Contrary to Michael Rubin's suggestion in "Commentary" I was not among Sy Hersh's sources for his excellent LRB story on Syria and gas. I am, however, pleased to know that the Ziocons still care about me. pl
19 Minutes and 20 seconds into this podcast.
Why does Hersh ignore all the news stories at the time about Israel providing the bulk of White House intelligence on Ghouta? Remember all those stories about Israeli intercepts?
Great stand Col, the Ziocons as you call them really need to be made to look like the Israel firsters that they are. They like to smear and disqualify anyone who can pose a threat to their strategically controlled narrative. I salute you.
“Let’s hope the source isn’t Lang, because if it was, Hersh should certainly have noted (as he neglected to previously) that Lang had registered with the Foreign Agents Registration Act in order to work with a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician. Given Hersh’s previous mistakes in this regard, he cannot be given the benefit of the doubt.”
below is a quote from an article by Justin Raimondo at antiwar dot com, Israel does really seem to try to get the U.S to do their fighting for them.
“At the height of the war hysteria, you’ll recall, we were told Israel’s Unit 8200 electronic counterintelligence task force had intercepted the internal communications of the Syrian army commander on the scene and Damascus headquarters – and that the transcript proved conclusively the Syrian government had ordered the attacks. Yet an article by Kenneth Timmerman in the Daily Caller last year claimed those transcripts were “doctored,” although the piece kept mum on the question of who did the doctoring.”
I dunno. Ask him. pl
Amazing. A comment in which Rubin alleges a conspiracy theory contains an honest-to-God conspiracy theory. “I have no information that Patrick Lang gave him the story, but if he did, well, he once worked for a Syrian, and we all know what that means.” Garbage.
The pernicious dam is cracking and the knowledge is becoming available for those with the brains and hearts:
Michael Rubin’s smear job obviously went through a small army of lawyers before publication to add the caveats that probably put it this side of libel perse. But that said, I am reminded of the rumor, circulated in the late 1070s, that the two leading neoconservative “think” journals at the time–Commentary and Dissent–were going to merge and the new publication would be called Dissentary. The more worrisome factor is that the neocons are already gloating that Obama has become such a hate object that there is a real chance that the GOP will take a narrow majority in the Senate and retain control of the House in November. They are already writing out their consulting contracts and planning their vacations in the south of France. Things have reached such frictions with both Russia and China that, this time around, these lunatics would likely get us into a world war. Already, their Obama Administration princess, Victoria Nuland (wife of Robert Kagan) has done a masterful job of screwing up things in Ukraine. There is no telling what kind of revenge Wolfowitz, Perle, Ledeen, Kagan and company would exact if given a change to come back again. Obama is their savior–in more ways than one.
As my old friend and mentor, MSGT Albert H. Rivers, told me when we got thrown out of a gin mill, “If they bar ya, they’re thinking about ya.” You must still scare the hell out of the likes of Rubin and his ilk.
What a piss-ant this Rubin is, he should be flogged for his insinuations. To think this idiot was schooling our military leadership at one time. You would think we would have standards. Nothing but a Crass Hatchet job that requires an eventul gutting.
Can someone direct me to any source that will give a current, fairly complete and honest report on the situation in Syria, region by region or city by city.
Michael Rubin says:
“But the international community seems to have conducted a great deal of forensic work about what happened in East Ghouta, and that evidence reportedly pointed overwhelmingly at the Assad regime.”
From an e-mail I wrote on 2 September last year in response to a query from a contact about what looked like a peculiarly dubious story in the ‘Express’:
‘What does strike me is that we have now had three different version of supposedly clinching SIGINT evidence. The first was reported to be from Unit 8200 [the Israeli SIGINT unit], and referred to conversations between high ranking regime officials. The second was supposedly collected by U.S. intelligence, and referred to panicked phone calls between a Syrian Ministry of Defence official and the leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers. We know have the Troodos facility [the British SIGINT facility on Cyprus] supposedly recording a regional commander threatening the commander of an artillery battery with the firing squad, the clinching evidence supposedly divulged by a senior RAF officer.
