Why are Trump’s troops training ISIS terrorists?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

When Donald Trump ran for the U.S. Presidency, his biggest foreign-affairs promise (which he copied from Ted Cruz) was to defeat “radical Islamic terrorism”; but, on December 27th, the Russian Government publicly accused Trump’s military of backing ISIS terrorists to fight against Syria’s Government (which is allied with Russia). Russia’s RT international television network headlined “US lets militants train, mount attacks from its Syrian bases – chief of Russian General Staff”, and opened:

The US is hosting training camps for militant groups in Syria, including former ISIS fighters who fled from Raqqa, said the head of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, citing data obtained by aerial surveillance.

The US forces have effectively turned their military base near the town of al-Tanf in southeastern Syria into a terrorists’ training camp, Gerasimov said in an interview to Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda daily on Wednesday.

“According to satellite and other surveillance data, terrorist squads are stationed there. They are effectively training there, Gerasimov said. …

Barely over a month earlier, the BBC had headlined on November 13th, “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret: The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.” One lorry driver told BBC, “We took out around 4,000 people including women and children — our vehicle and their vehicles combined. When we entered Raqqa, we thought there were 200 people to collect. In my vehicle alone, I took 112 people.” The reporter noted, “Another driver says the convoy was six to seven kilometres long.” Furthermore: “IS fighters took everything they could carry. Ten trucks were loaded with weapons and ammunition. The drivers point to a white truck being worked on in the corner of the yard. ‘Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo,’ says Abu Fawzi [a lorry driver].”

So: America’s ISIS training camps might have thousands of extremely well-armed fighters to pay (by the Sauds) and train (by the Americans) to fight against Bashar al-Assad’s forces — prolonging the war against Syria, continuing the Syrian carnage.

One can’t understand this U.S. support of ISIS, unless one recognizes the key fact: that, during the prior, Obama, U.S. Presidency, the U.S. Government was relying principally upon Al Qaeda in Syria to train and lead the various imported-into-Syria Saudi-paid international fundamentalist-Sunni mercenaries (committed jihadists, but all soldiers need to be paid and trained and fed and armed) who served as America’s proxy boots-on-the-ground in Syria to overthrow and replace Syria’s non-sectarian Baathist socialist Government. Furthermore, on 17 September 2016, Obama’s air force bombed Syrian Government troops in Deir Ezzor (or Der Zor) the capital of Syria’s oil-producing region; and the surrounding ISIS forces then rushed in to grab that city to take it over, for the U.S.-Saudi side in the Syrian war. So: Obama sometimes even provided crucial support to ISIS (and not only depended heavily upon Al Qaeda). The U.S. Government, under Obama, even honored internationally the White Helmets wing of Al Qaeda in Syria, at the same time as refusing to allow its leader into the U.S. to receive a ‘humanitarian’ award, because he was on the U.S. terrorism watch-list.

The January 2016 issue of Harper’s featured a landmark article by Andrew Cockburn, “A Special Relationship: The United States is teaming up with Al Qaeda, again”, which included such rare (practically unique in the U.S. press) gems as this:

The Saudis, of course, had been an integral part of the anti-Soviet campaign from the beginning. According to one former CIA official closely involved in the Afghanistan operation, Saudi Arabia supplied 40 percent of the budget for the rebels. The official said that William Casey, who ran the CIA under Ronald Reagan, “would fly to Riyadh every year for what he called his ‘annual hajj’ to ask for the money. Eventually, after a lot of talk, the king would say okay, but then we would have to sit and listen politely to all their incredibly stupid ideas about how to fight the war.”

Despite such comments, it would seem that the U.S. and Saudi strategies did not differ all that much, especially when it came to routing money to the most extreme fundamentalist factions. Fighting the Soviets was only part of the ultimate goal. The Egyptian preacher Abu Hamza, now serving a life sentence on terrorism charges, visited Saudi Arabia in 1986, and later recalled the constant public injunctions to join the jihad: “You have to go, you have to join, leave your schools, leave your family.” The whole Afghanistan enterprise, he explained, “was meant to actually divert people from the problems in their own country.” It was “like a pressure-cooker vent. If you keep [the cooker] all sealed up, it will blow up in your face, so you have to design a vent, and this Afghan jihad was the vent.”

Soufan agreed with this analysis. “I think it’s not fair to only blame the CIA,” he told me. “Egypt was happy to get rid of a lot of these guys and have them go to Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia was very happy to do that, too.” As he pointed out, Islamic fundamentalists were already striking these regimes at home: in November 1979, for example, Wahhabi extremists had stormed the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The subsequent siege left hundreds dead.

