POLITICAL REVIEW: THE SYRIAN ATTACK- AMERICA AND BRITAIN’s “KABUKI” SHOW

 

 

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Article posted  by: White Nation correspondent  Tennessee USA  April 22   2018

 

 

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SYRIA

 

IN the course of the last week — since Syria came under cruise missile attack by the trilateral U.S.-U.K.-France alliance —  interviews with activists featured who unabashedly call for the Pentagon to use military measures against the Syrian government for the sake of easing the Syrian people’s pain.

Their arguments resemble the line of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who questioned whether the bombings were the result of a White House “choreographed Kabuki show” with their Russian counterparts rather than the Cuban Missile Crisis-style showdown which seemed apparent prior to the strikes.

On Tuesday,  Ramah Kudaimi of the Syrian Solidarity Collective was interviewed. Described as a “grassroots activist” and member of the anti-war movement, Kudaimi argued – as she has for several years now – that the bombings didn’t manage to go far enough in displacing “the regime.” Noting that the U.S., since Obama, has offered verbal support to the “Syrian people’s revolution” while acting in a manner that “strengthened the regime,” Kudaimi accused the Trump administration of continuing to not go “far enough”  in ensuring regime change. Meanwhile, she accused the antiwar left of offering uncritical support to the Bush-style “War on Terror” being waged by what she depicts as the virtually united forces of Syria, Iran, Russia, and the U.S.-led coalition of Western powers and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Throughout the late 20th century but especially since the end of the Cold War, the United States arrogated to itself the right of aggressive military intervention across the globe on various pretenses. From Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, across Africa and the Middle East — Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen — the U.S. cited a combination of national security “concerns “  like terrorism and human-rights crimes to “justify “ a total disregard for international law and consensus, not to mention the subsequent war crimes its military carried out in the course of “humanitarian” warfare.

While the U.K.’s successive governments have eagerly played the “poodle” role in support of Washington’s military adventures, the British people still maintain a vibrant anti-war movement. Anti-war and even anti-imperialist voices are frequently heard in the media, while Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing faction of the Labour Party has waged a stiff opposition to Tory she-wolf Theresa May’s eagerness to participate in attacks on Syria. As a result, only 28 percent of the British public supported May’s “commitment to combat” Syria while 36 percent opposed it, according to a poll by The Independent.

In the United States, Pew Research Center data from last year showed that over twice that ratio of Americans – 58 percent – supported such missile strikes. The U.S. anti-war movement stagnated prior to the dusk of the George W. Bush administration and the onset of 2008’s election season, due in no small part to inroads by the Democratic Party and sectarian infighting by dominant leftist groups. In anticipation of the election of Barack Obama, the movement and its peace parades simply ground to a halt.

Following the jubilation of Obama’s electoral success and his post-inauguration resumption of Bush-era policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine-Israel, and Guantanamo, the grassroots opposition never reactivated. Mocking the movement’s co-option by the Democratic Party, activist Cindy Sheehan noted at the time that she began referring to the “anti-war left” as the “’anti-Republican War’ movement.”

In a study of the movement’s failure titled “Partisan Dynamics of Contention,” University of Michigan researcher Michael Heaney wrote:

As president, Obama maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan. The anti-war movement should have been furious at Obama’s “betrayal” and reinvigorated its protest activity. Instead, attendance at anti-war rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement dissipated … the election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the anti-war movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions.”

This grim state of affairs — ideological confusion, misplaced hopes, demoralization, disintegration — gives us ample cause to criticize the humanitarian window-of a center-left that’s now been housebroken, domesticated and rendered oblivious to the main enemy at home: U.S. imperialism.

 

Who pays the piper calls the tune

The rise and fall of popular left-wing currents — anti-war movements, militant workers’ struggles, and Black, Native American, Puerto Rican and Latin American immigrant liberation struggles — has followed predictable trends: there is the violent counter-insurgency conducted by a reinvigorated repressive state apparatus, white nationalist vigilantes, and other far-right groupings; and then there’s the low-intensity counterinsurgency conducted through the ideological state apparatus of media and academia; the formation of new electoral alliances and installation of minority “faces in the right places” of power; as well as the key factor, which is the co-option of movement figures by non-profit foundations backed by major capitalist philanthropic figures.

While open repression – the iron fist – tends to radicalize movements and galvanize popular support for them, the persuasive approach of the “velvet glove” forms a much more effective, less explosive and more demilitarized way of neutralizing mass opposition — transforming the revolutionary into the reformist, the radical into the tame, and the left to the centrist.

Funding the war

Much has been made of the role of figures like Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, whose proclaimed mission is to protect dissent and “build vibrant and tolerant democracies” through philanthropic grants that ostensibly serve oppressed or marginalized communities. Much of the critique can veer toward the conspiratorial, or exaggerates his role as some all-powerful impresario of the global left. Yet Soros is a major activist financier of destruction both abroad and at home, one of many players invested in what’s been called the “Non-Profit Industrial Complex” or NPIC, which comprises a complex web of relations between local and federal governments, the capitalist class, philanthropic foundations, NGO/non-profit social-service and social-justice organizations.

A look at who sponsors Democracy Now! shows just how dependent it is on NPIC. It’s worth quoting last year’s analysis of DN’s funding structure by Danny Haiphong at length:

“Democracy Now ” runs interference for imperialism because it is beholden to funding sources, as are all non-profits and non-governmental organizations … An analysis conducted in Critical Sociology found that the Pacifica Foundation received upwards of 148,000 USD between the years of 1996-1998 from the Ford, Carnegie, and other foundations to launch “Democracy Now.”

The Lannan Foundation gave Democracy Now an additional 375,000 USD packaged in a number of grants, according to the foundation’s IRS 990 forms since 2008. Patrick Lannan, the capitalist Jew mogul who founded the organization, sat on the board of ITT corporation in the late 70s and early 80s. The ITT corporation was instrumental in the CIA-backed fascist coup that overthrew the democratically elected socialist Salvador Allende in 1973. Foundations wield a form of “soft power” on behalf of U.S. imperialism. Their main purpose is to provide a “civil society” infrastructure in targeted nations capable of fomenting conditions of regime change.

“Fake news” and critical consumption

The compromised nature of Democracy Now doesn’t render it entirely useless for genuine anti-imperialists and listeners opposed to war, be they “humanitarian” or not. Strong critical voices are often heard on Democracy Now – as may be the case on CBS, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, MintPress News, PressTV, even maybe once in a blue moon on Fox News or CNBC.

When looking at any of these organizations we need to remain critical of the banalities they may spew such as a liberal-versus-conservative paradigm that upholds systems of power like global monopoly capitalism (imperialism), despite distracting debates over the finer points of how the system is upheld – is it for a more “humanitarian” world order, a more “secure” one?

All of us have a duty – as media producers and media consumers – to look beyond the rhetoric of social justice deployed by center-left establishment figures, and instead see the structures and principles they both depend on and uphold. “Fake News” in terms of bias, propaganda and lie by omission is unavoidable, but the key question remains “cui bono?” – who benefits from the propagation of this narrative? In the case of Democracy Now!, we have incorporated non-profit 501(c)3s and big Wall Street money underwriting the ostensibly “independent” and alternative media. As usual, we should remain on guard.

The “war and peace report,” as progressive as it may often sound, has long ceased to be a purely listener-supported project, and this lack of economic independence has spilled into its politics. The clearest sign of that is an implicit support, especially in the Arab Spring era, of imperialist wars on “authoritarian” regimes who find themselves in the cross hairs of the U.S. government.

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