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TBR News August 28, 2017

Aug 28 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 28, 2017:” In these times, as earlier, many of the public thrive on conspiracy theories because it gives them a feeling of being part of something large and thrilling.

I have studied conspiracy stories for years and have come to the conclusion that 99% of them are the result of stupidity and the attempts to cover it up.

‘But the birds were seen flying the other way! Isn’t that significant? Daily Kos has an excellent article on these suspicious birds, written by a Famous Scientist (who doesn’t want his name used, of course)’

Bureaucracies are filled with people who couldn’t get a real job and whose government paychecks ought to be gift-wrapped.

Governments are desperate to prevent any kind of a public uproar that might disturb the status quo so they lie, not to cover up plots but to cover theirs, and others, political asses.

The recent mine tragedy and the misreporting of the survival is a typical example. The underlying cause of this is gross neglect and criminal carelessness not only on the part of the cost-cutting owners but the lax, and under Bush, criminally negligent pro-business regulatory agencies.

Now, look for both management and government to conspire to blame the mine problems on something that won’t expose them for the conspirators they are.

And how will they accomplish this? By use of the friendly media and, most important, by having their pet “bloggers” and paid website managers concoct weird stories about death rays, missing cell phones, secret gas leaks, alQuadea trained gophers intent on industrial sabotage and on and on.

The credulous public, ever frantic for more and increasingly thrilling conspiracies to nurture their small egos, will get their hands on these inventions, water and fertilize them and send them around to others with their own little invented additions.

In the end, the criminal stupidity is effectively masked by the created images and management and government can prepare for the next disinformation campaign.

Those who believe in mysterious conspiracies ought to recognize that they have become unknowing parts of a real conspiracy, the conspiracy of obfuscation, lies and official disinformation.

This applies, equally, to the Katrina disaster, the SEA tsunami, 911, the Kennedy assassination, severe weather events, ship sinkings and on and on.

Pick one of the above and Google it to see that the number of breathless conspiracy sites proliferate like fungus after a good rain.”


Table of Contents

  • Besieged Houston braces for more flooding as Harvey lingers
  • Trump Derangement Syndrome and the American Left
  • Has Trump’s Afghanistan policy destabilized South Asia even more?
  • Endtimes in Mosul
  • Monkey see, monkey do: ‘Violence in America being normalized at government level’
  • Islamic State begins to leave Syria-Lebanon border zone
  • Winston SpencerChurchill: A Tribute


Besieged Houston braces for more flooding as Harvey lingers

August 27, 2017

by Mica Rosenberg and Marianna Parraga


HOUSTON (Reuters) – The epic flooding that Tropical Storm Harvey unleashed on Houston will likely worsen as federal engineers release water from overflowing reservoirs to keep it from jumping dams and surging uncontrollably into the homes they protect, officials said on Monday.

Some 30,000 residents of the nation’s fourth-largest city were expected to be left temporarily homeless by Harvey, which became the most powerful hurricane to strike Texas in more than 50 years when it came ashore on Friday near Corpus Christi, abo

Death estimates vary, but at least two people have been confirmed killed by the storm.

It was expected to remain over the state’s Gulf Coast for the next few days, dropping a year’s worth of rain in about a week, with threats of flooding extending into neighboring Louisiana.

In scenes evoking the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, police and Coast Guard teams have rescued some 2,000 people so far, plucking many from rooftops by helicopter, as they urged the hundreds believed to be marooned in flooded houses to hang towels or sheets outside to alert rescuers.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott activated all 12,000 members of the state’s National Guard, who joined local police in the effort to rescue people before waters rise again, with another 15 inches to 25 inches (38-64 cm) of rain expected in the coming days.

“The goal is rescue. That’s the major focus for today,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters.

Harvey’s center was 90 miles (148 km) southwest of Houston on Monday morning and forecast to arc slowly toward the city through Wednesday, with the worst floods expected later that day and on Thursday.

Schools, airports and office buildings were closed throughout in the metropolitan area, home to 6.8 million people, on Monday as chest-high water filled some neighborhoods in the low-lying city.

Numerous refiners shut operations, likely for weeks, in the nation’s refining and petrochemical hub.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that it was releasing water from the nearby Addicks and Barker reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou, the primary body of water running through Houston. Officials warned that would lead to more flooding.

“The water in the Buffalo Bayou is not going to be going down soon … the more they release it could go up and it could create even additional problems,” Turner warned. The release was necessary to prevent an uncontrolled surge of water, which Turner said “would be exponentially worse.”

Torrential rain also hit areas more than 150 miles (240 km) away, swelling rivers upstream and causing a surge that was heading toward the Houston area, where numerous rivers and streams already have been breached. Some areas have already seen close to 40 inches (1.02 m) of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

By the end of the week in some Texas coastal areas the total precipitation could reach 50 inches (127 cm), which is the average rainfall for an entire year, forecasters said.


About 5,500 people were in shelters as of Monday morning, city officials said, with FEMA Administrator Brock Long forecasting that as more than 30,000 people would eventually are expected to be placed temporarily in shelters.

Many area residents were left in limbo, wondering what remained of their flooded homes.

Their number included Kristina Pederson, 25, who was stocking up on food for the 10 dogs that were staying with her, her grandmother and sister after the family abandoned its farm and 20 head of cattle outside the city.

“We left them there and hoped for the best. They have 500 acres (202 hectares) and some high ground so we’re hoping they are OK,” said Pederson, who added that she had no regrets for fleeing her property. “Lives are more important than houses. Houses can be rebuilt.”

Authorities ordered more than 50,000 people to leave parts of Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston, as the Brazos River was set to crest at a record high of 59 fet (18 m) this week, 14 feet above its flood stage.

Houston did not order an evacuation due to concerns about people being stranded on city highways now consumed by floods, Turner said.

FEMA’s Long on Monday did not question the decision, saying the “evacuation of the city of Houston could take days, days, literally days.”

Abbott, who had suggested on Friday that people leave the area, on Monday told “CBS This Morning” that “the time for making that determination has passed, and (there’s) no need to for us to relitigate that issue right now.”


U.S. President Donald Trump plans to go to Texas on Tuesday to survey the damage, a White House spokeswoman said on Sunday. On Monday he approved an emergency declaration for Louisiana.

