Wednesday, June 26, 2013

By Finian Cunningham
June 25, 2013 Information Clearing House - 

What the disclosures of former CIA contractor Edward Snowden show perhaps above all else is just how petrified the leaders of the United States have become - of ordinary citizens both in the US and around the world. 

When we say “leaders” we mean the ruling elite - the top one percent of the financial-corporate-military-industrial complex and its bought- and paid-for politicians. 

The international manhunt by the US authorities for Snowden, which has accelerated with his flight to Moscow to evade extradition from Hong Kong, is indicative of the desperation in Washington’s elitist establishment to quash him and what he is revealing about their despotic rule.  Today, the US has evolved into a dystopia, not a democracy, where obscene wealth and privilege stand in the face of massive poverty and misery. 

One indicator of this abysmal inequality is the fact that the 400 richest Americans have more material wealth than 155 million of their fellow citizens combined. 

Another datum: some 50 million Americans - a sixth of the population - are surviving on food handouts. Unemployment, homelessness, suicide rates, prescription drug addiction, rampant gun crime all speak in different ways of social meltdown.

American society is collapsing from the sheer weight of its decrepit capitalist economy. The social system is unsustainable. It is like a distended rotten sack that is coming apart at the seams from inexorable burgeoning pressure. 

This is not unique to the US. All around the world, people are rebelling against the inequity of crony capitalism - there is only one form of capitalism - from Europe to the Arab Middle East, from Turkey to Brazil.

But the US is a phenomenal case in point of collapsing capitalist society. It’s hard to believe that not so long ago, within living memory; the US was regarded as the economic paradigm of the world. Now it more and more resembles a giant sprawling ghetto of unremitting poverty that is interspersed with a few gated rich communities, the latter populated by the top one percent of society.

This is the historical context for fully understanding the significance of gargantuan state surveillance by the elite against the citizenry, as revealed by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The American ruling class, as with their elite counterparts around the world, are figuratively sitting within their privileged niches and petrified by the mounting discontent “outside”. 

Through their criminal ransacking and rigging of wealth, the powers-that-be have through their own insatiable greed created a powerful potential enemy -virtually the entire population, both in the US and around the world.

In this highly unstable situation of elites and masses that bankrupt capitalism has furnished, “democracy” can no longer be tolerated by the rulers. That is why the rulers have embarked on massive information gathering, monitoring, spying and surveillance. It is all about maintaining “control” of a precarious and explosive disequilibrium.

One basic duty of any state is to protect its citizens from foreign enemies. Enemies are conventionally understood to be state militaries or non-state terrorist groups. But from Snowden’s revelations of US government surveillance of telecommunications, the vast bulk of America’s spying is on civilians. The phone calls, emails, cyber chats and photos of billions of people all around the world are vacuumed up and stored for analysis. Snowden disclosed in one instance how Chinese hospitals and universities - not military installations - were among the many international civilian targets for American government snooping.

US national security officials defend this global dragnet method as a necessary way to trawl for terrorists. Last week, the chief of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander told the American Senate that more than 50 terrorist plots against the US had been foiled by the NSA’s interception of civilian communications. The evidence for the alleged thwarted terrorist attacks cited by General Alexander was sketchy at best, so we are obliged to accept the NSA’s dubious word on its self-serving claims of success.
Even if we accept this claim on face value, an alleged terror threat numbering 50, gleaned from billions of communication files, is a negligible ratio, akin to a needle in a haystack. That means two things. First, the statistical terror threat against US citizens is likewise negligible to the point of being virtually non-existent.

As Snowden himself pointed out, the chances of Americans dying from slipping in their bathtub are far great than from terrorism. The second thing is that the official pretext for global, industrial-scale infringement of privacy - that is, national security of its citizens - is grotesquely disproportionate, and therefore unjustifiable.
In the aftermath of these revelations, US President Barack Obama and his security officials are claiming that the infringements of individual privacy are minor. “No-one is listening to your phone calls,” said Obama. He also added that there must be a trade-off between national security and what he called “minor breaches” of civil liberties.

