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Alert Memo to President Obama: it’s better to Jaw Jaw Jaw than War War War

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, October 5th, 2016 - 68 comments
Categories: afghanistan, colonialism, defence, International, iraq, kremlinology, Media, Syria, us politics, war - Tags:

It’s timely that Ad has just written a post on the ancient Greek concepts of power and principle in the governing of nations.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is a group of current and former US intelligence workers some of whom have spent their careers in organisations like the NSA, CIA, DIA and INR.

Amongst their associates or members are former senior intelligence professionals and whistleblower extraordinaires like Ray McGovern (a long time CIA analyst who prepared and presented President H.W. Bush’s daily briefing) and Bill Binney (former Technical Director of the NSA, in charge of 6,000 NSA employees and one of the smartest and most effective Cold War communications analysts the US had).

They recently warned President Obama that parts of his inner circle in the US Government were intent on escalating a major conflict with Russia, but that there was still time to urgently change course.

Anti-Russian and anti-Putin hysteria is being fanned constantly by propagandising western media and western bloggers who appear to have little concept of the potential consequences of their actions, and who have no interest in the simple idea that other countries also have their own sovereignty, own populations and own national security interests to protect within the framework of international law.

VIPS presents an alternative perspective to that fanned by the western MSM: that of detente and of de-escalation – which were concepts present throughout the Cold War. And this from a group of US professionals that no one can accuse of being ‘Putin lapdogs.’

The VIPS Alert Memorandum to Obama is available on Consortium News, and is reprinted in full here:


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity


We write to alert you, as we did President George W. Bush, six weeks before the attack on Iraq, that the consequences of limiting your circle of advisers to a small, relatively inexperienced coterie with a dubious record for wisdom can prove disastrous.* Our concern this time regards Syria.

We are hoping that your President’s Daily Brief tomorrow will give appropriate attention to Saturday’s warning by Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova: “If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian Army, it would cause a terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region.”

Speaking on Russian TV, she warned of those whose “logic is ‘why do we need diplomacy’ … when there is power … and methods of resolving a problem by power. We already know this logic; there is nothing new about it. It usually ends with one thing – full-scale war.”

We are also hoping that this is not the first you have heard of this – no doubt officially approved – statement. If on Sundays you rely on the “mainstream” press, you may well have missed it. In the Washington Post, an abridged report of Zakharova’s remarks (nothing about “full-scale war”) was buried in the last paragraph of an 11-paragraph article titled “Hospital in Aleppo is hit again by bombs.” Sunday’s New York Times totally ignored the Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s statements.

In our view, it would be a huge mistake to allow your national security advisers to follow the example of the Post and Times in minimizing the importance of Zakharova’s remarks.

Events over the past several weeks have led Russian officials to distrust Secretary of State John Kerry. Indeed, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who parses his words carefully, has publicly expressed that distrust. Some Russian officials suspect that Kerry has been playing a double game; others believe that, however much he may strive for progress through diplomacy, he cannot deliver on his commitments because the Pentagon undercuts him every time. We believe that this lack of trust is a challenge that must be overcome and that, at this point, only you can accomplish this.

It should not be attributed to paranoia on the Russians’ part that they suspect the Sept. 17 U.S. and Australian air attacks on Syrian army troops that killed 62 and wounded 100 was no “mistake,” but rather a deliberate attempt to scuttle the partial cease-fire Kerry and Lavrov had agreed on – with your approval and that of President Putin – that took effect just five days earlier.

In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov deal. We can assume that what Lavrov has told his boss in private is close to his uncharacteristically blunt words on Russian NTV on Sept. 26:

“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the US military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the US Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia (he confirmed that during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin), apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”

Lavrov’s words are not mere rhetoric. He also criticized JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia, “after the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama stipulated that they would share intelligence. … It is difficult to work with such partners. …”

Policy differences between the White House and the Pentagon are rarely as openly expressed as they are now over policy on Syria. We suggest you get hold of a new book to be released this week titled The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War by master historian H. W. Brands. It includes testimony, earlier redacted, that sheds light on why President Truman dismissed WWII hero Gen. Douglas MacArthur from command of U.N. forces in Korea in April 1951. One early reviewer notes that “Brands’s narrative makes us wonder about challenges of military versus civilian leadership we still face today.” You may find this new book more relevant at this point in time than the Team of Rivals.

