No more manipulation by Politico Magazine
…by Jonas E. Alexis
[ Editor’s Note: We had given our excellent research writer, Jonas Alexis, the task of penning our final word on the Politico hit piece. The story bombed – its high point was being picked up by Newsweek’s Facebook page, but only the part about the military social networks being mined for open-source Intel. VT was not even mentioned.
Even this social network focus was not really a revelation, as everybody who has the software engineers to do so has been profiling and databasing people active on social networks for years. The Trump campaign just got some bad publicity for a security breach that allowed even non-hackers to find the data profiles on large numbers of the 200 million persons that Trump contractors had profiled and squirreled away, or so they thought.
But as I had thanked Mr. Ben Schlockinger by email for the free publicity in advance of the story, I had never expected it would trigger Russia Today rediscovering VT. I had only done one CrossFire show three years ago, and I don’t think Gordon has done more than a couple of interviews per year with them – hardly the profile of a Russian propaganda tool.
So life goes on, with Politico Magazine going into the folder of publications, groups and people from all points of the political and ideological compass that have taken a shot at VT… that bounced off. We consider them all references. As an anonymous man once said, “You can often learn more about the quality of a man from his enemies, than his friends”… Jim W. Dean ]
We certainly have lost something in the moral, political, and intellectual culture. We have lost moral integrity, intellectual honesty, and true journalism and reporting. Lucian (125-180 AD), a Greek satirist and rhetorician, wrote that if a person is going to write about historical events and descriptions, he must sacrifice to truth alone and nothing else.
This person must be “fearless, frank, a friend of free speech and the truth, determined, as the poet puts it, to call figs figs and a tub a tub, indulging neither hatred nor friendship, sparing nobody, not showing pity or shame or diffidence, an unbiased judge, kindly to everyone up to the point of not allowing one side more than it deserves…”
Truth and facts, as John Adams put it, “are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” What if a person is not interested in truth and facts?
Well, ideology will almost certainly be his guide. This person will never submit his will to the moral and political order, since ideology distorts and perverts truth. This brings us to Politico Magazine, which has recently put out an article summoning spurious charges against VT.
We are told that VT is “a fringe American news site…” The simple question would be: Why would anyone spend his time writing a lengthy article on a fringe group which presumably has no significance? Could it be that people are actually sick and tired of being manipulated by the media and marionettes who largely are looking for a career? A look at VT’s board and visible staff page would dispel any notion of “fringe” to an unbiased person.
Leaving that aside, let us delve into some of the serious fallacies and incoherent arguments. Politico Magazine obviously believes that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. The evidence? Well, it’s just a statement of fact! No evidence is needed because the United States and the “intelligence community” say so.
One must honestly say that writers at Politico Magazine are either gullible or lying. Or maybe they are trying to pay the bills, therefore they have to posit one incoherent statement after another. Politico Magazine must know that the United States used the same tactics to invade countries like Iraq.
The Neocons, Israel, and the Bush administration kept propounding that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction when they knew for a fact that they were deceiving the American people. The scholarly studies on this issue are just overwhelming.
Politico Magazine needs to be up to speed on this issue precisely because people are waking up. And no journalist with an ounce of common sense will take US officials seriously when they said that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people without an iota of serious evidence. It seems that Politico Magazine has learned virtually nothing over the past ten years or so.
As several experts have already pointed out, what does Assad have to gain? Didn’t he know that using chemical weapons would literally weaken his position in the region? And why would he do so when he was winning the war by a landslide? You see, in order for Politico Magazine to make a point, they have to exclude the fact that the so-called Syrian rebels, as noted journalist Seymour Hersh has made clear, have used chemical weapons.
Moreover, the UN accused the rebels of using chemical weapons, but the United States and agents of the current regime in the United States do not want to discuss things like that because that would ruin the covert operation in Syria.
Furthermore, can Politico Magazine tell us why the United States is supporting the rebels in the first place? We all know by now that these so-called rebels and al-Qaeda or ISIS are basically two sides of the same coin. Even the New York Times had an article back in 2012 entitled: “Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in [Syrian] War.” It stated in part:
“The lone Syrian rebel group with an explicit stamp of approval from Al Qaeda has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces, posing a stark challenge to the United States and other countries that want to support the rebels but not Islamic extremists. Money flows to the group, the Nusra Front, from like-minded donors abroad… The group is a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi officials and former Iraqi insurgents say, which has contributed veteran fighters and weapons.”
