Perhaps it’s appropriate that intuition plays a part in the job of the conspiracy analyst, as speculation must be guided and constrained by something where there is insufficient evidence for simple logic to suffice. In many cases in the past, where unnatural coincidences and suspect motivation have suggested “conspiracy” or “provocation”, intuition has played its part; something just doesn’t seem right.
So it was with the “Battle for Baghouz” where we are now told that the Islamic State was finally destroyed. In a recent article, I described my feeling that this supposed battle in a previously unheard corner of Eastern Syria seemed “fake” – as if staged to suit the Western media and US and NATO objectives in Syria.
In fact, the whole four-year-long operation called “the Birth and Death of Islamic State” looks fake! From its beginning when the US had to intervene to save the “Yazidis” – a small ethnic group we had never heard of but that IS was allegedly picking on – to the convoy of Peshmerga forces sent from Erbil to liberate Kobani – another place we hadn’t heard of that IS was going to take over – to the mysterious battle of Raqqa, where the liberation seemed a bit late; the Islamic State fighters and families had already left and the ruined city was deserted of residents.
Maybe the Islamic State story is the sort of Hollywood fake that Western journalists and their audiences are used to and expect because they never seemed to think there was anything odd about it. They didn’t ask the obvious questions – such as how did IS get supplies of weapons and ammunition and who paid for them, or why is the Syrian Army not allowed to help round up and kill Da’esh terrorists East of the Euphrates? But neither do they ask the less obvious questions, such as where are all the IS husbands and fathers of the 30,000 IS women and children?
That’s right – thirty thousand “women and children” arrived in the Al Hawl refugee camp, apparently all from the “village of Baghouz”. They just kept coming and coming, while we kept seeing the same view of a place with scattered buildings and abandoned cars in which these people had been hiding. It was only after writing about the great gold heist, and before the final assault on Baghouz, that I discovered the apparent truth; that the village sat on top of an underground city, in which tens of thousands of people had been living for some time since moving out of Raqqa and towns down the Euphrates.
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Were it not from a credible source, one might have doubted the story; what sort of work had gone into constructing a tunnel system sufficient to accommodate 40,000 people, and keep them supplied with provisions and munitions? But this story was from someone who had actually been to Baghouz recently and had the sort of privileged access that only comes to NATO-approved journalists – the Guardian’s Beirut correspondent Martin Chulov.
Chulov described his experience to another establishment-friendly commentator – Fran Kelly from Australia’s State broadcaster the ABC. Kelly has interviewed Chulov a few times about Syria, gushed a little, as she did rather memorably with Danny Dayem when he was sheltering from the “studio-bombs” in Homs. Chulov said that 9000 people came from under the ground while he was there, in addition to 10,000 already and that thousands remained – according to fighters he had interviewed.
Martin Chulov e68f4
*(Martin Chulov. Image credit: YouTube)
Interestingly Chulov also says that the Kurdish leaders of the SDF believed initially there were less than 1000 fighters and families in Baghouz, and couldn’t believe so many kept coming out – causing an equally incredulous Kelly to observe that this was surely a significant failure of Intelligence.
Indeed! But whose intelligence? Do we really believe that the US special forces and their UK and French colleagues didn’t know how many of their proxy forces were accommodated in this secret city? Or that the intelligence services of their coalition allies, including Australia, were also ignorant of the truth?
In fact, that truth – one that seems to fit – is far worse than we could imagine, or than our media would ever reveal even if they were aware of it. Confirming my intuition that the Battle for Baghouz was all theatrics laid on for the Western world’s media who were gathered at a safe distance – safely away from special forces operations that is – was a report from Syrian journalist Ahmad al Khaled. According to Al Khaled’s “informed sources”, IS fighters were offered a deal by the US whereby they would invade and seize new territory west of Deir al Zour from the Syrian Army, which could then be “liberated” by the SDF on behalf of the US coalition occupiers.