‘…until I see some details of the phone calls, or a convincing explanation as to why it cannot be presented, they make me more sceptical not less. This looks to me like an incompetently managed infowars operation.’
According to Hersh, much of the support for the claim that the Ghouta atrocity was a Turkish ‘false flag operation’ came ‘from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack.’
Of course, it is conceivable that Hersh may have been the victim of a disinformation operation, or indeed, could be perpetrating disinformation himself. But before concluding this, one needs something more than an asseveration that ‘forensic work’ conducted by the ‘international community’ produced ‘evidence’ that ‘reportedly pointed overwhelmingly at the Assad regime.’
What one needs is a single iota of evidence, produced in public, that does this.
The term ‘liberal’ is often used, in American contexts, in ways alien to more traditional British meanings. I am quite fond of the sense in which it is used in the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Lord Action, who is described as an ‘English Liberal historian and moralist, the first great modern philosopher of resistance to the state, whether its form be authoritarian, democratic, or socialist.’
(See http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/4647/John-Emerich-Edward-Dalberg-Acton-1st-Baron-Acton )
Anyone who asks us simply to take on trust claims made by intelligence agencies, when they do not produce credible evidence in support of these claims, or any reason why they cannot produce such evidence, demonstrates conclusively that they are not, in this sense, a liberal. Probably, indeed, such people do not understand what it means to believe in ‘resistance to the state, whether its form be authoritarian, democratic, or socialist.’
A real hack job. Nothing but personal attacks with no argument presented on the substance or merits of Hersh’s report.
You kick over rocks and the roaches are running scared now.
So, who does Rubin work for? What is his connection to Israel?
In my reading of the article, the source appears to have been recently in the chain of command through military or government service. It shows that honorable people are still around, a very grave threat to the Trotsky Tribe as Rubin’s reaction shows.
Try Josh Landis’ “Syria Comment”
Just as Obama used the Iraq war fiasco to come into the presidency, so could an Independent use a clean break from the Neocon’s stupid and suicidal strategy of all war all the time to earn the office in 2016.
Though I believe things are coming to a head now. Today, Eastern Ukrainians are using the NED playbook to take Govt buildings in Kharkov and Donetsk.
How bizarre, is this not the same Michael Rubin that was so sure that Saddam was all up with WMD. Is he not the same visibly deranged gimp ranting about how Iraq was in on 9/11 or was a threat to the Western world. When this man speaks people should just burst out laughing.
IMHO, the poison gas Syria stuff looks like a co-production starring Turkey as the street walker (foot soldiers)and featuring Israel as the pimp(stage direction-creative intel., with cameos by Rubin and Pletka et al as the ‘pissers in da soup.
Rubin is a neocon with the American Enterprise Institute and has BS degree in journalistic innuendo.
In Rubin’s own CV this is noted:
Rubin currently provides academic instruction on regional issues for senior U.S. Army and Marine officers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wonderful- and he was in the Pentagon working for Feith 2002-4. Totally not to be believed
Whatever qualified him to be a senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School…..wet behind the ear in military affairs is an understatement. His personal attack on Col. Lang is unforgivable….
Michael Rubin, spent exactly zero years in the armed forces of the Republic; but he did spend many years at the tip of the pen, supporting Ahmed Chalibi. Lets not forget what a wonderful provider of advice he was to the Great L. Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Shouldn’t we be asking what Michael Rubin knows about false flag operations in Syria, when he know it and how he came about such information? He’s got a great track record given all his wonderful experience.
The funny thing is, Rubin’s piece is pretty much the only mention of Hersh’s piece that I’ve seen outside of SST. The reaction to Hersh’s piece so far has been the proverbial “deafening silence”.
So in a sense Rubin is actually promoting Hersh by drawing attention to him.
