Episode 4 show notes – The war comes home: The racist right after Charlottesville, with Eugene Puryear

charlottesville alt right

Moderate Rebels episode 4

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by activist and author Eugene Puryear. We discuss the white supremacist fascist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the terror attack on anti-racist protesters.

Blumenthal, Norton, and Puryear detail what exactly the alt-right is, how it originates in neo-Confederate politics and the long history of white supremacy in the US, what fuels it, and how it ultimately serves powerful billionaire interests — even while pretending to oppose them. We also debunk neoliberal centrist Democrat talking points about the so-called “alt-left” and horseshoe theory.

Key Quotes

“So much of what Trump has powered himself on was basically taking dog-whistle politics and turning it into a foghorn.”
-Eugene Puryear (3:19)

“It’s nothing new for powerful forces to try to find a way to channel the anger that actually could disrupt them.”
-Eugene Puryear (18:00)

“Neo-Nazism and white supremacy is a global project. In some cases we [the US government] oppose it, and then we have the ‘woke Nazis’ abroad [in Ukraine, the Baltic states, etc.].”
-Max Blumenthal (22:29)

“A huge portion of what Hitler was trying to do, he was looking at the United States and borrowing a lot of ideas from race science and eugenics … America has been one of the number one innovators of racial hatred on the planet, the United States of America.”
-Eugene Puryear (30:46)

“The combination of Nazism, neo-Confederatism, the Christian Identity movement, the KKK, all of these white supremacist ideologies, these far-right militias, has created a kind of unique fascist brew here in the United States that both predates Nazi Germany but also takes from it.”
-Eugene Puryear (33:09)

“These people lost the war, and somehow are still able to celebrate this terrible institution as if they won. There’s more celebration of the Confederacy in America than the Union. It’s an unbelievable state of affairs.”
-Eugene Puryear (39:14)

“In so many ways their [the alt-right] emphasis on a white identity politics benefits elites.”
-Max Blumenthal (54:26)

“The concept of an ‘alt-left,’ that actually is the left wing of the alt-right, which I think doesn’t exist except maybe in terms of an alternative left of people who are highly aestheticized and have tattoos and work for VICE magazine and who advance neoconservative regime change policies in Venezuela, Syria, and elsewhere.”
-Max Blumenthal (54:41)

“It’s one of the most intellectually dishonest exercises I’ve ever seen, this attempt to connect the alt-right to the ‘alt-left,’ the true far left.”
-Eugene Puryear (55:39)

“They [the alt-right] want to end the wars abroad to intensify the war at home.”
-Eugene Puryear (56:59)

Marcus Luttrell “at the Republican National Convention stood up and said ‘your war is here, your war is at home.’ And that was really to me the signal call of what Trump’s administration was going to represent.”
-Max Blumenthal (58:09)

The alt-right “really reflects overall this ideology that sees the contradictions in society as not contradictions between one class and another class — between the capitalists, the rich, the 1 percent, the bourgeoisie, and the working class — but rather between races, between genders. It’s this kind of illusion. So instead of thinking about wars abroad as international imperial wars for empire, for corporate profits, for control of natural resources, you can go on and on, instead it’s about fighting at home for white identity, it’s about fighting to maintain male supremacy and patriarchy.”
-Ben Norton (58:41)

“Not only are they ideologically and politically opposed, but the left and the so-called alt-right — which, again, is just a rebranding of neo-fascism in the 21st century — they have completely different class characters. One is bankrolled by billionaires; one is in opposition to billionaires. They can say all they want that they support taxing the rich, etc., but the alt-right is not a working-class movement.”
-Ben Norton (1:01:17)

“The alt-right is certainly 100 percent for establishing very rigid hierarchies. They have sort of a racial science that also believes that there is something of a biological reality that leaves behind income inequality … So the entire thing is really a defense of privilege, and a defense of hierarchy, and a defense of elitism.”
-Eugene Puryear (1:03:56)

“The alt-right prescriptions aren’t really to break up all of the banks, or this, that, and the third. It’s really to return to their own idealized version of the rise of American capitalism.”
-Eugene Puryear (1:04:31)

