US announces more support for ‘heroic’ White Helmets in Syria

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15-03-19 09:06:00,

The Trump administration is doubling down on backing the White Helmets, the self-proclaimed civil defense group with often controversial activity in militant-held areas of Syria, pledging a $5 million donation at a conference.

The contribution was announced by ambassador James Jeffrey, US special envoy to the anti-Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) coalition, at the third Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, held in Brussels.

The $5 million will fund both the “vital, life-saving operations” by the White Helmets and the work of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), a UN body created in late 2016 to investigate – but not prosecute – alleged atrocities in Syria after 2011.

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As justification for the support, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino claimed the “heroic first responders” of the White Helmets have saved “more than 114,000” lives since the Syrian conflict began, including victims of “vicious chemical weapons attacks” the US is blaming on the Syrian government. Palladino’s statement, however, acknowledged that the group operates solely “in areas outside of the control of the regime.”

Though the Trump administration announced it would stop funding the White Helmets back in May 2018, it reversed course just a month later, sending $6.8 million to the group.

The Syrian government has repeatedly accused the White Helmets of being part of various Islamist rebel groups, while Russia has accused the group of staging alleged chemical attacks in order to provide pretexts for US military intervention in Syria.

Evidence of White Helmet involvement with anti-government militants and other abuses, such as organ harvesting and endangering children, was presented to the UN in December.

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Trump Announces Withdrawal — Hollywood Liberal Heads Explode

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21-12-18 09:40:00,

These hysterical entitled people think Syria is their property

The announcement by President Trump that US troops would be leaving Syria has been met with anger not just by neocons, but by Hollywood ‘liberals’ too. Aren’t progressives supposed to oppose wars and illegal occupations?

Of course, we have to be cautious. Trump’s announcement of a troop withdrawal from Syria, for now at least, is just words. We need to see evidence of soldiers leaving before we start to celebrate. We need to read the small print with a large Sherlock Holmes-style magnifying glass.

Even so, it’s a positive development as it marks a further winding down of the conflict. Some though don’t see it that way.

We knew neocons would be upset by the news. They want the US to be in Syria forever. We knew Britain and France – who have invested so much in trying to bring down the Assad government – wouldn’t be happy either. But it’s the reaction of Hollywood liberals which is the interesting thing.

I’m old enough to remember when liberals hummed Pete Seeger songs and marched against wars and illegal occupations of global south countries. When they denounced imperialism and the racist attitudes which underpinned it.

Today, they seem to support imperialism, war and military occupations.

They’ve gone from being anti-war to anti anti-war. The bogus doctrine of ‘humanitarian interventionism’, promoted by warmongers to sell old fashioned wars of plunder, and rampant Russophobia, which blames the ‘Evil Putin’ for just about everything, have clearly addled quite a few brains.  

Mia Farrow is worried that a US exit from Syria “benefits Russia, ISIS-still active, Iran and Assad’ and is also concerned that the Donald did not “consult the Pentagon.

Would she have had such complaints if the US president had ordered an immediate withdrawal from Vietnam in 1968?

For good measure Mia also retweets hard-right neocon South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who calls withdrawal of US troops from Syria, a “huge Obama-like mistake” and a “stain on the honour of the United States”. I can think of quite a few things in recent years which have been a ‘stain on the honour of the United States’: removing troops from Syria is not one of them.

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Taliban Announces Death Of Notorious Terrorist Jalaluddin Haqqani

Taliban Announces Death Of Notorious Terrorist Jalaluddin Haqqani

05-09-18 07:58:00,

He was head of a terror network that’s been called “the Sopranos of the Afghanistan War” which has been a lead group behind the most feared guerrilla warfare insurgency of the past thirty years in central Asia. 

Jalaluddin Haqqani’s death was announced by the Taliban early Monday; however, it is unclear when exactly he died as prior death claims have been a matter of intense speculation since at least 2007, which is the year that some Afghan sources claim it actually happened. 

According to a Taliban statement Haqqani died after a long illness, but further details weren’t given. He’s one of the most notable and controversial figures ever confirmed to have been trained by the CIA. 

Jalaluddin Haqqani was friends with Osama Bin Laden, but Haqqani’s group goes back further and is more deeply rooted in central Asia than al-Qaeda. 

The ‘Haqqani network’ has close ties to al-Qaeda and operates largely independently under the Taliban umbrella, and is based in the tribal Pakistani border area of Waziristan. Its roots go back to the 1970’s and the group was among the most effective mujahideen organizations to be trained and sponsored by the CIA in the US war against the Soviets in central Asia. 

Their favored tactic, as CNN reports, citing war studies is “bold and complex suicide bombings, including high-profile attacks on US and foreign personnel and assassinations of high level people in Kabul and northern Afghanistan”. 

Fox News reporting of his death describes that he “was considered a prized CIA asset” and a previous LA Times profile of his group says “The network is believed to be financed by some Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, and by the Pakistani establishment”.

Taliban announces death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the Haqqani network #Taliban #Haqqani pic.twitter.com/VbJmnHxA4l

— China Daily (@ChinaDailyUSA) September 4, 2018

Indeed when the Trump White House first announced earlier this year that the US would be cutting $300 million in military aid to Pakistan over its failure or refusal to root out Islamist militants, the Haqqani network was precisely one of the groups named. 

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