I laughed when I read this post of yours about Rubin. I laughed even more when I read his post at Commentary. What he is accusing others of he is guilty of himself. These people really do need to take a good hard look in the mirror.
To further entertain myself I followed the link he provided regarding you and was rewarded with this gem:
“W. Patrick Lang, the former chief of Middle East intelligence at the D.I.A., said, ‘The Pentagon has banded together to dominate the government’s foreign policy, and they’ve pulled it off. They’re running Chalabi. The D.I.A. has been intimidated and beaten to a pulp. And there’s no guts at all in the C.I.A.’”
Wow, this is damnable. Too bad for Rubin and his ilk it also happens to be true.
My compliments to you for pissing this arrogant moron off.
Incidentally, I’ve noticed that Rubin has crawled out from under the rock he has resided for a long time. Recently, he made a number of cable tv and neocon talk radio appearances complaining about Putin and proposing idiotic ideas to oppose him.
Hersh on “Democracy Now”:
One other thing, col. You have a very impressive C.V., to say the least. Unlike Rubin, who only served a certain foreign power and himself, you served the nation.
The passive-aggressive croaking of the toadie Rubin is, if not beneath notice, certainly beneath contempt.
However, as an observation, I’d like to offer some anecdotal evidence that the efforts of OGH, and those of other like minded persons here and elsewhere, may be beginning to bear fruit. Commenters at popular message boards like Yahoo and YouTube are hardly noted for their acuity as to foreign policy. (I’ve seen them commonly referred to as “bottom feeders in the stinking cesspools of internet discourse.” Yeah. Harsh.) But a sea change seems to be occurring.
Increasingly, there are questions on those sites as to why we should bow to the will of the Likudniks, or support their policies. Or about how further foreign adventurism is in the national interest. On the questions of Syria and Ukraine the sentiment is “How is this America’s business? We don’t need to get our military involved.”
So, anecdotal as I said, but it’s a hopeful sign at least. The uninvolved and perhaps uninterested public are beginning to take notice. A reason to keep up the good fight.
John Batchelor Show last night
http://www.johnbatchelorshow.com/podcasts/2014/04/07/fourth-hour 19 minutes and 20 seconds in. pl
you really gotta hand it to Peter Scott, he’s indefatigable. Always well cited, whatever his conclusions. He’s a great place to acquaint oneself with some of the spider’s web connecting and co-opting all these different people and enterprises into deep state politics worthy of my foiliest fantasies. He’s done a lot of work on the war on drugs. I believe he’s Canadian.
As I was just writing to the hack Minister in charge of rewriting our election laws along the one vote one time once lines, there’s scumbags and then there’s lying scumbags.
I just stumbled upon him relatively recently. Rubin and co. are sending everything down the memory hole, obviously.
They seek him here, they seek him there,
The Frenchies seek him everywhere,
But is he in heaven or is he in hell?
The damned elusive Pimpernell.
( an ill-remembered bit of doggerel)
This Lang fellow, what should we think? Mr. Rubin seems to see a Lang under every bed. Should he be concerned?
Well, there is the language thing. Lang is an expert speaker of Arabic, and he speaks beautiful French—languages that are common in Syria.
And his past works? Well, he has been known to skulk about, to be sure. It is said that for the past fifty years or more he has met a vast array of unsavory foreigners—some of whom he has killed. Yeah, perhaps there is reason for concern.
Violence? Yes, for certain, for those who wear the green beret it is the coin of the realm. Pat seems a gentleman, a literate man, something of the Renaissance about him, but on the other hand, he is a dab hand with a firearm. He is a shooter, a killer, and armed to the teeth. Should Mr Rubin be concerned? I’ve no idea. I would be.
It’s not clear to me that Obama really emerged on the account of the Iraq War fiasco, per se.