These assurances from Obama and US National Intelligence Director James Clapper, among others, are rejected by Snowden and other NSA whistleblowers, as well as by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is litigating against the American government over the recent revelations. Official claims of limited surveillance and breaches are also repudiated by various digital privacy advocates, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as by common knowledge of American constitutional rights.

Edward Snowden says that when he was working at the NSA, he had clearance to hack into anyone’s email “including the president’s”. That is far from “minor”.

Another former senior employee of the NSA, Thomas Drake, who was prosecuted under the US Espionage Act for similar whistleblowing in 2011, says that the American government and its secret agencies have systematically “subverted the constitution” by arrogating the power to tap into all and any communications that they desire. In a narrow sense, Obama may be right that “no-one is listening to your phone calls”. Not yet, at least, but the executive powers and technology are in place for this totalitarian system of eavesdropping to be switched on.

Drake writes, “The supposed oversight, combined with enabling legislation - the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court, the congressional committees - is all a kabuki dance, predicated on the national security claim that we need to find a threat. The reality is: they [the US government] just want it all, period.” He added: “They have this extraordinary system: in effect, a 24/7 panopticon on a vast scale that it is gazing at you with an all-seeing eye.”

It seems an incredible lack of judgment among some alternative commentators who have dismissed Snowden’s revelations as trivial. Worse still, some commentators have even insinuated that the former NSA analyst is a witting or unwitting player in an elaborate CIA hoax aimed at intimidating citizens from using mass communications.

Such views badly underestimate the extent of American government criminality towards its own sacrosanct constitution and the deeply corrupting implications that has for democracy.

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story earlier this month, has said, “The people who have learned things they didn't already know are American citizens who have no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, as well as hundreds of millions of citizens around the world about whom the same is true. What they have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or terrorists, but at them.”

Greenwald adds, “And that is precisely why the US government is so furious and will bring its full weight to bear against these disclosures. What has been ‘harmed’ is not the national security of the US but the ability of its political leaders to work against their own citizens and citizens around the world in the dark, with zero transparency or real accountability.”

Since the US Espionage Act was instituted nearly a century ago in 1917, there have been a total of 10 prosecutions against American government employees deemed to have broken the law and compromised national security through whistleblowing. 

One of those was former State Department staffer Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971, revealing the spurious legal grounds for the American genocidal war on Vietnam.

Seven out of the total 10 prosecutions against whistleblowers - 70 percent - have occurred under the Obama administrations. 

That figure alone tells of a growing anxiety within the American ruling class. That anxiety is related to their increasingly criminal secret powers and the ongoing subversion of democracy. 

The American rulers are jealously guarding their criminal behaviour and that is why they are hunting down with a vengeance people like Snowden who are seen to be exposing this criminality. It is something of an irony that this week Snowden had to flee to Russia (the former “evil empire” in the words of late American President Ronald Reagan) in order to avoid extradition to the US where he is charged with felonies under the Espionage Act.

Former NSA employee Thomas Drake says that when he was working as an analyst during the Cold War he was assigned to monitor the espionage activities of Stalinist East Germany and its secret Stasi police. 

Drake says that the Stasi had an obsession to “knowing everything” about its citizens and kept a huge archive of paper files. However, this voluminous archiving is a fraction of what is stored and accessible by American secret services owing to the internet and digital technology. Drake describes the American NSA as “a Stasi on steroids”.

In the 1970s, US Senator Frank Church led a groundbreaking investigation into illicit American government covert operations. Church warned then that if the secret powers of the NSA were to ever become deployed against the American public - as opposed to “foreign enemies” - then that country’s democracy would be finished. That is precisely the present abysmal outcome of secret US state powers.

