[PHOTO: Ambassador Nikki Haley speaking at AIPAC convention, March 27, 2017. When she was Governor of South Carolina, Haley had been the first to sign into law anti-BDS legislation. See excerpts from her AIPAC speech below*]
We were deeply disappointed by your response to our report, Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, and particularly your dismissal of it as “anti-Israeli propaganda” within hours of its release. The UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) invited us to undertake a fully researched scholarly study. Its principal purpose was to ascertain whether Israeli policies and practices imposed on the Palestinian people fall within the scope of the international-law definition of apartheid. We did our best to conduct the study with the care and rigor that is morally incumbent in such an important undertaking, and of course we welcome constructive criticism of the report’s method or analysis (which we also sought from several eminent scholars before its release). So far we have not received any information identifying the flaws you have found in the report or how it may have failed to comply with scholarly standards of rigor.
Instead, you have felt free to castigate the UN for commissioning the report and us for authoring it. You have launched defamatory attacks on all involved, designed to discredit and malign the messengers rather than clarify your criticisms of the message. Ad hominem attacks are usually the tactics of those so seized with political fervor as to abhor rational discussion. We suppose that you would not normally wish to give this impression of yourself and your staff, or to represent US diplomacy in such a light to the world. Yet your statements about our study, as reported in the media, certainly give this impression.
We were especially troubled by the extraordinary pressure your office exerted on the UN secretary general, António Guterres, apparently inducing him first to order the report’s removal from the ESCWA website and then to accept the resignation of ESCWA’s distinguished and highly respected executive secretary, Rima Khalaf, which she submitted on principle rather than repudiate a report that she believed fulfilled scholarly standards, upheld the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, and produced findings and recommendations vital for UN proceedings.
Instead of using this global forum to call for the critical debate about the report, you used the weight of your office to quash it. These strident denunciations convey a strong appearance of upholding an uncritical posture by the US government toward Israel, automatically and unconditionally sheltering Israel’s government from any criticism at the UN, whether deserved or not, from the perspective of international law. Such a posture diminishes the US’s reputation as a nation that upholds the values of truth, freedom, law, and justice, and that serves the world community as a regional and global leader. It also shifts the conversation away from crucial substantive concerns.
You fail to consider that Israeli leaders have themselves warned of the apartheid features of their policies. It may have been that the word “apartheid” alone was enough to trigger your response, a reaction undoubtedly abetted by Israel’s instantaneous denunciation of our report. In following Israel’s public lead, however, you fail to consider that Israeli leaders have themselves grasped and warned of the apartheid features of their policies for decades. The widely admired Yitzhak Rabin, twice Israel’s prime minister, once confided to a TV journalist, “I don’t think it’s possible to contain over a long term, if we don’t want to get to apartheid, a million and a half [more] Arabs inside a Jewish state.” Prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak both warned publicly that Israel was at risk of becoming an apartheid state and cautioned their constituencies about what would happen to Israel if the Palestinians realized this and launched an anti-apartheid struggle. Former Israeli attorney general Michael Ben-Yair has stated flatly, “we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories.” These prominent Israelis were clear-headed observers of their own country’s policies as well as patriots, and it was their cautions, as much as any other source, that inspired ESCWA member states to consider that the possibility of an apartheid regime existing in this setting must be taken seriously and so commissioned the report now under attack.
It is therefore wholly inappropriate and wrong for you to charge that, simply by accepting this commission, we as authors were motivated by anti-Semitism. The reverse is true. To clarify this claim, we call your attention to two features of the report that we hope will lead you to reconsider your response.
It is wrong for you to charge that, simply by accepting this commission, we were motivated by anti-Semitism.
Firstly, the report carefully confines its working definition of apartheid to those provided in the 1973 Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the International Crime of Apartheid and the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It does not rely on definitions developed in polemics about the conflict or taken casually from online sources. As the 1973 Convention and the Rome Statute are part of the same body of law that protects Jews, as well as all people in the world, from discrimination, this authoritative definition should not be set aside. Any responsible critique must therefore engage with these legal definitions, and the larger body of international human-rights jurisprudence in which they are situated, so as to address the report for what it actually says rather than concocting a straw man that can be easily dismissed. We hope you will reconsider the report in this light.
Secondly, the member states of ESCWA requested that a study be commissioned to examine whether Israel’s apartheid policies encompassed the Palestinian people as a whole. This meant that, as authors, we were asked to consider Palestinians living in four geographic regions within four legal categories or “domains”: those living in the occupied territories, those resident in Jerusalem, those living as citizens within Israel, and those living in refugee camps or involuntary exile. For each domain, we found that Israeli policies and practices are, by law, internally discriminatory. But more importantly, we found that all four operate as one comprehensive system that is designed to dominate and oppress Palestinians in order to preserve Israel as a Jewish state. It is this whole system of domination, too long misinterpreted by treating Palestinians as situated in unrelated categories, that generates the regime of domination that conforms to the definition of apartheid in international law. Moreover, it is this system that has undermined, and will continue to undermine, the two-state solution to which the United States has committed its diplomatic prestige over the course of several prior presidencies. Appraising the viability of this diplomatic posture in light of findings in this report would, we propose, be crucial for the credibility of US foreign policy and should not be blocked by political considerations.
We hoped our report would give rise to discussion of all these issues. Especially, we hope that its findings will inspire a review of this question by authoritative legal bodies such as the International Court of Justice. We did not seek a shouting match. We therefore now respectfully ask, against this background, that our report be read in the spirit in which it was written, aiming for the safety, security, and peace of everyone who lives in territory currently under Israel’s control. As the report’s authors, this was our moral framework all along, and we still retain the hope that the serious questions at stake will not be buried beneath an avalanche of diversionary abuse of our motives and character. Charges of crimes against humanity should not be swept to one side out of deference to political bonds that tie the United States and Israel closely together, or for reasons of political expediency. Such machinations can only weaken international law and endanger us all.
Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University
*Excerpts from Haley’s speech March 27, 2017 at the AIPAC convention, as reported by the Times of Israel:
“And this ridiculous report, the Falk report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is, or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems,” said Haley, lightly horrified. “Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state?”
