Columbia University Professor Drops Some Knowledge About What’s Really Happening In Syria

Critical thinking is the “The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement” followed by the ability to find fact-based information to investigate the topic or argument and discover what the facts actually are.

The goal of critical thinking is to be able to make a conclusion based on facts and not on any preconceived assumptions. According to the University of Minnesota, Professor Nan Gesche, this means having an open-minded “beginners mindset” without bias and prejudice (source).

This is the hardest part of critical thinking because of cognitive dissonance, which is the human’s tendency to argue black is white rather than hold a view that goes against their previous conditioning/assumptions.

Critical Thinking in Academia

In my previous article, I explained that the need for people to be able to critically think about current political events is increasing while studies suggest that the ability for the general public to critically think is seemingly declining (source).

Some academics are taking these findings very seriously. Ultimate Civics, for example, have developed a free American civics unit to inspire students at middle school and high school levels to think critically about U.S. democracy and emerge as change makers (source). Meanwhile, Stanford University has created free downloadable curricula, materials and assessments to help college students develop critical thinking and civic online reasoning skills (source).

But can we really rely on our education systems to provide us with critical thinking skills?

“I want a nation of workers, not thinkers.”
– John D. Rockefeller

One academic passionate about engaging people in critical thinking is Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Colombia University who recently took the opportunity during a debate about the recent missile strike against the Syrian government to use his time on a mainstream news channel to state:

“I think we have to understand how this happened. This happened because of us. These 600,000 [dead] are not just incidental. We started a war to overthrow a regime. It was covert. It was Timber Sycamore. People can look it up. The CIA operation together with Saudi Arabia still shrouded in secrecy, which is part of the problem in our country. A major war effort shrouded in secrecy, never debated by Congress, never explained to the American people, signed by President Obama – never explained. And this created chaos, and so just throwing more missiles in right now is not a response.”

While the original mainstream narrative presented to the public is that the war in Syria is multifaceted and far too complicated to be fully understood, this is absolutely not the case.

We only need to critically think about one question:

Did the USA deliberately start a war in Syria to overthrow Assad and the Syrian government?

If we first look at the official mainstream narrative, then the answer is “no”. In 2011 when the Syrian conflict began, we were told that the people of Syria had taken to the streets, following the example of Egyptians and Tunisians, to peacefully demonstrate for political reform. Then the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, ordered the Syrian Armed Forces to open fire on the demonstrators.

According to this narrative, people armed themselves and formed groups to defend themselves against Assad’s regime (source).


Related CE Articles:

Syrian Doctor In Douma Has Some Serious Doubts Over The Chemical Gas Attack

Robert F Kennedy Jr. Explains The Real Reason The West Is Trying To Destabilize Syria

MIT Professor Emeritus Claims Latest Chemical Attack In Syria Was Not Assad’s Doing

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Stops Live Concert To Explain False Flag Chemical Attack In Syria

Breaking – US/UK Intel Admits They Bombed Syria With No Proof of Sarin Chemical Attack

Declassified CIA Report Exposes 25-Years of US Plans To Destabilize Syria


The Facts

The secret training and arming of rebel groups by the CIA to overthrow the government was first reported by The Washington Post and International Business Times (article now removed, but viewable here) back in 2013.

Award-winning journalist Ben Swann explained in a special 2015 Truth in Media report that ISIS entered Syria from Iraq in heavily armoured Humvees and tanks left by the U.S. military, and weapons and training from US and coalition special forces, organized by the CIA.

While reports from The Washington Post and The New York Times claim that the covert CIA program to fund rebels has now ended, Professor Jeffrey Sachs goes on to say the “war continues because we to this day back rebels that are trying to overthrow a government contrary to international law, contrary to the UN Charter, contrary to commonsense.”

A recent joint report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Program (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) found that the Pentagon is still supplying up to $2.2 billion worth of weapons and ammunition to Syrian rebels (source).

Michel Chossudovsky, award-winning author, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, and the founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) explains:

“The global war on terrorism is a US undertaking, which is fake, it’s based on fake premises. It tells us that somehow America and the Western world are going after a fictitious enemy, the Islamic state, when in fact the Islamic state is fully supported and financed by the Western military alliance and America’s allies in the Persian Gulf” (source).

Professor Jeffrey Sachs points out that the solution to the Syrian conflict is no more complicated to understand that the cause: “stop trying to support rebels who are committed to overthrowing the government” and instead “go to the UN Security Council” to “agree with Russia on a strategy for ending the fight, but ending the fight means that we stop trying to overthrow a government.”

Conclusion

Looking at the facts, it is clear that the answer to the question “Did the USA deliberately start a war in Syria to overthrow Assad?” is “yes.” The next question one might ask is “why?”

As a lecturer of critical thinking and solutions education myself, I designed a talk on critical thinking about Syria that took students on a deep, difficult trip down the rabbit hole of answering that question “why.”

Like coming to terms with the fact that the Twin Towers were blown up, going through this wake up process can be extreme, but it is an essential one to go through because once we are presented with facts that challenge our world view, we can only deny them (cognitive dissonance) or accept them.

If we accept them, we start to see we are not the ego (our conditioning), reject the fear-based mainstream narrative of problems, and focus instead on the love-based narrative of solutions.

I invite you to watch my full 52 min lecture, or the 3-part version below, and please consider sharing it with anyone you feel can handle the cognitive dissonance, and has the potential to free their mind.

My next article will be about the positive, alternative narrative. Sign up to stay updated here.

WUWE is a project to promote critical thinking and inspire positive personal and systemic change by raising awareness of facts not covered in the mainstream; please support me on FacebookYouTube and Twitter, or subscribe for my latest updates here.