Show Notes

Eugene Puryear

By Any Means Necessary with Eugene Puryear on Facebook

By Any Means Necessary with Eugene Puryear on  iTunes

Charlottesville fascist rally

Southern Poverty Law Center, “The people, groups and symbols at Charlottesville,” August 15 2017

Southern Poverty Law Center, “Flags and Other Symbols Used By Far-Right Groups in Charlottesville,” August 12 2017

Southern Poverty Law Center, “Alleged Charlottesville Driver Who Killed One Rallied With Alt-Right Vanguard America Group,” August 12 2017

The “alt-left” smear

Ben Norton, “How Online Trolls Pushing for Regime Change in Syria Helped Popularize Trump’s Abusive Attack on the ‘Alt-Left’,” AlterNet Grayzone Project, August 17 2017

Indivisible and Democratic Party ties

From the Indivisible Guide website:

“The Indivisible Project is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization” with “501(c)(3) status with the Tides Foundation. … Indivisible is a project of the Advocacy Fund.”

Black Awakening in Capitalist America

Robert L. Allen, Black Awakening in Capitalist America: An Analytical History, 1969

The Cultural Cold War

Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, The New Press, 1999

Andrea Chalupa and Ukraine’s Euromaidan

Andrea Chalupa, “Ukraine’s Future Belongs to Its Dreamers,” Huffington Post

Andrea Chalupa, “Andrea Chalupa: Global Maidan – a gathering in NYC for civic activists,” Kyiv Post, October 29 2014

Ukraine and Hillary Clinton

Kenneth P. Vogel, David Stern, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire: Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton,” Politico, January 11 2017

Andriy Parubiy and Ukrainian fascism

Ben Norton, Max Blumenthal, “John McCain and Paul Ryan Hold ‘Good Meeting’ With Veteran Ukrainian Nazi Demagogue Andriy Parubiy,” AlterNet Grayzone Project, June 23 2017

FBI and Islamophobes

Eli Clifton, “New Documents Reveal FBI’s Islamophobic Counterterrorism Training,” ThinkProgress, September 15 2011

Matt Duss, “FBI Leaking To Neocon Conspiracy-Theorist Frank Gaffney?“, ThinkProgress, August 23 2010

Anti-Muslim bigot Frank Gaffney

Ben Norton, “The 5 craziest things about Ted Cruz’s extremist, neo-McCarthyist, anti-Muslim foreign policy adviser Frank Gaffney,” Salon, March 17 2016

Philip Bump, “Meet Frank Gaffney, the anti-Muslim gadfly reportedly advising Donald Trump’s transition team,” The Washington Post, November 16 2016

Molly McKew

Kyiv Post bio: ” Molly McKew is a writer and an information warfare expert. From 2009 to 2013 she worked as an adviser to Mikheil Saakashvili, then the president of Georgia.”

The Fascist Creep

Alexander Reid Ross, Against the Fascist Creep, AK Press, 2017

The Road to Wellville and Kellogg’s racism

Roger Ebert review of The Road to Wellville, October 28 1994

John Harvey Kellogg and “Eugenics and the Race Betterment Movement,” Chuck Holmgren, University of Virginia American Studies program

Ransom Riggs, “The Guy Who Invented Corn Flakes Was A Strange, Strange Man,” February 1 2011

Edward Sebesta and Neo-Confederate research

Edward Sebesta on Twitter

Max Blumenthal, “Why Scrapping the Confederate Flag Is a Threat to a Huge Swath of the Right-Wing Movement,” AlterNet, July 6 2015

James W. Loewen, Edward H. Sebesta, The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” about the “Lost Cause”, University Press of Mississippi, 2010

Durham Confederate statue and Workers World Party

Who are the Workers World Party, the group who helped organize the Durham Confederate statue toppling,” ABC11, August 16 2017

Fascist Richard Spencer speech

Alt-right-funding billionaire Robert Mercer

Max Kutner, “Meet Robert Mercer, the Mysterious Billionaire Benefactor of Breitbart,” Newsweek, November 21 2016

