the government of the United States hate Syrian president Bashar
By William Blum
November 04, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - Is it because, as we’re
told, he’s a brutal dictator? But how can that be the reason for the
hatred? It would be difficult indeed to name a brutal dictatorship
of the second half of the 20th Century or of the 21st century that
was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but
often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the
population; at present the list would include Saudi Arabia,
Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.
The United States, I suggest, is hostile to the
Syrian government for the same reason it has been hostile to Cuba
for more than half a century; and hostile to Venezuela for the past
15 years; and earlier to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; and to
Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Chile; and so on continuing through
the world atlas and history books.
What these governments have had in common can be
summarized in a single word – independence … independence from
American foreign policy; the refusal to be a client state of
Washington; the refusal to be continuously hostile to Washington’s
Officially Designated Enemies; insufficient respect and zeal for the
capitalist way of life.
Are you confused by the Middle East? Here are
some things you should know. (But you’ll probably still be
- The US, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar,
and the Gulf monarchies have all in the recent past supported al
Qaeda and/or the Islamic State (ISIS) with arms, money, and/or
- The first example of this was in 1979 when
the United States began covert operations in Afghanistan, six
months before the Russians arrived, promoting Islamic
fundamentalism across the southern tier of the Soviet Union
against “godless communism”. All the al-Qaeda/Taliban shit then
- In addition to Afghanistan, the United States
has provided support to Islamic militants in Bosnia, Kosovo,
Libya, the Caucasus, and Syria.
- The United States overthrew the secular
governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and is trying to do
the same with Syria, thus giving great impetus to the rise of
ISIS. Said Barack Obama in March of this year: “ISIS is a direct
outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion.
Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we
should generally aim before we shoot.”
- More than a million refugees from these wars
of Washington are currently over-running Europe and North
Africa. God Bless American exceptionalism.
- The Iraqi, Syrian and Turkish Kurds have all
fought against ISIS, but Turkey – close US ally and member of
NATO – has fought against each of them.
- Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanese factions
have each supported the Syrian government in various ways in
Damascus’s struggle against ISIS and other terrorist groups,
including the (much celebrated but seldom seen) “moderate” ones.
For this all four countries have been sharply criticized by
- The United States has bombed ISIS in Syria,
but has used the same occasions to damage Syria’s infrastructure
and oil-producing capacity.
- Russia has bombed ISIS in Syria, but has used
the same occasions to attack Syria’s other enemies.
- The mainstream media almost never mentions
the proposed Qatar natural-gas pipelines – whose path to Europe
Syria has stood in the way of for years – as a reason for much
of the hostility toward Syria. The pipelines could dethrone
Russia as Europe’s dominant source of energy.
- In Libya, during the beginning of the 2011
civil war, anti-Gaddafi rebels, many of whom were al-Qaeda
affiliated militias, were protected by NATO in “no-fly zones”.
- US policy in Syria in the years leading up to
the 2011 uprising against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, which
began the whole current mess, was designed to promote
sectarianism, which in turn led to civil war with the goal of
- US Secretary of State John Kerry declared on
October 22 that in resolving Syria’s civil war the country
“should not be broken up, that it must remain secular, and that
Syrians should choose their future leader.” (All of which
actually describes Syria under Assad.) Then Kerry said: “One
thing stands in the way of being able to rapidly move to
implement that, and it’s a person called Assad, Bashar Assad.”
The candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a “democratic
socialist”, for the US presidency has produced an unprecedented
barrage of discussion in the American media about just what is this
thing called “socialism”. Most of the discussion centers around the
question of government ownership and control of the economy versus
private ownership and control. This is, of course, a very old
question; the meat and potatoes of the Cold War ideological
What’s markedly different now is that a few
centuries of uninhibited free enterprise have finally laid painfully
bare the basic anti-social nature of capitalism, forcing many of
even the most committed true believers to concede the inherent harm
the system brings to the lives of all but the richest.