A lot of liberal political insiders were trying to recruit or even create someone who was seemingly unassociated with conventional Washington politics and thus electable as a “new man,” but connected closely with their consensus, independent of the goings on in Iraq. They found such a man in Obama and the Iraq fiasco gave them an opportunity. Without all the political infrastructure and the organization, however, if only the unhappiness with the Iraq war (and the economy) were fueling the drive, Obama presidency probably could not have taken place. I have trouble seeing a real “independent” presidency coming, and if one does, we might be justified in fearing such a person.
Will NED tactics in Eastern Ukraine work? I doubt that a bit. While Eastern Ukrainians might be more sympathetic to Russia than to the West, my sense has been that there aren’t enough people there who are willing to pick a serious fight against the Kiev government. Agents of Kiev government seem to be capable of suppressing the protesters without too much trouble as events so far appear to indicate–which, I suspect, they would not have been able to do (with or without Russian military presence) in Crimea, where the hostility to the present Kiev government seems much stronger. I suspect the game in Eastern Ukraine is more likely in the longer run than the immediate present. Kiev will have trouble governing the region, especially after what they have done, but overt resistance will not last long–and Russia seems to be conspicuously absent from the scene.
Never even met him yet I’ve come to be a bit more mindful – with slips – on both our accounts!
If you like intertwining webs here is how a piece of PNAC became an organization for expanding NATO then pushing for Transitional Democracy.
A wonderful bio of our charming and dashing host. I could see this on the dust jacket of his next book. I can imagine Rubin and other neocon trolls scaring their children into submission with threats of that Lang fellow feeding them logic and history in the dark of the night if they don’t behave.
Kao Hsien Chih,
His comment on stupid wars gave him a popular appeal because he said it beforehand, it hit a nerve of discontent among voters and gave him a consideration he might not have had. I agree with you on the insiders seeking new blood, my view is one from among the mere commoners.
As for an Independent, a centrist person who could pull moderates from both sides of the aisle in support of the administration and pull mid 50s to 60s in the popular vote which would allow for a rebalancing of the system to achieve moderate goals in the national interests without unnecessary foreign entanglements. The choice of the current style D or R will not bring about the needed course correction due to the oversized influence of an affluent group.
No, the NED tactics won’t work as you say, but it does show the world the US goverment’s hypocrisy in methods of “democracy promotion” (PRC told US today to stop interfering in Hong Kong’s internal affairs while Hagel is there on a visit) and pushes Ukraine further along its path to civil war. As Harper notes “these lunatics would likely get us into a world war”, my comment was unclearly implying that I believe, unfortunately,their war is already underway. Where it may truly get hot and burn out of control involving US would be in Syria by this summer which the pyromaniac lunatics are proselytizing for. Hopefully it doesn’t spiral down but it doesn’t look good.
“Lie” is a strong word. The evidence about chemical weapons in Syria, as much as I gather from major news organizations and other sources, left open possibilities of misdirection and plain fakery.
When public statements are consistent with actions, I look at those statements for explanation. If statements are not consistent with actions, I look for other motivations. What I heard from the Obama administration was that indiscriminate, deadly weapons for area denial are unacceptable even in war.
This prohibition of certain types of weapons or methods does tend to rule out asymmetrical force when the reader does not support the cause of the smaller party. That is a matter to sort out another time.
With regard to the situation in Ukraine, many complained that U.S./EU over the years pushed Russia aside, and this gives reason for Russia to demonstrate influence and power to react against her embarrassment and marginalization. Many have suggested that Russia almost was justified in a show of force as a consequence of inaction or game play from the West. And beside that, many have suggested that U.S./EU yielded too much by granting Russia’s role in Syria for the removal of chemical weapons and precursors. Then we can turn around and say that Russia’s interest here or there would have been something or another thing, if only U.S./EU had done something more, less, or different. This is a general critique, not a specific response.
Disincentives can be helpful against bad behavior even when those “responsible” are not to blame. Do not allow clouds of toxic gas in the territory, least of all as deliberate weapons. To put it another way, sometimes the most important thing isn’t that punishment went to the real offender.