Trump, facing the first big U.S. natural disaster since he took office in January, signed a disaster proclamation for Texas on Friday, triggering federal relief efforts.

Almost half of the U.S. refining capacity is in the Gulf region. Shutdowns extended across the coast, including Exxon Mobil’s facility in Baytown, the nation’s second largest refinery. About 13 percent of daily U.S. production capacity was offline as of Monday morning.

The outages will limit the availability of U.S. gasoline and other refined products and push prices higher, analysts said. Gasoline futures rose as much as 7 percent on Monday.

Damages are not likely to be as extensive as Katrina, which killed 1,800 people in and around New Orleans, or Sandy, which hit New York in 2012, said a spokeswoman for Hannover Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers. Those caused $80 billion and $36 billion in insured losses, respectively.

Additional reporting by Erwin Seba, Nick Oxford and Ernest Scheyder in Houston; Writing by Scott Malone and David Gaffen; Editing by Bill Trott and Tom Brown



Trump Derangement Syndrome and the American Left

August 28, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


That the American left is morally and intellectually bankrupt is hardly breaking news, at least to my longtime readers: I reported it way back in 1999, when “leftists” were cheering on the bombing of Serbia. I updated this critique when our vaunted “progressives” attacked Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald for exposing the depredations of the Surveillance State during the reign of Barack Obama. Of course, there have been – and continue to be – exceptions. Yet the old-style liberals, of the sort exemplified by, say, Alexander Cockburn, who never waffle when it comes to questions of war and civil liberties, are few and far between. With Cockburn’s death, in 2012, the species became as rare as an albino redwood – and, yet, not quite extinct.

The “Russia-gate” hoax now being perpetrated by the anti-Trump “Resistance,” in league with elements of what we call the intelligence “community,” has given fresh impetus to the ongoing degeneration of the American left – while highlighting the fact that pockets of healthy dissent remain. Consumed by hatred for President Trump, most of what passes for the “left” today has rushed to embrace the story – concocted by former CIA director John Brennan and a gaggle of still-serving intelligence officials – that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to “steal” the 2016 election from Hillary Rodham Clinton. This was done, they claim, by “hacking” the Democratic National Committee’s email system and exposing the profound corruption at the heart of the Clinton campaign. Ancillary to this operation was a concerted effort by the Russians to broadcast “fake news” denigrating Hillary and promoting Trump. All this was done, according to the official intelligence reports and the liberal media, on direct orders from none other than Vladimir Putin himself.

The problem with this narrative is that there’s no evidence for it. The two reports made public by our spooks are laughably bereft of any proof, forensic or otherwise, consisting mainly of bare assertions. The actual evidence, we are told, is classified top super-duper secret, and we’re given the old we-must-protect-sources-and-methods run-around. In short, the intelligence community that told us Saddam Hussein most certainly had weapons of mass destruction ready to launch is now telling us that we just have to trust them.

And while a disturbing proportion of self-avowed liberals and “progressives” are doing just that, this phenomenon is not universal. Over at The Nation, Russia scholar Stephen Cohen has been warning about the dangers of the new Russophobia, and James Carden has been asking why the CIA narrative about the alleged “hacking” of the DNC is being taken at face value. Now a new study by cyber-war experts has challenged the forensics – or lack of them – behind the official narrative: the investigation is conducted by a group of independent researchers and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). I covered their findings here, but to reiterate I quote the VIPs report:

“There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year – not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak – a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

“Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source – claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.”

This view was elaborated on in a long piece by Patrick Lawrence in The Nation: it is comprehensive, and, in my view, convincing – at least credible enough to throw the “hacking” narrative into serious question. But certain “associates” of The Nation, including writers Joshua Holland and Katha Pollit, are most unhappy that the oldest left-liberal periodical in this country saw fit to publish the Lawrence piece. As reported by Erik Wemple in the Washington Post, a number of the magazine’s supporters wrote to editor Katrina van den Heuvel in protest. After ranting about the “irreversible crisis” of the Trump administration occasioned by collusion with “a foreign government that meddled in the election that catapulted [Trump] into power,” the protesters get down to brass tacks:

“We understand that anxiety about foreign – especially Russian – influence is a familiar trope in American politics, and has been used in the past to suppress internal dissent. But to emphasize this particular angle in Nation coverage over the conduct of the Trump administration is a dereliction of our responsibility as progressive journalists. Last week, for example, the magazine ran a piece casting doubt on the motivation of the officials behind the White House leaks, one of several it has published in recent months that have implied the real threat to national security is not Trump’s conduct but rather the attacks on him. As longtime associates of The Nation, we are deeply concerned that by making these editorial emphases and by likening calls for investigations into the Russia connection to ‘red baiting,’ the magazine is not only playing into the hands of the Trump administration, but doing a dishonor to its best traditions. We have noted, too, with dismay, that Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and other far-right adversaries have taken comfort in the writings of other Nation writers on the current crisis.”

Who cares about what’s true – we can’t possibly agree with Tucker Carlson and/or Ann Coulter!

Not one word refuting the Lawrence piece’s central contention – that the forensic evidence points to an inside job at the DNC rather than a hack by the Russians or anyone else. The evidence is irrelevant, because, after all, the Trump administration is facing an “irreversible crisis” – and we can’t let mere facts get in the way of such an alluring prospect. Oh, yes, we get that anti-Russian hysteria has been used to “suppress internal dissent” – but, oddly, they don’t mention that it’s also been used to take us to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Were any of these worthies alive during the Cuban missile crisis?

And as for The Nation “doing a dishonor to its best traditions” – well, that depends on what one considers “best.” As I recall, The Nation was in the forefront of those leftists who defended the Moscow Trials in the 1930s. That the signatories want to uphold this inglorious tradition is the measure of how far the American left has lost its moral compass in the age of Trump.

Ms. Pollit’s comments to Wemple show that the infection isn’t limited to Trump Derangement Syndrome: a bona fide case of Russophobia is in the works:

“‘I just felt that for some reason, we are too heavily invested in the defense of Putin and all his works,’ she said. And she can’t abide too much more applause for Nation content from certain quarters. ‘These are our friends now? The Washington Times, Breitbart, Seth Rich truthers and Donald Trump Jr.? Give me a break. It’s very upsetting to me. It’s embarrassing.’”

