warplanes were diverted from an offensive launched against the Islamic State last week by U.S.-backed rebels in Syria in order to bomb a more enticing target in Iraq, withdrawing air support at a critical moment and contributing to the failure of the rebel operation, according to U.S. officials familiar with the incident.



MSM propaganda ...

from my own nitwit perspective I am wondering concerning the usage of "human shields". Or more precisely I would like to read a comparative study dealing with matters, ideally from a solid historical basis of matters and earlier usage:


Eric Newhill

I just want to say "thank you" for this superior summary of the situation.

I hope it becomes more widely disseminated.

Babak Makkinejad

I think the dead civilians in Manila were victims of deliberate acts of murder by the Japanese soldiers and officers; crowding people in rooms and then throwing had grenades among them, for example.

They did not have to do that and many more Filipinos would have been alive had Japanese not modeled themselves on Mongols (with grenades).

ex-PFC Chuck

The piece seems like a fair assessment of the situation AFAIK. A key observation is this:
"Ultimately, what the West is doing in Syria can't be done if the peoples of the Western are massively against it. Therefore the propaganda war here is as decisive as what the men with guns do there. Therefore we must be shown dead bodies and ruined buildings and the message must be constantly reiterated that it’s Assad’s doing. Doesn't even matter if, as sometimes happens, those dead bodies and ruined buildings are from a different place and time. The message must be got through that Assad is brutally killing his own people and that that’s what it’s all about. I’m afraid that this message, repeated day in day out, is indeed what is getting through to the most of us and could be the picture of this war that most of us retain."

IMO, this is what is behind the "Fake News" suppression scam now underway in the USA and especially the PropOrNot operation. A post at Naked Capitalism today cites instances in which the suppression is propagating to broadcast and internet media. The first was a juvenile segment at the Denver NBC outlet, and the second was the removal of Counterpunch from the Google News crawler. God only knows what Facebook, et al are doing.


I missed the bit about the Coalition planes being diverted from Syria but read about the operation outside Fallujah. Iraqi helicopter gunships came across the fleeing ISIS convoy and asked the Coalition for help in destroying it. This was denied because it was thought there might be civilians travelling in it. The pilots of the Iraqi gunships decided to attack the convoy anyway and had pretty much destroyed it when Coalition aircraft showed up. There were claims at the time that the United States and Saudi Arabia had agreed to let the convoy go provided they travelled directly to Syria. I'd didn't connect the defeat of the New Syrian Army (NSA - is that someone's idea of a joke) with the destruction of the ISIS convoy outside Fallujah. So the NSA was largely destroyed to preserve the Coalition's reputation.

David Habakkuk


Congratulations on a very fine piece.

My only reservation is that I think you may underestimate the extent to which opinion has been changing over the past months.

Although I have had to listen to a very great many of my – educated, middle class – friends simply regurgitating the nonsense that the MSM produces on Syria and Russia, it is clear that the readers of the ‘Daily Mail’ are simply not buying it. How the changes involved are going to develop – and I can see both benign possibilities and ugly ones – seems to me at the moment very hard to gauge.

There is a bizarre dual movement, which is very strange, given that historically one of the sources of the success of the ‘Mail’ has been its feel for its audience: and that of the website, interestingly, seems increasingly to be throughout the ‘Anglosphere’.

Currently, the propaganda in the paper gets more and more hysterical, while the ‘best rated’ comments get more and more dismissive. There is a tension there, which will have to be resolved, in some way.

One interesting recent report is headlined ‘Sweden is “preparing for war” with Russia: Officials are ordered to return to Cold War tactics and implement their Total Defence Strategy as fears of invasion grow.’

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4033994/Sweden-warns-preparing-war-Officials-ordered-ensure-civil-defence-infrastructure-ready-fear-Russian-invasion-grows.html .)

Another is entitled, ‘White House tears into Russia for standing by Syria’s Assad as he bombs children on playgrounds: “What kind of sick mind comes up with a strategy like that?”’

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034042/White-House-tears-Russia-standing-Syria-s-Assad-bombs-children-playgrounds-kind-sick-mind-comes-strategy-like-that.html .)