Plainly, the strategy around the “red line” was somewhat improvised and out-on-a-limb. That is not the same as deception.
“Lie” is exactly the word I wanted. The US Intelligence community refused to produce a document pinning the al-Gouta incident unequivocally on the Syrian government. In response the White House produced its own exposition of the situation. This exposition contained a mass of assertions but did not display the evidence needed to support them. Then Obama asserted that his assertion laden document PROVED without a doubt the case against the Syrian government in this matter. That had to be a deliberate untruth. He is an intelligent man. He does not live in a vacuum. His staff tells him what they are doing, what they are writing. He presumably understands the material that he reads to the world in his own name. It is clear from Hersh’s piece that many in the government objected to the position that Obama and Kerry took with regard to the al-Gouta event. Obama had to have known that was so but he has persisted in saying that there is no doubt as to the facts of the chemical weapons deaths. How is that not a lie? ” sometimes the most important thing isn’t that punishment went to the real offender.” My god! You really believe that? pl
“”’many complained that U.S./EU over the years pushed Russia aside, and this gives reason for Russia to demonstrate influence and power to react against her embarrassment and marginalization.”
You really think Russia responded to a decade long campaign of destabilization in Ukraine because they were ’embarrassed’?
Fred, I do not think so. As I said previously, Putin and Russia have their own costs and pay-offs related to Ukraine. The West has relatively little ability to influence Putin and Russia either way in that regard.
Thanks, tho it can’t really be said I ‘like” them!
I think that is quite precisely wrong.
What the Russians do will be largely determined by how the situation in Kiev and in the South and East of Ukraine develops: contrary to what Kerry suggests, they are not looking for pretexts to send the ranks rolling, but there are certain circumstances in which they might intervene militarily. To suggest that what the United States does will not affect the likelihood of those circumstances materialising is I think questionable in the extreme.
It may of course be that this is another case where the ‘Lilliputians’ are totally in control of Gulliver, and the United States has little or no control over the West Ukrainian nationalists whom they so disastrously helped to power in Kiev. If that is not the case, however, as who emerges in power in Kiev and how they decide to treat the South and East is critical to how the Russians will react, your government is in a position decisively to influence whether or not we end up with a catastrophe.
It would seem reasonably clear that if the Obama Administration is to influence Putin and his associates to act in they would like to see them act, it is critical that the American side attempts to understand how the Russian sees things. Whether or not such an effort leads to some sympathy for Putin’s perspectives is not the point. If one is trying to influence people, one needs to base one’s action on a clear understanding of how they do think – rather than on beliefs about what one thinks, rightly or wrongly, they should think.
An understanding alike of how people do think and how it might be that in some abstract sense they should think, however, depends upon an ability to make some contact with objective reality – which in turn depends upon having a concern to distinguish truth from falsehood.
Part of the importance of Hersh’s article – and also of the smears that Rubin directed against Colonel Lang – is that once again it has become clearly apparent that the people in control of American policy are insouciant about whether what they claim is or is not true. It would further seem that they are too stupid to realise how dangerous this makes them alike to other countries and to their own.
A great deal of international politics over the past decades has had to do with the attempts of ‘Lilliputians’ to manipulate ‘Gulliver’ in ways favourable to their own interests. As should be reasonably clear by now, it is a widespread belief among the midgets that the giant, is, as it were, a bear with very little brain.
I understand, one needs to know about them and their ways.
David Habakkuk —
Granted, as much as the West has the capacity to affect the situation within Ukraine, then Putin and Russia would respond according to their interests. If the U.S. acts to destabilize the interim government or agitate protests, or if U.S./EU play factions against one another, then yes the West could increase the likelihood that Russia would intervene militarily beyond Crimea. Similarly, if the West had enough influence on the Yanukovych government at the critical moment when their forces fired on protesters, it seems unlikely that Putin would have made the calculation to take Crimea.
