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In her groundbreaking book The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism  Naomi Klein  has shown how From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, neoliberals have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies or neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries. This concept is closely related to the concepts of Military-Industrial Complex and Predator state. Amazon review of the book states:

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.

"At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.

There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes 

Publishers Weekly review adds to this:

The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy. 

Selected Amazon reviews

Steve Koss VINE VOICE on September 25, 2007

A Stunning and Well-Researched Indictment of Friedmanian Neoliberalism
 

Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE is a stunning indictment of American corporatism and institutionalized globalization, on a par with such groundbreaking works as Harrington's THE OTHER AMERICA and Chomsky's HEGEMONY OR SURVIVAL. Comprehensive in its breadth and remarkable for its well-researched depth, Klein's book is a highly readable but disturbing look at how the neoliberal economic tenets of Milton Friedman have been implemented across the world over the last thirty-plus years.

The author's thesis is simply stated: that neoliberal economic programs have repeatedly been implemented without the consent of the governed by creating and/or taking advantage of various forms of national shock therapy. Ms. Klein asserts that in country after country, Friedman and his Chicago School followers have foisted their tripartite economic prescription - privatization, deregulation, and cutbacks in social welfare spending - on an unsuspecting populace through decidedly non-democratic means. In the early years, the primary vehicle was dictatorial military force and accompanying fear of arrest, torture, disappearance, or death. Over time, new organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank were employed instead, using or creating impossible debt burdens to force governments to accept privatization of state-owned industries and services, complete removal of trade barriers and tariffs, forced acceptance of private foreign investment, and widespread layoffs. In more recent years, terrroism and its response as well as natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis have wiped clean enough of the slate to impose these Friedmanite policies on people too shocked and focused on recovering to realize what was happening until it was too late.

According to Ms. Klein's thesis, these revolutionary economic programs were the "medicine" deemed necessary by neoliberal, anti-Keynesian economists to bring underdeveloped countries into the global trading community. Ms. Klein argues her case in convincing detail a long chronological line of historical cases. Each chapter in her book surveys one such situation, from Chile under Pinochet and Argentina under military junta through Nicaragua and Honduras, Bolivia under Goni, post-apartheid South Africa, post-Solidarity Poland, Russia under Yeltsin, China since Tiananmen, reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S. invasion, Sri Lanka after the tsunami, Israel after 9/11, and New Orleans post-Katrina. Along the way, she lets various neoliberal economists and Chicago School practitioners speak for themselves - we hear their "shock therapy" views in their own words. As just one example, this arrogant and self-righteous proclamation from the late Professor Friedman: "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - producs real change...our basic function, to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."

What the author makes inescapably clear is that the world economic order has been largely remade in Milton Friedman's image in the last few decades by adopting programs that would never have been democratically accepted by the common people. Military coups, violence and force, wars, induced hyperinflation, terrorism, preemptive war, climate disasters - these have been the disruptive vehicles that allowed such drastic economic packages to be imposed. Nearly always, they are developed in secrecy and implemented too rapidly for citizens to respond. The end results, as Ms.Klein again makes clear, are massive (and too often, continuing) unemployment, large price increases for essential goods, closing of factories, enormous increases in people living in poverty, explosive concentration of wealth among a small elite, and extraordinary opportunity for rapacious capitalism from American and European corporations.

Ms. Klein argues that from its humble beginnings as an economic philosophy, the neoliberal program has evolved (or perhaps devolved) into a form of corporatism. Particularly in America, government under mostly Republican adminstrations has hollowed itself out, using private sector contractors for nearly every conceivable task. Companies ranging from Lockheed and Halliburton to ChoicePoint, Blackwater, CH2M Hill, and DynCorp exist almost entirely to secure lucrative government contracts to perform work formerly done by government. They now operate in a world the author describes as "disaster capitalism," waiting and salivating over the profits to be made in the next slate-wiping war or disaster, regardless of the human cost. In an ominous closing discussion, Ms. Klein describes the privatization of government in wealthy Atlanta suburbs, a further step in self-serving and preemptive corporatism guaranteed to hollow out whatever is left of major American cities if it becomes a widespread practice.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE is truly a head-shaking read. One can only marvel at the imperiousness of past (mostly) American governmental behavior, the grievous callousness of it all, the massive human despair and suffering created for no other reason than economic imperialism, and the nauseating greed of (mostly Republican) politicians, former political operatives, and corporate executives who prey like pack wolves on people's powerlessness and insecurity. Reading this book, one can no longer ask the question, "Why do they hate us?" The answer is obvious, and no amount of hyperventilation from Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, or Fox News can erase the facts and consequences of behavior that we as a country have implicitly or explicitly endorsed.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE proves itself as shaming of modern American governmental policy as Dee Brown's epic of 19th Century America, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. It is an essential read for intelligent citizens who want to understand the roots of globalization and its blowback effects on our lives.

Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2007

Format: Hardcover
**FYI** Please note to the best of my knowledge I am NOT related to Naomi Klein.**

If you wonder what happened to the middle class, why poverty is on the rise and what the economies in a democracracy, dictatorship and "communism" have in common, you'll find lots of food for thought in Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE. Tracing the rise of the "Chicago Boys" laissez-faire economic beliefs, their impact on South America, China, Russia, Poland and South Africa and how it impacted their form of government, Klein makes a compelling argument for the flaws in Milton Friedman's economic science.

Naomi Klein's book looks at the conflict between Milton Friedman's "laissez-faire" approach to business and government where business is largely unregulated running itself and government is little more than a bare bones system. According to Klein, Friedman believed that the economic theories he espoused would be perfect and that any problems with it would be due to outside forces interferring with his free market world. His approach was in complete contrast to Keynes who believed that the prime mission of politicians and economists was to prevent unemployment and avoid a depression or recession by regulating the market place. People like John Kenneth Galbraith (heir to Keynes' mantle)believed part of the purpose of economic regulation was to keep our captalist system fair and prevent a small group of businesses from dominating the market. Galbraith also believed in bills like the Glass-Steagall act which created a firewall between Wall Street and various banking institutions (which former President Clinton helped to eliminate). The net result would be to prevent recreating disasters like the Great Depression and 1929 stock market crash (the current version of which contributed to part of the economic mess we're in today).

It's the conflict between these two economic philosphies that allows our economic world to thrive. You'll have to decide for yourself how accurately she reflects each man's philosphy based on what you know about each respective philosphy but I found, for the most part, that the book gave a pretty accurate summation of the benefits and issues at the core of each, as well as which classes benefit the most.

Klein suggests that "disaster capitalism", i.e., introducing radical changes in terms of economic and government policy when a country is in "shock" (taking advantage of the fact that massed resistence is unlikely to that change), is allowing the rise of unchecked multi-national corporations that take advantage of and damage our society in the process. She suggests that Friedman's beliefs that the market will manage itself and that free market capitalism undermined the Soviet Union is an idealized and naive belief. The impact for good and bad is that a business functions like a plant. If it receives too much sunlight and water, it will overgrow and strangle out everything else in the economic ecosystem. The net result would cause the system to become unbalanced with human suffering and economic disaster as the result if left unchecked. She traces a parallel path between the rise of Friedman's economic philosphy and the rise of human rights violations, rise and fall of various governments throughout the world and the opportunism of the business world to exploit it.

She ties all of this together looking at the economic policies and beliefs that are reshaping American society--for good and bad--into a different society where the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to expand and one where the free market society is being radically retooled. The result is a society where the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. The pressured middle class continues to shrink. This undermines the foundation of our economic growth. This book will probably divide those along the more extreme political lines but has the ring of truth nevertheless.

Klein crafts a fascinating book. Although some of her observations might be a bit of a stretch and her arguments occasionally flawed, she provides compelling evidence to support her thesis and connects the dots of events that might otherwise appear to be unrelated. Whether or not you agree with Klein or are outraged by her evidence, you'll find plenty of food for thought in her book.

Justin M. Feldman on October 27, 2007

An important read with some shortcomings

Naomi Klein has written this book about the rise of what she calls "disaster capitalism": the global imposition/adoption of Chicago School (neoliberal) economics since the early 1970s. This is a particularly important book because, while many have written about the same topic, I have never seen it treated in a form that is both holistic (ie. a global history) and accessible (ie. largely free from the academic jargon of economics and social theory). The book does suffer from some problems however.

Klein's main thesis is problematic. She writes that the idea of economic shock therapy arose out of the same logic as Electric Convulsive Therapy (ECT). This idea is to create or exploit a destructive event in order to create regression, passivity, and a 'blank slate' on which to build a new order. In supporting this thesis, Klein uses all of Part I of her book to write about psychological torture and the CIA's mind control experiments. She attempts to develop a 'poetics of torture' that links the individual violence of ECT to the structural violence that occurs when neoliberalism is imposed as a governing strategy. Klein is no poet however, and the metaphor seems to die pretty early on in the book. She does thankfully offer a more implicit thesis that she invokes more regularly and supports more thoroughly: free markets did not develop through freedom, but through authoritarian or technocratic interventions.

Secondly, Klein treats capitalism as if it were only 35 years old. Her book however is thematically similar to the work of another woman who wrote on the same issues a century before: Rosa Luxemburg. By only going as far back as the rise of Keynsianism and developmentalism, Klein makes it seem as though neoliberalism is a radical historical exception. Yet it seems that, since the industrial revolution, it is Keynsianism that itself was the historical exception.

This book is mostly comprised of what are essentially case studies. Each case study could certainly be expanded into its own 600-page book, so simplification was necessary. I think that it is also necessary for the author to explicitly admit the complexity of any situation beyond just the power of market forces, which act strongly and ubiquitously but never alone. I think she does admit the shortcomings of her case studies for Israel/Palestine, South Africa, and Iraq (her best and most personally-involved ones), but not for the rest.

All in all, this book is worth a read and is a good introduction to one of the most powerful forces of our times. I just hope that it inspires people to read some other books that illuminate more of the complexities in regards to the theory and practice of neoliberalism in our communities, countries, and worlds.

 I particularly recommend David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

ByBrian F. "Nurse Ratched"on April 7, 2015

How shocking! (pun intended)

I have always been a bit of a history buff and have prided myself on knowing a lot of the history involving the US. Recently, I had an enlightening revelation; one which I think I always knew, but had never heard it articulated. Each of us looks at our place in the world in different ways. Some see the world sociologically, some see it economically and some see it politically. Obviously these three "slants" affect our interpretations, and I totally get that there is obvious cross-over. Within each of these areas there is a continuum and people line up (usually) to one side of center or the other. Until I read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, I had not realized just where I aligned. Obviously I was aware that my views tend to be colored with the politics of the world in which I find myself. Having studied some sociology I knew and could interpret things with that lens, as well. What I knew about economics, however, had never given me (that I know of) a different vantage point on history. Until now.

I read through a number of the one star reviews, as is my habit. I like to see what folks have to say who may not be a fan of leftist thought. Let's face it: There's thought (so-called "critical thinking") and then there's blind adherence to ideology. This seems to happen on a lot of levels and is a view shared by many with otherwise opposing world-views. Still, when I read the same old, re-hashed, regurgitated and repeated stuff.... maintaining the status quo, I have to cringe. When I read many of the one star "reviews", I saw a lot of this. One individual who offered quotes from founding father John Adams (among others) rightly pointed out that facts are annoying things. When Ms. Klein put words to paper, she obviously knew this might be an issue. She quotes not only people but documents in support of the argument at hand. Those who oppose her expose on idealogical grounds have often (not always) done so without having given the courtesy of reading the book. Of course, this happens all the time here, on Amazon. Those that have read the book seem to conveniently forget the documents and contemporary quotes of the individuals involved. Unfortunate.

So here's my synopsis (working from memory - I read the book a while ago): Free Market economy, imagined and theorized by Milton Friedman of the Chicago school (University of Chicago, school of economics) in the 50s got it's first real opportunity to prove its mettle in 1970 with Pinochet's coup in Chile. Adherents and followers saw "successes" and shortfalls with this first real-world experiment. The entire southern cone of South American nations experienced similar things, all of which Ms. Klein links through personnel involved to Friedman. They got the okay from Kissinger and the ball got rolling. After South America, then Poland, the USSR/Russia, South Africa, China, and a string of other economies fell into the Friedman fold. He was an advisor!

"Shock and Awe" is followed extremely closely by already laid plans being nearly instantly enacted in order to push through laws and edicts which stood no chance of being passed "democratically". Privatization is the mantra. Donald Rumsfeld was a HUGE Chicago school adherent/supporter who took the idea of privatization to the limit while Secretary of Defense under Bush II, cutting public sector jobs from the DOD with abandon. Iraq's "green zone" was a classic example of a nearly completely privatized entity. A country within a country. Katrina was dealt with in nearly the same manner.

I'll never look at history the same way again. My eyes have been opened. For those of you who will decry my review as leftist praise for a leftist writer... if you're in the 2% and are benefitting, financially, from all this privatization... I can understand you defending it. For ANYONE else, if you defend Laissez Faire / Free Market / or "Trickle Down" economics, you have my sympathy because you are supporting the means of your own suppression. Good Luck!

Pocketson February 20, 2015

Be Ready to be Shocked

This book explains how the CIA bankrolled and encouraged the exploitation and political overthrow of many countries around the world in the '60's, 70's and 80's including Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Iran, Nicaragua and many others. It helps one understand how the Neocons evolved into what their basic philosophy remains today. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, played a major role in this evolution and remained unapologetic about the misery that resulted from his economic model of creating change through shock. This book is very thorough and detailed in its presentation and reads like an exciting novel even though it is a factual reporting of real events.


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[Mar 04, 2020] Why Are We Being Charged? Surprise Bills From Coronavirus Testing Spark Calls for Government to Cover All Costs by Jake Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notes of disaster capitalism in action...
Notable quotes:
"... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions." ..."
"... Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up? ..."
"... In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital." ..."
"... Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China. ..."
"... Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays ..."
"... The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

"Huge surprise medical bills [are] going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone." by Jake Johnson, staff writer Public health advocates, experts, and others are demanding that the federal government cover coronavirus testing and all related costs after several reports detailed how Americans in recent weeks have been saddled with exorbitant bills following medical evaluations.

Sarah Kliff of the New York Times reported Saturday that Pennsylvania native Frank Wucinski "found a pile of medical bills" totaling $3,918 waiting for him and his three-year-old daughter after they were released from government-mandated quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California.

"My question is why are we being charged for these stays, if they were mandatory and we had no choice in the matter?" asked Wucinski, who was evacuated by the U.S. government last month from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I assumed it was all being paid for," Wucinski told the Times . "We didn't have a choice. When the bills showed up, it was just a pit in my stomach, like, 'How do I pay for this?'"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions."

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told the Times that

"the most important rule of public health is to gain the cooperation of the population."

"There are legal, moral, and public health reasons not to charge the patients,"

Gostin said.

Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up?

-- William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 2, 2020

In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital."

"An additional $90 in charges came from radiologists who read the patients' X-ray scans and do not work for the hospital," Kliff noted.

The CDC declined to respond when Kliff asked whether the federal government would cover the costs for patients like the Wucinskis.

The Intercept 's Robert Mackey wrote last Friday that the Wucinskis' situation spotlights "how the American government's response to a public health emergency, like trying to contain a potential coronavirus epidemic, could be handicapped by relying on a system built around private hospitals and for-profit health insurance providers."

We should be doing everything we can to encourage people with #COVIDー19 symptoms to come forward. Huge surprise medical bills is going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone, regardless of if you are insured. https://t.co/KOUKTSFVzD

-- Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 1, 2020

Play this tape to the end and you find people not going to the hospital even if they're really sick. The federal government needs to announce that they'll pay for all of these bills https://t.co/HfyBFBXhja

Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China.

"He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room," according to the Herald . "Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he'd need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first."

Azcue tested positive for the flu and was discharged. "Azcue's experience shows the potential cost of testing for a disease that epidemiologists fear may develop into a public health crisis in the U.S.," the Herald noted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, highlighted Azcue's case in a tweet last Friday.

"The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together," Sanders wrote. "We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills. Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health."

Last week, as Common Dreams reported , Sanders argued that the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates the urgent need for Medicare for All.

The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together. We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills.

Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health. https://t.co/c4WQMDESHU

-- Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 28, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged by more than two dozen over the weekend, bringing the total to 89 as the Trump administration continues to publicly downplay the severity of the outbreak.

Dr. Matt McCarthy, a staff physician at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, said in an appearance on CNBC 's "Squawk Box" Monday morning that testing for the coronavirus is still not widely available.

"Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients," McCarthy said. "I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me."

"I'm here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don't have it at my finger tips," added McCarthy. "I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good. We know that there are 88 cases in the United States. There are going to be hundreds by middle of week. There's going to be thousands by next week. And this is a testing issue."

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


Harry_Pjotr 13h

Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays

Smerl fern 12h

A wall street bank or private predator may own your emergency room. A surprise bill may await your emergency treatment above insurance payments or in some instances all of the bill.

An effort was made recently in congress to stop surprise billings but enough dems joined repubs to kill it. More important to keep campaign dollars flowing than keep people alive. fern Smerl 12h I know emergency rooms are being purchased by organizations like Tenet (because they are some of the most expensive levels of care) and M.D.s provided by large agencies. I'm not as up on this as I should be but a friend of mine tells me that some of this is illegal. I have received bills that were later discharged by challenge. This is worth investigating further. Atlas oldie 11h Hmmmm A virus that overwhelmingly kills the elderly and/or those with pre-exisitng conditions.

Sounds like a medical insurance companies wet dream. As well as .gov social security/medicare wet dream.

Just sayin'

Ticki 11h

The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. And as has been stated, the unconscionable idea suggested that a possible vaccine (a long way away or perhaps not developed at all) might not be affordable to the workers who pay the taxes that fund the government? That's insane.

leftonadoorstep 11h

Another example of "American Exceptionalism." China doesn't charge its coronavirus patients, neither does South Korea. I guess they are simply backward countries.

Barton 11h

I own my own home after years of hard work paying it off. It's the only thing of value, besides my old truck, that I have. If I get the virus, I will stay home and try to treat it the best I can. I can't afford to go to the hospital and pay thousands in medical bills, with the chance that they'll come after my possessions. America, the land of the _______. Fill in the blank. (Hint: it's no longer free).

fern 1 Barton 11h

There are other ways to protect your home. Homesteading or living trust. I'm not good at this but I know there are ways to do it. Hopefully, it would never come to that but outcomes are not certain even with treatment in this case.

Giovanna-Lepore oldie 11h

As someone who lost a mother at 5 years old I can sympathize with your grief in losing a daughter-in-law and especially seeing her four children orphaned. However, I think you miss the point here: This is about we becoming a society invested in each others welfare and not a company town that commodifies everything including the health and well being of us all.

fern 1 Giovanna-Lepore 11h

I'm going by: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1129/text

As a revision it is better but flawed. It is a cost containment bill based on the same research as the republican plan with global budgets and block grants.

Edited: I encourage you to read this:
-ttps://www.rand.org/blog/2018/10/misconceptions-about-medicare-for-all.html Giovanna-Lepore 10h oldie:

Part D

Higher education is not free but they do need to become free for the students and payed by us as a society.

Part D is a scam, a Republican scam also supported by corporate democrats because of its profit motive and its privatization

Medicare only covers 80% and does not cover eye and dental care and older folks especially need these services. Medicaid helps but there are limits and one cannot necessarily use it where one needs to go. Expanded, Improved Medicare For All is a vast improvement. because it covers everyone in one big pool and, therefore, much more dignified than the rob Paul to pay peter system we have.

Social Security too can be improved. Why should it simply be based on the income of the person which means that a person working in a low paying job in a capitalist system gone wild with greed will often work until they die.

Pell grants can be eliminated when we have what the French have: publicly supported education for everyone.

The demise of unions certainly did not help but it was part of the long strategy of the Right to privatize everything to the enrichment of the few.

Yunzer SuspiraDeProfundis 10h

Thank goodness for the "/s". Poe's Law you know

The overall competence that Canada is handling this outbreak, compared to the USA, is stark. First world (Canada) versus third-world (USA). Testing is practically available for free, to any suspect person, sick or not, as Toronto alone can run 1000 tests a day and have results in 4 hours. That is far more than all the US's capacity for 330 million people.

I wonder how long before Canada closes its borders to USAns? Me and my wife (both in a vulnerable age/medical group) should seriously consider fleeing to my brother's place in Toronto as the first announced cases in Pittsburgh are probably only days away. What about our poor cat though? We could try to smuggle her across the border, but she is a loud and talkative kitty

Greenwich 10h

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media. Did get this from my NJ Sen. Menendez –

Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC)

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • For more information : htps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
  • How it spreads : The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. [Read more.]
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html )
  • Symptoms : For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Seeker 9h Greenwich:

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media.

I agree it is being hyped by the media to the point of being fear mongering. At the same time it is being ignored by the administration to such an extent that really little almost nothing is being done. At some point the two together will create an even bigger problem.

It is like the old adage: "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." Each over/under reach in considering the reality of the situation has its own problem, which multiply when combined. Every morning when I wake up I say a little atheistic prayer to myself before I get out of bed: "Another day and for better or worse...".

Seeker 8h

Well, two reported here in Florida tonight. One in my county, one in the county next door. And more of the "we already knew, but told you late". One person checked into the hospital on Wednesday. We hear it Monday night. Both were ignored far a long time it seems, and 84 in particular are being watched (roommates, friends, hospital workers not alerted for several days, the usual). But no one knows every place they had been since becoming infected.

Oh, and they have tested a handful of people. No worry?

I can't see anyway that this level of incompetency is an accident. Spring break is just starting usually a 100's of thousand tourist bonanza.

So the question is do they want to kill us, or just keep us in fear?

I think the later. But the end result is a crap shoot. So once again, it is a gamble with our lives.

Archie1954 7h

The business of America is business. Sometimes that can go too far and this is one of those times. Making money from the loss, distress, harm and suffering of others is perverse beyond belief.

[Mar 03, 2020] The USA policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 2 2020 17:53 utc | 97

>Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA

This is like a new gangster who takes control of a neighborhood and reduces the required weekly protection payment. Hurray For Less Extortion!

Hey Bernie, how about throw away the JCPOA, restore normal diplomatic and commercial relations, and apologize for 40 years of economic warfare?

But that will never happen, because the Dummycrat policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence. How is it the Bernie people don't notice that Bernie always caucuses with the Dummycrats in Congress and is running on the Dummycrat ticket? We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?


Russ , Mar 2 2020 17:59 utc | 99

"Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA"

He must think the Iranians are really stupid if he thinks he can get them to fall for that one again.

fnord , Mar 2 2020 18:18 utc | 101
@Trailer Trash, 97
We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?

The way American electoral politics works, Sanders doesn't really have a choice except to try and steal the Democratic party's ballot line. An independent bid would split the left vote and make it impossible to win the general election, which is winner take all.

At least that's what his supporters say. I think there's a grain of truth there. If Bernie wants to win, and not merely be a protest candidate, he has to take the ballot line of the party with the most left-wing voters, and that's not the Republican party.

[Mar 02, 2020] Truthdig

Mar 02, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Feb 24, 2020 Print Bookmark Opinion | TD originals The Zionist Colonization of Palestine comments

Mr. Fish / Truthdig
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic hatreds. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land. It is a manufactured conflict, the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later Israel, backed by the British, the United States and other major imperial powers. This project is about the ongoing seizure of Palestinian land by the colonizers. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of Jewish colonization -- supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events -- sees Israel's defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism.

Rashid Khalidi , the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, in his book " The Hundred Years' War on Palestine : A History of Settler Colonization and Resistance, 1917-2017" has meticulously documented this long project of colonization of Palestine. His exhaustive research, which includes internal, private communications between the early Zionists and Israeli leadership, leaves no doubt that the Jewish colonizers were acutely aware from the start that the Palestinian people had to be subjugated and removed to create the Jewish state. The Jewish leadership was also acutely aware that its intentions had to be masked behind euphemisms, the patina of biblical legitimacy by Jews to a land that had been Muslim since the seventh century, platitudes about human and democratic rights, the supposed benefits of colonization to the colonized and a mendacious call for democracy and peaceful co-existence with those targeted for destruction.

"This is a unique colonialism that we've been subjected to where they have no use for us," Khalidi quotes Said as having written. "The best Palestinian for them," Said wrote, "is either dead or gone. It's not that they want to exploit us, or that they need to keep us there in the way of Algeria or South Africa as a subclass."

Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a response to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published "Der Judenstaat," or "The Jewish State," in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.

Britain's support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration , to support "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. It was undertaken by the ruling British elites to unite "international Jewry" -- including officials of Jewish descent in senior positions in the new Bolshevik state in Russia -- behind Britain's flagging military campaign in World War I. The British leaders were convinced that Jews secretly controlled the U.S. financial system. American Jews, once promised a homeland in Palestine, would, they thought, bring the United States into the war and help finance the war effort. To add to these bizarre anti-Semitic canards, the British believed that Jews and Dönmes -- or "crypto-Jews" whose ancestors had converted to Christianity but who continued to practice the rituals of Judaism in secret -- controlled the Turkish government. If the Zionists were given a homeland in Palestine, the British believed, the Jews and Dönmes would turn on the Turkish regime, which was allied with Germany in the war, and the Turkish government would collapse. World Jewry, the British were convinced, was the key to winning the war.

"With 'Great Jewry' against us," warned Britain's Sir Mark Sykes , who with the French diplomat François Georges-Picot created the secret treaty that carved up the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France, there would be no possibility of victory. Zionism, Sykes said, was a powerful global subterranean force that was "atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious and unwritten, nay often unspoken."

The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour , also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. "Palestine will become the world's ghetto," he warned.

This turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.

The European powers dealt with the Jewish refugee crisis by shipping victims of the Holocaust to the Middle East. So, while leading Zionists understood that they had to uproot and displace Arabs to establish a homeland, they were also acutely aware that they were not wanted in the countries from which they had fled or been expelled. The Zionists and their supporters may have mouthed slogans such as "a land without a people for a people without a land" in speaking of Palestine, but, as the political philosopher Hannah Arendt observed, European powers were attempting to deal with the crime carried out against Jews in Europe by committing another crime, one against Palestinians. It was a recipe for endless conflict, especially since giving the Palestinians under occupation full democratic rights would risk loss of control of Israel by the Jews.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the godfather of the right-wing ideology that has dominated Israel since 1977, an ideology openly embraced by Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote bluntly in 1923: "Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of 'Palestine' into the 'Land of Israel.' "

This kind of public honesty, Khalidi notes, was rare among leading Zionists. Most of the Zionist leaders "protested the innocent purity of their aims and deceived their Western listeners, and perhaps themselves, with fairy tales about their benign intentions toward the Arab inhabitants of Palestine," he writes. The Zionists -- in a situation similar to that of today's supporters of Israel -- were aware it would be fatal to acknowledge that the creation of a Jewish homeland required the expulsion of the Arab majority. Such an admission would cause the colonizers to lose the world's sympathy. But among themselves the Zionists clearly understood that the use of armed force against the Arab majority was essential for the colonial project to succeed. "Zionist colonization can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population -- behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach," Jabotinsky wrote.

The Jewish colonizers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. The Zionists' second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to Israel. Israel, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies but for its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement frightens Israel. It is also why I support the BDS movement.

The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs. They created organizations such as the Jewish Colonization Association, later called the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, to administer the Zionist project.

But, as Khalidi writes, "once colonialism took on a bad odor in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and Israel were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in Israel and the West. In fact, Zionism -- for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism -- rebranded itself as an anticolonial movement."

"Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms," Khalidi writes. "Indeed, those who analyze not only Israeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in Israel, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time."

One of the central tenets of the Zionist and Israeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and "non-Jews." "There were no such thing as Palestinians they did not exist," onetime Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir quipped. This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the "politicide" of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, "The surest way to eradicate a people's right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it."

The creation of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.

"By the summer of 1949, the Palestinian polity had been devastated and most of its society uprooted," Khalidi writes. "Some 80 percent of the Arab population of the territory that at war's end became the new state of Israel had been forced from their homes and lost their lands and property. At least 720,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians were made refugees. Thanks to this violent transformation, Israel controlled 78 percent of the territory of former Mandatory Palestine, and now ruled over the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who had been able to remain, barely one-fifth of the prewar Arab population."

Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate Israeli reprisals and a demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of Israel, the United States and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the "permission to narrate."

The colonial project has poisoned Israel, as feared by its most prescient leaders, including Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist in 1995. Israel is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy -- which was always exclusively for Jews -- has been hijacked by extremists, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have implemented racial laws that were once championed mainly by marginalized fanatics such as Meir Kahane . The Israeli public is infected with racism. "Death to Arabs" is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches. Jewish mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the hapless African immigrants who live crammed into the slums of Tel Aviv. Israel has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law permits exclusively Jewish towns in Israel's Galilee region to bar applicants for residency on the basis of "suitability to the community's fundamental outlook." The late Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, wrote that "Israel's very existence is threatened by fascism."

In recent years, up to 1 million Israelis have left to live in the United States , many of them among Israel's most enlightened and educated citizens. Within Israel, human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists -- Israeli and Palestinian -- have found themselves vilified as traitors in government-sponsored smear campaigns, placed under state surveillance and subjected to arbitrary arrests. The Israeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The Israeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded. Israel runs the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, one of the largest detention centers in the world, where African immigrants can be held for up to three years without trial.

The great Jewish scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called "the conscience of Israel," saw the mortal danger to Israel of its colonial project. He warned that if Israel did not separate church and state and end its colonial occupation of the Palestinians it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult. "Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism," said Leibowitz, who died in 1994. He saw that the blind veneration of the military, especially after the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would result in the degeneration of the Jewish society and the death of democracy.

"Our situation will deteriorate to that of a second Vietnam [a reference to the war waged by the United States in the 1970s], to a war in constant escalation without prospect of ultimate resolution," Leibowitz wrote. He foresaw that "the Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police -- mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 million to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people's army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations."

The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were tainted by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to Israel would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. Israel was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no role in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.

[Feb 29, 2020] Learning Nothing From the Ghost of Congress Past by Andrew J. Bacevich

The USA is an imperial country. And wars is how empire is sustained and expanded. Bacevich does not even mention this fact.
Notable quotes:
"... While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis. ..."
"... This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become. ..."
"... we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. ..."
"... The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now. ..."
"... Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans. ..."
"... By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money ..."
"... Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Afghanistan Papers could have been the start of redemption, but it's all been subsumed by impeachment and an uninterested public.

....

While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis.

This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become.

Take seriously the speechifying heard on the floor of the House of Representatives in recent days and you'll be reassured that the United States remains a nation of laws, with Democrats and Republicans alike affirming their determination to defend our democracy and preserve the Constitution, even while disagreeing on what that might require at present.

Take seriously the contents of the Afghanistan Papers and you'll reach a different conclusion: we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. U.S. military expenditures and the Pentagon's array of foreign bases far exceed those of any other nation on the planet. In our willingness to use force, we (along with Israel) lead the pack. Putative adversaries such as China and Russia are models of self-restraint by comparison. And when it comes to cumulative body count, the United States is in a league of its own.

Yet since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, U.S. forces have rarely accomplished the purposes for which they are committed, the Pentagon concealing failure by downsizing its purposes. Afghanistan offers a good example. What began as Operation Enduring Freedom has become in all but name Operation Decent Interval, the aim being to disengage in a manner that will appear responsible, if only for a few years until the bottom falls out.

So the real significance of the Post 's Afghanistan Papers is this: t hey invite Americans to contemplate a particularly vivid example what our misplaced infatuation with military power produces. Sadly, it appears evident that we will refuse the invitation. Don't blame Trump for this particular example of Washington's egregious irresponsibility.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , will be published next month.


Sid Finster a day ago
The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now.

Anyway, nobody likes a bipartisan fiasco that cannot be neatly blamed on Team R (or Team D).

John Achterhof Sid Finster 12 hours ago
Just give credit where it is due: the Post's reporting on the Afghanistan Papers is journalism at its very best.
Fayez Abedaziz 21 hours ago
Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans.

By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money. What a joke this nations foreign policy is and the ignorant, don't care American people have become. Like never before. There were years when people actually talked about subjects. Not now, if you mention the weather they cower and look pained. The old days really were better.

One example aside from the above: compare President Kennedy to Trump. What a riot...

polistra24 21 hours ago
Well, these documents are highly unsurprising. Everybody has known the facts for a long time. Everybody also knows that the US "government" will not change its ways. Its sole purpose and mission is to obliterate everything except Israel, and these documents are evidence of massive SUCCESS in its mission, not evidence of failure.
Richard 13 hours ago
When the troops start to mutiny, the war will end.
Marcus 9 hours ago
Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort.

This is also to say that misleading documents and briefings from the military about progress in Afghanistan, while contemptible, did not cause the strategic failure. Contemporary reports from the press and other agencies indicated the effort was not working out plainly to anyone who wanted to pay attention. Our political leaders chose to ignore the truth for political gain.

A more realistic temperament chastened by experience would have been more inclined to criticize and make corrections, and summon the courage to cut our losses rather than crow ignominiously about "cutting and running." Few such temperaments, it seems at least, make it to the top thee days.

[Feb 29, 2020] Pompeo lies and smokescreen

Pompeo has just four terms in the House of Representives befor getting postions of Director of CIA (whichsuggests previous involvement with CIA) and then paradoxically the head of the State Department, He retired from the alry in the rank of comptain and never participated in any battles. He serves only in Germany, and this can be classified as a chickenhawk. He never performed any dyplomatic duries in hs life and a large part of his adult life (1998-2006) was a greddy military contractor.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard tweeted,

#Pentagon statement on targeted killing of #suleimani :

1. It mentions that it aimed at "deterring future Iranian attack plans". This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law. (1)

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

2. Overall, the statement places far greater emphasis on past activities and violations allegedly commuted by Suleimani. As such the killing appears far more retaliatory for past acts than anticipatory for imminent self defense.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

3. The notion that Suleimani was "actively developing plans" is curious both from a semantic and military standpoint. Is it sufficient to meet the test of mecessity and proportionality?

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

4. The statement fails to mention the other individuals killed alongside Suleimani. Collateral? Probably. Unlawful. Absolutely.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

[Feb 27, 2020] Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia

Jan 06, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015 In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. [47] [48] [49] [50]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help.

Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iran–Russia alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. "Putin reportedly told [a senior Iranian envoy] 'Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani.'" General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria. [49]

Operations in Aleppo
Map of the 2015 Aleppo offensives. [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theater of operations, which led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east. [57] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army's 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata'ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers). [58]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata'eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate's northern countryside, [59] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off the rebels' main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. "Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area", he said. [60] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo , though the exact date of the photos is unknown. [61] [62]

... ... ...

In 2014, Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli , to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL. [68] [69] According to the Los Angeles Times , which reported that Amirli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to "an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes". The U.S. acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups – at the same time that was present on the battlefield. [70] [71] Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse. [11] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city. [66] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani's command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias but also the Kurdish in the Battle of Amirli , [72] not only providing liaisons for intelligence-sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to "providing expertise". [73]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar , he was reportedly "present on the battlefield". Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as "fearless" – one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket , even on the front lines. [74]

In November 2014, Shi'ite and Kurdish forces under Soleimani's command pushed ISIS out of Iraqi villages of Jalawla and Saadia, in the Diyala Governorate . [67]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit . [75] [76]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, giving it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL's massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015. [76]

[Feb 27, 2020] Geraldo Rivera: "Don't For A Minute" Cheer Killing Of Iranian General; "What We Have Unleashed?"

In view of event of Jan 7 it looks like Geraldo Rivera had the point. He beautifully cut the neocon jerk by reminding him the role of the US intelligence agencies in unleashing Iraq war
Jan 02, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

FOX News correspondent Geraldo Rivera debated "Fox & Friends" hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy Friday about the assassination of Iranian special forces General Qassim al Soleimani in Iraq, warning of dire consequences if Iran chooses to retaliate and telling Kilmeade: "You, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like."

"Your arrogance is exactly what's wrong with the region," Geraldo said. "You're not a front-line fighter that has to go back into Iraq again."

GERALDO RIVERA: We thought that when the de-escalation at the embassy happened a couple of days ago that was the end of this chapter. The U.S., with it's firmness, had won the victory. It wasn't going to be Benghazi, it wasn't going to be Tehran from 1980. We won that technical victory.

Now we have taken this huge military escalation. Now I fear the worst. You're going to see the U.S. markets go crazy today. You're going to see the price of oil spiking today. This is a very, very big deal.

BRIAN KILMEADE: I don't know if you heard, this isn't about his resume of blood and death, it was about what was next. That's what you're missing.

STEVE DOOCY: According to the Secretary of Defense.

GERALDO RIVERA: By what credible source can you predict what the next Iranian move will be?

BRIAN KILMEADE: Secretary fo State and American intelligence provided that material.

GERALDO RIVERA: They've been excellent. They've been excellent, the U.S. intelligence has been excellent since 2003 when we invaded Iraq, disrupted the entire region for no real reason. Don't for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed --

BRIAN KILMEADE: I will cheer it on. I am elated.

GERALDO RIVERA: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like.

BRIAN KILMEADE: That is not true, and don't even say that.

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation --

BRIAN KILMEADE: Let them kill us for another 15 years?

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation and to bring our troops home--

BRIAN KILMEADE: What about the 700 Americans who are dead, should they not be happy?

GERALDO RIVERA: What about the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died since 2003? You have to start seeing. What the hell are we doing in Baghdad in the first place? Why are we there?

BRIAN KILMEADE: So you're blaming President Bush for the maniacal killing of Saddam Hussein?

GERALDO RIVERA: I am blaming President Bush in 2003 for the fake weapons of mass destruction that never existed and the con-job that drove us into that war.

[Feb 25, 2020] How John Bolton and a Phony Script Brought Us to the Brink of War by Scott Ritter

Bolton is a typical "Full Spectrum Dominance" hawk, a breed of chickenhawks that recently proliferated in Washinton corridors of power and which are fed by MIC.
Notable quotes:
"... the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie. ..."
"... The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists. ..."
"... The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed. ..."
"... This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President Trump's decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani back in January took the United States to the brink of war with Iran.

Trump and his advisors contend that Soleimani's death was necessary to protect American lives, pointing to a continuum of events that began on December 27, when a rocket attack on an American base in Iraq killed a civilian translator. That in turn prompted U.S. airstrikes against a pro-Iranian militia, Khati'ab Hezbollah, which America blamed for the attack. Khati'ab Hezbollah then stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in protest. This reportedly triggered the assassination of Soleimani and a subsequent Iranian retaliatory missile strike on an American base in Iraq. The logic of this continuum appears consistent except for one important fact -- it is all predicated on a lie.

On the night of December 27, a pickup truck modified to carry a launchpad capable of firing 36 107mm Russian-made rockets was used in an attack on a U.S. military compound located at the K-1 Airbase in Iraq's Kirkuk Province. A total of 20 rockets were loaded onto the vehicle, but only 14 were fired. Some of the rockets struck an ammunition dump on the base, setting off a series of secondary explosions. When the smoke and dust cleared, a civilian interpreter was dead and several other personnel , including four American servicemen and two Iraqi military, were wounded. The attack appeared timed to disrupt a major Iraqi military operation targeting insurgents affiliated with ISIS.

The area around K-1 is populated by Sunni Arabs, and has long been considered a bastion of ISIS ideology, even if the organization itself was declared defeated inside Iraq back in 2017 by then-prime minister Haider al Abadi. The Iraqi counterterrorism forces based at K-1 consider the area around the base an ISIS sanctuary so dangerous that they only enter in large numbers.

For their part, the Iraqis had been warning their U.S. counterparts for more than a month that ISIS was planning attacks on K-1. One such report, delivered on November 6, using intelligence dating back to October, was quite specific: "ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base in Kirkuk district by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets)."

Another report, dated December 25, warned that ISIS was attempting to seize territory to the northeast of K-1. The Iraqis were so concerned that on December 27, the day of the attack, they requested that the U.S. keep functional its tethered aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTSD) -- a high-tech reconnaissance balloon equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and communications in support of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Instead, the U.S. took the PTSD down for maintenance, allowing the attackers to approach unobserved.

The Iraqi military officials at K-1 immediately suspected ISIS as the culprit behind the attack. Their logic was twofold. First, ISIS had been engaged in nearly daily attacks in the area for over a year, launching rockets, firing small arms, and planting roadside bombs. Second, according to the Iraqis , "The villages near here are Turkmen and Arab. There is sympathy with Daesh [i.e., ISIS] there."

As transparent as the Iraqis had been with the U.S. about their belief that ISIS was behind the attack, the U.S. was equally opaque with the Iraqis regarding whom it believed was the culprit. The U.S. took custody of the rocket launcher, all surviving ordnance, and all warhead fragments from the scene.

U.S. intelligence analysts viewed the attack on K-1 as part of a continuum of attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq since early November 2019. The first attack took place on November 9, against the joint U.S.-Iraqi base at Qayarrah , and was very similar to the one that occurred against K-1 -- some 31 107mm rockets were fired from a pickup truck modified to carry a rocket launchpad. As with K-1, the forces located in Qayarrah were engaged in ongoing operations targeting ISIS, and the territory around the base was considered sympathetic to ISIS. The Iraqi government attributed the attack to unspecified "terrorist" groups.

The U.S., however, attributed the attacks to Khati'ab Hezbollah, a Shia militia incorporated with the Popular Mobilization Organization (PMO), a pro-Iranian umbrella organization that had been incorporated into the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The PMO blamed the U.S. for a series of drone strikes against its facilities throughout the summer of 2019. The feeling among the American analysts was that the PMO attacked the bases as a form of retaliation.

The U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against Khati'ab Hezbollah bases and command posts in Iraq and Syria on December 29, near the Iraqi city of al-Qaim. These attacks were carried out unilaterally, without any effort to coordinate with America's Iraqi counterparts or seek approval from the Iraqi government.

Khati'ab Hezbollah units had seized al-Qaim from ISIS in November 2017, and then crossed into Syria, where they defeated ISIS fighters dug in around the Syrian town of al-Bukamal. They were continuing to secure this strategic border crossing when they were bombed on December 29.

Left unsaid by the U.S. was the fact that the al-Bukamal-al Qaim border crossing was seen as a crucial "land bridge," connecting Iran with Syria via Iraq. Throughout the summer of 2019, the U.S. had been watching as Iranian engineers, working with Khati'ab Hezbollah, constructed a sprawling base that straddled both Iraq and Syria. It was this base, and not Khati'ab Hezbollah per se, that was the reason for the American airstrike. The objective in this attack was to degrade Iranian capability in the region; the K-1 attack was just an excuse, one based on the lie that Khati'ab Hezbollah, and not ISIS, had carried it out.

The U.S. had long condemned what it called Iran's "malign intentions" when it came to its activities in Iraq and Syria. But there is a world of difference between employing tools of diplomacy to counter Iranian regional actions and going kinetic. One of the reasons the U.S. has been able to justify attacking Iranian-affiliated targets, such as the al-Bukamal-al-Qaim complex and Qassem Soleimani, is that the Iranian entity associated with both -- the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC -- has been designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and as such military attacks against it are seen as an extension of the ongoing war on terror. Yet the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie.

The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists.

The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed.

After the Pentagon "informally" requested that the NSC change the memoranda to accurately reflect its position, and were denied, the issue was bumped up to Undersecretary of Defense John Rood. He then formally requested that the memoranda be corrected. Such a request was unprecedented in recent memory, a former official noted. Regardless, the NSC did not budge, and the original memoranda remained as the official records of the meetings in question.

President Trump designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in April 2018.

This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. The rocket attack against K-1 was attributed to an Iranian proxy -- Khati'ab Hezbollah -- even though there was reason to believe the attack was carried out by ISIS. This was a cover so IRGC-affiliated facilities in al-Bakumal and al-Qaim, which had nothing to do with the attack, could be bombed. Everything to do with Iran's alleged "malign intent." The U.S. embassy was then attacked. Soleimani killed. The American base at al-Assad was bombarded by Iranian missiles. America and Iran were on the brink of war.

All because of a lie.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, most recently, Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (2018).

[Feb 25, 2020] A Worthless 'New Deal' from the Iran Hawks

So Menendez survived as MIC stooge. Nice.
Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it.
Notable quotes:
"... And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

10:03 am

Daniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:

Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.

Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.

The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.

Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:

That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).

This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.

Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?

[Feb 24, 2020] Missiles Attack on Al Assad Base was a message: Iran is No Paper Tiger

Feb 24, 2020 | www.winterwatch.net

Although Trump decided to call this as "Iran standing down," analysts on both sides can work the calculus of this test run. I have been suggesting that Iran's cheaper technology is quite effective and an advantage near their "home court."


Read "The Van Riper Gambit: Iran Scores Against Expensive High-Tech US Gadgetry"

The Iranians used a third- or fourth-generation Fateh 110, which was generally given a range of 300 km. But the Al Assad base is 370 km from the border, so it seems the Iranians squeezed out some extra range. The fourth generation Fateh 100 carries a 650 kg warhead. Iran certainly has missiles with more punch. The Quim 1 is essentially a similar missile.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/63ehLAg7mSU

Iran showed that it can put most of Iraq in range of these low-cost missiles should it become a battleground. The Al Assad base is large and target-rich.

Leaked pictures taken by a Puerto Rican soldier of the damage to the Al-Asad US airbase in Iraq, after being hit by Iranian missiles.

The Pentagon have told soldiers not to film the damage. #NoWarWithIran #Iran pic.twitter.com/Kl4WF6tmy0

-- Ian56 (@Ian56789) January 9, 2020

Meanwhile, Russia offered Iraq its state-of-the-art S-400 air defense to defend its air space.

Besides the added range, the accuracy looks impressive.

"Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center," said David Schmerler, an analyst with the Middlebury Institute.

Numbers and production information relating to the Fateh 110 are currently uncertain, yet Iranian media sources claim that facilities have been created to mass produce the weapon.

Michael Elleman, director of the Nonproliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, estimates that Iran has numbers "in the high hundreds" of the Fateh-110.

Our takeaway is that this night demonstration is hardly a dud and will give Americans some pause. It shows this key base at Al Assad will be vulnerable. If one night Iran threw a hundred of these missiles up and aimed them at personnel, things could get ugly fast.

Observers are asking "where was the Patriot defense missile?" The problem is economic. The cost of each missile is $2.75 million. A Rand study estimated that a Patriot will need three rounds to take down basic short-range ballistic missiles like the Fateh-110. That's 30 times more than the cost of Fateh. Iran would hope the Patriot is wasted on Fatehs and Quims, and they would gladly run that kind of cost-benefit math all over the region.

"For the time being, the Americans have been given a slap, revenge is a different issue," Iran's Fars News Agency quotes Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying Wednesday. "Military moves like this are not enough. The Americans' corruption-stirring presence will come to an end."

Winter Watch Takeaway

U.S. vulnerability at Al Assad has now been well demonstrated. If anything -- especially as more sanctions are being slapped on -- the War Party in Iran will be emboldened to run with their advantages and do so well before more American troops and aircraft build up in the theater.

[Feb 23, 2020] Welcome to the American Regime

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

4 hours ago

Is America a 'regime'?

In the language of the American Oligarchy and it's tame and owned presstitutes on the MSM, any country targeted for destabilisation, destruction and rape – either because it doesn't do what America tells it do (Russia), because it has rich natural resources or has a 'socialist' state (Venezuela) or because lunatic neo-cons and even more lunatic Christian Evangelicals (hoping to provoke The End Times ) want it to happen (Syria and Iran) – is first labelled as a 'regime'.

That's because the word 'regime' is associated with dictatorships and human rights abuses and establishing a non-compliant country as a 'regime' is the US government's and MSM's first step at manufacturing public consent for that country's destruction.

Unfortunately if you sit back and talk a cool-headed, factual look at actions and attitudes that we're told constitute a regime then you have to conclude that America itself is 'a regime'.

So, here's why America is a regime:

4 hours ago

America's Military is Killing – Americans!

In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them).

Fats forward to 21 December 2019 and Donald Trump signed off on a US defense budget of a mind boggling $738 billion dollars.

To put that in context  --  the annual US government Education budget is sround $68 billion dollars.

Did you get that  --  $738 billion on defense, $68 billion on education?

That means the government spends more than ten times on preparations to kill people than it does on preparing children for life in the adult world.

Wow!

How ******* psychotic and death-affirming is that? It gets even worse when you consider that that $716 billion dollars is only the headline figure – it doesn't include whatever the Deep State siphons away into black-ops and kick backs. And .America's military isn't even very good – it's hasn't 'won' a conflict since the second world war, it's proud (and horrifically expensive) aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and its 'cutting edge' weapons are so good (not) that everyone wants to buy the cheaper and better Russian versions: classic example – the F-35 jet program will screw $1.5 TRILLION (yes, TRILLION) dollars out of US taxpayers but but it's a piece of **** plane that doesn't work properly which the Russians laughingly refer to as 'a flying piano'.

In contrast to America's free money for the military industrial complex defense budget, China spends $165 billion and Russia spends $61 billion on defense and I don't see anyone attacking them (well, except America, that is be it only by proxy for now).

Or, put things another way. The United Kingdom spent £110 billion on it's National Health Service in 2017. That means, if you get sick in England, you can see a doctor for free. If you need drugs you pay a prescription charge of around $11.50(nothing, if unemployed, a child or elderly), whatever the market price of the drugs. If you need to see a consultant or medical specialist, you'll see one for free. If you need an operation, you'll get one for free. If you need on-going care for a chronic illness, you'll get it for free.