Pollit is much more comfortable being friends with Bill Kristol, John Brennan, and the Alliance to Secure Democracy, which spends its enormous resources (supplied by the German government) tracking “Russian influence operations” on the Internet.

Poor Katha! At her feminist consciousness-raising coffee klatch, when all the other ladies are denouncing Putin as a male chauvinist pig and wondering when we’re going to send more arms to Ukraine, Ms. Pollit has to defend her magazine against charges of cuddling up to Steve Bannon. This simply can’t go on.

Wemple reports that The Nation is “reviewing” the Lawrence article, under heavy pressure for a retraction: this is how today’s neo-Stalinist left operates. While editor van den Heuval insists that her magazine has no “party line,” the reality is that the politics of Russia-gate militate against objective fact-based journalism. The Democratic party and its various appendages have destroyed what little independence the American left ever had.

This is about more than Russia-gate. Pollit accuses her fellow Nation writers of being “invested in the defense of Putin” – an echo of the new interventionism among Democratic party politicians calling for a new cold war with Russia. Because you can’t be for détente with Russia without being “invested in the defense of Putin” – that is the new foreign policy orthodoxy on what passes for the “left” these days.

This is what we’re faced with: foam-flecked neo-cold-warriors to the left of us, and warmongering neoconservatives to the right of us. But not to worry! Because the American people are waking up to the War Party’s machinations: they are no more interested in launching a crusade against Russia than they are in committing mass suicide.


Has Trump’s Afghanistan policy destabilized South Asia even more?

Trump’s Afghanistan policy has the potential to alter the geopolitical balance in the volatile region. Pakistan, criticized by Trump for “Islamist support,” wants greater involvement from China in the Afghan conflict.

August 28, 2017


While many security and foreign policy analysts criticized US President Donald’s Trump’s Afghanistan policy for lacking a clear-cut strategy, it is nonetheless unequivocal about Islamabad’s “lack of cooperation” with Washington over the alleged Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

Trump’s predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, were also skeptical of Pakistan’s “double game” regarding its “Islamist support” and alliance with the West, but analysts say that none of them had turned it into a policy cornerstone the way Trump has done. Trump could order unilateral air strikes on militant targets inside Pakistan and cut Islamabad’s military aid or even impose sanctions on government and military officials for “backing” US-designated terrorist groups.

Pakistan, naturally, is angered by Trump’s claims that it harbors terrorists that make it difficult for the US to succeed in Afghanistan. The government and opposition parties slammed the US president and even threatened that their country could chose to break ties with Washington. The South Asian country’s foreign minister, Khwaja Asif, will embark on a three-day official tour of China, Russia and Turkey for consultations over Trump’s Afghanistan policy.

The latest developments show the new US strategy, which seeks a bigger role for Pakistan’s arch-rival India in the conflict, would radically change the geopolitical alignments in the region. It could destabilize South Asia even more by putting China and Pakistan on a bigger collision course with Afghanistan and India.

Afghanistan – the main stakeholder

The Afghan government, however, has welcomed the United States’ continued engagement in their country, and also the fact that finally a US administration has officially recognized Pakistan as a major problem – something that Afghan officials have been repeatedly pointing at.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government is hopeful the new regional approach will help resolve the protracted conflict.

“The new strategy has identified threats and challenges the region faces and, therefore, we believe Afghanistan and the US would benefit from it in the long run,” said Shah Hussian Martazawi, a spokesman for Ghani.

“The strategy also identifies countries that have not played their role in the fight against terrorism responsibly,” Martazawi added, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.

But will Trump really put pressure on Islamabad? And more importantly, what leverage does the US have on Pakistan to make it comply with its demands?

“I think President Trump made it very clear to Pakistani authorities that they must openly take sides in the conflict. If Islamabad continues to provide safe havens to insurgents and does not cooperate in ending the Afghan conflict, it will face very harsh consequences,” Wadir Safi, a lecturer at Kabul University, told DW’s Pashtu-Dari service.

Is Pakistan’s ‘help’ necessary?

Pakistanis are confident the US would continue to rely on its “assistance” in the Afghan war. Washington has so far cooperated with Pakistan knowing the sanctions or unilateral aerial attacks on the militants’ hideouts in the country could further destabilize the nuclear-armed nation with high anti-West sentiments.

During his tenure, former US President Obama had increased drone attacks in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan but he continued to engage with Pakistani authorities to keep leverage on the country. The flipside to it, analysts say, is that Islamabad continued with its own strategy for Afghanistan: minimizing New Delhi’s influence in Kabul and waiting for complete US withdrawal from the country.

At the same time, some Pakistani analysts say it is in the interest of Islamabad to also keep the Trump administration on its side.

“I think there is no point in getting excited over Trump’s Afghanistan policy speech. Pakistan should engage with him. He is sending more soldiers to Afghanistan and for that America will need Islamabad’s help,” Pakistani researcher and defense analyst Aisha Siddiqa, told DW’s Urdu service.

US-Pakistani ties have been tense since former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s killing in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in 2011. After Trump’s policy speech, the differences have become official. Knowing that Washington’s reliance on Pakistan was diminishing, Islamabad already forged closer ties with Beijing.

Now that China is heavily investing in Pakistan – the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is one example of this partnership – Pakistan also feels less dependent on the US.

“The tension between Pakistan and the US is likely to increase but Washington will soon realize it cannot Isolate Pakistan. If Trump attempts to do that, Pakistan, China and Russia could form an alliance, which could also include Iran, Turkey and some Central Asian states,” Inam ur Raheem, a retired Pakistan army official, told DW.

Chinese interest in Afghanistan

Ye Hailin, an expert at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes hostility between the regional powers could be counter-productive in defeating terrorists.

“As a mediator between Pakistan and Afghanistan, China has always tired to do its best. China’s strategic interest in the region is to defeat terrorism,” Ye told DW’s Chinese service.

Ye said Pakistan was contributing to the international anti-terror campaign. “The US accusations are highly unfair. Washington’s financial aid to Pakistan is not for charity; NATO forces are using Pakistan’s assistance for transportation and fuel,” he added.

China is already part of a Quadrilateral Coordination Group – comprising Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States – that was established to end the protracted Afghan crisis. The grouping has not achieved any significant breakthrough so far, with Islamabad and Kabul at loggerheads over the militancy issue, and Beijing and Washington lacking trust.