Within a few short years, however, the sponsoring governments began to recognize a flaw in the scheme: the vent was two-way. I heard this point most vividly expressed in 1994, at a dinner party on a yacht cruising down the Nile. The wealthy host had deemed it safer to be waterborne owing to a vigorous terror campaign by Egyptian jihadists. At the party, this defensive tactic elicited a vehement comment from Osama El-Baz, a senior security adviser to Hosni Mubarak. “It’s all the fault of those stupid bastards at the CIA,” he said, as the lights of Cairo drifted by. “They trained these people, kept them in being after the Russians left, and now we get this.”

The CIA, and the entire U.S. federal government, is presented there as servicing the aristocrats (the billionaires) not only in the U.S., but in the countries that are allied with the U.S., America’s vassal nations. America’s taxpayers are funding the protection of foreign billionaires — the individuals who control those vassal governments — in addition to funding foreign land-clearance operations to benefit America’s billionaires. Normally, this fact is simply unpublishable inside the United States, but it’s essential for any American voter to understand in order to be able to vote in an accurately informed (instead of deceived) way; and Harpers should therefore receive an award for having had the guts to publish this customarily unpublishable information. Unfortunately, it’s not the type of article the Pulitzers etc., grant awards to. That’s how the American Government and its media have so successfully kept such crucial information a secret. Thus, for example, Pew was able to headline on 15 December 2014, “About Half See CIA Interrogation Methods as Justified”, and they reported that: “51% of the public says they think the CIA methods were justified, compared with just 29% who say they were not justified; 20% do not express an opinion. The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 11-14 among 1,001 adults, finds that amid competing claims over the effectiveness of CIA interrogation methods, 56% believe they provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks, while just half as many (28%) say they did not provide this type of intelligence.” But, in fact, the reason for the waterboarding and other tortures wasn’t to find truths (such as those 51% had been deceived to think why tortures were used), but instead to ‘find’ (i.e., to provide fake ‘evidence’ for) lies, which they could then use to convince the public to believe America’s case that Iraq needed to be invaded — and invaded urgently, not to wait for the U.N.’s weapons-inspectors to finish their job. Bush and Cheney demanded the CIA to extract confessions and other testimonies saying that Saddam Hussein was to blame for 9/11, and only few of the captured suspects in 9/11 even knew enough about Hussein to be able to concoct sufficiently credible accusations against him to be used in America’s propaganda-media; so, Bush-Cheney’s CIA would then turn the interrogation screws even harder against a given suspect, and the waterboard was part of that. Pew found that Republicans were overwhelmingly more likely than Democrats to say that waterboarding and other tortures were ‘justified’. Perhaps a reason for this finding was Bush-Cheney’s having been Republicans, mere partisanship; but, for at least the past hundred years, Republicans have almost always been more effusive supporters of dictatorship in America than Democrats have been. (However, the KKK prior to 1960 was virtually a branch of the Democratic Party in the South, and today’s Democrats remain proudly supportive of the vile Obama, and even of Hillary Clinton.) Without doubt, the Republican Party has generally stood for “authoritarianism” (a.k.a., dictatorship) in America, more than has the Democratic Party (at least until recently); but the anti-FDR, pro-fascist, Clinton-Obama pro-aristocratic Democratic Party might be dominant for long into the forseeable future, so that the two Parties could become more obviously just branches of each other, both representing the U.S. aristocracy equally.

One of the current U.S. regime’s (Trump’s) main challenges in servicing these billionaires is continuance of hiding the real reason those tortures had actually been ordered.

On 27 December 2017, NPR’s David Welna was among the first journalists ever to interview defense lawyers for inmates at the super-secret “Camp 7” in America’s notorious Guantanamo prison in Cuba, and he reported:

WELNA: James Connell also visited Camp 7. He is the lead attorney for Ammar al-Baluchi, another 9/11 defendant and high-value detainee. Connell thinks the real reason for all the secrecy is because those locked up there can reveal what the CIA did to them.

CONNELL: The high value in the high-value detainee does not refer to either any information that they had prior to their abduction or to their role in any act of terrorism. The high value refers to their possession of information about the CIA torture program.

WELNA: … Camp 7’s location remains a state secret. When I asked the Pentagon to visit the lockup, the answer was no.