Carole Cadwalladr, “Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media: With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network,” The Guardian, February 26 2017

Jane Mayer, “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency,” The New Yorker, March 27 2017

Islamophobia and Park51 community center

Alan Pyke, “Hedge Fund CEO Behind Trump Campaign Makeover Masterminded ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Smear,” ThinkProgress, August 19 2016

Capitalist class character of white supremacist movements

Christopher Petrella, “Well-educated elites are no strangers to white supremacy,” The Washington Post, August 14 2017

Richard Spencer’s enormous family farm

Jen Kirby, “Of Course White Nationalist Richard Spencer Gets Millions in Federal Subsidies for His Family’s Cotton Farm in Louisiana,” New York Magazine, March 17 2017

Richard Spencer runs the National Policy Institute, an anodyne name for a white-supremacist think tank. He is also, according to a new report from Reveal, one of the absentee landlords on his family’s 5,200-acre cotton and corn farm in a poor, rural area of Louisiana. That farm is also heavily supported by the United States government; between 2008 and 2015, the operation received $2 million in federal farm subsidies.

Listen to Moderate Rebels episode 4

Episode 3 show notes – The sordid history of US proxy war in Syria, with Gareth Porter

Harakat Sham al-Islam, ISIS, al-Qaeda

Moderate Rebels episode 3

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton interview Gareth Porter, an award-winning investigative journalist who has done extensive reporting on the US proxy war in Syria, and how the CIA program arming and training rebels strengthened al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other extremist Salafi groups.

We discuss the military-industrial complex and how billionaire-backed think tanks funded by arms manufacturers and fossil fuel corporations fuel the permanent war state. And we address the historical parallels to the US wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam, and what could come in the future after the Syrian war winds down.

This interview expands on episode 2 of Moderate Rebels.

Show Notes

Gareth Porter’s Syria reporting

Gareth Porter, “How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle,” The American Conservative, July 27 2017

Gareth Porter, “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria,” The American Conservative, June 22 2017

Gareth Porter, “Behind the real US strategic blunder in Syria,” Middle East Eye, December 27 2016

Gareth Porter, “US strikes on Syrian troops: Report data contradicts ‘mistake’ claims,” Middle East Eye, December 6 2016

Pentagon official and Afghanistan mujahideen CIA echoes

Michael G. Vickers, “The Trump administration should not give up on removing Assad in Syria,” The Washington Post, July 23 2017

US-trained rebels and rebranded Syrian al-Qaeda, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)

Ben Norton, “U.S.-Armed ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Join Al-Qaeda’s ‘Bin Laden Front’ in New Coalition,” AlterNet Grayzone Project, February 1 2017

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Thomas Joscelyn, “Rebranding Terror: Nusra’s Renaming Is Part of al Qaeda’s Plan,” Foreign Affairs, August 28 2016

Ben Norton, “Al Qaeda Is Attacking Major Syrian Cities with US Weapons — but You Wouldn’t Know That from the Media,” AlterNet Grayzone Project, March 22 2017

State Department and HTS terrorist designation

Evan Dyer, “Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate escapes from Canada’s terror list,” CBC News, May 15 2017

Bombing of Syrian evacuation buses at Rashidin

Ben Norton, “A Tale of Two Syrian Cities Under Attack Exposes Western Media’s Pro-War Hypocrisy,” AlterNet Grayzone Project, April 24 2017

Atlantic Council

Ben Norton, “While Turkish Bodyguards Brutalized Protesters, This DC Think Tank Connected Erdogan with Foreign Policy Insiders,” AlterNet Grayzone Project, May 19 2017

Regime change fraud Elizabeth O’Bagy and Syrian Emergency Task Force

Max Blumenthal, “Shady PR operatives, pro-Israel ties, anti-Castro money: Inside the Syrian opposition’s DC spin machine,” Mondoweiss, September 7 2013

Anadolu Agency report on US military bases in Syria

Levent Tok, Mohamad Misto, Selen Temizer, “US increases military posts supporting PKK/PYD in Syria,” Anadolu Agency, July 18 2017

