Establishment media outlets are openly smearing Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard. Why? Because the army veteran firmly opposes devastating US regime-change wars abroad, and she tells the truth about US links to terrorism.
The smears keep rolling in
Elitist mainstream media outlets in the US tend to support regime-change wars. And that seems to be the driving force behind their hostility towards Gabbard.
Speaking on CNN before the Democratic debate on 15 October, for example, establishment Democrat pundit Bakari Sellers said:
There is a chance that Tulsi’s not just working for the United States of America
There is no question that Tulsi Gabbard, of all the 12, is a puppet for the Russian government.
The New York Times also put out a smear piece on Gabbard:
Speaking during the debate about US regime-change efforts in Syria, Gabbard spoke out against these smears, saying:
New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling to an end to this regime-change war.
And she called this campaign “completely despicable”.
The smearing continued, however, with other establishment journalists accusing Gabbard of echoing “Russian talking points”:
Gabbard has previously called Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a “brutal dictator” and has argued for the importance of diplomacy while vocally opposing “the illegal war to arm, fund and train terrorist-aligned rebels in Syria to overthrow Assad”. And despite her criticising Russia in the past, her campaign says opponents are resorting to “Russia-baiting propaganda” attacks against anyone “who speaks out against regime change war or the new Cold War”.
When the truth makes the rich and powerful feel uncomfortable, they’ll resort to smears
Gabbard has long criticised the close US relationship with Saudi Arabia, accusing the dictatorship of “both providing direct and indirect support directly to al-Qaeda” and calling it “the propagator of this Wahhabi-Salafist ideology that provides the fertile recruiting grounds for terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Isis [Daesh]”. And she’s right on a number of fronts.
Truth on Saudi Arabia
- Despite well-documented Saudi links to terrorism, unwavering US support allows the Saudi regime to keep using billions of its petrodollars to spread its extreme Wahhabi ideology around the world.
- Reports say the Saudi-led coalition currently devastating Yemen has “transferred US-made weapons to militias designated by the US as terrorist groups”. Investigations have also shown that the coalition “secured secret deals with al-Qaeda in Yemen and recruited hundreds of the group’s fighters”.
- A former US Army colonel has called Saudi Arabia “the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the region, and indeed in the world”.
- The terrorism the US claims to fight around the world grew largely from decades of destructive US foreign policy, during which Washington (and other Western governments) backed ultra-conservative extremists in order to defeat secular progressives. Saudi Arabia was a key ally in this campaign.
Truth on Syria
- Renowned professor Jeffrey Sachs, meanwhile, said of the Syrian conflict in 2018 that “this is a US mistake that started seven years ago… The CIA and Saudi Arabia, together – in covert operations, tried to overthrow Assad. It was a disaster. … This is the CIA, this is the Pentagon, wanting to keep Iran and Russia out of Syria. But no way to do that. And so we have made a proxy war in Syria.”
- Leaked documents show that, since at least 2006, the US hoped to destabilise the Syrian government. Other documents reveal US presence in Syria in 2011 and awareness (from at least 2012) that some Saudi Arabian extremists were at the forefront of anti-Assad fighting. And for years, weapons which the US sent to Syria reportedly ended up in the hands of Daesh and al-Qaeda.
- One senior Qatari official once claimed Daesh (Isis/Isil) began as “a Saudi project“. And former US general Martin Dempsey said of Daesh in 2014: “I know major Arab allies who fund them”.
- WikiLeaks published one email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta which said “the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia… are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region”. The publisher had previously released US diplomatic cables which said: “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.
Don’t buy the smears. We need to listen to Tulsi Gabbard.
As award-winning independent journalist Aaron Maté tweeted:
Indeed, the evidence is on Gabbard’s side. That’s why the rich and powerful probably hope US voters will just buy their smears and ignore her.
There are, of course, some positions from Gabbard that progressives could genuinely criticise. But her opposition to disastrous regime-change wars isn’t one of them. On that, she’s spot on – and we must resist the smears trying to convince us otherwise.
Featured image via Tulsi Gabbard