But regardless of what the intellects of these
true believers tell them, they still find it very difficult
emotionally to completely cut the umbilical cord to the system they
were carefully raised to place the greatest of faith in. Thus, they
may finally concede that we have to eliminate, or at least strictly
minimize, the role of the profit motive in health care and education
and maybe one or two other indispensable social needs, but they
insist that the government should should keep its bureaucratic hands
off everything else; they favor as much decentralization as
The most commonly proposed alternative to both
government or private control is worker-owned cooperatives or
publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer
representatives. Sanders has expressed his support for worker-owned
There is much to be said about such systems, but
the problem I find is that they will still operate within a
capitalist society, which means competition, survival of the
fittest; which means that if you can’t sell more than your
competitors, if you can’t make a sufficient net profit on your
sales, you will likely be forced to go out of business; and to
prevent such a fate, at some point you may very well be forced to do
illegal or immoral things against the public; which means back to
You cannot follow the mass media without being
confronted every day with story after story of one corporation or
another trying to swindle the public in one way or another; the
latest egregious case being that of the much revered Volkswagen,
recently revealed to have manipulated the measurement of the car’s
pollution emission. The fact that half of the company’s Supervisory
Board – responsible for monitoring the Management and approving
important corporate decisions – consists of employee representatives
elected by the employees did not prevent this egregious fraud; the
company is still obliged to strive to maximize profit and the firm’s
stock-market value. It’s the nature of the corporate beast within a
Only removal of the profit motive will correct
such behavior, and also keep us from drowning in a sea of
advertising and my phone ringing several times each day to sell me
something I don’t need and which may not even exist.
The market. How can we determine the proper value,
the proper price, of goods and services without “the magic of the
marketplace”? Let’s look at something most people have to pay for –
rent. Who or what designed this system where in 2015 11.8 million
households in the US are paying more than 50 percent of their income
to keep a roof over their head, while rent is considered
“affordable” if it totals some 30 percent or less of one’s income.
What is the
sense of this? It causes more hardship than any other expense people
are confronted with; all kinds of important needs go unmet because
of the obligation to pay a huge amount for rent each month; it is
the main cause of homelessness. Who benefits from it other than the
landlords? What is magical about that?
Above and beyond any other consideration, there is
climate change; i.e., survival of the planet, the quality of our
lives. What keeps corporations from modifying their behavior so as
to be kinder to our environment? It is of course the good old
“bottom line” again. What can we do to convince the corporations to
consistently behave like good citizens? Nothing that hasn’t already
been tried and failed. Except one thing. Unmentionable in a
capitalist society. Nationalization. There, I said it. Now I’ll be
getting letters damning me as an “Old Stalinist”.
But nationalization is not a panacea either, at
least for the environment. There’s the greatest single source of
environmental damage in the world – The United States military. And
it’s already been nationalized. But doing away with private
corporations will reduce the drive toward imperialism sufficiently
that before long the need for a military will fade away and we can
live like Costa Rica. If you think that would put the United States
in danger of attack, please tell me who would attack, and why.
Most Americans, like other developed peoples,
worship the capitalism they were raised with. But do they? See the
chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only
United States invades, bombs, and kills for it but do Americans
really believe in free enterprise?” Written in 2000/2005, the
examples given in the chapter may need some updating, but the ideas
expressed are as valid as ever.
Nationalization, hand-in-hand with a planned
society, would of course not preclude elections. On the contrary,
we’d have elections not ruled by money. What a breath of fresh air.
Professor Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to
even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great
concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would
Who are you going to believe? Me or Dick Cheney?
I’ve spent about 30 years compiling the details of
the criminal record of US foreign policy into concise lists, and I’m
always looking for suitable occasions to present the information to
new readers. The new book by Dick Cheney and his adoring daughter is
just such an occasion.
“We are, as a matter of empirical fact and
undeniable history, the greatest force for good the world has
ever known. … security and freedom for millions of people around
the globe have depended on America’s military, economic,
political, and diplomatic might.” –
Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, “Why the world needs a powerful
Well … nothing short of a brain and soul
transplant would change the welt anschauung of Dr.
Strangelove and his carefully-conditioned offspring, but for all of
you out there who still live in a world of facts, logic, human
rights, and human empathy, here’s the ammunition to use if you
should happen to find yourself ensnared in the embrace of the likes
of the Cheney reptiles (including mother Lynne who once set up a
website solely to attack me and seven others for holding a teach-in
on September 18, 2001 in which we spoke of US foreign policy as the
main provocation of what had happened exactly a week earlier.)
These are the lists:
Since the end of World War 2, the United States
Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign
governments, most of which were
Dropped bombs on the
people of more than 30 countries.
Attempted to assassinate
more than 50 foreign leaders.
Attempted to suppress a
populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
- Grossly interfered in democratic elections in
at least 30 countries.
