Robert Parry, “The Gift Outright”

By Ray
Another Robert — the poet Frost — recited that poem at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration: “Such as we were we gave ourselves outright.”

The words apply well to Robert Parry, who died last night.  Truly, such as he was, he gave himself outright — as the consummate journalist.  Robert Frost won four Pulitzers for poetry; Robert Parry was deserving of at least four for journalism.

Oddly, in today’s corrupt journalistic circles, his uncompromising adherence to  professional standards marginalized Robert Parry and made him a pariah rather than an honoree.  But common to Frost and Parry was an incorruptible individuality impervious to the compromises Robert Parry watched men and women of lesser character succumb to over the past three decades.

Medically, a third stroke in four weeks was the proximate cause.  But what brought on the strokes?  Bob was thoughtful enough to share with us his own insights regarding the underlying cause, in an apologia he struggled to write after his first stroke on Christmas Eve.

His eyesight was impaired.  His vision for professional journalism was unimpaired.

Bob told me it was very difficult to penetrate the physical blur in order to write an unblurred “apologia.”  Typically, for our sakes — not his own — he persisted.  There are stern lessons in it for all — and a mandate to pick up where Robert Parry left off in his unrelenting pursuit of Truth.

Here is a link to his New Year’s Eve apologia.  The text, too, is included below:

An Apology and Explanation

An Apology and Explanation
December 31, 2017

From Editor Robert Parry:
 For readers who have come to see Consortiumnews as a daily news source, I would like to extend my personal apology for our spotty production in recent days. On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that “every day’s a work day” had something to do with this.
Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. In some ways, the Republicans escalated the vicious propaganda warfare following Watergate, refusing to accept that Richard Nixon was guilty of some extraordinary malfeasance (including the 1968 sabotage of President Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks to gain an edge in the election and then the later political dirty tricks and cover-ups that came to include Watergate). Rather than accept the reality of Nixon’s guilt, many Republicans simply built up their capability to wage information warfare, including the creation of ideological news organizations to protect the party and its leaders from “another Watergate.”
So, when Democrat Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 election, the Republicans used their news media and their control of the special prosecutor apparatus (through Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle) to unleash a wave of investigations to challenge Clinton’s legitimacy, eventually uncovering his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The idea had developed that the way to defeat your political opponent was not just to make a better argument or rouse popular support but to dredge up some “crime” that could be pinned on him or her. The GOP success in damaging Bill Clinton made possible George W. Bush’s disputed “victory” in 2000in which Bush took the presidency despite losing the popular vote and almost certainly losing the key state of Florida if all ballots legal under state law were counted. Increasingly, America – even at the apex of its uni-power status – was taking on the look of a banana republic except with much higher stakes for the world.
Though I don’t like the word “weaponized,” it began to apply to how “information” was used in America. The point of Consortiumnews, which I founded in 1995, was to use the new medium of the modern Internet to allow the old principles of journalism to have a new home, i.e., a place to pursue important facts and giving everyone a fair shake. But we were just a tiny pebble in the ocean. The trend of using journalism as just another front in no-holds-barred political warfare continued – with Democrats and liberals adapting to the successful techniques pioneered mostly by Republicans and by well-heeled conservatives.
Barack Obama’s election in 2008 was another turning point as Republicans again challenged his legitimacy with bogus claims about his “Kenyan birth,” a racist slur popularized by “reality” TV star Donald Trump. Facts and logic no longer mattered. It was a case of using whatever you had to diminish and destroy your opponent.
We saw similar patterns with the U.S. government’s propaganda agencies developing themes to demonize foreign adversaries and then to smear Americans who questioned the facts or challenged the exaggerations as “apologists.” This approach was embraced not only by Republicans (think of President George W. Bush distorting the reality in Iraq in 2003 to justify the invasion of that country under false pretenses) but also by Democrats who pushed dubious or downright false depictions of the conflict in Syria (including blaming the Syrian government for chemical weapons attacks despite strong evidence that the events were staged by Al Qaeda and other militants who had become the tip of the spear in the neocon/liberal interventionist goal of removing the Assad dynasty and installing a new regime more acceptable to the West and to Israel.
More and more I would encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result – and this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media. This perversion of principles – twisting information to fit a desired conclusion – became the modus vivendi of American politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending the journalistic principles of skepticism and evenhandedness were increasingly shunned by our colleagues, a hostility that first emerged on the Right and among neoconservatives but eventually sucked in the progressive world as well. Everything became “information warfare.”
The New Outcasts
That is why many of us who exposed major government wrongdoing in the past have ended up late in our careers as outcasts and pariahs. Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who helped expose major crimes of state from the My Lai massacre to the CIA’s abuses against American citizens, including illegal spying and LSD testing on unsuspecting subjects, has literally had to take his investigative journalism abroad because he uncovered inconvenient evidence that implicated Western-backed jihadists in staging chemical weapons attacks in Syria so the atrocities would be blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The anti-Assad group think is so intense in the West that even strong evidence of staged events, such as the first patients arriving at hospitals before government planes could have delivered the sarin, was brushed aside or ignored. The Western media and the bulk of international agencies and NGOs were committed to gin up another case for “regime change” and any skeptics were decried as “Assad apologists” or “conspiracy theorists,” the actual facts be damned.
So Hersh and weapons experts such as MIT’s Theodore Postol were shoved into the gutter in favor of hip new NATO-friendly groups like Bellingcat, whose conclusions always fit neatly with the propaganda needs of the Western powers.
The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process – and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media’s approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read the New York Times’ or the Washington Post’s coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014. The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the “other side of the story.” Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a “Putin apologist” or “Kremlin stooge.”
Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many “liberals” who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we’re told to accept the assertions on faith.
The Trump Crisis
Which brings us to the crisis that is Donald Trump. Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton has solidified the new paradigm of “liberals” embracing every negative claim about Russia just because elements of the CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency produced a report last Jan 6 that blamed Russia for “hacking” Democratic emails and releasing them via WikiLeaks. It didn’t seem to matter that these “hand-picked” analysts (as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called them) evinced no evidence and even admitted that they weren’t asserting any of this as fact.
The hatred of Trump and Putin was so intense that old-fashioned rules of journalism and fairness were brushed aside. On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump “Resistance.” The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster. Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal.
Other people, including senior editors across the mainstream media, began to treat the unproven Russia-gate allegations as flat fact. No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s institutions. Anti-Trump “progressives” were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Hatred of Trump had become like some invasion of the body snatchers – or perhaps many of my journalistic colleagues had never believed in the principles of journalism that I had embraced throughout my adult life. To me, journalism wasn’t just a cover for political activism; it was a commitment to the American people and the world to tell important news stories as fully and fairly as I could; not to slant the “facts” to “get” some “bad” political leader or “guide” the public in some desired direction.
I actually believed that the point of journalism in a democracy was to give the voters unbiased information and the necessary context so the voters could make up their own minds and use their ballot – as imperfect as that is – to direct the politicians to take actions on behalf of the nation. The unpleasant reality that the past year has brought home to me is that a shockingly small number of people in Official Washington and the mainstream news media actually believe in real democracy or the goal of an informed electorate.
Whether they would admit it or not, they believe in a “guided democracy” in which “approved” opinions are elevated – regardless of their absence of factual basis – and “unapproved” evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality. Everything becomes “information warfare” – whether on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, MSNBC, the New York Times or the Washington Post. Instead of information provided evenhandedly to the public, it is rationed out in morsels designed to elicit the desired emotional reactions and achieve a political outcome.
As I said earlier, much of this approach was pioneered by Republicans in their misguided desire to protect Richard Nixon, but it has now become all pervasive and has deeply corrupted Democrats, progressives and mainstream journalism. Ironically, the ugly personal characteristics of Donald Trump – his own contempt for facts and his crass personal behavior – have stripped the mask off the broader face of Official America.
What is perhaps most alarming about the past year of Donald Trump is that the mask is now gone and, in many ways, all sides of Official Washington are revealed collectively as reflections of Donald Trump, disinterested in reality, exploiting “information” for tactical purposes, eager to manipulate or con the public. While I’m sure many anti-Trumpers will be deeply offended by my comparison of esteemed Establishment figures with the grotesque Trump, there is a deeply troubling commonality between Trump’s convenient use of “facts” and what has pervaded the Russia-gate investigation.
My Christmas Eve stroke now makes it a struggle for me to read and to write. Everything takes much longer than it once did – and I don’t think that I can continue with the hectic pace that I have pursued for many years. But – as the New Year dawns – if I could change one thing about America and Western journalism, it would be that we all repudiate “information warfare” in favor of an old-fashioned respect for facts and fairness — and do whatever we can to achieve a truly informed electorate.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative,either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and
Robert Parry, PRESENTE!