Fully socialised, free at the point of access, healthcare for all. How good is that?

US citizens could have that, too.

Allowing for the US's larger population, the UK National Health Service transplanted to America could cost about $650 billion a year. That would still leave $66 billion dollars left over from the proposed defense budget of $716 billion to finance weapons of death and destruction   --  more than those 'evil Ruskies' spend.

The US has now been at war, somewhere in the world (i.e in someone elses' country where the US doesn't have any business being) continuously for 28 years. Those 28 years have coincided with (for the 'ordinary people', anyway) declining living standards, declining real wages, increased police violence, more repression and surveillance, declining lifespans, declining educational and health outcomes, more every day misery in other words, America's military is killing Americans. Oh, and millions of people in far away countries (although, obviously, those deaths are in far away countries and they are of brown-skinned people so they don't really count, do they?).

Time for a change, perhaps?

[Feb 23, 2020] Where Have You Gone, Smedley Butler The Last General To Criticize US Imperialism by Danny Sjursen

Here's a link to a free online copy of War is a Racket if anyone wants to read it. It's a short read. Pretty good too. https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
From comments (Is the USA government now a "regime"): In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them). Regimes disobey international law. Like America's habit of blowing up wedding parties with drones or the illegal presence of its troops in Syria, Iraq and God knows where else. Regimes carry out illegal assassination programs – I need say no more here than Qasem Soleimani. Regimes use their economic power to bully and impose their will – sanctioning countries even when they know those sanctions will, for example, be responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqi children (the 'price worth paying', remember?). Regimes renege on international treaties – like Iran nuclear treaty, for example. Regimes imprison and hound whistle-blowers – like Chelsea manning and Julian Assange. Regimes imprison people. America is the world leader in incarceration. It has 2.2 million people in its prisons (more than China which has 5 times the US's population), that's 25% of the world's prison population for 5% of the world's population, Why does America need so many prisoners? Because it has a massive, prison-based, slave labour business that is hugely profitable for the oligarchy.
Regimes censor free speech. Just recently, we've seen numerous non-narrative following journalists and organisations kicked off numerous social media platforms. I didn't see lots of US senators standing up and saying 'I disagree completely with what you say but I will fight to the death to preserve your right to say it'. Did you?
Regimes are ruled by cliques. I don't need to tell you that America is kakistocratic Oligarchy ruled by a tiny group of evil, rich, Old Men, do I?
Regimes keep bad company. Their allies are other 'regimes', and they're often lumped together by using another favourite presstitute term – 'axis of evil'. America has its own little axis of evil. It's two main allies are Saudi Arabia – a homophobic, women hating, head chopping, terrorist financing state currently engaged in a war of genocide (assisted by the US) in Yemen – and the racist, genocidal undeclared nuclear power state of Israel.
Regimes commit human rights abuses. Here we could talk about…ooh…let's think. Last year's treatment of child refugees from Latin America, the execution of African Americans for 'walking whilst black' by America's militarized, criminal police force or the millions of dollars in cash and property seized from entirely innocent Americans by that same police force under 'civil forfeiture' laws or maybe we could mention huge American corporations getting tax refunds whilst ordinary Americans can't afford decent, effective healthcare.
Regimes finance terrorism. Mmmm….just like America financed terrorists to help destroy Syria and Libya and invested $5 billion dollars to install another regime – the one of anti-Semites and Nazis in Ukraine…
Highly recommended!
Some comments edited for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. ..."
"... "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers." ..."
"... Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests. ..."
"... When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars. ..."
"... The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques. ..."
"... Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star. ..."
"... At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had. ..."
"... One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day. ..."
"... That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington. ..."
"... Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity... ..."
"... Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads. ..."
"... Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw). ..."
"... Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended! ..."
"... "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels ..."
"... The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti: ..."
"... The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. ..."
"... If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Danny Sjursen via TomDispatch.com,

There once lived an odd little man - five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet - who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country's most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents.

Raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and educated in Quaker (pacifist) schools, the son of an influential congressman, he would end up serving in nearly all of America's " Banana Wars " from 1898 to 1931. Wounded in combat and a rare recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor, he would retire as the youngest, most decorated major general in the Marines.

A teenage officer and a certified hero during an international intervention in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900, he would later become a constabulary leader of the Haitian gendarme, the police chief of Philadelphia (while on an approved absence from the military), and a proponent of Marine Corps football. In more standard fashion, he would serve in battle as well as in what might today be labeled peacekeeping , counterinsurgency , and advise-and-assist missions in Cuba, China, the Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, France, and China (again). While he showed early signs of skepticism about some of those imperial campaigns or, as they were sardonically called by critics at the time, " Dollar Diplomacy " operations -- that is, military campaigns waged on behalf of U.S. corporate business interests -- until he retired he remained the prototypical loyal Marine.

But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. He began to blast the imperialist foreign policy and interventionist bullying in which he'd only recently played such a prominent part. Eventually, in 1935 during the Great Depression, in what became a classic passage in his memoir, which he titled "War Is a Racket," he wrote:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

Seemingly overnight, the famous war hero transformed himself into an equally acclaimed antiwar speaker and activist in a politically turbulent era. Those were, admittedly, uncommonly anti-interventionist years, in which veterans and politicians alike promoted what (for America, at least) had been fringe ideas. This was, after all, the height of what later pro-war interventionists would pejoratively label American " isolationism ."

Nonetheless, Butler was unique (for that moment and certainly for our own) in his unapologetic amenability to left-wing domestic politics and materialist critiques of American militarism. In the last years of his life, he would face increasing criticism from his former admirer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the military establishment, and the interventionist press. This was particularly true after Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland and later France. Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind, hindsight undoubtedly proved Butler's virulent opposition to U.S. intervention in World War II wrong.

Nevertheless, the long-term erasure of his decade of antiwar and anti-imperialist activism and the assumption that all his assertions were irrelevant has proven historically deeply misguided. In the wake of America's brief but bloody entry into the First World War, the skepticism of Butler (and a significant part of an entire generation of veterans) about intervention in a new European bloodbath should have been understandable. Above all, however, his critique of American militarism of an earlier imperial era in the Pacific and in Latin America remains prescient and all too timely today, especially coming as it did from one of the most decorated and high-ranking general officers of his time. (In the era of the never-ending war on terror, such a phenomenon is quite literally inconceivable.)

Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests.

Nonetheless, whereas this country's imperial campaigns of the first third of the twentieth century generated a Smedley Butler, the hyper-interventionism of the first decades of this century hasn't produced a single even faintly comparable figure. Not one. Zero. Zilch. Why that is matters and illustrates much about the U.S. military establishment and contemporary national culture, none of it particularly encouraging.

Why No Antiwar Generals

When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars.

Instead, the principal patriotic dissent against those terror wars has come from retired colonels, lieutenant colonels, and occasionally more junior officers (like me), as well as enlisted service members. Not that there are many of us to speak of either. I consider it disturbing (and so should you) that I personally know just about every one of the retired military figures who has spoken out against America's forever wars.

The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques.

Something must account for veteran dissenters topping out at the level of colonel. Obviously, there are personal reasons why individual officers chose early retirement or didn't make general or admiral. Still, the system for selecting flag officers should raise at least a few questions when it comes to the lack of antiwar voices among retired commanders. In fact, a selection committee of top generals and admirals is appointed each year to choose the next colonels to earn their first star. And perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that, according to numerous reports , "the members of this board are inclined, if not explicitly motivated, to seek candidates in their own image -- officers whose careers look like theirs." At a minimal level, such a system is hardly built to foster free thinkers, no less breed potential dissidents.

Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star.

Mainstream national security analysts reported on this affair at the time as if it were a major scandal, since most of them were convinced that Petraeus and his vaunted counterinsurgency or " COINdinista " protégés and their " new " war-fighting doctrine had the magic touch that would turn around the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Petraeus tried to apply those very tactics twice -- once in each country -- as did acolytes of his later, and you know the results of that.

But here's the point: it took an eleventh-hour intervention by America's most acclaimed general of that moment to get new stars handed out to prominent colonels who had, until then, been stonewalled by Cold War-bred flag officers because they were promoting different (but also strangely familiar) tactics in this country's wars. Imagine, then, how likely it would be for such a leadership system to produce genuine dissenters with stars of any serious sort, no less a crew of future Smedley Butlers.

At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had.

More than just helping to squelch civilian antiwar activism, though, the professionalization of the military, and of the officer corps in particular, ensured that any future Smedley Butlers would be left in the dust (or in retirement at the level of lieutenant colonel or colonel) by a system geared to producing faux warrior-monks. Typical of such figures is current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. He may speak gruffly and look like a man with a head of his own, but typically he's turned out to be just another yes-man for another war-power -hungry president.

One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day.

What Would Smedley Butler Think Today?

In his years of retirement, Smedley Butler regularly focused on the economic component of America's imperial war policies. He saw clearly that the conflicts he had fought in, the elections he had helped rig, the coups he had supported, and the constabularies he had formed and empowered in faraway lands had all served the interests of U.S. corporate investors. Though less overtly the case today, this still remains a reality in America's post-9/11 conflicts, even on occasion embarrassingly so (as when the Iraqi ministry of oil was essentially the only public building protected by American troops as looters tore apart the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in the post-invasion chaos of April 2003). Mostly, however, such influence plays out far more subtly than that, both abroad and here at home where those wars help maintain the record profits of the top weapons makers of the military-industrial complex.

That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington.

Of course, he served in a very different moment, one in which military funding and troop levels were still contested in Congress. As a longtime critic of capitalist excesses who wrote for leftist publications and supported the Socialist Party candidate in the 1936 presidential elections, Butler would have found today's nearly trillion-dollar annual defense budgets beyond belief. What the grizzled former Marine long ago identified as a treacherous nexus between warfare and capital "in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives" seems to have reached its natural end point in the twenty-first century. Case in point: the record (and still rising ) "defense" spending of the present moment, including -- to please a president -- the creation of a whole new military service aimed at the full-scale militarization of space .

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

Of course, Butler didn't exactly end his life triumphantly. In late May 1940, having lost 25 pounds due to illness and exhaustion -- and demonized as a leftist, isolationist crank but still maintaining a whirlwind speaking schedule -- he checked himself into the Philadelphia Navy Yard Hospital for a "rest." He died there, probably of some sort of cancer, four weeks later. Working himself to death in his 10-year retirement and second career as a born-again antiwar activist, however, might just have constituted the very best service that the two-time Medal of Honor winner could have given the nation he loved to the very end.

Someone of his credibility, character, and candor is needed more than ever today. Unfortunately, this military generation is unlikely to produce such a figure. In retirement, Butler himself boldly confessed that, "like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical..."

Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity...

2 minutes ago
Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads.
14 minutes ago
TULSI GABBARD.

Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw).

The US Space Force has been created as part of a plan to disclose the deep state's Secret Space Program (SSP), which has been active for decades, and which has utilized, and repressed, advanced technologies that would provide free, unlimited renewable energy, and thus eliminate hunger and poverty on a planetary scale.

14 minutes ago
14 minutes ago

ALL wars are EVIL. Period .

29 minutes ago

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

This is why I feel an oath keeping constitutionally oriented American general is what we need in power, clear out all 545 criminals in office now, review their finances (and most of them will roll over on the others) and punish accordingly, then the lobbyist, how many of them worked against the country? You know what we do with those.

And then, finally, Hollywood, oh yes I long to see that **** hole burn with everyone in it.

30 minutes ago
Republicrat: the two faces of the moar war whore.
32 minutes ago

Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind

Do tell, from what I've read the Nazis were really only a threat to a few groups, the rest of us didn't need to worry.

35 minutes ago
Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended!

Why are we sending our children out into the hellholes of the world to be maimed and killed in the fauxjew banksters' quest for world domination.

How stupid can we be!

41 minutes ago
(Edited) "Smedley Butler"... The last time the UCMJ was actually used before being permanently turned into a "door stop"!
49 minutes ago
He was correct about our staying out of WWII. Which, BTW, would have never happened if we had stayed out of WWI.
22 minutes ago
(Edited) Both wars were about the international fauxjew imposition of debt-money central bankstering.

Both wars were promulgated by the Financial oligarchyof New York. The communist Red Army of Russia was funded and supplied by the Financial oligarchyof New York. It was American Financial oligarchythat built the Russian Red Army that vexed the world and created the Cold War. How many hundreds of millions of goyim were sacrificed to create both the Russian and the Chinese Satanic behemoths.......and the communist horror that is now embedded in American academia, publishing, American politics, so-called news, entertainment, The worldwide Catholic religion, the Pentagon, and the American deep state.......and more!

How stupid can we be. Every generation has the be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the eternal maw of historical ignorance to avoid falling back into the myriad dark hellholes of history. As we all should know, people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it.

53 minutes ago
Today's General is a robot with with a DNA.
54 minutes ago
All the General Staff is a bunch of #asskissinglittlechickenshits
57 minutes ago
want to stop senseless Empire wars>>well do this

War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit.. If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start? 1 hour ago

Here is a simple straightforward trading maxim that might apply here: if it works or is working keep doing it, but if it doesn't work or stops working, then STOP doing it. There are plenty of people, now poorer, for not adhering to that simple principle. Where is the Taxpayer's return on investment from the Combat taking place on their behalf around the globe? 'Nuff said - it isn't working. It is making a microscopic few richer & all others poorer so STOP doing it. 36 seconds ago We don't have to look far to figure out who they are that are getting rich off the fauxjew permawars.

How can we be so stupid???

1 hour ago

See also:

TULSI GABBARD

1 hour ago

The main reason you don't see the generals criticizing is that the current crop have not been in actual long term direct combat with the enemy and have mostly been bureaucratic paper pushers.

Take the Marine Major General who is the current commander of CENTCOM. By the time he got into the Iraq/Afghanistan war he was already a Lieutenant Colonel and far removed from direct action.

He was only there on and off for a few years. Here are some of his other career highlights aft as they appear on his official bio:

In short, these top guys aren't warriors they're bureaucrats so why would we expect them to be honest brokers of the truth?

51 minutes ago

are U saying Chesty Puller he's NOT? 1 hour ago
(Edited) The purpose of war is to ensure that the Federal Reserve Note remains the world reserve paper currency of choice by keeping it relevant and in demand across the globe by forcing pesky energy producing nations to trade with it exclusively.

It is a 49 year old policy created by the private owners of quasi public institutions called central banks to ensure they remain the Wizards of Oz doing gods work conjuring magic paper into existence with a secret spell known as issuing credit.

How else is a technologically advanced society of billions of people supposed to function w/out this divinely inspired paper?

1 hour ago

Goebbels in "Churchill's Lie Factory" where he said: "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels, "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik," 12. january 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel

1 hour ago

The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti:

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/imperialism.html

49 minutes ago
"Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders."

Why would it when they who control academia, media and most of our politicians are our enemies.

1 hour ago

"The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; ..."

Yep, Wilkerson, who leaked Valerie Plame's name, not that it was a leak, to Novak, and then stood by to watch the grand jury fry Scooter Libby. Wilkerson, that paragon of moral rectitude. Wilkerson the silent, that *******.

sheesh,

1 hour ago
(Edited)

" A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

James Madison Friday June 29, 1787

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_629.asp

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789])

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIIs6.html

1 hour ago

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps. - M. PARENTI, Against empire

See Alexander Parvus

1 hour ago

Collapse is the cure. It's too far gone.

1 hour ago

Russia Wants to 'Jam' F-22 and F-35s in the Middle East: Report

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-wants-jam-f-22-and-f-35s-middle-east-report-121041

1 hour ago

ZH retards think that the American mic is bad and all other mics are good or don't exist. That's the power of brainwashing. Humans understand that war in general is bad, but humans are becoming increasingly rare in this world.

1 hour ago

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort.

https://truthout.org/articles/the-dangers-of-american-fascism/

2 hours ago
The swamp is bigger than the military alone. Substitute Bureaucrat, Statesman, or Beltway Bandit for General and Colonel in your writing above and you've got a whole new article to post that is just as true.
2 hours ago
(Edited) War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit..If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start?
2 hours ago [edited for clarity]
War is a racket. And nobody loves a racket more than Financial oligarchy. Americans come close though, that's why Financial oligarchy use them to project their own rackets and provide protection reprisals.

[Feb 16, 2020] Understanding the Ukraine Story by Joe Lauria

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine if we substitute the U.S. for Russia and the country "invaded" was Canada, rather than Ukraine, the government overthrown was in Ottawa and not Kiev, and the provinces embroiled in a foreign-backed civil war have been Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rather the provinces of Eastern Ukraine? This report, written in 2016, may make it easier to understand what has been really going on in Ukraine. Clicking on the links is key to understanding the real story. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Versions of this article first appeared on ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

The impeachment hearings and trial of Donald Trump were filled with talk of Russian aggression against Ukraine and threats to the United States. But what would it be like if we switched the roles of Russia and the U.S.?

Imagine if we substitute the U.S. for Russia and the country "invaded" was Canada, rather than Ukraine, the government overthrown was in Ottawa and not Kiev, and the provinces embroiled in a foreign-backed civil war have been Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rather the provinces of Eastern Ukraine? This report, written in 2016, may make it easier to understand what has been really going on in Ukraine. Clicking on the links is key to understanding the real story.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

T he United States has "invaded" Canada to support the breakaway Maritime provinces that are resisting a Moscow-engineered violent coup d'etat against the democratically elected government in Ottawa.

The U.S. move is to protect separatists in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia after Washington annexed Prince Edwards Island in a quickly arranged referendum .

The Islanders voted over 90 percent in favor of joining the United States following the Russian-backed coup. Moscow has condemned the referendum as illega l.

Hard-liners in the U.S. want Washington to annex all three Maritime provinces, whose fighters are defying the coup in Ottawa after Moscow installed an unelected prime minister.

Russian-backed Canadian federal troops have launched so-called "anti-terrorist" operations in the breakaway region to crush the rebellion, shelling residential areas and killing hundreds of civilians.

The violent coup.

The Canadian army are joined by Russian-supported neofascist battalions that played a crucial role in the overthrow of the Canadian government. In Halifax, the extremists have burned alive at least 40 pro-U.S. civilians who had taken refugee in a trade union building.

Proof that Russia was behind the overthrow of the elected Canadian prime minister is contained in a leaked conversation between Georgiy Yevgenevich Borisenko, foreign ministry chief of Moscow's North America department, and Alexander Darchiev, the Russian ambassador to Canada.

According to a transcript of the leaked conversation, Borisenko discussed who the new Canadian leaders should be six weeks before the coup took place.

Russia moved to launch the coup when Canada decided to take a loan package from the IMF that had fewer strings attached than a loan from Russia.

Russia's Beijing ally was reluctant to back the coup. But this seemed of little concern to Borisenko who is heard on the tape saying, "Fuck China."

Minister handing out cookies in the square.

Weeks before the coup Borisenko was filmed visiting protestors who had camped out in Parliament Square in Ottawa demanding the ouster of the prime minister. Borisenko is seen giving out cakes to the demonstrators.

The foreign ministers of Russian-allied Belarus and Cuba also marched with the protestors through the streets of Ottawa against the government. Russian media has portrayed the unconstitutional change of government an act of "democracy." Russian senators have met in public with extreme right-wing Canadian coup leaders, praising their rebellion.

Borisenko said in a speech that Russia had spent $5 billion over the past decade to "bring democracy" to Canada.

Senator meeting far-right coup leaders.

The money was spent on training "civil society." The use of non-governmental organizations to overthrow foreign governments that stand in the way of Russia's economic and geo-strategic interests is well documented, especially in a 1991 Washington Post column, "Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups ."

The United States has thus moved to ban Russian NGOs from operating in the country.

The coup took place as protestors violently clashed with police, breaking through barricades and killing a number of officers. Snipers fired on the police and the crowd from a nearby building in Parliament Square in which the Russian embassy had set up offices just a few floors above, according to Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Son Gets Job After Coup

Russian lawmakers compared President Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler for allegedly sending U.S. troops into the breakaway provinces and for annexing Prince Edward Island in an act of "American aggression." The Maritimes have had long ties to the U.S. dating back to the American Revolution.

Russia says it has intelligence proving that U.S. tanks have crossed the Maine border into New Brunswick, but have failed to make the evidence public. They have revealed no satellite imagery. Russian news media only reports American-backed rebels fighting in the Maritimes, not American troops.

Washington denies it has invaded but says some American volunteers have entered the Canadian province to join the fight.

Russia's puppet prime minister now in charge in Ottawa has only offered as proof six American passports of U.S. soldiers found in New Brunswick.

Son gets job on energy company board after his father's government backs violent coup.

The Maritime Canadian rebels have secured anti-aircraft weapons enabling them to shoot down a number of Royal Canadian Air Force transport planes.

A Malaysian airlines passenger jet was also shot down over Nova Scotia killing all on board. Russia has accused President Obama of being behind the incident, charging that the U.S. provided the anti-aircraft weapon.

Moscow has refused to release any intelligence to support its claim, other than statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Canada's economy is near collapse and is dependent on infusions of Russian aid. This comes despite a former Russian foreign ministry official being installed as Canada's finance minister, only receiving Canadian citizenship on her first day on the job.

Despite installing a Russian to run Canada's economy, President Putin told the U.N. General Assembly that Russia had "few economic interests" in the country. But Russian agribusiness companies have already taken stakes in Albertan wheat fields. And Ilya Medvedev, son of Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, as well as a Lavrov family friend joined the board of Canada's largest oil company just weeks after the coup.

Russia's ultimate aim, beginning with the imposition of sanctions on the U.S., appears to be a color revolution in Washington to overthrow Obama and install a Russian-friendly American president.

This is clear from numerous statements by Russian officials and academics. A former Russian national security advisor whom Putin consults on foreign policy said the United States should be broken into three countries.

He has also written that Canada is the stepping stone to the United States and that if the U.S. loses Canada it will fail to control North America.

Versions of this article first appeared on The Duran and Consortium News in 2016.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


mary floyd , February 15, 2020 at 13:20

The most important takeaway in this article for me was that the US should be broken into three separate entities!
That would work well for most Americans. All in all, this is a great piece, Mr. Lauria!

Dao Gen , February 15, 2020 at 02:28

Joe, you are The Truth. The only thing you left out, no doubt for reasons of space and time, was the immortal statement made by a leading member of the Russian Duma, who said during a stirring and well-received speech that, “Canada is our crucial first line of defense against the US. If Canada weren’t there to stop the Americans, we’d have to fight them right here on our own doorstep.”

Herman , February 14, 2020 at 18:52

A very creative way of making the point. Still do not understand the depth of what often appears to be heart felt hate for Russia by very powerful and smart people. Remember reading a comment by Phil Girardi early in the Trump tour when he remarked at the depth of dislike of Russia within the spook community. He wrote he was surprised and had, I think, been part of that community.

Eddie S , February 15, 2020 at 14:51

RE: “…depth of dislike of Russia within the spook community”.
While I have no ‘special knowledge’ of the so-called ‘intelligence community’, there’s a few reasons for this that come to-mind:
— Job preservation. The most obvious. The US wouldn’t need ~80% of those spooks if there
weren’t big scary Russians/Chinese/Iranians/N.Koreans constantly plotting against the
peaceful, benevolent US.

— Spooks believe in what is mainly a distractionary ploy by US oligarchs/plutocrats. These
wealthy interests don’t want to lose some of their wealth to social reforms, so they constantly
financially support scare-mongering, which some spooks unquestioningly accept.

— The profession tends to attract some of the more paranoid elements in our society, so
they’re inclined that way by nature/personality.

robert e williamson jr , February 14, 2020 at 17:51

Well one thing for sure we would not be seeing a female anchor on CNN bemoaning the fact the because of the coronavirus many popular kids toys might not be available here in the U.S. for the up coming holidays (?).

Yes it did happen, hell I couldn’t make that up.

DARYL , February 14, 2020 at 15:45

…or better yet, substitute Central America for Ukraine, and Panama(canal) for Crimea, then you have the makings of an even more salient parallel.

Realist , February 14, 2020 at 15:42

The difference is that under your scenario the world would be a smoking heap of radioactive ashes already as the exceptional nation, unlike the ever cautious Russians, would have immediately made bombastic threats and then launched military attacks to protect its “security interests.” (Warring to “protect” security interests has replaced invasion and occupation to save souls.) Things would have escalated from there to its predestined thermonuclear climax, as they will in the real world if Uncle Sam doesn’t get a grip on his uncontrolled aggression, demanding whatever he wants whenever he wants it at the point of a gun. The world seems to be circling the drain whether or not Washington is allowed to micromanage the affairs of Russia, China, Iran and every last duchy, principality and people’s republic in addition to its own monumental mess it calls domestic affairs. We’ve only got two political parties in this madhouse and they are both equally bent on destroying civilisation if they can’t rule it all, which seems to be the only point they agree on. Each party thinks it preferable to allow an obscenely rich oligarch (what else should we call Trump or Bloomberg?) from the other side to rule rather than a “communist” like Bernie Sanders or a “naive peacenik” like Tulsi Gabbard to be elected president. If the space aliens land tomorrow and start recruiting colonists to populate newly terraformed planets in other solar systems, sign me up. Yeah, it’s become that absurd down here.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , February 14, 2020 at 15:22

Simply imperial rot and corruption of power on all sides.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have an exclusive on those qualities.

Mark Thomason , February 14, 2020 at 12:37

This is a useful approach. It needs added to it the language and culture element: as if the part that wants out of the Moscow coup shares our own language and culture, while the rest of Canada does not, and the rest of Canada had gone on a spree to suppress that language and culture. It is hard to find a parallel in Canada to those facts, but it is what happened in Ukraine.

It is important to understanding to put oneself in the shoes of the other guys. It was once called walking a mile in the other guy’s moccasins, and given a Native wisdom attribution.

David G Horsman , February 14, 2020 at 12:01

I do this exercise mentally fairly often. This is the first time I saw it done in print. I would like to do an automated process.

[Feb 14, 2020] Is Apartheid the Inevitable Outcome of Zionism? by Henry Siegman

Highly recommended!
Actually any supremacist ideology produces something like an apartheid regime for other nationalities.
The current situation looks like a dead end with little chances of reconciliation, especially after recent killing of protesters by Israel army/snipers. But in general, it is iether a two state solution of equal rights for Palestinians and Jews in the same state. The elements of theocratic state should be eliminated and right wing parties outlawed as neofascist parties which threatens democracy.
Notable quotes:
"... The peace process and the two-state solution failed because America -- the only country on which Israel could count on for generous diplomatic, military and economic support, and therefore the only country that has the necessary leverage to influence Israel's policies -- allowed it to fail. Consequently, most Israelis, including many belonging to the Blue/White party, headed by General Benny Gantz, oppose granting any future Palestinian entity the most basic features of sovereignty, including control of its own borders. Gantz refused to form a unity government with the Likud because of Netanyahu's indictment for multiple crimes, not because of differences over peace policy. What doubts anyone might have had on this subject were removed when Gantz just announced that he embraces Netanyahu's intention to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel. ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The threat of a new war with Iran that might have replicated what has been the worst disaster in the history of America's international misadventures -- George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq based on fabricated lies -- sucked the air out of all other international diplomatic activity, not least of what used to be called the Middle East peace process.

Yet the failure of the peace process has not been the consequence of recent mindless and destructive actions by Donald Trump and of the clownish shenanigans of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was charged with helping Israeli hardliners in nailing down permanently the Palestinian occupation. For all the damage they caused (mainly to Palestinians), prospects for a two-state solution actually ended during President Barack Obama's administration, despite Secretary of State John Kerry's energetic efforts to renew the stalled negotiations. They were not resumed because Obama, like his predecessors, failed to take the tough measures that were necessary to overcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's determination to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state, notwithstanding his pledge in his Bar-Ilan speech of 2009 to implement the agreements of the Oslo accords.

Yes, Obama and Kerry did warn that Israel's continued occupation might lead to an Israeli apartheid regime. But knowing how deeply the accusation of an incipient Israeli apartheid could anger right-wingers in Israel and in the U.S., they repeatedly followed that warning with the assurance that "America will always have Israel's back." It was the sequence of this two-part statement that convinced Netanyahu that AIPAC had succeeded in getting American presidents to protect Israel's impunity. Had Obama and Kerry reversed that sequence, first noting that the U.S. had always had Israel's back, and then warning that Israel is now on the verge of trading its democracy for apartheid, the warning might have had quite different implications for Israel's government.

The peace process and the two-state solution failed because America -- the only country on which Israel could count on for generous diplomatic, military and economic support, and therefore the only country that has the necessary leverage to influence Israel's policies -- allowed it to fail. Consequently, most Israelis, including many belonging to the Blue/White party, headed by General Benny Gantz, oppose granting any future Palestinian entity the most basic features of sovereignty, including control of its own borders. Gantz refused to form a unity government with the Likud because of Netanyahu's indictment for multiple crimes, not because of differences over peace policy. What doubts anyone might have had on this subject were removed when Gantz just announced that he embraces Netanyahu's intention to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel.

For the Palestinians, territory is the most critical of the final status issues. The current internationally recognized borders that separate Israel and the Occupied Territories reduced the territory originally assigned to Palestinians in the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 from roughly half of Palestine to 22 percent. Israel, which was assigned originally roughly the other half of Palestine, now has 78 percent, not including Palestinian territory Israel has confiscated for its illegal settlements.

No present or prospective Palestinian leadership will accept any further reduction of territory from their promised state. Given the territory they already lost in 1947, and again in 1949, and given Israel's refusal to accept the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, is it really reasonable to expect Palestinians to give up any further territory? Where else other than the West Bank could Palestine refugees return to?

The one-state solution that is preferred by many Israelis is essentially a continuation of the present de facto apartheid. It is not the one-state alternative any Palestinian would accept. Repeated polling has shown that a majority of Jewish Israelis are unprepared to grant equal rights to Palestinians in a one-state arrangement. This opposition is unsurprising, for the inclusion in Israel's body politic of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, for Israel's non-Jewish citizens would then outnumber its Jewish ones, and may already do so. Of course, Israel could contrive a non-voting status for the West Bank's Palestinians, something many Jewish Israelis and political parties actually advocate, but that would not deceive anyone. It would mean the formal end of Israel's democracy.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I have long maintained that if Israel were compelled to choose between one state that grants full equality to Palestinians now under occupation and two states that conform substantially to existing agreements and international law, and no other options were available to it, the majority of Israelis would opt for two states. Why? Because as noted above, the overwhelming majority of Israelis oppose any arrangement that might produce a Palestinian majority with the same rights Israeli Jewish citizens enjoy. Of course, Israel has never been compelled to make such a choice, nor will they be compelled to do so by the international community.

However, they could be compelled to do so by the Palestinians, but only if Palestinians were finally to expel their current leadership and choose a more honest and courageous one. That new leadership would have to shut down the Palestinian Authority, which its present leaders allowed Israel to portray as an arrangement that places Palestinians on the path to statehood, of course in some undefined future. Israel has deliberately perpetuated that myth to conceal its real intention to keep the current occupation unchanged. The new Palestinian leadership would have to declare that since Israel has denied them their own state and established a one-state reality, Palestinians will no longer deny that reality. Consequently, the national struggle will now be for full citizenship in the one state that Israel has forced them into. I have argued for the past two decades that the one-state option is far more likely to open a path to a two-state solution, however counter intuitive that may seem to be. Palestinians rejected it categorically from the outset, but younger Palestinians have come around to accepting it -- even preferring it to the two-state model.

Unlike the struggle for a two-state solution, a goal that has so easily been manipulated by Israel to mean whatever serves their real goal of preventing such an outcome -- and also so easily allowed international actors to pretend they have not given up their efforts to achieve that outcome, an anti-apartheid struggle does not lend itself to such deceptions. South Africa has taught the world too well what apartheid looks like, as well as how the international community could deal with it. Of course, South Africa has also shown how long and bloody a struggle against apartheid can be, and the terrible price paid by the victims of such a regime. But Palestinians already live in such a regime, and have for long been paying a terrible price for their subjugation.

Yet deeper and more troubling questions are raised by the choices that now face Israel, including whether the original idea of the Zionist movement of a state that is both Jewish and democratic is not deeply oxymoronic, a question that not only Israelis but Jews outside of Israel must address. That question is underscored by the challenges to India's democracy posed by its prime minister's decision to turn his country into a Hindu nation. It is a question that did not escape some of the founders of the Zionist movement, who argued that Zionism should define the state as Jewish only in its ethnic and secular cultural dimensions. But that this is not how Jewish identity is treated in Israel is undeniable.

Imagine if Israel's laws defining national identity and citizenship, as recently reformulated by Israel's Knesset, were adopted by the U.S. Congress or by other Western democratic countries, and if Christianity in its "cultural dimensions" were declared to be their national identity, with citizenship also granted by conversion to the dominant religion, as is now the case in Israel, where arrangements for Jewish religious conversions are part of the Prime Minister's office.

Is this not what America's founders, and the waves of immigrants, including European Jews, sought to escape from? And how would Jews react today to legislation in the U.S. Congress that would explicitly seek to maintain the majority status of Christians in the U.S.? Are Jews to take pride in a Jewish state that adopts citizenship requirements that mirror those advocated by white Christian supremacists? These supremacists have already proclaimed jubilantly that Israel's policies vindicate the ones they have long been advocating.

It is true, of course, that for some Jews, aware of the history of anti-Semitism that has spanned the ages, and especially the Holocaust, Zionism's contradictions with democratic principles are an unpleasant but inescapable dilemma they can live with. As a survivor of the Holocaust, I can understand that. But I also understand that the likely consequences of these contradictions are not benign, and can yield their own terrible outcomes, particularly when they lead to the dalliances by the prime minister of a Jewish state with right-wing racist and xenophobic heads of state and of political parties that have fascist and anti-Semitic parentage.

Legislation proposed in the U.S. Congress and by Trump, and recently celebrated by his son-in-law Kushner in a New York Times op-ed, proposing that criticism of Zionism be outlawed as antisemitism , would be laughable, were it not so clearly -- and outrageously -- intended to deny freedom of speech on this subject. Yet laughable it is, for its first target would have to be Jews -- not liberal left-wingers but the most Orthodox Jews, known as Haredim, in Israel and in America.

At the very inception of the Zionist movement 150 years ago, not only the Haredim but the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jewry everywhere was opposed to Zionism, which it considered to be a Jewish heresy, not only because the Zionists were mostly secularists, but because of an oath taken by Jewish leaders after the destruction of the Second Temple following their exile from Palestine, that Jews would not reestablish a Jewish kingdom except following the messianic era. Zionism was also bitterly opposed by much of the world's Jewish Reform movement, many of whose leaders insisted that Jewishness is a religion, not a political identity.

Much of Orthodox Jewry did not end its opposition to Zionism until after the war of 1967, but many if not most Haredis continue to oppose Zionism as heresy. Most of its members refuse to serve in Israel's military, to celebrate Israel's Independence Day, sing its national anthem, and do not allow prayers in their synagogues for the wellbeing of Israel's political leaders. Trump, Kushner, and the U.S. Congress would have to arrest them as anti-Semites.

I have no doubt that Trump's rage at the Jewish chairmen of the two Congressional committees that led the procedures for his impeachment will sooner or later explode in anti-Semitic expletives. The only reason it has not done so yet is because of Trump's fear of jeopardizing Evangelical support and Sheldon Adelson's mega bucks. After all, Trump already told us that the neo-Nazi rioters in Charlottesville declaiming "Jews will not replace us" included "very fine people." Netanyahu never criticized Trump's statement, for he too does not want to jeopardize certain relationships, namely the "very fine people" he has embraced -- leaders in Hungary, Poland, Austria, Italy, Brazil, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.

If Trump's son-in-law is searching for anti-Semites, he should have been told they are far closer at hand than in America's schools, for they are ensconced in the White House. They are also to be found in Jerusalem where they are being accorded honors by Netanyahu. The anti-Semitic dog whistling contained in Trump's attacks on the two Jewish congressmen were not misunderstood by his hardcore supporters -- who now include the entire leadership of the Republican party -- who Trump needs to take him to victory in the coming presidential elections, or to keep him in the White House were he to lose those elections.

If apartheid is coming (or has come) out of Zion, it should not shock that what may come out of Washington is a repeat by Trump's Republican shock troops of what occurred in Berlin in 1933, when the Bundestag was taken over by the Nazi party and ended Germany's democracy.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)

............

Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

.........


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Feb 08, 2020] Is Iraq About To Switch From US to Russia

Highly recommended!
Feb 08, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 8, 2020 8:56 pm

NSC Russia expert freshly appointed Andrew Peek, who was walked out like Vindman, with him only freshly appointed after Fiona Hill and the Tim Morrioson resigned.

There is a big problems with "experts" in NSC -- often they represent interests of the particular agency, or a think tank, not that of the country.

Look at former NSC staffer Fiona Hill. She can be called "threat inflation" specialist.

NSC tries to usurp the role of the State Department and overly militarize the USA foreign policy, while having much lower class specialists. It is a kind of CIA backdoor into defining the USA foreign policy.

I would advocate creating "shadow NSC" by the party who is in opposition, so that it can somehow provide countervailing opinions. But with both parties being now war parties, this is no that effective.

Cutting NSC staff to the bones, so that such second rate personalities like Fiona Hill and Vindman are automatically excluded might also help a little bit.

The size above a dozen or two is probably excessive, as like any bureaucracy, it will try to control the President, not so much help him/her.
( https://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA00/20160908/105276/HHRG-114-FA00-Transcript-20160908.pdf ):

One common explanation is that the NSC mission creep results from the NSC staff growing too large and the easy solution is to limit the size of the staff. I am sympathetic to that feeling because we don't want it to
be too large and we don't want it to be usurping things that the State Department or the Agency should do.

[Feb 07, 2020] How They Sold the Iraq War by Jeffrey St. Clair

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon. ..."
"... This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception." ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted. ..."
"... When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. ..."
"... Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war." ..."
"... The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. ..."
"... Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The war on Iraq won't be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "rogue state" were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don't need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair's plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student's website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister's bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair's speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don't explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.

The Bush claque of neocon hawks viewed the Iraq war as a product and, just like a new pair of Nikes, it required a roll-out campaign to soften up the consumers. The same techniques (and often the same PR gurus) that have been used to hawk cigarettes, SUVs and nuclear waste dumps were deployed to retail the Iraq war. To peddle the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and company recruited public relations gurus into top-level jobs at the Pentagon and the State Department. These spinmeisters soon had more say over how the rationale for war on Iraq should be presented than intelligence agencies and career diplomats. If the intelligence didn't fit the script, it was shaded, retooled or junked.

Take Charlotte Beers whom Powell picked as undersecretary of state in the post-9/11 world. Beers wasn't a diplomat. She wasn't even a politician. She was a grand diva of spin, known on the business and gossip pages as "the queen of Madison Avenue." On the strength of two advertising campaigns, one for Uncle Ben's Rice and another for Head and Shoulder's dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the PR world, heading two giant PR houses: Ogilvy and Mathers as well as J. Walter Thompson.

At the State Department Beers, who had met Powell in 1995 when they both served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked at, in Powell's words, "the branding of U.S. foreign policy." She extracted more than $500 million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, which largely focused on beaming U.S. propaganda into the Muslim world, much of it directed at teens.

"Public diplomacy is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time," said Beers. "All of a sudden we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves, but for the outside world." Note the rapt attention Beers pays to the manipulation of perception, as opposed, say, to alterations of U.S. policy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give and take, often fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange nonetheless. Public diplomacy, as defined by Beers, is something else entirely. It's a one-way street, a unilateral broadcast of American propaganda directly to the public, domestic and international, a kind of informational carpet-bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were as simplistic and flimsy as a Bush press conference. The American incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were all about bringing the balm of "freedom" to oppressed peoples. Hence, the title of the U.S. war: Operation Iraqi Freedom, where cruise missiles were depicted as instruments of liberation. Bush himself distilled the Beers equation to its bizarre essence: "This war is about peace."

Beers quietly resigned her post a few weeks before the first volley of tomahawk missiles battered Baghdad. From her point of view, the war itself was already won, the fireworks of shock and awe were all after play.

Over at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld drafted Victoria "Torie" Clarke as his director of public affairs. Clarke knew the ropes inside the Beltway. Before becoming Rumsfeld's mouthpiece, she had commanded one of the world's great parlors for powerbrokers: Hill and Knowlton's D.C. office.

Almost immediately upon taking up her new gig, Clarke convened regular meetings with a select group of Washington's top private PR specialists and lobbyists to develop a marketing plan for the Pentagon's forthcoming terror wars. The group was filled with heavy-hitters and was strikingly bipartisan in composition. She called it the Rumsfeld Group and it included PR executive Sheila Tate, columnist Rich Lowry, and Republican political consultant Rich Galen.

The brain trust also boasted top Democratic fixer Tommy Boggs, brother of NPR's Cokie Roberts and son of the late Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana. At the very time Boggs was conferring with top Pentagon brass on how to frame the war on terror, he was also working feverishly for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In 2002 alone, the Saudis paid his Qorvis PR firm $20.2 million to protect its interests in Washington. In the wake of hostile press coverage following the exposure of Saudi links to the 9/11 hijackers, the royal family needed all the well-placed help it could buy. They seem to have gotten their money's worth. Boggs' felicitous influence-peddling may help to explain why the references to Saudi funding of al-Qaeda were dropped from the recent congressional report on the investigation into intelligence failures and 9/11.

According to the trade publication PR Week, the Rumsfeld Group sent "messaging advice" to the Pentagon. The group told Clarke and Rumsfeld that in order to get the American public to buy into the war on terrorism, they needed to suggest a link to nation states, not just nebulous groups such as al-Qaeda. In other words, there needed to be a fixed target for the military campaigns, some distant place to drop cruise missiles and cluster bombs. They suggested the notion (already embedded in Rumsfeld's mind) of playing up the notion of so-called rogue states as the real masters of terrorism. Thus was born the Axis of Evil, which, of course, wasn't an "axis" at all, since two of the states, Iran and Iraq, hated each other, and neither had anything at all to do with the third, North Korea.

Tens of millions in federal money were poured into private public relations and media firms working to craft and broadcast the Bush dictat that Saddam had to be taken out before the Iraqi dictator blew up the world by dropping chemical and nuclear bombs from long-range drones. Many of these PR executives and image consultants were old friends of the high priests in the Bush inner sanctum. Indeed, they were veterans, like Cheney and Powell, of the previous war against Iraq, another engagement that was more spin than combat .

At the top of the list was John Rendon, head of the D.C. firm, the Rendon Group. Rendon is one of Washington's heaviest hitters, a Beltway fixer who never let political affiliation stand in the way of an assignment. Rendon served as a media consultant for Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, as well as Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Whenever the Pentagon wanted to go to war, he offered his services at a price. During Desert Storm, Rendon pulled in $100,000 a month from the Kuwaiti royal family. He followed this up with a $23 million contract from the CIA to produce anti-Saddam propaganda in the region.

As part of this CIA project, Rendon created and named the Iraqi National Congress and tapped his friend Ahmed Chalabi, the shady financier, to head the organization.

Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon handed the Rendon Group another big assignment: public relations for the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Rendon was also deeply involved in the planning and public relations for the pre-emptive war on Iraq, though both Rendon and the Pentagon refuse to disclose the details of the group's work there.

But it's not hard to detect the manipulative hand of Rendon behind many of the Iraq war's signature events, including the toppling of the Saddam statue (by U.S. troops and Chalabi associates) and videotape of jubilant Iraqis waving American flags as the Third Infantry rolled by them. Rendon had pulled off the same stunt in the first Gulf War, handing out American flags to Kuwaitis and herding the media to the orchestrated demonstration. "Where do you think they got those American flags?" clucked Rendon in 1991. "That was my assignment."

The Rendon Group may also have had played a role in pushing the phony intelligence that has now come back to haunt the Bush administration. In December of 2002, Robert Dreyfuss reported that the inner circle of the Bush White House preferred the intelligence coming from Chalabi and his associates to that being proffered by analysts at the CIA.

So Rendon and his circle represented a new kind of off-the-shelf PSYOPs , the privatization of official propaganda. "I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician," said Rendon. "I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager."

What exactly, is perception management? The Pentagon defines it this way: "actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning." In other words, lying about the intentions of the U.S. government. In a rare display of public frankness, the Pentagon actually let slip its plan (developed by Rendon) to establish a high-level den inside the Department Defense for perception management. They called it the Office of Strategic Influence and among its many missions was to plant false stories in the press.

Nothing stirs the corporate media into outbursts of pious outrage like an official government memo bragging about how the media are manipulated for political objectives. So the New York Times and Washington Post threw indignant fits about the Office of Strategic Influence; the Pentagon shut down the operation, and the press gloated with satisfaction on its victory. Yet, Rumsfeld told the Pentagon press corps that while he was killing the office, the same devious work would continue. "You can have the corpse," said Rumsfeld. "You can have the name. But I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done. And I have."

At a diplomatic level, despite the hired guns and the planted stories, this image war was lost. It failed to convince even America's most fervent allies and dependent client states that Iraq posed much of a threat. It failed to win the blessing of the U.N. and even NATO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington. At the end of the day, the vaunted coalition of the willing consisted of Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, and a cohort of former Soviet bloc nations. Even so, the citizens of the nations that cast their lot with the U.S.A. overwhelmingly opposed the war.

Domestically, it was a different story. A population traumatized by terror threats and shattered economy became easy prey for the saturation bombing of the Bush message that Iraq was a terrorist state linked to al-Qaeda that was only minutes away from launching attacks on America with weapons of mass destruction.

Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon.

Of course, the closest Saddam came to possessing a nuke was a rusting gas centrifuge buried for 13 years in the garden of Mahdi Obeidi, a retired Iraqi scientist. Iraq didn't have any functional chemical or biological weapons. In fact, it didn't even possess any SCUD missiles, despite erroneous reports fed by Pentagon PR flacks alleging that it had fired SCUDs into Kuwait.

This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception."

During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted.

What the Pentagon sought was a new kind of living room war, where instead of photos of mangled soldiers and dead Iraqi kids, they could control the images Americans viewed and to a large extent the content of the stories. By embedding reporters inside selected divisions, Clarke believed the Pentagon could count on the reporters to build relationships with the troops and to feel dependent on them for their own safety. It worked, naturally. One reporter for a national network trembled on camera that the U.S. Army functioned as "our protectors." The late David Bloom of NBC confessed on the air that he was willing to do "anything and everything they can ask of us."

When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. Of course, nearly every detail of her heroic adventure proved to be as fictive and maudlin as any made-for-TV-movie. But the ordeal of Private Lynch, which dominated the news for more than a week, served its purpose: to distract attention from a stalled campaign that was beginning to look at lot riskier than the American public had been hoodwinked into believing.

The Lynch story was fed to the eager press by a Pentagon operation called Combat Camera, the Army network of photographers, videographers and editors that sends 800 photos and 25 video clips a day to the media. The editors at Combat Camera carefully culled the footage to present the Pentagon's montage of the war, eliding such unsettling images as collateral damage, cluster bombs, dead children and U.S. soldiers, napalm strikes and disgruntled troops.

"A lot of our imagery will have a big impact on world opinion," predicted Lt. Jane Larogue, director of Combat Camera in Iraq. She was right. But as the hot war turned into an even hotter occupation, the Pentagon, despite airy rhetoric from occupation supremo Paul Bremer about installing democratic institutions such as a free press, moved to tighten its monopoly on the flow images out of Iraq. First, it tried to shut down Al Jazeera, the Arab news channel. Then the Pentagon intimated that it would like to see all foreign TV news crews banished from Baghdad.

Few newspapers fanned the hysteria about the threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction as sedulously as did the Washington Post. In the months leading up to the war, the Post's pro-war op-eds outnumbered the anti-war columns by a 3-to-1 margin.

Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war."

The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. Anything to punish Iran was the message coming from the White House. Donald Rumsfeld himself was sent as President Ronald Reagan's personal envoy to Baghdad. Rumsfeld conveyed the bold message than an Iraq defeat would be viewed as a "strategic setback for the United States." This sleazy alliance was sealed with a handshake caught on videotape. When CNN reporter Jamie McIntyre replayed the footage for Rumsfeld in the spring of 2003, the secretary of defense snapped, "Where'd you get that? Iraqi television?"

The current crop of Iraq hawks also saw Saddam much differently then. Take the writer Laura Mylroie, sometime colleague of the New York Times' Judy Miller, who persists in peddling the ludicrous conspiracy that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

How times have changed! In 1987, Mylroie felt downright cuddly toward Saddam. She wrote an article for the New Republic titled "Back Iraq: Time for a U.S. Tilt in the Mideast," arguing that the U.S. should publicly embrace Saddam's secular regime as a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The co-author of this mesmerizing weave of wonkery was none other than Daniel Pipes, perhaps the nation's most bellicose Islamophobe. "The American weapons that Iraq could make good use of include remotely scatterable and anti-personnel mines and counterartillery radar," wrote Mylroie and Pipes. "The United States might also consider upgrading intelligence it is supplying Baghdad."