- Plus … although not easily quantified … more
involved in the practice of torture than any other country in
the world … for over a century … not just performing the actual
torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing
Open Letter to the War Politicians of the World
Jürgen Todenhöfer is a German journalist and
former media manager; from 1972 to 1990 he was a member of
parliament for the Christian Democrats (CDU). He was one of
Germany’s most ardent supporters of the US-sponsored Mujahideen and
their guerrilla war against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.
Several times he traveled to combat zones with Afghan Mujahideen
groups. After 2001 Todenhöfer became an outspoken critic of the US
interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has published several
books about visits he made to war zones. In recent years he twice
interviewed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and in 2015 he was the
first German journalist to visit the ‘Islamic State’.
Dear Presidents and Heads of Governments!
Through decades of a policy of war and
exploitation you have pushed millions people in the Middle East
and Africa into misery. Because of your policies refugees have
to flee all over the world. One out every three refugees in
Germany comes from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. From Africa
comes one out of five refugees.
Your wars are also the cause of global
terrorism. Instead of some 100 international terrorists like 15
years ago, we now are faced with more than 100,000 terrorists.
Your cynical ruthlessness now strikes back at us like a
As usual, you do not even consider to really
change your policy. You care only about the symptoms. The
security situation gets more dangerous and chaotic by the day.
More and more wars, waves of terror and refugee crises will
determine the future of our planet.
Even in Europe, the war will one day knock
again at Europe’s door. Any businessman that would act like you
would be fired or be in prison by now. You are total failures.
The peoples of the Middle East and Africa,
whose countries you have destroyed and plundered and the people
of Europe, who now accommodate the countless desperate refugees,
have to pay a high price for your policies. But you wash your
hands of responsibility. You should stand trial in front of the
International Criminal Court. And each of your political
followers should actually take care of at least 100 refugee
Basically, the people of the world should rise
up and resist you as the warmongers and exploiters you are. As
once Gandhi did it - in nonviolence, in ‘civil disobedience’. We
should create new movements and parties. Movements for justice
and humanity. Make wars in other countries just as punishable as
murder and manslaughter in one’s own country. And you who are
responsible for war and exploitation, you should go to hell
forever. It is enough! Get lost! The world would be much nicer
– Jürgen Todenhöfer
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
The annual vote in the United Nations General
Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the
economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United
States of America against Cuba” was just held. This year set a new
record for “yes” votes, with the addition of the Marshall Islands
and Palau (heretofore each voting “no” or abstaining) and Micronesia
(heretofore abstaining). All three countries had established
diplomatic relations with Cuba earlier this year, which of course
the United States had also done, but without any change in
Washington’s vote. Here is how the vote has gone in the past (not
Marshall Islands, Palau
Marshall Islands, Palau
Marshall Islands, Palau
Marshall Islands, Palau
||US, Israel, Palau
||US, Israel, Palau
||US, Israel, Palau
Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that
the world has not completely lost its senses and that the
American empire does not completely control the opinion of
all other governments. The real reason for Washington’s eternal
hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 –
The fear of a good example; the fear of an alternative to the
capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the
years as many Third World countries have expressed their admiration
and gratitude toward Cuba.
How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D.
Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American
Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans
support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal
support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic
dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be
undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory
proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in
denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real
wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of
Later that year, the Eisenhower administration
instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.
Nothing of any real importance has changed
recently. Guantánamo Prison still exists in all its imperialist
beauty and torture. The US has not renounced its “regime-change”
policies toward Cuba. Not a penny of Cuba’s near-trillion-dollar
lawsuit for compensation has been paid. Washington has recently
threatened to revoke the tax exempt status of IFCO/Pastors for
Peace, one of the most respected and experienced Cuba advocacy
groups. I still can’t go to Cuba as a tourist, or to present a book
of mine at a Cuban Book Fair (for which I’ve been blocked in the
past). And the United States still does not relax its death grip on
the embargo, including continuing to prohibit the sale of medicines
A note to readers
A number of you have remarked to me about
Killing Hope being unavailable in stores and, usually, from
Amazon, and often from myself. This is because one of the book’s
publishers, Common Courage (Maine), and its editor Greg Bates, have
blocked publication and distribution of the book by a new US
publisher. Common Courage is essentially out of business but refuses
to face up to the fact. Bates stole a royalty payment sent to me by
my British publisher via Common Courage. This theft, among other
things, nullified my contract with Common Courage. It’s complicated,
but I feel obliged to offer some explanation to those of you who
have been unable to find a copy of the book.
is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War
State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read,
and signed copies purchased, at