The door to further negotiations remains ajar. In recent days, officials of the Russian foreign and defense ministries, as well as President Putin’s spokesman, have carefully avoided shutting that door, and we find it a good sign that Secretary Kerry has been on the phone with Foreign Minister Lavrov. And the Russians have also emphasized Moscow’s continued willingness to honor previous agreements on Syria.

In the Kremlin’s view, Russia has far more skin in the game than the U.S. does. Thousands of Russian dissident terrorists have found their way to Syria, where they obtain weapons, funding, and practical experience in waging violent insurgency. There is understandable worry on Moscow’s part over the threat they will pose when they come back home. In addition, President Putin can be assumed to be under the same kind of pressure you face from the military to order it to try to clean out the mess in Syria “once and for all,” regardless how dim the prospects for a military solution are for either side in Syria.

We are aware that many in Congress and the “mainstream” media are now calling on you to up the ante and respond – overtly or covertly or both – with more violence in Syria. Shades of the “Washington Playbook,” about which you spoke derisively in interviews with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg earlier this year. We take some encouragement in your acknowledgment to Goldberg that the “playbook” can be “a trap that can lead to bad decisions” – not to mention doing “stupid stuff.”

Goldberg wrote that you felt the Pentagon had “jammed” you on the troop surge for Afghanistan seven years ago and that the same thing almost happened three years ago on Syria, before President Putin persuaded Syria to surrender its chemical weapons for destruction. It seems that the kind of approach that worked then should be tried now, as well – particularly if you are starting to feel jammed once again.

Incidentally, it would be helpful toward that end if you had one of your staffers tell the “mainstream” media to tone down it puerile, nasty – and for the most part unjustified and certainly unhelpful – personal vilification of President Putin.

Renewing direct dialogue with President Putin might well offer the best chance to ensure an end, finally, to unwanted “jamming.” We believe John Kerry is correct in emphasizing how frightfully complicated the disarray in Syria is amid the various vying interests and factions. At the same time, he has already done much of the necessary spadework and has found Lavrov for the most part, a helpful partner.

Still, in view of lingering Russian – and not only Russian – skepticism regarding the strength of your support for your secretary of state, we believe that discussions at the highest level would be the best way to prevent hotheads on either side from risking the kind of armed confrontation that nobody should want.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you invite President Putin to meet with you in a mutually convenient place, in order to try to sort things out and prevent still worse for the people of Syria.

In the wake of the carnage of World War II, Winston Churchill made an observation that is equally applicable to our 21st Century: “To jaw, jaw, jaw, is better than to war, war, war.”

The VIPS memorandum is signed:

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Fred Costello, Former Russian Linguist, USAF

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

John Kiriakou, former CIA counterterrorism officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Todd Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA, (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

* In a Memorandum to President Bush criticizing Colin Powell’s address to the UN earlier on February 5, 2003, VIPS ended with these words: “After watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”


68 comments on “Alert Memo to President Obama: it’s better to Jaw Jaw Jaw than War War War ”

  1. Chooky 1

    +100 CV…excellent POST …and the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity…is a very impressive group

    who would be most likely to take heed of such a group ?…Clinton or Trump?

    …I would think Trump!

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I think Trump’s key advisor Gen Michael Flynn former head of the DIA would definitely pay attention.

  2. Philj 2

    Yes, Ray Mcgovern is a courageous and compassionate man. He is well worth viewing on YouTube. As is Chris Hedges. NZ Mainstream Media is seriously lacking and one eyed. Cozying up to Uncle Sam too.

  3. This is essentially what Stephen F Cohen has been saying all this time, good to see that others from that generation are standing up and adding their voices. At a period in his career when he could have sat back and stayed out of it, Cohen has been attacked relentlessly as an ‘apologist’. Out on his own, its clearly been difficult. Hopefully this will encourage more to come forward like this.

    • garibaldi 3.1

      The big problem seems to me to be the mainstream media. They have obviously been ordered to get in behind Clinton and consequently all we see is a wall of how wacky Trump is. This creates a vacuum of anything about Clinton other than she’s some kind of saviour.
      This great post (thanks CV) will not be seen widely at all because of the mainstream policy. Sure, Trump is a major, major problem but if the real Hillary is not exposed adequately she will waltz in.
      Is Trump smart enough to expose her inadequacies with sufficient impact to turn the tide ?