An interesting case of the paper’s instinct for a story overcoming propagandist imperatives, however, is a report headlined:

‘EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails – they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for “disgusted” Democratic whistleblowers.’

The subheadings read:

‘Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and associate of Julian Assange, told the Dailymail.com he flew to Washington, D.C. for emails

‘He claims he had a clandestine hand-off in a wooded area near American University with one of the email sources

‘The leakers’ motivation was “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the “tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders”

‘Murray says: “The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks”

‘“'Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that,” Murray insists

‘Murray is a controversial figure who was relieved of his post as British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct but is close to Wikileaks’

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034038/Ex-British-ambassador-WikiLeaks-operative-claims-Russia-did-NOT-provide-Clinton-emails-handed-D-C-park-intermediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html .)

It is an interesting sign of the times that a large number of the ‘best rated’ comments are from the United States. The second in line, from Scottsdale, is simply ‘Seth Rich. RIP’. It has 1271 approvals to 13 disapprovals. The name recurs rather frequently in the other comments readers approve.

For what little it is worth. In my view, whatever might be said against Craig Murray – and I do not share his enthusiasm for ‘human rights’ – he is patently not a dishonest man. The chances that he would be making these claims to cover up for the Russians seem to me vanishingly small.

The only circumstances in which I could see him deliberately lying is if he was covering up for some other intermediary to Assange, who he believed could be under threat. If that seemed necessary, I would not doubt his courage.

I also think it worth looking at Craig Murray’s discussion of the ‘Crowdstrike’ report on his blog which – rather to my surprise – is wildly funny. (I had been inclined to think he was something of a dour Scot.)

To my mind, he is quite right in arguing that the suggestion that the GRU would mount a hacking operation leaving obvious markers – such as the initials of ‘Iron Felix’ – is nonsense. It seems to me absolutely apt to remark that it appears from the ‘Crowdstrike’ document that ‘despite himself being a former extremely competent KGB chief, Vladimir Putin has put Inspector Clouseau in charge of Russian security and left him to get on with it.’

I am perfectly prepared to believe that MI6 is run by ‘Inspector Clouseau’ types. But, without wanting to exaggerate their capabilities, I do not think that people like General Valery Gerasimov, who Putin appointed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces in November 2012, and who has overall responsibility for the GRU, are dolts like Dearlove, Scarlett, Sawers, and Younger.

That does not, repeat not, mean that Russian intelligence or figures associated with them have not hacked into all these sites: indeed, if I were Putin, and I were told that all the e-mails of Hillary Clinton, Podesta, etc etc, had not been available to me many months ago, I would be saying ‘heads must roll’ (in a metaphorical sense, of course – these are not Stalin’s times.)

Nor does it mean that one can rule out the possibility that Russian intelligence fed material to WikiLeaks. It simply means that whoever produced the material analysed by ‘Crowdstrike’ was quite patently trying to conceal what actually happened.

(See https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/russian-bear-uses-keyboard/ .)

Babak Makkinejad

Facebook is posting the "Last Messages from Aleppo".

Some Iranians reposed those video messages; I guess they had a death wish.


English Outsider

While I generally agree with your comment, I think in a minor detail of the younger history of Aleppo you made a mistake.

It was not Daesh who "took over East Aleppo machinery and equipment and dismantled it and take it to Turkey." That was the work of the Western backed so-called moderate rebels who mostly operated under the brand of FSA "Tawheed Brigade." These "FSA" guys, who were equipped and trained in spring 2012 in Turkey, were usually just criminals with hardly any other aim than personal gain, so they dismantled factories to sell them, they systematically robbed the civilian population under their control and they regularly faught against each other for the spoils of war. They couldn't have cared less for the well being of the population of the places they ruled.

This "rebel chaos" set the stage for the Daesh presence in Aleppo. Daesh infiltrated Aleppo later in 2012 and 2013 as one more rebel group, but unlike the criminal for personal gain "moderate" rebel groups Daesh was harsh, but quite disciplined and they oftenly cared with great devotion for the places and people they ruled. They didn't rob the people and they repaired civilian infrastructure.

