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Disaster capitalism

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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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[Jun 23, 2019] Debt: The first 5000 years

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:18

@Sonofrex
For starters, try reading David Graeber's 'Debt: The first 5000 years' for a comprehensive account on concepts of money, property, debt and obligation from an anthropological perspective which soundly buries your cherished assumptions and beliefs about the primacy of private property and it's conflation with freedom. Perhaps one of the most compelling book I've read in recent times.

For a review:

http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/david-graebers-debt-my-first-5000-words/

[Jun 23, 2019] Argentina s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country by Peter S. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets. ..."
"... "It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people." ..."
"... The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain. ..."
"... But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent ..."
"... Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing. ..."
"... Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs. ..."
"... In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember. ..."
"... "We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'" ..."
"... "When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned." ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

"It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people."

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with a well-earned reputation for histrionics. He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debts eight times. Sober-minded austerity would win the trust of international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent.

Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality. His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down an alternative path for countries grappling with the worldwide rise of populism. Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism. The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

Image
The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

As the October election approaches, Mr. Macri is contending with the growing prospect of a challenge from the president he succeeded, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who faces a series of criminal indictments for corruption . Her unbridled spending helped deliver the crisis that Mr. Macri inherited. Her return would resonate as a rebuke of his market-oriented reforms while potentially yanking Argentina back to its accustomed preserve: left-wing populism, in uncomfortable proximity to insolvency.

The Argentine peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year, prompting the central bank to lift interest rates to a commerce-suffocating level above 60 percent. Argentina was forced to secure a $57 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund , a profound indignity given that the fund is widely despised here for the austerity it imposed in the late 1990s, turning an economic downturn into a depression.

For Mr. Macri, time does not appear to be in abundant supply. The spending cuts he delivered hit the populace immediately. The promised benefits of his reforms -- a stable currency, tamer inflation, fresh investment and jobs -- could take years to materialize, leaving Argentines angry and yearning for the past.

In much of South America, left-wing governments have taken power in recent decades as an angry corrective to dogmatic prescriptions from Washington, where the Treasury and the I.M.F. have focused on the confidence of global investors as the key to development.

Left-wing populism has aimed to redistribute the gains from the wealthy to everyone else. It has aided the poor, while generating its own woes -- corruption and depression in Brazil , runaway inflation and financial ruin in Argentina. In Venezuela, uninhibited spending has turned the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves into a land where children starve .

Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs.

In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember.

"We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'"

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

In the beginning, there was Juan Domingo Perón, the charismatic Army general who was president from 1946 to 1955, and then again from 1973 to 1974. He employed an authoritarian hand and muscular state power to champion the poor. He and his wife, Eva Duarte -- widely known by her nickname, Evita -- would dominate political life long after they died, inspiring politicians across the ideological spectrum to claim their mantle.

Among the most ardent Peronists were Néstor Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in 2007, remaining until Mr. Macri was elected in 2015.

Their version of Peronism -- what became known as Kirchnerism -- was decidedly left-wing, disdaining global trade as a malevolent force. They expanded cash grants to the poor and imposed taxes on farm exports in a bid to keep Argentine food prices low.

As the country's farmers tell it, Kirchnerism is just a fancy term for the confiscation of their wealth and the scattering of the spoils to the unproductive masses. They point to Ms. Kirchner's 35 percent tax on soybean exports.

"We had a saying," Mr. Tropini says. "'For every three trucks that went to the port, one was for Cristina Kirchner.'"

reduction in export taxes.

"You could breathe finally," Mr. Tropini, the farmer, says.

He was free of the Kirchners, yet stuck with nature. Floods in 2016 wiped out more than half of his crops. A drought last year wreaked even more havoc.

"This harvest, this year," he says, "is a gift from God."

But if the heavens are now cooperating, and if the people running Buenos Aires represent change, Mr. Tropini is critical of Mr. Macri's failure to overcome the economic crisis.

A weaker currency makes Argentine soybeans more competitive, but it also increases the cost of the diesel fuel Mr. Tropini needs to run his machinery. High interest rates make it impossible for him to buy another combine, which would allow him to expand his farm.