“So for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”
“The first thing we do is we call the secretary general, and say, ‘This [report] is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it.’ The secretary general immediately pulled the report, and then the director has now resigned.”
Original in Dutch and English translation, also by Max van der Werff, appear here.
On April 12, 2017, a thousand days had passed since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down above East Ukraine. Up until now, those who did it have not been identified, indicted or arrested, and many questions remain answered.
After publication of the final report of the Dutch Safety Board in October 2015, I summarized the results of my two visits to the crash site and more than two thousand hours of Internet research in the article MH17 – Lying for Justice. Since then, I’ve had four meetings with the members of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and in total about 6 hours of talks have been recorded. Finally, I handed over 14GB of data to the Dutch researchers with the assurance that only Dutch researchers would have access to the material.Special credits for citizen journalists Marcel van den Berg, alias MH17research and Hector Reban (alias). I frequently used Hector’s blog and Marcel’s blog for writing this article. No other public source can match the information that can be found on both websites.
For numerous topics related to MH17 I would like to refer you to the interview in Café Weltschmerz where I was interviewed as a citizen journalist myself. Purpose of this article
1) Analysis of evidence presented by the JIT on September 28th, 2016.
2) Reporting what was not presented by the JIT (including motive, exact weapon, lies of Kiev).
3) Information on MH17 discussions in mass media.
4) Presentation of plausible scenarios of what might have happened to MH17.
5) Speculating on prosecution and quality of the future evidence.
ChronologyThe entire press conference of the JIT is on Youtube and lasts in total 1 hour and 19 minutes. Left channel is Dutch spoken, right channel is with English translation. I divided the presentation into 74 parts and in an excel sheet [link] topic keywords and direct links are provided. This is useful not only as a reference, but is essential to split the press conference and discuss it in chronological order, the way events must have happened in reality, according to the JIT. Key conclusions drawn by the JIT
– The Buk-Telar was brought to the firing location from the territory of the Russian Federation [26min05s]
– The type of Buk missile which downed MH17 is 9M38 series and Telar after being used is returned to the territory of the Russian Federation. [20min31s]
Reconstruction of the route and the evidence presented by the JIT
Route of 235 Km that the Buk (on a trailer) might have passed during the night of 16/17th of July 2014 from the Russian border to Donetsk.
The JIT doesn’t indicate which border crossing has been used and neither which route exactly might have been followed, but states: “At eight o’clock in the morning a witness has seen the Buk in Yenakiieve ” [33min27s]. Furthermore, the JIT used animated information from an anonymous Twitter account claiming that the Buk was standing at this crossroads in Donetsk [34min52s].
Route allegedly been driven on July 17th, 2014 is N21. I’ve done this route myself several times, both in the direction from Donetsk to Snezhnoye and back.
Volvo trailer in combination with Buk-Telar was filmed at this spot in Donetsk, by an anonymous freelance reporter claimed to be working for Paris Match.
Paris Match published the first photo on July 23, 2014. The second photo was put online on July 25th. That’s one week after MH17 was downed. The freelancer took this picture in the morning and later in the day MH17 was shot down. It immediately becomes the world news that the passenger plane is probably shot down by a Buk missile.
– Why would a magazine like Paris Match wait one week for the online publication of such huge scoop?
– Why does Alfred de Montesquiou, the leading reporter of Paris Match, claim that pictures were taken in Snezhnoye?Only almost two years later, during the press conference of the JIT it is revealed that these two pictures are screenshots from a video recorded by hand.
– Why didn’t Paris Match ever publish the video and why de Montesquiou talked about photos?
Screenshot of one of the videos I took from within a moving bus:
May 3rd, 2016 (meanwhile, one year, nine months and sixteen days have passed) a new YouTube channel appears which is created specifically for placing of one video. The anonymous uploader uses the alias “Ivan Olifirenko. This video, just like the Donetsk video has abonimable quality and moreover is also edited with special software called Cropipic.
On July 15, 2014 a convoy of the fighting unit ‘Vostok’ is passing a petrol station which also appears in ‘Olifirenko’ ‘s video. This video clearly shows that the road surface is damaged by tanks and other vehicles.
But in the video of ‘Olifirenko ‘ that is supposed to be made on July 17, 2014, you can’t see any of this damage.
Thus, this video is from an earlier date than July 15th 2014, or the quality is (made) so bad that it is completely useless as evidence. It is also remarkable that video was put online on the same day as the BBC documentary about MH17 was broadcasted.
Zuhres video and the witness who wished to remain anonymous.
The original video has been removed from YouTube. If we search for “зугрес бук” (“Zuhres buk” in Russian), then we find this video with the upload date July 22, 2014. It’s not possible to check via the public sources when the original video was put online and removed.
Also the quality of this video is so substandard that it was a piece of cake to shop in another vehicle without being noticeable which vehicle is added:
This is the exact location in Zuhres 2 and I have interviewed many people here. On July 17, 2014 or on any other day nobody has seen a Buk on a trailer passing by and no one has heard anything about it from others.
However, I learned something else that is important for finding the truth. Several residents of apartment 31 told me that an alcoholic was living in the apartment where from the video has been recorded. This man passed away couple of months before my visit, in the summer of 2015.
Following information about registered persons at this address can be found:
Anatoli Alekseyevich Andryushin, born October 9, 959 (АНДРЮШИН АНАТОЛИЙ АЛЕКСЕЕВИЧ)
The neighbors indicate that there were often several people staying for a long time in the apartment while the main occupant was absent and many of them had a key. Three persons are officially registered at the same address:
Elena Anatolevna Andryushina, born on July 17, 1986 (АНДРЮШИНА ЕЛЕНА АНАТОЛЬЕВНА)
Tatiana Alexandrovna Andryushina, born on July 30, 1963 (ТАТЬЯНА АЛЕКСАНДРОВНА)
Andrey Anatolevich Andryushin, born on May 22, 1985 (АНДРЮШИН АНДРЕЙ АНАТОЛЬЕВИЧ)
Date of birth: 1985-05-22
Political views: Liberal
Education: Modern computer information technology
Exactly this Andrey Andryushin appears as a witness in a video from June 30, 2016:
Andrey claims that he recorded this video with the Buk-transport on July 5, 2014 and he didn’t put it on YouTube himself. The video was also on his VKontakte (sort of Facebook) page, but out of fear he deleted his entire account.