“Inadvertent” Deletions of Evidence

Playing fast and loose with the 4th amendment should not be funny, but with the clowns running our intelligence agencies, and aping Rosemary Woods in the process, one has to make a special effort not to laugh.
In this video interview Ray talks about coincidental, all-too-convenient, “inadvertent” deletion by the NSA and FBI of evidence that could put their leaders, past and present, in jail.  He tries to inject some humor into a situation more destructive of our civil liberties than the Watergate scandal ever was.
Deep State — Friend or Foe: NSA, FBI Play “Oops”

January 22 (11 minutes)
Sequel to Ray’s “Foxes in Charge of Intelligence Hen House” yesterday. See:

The Obama Administration’s ‘Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton’ and sabotage Trump Is Starting To Leak Out, According To Former Fed Prosecutor

This 31-minute interview of diGenova is well worth watching …

Joe diGenova, a former federal prosecutor says the truth is starting to seep out about the Obama Administration’s “brazen plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton” and “frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy,” in an exclusive interview.

DiGenova connects the dots on former Obama administration Justice Department and FBI officials who may have “violated the law, perhaps committed crimes” to politicize law enforcement and surveillance against political opponents. …

White Supremacy and Military Bases: a Short Talk by Ray on “The White Man’s Burden” — the bloody burden on people of color, and other “others” like the young Palestinian woman, Ahed Tamimi — that is.


Jan. 14, 2018 (17 minutes)
(Filmed & Published by Other Voices, Other Choices)

Ray was speaking on the Sunday panel on NATO, at the Conference on U.S. Foreign Bases in Baltimore (Jan. 12-14).  Running through the earlier talks was the pivotal role played by white supremacy and racism.

But only when Ray sat down Saturday night to finish preparing his own talk did it dawn on him that NATO just happens to be all white — by attitude as well as geography.  (Ray had been thinking of himself as enlightened, conscious, and alert to such things!  Duh.)


Extending Domestic Surveillance: Tricks, Lies and Spies


By Diane Roark

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell this Tuesday pulled out his bag of parliamentary tricks to avoid a meaningful alternative to extending, until 2023, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). On January 11, Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi cooperated in the House of Representatives to beat back rising bipartisan opposition to unconstitutional domestic snooping that has been ineffective in preventing terrorism in the US.
Cloture limits total debate on the bill to 30 hours (often actually far less), with no more than one hour per senator. It also requires that proposed amendments be filed by certain deadlines. This will severely weaken the threat of Senators Paul and Wyden to filibuster passage of S.139, also requiring participation in the filibuster by numerous colleagues. Additionally, cloture bans consideration of amendments that have not been filed by specified times.

