Since Ecuador cut Julian Assange off from communication with the outside world two weeks ago, speculation has run rife on the nature of the driving forces behind Ecuador’s decision. With the drums of war now being sounded for the United States to enter into a full military attack on Assad in Syria, it is especially troubling that the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief is prevented from expressing his views to the outside world.
Assange has long been an extremely effective and ardent anti-war voice, often promoting the work of like-minded thinkers. These include independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone, who has been one of the most vocal figures consistently crying out against U.S. intervention to topple yet another regime. Some Twitter users have also cited the possible connection between the latest escalation in tensions between the United States and Syria and the silencing of Assange, writing that his enforced isolation amounts to a direct effort to quell a uniquely powerful anti-war voice.
Earlier today, President Trump Tweeted: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"
One can only imagine the type of reply Assange may have had to these recent events, and his contribution to the social discourse on the matter is sorely missing at this time. In Assange’s absence, it falls on all of us, regardless of political affiliation, to strenuously oppose regime change in Syria.
While this writer is by no means an expert in geopolitics, such expertise is hardly necessary to discern that calls to strike Assad’s forces based on absurd allegations that the ruler was behind a gas attack against his people are utterly insane. With the Russian military backing Assad, and Israel siding with the US thanks to the Syrian conflict serving as a proxy war with Iran, the results of potential US attacks directly against Russian forces in Syria would be devastating.
Such a move would inevitably provoke an outright conflict between two nuclear powers that could very likely drag the globe into the type of world war that would spell the end of humanity.
In Caitlin Johnstone’s recent coverage on the issue, she wrote about the importance of transcending political ideology to unite against war in Syria, citing the monologue recently delivered by Tucker Carlson, who perceptively noted that calling for war in Syria on humanitarian grounds is laughable when considering the United States’ ongoing support for Saudi Arabia’s genocide of Yemeni civilians.
Much like U.S. aggression towards Syria, support for Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen represents a policy spanning the Obama and Trump administrations. Even if Trump or Obama were personally anti-war, their authority has been effectively usurped by unelected military interests.
Likewise, the spectacular repeated failure of US-instigated regime change has done nothing to quell the push by American war-hawks to pursue the same failed policy in Syria. That the military interests of the US show no sign of learning from the mistakes of the last thirty years in the middle east speaks to their absolute disregard for the well-being of the countries they wish to topple.
One primary example of the failure of this policy can be seen in its deleterious effect in Libya. In Disobedient Media’s coverage of corruption charges recently leveled at former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, this author noted the devastation of Libya in the wake of the US and NATO-backed regime change. Thanks to the combined efforts of Obama, former US Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton, Sarkozy and others, the fall of Gaddafi generated continuous and utter chaos. Reuters reported last month that executions, torture and slave markets persist in the ravaged country, writing:
“Armed groups execute and torture civilians in Libya in almost complete impunity seven years after the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, the United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday. Libyans and migrants are often held incommunicado in arbitrary detention in appalling conditions, and reports persist of captured migrants being bought and sold on “open slave markets”, it said in a report to the Human Rights Council.”
Of course, Libya is not the only example of the disastrous outcome of military intervention haunting the conscience of the United States. This is not to say that the psychopaths running the US military are capable of feeling remorse, but is meant to point out the blood on the hands of the American public, much like Germany is haunted by the crimes of Nazism regardless of the remorse or lack thereof felt by members of the regime. The US is directly responsible for the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan since the US invasion of each country, and for the formation and the growth of the Islamic State which resulted.
In addition to US military intervention, CIA-backed coups have also destabilized dozens of countries, sometimes enabling the installation of utterly horrific regimes many orders of magnitude worse than their predecessors. With this history in mind, it is absurd to even remotely consider the argument that US intervention in Syria is for the sake of humanitarianism.
Daniel Lazare wrote for Consortium News that the US-backed war on Syria has already aided ISIS, writing that the U.S. and Saudis poured billions of dollars into so-called rebel forces, which have often proven to be extremists. Lazare specified: “…The U.S. and its allies helped Islamic State by tying down Assad’s forces in the north so that it could punch through in the center. But that’s not all the U.S. did. It also helped by suspending bombing as the Islamic State neared Palmyra.”
Disobedient Media previously reported on the atrocious human rights abuses carried out by the White Helmets, a group romanticized by a pro-war Western press who seek to overthrow Assad. In the last 24 hours, WikileaksTweeted: “BBC news producer covering Syria since 2012 claims viral gas attack image of dead children appears to be “staged.”