      • Anne 3.1.1

        Actually some of us don’t gauge our opinions on the mainstream media. We gauge them on what we witness with our eyes and ears. And what we see from Trump is not pretty to say the least. No, I don’t trust Hillary Clinton. I agree with CV and others she is an establishment candidate and the establishments haven’t exactly done us all proud… as witnessed by the state of so much of the world today. But given there are only two possible choices, Hillary Clinton has to be seen as the lesser of the two evils. I’m just glad I’m not an American.

        I agree about the mainstream media and the behind the scenes instruction to get in behind Clinton. I would go so far as to say something very similar has been in operation in NZ with our MSM and the Key government. The over the top infatuation with JK and the lengths they were prepared to go to destroy Labour and its former leaders (especially Cunliffe) smacks of establishment interference to me. It seems to be a little less apparent now but we’ll have to wait and see what happens next year to see whether they are prepared to be more balanced in their election year coverage.

        • D'Esterre

          Anne:”And what we see from Trump is not pretty to say the least.”
          For some time now, we’ve been subjected by the media to a Trump dump. For this reason, nobody is in a position to make an accurate judgment call on him.
          The media has relentlessly focused on Trump’s campaign rhetoric, apparently utterly failing recognise it for what it is.
          Conversely, the media has utterly failed to draw attention to Clinton’s warmongering with regard to Russia and China, presumably because that’s not seen as exceptionable. Yet it is that above all which scares the shit out of me. And should do likewise for all of us.
          The media also fails to pay attention to the fact that Bill Clinton will be back in the White House: a novel twist on dynasticism, and a back-door means of getting round the limitations on the number of presidential terms an individual can serve.
          She’s already said that she wants him to run economic policy; I’d take bets that’ll be the least of his involvement in the governing of the US. This is what the media should be talking about: this, and her relentless warmongering, are what really matters. Clinton is most certainly not the lesser of two evils.

          • Colonial Viper

            Scott Adams: Trump’s temperament for President

            Do you remember the time someone insulted Donald Trump and then Trump punched him in the nose?

            Neither do I. Because nothing like that has ever happened.

            Instead, people attack Donald Trump with words (often) and he attacks them back with words. See if the following pattern looks familiar:

            1. Person A insults Trump with words. Trump insults back with words.

            2. Person B mentions some sort of scandal about Trump. Trump mentions some sort of scandal about Person B.

            3. Person C endorses Trump (even if they publicly feuded before) and Trump immediately says something nice about Person C. The feud is instantly over.

            See the pattern?


          • Chooky

            +100 D’Esterre…totally agree

          • Anne

            Clinton is most certainly not the lesser of two evils.

            I don’t agree but I respect your opinion which is held by others on this site.

            However, the point I was making is that not everybody passes judgement based on what is written in newspapers or what they read or hear online. Many of us actually listen and watch the candidates and pass judgement on what we directly witness. On that basis I think Clinton is the lesser of the two evils for the simple reason that Trump presents as tin-pot crazy whereas Clinton doesn’t. His misogyny for one thing dates back to the dark ages and his medieval understanding of many other vital requirements for a president is no less enlightening.

            • Colonial Viper

              Trump has been presented as being tin pot crazy. Read Scott Adam’s piece: Trump is very highly predictable in actual fact.

              As for misogyny. Look up how Hillary Clinton personally attacked and undermined the multiple women who claimed that Hillary’s husband had sexually attacked them.

              Then rethink through her facade.

              • Anne

                Trump has been presented as being tin pot crazy.

                That is not what I said CV. That is the way he presents to me – quite different.

                As for Hillary Clinton. I don’t take to her. Too “plastic” for me.

                That is why I’m glad to be non American. Now if the candidate had been Bernie Sanders…

          • Phil

            The media has relentlessly focused on Trump’s campaign rhetoric, apparently utterly failing recognise it for what it is.

            I think the media have started in recent months doing a much better job of recognizing Trump’s rhetoric for the vile racist, disgusting sexist, scientifically illiterate, paranoid delusional garbage that it truly is.