Due to their good organization and discipline Daesh was able to defeat and bring to account many of the disorganized criminal "moderate" rebels in 2013. And Daesh had the support of lot's of popular support in rebel-held territories in Aleppo and elsewhere, not because they were harsh extremists, but because they were the only force to keep the boundless criminal rebels in check. Many people in rebel areas felt a sense of security - not being robbed on the streets and in their homes anymore - when Daesh came in.

However, the harsh extremist rule Daesh created brought a backlash. Eventually, at the start of 2014, more "moderate" islamist rebels organized in the Islamic front - likely with foreign help - and they defeated Daesh in Aleppo and Idlib and slaughtered all Daesh and the families of the Daesh they could get. So Daesh had to retreat to Raqqa and other areas in the east where Daesh won tough battles to prevail against more "moderate" Western backed FSA rebels - who by that time faught for example in Raqqa under the Nusra brand.

In rebel areas in Aleppo city and the surroundings, the more "moderate" Western/Turkish-backed Islamist front was however not the end of the development. Inside the Western/Turkish-backed Islamists in Aleppo Al Qaeda's brand Nusra Front became dominant in 2015 - especially when Nusra Front captured Idlib city, the capital of Idlib province, the biggest success of rebels so far. And so it came, that Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and their partners became the dominant power in rebel areas of Aleppo and they defeated all those rebels who worked for democracy or the United States. And while Nusra Front and their partners proved to be socially a bit more tolerant than Daesh, they nevertheless were true political extremists, not wanting any political compromise but only total victory in war, with the aim to install not a democracy, but a sectarian Islamist dictatorship modeled on the Taliban emirate of Afghanistan.

So, over time, more and more people left the rebel areas in Aleppo. Each of the rebel or terrorist rulers over eastern Aleppo, whether more criminal or more extremist, made more people leave for various reasons. And now that rebel coalition led by Al Qaeda's Nusra Front was defeated by the Syrian army and it's allies in Aleppo. I think that's the true story of Aleppo.


Did the Japanese offer excuses of the Nanking variety? I believe it ran something like "We used terror in Nanking to promote a general Chinese surrender."

Babak Makkinejad

If they did, I never heard of it or read of it.

I speculate that the typical Japanese soldier or officer enjoyed murdering those cheerful people called Filipinos.


Excellent writeup, EO.

That Assad is the worst of the worst meme hasn't infected all of the elite. Nassim N. Taleb, a well known risk (black swan) analyst has put together a short, "which would you rather have" list on Syrian "moderates" v Assad:

Perhaps what makes this more credible is the claim he is acting against his own interest where he says: "Assad father’s operatives blew up my house in Amioun when my grandfather, then MP, voted for Bashir."



If we're discussing the UK at this time, it's worthwhile reading the following brief article which comments on a recent speech by George Osbourne in the UK parliament. The article also has several interesting links:


Quoting from it:

"The recent dismal record of the British military is not an aberration. In fact, the overall historical record of British military involvement in other countries’ affairs is decidedly poor. In a study published in International Studies Quarterly, Jeffrey Pickering and Mark Peceny concluded that of the all the cases studied, 'Not a single target of hostile British military intervention liberalized or became a democracy. Hostile British intervention consequently drops out of [our model] because it predicts failure perfectly. Furthermore, hostile British intervention has a negative and significant impact on political liberalization.'"


I agree. English Outsider’s comment is excellent, excellent, excellent.


In my view, Samantha Power is a mass murderer.

William Fitzgerald


These are interesting times. I find that keeping up with the media (mainstream) is somewhat akin to reading tea leaves. As an example, yesterday, December 14th, all day and into the evening there was widespread lamentation and incessant wailing and gnashing of teeth, not to mention the wearing of sackcloth and ashes, over the slaughter of innocents in Aleppo. Today. on the other hand, there was little said on the matter. What to think? My thought is that it was realized that facts contradicting the narrative were making maintaining the story embarrassing. I wonder if S. Powers' weird rant at the U.N. was not a breaking point?


English Outsider

Thank you for the correction. Not such a minor one either.

English Outsider

Peter Reichard

Yes, the high body count in Manila was in large part due to a gratuitous slaughter of civilians by the Japanese whose appalling behavior throughout East and Southeast Asia has been under appreciated by history due to a post war focus on Nazi atrocities.

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