In the rollout for the war, Mylroie seemed to be everywhere hawking the invasion of Iraq. She would often appear on two or three different networks in the same day. How did the reporter manage this feat? She had help in the form of Eleana Benador, the media placement guru who runs Benador Associates. Born in Peru, Benador parlayed her skills as a linguist into a lucrative career as media relations whiz for the Washington foreign policy elite. She also oversees the Middle East Forum, a fanatically pro-Zionist white paper mill. Her clients include some of the nation's most fervid hawks, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, Al Haig, Max Boot, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, and Judy Miller. During the Iraq war, Benador's assignment was to embed this squadron of pro-war zealots into the national media, on talk shows, and op-ed pages.

Benador not only got them the gigs, she also crafted the theme and made sure they all stayed on message. "There are some things, you just have to state them in a different way, in a slightly different way," said Benador. "If not, people get scared." Scared of intentions of their own government.

It could have been different. All of the holes in the Bush administration's gossamer case for war were right there for the mainstream press to expose. Instead, the U.S. press, just like the oil companies, sought to commercialize the Iraq war and profit from the invasions. They didn't want to deal with uncomfortable facts or present voices of dissent.

Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. The network's executives blamed the cancellation on sagging ratings. In fact, during its run Donahue's show attracted more viewers than any other program on the network. The real reason for the pre-emptive strike on Donahue was spelled out in an internal memo from anxious executives at NBC. Donahue, the memo said, offered "a difficult face for NBC in a time of war. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."

The memo warned that Donahue's show risked tarring MSNBC as an unpatriotic network, "a home for liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." So, with scarcely a second thought, the honchos at MSNBC gave Donahue the boot and hoisted the battle flag.

It's war that sells.

There's a helluva caveat, of course. Once you buy it, the merchants of war accept no returns.

This essay is adapted from Grand Theft Pentagon.

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

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[Jan 17, 2020] Ukraine is a deeply sick patient. The destiny of ordinary Ukrainians is deeply tragic. Diaspora is greedy and want a piece of cake immediately

Highly recommended!
Edited for clarity
Notable quotes:
"... The infrastructure they inherited from the USSR mostly is now fully amortized. For example railway park in in complete ruin. Central heating pipeline communications in cities like Kiev are in ruins too. In the USSR they tried to reuse the heat from electric stations and have elaborate hot water delivery networks from each, which provided heat to a large city blocks. Now pipes are completely rusted (which in 30 years is no surprise) and are in the state of constant repair. ..."
"... But when the standard of living dropped to such extent as it dropped after 2014 sentiments toward even slightly different ethnic groups turn hostile too. This is the case in Ukraine. In this sense you are wrong. There is no more unity now then existed before 2014. I would say there is less unity now. ..."
"... Sentiments turned against both Donbass dwellers and Ukrainians from Western Ukraine. In Kiev the derogatory term for both categories is "ponaekhali" ("come to overcrowd the place and displace us", or something along those lines; it's difficult to translate, but the term carries strong derogatory meaning) ..."
"... The nationalistic hysteria of 2014-2017 now mostly changed into deep depression: how a tiny group of far right nationalist and football hooligan gangs managed to get to power against the will of the majority of the country and destroy its economy. That's why Zelensky was elected and most far right parliamentarians lost their seats. Most of Western Ukraine voted for him, which is telling you something. ..."
"... The problem for Ukraine is that with the cut of economic ties with Russia the natural path for economics is probably down. De-industrialization, Baltic style, is raining supreme. Many enterprises survived the period from 1991 to 2014 only due to orders from Russia. Especially remnants of military industrial complex and manufacturing industry. Now what? Selling land (like Zelensky is trying to do) ? ..."
Jan 17, 2020 | www.unz.com

likbez says:January 17, 2020 at 8:35 am GMT • 1,500 Words @AP AP,

I agree with JPM:

I feel like robber barons in Kyiv have harmed you more through their looting of the country than impoverished Eastern Ukrainians, who were the biggest losers in the post-Soviet deindustrilization, have harmed you by existing and dying of diseases of poverty and despair.

It reminds me of how coastal shit-libs in America talk about "fly-over" country and want all the poor whites in Appalachia to die. I'm living in a country whose soul is totally poisoned. A country that is dying. While all this is happening, whites have split themselves into little factions focused on political point scoring.

I doubt people like Zelensky, Kolomoisky, Poroshenko and all the rest are going to turn Ukraine into an earthly paradise. They're more likely to be Neros playing harps, while Ukraine burns.

Looks like your understanding of Ukraine is mostly based of a short trip to Lvov and reading neoliberal MSM and forums. That's not enough, unless you want to be the next Max Boot.

Ukraine is a deeply sick patient, which surprisingly still stands despite all hardships (Ukrainians demonstrated amazing, superhuman resilience in the crisis that hit them, which greatly surprised all experts).

The infrastructure they inherited from the USSR mostly is now fully amortized. For example railway park in in complete ruin. Central heating pipeline communications in cities like Kiev are in ruins too. In the USSR they tried to reuse the heat from electric stations and have elaborate hot water delivery networks from each, which provided heat to a large city blocks. Now pipes are completely rusted (which in 30 years is no surprise) and are in the state of constant repair.

And, what is really tragic Ukraine now it is a debt state. Usually the latter is the capital sentence for the county. Few managed to escape even in more favorable conditions (South Korea is one.) So chances of economic recovery are slim: with such level of parasitic rent to the West the natural path is down and down. Don't cry for me Argentina.

And there is no money to replace already destroyed due to bad maintenance infrastructure, but surprisingly large parts of Soviets era infrastructure still somehow hold. For example, electrical networks, subway cars. But other part are already crumbling.

For example, in Kiev that means in some buildings you have winter without central heating, you have elevators in 16-storey buildings that work one or two weeks in month, you have no hot water, sometimes you have no water at all for a week or more, etc). Pensioners have problem with paying heating bills, so some of them are forced to live in non-heated apartments.

And that's in Kiev/Kyiv (Western Ukrainians love to change established names, much like communists) . In provincial cities it is a real horror show when even electricity supply became a problem. The countryside dwellers at least has its own food, but the situation for them is also very very difficult.

Other big problem -- few jobs and almost no well paid job, unless you are young, know English and have a university education (and are lucky). Before 2014 approximately 70% of Ukrainian labor migrants (in total a couple of million) came from the western part of the country, in which migration had become a widespread method of coping with poverty, the absence of jobs and low salaries.

Now this practice spread to the whole county. That destroyed many families.

The USA plays its usual games selling vassals crap at inflated prices (arms, uranium rods, coal, locomotives, cars, etc) , which Ukrainians can't refuse. Trump is simply a typical gangster in this respect, running a protection racket.

The rate of emigration and shrinking population is another fundamental problem. Mass emigration ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Ukraine ) is continuing even after Zelensky election. Looting by the West also continues unabated. This is disaster capitalism in action.

Add to those problems inflated military expenses to fight the civil war in Donbass which deprives other sectors of necessary funds (with the main affect of completely alienating Russia) and "Huston, we have a problem."

May be this is a natural path for xUSSR countries after the dissolution of the USSR, I don't know.

But the destiny of ordinary Ukrainians is deeply tragic: they wanted better life and got a really harsh one. Especially pensioners (typical pension is something like $60-$70) a month in Kiev, much less outside of Kiev. How they physically survive I do not fully understand.

There are still pro-Russian areas but being free of Crimea and Donbass means Ukraine can no longer be characterized as "split."

I agree that there is a substantial growth of anti-Russian sentiments. It is really noticeable. As well as growth of the usage of the Ukrainian language (previously Kiev, unlike Lvov was completely Russian-language city).

And in Western Ukraine Russiphobia was actually always a part of "national identity". The negative definition of national identity, if you wish. See popular slogan "Hto ne skache toi moskal" ("those who do not jump are Moskal" -- where Moskal is the derogatory name for a Russian). Here is this slogan in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6rfqr9afMc ;-)

But when the standard of living dropped to such extent as it dropped after 2014 sentiments toward even slightly different ethnic groups turn hostile too. This is the case in Ukraine. In this sense you are wrong. There is no more unity now then existed before 2014. I would say there is less unity now.

Sentiments turned against both Donbass dwellers and Ukrainians from Western Ukraine. In Kiev the derogatory term for both categories is "ponaekhali" ("come to overcrowd the place and displace us", or something along those lines; it's difficult to translate, but the term carries strong derogatory meaning) .

"Donetskie" (former Donbass dwellers, often displaced by the war) are generally strongly resented and luxury cars, villas, etc and other excesses of neoliberal elite are attributed mostly to them (Donbass neoliberal elite did moved to Kiev, not Moscow) , while "zapadentsi" are also, albeit less strongly, resented because they often use clan politics within institutions, and often do not put enough effort (or are outright incompetent), as they rely on its own clan ties for survival.

This sentiment is stronger to the south of Kiev where the resentment is directed mainly against Western Ukrainians, not against "Donetskie" like in Kiev. And I am talking not only about Odessa. Western Ukrainians are now strongly associated with corrupt ways of getting lucrative positions (via family, clan or political connections), being incompetent and doing nothing useful.

What surprise me is that this resentment against "zapadentsi" and "Poloshenko clan" is shared by many people from Western Ukraine. The target is often slightly more narrow, for example Hutsuls in Lviv ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutsuls )

The nationalistic hysteria of 2014-2017 now mostly changed into deep depression: how a tiny group of far right nationalist and football hooligan gangs managed to get to power against the will of the majority of the country and destroy its economy. That's why Zelensky was elected and most far right parliamentarians lost their seats. Most of Western Ukraine voted for him, which is telling you something.

The problem for Ukraine is that with the cut of economic ties with Russia the natural path for economics is probably down. De-industrialization, Baltic style, is raining supreme. Many enterprises survived the period from 1991 to 2014 only due to orders from Russia. Especially remnants of military industrial complex and manufacturing industry. Now what? Selling land (like Zelensky is trying to do) ?

Ukraine will probably eventually lose a large part of its chemical industry because without subsidies for gas it just can't complete even taking into account low labor costs. And manufacturing because without Russian market it is difficult to find a place for their production in already established markets, competing only in price and suffering in quality (I remember something about Iraq returning Ukrainians all ordered armored carriers due to defect is the the armor https://sputniknews.com/military/201705221053859853-armored-vehicles-defects-extent /). Although at least for the Ukrainian arm industry there is place on the market in countries which are used to old Soviet armaments, because those are rehashed Soviet products.

Add to this corrupt and greedy diaspora (all those Jaresko, Chalupas, Freelands, Vindmans, etc ) from the USA and Canada (and not only diaspora -- look at Biden, Kerry, etc) who want their piece of the pie after 2014 "Revolution of dignity" (what a sad joke) and you will see the problems more clearly. Not that much changed from the period 1991-2014 where Ukraine was also royally fleeced by own oligarchs allied with Western banksers, simply now this leads to quicker deterioration of the standard of living.

None of Eastern European countries benefited from a color revolution staged by the USA. This is about opening the country not only to multinationals (while they loot the county they at least behave within a certain legal bounds, demonstrating at least decency of gangsters like in Godfather), but to petty foreign criminals from diaspora and outside of it who allies with the local oligarchs and smaller nouveau riche and are siphoning all the county wealth to western banks as soon as possible. Greed of the disapora is simply unbounded. https://neweasterneurope.eu/2016/08/26/the-ukrainian-diaspora-as-a-recipient-of-oligarchic-cash/

Of course, Ukrainian diaspora is not uniform. Still, outside well-know types from the tiny Mid-Eastern country, the most dangerous people for Ukraine are probably Ukrainians from diaspora with dual citizenship

[Jan 12, 2020] MIC along with Wall Street controls the government and the country

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm

    Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?

    The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.

    The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.

    The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.

    The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)

    In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.

    It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.

    IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.

    State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.

    "If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans

    The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "

    ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )

[Jan 10, 2020] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like Iran is Catch22 for the USA: it can destroy it, but only at the cost of losing empire and dollar hegemony...
Notable quotes:
"... The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem. ..."
"... The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight. ..."
"... Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI. ..."
"... The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess. ..."
"... This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development. ..."
"... "Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries." ..."
"... "For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq." ..."
"... Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous. ..."
"... I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt. ..."
"... Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs". ..."
"... This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers. ..."
"... This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article ..."
"... "The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire." ..."
"... The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power. ..."
"... In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world. ..."
"... the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities. ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | thesaker.is

[this interview was made for the Unz Review ]

Introduction: After posting Michael Hudson's article " America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East " on the blog, I decided to ask Michael to reply to a few follow-up questions. Michael very kindly agreed. Please see our exchange below.

The Saker

-- -- -

The Saker: Trump has been accused of not thinking forward, of not having a long-term strategy regarding the consequences of assassinating General Suleimani. Does the United States in fact have a strategy in the Near East, or is it only ad hoc?

Michael Hudson: Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it.

President Trump is just the taxicab driver, taking the passengers he has accepted – Pompeo, Bolton and the Iran-derangement syndrome neocons – wherever they tell him they want to be driven. They want to pull a heist, and he's being used as the getaway driver (fully accepting his role). Their plan is to hold onto the main source of their international revenue: Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Near Eastern oil-export surpluses and money. They see the US losing its ability to exploit Russia and China, and look to keep Europe under its control by monopolizing key sectors so that it has the power to use sanctions to squeeze countries that resist turning over control of their economies and natural rentier monopolies to US buyers. In short, US strategists would like to do to Europe and the Near East just what they did to Russia under Yeltsin: turn over public infrastructure, natural resources and the banking system to U.S. owners, relying on US dollar credit to fund their domestic government spending and private investment.

This is basically a resource grab. Suleimani was in the same position as Chile's Allende, Libya's Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam. The motto is that of Stalin: "No person, no problem."

The Saker: Your answer raises a question about Israel: In your recent article you only mention Israel twice, and these are only passing comments. Furthermore, you also clearly say the US Oil lobby as much more crucial than the Israel Lobby, so here is my follow-up question to you: On what basis have you come to this conclusion and how powerful do you believe the Israel Lobby to be compared to, say, the Oil lobby or the US Military-Industrial Complex? To what degree do their interests coincide and to what degree to they differ?

Michael Hudson: I wrote my article to explain the most basic concerns of U.S. international diplomacy: the balance of payments (dollarizing the global economy, basing foreign central bank savings on loans to the U.S. Treasury to finance the military spending mainly responsible for the international and domestic budget deficit), oil (and the enormous revenue produced by the international oil trade), and recruitment of foreign fighters (given the impossibility of drafting domestic U.S. soldiers in sufficient numbers). From the time these concerns became critical to today, Israel was viewed as a U.S. military base and supporter, but the U.S. policy was formulated independently of Israel.

I remember one day in 1973 or '74 I was traveling with my Hudson Institute colleague Uzi Arad (later a head of Mossad and advisor to Netanyahu) to Asia, stopping off in San Francisco. At a quasi-party, a U.S. general came up to Uzi and clapped him on the shoulder and said, "You're our landed aircraft carrier in the Near East," and expressed his friendship.

Uzi was rather embarrassed. But that's how the U.S. military thought of Israel back then. By that time the three planks of U.S. foreign policy strategy that I outlined were already firmly in place.

Of course Netanyahu has applauded U.S. moves to break up Syria, and Trump's assassination choice. But the move is a U.S. move, and it's the U.S. that is acting on behalf of the dollar standard, oil power and mobilizing Saudi Arabia's Wahabi army.

Israel fits into the U.S.-structured global diplomacy much like Turkey does. They and other countries act opportunistically within the context set by U.S. diplomacy to pursue their own policies. Obviously Israel wants to secure the Golan Heights; hence its opposition to Syria, and also its fight with Lebanon; hence, its opposition to Iran as the backer of Assad and Hezbollah. This dovetails with US policy.

But when it comes to the global and U.S. domestic response, it's the United States that is the determining active force. And its concern rests above all with protecting its cash cow of Saudi Arabia, as well as working with the Saudi jihadis to destabilize governments whose foreign policy is independent of U.S. direction – from Syria to Russia (Wahabis in Chechnya) to China (Wahabis in the western Uighur region). The Saudis provide the underpinning for U.S. dollarization (by recycling their oil revenues into U.S. financial investments and arms purchases), and also by providing and organizing the ISIS terrorists and coordinating their destruction with U.S. objectives. Both the Oil lobby and the Military-Industrial Complex obtain huge economic benefits from the Saudis.

Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about.

The Saker: In your recent article you wrote: " The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves ." Others believe that the goal was precisely the opposite, to get a pretext to remove the US forces from both Iraq and Syria. What are your grounds to believe that your hypothesis is the most likely one?

Michael Hudson: Why would killing Suleimani help remove the U.S. presence? He was the leader of the fight against ISIS, especially in Syria. US policy was to continue using ISIS to permanently destabilize Syria and Iraq so as to prevent a Shi'ite crescent reaching from Iran to Lebanon – which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation. He was killed because he had been invited by Iraq's government to help mediate a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That was what the United States feared most of all, because it effectively would prevent its control of the region and Trump's drive to seize Iraqi and Syrian oil.

So using the usual Orwellian doublethink, Suleimani was accused of being a terrorist, and assassinated under the U.S. 2002 military Authorization Bill giving the President to move without Congressional approval against Al Qaeda. Trump used it to protect Al Qaeda's terrorist ISIS offshoots.

Given my three planks of U.S. diplomacy described above, the United States must remain in the Near East to hold onto Saudi Arabia and try to make Iraq and Syria client states equally subservient to U.S. balance-of-payments and oil policy.

Certainly the Saudis must realize that as the buttress of U.S. aggression and terrorism in the Near East, their country (and oil reserves) are the most obvious target to speed the parting guest. I suspect that this is why they are seeking a rapprochement with Iran. And I think it is destined to come about, at least to provide breathing room and remove the threat. The Iranian missiles to Iraq were a demonstration of how easy it would be to aim them at Saudi oil fields. What then would be Aramco's stock market valuation?

The Saker: In your article you wrote: " The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage. " I want to ask a basic, really primitive question in this regard: how cares about the balance of payments as long as 1) the US continues to print money 2) most of the world will still want dollars. Does that not give the US an essentially "infinite" budget? What is the flaw in this logic?

Michael Hudson: The U.S. Treasury can create dollars to spend at home, and the Fed can increase the banking system's ability to create dollar credit and pay debts denominated in US dollars. But they cannot create foreign currency to pay other countries, unless they willingly accept dollars ad infinitum – and that entails bearing the costs of financing the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, getting only IOUs in exchange for real resources that they sell to U.S. buyers.

This is the situation that arose half a century ago. The United States could print dollars in 1971, but it could not print gold.

In the 1920s, Germany's Reichsbank could print deutsche marks – trillions of them. When it came to pay Germany's foreign reparations debt, all it could do was to throw these D-marks onto the foreign exchange market. That crashed the currency's exchange rate, forcing up the price of imports proportionally and causing the German hyperinflation.

The question is, how many surplus dollars do foreign governments want to hold. Supporting the dollar standard ends up supporting U.S. foreign diplomacy and military policy. For the first time since World War II, the most rapidly growing parts of the world are seeking to de-dollarize their economies by reducing reliance on U.S. exports, U.S. investment, and U.S. bank loans. This move is creating an alternative to the dollar, likely to replace it with groups of other currencies and assets in national financial reserves.

The Saker: In the same article you also write: " So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. " We often hear people say that the dollar is about to tank and that as soon as that happens, then the US economy (and, according to some, the EU economy too) will collapse. In the intelligence community there is something called tracking the "indicators and warnings". My question to you is: what are the economic "indicators and warnings" of a possible (probable?) collapse of the US dollar followed by a collapse of the financial markets most tied to the Dollar? What shall people like myself (I am an economic ignoramus) keep an eye on and look for?

Michael Hudson: What is most likely is a slow decline, largely from debt deflation and cutbacks in social spending, in the Eurozone and US economies. Of course, the decline will force the more highly debt-leveraged companies to miss their bond payments and drive them into insolvency. That is the fate of Thatcherized economies. But it will be long and painfully drawn out, largely because there is little left-wing socialist alternative to neoliberalism at present.

Trump's protectionist policies and sanctions are forcing other countries to become self-reliant and independent of US suppliers, from farm crops to airplanes and military arms, against the US threat of a cutoff or sanctions against repairs, spare parts and servicing. Sanctioning Russian agriculture has helped it become a major crop exporter, and to become much more independent in vegetables, dairy and cheese products. The US has little to offer industrially, especially given the fact that its IT communications are stuffed with US spyware.

Europe therefore is facing increasing pressure from its business sector to choose the non-US economic alliance that is growing more rapidly and offers a more profitable investment market and more secure trade supplier. Countries will turn as much as possible (diplomatically as well as financially and economically) to non-US suppliers because the United States is not reliable, and because it is being shrunk by the neoliberal policies supported by Trump and the Democrats alike. A byproduct probably will be a continued move toward gold as an alternative do the dollar in settling balance-of-payments deficits.

The Saker: Finally, my last question: which country out there do you see as the most capable foe of the current US-imposed international political and economic world order? whom do you believe that US Deep State and the Neocons fear most? China? Russia? Iran? some other country? How would you compare them and on the basis of what criteria?

Michael Hudson: The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution. He is uniting the world in a move toward multi-centrism much more than any ostensibly anti-American could have done. And he is doing it all in the name of American patriotism and nationalism – the ultimate Orwellian rhetorical wrapping!

Trump has driven Russia and China together with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Iran as observer. His demand that NATO join in US oil grabs and its supportive terrorism in the Near East and military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere probably will lead to European "Ami go home" demonstrations against NATO and America's threat of World War III.

No single country can counter the U.S. unipolar world order. It takes a critical mass of countries. This already is taking place among the countries that you list above. They are simply acting in their own common interest, using their own mutual currencies for trade and investment. The effect is an alternative multilateral currency and trading area.

The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem.

The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight.

The Saker: I thank you very much for your time and answers! ­


Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:19 pm EST/EDT

What a truly superb interview!

Another one that absolutely stands for me out is the below link to a recent interview of Hussein Askary.

As I wrote a few days ago IMO this too is a wonderful insight into the utterly complicated dynamics of the tinderbox that the situation in Iran and Iraq has become.

Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI.

The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess.

This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development.

In essence, this would enable the direct and efficient linking of Iraq into the BRI project. Going forward the economic gains and the political stability that could come out of this would be a completely new paradigm in the recovery of Iraq both economically and politically. Iraq is essential for a major part of the dynamics of the BRI because of its strategic location and the fact that it could form a major hub in the overall network.

It absolutely goes without saying that the AAA would do everything the could to wreck this plan. This is their playbook and is exactly what they have done. The moronic and extraordinarily impulsive Trump subsequently was easily duped into being a willing and idiotic accomplice in this plan.

The positive in all of this is that this whole scheme will backfire spectacularly for the perpetrators and will more than likely now speed up the whole process in getting Iraq back on track and working towards stability and prosperity.

Please don't anyone try to claim that Trump is part of any grand plan nothing could be further from the truth he is nothing more than a bludgeoning imbecile foundering around, lashing out impulsively indiscriminately. He is completely oblivious and ignorant as to the real picture.

I urge everyone involved in this Saker site to put aside an hour and to listen very carefully to Askary's insights. This is extremely important and could bring more clarity to understanding the situation than just about everything else you have read put together. There is hope, and Askary highlights the huge stakes that both Russia and China have in the region.

This is a no brainer. This is the time for both Russia and China to act and to decisively. They must cooperate in assisting both Iraq and Iran to extract themselves from the current quagmire the one that the vicious Hegemon so cruelly and thoughtlessly tossed them into.

Cheers from the south seas
Col

And the link to the Askary interview: . https://youtu.be/UD1hWq6KD44

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:22 pm EST/EDT
Also interesting is what Simon Watkins reports in his recent article entitled "Is Iraq About To Become A Chinese Client State?"

To quote from the article:

"Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries."

and

"For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq."

and

"The second key announcement in this vein made last week from Iraq was that the Oil Ministry has completed the pre-qualifying process for companies interested in participating in the Iraqi-Jordanian oil pipeline project. The U$5 billion pipeline is aimed at carrying oil produced from the Rumaila oilfield in Iraq's Basra Governorate to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, with the first phase of the project comprising the installation of a 700-kilometre-long pipeline with a capacity of 2.25 million bpd within the Iraqi territories (Rumaila-Haditha). The second phase includes installing a 900-kilometre pipeline in Jordan between Haditha and Aqaba with a capacity of 1 million bpd. Iraq's Oil Minister – for the time being, at least – Thamir Ghadhban added that the Ministry has formed a team to prepare legal contracts, address financial issues and oversee technical standards for implementing the project, and that May will be the final month in which offers for the project from the qualified companies will be accepted and that the winners will be announced before the end of this year. Around 150,000 barrels of the oil from Iraq would be used for Jordan's domestic needs, whilst the remainder would be exported through Aqaba to various destinations, generating about US$3 billion a year in revenues to Jordan, with the rest going to Iraq. Given that the contractors will be expected to front-load all of the financing for the projects associated with this pipeline, Baghdad expects that such tender offers will be dominated by Chinese and Russian companies, according to the Iran and Iraq source."

Cheers
Col

And the link https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Is-Iraq-About-To-Become-A-Chinese-Client-State.html#

Anonymouse on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:20 pm EST/EDT
Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous.

They will not sacrifice the (free) oil until booted out by a coalition of Arab countries threatening to over run them and that is why the dollar hegemonys death will be slow, long and drawn out and they will do anything, any dirty trick in the book, to prevent Arab/Persian unity. Unlike many peoples obsession with Israel and how important they feel themselves to be I think Hudson is correct again. They are the middle eastern version of the British – a stationary aircraft carrier who will allow themselves to be used and abused whilst living under the illusion they are major players. They aren't. They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat. If you want to beat America you have to understand the big scheme, that and the utter insanity that backs it up. It is that insanity of the leites, the inability to allow themselves to be 'beaten' that will keep nuclear exchange as a real possibility over the next 10 to 15 years. Unification is the only thing that can stop it and trying to unite so many disparate countries (as the Russians are trying to do despite multiple provocations) is where the future lies and why it will take so long. It is truly breath taking in such a horrific way, as Hudson mentions, that to allow the world to see its 'masters of the universe' pogram to be revealed:

"Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it."

Would be to allow it to be undermined at home and abroad. God help us all.

Little Black Duck on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:01 pm EST/EDT
They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat.

So who owns the dollar? And who owns the oil companies?

Osori on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:06 pm EST/EDT
I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt.
Zachary Smith on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:53 pm EST/EDT
Clever would be a better word. Looking at my world globe, I see Italy, Greece, and Turkey on that end of the Mediterranean. Turkey has been in NATO since 1952. Crete and Cyprus are also right there. Doesn't Hudson own a globe or regional map?

That a US Admiral would be gushing about the Apartheid state 7 years after the attempted destruction of the USS Liberty is painful to consider. I'd like to disbelieve the story, but it's quite likely there were a number of high-ranking ***holes in a Naval Uniform.

44360 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:34 pm EST/EDT
The world situation reminds us of the timeless fable by Aesop of The North Wind and the Sun.

Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs".

Perhaps the most potent weapon Iran or anyone else has at this critical juncture, is not missiles, but diplomacy.

Ahmed on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:37 pm EST/EDT
"Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about."

Thank you for saying this sir. In the US and around the world many people become obsessively fixated in seeing a "jew" or zionist behind every bush. Now the Zionists are certinly an evil, blood thirsty bunch, and certainly deserve the scorn of the world, but i feel its a cop out sometimes. A person from the US has a hard time stomaching the actions of their country, so they just hoist all the unpleasentries on to the zionists. They put it all on zionisim, and completly fail to mention imperialism. I always switced back and forth on the topic my self. But i cant see how a beachead like the zionist state, a stationary carrier, can be bigger than the empire itself. Just look at the major leaders in the resistance groups, the US was always seen as the ultimate obstruction, while israel was seen as a regional obstruction. Like sayyed hassan nasrallah said in his recent speech about the martyrs, that if the US is kicked out, the Israelis might just run away with out even fighting. I hate it when people say "we are in the middle east for israel" when it can easily be said that "israel is still in the mid east because of the US." If the US seized to exist today, israel would fall rather quickly. If israel fell today the US would still continue being an imperalist, bloodthirsty entity.

Azorka1861 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:57 pm EST/EDT
The Deeper Story behind the Assassination of Soleimani

This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/01/08/vital-the-deeper-story-behind-the-assassination-of-soleimani/

..

Nils on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:05 pm EST/EDT
This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article

I wish the Saker had asked Mr Hudson about some crucial recent events to get his opinion with regards to US foreign policy. Specifically, how does the emergence of cryptocurrency relate to dollar finance and the US grand strategy? A helpful tool for the hegemon or the emergence of a new currency that prevents unlimited currency printing? Finally, what is global warming and the associated carbon credit system? The next planned model of continuing global domination and balance of payments? Or true organic attempt at fair energy production and management?

Much thanks for this interview, Saker

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:26 pm EST/EDT
With all due respect, these are huge questions in themselves and perhaps could to be addressed in separate interviews. IMO it doesn't always work that well to try to cover too much ground in just one giant leap.

Regards
Col

Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:26 pm EST/EDT
I have never understood the Cebrowski doctrine. How does the destruction of Middle Eastern state structures allow the US to control Middle East Oil? The level of chaos generated by such an act would seem to prevent anyone from controlled the oil.
Outlaw Historian on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:48 pm EST/EDT
Dr. Hudson often appears on RT's "Keiser Report" where he covers many contemporary topics with its host Max Keiser. Many of the shows transcripts are available at Hudson's website . Indeed, after the two Saker items, you'll find three programs on the first page. Using the search function at his site, you'll find the two articles he's written that deal with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, although I think he's been more specific in the TV interviews.

As for this Q&A, its an A+. Hudson's 100% correct to playdown the Zionist influence given the longstanding nature of the Outlaw US Empire's methods that began well before the rise of the Zionist Lobby, which in reality is a recycling of aid dollars back to Congress in the form of bribes.

RR on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:59 pm EST/EDT
Nils: Good Article. The spirit of Nihilism.
Quote from Neocon Michael Ladeen.

"Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence -- our existence, not our politics -- threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission."

Frank on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:27 pm EST/EDT
@NILS As far as crypto currency goes it is a brilliant idea in concept. But since during the Bush years we have been shown multiple times, who actually owns [and therefore controls] the internet. Many times now we have also been informed that through the monitoring capability's of our defense agency's, they are recording every key stroke. IMO, with the flip of a switch, we can shut down the internet. At the very least, that would stop us from being able to trade in crypto, but they have e-files on each of us. They know our passwords, or can easily access them. That does not give me confidence in e=currency during a teotwawki situation.
Anonymous on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:34 pm EST/EDT
A truly superb interview, thanks Michael Hudson.
David on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:39 pm EST/EDT
One thing that troubles me about the petrodollar thesis is that ANNUAL trade in oil is about 2 trillion DAILY trade in $US is 4 trillion. I can well believe the US thinks oil is the bedrock if dollar hegemony but is it? I see no alternative to US dollar hegemony.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:17 pm EST/EDT
Excellent article.

The lines that really got my attention were these:

"The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire."

That is so completely true. I have wondered why – to date – there had not been more movement by Europe away from the United States. But while reading the article the following occurred to me. Maybe Europe is awaiting the next U.S. election. Maybe they hope that a new president (someone like Biden) might allow Europe to keep more of the "spoils."

If that is true, then a re-election of Trump will probably send Europe fleeing for the exits. The Europeans will be cutting deals with Russia and China like the store is on fire.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:22 pm EST/EDT
The critical player in forming the EU WAS/IS the US financial Elites. Yes, they had many ultra powerful Europeans, especially Germany, but it was the US who initiated the EU.

Purpose? For the US Financial Powerhouses & US politicians to "take Europe captive." Notice the similarities: the EU has its Central Bank who communicates with the private Banksters of the FED. Much austerity has ensued, especially in Southern nations: Greece, Italy, etc. Purpose: to smash unions, worker's pay, eliminate unions, and basically allowing US/EU Financial capital to buy out Italy, most of Greece, and a goodly section of Spain and Portugal.

The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power.

Craig Mouldey on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:19 pm EST/EDT
I have a hard time wrapping my head around this but it sounds like he is saying that the U.S. has a payment deficit problem which is solved by stealing the world's oil supplies. To do this they must have a powerful, expensive military. But it is primarily this military which is the main cause of the balance deficit. So it is an eternally fuelled problem and solution. If I understand this, what it actually means is that we all live on a plantation as slaves and everything that is happening is for the benefit of the few wealthy billionaires. And they intend to turn the entire world into their plantation of slaves. They may even let you live for a while longer.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:25 pm EST/EDT
Actually, oil underlies everything.

I didn't know this until I read a history of World War I.

As you know, World War One was irresolvable, murderous, bloody trench warfare. People would charge out of the trenches trying to overrun enemy positions only to be cutdown by the super weapon of the day – the machine gun. It was an unending bloody stalemate until the development of the tank. Tanks were immune to machine gun fire coming from the trenches and could overrun enemy positions. In the aftermath of that war, it became apparently that mechanization had become crucial to military supremacy. In turn, fuel was crucial to mechanization. Accordingly, in the Sykes Picot agreement France and Britain divided a large amount of Middle Eastern oil between themselves in order to assure military dominance. (The United States had plenty of their own oil at that time.)

In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world.

That is one third of the story. The second third is this.

Up till 1971, the United States dollar was the most trusted currency in the world. The dollar was backed by gold and lots and lots of it. Dollars were in fact redeemable in gold. However, due to Vietnam War, the United States started running huge balance of payments deficits. Other countries – most notably France under De Gaulle – started cashing in dollars in exchange for that gold. Gold started flooding out of the United States. At that point Nixon took the United States off of the gold standard. Basically stating that the dollar was no longer backed by gold and dollars could not be redeemed for gold. That caused an international payments problem. People would no longer accept dollars as payment since the dollar was not backed up by anything. The American economy was in big trouble since they were running deficits and people would no longer take dollars on faith.

To fix the problem, Henry Kissinger convinced the Saudis to agree to only accept dollars in payment for oil – no matter who was the buyer. That meant that nations throughout the world now needed dollars in order to pay for their energy needs. Due to this, the dollars was once again the most important currency in the world since – as noted above – energy underlies everything in modern industrial cultures. Additionally, since dollars were now needed throughout the world, it became common to make all trades for any product in highly valued dollars. Everyone needed dollars for every thing, oil or not.

At that point, the United States could go on printing dollars and spending them since a growing world economy needed more and more dollars to buy oil as well as to trade everything else.

That leads to the third part of the story. In order to convince the Saudis to accept only dollars in payments for oil (and to have the Saudis strong arm other oil producers to do the same) Kissinger promised to protect the brutal Saudi regime's hold on power against a restive citizenry and also to protect the Saudi's against other nations. Additionally, Kissinger made an implicit threat that if the Saudi's did not agree, the US would come in and just take their oil. The Saudis agreed.

Thus, the three keys to dominance in the modern world are thus: oil, dollars and the military.

Thus, Hudson ties in the three threads in his interview above. Oil, Dollars, Military. That is what holds the empire together.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:26 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for thinking through this. Yes, the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities.
Stanislaw Janowicz on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:58 pm EST/EDT
I should make one note only to this. That "no man, no problem" was Stalin's motto is a myth. He never said that. It was invented by a writer Alexei Rybnikov and inserted in his book "The Children of Arbat".
Greg Horrall on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:42 pm EST/EDT
Wow! Absolutely beautiful summation of the ultimate causes that got us where we are and, if left intact, will get us to where we're going!

So, the dreamer says: If only we could throw-off our us-vs-them BS political-economic ideology & religious doctrine-faith issues, put them into live-and-let-live mode, and see that we are all just humans fighting over this oil resource to which our modern economy (way of life) is addicted, then we might be able to hammer out some new rules for interacting, for running an earth-resource sustainable and fair global economy We do at least have the technology to leave behind our oil addiction, but the political-economic will still is lacking. How much more of the current insanity must we have before we get that will? Will we get it before it's too late?

Only if we, a sufficient majority from the lowest economic classes to the top elites and throughout all nations, are able to psychologically-spiritually internalize the two principles of Common Humanity and Spaceship Earth soon enough, will we stop our current slide off the cliff into modern economic collapse and avert all the pain and suffering that's already now with us and that will intensify.

The realist says we're not going to stop that slide and it's the only way we're going to learn, if we are indeed ever going to learn.

Ann Watson on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:42 pm EST/EDT
So now we know why Michael Hudson avoids the Israel involvment – Like Pepe.
Лишний Человек on January 09, 2020 , · at 11:02 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for this excellent interview. You ask the kind of questions that we would all like to ask. It's regrettable that Chalmers Johnson isn't still alive. I believe that you and he would have a lot in common.

Naxos has produced an incredible, unabridged cd audiobook of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. One of Gibbon's observations really resonates today: "Assassination is the last resource of cowards". Thanks again.

[Jan 09, 2020] Opposing War With Iran: Three Reasons by Anthony DiMaggio

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely. ..."
"... The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. ..."
"... is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The U.S. stands at the precipice of war. President Trump's rhetorical efforts to sell himself as the "anti-war" president have been exposed as a fraud via his assault on Iran. Most Orwellian of all is Trump's claim that the assassination of Iranian General Qassam Soleimani was necessary to avert war, following the New Year's Eve attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In reality the U.S. hit on Soleimani represents a criminal escalation of the conflict between these two countries. The general's assassination was rightly seen as an act of war , so the claim that the strike is a step toward peace is absurd on its face. We should be perfectly clear about the fundamental threat to peace posed by the Trump administration. Iran has already promised "harsh retaliation" following the assassination, and announced it is pulling out of the 2015 multi-national agreement prohibiting the nation from developing nuclear weapons. Trump's escalation has dramatically increased the threat of all-out war. Recognizing this threat, I sketch out an argument here based on my initial thoughts of this conflict, providing three reasons for why Americans need to oppose war.

#1: No Agreement about an Iranian Threat

Soleimani was the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – the Quds Force – a clandestine military intelligence organization that specializes in paramilitary-style operations throughout the Middle East, and which is described as seeking to further Iranian political influence throughout the region. Trump celebrated the assassination as necessary to bringing Soleimani's "reign of terror" to an end. The strike, he claimed, was vital after the U.S. caught Iran "in the act" of planning "imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel."

But Trump's justification for war comes from a country with a long history of distorting and fabricating evidence of an Iranian threat. American leaders have disingenuously and propagandistically portrayed Iran as on the brink of developing nuclear weapons for decades. Presidents Bush and Obama were both rebuked, however, by domestic intelligence and international weapons inspectors , which failed to uncover evidence that Iran was developing these weapons, or that it was a threat to the U.S.

Outside of previous exaggerations, evidence is emerging that the Trump administration and the intelligence community are not of one mind regarding Iran's alleged threat. Shortly after Soleimani's assassination, the Department of Homeland Security declared there was "no specific, credible threat" from Iran within U.S. borders. And U.S. military officials disagree regarding Trump's military escalation. As the New York Times reports :

"In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him -- which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq -- on the menu they presented to President Trump. They didn't think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable."

"Top pentagon officials," the Times reports , "were stunned" by the President's order. Furthermore, the paper reported that "the intelligence" supposedly confirming Iranian plans to attack U.S. diplomats was "thin," in the words of at least one U.S. military official who was privy to the administration's deliberations. According to that source , there is no evidence of an "imminent" attack in the foreseeable future against American targets outside U.S. borders.

U.S. leaders have always obscured facts, distorted intelligence, and fabricated information to stoke public fears and build support for war. So it should come as no surprise that this president is politicizing intelligence. He certainly has reason to – in order to draw attention away from his Senate impeachment trial, and considering Trump's increasingly desperate efforts to demonstrate that he is a serious President, not a tin-pot authoritarian who ignores the rule of law, while shamelessly coercing and extorting foreign leaders in pursuit of domestic electoral advantage.

Independent of the corruption charges against Trump, it is unwise for Americans to take the President at his word, considering the blatant lies employed in the post-9/11 era to justify war in the Middle East. Not so long ago the American public was sold a bill of goods regarding Iraq's alleged WMDs and ties to terrorism. Neither of those claims was remotely true, and Americans were left footing the bill for a war that cost trillions , based on the lies of an opportunistic president who was dead-set on exploiting public fears of terrorism in a time of crisis. The Bush administration sold war based on intelligence they knew was fraudulent, manipulating the nation into on a decade-long war that led to the murder of more than 1 million Iraqis and more than 5,000 American servicemen, resulting in a failed Iraqi state, and paving the way for the rise of ISIS. All of this is to say that the risks of beginning another war in the Middle East are incredibly high, and Americans would do well to seriously consider the consequences of entering a war based (yet again) on questionable intelligence.

#2: The "War on Terrorism" as a Red Herring

U.S. leaders have long used the rhetoric of terrorism to justify war. But this strategy represents a serious distortion of reality, via the conflation of terrorism – understood as premeditated acts of violence to intimidate civilians – with acts of war. Trump fed into this misrepresentation when he described Soleimani's "reign of terror" as encompassing not only the alleged targeting of U.S. diplomats, but attacks on "U.S. military personnel." The effort to link the deaths of U.S. soldiers in wartime to terrorism echoes the State Department's 2019 statement , which designated Iran's Quds Force a "terrorist" organization, citing its responsibility "for the deaths of at least 603 American service members in Iraq" from "2003 to 2011" via its support for Iraqi militias that were engaging in attacks on U.S. forces.

As propaganda goes, the attempt to link these acts of war to "terrorism" is quite perverse. U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq were participating in a criminal, illegal occupation, which was widely condemned by the international community. The U.S. war in Iraq was a crime of aggression under the Nuremberg Charter, and it violated the United Nations Charter's prohibition on the use of force, which is only allowed via Security Council authorization (which the U.S. did not have), or in the case of military acts undertaken in self-defense against an ongoing attack (Iraq was not at war with the U.S. prior to the 2003 invasion). Contrary to Trump's and the State Department's propaganda, there are no grounds to classify the deaths of military personnel in an illegal war as terrorism. Instead, one could argue that domestic Iraqi political actors (of which Iraqi militias are included, regardless of their ties to Iran) were within their legal rights under international law to engage in acts of self-defense against American troops acting on behalf of a belligerent foreign power, which was conducting an illegal occupation.

#3: More War = Further Destabilization of the Middle East

The largest takeaway from recent events should be to recognize the tremendous danger that escalation of war poses to the U.S. and the region. The legacy of U.S. militarism in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, is one of death, destruction, and instability. Every major war involving the U.S. has produced humanitarian devastation and mass destruction, while fueling instability and terrorism. With the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. support for Mujahedeen radicals led to the breakdown of social order, and the rise of the radical Taliban regime, which housed al Qaeda fundamentalists in the years prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan contributed to the further deterioration of Afghan society, and was accompanied by the return of the Taliban, ensuing in a civil war that has persisted over the last two decades.

With Iraq, the U.S. invasion produced a massive security vacuum following the collapse of the Iraqi government, which made possible the rise of al Qaeda in Iraq. The U.S. fueled numerous civil wars, in Iraq during the 2000s and Syria in the 2010s, creating mass instability, and giving rise to ISIS, which became a mini-state of its own operating across both countries. And then there was the 2011 U.S.-NATO supported rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, which not only resulted in the dictator's overthrow, but in the rise of another ISIS affiliate within Libya's border. Even Obama, the biggest cheerleader for the war, subsequently admitted the intervention was his "worst mistake," due to the civil war that emerged after Gaddafi's overthrow, which opened the door for the rise of ISIS.

All of these conflicts have one thing in common. They brought tremendous devastation to the countries under assault, via scorched-earth military campaigns, which left death, misery, and destruction in their wake. The U.S. is adept at destroying countries, but shows little interest in, or ability to reconstruct them. These wars provided fertile ground for Islamist radicals, who took advantage of the resulting chaos and instability.

The primary lesson of the "War on Terror" should be clear to rationally minded observers: U.S. wars breed not only instability, but desperation, as the people victimized by war become increasingly tolerant of domestic extremist movements. Repressive states are widely reviled by the people they subjugate. But the only thing worse than a dictatorship is no order at all, when societies collapse into civil war, anarchy, and genocide. The story of ISIS's rise is one of citizens suffering under war and instability, and becoming increasingly tolerant of extremist political actors, so long as they are able to provide order in times of crisis. This point is consistently neglected in U.S. political and media discourse – a sign of how propagandistic "debates" over war have become, nearly 20 years into the U.S. "War on Terrorism."

Where Do We Go From Here?

Trump followed up the Soleimani assassination with a Twitter announcement that the U.S. has "targeted" 52 additional "Iranian sites," which will be attacked "if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets." There's no reason in light of recent events to chalk this announcement up to typical Trump-Twitter bluster. This President is desperate to begin a war with Iran, as Trump has courted confrontation with the Islamic republic since the early days of his presidency.

War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely.

The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. War with Iran will only make the Middle East more unstable, further fueling anti-American radicalism, and increasing the terror threat to the U.S. This conclusion isn't based on speculation, but on two decades of experience with a "War on Terror" that's done little but destroy nations and increase terror threats. The American people can reduce the dangers of war by protesting Trump's latest provocation, and by pressuring Congress to pass legislation condemning any future attack on Iran as a violation of national and international law.

To contact your Representative or Senator, use the following links:

Join the debate on Facebook

More articles by: Anthony DiMaggio

Anthony DiMaggio is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com

[Jan 08, 2020] I can't quite understand how gratuitous US piracy and adventurism in places on the globe beyond the knowledge and reach of most Americans could possibly be compared to Iranian actions securing their immediate regional borders and interests.

Highly recommended!
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Patroklos , Jan 6 2020 22:30 utc | 104

@Ian Dobbs and Dan

I can't quite understand how gratuitous US piracy and adventurism in places on the globe beyond the knowledge and reach of most Americans could possibly be compared to Iranian actions securing their immediate regional borders and interests. You can at least understand (even if you critique) a US preoccupation with Cuba over the years, or drug cartels in central America, or economic refugees in Mexico because they are close by and have a more less direct effect on the stability of the US. But they have no authority beyond that other than the ability to project violence and force. That's just simple imperialism. But now the US have whacked a made guy without any real reason (i.e. looking at you the wrong way is not a reason). Any mafia hood knows that, especially a New Yorker like Trump. So the climax of The Godfather comes to mind. It is staggeringly naive and frankly moronic to think that this is about good and evil. I bet Soleimani was no angel, but he wasn't whacked because he was a bad guy, but because he was extraordinarily effective military organizer. Star Wars has a lot to answer for in stunting the historical sensibilities of entire generations, but its underlying narrative is the only MSM playbook now. Even more staggering is the stupendous arrogance of the US belief in its 'rights' (based on thuggery and avarice), as though it were the only power in the world capable of establishing a moral order. The lesson in humility to come will be both long-awaited and go unheeded. Even the mob understand there has to be rules.

Alpi , Jan 6 2020 22:32 utc | 105

After reading Crooke and Federicci's articles, there is only one way to stop this madness blowing into a global conflict. Russia and China need to get involved whether they like it or not. Diplomacy and sideline analysis has run its course. This is their time to stamp their influence in the region and finish off the empire once and for all. Maybe that way, The Europeans will grow some minerals and become sovereign again.

Otherwise, China can kiss its Belt and Road goodbye and go into a recession with the loss of their investments up to this point and become slaves to the Americans again.

And Russia, the enemy du jour of Europe and US will be next and be crushed under economic sanctions and isolation.

This is the moment that stars are aligned . Russia and China should park their battle carriers off the Gulf and gives direct warning to Israel and US that any nuclear threat , tactical or otherwise, against anyone in the region is a non-starter.

I read so much about these two countries and that they will get involved. I have recited those lines myself. But after these events and how things are escalating, I cannot see how they cannot be involved. US is its most vulnerable and weakest with respect to economic, diplomatic and military conditions.

The time of condemnations, letters of objection to the UN and veto votes in UNSC is over. There is only one way to deal with a rogue nation and that is by force.

[Jan 08, 2020] Iraqi Journalist: Killing Soleimani "Ended An Era In Which Iran And The United States Coexisted In Iraq" by Tim Hains

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Now, he told "Democracy Now!", it will be hard for the Iraqi public to see the bases as anything but "a force that is driving them into a war between Iran and the United States." ..."
"... "Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, the rules of the game have totally changed," he said. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TKvE-nIsj1Y?enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Fwww.realclearpolitics.com

"The Guardian" journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad says that before the attack on Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last week "there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians" that allowed officials from Iran and the U.S. to move freely within Iraq and maintained relative goodwill toward American bases.

"The killing of Qassem Soleimani ended an era in which both Iran and the United States coexisted in Iraq," he said.

Now, he told "Democracy Now!", it will be hard for the Iraqi public to see the bases as anything but "a force that is driving them into a war between Iran and the United States."

"Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, the rules of the game have totally changed," he said.

AMY GOODMAN: Ghaith, can you comment on this new information that's come to light about the timing of Soleimani's assassination Friday morning? Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has revealed he had plans to meet with Soleimani on the day he was killed to discuss a Saudi proposal to defuse tension in the region. Mahdi said, quote, "He came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran" -- Saudi Arabia, obviously, a well-known enemy of Iran. Was he set up? Talk about the significance of this.