Experts say that China has heavily invested in Pakistan and that is why it wants peace in at least those areas where its “One Belt One Road” project is being implemented. China has built a port in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan as part of its nearly 60-billion-dollar CPEC project to establish overland and sea trade routes to reach Middle Eastern, European and African markets.

Another reason for Beijing’s diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan is its concerns about Islamists operating in China’s Xinjiang region and their alliance with the Taliban and other Islamist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While Chinese authorities enjoy tremendous influence on Pakistan’s civilian and military establishments, Afghanistan is still closer to the United States. Thus, bringing Kabul and Islamabad onto the same page over an Afghan solution won’t be easy for Beijing.

Opting neutrality

Qamar Agha, a New Delhi-based Afghanistan expert, told DW’s Hindi service that Pakistan considered India the main enemy, and knowing that the US wanted India to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, it was logical that Islamabad would get closer to Beijing.

“Pakistani authorities think that cooperating with China would be more useful for them in this scenario than working with the US. China, too, is supporting Pakistan on all regional and international forums,” the expert underlined.

Agha, however, says it is unclear what Trump wants from India regarding Afghanistan.

At the same time, Indian and Pakistani peace activists urge their countries to tread cautiously and not become a party to the US-Chinese rivalry and the global powers’ strategic interests in Afghanistan and Central Asia. For instance, renowned Pakistani activist and author Harris Khalique has time and again urged a regional solution to regional conflicts without interference from Beijing, Moscow or Washington.



Endtimes in Mosul

August 18, 2017

by Patrick Cockburn

The Unz Review

On 22 May, Ahmed Mohsen, an unemployed taxi driver, left his house in the Islamic State-controlled western part of Mosul to try to escape across the Tigris to the government-held eastern side of the city. He and his mother, along with ten other people, carried rubber tyres down to the river: most of them couldn’t swim, and they planned to tie them together to make a raft. The siege of Mosul was in its seventh month and Ahmed was both desperate and starving: he and his mother were living on handfuls of wheat they cooked, though he said it made him feel sick. His friends believe that lack of food made him light-headed and led him to risk crossing the river. ‘Even if I die in the river,’ he told them, ‘it will be better than living here.’

IS snipers were shooting people who tried to leave. Their commanders calculated that holding the civilian population hostage, as human shields, would deter Iraqi government troops and the US-led coalition air forces from using the full extent of their firepower. This strategy had worked, to an extent, during the siege of east Mosul, which began on 17 October; it was three months before that part of the city was captured. But by the time the assault on west Mosul began on 19 February there was little sign of Iraqi or American restraint. As the bombardment intensified, the only plausible escape route for Ahmed was across the Tigris between the Fifth and Sixth Bridges, both of which had been put out of action by coalition airstrikes. He had already seen IS snipers kill three people who’d tried to cross and his luck was no better: a sniper shot him in the back and killed him, along with nine other members of his party, before they had even put their tyres in the water. Only one man, a good swimmer, got across to the other side. According to people living in houses overlooking the riverbank, Ahmed’s mother stayed beside his body for three days. Nobody dared to go to help her because they were afraid of being shot; on the third day, they say, they could no longer see her or the body of her son. They were probably thrown into the river, like hundreds of others.

I had got to know about Ahmed in an indirect way, two months before he died. After IS captured Mosul in June 2014 it became difficult for journalists or anybody outside the city to talk to people living under its rule. IS did everything it could to seal off the population from contact with the outside world. It blew up mobile phone masts, banned the use of phones and executed anybody caught using them in the few high places where there was reception. You could always interview people who had fled IS territory, but this wasn’t a satisfactory way of gathering information: refugees from Mosul arriving in Iraqi government or Kurdish-controlled territory were at the mercy of local military and civilian authorities and had every incentive to denounce IS as demonic, to dispel suspicions that they had been collaborators or members. Mosul is a Sunni Arab city and Shia, Kurds, Christians and Yazidis suspect Sunnis in general of colluding with IS. ‘I have never seen such terrified people in my life as a group of young men who had run away from Mosul waiting to be vetted by Iraqi security to see if they were former IS fighters,’ a human rights worker in a camp for internally displaced persons 15 miles south of Mosul told me. ‘One day I saw two men of military age walk into a tent for questioning. They were carried to the camp hospital on stretchers two hours later covered in blood.’

As the assault on west Mosul gathered pace, the IS strategy of isolating people behind its lines started to falter. The Iraqi government brought in a mobile phone mast mounted on the back of a truck and put it up at Nabi Yunus, the Tomb of Jonah, a shrine that IS had blown up as heretical in 2014, but whose ruins remain the highest point in east Mosul. Phones in the west of the city started working again and IS was too busy defending itself against army incursions to hunt down civilians talking on their mobiles. I knew someone who lived on the east bank of the Tigris: he found he was able to speak, over a poor connection, to relatives and friends in the IS-held territory on the other side of the river.

Ahmed Mohsen, trapped with his mother inside the old city of Mosul, was 31 years old. His father was dead; he had a married sister living nearby and a brother who was a refugee in Germany. I asked questions through an intermediary he trusted and he gave detailed answers about the situation in west Mosul. ‘Dozens of civilians are killed every day, including children,’ he said. ‘Yesterday, two children were killed by a mortar shell of the Iraqi army coming from the eastern part [of the city].’ He derided American and Iraqi government claims that they were using ‘smart artillery’: the incoming fire, he said, was ‘stupid’ and indiscriminate. It became clear, as the assault on west Mosul went on, that the Iraqi and US generals were using their massive firepower more freely than they had in the east. The Americans had expected the siege to take two months from start to finish; by March it had already gone on for five months, with the heaviest fighting still to come in the alleyways and closely packed houses of the old city. By then, according to US Central Command, 774 members of the Iraqi security forces had been killed and 4600 wounded. The rules were changed: units on the ground could now call in airstrikes or artillery fire at will to destroy a building if they believed they had spotted an IS sniper operating from it. Alongside attacks from the air, Iraqi Federal Police and the Emergency Response Division, both heavily armed but inadequately trained, used artillery and rockets – none of them accurate – to pound the densely inhabited buildings where, even in the final weeks of the siege, 300,000 people were hiding in stairwells and cellars. Looking later at the ruins of central Mosul, I could see where shells and rockets had knocked sections off buildings and where bombs had turned a whole block into a mound of broken bricks. ‘Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition used imprecise, explosive weapons, killing thousands of civilians,’ as an Amnesty International report, At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, puts it. By the end of March, civilians behind IS lines were being killed in large numbers by shells, rockets and bombs. They were also beginning to starve. ‘People in our neighbourhood,’ Ahmed told me, ‘are searching in the garbage to find something that can be eaten to take it to their children.’ Vegetables and fruit had disappeared from the markets that were still open; Ahmed and his family had stored some flour and rice, but wanted to keep it as a final reserve for the children of their extended family.