In other words: The reason why these men have been hidden from the public for 16 years is probably that our Government doesn’t want the American voting public to know that the whole U.S. torturing program was designed so as to obtain false testimony from these men in order to implicate Saddam Hussein in having caused 9/11, which could be used to ‘justify’ our invading and destroying Iraq as retaliation for 9/11. Although such ‘information’ was not forthcoming, the U.S. Government and its ‘news’ media managed to be able to do it anyway — and most Americans are still successfully conned by this operation, even decades later. It continues unabated. That’s what passes for ‘democracy’ in today’s America (hiding the truth from the public, and constantly lying, does the job). And yet, this country condemns Iran, Syria, Russia, and China, as being ‘dictatorships’, and imposes sanctions against them, on concocted charges, which, however, are far less evil (even if they were true) than the reality of the U.S. Government’s ceaseless string of international crimes (such as destroying Iraq in 2003, destroying Libya in 2011, destroying Syria since 2012, and destroying Ukraine in 2014). Terrorism is, above all, America’s foreign-policy tool. The U.S. Government (and its allies, such as NATO, and the Gulf Cooperation Council) are the supreme masters of the craft. In retrospect — and at the deepest level — maybe Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito, actually won World War II’s aftermath. A global repudiation of fascism is thus now essential. At the U.N., America is, every year, among only two or three nations standing up to defend fascism. (Here is Obama doing it in 2014; here is Trump doing it in 2017.) If you didn’t learn about it in the press or on TV, that’s because each year, this news (now become history) is hidden from the public. (For example, even today, the Western press never calls the bloody overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President in 2014 a “coup” — which was perpetrated by the U.S. — but instead they call it a “revolution,” or even a “democratic revolution,” though it actually ended Ukraine’s democracy, and installed a racist-fascist U.S.-allied regime.) Of course, one would expect dictatorships, such as America, to hide the essential facts. But, there is no excuse for hiding this information; it’s hidden only so that the American public won’t be aware of how deep this country’s dictatorship has already become. It’s very deep.

And that’s why (as Welna said), “When I asked the Pentagon to visit the lockup, the answer was no.” Of course, the Government shouldn’t even have the power to say no to such a request; but the U.S. Government functions as a dictatorship, no actual democracy — and it invades other countries, alleging them to be dictatorships.

So: though the U.S. Government never publicly supports, and uses, Islamic terrorists, the U.S. Government often supports (and uses) them secretly (and far more meaningfully). The aristocracy has its own demands, separate from those of the American public; and the U.S. Government serves those demands, not the public.

On 8 November 2016 when Trump was elected, there was “regime change” in Washington about domestic policies, such as about privatizing schools, and about whether America’s poor should be treated even worse than they already are (as Trump’s Administration is doing), but there is not, as yet, any basic change regarding international policies. Trump fulfilled on Bush’s and Obama’s and Clinton’s promises to relocate the Tel Aviv Embassy to Jerusalem, and his announcement of that long-promised policy is considered by some in Washington to indicate regime-change — a fundamental change in policy in Washington — but it’s not. There has actually been no U.S. regime-change yet, regarding foreign policies — the U.S. Government is the same regime of lies, as it has been (and such as it was, for example, on 7 September 2002, when U.S. President George W. Bush lied that the IAEA had then come out with some ‘new report’ saying that Saddam Hussein was only six months away from having a nuclear weapon), but the language Trump employs is generally more crude than the super-slick liar Obama so skillfully displayed, and this increased crudity constitutes a regime-change of style, but that’s about all, as far as foreign policies are concerned.

Furthermore, in mid-October of 2016, the Governments of U.S., Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, agreed to provide, for ISIS jihadists who were fleeing from America’s bombing campaign in Mosul Iraq, safe passage to Deir Ezzor in Syria, so as to enable ISIS to reinforce and solidify its grip on that key Syrian city; so that, for example, on 1 May 2017, Al Masdar News bannered “Syrian Army tank takes direct hit from ISIS guided missile in Deir Ezzor.” The Turkish Government’s 15 October 2016 “‘Sensitive’ Operation Plan for Mosul” even stated, “An escape corridor into Syria will be left for Daesh [ISIS] so they can vacate Mosul.” America’s bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq was, thus, not only a campaign against ISIS in Iraq, but, it was, also, a campaign to assist ISIS in Syria — to strengthen ISIS at Der Zor (which city stands at the exact opposite end from Mosul, along that “escape corridor” — it’s where the U.S. and its allies were wanting those jihadists to go).

In other words: the U.S. coalition has fed ISIS terrorists from Iraq into Syria, and has fed ISIS terrorists from Raqqa into U.S.-allied training camps elsewhere in Syria.

