VT Leads American Delegation to Syria

Counterterrorism Conference - Harris, Dean Duff, Hanke, William Stanley and Dr. Bassam Barakat of Syria
Harris, Dean Duff, Hanke, William Stanley and Dr. Bassam Barakat of Syria
Harris, Dean, Duff, Hanke, William Stanley and Dr. Bassam Barakat of Syria

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor


In consultation with our editorial board and like minded individuals within the military and intelligence community, select VT board members traveled to Damascus last week.  Included were me, always looking for a free meal and chance to get shot or beheaded, Colonel Jim Hanke, Jim Dean and Mike Harris.  In Beirut, we met with Franklin Lamb and drove in through Bekaa.

The conference findings haven’t been finalized yet.  VT took, perhaps, the strongest role at the conference.  I met Syrian and Lebanese tribal/military leaders there and made some good friends.

VT Financial Editor, Mike Harris in Lebanon
VT Financial Editor, Mike Harris in Lebanon

At least 3 times during the conference people came to me and reported that someone had told “Syrian authorities” that we were American spies.  I did point out that I carry a business card that says “Yankee Dog/American Spy” on it, thus making their revelations less than secret.  Syria is beset with war profiteers and human leeches.

We are going to be discussing more of what went on here, endless hours of private meetings, tours of court system, private reviews of ISIS related evidence and, as is expected, we turned up a bad apple or two.  What this was about is the Syrian people, some forgot that, we didn’t.  Damascus is not a city prepared to lose a war.  Were it easier to visit without help, it would be a great tourist spot.

Ballbek in Bekaa (photo g.duff)
Ballbek in Bekaa (photo g.duff)

Jim Dean and Mike Harris did dozens of interviews and, as usual, hogged up the media.  Closing keynotes were me with Jim Hanke, a video I strongly recommend Jim Dean gets edited and published.  It will be worth the watch.

Attempts were made to limit our involvement, but not on the part of Syrian authorities.  Dr. Bassam Barakat and Minister of Justice,  Najm al-Ahmad were extremely helpful along with being excellent organizers and hosts.  VT delivered a powerful and direct message that was in no way moderated by political concerns.

Jim Dean at the Controls, Damascus, Syria
Jim Dean at the Controls, Damascus, Syria

This was very different than Tehran conferences.  There were few activist types and what I believe to be a good result.  In retrospect, Kevin Barrett should have been there to discuss religious affairs, something that should be corrected.  Frankly, I knew someone would try to “get” the VT team there and Kevin may actually be too valuable, plus people actually like him.

We will be writing more, some fun, some serious.  We have incredible photos of Ballbeck, where we spent a day.  Our Syrian hosts didn’t allow us to see any of the facilities outside Damascus, citing security concerns.

vt syria_004

We are going to cover the meetings over the next two weeks, there was enough going on there.  Some of it was unpleasant.  The real stars were the Syrian people, an absolute joy.  It took the Syrian government a few days to realize who we are and, in the end, tried to pressure us to stay on past what our schedules would allow.

We left with endless information, much of it gotten in meetings with those others seldom talk to.  There will be a curious back story that shouldn’t dominate.  As with every war, drugs and human trafficking are there.  That story is disheartening but corruption is always expected and few people are ever what they seem.

Jim Dean, William Stanley and Ralph Edmundson at Syrian immigration
Jim Dean, William Stanley and Ralph Edmundson at Syrian immigration

The goal here would be for VT to communicate to our constituency, one capable of altering history from time to time, what we learned and how we can move forward.  The Syrian government is more than aware now who we are and what we can do.  At no time did VT “bend over” for anyone, including our hosts.

Those who know me well also know I have no difficulty confronting government ministers in their own countries if it is the right thing to do.

Syria gave us broad access and though we were followed and watched continually, in general we found Syria a very free society, Damascus a very open city, even a “party town.”  I left the meeting confident that Syria is a very good choice as a wartime ally to the United States.

One of the biggest areas to discuss as we move on are the crippling sanctions the US has imposed on Syria.  These are insane, particularly during a war where the Syrian people, the Syrian Army and militias are fighting a fight that, as is so rarely the case anymore, the US has a real security stake in.

While we were there, the Israeli papers attacked me and Jim Dean.  That alone should have made people suspicious as it made clear who had gravitas and who did not.  In reality, little at the conference was about Israel.  Where they are involved, we have strong proof but wider examination puts much more focus on Turkey.

