By Mike Whitney
October 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Did the United States warn Russia to stay out of Syria?
Yes, they did.
Did they tell the Russians that if they joined the war against ISIS and helped Bashar al Assad the US would make them pay a heavy price?
Did US agents and diplomats warn their Russian counterparts that Russian troops would “come home in body bags” and that the western media would launch a propaganda campaign against them?
Did US officials say the western media would concoct a phony story about “Russian hacking” that would be used to persuade the American people that Russia was a dangerous enemy that had to be reigned in with harsh economic sanctions, provocative military maneuvers, and threats of violence?
No, but it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the CIA would pursue such a strategy. After all, the Intel agencies, the media and the entire political establishment have been hammering on Russia for over two years now. Isn’t it possible that elements of these three factions decided to pool their resources in order to poison the public’s perception Russia? Hasn’t the US government dabbled in these type of psychological operations (PSYOPS) many time before?
Of course, they have. And in prior incidents, the facts were fixed to fit the policy just as they have been in this case. For example, the Bush administration had already decided to topple Saddam long-before they cooked up their fake stories about mobile weapons labs, Niger uranium, aluminum tubes and “Curveball”. Doesn’t the same rule apply here? Haven’t the “facts” about collusion, Pokémon Go and Facebook all been concocted after-the-fact to support the original thesis, that Russia meddled in the election?
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What we know is that high-ranking members of the US State Department and Pentagon threatened Moscow prior to Russia’s military intervention in October, 2015. US diplomats made it clear that if Russia helped the Syrian government, Washington would use the media and its other assets to retaliate. According to Russia’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova:
We were asked to pass on to you the most serious warnings that Russia will be hurt by its actions.. We will make sure that Russia really knows what pain is……Keep in mind that everything you do will be manipulated by the media which will cancel out the real (positive) effects of your work. ..You are going to fight terrorists, but you will be made to look like the bad guy.
These threats were delivered to us many times in 2015 as part of the discussions with the Russia’s Representative of Foreign Affairs and his international counterparts. (During Kerry-Lavrov meetings)
We’re talking about the world’s elite who told us these things.
When we told them exactly what targets we planned to strike, they launched a disinformation media campaign against us. Officials from the White House and State Department directly threatened to hurt us. They promised that we’d “come home in body bags” not only diplomatic representatives but also the Secretary of Defense…..The US showed us that the strongest military has unlimited rights to create evil in the world.”
(See the whole interview on YouTube.
Zakharova’s admission is interesting for many reasons. First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington’s proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.
Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can’t say. When Zakharova says, “everything you do will be manipulated by the media”, she is tacitly acknowledging that the MSM works in concert with the US government shaping a message that best achieves US imperial objectives. In this case, the obvious goal is the removal of Bashar al Assad and the partitioning of the state consistent with US plans to redraw the map of the Middle East. Russian intervention derailed that plan which is why Russia is despised.
Third, Zakharova’s comments suggest a motive for the Russia hacking campaign. Russia has become an insurmountable obstacle to Washington’s plans for global hegemony. It has blocked US progress in Ukraine and rolled backed US proxy-forces in Syria. Additionally, Russia has united the countries in Central Asia (EEU) and threatens to economically integrate Europe and Asia into the world’s biggest free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Here’s a quote from Putin that explains what’s going on:
“Russia is an inalienable and organic part of Greater Europe and European civilization. Our citizens think of themselves as Europeans…That’s why Russia proposes moving towards the creation of a common economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, a community referred to by Russian experts as ‘the Union of Europe’ which will strengthen Russia’s potential in its economic pivot toward the ‘new Asia.’”
Putin’s dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That’s why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical landbridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam’s path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.
The US wants to retaliate for the defeat of its proxy army in Syria but it’s not prepared for a military clash. Not yet, at least. And, keep in mind, Washington’s Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained. The defeat is not a loss for the US Military, but a blot on the record of CIA Director John Brennan, the architect and main proponent of the failed project to remove Assad. Brennan’s whole scheme has gone down in flames.
Why is that important?
Because it suggests that Brennan had a strong motive to strike back at Moscow. He had “a dog in the fight”, and his dog lost. And since he couldn’t win on the battlefield, his only choice was to launch an asymmetrical attack via the media. Isn’t this where the Russia hacking idea originated?