            • D'Esterre

              Phil: ” recognizing Trump’s rhetoric for the vile racist, disgusting sexist, scientifically illiterate, paranoid delusional garbage that it truly is.”
              Words, my dear fellow, words… You know, what candidates say on the campaign trail, as opposed to what they actually do when elected. Our current PM, for example.

              • Phil

                what candidates say on the campaign trail, as opposed to what they actually do when elected.

                For more than 30 years, Donald Trump has demonstrated, quite publicly, gross ignorance of almost every political matter he has spoken on. He shows at every opportunity a blatant and willful disregard for the concern of anything other than his personal gain.

                You think this is a man who is suddenly going to become sensible, rational, and thoughtful, if elected to literally the most powerful political position in the world?

  4. Saw this in The Press today.


    68 tonnes of weapons grade plutonium is now potentially able to be used for nuclear weapons manufacture again.

    Damn sad.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The plutonium treaty required both Russia and the USA to build nuclear processing facilities which would turn the plutonium into MOX fuel. This fuel would then be used in nuclear power stations, where the weapons grade plutonium in the MOX fuel would be permanently and irreversibly destroyed.

      After an updated version of the treaty was finally signed in 2010 the US arbitrarily and unilaterally chose to process the plutonium via a reversible chemical process, instead of using the agreed one way nuclear reaction fed by MOX fuel.

      TL/DR Russia has now canned the treaty because the US unilaterally abandoned the long agreed and irreversible MOX fuel approach to getting rid of the plutonium.

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.1

        That’s the version they dish out for distribution by Putin enthusiasts, as it sounds vaguely reasonable. The actual reasons are identified by Russia’s criteria for lifting the suspension – those criteria being the lifting of sanctions, payment of compensation for the sanctions and the withdrawal of NATO protection of Russia’s western neighbours.

        • Colonial Viper

          That’s correct. Russia will not revisit the plutonium agreement as long as the US continues to escalate hostile actions against Russia.

          Anyway, why would Russia ever go back into a plutonium agreement with the USA when the USA has shown no ability to abide by the basic terms of such an agreement?

          • Psycho Milt

            Meh. The dispute over method of disposal was regarded as too trivial to warrant suspending the agreement until Putin wanted propaganda talking points for his current aggro with the USA. And both the sanctions and the enthusiasm of Russia’s western neighbours for NATO protection are artifacts of Putin’s “escalation of hostilities” against those neighbours, not of anything the USA has done.

            • Colonial Viper

              You may think the difference between permanent destruction of weapons grade plutonium and reversible chemical storage of weapons grade plutonium is “trivial” but the Russians do not.

              until Putin wanted propaganda talking points for his current aggro with the USA.

              You’re thinking like a PR-centric westerner.

              The Russian Government is signalling to its counterparts in the American Government how serious the deterioration in the two countries strategic relationship have now got.

              Let’s see if there is anyone left in the American Government with the wisdom left to listen and think. Unlike State Dept spox Kirby who the other day was talking about Russian soldiers going home in body bags.

              • And who in the Russian government is left to listen and think? Because the deterioration in the strategic relationship isn’t a one-way thing, and there’s no sign that Putin has any interest in not using his military to get his way.

            • Colonial Viper

              enthusiasm of Russia’s western neighbours for NATO protection are artifacts of Putin’s “escalation of hostilities” against those neighbours, not of anything the USA has done.

              Please get serious. Estonia and Latvia are not only indefensible, but they also have zero security importance for western Europe.

              By aggressively expanding right up to Russia’s borders, NATO has now undermined the entire security situation of Europe and of its membership.

              In doing so it has created a new job and a new future for itself.

              That Russia sees the placement of nuclear capable missiles only a couple of hundred kilometres from its borders as a direct provocation against Russia’s fundamental national security is of zero surprise to any Cold War analyst worth his salt.

              • dukeofurl

                ” placement of nuclear capable missiles only a couple of hundred kilometres from its borders “(Russia)

                What nuclear capable missiles are these ? Western European countries dont have any and the INF treaty removed the smaller ( cruise) land based nuclear missiles from inventory
                “The INF Treaty eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometres (310–620 mi) (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 kilometres (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range).” Wikipedia

                So there are no land based nuclear capable missiles around that are below 5500km range.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The NATO/US ABM system recently placed in Romania will become nuclear capable with the upgrades planned for it, according to the Kremlin.