GHAITH ABDUL-AHAD: Well, it is very significant if it's actually General Qassem Soleimani came to Iraq to deliver this message, if it was actually there was a process of negotiations in the region. We know that Abdul-Mahdi and the Iraqi government, in general, over the last year had been trying to position Iraq as this middle power, as this power where both -- you know, as a country that has a relationship with both Iran and the United States. In that awkward place Iraq found itself in, Iraq has tried to maximize on this. So they started back in summer and fall, when there was an escalation between Iran and the United States, when Iran shot down an American drone. We've seen Adel Abdul-Mahdi fly to Iran, try to mediate. We've seen Adel Abdul-Mahdi open channels of communications with the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia.

So, if it actually, the killing of General Soleimani, ended that peace initiative, it will be kind of disastrous in the region, because, as Narges was saying earlier, it is -- you know, Pompeo is speaking about Iran being this ultimate evil in the region, as this crescent of Shias, as if they just arrived in the past 10 years in the region. The fact if we see Iran's reactions, it's always a reaction to an American provocation. You've seen the occupation of Iraq in 2003. You've seen Iran declared as an "axis of evil." So, if you see it from an Iranian perspective, it's always this existential threat coming from the United States. And I don't think there is a more existential threat than in past year. So, yes, I know -- I mean, I think Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the Iraqi government were trying to find this middle ground, which I think is totally lost, because even Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the person who was trying to find this middle ground, was the person who proposed this law yesterday in the Parliament to expel all American troops from the country.

And I would like to add like another thing. The killing of Qassem Soleimani ended an era in which both Iran and the United States coexisted in Iraq. So, from 2013, '14, we, as journalists, we've seen on the frontlines how the proxies of each power have been helping each other. So we've seen Iranian advisers helping the American-trained Iraqi Army unit or counterterrorism unit in the fight against ISIS. In the same sense, we've seen American airstrikes on threats to these -- kind of to ISIS when it was threatening these militias. That coexistence, it didn't only come from both having a -- sharing an enemy, which is ISIS, or Daesh, but also these were the rules of the game. These were the rules in which Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, I think the rules of the game have totally changed.

So now I think the first victim of the assassination will be the American bases in Iraq. I don't see any way where the Americans can keep their presence as they did before the assassination of Soleimani. And even the people in the streets, even the people who opposes Iran, who opposes the presence of Iranian militias in power and politics, the corruption of these pro-Iranian parties, even those people would look at these American bases now as not as a force that came to help them in the fight against ISIS, but a force that's dragging them into a war between Iran and the United States.

[Jan 08, 2020] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Highly recommended!
Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Notable quotes:
"... Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ". ..."
"... Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey). ..."
"... These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper. ..."
"... As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump" ..."
"... I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have? ..."
"... The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking. ..."
"... Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ..."
"... Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. ..."
"... We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,

re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,

as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Jan 08, 2020] If we assume that Pompeo persuaded Trump to order to kill a diplomatic envoy, Trump is now a dead man walking as after Iran responce Pelosi impeachment gambit now have legs

Highly recommended!
This is truly shocking: Trump assassinates diplomatic envoy he himself arranged for. . If the U.S. lured Soleimani to Iraq with a promise of negotiations with the Iraqis as mediators and then proceeded to kill him, surely that would be an impeachable offense. Particularly in view of the failure to brief Congress. If it was Saudi tricked Soleimani by getting Iraq to "mediate" (Iraq's prime minister was expecting a message by him on the mediation when he was assassinated), Saudi will get targeted.
The US changed the rules of engagement. They had decided to assassinate Soleimani when he was in Syria, having just returned from a short journey to Lebanon, before boarding a commercial flight from Damascus airport to Baghdad. The US killing machine was waiting for him to land in Baghdad and monitored his movements when he was picked up at the foot of the plane. The US hit the two cars, carrying Soleimani and the al-Muhandes protection team, when they were still inside the airport perimeter and were slowing down at the first check-point.
US forces will no longer be safe in Iraq outside protected areas inside the military bases where they are deployed. A potential danger or hit-man could be lurking at every corner; this will limit the free movement of US soldiers. Iran would be delighted were the Iraqi groups to decide to hit the American forces and hunt them wherever they are. This would rekindle memories of the first clashes between Jaish al-Mahdi and US forces in Najaf in 2004-2005.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Tom , Jan 5 2020 15:55 utc | 16
Impeachment with GOP support could be just around the corner. And who lost Iraq??? He would be a dead man walking in that case. I can't see the evangelical crowd saving him. President Pence. Might have to get use to that.

Here is a link to a twitter account with a good video of massive crowds on the streets of Mashhad awaiting the arrival of Qassem Suleimani. Very powerful.

https://twitter.com/sonofnariman/status/1213792565075550208


Piotr Berman , Jan 5 2020 16:02 utc | 17

There will be no draining of any swamps. Trump-Kushner just another Bibi lackey.

Posted by: Jerry | Jan 5 2020 15:48 utc | 13

1. Draining swamps was a marker of progress in the past. >>Wiki:But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, researchers found that marshes and swamps "were worth billions annually in wildlife production, groundwater recharge, and for flood, pollution, and erosion control." This motivated the passage of the 1972 federal Water Pollution Control Act.<<

2. To recognize this vital role, parties should adopt more acquatic symbols. Caymans are a bit too similar to alligators, but, say, Alligators vs Snapping Turtles?

Sasha , Jan 5 2020 16:02 utc | 18
A video which says it all...
Gen. #Soleimani, enemy of Daesh and Trump!

Trump has threatened #Iran with destroying its cultural sites but that is not his only similarity with Daesh, they both hated General Soleimani.

https://twitter.com/PressTV/status/1213804505537679362


Bemildred , Jan 5 2020 16:02 utc | 19
Posted by: Tom | Jan 5 2020 15:55 utc | 16

Yes, it might just be that this debacle provides the extra impulse to get him removed. Can't say I can even imagine what that would look like, but there would seem to be a good argument now that he must be restrained somehow. Somebody needs to tell Pompeous to stop digging the hole deeper (shutup) too.

[Jan 06, 2020] I am tired of giving Trump a free pass, just because Hillary would have been worse. Trump needs to go.

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

TG , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 1:07 am GMT

To some extent it is not relevant if Trump was lying during his campaign, or has been corrupted/coopted/fooled/pressured/played for a chump by the establishment. He said one thing and is doing another: that's the bottom line.

However: I note that after Barack Obama got elected, he immediately fired all of his populist advisors and hired Wall Streeters even before being sworn in. Obama was clearly lying up front.

Trump, however, initially did start moving in the direction he said he would, he kept his populist/nationalist advisors, and really did make actual moves to carry out his campaign promises. And the establishment went total nut job, he was a Russian agent, his populist advisers were targeted for legal actions, they were replaced with establishment advisors who hate him Trump was strong on stage berating a political opponent, but against establishment pressure he has turned out to be weak, caving in to "the Blob" at every turn.

Though again, a secondary point.

Cloak And Dagger , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 1:47 am GMT
@Gleimhart Mantooso

Had she been elected, Hillary would already have started the neocon wet dream of a war with Iran.

While that may be true, I am tired of giving Trump a free pass, just because Hillary would have been worse. Being relatively less evil, or a different incarnation of evil, is still evil.

Frankly, impeachment was just a distraction to divert attention from the real play. The dagger at his throat is from far more malevolent foes who can wield both blackmail or death as the circumstances demand to get their way. The jewish mafia is far more dangerous than the Sicilian boys could ever hope to be. The latter learned from the former.

[Jan 06, 2020] How To Avoid Swallowing War Propaganda by Nathan J. Robinson

Highly recommended!
Jan 05, 2020 | www.currentaffairs.org
The Trump administration has assassinated Iran's top military leader, Qassim Suleimani, and with the possibility of a serious escalation in violent conflict, it's a good time to think about how propaganda works and train ourselves to avoid accidentally swallowing it.

The Iraq War, the bloodiest and costliest U.S. foreign policy calamity of the 21 st century, happened in part because the population of the United States was insufficiently cynical about its government and got caught up in a wave of nationalistic fervor. The same thing happened with World War I and the Vietnam War. Since a U.S./Iran war would be a disaster, it is vital that everyone make sure they do not accidentally end up repeating the kinds of talking points that make war more likely.

Let us bear in mind, then, some of the basic lessons about war propaganda.

Things are not true because a government official says them.

I do not mean to treat you as stupid by making such a basic point, but plenty of journalists and opposition party politicians do not understand this point's implications, so it needs to be said over and over. What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers ("U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat") and then in the public consciousness, the "U.S. officials say" part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach "Experts say" or "President says" to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn't say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them. [UPDATE: here's an example from Vox, today, of a questionable government claim being magically transformed into a certain fact.]

In the context of Iran, let us consider some things Mike Pence tweeted about Qassim Suleimani:

"[Suleimani] assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. The world is a safer place today because Soleimani is gone."

It is possible, given these tweets, to publish the headline: "Suleimani plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats, says Pence." That headline is technically true. But you should not publish that headline unless Pence provides some supporting evidence, because what will happen in the discourse is that people will link to your news story to prove that Suleimani was plotting imminent attacks.

To see how unsubstantiated claims get spread, let's think about the Afghanistan hijackers bit. David Harsanyi of the National Review defends Pence's claim about Suleimani helping the hijackers. Harsanyi cites the 9/11 Commission report, saying that the 9/11 commission report concluded Iran aided the hijackers. The report does indeed say that Iran allowed free travel to some of the men who went on to carry out the 9/11 attacks. (The sentence cut off at the bottom of Harsanyi's screenshot, however, rather crucially says : "We have no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.") Harsanyi admits that the report says absolutely nothing about Suleimani. But he argues that Pence was "mostly right," pointing out that Pence did not say Iran knew these men would be the hijackers, merely that it allowed them passage.

Let's think about what is going on here. Pence is trying to convince us that Suleimani deserved to die, that it was necessary for the U.S. to kill him, which will also mean that if Iran retaliates violently, that violence will be because Iran is an aggressive power rather than because the U.S. just committed an unprovoked atrocity against one of its leaders, dropping a bomb on a popular Iranian leader. So Pence wants to link Suleimani in your mind with 9/11, in order to get you blood boiling the same way you might have felt in 2001 as you watched the Twin Towers fall.

There is no evidence that either Iran or Suleimani tried to help these men do 9/11. Harsanyi says that Pence does not technically allege this. But he doesn't have to! What impression are people going to get from helped the hijackers? Pence hopes you'll conflate Suleimani and Iran as one entity, then assume that if Iran ever aided these men in any way, it basically did 9/11 even if it didn't have any clue that was what they were going to do.

This brings us to #2:

Do not be bullied into accepting simple-minded sloganeering

Let's say that, long before Ted Kaczynski began sending bombs through the mail, you once rented him an apartment. This was pure coincidence. Back then he was just a Berkeley professor, you did not know he would turn out to be the Unabomber. It is, however, possible, for me to say, and claim I am not technically lying, that you "housed and materially aided the Unabomber." (A friend of mine once sold his house to the guy who turned out to be the Green River Killer, so this kind of situation does happen.)

Of course, it is incredibly dishonest of me to characterize what you did that way. You rented an apartment to a stranger, yet I'm implying that you intentionally helped the Unabomber knowing he was the Unabomber. In sane times, people would see me as the duplicitous one. But the leadup to war is often not a sane time, and these distinctions can get lost. In the Pence claim about Afghanistan, for it to have any relevance to Suleimani, it would be critical to know (assuming the 9/11 commission report is accurate) whether Iran actually could have known what the men it allowed to pass would ultimately do, and whether Suleimani was involved. But that would involve thinking, and War Fever thrives on emotion rather than thought.

There are all kinds of ways in which you can bully people into accepting idiocy. Consider, for example, the statement "Nathan Robinson thinks it's good to help terrorists who murder civilians." There is a way in which this is actually sort of true: I think lawyers who aid those accused of terrible crimes do important work. If we are simple-minded and manipulative, we can call that "thinking it's good to help terrorists," and during periods of War Fever, that's exactly what it will be called. There is a kind of cheap sophistry that becomes ubiquitous:

I remember all this bullshit from my high school years. Opposing the invasion of Iraq meant loving Saddam Hussein and hating America. Thinking 9/11 was the predictable consequence of U.S. actions meant believing 9/11 was justified. Of course, rational discussion can expose these as completely unfair mischaracterizations, but every time war fever whips up, rational discussion becomes almost impossible. In World War I, if you opposed the draft you were undermining your country in a time of war. During Vietnam, if you believed the North Vietnamese had the more just case, you were a Communist traitor who endorsed every atrocity committed in the name of Ho Chi Minh, and if you thought John McCain shouldn't have been bombing civilians in the first place then clearly you believed he should have been tortured and you hated America.

"If you oppose assassinating Suleimani you must love terrorists" will be repeated on Fox News (and probably even on MSNBC). Nationalism advocate Yoram Hazony says there is something wrong with those who do not "feel shame when our country is shamed" -- presumably those who do not feel wounded pride when America is emasculated by our enemies are weak and pitiful. We should refuse to put up with these kind of cheap slurs, or even to let those who deploy them place the burden of proof on us to refute them. (In 2004, Democrats worried that they did appear unpatriotic, and so they ran a decorated war veteran, John Kerry, for president. That didn't work.)

Scrutinize the arguments

Here's Mike Pence again:

"[Suleimani] provided advanced deadly explosively formed projectiles, advanced weaponry, training, and guidance to Iraqi insurgents used to conduct attacks on U.S. and coalition forces; directly responsible for the death of 603 U.S. service members, along with thousands of wounded."

I am going to say something that is going to sound controversial if you buy into the kind of simple-minded logic we just discussed: Saying that someone was "responsible for the deaths of U.S. service members" does not, in and of itself, tell us anything about whether what they did was right or wrong. In order to believe it did, we would have to believe that the United States is automatically right, and that countries opposing the United States are automatically wrong. That is indeed the logic that many nationalists in this country follow; remember that when the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, causing hundreds of deaths, George H.W. Bush said that he would never apologize for America, no matter what the facts were. What if America did something wrong? That was irrelevant, or rather impossible, because to Bush, a thing was right because America did it, even if that thing was the mass murder of Iranian civilians.

One of the major justifications for murdering Suleimani is that he "caused the deaths of U.S. soldiers." He was thus an aggressor, and could/should have been killed. That is where people like Pence want you to end your inquiry. But let us remember where those soldiers were. Were they in Miami? No. They were in Iraq. Why were they in Iraq? Because we illegally invaded and seized a country. Now, we can debate whether (1) there is actually sufficient evidence of Suleimani's direct involvement and (2) whether these acts of violence can be justified, but to say that Suleimani has "American blood on his hands" is to say nothing at all without an examination of whether the United States was in the right.

We have to think clearly in examining the arguments that are being made. Here 's the Atlantic 's George Packer on the execution:

"There was a case for killing Major General Qassem Soleimani. For two decades, as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, he executed Iran's long game of strategic depth in the Middle East -- arming and guiding proxy militias in Lebanon and Iraq that became stronger than either state, giving Bashar al-Assad essential support to win the Syrian civil war at the cost of half a million lives, waging a proxy war in Yemen against the hated Saudis, and repeatedly testing America and its allies with military actions around the region for which Iran never seemed to pay a military price."

The article goes on to discuss whether this case is outweighed by the pragmatic case against killing him. But wait. Let's dwell on this. Does this constitute a case for killing him? He assisted Bashar al-Assad. Okay, but presumably then killing Assad would have been justified too? Is the rule here that our government is allowed unilaterally to execute the officials of other governments who are responsible for many deaths? Are we the only ones who can do this? Can any government claim the right?

He assisted Yemen in its fight against "the hated Saudis." But is Saudi Arabia being hated for good reason? It is not enough to say that someone committed violence without analyzing the underlying justice of the parties' relative claims.

Moreover, assumptions are made that if you can prove somebody committed a heinous act, what Trump did is justified. But that doesn't follow: Unless we throw all law out the window, and extrajudicial punishment is suddenly acceptable, showing that Suleimani was a war criminal doesn't prove that you can unilaterally kill him with a drone. Henry Kissinger is a war criminal. So is George W. Bush. But they should be captured and tried in a court, not bombed from the sky. The argument that Suleimani was planning imminent attacks is relevant to whether you can stop him with violence (and requires persuasive proof), but mere allegations of murderous past acts do not show that extrajudicial killings are legitimate.

It's very easy to come up with superficially persuasive arguments that can justify just about anything. The job of an intelligent populace is to see whether those arguments can actually withstand scrutiny.

Keep the focus on what matters

"The main question about the strike isn't moral or even legal -- it's strategic." -- The Atlantic

"The real question to ask about the American drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was not whether it was justified, but whether it was wise" -- The New York Times

"I think that the question that we ought to focus on is why now? Why not a month ago and why not a month from now?" -- Elizabeth Warren

They're going to try to define the debate for you. Leaving aside the moral questions, is this good strategy? And then you find yourself arguing on those terms: No, it was bad strategy, it will put "our personnel" in harms way, without noticing that you are implicitly accepting the sociopathic logic that says "America's interests" are the only ones in the world that matters. This is how debates about Vietnam went: They were rarely about whether our actions were good for Vietnamese people, but about whether they were good or bad for us , whether we were squandering U.S. resources and troops in a "fruitless" "mistake." The people of this country still do not understand the kind of carnage we inflicted on Vietnam because our debates tend to be about whether things we do are "strategically prudent" rather than whether they are just. The Atlantic calls the strike a "blunder," shifting the discussion to be about the wisdom of the killing rather than whether it is a choice our country is even permitted to make. "Blunder" essentially assumes that we are allowed to do these things and the only question is whether it's good for us.

There will be plenty of attempts to distract you with irrelevant issues. We will spent more time talking about whether Trump followed the right process for war, whether he handled the rollout correctly, and less about whether the underlying action itself is correct. People like Ben Shapiro will say things like :

"Barack Obama routinely droned terrorists abroad -- including American citizens -- who presented far less of a threat to Americans and American interests than Soleimani. So spare me the hysterics about 'assassination."

In order for this to have any bearing on anything, you have to be someone who defends what Obama did. If you are, on the other hand, someone who belives that Obama, too, assassinated people without due process (which he did), then Shapiro has proved exactly nothing about whether Trump's actions were legitimate. (Note, too, the presumption that threatening "America's interests" can get you killed, a standard we would not want any other country using but are happy to use ourselves.)

Emphasis matters

Consider three statements:

These are statements made by Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, respectively. Note that each of them is consistent with believing Trump's decision was the wrong one, but their emphasis is different. Buttigieg says Suleimani was a "threat" but that there are "questions," Warren says Suleimani was a "murderer" but that this was "reckless," and Sanders says this was a "dangerous escalation." It could be that none of these three would have done the same thing themselves, but the emphasis is vastly different. Buttigieg and Warren lead with condemnation of the dead man, in ways that imply that there was nothing that unjust about what happened. Sanders does not dwell on Suleimani but instead talks about the dangers of new wars.

We have to be clear and emphatic in our messaging, because so much effort is made to make what should be clear issues appear murky. If, for example, you gave a speech in 2002 opposing the Iraq War, but the first half was simply a discussion of what a bad and threatening person Saddam Hussein was, people might actually get the opposite of the impression you want them to get. Buttigieg and Warren, while they appear to question the president, have the effect of making his action seem reasonable. After all, they admit that he got rid of a threatening murderer! Sanders admits nothing of the kind: The only thing he says is that Trump has made the world worse. He puts the emphasis where it matters.

I do not fully like Sanders' statement, because it still talks a bit more about what war means for our people , but it does mention destabilization and the total number of lives that can be lost. It is a far more morally clear and powerful antiwar statement. Buttigieg's is exactly what you'd expect of a Consultant President and it should give us absolutely no confidence that he would be a powerful voice against a war, should one happen. Warren confirms that she is not an effective advocate for peace. In a time when there will be pressure for a violent conflict, we need to make sure that our statements are not watery and do not make needless concessions to the hawks' propaganda.

Imagine how everything would sound if the other side said it.

If you're going to understand the world clearly, you have to kill your nationalistic emotions. An excellent way to do this is to try to imagine if all the facts were reversed. If Iraq had invaded the United States, and U.S. militias violently resisted, would it constitute "aggression" for those militias to kill Iraqi soldiers? If Britain funded those U.S. militias, and Iraq killed the head of the British military with a drone strike, would this constitute "stopping a terrorist"? Of course, in that situation, the Iraqi government would certainly spin it that way, because governments call everyone who opposes them terrorists. But rationality requires us not just to examine whether violence has been committed (e.g., whether Suleimani ordered attacks) but what the full historical context of that violence is, and who truly deserves the "terrorist" label.

Is there anything Suleimani did that hasn't also been done by the CIA? Remember that we actually engineered the overthrow of the Iranian government, within living people's lifetimes . Would an Iranian have been justified in assassinating the head of the CIA? I doubt there are many Americans who think they would. I think most Americans would consider this terrorism. But this is because terrorism is a word that, by definition, cannot apply to things we do, and only applies to the things others do. When you start to actually reverse the situations in your mind, and see how things look from the other side, you start to fully grasp just how crude and irrational so much propaganda is.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hPOy-LutJQg?feature=oembed

Watch out for euphemisms

Our access to much of the world is through language alone. We only see our tiny sliver of the world with our own eyes, much of the rest of it has to be described in words or shown to us through images. That means it's very easy to manipulate our perceptions. If you control the flow of information, you can completely alter someone's understanding of the things that they can't see firsthand.

Euphemistic language is always used to cover atrocities. Even the Nazis did not say they were "mass murdering innocent civilians." They said they were defending themselves from subversive elements, guaranteeing sufficient living space for their people, purifying their culture, etc. When the United States commits murder, it does not say it is committing murder. It says it is engaging in a stabilization program and restoring democratic rule. We saw during the recent Bolivian coup how easy it is to portray the seizure of power as "democracy" and democracy as tyranny. Euphemistic language has been one of the key tools of murderous regimes. In fact, many of them probably believe their own language; their specialized vocabulary allows them to inhabit a world of their own invention where they are good people punishing evil.

Assassination sounds bad. It sounds like something illegitimate, something that would call into question the goodness of the United States, even if the person being assassinated can be argued to have "deserved it." Thus Rothman and Bloomberg will not even admit that what the U.S. did here was an assassination, even though we literally targeted a high official from a sovereign country and dropped a bomb on him. Instead, this is " neutralization ." (Read this fascinatingly feeble attempt by the Associated Press to explain why it isn't calling an obvious assassination an assassination, just as the media declined to call torture torture when Bush did it.)

Those of us who want to resist marches to war need to insist on calling things exactly what they are and refuse to allow the country to slide into the use of language that conceals the reality of our actions.

Remember what people were saying five minutes ago

Five minutes ago, hardly anybody was talking about Suleimani. Now they all speak as if he was Public Enemy #1. Remember how much you hated that guy? Remember how much damage he did? No, I do not remember, because people like Ben Shapiro only just discovered their hatred for Suleimani once they had to justify his murder.

During the buildup to a war there is a constant effort to make you forget what things were like a few minutes ago. Before World War I, Americans lived relatively harmoniously with Germans in their midst. The same thing with Japanese people before World War II. Then, immediately, they began to hate and fear people who had recently been their neighbors.

Let us say Iran responds to this extrajudicial murder with a colossal act of violent reprisal, after the killing unifies the country around a demand for vengeance. They kill a high-ranking American official, or wage an attack that kills our civilians. Perhaps it will attack some of the soldiers that are now being moved into the Middle East. The Trump administration will then want you to forget that it promised this assassination was to " stop a war ." It will then want you to focus solely on Iran's most recent act, to see that as the initial aggression. If the attack is particularly bad, with family members of victims crying on TV and begging for vengeance, you will be told to look into the face of Iranian evil, and those of us who are anti-war will be branded as not caring about the victims. Nobody wants you to remember the history of U.S./Iran relations, the civilians we killed of theirs or the time we destabilized their whole country and got rid of its democracy. They want you to have a two-second memory, to become a blind and unthinking patriot whose sole thought is the avenging of American blood. Resisting propaganda requires having a memory, looking back on how things were before and not accepting war as the "new normal."

Listen to the Chomsky on your shoulder.

"It is perfectly insane to suggest the U.S. was the aggressor here." -- Ben Shapiro

They are going to try to convince you that you are insane for asking questions, or for not accepting what the government tells you. They will put you in topsy-turvy land, where thinking that assassinating foreign officials is "aggression" is not just wrong, but sheer madness. You will have to try your best to remember what things are, because it is not easy, when everyone says the emperor has clothes, or that Line A is longer than Line B, or that shocking people to death is fine, to have confidence in your independent judgment.

This is why I keep a little imaginary Noam Chomsky sitting on my shoulder at all times. Chomsky helps keep me sane, by cutting through lies and euphemisms and showing things as they really are. I recommend reading his books, especially during times of war. He never swallowed Johnson's nonsense about Vietnam or Bush's nonsense about Iraq. And of course they called him insane, anti-American, terrorist-loving, anti-Semitic, blah blah blah.

What I really mean here though is: Listen to the dissidents. They will not appear on television. They will be smeared and treated as lunatics. But you need them if you are going to be able to resist the absolute barrage of misinformation, or to hear yourself think over the pounding war drums. Times of War Fever can be wearying, because there is just so much aggression against dissent that your resistance wears down. This is why a community is so necessary. You may watch people who previously seemed reasonable develop a pathological bloodlust (mild-mannered moderate types like Thomas Friedman and Brian Williams going suck on our missiles ). Find the people who see clearly and stick close to them.

Someday peace will prevail. If you enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to our magnificent print edition or making a donation . Current Affairs is 100% reader-supported. Nathan J. Robinson

[Jan 06, 2020] Neocon Pompeo pushed Trump to kill Soleimani; Looks like West Point educated military contactor mafia to which Pompeo and Esper belongs controls the President, although Trump malleability and recklessness are inexcusable

Highly recommended!
So Trump instead of draining the swamp brought swamp creatures like Pompeo into his Administration; now he can pay the price.
Notable quotes:
"... The greenlighting of the airstrike near Baghdad airport represents a bureaucratic victory for Pompeo ..."
"... "We took a bad guy off the battlefield. We made the right decision," Pompeo told CNN. "I'm proud of the effort that President Trump undertook." ..."
"... On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said. ..."
"... One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida. ..."
"... Some defense officials said Pompeo's claims of an imminent and direct threat were overstated, and they would prefer that he make the case based on the killing of the American contractor and previous Iranian provocations. ..."
"... On Sunday, Iran announced that it was suspending all limits of the nuclear deal, including on uranium enrichment, research and development, and enlarging its stockpile of nuclear fuel. Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China, were original signatories of that deal with the United States and Iran, and all opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the pact. ..."
"... "No one trusts what Trump will do next, so it's hard to get behind this," said the European diplomat. ..."
"... Since his time as CIA director, Pompeo has forged a friendship with Yossi Cohen, the director of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, said a person familiar with their meetings. The men have spoken about the threat posed by Iran to both Israel and the United States. In a prescient interview in October, Cohen said Soleimani "knows perfectly well that his elimination is not impossible." ..."
"... At every step of his government career, Pompeo has tried to stake out a maximalist position on Iran that has made him popular among two critical pro-Israel constituencies in Republican politics: conservative Jewish donors and Christian evangelicals. ..."
"... After Trump tapped Pompeo to lead the CIA, Pompeo quickly set up an Iran Mission Center at the agency to focus intelligence-gathering efforts and operations, elevating Iran's importance as an intelligence target. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

The secretary also spoke to President Trump multiple times every day last week, culminating in Trump's decision to approve the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, at the urging of Pompeo and Vice President Pence, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Pompeo had lost a similar high-stakes deliberation last summer when Trump declined to retaliate militarily against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone, an outcome that left Pompeo "morose," according to one U.S. official. But recent changes to Trump's national security team and the whims of a president anxious about being viewed as hesitant in the face of Iranian aggression created an opening for Pompeo to press for the kind of action he had been advocating.

The greenlighting of the airstrike near Baghdad airport represents a bureaucratic victory for Pompeo, but it also carries multiple serious risks: another protracted regional war in the Middle East; retaliatory assassinations of U.S. personnel stationed around the world; an interruption in the battle against the Islamic State; the closure of diplomatic pathways to containing Iran's nuclear program; and a major backlash in Iraq, whose parliament voted on Sunday to expel all U.S. troops from the country.

For Pompeo, whose political ambitions are a source of constant speculation , the death of U.S. diplomats would be particularly damaging given his unyielding criticisms of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton following the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and other American personnel in Benghazi in 2012.

But none of those considerations stopped Pompeo from pushing for the targeted strike, U.S. officials said, underscoring a fixation on Iran that spans 10 years of government service from Congress to the CIA to the State Department.

"We took a bad guy off the battlefield. We made the right decision," Pompeo told CNN. "I'm proud of the effort that President Trump undertook."

Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Soleimani months ago, said a senior U.S. official, but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation.

For more than a year, defense officials warned that the administration's campaign of economic sanctions against Iran had increased tensions with Tehran, requiring a bigger and bigger share of military resources in the Middle East when many at the Pentagon wanted to redeploy their firepower to East Asia.

How the siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad unfolded On Jan. 1, the siege on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad appeared to come to an end after supporters of the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia retreated. (Liz Sly, Joyce Lee, Mustafa Salim/The Washington Post)

Trump, too, sought to draw down from the Middle East as he promised from the opening days of his presidential campaign. But that mind-set shifted on Dec. 27 when 30 rockets hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi base outside Kirkuk, killing an American civilian contractor and injuring service members.

On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said.

Trump's decision to target Soleimani came as a surprise and a shock to some officials briefed on his decision, given the Pentagon's long-standing concerns about escalation and the president's aversion to using military force against Iran.

One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.

"Taking out Soleimani would not have happened under [former secretary of defense Jim] Mattis," said a senior administration official who argued that the Mattis Pentagon was risk-averse. "Mattis was opposed to all of this. It's not a hit on Mattis, it's just his predisposition. Milley and Esper are different. Now you've got a cohesive national security team and you've got a secretary of state and defense secretary who've known each other their whole adult lives."

Mattis declined to comment.

In the days since the strike, Pompeo has become the voice of the administration on the matter, speaking to allies and making the public case for the operation. Trump chose Pompeo to appear on all of the Sunday news shows because he "sticks to the line" and "never gives an inch," an administration official said.

But critics inside and outside the administration have questioned Pompeo's justification for the strike based on his claims that "dozens if not hundreds" of American lives were at risk.

[ Trump faces Iran crisis with fewer experienced advisers and strained relations with allies ]

Lawmakers left classified briefings with U.S. intelligence officials on Friday saying they heard nothing to suggest that the threat posed by the proxy forces guided by Soleimani had changed substantially in recent months.

When repeatedly pressed on Sunday about the imminent nature of the threats, whether it was days or weeks away, or whether they had been foiled by the U.S. airstrike, Pompeo dismissed the questions.

"If you're an American in the region, days and weeks -- this is not something that's relevant," Pompeo told CNN.

Some defense officials said Pompeo's claims of an imminent and direct threat were overstated, and they would prefer that he make the case based on the killing of the American contractor and previous Iranian provocations.

Critics have also questioned how an imminent attack would be foiled by killing Soleimani, who would not have carried out the strike himself.

"If the attack was going to take place when Soleimani was alive, it is difficult to comprehend why it wouldn't take place now that he is dead," said Robert Malley, the president of the International Crisis Group and a former Obama administration official.

Following the strike, Pompeo has held back-to-back phone calls with his counterparts around the globe but has received a chilly reception from European allies, many of whom fear that the attack puts their embassies in Iran and Iraq in jeopardy and has now eliminated the chance to keep a lid on Iran's nuclear program.

"We have woken up to a more dangerous world," said France's Europe minister, Amelie de Montchalin.

Two European diplomats familiar with the calls said Pompeo expected European leaders to champion the U.S. strike publicly even though they were never consulted on the decision.

"The U.S. has not helped the Iran situation, and now they want everyone to cheerlead this," one diplomat said.

"Our position over the past few years has been about defending the JCPOA," said the diplomat, referring to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

On Sunday, Iran announced that it was suspending all limits of the nuclear deal, including on uranium enrichment, research and development, and enlarging its stockpile of nuclear fuel. Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China, were original signatories of that deal with the United States and Iran, and all opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the pact.

"No one trusts what Trump will do next, so it's hard to get behind this," said the European diplomat.

Pompeo has slapped back at U.S. allies, saying "the Brits, the French, the Germans all need to understand that what we did -- what the Americans did -- saved lives in Europe as well," he told Fox News.

Israel has stood out in emphatically cheering the Soleimani operation, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praising Trump for "acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively."

"Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense," he said.

Since his time as CIA director, Pompeo has forged a friendship with Yossi Cohen, the director of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, said a person familiar with their meetings. The men have spoken about the threat posed by Iran to both Israel and the United States. In a prescient interview in October, Cohen said Soleimani "knows perfectly well that his elimination is not impossible."

Though Democrats have greeted the strike with skepticism, Republican leaders, who have long viewed Pompeo as a reassuring voice in the administration, uniformly praised the decision as the eradication of a terrorist who directed the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

"Soleimani made it his life's work to take the Iranian revolutionary call for death to America and death to Israel and turn them into action," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

A critical moment for Pompeo is nearing as he faces growing questions about a potential Senate run, though some GOP insiders say that decision seems to have stalled. Pompeo has kept in touch with Ward Baker, a political consultant who would probably lead the operation, and others in McConnell's orbit, about a bid. But Pompeo hasn't committed one way or the other, people familiar with the conversations said.

Some people close to the secretary say he has mixed feelings about becoming a relatively junior senator from Kansas after leading the State Department and CIA, but there is little doubt in Pompeo's home state that he could win.

At every step of his government career, Pompeo has tried to stake out a maximalist position on Iran that has made him popular among two critical pro-Israel constituencies in Republican politics: conservative Jewish donors and Christian evangelicals.

After Trump tapped Pompeo to lead the CIA, Pompeo quickly set up an Iran Mission Center at the agency to focus intelligence-gathering efforts and operations, elevating Iran's importance as an intelligence target.

At the State Department, he is a voracious consumer of diplomatic notes and reporting on Iran, and he places the country far above other geopolitical and economic hot spots in the world. "If it's about Iran, he will read it," said one diplomat, referring to the massive flow of paper that crosses Pompeo's desk. "If it's not, good luck."

[Jan 06, 2020] The Soleimani Assassination by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar. Instead of seeking detente, one of his first actions was to end the JCPOA nuclear agreement and re-introduce sanctions against Iran. In a sense, Iran has from the beginning been the exception to Trump's no-new-war pledge, a position that might reasonably be directly attributed to his incestuous relationship with the American Jewish community and in particular derived from his pandering to the expressed needs of Israel's belligerent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump bears full responsibility for what comes next. The neoconservatives and Israelis are predictably cheering the result, with Mark Dubowitz of the pro-Israel Foundation for Defense of Democracies enthusing that it is "bigger than bin Laden a massive blow to the [Iranian] regime." Dubowitz, whose credentials as an "Iran expert" are dubious at best, is at least somewhat right in this case. Qassem Suleimani is, to be sure, charismatic and also very popular in Iran. He is Iran's most powerful military figure in the entire region, being the principal contact for proxies and allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. But what Dubowitz does not understand is that no one in a military hierarchy is irreplaceable. Suleimani's aides and high officials in the intelligence ministry are certainly more than capable of picking up his mantle and continuing his policies.

In reality, the series of foolish attacks initiated by the United States over the past week will only hasten the departure of much of the U.S. military from the region. The Pentagon and White House have been insisting that Iran was behind an alleged Kata'ib Hezbollah attack on a U.S. installation that then triggered a strike by Washington on claimed militia targets in Syria and also inside Iraq. Even though the U.S. military presence is as a guest of the Iraqi government, Washington went ahead with its attack even after the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said "no."

To justify its actions, Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, went so far as to insist that "Iran is at war with the whole world," a clear demonstration of just how ignorant the White House team actually is. The U.S. government characteristically has not provided any evidence demonstrating either Iranian or Kata'ib involvement in recent developments, but after the counter-strike killed 26 Iraqi soldiers, the mass demonstrations against the Embassy in Baghdad became inevitable. The demonstrations were also attributed to Iran by Washington even though the people in the street were undoubtedly Iraqis.

Now that the U.S. has also killed Suleimani and Muhandis in a drone strike at Baghdad Airport, clearly accomplished without the approval of the Iraqi government, it is inevitable that the prime minister will ask American forces to leave. That will in turn make the situation for the remaining U.S. troops in neighboring Syria untenable. And it will also force other Arab states in the region to rethink their hosting of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen due to the law of unanticipated consequences as it is now clear that Washington has foolishly begun a war that serves no one's interests.

The blood of the Americans, Iranians and Iraqis who will die in the next few weeks is clearly on Donald Trump's hands as this war was never inevitable and served no U.S. national interest. It will surely turn out to be a debacle, as well as devastating for all parties involved. And it might well, on top of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, be the long-awaited beginning of the end of America's imperial ambitions. Let us hope so!

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests


Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 7:50 pm GMT

The question – who benefits? – has not been raised.
There was no benefit to Kata'ib Hezbollah or the Iranians to attack an American installation.
There was no benefit to the Iranians to attack the US Embassy in Iraq.
There was no benefit to anyone in Iraq or Iran in the shooting of "peaceful demonstrators" in Iraq.
There is only one beneficiary to all of the above – Israel.

Mr. Giraldi is quite correct in laying this at Trump's feet and referring to his incestuous relationship regarding Israel. After all, it it Trump that pulled out of the JCPOA, and ultimately gave the order to strike. A previous strike was called off, what has changed? I understand Mr. Giraldi is a never Trumper, and that is his right. Often it is not what he says, but what he doesn't say, that is problematic. In this article, two things not expanded stand out to me. The author proclaims his support for the JCPOA.
What is never explained is that the JCPOA was a voluntary restriction, by Iran, on its rights as a signatory under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Former Reagan nuclear advisor Dr. Gordon Prather was writing about the illegality of forcing restrictions on Iran back in the days when "Bonkers" Bolton was foaming at the mouth for Bush 43 at the UN. Trump cancelling the deal was not the problem. The problem was maintaining the US's illegal position on Iran's rights under the NPT. Mr. Giraldi's opposition to the cancelling, without context, means he finds the US's illegal position on Iran's rights under an international treaty as acceptable.
The second issue is the intelligence surrounding the "alleged Kata'ib Hezbollah attack on a U.S. installation". This is an operation straight out of the I sraeli S ecret I ntelligence S ervice manual. It was acknowledged, by the military, 20 years ago Israel had the capability to stage an attack and blame it on "Arabs". Who were those involved in providing the "intelligence to Trump? How many of those people know/knew the intelligence to be questionable or outright false, but allowed it to pass on anyway without caveat? It is unknown whether Trump "asked the right questions" about the intelligence, and if it came from military sources, I suspect none at all, of substance, were asked. Again, yes Trump will, and should, be blamed, but how much of it involves the traitors within who will continue with the internal rot?

Philip Giraldi , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:08 pm GMT
@Bragadocious You are one of the supreme a-holes on this site and I wish you would go somewhere else to spread your pollution. But I will answer your question: Soleimani was not near the embassy. He had flown into to town to attend the funerals of the 26 Iraqi militiamen that we Americans had killed earlier in the week!
Cloak And Dagger , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
This is a watershed moment in our enslaved country, and the net is rife with speculations as to where this will lead to.

Personally, I don't believe that this will erupt in WW3, but the days of casual travel by high-ranking US officials is probably over in the near term. What follows will be millions of paper cuts and constant stress for our sons and daughters relegated to foreign lands in the war for Israel. Did you sign up your children to die for Israel? I didn't.

So what can we expect? A lot of our children are going to come back in body bags in the weeks ahead. The murder of the Iranian general with no proof of his hand in the recent death of an American mercenary in Iraq, is a war crime – but who's looking? We have become imitators of our BFF, Israel. Not only have we militarized our police force under their auspices, we flout International law and civil rights without even blinking once. Sure, many Iranians (and Iraqi) innocents will die in the process, but the silver lining is that this will start the dominoes falling and lead to our Vietnam-like exit from the ME with our tail between our legs, as we repeat the helicopter exits from the roofs of our embassies.

From all indications, the Iranian general was a revered man inside and outside Iran. He appears to have arrived in Baghdad to attend the funeral of the people killed in the airstrike by US/Israel. Killing people headed to funerals and weddings seems to have become our MO in recent years. No US president in the last few decades has had his hands clean. Out damned spot!

Meanwhile, who was that "killed" contractor? Is there a name attached to that speculatively fictitious soul whose alleged death was the rationale for the murder? It is a sign of the times that our first reaction to anything we hear from the PTB is one of skepticism and disbelief. This does not bode well for our rulers when the slaves reject whatever claims they make.

Sadly, the revolution will not begin in Pretoria, but in distant lands, far from the prying eyes of the sleeping citizenry of this land. As Allison Weir would say, if Americans knew what is being perpetrated in our name, they would realize that we are all Palestinians.

Trump has been compromised. Whether you believe that he is or isn't behind this, is irrelevant. Frankly, it doesn't really matter who the president is – he is a powerless puppet. I suspect that the deep state initiated this and then informed Trump post-facto. The absence of an immediate tweets (tweet with a US flag suggests speechlessness), followed by an announcement from the Pentagon that Trump had personally ordered the attack, instead of Trump boasting about it, does not fit his usual pattern. My guess is that he knows that going against the will of the deep state would result in his being JFK'ed.

I expect the following in the days ahead:
– There will be outrage in Iraq and demands for us to go home – which we won't
– Our children/cannon fodder will be targeted across the ME
– One or more US high officials or Military leaders will be assassinated, perhaps Graham or Pompeo or Adelson
– Israel will use the distraction to annex more Palestinian territory.
– Every US politician will blame the victims
– Israel and KSA will be walking around in adult diapers for the next shoe to drop

Take heart, the end is nigh. It is the witching hour. It is a replay of history as the empire shoots itself in the foot. Remember which country invented the game of Chess – it wasn't us or our European cousins.

TimeTraveller , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:37 pm GMT
I read somewhere that the order for this assassination came from Trump himself. I read this as meaning that the order came from Israel and Trump's staff advised against it. I hope Iran takes this into account as they plan their retaliation.
The other interesting dynamic is that common folk are waking up to the ZOG on the one hand, and the government/media is doing their level best to slow this awakening. I wonder how this assassination and its aftermath fit into all of it.
Cloak And Dagger , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:41 pm GMT
The one big fear I have in the near-term is that, with the expected retaliation from Iran, it is the perfect opportunity for Israel to launch a false flag somewhere and blame it on Iran, further turning up the heat.

As always, ask: cui bono?

[Jan 06, 2020] The threat of General Soleimani - TTG

Highly recommended!
Below are some idea from Below are some idea from OffGuardian that clrify TT post...
The Saker took a look yesterday at The Soleimani murder – what could happen next . He thinks, as he has said before, that Trump is regarded as a disposable asset by his Deep State handlers and is being used as a front man for risky policy actions that he can be scapegoated for if/when they go wrong.
war with Iran has been the auto-erotic fixation for the hardcore war nuts in Washington for years, and imminent confrontation has been predicted regularly since at least 2005
Trump administration from the very beginning has been ramping up the tensions (Adelson money at work): Trump teared up the nuclear deal, re-imposed sanctions, making provocations, making threats. But this has all been within the familiar framework that always just stops short of actual conflict. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that.
The major question really though is – will this backtracking and odd claims of wanting de-escalation actually do anything to de-escalate? Will it persuade Iran not to seek retaliation, supposing this is now what Pompeo et al want?
It's become a commonplace to describe Trump foreign policy as 'insane', and it's an apposite description. But the murder of Soleimani takes the evident insanity to new and self-defeating levels.
Notable quotes:
"... Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs. ..."
"... Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. ..."
"... According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances? ..."
"... This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden. ..."
"... After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot! ..."
"... IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The threat of General Soleimani - TTG W7kf87eV

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States had "clear, unambiguous" intelligence that a top Iranian general was planning a significant campaign of violence against the United States when it decided to strike him, the top U.S. general said on Friday, warning Soleimani's plots "might still happen."

Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters "we fully comprehend the strategic consequences" associated with the strike against Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander.

But he said the risk of inaction exceeded the risk that killing him might dramatically escalate tensions with Tehran. "Is there risk? Damn right, there's risk. But we're working to mitigate it," Milley said from his Pentagon office. (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

This is pretty much in line with Trump's pronouncement that our assassination of Soleimani along with Iraqi General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was carried out to prevent a war not start one. Whatever information was presented to Trump painted a picture of imminent danger in his mind. What did the Pentagon see that was so imminent?

Well first let's look at the mindset of the Pentagon concerning our presence in Iraq and Syria. These two recent quotes from Brett McGurk sums up that mindset.

"If we leave Iraq, that will just increase further the running room for Iran and Shia militia groups and also the vacuum that will see groups like ISIS fill and we'll be right back to where we were. So that would be a disaster."

"It's always been Soleimani's strategic game... to get us out of the Middle East. He wants to see us leave Syria, he wants to see us leave Iraq... I think if we leave Iraq after this, that would just be a real disastrous outcome..."

McGurk played a visible role in US policy in Iraq and Syria under Bush, Obama and Trump. Now he's an NBC talking head and a lecturer at Stanford. He could be the poster boy for what many see as a neocon deep state. He's definitely not alone in thinking this way.

So back to the question of what was the imminent threat. Reuters offers an elaborate story of a secret meeting of PMU commanders with Soleimani on a rooftop terrace on the Tigris with a grand view of the US Embassy on the far side of the river.

-- -- -- -- --

"In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, and instructed them to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country"

"Two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters that Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on US targets using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran."

"Soleimani's plans to attack US forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect Iraqis' anger towards Iran to the US, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi'ite politicians and government officials close to Iraq PM Adel Abdul Mahdi."

"At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases." (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran? They were 1960s Chinese designed 107mm multiple rocket launcher technology. These simple but effective rocket launchers were mass produced by the Soviet Union, Iran, Turkey and Sudan in addition to China. They've been used in every conflict since then. The one captured outside of the K1 military base seems to be locally fabricated, but used Iranian manufactured rockets.

Since when does the PMU have to form another low profile militia unit? The PMU is already composed of so many militia units it's difficult to keep track of them. There's also nothing low profile about the Kata'ib Hizbollah, the rumored perpetrators of the K1 rocket attack. They're as high profile as they come.

Perhaps there's something to this Reuters story, but to me it sounds like another shithouse rumor. It would make a great scene in a James Bond movie, but it still sounds like a rumor.

There's another story put out by The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although it also sounds like a scene form a James Bond movie, I think it sounds more convincing than the Reuters story.

-- -- -- -- --

Delegation of Arab tribes met with "Soleimani" at the invitation of "Tehran" to carry out attacks against U.S. Forces east Euphrates

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that a delegation of the Arab tribes met on the 26th of December 2019, with the goal of directing and uniting forces against U.S. Forces, and according to the Syrian Observatory's sources, that meeting took place with the commander of the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassim Soleimani, who was assassinated this morning in a U.S. raid on his convoy in Iraq. the sources reported that: "the invitation came at the official invitation of Tehran, where Iran invited Faisal al-al-Aazil, one of the elders of al-Ma'amra clan, in addition to the representative of al-Bo Asi clan the commander of NDF headquarters in Qamishli Khatib al-Tieb, and the Sheikh of al-Sharayin, Nawaf al-Bashar, the Sheikh of Harb clan, Mahmoud Mansour al-Akoub, " adding that: "the meeting discussed carrying out attacks against the American forces and the Syria Democratic Forces."

Earlier, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, met with the security committee and about 20 Arab tribal elders and Sheikhs in al-Hasakah, at Qamishli Airport Hall on the 5th of December 2019, where he demanded the Arab tribes to withdraw their sons from the ranks of the Syria Democratic Forces. (SOHR)

-- -- -- -- --

I certainly don't automatically give credence to anything Rami sends out of his house in Coventry. I give this story more credibility only because that is exactly what I would do if Syria east of the the Euphrates was my UWOA (unconventional warfare operational area). This is exactly how I would go about ridding the area of the "Great Satan" invaders and making Syria whole again. The story also includes a lot of named individuals. This can be checked. This morning Colonel Lang told me some tribes in that region have a Shia history. Perhaps he can elaborate on that. I've read in several places that Qassim Soleimani knew the tribes in Syria and Iraq like the back of his hand. This SOHR story makes sense. If Soleimani was working with the tribes of eastern Syria like he worked with the tribes and militias of Iraq to create the al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi, it no doubt scared the bejeezus out of the Pentagon and endangered their designs for Iraq and Syria.

So, Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian soldier, the competent and patient Iranian soldier, was a threat to the Pentagon's designs a serious threat. But he was a long term threat, not an imminent threat. And he was just one soldier.The threat is systemic and remains. The question of why, in the minds of Trump and his generals, Soleimani had to die this week is something I will leave for my next post.

A side note on Milley: Whenever I see a photo of him, I am reminded of my old Brigade Commander in the 25th Infantry Division, Colonel Nathan Vail. They both have the countenance of a snapping turtle. One of the rehab transfers in my rifle platoon once referred to him as "that J. Edgar Hoover looking mutha fuka." I had to bite my tongue to keep from breaking out in laughter. It would have been unseemly for a second lieutenant to openly enjoy such disrespect by a PV2 and a troublemaking PV2 at that. God bless PV2 Webster, where ever you are.