If it did, then there should be footprints that lead back to Brennan himself, the primary source of the psyops. Check out this excerpt from The Washington Times:
What caused the Barack Obama administration to begin investigating the Donald Trump campaign last summer has come into clearer focus following a string of congressional hearings on Russian interference in the presidential election.
It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer. Mr. Brennan served on the former president’s 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House.
Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians. Mr. Brennan did not name either the Russians or the Trump people. He indicated he did not know what was said.
But he said he believed the contacts were numerous enough to alert the FBI, which began its probe into Trump associates that same July, according to previous congressional testimony from then-FBI director James B. Comey.
(“Obama loyalist Brennan drove FBI to begin investigating Trump associates last summer”, The Washington Times)
So it all started with Brennan, the resentful Intel chief who got his nose bloodied by Putin in Syria and decided to seek his revenge. But then Brennan needed to conceal his lead-role in the drama by drawing other agencies into the loop, so he included the FBI, the NSA and DIA. The strategy helped to obfuscate the real braintrust in the hacking affair, John Brennan.
According to Mother Jones, it was not the FBI that initiated the “Trump-Russia connection”.. but ..”Former CIA Director John Brennan says he was the one who got the ball rolling.”
Indeed. Brennan appears to be the central figure in this political fiasco, the source from which many of the spurious accusations originated. It was Brennan who first intimated that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian agents prior to the 2016 elections.
“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred,” Brennan stated in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in May.
This is a deliberate mischaracterization of what Brennan was actually doing. He was spying on the members of the rival party to gain a political advantage. This is how police state operates. How is it that no one in the media or on Capital Hill has condemned this egregious attack on the democratic process?
So far, none of the four investigations on Capital Hill have produced even a shred of evidence supporting Brennan’s claims. Just last week, during a press conference with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr bluntly stated,
“The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I’m not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven’t any.”
There’s no proof of collusion at all. So what’s Brennan’s real motive here? What’s driving this silly propaganda campaign that has failed to produce any verifiable evidence after a massive 10-month, no-holds-barred investigation involving both Houses of Congress, the establishment media, four intelligence agencies and an Independent Counsel?
The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result, that is, persuading the American people that “evil” Putin is trying to sabotage our pristine democracy and that Donald Trump is not only the country’s lousiest president ever, but also a Russian agent.
That’s not to say, that Brennan’s psyops has not been successful. It has been, amazingly successful. According to a recent CBS Poll, a majority of Americans (57%) now believe that “Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” In contrast, only 34 percent of Americans don’t believe there was any Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
What the numbers don’t explain, however, is how one’s own political ideology shapes the results. For example, 71 percent of Democrats believe that Russia interfered, while a mere 18 percent of Republicans agree. In other words, one’s own prejudices (about Trump and Russia) have a much greater impact on one’s opinion than either facts or evidence. Propaganda campaigns try to exploit public bias to effectively manipulate perceptions. The CBS polling data shows that they have succeeded in that regard.
The US government has a long history of (as Robert Parry says) “cherry-picking or manufacturing evidence to undermine adversaries and to solidify U.S. public support for Washington’s policies.” That is certainly the case here. Most of the so-called ‘evidence’ is nothing more than baseless accusations that appear momentarily in the headlines only to vanish a week or so later. Brennan and Co. appear to be exploring new frontiers in state propaganda, propaganda that relies less on semi-credible events or evidence than on incessant repetition of far-fetched allegations (Facebook, Google, Pokémon Go) that reiterate the same underlying claim of Russian meddling. The difference between the fabrications that led up to the war in Iraq (mobile weapons labs, Niger uranium, shadowy connections to al Qaida and aluminum tubes) and those of Russian hacking suggests that the perpetrators of this charade are convinced that frequency trumps credibility. The American people are being carpet-bombed with dodgy, almost-comical disinformation to see if it has the intended effect. Recent surveys indicate the plan is working.
The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda (In 2013, Obama gutted the Smith Mundt Act “unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.” (Foreign Policy Magazine) In 2016, Obama paved the way for more domestic propaganda by passing the Orwellian-named “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act” as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Ostensibly, the bill lays the groundwork for responding to “fake news” overseas, but in reality, it marks “a further curtailment of press freedom” and an ambitious attempt to suppress accurate, independent information.) The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.