Using Section 702 authority and operating without warrants, the National Security Agency (NSA) has since at least 2008 scanned fiber optic lines entering the United States, copying, storing and searching them using a list of targets and other key words. Stored “hits” from these electronic transmissions may contain mere passing mention of such items. No warrants are obtained to scan and collect these electronic communications to or from US persons. Nor do analysts from NSA, FBI and elsewhere get a warrant to pull US persons’ messages from the databases and search them for any reason, even criminal investigations, not just counterterrorism. During House debate, supporters of Section 702 advocated excepting 702 operations from Fourth Amendment requirements.

Declassified opinions from the FISA Court (FISC) document longstanding and serious NSA violation of FISC’s guidelines, plus the Court’s inability to trust the Agency’s word. The Court found no way to enforce even the very lenient conditions it imposed. In 2008, then-Speaker Pelosi had ridiculed any suggestion that Section 702 would enable warrantless surveillance. But if any law should be rejected because of widespread abuses, this is it. Surprisingly, supporters of S.139 claimed during House debate that there had been no or minimal compliance problems, and those supporting an amendment to S.139 did not challenge this claim. Nor did they note that FISA allows emergency collection for three days while getting a warrant.

In an apparently deliberate loophole, Section 702 does not define what is “foreign” collection. Many communications between persons located in the US routinely are routed abroad to less crowded or cheaper fiber optic lines. Such communications re-entering the US therefore often are purely domestic, but could be labeled as “foreign” because they are returning from abroad. All such communications are searched using key words, and retained if there is a “hit.” So, for instance, if your email to a nearby buddy discusses a terrorist “bomb” explosion in New York, it may be copied and dumped into a 702 database.

In another sleight of hand, NSA secretly redefined its use of terms to avoid their common and prior technical meaning. Collection now occurs only when an analyst retrieves an item from the database; this abets NSA in misleading the public about the extent of collection. NSA has repeatedly refused to tell even its Congressional Intelligence Committee overseers how many US persons or communications are in such databases, a tally or range that mostly should be available using 2001 technology.

Despite this sorry record, the Judiciary Committee’s S. 139 bill extending Section 702 actually “legalizes” what FISC declared to be violations of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment banning unreasonable, warrantless search and seizure. It allows databased communications, whether foreign or domestic, to be searched by NSA and other agencies, for any purpose and without a warrant.

Past claims that pending terrorist attacks were blocked due to domestic surveillance have not withstood scrutiny.
Failure traces to NSA’s “collect it all” approach that buries useful information. Even were a few claims of 702 prevention of domestic terrorism reliably verified, the responsibility to protect our freedom and republic is far more important. Almost inexplicably, US terrorist attacks by untargeted persons who were radicalized and trained online to create bombs occur regularly.

These online sites, not ordinary persons’ electronic activities, should have blanket NSA coverage, but the agency repeatedly fails at this most basic task.

Diane Roark retired in 2002 after 17 years on the Republican staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. During her last five years, she was the majority staffer responsible for oversight of NSA finances and operations, and in her final months she strongly opposed the onset of domestic surveillance.

and, from Wikipedia:

Diane Roark is an American whistleblower who served as a Republican staffer on the House Intelligence Committee from 1985 to 2002. She was, right after 9/11, “the House Intelligence Committee staffer in charge of oversight of the NSA”. Along with William Binney, Ed Loomis, and J. Kirk Wiebe, she filed a complaint to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (DoD IG) about the National Security Agency’s highly classified Trailblazer Project. Her house was raided by armed FBI agents in 2007 after she was wrongly suspected of leaking to The New York Times reporter James Risen and to Siobhan Gorman at The Baltimore Sun in stories about NSA warrantless surveillance. This led to her suing the government in 2012 because they did not return her computer, which they had seized during the raid, and because the government failed to clear her name. The punitive treatment of Roark, Binney, Wiebe, and Loomis, as well as, and, in particular, then still active (rather than retired) NSA executive Thomas Andrews Drake, who had gone in confidence with anonymity assured to the DoD IG, led the Assistant Inspector General John Crane to eventually become a public whistleblower himself and also led Edward Snowden to go public with revelations rather than to report within the internal whistleblower program.