– Why does Andrey claim he made this video on July 5?
– Where is Andrey now? Is he safe? (See questions 4a/b/c/d)
– Did the JIT have contact with Andrey?
It’s worth noticing that the JIT presents the video for few seconds as evidence, but pays no attention to the statement of the creator of the video that he did not record it on July 17th. Photo of Buk-Volvo combination made at the location ‘Pit Stop’ in Torez.
Unfortunately, the same problems as with the videos:
– Abominable resolution
– Anonymous photographer
– Original recording is not an open source
– Metadata unavailable
During the press conference the JIT did not show the pictures, but referred to a until now unknown video supposedly made in Torez [36min03s]. The original link of the Dutch police is removed. Here is a backup.
“Because of the importance to protect the creator of these images, the background is erased,” says the JIT. It remains unclear why the jeep in the video is riding with the door open. Quality of the video is so poor that you can’t see whether the wheels of the vehicle are turning.
Animation JIT: “Around noon, the white Volvo trailer with the Buk-Telar arrives to Snezhnoye. Buk is unloaded from the truck near the supermarket Furshet “[36min24s].
The Furshet supermarket is located on Lenin Street, a major thoroughfare. If there was indeed a Volvo with a trailer standing at this place and Buk-Telar was unloaded there from the trailer, many people would have seen it. Let’s look at the map:
The Buk Telar allegedly drove independently from the red cross on the map to the firing location through the green cross in Karapetiyan Street. In this case, the route that the Telar drove according to the JIT animation (red) can’t be right [36min36s].
Of course, I’ve also been at this location, made measurements and searched for witnesses. Some screenshots of the videos I made on October 19, 2015:
After studying the lines of sight it’s obvious the picture must have been taken from an apartment on the top floor, from building No. 3. An old lady told me that this apartment was not occupied in July 2014.
Also valid for this picture: anonymous photographer, low resolution, original file is not an open source and no metadata.
This photo was taken on June 5, 2015, almost a year after MH17. For better visibility, I increased the contrast slightly. See the original video. (Credit: Yana Yerlashova)
We are sure that no Buk has fired on June 5, 2015 and that it must be another source of the black smoke on the photo of that day.
– I asked the spokesman of the OM three times to confirm that the JIT claims that the presented photo shows the smoke plume of Buk missile which shot down MH17. The final answer was evasive.
– JIT presentation: “The photo is investigated by the NFI. The NFI has no evidence that this picture has been manipulated. “[38min14s]
It is important to know what have been the research questions and what has been studied exactly. That information (just like the original photo itself) is not public. The photo has been investigated by the NFI, the NIDF and FOX-IT. One of the persons who examined the photo wrote me:
“My research did not go beyond determining that these were real RAW files, and therefore in principle, original camera results. About what’s on it, no idea. I haven’t paid attention to that, except being amazed by the value that was tied to the rather obscure images. “
– For more detailed explanation and discussion of other problems with the smoke plume picture, I refer you to this article.
“Painstaking detective work on social media”
“Additionally, in spring of 2016 the research team after painstaking detective work on social media found two new photos.” [38min46s] “From the first picture and testimony of witnesses an analysis of sightlines was made. The direction in which the witness looked when he or she saw or photographed the trace. The place where these lines of sight come together is very close to the agricultural field in question at Pervomaiskyi.” [39min04s]
The displayed image is made at exactly the same location as this one ….
… which appeared on Twitter on July 15, 2014, two days before MH17 was shot down. The coordinates of the recording location were calculated and published on the Webtalk.ru forum.
If we place cutouts of the both photos above each other, we see an exact match. Photos (or video recordings) are almost certainly made with the use of a tripod:
The smoke from the ‘new photo’ is located more to the left compared to the two columns of smoke from the picture of the tweet on July 15:
Having the recording location and the coordinates of the launch site claimed by JIT, we can draw on a map a line of sight (white) and an estimated line of sight (red) for the columns of smoke on the picture of the tweet on July 15:
The red line of sight points to Saur Mogila, the highest point of Donbass. A place where in July 2014 fierce battles took place almost daily. On images from Google Earth of July 16, 2014 two pieces of scorched earth can be seen. Probably the smoke spots were caused by an attack on July 15.
It is clear that the apartment from where the recordings were made, served as an observation post, but why did Andrey Tarasenko twitter a photo of July 15 and not the one of the smoke plume on July 17?
Andrey Tarasenko claims he was walking home from work at the time of the attack:
A Ukrainian miner says that at the moment of the catastrophe with the Malaysian Boeing he saw a white trace shooting from the ground into the air. Twenty seconds later, he saw smoke rising in the distance. Andrey Tarasenko said he and his friend were walking home when it happened. “Do you know how does a trace of a plane look like? It was the same, but this was a rocket launched from the ground,” Tarasenko said. Tarasenko estimated that he was on a 16 kilometers (10 miles) distance from the Boeing 777 crash site. He never saw the plane. (source)
From the firing of a Buk-rocket untill the creation of smoke rising from the crashed MH17, several minutes have passed. Twenty seconds as claimed by Tarasenko is nonsense.
If the rest of Tarasenko’s story is correct, in any case he was not in the apartment when the recording was made. Interesting questions:
– Who made the image(s)?
– Who is the occupant of the apartment?
– How and from whom did Tarasenko get the files?
The main question is of course:
Why was “the long research on social media” necessary and photo (or video?) of the smoke plume from Buk that shot down MH17 wasn’t made public immediately?
Most searched weapon in the world – route back to the Russian Federation
JIT presentation: “Immediately after the launch, the Buk-Telar was discharged. There are almost no pictures available of the discharge route because it took place in the evening and night hours.” [41min27s]
“The Buk-Telar presumably was driving independently in direction of Snezhnoye. There he was put again on the white Volvo trailer in the late evening hours of July 17th.” [41min49s]
What we know:
– MH17 was hit around 16:20h.