The coalition had a lethally over-simplified list of signs visible from the air which indicated that a building was being used by IS. Ahmed had a tarpaulin draped over part of his house as a sunshade, a practice fairly common in Mosul, where the temperature in summer often exceeds 45°C. Disastrously, similar tarpaulins were being used by IS to cover alleyways or courtyards so that coalition surveillance aircraft couldn’t see armed fighters moving from house to house. The coalition had made an announcement that anybody using such a covering would be attacked as an IS target, but few in the west of the city had heard the news. On 28 March, a coalition drone flew over Ahmed’s house and dropped a bomb. It fell on a corner of the building, near a water tank, bringing down a wall near where Ahmed was standing. ‘I didn’t lose consciousness,’ he said. ‘After a few moments, I realised I was injured. I partly walked and partly crawled to a small temporary clinic nearby, but they couldn’t treat my leg properly.’ The medics said he needed surgery but they didn’t have the equipment for an operation and could give him only bandages. When we spoke to Ahmed again, he was back at home, in bed, crying as he talked because of the pain in his injured leg.

When I wrote about Ahmed for a newspaper report, I changed his name and age and avoided any detail that might identify him to IS, of whom he was terrified. I hoped to meet him when the siege was over, though I could see from his own account that there was a good chance he wouldn’t survive. Mosul had been a dangerous place for a long time. I was there when Kurdish ground troops backed by US airstrikes captured it after the US invasion in 2003, and I watched as order collapsed within hours, as looters ransacked government buildings and Sunni clerics called from the minarets for people to man the barricades. Over the next 11 years, neither the Americans nor the Shia-dominated Iraqi government ever won full control over the city, and in June 2014 a few thousand IS fighters unexpectedly took charge, defeating an Iraqi government garrison of at least twenty thousand men. At the time, Ahmed, who came from a poor family, was driving his taxi between Mosul and Baghdad, a journey of about four hours. His friends say he was a friendly and generous man, who liked talking to passengers and who took great care of his car, of which he was proud. He didn’t own it outright, but had bought a share in it and was saving up to buy the rest. When IS overran Mosul, travel to government-held areas was still just about possible and Ahmed went on driving to Baghdad. But a few months later he was arrested by IS, accused of helping members of the Iraqi police and army to escape the city. As a friend of his put it, ‘he stayed in prison for three months and was badly tortured. He would talk a lot about that.’ He was released but could no longer work, and then he was jailed again for a month and a half. He worried about his mother: his brother in Germany was able to send back small amounts to support her but wasn’t officially allowed to work. ‘When Ahmed was freed for the second time,’ his friend said, ‘he sold his share in his taxi and spent the money over the remaining two years of IS rule. Recently, he went bankrupt.’

Despite these disasters, Ahmed and his mother remained optimistic well into the siege that IS rule wouldn’t last much longer and that things would improve. They planned to travel to Turkey, where Ahmed’s brother would meet them. This brother now appears to be the only surviving member of the family; he is trying to get a death certificate issued for Ahmed, which would entitle him to asylum in Germany and allow him to get a job. His married sister has disappeared: she is believed to have been killed in an airstrike, though her body hasn’t been found. This is far from unusual: at one stage, the Civil Defence Corps in west Mosul had just 25 men, one bulldozer and a forklift truck to search for bodies, estimated to number in the thousands, buried under the ruins. They haven’t been paid their salaries by the central government and won’t search for a body unless a relative can give them a clear idea of where it is.

Ahmed was one of Iraq’s five or six million Sunni Arabs, politically the dominant community under the rule of the Ottomans, the British and the Baath Party, though numerically a minority. But since 2003 the Sunni have been on the losing side in a sectarian civil war with the Shia who now control the Iraqi state: in 2006 and 2007 the Sunni were squeezed into small enclaves in Baghdad that one US diplomat described as ‘islands of fear’. IS’s victories in 2014 in Iraq and Syria allowed them a brief resurgence. But the Iraqi government counterattack, backed by American aircraft, wrecked their cities, including Ramadi, Fallujah, Baiji and Tikrit, displacing many from their homes. ‘We are the new Palestinians,’ a Sunni journalist from Ramadi told me in 2015, predicting a future of flight and dispossession. At the time, there were half a million displaced Sunni Arabs in Kirkuk Province who have now been joined by a million people from in and around Mosul.

Most Sunni would argue that they never voted for IS, couldn’t refuse to co-operate without being killed, and were often as much its victims as anybody else. But this isn’t going to save them. Other communities, in both Iraq and Syria, suspect their Sunni neighbours of collaborating with IS, covertly if not openly. Sectarian and ethnic hatred runs deep, especially after such IS atrocities as the Camp Speicher massacre in 2014, when 1700 Shia air force cadets were killed near Tikrit. Fear of IS ‘sleeper cells’ is pervasive: a Syrian Kurdish commander advancing with his troops near Hasakah told me that he his two main problems militarily were the mountainous terrain in which he was fighting and the threat to his troops from Sunni Arab villagers. Some of them waved nervously at us as we drove past, but it seemed unlikely that they would be allowed to stay in their homes for very long. In Iraq, Sunni tribal leaders are expelling ‘Daesh families’ to underline their loyalty to the Iraqi state. Sectarian and ethnic cleansing is sweeping away Sunni communities across northern Iraq and Syria.