In September, faced with a plunge in government revenues, Mr. Macri reinstated some export taxes .

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

In the first years of Mr. Macri's administration, the government lifted controls on the value of the peso while relaxing export taxes. The masters of international finance delivered a surge of investment. The economy expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2017, and then accelerated in the first months of last year.

But as investors grew wary of Argentina's deficits, they fled, sending the peso plunging and inflation soaring. As the rout continued last year, the central bank mounted a futile effort to support the currency, selling its stash of dollars to try to halt the peso's descent. As the reserves dwindled, investors absorbed the spectacle of a government failing to restore order. The exodus of money intensified, and another potential default loomed, leading a chastened Mr. Macri to accept a rescue from the dreaded IMF.

Administration officials described the unraveling as akin to a natural disaster: unforeseeable and unavoidable. The drought hurt agriculture. Money was flowing out of developing countries as the Federal Reserve continued to lift interest rates in the United States, making the American dollar a more attractive investment.

But the impact of the Fed's tightening had been widely anticipated. Economists fault the government for mishaps and complacency that left the country especially vulnerable.

.... ... ...

Among the most consequential errors was the government's decision to include Argentina's central bank in a December 2017 announcement that it was raising its inflation target. The markets took that as a signal that the government was surrendering its war on inflation while opting for a traditional gambit: printing money rather than cutting spending.

... ... ...

The government insists that better days are ahead. The spending cuts have dropped the budget deficit to a manageable 3 percent of annual economic output. Argentina is again integrated into the global economy.

"We haven't improved, but the foundations of the economy and society are much healthier," said Miguel Braun, secretary of economic policy at the Treasury Ministry. "Argentina is in a better place to generate a couple of decades of growth."

... ... ...

Their television flashes dire warnings, like "Danger of Hyper Inflation." Throughout the neighborhood, people decry the sense that they have been forsaken by the government.

Trucks used to come to castrate male dogs to control the packs of feral animals running loose. Not anymore. Health programs for children are less accessible than they were before, they said.

Daisy Quiroz, 71, a retired maid, lives in a house that regularly floods in the rainy season.

"When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned."

... ... ...

Daniel Politi contributed reporting from Buenos Aires. Peter S. Goodman is a London-based European economics correspondent. He was previously a national economic correspondent in New York. He has also worked at The Washington Post as a China correspondent, and was global editor in chief of the International Business Times. @ petersgoodman

[Jun 23, 2019] Iranian UN envoy condemns unlawful destabilizing measures by US

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's envoy to the United Nations has called on the international community to end "unlawful destabilizing measures" by the US, declaring that while Iran does not seek war, it "reserves the right to counter any hostile act."

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has condemned continuing US provocations that culminated Thursday morning in the downing of an American surveillance drone by the Iranian air force over Hormozgan province.

The drone "had turned off its identification equipment and [was] engaged in a clear spying operation," Ravanchi confirmed in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding that the aircraft had ignored "repeated radio warnings" in order to enter Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

[Jun 22, 2019] Chuck Schumer 'The American People Deserve A President Who Can More Credibly Justify War With Iran'

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

In a pointed critique of President Trump's foreign policy leadership, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated to members of the press Thursday that "the American people deserve a president who can more credibly justify war with Iran."

"What the American people need is a president who can make a much more convincing case for going to war with Iran," said Schumer (D-NY), adding that the Trump administration's corruption and dishonesty have "proven time and time again" that it lacks the conviction necessary to act as an effective cheerleader for the conflict.

"Donald Trump is completely unfit to assume the mantle of telling the American people what they need to hear in order to convince them a war with Iran is a good idea.

One of the key duties of the president is to gain the trust of the people so that they feel comfortable going along with whatever he says. President Trump's failure to serve as a credible advocate for this war is yet another instance in which he has disappointed not only his colleagues in Washington, but also the entire nation."