– The distance of the route from the ‘launch site’ to the square of the Furshet Market is about 7 kilometers.
– Sunset on July 17, 2014 near Donetsk was at 20:22hrs.
If the assessment made by the JIT is correct, then the Buk-Telar was at least four hours within a radius of seven kilometers from the launch location since the launch of a missile and only after that it was loaded back on the trailer in the center of Snezhnoye for transport back to Russia.
– Statistically speaking, how many witnesses should have seen the Buk-Telar during almost four hours in the neighborhood and in the center of Snezhnoye and how likely is it that no satellite or spy images were made after it was known that MH17 was shot down?
Following the JIT story. In the late evening hours of July 17, the Buk-Telar is again put on the white Volvo trailer and drives through Lugansk to Russia. There are 175 kilometers from Snezhoye to Lugansk. That is, if you follow the route that Telar drove according to the JIT. The shortest route is less than 90 kilometers. Why this huge detour of about 80 kilometers?
JIT-presentation: “In Lugansk in the early morning a video has been made of a Volvo-truck with a loader carrying the Buk Telar. It shows that the installation carries only three missiles. From there the transport drives to the Russian border and crosses the border.” [42min07s]
Arsen Avakov states on his Facebook page that the video is made by a surveillance-team on July 18th, at 04:50 in the morning.
The video displays a lighted streetlight next to the billboard. This is remarkable, as Lugansk was almost entirely without electricity in the morning of July 18, 2014.
Also regarding to this video the following:
– Abominable Resolution
– Anonymous photographer
– Original recording not open source
– Metadata unavailable
Regarding the route the question can be raised once again: why a big detour with a route of about 246 kilometers was chosen…
The JIT claims to have obtained a lot of evidence through wiretaps alongside many pictures and witnesses. Joost Niemöller asked the following question [1u6min32s]
“What is the source of the wiretapped telephone conversations?”
Answer by Wilbert Paulissen, head of Dutch Police Investigations:
“These are mainly wiretapped telephone conversations of the Ukrainian service. Thus, these wiretapped telephone conversations are becoming available to the JIT via the court. That is the source of the wiretapped telephone conversations”.
“You say mainly. Are there any other sources?”
“No, these are: wiretapped telephone conversations from Ukraine. To put it simply.”
Ukrainian secret service falsified wiretapped telephone conversations
Almost immediately after it became known that MH17 was shot down, the Ukrainian secret service SBU published some wiretapped telephone conversations that would prove the guilt of the rebels. Here is an analysis of the audio:
The so-called evidence proves something quite different: Ukraine does not hesitate to produce (poorly) falsified evidence.
The fact that the audio was forged is not being denied by anyone. Not even by the top of the Dutch investigation team. However, JIT countries have agreed information is only being made public if no member objects. What this non-disclosure agreement contains exactly is… confidential.
Various wiretapped telephone conversations were played during the JIT presentation. Since it is proven that the SBU forged wiretapped telephone conversations, I limit myself discussing only one tap [43min21s]:
Person 1: “Where is the vehicle now?”
Person 2: “The vehicle is already in Russia for a long time.”
The JIT indicates that the tapped conversation was recorded on July 18, 2014 at 07:44. The Buk, according to the JIT, was filmed in Lugansk the same morning at 04:50 and then still had to travel the entire route to the Russian border.
How is it possible that the “vehicle” at 07:44 was in Russia for a “long time” already?
JIT fails to fulfill its promise to appoint exact weapon
Head of Dutch Police Investigations Wilbert Paulissen:
“Based on the criminal investigation it can be concluded that the flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a missile from the 9M38-series.” [20min31s]
The 9M38-series consists of two types: 9M38 and 9M38M1. From the outside the two missiles are almost identical, but according to manufacturer Almaz Antey the warheads of the two missile types contain differently shaped particles. The warhead of the 9M38 contains square particles of two different sizes, while the missile type 9M38M1 contains square particles of two different sizes and butterfly-shaped particles.
JIT: “The warhead of 9M38 is composed of an explosive core with a sheath of preformed particles which are dispersed with great force during the explosion.” [23min35s]
Using the term “9M38” in combination with a warhead of missile type 9M38M1 is at least confusing.
The JIT also shows an explosion of a warhead with butterfly particles in an animation. A missile of 9M38M1 type. And thus, not the 9M38 type.
Why does the JIT say that flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a missile from the “9M38-series”, but does not specifically appoint 9M38M1 as the weapon?
Buk manufacturer Almaz Antey during tests has detonated a warhead 9N314M of a 9M38M1 missile near the cockpit of a disused Ilyushin-86 .
After the experiment the aluminum skin of the IL-86 (right) contains many butterfly-shaped entry holes. There are no butterfly-shaped holes found in the skin of MH17. How can this be explained?
Russia claims it has no longer 9M38 missiles in its arsenal. This type of missile is still used by Ukraine, according to the Russians.
Does the JIT use the term “9M38-series” to disguise MH17 has not been shot down by a missile of the 9M38M1 type?
Primary radar data absent, primary radar data present.
More than two years ago Russia claimed the primary radar data had been erased, but six days before the JIT presentation it was reported a copy was nevertheless preserved.
Paulissen: “Regarding the new primary radar images the Russian Federation spoke about last Monday, I can report that they are not yet in possession of our research team and that we were not able to see them yet.” [44min15s]
Ukraine claims it has no primary radar data, because all radars were either under maintainance or had been destroyed before July 17, 2014.
Dutch MP Omtzigt: “DSB report: Russians have deleted primary radar data
Ukraine had them switched off due to maintenance. (So no radar data of the missile)
Westerbeke: “There has been a lot of talk about radar images. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation provided radar data to the JIT.
Recently the JIT has, after intensive research, also traced a video file with relevant primary military radar data from the area. Recorded by a mobile radar in Ukraine. This radar was used at that time to test new software. Though this radar has a limited range, it did detect MH17 and completes the further completes the entire picture.” [14min16s]
Why Ukraine did not immediately make this primary radar information available to the JIT and why more than two years “intensive research” was needed?