It wasn’t much of a deal for these “surrendered” fighters, whose families were reported to be held hostage in the US plan, and then shot at by the SDF if they were lucky enough to survive the Syrian counterattack. That seems unlikely too, as the Syrian army has already started reinforcing its outposts in response to new IS attacks. With its Russian and Iranian allies, the SAA evidently has intelligence to match its US coalition enemies. It is only too aware of the US plans because of the ongoing obstruction of access to Rukban refugee camp. Despite significant diplomatic pressure from tribal leaders, local governors, the Syrian Red Crescent, and the Russian Reconciliation Centre, as lines of buses and ambulances wait in the desert for access, no progress has been made.
It is against this background that we should assess the credibility and honesty of Australia’s new Intelligence Agency Chief, Nick Warner. Australia has recently brought its ten intelligence-related organizations under a single Office of National Intelligence, and the way that this would work was explained by Warner in an interview with another ABC senior establishment commentator, Geraldine Doogue. Warner’s presentation of the challenge posed by Islamist terrorism told us as much as we needed to know, at a time when this challenge is being reframed following the Christchurch “white terrorist” attack:
Nick Warner: “But it’s not just the tragedy of Christchurch, it’s what’s happening in NE Syria, after the taking of that last ISIL stronghold in Baghuz..,
Doogue, softly: “Baghuz..”
Warner: .. the camps that are housing the women and the children and the fighters that have fled from Baghuz, are now enormous, they’re straining at the seams – the number of foreign fighters that are housed in those camps is of great concern to us, will they get back to Europe, will they get back to Australia, SE Asia? – these remain big and serious issues to Australia.”
So the Director of Australia’s new “GCHQ” really thinks that the biggest and most serious issue for Australia following its involvement in the US coalition supporting terrorist groups in Syria is the danger that some IS veterans will come home? Of course, he doesn’t – even though Doogue seems to think so! Towards the end of the interview in talking generally about Intelligence assessments, Warner says this:
“..with Intelligence Assessment it’s not so hard – did we get it right? Did we pick what was happening to the ISIL caliphate, and er, the emergence of the insurgency in Syria and Iraq, etc, etc..?
Doogue, intervenes: Did you?
Warner: Well are we? We haven’t got to that point yet…
Geraldine Doogue evidently thought Warner was talking about the previous insurgency in Iraq and the emergence of the Caliphate when he was actually talking about the planned “insurgency” – as detailed by Ahmad Al Khaled’s sources.
(Warner goes on to talk of ONA’s record in making world-class intelligence assessments. He would surely be aware of the irony of this statement, given that it was following his work in the Office of National Assessments that Andrew Wilkie resigned in protest over Howard’s plans to join the war on Iraq. Wilkie’s book Axis of Deceit, published in 2004 gives an excellent insight into the workings of Australia’s intelligence agencies.)
As might be expected, it is what Warner doesn’t say that reveals most of the truth about “Australia’s plans for Syria”. That Doogue doesn’t ask him makes little difference, yet the failure to inquire and discover anything about the real issues involving Syria is striking. Given the timing of this “rare interview” with the Intelligence chief – on the eve of the first anniversary of the Douma “gas attack” – even some vacuous discussion on this would have been expected, and so we can only conclude that its absence indicates deception.
To prove their credentials, and understanding of the situation confronting us in Syria, an exchange such as this might have assured us:
Doogue: “Russia has claimed that the intelligence services of some of our allies have been working with extremist groups in Idlib to stage another chemical weapon attack and blame Russian forces for it. Does this story have any credibility in Australian intelligence circles?”
Warner: “Australia doesn’t have any assets in that area, but these claims have little credibility coming from the country that used a chemical weapon in Salisbury last year.”
Or something of that sort! Sadly they both did prove their credentials, as loyal servants of the state, and both willing to deflect and disguise the truth of Australia’s collusion in the illegal activities of its coalition partners, and its own government.
And in the absence of any intelligence or even statements from our government, we can only conclude that Australian special forces remain closely involved in coalition operations in Syria, whatever they may be.Source:ahtribune