Map of US military bases in Syria, from the Turkish government mouthpiece Daily Sabah:

Brett McGurk at Middle East Institute (MEI)

US Envoy McGurk blames Ankara for turning a blind eye to al Qaida safe haven in Idlib,” Washington Hattı, July 29 2017

Gulf regime-funded Middle East Institute panel “Assessing the Trump Administration’s Counterterrorism Policy,” featuring Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, and neoconservative regime change hawks Charles Lister and Jennifer Cafarella

McGurk begins speaking at 51:57 in the following video:

Listen to Moderate Rebels episode 3 here:

Episode 2 show notes – End of CIA’s Syrian ghost war and al-Qaeda’s renaissance

Free Syrian Army, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham flags in Syria

Moderate Rebels episode 2

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss the billion-dollar CIA program arming and training rebels in Syria, detailing how it strengthened extremist groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda. We use mainstream media reports and government documents to conclusively show how the US knew it and its allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey were fueling genocidal Salafi militants.

Blumenthal and Norton also address how the failure of mainstream liberal parties and politicians to challenge this, and to oppose the national security state in general, has led to the growth of extremely dangerous far-right forces, who scapegoat Muslims and refugees for the problems caused by war and empire.

Show Notes

Media on CIA and Syria

That’s not to say that the CIA effort was bootless. Run from secret operations centers in Turkey and Jordan, the program pumped many hundreds of millions of dollars to many dozens of militia groups. One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years. By the summer of 2015, the rebels were at the gates of Latakia on the northern coast, threatening Assad’s ancestral homeland and Russian bases there. Rebel fighters were also pushing toward Damascus.

History of CIA program in Syria

President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are paying salaries to rebel forces fighting in the Syrian revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, an Arab diplomat said on Saturday.

“The payment has been going on for months and the agreement was made on April 2 by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with logistical organization from Turkey where some Free Syrian Army factions are based,’ said the source, who requested anonymity.

“The point of this is to encourage as many factions of the Syrian army to defect and to organize the FSA.”

Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.

The United States is not sending arms directly to the Syrian opposition. Instead, it is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The reports indicate that the shipments organized from Qatar, in particular, are largely going to hard-line Islamists.

CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.

The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey, along with Obama’s decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels, has raised hope among the beleaguered Syrian opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well.

Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.

The support for the Syrian rebels is only the latest chapter in the decadeslong relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States, an alliance that has endured through the Iran-contra scandal, support for the mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and proxy fights in Africa. Sometimes, as in Syria, the two countries have worked in concert. In others, Saudi Arabia has simply written checks underwriting American covert activities. …

From the moment the C.I.A. operation was started, Saudi money supported it. …

American officials have not disclosed the amount of the Saudi contribution, which is by far the largest from another nation to the program to arm the rebels against President Bashar al-Assad’s military. But estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training effort at several billion dollars.

The White House has embraced the covert financing from Saudi Arabia — and from Qatar, Jordan and Turkey — at a time when Mr. Obama has pushed gulf nations to take a greater security role in the region.

Al-Qaeda dominating the Syrian opposition

B. THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME. …

3. (C) Al QAEDA – IRAQ (AQI): … B. AQI SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA …

4.D. THERE WAS A REGRESSION OF AQI IN THE WESTERN PROVINCES OF IRAQ DURING THE YEARS OF 2009 AND 2010; HOWEVER, AFTER THE RISE OF THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA, THE RELIGIOUS AND TRIBAL POWERS IN THE REGIONS BEGAN TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THE SECTARIAN UPRISING. THIS (SYMPATHY) APPEARED IN FRIDAY PRAYER SERMONS, WHICH CALLED FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT THE SUNNI’S [sic] IN SYRIA. …

7. (C) THE FUTURE ASSUMPTIONS OF THE CRISIS:

A. THE REGIME WILL SURVIVE AND HAVE CONTROL OVER SYRIAN TERRITORY.

B. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CURRENT EVENTS INTO PROXY WAR: … OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS. THIS HYPOTHESIS IS MOST LIKELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DATA FROM RECENT EVENTS, WHICH WILL HELP PREPARE SAFE HAVENS UNDER INTERNATIONAL SHELTERING, SIMILAR TO WHAT TRANSPIRED IN LIBYA WHEN BENGHAZI WAS CHOSEN AS THE COMMAND CENTER OF THE TEMPORARY GOVERNMENT. …

8.C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)

8.D.1. … ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.