There are two corollaries of the imploding capitalist system, for which the US still remains the lynchpin for historical reasons. The first is the increasing militarism of the US and its Western allies to compensate for this economic demise. This militarism has evolved over the past decade since the purported 9/11 terror attacks on the US in 2001 to become a condition of “permanent war”. The present US-led covert war in Syria and underway against Iran are part of a continuum of imperialist war-making that connects Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, as well as Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Mali. This state of permanent war is needed by the waning capitalist powers to try to assert control of natural resources, markets, finance and investment against perceived rivals, such as Russia and China.

The other corollary of the historic failure of capitalism, and in particular in the US, is the imperative to assert control over social meltdown and rebellion. That is why the growth in militarism abroad has gone hand-in-glove with the intensification of surveillance powers and repression against citizens at home. 

American, and Western, democracy is, for all intents and purposes, a dead corpse. Only criminal wars and repression of its citizens are keeping the moribund system on a life-support system.

As Thomas Drake noted,
“Since the [US] government unchained itself from the constitution after 9/11, it has been eating our democracy alive from the inside out.”

The rulers of America are despotic elites who are living in fear and trepidation of their own people and of people power around the world rising in rebellion against the misrule of capitalism. 

Finian Cunningham, is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me." . . .

How many times are some people to be fooled by the endless lies of the warmongers - 3, 4, 5, 10 ?. . . 

"Tonkin Gulf attacks" - the fabricated lie that escalated war against Viet Nam.

"Babies thrown out of Kuwaiti incubators" - the fabricated lie that helped prepare public opinion for the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

"Weapons of Mass Destruction" and other fabricated lies that led to the war crime of aggression in Iraq.

"Dictator killing his own people" - the fabricated lie that led to the NATO destruction of Libya.

Now, years of lies and fabrications about what is really happening in Syria. . . .

Never forget this truism:  
"In times of war, the first casualty is truth." 

US Sarin Gas Claims
Pat Buchanan: This Has Tonkin Gulf Written All Over It


1 Minute Video
"We are getting ourselves into a conflict, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah on one side and us, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on the other side. It is Insane!"

Zbigniew Brzezinski on Syria:
US Engaging In "Mass Propaganda", "Who's Fighting for Democracy?"

2 Minute Video
The west is absolutely engaging in mass propaganda by portraying the Syrian conflict as a fight for democracy when many of the rebels want anything but.
They pledge allegiance to Al-Qaeda, explicitly call for Sharia law, kill thousands of Christians, use terrorist tactics yet our corrupt media and political class pretend arming them will produce democracy. Continue

Jonathan Manthorpe: Saudi Arabia Funding Fuels Jihadist Terror
By Jonathan Manthorpe
Big chunks of the country’s huge oil earnings have been spent on spreading a violent and intolerant variety of Islam.

Russia's foreign minister said Saturday that the evidence put forth by the United States of chemical weapons use in Syria apparently doesn't meet stringent criteria for reliability.

Syrian Girl: We heard all these lies before during the Iraq war.

Sarin Gas Use Doubted
Experts Don't See Evidence

By Matthew Schofield
While the use of such a weapons is always possible, they've yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny. Continue

Is the U.S. Actively Trying to Prolong the Syrian Civil War?
By Kevin Drum
[Obama's goal] is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible. This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished.... at an appalling toll in lives lost. Continue

Western Military Intervention will Leave Syria in Permanent Ruins Say Two Former Nato Secretary Generals
By Javier Solana and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Rather than secure humanitarian space and empower a political transition, Western military engagement is likely to provoke further escalation on all sides, deepening the civil war. Continue

Who Killed the Syrian Peace Talks?
By Shamus Cooke
The peace talks are dead because the U.S.-backed rebels are boycotting the negotiations, ruining any hope for peace, while threatening to turn an already-tragic disaster into a Yugoslavia-style catastrophe...or worse.

Lest We Forget
  The Art of Lying
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me" Continue

Sunday, June 16, 2013

From -- team

RootsAction is an independent online force in the US endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

GRAPHIC: Roots Action logo header
Click here to thank a hero.

