Mike Billington with Executive Intelligence Review interviews Col. Richard Black (ret.).
BILLINGTON: Hi, this is this is Mike Billington with Executive Intelligence Review and the Schiller Institute. I am here today with Col. Richard Black, Sen. Richard Black, who, after serving 31 years in the Marines and in the Army, then served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998 to 2006, and in the Virginia Senate from 2012 to 2020. I’ll also allow Colonel Black to describe his military service himself.
So, Colonel Black, welcome. With the with the U.S. and U.K. and NATO surrogate war with Russia, which is taking place in Ukraine, and the economic warfare being carried out directly against Russia, this has been accompanied by an information war which is intended to demonize Russia and especially President Vladimir Putin. One repeated theme is that the Russian military is carrying out ruthless campaigns of murder against civilians and destruction of residential areas, often referring to the Russian military operations in Syria, claiming that they had done the same thing in Syria, especially against Aleppo. These are supposedly examples of their war crimes and crimes against humanity.
You have been a leading spokesman internationally for many years, exposing the lies about what took place in Syria and the war on Syria. So first, let me ask: How and why did Russia get involved in Syria militarily? And how does that contrast with the U.S. and NATO supposed justification for their military intervention in Syria?
BLACK: Well, let me begin, if I could, by telling our listeners that I’m very patriotic: I volunteered to join the Marines and I volunteered to go to Vietnam. I fought in the bloodiest Marine campaign of the entire war. And I was a helicopter pilot who flew 269 combat missions. My aircraft was hit by ground fire on four missions. I, then, fought on the ground with the First Marine Division, and during one of the 70 combat patrols that I made, my radioman were both killed, and I was wounded while we were attacking and trying to rescue a surrounded Marine outpost.
So I’m very pro-American. I actually was a part of NATO and was prepared to die in Germany, to defend against an attack by the Soviet Union.
But Russia is not the Soviet Union at all. People don’t understand that because the media have not made it clear. But Russia is not a communist state; the Soviet Union was a communist state.
Now, one of the things that I’ve seen claimed, that has been particularly irritating to me because of my experience with Syria: I have I have been in Aleppo city. Aleppo city is the biggest city in Syria, or it was at least before the war began. And there was a tremendous battle. Some some call it the “Stalingrad of the Syrian war,” which is not a bad comparison. It was a terribly bitter battle that went on from 2012 until 2016. In the course of urban combat, any forces that are fighting are forced to destroy buildings. Buildings are blown down on a massive scale. And this happens any time that you have urban combat. So I have walked the streets of Aleppo, while combat was still in progress. I have looked across, through a slit in the sandbags at enemy controlled territory; I’ve stood on tanks that were blown out and this type of thing.
What I do know, and I can tell you about Aleppo is that Russia was extremely reluctant to get involved in combat in Syria. The war began in 2011, when the United States landed Central Intelligence operatives to begin coordinating with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. And we had been unwavering supporters of Al Qaeda, since before the war formally began. We are supporters of Al Qaeda today, where they’re bottled up in Idlib province. The CIA supplied them under secret Operation Timber Sycamore. We gave them all of their anti-tank weapons, all of their anti air- missiles. And Al Qaeda has always been our proxy force on the ground. They, together with ISIS, have carried out the mission of the United States, together with a great number of affiliates that really are kind of interchangeable. You have the Free Syrian Army soldiers move from ISIS to Al Qaeda to Free Syrian Army, rather fluidly. And so we started that war.
But the United States has a strategic policy of using proxies to engage in war. And our objective was to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria, and in order to do that, we employed proxy soldiers who were the most vile of all terrorists. Something very similar is happening right now in in Ukraine.
But going back to Aleppo, the Syrian army, together with Hezbollah, which was very effective; there were some troops that were organized by Iran also, but it was pretty much a Syrian show, certainly directed by Syrian generals. And they had fought this bitter urban combat, very brutal, very deadly. And they had fought it for four years, before Russia ever joined the battle. So after four years, the city of Aleppo had enormous destruction. And at that point, the Russians, at the invitation of the legitimate government of Syria, entered the war. But unlike many of the media reports, they did not enter the war as a ground force. Now, they had some small ground forces. They had military police, they had a few artillery units, a few special operations people, and quite a number of advisers and that sort of thing. But they were not a significant ground force.
On the other hand, they were a significant and very effective air force, that supplemented the Syrian Air Force. But it really was just the last year of the war, the battle for Aleppo, just the last year, that they entered and their air power was very effective. And by this time, the Syrians had pretty well worn down the terrorist forces. And the Russian assistance was able to tip the balance, and Aleppo was the grand victory of the entire Syrian war.
But to blame the Russians for the massive destruction that took place within Aleppo, it’s bizarre: Because they were not there, they were not even present when this happened. So this is simply another part of the propaganda narrative, which is which hasbeen very effective for the West, demonizing Russia, and making claims that have no substance. But people don’t remember the history of these things—they’re rather complex. So, no: Russia was not in any respect responsible for the massive destruction of the city of Aleppo.
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