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James George Jatras

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Tillerson in Moscow: Is World War III Back on Track?

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If anyone is worried whether the prospect of a major war, which many of us considered almost inevitable if Hillary Clinton had attained the White House, is back on track, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow was cold comfort. From his remarks together with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov, there is now little reason to expect any improvement in US-Russia ties anytime soon, if ever, and much reason to expect them to get worse – a lot worse.

There has been a great deal of speculation as to why President Donald Trump, who promised a break with the warmongering policies Hillary would have implemented, and which characterized the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, would have bombed Syria’s Shayrat airbase in retaliation for a supposed chemical weapons (CW) strike without evidence or authorization from either Congress or the UN Security Council.

(I won’t bore anyone familiar with Balkan affairs with the almost certain origin of the gas attack in Idlib. The odds that it was a false flag by the jihadists far, far outweigh any chance of a CW attack by Syrian government forces. To cite the “Markale market massacres” is enough. Ghouta September 2013 wasn’t the first such deception in Syria, and Idlib April 2017 won’t be the last. American media condemning Assad for the CW attack and demanding justice for the victims never mention that the site is held by al-Qaeda and that they themselves have a CW capability. Nor that the jihadists likely knew when and where Syrian planes would be operating, since the Russians would have notified the US under the deconfliction agreement. This is not to rule out the Russian explanation that the release was due to Syrian bombing of the jihadists’ CW cache but I consider the planned provocation more likely based on the timing. Predictably, an amateurish four-page paper issued by the US intelligence community to justify accusations against Assad contained zero evidence.)
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How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice

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Several weeks ago the mainstream media (MSM) gave saturation coverage to a picture of a little boy pulled from the rubble of Aleppo after his home and family were crushed in what was dubiously reported as a Russian airstrike. Promptly dubbed “Aleppo Boy,” his dusty image immediately went viral in every prestige outlet in the United States and Europe. The underlying message: we—the “international community,” “the Free World,” the United States, you and I—must “do something” to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his main backer and fellow Hitler clone Vladimir Putin.
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The Benghazi Hearing: What Neither Hillary nor the Republicans Want to Talk About

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As I write this, Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the House panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks that killed four Americans is still going on. I wasn’t able to listen to all of it live, and will plow through the transcript in due course. 

Two things already are notable: one concerning the impact of the hearing itself – plus another aspect marked only by the sound of crickets chirping.

First, as one would have expected, the hearing has generated more heat than light. As has been the case to date, Republican lawmakers seem mainly interested in granular details of the State Department’s bureaucratic handling of the Benghazi post’s requests for more security, what did then-Secretary Clinton know and when did she know it, whether help could have and should have been sent and who stopped any such attempt, whether prompt action might have changed the outcome, questionable claims regarding a movie riling up the Muslim rabble, Hillary’s reliance on the expertise (or lack thereof) of Sidney Blumenthal, and all the other back-and-forth that’s dominated the issue since the events in question.
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