TTG


John Merryman , 04 January 2020 at 06:33 PM

Wondering how much more intense the security will be around Trump's campaign rallies during the election.
The Twisted Genius , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs.

Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. I was glad we went back into Iraq to take on the threat of IS and cheered our initial move into Syria to do the same. That was the Sunni-Shia war you worry about. More accurately, it was a Salafist jihadist-all others war. Unfortunately, we overstayed the need and our welcome. It's a character flaw that we cannot loosen our grasp on empire no matter how much it costs us.

Jack -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 08:16 PM
TTG,

Thanks for your post. What it says I buy. We are in the Middle East and have been for a while to impose regional hegemony. What that has bought us is nebulous at best. Clearly we have spent trillions and destabilized the region. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed, including thousands of our soldiers. Are we better off from our invasion of Iraq, toppling Ghaddafi, and attempting to topple Assad using jihadists? Guys like McGurk, Bolton, Pompeo will say yes. Others like me will say no.

The oil is a canard. We produce more oil than we ever have and it is a fungible commodity. Will it impact Israel if we pull out our forces? Sure. But it may have a salutary effect that it may force them to sue for peace. Will the Al Sauds continue to fund jihadi mayhem? Likely yes, but they'll have to come to some accommodation with the Iranian Shia and recognize their regional strength.

Our choice is straightforward. Continue down the path of more conflict sinking ever more trillions that we don't have expecting a different outcome or cut our losses and get out and let the natural forces of the region assert themselves. I know which path I'll take.

JamesT -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 09:48 PM
TTG,

With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I think the protesters swarming the embassy was exactly the same kind of tactic that US backed protesters used in Ukraine (and are currently using in Hong Kong) to great effect. The Persians are unique in that they are capable of studying our methodologies and tactics and appropriating them.

When the US backed protesters took over Maidan square and started taking over various government building in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych had two choices - either start shooting protesters or watch while his authority collapsed. It was and is a difficult choice.

In my humble opinion, there are few things the stewards of US hegemony fear more than the IRGC becoming the worlds number one disciple of Gene Sharp.

PavewayIV , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
TTG - "And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran?"

According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances?

If the U.S. only had a Dilyana Gaytandzhieva to bird-dog out the rat line. Wait... the MSM would have fired her by now for weaponizing journalism against the neocons [sigh].

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 07:21 PM
If a goal is to get the heck out of the Middle East since it is an intractable cess pit and stat protecting our own borders and internal security, will we be better off with Soleimani out of the picture or left in place.

Knowing of course, more just like him will sprout quickly, like dragon's teeth, in the sands of the desert.ME is a tar baby. Fracking our own tar sands is the preferable alternative.

Real war war would be a direct attack on Israel. Then they get our full frontal assault. But this pissy stuff around the edges is an exercise in futility. 2020 was Trump's to lose.Incapacity to handle asymmetirc warfare is ours to lose.

Jane , 04 January 2020 at 07:35 PM
There is no necessary link between the Iranian support for the Assad regime, to include its operations in tribal areas of Syria. The Iranian-backed militias and Iranian government officials have been operating in that area for a long time, supporting the efforts of Security/Intel Ali Mamlouk. That Suleimani knew the tribes so well is a mark of his professional competence. Everyone is courting the Syrian tribes, some sides more adeptly than others. It is also worth noting that in putting together manpower for their various locally formed Syrian militias, the Iranians took on unemployed Sunnis.

That said, there are small Ismaili communities in Syria and there are apparently a couple of villages in Deir ez Zor that did convert to Shiism, but no mass religious change. The Iranians are sensitive to the fact that they could cause a backlash if they tried hard to promote "an alien culture."

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 07:40 PM
Well, The Donald has turned to Twitter menacing iran with wiping out all of its World Heritage Sites....which is declared intention to commit a war crime...

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1213593975732527112

For what it seems Iran must sawllow the assasination of its beloved and highjly regarded general...or else...

Do you really think there is any explanation for this, whatever Soleimani´s history ( he was doing his duty in his country and neighboring zone...you are...well...everywhere...) or that we can follow this way with you escalating your threats and crimes ever and that everybody must leave it at that without response or you menace coming with more ?

That somebody or some news agency has any explanation for this is precisely the sign of our times and our disgrace. That there is a bunch of greedy people who is willing to do whatever is needed to prevail and keep being obscenely rich...

BTW, would be interesting to know who are the main holders of shares at Reuters...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:09 PM
Board of Directors of Reuters

The same monopolizing almost each and every MSM and news agency at every palce in the world, big bank, big pharma, big business, big capital ( insurances companies nad hedge funds ) big real state, and US think tanks...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:33 PM
In Elora´s opinion, Bret MacGurk is making revanche from Soleimani for the predictable fact that a humble and pious man bred in the region, who worked as bricklayer to help pay his father´s debt during his youth, and moreover has an innate irresistible charisma, managed to connect better with the savage tribes of the ME than such exceptionalist posh theoric bred at such an exceptionalist as well as far away country like the US.

But...what did you expect, that MacGurk would become Lawrence of Arabia versus Soleimani in his simpleness?

May be because of that that he deserved being dismembered by a misile...

As Pence blamed shamefully and stonefacelly Soleimani for 9/11, MacGurk blames him too for having fallen from the heights he was...

It seems that Pence was in the team of four who assesed Trump on this hit...along with Pompeo...

A good response would be that someone would leak the real truth on 9/11 so as to debunk Pence´s mega-lie...

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 08:48 PM
Two years ago, the public protest theme for Basel's winter carnival Fashnach was the imminent threat nuclear war as NK and US were sabre rattling, and NK was lobbing missles across Japan with sights on West Coast US cities.

Then almost the following week, NK and US planned to meet F2F in Singapore. And we could all breathe again. In the very early spring of 2018.

blue peacock , 04 January 2020 at 09:54 PM
TTG

This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.

I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour.

After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot!

Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Trump's re-election will go when we are engaged in a full scale military conflagration in the Middle East? It sure will give Tulsi & Bernie an excellent environment to promote their anti-neocon message. You can see it in Trump's ambivalent tweets. On the one hand, I ordered the assassination of Soleimani to prevent a war (like we needed to burn the village to save it), while on the other hand, we have 52 sites locked & loaded if you retaliate. Hmmm!! IMO, he has seriously jeapordized his re-election by falling into the neocon Deep State trap. They never liked him. The coup by law enforcement & CIA & DNI failed. The impeachment is on its last legs. Voila! Incite him into another Middle Eastern quagmire against what he campaigned on and won an election.

I would think that Khamanei has no choice but to retaliate. How is anyone's guess? I doubt he'll order the sinking of a naval vessel patrolling the Gulf or fire missiles into the US base in Qatar. But assassination....especially in some far off location in Europe or South America? A targeted bombing here or there? A cyber attack at a critical point. I mean not indiscriminate acts like the jihadists but highly calculated targets. All seem extremely feasible in our highly vulnerable and relatively open societies. And they have both the experience and skills to accomplish them.

If ever you have the inclination, a speculative post on how the escalation ladder could potentially be climbed would be a fascinating read.

Jack -> blue peacock... , 05 January 2020 at 12:01 AM
"I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour."

BP,

Yes, indeed. It is a testament to our susceptibility that there is such limited scepticism by so many people on the pronouncements of our government. Especially considering the decades long continuous streams of lies and propaganda. The extent and brazenness of the lies have just gotten worse through my lifetime.

I feel for my grand-children and great-grand children as they now live in society that has no value for honor. It's all expedience in the search for immediate personal gain.

I am and have been in the minority for decades now. I've always opposed our military adventurism overseas from Korea to today. I never bought into the domino theory even at the heights of the Cold War. And I don't buy into the current global hegemony destiny to bring light to the savages. I've also opposed the build up of the national security surveillance state as the antithesis of our founding. I am also opposed to the increasing concentration of market power across every major market segment. It will be the destruction of our entrepreneurial economy. The partisan duopoly is well past it's sell date. But right now the majority are still caught up in rancorous battles on the side of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Something To Think About , 04 January 2020 at 10:19 PM
A question to the committee: what is the source for the claim that Soleimani bears direct responsibility for the death of over 600 US military personnel?

Craig Murray points to this article:
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/04/04/iran-killed-more-us-troops-in-iraq-than-previously-known-pentagon-says/

If that is the case (and it appears to be) then the US govt's claim is nonsense, as it clearly says " 'During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants,' Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email."

So those figures represent casualties suffered during the US-led military invasion of Iraq i.e. casualties suffered during a shooting-war.

If Soleimani is a legitimate target for assassination because of the success of his forces on the battlefield then wouldn't that make Tommy Franks an equally-legitimate target?

Jack , 04 January 2020 at 10:33 PM
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caliphate, Romanian-American, Rukmini Callimachi, on the intelligence on Soleimani "imminent threat" being razor-thin.

https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761?s=21

PavewayIV said in reply to Jack... , 04 January 2020 at 11:01 PM
You just beat me to her thread, Jack. For the Twitter shy, this is the first of a series of 17 tweets as a teaser:
1. I've had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I've learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is "razor thin".

Summary: [Too shameful to type]

Roy G , 04 January 2020 at 11:59 PM
IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/lies-the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-the-illegal-murder-of-soleimani/

[Jan 06, 2020] Diplomacy Trump-style. Al Capone probably would be allow himself to fall that low

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Fec , Jan 5 2020 15:23 utc | 3

"We have learned today from #Iraq Prime Minister AdilAbdl Mahdi how @realDonaldTrump uses diplomacy:
#US asked #Iraq to mediate with #Iran. Iraq PM asks #QassemSoleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer of his mediation, Trump &co assassinate an envoy at the airport."

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1213833855754485762

[Jan 05, 2020] The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure, with BOTH Iraq and Iran (UPDATED 6X) The Vineyard of the Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason ..."
"... Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end foreign troop presence in the country did not go far enough, calling on local and foreign militia groups to unite . I also have confirmation that the Mehdi Army is being re-mobilized . ..."
"... The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation! ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | thesaker.is
The blowback has begun

First, let’s begin by a quick summary of what has taken place (note: this info is still coming in, so there might be corrections once the official sources make their official statements).

  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdl Mahdi has now officially revealed that the US had asked him to mediate between the US and Iran and that General Qassem Soleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer to his mediation efforts. Thus, Soleimani was on an OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC MISSION as part of a diplomatic initiative INITIATED BY THE USA .
  2. The Iraqi Parliament has now voted on a resolution requiring the government to press Washington and its allies to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
  3. Iraq’s caretaker PM Adil Abdul Mahdi said the American side notified the Iraqi military about the planned airstrike minutes before it was carried out. He stressed that his government denied Washington permission to continue with the operation.
  4. The Iraqi Parliament has also demanded that the Iraqi government must “ work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason
  5. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad had turned to the UN Security Council with complaints about US violations of its sovereignty .
  6. Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end foreign troop presence in the country did not go far enough, calling on local and foreign militia groups to unite . I also have confirmation that the Mehdi Army is being re-mobilized .
  7. The Pentagon brass is now laying the responsibility for this monumental disaster on Trump (see here ). The are now slowly waking up to this immense clusterbleep and don’t want to be held responsible for what is coming next.
  8. For the first time in the history of Iran, a Red Flag was hoisted over the Holy Dome Of Jamkaran Mosque , Iran. This indicates that the blood of martyrs has been spilled and that a major battle will now happen . The text in the flag say s “ Oh Hussein we ask for your help ” (u nofficial translation 1) or “ Rise up and avenge al-Husayn ” (unofficial translation 2)
  9. The US has announced the deployment of 3’000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to Kuwait .
  10. Finally, the Idiot-in-Chief tweeted the following message , probably to try to reassure his freaked out supporters: “ The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation! “. Apparently, he still thinks that criminally overspending for 2nd rate military hardware is going to yield victory…
Analysis

Well, my first though when reading these bullet points is that General Qasem Soleimani has already struck out at Uncle Shmuel from beyond his grave . What we see here is an immense political disaster unfolding like a slow motion train wreck. Make no mistake, this is not just a tactical "oopsie", but a major STRATEGIC disaster . Why?

For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void.

Second, the US now has two options:

Fight and sink deep into a catastrophic quagmire or Withdraw from Iraq and lose any possibility to keep forces in Syria

Both of these are very bad because whatever option Uncle Shmuel chooses, he will lost whatever tiny level of credibility he has left, even amongst his putative "allies" (like the KSA which will now be left nose to nose with a much more powerful Iran than ever before).

The main problem with the current (and very provisional) outcome is that both the Israel Lobby and the Oil Lobby will now be absolutely outraged and will demand that the US try to use military power to regime change both Iraq and Iran.

Needless to say, that ain't happening (only ignorant and incurable flag-wavers believe the silly claptrap about the US armed forces being "THE BEST").

Furthermore, it is clear that by it's latest terrorist action the USA has now declared war on BOTH Iraq and Iran.

This is so important that I need to repeat it again:

The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure , with BOTH Iraq and Iran.

I hasten to add that the US is also at war with most of the Muslim world (and most definitely all Shias, including Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis).

Next, I want to mention the increase in US troop numbers in the Middle-East. An additional 3'000 soldiers from the 82nd AB is what would be needed to support evacuations and to provide a reserve force for the Marines already sent in. This is NOWHERE NEAR the kind of troop numbers the US would need to fight a war with either Iraq or Iran.

Finally, there are some who think that the US will try to invade Iran. Well, with a commander in chief as narcissistically delusional as Trump, I would never say "never" but, frankly, I don't think that anybody at the Pentagon would be willing to obey such an order. So no, a ground invasion is not in the cards and, if it ever becomes an realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan).

No, what the US will do if/when they attack Iran is what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, but at a much larger scale. They will begin by a huge number of airstrikes (missiles and aircraft) to hit:

Iranian air defenses Iranian command posts and Iranian civilian and military leaders Symbolic targets (like nuclear installations and high visibility units like the IRGC) Iranian navy and coastal defenses Crucial civilian infrastructure (power plants, bridges, hospitals, radio/TV stations, food storage, pharmaceutical installations, schools, historical monuments and, let's not forget that one, foreign embassies of countries who support Iran). The way this will be justified will be the same as what was done to Serbia: a "destruction of critical regime infrastructure" (what else is new?!)

Then, within about 24-48 hours the US President will go on air an announce to the world that it is "mission accomplished" and that "THE BEST" military forces in the galaxy have taught a lesson to the "Mollahs". There will be dances in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (right until the moment the Iranian missiles will start dropping from the sky. At which point the dances will be replaced by screams about a "2nd Hitler" and the "Holocaust").

Then all hell will break loose (I have discussed that so often in the past that I won't go into details here).

In conclusion, I want to mention something more personal about the people of the US.

Roughly speaking, there are two main groups which I observed during my many years of life in the USA.

Group one : is the TV-watching imbeciles who think that the talking heads on the idiot box actually share real knowledge and expertise. As a result, their thinking goes along the following lines: " yeah, yeah, say what you want, but if the mollahs make a wrong move, we will simply nuke them; a few neutron bombs will take care of these sand niggers ". And if asked about the ethics of this stance, the usual answer is a " f**k them! they messed with the wrong guys, now they will get their asses kicked ".

Group two : is a much quieter group. It includes both people who see themselves as liberals and conservatives. They are totally horrified and they feel a silent rage against the US political elites. Friends, there are A LOT of US Americans out there who are truly horrified by what is done in their name and who feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. I don't know about the young soldiers who are now being sent to the Middle-East, but I know a lot of former servicemen who know the truth about war and about THE BEST military in the history of the galaxy and they are also absolutely horrified.

I can't say which group is bigger, but my gut feeling is that Group Two is much bigger than Group One. I might be wrong.

I am now signing off but I will try to update you here as soon as any important info comes in.

The Saker

UPDATE1 : according to the Russian website Colonel Cassad , Moqtada al-Sadr has officially made the following demands to the Iraqi government:

Immediately break the cooperation agreement with the United States. Close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Close all U.S. military bases in Iraq. Criminalize any cooperation with the United States. To ensure the protection of Iraqi embassies. Officially boycott American products.

Cassad (aka Boris Rozhin) also posted this excellent caricature:

UPDATE2: RT is reporting that " One US service member, two contractors killed in Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya, two DoD personnel injured ". Which just goes to prove my point that spontaneous attacks are what we will be seeing first and that the retaliation promised by Iran will only come later.

UPDATE3 : al-Manar reports that two rockets have landed near the US embassy in Baghdad.

UPDATE4 : Zerohedge is reporting that Iranian state TV broadcasted an appeal made during the funeral procession in which a speaker said that each Iranian ought to send one dollar per person (total 80'000'000 dollars) as a bounty for the killing of Donald Trump. I am trying to get a confirmation from Iran about this.

UPDATE5 : Russian sources claim that all Iranian rocket forces have been put on combat alert.

UPDATE6 : the Russian heavy rocket cruiser "Marshal Ustinov" has cross the Bosphorus and has entered the Mediterranean.

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63 Comments

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:39 pm EST/EDT

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdl Mahdi has now officially revealed that the US had asked him to mediate between the US and Iran and that General Qassem Soleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer to his mediation efforts. Thus, Soleimani was on an OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC MISSION as part of a diplomatic initiative INITIATED BY THE USA.

If this is true, it makes America's murder of General Soleimani even more outrageous. This would be like the USA sending an American regime official to some other country for a negotiation only to have him/her drone striked in the process!

America reveals its malign character as even more sick that even its opponents have thought possible.

Perhaps, Iran should request that Mike Pompeo come to Baghdad for a negotiation about General Soleimani 's murder and then "bug splat" Pompeo's fat ass from a drone!

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:08 pm EST/EDT
"For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void."

-I actually read somewhere that the Iraqi government is just a caretaker government and even thought it voted to remove foreign forces, it is not actually legally binding.

Anyone that can conform or deny?

Lysander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:18 pm EST/EDT
I'm no lawyer. I don't see why that would matter. If a caretaker government is presented with a crisis, why would it not have the authority to act?

That said, It could be the line the US government chooses to use to insist its presence is still legal. If course the MSM will repeat and repeat and make it seem real.

Serbian girl on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:42 pm EST/EDT
Not the entire government. Only the PM Mahdi as far as I understand. He resigned after some protests. The parliament approved his resignation on Dec 2019. He is the caretaker until they appoint another PM.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/29/iraq-pm-resign-protests-abdul-mahdi-al-sistani
Pamela on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:59 pm EST/EDT
Couldn't agree more. When I read that my jaw dropped and I'm sure my eyes went huge. I just couldn't believe they could be that stupid, or that immoral, that sunk in utter utter depravity. They truly are those who have not one shred of decency, and thus have no way of recognising or understanding what decency is. Pure psychopath – an inability to grasp the emotions, values, and world view of those who are normal. This truly is beyond the pale, and this above everything else will ensure the revenge the heartbroken people of Iran are seeking. May God bless them.
Mark on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:45 pm EST/EDT
Well, this is going to be interesting for sure. I for one cannot see any way out for the Yankees, so I expect them to do their usual doubling down .

Assassinate some more people, airstrikes etc.

Hans on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:51 pm EST/EDT
The US Armed Forces do not need to be 'THE BEST". All they need is mountains of second rate ordinance to re-bury Iraq bury Iran under rubble. They can then keep their forces in tightly fortified compounds and bomb the c**p out of any one who wants to 'steal their oil', or any one who wants to 'steal the land promised by God to the Chosen People'. The U.S. has always previously been limited in their avarice for destruction by their desire to be viewed as the 'good guy'. This limitation has now been stripped away. There is now nothing to stop the AngloZionist entity except naked force in return.

As the Saker says, 'all hell will break loose '.

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:09 pm EST/EDT
"realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan)."

-There is an interesting article on colonal cassad about this, USA actually has around 100k troops in ME spread out over various bases.
https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5543349.html

Yes, but these are not part of a single force, many of these are more a target than a threat. Besides, they need to be concentrated into a a few single forces to actually participate in an invasion.
The Saker

Anonymouse on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:15 pm EST/EDT
To understand troop size and relevance think along these lines. For every US front line soldier there will be 5 others in support roles, logistics etc. So for every front line fighting Marine there will be 5 others who got him there and who support him in his work. 10,000 front line fighting troops means 50,000 troops shipping out to the borders of Iran. I think perhaps you would need 100,000 US front line troops for an invasion AND occupation (because we all know if they go in they aren't going to leave quickly) We're talking about half a million US troops, this simply isn't going to happen for multiple reasons, not least they need to amass at some form of base (probably Iraq – yeah right) maybe Kuwait? They'd just be a constant sitting target. Saker is correct in that if this goes down it's going to be an air campaign (will the Iranians use the S300s they have?) and possibly Navy supported. the Israelis will help out but in turn make themselves targets at home for rocket attacks. Again I can't see it happening, it would take too long to arrange plus from the moment it kicks off every US base, individual is just a target to the majority of anti US forces spread across the whole middle east. I expect back door diplomacy, probably to little effect, and a ham fisted token blitz of cruise missiles and drone bombs at Iranian infrastructure, sadly this will not work for the Americans, we will have a long running campaign on ME ground but also mass terrorist activity across the US and some of its allies. Its a best guess scenario but if that plays out whatever happens to Iran this war will be another long running death by a 1000 cuts for the US and will guarantee Trump does not get re-elected.
Whoever sold this to Trump (Bolton via Pompeo? Bibi?) has really lit the touch paper of ruin. Yes it stinks of Netanyahoo but it also reaks of full strength neocon, Bolton style. Trump is dumb enough to fall for it and obviously did.
Cosimo on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:38 pm EST/EDT
1. To read the Colonel Cassad website in English or any other language, just go to https://translate.yandex.com/ and then paste in the Cassad URL, which is given above but again, it's https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/ The really nice thing is that when you click on links, Yandex Translate automatically translates those links. Two problems, though. 1. For some unknown reason, Yandex always first translates Cassad as English-to-Russian, and then you have to click on a little window near the top left, to again request Russian-to-English and then it translates everything fine. I do not experience this problem when using Yandex on any other website. 2. Unlike what Benders-Lee intended when he invented the web browser, the "back button" almost doesn't work on Yandex Translate. So always right-click to open links in a new tab.

2. The US could probably carry out a large number of air attacks, but the Iranian response would be to destroy all the Gulf oil facilities AND everything worth bombing in Israel. This potential for offense is Iran's best defense, and, I think, the main reason why there hasn't been a war. Iran's air defense missiles are probably more effective than the lying MSM will admit, and might shoot down a large percentage of the humans and aluminum the US would throw at Iran, but it's a matter of attrition, and Iran would suffer grave damage. We can't rule out that that might be the plan since the Empire is run by psychopaths. A US Army elite training manual, from 2012 in Kansas, implied that by 2020, Europe would not be a major power. Perhaps they were thinking that Europe would go out of business from a lack of Persian Gulf oil.

3. As for a ground war against Iran, I don't think the US or even the US with the former NATO coalition, would have any hope and they know it. A real invasion force would require at least 250,000 troops, probably 500,000, maybe more. 80 million very determined and united Iranians, many of whom who don't fear martyrdom, would make the Vietnam War look like a bad picnic with fire ants . Yes, Vietnam had jungle for guerillas to hide behind, but South Vietnamese society was divided and many supported the Americans. Iran has no such division. Even the Arab province of Khuzestan would stand united, knowing how the Shiite Arabs are mistreated in the Eastern Province and in Kuwait.

Tom Welsh on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:31 pm EST/EDT
"They can then keep their forces in tightly fortified compounds "

eating and drinking what? When no Iraqi will even speak to them, let alone do anything for them.

Greifenburg on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:52 pm EST/EDT
Count me in as part of group two. As a former U.S. Army service member I can assure anyone reading this that this action is an historic strategic mistake. What the Saker has outlined above is very likely. There is most probably no way to walk back now. Who in the ME would negotiate with the U.S. Government? Their perfidy is well known. Many citizen in this country feel like they are held hostage by a government that doesn't represent their interests or feelings. I hope the people in the ME know this.
The Saker on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:57 pm EST/EDT
Since the folks in the ME know that the US is a "pretend democracy" they also realize that the people of the USA are just as oppressed by the AngloZionist regime as the people abroad. Frankly, I have traveled on a lot of countries and I have never come across anything like real hostility towards the US American people. The very same people who hate Uncle Shmuel very much enjoy US music, literature, movies, novel ideas, etc. I believe that the Empire is truly hated across the globe, but not the people of the USA.
Kind regards
The Saker
Melotte 22 on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:23 pm EST/EDT
As long as people of the USA tolerate their government criminal activities around the world, and this is happening for last 70 years, I don't agree with your comment. These crimes are commited in the name of people of the USA, who are doing nothing to prevent them. As for movies coming from US, most of them are propaganda about 'exceptional nation'. No thanks.
Auslander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:09 pm EST/EDT
The United States of America is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. That being said, the fall elections are going to be of significant interest.

With kindest regards
Auslander

Nachtigall on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:18 pm EST/EDT
Couldn't agree with you less Saker. They share the spoils of war, generation after generation. From the killing of indigenous population to neocolonial resource extraction today, they get their cut. You cannot have it both ways, enjoying the spoils of war and hiding behind invalid rationalizations, pretending you have no-thingz to do with that.
The Saker on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:12 pm EST/EDT
Russian TV says that there were anti-war demonstrations in 80 (!) US cities.
I don't have the time to check whether this is true, but it sure sounds credible to me.
The Saker
Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:24 pm EST/EDT
Greetings Mr. Saker,

This information is true. I personally took part in the march in Denver, Colorado. I would estimate we had about 500 people, which is a lot more than most anti-war protests have ever gotten in recent memory.

Do not count out the possibility of a sudden large and massive anti-war movement suddenly springing out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, I do not see how "peaceful" protests will accomplish anything on their own. Rioting may be necessary. The system needs to be shut down and commerce slow to a crawl so that nobody may ignore this.

The Saker on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:32 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for this precious confirmation!
And keep up the good fight!
Kind regards
The Saker
durlin on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:25 pm EST/EDT
anonymous, fellow Coloradoan here, would appreciate some info on where I need to look for the next one,. I will be there
Richard Sauder on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:55 pm EST/EDT
Yes. I am thinking about the Deagel.com numbers again. They're starting to come into better focus.

http://www.deagel.com/country/forecast.aspx

I agree that there will first be a period of violent confusion, followed by -- well, what sane person even wants to think about what possible horrors lie ahead?

The threat of one or more spectacular false flag attacks to further fan the flames would also appear to be a possibility.

Real evil has been unleashed, that is clear. The empire has decided to fight, and to fight very dirty.

Nikolai on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:08 pm EST/EDT
Wasn't the Saker working in the employ of the US or NATO when they attacked Srbija without cause? Because that was my understanding.

Actually, no. I was working at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research.
But thanks for showing everybody how ugly, petty and clueless ad hominem using trolls can be!
The Saker

Marko on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:20 pm EST/EDT
Looks like our Nikolai is a Canvas Otpor Belgrade troll.
Serbian girl on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:46 pm EST/EDT
Or perhaps not Serbian at all
Flabbergasted on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:11 pm EST/EDT
"I can't say which group is bigger, but my gut feeling is that Group Two is much bigger than Group One. I might be wrong."

My personal observation is unfortunately the opposite. I think the population that is over 40 is probably leans 80% toward the TV-watching imbecile category with zero critical thinking abilities and exposure to four plus decades of propaganda. The population under 40 is largely too apathetic to have an opinion and unwilling to engage in research.

History will most likely play out in disaster resulting from a corrupt ruling class, systemic institutional rot, and brain-washed public not realizing what's happened.

Nikolai on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:23 pm EST/EDT
I will hazard a guess and say there are far more men than women in Group 1, and many more draft-age young adults of both sexes in Group 2.

But by and large a disturbing number of people in America regard world events as being akin to a football game, with Team A and Team B and a score to be kept. If things don't appear to be going well for their "team," they speak and behave irrationally, with crass statements like "nuke the whole place and turn it into a glass parking lot." Impressive, isn't it? Grown adults, comporting themselves like overindulged little children, always accustomed to getting their way – and displaying a terrifying willingness to set the whole house on fire when they don't.

It is a spiritual illness which pollutes the USA. Terrible things will have to happen before the society can become well, again

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:26 pm EST/EDT
Even if only 20% of the population join us, that will be enough. Because guess what? The TV-watching imbeciles are fat, lazy, and they won't do anything to support the government either, and they definitely aren't brave enough to get in the way of an angry mob
JJ on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:08 pm EST/EDT
About 50% of UK people opposed the UK intervention into Iraq .1 m people held marches on London and cities ..made no difference.
cdvision on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:39 pm EST/EDT
Its not just the US that's braindead. This from a once reputable newspaper in the UK

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/01/05/boris-johnson-calls-de-escalation-iran-us-killing-ofgeneral/

Its behind a paywall so you only get the first few paragraphs – frankly all you need. BUT its the comments that tell the story!

Pamela on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:11 pm EST/EDT
It's interesting to me, this comment of Sakers'. I have been thinking, with these revelations of the utter depravity and total lack of what was once called "honour " and treating the enemy with respect, of a few instances which seemed to show me that not all of America was like this.

There is a scene in the much loved but short lived** TV series "Firefly" in which the rebel "outsider" spaceship Captain offers a doctor on the run a berth with them. The Doctor says "but you dont like me. You could kill me in my sleep" to which the Captain replies "Son, you dont know me yet, So let me tell you know, If i ever try to kill you, you will be awake, you will be facing me, and you will be armed"

Exactly I thought. There is a Code of Honour by which battles used to be fought. This latest by US has shown how low it's Ruling Regime is, that is doesn't not see that. But from examples like the above, I gathered that there are people in America who still hold to it closely – and that's good to know.

** Short lived because it showed as it's heroes a group of people who lived outside the Ruling Tyrannical Regime, who had fought for Independence and lost, and now lived "by their wits" and not always according to law. Not surprising that the rulers of US weren't going to allow that to go to air!!

Nikolai on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:13 pm EST/EDT
Wasn't the Saker working in the employ of the US and NATO when they attacked and bombed Srbija without cause? Because that was my understanding.

Thanks, now we all know how good your "understanding" is!
The Saker :-P

Rufus Palmer on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:32 pm EST/EDT
Unfortunately I believe the largest group in the USA is the "nuke 'em group". All of my friends watch Fox and none have an understanding of the empire.

Sake thank you as always for your excellent work. What do you think Iran will attack first?

teranam13 on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:19 pm EST/EDT
Thanks Saker for this discussion/information space you provide when nothing is very trustworthy and on what is a holiday week end for you.

Two points:
Never underestimate the perfidy of the Kurds. They held back on the censure/withdrawal vote in the Iraqi\
parliament and are probably offering withdrawal airport space for US military.

And Agreed, about most Americans being absolutely horrified and ashamed.Even Alex Jones had to put Syrian Girl on and to post her on video.banned. One of his callers demanded that Alex apologize to his listening audience on "bended knee" for his support of Trump's attack on Iran. When Alex tried to schmooze
the irate caller -- The man started yelling -- "Who cares, Alex, who cares about Iran my neighbors have no jobs
and are dying from drug overdoses. who cares about Israel? Let them take care of themselves."

Trump has sealed his own fate on many levels and ours her in looneylandia. It is said that a nation gets the leadership it deserves. We are about to become a nation of the yard-sale.

Craig Mouldey on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:27 pm EST/EDT
Whew, this is something to chew on and try to digest. That first point jumped right off the page. General Soleimani was on an official diplomatic mission, requested by the U.S.! They set him up and were waiting for him to get in his car at the airport and go onto the road.
The entire world will know there is no way to justify this. It is just as ugly as the public murder of JFK. They have zero credibility in all they say and do. It will be interesting to see who supports what is coming and who have gotten the message from this murder and have decided they cannot support this beast.
Clarence on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:33 pm EST/EDT
How many missiles does the us have in the middle east?
How many air defense missiles does have iran?
Does iran have the ability to destroy us airbases to prevent aircraft from attacking iranian territory? That would be my first move: destroying the ennemy s fighter jets while they are still on the ground.
How many missiles does iran can launch ? How far can they hit?
I think these are important questions if we want to make a good assessment of the situation
One Tribe on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:36 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for the continuing courageous, fact-based reporting.

All as-yet-unenslaved-minds of the oppressed people living under the auspices of the empire share the horror of what has happened, made worse so, for I personally, learning the evil duplicity of the 'fake' diplomacy of the masters of the U.S.A. administration.
If there had been any credibility whatsoever, left for the U.S.A. diplomatic integrity, it is now completely murdered.

I should like to point out, yet again, the perverse obviousness of the utter subordination of the utterly testiclesless america n ' leadership ' by the affiliates, dually loyal extra-nationals, aligned to the quasi-nation of pychopathic hatred against humanity.

In spite of, and now increasingly because of, the absurd perception management/propaganda agencies, completely controlled by this aforementioned affiliation, and their ongoing absurd efforts, people are becoming aware of the ultimate source of the hatred and agenda we re witnessing in the ME, and indeed, in ever country under the auspices of the empire.
It is becoming impossible to cover, even for the most timid followers of the citizens of empire-controlled nation states.
The war continues against the non-subliminated citizens, and will certainly escalate as the traction of the perception-management techniques have been pushed way over their best-before date.

Even not wanting to know this, people are becoming aware of it.

I urge all those self-identifying with this affiliation of secretive hatred against humanity to disavow either publicly, or privately, this collective of hatred.
The recusement of the fifth-column will undermine these machinations.

It is now the time to realize that no promise of superior upward mobility, in exchange for activities supporting the affiliation, is worth the stark prospect of complete destruction of the biosphere.

Paul23 on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:38 pm EST/EDT
Saker: what makes you think it will just be a couple of days of bombing? I would have thought they would set up a no fly zone then fly over that country permanently blowing the shit out of any military thing on the ground until the gov collapses.

Iran doesn't have the ability to prevent this & running a country under these conditions is impossible.

Randy Brady on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:10 pm EST/EDT
Set up a no-fly zone over Iran? Iran is well aware of American air-power. They have a multi-layer air defense. And I wouldn't be surprised that the Iranian's are capable of taking out U.S. satellites.

Iran knows their enemy. They have been preparing for conflict with the U.S. for 40 years. This is a sophisticated, and highly advanced nation, with brilliant leadership. They understand what their weaknesses are, and what their strengths are.

The wild cards are threefold: Russia. China. North Korea. If one wants to think about the possible asymmetrical capabilities of those three, let alone the pure power their militaries, it boggles the mind.

Prediction: The U.S. stands down on orders of their own military. People like John Bolton quietly pass away in their sleep.

Kilombo Zumbi on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:02 pm EST/EDT
The only no fly zone to be implemented will be on all american warplanes over Iran and Iraq. Do you remember the multimillion drone that went down? Multipliy it by hundreds of manned planes. God, how delusional can you be?!!!
You have a fighting force that is a disgrace composed by little girls that start screeming once they get bullets flying over their heads. You have aircraft battle groups that are sitting ducks waitng to go to the bottom of the sea. Wake up and get your pills, man!
Tom Welsh on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:39 pm EST/EDT
Paul23, from where will the aircraft take off to implement your "no-fly zone"? Any air base within 2,000 km would be destroyed by a shower of cruise missiles and possibly drones.

Any aircraft carrier within 2,000 km likewise.

Mike from Jersey on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:45 pm EST/EDT
File this next article under "Just when you thought that things couldn't get any crazier."

Pompeo is slamming Europe for not being supportive of the American murders in the Middle East.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/europeans-havent-been-helpful-after-suleimani-killing-pompeo-slams-allies-not

Nussiminen on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:48 pm EST/EDT
It is Group 1 -- loud, reactionary, extremely vulgar, militant parasites -- which defines the US national character. Exceptional and indispensable simply mean "entitled to other peoples' natural resources and labour output". Trying to reason with these lowlives is a waste of time. Putin understands this; hence the new Russian weapons. The latter will be needed very soon.
Mike from Jersey on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:08 pm EST/EDT
I am an American and I am not sure that is true.

Americans are a good people but America is one of the most heavily propagandized nations in the world. The media is corrupt. The educational systems teach a sanitized version of history. But that is only a part of it.

Pro-Military propaganda is everywhere. Even before the Superbowl, jet bombers fly over the stadium – as if Militarism constituted a basic American value. At Airports, "Military Personnel" are given preferential boarding. At retail stores customers are asked to make donations to "military families." College football games are dedicated to "Military Appreciation Day." High Schools work in unison with Military Recruiters to steer students into the Military. Even playground facilities for children that have video displays display pro military messages. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Most of this propaganda is paid for out of the obscene military budget. The average citizen doesn't have a chance.

Americans are a good people, if they really knew what was being done in their name, they would put a stop to it.

Nussiminen on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:37 pm EST/EDT
Militant parasites do live in a world of total lies, deception, and delusion but never at the expense of their survival instincts. US imperial coercion, mayhem, and murder globally are absolutely crucial to the American way of life, and the 99% know it. Their living standards would drop enormously without the imperial loot. Thus, they dearly yearn for all the repression, war, and chauvinism they vote for and more.
Steki on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:53 pm EST/EDT
One thing is telling, at least for me. Who the f in the right state of mind kills other state's official and then admits of doing it?!? The common sense sense tells me that you do something and to avoid bigger consequences you stay quet and deny everything. Just like CIA is doing. Trump just put US military personnel in grave danger. We know how they accused Manning for showing the to the world US war crimes. They put him in the jail for what Trump just did. But, I cannot believe that they are that much stupid. If US does not want war, as Trump is saying, they could have done this and then blame someone else because now it has been shown that they wanted to "talk" to Iran, as Iraqis PM said. At least, US brought new meaning to the word "talk"
Rostislav_Velka_Morava on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:56 pm EST/EDT
Russia will not allow this, and will put their foot down.
Hussan Carim on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:00 pm EST/EDT
The most damaging, no most devestating, assymetrical attack on the US would be a 'non violent' attack.

Let me quickly explain.

It has been well known since the exposure of the man behind the curtain during the great financial crisis of 2007-08 that all Human operations – all Human life in fact – is financialised in some way.

Some ways being so sophisticated or 'subtle' that barely 1 person in 1000 is even aware, much less capable of understanding them, much less the financial control grid (and state / deepstate power base) which empoverishs them and enslaves them to an endless cycle of aquiring and spending 'money'.

Look deeply and the wise will see how 'Human resources' (as opposed to Human Beings) are herded like cattle to be worked on the farm, 'fleeced', or slaughtered as appropriate to the money masters.

We have been programmed, trained, and conditioned to call 'currency units' (dollar/euro/pound/yuan, etc) 'money', when they are actually nothing of the sort, they are state or bank issued money substitutes.

In the middle east and north africa some leaders recognised this determined how to escape slavery and subjegation. They attempted to field this knowledge like an economic-nuke, but without the massive protection required, and they were destroyed by the empire – Sadam Hussain with his oil for Gold (and oil for Euros) program, and Col. Gadaffi of Libya with his North African 'Gold Dinar' and 'Silver Durham' Islamic money program.

To cut a very long story short – the evil empire depends upon all nations and peoples excepting thier pieces of paper currency units as 'real' money – which the empire print / create in unlimited quantities to fund thier war machine and global progrram of domination.

All financial markets are either denominated or settled in US Dollars (or are at least convertable).

All Nations Central Banks (except Irans I believe) are linked via various US Dollar exchange / liquidity mechanisms, and all 'settle' in US Dollars.

Currently all nations use US controlled electronic banking communications / exchange / tranfer systems (swift being the most well known).

Would it therefore not make sence to go for the very beating heart of the Beast – the US financial system?

The most powerful attack against the empire would therefore be against this power base – the global reserve currency – the US dollar – and the US ability to print any quantity of it (or create digits on a screen and call them 'Dollar Units').

It would be pointless trying to fight an emnemy capable of printing for free enough currency to buy every resource (including peoples lives) – unless that super ability was destroyed or disrupted.

Example of a massive nuclear equivilent attack on the beast would be an internal and major disrruption of interbank electronic communications (at all levels from cash machine operation and card payment readers up to interbank transfers and federal banking operations).

Shut down the US banking system and you shut down the US war machine.

Not only that you shut down the US ability to buy resources and bribe powerful leaders – which means they wont be able to recover from such a blow quickly.

Shutting down banking and electronic payments of all kinds would cause the US people – particularly those currently enjoying bread and circus distraction and pacification – to tear appart thier own communities, and each other, as the spoiled and gready fight for the remaining resources, including food and fuel.

The 'grid' has been studied in great depth by both Russia and China (and Israel as part of thier neo-sampson option) and we can therefore deduce that Iran has some knowledge of how it works and where the weak links are (and not just the undersea optical cables and wireless nodes).

I, and a thousand other people have always said, the best, perhaps only way to defeat the US and end its reign of terror on this Earth is to take away its ability to create out of thin air the Worlds global reserve currency – the US Dollar.

Reducing the US to an empoverished 3rd world state by taking its check book away would be a worthy and lasting revenge and humiliation.

Amon Ra on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:09 pm EST/EDT
" I, and a thousand other people have always said, the best, perhaps only way to defeat the US and end its reign of terror on this Earth is to take away its ability to create out of thin air the Worlds global reserve currency – the US Dollar. "

No, the best way would be for each nation to ditch the intertwined, privately ( Rothschild ) controlled central banks, and to return to printing their own money. Anything, short of that will just perpetuate the same system from a different home base ( nation ), most likely China next. This virus can jump hosts and it will given a chance.

Auslander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:03 pm EST/EDT
Who knows what will happen, but an actual boots on the ground invasion of Iran will not happen. Iran is not Irak and things have changed since that war.

US does not have 6 to 12 months to gather it's forces and logistics for an invasion (remember, the election is coming), plus US no longer has the heavy lift assets to do this. Toss in the fact that Iran is now on a war footing and has allies in the general AO, hired RoRo's and other logistics and supply assets will be targets before they get anywhere near the ports or beaches to off load. Plus, you can kiss oil goodbye, Iran will close the straights a nanosecond after the first bomb is in the air.

An air assault such as Serbia will be very expensive, Iran will fight back from the first bomb if not before, and Iran has a pretty viable air defense system and the missiles to make life miserable for any cluster of troops and logistics within roughly 300 kilometers of the borders if not longer. Look at a map. There is a long border between Iran and Irak, but as such and considering the terrain, any viable ground attack has to come from Irak territory. With millions of Iraki's seething at what Uncle Sugar just did and millions of Iranians seething at what Uncle Sugar just did, any invading troops will not be greeted with showers spring blossoms. To paraphrase a quote, 'You will be safe nowhere, our land will be your grave.'

Toss in the fact that an invasion of Irak, if even half successful, will put American troops on a war footing perilously close to Russian territory and possibly directly on the Russian Lake, aka Caspian Sea, and sovereign territory of Russia. Won't happen, VVP will not allow it.

Ergo, in spite of all the bluster and chest beating, at best all Foggy Bottom can do is bomb, bomb some more and bomb again. The cost in airframes and captured pilots will be a disaster and if RoRo's and other logistic heavy lift assets or bases are hit, the body bags coming back to Dover will be of numbers that can not be hidden as they are today with explanations that the dead are victims of training accidents or air accidents.

Foggy Bottom, and Five Points with Langley, have painted themselves in to a corner and unfortunately for them, (and it's within the realm of possibility that Five Points egged Trump on for this deal regardless of their protestations of innocence and surprise) they are now in a case of put up or shut up. As a point of honor they will continue down the spiral path of open warfare and war is like a cow voiding it's watery bowels, it splatters far beyond the intended target.

As my friend said a few years ago, damn you, damn your eyes, damn your souls, damn you back to Satan whose spawn you are. Go back to your fetid master and leave us in peace.

Auslander
Author http://rhauslander.com/

Never The Last One, paper back edition. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521849056 A deep look in to Russia, her culture and her Armed Forces, in essence a look at the emergence of Russian Federation.

An Incident On Simonka. paperback edition. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1696160715 NATO Is Invited To Leave Sevastopol, One Way Or The Other.

Auslander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:19 pm EST/EDT
"Toss in the fact that an invasion of Irak, if even half successful," should read:

"Toss in the fact that an invasion of Iran, if even half successful,"

It's late and this old man is tired. More tomorrow.

Auslander

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:04 pm EST/EDT
"UPDATE2: RT is reporting that "One US service member, two contractors killed in Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya, two DoD personnel injured". Which just goes to prove my point that spontaneous attacks are what we will be seeing first and that the retaliation promised by Iran will only come later."

-Al-Shabaab is a salafist terror group

Observer on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:17 pm EST/EDT
Saker, Some of us might be curious to know what your experience with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research informs you about the imminent Virginia gun bans and confiscations planned for this year and next. Can Empire afford to fight an actual shooting war on two fronts, one externally against Iraq/Iran and the second internally against its own people, some of whom will paradoxically be called away to fight on the first front? Perhaps the two conflicts could become conjoined as Uncle Shmuel mislabels every peaceful gun owner who just wants to be left alone as a foreign enemy-sympathizer and combatant by default, thereby turning brother against brother in a bloody prolonged hell in the regions immediately around Washington DC? Could the Empire *truly* be that suicidal?
Hajduk on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:20 pm EST/EDT
'Mr. Trump, the Gambler! Know that we are near you, in places that don't come to your mind. We are near you in places that you can't even imagine. We are a nation of martyrdom. We are the nation of Imam Hussein You are well aware of our power and capabilities in the region. You know how powerful we are in asymmetrical warfare You know that a war would mean the loss of all your capabilities. You may start the war, but we will be the ones to determine its end '
Gen. Soleimani (2018)
Bikkin on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:31 pm EST/EDT
Hello Saker,
I would like to ask you a question.
According to the Russian nuclear doctrine "The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against itself or its allies and also in response to large-scale aggression involving conventional weapons in situations that are critical for the national security of the Russian Federation and its allies."
In your opinion does Russia consider Iran such an ally? Will Russia shield Iran against USAn / Israeli nuclear strikes? In case of an imminent nuclear strike on Iran is Russia (and possibly others) going to issue a nuclear ultimatum to the would-be aggressor? And in case an actual nuclear attack on Iran happens is Russia going to retaliate / deter further attacks with its own nukes?
What is your opinion?
One thing: please do not start explaining why the above scenario is completely unthinkable, unrealistic and why it would never ever happen. I need your opinion on the possible events if such an attack does take place or it is about to happen. I do not need reasons why it would not happen; I need your opinion what might take place if it does happen. If you cannot answer my question, have no opinion or simply do not want to answer it please let me know it.
In case there is a formal commitment by Russia – one I know not of – when, where was it made?
Thanks in advance.
Nachtigall on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:27 pm EST/EDT
2nd that, but be polite to the Saker. Ask nicely next time, like someone who is civilized.

Thanks you for your indispensable work, dear Saker!

Marko on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:32 pm EST/EDT
I think USA still has nuclear option.
They will not hesitate to use it on Iran if Israel is in danger.
So, I think Iran shall be defeated anyway, as USA is much stronger.

Wrong. If the US uses nukes, then this will secure the total victory of Iran.
The Saker

Nachtigall on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:31 pm EST/EDT
How does this secure a total victory, dear Saker? Please help my to understand this: Nukes on every major city, industrial site, infrastructure with pos. millions dead – how is this a victory?
robert on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:41 pm EST/EDT
So, how many hostages for Iran are in Iraq now?
Petro-G on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:44 pm EST/EDT
I think that if Iran were to launch some devastating missiles into Israel, either a US ship/submarine or Israel will launch a nuclear bomb into Iran. The US knows there is nothing to be gained by a ground invasion. If we [the US] were to start launching missiles into Iran, Iran would rightfully be launching sophisticated arms back toward US ships and Israel and the US can't stand for that. We are good at dishing it out, but lousy at receiving it.

I can only believe we assassinated Solieman [apologies] because it is the writhing of a dying petrodollar. The US is desperate. But I don't understand how going to war is supposed to help?

Stand Easy on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:56 pm EST/EDT
Some short comments on the strategic blunder made by US.

Meantime, global ramifications are being felt. View from China, one of the biggest consumers of ME oil:

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1175782.shtml

and some mind-reading from a HK based rag:

"Beijing's ties with Tehran are crucial to its energy and geopolitical strategies, and with Moscow also in the mix, a broader conflagration is a real possibility"

https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/could-china-take-irans-side-in-a-war-with-us/

Japan had planned to send some military hardware to the ME just before the new year but Gen Soleimani's murder may change the calculus.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/03/national/japan-sdf-assassination-iran-qassem-soleimani/#.XhJYxfLmjN4

Last but not least, Happy Nativity to all Orthodox Christians (thanks for the beautifully illustrated Orthodox calendar, The Saker.)
Let us all pray for peace.

Kent on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:33 pm EST/EDT
"(thanks for the beautifully illustrated Orthodox calendar, The Saker.)"

Credits for the calendar(s) should go to one of our in house Artists and poets Ioan.

You obviously do not visit the Cafe' very often, do you?

Regards
Kent

Wendy on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:24 pm EST/EDT
Trump is the King of the South. Killing under a flag of parley is a rare thing these days and is the reason why Trump will end up going to war with no allies by his side just like the path mapped oit for him in Daniel.

Analysis sans eschatology is Onism.