GRAPHIC: Sign here button
Our country is in the midst of a struggle between the growing surveillance state and our precious civil liberties. Now a whistleblower has boldly stepped forward to expose the National Security Agency’s vast spying on our phone records and online communications.[1]

To sign a petition thanking NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and to see a video of him, click here.

Any employee of the surveillance state who helps the public understand the magnitude of the spying has been targeted for vengeful punishment. Edward Snowden’s bravery is demonstrated not only by risking so much to expose the growth of Big Brother -- he has also chosen to publicly identify himself as the whistleblower.

Explaining his actions, the 29-year-old computer expert said: “I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."[2]

Let Edward Snowden know that we thank him for acting so courageously in the public interest.

We’ll send the petition of thanks, including comments, directly to him.

To stand with this brave young man, please forward this email far and wide.

-- The team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

1. NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions; NSA Prism Program Taps in to User Data, Guardian, June 6.
2. Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower, Guardian, June 9.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

From The Real News. . .

Obama Defends "Big Brother" Powers
Larry Wilkerson: The NSA's illegal gathering of almost all means of communication sacrifices privacy without improving national security
Go to story | Go to homepage

Obama Appoints "Humanitarian Interventionists" to Key Positions
Larry Wilkerson: The appointment of Susan Rice as National Security Advisor and nomination of Samantha Power to the UN is a concern as both favor using military power to intervene in other countries affairs
Go to story | Go to homepage

Obama Nominee to the UN, Advised Violating UN Resolution on Libya
David Swanson: Samantha Power advocated regime change in Libya when UN resolution was specifically restricted to defense of Benghazi
Go to story | Go to homepage

Calls for One Democratic State in all of Palestine Increase
Twenty years after the Oslo Accords which promised to end the Israeli occupation with a two-state solution, the alternative democratic solution is gaining traction
Go to story | Go to homepage

Bradley Manning Supporters Say Exposing Criminals is not a Crime
Outside Ft. Meade where Bradley Manning's trial will take place, hundreds rallied to say that Obama Admin. attacks on whistle-blowers is an attack on democracy (Note: estimates of crowd size varied from 500 to over one thousand).
Go to story | Go to homepage

Manning Supporters Demand His Freedom, Rally Outside Fort Meade
Over 1,000 Bradley Manning supporters from around the country rally outside Fort Meade, Maryland ahead of Manning's June 3rd trial.
Go to story | Go to homepage

Gov Seeks Life for Manning; Hammond Could Face Ten Years
Michael Ratner: The government uses a sledge hammer to go after "truth tellers" Bradley Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Julian Assange
Go to story | Go to homepage



Saturday, June 08, 2013

McDonald’s is coming to Vietnam

McDonald’s plans to open restaurants in Vietnam, with the first to open in Ho Chi Minh City "in the next two years".

McDonald’s senior officials have visited Vietnam to talk to prospective franchisees and planning is now under way for the first stores. The real opening time is likely to be far less than two years, depending on McDonald's ability to ensure a reliable and secure supply chain of fresh ingredients and complete its complex training program of franchisees and then staff.

The American fastfood chain - a notable absence in the market which is dominated by KFC, Pizza Hut and Korea's Lotte-owned Lotteria - plans to open two outlets in Ho Chi Minh before expanding to Hanoi.

Long term it plans 100 outlets, according to the unidentified official.

McDonald’s has 33,500 outlets worldwide in 119 countries but has been slow to target Vietnam, which has mystified rivals and observers given Vietnamese population's rapid acceptance of fast food.

Meanwhile, fellow US chain Burger King is about to start an aggressive rollout in the major cities after trialling stores at airport terminals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi for more than six months.

Billboards have appeared in downtown Ho Chi Minh City during the last week proclaiming "Burger King comes to town", citing an October launch. Stores are planned in 11 districts of Ho Chi Minh City and six in Hanoi, along with the provincial centres of Da Nang and Hoi An.