Jim Dean in a "cameraphone shootout" in Damascus
Jim Dean in a “cameraphone shootout” in Damascus

I think Israel is making a mistake in its role with Erdogan.  In the real world I prefer dialog to name calling.  Hanke, who was attache to Israel, pointed out the potential.  A nation could have a worse neighbor than Syria.  They are quite well structured and much more moderate than most are aware.  Syria appears to be at least as free as any EU nation and I did put that to the test on more than one occasion.

vt syria_012

You can certainly say anything and everyone does.  No one is tied to a “party line” and there is very little religious proselytizing.  Here at VT, we drown in intelligence, much more than any national government ever sees or any national leader is allowed to see.  I probably have more and certainly better intelligence briefers than any head of state.

We will be reporting more, about a world war, not a civil war.  As usual, we stand with all of like mind, Israeli, US, Syrian, Russian, British, French, Iranian, the list most know quite well.  more…


  1. VT people: Reason and sanity of your mission could be the beginning of a new American diplomacy. Certainly, it may take some time and abjuring of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) but a long road begins with the first step. Americans are in dire need of truth regarding US Gvmt. actions in connivance with Israel, insofar a despotic and painful acquaintance in which asymmetry highlights an ever growing unchecked jewish power as bloody harvest of Americans unemployment, outsourcing, foreclosure, never ending wars, veteran disabilities, PTSD, Antichristianity, homosexuality, addictions and family disarray, just to name a few. As Jesus said by the fruits you’ll know the tree.

  2.  Welcome Home Safe & Sound, Our Distinguished USA Representatives!
     You have done more in a few days, than the majority of the 535 Israel Firsters-idiots in Congress.

    BTW, very attractive website THANKS!

  3. Thanks also for the very informative interview with Mike Harris by Kerry Cassidy on Project Camelot’s website re the trip to Syria by the VT delegation. Besides his clear perspective on the dark side of the politics of terrorism, Mike has a heart-felt compassion for the suffering of the people of Syria that the MSM fails to convey. He also stresses that we Americans must wake up & take back our country from the criminal element that continues to wreck havoc not only in the US, but also around the world…

  4. Gordon, just wondering if you could share opinions on / Mimi Al-La ham aka ‘SyrianPartisanGirl ‘ ? Lately I have seen some websites say her name is
    Maram Susli


  5. Dear VT Team…
    many thanks for going …. and many thanks for reporting. Please keep posting your information and insights…

    I have been in the country in the 90s, when the older Assad still was in charge, and it was a pleasant trip even than.

    At that time I used a car to drive from Damascus to Aleppo and after meetings onwards to the border station between Aleppo and Adana, where I was picked up by Turkish colleagues.

    Perfect trip, superb hospitality and only good memories. I wish the west would leaves those people in peace…

  6. What a magnificent and at the same time dangerous trip.
    Your picture Dean at the control very suave.
    What will the future hold for Syria and when will all these refugees be able to return to their homeland.
    Can’t say their homes since most likely all they will find is rubbles.
    What’s the deal on Erdogan he keeps on switching sides.

  7. Thanks to each of you fine gentlemen “warriors” for your courage & fortitude to get to the heart of the matter in Syria. Your diligent efforts are so very much appreciated, & that is why so many of us trust & respect each of you…Might Mike Harris make it in a Hollywood casting one day? 🙂

  8. If you happen, by some weird chance, to travel to Israel, you could interview members of ISIS and Nusra front where they’re being treated in Israeli hospitals. But then, who in their right mind would want to go to Israel? Keep up the good work guys and stay safe.

  9. When I popped into this site I had to make sure it wasn’t a copy cat site with intentions to mislead or otherwise confuse the facts. That was a joke. A fake conspiracy news agency trying to take over a real one. Never mind.

    I like the changes and I’m glad the team made it back in one piece, or how ever many pieces their were before you left.

  10. I just watched video- very interesting.
    To try to answer a question raised in your car while you all were traveling to Damascus, was Paul traveling from Jerusalem after the Christ was crucified?. Was Paul Pharisee?

    • Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, according the Book of Acts. This was years after the Ascension, and Pentecost. He was a Pharisee, and his job was to round up followers/believers of the Gospel for execution. Usually via stoning. (i.e. Stephen) He had both Jewish (mother) and Roman (father) citizenship. Some scholars claim that his father was a Roman senator, and he may have had an older brother, who was also a senator.

