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*Peter Phillips is a Professor of Political Sociology at Sonoma State University since 1994, former Director of Project Censored 1996 to 2010 and President of Media Freedom Foundation 2003 to 2017. He has been editor or co-editor of fourteen editions of Censored, co-editor with Dennis Loo of Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney (2006), editor of two editions of Progressive Guide to Alternative Media and Activism (1999 & 2004). His most recent book is Giants: The Global Power Elite. He was a co-host of the weekly Project Censored show on Pacifica Radio with Mickey Huff from 2010 to 2017, originating from KPFA in Berkeley and airing on forty stations nationwide. He teaches courses in Political Sociology, Sociology of Power, Sociological of Media, Sociology of Conspiracies and Investigative Sociology. He was winner of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in 1997 for Best Political Book, PEN Censorship Award 2008, Dallas Smythe Award from the Union for Democratic Communications 2009, and the Pillar Human Rights Award from the National Associations of Whistleblowers 2014. He lives in a redwood forest near Bodega, California with his wife Mary Lia.
I spent the "quiet" time of the materialistic
holiday whirlwind to quietly compile and count all the Cindy Sheehan Soapbox shows for the past ten years!
I think some have been lost to the ether, but the ones I have preserved amounted to 346.
CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO
CHECK OUT THE EXTRAORDINARY
LIST OF GUESTS/SHOWS!
Below are some of the points that I made during our chat (this is not a full transcript) or some thoughts I would like to expand on.
Cindy asked what I make of Trump’s announcement to withdraw 2,000 troops from Syria.
Trump had stated during his campaign and his presidency and even prior to that during Obama’s presidency in 2013 that he did not think we should be in Syria, nor should we be bombing Syria, that it was a waste of money and lives and that the Arab League and neighboring countries should be the ones to step up to the plate.
I think this was one of the reasons that many people voted for him, because of his non-interventionist foreign policy, which was in stark contrast to that of Hillary Clinton.
In April, of this year he had announced that he wanted to pull the US out of Syria and then just days later there was an alleged chemical weapons attack that was pinned on the Syrian government in Douma, to which Trump responded with attacking multiple targets along with his allies the UK and France.
This of course derailed his plan to pull out US troops, which is the exact outcome that the terrorists that staged the whole theatrical performance had wanted. And we have seen this sort of thing happen time and time again during the war. Whenever the Syrian army and government have made significant progress new allegations and attacks are made against them in corporate media in order to garner international support for military, political intervention as well as increased sanctions.
There are other factors at play with this latest withdraw announcement which was made on December 19th, in addition to standing by his America first promise, campaign statements, saving money and lives, there’s the fact that Turkey’s president Erdogan had threatened to attack the Kurdish militias on his border, if the US didn’t have them removed. He sees the YPG (People’s Protection Units) which was rebranded at the request of the US into the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) as an extension of the PKK (Kurdistan workers party) which is a terrorist group that has been in conflict with the Turkish state for decades.
As I had written about back in March the Olive branch operation in Afrin proved that NATO alliances are stronger than any other alliances and that the US will choose Turkey over the Kurds and that’s what we are seeing happen right now. Some have also speculated that Israel may have given the US a heads up that it would be engaging in an intense bombing campaign and that US troops should be sent home so that they are not caught in the crosshairs.Cindy asked what I make of the reaction by democrats, liberals, celebrities etc.
My response:It would be comical if it wasn’t actually dangerous. In their blind opposition to anything and everything that Trump says these overnight analysts and pundits started claiming that if US troops were to withdraw from Syria then Kurds would be annihilated by Turkey or succumb to some other equally horrible fate.
What we have seen over the past few days however is that leaders of Kurdish militias have actually reached out to the Syrian government and asked that they step in and take back Manbij and all the territory under their control west of the Euphrates in order to protect them against Turkey. This is a clear shift in their political alliance away from the US and towards Syria and Russia. Turkey will not directly confront the Syrian army so Trump’s announcement could actually signify a big step towards peace in this almost eight-year western imposed insurrection.
The US entered Syria illegally and has since set up over a dozen military bases and supported the Kurdish militias during the last few years only. Prior to using the Kurdish militias as a tool to create chaos and division in Syria, the US was predominately supporting the hardcore Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Free Syrian Army and an assortment of other alphabet soup groups who they affectionately referred to as “moderate rebels” to topple the secular Syrian government.
Had the US not supported the Kurdish militias they would have not had the motivation to turn against the Syrian state. During the beginning of the war, the Kurds were fighting with the Syrian army against terrorists, by the way some still are and many Kurds in Syria are not in agreement with the separatist ambitions of the Kurdish militias.
I want to stress the fact that before 2011 Kurds, Arabs, and Christian minorities lived peacefully in Syria and till now they are NOT the majority. They do not have any justifiable claims to the north eastern region (which also happens to be the most agriculturally and oil rich part of the country) or any other part of Syria. They are a nomadic people and I do not mean that in a condescending way at all but to illustrate that they came into Syria in waves to escape mistreatment in neighboring countries and were treated fairly and given equal rights. Not all Kurds envision a unified Kurdistan that would span four different sovereign countries (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran). Most Kurdish movements and political parties are focused on the concerns and autonomy of Kurds within their respective countries. Within each country, there are Kurds who have assimilated and whose aspirations may be limited to greater cultural freedoms and political recognition.
It’s also worth noting that only Israel is their main and really only supporter and their plans for an independent Kurdistan align almost perfectly with Israel’s greater Israel plan. They have historically been used by Israel and NATO.Cindy asked about the demands being made that Russia or Iran should withdraw from Syria if US troops are to be withdrawn.
My response was basically that Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah are there with the Syrian governments permission. Whereas the US, UK, France, and Turkey are there illegally and need to leave. Cindy noted and I agreed that it’s a false equivalency and a logical fallacy.
We also spoke about fasting to raise awareness #illuminateYemen for the entirely man-made and avoidable Saudi war and genocide that’s been going on for over three years and nine months. We discussed the latest developments and how Saudi Arabia is outsourcing their front line fighters with children and men from Dafur, Sudan and paying their families $10,000.
Fasting for seven days was a very humbling experience. The war on Yemen is truly heartbreaking especially because it is entirely man-made and avoidable. It’s so important for us to continue to raise awareness and get people to talk about it to literally everyone they know, which. For the past 3 years and nine months the murderous Al Saud regime, has been bombing civilians using weapons bought from the US, UK, and Germany, what they are doing is nothing short of committing genocide and deliberately starving Yemeni’s them through blockades. Tens of thousands have been killed since it began.
There was actually a report in the New York Times today that Saudi Arabia was recruiting children from Darfur to fight on the front lines and paying their families $10,000. Sudan has been part of the Saudi-led alliance, and deployed thousands of ground troops to Yemen. In the NYT report they said that five Sudanese fighters who had returned from Yemen told them that that children made up 20-40 percent of their units in Yemen.
The fact that House of Saud is on the UN human and woman’s rights council while also being the leading violator in crimes against humanity and the main sponsor of terror in the world shows the western worlds blatant hypocrisy. A United Nations-sponsored peace agreement was signed in Sweden earlier this month, and was agreed upon by both sides to implement a ceasefire in Hodeida. The panel will be meeting again on January 1 to discuss “detailed plans for full redeployment”.
Every effort needs to be made for this conflict to end.