Can anyone with an ounce of common sense seriously say that we are fighting terrorism while we are supporting terrorism? And should American taxpayers support this covert activity? Moreover, why doesn’t Politico Magazine challenge Israeli officials for admitting that they have supported al-Nusra in Syria? Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren declared back in 2013:
“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”
In a similar vein, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that Israel would prefer ISIS to Iran on their borders. ISIS is currently fighting the Syrian government. The Daily Mail itself has reported that Israel has supported ISIS on their borders, largely because the terrorist group is trying to overthrow the Assad government. Tulsi Gabbard, who is currently the United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, declared:
“The CIA has long been supporting a group called Fursan al Haqq, providing them with salaries, weapons and support, including surface to air missiles. This group is cooperating with and fighting alongside an al-Qaeda affiliated group trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
The Levant Front is another so-called moderate umbrella group of Syrian opposition fighters. Over the past year, the United States has been working with Turkey to give this group intelligence support and other forms of military assistance. This group has joined forces with al-Qaeda’s offshoot group in Syria.”
This is the same CIA which perpetuated the lie that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. And this is the kind of “intelligence experts” that Politico Magazine is relying upon.
There is more to this issue as well. The United States claims that they are spreading democracy in the Middle East. If that is so, then we are confronted with a serious problem. The Guardian admitted back in 2014 that Assad won the election by “88.7%.” If that is the case, on what ground should the United States overthrow a democratically elected official? Who gave them that right? Is that part of democracy?
[ Editor’s note: When I was in Syria as an election monitor, the US and Canada group met with the election commission the Monday before the election. One of the things they had done to defend against the expected charges of election rigging was to have both opposition parties’ people in all of the 5000 polling stations to have “eyes on” the ballot boxes 24-hrs a day until they were all counted. The opposition parties logged no claims of vote rigging.
As we monitors went around to polling stations to interview random people, what we found was a coming together for their having survived the onslaught to date, in that Assad and the Army were considered one entity that the people were giving a landslide to, as their thanks for not being delivered to the jihadi head choppers. It did not take a genius to see this… JD ]
Politico Magazine takes issues with a VT article for saying that Turkey was involved in bringing in Sarin gas to Syria. But the magazine must know that similar issues have been raised by other outlets such as Spiegel and the Times of Israel. Turkey was actually sleeping with ISIS last year.
Politico Magazine declares:
“In recent years, intelligence experts say, Russia has dramatically increased its ‘active measures’ — a form of political warfare that includes disinformation, propaganda and compromising leaders with bribes and blackmail — against the United States.”
The evidence? Well, it’s “intelligence experts,” stupid! You just can’t question that because whatever they say must be true by definition. The simple fact is that no serious writer or US official has ever fleshed out serious evidence coherently documenting that Russia has deliberately been spreading disinformation and propaganda in the United States. In fact, Russia has reached out to the United States numerous times, particularly with respect to fighting ISIS. Russia also reached out to the US after the 9/11 attack.
The real issue is that Putin does not like the fact that America has been spreading perpetual wars throughout the Middle East. He has said repeatedly that perpetual wars do not and cannot bring peace to the Middle East and that United States officials cannot continue to overthrow governments that they do not like. As we have repeatedly argued in the past, just the war in Iraq will inexorably cost taxpayers at least six trillion dollars. Can we really afford more wars in the Middle East?
Politico Magazine declares:
“The same Russian military hacking group that breached the Democratic National Committee, ‘Fancy Bear,’ was also responsible for publicly posting stolen Army data online while posing as supporters of the Islamic State in 2015, according to the findings of one cybersecurity firm.”
Politico Magazine doesn’t seem to know anything about hacking at all, otherwise they would not have published this statement. Furthermore, why can’t they provide the evidence for all the world to see?
Politico Magazine says that Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, but even USA Today reported that 97% of Crimeans voted for Russia! To say that Russia invaded Crimea is tantamount of saying that the United States invaded California.
But let us grant Politico Magazine the incoherent and fallacious premise that Russia is trying to meddle in U.S. affairs. So what? Should that be really news to US officials and commanders? Didn’t the United States overthrow a democratically elected official in Iran way back in 1953? Hasn’t the United States been involved in black operations virtually all over the world and in the name of “democracy” and “freedom”? Don’t writers at Politico Magazine remember the Phoenix Program? We challenge these writers to pick up a copy of Mainstream Torture (published by Oxford University Press), written by eminent scholar Rebecca Gordon.
Gordon has meticulously documented that the CIA and other covert organizations in the United States have been involved in torture, mass killings of innocent people, and even rape since they established the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. And this has been their modus operandi in other countries like Greece, Uruguay, Cile, El Salvador, Indonesia, etc.