McDonald’s other local rival would be Filipino fastfood chain Jollibee which now has 31 outlets in Vietnam and competes at a lower price point.

Coffee giant Starbucks* and fastfood chain Johnny Rockets are also on track to make their debut in Vietnam within months.

It has not all been plain sailing for foreign fast food brands in the fast-growing former communist state, however. US chain Popeyes closed its stores earlier this year, its local franchisee unable to build critical mass and adapt the menu to suit local tastes. 

Source Insideretail.Asia

From Vietnam Investment Review


* Actually Starbucks is already here. They opened their first store in HCMC a few months ago.

Of course, none of  this should be a surprise. KFC has been here for more than 16 years that I know of, along with many other foreign businesses. Viet Nam does not claim to be a closed communist state, like its detractors might like to suggest. 

From the very beginning, Ho Ch Minh himself actively sought open, friendly relations with the whole world - including the USA and the West - in a spirit of mutual respect for national sovereignty. 

Decades of war interrupted that. Then the US government chose to "close the door" and impose a 20-year economic embargo on the country, after losing the war and failing to impose its puppet government in Saigon. 

In the '80s, Viet Nam introduced its "Doi Moi" ("Renovation") policy. Following Marxist principles, the government recognized that the socialist planned economy was not working, for various logical reasons, and it was necessary to step back and fully develop the capitalist stage, before progressing on to socialism, then finally communism. 

So, officially, Viet Nam is currently in the stage of developing a "market-oriented socialism", and as a member of the WTO, it is integrated into the world economy. This means accepting the best (and some of the worst!) of both capitalism and socialism. Including McDonalds!

What the future holds for Viet Nam (and the rest of the planet Earth) is anyone's guess. For thousands of years, Viet Nam has embraced change, and selectively assimilated influences and ideas from everywhere, choosing what works for them, and rejecting what does not. 

All they ask is to be allowed the right to run their country in their way, free from foreign domination and control. The challenge for all countries is how to do that in the face of the enormous power, including the power to corrupt and destroy, of the global financial capitalist elites.


Saturday, June 01, 2013

Whenever the mainstream mass media speaks, with one voice, on an issue of importance, I think we should be very suspicious of their agenda, and seek elsewhere for the truth.  Such is clearly the case with the crisis in Syria.

Syrian Opposition Fighters Arrested with Chemical Weapons

By Bill Van Auken

Turkish police rounded up 12 members of Syria’s Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front, along with chemical weapons materials. 

These are the Islamic extremist "rebels" being armed and supported by certain Western and Arab states to illegally overthrow a secular government in Syria for their own strategic reasons. . . the same "Al Qaeda terrorists" they claim to be fighting a 'War on Terror' against elsewhere!  

  June 01, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -
In a series of raids in the capital of Istanbul and in the southern provinces of Mersin, Adana and Hatay near the Syrian border, Turkish police rounded up 12 members of Syria’s Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front along with chemical weapons materials.

The Turkish media initially reported that police recovered four and a half pounds of sarin, the deadly nerve gas which had earlier been linked to chemical weapons attacks inside Syria.

While widely reported in the Turkish press, the arrests Wednesday have been virtually blacked out by the corporate media in the US. 

Newspapers like the New York Times, which have openly promoted a US intervention in Syria, citing alleged chemical weapons use by the regime of Bashar al-Assad as a pretext, have posted not a word about the raids in Turkey.

The daily newspaper Zaman reported that “the al-Nusra members had been planning a bomb attack for Thursday in [the Turkish city of] Adana but that the attack was averted when the police caught the suspects. Along with the sarin gas, the police seized a number of handguns, grenades, bullets and documents during their search.”

The city of Adana, approximately 60 miles from the Syrian border, has a sizable Alawite Arab population that is sympathetic to the Syrian government and hostile to the Sunni Islamist forces that have waged the US-backed war for regime change on the ground in Syria.