Jeroen Akkermans rightfully states the Russians have wasted a lot of time and that the radar data “could obviously have been forged“.
Since we have already established Ukraine has produced falsified evidence, the uncritical attitude of the Dutch researchers and media towards that country is especially noteworthy.
Westerbeke: “The discussion about the radar images in our opinion can be closed. Today we want to emphasize that the material available to us is more than sufficient to draw conclusions in the criminal investigation. [14min55s]
This might be so as per Westerbeke’s opinion, but fact is the wrangling over the radar images is still ongoing after 1000 days. Point of discussion remains if the Russian radar data proves that no Buk was launched from the launch site designated by the JIT or the following applies:
“In this case the absence of evidence does not mean the evidence of absence” [46min06s]
No doubt about motive
Head of Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko:
“Terrorists and militants have planned a cynical terrorist attack on a civilian aircraft Aeroflot AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaka that was flying at that time above the territory of Ukraine.”
[source]According to Ukraine this false flag operation failed because the Russian crew drove to the wrong place Pervomaiske and accidentally did not shoot down the Aeroflot airliner, but MH17 instead. The shooting down of an Aeroflot airliner with Russian citizens on board would according to Ukraine be used as casus belli for an overt Russian invasion of Ukraine.
What was said during the JIT presentation about the motive?
Paulissen: “The research is still focused on this question, but I have started my story deliberately sketching the context in which the event took place. That context, as we have seen it and as I told you, was that there was heavy fighting and that men sought an answer to the many air strikes by the Ukrainian army. Thus, that is an indication in a particular direction. Whether it is so, the further research will have to clarify, but we are attending to this matter.” [1u08min39s]
Westerbeke “Our research is focused precisely on that question. Was it a mistake? Was it deliberate? Who was in charge there? Who gave the order? These are real follow-up questions, and that is exactly what we are going to look for further.” [1u10min26s]
? JIT member Ukraine announced in August 2014 it possesses hard evidence about culprits and motive, but the JIT reports in September 2016 it is still looking for the culprits and their possible motive ?
The (Dutch) researchers have had two years to verify and evaluate the hard evidence collected by Ukraine. The fact that during the press conference both Paulissen and Westerbeke stated the issue about the motive remains unsolved is a strong indication Ukraine also lies about the motive issue.
“We never said that Russians definitely shot them down, but they definitely provided the weapon for it.”
So what is the truth?
“You confuse the statements in the investigation report of Bellingcat with my personal opinion. Bellingcat is a group of individuals working together. It would be wrong to attribute statements made by one of them to Bellingcat. It is my personal opinion that it is plausible that the BUK installation was operated by the members of the 53th brigade. The Bellingcat reports do not go that far and leave the question open, so that people can draw their own conclusions on the evidence presented in the reports.” [source]
– an incorrect launch site was claimed
– at least one witness testimony was forged
The coverage of AD is based on information from detective buro Correct!v. The factual and demonstrable errors in the analysis of Correct!v have been investigated by Billy Six and myself and Marcel van den Berg discusses not less than eight errors.
Despite all the “overwhelming evidence” spread by (social) media about the involvement and guilt of Russia in the downing of MH17 Westerbeke says:
“We as Joint Investigation Team, on basis of the research, are not going further at the moment than to confirm that the Buk Telar was brought from Russia and that it was transported back. We did not go further in our conclusions and this means we do not comment on the involvement of the Russian Federation as a country or persons from the Russian Federation.” [55min27s]
Marcel van den Berg wrote two orderly posts on it:
This question keeps many people who rely on studying public information busy. What virtually everyone agrees on is the following: Ukraine should have closed its airspace.
Even DSB (Dutch Safety Board) is clear about it. If the responsible authorities claim to be aware of the presence of weapons in a conflict zone that can shoot down a civil aircraft at high altitude and still do not close the airspace, there is at least a matter of gross negligence.
Professor Giemulla has started proceedings at the ECHR against Ukraine on behalf of a number of German family members of the deceased based on this argument. Professor Giemulla describes The Netherlands as “a black hole“, because until now no Dutch family members have joined this lawsuit.
Paulissen of the JIT: “regarding the closure of airspace, we state that the JIT investigation is not focused on this. That was part of the DSB research. Conclusions have been drawn, so we do not focus on it within the criminal investigation”. [1u02min28s] Legal proceedings Ukraine vs Russia
Ukraine has filed a case against Russia at the International Court of Justice. MH17 is part of a complaint against Russia because of “aggressive” and “illegal annexation of Crimea”. According to Ukraine Russia has violated two international treaties by “financing of terrorism” and “racial discrimination”. The Court has not ruled on the case and experts do not know what the Court will finally decide. [April 19th 2017 – first order ICJ]
MH17 is a part of a geopolitical conflict
Main parties in this conflict are the United States and Russia. Netherlands (NATO) and Ukraine are in the US camp. Ukrainian rebels are in the Russian camp.
Opinions about the credibility of the JIT and especially the reliability of the input of the secret service of Ukraine are divided.
Based on public information (and thus not on the basis of information that the JIT claims to possess, but says it does not release due to tactical and strategic reasons), I am not convinced that a Buk coming from Russia shot down MH17. Who doubts the western narrative is being framed as a “useful idiot” and “Kremlin-troll”. So be it.
Back to the question: Which scenario can explain why all stakeholders frustrate and even sabotage getting the truth on the table? It is tempting to speculate on the basis of incomplete information and to fill in the missing pieces as “truth.” The last thousand days I was able to resist this temptation. I did however include a hypothesis of Colonel bd. Rudolph in Lying for Justice. According to Rudolph’s hypothesis, the Ukrainian air defense accidentally shot down MH17 during an exercise. Another hypothesis that also assumes it was an accident:
– Russian-backed rebels captured one or more operational Buks of the Ukrainian army.
– Nevertheless, Ukraine deliberatly did not close its air space.
– MH17 was accidentally shot down by rebels.
