There Is At Least One Independent-Thinking State Senator

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There is at least one independent-thinking State Senator who is not afraid to say what he thinks in public. His name is Richard H. Black, a Republican in the State Senate of Virginia. On August 30, 2013, he issued a statement against a U.S. attack on Syria. Judging from the very few links to this statement in a Google search, his statement received almost no publicity. He followed this up in April 2014 with a 2-page letter to President Assad of Syria. This was reported by the main stream media. Senator Black now has a new interview on Syria that appeared in the Iran Review.

Black makes a number of notable statements about the U.S. support of terrorists in Syria, about their atrocities, about the media acceptance of State Department reports, about the false statements of Ambassador Ford, and about the ignorance of the public that is abetted by the government. For example:

“Rebels launched a major attack through five different border locations with the assistance of Turkish government, and they used American supplied anti-tank missiles and were led by the Al-Nusra Front, which is a recognized terrorist group; the U.S. State Department has actually labeled them a terrorist group. Al-Nusra led the attack as they poured into Syria, captured the Christian town of Kassab and most of the Christians had fled beforehand; all people left there. They slaughtered 80 women while 13 of those were beheaded.”

The U.S. support of war and war crimes in Syria is very much Obama’s doing. He made this his own war, as he made Libya is own war, as he has made drone warfare his own, Ukraine his own, confrontation with China in the Pacific his own, and U.S. expansion in Africa his own. Obama has now taken several steps that lead to renewed U.S. warfare in Iraq.

The Democratic Party of Virginia criticized Black for his letter to Assad, calling it “reckless” and accusing him of “extremism”. Individual Democrats also lambasted Black, whose letter thanked Assad for saving Christians. They criticized Assad for gas attacks and torture.

Senator Black also has argued that the U.S. should stay out of the Ukraine. A majority of Americans polled agree.

Black’s statement about information is certainly of utmost importance:

” First of all, I would say that there really are a limited number of people in the Congress, in state legislature[s], with an in-depth understanding of foreign policy. Generally, it’s rather easy to manipulate people when the word is put out through the press that this government is bad; that government is bad. Sometimes it’s coercion, and sometimes it’s not. There’s a very selective amount of information that is provided to people and a tendency to go along with that. I’ve studied the Syrian situation literally every single day for three [years] through reading press reports around the world, without missing a day. I think there’s a limited amount of information that most people have.”

The situation in foreign policy is intolerable, and it afflicts domestic policy as well. Washington owns and operates foreign policy. It controls or attempts to control information about what it’s doing. It shapes its own narratives. The press fails to develop sufficient independent information. The government creates myths. It withholds information. It provides doctored, sanitized and misleading reports. There are propaganda campaigns. Spin is prevalent. The government suppresses and threatens whistleblowers. It discourages reporters and their sources, and actively prosecutes them or threatens to. Government secrecy is the order of the day. Classified documents run rampant. Government officials and workers are sworn to secrecy. Reporters who are critical of government lose access to information sources. Huge swaths of government are secret from the get-go, like the CIA, special forces and the NSA. These become the private fiefdoms of the president. In wartime, reporters are embedded with the military and fail to report the horrors of war or even the failures and inadequacies of the U.S. forces.

All of this shows a totally broken system of government. The government is very busy raising barriers for ordinary Americans to learn what their government is doing. The government is interested only in obstruction of the flow of information and it achieves this by controlling that flow. It shapes the information and attempts to staunch it altogether when public knowledge would interfere with its secret plans and activities.

It’s in this context that open statements by elected officials like those of Black are so infrequent. How many politicians have made statements like his?

“We have been able to establish this ‘myth’ of the moderate rebels, and we did this by setting up the Free Syrian Army which exists but is not a powerful group or able to fund or arm the jihadists and support them because it has not been designated a terrorist group. On the other hand, you’ve got several groups, the biggest one is the Islamist front which is a very extremist group and then you have the two most powerful fighting groups which are the Al-Nusra Front and ISIL. Those two groups are on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. We of course know that when we help them, they will simply end up supporting the same terrorists.

“I think the U.S. support is more on the Al-Nusra side and less on the ISIL, but we are certainly allied with various Middle East countries that work with us on all these sides and they supply the weapons and funding to the ISIL which is of course destabilizing the government of Iraq on which we declared a major war to presumably to shore up Iraq and bring an improvement in the situation there and yet what we’re doing in Syria is a major damaging on the nation of Iraq.”

How many elected officials have accused the U.S. government of lying and setting up a myth about a Syrian uprising, like this statement of Black?

“Ambassador Ford’s issue communicates that when the rebellion began and was an urban rioting, he conveyed the very clear impression that somehow these were good people who were simply trying to gain freedom from their oppressive government and I think the media picked up on it. They said, ok, this is a report from our government. Frankly, I think it was false. I think the information that was disseminated was quite misleading. I don’t think that the rioters who began the Syrian uprising operated simply on their own. I think they were organized, funded, armed and supplied from outside and I think it was a calculated decision to instigate an uprising and topple the government. I can understand that the media tend to trust what they are told and I think what they were told was not accurate.”

The very infrequency of such statements and, to the contrary, the criticism by Democrats that Black is making reckless and extreme statements, these show that some things are drastically wrong in the system of American government and, more deeply, in a population that can be kept in the dark for so long and that can loyally and blindly accept every war and military action its government initiates.

Not that such a situation is hopeless or cannot be rectified or ameliorated, for it can. There are alternative media. There was vast public resistance to bombing Syria. The Iraq debacle is bound to provide information to the public that cannot be missed or ignored. Most Americans now think that the Iraq War was a mistake.

8:27 am on July 1, 2014