The battle for Mosul – where IS had declared its caliphate – was always going to be bloody. But the fight was even more destructive than anyone expected thanks to a number of mistakes made by the Iraqi government and the US. IS resistance was stronger and their own forces weaker than they imagined. Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, was convinced that people in Mosul would rise up against IS when given the chance, so as the siege came into operation locals were discouraged from leaving the city. But IS had a well-organised and ferocious security apparatus: anyone who showed signs of resistance was killed. And then there was its military expertise: it defended Mosul with a combination of snipers, suicide bombers, mines, mortars and booby traps. Swiftly moving from position to position, IS fighters inflicted heavy casualties on pro-government forces and minimised its own losses despite its enemy’s overwhelming superiority in firepower. The Iraqi government’s Counterterrorism Service, the division of between eight and ten thousand highly trained men who did the bulk of the fighting in east Mosul, suffered a casualty rate of between 40 and 50 per cent. Losses as heavy as this could not be sustained for long.

After east Mosul was finally won, the strategy for regaining the city west of the Tigris was revised. West Mosul had a larger population than the east – 750,000 compared to the east’s 450,000, according to a UN estimate – and the buildings were more tightly packed and easier to defend: many alleyways in the old city were so narrow that two people couldn’t walk abreast. Already short of combat troops, the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition decided to rely much more heavily on firepower than it had in the first phase of the siege. The Federal Police and the Emergency Response Division played a bigger part in the fighting, using mortars, artillery and rockets. Grad missiles – Soviet weapons from the 1960s – were fired in volleys of forty at a time from the back of vehicles in the general direction of IS-held territory. Locally made rocket-assisted munitions, with warheads weighing between 90 and 140 kg, were fired into what was becoming one of the most densely populated patches of ground on earth. Even before the government offensive began, IS had been forcing people from their homes in the villages around Mosul and busing them into the city. As IS’s territory shrank under the government forces’ onslaught, it compelled civilians at gunpoint to retreat deeper into the IS enclave: snipers killed anyone who tried to flee behind government lines; the metal doors of houses were welded shut; those caught escaping were hanged from electric pylons; survivors speak of 75 or more people being gunned down at one time by IS patrols as they tried to run away.

Nobody knows for sure how many civilians were killed in the city as a whole. For long periods, shells, rockets and bombs rained down on houses in which as many as a hundred people might be sheltering. ‘Kurdish intelligence believes that over forty thousand civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them,’ Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s former foreign minister, told me. People have disputed that figure, but bear in mind the sheer length of the siege – 267 days between 17 October 2016 and 10 July 2017 – and the amount of ordnance fired into a small area full of people. The Iraqi government ludicrously claims that more of its soldiers died than civilians, but refuses to disclose the number of military casualties and has banned the media from west Mosul. On his website Musings on Iraq, Joel Wing gives a figure of 13,106 civilian fatalities based on media and other reports, but adds that ‘the real number of casualties from the fighting in Mosul is much higher.’ The Civil Defence Force, looking only for bodies that relatives have located, is still delivering between thirty and forty of them to the city morgue every day. The UN says that out of 54 residential areas in west Mosul, 15, containing 32,000 houses, were completely destroyed; 23 areas lost half their buildings; and even in the 16 areas that were ‘lightly damaged’ some 16,000 houses are in ruins.

All the people I was in contact with inside the IS-held part of the old city are dead. Ahmed Mohsen was wounded by a drone and then killed by an IS sniper; his mother and sister have disappeared and are presumably dead. I was also in touch with Rayan Mawloud, a 38-year-old businessman with a wife and two children who had a trading company based in a shop in one of Mosul’s markets. He came from a well-off family and his father had a fleet of trucks that used to carry goods to and from Basra and Jordan. When the attack on Mosul began, a friend of Rayan’s says that he spent his savings buying food to give not just to his relatives ‘but also to many people whom he did not know’. Rayan, knowing that his family would probably be shot by IS snipers if they tried to escape, took the opposite decision to Ahmed Mohsen and stayed with his family in their house. It was hit in an airstrike on 23 June, killing his wife and five-year-old son. He remained in the part of the house that was still habitable, but it was hit by another airstrike on 9 July. He was severely injured and died three days later.



Monkey see, monkey do: ‘Violence in America being normalized at government level’

August 28, 2017


The normalization of violence is happening because even at the government level we see situations in which the state settles its disputes with violence. That example needs to change, says Arvin Vohra, Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

Rival protests in the US city of Berkeley, California pitting right-wing nationalists against members of the leftist group Antifa have descended into chaos on Sunday.

Demonstrators broke through police barricades during a ‘Rally against hate’ and clashed with right-wing activists, which led to 14 people being arrested. At least one person was injured in the melee, according to the Berkeley Police Department.

Prior to the unrest, police banned sticks, masks and any potential weapons. Nevertheless, dozens of so-called anti-fascist protesters reportedly broke those rules.

RT spoke to the vice chairman of the Libertarian party, Arvin Vohra, who said that violence is being normalized across America.

RT: Berkeley has a long history of left-wing activism. Do you think it was a little provocative to choose the city as a venue for a pro-Trump rally?

Arvin Vohra: I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having a rally of any kind anywhere as long as it is not violent. But a rally that is coming from a recent history of a culture of violence could be problematic. I think a lot of the response that we are seeing in terms of violence, in terms of using mace, in terms of using other tools is showing that a lot of self-described anarchists are not actually anarchists – they are just people engaging in violence. Anarchists are people who oppose the government, not people who just oppose people that they disagree with and try to fight words with violence.

RT: The original gathering was supposedly against Marxism. And yet crowds were chanting, “Nazis off our streets.” Do you think this kind of language is making matters worse?

AV: I think that one of the really big things to realize here is that language is fine. Language is a part of the marketplace of ideas. And sometimes your ideas are going to fail. If your language is provocative people might reject it. If your language is out of touch with what most voters and people believe – which is what we are seeing from both the left and the right – you are going to lose in the marketplace of ideas. And that is fine. What we believe, as libertarians, that it is not fine that when your ideas fail to try to use violence to rescue them. And that is what we are seeing; we are seeing two sides that have ideologies that people simply do not want that are both fighting over the worst ideology and the problem is that they are resorting to violence.

RT: This is happening in the wake of President Trump’s handling of Charlottesville. Where do you see this situation heading?