Since Wikileaks Tweeted Riam Dalati’s post, his account’s tweets have been set to “protected,” making them unavailable to the public view. However, the specific Tweet in question was recovered through the use of archive services. The comment reads: “Pro-rebel activists appear to have staged “Last Hug” photo. It went viral claiming to show young victims of the Douma gas attack in their “last embrace”. Victims can be clearly seen on 2 separate floors in aftermath footage. Placed in position at collection/identification point.”
Such allegations indicate that the White Helmets may have been involved in staging pictures of the bodies of dead children. If true, this would be an especially repulsive tactic used to drag nuclear-armed powers into conflict based on emotionally-charged propoganda.
In an opinion piece published by The Guardian, Seumas Milne also discussed evidence indicating the United States and British intelligence agencies have actively supported the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He noted: “The trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting… That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.”
Business Insider also related that ISIS is now thought to be the world’s richest terrorist organization, with an estimated $2 billion in funds, making ISIS wealthier than several sovereign countries. The article cites such wealth originating in part with: “Wealthy Sunnis in American-allied Gulf nations such as Kuwait, Qatar, and, possibly, Saudi Arabia.” That US allies like Qatar sponsor terrorist groups was also confirmed by Podesta emails published by Wikileaks:
Some have argued that the United States tolerance of, and even support for ISIS, a Sunni group, stems from efforts to maintain friendly relations with Sunni power-players including Saudi Arabia. With the brutal and despicable actions of ISIS and U.S. support for such terrorism in mind, it is abundantly clear that military intervention by the United States has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns.
Prior to the rise of independent media and the existence of Wikileaks, warnings from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) that the weapons-of-mass-destruction narrative was based on contrived and faulty intelligence went unheard and unheeded. As a result, millions of civilians in Iraq had their lives destroyed. As a public that now has access to independent voices outside the cable news echo chamber, we cannot repeat this same evil by allowing ourselves as a nation to commit the worst atrocities imaginable under the sanctimonious battle-cry of humanitarianism, or democracy.
The destabilizing effects of externally imposed regime change, and the absolute reign of terror imposed by the Islamic State in Iraq in comparison with the relative stability preceding the toppling of Saddam, speaks to the farcical nature of claims that such intervention serves to spread democracy.
As pointed out by Glenn Greenwald via Twitter, Trump’s latest show of aggression towards Assad represents a horrifying mutation of his previous foreign policy positions. His most recent sentiments are identical to Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric during the 2016 Presidential race.
What will happen if Trump enacts the same suicidal foreign policy advertised in 2016 by Hillary Clinton? Rick Sterling wrote via Consortium News that those who want to see the United States enter into outright war with Syria are the sole beneficiaries of “sensational media coverage about a chemical weapons incident.” On the possibility of such actions pulling the globe into an irreversible vortex of world war, Sterling deftly observes that:
“The situation is clearly fraught with the risk of sliding into international conflict between the two biggest nuclear weapons powers with all that that implies. Civilization itself is being put in peril so that the West can continue supporting sectarian armed groups seeking to overthrow the Assad government, in violation of international law and the UN Charter.
…Behind the scenes, there is an entrenched foreign policy establishment determined to maintain and reclaim U.S. unilateral “leadership” of the world. American leaders fear that the U.S. is losing influence, prestige and power around the world. Israel and Saudi Arabia are seeing their designs on regional dominance failing.”
That Trump’s administration has mutated into the same destructive agenda championed by Clinton is yet more evidence of the of the unelected power structure running US foreign policy, one that obviously has no term limit, and which writers like Stirling cite as the “entrenched foreign policy establishment.”
Meanwhile, one of the most effective anti-war voices in our generation has been silenced thanks to Ecuador cutting Julian Assange from contact with the outside world. This decision is unacceptable not only because it is a gross violation of Assange’s human rights and the Ecuadorian constitution, but also because it prevents Assange voicing fact based arguments against a pending war in Syria. Wikileaks recently tweeted:
Now more than ever, the public needs to hear the evidence backing anti-war voices. If we are to have any hope of avoiding the destruction of yet another country via regime change, and the possibility of a disastrous conflict between the US and Russia, we must collectively voice our dissent against the pro-war narrative pushed by state-propaganda and spouted by corporate media, and our support for the enfranchisement and freedom of Julian Assange.
As Julian Assange famously said, “If wars can be started by lies, they can be stopped by truth.” In this sense, the inability of Assange to speak seems to be a direct attempt to stifle the truth which might help prevent the obliteration of Syria.