Schumer later concluded his statement with a vow that he and his fellow Democrats will continue working toward a more palatable case in favor of bombing Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] Bolton Calls For Forceful Iranian Response To Continuing US Aggression

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible. ..."
"... "The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

Demanding that the Middle Eastern nation retaliate immediately in self-defense against the existential threat posed by America's military operations, National Security Adviser John Bolton called for a forceful Iranian response Friday to continuing United States aggression.

"Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible.

"The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with.

They've been given every opportunity to back down, but their goal is total domination of the region, and Iran won't stand for that."

At press time, Bolton said that the only option left on the table was for Iran to launch a full-fledged military strike against the Great Satan.

[Jun 22, 2019] Why The Empire Is Failing The Horrid Hubris Of The Albright Doctrine by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
Bolton is just Albright of different sex. The same aggressive stupidity.
Notable quotes:
"... Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob... ..."
"... How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate. ..."
"... Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity. ..."
"... Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela. ..."
"... "If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." ..."
"... Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe. ..."
"... Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states. ..."
"... Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. ..."
"... The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more. ..."
"... At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia. ..."
"... Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders. ..."
"... When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." ..."
"... For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Doug Bandow via National Interest,

Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob...

How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily -- invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical "caliphate" the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from systematic flaws in the thinking of the informal policy collective which former Obama aide Ben Rhodes dismissed as "The Blob." Perhaps no official better articulated The Blob's defective precepts than Madeleine Albright, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of State.

First is overweening hubris. In 1998 Secretary of State Albright declared that

"If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe.

U.S. officials rarely were prepared for events that occurred in the next week or month, let alone years later. Americans did no better than the French in Vietnam. Americans managed events in Africa no better than the British, French, and Portuguese colonial overlords. Washington made more than its share of bad, even awful decisions in dealing with other nations around the globe.

Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states.

The U.S. record since September 11 has been uniquely counterproductive. Rather than minimize hostility toward America, Washington adopted a policy -- highlighted by launching new wars, killing more civilians, and ravaging additional societies -- guaranteed to create enemies, exacerbate radicalism, and spread terrorism. Blowback is everywhere. Among the worst examples: Iraqi insurgents mutated into ISIS, which wreaked military havoc throughout the Middle East and turned to terrorism.

Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. When queried 1996 about her justification for sanctions against Iraq which had killed a half million babies -- notably, she did not dispute the accuracy of that estimate -- she responded that "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." Exactly who "we" were she did not say. Most likely she meant those Americans admitted to the foreign policy priesthood, empowered to make foreign policy and take the practical steps necessary to enforce it. (She later stated of her reply: "I never should have made it. It was stupid." It was, but it reflected her mindset.)

In any normal country, such a claim would be shocking -- a few people sitting in another capital deciding who lived and died. Foreign elites, a world away from the hardship that they imposed, deciding the value of those dying versus the purported interests being promoted. Those paying the price had no voice in the decision, no way to hold their persecutors accountable.

The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more.

This mindset is reinforced by contempt toward even those being aided by Washington. Although American diplomats had termed the Kosovo Liberation Army as "terrorist," the Clinton Administration decided to use the growing insurgency as an opportunity to expand Washington's influence. At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia.

However, initially the KLA, determined on independence, refused to sign Albright's agreement. She exploded. One of her officials anonymously complained: "Here is the greatest nation on earth pleading with some nothingballs to do something entirely in their own interest -- which is to say yes to an interim agreement -- and they stiff us." Someone described as "a close associate" observed: "She is so stung by what happened. She's angry at everyone -- the Serbs, the Albanians and NATO." For Albright, the determination of others to achieve their own goals, even at risk to their lives, was an insult to America and her.

Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders.

As Albright famously asked Colin Powell in 1992:

"What's the use of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" To her, American military personnel apparently were but gambit pawns in a global chess game, to be sacrificed for the interest and convenience of those playing. No wonder then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell's reaction stated in his autobiography was: "I thought I would have an aneurysm."

When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." Although sixty-five years had passed, she admitted that "my mindset is Munich," a unique circumstance and threat without even plausible parallel today.