Tom on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:32 pm EST/EDT
It's not a blunder.
Trump's goals pre-assassination:
1) withdraw US troops from the ME ("Fortress America") and
2) placate Israel
This is how it is done. Not a direct "hey guys, we have to bring the boys home." Trump tried that and got smashed by the Deep State and Israel. Instead, he is going to force the Islamic world to do the talking for him by refusing to host our pariah army (that's all they have to do, not destroy a major US base or two). Then even the Deep State will admit it's a lost cause. He can say he did all he could while achieving his goals.
As The Saker pointed out, the troops being sent now are to evacuate, not to conquer Tehran. Next time this year the US will have its troops home and Trump will be reelected

[Jan 05, 2020] Trump is wholly responsible for his own actions, but he -- just like the Ayatollah -- is being pushed in a direction where it's impossible to back down and still "save face". Neither men can afford to do so by Andrew Korybko

Highly recommended!
Looks like Trump administration buried the Treaty of non-proliferation once and for all. From now on only a country with nuclear weapons can be viewed as a sovereign country.
Notable quotes:
"... To remind the reader once more, however, none of this would be happening had Iran not abandoned its "nuclear ambiguity" by agreeing to the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal, with that event in hindsight being the tripwire that provoked the American military into wantonly escalating tensions with Iran ..."
"... Because they realized that the maximum costs that the Islamic Republic could inflict on it in response to their actions could be "manageable". ..."
"... The lesson to be learned from all of this is that the possession of nuclear weapons safeguards a country's sovereignty by enabling it to inflict "unmanageable"/"unacceptable" costs on its foes and thus deter their aggression, failing which leaders on both sides can be manipulated into a serious crisis. ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | astutenews.com

Astute News

Trump is wholly responsible for his own actions, but he -- just like the Ayatollah -- is being pushed in a direction where it's impossible to back down and still "save face". Neither men can afford to do so, which makes it likely that a lot more people than just Maj. Gen. Soleimani might be about to die.

To remind the reader once more, however, none of this would be happening had Iran not abandoned its "nuclear ambiguity" by agreeing to the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal, with that event in hindsight being the tripwire that provoked the American military into wantonly escalating tensions with Iran (despite believing that they're doing so in "self-defense)

Because they realized that the maximum costs that the Islamic Republic could inflict on it in response to their actions could be "manageable".

The lesson to be learned from all of this is that the possession of nuclear weapons safeguards a country's sovereignty by enabling it to inflict "unmanageable"/"unacceptable" costs on its foes and thus deter their aggression, failing which leaders on both sides can be manipulated into a serious crisis.


By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World

[Jan 04, 2020] The role of Germany in the Ukrainian disaster

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I have the feeling , just the suspicion , that they contributed to the Ukrainian disaster out of their genetic Drang nach Osten Nordic greed , is that right ? ..."
"... Anyway since the Ukrainian disaster the cohesion of the EU is going going down . Germany which was gifted with the German reunification , is less and less trusted specially in south Europe , and even less in the EU far west , in England which is going out of the EU . ..."
"... As a curiosity in 1945 the Zionists asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused . https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/164673/crimea-as-jewish-homeland ..."
"... is 2019 and life in Ukraine is barely better than it was 25-50 years ago, population has actually dropped from its peak in early 1990's. Millions of Ukrainians live abroad (I know some of them) and have – to be polite – at best an ambivalent attitude towards their homeland. Almost all of them prefer to be somewhere else, even to become someone else. ..."
"... I don't agree with the facile name-calling that sees Nazis everywhere and exaggerates throw-away symbolism. But Ukraine has not been functioning and it can't go like this much longer. Not because it will collapse, it won't, but because during an era of general prosperity Ukraine can't be a unstable exception (oh, I get it, they are better than Moldova, good for them.) ..."
"... Rebellions against geography are doomed. Projecting one's personal frustrations on external enemies (Kremlin!) has never worked. Ukraine needs rationality – accepting that they will not be in EU, that attempting to join Nato would destroy Ukraine, and that they can't beat Russia in a war. And following advise of half-mad and half-ignorant well-wishers from Washington or Brussels is a road to ruin. Nulands, Bidens and Tusks will never live in Ukraine, they really deeply don't care about it. They have no skin in that game, it is just entertainment for them. ..."
"... During WWII, Germany actually established settlements in Crimea. Think about it: there is a massive war, you have like 1-2 years, short on transport and resources, and you start sending settlers to Crimea – that's how much drang-nach-osten types wanted it. And the Turks, etc This must be driving them absolutely nuts. ..."
"... The mexicans say : when God created Mexico He gave Mexico everything ; land , mountains , plains , tropical forests , deserts , two oceans , agriculture , gold , silver , oil . then God saw how beautiful and perfect Mexico was and He though that He should also give something bad to the country to prevent the sin of pride , and then he populated Mexico with pure pendejos ,( idiots ) . ..."
"... If you want a decent analysis of current events in the Ukraine, which is what The Saker provides, I guess you'll just have to put up with his terminology. ..."
"... My experience is that Ukrainians individually are far from being pendejos . But they are unable to act as a group or as a nation. (Well, they 'act', but it mostly somehow fails.) ..."
"... Maybe it is the relative shallow and heterogenous history of Ukraine. Or – and this is what I have observed – a fundamental inner disloyalty to the Ukraine as a homeland. When one observes the assorted Porkys, Timoshenkas, Yanuks, the oligarchs, but also the crowds on Maidan, I get a sense that they are all about to leave Ukraine or are thinking about leaving. Societies can't be built with one foot always at the airport, or in an old car in a 5-km column waiting on the border of Poland. Or Russia. ..."
Nov 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Carlton Meyer says: Website November 17, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Evj_qduJY7U?feature=oembed Read More


Antares , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT

@Alfred I had the same thoughts. Zelenskii should show a similar coffin with the text "This one is still empty" and then start rounding up the terrorists. He finally has a good excuse.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:58 am GMT
Thank you Saker and Unz for the very interesting article .

I wonder what has been the role of Germany in the Ukrainian disaster . ...I have the feeling , just the suspicion , that they contributed to the Ukrainian disaster out of their genetic Drang nach Osten Nordic greed , is that right ?

Anyway since the Ukrainian disaster the cohesion of the EU is going going down . Germany which was gifted with the German reunification , is less and less trusted specially in south Europe , and even less in the EU far west , in England which is going out of the EU .

Most of the people in the EU would like to keep collaborating with the US , of course , but also with Russia and with the rest of the world . Most of the people in the UE are scared of the dark forces operating in Ukraine trying to provoke a war with Russia .

As a curiosity in 1945 the Zionists asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused .
https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/164673/crimea-as-jewish-homeland

awry , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:41 am GMT
The stupid name-calling like the term "ukronazi" makes this article look like a rant like North Korean communiques or the ravings of some Arab despot's propagandist. It is not better than calling "The Saker" a "Moskal", "Sovok" or "Putler's stooge" etc. He should keep this lingo to directly "debating" "Ukronazis" on twitter or youtube commentst etc. not for an article that is supposed to be a serious analysis.

I understand that it is hard for a Russian nationalist to accept that the majority of Ukrainians don't want to belong to their dream Russkiy Mir, they were seduced by the West, which is more attractive with all its failings, because mostly of simple materialistic reasons.

Ukrainians happily go to EU countries that now allow them in as guest workers. The fact, like it or not that majority of them chose the West over Russkiy Mir despite being very close to Russians in culture, language, history etc. He is still in the first stage of grief it seems.

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack Touching. (Really, no sarcasm implied.)

All in all, Ukrainians are probably way above average in most human characteristics. The area of Ukraine is by planetary standards one of the best available: arable land, great rivers, Black see, pleasant and liveable.

But it is 2019 and life in Ukraine is barely better than it was 25-50 years ago, population has actually dropped from its peak in early 1990's. Millions of Ukrainians live abroad (I know some of them) and have – to be polite – at best an ambivalent attitude towards their homeland. Almost all of them prefer to be somewhere else, even to become someone else.

Now why is that? A normal society would have enough introspection to discuss this, to look for answers. Throwing a temper-tantrum on a big square in Kiev every few years is not looking for a solution. That is escapism, Orange-this, Maidan-that, 'Russians bad', 'we are going West', 'golden toilets', and always 'Stalin did it'.

I don't agree with the facile name-calling that sees Nazis everywhere and exaggerates throw-away symbolism. But Ukraine has not been functioning and it can't go like this much longer. Not because it will collapse, it won't, but because during an era of general prosperity Ukraine can't be a unstable exception (oh, I get it, they are better than Moldova, good for them.)

Rebellions against geography are doomed. Projecting one's personal frustrations on external enemies (Kremlin!) has never worked. Ukraine needs rationality – accepting that they will not be in EU, that attempting to join Nato would destroy Ukraine, and that they can't beat Russia in a war. And following advise of half-mad and half-ignorant well-wishers from Washington or Brussels is a road to ruin. Nulands, Bidens and Tusks will never live in Ukraine, they really deeply don't care about it. They have no skin in that game, it is just entertainment for them.

Or alternatively you can pray that Russia collapses – good luck waiting for that.

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
@Anon

.genetic drang nach osten nordic greed

There is not much 'drang' left in Germany, so I think this is mostly fingers on the map post dinner empty talk.

in 1945 the jewery asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused

Crimea is a jewel, but has one big problem: not enough water. But that's also true about Israel, maybe there is a deep genetic memory of coming out of a desert environment.

During WWII, Germany actually established settlements in Crimea. Think about it: there is a massive war, you have like 1-2 years, short on transport and resources, and you start sending settlers to Crimea – that's how much drang-nach-osten types wanted it. And the Turks, etc This must be driving them absolutely nuts.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:34 pm GMT
The mexicans are able to make fun of themselves , that`s a good thing . They have a joke which aplies also to Ukraina ( and other countries )

The mexicans say : when God created Mexico He gave Mexico everything ; land , mountains , plains , tropical forests , deserts , two oceans , agriculture , gold , silver , oil . then God saw how beautiful and perfect Mexico was and He though that He should also give something bad to the country to prevent the sin of pride , and then he populated Mexico with pure pendejos ,( idiots ) .

The same aplies to Ukraina . pure pendejos .

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm GMT
@AWM "Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references?

If you want a decent analysis of current events in the Ukraine, which is what The Saker provides, I guess you'll just have to put up with his terminology.

The world won't miss a thing if Curmudgeon or AWM goes off in a huff, to sit on his toilet and read the "one joke per dump" volume lodged on the tank and stops reading The Saker's very thorough analysis as a protest action!

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
@Anon My experience is that Ukrainians individually are far from being pendejos . But they are unable to act as a group or as a nation. (Well, they 'act', but it mostly somehow fails.)

Maybe it is the relative shallow and heterogenous history of Ukraine. Or – and this is what I have observed – a fundamental inner disloyalty to the Ukraine as a homeland. When one observes the assorted Porkys, Timoshenkas, Yanuks, the oligarchs, but also the crowds on Maidan, I get a sense that they are all about to leave Ukraine or are thinking about leaving. Societies can't be built with one foot always at the airport, or in an old car in a 5-km column waiting on the border of Poland. Or Russia.

GMC , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
Another good article – thanks – Yep, the US/EU NWO is not going to let their "West Ukraine Isis" battalions and intel gang lose their funding , arms trafficking ops, or terrorist reputation. This is a no win situation in Ukraine and the West knows it – Even if NovoRossiya gets some independence, the Ukraine Isis will/can reek havoc and murder for a long time along the border. The modern Cheka { Ukraine Isis } has been modified for the security of the new Farmland owners – Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont and the rest of the Globalist Corporations and their ports close to Odessa.
Hapalong Cassidy , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
One point of contention since it wasn't made clear in this article – Novorussia consists of Luhansk and Donetsk, but not Kharkov. While Kharkov has more Russians than most other provinces of Ukraine do, it does not have a plurality like Donetsk and Luhansk.
Epigon , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

All of Ukraine's doomsayers have been crying about Ukraine's demise for the lat 25 years, yet the fact is that it' s getting stronger and stronger every year,

USA diaspora keeps on delivering.

Shoutout to quarter/half Poles USA citizens LARPing as Ukrainian patriots in the comments.

[Jan 04, 2020] American Meddling in the Ukraine by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Ukraine is now a pawn in a big geopolitical game against Russia. Which somehow survived 90th when everybody including myself has written it off.
That's why the USA, EU (Germany) and Russia pulling the country in different directions. But the victory of Ukrainian nationalists is not surprising and is not solely based on the US interferences (although the USA did lot in this direction) pursuit its geopolitical game against Russia. Distancing themselves from Russa is a universal trend in Post-Soviet space. And it often takes ugly forms.
So Ukraine in not an exception here. It is part of the "rule". Essentially the dissolution of the USSR revised the result on WWII. And while the author correctly calls Ukrainian leader US stooges, they moved in this direction because they feel that it is necessary for maintaining the independence. In other words anti-Russian stance is considered by the Ukrainian elite as a a pre-condition for mainlining independence. Otherwise people like Parubiy would be in jail very soon. They are tolerated and even promoted because they are useful.
It repeats the story of Baltic Republics, albeit with a significant time delay. There should be some social group that secure independence of the country and Ukrainian nationalists happen to be such a group. That's why Yanukovich supported them and Svoboda party (with predictable results).
Notable quotes:
"... The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations. ..."
"... Jump ahead now to the April 2014 "uprising" of anti-Russian forces in the Ukraine (Maidan 2). The US was firmly on the side of the protesters, who ultimately succeeded in ousting the elected President. And who were helping lead this effort? ..."
"... The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine. ..."
"... US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts. ..."
"... US interference was not confined to serendipitous relationships, such as the Yushchenko marriage. It also included the open and active funding of certain political groups and media outlets. The US State Department sent money through a variety of outlets. One of these was the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening aka CEPPS. ..."
"... This is : ..."
"... Count me as one of the people who is outraged by the hypocrisy and stupidity now on display in the United States. I am not talking about Trump. I am referring to the Republicans and Democrats and pundits and media mouthpieces who are fuming about Russian citizens writing on Facebook as one of the worst catastrophes since Pearl Harbor or 9-11. ..."
"... There clearly is meddling going on in America's political landscape. But it isn't the Russian Government. No. There are foreign and domestic forces aligned who are keen on portraying Russia as a threat to world order that must be opposed by more defense spending and tougher sanctions. That is the propaganda that dominates the media in the United States these days. And that is truly dangerous to our nation's safety and freedom. ..."
"... A CIA guy recently said the US only interferes to 'promote democracy' - tell that to Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Congo, Russia, Ukraine...it's a long long list. ..."
"... An independent Ukraine was also a project of German foreign policy after the Brest-Litowsk Treaty (the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty, only aimed at Russia) SO I have o wonder how much of the enthusiasm for Vicky Nuland's Israel friendly Nazi state-let (oh what irony!) is a product of Germany wanting to reassert itself in the east, using NATO solidarity as a fig leaf. Maybe they will make Ukraine import a lot o Africans "refugees" so that Soros' project of creating a brown Europe will be advanced in the Slavic sphere as well as the west. ..."
"... The liberal party - who provides the prime-minister - EU leader Hans van Baalen and Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhostad held a controversial speech on the Maidan square in support of the protesters that the EU will support them. ..."
"... I wouldn't put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. The deeper problem of Ukraine is the fact that in the East of the country (and maybe even the majority of the country) Bandera is indeed regarded as a villain. But in the West he is a hero to this day. Even in Soviet times people from Western Ukraine were regarded as "fascists" by much of the rest of the country. No wonder as there were anti soviet partisans until late in the fifties. ..."
"... "Prorussian" Kutshma turned into a Ukrainian "patriot" (such is the logic of statehood) and the same thing happened with Yanukovich. People forget that he would have signed an association agreement with Europe had Europe not refused because he was insufficiently "democratic". ..."
"... But the West wanted it all. They wanted Ukraine firmly in the "Western" camp. Thereby they ripped the country apart. As a good friend of mine who has studied in Kiev in Soviet times remarked: to ask Ukraine to choose between East and West is like asking a child in divorce proceedings who it liked more: daddy or mummy? ..."
"... A very interesting conversation between Victoria Nulland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, caught at picking the future rulers of liberated Ukraine : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk This is not meddling. This is a defensive (preemptive?) action against Russian agression. ..."
"... I've never seen such an intense barrage of propaganda before in my life. America is fracturing apart like Ukraine. This is no coincidence. In both countries, oligarchs have seized power, the rule of law abandoned and there is a rush of corruption. ..."
"... What we did to Ukraine is shameful in every way. A remember a video of a pallet of money being unloaded from a USG place at Kiev during Maidan 2. That's in addition to Nuland's bag of cookies. I always thought that one of the objectives of our meddling in Ukraine was to make Sevastopol into a NATO naval base. ..."
"... Our leaders are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. The Ukraine was almost evenly divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian sides. Our government, rather than waiting for an election, assisted an armed rebellion against the elected pro-Russian government. Among the groups our government allied with in this endeavor were out and out Nazis. ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations.

Who is the United States government and media supporting? The Nazis . You think I'm joking. Here are the facts, but we must go back to World War II :

When World War II began a large part of western Ukraine welcomed the German soldiers as liberators from the recently enforced Soviet rule and openly collaborated with the Germans. The Soviet leader, Stalin, imposed policies that caused the deaths of almost 7 million Ukrainians in the 1930s--an era known as the Holomodor).

Ukrainian divisions, regiments and battalions were formed, such as SS Galizien, Nachtigal and Roland, and served under German leadership. In the first few weeks of the war, more than 80 thousand people from the Galizien region volunteered for the SS Galizien, which later known for its extreme cruelty towards Polish, Jewish and Russian people on the territory of Ukraine.

Members of these military groups came mostly from the organization of Ukrainian nationalists aka the OUN, which was founded in 1929. It's leader was Stepan Bandera, known then and today for his extreme anti-semitic and anti-communist views.

CIA documents just recently declassified show strong ties between US intelligence and Ukrainian nationalists since 1946.

Jump ahead now to the April 2014 "uprising" of anti-Russian forces in the Ukraine (Maidan 2). The US was firmly on the side of the protesters, who ultimately succeeded in ousting the elected President. And who were helping lead this effort?

Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council is Andriy Parubiy. Parubiy was the founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler's Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians.

The Social National Party would go on to become Svoboda, the far-right nationalist party whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok was one of the three most high profile leaders of the Euromaidan protests. . . .

Overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy as the Deputy Secretary of National Security is Dmytro Yarosh , the leader of the Right Sector – a group of hardline nationalist streetfighters, who previously boasted they were ready for armed struggle to free Ukraine.

The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine.

US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts.

But Viktor Yushchenko is not an American who speaks a foreign language. He is very much a Ukrainian nationalist and steeped in the anti-Semitism that dominates the ideology of western Ukraine. During the final months of his Presidency, Yushchenko made the following declaration:

In conclusion I would like to say something that is long awaited by the Ukrainian patriots for many years I have signed a decree for the unbroken spirit and standing for the idea of fighting for independent Ukraine. I declare Stepan Bandera a national hero of Ukraine.

Without hesitation or shame, Yushchenko endorsed the legacy of Bandera, who had happily aligned with the Nazis in pursuit of his own nationalist goals. Those goals, however, did not include Jews. And here is the ultimate irony--Bandera was born in Austria, not the Ukraine. So much for ideological consistency.

US interference was not confined to serendipitous relationships, such as the Yushchenko marriage. It also included the open and active funding of certain political groups and media outlets. The US State Department sent money through a variety of outlets. One of these was the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening aka CEPPS.

This is : a USAID program with other National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated groups: the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. In 2010, the reported disbursement for CEPPS in Ukraine was nearly $5 million.

The program's efforts are described on the USAID website as providing "training for political party activists and locally elected officials to improve communication with civic groups and citizens, and the development of NGO-led advocacy campaigns on electoral and political process issues."

Anyone prepared to argue that it would be okay for Russia, through its Foreign Ministry, to contribute several million dollars for training party activists in the United States?

What we do not know is how much money was being spent on covert activities directed and managed by the CIA. During the political upheaval in April 2014 (Maidan 2), there was this news item:

Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine's communications systems – and Washington isn't about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

Do you think Americans would be outraged if the head of Russia's version of the CIA, the SVR or FSB, traveled quietly to the United States to meet with Donald Trump prior to his election? I think that would qualify as meddling.

Count me as one of the people who is outraged by the hypocrisy and stupidity now on display in the United States. I am not talking about Trump. I am referring to the Republicans and Democrats and pundits and media mouthpieces who are fuming about Russian citizens writing on Facebook as one of the worst catastrophes since Pearl Harbor or 9-11.

There clearly is meddling going on in America's political landscape. But it isn't the Russian Government. No. There are foreign and domestic forces aligned who are keen on portraying Russia as a threat to world order that must be opposed by more defense spending and tougher sanctions. That is the propaganda that dominates the media in the United States these days. And that is truly dangerous to our nation's safety and freedom.

Posted at 01:24 PM in Publius Tacitus , Russiagate | Permalink


james , 23 February 2018 at 02:11 PM

Good post pt.. thanks... i never knew ''the wife of former President Viktor Yushchenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department.'' That is informative.. i recall following this closely back in 2014.. the hypocrisy on display in the usa at present is truly amazing and frightening at the same time.. it appears that the public can be cowed very easily..
Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , 23 February 2018 at 02:29 PM
good points well made.

On the twitters, you would be accused of "whatabouttism" - which is the crime of excusing Putin's diabolism by pointing out American interference with the internal politics an elections of other nations. A CIA guy recently said the US only interferes to 'promote democracy' - tell that to Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Congo, Russia, Ukraine...it's a long long list.

An independent Ukraine was also a project of German foreign policy after the Brest-Litowsk Treaty (the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty, only aimed at Russia) SO I have o wonder how much of the enthusiasm for Vicky Nuland's Israel friendly Nazi state-let (oh what irony!) is a product of Germany wanting to reassert itself in the east, using NATO solidarity as a fig leaf. Maybe they will make Ukraine import a lot o Africans "refugees" so that Soros' project of creating a brown Europe will be advanced in the Slavic sphere as well as the west.

Adrestia , 23 February 2018 at 02:39 PM
It's not only the US. The EU borg are also meddling. In my country we had a referendum about Ukraine. The population voted "Against" on the question: "Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Ukraine%E2%80%93European_Union_Association_Agreement_referendum,_2016

This was the only referendum that was done since it was implemented in 2015. A second one is being organized on the Intelligence and Security Services which has controversial parts with regard to access to internet traffic.

This referendum will take place on March 21, 2018 and will probably be voted against because of the controversial elements (in part because there is still living memory of our Eastern neighbors in the second world war)

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_op_de_inlichtingen-_en_veiligheidsdiensten_2017

These 2 will probably be the last. Our house of representatives have voted yesterday to end the referendum law (with a majority vote of 76 out of 150 representatives!)

So much for democracy. The reason stated that the referendum was controversial (probably because they voted against the EU borg). Interesting is that the proposal was done by the party that wanted the referendum as a principal point. This will almost certainly ensure that the little respect left for traditional parties is gone and they will not be able to get a majority next elections.

The liberal party - who provides the prime-minister - EU leader Hans van Baalen and Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhostad held a controversial speech on the Maidan square in support of the protesters that the EU will support them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIL1FWCIlu8

Tom , 23 February 2018 at 03:22 PM

I wouldn't put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. The deeper problem of Ukraine is the fact that in the East of the country (and maybe even the majority of the country) Bandera is indeed regarded as a villain. But in the West he is a hero to this day. Even in Soviet times people from Western Ukraine were regarded as "fascists" by much of the rest of the country. No wonder as there were anti soviet partisans until late in the fifties.

Even in the nineties anybody who travelled in Ukraine could feel the tension between East and West. The Russians were certainly aware of it and mindful not to rip the country apart they cut the Ukrainians an enormous amount of slack. Of course they supported "their" candidates and shoveled money into their insatiable throats. Only to be disappointed time and again. "Prorussian" Kutshma turned into a Ukrainian "patriot" (such is the logic of statehood) and the same thing happened with Yanukovich. People forget that he would have signed an association agreement with Europe had Europe not refused because he was insufficiently "democratic". Really the West should have been content with things as they were.

But the West wanted it all. They wanted Ukraine firmly in the "Western" camp. Thereby they ripped the country apart. As a good friend of mine who has studied in Kiev in Soviet times remarked: to ask Ukraine to choose between East and West is like asking a child in divorce proceedings who it liked more: daddy or mummy?

Really the West (not only the US -the Eu is also guilty) is to blame. It is long past time to get down from the high horse and stop spreading chaos and mayhem in the name of democracy,

Jony Kanuck , 23 February 2018 at 03:27 PM
Publius,

An informative column. The coup & later developments soured me on the MSMedia. I'm an initiate into modern Russian history: NATO in the Ukraine = WW3!

Some additional history:

A Ukrainian nation did not exist until after WW1; one piece was Russian, another Polish and another Austrian. The Holodomor is exaggerated for political purposes; the actual number dead from famine appears to be 'only' 2M. It wasn't Soviet bloody mindedness, it was Soviet agricultural mismanagement; collectivizing agriculture drops production.

They did this right before the great drought of the 1930s - remember the dustbowl. There was a famine in Kazakestan at the same time; 1.5M died.

The Nazis raised 5 SS divisions out of the Ukraine. As the Germans were pushed back they ran night drops of ordnance into the Ukraine as long as they could. The Soviets had to carry on divisional level counter insurgency until 1956. After the war, Gehlen, Nazi intelligence czar, kept himself out of jail by turning over his files, routes & agents to the US. He also stoked anti Soviet paranoia.

The Brits ended up with a whole Ukr SS division that they didn't want, so they gave it to Canada. Which is why Canada has such cranky policy around the Ukraine!

bluetonga , 23 February 2018 at 03:28 PM
A very interesting conversation between Victoria Nulland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, caught at picking the future rulers of liberated Ukraine : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk This is not meddling. This is a defensive (preemptive?) action against Russian agression.
Publius Tacitus -> Tom... , 23 February 2018 at 03:31 PM
Tom,

I'm sure you'd like us to ignore Bandera. I bet he liked children and dogs. Just like Hitler. Bandera was a genuine bad guy. There is no rehabilitating that scourge on society. Nice try though.

Publius Tacitus -> bluetonga... , 23 February 2018 at 03:36 PM
I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that your final comment is sarcasm. When you have two senior US Government officials who will and will not constitute a foreign government, you have gone beyond meddling. It is worse.
VietnamVet , 23 February 2018 at 03:57 PM
PT

The media is hysterical. Today, Putin's Facebook Bot Collaborator contacted the Kremlin before his mercenaries attacked Americans in Syria.

I've never seen such an intense barrage of propaganda before in my life. America is fracturing apart like Ukraine. This is no coincidence. In both countries, oligarchs have seized power, the rule of law abandoned and there is a rush of corruption.

A World War is near. The realists are gone. The Moguls are pushing Donald Trump pull the trigger. Either in Syria with an assault to destroy Hezbollah (Iran) for good or American trainers going over the top of trenches in Donbass in a centennial attack of the dead.

The Twisted Genius , 23 February 2018 at 03:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

Hallelujah and jubilation! We're in full agreement on this subject. What we did to Ukraine is shameful in every way. A remember a video of a pallet of money being unloaded from a USG place at Kiev during Maidan 2. That's in addition to Nuland's bag of cookies. I always thought that one of the objectives of our meddling in Ukraine was to make Sevastopol into a NATO naval base.

I would definitely want to see a full account of what support we provided to the nazi thugs of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor. We have a long history of meddling, at least twice as long as the Soviet Union/Russia. But that does not mean we should stop investigating the Russian interference in our 2016 election. Just stop hyperventilating over it. It no more deserves risking a war than our continuing mutual espionage.

TimmyB , 23 February 2018 at 04:08 PM
Our leaders are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. The Ukraine was almost evenly divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian sides. Our government, rather than waiting for an election, assisted an armed rebellion against the elected pro-Russian government. Among the groups our government allied with in this endeavor were out and out Nazis.

As a result of this rebellion, the Russian majority in Crimea overwhelming voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, which they had been part of for over 150-years. While our government continues to provide military aid to Israel, which used force of arms take over the West Bank, it imposed sanctions against Russia when the people of Crimea voted to join their former countrymen. Mind boggling.

[Jan 04, 2020] Trump Is Doing the Bidding of Washington's Most Vile Cabal

Highly recommended!
Now we understand that it was Adelson money talking for Trump, when he campaigned in 2016 on the platform of hostility of Iran and abandonment of the nuclear deal.
While derail who and how ordered the assassination, one thing it clear: Trump no longer deserve re-election. He is yet another Hillary now. Any of Dem opponents excluding Biden, who is dead fish in any case, are better then Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump campaigned on belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment. After appointing notorious warmonger John Bolton as national security adviser, Trump fired him last September. But despite reports that Trump had soured on Bolton because of his interventionist posture toward Iran, Bolton's firing merely opened the door for the equally belligerent Mike Pompeo to take over the administration's Iran policy at the State Department. ..."
"... Now Pompeo is the public face of the Suleimani assassination, while for his part, the fired Bolton didn't want to be left out of the gruesome victory lap: ..."
"... Trump, who had no idea who Qassim Suleimani was until it was explained to him live on the radio by conservative journalist Hugh Hewitt in 2015, didn't seem to need many details to know that he wanted to crush the Iranian state. ..."
"... Much as the neoconservatives came to power in 2001 after the election of George W. Bush with the goal of regime change in Iraq, Trump in his bumbling way assembled a team of extremists who viewed him as their best chance of wiping the Islamic Republic of Iran off the map. ..."
"... Assassination has been a central component of U.S. policy for many decades, though it has been whitewashed and normalized throughout history, most recently with Obama's favored term, "targeted killings." ..."
"... While many Democratic politicians are offering their concerns about the consequences of Suleimani's assassination, they are prefacing it with remarks about how atrocious Suleimani was. Framing his assassination that way ultimately benefits the extremist cabal of foreign policy hawks who agitated for this very moment to arrive. There's no justification for assassinating foreign officials, including Suleimani. This is an aggressive act of war, an offensive act committed by the U.S. on the sovereign territory of a third country, Iraq. This assassination and the potential for a war it raises are, unfortunately, consistent with more than half a century of U.S. aggression against Iran and Iraq. ..."
"... Five months ago, California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited this very type of action, but it was removed from the final bill. "Any member who voted for the NDAA -- a blank check -- can't now express dismay that Trump may have launched another war in the Middle East," Khanna wrote on Twitter after Suleimani's assassination. "My Amendment, which was stripped, would have cut off $$ for any offensive attack against Iran including against officials like Soleimani." ..."
"... Trump is responsible for whatever comes next. But time and again, the worst foreign policy atrocities of his presidency have been enabled by the very politicians who claim to want him removed from office ..."
Jan 03, 2020 | theintercept.com

While the media focus for three years of the Trump presidency has centered around "Russia collusion" and impeachment, the most dangerous collusion of all was happening right out in the open -- the Trump/Saudi/Israel/UAE drive to war with Iran .

On August 3, 2016 -- just three months before Donald Trump would win the Electoral College vote and ascend to power -- Blackwater founder Erik Prince arranged a meeting at Trump Tower. For decades, Prince had been agitating for a war with Iran and, as early as 2010, had developed a fantastical proposal for using mercenaries to wage it.

At this meeting was George Nader, an American citizen who had a long history of being a quiet emissary for the United States in the Middle East. Nader, who had also worked for Blackwater and Prince, was a convicted pedophile in the Czech Republic and is facing similar allegations in the United States. Nader worked as an adviser for the Emirati royals and has close ties to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. Join Our Newsletter Original reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you. I'm in There was also an Israeli at the Trump Tower meeting: Joel Zamel. He was there supposedly pitching a multimillion-dollar social media manipulation campaign to the Trump team. Zamel's company, Psy-Group, boasts of employing former Israeli intelligence operatives. Nader and Zamel were joined by Donald Trump Jr. According to the New York Times, the purpose of the meeting was "primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months, past the election and well into President Trump's first year in office."

One major common goal ran through the agendas of all the participants in this Trump Tower meeting: regime change in Iran. Trump campaigned on belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment. After appointing notorious warmonger John Bolton as national security adviser, Trump fired him last September. But despite reports that Trump had soured on Bolton because of his interventionist posture toward Iran, Bolton's firing merely opened the door for the equally belligerent Mike Pompeo to take over the administration's Iran policy at the State Department.

Now Pompeo is the public face of the Suleimani assassination, while for his part, the fired Bolton didn't want to be left out of the gruesome victory lap:

Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani. Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.

-- John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 3, 2020
Trump, who had no idea who Qassim Suleimani was until it was explained to him live on the radio by conservative journalist Hugh Hewitt in 2015, didn't seem to need many details to know that he wanted to crush the Iranian state.

Much as the neoconservatives came to power in 2001 after the election of George W. Bush with the goal of regime change in Iraq, Trump in his bumbling way assembled a team of extremists who viewed him as their best chance of wiping the Islamic Republic of Iran off the map.

While Barack Obama provided crucial military and intelligence support for Saudi Arabia's scorched earth campaign in Yemen, which killed untold numbers of civilians, Trump escalated that mass murder in a blatant effort to draw Iran militarily into a conflict. That was the agenda of the gulf monarchies and Israel, and it coincided neatly with the neoconservative dreams of overthrowing the Iranian government. As the U.S. and Saudi Arabia intensified their military attacks in Yemen, Iran began to insert itself more and more forcefully into Yemeni affairs, though Tehran was careful not to be tricked into offering this Trump/Saudi/UAE/Israel coalition a justification for wider war.

Protesters shout slogans against the United States and Israel as they hold posters with the image of top Iranian commander Qassim Suleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a demonstration in the Kashmiri town of Magam on Jan. 3, 2020.

Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images The assassination of Suleimani -- a popular figure in Iran who is viewed as one of the major drivers of ISIS's defeat in Iraq -- was one of only a handful of actions that the U.S. could have taken that would almost certainly lead to a war with Iran. This assassination, reportedly ordered directly by Trump, was advocated by the most dangerous and extreme players in the U.S. foreign policy establishment with that exact intent.

Assassination has been a central component of U.S. policy for many decades, though it has been whitewashed and normalized throughout history, most recently with Obama's favored term, "targeted killings." The U.S. Congress has intentionally never legislated the issue of assassination. Lawmakers have avoided even defining the word "assassination." While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, they have each carried out assassinations with little to no congressional outcry. Read Our Complete Coverage The Iran Cables In 1976, following Church Committee recommendations regarding allegations of assassination plots carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, Ford signed an executive order banning "political assassination." Jimmy Carter subsequently issued a new order strengthening the prohibition by dropping the word "political" and extending it to include persons "employed by or acting on behalf of the United States." In 1981, Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which remains in effect today. The language seems clear enough: "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination."

As I wrote in August 2017, reflecting on our Drone Papers series from two years earlier, "The Obama administration, by institutionalizing a policy of drone-based killings of individuals judged to pose a threat to national security -- without indictment or trial, through secret processes -- bequeathed to our political culture, and thus to Donald Trump, a policy of assassination, in direct violation of Executive Order 12333 and, moreover, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. To date, at least seven U.S. citizens are known to have been killed under this policy, including a 16-year-old boy. Only one American, the radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, was said to have been the 'intended target' of a strike."

There's no justification for assassinating foreign officials, including Suleimani.
While many Democratic politicians are offering their concerns about the consequences of Suleimani's assassination, they are prefacing it with remarks about how atrocious Suleimani was. Framing his assassination that way ultimately benefits the extremist cabal of foreign policy hawks who agitated for this very moment to arrive. There's no justification for assassinating foreign officials, including Suleimani. This is an aggressive act of war, an offensive act committed by the U.S. on the sovereign territory of a third country, Iraq. This assassination and the potential for a war it raises are, unfortunately, consistent with more than half a century of U.S. aggression against Iran and Iraq.

For three years, many Democrats have told the country that Trump is the gravest threat to a democratic system we have faced. And yet many leading Democrats have voted consistently to give Trump unprecedented military budgets and surveillance powers.

Five months ago, California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited this very type of action, but it was removed from the final bill. "Any member who voted for the NDAA -- a blank check -- can't now express dismay that Trump may have launched another war in the Middle East," Khanna wrote on Twitter after Suleimani's assassination. "My Amendment, which was stripped, would have cut off $$ for any offensive attack against Iran including against officials like Soleimani."

Trump is responsible for whatever comes next. But time and again, the worst foreign policy atrocities of his presidency have been enabled by the very politicians who claim to want him removed from office . Wait! Before you go on about your day, ask yourself: How likely is it that the story you just read would have been produced by a different news outlet if The Intercept hadn't done it? Consider what the world of media would look like without The Intercept. Who would hold party elites accountable to the values they proclaim to have? How many covert wars, miscarriages of justice, and dystopian technologies would remain hidden if our reporters weren't on the beat? The kind of reporting we do is essential to democracy, but it is not easy, cheap, or profitable. The Intercept is an independent nonprofit news outlet. We don't have ads, so we depend on our members -- 35,000 and counting -- to help us hold the powerful to account. Joining is simple and doesn't need to cost a lot: You can become a sustaining member for as little as $3 or $5 a month. That's all it takes to support the journalism you rely on.

[Jan 04, 2020] Will Trump welcome the ejection of the US from Iraq - He should by Colonel Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Somehow the Ziocons around Trump have forgotten that the present state of Iraq refused to yield to Obama's demands for a SOFA and in effect expelled the US from the country. ..."
"... The Iraqi parliament is going to vote in emergency session over the issue of the death of al-Muhandis. Will they vote to expel the US from their country? ..."
"... What a lot of commentators seem to overlook is that America has basically declared war on Iraq, while our soldiers are hosted on joint bases with Iraqi soldiers. ..."
"... "We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now. That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran." Tulsi Gabbard. ..."
"... Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law? ..."
"... Will we go if they vote that way? I'll go with no. The Neocons desperately want us in Iraq to protect Israel and stick it to Iran as much as possible. They have a laundry list of prepared arguments and we have the dumbest, most compliant, state media in recorded history. We also have a President who believes that intnl law is for weaklings and loves saying 'take the oil'. ..."
"... Take a look at this interview to David Petraeus by FP on yesterday´s summary executions...What you make of this? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/03 He sounds as if he were the brain behind this operation on summary executions..along some other think tankers.. ..."
"... Whoever is President we will have war. The President is just a feckless puppet controlled by the Zionist. I'll never vote again. It's a waste of time and a farce. Hillary or Donald no different just a matter of timing. Obama destroyed Libya and Syria. Bush II the simpleton and his fairy tale WMD lie. I've lost all respect for whatever "the republic" is suppose to be. On top of that the masses are too stupid for democracy to work. ..."
Jan 03, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian soldier. He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He met a soldier's destiny. It is being said that he was a BAD MAN. Absurd! To say that he was a BAD MAN because he fought us as well as the Sunni jihadis is simply infantile. Were all those who fought the US BAD MEN? How about Gentleman Johhny Burgoyne? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Sitting Bull? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Aguinaldo? Another BAD MAN? Let us not be juvenile.

The Iraqi PMU commander who died with Soleimani was Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. He was a member of a Shia militia that had been integrated into the Iraqi armed forces. IOW, we killed an Iraqi general. We killed him without the authorization of the supposedly sovereign state of Iraq.

We created the present government of Iraq through the farcical "purple thumb" elections. That government holds a seat in the UN General Assembly and is a sovereign entity in international law in spite of Trump's tweet today that said among other things that we have "paid" Iraq billions of US dollars. To the Arabs, this statement that brands them as hirelings of the US is close to the ultimate in insult.

Somehow the Ziocons around Trump have forgotten that the present state of Iraq refused to yield to Obama's demands for a SOFA and in effect expelled the US from the country.

The Iraqi parliament is going to vote in emergency session over the issue of the death of al-Muhandis. Will they vote to expel the US from their country?

Will we go if they vote that way? We should. If we do not, then we will be exposed as imperialist hypocrites.

Trump should welcome such a vote. He wants to get out of the ME? What greater opportunity could we have to do so?

Let us leave if invited to go. Let the oh, so clever locals deal with their own hatreds and rivalries. pl


phodges , 03 January 2020 at 02:20 PM

What a lot of commentators seem to overlook is that America has basically declared war on Iraq, while our soldiers are hosted on joint bases with Iraqi soldiers.
Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 02:39 PM
Thank you, Pat!

But...Elora guesses you are being rhetorical here...because... if he would have died by the sword...would not have he had the opportunity to defend himself against his enemy/opponent?
Instead...he was caught on surprise...unarmed...and hit by an overwhelming force...he was going to some funerals...

Cameron Kelley , 03 January 2020 at 02:56 PM
Thank you, Colonel. We don't know, we don't care, but we can kill - that's not a recipe for success.
Jack , 03 January 2020 at 04:09 PM
"We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now. That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran." Tulsi Gabbard.

https://twitter.com/tulsigabbard/status/1213168223127949313?s=21

Would we get out if Iraq asks us to do so? I don't think so. There will be a hue & cry about appeasement of terror!

ex PFC Chuck -> Jack... , 03 January 2020 at 05:25 PM
It took Tulsi about 18 hours to get that brief statement out. Can't help but wonder what that delay was all about.
Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 04:14 PM
Some impressive images worth thousands words...just to remember everybody that this man was an appreciated human being...doing his duty....for his motherland...and his God....
Elora Danan said in reply to Elora Danan... , 03 January 2020 at 05:07 PM
To better understand the pain of that elderly yazidi woman in the video, some testimony by Rania Khalek on the role of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ( the other militia commander killed who is being as well slandered as terrorist along Soleimani ...) in stopping yazidi genocide in Iraq when nobody else was giving a damn, less any help, for this people...

https://twitter.com/RaniaKhalek/status/1213198497668833280

divadab , 03 January 2020 at 04:17 PM
Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law?

And am I alone to be disgusted to see the senior members of our government lie blatantly and constantly, when they're not fellating the nearest likudnik....

Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 04:20 PM
Tulsi...may be our last hope...

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1213168223127949313

Tulsi for president!

ISL , 03 January 2020 at 04:27 PM
Dear Colonel, seems you find yourself in Tulsi's (good) company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=28&v=kToUJaOVgTA&feature=emb_logo

prawnik , 03 January 2020 at 04:32 PM
Trump should, but he won't. Might as well quote Bible verses to a robber.
turcopolier , 03 January 2020 at 04:38 PM
ISL

I have been giving her money every month.

Factotum , 03 January 2020 at 04:57 PM
We go where we are wanted and appreciated. We have no skin in Iraq. Build the Wall and protect our own borders. Concentrate our resources on cyber-security.
A. Pols , 03 January 2020 at 05:48 PM
Tulsi makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately that disqualifies her for the presidency, not because she couldn't execute the functions of the presidency, but because neither the party apparatchiks nor the voters would give her the chance. These days either nationalistic claptrap or promises of more freebies are what carry the day. Quelle domage, eh?

As for the Iraqi parliament voting to expel U.S. forces? That's an interesting question. If they did, they'd better vote to expel the "den of spies" at the embassy and insist on our having a normal sized legation (as all countries would be well advised to do). But if they do, would we leave? I personally doubt it even though it would be best if we did and let the Iraqis do what they will, which would probably be reverting back to some sort of strongman govt, of a type more suited to their cultural traditions and inclinations. It's high time we afforded the rest of the world the type of cultural and political autonomy we claim to revere so much.

So, we leave? A good thing for us and for them and the world at large.

Or, we don't? Then we expose the truth the rest of the world already knows, but we at least expose the truth to our own people who have been fed a steady diet of mendacious BS about what we've been doing over there all these years.

That attack on the "airport limo" vehicles leaving Baghdad airport sure took some nerve on our part to think that we could sell something like that...

And, did Trump actually order it, or did someone else in the MIC order it first and Trump laid claim to it afterwards? Uncle Joe, if he had ordered it, would have afterwards announced the execution of a fall guy and denied any complicity! If Trump didn't order it, he should throw whoever did under the bus instead of crowing and wrapping himself in the flag. I wonder about what actually happened in planning this hit job on prominent military people on their way to a funeral for 31 people who may or may not have had anything whatsoever to do with the death of a single American mercenary in Iraq in an attack by persons unknown on a small outpost.

J , 03 January 2020 at 06:01 PM
It's times like this I wish I was a fly on the wall, listening to what the Russian General Staff conversations regarding this assassination are at this moment.

Trump IMHO would do well to seek Putin's counsel on how to exit the corner that Trump has backed US into. While this spells problems for our US, it also creates additional problems for Russia in the ways that could cause them MAJOR problem as well as in a full blown Mideast War with many players in the mix. Not a good mix either.

Israel can't handle a full blown Mideast War, no matter how much their narcissistic national psyche thinks they can. Israel is a mere postage stamp in a sea of rage, which tsunami waves could very easily consume them. Sheldon Adelson and his Likud/NEOCON blowhards have no concept of what is on the short horizon, that can go one way or the other.

I'm glad I'm retired in this instance. My glass of bourbon is more palatable than the grains of Mideast sand that fixing to get stirred up.

God help us all.

Pat, why does the US military always get left with the shit-storms to clean up after? Why?

Christian J Chuba , 03 January 2020 at 06:32 PM
Will we go if they vote that way? I'll go with no. The Neocons desperately want us in Iraq to protect Israel and stick it to Iran as much as possible. They have a laundry list of prepared arguments and we have the dumbest, most compliant, state media in recorded history. We also have a President who believes that intnl law is for weaklings and loves saying 'take the oil'.

I can hear the talking points already ...
1. 'Obama made the same mistake and it created ISIS.'
2. 'Iran has taken over Iraq, it's not a legitimate request' (look at how we selectively recognize govts in South America and no one blinks).
3. 'Iran will use Iraq as a base to attack us' (yeah, its about 100 miles closer).

I can't stand what we have become, the jackals have taken over and the MSM attacks the very few who are not jackals.

turcopolier , 03 January 2020 at 07:05 PM
A Pols

OK. Who do you think would have had the power to order the strike? Not the CIA, the military would not accept such an order. Not the chairman of the JCS, he is not in the chain of command. That leaves Esper, SECDEF. Really? He looks like a putschist to you? You are ignorant of the American government.

Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 07:18 PM
Take a look at this interview to David Petraeus by FP on yesterday´s summary executions...What you make of this? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/03 He sounds as if he were the brain behind this operation on summary executions..along some other think tankers..
Harlan Easley , 03 January 2020 at 07:20 PM
Whoever is President we will have war. The President is just a feckless puppet controlled by the Zionist. I'll never vote again. It's a waste of time and a farce. Hillary or Donald no different just a matter of timing. Obama destroyed Libya and Syria. Bush II the simpleton and his fairy tale WMD lie. I've lost all respect for whatever "the republic" is suppose to be. On top of that the masses are too stupid for democracy to work.

[Jan 04, 2020] Talking about revenge is stupid and juvenile: Iran needs to pull back and focus on making themselves stronger in economy and technology and for strong ties with other responsible players

Highly recommended!
Iran should probably be very careful not to overplay his hand. The time in working it its favor.
Notable quotes:
"... Lavrov said in June 2019 "Those who rely on inciting tension between Arabs and Persians, Arabs and Kurds, and inside the Arab world – between the Sunnis and the Shiites, are not guided by the interests of the peoples of the region, but by their own narrow geopolitical motives." ..."
"... USA has not legally declared war on Iran. This is murder. Murder of an Iranian Government employee. He may also have been covered by a diplomatic passport. If he is (I don't know) this has major repercussions for Diplomatic immunity. ..."
"... The USA 'new' unilateral principle is that any official in any country may now be murdered by the USA government at the whim of the President of the day. ..."
"... The United States launched a war of aggression, the supreme crime, upon Iraq in 2003, based on blatant lies, and are still there. Prior to that, they helped foment the war between Iraq and Iran, then attacked Iraq in 1991, and on top of the overt warfare there was the economic sanctions warfare. ..."
Jan 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

powerandpeople , Jan 4 2020 18:43 utc | 27

The subject is 'revenge' and what Iranian authorities may or may not do.

The 'big picture' is re-building the security (and well-being) of ordinary Iranian, Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni people - and all other decent people of the Middle East and beyond.

Tribal reaction is deep and strong. We all know and experience that. But to achieve 'the big picture' the first instinctive hind-brain reaction must be set aside - or at least, allowed to 'recede'. Of course there must be re-balancing, which carries with it a feeling of vindication, if not revenge.

Lavrov said in June 2019 "Those who rely on inciting tension between Arabs and Persians, Arabs and Kurds, and inside the Arab world – between the Sunnis and the Shiites, are not guided by the interests of the peoples of the region, but by their own narrow geopolitical motives."

Well the USA Government is guilty must apologise publicly and humbly. Compensation must be paid.

Dialogue started.

USA has not legally declared war on Iran. This is murder. Murder of an Iranian Government employee. He may also have been covered by a diplomatic passport. If he is (I don't know) this has major repercussions for Diplomatic immunity.

The USA 'new' unilateral principle is that any official in any country may now be murdered by the USA government at the whim of the President of the day.

Clearly, decent people in USA need to campaign to limit Presidential powers. Revenge creates a spiral of escalation which becomes a vortex of destruction, perhaps global. How does that improve peoples daily lives?

The duty of government is ensuring the security of its people. Does 'revenge' achieve this in the years ahead? It is the instinctive option, yes, but is it the BEST long term option?

In the end, parties must meet, compensation paid, and the hard slow work of building acceptable inter-state relations based on rule of law and the UN Charter re-commenced.