This scenario provides an explanation for the following motives:
– Russia does not want it becomes public knowledge MH17 was shot down by rebels backed by Moscow.
– Ukraine does not want to become public knowledge the murder weapon originated not from Russia, but from the arsenal of Kiev itself.
– Rebels obviously do not want to be identified as culprits.
– The Netherlands obediently follows the strategic interests of the United States and is committed to keep Ukraine out of the wind and make Russia look as bad as possible.
* Disclaimer: I still do not know what really happened *
JIT countries claim to know for sure the weapon came from Russia
It is nonsense to think that rebels could have organized a rent-a-buk without the highest authorities in Russia being informed about and having sanctioned it. If the actual murder weapon came from Russia, this claim will have to be substantiated. Eventually The Netherlands will have to initiate a lawsuit against Russia. If this is ever going to happen remains rather questionable.
Less unlikely is one day it will come to trial in which individual culprits with Russian nationality will be accused. (whether or not a trial in absentia).
“Which people were involved in the supply, command, protection, firing and discharging of the Buk Telar? [..] We now have a hundred people in the picture who can be in some way associated with the shooting down of flight MH17 or transporting the Buk. We have been able to determine the identity of these one hundred people.” [45min52s]
At the end of this article a reflection and prediction regarding the type of evidence that will be used in case of such litigation.
1) Tapped telephone conversations, videos and other materials that may have been forged by the SBU and of which the authenticity cannot be determined objectively.
2) Anonymous witnesses.
3) Evidence from classified US sources.
“What we have said is we have gotten access from the Americans to all relevant material they have available and that it contains a significant portion of state secrets. We were given access to the material through the MIVD and through a special officer of the district prosecutor’s office. In combination with that we have received a report from the US with conclusions based on that material. We can use that report in a criminal case, it is a part of the case and therefore constitutes evidence. Especially in combination with the possibility that the officer who has seen the underlying material can make a statement. It remains a state secret and is therefore not declassified, but we can now fully use it in the research. [1u3min50s]
[…] As far as the question about the state of confidential information is concerned, it will be some kind of a legal response, it is also a bit complicated… It can be used as evidence, but in an indirect way, the way it has been agreed on for now. Namely, through a statement that will be given by the national officer anti-terrorism. The latter can then declare in court. However, that does not mean that the underlying material becomes available for the court itself or for the legal defense of any suspects.” [1u15min47s]
Thus, the circle can be closed this way. The United States in the background determines what evidence will or will not be used and which material remains unverifiable for third parties, lawyers of the suspects and even for the judges.
It’s fantasy to think U.S. backing of anti-Assad forces will lead to peace
By William Layer – – Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Was “Tomahawking” Syria for an alleged gas attack justifiable retribution, misfeasance, malfeasance or just a mistake? Was it a warning to China and North Korea as some have advanced? (This is the same line of thinking that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was really aimed cautioning the Soviet Union.) Why would China, the “celestial kingdom,” powerful in her own right, pay attention; why would North Korea, in the hands of a madman, even care?
Given the vagaries of the Middle East, truth is the first and last casualty. The first accusation of a gas attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebel strongholds failed the smell test; it was more likely done by the regime’s enemies. In the latest iteration, is there conclusive evidence of culpability? Maybe I missed it. It’s more likely that Mr. Assad’s jets hit an ISIS chemical weapons dump, releasing the poison into the surrounding neighborhoods. So far, the allegations consist of words like “likely,” “leads to” and on and on in that vein. We are presented with suppositions and possibilities, but that is all.
Should we take Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ pronouncements at face value? Could he not be given misinformation? Could assertion of an Assad gas attack follow the formula of the Tonkin Gulf incident? Who profits from the gas attack? Certainly not Mr. Assad, who lived in London and knows full well the military power of the United States. Why would he, winning on the battlefield, use gas, which he knows would bring on the opprobrium of the West and a military attack? Who profits then? Why not ISIS and its friends who, by blaming Mr. Assad, might inspire American might to remove the great obstacle to their Dark Ages mentality?
Mr. Assad is an Alewite, a Shia faction heretical in the eyes of Sunni ISIS and, therefore, their enemy. As a Baathist, and therefore a modernizer, he is also antithetical to those Muslims who wish to resurrect a caliphate. The Baathist Party, which he represents, was founded by Michel Afliq, a Christian. It is a party that, in spite of its jumble of nationalism, Arabism and socialism, has seen itself as a bringing Arab society into the present, releasing it from the straitjacket of an Islam mired in the 12th century.
Compounding their offenses, the Assad family has protected Christians, whom the caliphate crowd see as infidels deserving of death. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, they have never passed up the opportunity to reinforce their hatred of Christianity or other Muslims. The press gives short shrift to the atrocities against Christians in the Middle East, and never reports on the efforts of Franciscan monks in Aleppo to relieve suffering caused by the civil war and the Muslim militias. In short, if Mr. Assad were to go, Alewites and Christians would be on the extermination list. With no alternative other than the death for him and his supporters and clients, Mr. Assad will hold on.
Knowledge of Syria by this administration and its predecessor is shallow at best. T.E. Lawrence wrote in his “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” that the Arab delights in chicanery. In hospitality, the Arabs can be extremely generous (as I experienced in Iraq), but was Lawrence right in saying that they were also “unstable as water” and that we delude “ourselves that perhaps peace might find the Arabs able to defend themselves with paper tools”?
The Syrian situation amply supplies examples of all. The Obama administration’s policy, enunciated by U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power as a “duty to protect” (i.e., U.S. intervention in the “Arab Spring”), was a dangerous absurdity in lands whose undercurrents are unfathomable to the Western mind. It led to nearly losing Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood and the unconstitutional attack on Libya, ensuring chaos and then the murder of Moammar Gadhafi, who was not a threat and who had kept a lid on the fanatical murderous rage of ISIS.
The history of the Middle East is one of bloodshed and oppression; this conflict is just another in an age-old saga. To think that by backing anti-Assad forces or removing him from power will lead to a flowering of democracy and peace is a fantasy. It would behoove this administration to examine the tumultuous French experience in Syria under the League of Nations mandate; we are not dealing with Anglo-Saxons. Unless the United States and the West is prepared to put troops on the ground, who would be first welcomed and then shot at, it is advisable to stay out and make them sort it out on their own.
