If you’d have said a year ago that the US State Department, Google, and Al Jazeera had been collaborating in pursuance of regime change in Syria, chances are you’d have been casually dismissed as a “crank” and a ‘conspiracy theorist.”
Syria was a people’s uprising against a wicked genocidal Russian-backed dictator and the West had nothing to do with the bloodshed which engulfed the country. If you thought otherwise then you were considered an “Assad apologist.”
However, thanks to Wikileaks, the Freedom of Information Act, and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private, non-secure email server, we can see what was really going on behind the curtain.
Overall, 30,322 emails and attachments dating from June 30, 2010 to August 12, 2014, including 7,570 written by Clinton herself, have been published.
They haven’t made much of an impact in the mainstream media, which is not surprising considering their explosive content.
The emails reveal how the US State Department, “independent” media, and Silicon Valley have worked together to try and achieve foreign policy goals.
Particularly damning is a communication from Jared Cohen, the President of “Google Ideas,” (now called “Jigsaw”), which was sent on July 25, 2012.
“Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from,” Cohen wrote.
“Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition,” he went on.
The head of Google Ideas added that his organization was partnering with al Jazeera “who will take primary ownership over the tool we have built.”
Cohen finished his email by repeating his warning: “Please keep this very close hold… We believe this can have an important impact.”
The email was sent to three top officials, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns (a former Ambassador to Russia), Alec Ross, a senior Clinton adviser on innovation; and Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan.
Sullivan forwarded the email to Hillary Clinton with the message: “FYI-this is a pretty cool idea.” On August 4, 2012, Clinton sent the information to her aide Monica Handley. The title heading was: Syria Attachments: Defection Tracker.PDF.
“The Silicon Valley’s technotronic oligarchy have been exposed as a mere extension of the CIA in terms of playing a role in Washington’s state policy of regime change in Syria,” was the verdict of 21st Century Wire.
If you think it’s surprising that a top man at Google should be so interested in a “tool” which could help the “opposition” take power in Syria, then a closer look at Jared Cohen’s career background helps shed some light on the matter.
A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Cohen was a bright guy who was clearly fast-tracked for big things. After an internship at the US State Department, he became a member of Condoleeza Rice’s Policy Planning Staff in 2006 when he was just 24 years of age. That same year he had a book published on the Rwandan genocide, while a year later his “Children of Jihad – A Young American’s travels among the Youth of the Middle East” was published.
In 2009, it’s claimed that Cohen personally asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey not to interrupt his company’s service in Iran for maintenance. Tehran at the time was preparing for elections and it was apparently believed that the opponents of President Ahmadinejad would be hindered without access to social media.
Since 2010, Cohen has been an Adjunct Senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2013, Time magazine listed the then 32-year-old as one of its 100 Most Influential People in the world.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who met Cohen and Google chairman Eric Schmidt when he was under house-arrest in 2011, has written about Google’s role in assisting US foreign policy goals. “Whether it is being just a company or ‘more than just a company,’ Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower,” Assange said.
The Wikileaks founder discovered that Jared Cohen had “quietly worked” in Lebanon “to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the Higher Shia League.” In Afghanistan, Cohen had tried “to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto US military bases.”
In June 2010, when Syria was a country still at peace, Cohen traveled to the Arab Republic with Alec Ross. “I’m not kidding when I say I just had the greatest frappuccino ever at Kalamoun University north of Damascus,” he tweeted. Ross, in a more serious mood, tweeted: “This trip to #Syria will test Syria’s willingness to engage more responsibly on issues of#netfreedom.”
In an email dated September 24, 2010, entitled ‘1st known case of a successful social media campaign in Syria’, and which was later forwarded to Hillary Clinton, Ross wrote:
When Jared and I went to Syria, it was because we knew that Syrian society was growing increasingly young (population will double in 17 years) and digital and that this was going to create disruptions in society that we could potential harness for our purposes.
Those “purposes” were of course “regime change” and to break Syria’s alliance with Iran.
We already know, courtesy of Wikileaks, that Washington’s plans to destabilize Syria long pre-dated the so-called “Arab Spring.”
A 2006 cable from US Ambassador to Syria William Roebuck discussed “potential vulnerabilities” of the Assad administration and the “possible means to exploit them”.
One of the “possible means” was to seek to divide the Shia and Sunni communities in Syria. In a section entitled PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE, the Ambassador writes:
There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis. Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business.
Another was listed as “ENCOURAGE RUMORS AND SIGNALS OF EXTERNAL PLOTTING.” This would increase “the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction” from the Syrian government.
Lo and behold when the protests against the Assad government did kick off in early 2011, the US was quick to accuse the Syrian authorities of over-reacting – which is exactly what they had wanted.
The earlier Wikileaks revelations on Syria tie in with what we learn from Clinton’s emails.
While Western leaders and their media stenographers feign horror and outrage over what’s been happening in Syria, Wikileaks shows us that the possibility of the country being torn apart by sectarian conflict was actually welcomed by Syria’s enemies.
“The fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies,” Sidney Blumental wrote in a 2012 email to Hillary Clinton.
Blumenthal does point out that not all in Israel’s governing circles thought that way, with concern expressed that the spread of “increasingly conservative Islamic regimes” could make Israel “vulnerable.”
We must remember that if the US and UK got their way in August 2013 and bombed the Assad government, then its likely that IS and al-Qaeda affiliates would have taken control of the entire country. And the most bellicose voices calling for the bombing of a secular government that was fighting IS and al-Qaeda in 2013 were American neocons. This was the same group of hawks who had pushed so hard for the invasion of Iraq 10 years earlier and who had also propagandized for the NATO bombing of Libya in 2011.
Wikileaks confirms that – as was the case in Libya and Iraq – almost everything about the official “western establishment” version of the war in Syria was false.
Far from being an innocent bystander, the US went out of its way to destabilize the country and exploit ethnic and religious divisions.
A huge amount of weaponry was provided – via regional allies – to violent jihadists, euphemistically referred to as “rebels,” to try and achieve the goal of “regime change.” The rise of ISIS can be directly attributed to the destructive, malignant policies of the US and its allies towards Syria. Don’t forget we’ve already seen a US Intelligence report from August 2012, which stated that “the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria” was “exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime”.
In 2006, the same year that Ambassador Roebuck sent his cable on how the US might exploit the “potential vulnerabilities” of the secular Assad administration, the Syrian authorities foiled a terrorist attack on the US embassy in Damascus.
You might have thought that it would have earned Syria some brownie points with the State Department and its collaborators. But as the HRC emails confirm, it counted for absolutely nothing.
Reprinted with permission from RT.