  11. Great quality pictures.
    You all look very good and dressing well, clean, and decent earns the respect of those you visited.
    It gets a bit cool weather wise in the mideast this time of year- a relief from the heat. I guess you all brought coats or heavy jackets?
    I have put together all that you supplied in articles as to why we bombed Syria and did all those other things. I hope someone on VT staff or elsewhere can write a great summary article. I don’t care if it is 2 pages or 20. I will make copies and distribute them. I might even consider sending one to an active duty general. Anyway, your trip surprised me.
    I hope someone can do that summary. People are starting to listen to me and believe me about motives for attacking Syria several years ago. I always am looking for truth just like most readers here.

  12. “Damascus a very open city, even a “party town.” I left the meeting confident that Syria is a very good choice as a wartime ally to the United States.”This is excellent news, I myself would hope to one day see Damascus. It is an ancient and mysterious city that has to beguile any serious student of history or theology; whereas I wouldn’t be caught dead in the overhyped Jerusalem. Fighting should not be permitted in Damascus, just like it should have never been permitted in Baghdad. Nobody ever damaged Paris or Rome in all Europe’s brutal conflicts. If ISIS was really interested in preserving Islam’s noble and storied culture they would settle their differences in Israel where nothing of historical significance can be damaged and no innocent people will get hurt…

    Great picture of Mr. Duff at the top, definitely looks like the tough guy of the crew and Mr. Dean is looking svelte in that shot at the control panel. You can bet those pictures will never be published in Haaretz, guys will be making Netanyahu look even more like a 300 pound sack of Idaho potatoes than he already does.

  13. Congratulations with terrifically good looking site … sounds like a very good trip looking forward to read more.

  14. Fantastic work boys. The REAL American delegation doing some research and diplomacy in Syria – instead of the phoney American ‘government’ that is slowly going insane in Washington DC. In a historical context I suppose that Nero also played his fiddle as Rome burned around him.

    Jim – regarding your comment above – I am sure that I must be equally unfashionable. I was once reliably informed that I become rather trendy about once every twenty years – entirely by accident – when I get some old kit out of the loft to wear in the garden.

    • Excalibur, being “unfashionable” has its merits, as, from my point of view, the measure of a man’s character always trumps “trendy”. Hats off to both you & Jim Dean!!!

  15. Thanks for the briefing Uncle Duff!!
    Was wondering how y’all were doing there.

    There are eight Americans, right?
    Four are Veterans today, now who are
    the other four?


    • Author Ralph Edmundson was with us but not an attendee. Those in the photo are the delegates. I headed the US delegation.

      One guy claiming to be a former congressman from South Carolina flew in with the Belgian delegation.

      He didn’t take part but did considerable schmoozling. Rand Paul had agreed to come but didn’t show up, surprise, surprise.

  16. Well done. Thanks. Although it all sounds quite mysterious. What world needs now is education – about how pathological minority, stemming from zionist-talmudist-babylonian “Elders” has managed to terrorize the rest of the world. Syria needs this, Israel needs too.

  17. lord, I am having difficulty navigating on your new site. Its always a test for the “older”. Noticed theobold comments , if we are in this nice little Matirx , what is the point of us all wandering around, doing things we think make a difference, when in fact until the “walls” come down all we will get is the same. though I am glad you all made it home safe.

    • Also being an “older”, whenever I encounter a newly revamped favorite website, my 1st reaction is always a groan – I’m not big on change and definitely have a ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’ mindset – really missing the succession of articles from newest to older that the old 15 count provided. The overall look is really sharp and impactful although my affinity for the American flag has fallen off a cliff – I never display the flag anymore as it no longer represents truth, justice, compassion, charity, or any of the traits I used to associate w/ “the American way”. In fact, I would say VT’s trip to Syria was to counter “the American way” as it really is > war/genocide/destruction/contamination/oppression. I may no longer be proud of the flag but I’m very proud of all of you and what you are doing – so sorely needed and though a seemingly small move may ultimately prove to bring about big results. And yes, you all look exceedingly dapper – a fine bunch of yankee doodle dandies!

      Great going & keep making waves!

  18. Great to see you gentlemen in Syria.
    We all know you,ll speak the truth about what,s happening.
    Be careful as Satan,s not too far distant.

  19. Gordon,

    I like your new site, excellent. As you probably know, I read everything, listen to everything, always.

    I was just trying to listen to the last 2 radio broadcasts on VT Radio. each ran for only a few minutes and then the player stopped working. I listen to the Archives because I can always listen live.

    Just a heads up that there may be a problem.

    Thanks to every one there, trying to make this a better planet to live on.

  20. VT respect. Even being there breaks a small link of the chains of media sanctions on Syria. Nothing beats the insanity though of US politics merging with ISIL, and as bishop Nazzaro of Aleppo has revealed numerous times that ISIL fight only along the forecasted Qatari pipeline.

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