• William Layer is a historian who covered Air Force presidential operations during the early years of the Reagan administration.
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
The popular quote above has at times been attributed to Henry Ford, though it’s most likely a paraphrase of his actual words authored by Congressman Charles G. Binderup in 1938. In any case, it points to the self-evident fact that our economic system is so vastly complex that there are multiple contradictory schools of thought on how it works and how best to approach it. It’s so vastly complex that the few people who understand it are able to manipulate it to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of the overwhelming majority of people who don’t. There are a lot of shadows in all that complexity for the mechanisms of deception and exploitation to hide, and that’s exactly what happens; people get ripped off by a system they don’t understand.
If something is complicated, ordinary people who don’t have years of their lives to dedicate to its study are forced to take the experts on that subject at their word. If a doctor tells you that you have a certain illness which requires a certain treatment, you take her at her word, because her expertise is why you sought her out in the first place. It’s a highly imbalanced power dynamic, which is why we have things like the Hippocratic Oath to make sure experts use the power they’re entrusted with responsibly.
One pernicious side-effect of the existence of such power dynamics, however, is that people can be tricked into assuming that they exist in places where they do not. And I see this happening with the situation in Syria.
Google the words “Syria” and “complicated” together and you’ll come up with millions of results, because the corporate media is fond of marrying those two terms in the audience’s mind when discussing Syrian affairs. They’re the experts; you cannot possibly hope to understand what’s happening in the nation that America’s neocon hobgoblins have been salivating over invading since at least 2001, so you need to rely on their expertise. The major plot hole in that story: those people have never taken anything like a Hippocratic Oath for their practice, and the situation in Syria is not actually too complicated for you to understand. Every day I speak to Americans who are under the mistaken impression that understanding the Syrian dilemma is a goal they can’t possibly hope to attain, so here are some basic facts that can give you enough of an understanding to see through the illusion of complexity they’re trying to lull you into:
1. Your government is lying to you and the media is helping them.
For decades Noam Chomsky has been writing about how the corporate media is used to manufacture the consent of the governed to a system which disadvantages them. America has a decidedly corporatist system of government, which means that due to institutionalized legal bribery in the form of campaign funding and corporate lobbying there is no boundary between America’s elected government and the billionaires who bribe them. In 2014 a Princeton University study found that the will of the people has functionally zero influence over what laws get passed in the United States, despite everyone having a vote and the ability to assemble and demonstrate, while the richest Americans have a great deal of influence over what legislation gets passed. This is how the rich have been able to design a system which advantages them and disadvantages everyone else.
Who would consent to this? No one; that’s why the corporate media is here to pull the wool over your eyes. Virtually all media in America is controlled by a mere five extremely powerful corporations, which, in a corporatist system of government, are inseparable from the government itself. Thus America has in effect (despite Constitutional protections designed to prevent this) a state-run media.
What does all this have to do with Syria? In September of last year, independent journalist Vanessa Beeley appeared on the Ron Paul Liberty Report in a segment titled “Why Everything You Hear About Aleppo Is Wrong,” ripping to shreds the corporate media’s narrative that Bashar al-Assad is using the Syrian military to attack non-combatants while moderate freedom fighters oppose him in a civil war. Unlike the corporate propagandists reporting on the situation from the safety of their Hollywood studios, Beeley actually went to Syria and looked around and asked questions. Her findings have been corroborated by everyone else who’s gone there in the spirit of investigation as opposed to propaganda, from Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett to Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Which takes us to our next point:
2. Your government has been fighting on the side of terrorist groups.
It’s been a known fact since 2013 that the moderate rebels who were fighting Assad had been overrun by terrorist groups and extremist jihadist factions, and by 2015 were essentially gone. When the corporate media talks about “rebels” in the Syrian “civil war”, they are talking about multinational terrorists groups committing widespread acts of terrorism.
It really is Assad vs. terrorists in Syria. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated. The only people trying to make it sound more complicated than this are the people who support the violent jihadist factions because they’re trying to depose Assad and take over the country, which would of course be disastrous for everyone, especially the millions of Christians that Assad’s secular government was protecting. Is Assad a great guy? Maybe not, but he is unquestionably better than ISIS and al-Qaeda. And the United States has been arming those terror organizations in Syria to fight against Assad.
3. Trump promised to stop helping the terrorists in Syria and fight them instead.
A lot of lefties don’t understand why so many of Trump’s supporters have been turning against him after the Syrian cruise missile strikes against a Syrian air base; there’s an assumption in liberal and progressive circles that all Trumpsters want war and bloodshed. Nothing could be further from the truth; much of Trump’s support came from people who are sick of America’s regime change interventions and wanted a Commander-in-Chief who’ll leave Assad alone and stop funding the terror groups trying to get rid of him. Trump has been saying since 2013 that America should stay out of Syria, while Clinton was advocating a no-fly zone that top military officials attest would have necessitated a war with both Syria and Russia. A lot of Trump’s support came from people who wanted to avoid more senseless war, and now here he is less than three months into his presidency committing an act of war upon the government that is fighting the terrorists in response to what was almost certainly a false flag.
Oops! Sorry, I got ahead of myself:
4. Your government has an extensive history of using false flags to manufacture consent for stupid wars.
From the Vietnam War to the Gulf War to the Iraq invasion, the corporatist power structures who run the US government have been deceiving the American people into consenting to military responses to non-existent threats. With Vietnam it was the fake Gulf of Tonkin incident. With the Gulf War it was the false Nayirah testimony which convinced Americans that Iraqi soldiers were killing hundreds of premature babies in a Kuwait hospital by removing them from their incubators. With the Iraq invasion it was the weapons of mass destruction lie and the deliberate psy-op by the corporate media to marry the ideas of “Saddam Hussein” and “9/11” in the minds of their viewers, which was so successful that six months after the invasion 70 percent of Americans still believed that Saddam was responsible for the September 11th attacks.