In my view, there is no other option that meets the long term need of ordinary people.

But building this requires special people. Not wreckers and haters.

Will the urgency of the situation see them emerge?

jared , Jan 4 2020 23:05 utc | 94

@ Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 4 2020 22:18 utc | 84

Thank you. Someone making sense. Most are talking about this like it's halftime in a sporting match - completely juvenile.

Iran needs to pull back and focus on making themselves stronger in economy and technology and for strong ties with other responsible players. They have opportunities with many countries which are increasingly disenchanted with the west. And the west is headed for an economic beating - which explains the desperate behavior.

Even if Iran is very careful in their behavior Irael is going to continue to press for war - the psychotic fears most those that he has attacked.

But maybe with careful behavior and planning and efforts to repair and maintain ties the Iraninans could be ready for that eventuality.

max , Jan 4 2020 23:27 utc | 104
Espen and Trump have made it clear that they will hold Iran responsible for whatever may happen in the region and that they will strike in response or preemptively. Essentially, that makes the real Iranian reaction largely irrelevant. And Israel could create a false flag incident #a la USS Liberty. Or some rogue groups that Iran cannot control might attack US troops or installations. Whether by design or accident, there will be a pretext to base another military strike against Iran on. And then another, until a full blown US-Iran war erupts which Bibi, Lieberman & co so desperately want.
Years of relentless demonization of Iran in the US and the UK have brainwashed large swaths of the population. They will accept a war against Iran, albeit reluctantly, as long as not too many Americans get killed in its wake.

I don't believe for a second that the US would "accept" a limited retaliation. They will jump at any opportunity. Lindsey Graham stands between Trump and impeachment and that warmonger is on record for seeking to bomb Iran's oil refineries. Incidentally, he was the only senator who Trump consulted prior to the murder. Could well be that Graham is right now the real P0TUS , at least until the senate has voted on impeachment. Conveniently, pelosi has put the impeachment on hold, thereby prolonging that situation. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Maybe the Israelis/neocons fear that Trump might lose in November and want to start the war while Bibi's favorite lapdog is still P0TUS. Not, that the Democrats are peacelovers (except for Sanders and Gabbard). But they might be more afraid of a negative reaction by the electorate.
Murdering Suleimani NOW was not some hasty decision without a plan. I am afraid, it was done to get THE ultimate war in the middle east going, no matter if and how much restraint Iran will show.

I do think, btw that Trump blew his reelection by killing Suleimani. Another warmonger will assuredly take his place.

tspoon , Jan 4 2020 23:45 utc | 110
After reading what Magnier has to say, a reasonable guess is that although emotions are running high currently, Irans leadership will likely concentrate omn the work that must be done during such a period, which is to (attempt to) influence the Iraqi parliamentry vote on the continued presence of United States forces. As some have pointed out, this may lead to a US retreat to the Kurdish areas, but even that can only be considered a victory, with consequent practically free movement of Iranian military supplies to their allies in Syria and Lebanon. With this development hopefully secured there is then plenty of time to precisely calibrate any further responce to a level where dignity is preserved, without necessarily bringing the wider ME area into further strife. Any waiting period is also useful in further building up capability where needed, specifically in the case where US aggression continues as it has done so far. US leaders seem not to appreciate that their showy applications of force don't win them friends locally, and could eventually succeed in unifying Iraq in a way Iran never could on its own.
juliania , Jan 5 2020 0:05 utc | 115
This may have been referenced before, and b's previous post begins with a description of the importance of Soleimani, but here is a further link for those who are still in doubt as to his significance for everyone in the region:

qasem-soleimani-was-an-absolute-hero-and-his-death-is-both-a-travesty-and-a-tragedy/

I will also add from a post by Active Patriot at the Saker site: "...if Iran is a friend and ally to Iraq and Syria they would not craft a response which drags either of those 2 countries deeper into more war and hardship."

Really?? , Jan 5 2020 0:19 utc | 119
Circe #72

Solameini's martyrdom is surely recognized as such by all in the ME who have suffered and are suffering the century-long occupation/meddling/manipulating/lying that Western powers have inflicted on the whole ME since before the Great War---now with the USA in the lead. (One of Churchill's war aims in WW1 was to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab as much of it as Britain could grab. Then of course there was the Balfour Declaration crime.)

What is the "purpose" of martyrdom if it is not to galvanize action of some kind? To galvanize a dramatic quantum leap in consciousness of the meaning of the martyr's sacrifice---of his martyrdom. Surely Solameini will be seen to have died *for* something. For what?

Perhaps to inspire a new setting aside of existing local conflicts to form an effective front to *eject* the foreign virus from the body of the whole ME? To create a new coalition among all citizens of all faiths in all of the besieged ME countries to oust the "crusaders"? Didn't Nasser aspire to take charge of his region via the United *Arab* Republics? What about United Sovereign Nations from the Levant to the Hindu Kush. And, make things uncomfortable for Erdogan if he continues to host American Air Force?

Just wondering.

Also, what is Kurdish reaction to this murder? Kurds seem to be an element standing in the way of unity of purpose in the ME.

Dr Wellington Yueh , Jan 5 2020 0:22 utc | 120
OT but I think timely:

1) Get a list of your favorite sites, then do a DNS lookup on their names, and put those IP addresses in a HOSTS file . If a site appears to go offline, try the IP address. If that doesn't work either, well...

2) I have an old laptop that has wifi and an ethernet port, and it runs an older version of Linux Mint. I wish I had an older version, and I may start looking. The more recent the operating system (any!), the more likely it will have backdoors or some other 'critter' running about and working against you.

3) If you have the hardware and some friends nearby, start an out-of-band neighborhood network. This, as I envision it (with limited oracular ability, mind you), can be like the Little Free Library - just an accumulation of stuff each person has saved over the years, or whatever can be obtained, and scanned if necessary. Wifi can work for this short-term, but plan to bury multiple cables eventually. DO NOT EVER (knowingly) CONNECT THIS NETWORK TO THE INTERNET!!!

4) Start planning for long-term storage of important books. Niven's novel Lucifer's Hammer describes one character's efforts in this direction - he sunk a huge library of important 'civilization cranking' books in a cesspool on a neighbor's property.

There's more, but we've a broad spectrum of things to consider at the moment, so I'll not hog the thread.


As a matter of standing up and showing some jackasses in this thread that US citizens aren't all Rambo...

I, Thomas James Kenney, hereby publicly state that it is my opinion the only way out of this mess (and the only chance to save some semblance of a country) is to very publicly try and imprison these vermin for high treason. They have committed an act that runs counter to every attempted description of civilized behavior ever written.

It is also my considered opinion that it is not necessary for Iran to do anything at all. Simply stay the course. We are almost bled out in this disintegrating 'republic', and people around me are conversing about ways to disconnect from some of the toxic facets of this society. There is not much support for a war, despite what the 'required 20%' continue to scream.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 5 2020 0:22 utc | 121
The United States launched a war of aggression, the supreme crime, upon Iraq in 2003, based on blatant lies, and are still there. Prior to that, they helped foment the war between Iraq and Iran, then attacked Iraq in 1991, and on top of the overt warfare there was the economic sanctions warfare.

The death and maiming and poisoning of millions of Iraqis has been the American contribution to Iraq, over the last several decades. What for? How has this helped the United States? Or Europe? The main advocates for this supreme criminality has been the Israel lobby, Israel, and the supporters of Israel.

The American Apache helicopters are still buzzing around over Baghdad, dealing out terror and intimidation and death. The murder by the United States of yet more Iraqi soldiers and officials recently has been largely absent from the propaganda narratives. But could those be 'the final straw'?

As far as Trump's 52 target threat, this comes after the apparent please don't escalate and we'll make a deal - good cop-bad cop routine.

The 52 number was used to remind mind-controlled Americans that the evil Iranians outrageously took 52 Americans hostage. American's don't just take people hostage; they give them orange suits and torture them, unless they kill them. Apart from murdering and maiming by the millions, they even stage fictional killings, like Osama bin laden, to entertain the zombies, and stick out their chests, hand out medals and the like.

Really?? , Jan 5 2020 0:28 utc | 124
Juliania #95

Just a reminder: Iran is not an Arabic country.
And many non-Arabs and non-Muslims live in ME countries (I am not counting Is as an ME country in this context).
Which is why I express hope of perhaps a broader regional coalition.

Inkan1969 , Jan 5 2020 0:35 utc | 131

The shooting down of flight 655 was a criminal act of manslaughter that should've brought charges against the people responsible. But does b really consider destroying another plane of civilians a justified retribution?

I wonder if Putin will force Trump to stop the escalation and show remorse to Iran before any revenge happens.

[Dec 21, 2019] Lessons of the past: all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore. ..."
"... Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago ..."
"... Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. ..."
"... Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. ..."
"... Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way. ..."
"... False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media ..."
Apr 23, 2019 | off-guardian.org

As a history student years ago I remember our teacher explaining how past events are linked to what happens in the future. He told us human behaviour always dictates that events will repeat in a similar way as before. I remember we studied 20th century history and discussed World War I and the links to World War II. At this time, we were in the middle of the Cold War and in unchartered waters and I couldn't really link past events to what was likely to happen next. Back then I guess like many I considered US presidents more as statesman. They talked tough on the Soviet Union but they talked peace too. So, the threat to humanity was very different then to now. Dangerous but perhaps a stable kind of dangerous. After the break up of the Soviet Union we then went through a phase of disorderly change in the world. In the early 1990s the war in the Former Yugoslavia erupted and spread from republic to republic. Up until the mid-to-late nineties I didn't necessarily sense that NATO and the West were the new threat to humanity. While there was a clear bias to events in Yugoslavia there was still some even-handedness or fairness. Or so I thought. This all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges and so on. But my wake-up call was the daily NATO briefings on the war. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative.

When the peace agreement was reached, out of 300 Serbian tanks which had entered Kosovo at the start of the conflict, over 285 were counted going back into Serbia proper which was confirmation he had been lying .

From this conflict onwards I started to see clear parallels with events of the past and some striking similarities with the lead up to previous world wars. This all hit home when observing events in Syria and more recently Venezuala. But looking around seeing people absorbed in their phones you wouldn't think the world is on the brink of war. For most of us with little time to watch world events there are distractions which have obscured the picture historians and geopolitical experts see more clearly.

Recent and current western leaders haven't been short people in military uniform shouting. That would be far too obvious. It's still military conflict and mass murder but in smart suits with liberal sound-bites and high-fives. Then the uncool, uncouth conservative Trump came along and muddied the waters.

Briefly it seemed there might be hope that these wars would stop. But there can be little doubt he's been put under pressure to comply with the regime change culture embedded in the Deep State. Today, through their incendiary language we see US leaders morphing into the open style dictators of the past. The only thing missing are the military uniforms and hats.

Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore.

Let's look at some of these:

1) Military build up, alliances and proxy wars – for all the chaos and mass murder pursued by the Obama Administration he did achieve limited successes in signing agreements with Iran and Cuba. But rather than reverse the endless wars as promised Trump cancels the agreements leaving the grand sum of zilch foreign policy achievements. NATO has been around for 70 years, but in the last 20 or so has become obsessed with military build up. Nowadays it has hundreds of bases around the world but keeps destablising non-aligned states, partly to isolate Russia and China. And Syria sums up the dangers of the regime change model used today. With over a dozen states involved in the proxy war there is a still high risk of conflict breaking out between US and Russia. The motives for military build up are many. First there are powerful people in the arms industry and media who benefit financially from perpetual war. The US while powerful in military terms are a declining power which will continue, new powers emerging. The only return on their money they can see is through military build up. Also there are many in government, intelligence services and media who can see that if the current order continues to crumble they are likely to be prosecuted for various crimes. All this explains the threatening language and the doubling-down on those who challenge them. In 1914, Europe had two backward thinking military alliance blocks and Sarajevo showed how one event could trigger an unstoppable escalation dragging in many states. And empires such as Austro-Hungary were crumbling from within as they are now. So a similar mentality prevails today where the powerful in these empires under threat favour conflict to peace. For these individuals it's a last throw of the dice and a gamble with all our lives.

2) Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago .

3) Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. In addition we face a situation of highly unpredictable, ideological regional leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Most worrying of all, the language, threats and actions of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton suggests there are psychopathic tendencies in play. Behind this is a Deep State and Democrat Party pushing even harder for conflict. The level of paranoia is discouraging any notion of peace. 30 years ago Russia and US would sit down at a summit and reach a consensus. Today a US leader or diplomat seen talking to a Russian official is accused of collusion. When there are limited channels to talk in a crisis, you know we are in trouble. In Germany in the 1930s, ideology, propaganda and creating enemies were key in getting the population on side for war. The leaders within the Nazi clique, Hitler, Goring and Himmler look disturbingly similar to the Trump, Pompeo, Bolton line up.

4) Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. The terms and words; regime change, mass murder and terrorist have all been substituted by the media with 'humanitarian intervention', 'limited airstrikes' and 'moderate rebels' to fool a distracted public that the victims of the aggression are the bad guys. Western funded 'fact checking' sites such as Bellingcat have appeared pushing the misdirections to a surreal new level. Obama was portayed in the media as a cool guy and a little 'soft' on foreign policy. This despite the carnage in Libya, Syria and his drones. Sentiments of equal rights and diversity fill the home affairs sections in the liberal press, while callous indifference and ethno-centrism towards the Middle East and Russia dominate foreign affairs pages. In the press generally, BREXIT, non-existent anti-Semitism and nonsense about the 'ISIS bride' continues unabated. This media circus seeks to distract from important matters, using these topics to create pointless divisions, causing hostility towards Muslims and Jews in the process. The majority of a distracted public have still not twigged largely because the propaganda is more subtle nowadays and presented under a false humanitarian cloak. A small but vocal group of experts and journalists challenging these narratives are regularly smeared as Putin or Assad "apologists" . UK journalists are regularly caught out lying and some long standing hoaxes such as Russiagate exposed. Following this and Iraq WMDs more people are starting to see a pattern here. Yet each time the media in the belief they've bamboozled enough move on to the next big lie. This a sign of a controlled media which has reached the point of being unaccountable and untouchable, deeply embedded within the establishment apparatus. In the lead up to World War II the Nazis ran an effective media propaganda campaign which indoctrinated the population. The media in Germany also reached the point their blindingly obvious lies were rarely questioned. The classic tactic was to blame others for the problems in Germany and the world and project their crimes on to their victims. There are some differences as things have evolved. The Nazis created the media and state apparatus to pursue war. Nowadays this is the opposite way around. Instead the state apparatus is already in place so whoever is leader whether they describe themself as liberal or conservative, is merely a figurehead required to continue the same pro-war policies. Put a fresh-looking president in a shiny suit and intoduce him to the Queen and you wouldn't think he's the biggest mass murderer since Hitler. Although there are some differences in the propaganda techniques, all the signs are that today's media are on a similar war-footing as Germany's was just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

5) Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way.

6) False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media. The next flashpoint in Syria is Idlib, where it's highly likely a new chemical fabrication will be attempted this Spring. In the 1930s the Nazis were believed to use false flags with increasing frequency to discredit and close down internal opposition. Summary – We now live in a society where exposing warmongering is a more serious crime than committing it. Prisons hold many people who have bravely exposed war crimes – yet most criminals continue to walk free and hold positions of power. And when the media is pushing for Julian Assange to be extradicted you know this is beyond simple envy of a man who has almost single-handedly done the job they've collectively failed to do. They are equally complicit in warmongering hence why they see Assange and others as a threat. For those not fooled by the smart suits, liberal platitudes and media distraction techniques, the parallels with Germany in the 1930s in particular are now fairly obvious. The blundering military alliances of 1914 and the pure evil of 1939 – with the ignorance, indifference and narcissism described above make for a destructive mix. Unless something changes soon our days on this planet are likely be numbered. Depressing but one encouraging thing is that the indisputable truth is now in plain sight for anyone with internet access to see and false narratives have collapsed before. It's still conceivable that something may create a whole chain of events which sweep these dangerous parasites from power. So anything can happen. In the meantime we should keep positive and continue to spread the message.

Kevin Smith is a British citizen living and working in London. He researches and writes down his thoughts on the foreign wars promoted by Western governments and media. In the highly controlled and dumbed down UK media environment, he's keen on exploring ways of discouraging ideology and tribalism in favour of free thinking.

comite espartaco says Apr, 24, 2019

2- 'Israel and its US relationship'. The 'hands off' policy of the Western powers, guarantees that Syria cannot even be a trigger to any 'global conflict', supposing that a 'global conflict' was on the cards, especially when Russia is just a crumbling shadow of the USSR and China a giant with feet of clay, heavily dependent on Western oligarchic goodwill, to maintain its economy and its technological progress.

In 1914, the Serbian crisis was just trigger of WWI and not a true cause. It is not even clear if it was Germany that dragged Austria-Hungary into the war or Russia. Although there was a possibility (only a possibility), that a swift and 'illegal' attack by Austria-Hungary (without an ultimatum), would have localised and contained the conflict.

There is no similarity whatsoever between the 1914 'diktats' and modern US policy, as the US is the sole Superpower and its acts are not opposed by a balancing and corresponding alliance. Save in the Chinese colony of North Korea, where the US is restrained by a tacit alliance of the North Eastern Asiatic powers: China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, that oppose any military action and so promote and protect North Korean bullying. Qatar, on the other hand, is one of the most radical supporters of the Syrian opposition and terrorist groups around the muslim world, even more than Saudi Arabia and there are powerful reasons for the confrontation of the Gulf rivals.

olavleivar says Apr, 24, 2019
You should go back in Time and STUDY what really happened .. that means going back to the Creation of the socalled British Empire ..the Bank of England , the British East Indian Company , the Opium Wars and the Opium Trafficing , the Boer Wars for Gold and Diamonds , the US Civil War and its aftermath , the manipulations of Gold and Silver by socalled british Financial Interests , The US Spanish Wars , the Japanese Russian War , the failed Coup against Czar Russia 1905 , the Young Turk Coup against the Ottoman Empire 1908, the Armenian Genocide , the Creation of the Federal Reserve 1913 , the Multitude of Assinations and other Terror Attacks in the period from 1900 and upwards , WHO were the perpetraders ? , , WW 1 and its originators , the Bolshevik Coup 1917 , the Treaty of Versailles and the Actors in that Treaty ,the Plunder of Germany , the dissolution of Austria Hungary , the Bolshevik Coup attempts all over Europe , and then the run up to WW 2 , the Actions of Poland agianst Germans and Czechs .. Hitler , Musolini and finally WW 2 .the post war period , the Nuernberg Trials , the Holocaust Mythology , the Creation of Israel , Gladio , the Fall of the Sovjet Empire and the Warshav Pact , the Wars in the Middle East , the endless Terror Actions , the murder of Kennedy and a mass of False Flag Terrorist Attacks since then , the destruction of the Balkans and the Middle east THERE IS PLENTY of EXCELLENT LITERATURE and ANALYSIS on all subjects .
comite espartaco says Apr, 23, 2019
1- Military buildup, alliances and proxy wars.

It was your Obama that 'persecuted' Mr Assange !!!

Syria demonstrates that there has NOT been a Western strategy for regime change (specially after the 'defeats' in Iraq and Afghanistan), let alone a proxy war, but, on the contrary, an effort to keep the tyranny of Assad in power, in a weaker state, to avoid any strong, 'revolutionary' rival near Israel. Russia has been given a free hand in Syria, otherwise, if the West had properly armed the resistance groups, it would have been a catastrophe for the Russian forces, like it was in Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention.

Trump's policy of 'equal' (proportional) contributions for all members of NATO and other allies, gives the lie to the US military return 'argument' and should be understood as part of his war on unfair competition by other powers.

The 'military' and diplomatic alliances of 1914 were FORWARD thinking, so much so that they 'repeated' themselves during WWII, with slight changes. But it is very doubtful that the Empires, like the Austro-Hungarian o the Russian ones, would have 'crumbled' without the outbreak of WWI. They were never under threat, as their military power during the war showed. Only a World War of cataclysmic character could destroy them. A war, triggered, but not created, by the 'conflict seeking mentality' of the powerful in the small countries of the Balkans.

Shardlake says Apr, 23, 2019
Generally attributed to Senator Hiram Warren Johnson in 1918 that 'when war comes the first casualty is truth' is as much a truism now as it was then.

I'm more inclined to support hauptmanngurski's proposition that the members of the armed forces, from both sides, who return from conflicts with life-changing injuries or even in flag-draped caskets defended only the freedom of multinational enterprises and conglomerates to make and continue to make vast profits for the privileged few at the population's expense.

As Kevin Smith makes abundantly clear we are all subject to the downright lies and truth-stretching from our government aided and abetted by a compliant main stream media as exemplified in the Skripal poisoning affair, which goes far beyond the counting of Serbian tanks supposedly destroyed during the Balkans conflict. The Skripals' are now God knows where either as willing participants or as detainees and our government shows no signs of clarifying the matter, so who would believe what it put out anyway in view of its track record of misinformation ? The nation doesn't know what to believe.

Sadly, I believe this has always been the way of things and I cannot even speculate on how long it will be before this nation will realise it is being deliberately mis-led.

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump comes clean from world s policeman to thug running a global protection racket by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump. You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep them.
Notable quotes:
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.

Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.

In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups. That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.

Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.

'We're no longer suckers of the world!' Trump says US is respected as nation AGAIN (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.

However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.

Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:

"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added: "We're no longer the suckers, folks."

Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in.

As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American militarism would henceforth operate.

"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said.

'We give them $4.5bn a year': Israel will still be 'good' after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.

Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile systems.

The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of course, a travesty.

Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.

Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate capitalism.

But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion, Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US military invasions and occupations.

Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the historic predicament, even if only superficially.

This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis. In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the military-industrial complex.

'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'

This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week. Significantly, he said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas night was reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president two years ago.

What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to regional clients.

Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.

During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."

Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter Donald Trump with his "business solutions."

But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."

Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a protection racket.

It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

dnm1136

Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the world, the US is feared but generally not respected.

My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious or mean-spirited.

William Smith

Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank the Whites for "civilising" them.

Phoebe S,

"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."

That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.

ProRussiaPole

None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.

Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole

i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.

Truthbetold69

It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what you've always been getting.'

[Dec 21, 2019] Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation". ..."
"... Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'état against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ? ..."
"... Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place. ..."
Sep 01, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

opaw , August 30, 2017 8:29 PM

While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation".

I hate how America exploit the weak. president moon should offer an olive branch to fatty Kim by sending back the thaad to America and pulling out American base and troops. he should convince fatty Kim that should he really like to proliferate his nuclear missile development as deterrence, aim it only to America and America only. there is no need for Koreans to kill fellow Koreans.

Try Harder , August 31, 2017 2:45 AM

Very good idea, after having pushed Ukraine and Georgia to a war lost in advance, lets hope US will abandon South Korea and Japan because they were helpless in demilitarizing one of the poorest countries in the world....

Try Harder Guest , August 31, 2017 4:16 PM

Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'état against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ?

Zsari Maxim Guest , August 31, 2017 11:50 AM

Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place.

Thomas Fung , August 31, 2017 5:04 PM

In this person's opinion, the article raises a good point with regards to US defense subsidies. However, its examples are dissimilar. Japan spends approximately 1% of its GDP on defense; South Korea spends roughly 2.5% of its GDP defense.

In fact, it seems to this person that a better example of US Defense Welfare would be direct subsidies granted to the state of Israel.

[Dec 21, 2019] The Pentagon s New Map War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language. ..."
"... At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways. ..."
"... Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built. ..."
"... Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. ..."
"... I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department. ..."
"... I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed. ..."
"... "Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened. ..."
"... Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire, ..."
"... We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'. ..."
"... "If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country." ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Azblue on July 31, 2006

Global cop

Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language.

The foundation upon which Barnett builds his binary view of the world is heavily dependant upon the continued advancement of globalization - almost exclusively so. However, advancing globalization is not pre-ordained. Barnett himself makes the case that globalization is a fragile undertaking similar to an interconnected chain in which any broken link destroys the whole. Globalization could indeed be like the biblical statue whose feet are made of clay. Globalization, and therefore the integration of the Gap, may even stop or recede - just as the globalization of the early 20th century ended abruptly with the onset of WW I and a global depression. Moreover, Barnett's contention that the United States has an exceptional duty and moral responsibility for "remaking the world in America's image" might be seen by many as misguided and perhaps even dangerous.

The divide between the `Functioning Core' and the `Non-Integrating Gap' differs from the gulf between rich and poor in a subtle yet direct way. State governments make a conscious decision to become connected vs. disconnected to advancing globalization. States and their leaders can provide the infrastructure and the opening of large global markets to their citizens in ways that individuals cannot. An example can serve to illustrate the point: You can be rich and disconnected in Nigeria or poor and disconnected in North Korea. In each case the country you live in has decided to be disconnected. Citizens in this case have a limited likelihood of staying rich and unlimited prospects of staying poor. But by becoming part of the functioning Core, the enlightened state allows all citizens a running start at becoming part of a worldwide economic system and thus provide prospects for a better future because global jobs and markets are opened up to them. A connected economy such as India's, for example, enables citizens who once had no prospects for a better life to find well-paying jobs, such as computer-related employment. Prospects for a better Indian life are directly the result of the Indian government's conscious decision to become connected to the world economy, a.k.a. embracing globalization.

After placing his theory of the Core/Gap and preemptive war strategy firmly into the church of globalization, Barnett next places his theory squarely upon the alter of rule sets. Few would argue that the world is an anarchic place and Barnett tells us that rule sets are needed to define `good' and `evil' behavior of actors in this chaotic international system. An example of such a rule set is the desire of the Core to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorist organizations. Other examples are the promulgation of human rights and the need to stop genocide. Barnett also uses rule sets to define `system' rules that govern and shape the actions, and even the psychology, of international actors. An example that Barnett gives of a system-wide rule set is the creation of the `rule' defined by the United States during the Cold War called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Barnett claims that this rule set effectively ended the possibility of war for all time amongst nuclear-capable great powers. Barnett states that the U.S. now should export a brand new rule set called `preemptive war,' which aims to fight actors in the lawless Gap in order to end international terrorism for all time. Barnett makes it clear that the Core's enemy is neither a religion (Islam) nor a place (Middle East), but a condition (disconnectedness).

Next, Barnett points out that system-wide competition has moved into the economic arena and that military conflict, when it occurs, has moved away from the system-wide (Cold War), to inter-state war, ending up today with primarily state conflict vs. individuals (Core vs. bin Laden, Core vs. Kim, etc.). In other words, "we are moving progressively away from warfare against states or even blocs of states and toward a new era of warfare against individuals." Rephrased, we've moved from confrontations with evil empires, to evil states, to evil leaders. An example of this phenomenon is the fact that China dropped off the radar of many government hawks after 9/11 only to be replaced by terrorist groups and other dangerous NGOs "with global reach."

Barnett also points out that the idea of `connectivity' is central to the success of globalization. Without it, everything else fails. Connectivity is the glue that holds states together and helps prevent war between states. For example, the US is not likely to start a war with `connected' France, but America could more likely instigate a war with `disconnected' North Korea, Syria or Iran.

Barnett then examines the dangers associated with his definition of `disconnectedness.' He cleverly describes globalization as a condition defined by mutually assured dependence (MAD) and advises us that `Big Men', royal families, raw materials, theocracies and just bad luck can conspire to impede connectedness in the world. This is one of few places in his book that Barnett briefly discusses impediments to globalization - however, this short list looks at existing roadblocks to connectedness but not to future, system-wide dangers to globalization.

At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways.

Barnett then takes us on a pilgrimage to the Ten Commandments of globalization. Tellingly, this list is set up to be more like links in a chain than commandments. Each item in the list is connected to the next - meaning that each step is dependent upon its predecessor. If any of the links are broken or incomplete, the whole is destroyed. For example, Barnett warns us that if there is no security in the Gap, there can be no rules in the Gap. Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built.

What else could kill globalization? Barnett himself tells us: "Labor, energy, money and security all need to flow as freely as possible from those places in the world where they are plentiful to those regions where they are scarce." Here he is implying that an interruption of any or all of these basic necessities can doom globalization. Barnett states clearly: "...(these are) the four massive flows I believe are essential to protect if Globalization III is going to advance." Simply put, any combination of American isolationism or closing of borders to immigration, a global energy crisis, a global financial crisis or rampant global insecurity could adversely affect "connectedness," a.k.a. globalization. These plausible future events, unnerving as they are, leave the inexorable advancement of globalization in doubt and we haven't yet explored other problems with Barnett's reliance on globalization to make the world peaceful, free and safe for democracy.

Barnett goes on to tell us that Operation Iraqi Freedom was an "overt attempt to create a "System Perturbation" centered in the Persian Gulf to trigger a Big Bang." His definition of a Big Bang in the Middle East is the democratization of the many totalitarian states in the region. He also claims that the Big Bang has targeted Iran's "sullen majority."

Barnett claims that our problem with shrinking the Gap is not our "motive or our means, but our inability to describe the enemies worth killing, the battles worth winning, and the future worth creating." Managing the global campaign to democratize the world is no easy task. Barnett admits that in a worst-case scenario we may be stuck in the "mother of all intifadas" in Iraq. Critics claim this is something that we should have planned for - that the insurgency should not have been a surprise, and that it should have been part of the "peacemaking" planning. Barnett blithely states that things will get better "...when America internationalizes the occupation." Barnett should not engage in wishful thinking here, as he also does when he predicted that Iraqis would be put in charge of their own country 18 months after the fall of Baghdad. It would be more accurate if he claimed this would happen 18 months after the cessation of hostilities. Some critics claim that Iraq is an example that we are an "empire in a hurry" (Michael Ignatieff), which then results in: 1) allocating insufficient resources to non-military aspects of the project and 2) attempting economic and political transformation in an unrealistically short time frame.

The final basic premise of Barnett's theory of the Core and the Gap is the concept of what he calls the "global transaction strategy." Barnett explains it best: "America's essential transaction with the outside world is one of our exporting security in return for the world's financing a lifestyle we could far more readily afford without all that defense spending." Barnett claims that America pays the most for global stability because we enjoy it the most. But what about the other 80 countries in the Core?

Why is America, like Atlas, bearing the weight of the world's security and stabilization on its shoulders?

Barnett claims that historical analogies are useless today and point us in the wrong direction. I disagree. James Madison cautioned us not to go abroad to seek monsters to destroy. We can learn from his simple and profound statement that there are simply too many state (and individual) monsters in today's world for the U.S. to destroy unilaterally or preemptively. We must also avoid overstretching our resources and power. Thucydides reminds us that the great democracy of Athens was brought to its knees by the ill-advised Sicilian expedition - which resulted in the destruction of everything the Athenians held dear. Do not ignore history as Barnett councils; heed it.

Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. Therefore, America needs to stay engaged in the affairs of the world, but Barnett has not offered conclusive evidence that the U.S. needs to become the world's single Leviathan that must extinguish all global hot wars. Barnett also has not proved that America needs to be, as he writes, "the one willing to rush in when everyone else is running away." People like Barnett in academia and leaders in government may proclaim and ordain the U.S. to be a global Leviathan, but it is a conscious choice that should be thoroughly debated by the American people. After all, it is upon the backs of the American people that such a global Leviathan must ride. Where is the debate? The American people, upon reflection, may decide upon other courses of action.

I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department.

It seems to be well researched - having 35 pages of notes. Many of Barnett's citations come from the Washington Post and the New York Times, which some may see as a liberal bias, but I see the sources as simply newspapers of record.

I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed.

Alan H. Macdonald on April 1, 2013
A misused book waiting for redemption

I don't think poorly of Thomas Barnett himself. He's very bright and, I think, good hearted, BUT his well thought-out, well argued pride and joy (and positive intellectual pursuit) is being badly distorted ---- which happens to all 'tools' that Empire gets its hands on.

For those who like predictions, I would predict that Barnett will wind up going through an epiphany much like Francis Fukuyama (but a decade later) and for much the same reason, that his life's work gets misused and abused so greatly that he works to reverse and correct its misuse. Fukuyama, also brilliant, wrote "The End of History" in 1992 (which was misused by the neocons to engender war), and now he's working just as hard to reverse a misuse that he may feel some guilt of his work supporting, and is writing "The Future of History" as a force for good --- and I suspect (and hope) that Barnett will, in even less time, be counter-thinking and developing the strategy and book to reverse the misuse of his 2004 book before the Global Empire pulls down the curtain.

"Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened.

Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets ---- quite yet!

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'.

"If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country."

[Dec 21, 2019] We are all Palestinians: possible connection between neocons and Pentagon

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003. ..."
"... If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents. ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

schrub , August 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm GMT

People who seem to think that Trump's generals will somehow go along and support his original vision are sadly mistaken.

Since 2003, Israel has had an increasingly strong hand in the vetting who gets promoted to upper positions in the American armed forces. All of the generals Trump has at his side went through a vetting procedure which definitely involved a very close look at their opinions about Israel.

Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003.

Officers who openly oppose the dictates of the Israel Lobby will see their prospects for advancement simply vanish like a whiff of smoke.. Those who support Israel's machinations are rewarded with promotions, the more fervent the support the more rapid the promotion especially if this knowledge is made known to their congressman or senator..

Generals who support Israel already know that this support will be heavily rewarded after their retirements by being given lucrative six figure positions on company boards of directors or positions in equally lucrative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institution or the Hoover Institute. They will receive hefty speaking fees. as well. They learned early that their retirements could be truly glorious if they only "went" along with The Lobby. They will be able to then live the good life in expensive places like Washington, New York or San Francisco, often invited to glitzy parties with unlimited amount of free prawns "the size of your hand".

On the other hand, upper officers who somehow get then get "bad" reputations for their negative views about Israel ( like Karen U. Kwiatkowski for instance) will end up, once retired, having to depend on just their often scanty pensions This requires getting an often demeaning second jobs to get by in some place where "their dollar goes further". No bright lights in big cities for them. No speaking fees, no college jobs. Once their fate becomes known, their still active duty contemporaries suddenly decide to "go along".

If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents.

Face it, we live in a country under occupation by a hostile power that we willingly pay large amounts monetary tribute to. Our government does whatever benefits Israel regardless of how negatively this effects the USA. We are increasing troop strength in Afghanistan because, somehow, this benefits Israel. If our presence in Afghanistan (or the Mideast in general) didn't benefit Israel, our troops would simply not be there.

We are all Palestinians.

[Dec 21, 2019] The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya. ..."
"... Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed. ..."
"... Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. ..."
"... We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact. ..."
Apr 09, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

The start of current decade revealed the most ruthless face of a global neo-colonialism. From Syria and Libya to Europe and Latin America, the old colonial powers of the West tried to rebound against an oncoming rival bloc led by Russia and China, which starts to threaten their global domination.

Inside a multi-polar, complex terrain of geopolitical games, the big players start to abandon the old-fashioned, inefficient direct wars. They use today other, various methods like brutal proxy wars , economic wars, financial and constitutional coups, provocative operations, 'color revolutions', etc. In this highly complex and unstable situation, when even traditional allies turn against each other as the global balances change rapidly, the forces unleashed are absolutely destructive. Inevitably, the results are more than evident.

Proxy Wars - Syria/Libya

After the US invasion in Iraq, the gates of hell had opened in the Middle East. Obama continued the Bush legacy of US endless interventions, but he had to change tactics because a direct war would be inefficient, costly and extremely unpopular to the American people and the rest of the world.
The result, however, appeared to be equally (if not more) devastating with the failed US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US had lost total control of the armed groups directly linked with the ISIS terrorists, failed to topple Assad, and, moreover, instead of eliminating the Russian and Iranian influence in the region, actually managed to increase it. As a result, the US and its allies failed to secure their geopolitical interests around the various pipeline games.

In addition, the US sees Turkey, one of its most important ally, changing direction dangerously, away from the Western bloc. Probably the strongest indication for this, is that Turkey, Iran and Russia decided very recently to proceed in an agreement on Syria without the presence of the US.

Yet, the list of US failures does not end here. The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya.

Evidence from WikiLeaks has shown that the old colonial powers have started a new round of ruthless competition on Libya's resources. The usual story propagated by the Western media, about another tyrant who had to be removed, has now completely collapsed. They don't care neither to topple an 'authoritarian' regime, nor to spread Democracy. All they care about is to secure each country's resources for their big companies.
The Gaddafi case is quite interesting because it shows that the Western hypocrites were using him according to their interests .

Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed.

Economic Wars, Financial Coups – Greece/Eurozone

It would be unthinkable for the neo-colonialists to conduct proxy wars inside European soil, especially against countries which belong to Western institutions like NATO, EU, eurozone, etc. The wave of the US-made major economic crisis hit Greece and Europe at the start of the decade, almost simultaneously with the eruption of the Arab Spring revolutionary wave and the subsequent disaster in Middle East and Libya.

Greece was the easy victim for the global neoliberal dictatorship to impose catastrophic measures in favor of the plutocracy. The Greek experiment enters its seventh year and the plan is to be used as a model for the whole eurozone. Greece has become also the model for the looting of public property, as happened in the past with the East Germany and the Treuhand Operation after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

While Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland , Italy and Cyprus . The Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.

Through similar financial and political pressure, the Brussels bureaufascists and the German sado-monetarists along with the IMF economic hitmen, imposed neoliberal disaster to other eurozone countries like Portugal, Spain etc. It is remarkable that even the second eurozone economy, France, rushed to impose anti-labor measures midst terrorist attacks, succumbing to a - pre-designed by the elites - neo-Feudalism, under the 'Socialist' François Hollande, despite the intense protests in many French cities.

Germany would never let the United States to lead the neo-colonization in Europe, as it tries (again) to become a major power with its own sphere of influence, expanding throughout eurozone and beyond. As the situation in Europe becomes more and more critical with the ongoing economic and refugee crisis and the rise of the Far-Right and the nationalists, the economic war mostly between the US and the German big capital, creates an even more complicated situation.

The decline of the US-German relations has been exposed initially with the NSA interceptions scandal , yet, progressively, the big picture came on surface, revealing a transatlantic economic war between banking and corporate giants. In times of huge multilevel crises, the big capital always intensifies its efforts to eliminate competitors too. As a consequence, the US has seen another key ally, Germany, trying to gain a certain degree of independence in order to form its own agenda, separate from the US interests.

Note that, both Germany and Turkey are medium powers that, historically, always trying to expand and create their own spheres of influence, seeking independence from the traditional big powers.

Economic Wars, Constitutional Coups, Provocative Operations – Argentina/Brazil/Venezuela

A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.

Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.

The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.

The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.

The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.

Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in eurozone's debt colony, Greece.

'Color Revolutions' - Ukraine

The events in Ukraine have shown that, the big capital has no hesitation to ally even with the neo-nazis, in order to impose the new world order. This is not something new of course. The connection of Hitler with the German economic oligarchs, but also with other major Western companies, before and during the WWII, is well known.

The most terrifying of all however, is not that the West has silenced in front of the decrees of the new Ukrainian leadership, through which is targeting the minorities, but the fact that the West allied with the neo-nazis, while according to some information has also funded their actions as well as other extreme nationalist groups during the riots in Kiev.

Plenty of indications show that US organizations have 'put their finger' on Ukraine. A video , for example, concerning the situation in Ukraine has been directed by Ben Moses (creator of the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam"), who is connected with American government executives and organizations like National Endowment for Democracy, funded by the US Congress. This video shows a beautiful young female Ukrainian who characterizes the government of the country as "dictatorship" and praise some protesters with the neo-nazi symbols of the fascist Ukranian party Svoboda on them.

The same organizations are behind 'color revolutions' elsewhere, as well as, provocative operations against Leftist governments in Venezuela and other countries.

Ukraine is the perfect place to provoke Putin and tight the noose around Russia. Of course the huge hypocrisy of the West can also be identified in the case of Crimea. While in other cases, the Western officials were 'screaming' for the right of self-determination (like Kosovo, for example), after they destroyed Yugoslavia in a bloodbath, they can't recognize the will of the majority of Crimeans to join Russia.

The war will become wilder

The Western neo-colonial powers are trying to counterattack against the geopolitical upgrade of Russia and the Chinese economic expansionism.

Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. Besides, Trump has already shown his hostile feelings against China, despite his friendly approach to Russia and Putin.

We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact.

[Dec 21, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon,Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

[Dec 20, 2019] Singer became notorious for what he did to Argentina after he bought their debt, and he is pretty upfront about not caring who objects by Andrew Joyce

Highly recommended!
Jewish financists are no longer Jewish, much like a socialist who became minister is no longer a socialist minister. Unregulated finance promotes a set of destructive behaviors which has nothing to do with nationality or ethnicity.
Of course that Joyce is peddling his own obsessions, but I have to admit that Singer & comp. are detestable. I know that what they're doing is not illegal, but it should be (in my opinion), and those who are involved in such affairs are somehow odious. The same goes for Icahn, Soros etc. Still Ethnic angle is evident, too: how come Singer works exclusively with his co-ethnics in this multi-ethnic USA? Non-Jewish & most Jewish entrepreneurs don't behave that way.
Dec 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

It was very gratifying to see Tucker Carlson's recent attack on the activities of Paul Singer's vulture fund, Elliot Associates, a group I first profiled four years ago. In many respects, it is truly remarkable that vulture funds like Singer's escaped major media attention prior to this, especially when one considers how extraordinarily harmful and exploitative they are. Many countries are now in very significant debt to groups like Elliot Associates and, as Tucker's segment very starkly illustrated, their reach has now extended into the very heart of small-town America. Shining a spotlight on the spread of this virus is definitely welcome. I strongly believe, however, that the problem presented by these cabals of exploitative financiers will only be solved if their true nature is fully discerned. Thus far, the descriptive terminology employed in discussing their activities has revolved only around the scavenging and parasitic nature of their activities. Elliot Associates have therefore been described as a quintessential example of a "vulture fund" practicing "vulture capitalism." But these funds aren't run by carrion birds. They are operated almost exclusively by Jews. In the following essay, I want us to examine the largest and most influential "vulture funds," to assess their leadership, ethos, financial practices, and how they disseminate their dubiously acquired wealth. I want us to set aside colorful metaphors. I want us to strike through the mask.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IdwH066g5lQ?feature=oembed

Who Are The Vultures?

It is commonly agreed that the most significant global vulture funds are Elliot Management, Cerberus, FG Hemisphere, Autonomy Capital, Baupost Group, Canyon Capital Advisors, Monarch Alternative Capital, GoldenTree Asset Management, Aurelius Capital Management, OakTree Capital, Fundamental Advisors, and Tilden Park Investment Master Fund LP. The names of these groups are very interesting, being either blankly nondescript or evoking vague inklings of Anglo-Saxon or rural/pastoral origins (note the prevalence of oak, trees, parks, canyons, monarchs, or the use of names like Aurelius and Elliot). This is the same tactic employed by the Jew Jordan Belfort, the "Wolf of Wall Street," who operated multiple major frauds under the business name Stratton Oakmont.

These names are masks. They are designed to cultivate trust and obscure the real background of the various groupings of financiers. None of these groups have Anglo-Saxon or venerable origins. None are based in rural idylls. All of the vulture funds named above were founded by, and continue to be operated by, ethnocentric, globalist, urban-dwelling Jews. A quick review of each of their websites reveals their founders and central figures to be:

Elliot Management -- Paul Singer, Zion Shohet, Jesse Cohn, Stephen Taub, Elliot Greenberg and Richard Zabel Cerberus -- Stephen Feinberg, Lee Millstein, Jeffrey Lomasky, Seth Plattus, Joshua Weintraub, Daniel Wolf, David Teitelbaum FG Hemisphere -- Peter Grossman Autonomy Capital -- Derek Goodman Baupost Group -- Seth Klarman, Jordan Baruch, Isaac Auerbach Canyon Capital Advisors -- Joshua Friedman, Mitchell Julis Monarch Alternative Capital -- Andrew Herenstein, Michael Weinstock GoldenTree Asset Management -- Steven Tananbaum, Steven Shapiro Aurelius Capital Management -- Mark Brodsky, Samuel Rubin, Eleazer Klein, Jason Kaplan OakTree Capital -- Howard Marks, Bruce Karsh, Jay Wintrob, John Frank, Sheldon Stone Fundamental Advisors -- Laurence Gottlieb, Jonathan Stern Tilden Park Investment Master Fund LP -- Josh Birnbaum, Sam Alcoff

The fact that all of these vulture funds, widely acknowledged as the most influential and predatory, are owned and operated by Jews is remarkable in itself, especially in a contemporary context in which we are constantly bombarded with the suggestion that Jews don't have a special relationship with money or usury, and that any such idea is an example of ignorant prejudice. Equally remarkable, however, is the fact that Jewish representation saturates the board level of these companies also, suggesting that their beginnings and methods of internal promotion and operation rely heavily on ethnic-communal origins, and religious and social cohesion more generally. As such, these Jewish funds provide an excellent opportunity to examine their financial and political activities as expressions of Jewishness, and can thus be placed in the broader framework of the Jewish group evolutionary strategy and the long historical trajectory of Jewish-European relations.

How They Feed

In May 2018, Puerto Rico declared a form of municipal bankruptcy after falling into more than $74.8 billion in debt, of which more than $34 billion is interest and fees. The debt was owed to all of the Jewish capitalists named above, with the exception of Stephen Feinberg's Cerberus group. In order to commence payments, the government had instituted a policy of fiscal austerity, closing schools and raising utility bills, but when Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017, Puerto Rico was forced to stop transfers to their Jewish creditors. This provoked an aggressive attempt by the Jewish funds to seize assets from an island suffering from an 80% power outage, with the addition of further interest and fees. Protests broke out in several US cities calling for the debt to be forgiven. After a quick stop in Puerto Rico in late 2018, Donald Trump pandered to this sentiment when he told Fox News, "They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out." But Trump's statement, like all of Trump's statements, had no substance. The following day, the director of the White House budget office, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters: "I think what you heard the president say is that Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to solve its debt problem." In other words, Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to pay its Jews.

Trump's reversal is hardly surprising, given that the President is considered extremely friendly to Jewish financial power. When he referred to "your friends on Wall Street" he really meant his friends on Wall Street. One of his closest allies is Stephen Feinberg, founder and CEO of Cerberus, a war-profiteering vulture fund that has now accumulated more than $1.5 billion in Irish debt , leaving the country prone to a " wave of home repossessions " on a scale not seen since the Jewish mortgage traders behind Quicken Loans (Daniel Gilbert) and Ameriquest (Roland Arnall) made thousands of Americans homeless . Feinberg has also been associated with mass evictions in Spain, causing a collective of Barcelona anarchists to label him a "Jewish mega parasite" in charge of the "world's vilest vulture fund." In May 2018, Trump made Feinberg chair of his Intelligence Advisory Board , and one of the reasons for Trump's sluggish retreat from Afghanistan has been the fact Feinberg's DynCorp has enjoyed years of lucrative government defense contracts training Afghan police and providing ancillary services to the military.

But Trump's association with Jewish vultures goes far beyond Feinberg. A recent piece in the New York Post declared "Orthodox Jews are opening up their wallets for Trump in 2020." This is a predictable outcome of the period 2016 to 2020, an era that could be neatly characterised as How Jews learned to stop worrying and love the Don. Jewish financiers are opening their wallets for Trump because it is now clear he utterly failed to fulfil promises on mass immigration to White America, while pledging his commitment to Zionism and to socially destructive Jewish side projects like the promotion of homosexuality. These actions, coupled with his commuting of Hasidic meatpacking boss Sholom Rubashkin 's 27-year-sentence for bank fraud and money laundering in 2017, have sent a message to Jewish finance that Trump is someone they can do business with. Since these globalist exploiters are essentially politically amorphous, knowing no loyalty but that to their own tribe and its interests, there is significant drift of Jewish mega-money between the Democratic and Republican parties. The New York Post reports, for example, that when Trump attended a $25,000-per-couple luncheon in November at a Midtown hotel, where 400 moneyed Jews raised at least $4 million for the America First [!] SuperPAC, the luncheon organiser Kelly Sadler, told reporters, "We screened all of the people in attendance, and we were surprised to see how many have given before to Democrats, but never a Republican. People were standing up on their chairs chanting eight more years." The reality, of course, is that these people are not Democrats or Republicans, but Jews, willing to push their money in whatever direction the wind of Jewish interests is blowing.

The collapse of Puerto Rico under Jewish debt and elite courting of Jewish financial predators is certainly nothing new. Congo , Zambia , Liberia , Argentina , Peru , Panama , Ecuador , Vietnam , Poland , and Ireland are just some of the countries that have slipped fatefully into the hands of the Jews listed above, and these same people are now closely watching Greece and India . The methodology used to acquire such leverage is as simple as it is ruthless. On its most basic level, "vulture capitalism" is really just a combination of the continued intense relationship between Jews and usury and Jewish involvement in medieval tax farming. On the older practice, Salo Baron writes in Economic History of the Jews that Jewish speculators would pay a lump sum to the treasury before mercilessly turning on the peasantry to obtain "considerable surpluses if need be, by ruthless methods." [1] S. Baron (ed) Economic History of the Jews (New York, 1976), 46-7. The activities of the Jewish vulture funds are essentially the same speculation in debt, except here the trade in usury is carried out on a global scale with the feudal peasants of old now replaced with entire nations. Wealthy Jews pool resources, purchase debts, add astronomical fees and interests, and when the inevitable default occurs they engage in aggressive legal activity to seize assets, bringing waves of jobs losses and home repossessions.