Between 1968 and 1971, the Phoenix Program was responsible for torturing and killing more than twenty thousand people, many of whom had nothing to do with terrorism. These were not isolated cases. The CIA conducted these essentially diabolical operations “on several continents.” Has the United States stopped this pernicious practice? Of course not. We have seen almost the same thing and even sodomy in places like Abu Ghraib.
Politico Magazine declares:
“A State Department expert in Russian influence campaigns who was not authorized to speak on the record said he had taken note of Veterans Today’s partnership with New Eastern Outlook and that Southfront appears to be a Russian front that deliberately obscures its origins.”
A State Department expert? Again, I thought VT was just a fringe group? Why would a State Department official be concerned about an independent entity which to them has no political platform? Why are they living in constant fear? Could it be that VT has been alarming much of America and several parts of the world that the United States is actually lying about perpetual wars in the Middle East?
There is more to discuss, but we have said enough. Politico Magazine needs to explain these issues in a rational and logical fashion. Until then, we are within our right to say that the magazine represents the oligarchs, the elite, the warmongers, the Neoconservatives, the Deep States, and finally the Israeli regime.
 Lucian, Selected Dialogues (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 96, 197, 201.
 Ben Schreckinger, “How Russia Targets the U.S. Military,” Politico, June 12, 2017.
 Paul R. Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (New York: Columbia University Pres, 2011); Michael MacDonald, Overreach: Delusions of Regime Change in Iraq (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014); John M. Schuessler, Deceit on the Road to War: Presidents, Politics, and American Democracy (New York: Cornell University Press, 2015); John J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014); Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Murray Friedman, The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar & Straus, 2007); Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack: The Definitive Account of the Decision to Invade Iraq (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004); Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (New York: Random House, 2006).
 Seymour M. Hersh, “Whose Sarin?,” London Review of Books, December 19, 2013; “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, April 17, 2014.
 “UN accuses Syrian rebels of chemical weapons use,” Telegraph, May 6, 2013; “Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official,” Washington Times, May 16, 2013.
 See for example Mona Alami, “Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda,” USA Today, June 14, 2013; Ruth Sherlock, “Syrian rebels armed and trained by US surrender to al-Qaeda,” Telegraph, November 2, 2014; Liz Sly, “U.S.-backed Syria rebels routed by fighters linked to al-Qaeda,” Washington Post, November 2, 2014.
 Tim Arango, Anne Barnard, and Hwaida Saad, “Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War,” NY Times, December 8, 2012.
 Herb Keinon, “Israel wanted Assad gone since start of Syria civil war,” Jerusalem Post, September 17, 203.
 Jack Moore, “Israeli defense minister: I prefer ISIS to Iran on our borders,” Newsweek, January 20, 2016.
 “Bashar al-Assad wins re-election in Syria as uprising against him rages on,” Guardian, June 4, 2014.
 Daniel Steinvorth, “Turkey Accused of Using Chemical Weapons against PKK,” Spiegel, August 12, 2010; “Syria: Chemical weapons used by rebels came from Turkey,” Times of Israel, April 27, 2013.
 David L. Phillips, “Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey Links,” Huffington Post, November 9, 2014.
 See for example Michael R. Gordon, “Russia Surprises U.S. With Accord on Battling ISIS,” NY Times, September 27, 2015.
 For studies on this, see Trita Parsi, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007); A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012); for similar studies see Stephen F. Cohen, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).
 Ernesto Londono, “Study: Iraq, Afghan war costs to top $4 trillion,” Washington Post, March 28, 2013; Bob Dreyfuss, The $6 Trillion Wars,” The Nation, March 29, 2013; “Iraq War Cost U.S. More Than $2 Trillion, Could Grow to $6 Trillion, Says Watson Institute Study,” Huffington Post, May 14, 2013; Mark Thompson, “The $5 Trillion War on Terror,” Time, June 29, 2011; “Iraq war cost: $6 trillion. What else could have been done?,” LA Times, March 18, 2013.
 Charles McPhedran and Anna Arutunyan, “Crimea votes to join Russia; Ukrainians prepare for war,” USA Today, March 17, 2014; Kim Hjelmgaard, “Crimeans back Russian takeover: If they try to take it back, ‘I will fight,’” USA Today, January 5, 2017.
 See Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003 and 2008); Ervand Abrahamian, The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations (New York: The New Press, 2015); Christopher de Bellaigue, Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup (New York: Harper Perennial, 2012).
 See Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (New York: Times Books, 2006).
 Rebecca Gordon, Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 1-2.
 Ibid., 2.