AV: Right now we are going to see American politics going one of two directions. The direction that I hope it goes in is a deep rejection of violence in politics and I mean that both in terms of violence within American politics, and also the example of violence that the government is currently setting. I believe that a lot of the normalization of violence that we are seeing is happening because even at the government level we are seeing situations in which the government settles its disputes with violence. If there is a dispute with the Islamic world, it is settling it with violence. If it there is a dispute with drugs, it settles that with violence. And that example needs to change. One possibility would be a wholesale rejection of violence at a personal level and at the governmental level. And that would be an incredible opportunity for American growth. But the other possibility that I hope does not happen, is an increasing cycle of violence, where violence is normalized or becomes more and more part of our politics. A violent politics is a rejection of everything America stands for. One of the great things about America is that we are able to settle our disputes without violence. It is one of the things that has set America apart since its founding. And to see that going in this direction is just heartbreaking… The vast majority of Americans want to see an end to all that violence.



Islamic State begins to leave Syria-Lebanon border zone

August 28, 2017

by Angus McDowall


BEIRUT (Reuters) – A convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families began to depart the Lebanon-Syria border zone on Monday under Syrian military escort, surrendering their enclave and leaving for eastern Syria after a week-long battle.

A line of ambulances and buses were shown on Syrian state television driving slowly through the arid countryside, the border’s pale hills behind them, as they departed.

It will end any Sunni militant presence on the border, an important goal for Lebanon and the Shi’ite Hezbollah group, and is the first time Islamic State has publicly agreed to a forced evacuation from territory it held in Syria.

Islamic State agreed a ceasefire on Sunday with the Lebanese army on one front and the Syrian army and Hezbollah on the other after losing much of its mountainous enclave straddling the border, paving the way for its evacuation.

Both Hezbollah and Lebanese officials have billed the evacuation as a surrender by the jihadist group.

“We do not bargain. We are in the position of the victor and are imposing conditions,” Lebanese Internal Security General Abbas Ibrahim said on Sunday.

Hezbollah, a Lebanese group, has been a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through Syria’s six-year civil war. The Lebanese army said its offensive against Islamic State did not involve coordination with Hezbollah or the Syrian army.

A commander in the pro-Assad military alliance said Syria and Hezbollah had accepted Islamic State’s evacuation rather than a fight to the end to avert a bloody war of attrition.

Islamic State fighters were sheltering among civilians and to complete the offensive would have involved great bloodshed, the commander added. “Every battle that ends with negotiation or surrender is a victory,” the commander said.


A total of 600 people, including both Islamic State fighters and their family members, will leave in the convoy, Syria’s state-run Ikhbariya television station reported.

The militants will travel across Syria under heavy security escort to Islamic State lines near Al-Bukamal in the east, a Lebanese security source said.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah were communicating with Islamic State near Al-Bukamal to arrange the transfer of the convoy into jihadist territory, the security source said.

One Hezbollah prisoner and the corpses of five Hezbollah fighters, as well as the bodies of some Syrian soldiers, will be handed over by Islamic State, the security source added.

Islamic State fighters were earlier seen burning heavy equipment and arms which the left in the border enclave.

The deal also involved Islamic State revealing the fate of nine Lebanese soldiers it captured when it overran the town of Arsal in Lebanon in 2014.

A senior Lebanese security official said late on Sunday the soldiers were almost certainly dead after recovering six bodies and digging for two others in areas previously held by Islamic State.

Earlier this month, two other pockets straddling the border were recaptured by Lebanon and Syria after other militant groups accepted similar evacuation deals.

Those agreements were prompted by a brief Hezbollah offensive that began at the end of July against militants of the group formerly known as Nusra Front, which was al Qaeda’s official partner in Syria until last year.

Hezbollah has maintained a strong presence in the parts of Syria near the border with Lebanon for years, helping Assad to recapture several rebel-held towns and villages there.

The threat to Lebanese territory from rebel and militant groups in Syria was evident in the 2014 attack on Arsal. Suicide bomb attacks struck a predominately Shi’ite area in south Beirut, where Hezbollah is widely supported, in November 2015.

Inside Syria, Islamic State is retreating on all fronts, losing territory both to the Syrian army and its allies, and to an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a U.S.-led coalition.

Additional reporting by Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Alison Williams


Winston Spencer-Churchill: A Tribute

by Harry Elmer Barnes

No informed person could well deny that Winston S. Churchill was probably the most spectacular showman in the history of British politics, and he was surely one of Britain’s great masters of patriotic and honorific rhetoric. But when we go beyond this into any phase of Churchill’s career we enter debatable ground. Any careful study of his personality and career raises serious questions as to his personal and political integrity and the value of his public services to Great Britain.

His political career revealed no firm political principles or ideology. He shifted in his party affiliations from the Conservatives to the Liberals and back to the Conservatives. He praised Mussolini and Hitler lavishly after their totalitarian programs had been fully established and their operations were well known. He said that if he had been an Italian he would have been a Fascist, and as late as 1938 he stated that if England were ever in the same straits that Germany had been in 1933, he hoped that England would find “her Hitler.” The eminent Anglo-American publicist, Francis Neilson, declared that Churchill’s praise of Hitler was the most extreme tribute ever paid by a prominent Englishman to the head of a foreign state. When his “great and good friend” of former days, Mussolini, was murdered by Communist partisans and his corpse hung up head down in Milan, Churchill rushed in to a dinner party with the news, exclaiming: “Ah, the bloody beast is dead!” In World War II he declared that it was his great life purpose to destroy Hitler and National Socialism.

Churchill’s shifts on Communism were equally fantastic. He had been one of the most bitter critics of Communism and its leaders, denouncing it as “foul baboonery,” but during World War II he extolled Stalin as generously as he previously had Mussolini and Hitler, only to shift again as early as 1946 and demand a Cold War on Communism.

There is no convincing evidence whatever that Churchill ever proposed or supported any public measure with a primary interest in its probable effect on the welfare of Britain or humanity. He appeared to be exclusively concerned with its probable reaction on his own political career. In this he differed from Roosevelt. Even John T. Flynn admits that the latter, as a country squire, had a real sense of noblesse oblige and was interested in the well-being of the common people when helping them did not interfere with his own political ambitions. Churchill never revealed any sense of noblesse oblige. To him rank only demanded special privileges and rewards. It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that he was the most vain person in the whole history of prominent public figures, a trait enduring until his death and after, when he had planned years or months in advance even the details of a pompous and dramatic public funeral.