                  What nuclear capable missiles are these ? Western European countries dont have any

                  I don’t think that is true.

                  A quick google shows me that France has nuclear tipped submarine launched ICBMs, and of course the UK has Trident.

                  • dukeofurl

                    Nato/US ABM isnt nuclear capable by any stretch of the the definition.
                    This part id definitly incorrect, in fact is designed to shoot down shorter ranged ballistic nuclear missiles ( or conventional ones)

                    No one , not even Russia, uses nuclear anti aircraft or anti missile weapons.

                    Nuclear submarines dont depend on natos borders, as of course they are hidden in the oceans.
                    I specifically mentioned land based as you were referring to land borders.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Those ABM missiles are being upgraded to be nuclear capable in the next few years.

                      Tipped with nuclear warheads, a simple software change – which cannot be spotted by the Romanians – will retask the mission of the missile from ABM duty to nuclear warhead delivery.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Russia will counter every move NATO makes from now on. If NATO is reckless enough to station German troops on Russian borders once again this is what you will get.

                      US/NATO should have abided by the promise that they gave Gorbachev to not move NATO a single inch to the east.

                      Now Russia has figured out that the promises of US/NATO cannot be trusted – not even their promises to separate out US backed moderate rebels from the terrorist ISIL/Jihadists in Syria so that a political peace process can begin.

                • McFlock

                  CV’s and Russia’s definiton (redundancy there) of “nuclear capable” means “able to carry, theoretically, nuclear weapons”, and does not include things like “has the right sockets to hold any nuke in the inventory” or “has a targeting system that is able to arm, detonate or provide vector information to any nuke in the inventory”, or “even has the right COM port plugs”, or “can handle the resulting shift in the centre of gravity when you replace the conventional of kinetic warhead with a block of uranium or plutonium and associated shielding”, or anything technical like that.

                  Basically, a 50cc scooter might count as a “nuclear capable delivery system” by their measure.

                  • dukeofurl

                    Exactly, once they had nuclear capable ‘backpacks’


                    • McFlock

                      yeah. It’s not the size of the warhead, it’s how to tell it when to go “boom” in the right place.

                      They actually had an artillery piece that fired a nuclear warhead. The smallest version involved firing the gun and jumping into your trench because the blast radius was larger than the range of the gun.

                      But whether the ABM breaks apart if they bung a nuke in it because all of a sudden it’s more nose-heavy than designed and can’t take the G-load and shimmy? Who knows…

              • Please get serious. Estonia and Latvia are not only indefensible, but they also have zero security importance for western Europe.

                See, that’s an answer that you personally might find eminently satisfactory, but it’s not really surprising that the governments of Estonia and Latvia feel differently, is it? Russia’s European neighbours have excellent reasons for not trusting Russia, and no number of hours of RT propaganda will change that. Blaming NATO for it is like blaming your wife’s divorce lawyer for your divorce.

                That Russia sees the placement of nuclear capable missiles only a couple of hundred kilometres from its borders as a direct provocation against Russia’s fundamental national security is of zero surprise to any Cold War analyst worth his salt.

                That Russia releases propaganda lies about stuff NATO’s up to is unsurprising, yes.

                • Morrissey

                  Psycho Milt, you are way out of your comfort zone. Have you considered a career in talk radio?

                  • Paul

                    He must get his ideas from this guy..
                    Larry Lackwit


                    • Morrissey

                      Oh my God, Paul! How could you do that? I was having a good afternoon until I clicked on your link.

                      I see the Lackwit wears glasses now. Do you think he’s been reading some books? (I don’t think so.)

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Is Paul another of Breen’s multitudinous sockpuppets ?

                      Is there any room left for the fine citizens of Northcote point amongst this ongoing birthing of online personas ?

                      Serious questions which deserve an answer.