Former CIA director Mike Morell speaking:

The two groups that are in some way affiliated with al Qaeda — al-Nusra and then Ahrar ash-Sham — are the two most effective organizations on the battlefield. And because they’re so good at fighting the Syrians some of the moderate members of the opposition joined forces with them to fight the Syrians.

The end of the civil war in Syria could offer one of two bad outcomes: a stronger more brutal Assad regime or a rebel government influenced by al Qaeda.

A recently leaked 2014 email from Hillary Clinton acknowledges, citing Western intelligence sources, that the U.S.-backed regimes in Saudi Arabia and Qatar have supported ISIS.

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” the document states.

This adds to a growing body of evidence that theocratic Gulf monarchies have helped fuel the surge of extremist groups throughout the Middle East.

Another newly released email, from January 2016, includes an excerpt from a private October 2013 speech in which Clinton acknowledged that “the Saudis have exported more extreme ideology than any other place on earth over the course of the last 30 years.”

In that same speech, Clinton noted that she wanted to pursue “a more robust, covert action trying to vet, identify, train and arm cadres of rebels” in Syria, that would have fought both the government of President Bashar al-Assad and “the Al-Qaeda-related jihadist groups that have, unfortunately, been attracted to Syria.”

She added however, “That’s been complicated by the fact that the Saudis and others are shipping large amounts of weapons — and pretty indiscriminately — not at all targeted toward the people that we think would be the more moderate, least likely, to cause problems in the future.”

Former vice president Joe Biden speaking:

Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria…

The Turks were great friends, and I’ve a great relationship with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, … the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war. What did they do?” Biden asked, according to a recording of the speech posted on the White House’s website. “They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra, and al Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world…

President Erdogan told me — he is an old friend — said, ‘You were right; we let too many people through. Now we are trying to seal the border.’

Watch Biden’s remarks here:

Qatar’s former prime minister admitted in an interview that the United States and its Gulf allies supported Islamist extremists in Syria.

In CIA-run training sites located in Jordan and Turkey, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani explained, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar, “all of us, we [were] supporting the same groups,” he said. Among them were extremists, al-Thani noted.

This testimony adds to the growing body of evidence that the U.S. government and its proxies backed hard-line Salafi-jihadists in order to weaken the Syrian government and its allies Iran and Hezbollah.

US regime change attempts in Syria before 2011

This cable suggests that the US goal in December 2006 was to undermine the Syrian government by any available means, and that what mattered was whether US action would help destabilize the government, not what other impacts the action might have. In public the US was in favor of economic reform, but in private the US saw conflict between economic reform and “entrenched, corrupt forces” as an “opportunity.” In public, the US was opposed to “Islamist extremists” everywhere; but in private it saw the “potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists” as an “opportunity” that the US should take action to try to increase. …

Possible action:

PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE: There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis. Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business.

Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here (as well as prominent Syrian Sunni religious leaders) are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should coordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention on the issue. …

Vulnerability:

THE KHADDAM FACTOR: Khaddam knows where the regime skeletons are hidden, which provokes enormous irritation from Bashar, vastly disproportionate to any support Khaddam has within Syria. Bashar Asad personally, and his regime in general, follow every news item involving Khaddam with tremendous emotional interest. The regime reacts with self-defeating anger whenever another Arab country hosts Khaddam or allows him to make a public statement through any of its media outlets. …

Possible Action:

We should continue to encourage the Saudis and others to allow Khaddam access to their media outlets, providing him with venues for airing the SARG’s dirty laundry. We should anticipate an overreaction by the regime that will add to its isolation and alienation from its Arab neighbors. …

Possible Action:

ENCOURAGE RUMORS AND SIGNALS OF EXTERNAL PLOTTING:

The regime is intensely sensitive to rumors about coup-plotting and restlessness in the security services and military. Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like Khaddam and Rif’at Asad as a way of sending such signals, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This again touches on this insular regime’s paranoia and increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction.