Such a philosophy explains a 1997 comment by a cabinet member, likely Albright, to General Hugh Shelton, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event -- something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough -- and slow enough -- so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?" He responded sure, as soon as she qualified to fly the plane.

For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob.

Anyone of these comments could be dismissed as a careless aside. Taken together, however, they reflect an attitude dangerous for Americans and foreigners alike. Unfortunately, the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy suggest that this mindset is not limited to any one person. Any president serious about taking a new foreign-policy direction must do more than drain the swamp. He or she must sideline The Blob.

* * *

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Jun 22, 2019] How Madeleine Albright Got the War the U.S. Wanted by Gregory Elich

Notable quotes:
"... Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war. ..."
"... U.S. mediators habitually referred to the Yugoslav delegation as "the Serbs," even though they constituted a minority of the members. The Americans persisted in trying to cast events in Kosovo as a simplistic binary relationship of Serb versus Albanian, disregarding the presence of other ethnic groups in the province, and ignoring the fact that while some ethnic Albanians favored separation, others wished to remain in multiethnic Yugoslavia. ..."
"... It is probable that the U.S. was also operating electronic listening equipment and that U.S. mediators knew everything the delegations were saying in private. ..."
"... "Madeleine Albright told us all the time: 'If the Yugoslav delegation does not accept what we offer, you will be bombed.'" Šainović added, "We agreed in Rambouillet to any form of autonomy for Kosovo," but sovereignty remained the red line. [viii] ..."
"... As the conference progressed, U.S. negotiators were faced with an alarming problem, in that the Yugoslav delegation had accepted all of the Contact Group's fundamental political principles for an agreement, balking only at a NATO presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, the secessionist delegation rejected the Contact Group's political principles. Something had to be done to reverse this pattern. ..."
"... Quite intentionally, U.S. mediators included provisions in the final version of the text that no sovereign nation could be expected to accept. Neoliberal economic interests are always front and center when U.S. officials are involved, and they surely were not unaware of Kosovo's abundant reserves of mineral resources, ripe for exploitation. The first point in Article 1 of the Economic Issues section of the text states: ..."
"... Western investors were favored with a provision stating that authorities shall "ensure the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international sources." [xiii] One may wonder what these stipulations had to do with peace negotiations, but then the talks had far more to do with U.S. interests than anything to do with the needs of the people in the region. ..."
"... Yugoslavia was required "to provide, at no cost, the use of all facilities and services required" by NATO. [xvii]Within six months, Yugoslavia would have to withdraw all of its military forces from Kosovo, other than a small number of border guards. [xviii] ..."
"... The plan granted NATO "unrestricted use of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" to "communicate." Although the document indicated NATO would make "reasonable efforts to coordinate," there were no constraints on its power. [xix] Yugoslav officials, "upon simple request," would be required to grant NATO "all telecommunication services, including broadcast services free of cost." [xx]NATO could take over any radio and television facilities and transmission wavelengths it chose, knocking local stations off the air. ..."
"... The plan did not restrict NATO's presence to Kosovo. It granted NATO, with its "vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]." [xxi] NATO would be "granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tools, or charges." [xxii] ..."
"... Bombing Yugoslavia was meant to solidify the new role for NATO as an offensive military force, acting on behalf of U.S. imperial interests. Since that time, NATO has attacked Libya, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a variety of nations in Africa. Despite NATO's claim that it is "committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the record shows otherwise. ..."
"... Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People , and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period , published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org . Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich ..."
May 13, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Region: Europe , USA Theme: History , US NATO War Agenda

Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war.

The talks opened on February 6, 1999, in Rambouillet, France. Officially, the negotiations were led by a Contact Group comprised of U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Christopher Hill , European Union envoy Wolfgang Petritsch , and Russian diplomat Boris Mayorsky . All decisions were supposed to be jointly agreed upon by all three members of the Contact Group. In actual practice, the U.S. ran the show all the way and routinely bypassed Petritsch and Mayorsky on essential matters.