                    • Paul

                      Williams presently standing in for Hosking.
                      Here is this week’s audience with the Dear Leader.

                      a person who acts obsequiously towards someone important in order to gain advantage.
                      synonyms: toady, creep, crawler, fawner, flatterer, flunkey, truckler, groveller, doormat, lickspittle, kowtower, obsequious person, minion, hanger-on, leech, puppet, spaniel, Uriah Heep; informalbootlicker, yes-man; vulgar slangarse-licker, arse-kisser, brown-nose; vulgar slangsuckhole
                      “he was surrounded by flatterers and sycophants”


                  • I get why the hours you clock up listening to braying idiots on the radio might convince you that you’re better-informed than other people, but you’re overlooking the problem with your sample. I only see Dunning-Kruger effect in your comments

  5. Speaking on Russian TV, she warned of those whose “logic is ‘why do we need diplomacy’ … when there is power … and methods of resolving a problem by power. We already know this logic; there is nothing new about it. It usually ends with one thing – full-scale war.”

    Gaah! The irony has reached toxic levels!

  6. Chooky 6

    This is interesting : Keiser interviews David Stockman, author of ‘Trumped: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin’ in the second half of the Keiser Report .

    Stockman’s opinion is that while Trump is an “unknown” he is outside the establishment and has a more pragmatic deal making approach to foreign relations and peace in the Middle East and with Russia. Hillary Clinton is part of the oligarchy of the last 30 years. She a “known known evil”.



    …”In regards to defense spending, Stockman says “The one thing that I learned during my time on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is that the defense budget, and the military-industrial complex that perpetuates it, is the mother’s milk of fiscal irresponsibility.”…

  7. Chooky 8

    This is a very interesting four way discussion on potential looming nuclear war between USA and Russia.

    Adam Garrie of ‘The Duran’ is particularly impressive.

    The Western mainstream media is shown up as being utterly incompetent in facing up to the issues and the threat.



  8. Jenny 9

    So what should be on the agenda of such a meeting?

    The leading topic should be agreement on a full NO FLY ZONE over Syria by all military aircraft.


    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Thats ridiculous- artillery would still be killing civilians every day.

    • The agenda would be interesting, wouldn’t it? According to these guys, the US representatives should assure the people currently bombarding Syrian cities that the US is no threat to peace in Syria. Reassured, the people currently bombarding Syrian cities would… what, exactly?

  9. Jenny 10

    Another not so well known quote from the author of it is better to “Jaw, jaw.”

    “If the almighty were to rebuild the world and asked me for advice, I would have English Channels round every country. And the atmosphere would be such that anything that attempted to fly would be set on fire.”
    Winston Spencer Churchill

  10. Jenny 11

    On the death of Trịnh Thị Ngọ, (Hanoi Hanna)

    “…she believed that America should not have sent troops to Vietnam and should have allowed the country to resolve its situation itself.”


  11. Observer Tokoroa 12

    .Hi CV

    . I think the main reason the USA should bow out of War War War, is because The United States is not adept at choosing a war nor adept at winning them.

    Sanity is not the mindset of our American cousins. No matter what they say.

    Having said that, The Jewish people within the Third Reich, failed to sense the monstrous genocide whipped up by a weird SS and Hitler and Goebbels.

    Failing to respond to serious threat is not a virtue. And we should not in my opinion consider Vladimir Putin to be the Archangel Gabriel. Schooled by the Dalai Lama.

    The USA would best say very few words; keep their powder dry; and expect that evil is a reality of our inhumane world.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Largely I agree although I differ on the identification of the ‘genocidal ideology’.

      The true “monstrous” and “serious threat” to our civilisation is coming from the promulgation of wahabbi-salafist extremism that is exported from Saudi Arabia to a hundred countries around the world, under the political protection of the USA.

  12. Observer Tokoroa 13

    . Yes CV

    . Extremism is always an indicator of mindlessness. No matter what the issue or what the so called light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be..

    America with all its mighty “Intelligence” failed to see or anticipate the “Warplanes” heading towards New York’s Twin Towers.

    Just as they failed to “see” the Japanese war planes hurtling towards Pearl Harbour.

    I know I sound simplistic when I say that a meeting of aggressive Nations should be called to discuss the possibility of agreeing not to sell arms to one another or to any nation or trouble spot.

    The Gun with its fellow traveler the bomb, is the most cowardly instrument ever devised. The Fighter and Bomber raids are just absolute evil gun carriers 33,000 feet above the women and children.

    Also, the gun has killed many more people by far than nuclear weapons.