Al-Qaeda taking over Syrian cities

UN and Syria death count

Assad is routinely accused of murdering 250,000 of his own people. The only problem is that there’s no proof he did.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and Rami Abdulrahman

Rami Abdulrahman and his SOHR have been openly pro-opposition from the beginning.

An FSA flag was at the top of the SOHR website until 2017.

Abdulrahman fled Syria in 2000 and never went back.

The SOHR, which virtually every major news outlet relies on for reports, is based out of Abdulrahman’s home in Coventry, England.

Israel and Syrian rebels

Omar al-Shishani’s US training

Syrian refugees fleeing rebels

Rebel massacre of Syrian Armenians at Kasab

Adam Schiff and Samantha Power

Full video here:

Free Syrian Army (FSA) and media

  • Marc Lynch, The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East, 2016, page 121

The FSA was still something of a myth, with a media presence far outstripping its actual organizational capacity.

The perennial, deep problem of the Syrian opposition is that it remains fragmented, disorganized, and highly localized. This has not changed. The “Free Syrian Army” remains something of a fiction, a convenient mailbox for a diverse, unorganized collection of local fighting groups. Those groups have been trying to coordinate more effectively, no doubt, but they remain deeply divided. For all their protestations of solidarity, the Syrian National Council and the FSA show few signs of working well together, while repeated splits and conflicts have emerged in the media within the FSA.

Jordan’s police state, mukhabarat, and torture

Human rights groups charge the mukhabarat, portrayed in the new Ridley Scott movie ‘Body of Lies,’ with systematic torture.

Ben Norton on evolution of Syria views

Listen to episode 2 here:

Episode 1 show notes – Democrats and the Russiagate delusion

Moderate Rebels Episode 1

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss the Democratic Party’s obsession with Russia, how this fixation is used to prevent progressive change, the lack of evidence for ambiguous accusations of “Russian interference,” and how the neoliberal Resistance™ actively cheers on Trump when he is bombing the Middle East.

Show Notes

Peter Beinart, “Donald Trump’s Defenders on the Left: Why some progressives are minimizing Russia’s election meddling,” The Atlantic, July 23 2017

Max Blumenthal, “‘Maddow’s Dots May Never Connect’: Left-Wing Author Blasts Trump-Russia Narrative,” Tucker Carlson Tonight, July 17 2017

Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, “Intercepted Podcast: Glenn Greenwald on the New Cold War,” The Intercept, July 26 2017

Peter Beinart, “How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration,” The Atlantic, July/August 2017

US empire

Julia Zorthian, Heather Jones, “This Graphic Shows Where U.S. Troops Are Stationed Around the World,” TIME, October 16 2015

David Vine, “The United States Probably Has More Foreign Military Bases Than Any Other People, Nation, or Empire in HistoryAnd it’s doing us more harm than good,” The Nation, September 14 2015

Russigate and the media

Aaron Maté, “MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Sees a ‘Russia Connection’ Lurking Around Every Corner,” The Intercept, April 12 2017

Glenn Greenwald, “CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat,” The Intercept, June 27 2017

CrowdStrike and DNC

Yasha Levine, “From Russia, with Panic,” The Baffler, March 2017

Atlantic Council and NATO

Ben Norton, “While Turkish Bodyguards Brutalized Protesters, This DC Think Tank Connected Erdogan with Foreign Policy Insiders,” AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, May 19, 2017

French Election and Russia

Associated Press, “France says no trace of Russian hacking Macron,” June 1 2017

CIA and Syria

Ben Norton, “Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda,” FAIR.org, July 27 2017

Ukraine and the Pentagon

Eric Schmitt, Andrew E. Krameraug, “Pentagon and State Department Said to Propose Arming Ukraine,” New York Times, August 1 2017

Jamie Kirchick smears

Ben Norton, “No, they don’t support Trump: Smeared left-wing writers debunk the myth,” Salon, August 17 2016