Fact-checking the Empire

by Berry Friesen (September 30, 2016)

The way the mainstream media tell the story, the empire is a positive force in the world for peace, economic stability and the rule of law.  This characterization provides moral legitimacy, which is the key to the empire’s spiritual power over our hearts and minds.

Yet frequently the facts do not support the empire’s narrative.  Here are a few important examples.

1. The war in Syria is not so much a “civil war” as an invasion by outside powers.
  
An estimated 30,000 foreign fighters are engaged in the effort to bring down the government of Syria. They fight in groups that go by multiple names, but all are Salafist in ideology, committed to the use of violence to impose on Syria a rigid, sectarian version of Sunni Islam similar to what currently dominates Saudi Arabia.

These foreign fighters are equipped with arms bought and paid for by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf Cooperation Council states.  They are supplied through channels facilitated by neighboring Turkey, Israel and Jordan.  They are trained by advisors from NATO countries (including the US). When in battle, they receive sophisticated battlefield intelligence from about the movements and capacities of the Syrian army.

In late 2015, Russia and Iran came to Syria’s assistance at the request of the Syrian government, which has a responsibility to repel invaders and protect the Syrian people. The presence of Russia and Iran in Syria is entirely consistent with international law.  

The US claims the right to be in Syria under a United Nations resolution (#2249) that encourages member nations to join the fight against ISIS (but see this discussion of the limiting nuances of that resolution).  However, the US role in Syria is much broader than its now-and-then attacks on ISIS.  The US has long supported so-called “moderate rebels” and by helping those “moderate rebels,” it has also supported al-Qaeda, under whose authority the “moderates” fight. Indeed, there are numerous reports (see also here) of the US directly arming and supporting al-Qaeda in Syria. These US involvements are all illegal under international law.

2. Western news sourced from “White Helmets” in Syria is unreliable.

Much of what is reported about Syria in the US and in Europe is sourced by the White Helmets, a civil defense group generously supported by Western governments and operating solely in jihadi-controlled areas of the country.  Certainly the group is involved in rescue operations, but it reports about only one side of this terrible war, which is the side Western media publicizes exclusively.

Most egregiously, the White Helmets act as a propaganda arm of the jihadi forces, manufacturing fake stories and misrepresenting facts that are then amplified by Western media and used to generate public support for the invasion of Syria.  Vanessa Beeley is a reporter for 21st Century Wire who has visited Syria and reported extensively on the role of the White Helmets in promoting Western hostility toward the Syrian government; see her reports here and here.  

3. The September 28th Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report blaming Russia for the attack on Malaysian Flight 17 is tainted by bias.

The July 17, 2014 attack occurred over Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Ukrainian government commenced an investigation into who was responsible.  The Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia joined in the investigation, promising confidentiality with regard to all information not approved for release by the Ukrainian government.  

The thing is, the Ukrainian government is a leading suspect in the crime; at the time of the attack, it had fighter planes in the air near MH17 and it had BUK missile batteries in the area of eastern Ukraine from which a ground-to-air missile apparently was fired.  So this particular investigation was led by what may be the guilty party.

The JIT concluded the BUK missile came from Russia (duh, only Russia manufactures BUK missiles so all such missiles come from Russia) and that it was fired by eastern Ukrainian dissenters in cooperation with Russia.  Well, that’s exactly what you would expect a Ukrainian-led report to say. See here and here for why we ought to be very skeptical of the JIT report.

4.  Wall Street and Washington orchestrated Brazil’s impeachment of its president, Dilma Rousseff.

Behind the scenes, the struggle of nations to break free of the iron economic grip of the empire goes on. A case in point is Brazil, which has in recent years elected presidents who prioritized national development over the interests of the empire and cooperated with other mid-sized nations (India, South Africa and Russia) to establish global institutions outside of the empire’s control.

The empire’s response is detailed in a revealing article by William Engdahl, “Washington Tries to Break BRICS—Rape of Brazil Begins.”   Trumped-up charges of corruption were leveled against Rousseff to serve as a pretext for her opponents to remove her from office.  

What convinced her opponents to take this step?  In part it was fear; the US secretly surveilled Brazil’s top officials for years and could easily blackmail those who refused to cooperate with the plan to depose Rousseff.  And in part it was greed;  the new president of Brazil plans to sell off prime national assets into private hands and this will open unprecedented opportunities for insiders to amass private fortunes.

Engdahl provides this summary:  “The removal of Dilma Rousseff and her Workers’ Party after 13 years in Brazil’s leadership was a new form of Color Revolution from Washington, one we might call a judicial coup by corrupt judges and congressmen. Of the 594 members of the Congress, as the Toronto Globe and Mail reported, ‘318 are under investigation or face charges’ while their target, President Rousseff, ‘herself faces no allegation of financial impropriety’.”

What has happened to Brazil must strike fear into every national leader who seeks to lead his/her nation along a path that is different from what the empire wants.  They will be targeted for removal.  

Brazil’s travail is highly relevant to Russia, which is the empire’s #1 target for regime change.  For more on that, see Michael Hudson’s and Paul Craig Roberts’ essay, “Can Russia Learn from Brazil’s Fate?”.