Finally, a media query prompted by Ray’s recent article on the FBI role in Russia-gate.

FBI ‘Should Feel Embarrassed’ by Its Russian Meddling Claims –Ex-CIA Analyst
Jan. 15, 2018 (The audio is 8 minutes long; click on the start-arrow toward the end of the above link.)

Speaking to Radio Sputnik about his explosive, detailed and documented but broadly overlooked investigation into how US intelligence agencies, not Russia, were the ones trying to meddle in the 2016 US presidential race, retired CIA officer-turned political activist Ray McGovern outlined why changing Americans’ minds on the matter is so difficult.

McGovern’s report, which came out last week, provided new, documented proof on some of the ways US intelligence officers attempted to interfere in the 2016 election, and on how pro-Clinton FBI staffers now involved in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation worked to try to immunize former Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton from crimes including lying to the FBI and endangering state secrets.

Sputnik: Tell us a little about this report, and how you came about creating it.

Ray McGovern: Well, it was not very difficult. The fact that our report is unique is a symptom of the blanket coverage saying that Russia interfered in our election. Even most of my progressive colleagues believe that and so this is a counter-narrative, and it’s really hard to change your mind around into believing something very different, even if, as in this case, it’s based on documentary evidence [as cited in:  ].

So, just let me note at the outset that this is the first request, after several days of this article being up on the web in various places, for an interview, on this shocking news that it might not be Russia that intervened into our election, but rather the FBI in cooperation with the CIA and others who we call the deep state.

The story is simply this: the exchange of emails that was released by the Department of Justice Inspector General shows that very top-level FBI officials, including the head of counterintelligence, were plotting to make sure #1: that Trump did not win and #2: that if he did win, they would be able to push a narrative saying ‘Aha, he didn’t win fairly, and it was the Russians that helped him win.’

That is the narrative that prevails in our media right now; it’s a really, really shameful thing because even my progressive friends believe it. Even the progressive websites that used to automatically print my materials, like CommonDreams for example, or Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. I am shunned, like those dissidents in Russia way back when the Soviet Union existed.

Sputnik: Why would the FBI and the CIA try to promote this Russian-hacking narrative, when implying that they could allow such a thing to happen makes them look incompetent?

Ray McGovern: If it were true, it would make them incompetent. You’re quite right; they’re pushing a narrative that should be embarrassing, but the American people are not aware of what’s really going on, because the media presents a one-sided view here.

The intelligence agencies were first and foremost determined [to ensure] that Trump could not win. You have not only this business coming out of the FBI – mainly documentary evidence in the form of text messages, but the…[forensically disproven] notion that Russia hacked into the DNC emails and gave them to WikiLeaks.

When I say that’s disproven, it all hinges on the forensic studies we have supervised, made and reported on, which show that this Guciffer 2.0 is a fraud…He’s an entity that was invented, we think [“we” being Bill Binney from the NSA, earlier, and I ] we think that it was probably our own security services who invented Guciffer 2.0 and used this entity as a way of showing ‘Oh, here are Russian templates on these messages!’ and ‘Oh, here’s a little bit of Cyrillic!’ They superimposed this ‘evidence’ on these messages to show that the Russians hacked. That is disproven by forensics now. [See:
and ]

It’s very important that people know this, but just as other things that show the faults of the narrative that prevails, it does not appear in the media, not even in the so-called progressive media.

Sputnik: Donald Trump is known for his difficult relationship with the security agencies. What do you make of that?

Ray McGovern: Well let me just give you one example. Right before he became president, that is on the 6th of January [2017]…the FBI, the CIA and the NSA gave him a scurrilous document that indicated that he had been guilty of all manner of profane and other activities captured by the [Russian FSB] when he visited Moscow many years ago.