Ibrahim Rugova , an ethnic Albanian activist who advocated nonviolence, was expected to play a major role in the Albanian secessionist delegation. Joining him at Rambouillet was Fehmi Agani , a fellow member of Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright regularly sidelined Rugova, however, preferring to rely on delegation members from the hardline Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which had routinely murdered Serbs, Roma, and Albanians in Kosovo who worked for the government or opposed separatism. Only a few months before the conference, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled out his organization's vision of a future Kosovo as separate and ethnically pure:

"The independence of Kosovo is the only solution We cannot live together. That is excluded." [i]

Rugova had at one time engaged in fairly productive talks with Yugoslav officials, and his willingness to negotiate was no doubt precisely the reason Albright relegated him to a background role. Yugoslav Minister of Information Milan Komnenić accompanied the Yugoslav delegation to Rambouillet. He recalls,

"With Rugova and Fehmi Agani it was possible to talk; they were flexible. In Rambouillet, [KLA leader Hashim] Thaçi appears instead of Rugova. A beast." [ii]

There was no love between Thaçi and Rugova, whose party members were the targets of threats and assassination attempts at the hands of the KLA. Rugova himself would survive an assassination attempt six years later.

The composition of the Yugoslav delegation reflected its position that many ethnic groups resided in Kosovo, and any agreement arrived at should take into account the interests of all parties. All of Kosovo's major ethnic groups were represented in the delegation. Faik Jashari , one of the Albanian members in the Yugoslav delegation, was president of the Kosovo Democratic Initiative and an official in the Provisional Executive Council, which was Yugoslavia's government in Kosovo. Jashari observed that Albright was startled when she saw the composition of the Yugoslav delegation, apparently because it went against the U.S. propaganda narrative. [iii] Throughout the talks, Albright displayed a dismissive attitude towards the delegation's Albanian, Roma, Egyptian, Goran, Turkish, and Slavic Muslim members.

U.S. mediators habitually referred to the Yugoslav delegation as "the Serbs," even though they constituted a minority of the members. The Americans persisted in trying to cast events in Kosovo as a simplistic binary relationship of Serb versus Albanian, disregarding the presence of other ethnic groups in the province, and ignoring the fact that while some ethnic Albanians favored separation, others wished to remain in multiethnic Yugoslavia.

After arriving at Rambouillet, the secessionist Albanian delegation informed U.S. diplomats that it did not want to meet with the Yugoslav side. Aside from a brief ceremonial meeting, there was no direct contact between the two groups. The Yugoslav and Albanian delegations were placed on two different floors to eliminate nearly all contact. U.S. mediators Richard Holbrooke and Christopher Hill ran from one delegation to the other, conveying notes and verbal messages between the two sides but mostly trying to coerce the Yugoslav delegation. [iv]

Luan Koka, a Roma member of the Yugoslav delegation, noted that the U.S. was operating an electronic jamming device.

"We knew exactly when Madeleine Albright was coming. Connections on our mobile phones were breaking up and going crazy." [v]

It is probable that the U.S. was also operating electronic listening equipment and that U.S. mediators knew everything the delegations were saying in private.

Albright, Jashari said, would not listen to anyone.

"She had her task, and she saw only that task. You couldn't say anything to her. She didn't want to talk with us and didn't want to listen to our arguments." [vi]

One day it was Koka's birthday, and the Yugoslav delegation wanted to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere with U.S. mediators, inviting them to a cocktail party to mark the occasion.

"It was a slightly more pleasant atmosphere, and I was singing," Koka recalled. "I remember Madeleine Albright saying: 'I really like partisan songs. But if you don't accept this, the bombs will fall.'" [vii]

According to delegation member Nikola Šainović ,

"Madeleine Albright told us all the time: 'If the Yugoslav delegation does not accept what we offer, you will be bombed.'" Šainović added, "We agreed in Rambouillet to any form of autonomy for Kosovo," but sovereignty remained the red line. [viii]

From the beginning of the conference, U.S. mediator Christopher Hill "decided that what we really needed was an Albanian approval of a document, and a Serb refusal. If both refused, there could be no further action by NATO or any other organization for that matter." [ix] It was not peace that the U.S. team was seeking, but war.