The Al Nusra Front, which has formally declared its allegiance to Al Qaeda, was declared a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department last December. The United Nations Security Council added the group to the body’s Al Qaeda sanctions blacklist Friday.

The Syrian government had requested that the group be subjected to sanctions as a terrorist organization last month, but the action was initially blocked by Britain and France. Finally, an agreement was reached to declare Al Nusra an alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The Al Nusra Front has been universally acknowledged as the most effective fighting force of the so-called rebels seeking the Assad government’s overthrow. 

Both Britain and France recently succeeded in overturning a European Union ban on arms exports to Syria, clearing the way for them to ship weapons to the “rebels.”

None of the arrested suspects have been identified. Turkish media reported that five of them were released late Thursday, and seven are still being held for questioning. The government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has provided extensive material support for the Syrian opposition, has given no public explanation of the police actions.

Adana provincial governor Huseyin Avni Cos denied on Thursday that sarin had been recovered in the raids but did allow that unknown chemicals had been found and were being analyzed.

The arrests come little more than two weeks after twin terrorist car bombings claimed the lives of 52 people in the Turkish city of Reyhanli in southern Hatay province near the border with Syria. The Erdogan government seized upon the incident to blame the Syrian government and call for international intervention to topple Assad. 

It simultaneously imposed an unprecedented gag order on the Turkish press to prevent reporting on the extensive evidence that the attacks were the work of Syrian opposition groups, which use Reyhanli as a supply base and who have free movement across the Turkish-Syrian border.

Subsequently, authorities arrested an army private on charges of “crimes against the state” for allegedly leaking top secret cables that indicated the government’s prior knowledge that the bombings were being planned by the Al Qaeda-linked forces in Syria. RedHack, the Turkish hacker group which made the cables public last week, denied that it had any contact with the arrested private, who was identified as Utku Kali.

The Adana daily Taraf reported Thursday that police are mounting road blocks and conducting searches in the area for a vehicle loaded with explosives that is believed to have been sent to the area by the US-backed anti-Assad forces.

The discovery of sarin or some other lethal chemical weapons materials in the hands of Al Nusra Front operatives in Turkey prompted calls by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for an immediate investigation. 

He condemned the continuing failure to send a United Nations inspection team to Syria to investigate a chemical weapons incident last March outside of the city of Aleppo.

“We are highly disappointed that because of the political games, the UN Secretariat failed to respond to that request swiftly,” Lavrov told reporters.

These “political games” refer to demands by Washington and its allies that any UN team be given carte blanche to inspect any and all Syrian facilities and interrogate anyone it chooses, along the lines of the inspection regime created in Iraq in the run-up to the US invasion of 2003.

The Assad government has charged that the March attack, which killed 26 people, 16 of them government soldiers, was carried out by the Western-backed forces.

The Obama administration has repeatedly declared the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government to be a “red line” or “game changer” that would trigger unspecified US intervention. 

At the same time, Washington and its European NATO allies have turned a blind eye to evidence of chemical weapons use by the Islamist militias.

There have been repeated claims by the Syrian opposition groups, as well as by the British and French governments, of chemical weapons use by the regime. 

Last month, however, Carla del Ponte, a leading member of the UN commission of inquiry on Syria, stated that the bulk of the evidence indicated chemical weapons use by the rebels.

The latest development in Turkey suggests that the Western-backed Islamist militias were preparing to launch another chemical weapons attack, apparently against a Turkish civilian population, with the aim of producing mass casualties that would be blamed on the Syrian regime and create the conditions for a US-led intervention.

The silence of the US media on the incident only demonstrates that it is prepared to play the same role that it did in Iraq, working to sell a war based upon lies to the American public. 

The experience of the past decade of unending war, however, has made this task more difficult.

A Gallup poll released on Friday found that more than two out of three Americans (68 percent) oppose any US military intervention in Syria if “diplomatic efforts fail to end the civil war in Syria.”