5. There is currently no reason to believe the chemical attack was not another false flag.
In 2013 the US and its international arm NATO accused Assad of gassing his own people, without ever investigating the fact that the al-Qaeda affiliate al Nusra was known to have such weapons and the UN’s Carla Del Ponte statingthat the terrorist opposition forces were most likely the culprit. Despite this massive reason to doubt this narrative, it is to this day being reported as fact that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in 2013, and that he did it again last week despite having no motive to do so and every motive not to.
These corporatist propagandists are telling you that, on the eve of scheduled peace talks, days after the Trump administration declared its intention to leave the Assad administration alone, while winning the war against the terrorist forces, Assad decided to commit geopolitical suicide by openly committing a war crime that he knew for a fact would turn all of NATO against him. This makes no sense, and, knowing what we know about the US deep state’s love of false flags, there is no reason to believe it happened until we are shown irrefutable, unquestionable proof that Assad really did the absurd and suicidal comic book supervillain evil deed the corporate propagandists are telling us he did. As of this writing, no such proof has been offered.
There are many, many other reasons to be intensely suspicious of the official narrative about last week’s gas attack in Idlib which you should definitely research if you’re curious, but to keep things nice and simple here I’m just going stick to the fact that we know the US government uses false flags to manufacture consent for war, that it makes no sense for Assad to commit such an atrocity at this time, and that we’ve been shown no reason to believe the official narrative. If you still swallow the official story despite those three facts, you are stupid. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated.
6. The US power establishment stands a lot to gain by installing a puppet regime in Syria.
In my mind-blowing conversation with Vanessa Beeley the other day, I learned that there is no American criticism of Assad to be found anywhere online prior to 2009. Seriously. Google it right now and try to prove me wrong. Not only will you not find anything remotely resembling the vitriolic demonization you see about him today, you will find that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair actually nominated him for knighthood. It was not until Assad began advancing resource policies benefitting its allies Iran and Russia that this demonization began.
In addition to Syria’s important strategic location in the oil and gas resource battle that the US has been largely dominating via its military and economic might, Syria’s border dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights means that Israel has every reason to want to keep Syria in check, not only because the Golan Heights contains oil but because it provides a third of Israel’s water supply. Assad also launched what he called his “Five Seas Vision” in 2004, a strategy to use Syria’s supreme geographic location to become an economic superpower. Needless to say, such a plan wouldn’t sit well with the current king of economic power, the United States, which can only maintain its hegemony by keeping other nations down.
And of course, Russia’s involvement in the region makes Syria a prime location for a proxy war with the Putin government, which has been far more disobedient than a nice, compliant Yeltsin-type administration would be if America can force a regime change in that nation as well.
7. Syria is a sovereign nation. It is none of your government’s business.
Lastly, and with all due respect, please mind your own goddamn business, America. It is none of your business which proposed pipeline the Syrian government prefers. It is none of your business what alliances the Syrian government makes. It is none of your business if Syria’s leader is a dictator or a saint. You do not get to decide what a sovereign nation does with itself. That is not your place.
So don’t let the talking heads on TV dupe you into thinking that “doing nothing about Assad” is some sort of strange suggestion. Tom Ritchford said it best when describing US foreign policy:
Imagine you have a friend who makes a habit of announcing that people are sick, and then performing surgery on them.
While your friend does have the world’s largest collection of surgical tools, it uniformly works out badly for his patients. Always the surgery turns out worse than the disease, and much of the time it turns out that the patient wasn’t even sick to start with — because your friend has no interest in doing diagnoses or really any form of medicine except surgery.
Now your friend has announced that someone else is sick, and a few minutes later has them strapped to the operating table and is preparing the knives. But when you justifiably express dismay, you are accused of wanting to “sit back and do nothing”.
It doesn’t work that way, America. You don’t get to decide who is sick and who needs surgery. That is not your place. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated.
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Donald Trump‘s decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie.
In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:
The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. [prior to the Chemical Weapons attack] There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.
The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib and that the Russians believed it was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.
The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.
There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.
We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you. How do I know? I went through “Live Agent” training at Fort McClellan in Alabama.
There are members of the U.S. military who were aware that this strike would occur and it was recorded. There is a film record. At least the Defense Intelligence Agency knows that this was not a chemical weapon attack. In fact, Syrian military chemical weapons were destroyed with the help of Russia.
This is Gulf of Tonkin 2. How ironic. Donald Trump correctly castigated George W. Bush for launching an unprovoked, unjustified attack on Iraq in 2003. Now we have President Donald Trump doing the same damn thing. Worse in fact. Because the intelligence community had information showing that there was no chemical weapon launched by the Syrian Air Force.
Here’s the good news. The Russians and Syrians were informed, or at least were aware, that the [cruise missile] attack was coming. They were able to remove a large number of their assets. The base the United States hit was something of a backwater. Donald Trump gets to pretend that he is a tough guy. He is not. He is a fool.
This attack was violation of international law. Donald Trump authorized an unjustified attack on a sovereign country. What is even more disturbing is that people like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and NSA Director General McMaster went along with this charade. Front line troops know the truth. These facts will eventually come out. Donald Trump will most likely not finish his term as President. He will be impeached, I believe, once Congress is presented with irrefutable proof that he ignored and rejected intelligence that did not support the myth that Syria attacked with chemical weapons.
It should also alarm American taxpayers that we launched $100 million dollars of missiles to blow up sand and camel sh**t. The Russians were aware that a strike was coming. I’m hoping that they and the Syrians withdrew their forces and aircraft from the base. Whatever hope I had that Donald Trump would be a new kind of President, that hope is extinguished. He is a child and a moron. He committed an act of war without justification. But the fault is not his alone. Those who sit atop the NSC, the DOD, the CIA, the Department of State should have resigned in protest. They did not. They are complicit in a war crime.
Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam.
John McCain made a “secret” Syria visit on May 27, 2013. The Ghouta, Syria false flag attack took place on 21 August 2013. Senator John McCain made a secret trip to a Kurdish-held region in northern Syria the week of February 20th, 2017, to speak with US military officials, rebel fighters, and leaders in the region. McCain […]