Churchill was completely lacking in integrity with respect to his public career. He had no hesitation in uttering the most flagrant misstatements when this appeared necessary to him to promote his political ambitions or cover up his past mistakes. He did not turn aside from deceiving the British people on matters of great public import if this was required for his political self-protection. Perhaps the best of many examples was his report to the House of Commons after his return from the disastrous Yalta Conference, where he had witnessed Stalin’s duplicity and mendacious greed, having already observed this at Tehran and in the atrocious violation of Stalin’s promises in regard to the Soviet treatment of Poland. Churchill assured the House: “The impression I brought back from the Crimea is that Marshall Stalin and the other Soviet leaders wish to live in honorable friendship and democracy with the Western democracies. I feel that no government stands more on its obligations than the Russian Soviet Government.”

It is well to remember that Churchill’s great current reputation as a statesman rests entirely on events between April 1940 and July 1945. He was so thoroughly discredited as a politician by 1933 that both the Baldwin and Chamberlain governments considered that to have him in the Cabinet would be a detriment to Conservative prestige and prospects. When public issues returned again to domestic affairs in 1945, Churchill was resoundingly defeated in the General Election of that summer. As a wartime administrator he showed tremendous energy rather than organizing and directive genius. He was more distinguished for his pugnacity than for his statecraft, although there can be no doubt that he inspired the British to unite and continue the war against Hitler, but it may be questioned if unthinking resistance to Hitler after Dunkirk was the best policy for Britain. The most effective indictment of Churchill’s wartime statecraft is that after gaining military victory he lost the peace to Soviet Russia.

There has been no greater fallacy than to regard Churchill as a military genius, although it is probable that no other important British leader has so loved war or worked harder to insure it when it seemed within the range of possibility. Churchill was responsible for the disastrous attempt to force the Dardanelles in 1915, which was Britain’s most spectacular defeat in the World War I (except for the futile attempts to break through the German trenches). It has been said that it was a good plan if it had worked, but a truly good military plan must work out in practice and not merely be impressive on paper. Both Lord Fisher and Lord Kitchener warned against the project. Churchill was compelled to resign as responsible for the failure.

In regard to World War II both English and American experts have indicated that Churchill’s interference in strategic decisions was often disastrous. General Albert C. Wedemeyer has pointed out that Churchill and Roosevelt really ran military operations like a pair of Indian chiefs conducting a scalping party, with little consideration of the ultimate military or political outcome. Churchill’s constant demand to concentrate the Allied attack against the “soft underbelly of Europe”-a sort of return to the Dardanelles fantasy- was properly discredited by the impressive manner in which General Kesserling defended the Italian sector of the soft underbelly under the greatest handicaps, defeated in the end mainly by the treachery of Hitler and his SS underlings.

It is held even by restrained admirers of Churchill that we must at least give him credit for saving Britain. One might ask: saving Britain from whom and from what? Hitler was a worse bootlicker of Britain than the Kaiser and the cornerstone of his foreign policy was to achieve a permanent understanding with Britain. Even after Dunkirk, where he deliberately permitted the British to escape, he offered Britain a generous peace and told his generals that he would put the German Wehrmacht, air force and navy at the service of Britain to preserve the British Empire. Real statesmanship would have dictated Churchill’s agreeing to a stalemate with Germany in June 1941, and letting Germany and Russia bleed each other white and thus remove the threat of dictatorship from either the Right or the Left. This was what wise Americans like Herbert Hoover, Robert A. Taft, and Harry S. Truman recommended at the time. But Churchill was just getting too much joy and thrill-“having too much fun,” as Roosevelt put it-out of being an active war leader to consider for a moment retiring to the role of an observer, even if this was probably the only way to assure British safety and the preservation of the Empire. He condemned England to four more years of costly and brutal warfare, failed to protect eastern and central Europe from Russia and Communism, and made inevitable the liquidation of the British Empire.

Churchill led in the denunciation of the alleged horrible atrocities and brutalities of the Nazis, but his record is surely no better. He rejected Hitler’s proposal at the outset of the War to ban all bombardment of non-military objectives and launched this barbarous form of bombing on 11 May 1940, with an attack on the helpless university town of Freiburg. He announced that he would stop at no type or extent of brutality and terrorism to crush Hitler and he made good his word. He directed the terrible incendiary bombing of Hamburg, and was solely responsible for ordering the needless destruction of the beautiful city of Dresden, the most ruthless, despicable and indefensible major atrocity of World War II, in which the losses of life and property were far greater than in the case of the American bombing of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. He approved and ordered the application of the Lindemann Plan for the saturation bombing of Germany which, for stark brutality in both conception and operation, matched any of the alleged Nazi “extermination” measures. This plan ordered concentration of British bombing on the homes of the poorer or working classes whose houses were huddled close together so that more innocent civilians could be killed per bomb that was dropped.

In his remarks at the funeral of Mr. Churchill, former President Dwight Eisenhower laid main stress on Churchill’s achievements as a “friend of peace.” It would be no exaggeration to say that this was not unlike J. Edgar Hoover paying a special tribute to Al Capone as a friend of law enforcement. Even his British admirers have conceded Churchill’s lifelong and inordinate love of war. No other British public figure worked as hard to bring Britain into World War I as did Churchill. This has been admitted in the recent book, Twelve Days, by the English writer George Malcolm Thomson on the crisis of 1914. It is common knowledge that Churchill was the leader of the British war party from 1936 onward, having told General Robert E. Wood in that year that: “Germany is getting too strong; we must smash her.” He not only cooperated with the war party in Britain but also worked closely with Bernard Baruch and the other powerful warminded Americans.

Perhaps the best summary appraisal of Churchill’s personality comes from the distinguished British publicist, F.S. Oliver:

From his youth up Mr. Churchill has loved with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his soul, and with all his strength, three things: war, politics and himself. He has loved war for its dangers, he loves politics for the same reason, and himself he has always loved for the knowledge that his mind is dangerous -dangerous to his enemies, dangerous to his friends, dangerous to himself. I can think of no man I have ever met who would so quickly and so bitterly eat his heart out in Paradise.

The significance of Churchill’s career for this and later generations was admirably summarized by the British journal, The European:

In terms of personal success there has been no career more fortunate than that of Winston Churchill. In terms of human suffering to millions of people and destruction to the noble edifice of mankind there has been no career more disastrous. In that sad paradox lies the tragedy of our time.



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