Col. Lang —
I have continuing doubts that all of the 2012-13 chemical weapons incidents in Syria were deliberate actions of the Assad government. I wondered whether the Jobar incident April 2013 wasn’t a lot more than rebels who mixed the wrong combination of janitorial chemicals one too many times. Consider also the claims from a Syrian general that he received orders to use chlorine-based chemicals against the opposition. The August incident in the Ghouta area seems consistent with larger amounts of low-concentration chemical agents used deliberately as weapons, perhaps in mixes intended to confuse analysis.
I concede the point that the Obama administration, in the interest of truth, could acknowledge some ambiguity and uncertainty, plainly and in public. That would, however, be at odds with a determination that the Assad regime was fully responsible for their part in incidents around chemical agents/weapons. Determinations, verdicts, and judgments can lack subtlely.
As for my remark, “sometimes the most important thing isn’t that punishment went to the real offender”, this is not valid as a general, moral principle. Mostly it applies to nuns in oversized, Catholic, grade school classrooms, and some areas of hard, Machiavellian politics. It’s possible for authorities this way to play some of the group against the offending parties. Was Obama really supposed to call out Turkey in public, NATO partner and ostensible ally, beyond the seeds in Hersh’s article?
I should ask, is it common practice to draw up long lists of potential targets if the intention is to have contigency plans to strike very few targets e.g. for spite? Hersh’s piece made it look like an actual U.S. military attack on Syria could have been much larger scope, more than the bluff that I inferred, more than the pin-prick that was threatened.
The available evidence strongly suggests that the sniper shootings on the Maidan on February 20 were a false flag operation, just as the Ghouta atrocities almost certainly were.
In his 4 March press conference, Putin was asked about this. An extract:
“QUESTION: You say that Yanukovych did not give the order to shoot people. But somebody shot at the protestors. And clearly, these were snipers, trained snipers.
“You know, some people, including those who were recently among the protestors, have expressed the opinion that these were provocateurs from one of the opposition parties. Have you heard this?
“REPLY: No, I have not heard this.”
Predictably, Putin was ridiculed in the ‘Washington Post’ and elsewhere.
On 5 March, an intercepted conversataion was posted on RT in which the Estonian Foreign Minister, Ursus Paet, made it clear that he believed that the shootings were indeed ‘provocateurs from one of the opposition parties.’
A person ‘recently among the protestors’ was quoted by Paet in support of his argument. She was Olga Bogomolets, the doctor who organised medical services on the Maidan. According to Wikipedia, she comes of an old Lithuanian-Rus gentry family, and is clearly an idealist who was deeply committed to the protests.
What Paet went on to say was:
“it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. So that there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”
(See http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/03/20/ukraines-mysterious-snipers/ for a discussion and the link to the intercept.)
One also can usefully add to the picture a question and answer from the daily press briefing given by the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, on 7 April:
“QUESTION: So you are relying on the Ukrainian Government in terms of what is going on, or do you have any independent sources?
“MS. PSAKI: Well, of course we remain very closely in touch with the Ukrainian Government, and that’s who we work closely with, and of course, they are on the ground, so their information is often very relevant and current.”
(See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/04/224477.htm )
On the available evidence, it seems likely that the relevant issue is not the fact that the U.S. Government did not stop Yanukovich shooting protestors. It is that radical nationalists among the protestors appear to have deliberately staged a ‘false flag’ operation to derail the E.U.-mediated agreement which was on the verge of being signed when the shootings occurred.
Unless Western governments show some signs of wanting a serious investigation of what happened on the Maidan on February 20, and of acting as something more than stenographers for claims from the current government in Kiev, their attempts to demonise Putin simply do not warrant belief.
At the moment, it would seem that Occam’s Razor suggests that one should interpret the actions of the Russian government on the basis that it really believed that what happened in Kiev was a ‘putsch’ by radical nationalists, and had good grounds for that belief.
You believe in and trust the US Government. I do not. I have watched and indeed participated in many deliberate US Government prevarications that were quite simply lies. pl