Staged Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria? Why We Need Critical Thinking

I have 20 years experience teaching critical thinking. Today I teach critical thinking at one of the most prestigious universities in the UK, and the rest of the time I travel, teaching critical thinking to students in poor and rich countries around the world. I do this because I believe understanding how to identify fact from fiction is not just helpful – it is essential.

Most would probably agree that critical thinking (being able to separate facts from fiction and thus make informed decisions) is important, but unfortunately this skill is largely missing in the general public.

A Need for Critical Thinking

In 2014, Cambridge International Examinations research revealed that teachers across the globe believe critical thinking is the skill their students most lack when they begin their post-16 courses at school, and 56% of teachers said students were still unable to think critically when they entered university (source).

A 2011 study by sociologists from the New York University and University of Virginia concluded that 45% of students graduated “without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event” (source).

More recently, a 2017 study by MindEdge, an online learning company founded by Harvard and MIT educators, found 44% of college students could not correctly answer 6 of 9 questions designed to gauge their ability to detect fake news (source), and a report by The Wall Street Journal the same year found large groups of college seniors have “basic or below-basic levels” meaning “they can generally read documents and communicate to readers but can’t make a cohesive argument or interpret evidence” (source).

It is easy to focus on the students here, but if the majority of students are unable to critically think at 16 years of age, and are still unable to critically think when they enter or leave university, it follows that parents, teachers and other adults that they regularly come into contact with are also failing to effectively demonstrate how to do so.

That is not all. A report by the Foundation for Young Australians in 2015 found the demand for critical thinking skills in new graduates has risen 158% in 3 years (source) while a 2016 Stanford University report found college students actually performed worse than high school students at distinguishing “between a news story, an ad, and an opinion piece” (source).

This is extremely worrying when we consider that the growing nuclear threat and a lack of trust in political institutions are two main reasons scientists have set the doomsday clock at 2 minutes to midnight for 2018 (source).

The need for students and non-students to understand global events is indeed increasing, while the ability for the general public to act on truth, it seems, is actually declining.

The Ability to Act on Truth

Let us take one of the most important events unfolding in the world right now as an example – missile strikes against the Syrian government.

France (source), the UK (source) and the USA (source) claimed they had evidence that a chemical attack did take place on April 7th in Douma and that it was carried out by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Meanwhile, Russia said this evidence comes only from media reports (source), and presented testimony from two medics who said the video broadcast of survivors being treated for chemical exposure had been faked by intelligence services, with Britain directly involved (source).

Is it possible that media outlets reported on a fake video about a chemical weapons attack that did not even take place so that the US-led coalition could justify attacking the Syrian government?

Critical thinking is the “The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement” (source). It is therefore first important to acknowledge any assumptions or conclusions we may already have based on prior conditioning (not facts). For example, a preconceived idea that our governments and media are the good guys and would not lie.

Next is the ability to find fact-based information to investigate the topic or argument to discover what the facts, not assumptions, actually are.

Evidence of Media Manipulation

In 2013 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a documentary called Saving Syria’s Children with staged events and fake video footage of an an incendiary bomb attack that featured British doctor Rola Hallam, who not only lied about incendiary bomb victims around her, but also turned out to be the daughter of Syrian rebel supporter, Dr. Mousa al-Kurdi (source).

A similar event took place in 1990 when nurse Nayirah gave testimony that was used to justify bombing Iraq in the Gulf War. It turned out her testimony was also fabricated, and her father was in fact the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Washington (source).

The U.S. government has certainly been manipulating the media since the 1950s (source), and in 2010 it was made public that the CIA “now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network” and has “persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories” (source). Modern journalists confirm this (source) and according to former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, the BBC is now one of the first organisations that the CIA goes to when they want to influence the news media (source).

Evidence of Chemical Weapons Attacks

In 2013, PressTV reported on a leaked document revealing a UK-Qatari plot to fund rebels and fake a chemical weapons attack from the Syrian government (source). Later that year, Carla del Ponte, leading an investigation for the U.N., found no evidence Assad had used chemical weapons but strong evidence coalition-supported Syrian rebels had carried out a Sarin nerve gas attack (source).

According to award-winning journalist Ben Swann, as of Feb 2018 there has been no evidence of Assad using any chemical weapons (source), and Professor Theodore Postol at MIT released a 6-page document providing evidence that the White House Intelligence Report from 2013 and 2017 were both blatant fabrications (source).

Postol also reminds us that false intelligence on weapons of mass destruction “led to a US attack on Iraq that started a process that ultimately led to a political disintegration in the Middle East” and only days ago, CNN reported that the US-led coalition in fact proceeded with military action in Syria without having any certainty about the alleged chemical attack (source).

Facts Not Assumptions

The final stage of critical thinking is to be able to make a conclusion based on the facts and not on any preconceived assumptions. According to University of Minnesota Professor Nan Gesche, this means having an open-minded “beginners mindset” without bias and prejudice (source).

This is the hardest part of critical thinking because of cognitive dissonance, which is the human’s tendency to argue black is white rather than hold a view that goes against their previous conditioning/assumptions.

Nevertheless, if we look at the facts, we must conclude “Yes. It is possible” that the media reported on fabricated evidence, and it is also possible that the attack was completely staged by intelligence services and did not take place at all.

Why? Because the facts show that all this has happened multiple times before. Please watch my video below to see why this matters and what we can do.

I also invite you to watch my full lecture on The Art of Critical Thinking, and if you would like me to make more Trews-style videos, then please let me know here.

WUWE is a project to promote critical thinking and inspire positive personal and systemic change by raising awareness of facts not covered in the mainstream; please support me on FacebookYouTube and Twitter, or subscribe for my latest updates here.