Why did they do that? They did it as an annex to another report that had no proof in real evidence, that is, that the Russians, under the direction of President Putin, interfered in our elections.

What happened was, three of them presented it, and one stayed behind, and that was James Comey of the FBI…[who] gave [Trump] what was called the dossier, the dossier about all of these terrible things. Now none of them are true. It’s disproven and really conjured up. Why did they do it?

It’s an old tactic that the FBI uses. They say to an incoming president, ‘we have this information on you, so just be aware.’…If I were Mr. Trump, I would react very, very negatively to that, because this is the old implicit trick of blackmail; that the security services have this information on a new president, and they can use it at any time if he does not do the bidding of the security services.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Takes on David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East; Suggests He Read Up on What’s Been Going On

Zakharova briefing, Jan. 2018 (excerpts below)

Zakharova: I would like to quote remarks by David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, who spoke during Senate hearings. He said that the United States does not understand Russia’s long-term strategy in Syria.

The official Foreign Ministry spokesperson holds weekly briefings, the transcripts of which are posted on the ministry’s official website. We focus extensively on Russia’s long-term strategy in Syria. The US State Department could have already introduced its high-ranking official to our statements, briefings, and transcripts of remarks made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Presidential Executive Office, primarily President Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry talk daily about the steps that Russia is taking to resolve the situation in Syria …

How is that unclear? … We could not have anticipated such incompetence in an Acting Assistant Secretary of State.

In yet another statement,  Satterfield noted that the United States plans to act on Syria through the UN in opposition to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. … This is a counterweight to Sochi … We cannot and will not legitimize a settlement process that is alternative to the one that Russia is pursuing.

Is he aware that Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was in Moscow and met with the Russian Foreign Minister and Defense Ministry? Is he aware that modalities were arranged to connect the UN directly to the holding of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi? Did he not hear the statements made by the UN Secretary-General and his special envoy? …

It is striking that the United States openly talks about opposing the Congress. It may well be that they are trying to package the events in Sochi as something in opposition to the processes unfolding in Geneva. We have repeatedly said that all these processes are intertwined. A full-fledged settlement is impossible without Geneva and Astana, or without connecting the negotiation platforms, which have been active over the past several years. … What is surprising, though, is that the opposition to holding the Congress in Sochi is now stated openly, in particular, by US diplomats. It is now becoming clear why some Syrian opposition groups are saying that they do not have a clear position with regard to participating in the Congress. It is clear who is behind this and who is actively hampering this process. (Emphasis added)

In yet another statement … Satterfield pointed out that while Russia announced that the fight against ISIS in Syria is over, the United States and its coalition partners do not consider this to be an end to the efforts. This is sheer lack of understanding of what Russia is doing and has been doing in Syria. Originally, Russia suggested – just in case recently appointed or yet to be appointed high-ranking US State Department officials are unaware of it – joining efforts in fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups, and doing so on an international legal basis.

Shortly afterwards, when we failed to hear, first of all, from the United States – as the leader of some anti-terrorist coalitions in Syria – confirmation of its desire to work together, Russia had to start that operation to counter terrorist groups which you observed, almost openly, sometimes online, as you visited the regions. During this operation, we have repeatedly stated that the United States and the international coalition that it leads provide direct support to certain terrorist groups.

Certain politicians in the United States claim that it was not Russia that scored such a truly major victory in the decisive battle against ISIS, but the United States. Now, everything is distorted and portrayed as if the United States was left there face to face with the enemy. It is just lack of understanding of what is actually happening in that region.

I would like to turn to specific subjects. The number of provocations by Jabhat al-Nusra militants and radical illegal armed formations, including attacks against Russian military bases, increased markedly in Syria in the first days of 2018. By the way, David Satterfield could share a lot of interesting information about the role of the United States in supporting this entity with US legislators. …