    However I know there is no such thing as a noble big Nation. Nor is there a noble aggressive Religion.

    .Nobility escapes our species. No matter how many medals you stitch on the soldier’s tunic. Nor how many Virgins for Fucking Mohammed hands out to his child warriors.

    • You don’t seem to know what “planning” means. Russia and its client will remain free to commit war crimes in Syria undisturbed by the USA, at least while Obama’s in office.

        • McFlock

          fisk is damned good, btw.

          Not in a “oh gosh I agree with what he says” way, but in a “he actually does a shitload of work and is usually spot on” way. ISTR back around the Israeli invasion of Lebanon he did some work on “Israeli” hellfire debris serial numbers. The missile turned out to come from a batch that had been purloined from the US Marines, and they were a bit pissed about it because the loss came from their budget rather than official aid to Israel, lol. I can’t recall the last time a NZ journo did digging to serial-number level.

          Although in this case he backs up the point that not every pentagon plan is activated 😉

        • Psycho Milt

          Before I waste my time – anything about the US “planning” a war in there?

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.2

        You don’t seem to know what “planning” means. Russia and its client will remain free to commit war crimes in Syria undisturbed by the USA, at least while Obama’s in office.

        Ridding Syria of the west’s 101 flavours of so-called “moderate” Jihadist terrorists is now underway. Yes, there will be plenty of civilian casualties in the rebel held sector of Aleppo as a result, but Russia has already done what it can to open up escape corridors from those areas.

        NATO/US could of course minimise these civilian casualties by forcing Turkey to cut off resupply to these jihadists, effectively ending their fighting ability within a couple of weeks.

        But of course, NATO/US/Turkey will not do this, as they are still hopeful of using these jihadists as a proxy fighting force to regime change Assad.

        I expect that the combat tactics that the Syrian Government army and Russia will employ against the jihadists will be very comparable to what the US/US supported Iraqi forces have already done in places like Mosul and Fallujah.

        In the end I suspect that their actions won’t be any more, or any less, war crimey than the precedents the United States has already set.

        • D'Esterre

          CV: “I expect that the combat tactics that the Syrian Government army and Russia will employ against the jihadists will be very comparable to what the US/US supported Iraqi forces have already done in places like Mosul and Fallujah.”

          Precisely. Not going Godwin here, but Antony Beevor’s account of the fall of Berlin at the end of WW2 is worth a read. The privations and suffering of the citizens were unimaginable for us. Yet I’m fairly certain that no – or few – Allied voices were heard in their defence. I’ll hedge my bets here, but I’ve never read any literature citing such concerns from any groups or individuals. They were the enemy, after all: no mention of war crimes there.

  13. Sanctuary 15

    Sometimes, it only takes one thread to remind me what an idiot CV is, and to wonder how many other sane people his mendacious, toweringly egotistical and long running tanty at losing in Dunedin have been turned off this site by him apart from me?

    For God’s sake, muzzle that dog!

    • RedLogix 15.1

      If you were a Russian it’s less likely you would say that. I’ve made my view clear for a long time; the nations of the world will give up part of their sovereignty to a global federated government, similar to the UN, but with the power and independence to act.

      Until then the human race will continue to be tortured and shamed by these barbaric, shitty wars. Wars where NO-ONE has the slightest scrap of moral high ground from which to posture. Wars in which truth is the first thing buried under the rubble, wars in which are totally avoidable but we collectively plunge headlong into because there are no grown-ups in charge.

      I assume from the outset that everything I read about these wars from a mainstream source is either a flat-out lie, plain old propaganda or selective spin at best. If the media are like eyes to the world, then most are either blind, looking the wrong way, or wearing very dark glasses. Viewpoints that can be trusted like Fisk, Pilger or Cole are rare. We only get small fleeting glimpses of the truth, and none of us see it all in one moment.

      Personally sitting around ‘railing about how shit it all is’ isn’t going to alter Aleppo’s suffering one jot. So I don’t do it. The solution does not lie in determining which of Obama or Putin is the lessor evil; the solution lies elsewhere, removing from them their power to act unilaterally in these proxy wars, and giving it to a global body that is charged to represent the interests of the whole of the human race. (And before you splutter over your cornflakes, no I do not underestimate the awful scope of this task. It’s just that the consequences of failing to do so are an order of magnitude greater.)

