The fake news is flying thick and fast in Washington this week. On the heels of Donald Trump’s Oval Office visit with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other American and Russian officials, it finally seemed the fledgling US administration was turning the corner and beginning to focus on moving forward on cooperation with Moscow against radical Islamic terrorism, particularly in Syria.
Then the Deep State and mainstream media (MSM) counterattacked. First, they questioned why a TASS photographer was allowed access to the meeting while the American fake news purveyors were not. Then they speculated that maybe Lavrov or Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had planted a bug in the president’s office. Then they charged that Trump had compromised sensitive intelligence (received from Israel) by revealing it to the Russians. Finally they accused Trump of obstruction of justice – an impeachable offense – by his reportedly suggesting to now-fired FBI Director James Comey that he should go easy on short-lived National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose scalp was the first the Deep State/MSM gang had nailed to the wall.
The whole anti-Trump campaign has been based on criminal leaks of classified or privileged material from within the government. Still, there is no sign of a counterattack. Perhaps Attorney General Jeff Sessions has secretly empanelled a grand jury and indictments of leakers are forthcoming. More likely he has not and is more concerned with whether prosecutors are using too much discretion in the severity of offenses they choose to charge criminal suspects with, or whether states are playing fast and loose with federal marijuana laws.
The only brief respite Trump has received against this onslaught has been when he launched cruise missiles against Syria over a false flag chemical attack by jihadists in Idlib, for which the MSM and Deep Staters applauded him. There is reason to fear that Trump, guided by advisers whose policy proclivities mirror those of his critics, may seek the path of least resistance by further bellicose measures. These could take place in Korea, against Russia (for example in Ukraine), or in the broader Middle East. For example, while in Saudi Arabia – surreally touted by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster as a paragon of a moderate, tolerant, peaceful Islamic ally – Trump is set to announce a coalition against Iran characterized as an «Arab NATO». As though one NATO weren’t bad enough.
The icing on the cake is the baseless allegation this week that the Syrian government is running a crematorium adjoining Saydnaya prison north of Damascus, where, the State Department’s Stuart Jones claims, up to 50 inmates’ bodies are burned daily. But even Jones admits he doesn’t know the facility is a crematorium at all. The offered «proof»? On satellite images the snow melts faster on that roof than on others nearby…
Nonetheless Holocaust rhetoric, the 800-pound gorilla of atrocity porn, was unleashed. A Google News search of Syria,crematorium, Holocaust yields over 6,000 hits. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the unproven accusation «reminiscent of the 20th century’s worst offenses against humanity». An Israel cabinet minister has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s assassination.
Which brings us to the Balkans and William Walker.
For those old enough to remember, nothing we are now hearing about Syria is new. (Not even anything in Syria is new – remember «Aleppo Boy»?) The art and science of manipulating events and images to «justify» attacks on other countries may have cut its teeth in the first Gulf War («incubator babies» in Kuwait) but reached a perfect level of sophistication in the dissolution of Yugoslavia: the Omarska «death camp» that wasn’t, the Srebrenica «genocide», «boxcars» transporting Albanian civilians (not to death camps but away from the fighting), the tens of thousands of Albanian men falsely reported held at a stadium in Pristina.
One of the most vivid cases was of course the «Racak massacre» of Albanian civilians by Yugoslav police in January 1999. As I wrote five months before the events at Racak in an analysis for the US Senate Republican leadership, the administration of Bill Clinton had already decided on an attack and was only waiting for a suitable «trigger»:
«As of this writing, planning for a U.S.-led NATO intervention in Kosovo is now largely in place, while the Clinton Administration's apparent willingness to intervene has ebbed and flowed on an almost weekly basis. The only missing element appears to be an event – with suitably vivid media coverage – that would make intervention politically salable, even imperative, in the same way that a dithering Administration finally decided on intervention in Bosnia in 1995 after a series of ‘Serb mortar attacks’ took the lives of dozens of civilians – attacks, which, upon closer examination, may in fact have been the work of the Muslim regime in Sarajevo, the main beneficiary of the intervention… That the Administration is waiting for a similar ‘trigger’ in Kosovo is increasingly obvious: ‘A senior U.S. Defense Department official who briefed reporters on July 15 noted that «we‘re not anywhere near making a decision for any kind of armed intervention in Kosovo right now». He listed only one thing that might trigger a policy change: «I think if some levels of atrocities were reached that would be intolerable, that would probably be a trigger».’ [Washington Post, August 4, 1998]. The recent conflicting reports regarding a purported mass grave containing (depending on the report) hundreds of murdered Albanian civilians or dozens of KLA fighters killed in battle should be seen in this light». [«Bosnia II: The Clinton Administration Sets Course for NATO Intervention in Kosovo», United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, August 1998]
The key figure in selling the Racak trigger was of course William Walker, a top contender for the «Worst Job of Not Looking Like a Spook Award». As described by Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi in «Meet Mr. Massacre», published in the now-defunct The Exile of February 10, 2000:
«Years from now, when the war in Serbia is over and the dust has settled, historians will point to January 15, 1999 as the day the American Death Star became fully operational.
«That was the date on which an American diplomat named William Walker brought his OSCE war crimes verification team to a tiny Kosovar village called Racak to investigate an alleged Serb massacre of ethnic Albanian peasants. After a brief review of the town's 40-odd bullet-ridden corpses, Walker searched out the nearest television camera and essentially fired the starting gun for the war.
«‘From what I saw, I do not hesitate to describe the crime as a massacre, a crime against humanity,’ he said. ‘Nor do I hesitate to accuse the government security forces of responsibility.’
«We all know how Washington responded to Walker’s verdict; it quickly set its military machine in motion, and started sending out menacing invitations to its NATO friends to join the upcoming war party». [NOTE: For anyone who assumes the Internet is forever, it appears there has been a concerted effort to throw the Mr. Massacre article into the Memory Hole. It is still available here.]
Walker recently returned to the scene of his 1999 handiwork to promote what any reasonable person took as a call for forming a Greater Albania:
«This project that I'm working on is meant for all Albanians in Kosovo, in diaspora, in Albania. I'm working on a joint project, on their unification. Albanians worldwide were united in the 1990s with the sole purpose of the liberation of Kosovo. I was with them when they declared independence. Albanians have won and they came to celebrate together, now is the time after the independence, for the final step, for us all to be together, to accomplish this achievement».
Walker’s words prompted a vocal response even from the usually passive authorities in Belgrade, with Serbian Prime Minister and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic denouncing Walker’s words and false depiction of Racak:
«…it was a pretext for war. It all started with William Walker’s lies. This is a man who now openly shows that he is in fact a Greater Albania lobbyist. This is the same man because of whom (NATO) carried out an aggression against the Republic of Serbia. This is the same man. This is a man who now stands for the ‘Greater Albania’ and says so openly. He is no longer even hiding it».
Walker, whose statue today presides over Racak, claims that he was in no way advocating for Greater Albania, in a response that sounded as much a confirmation of the accusation as a refutation: «I meant that Albanians in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia, would be in far better position if they work together». He has also established a Kosovo-based «Walker Foundation», to «to help Kosovo citizens for a better future». If the numbers of migrants from Kosovo (and Albania) flooding into the European Union along with people from places like war-torn Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are any indication, he has his work cut out for him.
Meanwhile, the «Death Star», whose activation Ames and Taibbi warned of in 1999 Kosovo, remains fully operational. Its media and Deep State custodians perceive Trump as a threat and hope first to break him to their yoke, then remove him. At this point, they seem to have the upper hand.