This type of predation is so pernicious and morally perverse that both the Belgian and UK governments have taken steps to ban these Jewish firms from using their court systems to sue for distressed debt owed by poor nations. Tucker Carlson, commenting on Paul Singer's predation and the ruin of the town of Sidney, Nebraska, has said:

It couldn't be uglier or more destructive. So why is it still allowed in the United States? The short answer: Because people like Paul Singer have tremendous influence over our political process. Singer himself was the second largest donor to the Republican Party in 2016. He's given millions to a super-PAC that supports Republican senators. You may never have heard of Paul Singer -- which tells you a lot in itself -- but in Washington, he's rock-star famous. And that is why he is almost certainly paying a lower effective tax rate than your average fireman, just in case you were still wondering if our system is rigged. Oh yeah, it is.

Aside from direct political donations, these Jewish financiers also escape scrutiny by hiding behind a mask of simplistic anti-socialist rhetoric that is common in the American Right, especially the older, Christian, and pro-Zionist demographic. Rod Dreher, in a commentary on Carlson's piece at the American Conservative , points out that Singer gave a speech in May 2019 attacking the "rising threat of socialism within the Democratic Party." Singer continued, "They call it socialism, but it is more accurately described as left-wing statism lubricated by showers of free stuff promised by politicians who believe that money comes from a printing press rather than the productive efforts of businesspeople and workers." Dreher comments: "The productive efforts of businesspeople and workers"? The gall of that man, after what he did to the people of Sidney."

What Singer and the other Jewish vultures engage in is not productive, and isn't even any recognisable form of work or business. It is greed-motivated parasitism carried out on a perversely extravagant and highly nepotistic scale. In truth, it is Singer and his co-ethnics who believe that money can be printed on the backs of productive workers, and who ultimately believe they have a right to be "showered by free stuff promised by politicians." Singer places himself in an infantile paradigm meant to entertain the goyim, that of Free Enterprise vs Socialism, but, as Carlson points out, "this is not the free enterprise that we all learned about." That's because it's Jewish enterprise -- exploitative, inorganic, and attached to socio-political goals that have nothing to do with individual freedom and private property. This might not be the free enterprise Carlson learned about, but it's clearly the free enterprise Jews learn about -- as illustrated in their extraordinary over-representation in all forms of financial exploitation and white collar crime. The Talmud, whether actively studied or culturally absorbed, is their code of ethics and their curriculum in regards to fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy, embezzlement, usury, and financial exploitation. Vulture capitalism is Jewish capitalism.

Whom They Feed

Singer's duplicity is a perfect example of the way in which Jewish finance postures as conservative while conserving nothing. Indeed, Jewish capitalism may be regarded as the root cause of the rise of Conservative Inc., a form or shadow of right wing politics reduced solely to fiscal concerns that are ultimately, in themselves, harmful to the interests of the majority of those who stupidly support them. The spirit of Jewish capitalism, ultimately, can be discerned not in insincere bleating about socialism and business, intended merely to entertain semi-educated Zio-patriots, but in the manner in which the Jewish vulture funds disseminate the proceeds of their parasitism. Real vultures are weak, so will gorge at a carcass and regurgitate food to feed their young. So then, who sits in the nests of the vulture funds, awaiting the regurgitated remains of troubled nations?

Boston-based Seth Klarman (net worth $1.5 billion), who like Paul Singer has declared "free enterprise has been good for me," is a rapacious debt exploiter who was integral to the financial collapse of Puerto Rico, where he hid much of activities behind a series of shell companies. Investigative journalists eventually discovered that Klarman's Baupost group was behind much of the aggressive legal action intended to squeeze the decimated island for bond payments. It's clear that the Jews involved in these companies are very much aware that what they are doing is wrong, and they are careful to avoid too much reputational damage, whether to themselves individually or to their ethnic group. Puerto Rican journalists, investigating the debt trail to Klarman, recall trying to follow one of the shell companies (Decagon) to Baupost via a shell company lawyer (and yet another Jew) named Jeffrey Katz:

Returning to the Ropes & Gray thread, we identified several attorneys who had worked with the Baupost Group, and one, Jeffrey Katz, who -- in addition to having worked directly with Baupost -- seemed to describe a particularly close and longstanding relationship with a firm fitting Baupost's profile on his experience page. I called Katz and he picked up, to my surprise. I identified myself, as well as my affiliation with the Public Accountability Initiative, and asked if he was the right person to talk to about Decagon Holdings and Baupost. He paused, started to respond, and then evidently thought better of it and said that he was actually in a meeting, and that I would need to call back (apparently, this high-powered lawyer picks up calls from strange numbers when he is in important meetings). As he was telling me to call back, I asked him again if he was the right person to talk to about Decagon, and that I wouldn't call back if he wasn't, and he seemed to get even more flustered. At that point he started talking too much, about how he was a lawyer and has clients, how I must think I'm onto some kind of big scoop, and how there was a person standing right in front of him -- literally, standing right in front of him -- while I rudely insisted on keeping him on the line.

One of the reasons for such secrecy is the intensive Jewish philanthropy engaged in by Klarman under his Klarman Family Foundation . While Puerto Rican schools are being closed, and pensions and health provisions slashed, Klarman is regurgitating the proceeds of massive debt speculation to his " areas of focus " which prominently includes " Supporting the global Jewish community and Israel ." While plundering the treasuries of the crippled nations of the goyim, Klarman and his co-ethnic associates have committed themselves to "improving the quality of life and access to opportunities for all Israeli citizens so that they may benefit from the country's prosperity." Among those in Klarman's nest, their beaks agape for Puerto Rican debt interest, are the American Jewish Committee, Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Honeymoon Israel Foundation, Israel-America Academic Exchange, and the Israel Project. Klarman, like Singer, has also been an enthusiastic proponent of liberalising attitudes to homosexuality, donating $1 million to a Republican super PAC aimed at supporting pro-gay marriage GOP candidates in 2014 (Singer donated $1.75 million). Klarman, who also contributes to candidates who support immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, has said "The right to gay marriage is the largest remaining civil rights issue of our time. I work one-on-one with individual Republicans to try to get them to realize they are being Neanderthals on this issue."

Steven Tananbaum's GoldenTree Asset Management has also fed well on Puerto Rico, owning $2.5 billion of the island's debt. The Centre for Economic and Policy Research has commented :

Steven Tananbaum, GoldenTree's chief investment officer, told a business conference in September (after Hurricane Irma, but before Hurricane Maria) that he continued to view Puerto Rican bonds as an attractive investment. GoldenTree is spearheading a group of COFINA bondholders that collectively holds about $3.3 billion in bonds. But with Puerto Rico facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and lacking enough funds to even begin to pay back its massive debt load, these vulture funds are relying on their ability to convince politicians and the courts to make them whole. The COFINA bondholder group has spent $610,000 to lobby Congress over the last two years, while GoldenTree itself made $64,000 in political contributions to federal candidates in the 2016 cycle. For vulture funds like GoldenTree, the destruction of Puerto Rico is yet another opportunity for exorbitant profits.

Whom does Tananbaum feed with these profits? A brief glance at the spending of the Lisa and Steven Tananbaum Charitable Trust reveals a relatively short list of beneficiaries including United Jewish Appeal Foundation, American Friends of Israel Museum, Jewish Community Center, to be among the most generously funded, with sizeable donations also going to museums specialising in the display of degenerate and demoralising art.

Following the collapse in Irish asset values in 2008, Jewish vulture funds including OakTree Capital swooped on mortgagee debt to seize tens of thousands of Irish homes, shopping malls, and utilities (Steve Feinberg's Cerberus took control of public waste disposal). In 2011, Ireland emerged as a hotspot for distressed property assets, after its bad banks began selling loans that had once been held by struggling financial institutions. These loans were quickly purchased at knockdown prices by Jewish fund managers, who then aggressively sought the eviction of residents in order to sell them for a fast profit. Michael Byrne, a researcher at the School of Social Policy at University College Dublin, Ireland's largest university, comments : "The aggressive strategies used by vulture funds lead to human tragedies." One homeowner, Anna Flynn recalls how her mortgage fell into the hands of Mars Capital, an affiliate of Oaktree Capital, owned and operated by the Los Angeles-based Jews Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh. They were "very, very difficult to deal with," said Flynn, a mother of four. "All [Mars] wanted was for me to leave the house; they didn't want a solution [to ensure I could retain my home]."

When Bruce Karsh isn't making Irish people homeless, whom does he feed with his profits? A brief glance at the spending of the Karsh Family Foundation reveals millions of dollars of donations to the Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, and the United Jewish Fund.

Paul Singer, his son Gordin, and their Elliot Associates colleagues Zion Shohet, Jesse Cohn, Stephen Taub, Elliot Greenberg and Richard Zabel, have a foothold in almost every country, and have a stake in every company you're likely to be familiar with, from book stores to dollar stores. With the profits of exploitation, they fund campaigns for homosexuality and mass migration , boost Zionist politics, invest millions in security for Jews , and promote wars for Israel. Singer is a Republican, and is on the Board of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He is a former board member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has funded neoconservative research groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute and the Center for Security Policy, and is among the largest funders of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He was also connected to the pro-Iraq War advocacy group Freedom's Watch. Another key Singer project was the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group that was founded in 2009 by several high-profile Jewish neoconservative figures to promote militaristic U.S. policies in the Middle East on behalf of Israel and which received its seed money from Singer.

Although Singer was initially anti-Trump, and although Trump once attacked Singer for his pro-immigration politics ("Paul Singer represents amnesty and he represents illegal immigration pouring into the country"), Trump is now essentially funded by three Jews -- Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together accounting for over $250 million in pro-Trump political money . In return, they want war with Iran. Employees of Elliott Management were one of the main sources of funding for the 2014 candidacy of the Senate's most outspoken Iran hawk, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who urged Trump to conduct a "retaliatory strike" against Iran for purportedly attacking two commercial tankers. These exploitative Jewish financiers have been clear that they expect a war with Iran, and they are lobbying hard and preparing to call in their pound of flesh. As one political commentator put it, "These donors have made their policy preferences on Iran plainly known. They surely expect a return on their investment in Trump's GOP."

The same pattern is witnessed again and again, illustrating the stark reality that the prosperity and influence of Zionist globalism rests to an overwhelming degree on the predations of the most successful and ruthless Jewish financial parasites. This is not conjecture, exaggeration, or hyperbole. This is simply a matter of striking through the mask, looking at the heads of the world's most predatory financial funds, and following the direction of regurgitated profits.

Make no mistake, these cabals are everywhere and growing. They could be ignored when they preyed on distant small nations, but their intention was always to come for you too. They are now on your doorstep. The working people of Sidney, Nebraska probably had no idea what a vulture fund was until their factories closed and their homes were taken. These funds will move onto the next town. And the next. And another after that. They won't be stopped through blunt support of "free enterprise," and they won't be stopped by simply calling them "vulture capitalists."

Strike through the mask!

Notes

[1] S. Baron (ed) Economic History of the Jews (New York, 1976), 46-7.

(Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)


anon [631] Disclaimer , says: December 19, 2019 at 2:34 am GMT

To what extent is Jewish success a product of Jewish intellect and industry versus being a result of a willingness to use low, dirty, honorless and anti-social tactics which, while maybe not in violation of the word of the law, certainly violate its spirit?

An application of "chutzpah" to business, if you will -- the gall to break social conventions to get what you want, while making other people feel uncomfortable; to wheedle your way in at the joints of social norms and conventions -- not illegal, but selfish and rude.

Krav Maga applies the same concept to the martial arts: You're taught to go after the things that every other martial art forbids you to target: the eyes, the testicles, etc. In other sports this is considered "low" and "cheap." In Krav Maga, as perhaps a metaphor for Jewish behavior in general, nothing is too low because it's all about winning .

Colin Wright , says: Website December 19, 2019 at 3:07 am GMT
On a related subject

There's a rather good article on the New Yorker discussing the Sacklers and the Oxycontin epidemic. It focusses on the dichotomy between the family's ruthless promotion of the drug and their lavish philanthropy. 'Leave the world a better place for your presence' and similar pieties and Oxycontin.

The article lightly touches on the extent of their giving to Hebrew University of Jerusalem -- but in general, treads lightly when it comes to their Judaism.

understandably. The New Yorker isn't exactly alt-right country, after all. But can Joyce or anyone else provide a more exact breakdown on the Sacklers' giving? Are they genuine philanthropists, or is it mostly for the Cause?

Colin Wright , says: Website December 19, 2019 at 3:21 am GMT
@anon 'To what extent is Jewish success a product of Jewish intellect and industry versus being a result of a willingness to use low, dirty, honorless and anti-social tactics which, while maybe not in violation of the word of the law, certainly violate its spirit? '

It's important not to get carried away with this. Figures such as Andrew Carnegie, while impeccably gentile, were hardly paragons of scrupulous ethics and disinterested virtue.

Lot , says: December 19, 2019 at 3:36 am GMT
I won't defend high finance because I don't like it either. But this is a retarded and highly uninformed attack on it.

1. The article bounces back and forth between two completely different fields: private equity and distressed debt funds. The latter is completely defensible. A lot of bondholders, probably the majority, cannot hold distressed or defaulted debt. Insurance companies often can't by law. Bond mutual funds set out in their prospectuses they don't invest in anything rated lower than A, AA, or whatever. Even those allowed to hold distressed debt don't want the extra costs involved with doing so, such as carefully following bankruptcy proceedings and dealing with delayed and irregular payments.

As a result, it is natural that normal investors sell off such debt at a discount to funds that specialize in it.

2. Joyce defends large borrowers that default on their debt. Maybe the laws protecting bankrupts and insolvents should be stronger. But you do that, and lenders become more conservative, investment declines, and worthy businesses can't get investments. I think myself the laws in the US are too favorable to lenders, but there's definitely a tradeoff, and the question is where the happy middle ground is. In Florida a creditor can't force the sale of a primary residence, even if it is worth $20 million. That's going too far in the other direction.

3. " either blankly nondescript or evoking vague inklings of Anglo-Saxon or rural/pastoral origins "

More retardation. Cerberus is a greek dog monster guarding the gates of hell. Aurelius is from the Latin word for gold. "Hemisphere" isn't an Anglosaxon word nor does in invoke rural origins.

Besides being retardedly wrong, the broader point is likewise retarded: when English-speaking Jews name their businesses they shouldn't use English words. Naming a company "Oaktree" should be limited to those of purely English blood! Jews must name their companies "Cosmopolitan Capital" or RosenMoses Chutzpah Advisors."

4. The final and most general point: it's trivially easy to attack particular excesses of capitalism. Fixing the excesses without creating bigger problem is the hard part. Two ideas I favor are usury laws and Tobin taxes.

Dutch Boy , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:09 am GMT
Jewishness aside, maximizing shareholder is the holy grail of all capitalist enterprises. The capitalist rush to abandon the American working class when tariff barriers evaporated is just another case of vulturism. Tax corporations based on the domestic content of their products and ban usury and vulturism will evaporate.
ANZ , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
Someone with the username kikz posted a link to this article in the occidental observer. I read it and thought it was a great article. I'm glad it's featured here.

The article goes straight for the jugular and pulls no punches. It hits hard. I like that:

1. It shines a light on the some of the scummiest of the scummiest Wall Street players.
2. It names names. From the actual vulture funds to the rollcall of Jewish actors running each. It's astounding how ethnically uniform it is.
3. It proves Trump's ties with the most successful Vulture kingpin, Singer.
4. It shows how money flows from the fund owners to Zionist and Jewish causes.

This thing reads like a court indictment. It puts real world examples to many of the theories that are represents on this site. Excellent article.


Robjil , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT

Paul Singer is a world wide terrorist. Here is what he did to Argentina.

https://qz.com/1001650/hedge-fund-billionaire-paul-singers-ruthless-strategies-include-bullying-ceos-suing-governments-and-seizing-their-navys-ships/

Elliott Management is perhaps most notorious for its 15-year battle with the government of Argentina, whose bonds were owned by the hedge fund. When Argentine president Cristina Kirchner attempted to restructure the debt, Elliott -- unlike most of the bonds' owners -- refused to accept a large loss on its investment. It successfully sued in US courts, and in pursuit of Argentine assets, convinced a court in Ghana to detain an Argentine naval training vessel, then docked outside Accra with a crew of 22o. After a change of its government, Argentina eventually settled and Singer's fund received $2.4 billion, almost four times its initial investment. Kirchner, meanwhile, has been indicted for corruption.

UncommonGround , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
@Lot You give partial information which seem misleading and use arguments which are also weak and not enlightening.

1- Even if its natural that unsafe bonds are sold, this doesn't justify the practices and methods of those vulture fonds which buy those fonds which are socially damaging. I'm not certain of the details because it's an old case and people should seek more information. Very broadly, in the case of Argentina most funds accepted to make an agreement with the country and reduce their demands. Investors have to accept risks and losses. Paul Singer bought some financial papers for nothing at that time and forced Argentina to pay the whole price. For years Argentina refused to pay, but with the help of New York courts and the new Argentinian president they were forced to pay Singer. This was not conservative capitalism but imperialism. You can only act like Singer if you have the backing of courts, of a government which you control and of an army like the US army. A fast internet search for titles of articles: "Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer's ruthless strategies include bullying CEOs, suing governments and seizing their navy's ships". "How one hedge fund made $2 billion from Argentina's economic colapse".

Andrew Sayer, professor in an English university, says in his book "Why we can't afford the rich" that finances as they are practiced now may cost more than bring any value to a society. It's a problem if some sectors of finances make outsized profits and use methods which are more than questionable.

2- You say that if borrowers become more protected "lenders become more conservative, investment declines, and worthy businesses can't get investments." I doubt this is true. In the first place, risk investments by vulture fonds probably don't create any social value. The original lenders who sold their bonds to such vulture fonds have anyway big or near total losses in some cases and in spite of that they keep doing business. Why should we support vulture fonds, what for? What positive function they play in society? In Germany, capitalism was much more social in old days before a neoliberal wave forced Germany to change Rhine capitalism. Local banks lended money to local business which they knew and which they had an interest that they prosper. Larger banks lended money to big firms. Speculation like in neoliberal capitalism wasn't needed.

3- The point which you didn't grasp is that there is a component of those business which isn't publicly clear, the fact that they funcion along ethnic lines.

4- It would be easy to fix excesses of capitalism. The problem is that the people who profit the most from the system also have the power to prevent any change.

Robjil , says: December 19, 2019 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Robjil This is an example of what I was saying. Less Euro whites in the world is not going to be a good world for Big Js. Non-Euros believe in freedom of speech.

https://www.abeldanger.org/vulture-lord-paul-singer-postmodern/

Jewish Bigwigs can't get control of businesses in East Asia. They have been trying. Paul Singer tried and failed. In Argentina he got lots of "success". Why? Lots of descendants of Europeans there went along with "decisions" laid out by New York Jews.

Little Paulie tried to get control of Samsung. No such luck for him in Korea. In Korea there are many family monopolies, chaebols. A Korean chaebol stopped him. Jewish Daniel Loeb tried to get a board seat on Sony. He was rebuffed.

I was moved to reflect on the universality of this theme recently when surveying media coverage on Korean and Argentinian responses to the activities of Paul Singer and his co-ethnic shareholders at Elliott Associates, an arm of Singer's Elliott Management hedge fund. The Korean story has its origins in the efforts of Samsung's holding company, Cheil Industries, to buy Samsung C&T, the engineering and construction arm of the wider Samsung family of businesses. The move can be seen as part of an effort to reinforce control of the conglomerate by the founding Lee family and its heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong. Trouble emerged when Singer's company, which holds a 7.12% stake in Samsung C&T and is itself attempting to expand its influence and control over Far East tech companies, objected to the move. The story is fairly typical of Jewish difficulties in penetrating business cultures in the Far East, where impenetrable family monopolies, known in Korea as chaebols, are common. This new story reminded me very strongly of last year's efforts by Jewish financier Daniel Loeb to obtain a board seat at Sony. Loeb was repeatedly rebuffed by COO Kazuo Hirai, eventually selling his stake in Sony Corp. in frustration.

Here is how the Koreans fought off Paul Singer.

The predominantly Jewish-owned and operated Elliott Associates has a wealth of self-interest in preventing the Lee family from consolidating its control over the Samsung conglomerate. As racial outsiders, however, Singer's firm were forced into several tactical measures in their 52-day attempt to thwart the merger. First came lawsuits. When those failed, Singer and his associates then postured themselves as defending Korean interests, starting a Korean-language website and arguing that their position was really just in aid of helping domestic Korean shareholders. This variation on the familiar theme of Jewish crypsis was quite unsuccessful. The Lee family went on the offensive immediately and, unlike many Westerners, were not shy in drawing attention to the Jewish nature of Singer's interference and the sordid and intensely parasitic nature of his fund's other ventures.

Cartoons were drawn of Singer being a vulture.

Other cartoons appearing at the same time represented Elliott, literally, as humanoid vultures, with captions referring to the well-known history of the fund. In the above cartoon, the vulture offers assistance to a needy and destitute figure, but conceals an axe with which to later bludgeon the unsuspecting pauper.

ADL got all worked about this. The Koreans did not care. It is reality. Freedom of speech works on these vultures. The west should try some real freedom of speech.

After the cartoons appeared, Singer and other influential Jews, including Abraham Foxman, cried anti-Semitism. This was despite the fact the cartoons contain no reference whatsoever to Judaism – unless of course one defines savage economic predation as a Jewish trait. Samsung denied the cartoons were anti-Semitic and took them off the website, but the uproar over the cartoons only seemed to spur on even more discussion about Jewish influence in South Korea than was previously the case. In a piece published a fortnight ago, Media Pen columnist Kim Ji-ho claimed "Jewish money has long been known to be ruthless and merciless." Last week, the former South Korean ambassador to Morocco, Park Jae-seon, expressed his concern about the influence of Jews in finance when he said, "The scary thing about Jews is they are grabbing the currency markets and financial investment companies. Their network is tight-knit beyond one's imagination." The next day, cable news channel YTN aired similar comments by local journalist Park Seong-ho, who stated on air that "it is a fact that Jews use financial networks and have influence wherever they are born." It goes without saying that comments like these are unambiguously similar to complaints about Jewish economic practices in Europe over the course of centuries. The only common denominator between the context of fourteenth-century France and the context of twenty-first-century South Korea is, you guessed it, Jewish economic practices.

The Koreans won. Paulie lost. Good win for humanity. The Argentines were not so lucky. They don't have freedom speech like the Koreans and East Asians have.

In the end, the Lee strategy, based on drawing attention to the alien and exploitative nature of Elliott Associates, was overwhelmingly effective. Before a crucial shareholder vote on the Lee's planned merger, Samsung Securities CEO Yoon Yong-am said: "We should score a victory by a big margin in the first battle, in order to take the upper hand in a looming war against Elliott, and keep other speculative hedge funds from taking short-term gains in the domestic market." When the vote finally took place a few days ago, a conclusive 69.5% of Samsung shareholders voted in favor of the Lee proposal, leaving Elliott licking its wounds and complaining about the "patriotic marketing" of those behind the merger.

Mefobills , says: December 19, 2019 at 11:08 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen Adrian Salbuchi, an economist from Argentina, does a good job of exposing Zionist plans in Patagonia.

If you google his name along with Patagonia then it will come up with links in Spanish.

Here is a Rense translation:

https://rense.com/general95/pata.htm

What our Jewish friends have done to Argentina, through maneuvering the elections, killing dissidents, and marking territory, is a cautionary tale to anybody woke enough to see with their own eyes.

Zion had the opportunity to go to Uganda and Ugandans were willing, but NO Zion had to have Palestine, and they got it through war, deception, and murder. It was funded by usury, as stolen purchasing power from the Goyim.

The fake country of Israel, is not the biblical Israel, and it came into being by maneuverings of satanic men determined to get their way no matter what, and is supported by continuous deception. Even today's Hebrew is resurrected from a dead language, and is fake. Many fake Jews (who have no blood lineage to Abraham), a fake country, and fake language. These fakers, usurers, and thieves do indeed have their eyes set on Patagonia, what they call the practical country.

Johan , says: December 19, 2019 at 11:15 pm GMT
@Anon "If debts can simply be repudiated at will, capitalism cannot function."

Is this children's capitalist theory class time? throwing around some simple slogans for a susceptible congregation of future believers?

Should be quite obvious that people, groups of people, if not whole nations , can be forced and or seduced into depths by means of certain practices. There are a thousand ways of such trickery and thievery, these are not in the theory books though. In these books things all match and work out wonderfully rationally

Then capitalism cannot function? Unfortunately it has become already dysfunctional, if not a big rotten cancer.

MarkinLA , says: December 20, 2019 at 12:14 am GMT
@silviosilver https://qz.com/1001650/hedge-fund-billionaire-paul-singers-ruthless-strategies-include-bullying-ceos-suing-governments-and-seizing-their-navys-ships/

Yes, but the Argentine bond situation was particulary crappy and not what happens when a typical bondhoder is forced to take a hit.

anon [125] Disclaimer , says: December 20, 2019 at 3:44 am GMT
Lobelog ran some articles in Singer, Argentina, Iran Israel and the attorney from Argentina who died mysteriously . Singer is a loan shark. Argentinian paid dearly .

Google search –

NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/nyts-argentina-op-ed-fails-to-disclose-authors-financial-conflict-of-interest/
Dec 13, 2017 Between 2007 and 2011, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer contributed $3.6 million to FDD. That coincided with his battle to force Argentina to

Following Paul Singer's Money, Argentina, and Iran – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/following-paul-singers-money-argentina-and-iran-continued/
May 8, 2015 As Jim and Charles noted, linking Singer to AIPAC and FDD doesn't between Paul Singer's money and those critical of Argentina, Sen.

Paul Singer – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/tag/paul-singer/
Paul Singer NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors' Financial Conflict of Interest by Eli Clifton On Tuesday, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, two executives at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), took

The Right-Wing Americans Who Made a Doc About Argentina

https://lobelog.com/the-right-wing-americans-who-made-a-doc-about-argentina/
Oct 7, 2015 One might wonder why a movie about Argentina, in Spanish and . of Nisman's and thought highly of the prosecutor's work, told LobeLog, FDD, for its part, has been an outspoken critic of Kirchner but has From 2008 to 2011, Paul Singer was the group's second-largest donor, contributing $3.6 million.

NYT Failed to Note Op-Ed Authors' Funder Has $2 Billion

https://fair.org/home/nyt-failed-to-note-op-ed-authors-funder-has-2-billion-motive-for-attacking-argentina/
Dec 16, 2017 Paul Singer FDD has been eager to promote Nisman's work. Singer embarked on a 15-year legal battle to collect on Argentina's debt payments by This alert orginally appeared as a blog post on LobeLog (12/13/17).

Digital Samizdat , says: December 20, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT
@Mefobills

What our Jewish friends have done to Argentina, through maneuvering the elections, killing dissidents, and marking territory, is a cautionary tale to anybody woke enough to see with their own eyes.

Yup. And don't forget that ongoing Zionist psy-op known as the AMIA bombing: https://thesaker.is/hezbollah-didnt-do-argentine-bombing-updated/

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 19, 2019] A the core of color revolution against Trump is Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Ukrainegate is preemptive political tactics. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lk , Dec 18 2019 22:19 utc | 26

The House impeachment is driven by several factors:
  1. After Russiagate, when Trump began to investigate its fraudulent origins, the Dems feared the exposure of Obama-era corruption if not high crimes. Hence Ukrainegate is preemptive political tactics.
  2. The investigation into Russiagate led right to Ukraine, and thus to Biden. In the context of Sanders' campaign, Ukrainegate became an imperative for the factions of the capitalist class that dominates the DNC. If Biden falls on Ukraine issues, then Sanders is inevitable; an anathema to Wall Street and Big Tech DNC donors.
  3. 3. While 1 and 2 dominate DNC machinations, foreign policy is also a factor. The foreign policy establishment is absolutely against any hesitation with respect to confronting Russia as part of a regional and global strategy for primacy. Trump's limited prevarications on Russia might threaten the long established strategy to expand Nato to Ukraine and thereby to encircle Russia and maintain US dominance over Europe. So, even though Trump names great power rivalry as the name of the game today, his inclination for making nice with Putin threatens to weaken the US hold over Europe, which Trump wants to label as an economic competitor.

    It is with these points that the strategic differences become apparent: Trump is raising a realist, neo-mercantalist strategy against ALL potential competitors; the DNC and the deep state hold a strategy of liberal hegemony: globalization and US primacy through dominating regional alliances, and impregnating US hegemony INSIDE the vassal States of the empire.

All of this, however, is bound to fail for the DNC, and down the road for Trump himself.

The contradictions of US empire and global capitalism cannot be mitigated by either more liberal strategies or realist ones.

[Dec 17, 2019] Neocons like car salespeople have a stereotypical reputation for lacking credibility because ther profession is to lie in order to sell weapons to the publin, much like used car saleme lie to sell cars

Highly recommended!
Dec 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Dec 16 2019 20:51 utc | 22

Neocons lie should properly be called "threat inflation"

The underlying critical point-at-issue is credibility as I noted in my comment on b's 2017 article. I've since linked to tweets and other items by that trio; the one major change seems to have been the epiphany by them that they needed to go to where the action is and report it from there to regain their credibility.

The fact remains that used car salespeople have a stereotypical reputation for lacking credibility sans a confession as to why they feel the need to lie to sell cars.

Their actions belie the guilt they feel for their choices, but a confession works much better at assuaging the soul while helping convince the audience that the change in heart's genuine. And that's the point as b notes--genuineness, whose first predicate is credibility.

[Dec 15, 2019] The infinity war - The Washington Post by Samuel Moyn, Stephen Wertheim

Highly recommended!
Dec 15, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com
The infinity war We say we're a peaceful nation. Why do our leaders always keep us at war? The infinity war We say we're a peaceful nation. Why do our leaders always keep us at war? Sam Ward (For The Washington Post) By Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim December 13, 2019 Add to list On my list

Now we know, thanks to The Afghanistan Papers published in The Washington Post this past week, that U.S. policymakers doubted almost from the start that the two-decade-long Afghanistan war could ever succeed. Officials didn't know who the enemy was and had little sense of what an achievable "victory" might look like. "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking," said Douglas Lute, the Army three-star general who oversaw the conflict from the White House during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

And yet the war ground on, as if on autopilot. Obama inherited a conflict of which Bush had grown weary, and victory drew no closer after Obama's troop "surge" than when Bush pursued a small-footprint conflict. But while the Pentagon Papers, published in 1971 during the Vietnam War, led a generation to appreciate the perils of warmaking, a new generation may squander this opportunity to set things right. There is a reason the quagmire in Afghanistan, despite costing thousands of lives and $2 trillion , has failed to shock Americans into action: The United States for decades has made peace look unimaginable or unobtainable. We have normalized war.

President Trump sometimes disrupts the pattern by vowing to end America's "endless wars." But he has extended and escalated them at every turn, offering nakedly punitive and exploitative rationales. In September, on the cusp of a peace deal with the Taliban, he discarded an agreement negotiated by his administration and pummeled Afghanistan harder than ever (now he's back to wanting to talk). In Syria, his promised military withdrawal has morphed into a grotesque redeployment to "secure" the country's oil .

It is clearer than ever that the problem of American military intervention goes well beyond the proclivities of the current president, or the previous one, or the next. The United States has slowly slid away from any plausible claim of standing for peace in the world. The ideal of peace was one that America long promoted, enshrining it in law and institutions, and the end of the Cold War offered an unparalleled opportunity to advance the cause. But U.S. leaders from both parties chose another path. War -- from drone strikes and Special Operations raids to protracted occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan -- has come to seem inevitable and eternal, in practice and even in aspiration.

Given World War II, Korea, Vietnam and many smaller conflicts throughout the Western Hemisphere, no one has ever mistaken the United States for Switzerland. Still, the pursuit of peace is an authentic American tradition that has shaped U.S. conduct and the international order. At its founding, the United States resolved to steer clear of the system of war in Europe and build a "new world" free of violent rivalry, as Alexander Hamilton put it .

Indeed, Americans shrank from playing a fully global role until 1941 in part because they saw themselves as emissaries of peace (even as the United States conquered Native American land, policed its hemisphere and took Pacific colonies). U.S. leaders sought either to remake international politics along peaceful lines -- as Woodrow Wilson proposed after World War I -- or to avoid getting entangled in the squabbles of a fallen world. And when America embraced global leadership after World War II, it felt compelled to establish the United Nations to halt the "scourge of war," as the U.N. Charter says right at the start. At America's urging, the organization outlawed the use of force, except where authorized by its Security Council or used in self-defense.

[ I owe my new life to my Marine husband's hideous death. I pay the price every day. ]

Even when the United States dishonored that ideal in the years that followed, peace remained potent as a guiding principle. Vietnam provoked a broad-based antiwar movement. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (WPR) to tame the imperial presidency. Such opposition to war is scarcely to be found today. (The Iraq War inspired massive protests, but they are a distant memory.) Consider that the United States has undertaken more armed interventions since the end of the Cold War than during it. According to the Congressional Research Service, more than 80 percent of all of the country's adventures abroad since 1946 came after 1989. Congress, whether under Democratic or Republican control, has allowed commanders in chief to claim the right to begin wars and continue them in perpetuity.

Legal constraints on U.S. warmaking -- including international obligations, domestic statutes and constitutional duties -- ought to have returned to the fore after the Cold War, the rationale for America's vast mobilization in the second half of the 20th century. Instead, they have eroded to dust. At the outset of the 1990s, as President George H.W. Bush promised a "peace dividend" for Americans and a "peaceful international order" for all, the United States did rely more faithfully than before on Security Council approval for military operations. The Persian Gulf War, blessed by the United Nations to repel Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, was legal under international law. But enthralled by its exorbitant primacy in world affairs, the United States turned away from international prohibitions on war, finding the rules too restricting.

The next two presidents, attracted to liberal internationalist and neoconservative creeds that embraced armed force, treated international law cavalierly. Bill Clinton abused U.N. resolutions meant to control Saddam Hussein's weaponry to justify new attacks, including the bombing of Iraq in December 1998. The next year, the U.S.-led NATO operations in Kosovo suggested that America would unleash its military for ostensibly noble causes -- in this case to prevent heart-rending atrocity -- even without the pretense of legality. Despite failing to obtain U.N. approval, the Clinton administration said the intervention should not be treated as a precedent (though it became one). Others excused it as "illegal but legitimate," with self-professed moral intentions permissibly trumping law. "For the purpose of stopping genocide," commented the New Republic's Leon Wieseltier, "the use of force is not a last resort; it is a first resort."

Once such arguments gained currency, their authors lost control of them. Conservative hawks found that a law-optional approach suited their agenda as well, and their liberal counterparts, if they disagreed at all, did so mostly as a matter of tactics, not principle. George W. Bush benefited from this permissive context when he launched the Iraq War, whose illegality was flagrant and catalytic, since it was unauthorized by the United Nations and relied on the administration's dangerous claim that "anticipatory self-defense" justifies invasion. The world took notice. Russia, in particular, seized on the new U.S. position as a spectacular excuse to make incursions of its own in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014.

Obama won election in part because he ran against the Iraq War. In office, however, he cemented more than reversed America's disregard of international constraints on warmaking. While failing to end the war in Afghanistan, his administration exceeded the Security Council's authorization by working to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, converting a permission slip to avert atrocity into a blank check for regime change. Then, to punish the Islamic State, Obama bombed Syria on a contrived rationale -- one that allowed attacks against nations unwilling or unable to control terrorists on their territory. When he nearly struck again in response to Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, Obama laid the legal foundation for Trump to strike the Syrian government, again without a U.N. sign-off. Once highly valued, then defied only with controversy, international law now scarcely figures in U.S. decisions of war and peace.

Like international law, U.S. domestic law enshrines an expectation of peace, setting a high bar for the resort to war. If war is to be waged, the Constitution requires Congress to declare it -- a purposeful grant of authority to the branch of government that best reflects the diverse interests of the people and therefore should be harder to rouse to conflict than one commander in chief. Yet the nation has drifted from that tradition, too. After defaulting on its constitutional obligation during the Cold War (partly on the grounds that the speed of a potential nuclear strike required a president who could respond quickly), Congress declined to reassert its authority after the Soviet threat passed.

[ How Veterans Affairs denies care to many of the people it's supposed to serve ]

In the 1990s, Congress might at least have kept faith with the WPR, which it passed in 1973 to rein in future presidents. The resolution calls for Congress to authorize "hostilities" within 60 days of their start; otherwise U.S. forces must withdraw. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, members of the House of Representatives brought presidents to court for taking military action in violation of the statute -- in El Salvador , the Persian Gulf War and Kosovo , for example. But advocates of the strategy all but gave up, and Congress itself increasingly deferred to presidential wars in the age of terrorism. By the time Obama intervened in Libya, the WPR lay in tatters. In a final indignity during the Libya operation, one administration lawyer explained that "hostilities" was an " ambiguous term of art " that might exclude aerial bombardment, so Congress did not need to approve a war that toppled a regime.

This deference has proved costly, allowing Trump to pose as an antiwar candidate against the mainstream of two political parties, a somnolent Congress and inactive courts. Once in power, this wildly unpredictable chief executive finally clarified the danger of entrusting the world's mightiest military to one man's whims. Congress has begun to stir. In voting this year to end U.S. involvement in Yemen's civil war, it invoked the WPR for the first time while forces were active in battle.


President Trump speaks to U.S. troops at Bagram air base in Afghanistan last month.
though he has pledged to end America's "endless wars,"
Trump, like past presidents, has instead extended them. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Ultimately, elevating peace as a priority will require not merely changing legal norms but overturning the militarized concept of America's world role that permeates Washington. Somehow, despite waging near-perpetual war, the leaders of the most powerful country on Earth have convinced themselves that America is always on the brink of turning "isolationist," a peril against which every president since Ronald Reagan has warned as their terms wound down. Trump is likely to deviate from that rhetorical tradition, but the rest of the establishment carries on and doubles down. Today, it is military withdrawals, not destructive deployments, that freak out pundits and spur Cabinet members to resign, as Jim Mattis did last year over Trump's vow to pull troops from Syria. Abandoning the Kurds there this fall was Trump's " great betrayal ," lamented Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, who did not appear to lose sleep over our past military incursions.

Under Trump, who applies "maximum pressure" to all foes foreign and domestic, American militarism is more perilous than ever. It is also more undeniable. That is one reason the current moment is surprisingly hopeful. The call to end "endless war" continues to rise on the flanks of both parties, even as it is flouted by leaders of each. More and more Americans insist that, whatever interests are served by endless war, their own are not. More than twice as many Americans prefer to lower than raise military spending, according to a 2019 Eurasia Group Foundation survey. Veterans support Trump's pledge to bring Middle East wars to a close: A majority of vets deem the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria not to have been worth fighting. The Afghanistan Papers ought to strengthen the consensus. Americans deserve a president who will act accordingly.

The United States would find partners far and wide, in nations great and small, if it put peace first. It could make clear that while spreading democracy or human rights remains worthwhile, values cannot come at the point of a gun or serve as a pretext for war -- and that international peace is, in fact, a condition for human flourishing. Every time Washington searches for a monster to destroy, it shows the world's despots how to abuse the rules and hands demagogues a phantom to inflate. The alternative is not "isolationism" but something closer to the opposite: peaceful, lawful international cooperation against the major threats to humanity, including climate change, pandemic disease and widespread deprivation. Those are the enemies worth fighting, and bombs and bullets will not defeat them.

Samuel Moyn is Henry R. Luce professor of jurisprudence and professor of history at Yale University and a fellow of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Stephen Wertheim is deputy director of research and policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is also a research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University Follow @samuelmoyn and @stephenwertheim

[Nov 03, 2019] How Controlling Syria s Oil Serves Washington s Strategic Objectives by Nauman Sadiq

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan's insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern Deir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.

Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.

It's worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel's concerns regarding the expansion of Iran's influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it's worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn't much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.

Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria's oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.

There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.

Much like the "scorched earth" battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.

After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria's own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.

Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria's oil wealth, it bears mentioning that "scorched earth" policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment.

Regarding Washington's interest in propping up the Gulf's autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf's investments in North America and Western Europe.

Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf's oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world's 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry's sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.

Similarly, the top items in Trump's agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to counter Iran's influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.

Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.

Similarly, when King Abdullah's successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars' worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.

In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf's petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.

Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.

Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.

Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world's proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.

* * *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.


ipsprez , 8 minutes ago link

I am always amazed (and amused) at how much smarter "journalists" are than POTUS. If ONLY Mr. Trump would read more and listen to those who OBVIOUSLY are sooo much smarter!!!! Maybe then he wouldn't be cowed and bullied by Erdogan, Xi, Jung-on, Trudeau (OK so maybe that one was too far fetched) to name a few. Please note the sarcasm. Do I really need to go in to the success after success Mr. Trump's foreign policy has enjoyed? Come on Man.

OLD-Pipe , 19 minutes ago link

What a load of BOLOCKS...The ONLY, I mean The Real and True Reason for American Armored presence is one thing,,,,,,,Ready for IT ? ? ? To Steal as much OIL as Possible, AND convert the Booty into Currency, Diamonds or some other intrinsically valuable commodity, Millions of Dollars at a Time......17 Years of Shadows and Ghost Trucks and Tankers Loading and Off-Loading the Black Gold...this is what its all about......M-O-N-E-Y....... Say It With Me.... Mon-nee, Money Money Mo_on_ne_e_ey, ......

Blue Steel 309 , 5 minutes ago link

This is about Israel, not oil.

ombon , 58 minutes ago link

From the sale of US oil in Syria receive 30 million. dollars per month. Image losses are immeasurably greater. The United States put the United States as a robbery bandit. This is American democracy. The longer the troops are in Syria, the more countries will switch to settlements in national currencies.

Pandelis , 28 minutes ago link

yeah well these are mafia guys...

uhland62 , 50 minutes ago link

"Our interests", "strategic interests" is always about money, just a euphemism so it doesn't look as greedy as it is. Another euphemism is "security' ,meaning war preparations.

BobEore , 1 hour ago link

...The military power of the USA put directly in the service of "the original TM" PIRATE STATE. U are the man Norm! But wait... now things get a little hazy... in the classic... 'alt0media fake storyline' fashion!

"President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment."

Awww! Poor "DUmb as Rocks Donnie" done been fooled agin!

...In the USA... the military men are stirring at last... having been made all too aware that their putative 'boss' has been operating on behalf of foreign powers ever since being [s]elected, that the State Dept of the once Great Republic has been in active cahoots with the jihadis ...

and that those who were sent over there to fight against the headchoppers discovered that the only straight shooters in the whole mess turned out to be the Kurds who AGENT FRIMpf THREW UNDER THE BUS ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM JIHADI HQ!

... ... ...

[Oct 26, 2019] The Plundering of Ukraine by Corrupt American Democrats by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Money quote: “Top Dems are involved in the plundering of the Ukraine: new names, mind-boggling accounts."
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils. ..."
"... Two years ago, (that is already under President Trump) the United States began to investigate the allocation of 3 billion dollars; it was allocated in 2014, in 2015, in 2016; one billion dollars per year. The investigation showed that the documents were falsified, the money was transferred to Ukraine, and stolen. The investigators tracked each payment, discovered where the money went, where it was spent and how it was stolen. ..."
"... The money was allocated with the flagrant violation of American law. There was no risk assessment, no audit reports. Normally the USAID, when allocating cash, always prepares a substantial package of documents. But the billions were given to Ukraine completely without documents. The criminal case on the embezzlement of USAID funds had been signed personally by the US Attorney General, so these issues are very much alive. ..."
"... Poroshenko was aware of that; he gave orders to declare Sam Kislin persona non grata. Once the old man (he is over 80) flew into Kiev airport and he was not allowed to come in; he spent the night in detention and was flown back to the US next day. Poroshenko had been totally allied with Clinton camp. ..."
"... In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta , producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits. ..."
"... The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians. ..."
"... The globalist criminal elites will not be held responsible for any of these crimes. They're bound together by ties of blackmail forged by guys like Epstein, mutually assured incrimination in serial swindles which cross Left and Right political boundaries and literal murder in the case of guys like Seth Rich. ..."
"... If they were only stealing money it would be bad enough, but the fact that these same grifters are our "diplomats" and warmakers is positively Orwellian. Watching these petty hoodlums play nuclear chicken with Russia so they can squeeze more shekels from the supine Ukraine would be laughable if I could get the first-strike nightmares of my Cold War childhood out of my head long enough to laugh. ..."
Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

A talk with Oleg Tsarev reveals the alleged identity of the "Trump/Ukraine Whistleblower" Israel Shamir October 25, 2019 2,400 Words 6 Comments Reply

Top Dems are involved in the plundering of the Ukraine: new names, mind-boggling accounts. The mysterious 'whistleblower' whose report had unleashed the impeachment is named in the exclusive interview given to the Unz Review by a prominent Ukrainian politician, an ex-Member of Parliament of four terms, a candidate for Ukraine's presidency, Oleg Tsarev.

Mr Tsarev, a tall, agile and graceful man, a good speaker and a prolific writer, had been a leading and popular Ukrainian politician before the 2014 putsch; he stayed in the Ukraine after President Yanukovych's flight; ran for the Presidency against Mr Poroshenko, and eventually had to go to exile due to multiple threats to his life. During the failed attempt to secede, he was elected the speaker of the Parliament of Novorossia (South-Eastern Ukraine). I spoke to him in Crimea, where he lives in the pleasant seaside town of Yalta. Tsarev still has many supporters in the Ukraine, and is a leader of the opposition to the Kiev regime.

Oleg, you followed Biden story from its very inception. Biden is not the only Dem politician involved in the Ukrainian corruption schemes, is he?

Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils.

It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian. And it is a story of Kiev regime and its dependence on the US and IMF. The Ukraine has a few midsize deposits of natural gas, sufficient for domestic household consumption. The cost of its production was quite low; and the Ukrainians got used to pay pennies for their gas. Actually, it was so cheap to produce that the Ukraine could provide all its households with free gas for heating and cooking, just like Libya did. Despite low consumer price, the gas companies (like Burisma) had very high profits and very little expenditure.

After the 2014 coup, IMF demanded to raise the price of gas for the domestic consumer to European levels, and the new president Petro Poroshenko obliged them. The prices went sky-high. The Ukrainians were forced to pay many times more for their cooking and heating; and huge profits went to coffers of the gas companies. Instead of raising taxes or lowering prices, President Poroshenko demanded the gas companies to pay him or subsidise his projects. He said that he arranged the price hike; it means he should be considered a partner.

Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him.

Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure.

At that time Biden the father entered the fray. He called Poroshenko and gave him six hours to close the case against his son. Otherwise, one billion dollars of the US taxpayers' funds won't pass to the Ukrainian corruptioners. Zlochevsky, the Burisma owner, paid Biden well for this conversation: he received between three and ten million dollars, according to different sources.

AG Shokin said he can't close the case within six hours; Poroshenko sacked him and installed Mr Lutsenko in his stead. Lutsenko was willing to dismiss the case of Burisma, but he also could not do it in a day, or even in a week. Biden, as we know, could not keep his trap shut: by talking about the pressure he put on Poroshenko, he incriminated himself. Meanwhile Mr Shokin gave evidence that Biden put pressure on Poroshenko to fire him, and now it was confirmed. The evidence was given to the US lawyers in connection with another case, Firtash case.

What is Firtash Case?

The Democrats wanted to get another Ukrainian oligarch, Mr Firtash, to the US and make him to confess that he illegally supported Trump's campaign for the sake of Russia. Firtash had been arrested in Vienna, Austria; there he fought extradition to the US. His lawyers claimed it is purely political case, and they used Mr Shokin's deposition to substantiate their claim. For this reason, the evidence supplied by Shokin is not easily reversible, even if Shokin were willing, and he is not. He also stated under oath that the Democrats pressurised him to help and extradite Firtash to the US, though he had no standing in this purely American issue. It seems that Mrs Clinton believes that Firtash's funds helped Trump to win elections, an extremely unlikely thing [says Mr Tsarev].

Talking about Burisma and Biden; what is this billion dollars of aid that Biden could give or withhold?

It is USAID money, the main channel of the US aid for "support of democracy". First billion dollars of USAID came to the Ukraine in 2014. This was authorised by Joe Biden, while for Ukraine, the papers were signed by Mr Turchinov, the "acting President". The Ukrainian constitution does not know of such a position, and Turchinov, "the acting President" had no right to sign neither a legal nor financial document. Thus, all the documents that were signed by him, in fact, had no legal force. However, Biden countersigned the papers signed by Turchynov and allocated money for Ukraine. And the money was stolen – by the Democrats and their Ukrainian counterparts.

Two years ago, (that is already under President Trump) the United States began to investigate the allocation of 3 billion dollars; it was allocated in 2014, in 2015, in 2016; one billion dollars per year. The investigation showed that the documents were falsified, the money was transferred to Ukraine, and stolen. The investigators tracked each payment, discovered where the money went, where it was spent and how it was stolen.

As a result, in October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a criminal case for "Abuse of power and embezzlement of American taxpayers' money". Among the accused there are two consecutive Finance Ministers of the Ukraine, Mrs Natalie Ann Jaresko who served 2014-2016 and Mr Alexander Daniluk who served 2016-2018, and three US banks. The investigation caused the USAID to cease issuing grants since August 2019. As Trump said, now the US does not give away m