      And the day Labour comes out and makes a full, unreserved and frank apology for the Fourth Labour govt … your cheap shot about Dunedin might have point.

  14. Jenny 16

    Major General Igor Kalenshokov makes a press statement, on the flimisiest evidence of some un-identified leaks, from some identified source, that Washington is considering attacking Syrian Government forces.


    The truth of course is that the US and the Bathist regime of Basha Assad have had a long time working relationship.|

    Syria was one of the countries that made up the original “Coalition Of The Willing”. Basha Assad provided 19,000 Syrian soldiers to the US for the first Gulf War.

    Syria has been a long time destination for the CIA program of “Special Rendition” for the purposes of torture, which is banned in the US under the American Constitution forbidding cruel and unusual punishment.

    When the Arab Spring that had toppled Western and US backed dictators in Tunisia and Egypt arrived in Syria the US was caught flat footed not knowing what to do.

    In Egypt on the toppling of Mubarak the US rushed an extra $3 billion to the Egyptian military to help them topple the popular regime of President Morsi and promote General Al Sisi into power.

    In Syria it was different, there was no obvious pro US, (pro-Israel), replacement for Basha Assad. Assad has privatised all his countries assets at the behest of IMF and the World Bank and impose austerity on his people. All the while protecting US and Western interests in the Middle East. Not least providing US Ally Israel with a secure and reliable border to their North.

    Seeing the US vacillation over Syria, Russia opportunistically saw a gap in the market for propping up brutal puppet regimes going free.

    As well as expanding Russian influence in the Middle East.
    Russia’s intervention in Syria is also about telling their US rival where to get off.

    Hey look! We can bomb other people’s countries to keep dictators in power and get away with it too.

    And just in case the US don’t get the message, remind them that you are still a nuclear power.

    Bill and and Colonial Viper’s repeating of the regime’s propaganda that there is no popular revolt by the Syrians to liberate themselves from Tyranny and dictatorship, and that it is all a foreign CIA plot, is at its core racist and an insult to the Arab people. Not only that but it is an incitement to even more attrocities against the people of Syria.

  15. Jenny 17

    As I said in 2011 when Colonial Viper first began his cheer leading for the Assad regime which was at that time slaughtering peaceful protesters in the streets.

    I did not think Colonial Viper’s open support for mass murder and bloodshed was suitable for a family friendly blog site like The Standard.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Dozens of members of the Syrian Government security forces were killed and injured by the crowds of “peaceful” protestors (which included foreign agent provacateurs at a guess) before Assad resorted to using deadly force.

      The true bloodshed which moved the death toll into the tens of thousands, then the hundreds of thousands, arose when the US and its allies decide to use this deliberate destabilisation of the Syrian Government to infiltrate massive numbers of foreign Jihadists fighters into Syria and fund and arm them to the teeth.

      All the while the western presstitutes followed the establishment line that the conflict in Syria was a popular uprising, a “civil war” (sure, a civil war full of fighters from across Europe, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.).

      I did not think Colonial Viper’s open support for mass murder and bloodshed was suitable for a family friendly blog site like The Standard.


  16. Morrissey 18

    How The Syria’s White Helmets Became The Latest Neocon Tool For Regime Change

    Though the US has been supplying rebels with weapons directly and indirectly since 2013, including Al Qaeda-connected Al-Nusra/Fateh Al-Sham, the White Helmets are advocating further US intervention in the form of a No Fly Zone (NFZ) in Syria…..


    • The civil defence crews trying to deal with an aerial bombing campaign against their city would like a no-fly zone imposed? Astonishing – must be that neocon influence, what else could explain it?

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.1

        Firstly, it’s not “their” city. These “White Helmet” PR tools operate directly alongside the rebels including al-Nusra in the shrinking part of Aleppo which is still held by Islamist rebels.

        Secondly, an end to the Russian air support providing the Syrian Government Army with back up will not only help the jihadists but it will also prolong the fighting in the rebel held sector of Aleppo.

        Thirdly, the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria (or over Aleppo) by US forces will involve the illegal destruction of both Russian and Syrian air defence assets and the killing of both Russian and Syrian military personnel. Which will immediately lead the US to war against Russia and Syria.

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