So: the reason why Trump’s troops are training ISIS terrorists in Syria is simply in order to conquer some land in Syria. ISIS have been among America’s many proxy boots-on-the-ground fighting to take down and replace Syria’s Government. According to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the U.S. has been trying to conquer Syria ever since the CIA was created, and a CIA coup-attempt there failed in 1949. Kennedy informatively titled his article, “Syria: Another Pipeline War”, which is a good summary of the reason why the U.S. aristocracy want to control at least enough of a corridor through Syria so as to enable construction there of U.S. oil and gas pipelines from America’s allies — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE — into the world’s largest energy-market, the EU, so as to displace Russia’s oil and gas in Europe. Furthermore, most of Russia’s oil and gas has been pipelined into the EU through Ukraine, which is a reason why Obama took Ukraine in a coup in 2014 — thus squeezing Russia out of its main pipelines into the EU, at the same time as (yet again) trying to open up (through Syria) U.S. pipelines for America’s allies to replace Russia as being Europe’s main energy-suppliers.

The aristocracy, in any country, don’t want the public to understand international relations, and why their government is doing what they are doing, because, if the public knew, the aristocrats (and their government) would be in a very dangerous situation. And that’s also a reason why billionaires build and buy all of the major newsmedia, so that the public won’t understand these things. And, of course, no major brand of any product or service will be likely to advertise in any news-medium that violates the collective interests of all of the owners — the billionaires and centi-millionaires who own controlling interests in America’s international corporations. Though some are Republicans and others are Democrats, they all are in this boat together, and so the two sides of the Establishment share crucial things in common, even though they try to present to the public the opposite side of the aristocracy as being either stupid or evil. (For example: whereas the Democrat George Soros is vilified by Republicans, the Republican Koch brothers are vilified by Democrats. It’s America’s political theater, “rooting for the home team,” where “home” is whichever side of the aristocracy the particular audience-member happens to identify with and cheer for.) What the contending aristocrats cannot accuse the other side of, however, is what both sides share in common with one-another, against the public-at-large. And, so, nobody talks about America’s ongoing support for terrorism. It’s not published (with rare exceptions, such as that Harper’s article).

In fact, America’s CIA is actually the world’s senior master at terrorism, not only in places such as Afghanistan, and Syria, but also in Europe. It’s what Americans are increasingly buying with our tax-dollars. But, billionaires are the people who benefit from it — the publics (even in America itself) lose from it, in both money and blood. For the billionaires, it’s just a big blast (especially if their foreign competitors — such as in Russia or China — end up being among the people who get blasted by these U.S.-taxpayer-funded operations).

In any chess game, pawns give up their lives for their respective royals. That’s what pawns are for. Billionaires have almost all of the pieces. Pawns are the least of these. But, being a pawn is the only real job that many people will ever have. Not many make it all the way to the final row and becoming crowned as the most powerful type of piece on the board (a queen). But the myth that “I’ll win that crown” keeps every pawn working to rise, from oppressed, to oppressor, in the system of exploitation, the hierarchy, which is the essence of fascism. After all: it’s not just the American way. And nowhere is it justice. It’s unlimited greed, that’s been placed onto a greed-is-good pedestal, as the given nation’s ideology, which in today’s United States is branded and sold as being the very essence of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. It’s freedom for the billionaires; serfdom for everyone else.

On 27 September 2015, Donald Trump told Scott Pelley on CBS “60 Minutes”:

Why aren’t we letting ISIS go and fight Assad and then we pick up the remnants? Why are we doing this? We’re fighting ISIS and Assad has to be saying to himself, “They have the nicest or dumbest people that I’ve ever imagined.”

Scott Pelley: Let me get this right, so we lay off ISIS for now?

Donald Trump: Excuse me, let —

Scott Pelley: Lay off in Syria, let them destroy Assad. And then we go in behind that?

Donald Trump: — that’s what I would say. Yes, that’s what I would say.

And, so, this is why Trump’s troops are training ISIS terrorists.

Protecting the American (or any other) public is only an excuse that the U.S. ruling class — the richest 0.01% — use; the super-rich are vastly more interested in conquering Russia and its international allies (such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych), and in boosting the stock-value of American ‘defense’ (aggression) contractors, which they control, such as Lockheed Martin, than in the safety of the American (or any other) people. It’s all merely a con, to fool and control the gulls, so as to conquer foreign lands, on the cheap. Proxy foreign mercenaries cost far less than U.S. troops do.

That’s what the evidence says. However, this is not what America’s government and their newsmedia say. It’s an entirely different world. This is the real world — not the lies.

“… let them destroy Assad. And then we go in behind that?

Donald Trump: — that’s what I would say.”

By contrast, Obama was skillful enough a liar to deceive the public to take seriously what he said.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.