As the conference progressed, U.S. negotiators were faced with an alarming problem, in that the Yugoslav delegation had accepted all of the Contact Group's fundamental political principles for an agreement, balking only at a NATO presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, the secessionist delegation rejected the Contact Group's political principles. Something had to be done to reverse this pattern.

On the second day of the conference, U.S. officials presented the Yugoslav delegation with the framework text of a provisional agreement for peace and self-rule in Kosovo, but it was missing some of the annexes. The Yugoslavs requested a copy of the complete document. As delegation head Ratko Marković pointed out,

"Any objections to the text of the agreement could be made only after an insight into the text as a whole had been obtained."

Nearly one week passed before the group received one of the missing annexes. That came on the day the conference had originally been set to end. The deadline was extended, and two days later a second missing annex was provided to the Yugoslav delegation.[x]

When the Yugoslavs next met with the Contact Group, they were assured that all elements of the text had now been given to them. Several more days passed and at 7:00 PM on February 22, the penultimate day of the conference, the Contact Group presented three new annexes, which the Yugoslavs had never seen before. According to Marković, "Russian Ambassador Boris Mayorsky informed our delegation that Annexes 2 and 7 had not been discussed or approved by the Contact Group and that they were not the texts drafted by the Contact Group but by certain Contact Group members, while Annex 5 was discussed, but no decision was made on it at the Contact Group meeting." The Yugoslav delegation refused to accept the new annexes, as their introduction had violated the process whereby all proposals had to be agreed upon by the three Contact Group members. [xi]

At 9:30 AM on February 23, the final day of the conference, U.S. officials presented the full text of the proposal, containing yet more provisions that were being communicated for the first time. The accompanying note identified the package as the definitive text while adding that Russia did not support two of the articles. The letter demanded the Yugoslav delegation's decision by 1:00 PM that same day.[xii] There was barely time enough to carefully read the text, let alone negotiate. In essence, it was an ultimatum.

Quite intentionally, U.S. mediators included provisions in the final version of the text that no sovereign nation could be expected to accept. Neoliberal economic interests are always front and center when U.S. officials are involved, and they surely were not unaware of Kosovo's abundant reserves of mineral resources, ripe for exploitation. The first point in Article 1 of the Economic Issues section of the text states:

"The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles."

Western investors were favored with a provision stating that authorities shall "ensure the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international sources." [xiii] One may wonder what these stipulations had to do with peace negotiations, but then the talks had far more to do with U.S. interests than anything to do with the needs of the people in the region.

Twitter and the Smearing of Corbyn and Assange: A Research Note on the "Integrity Initiative"

The document called for a Western-led Joint Commission including local representatives to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the plan. However, if commission members failed to reach consensus on a matter, the Western-appointed Chair would have the power to impose his decision unilaterally. [xiv] Local representatives would serve as little more than window-dressing for Western dictate, as they could adopt no measure that went against the Chair's wishes.

The Chair of the Implementation Mission was authorized to "recommend" the "removal and appointment of officials and the curtailment of operations of existing institutions in Kosovo." If the Chair's command was not obeyed "in the time requested, the Joint Commission may decide to take the recommended action," and since the Chair had the authority to impose his will on the Joint Commission, there was no check on his power. He could remove elected and appointed officials at will and replace them with handpicked lackeys. The Chair was also authorized to order the "curtailment of operations of existing institutions." [xv]Any organization that failed to bend to U.S. demands could be shut down.

Chapter 7 of the plan called for the parties to "invite NATO to constitute and lead a military force" in Kosovo. [xvi]The choice of words was interesting. In language reminiscent of gangsters, Yugoslavia was told to "invite" NATO to take over the province of Kosovo or suffer the consequences.

Yugoslavia was required "to provide, at no cost, the use of all facilities and services required" by NATO. [xvii]Within six months, Yugoslavia would have to withdraw all of its military forces from Kosovo, other than a small number of border guards. [xviii]

The plan granted NATO "unrestricted use of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" to "communicate." Although the document indicated NATO would make "reasonable efforts to coordinate," there were no constraints on its power. [xix] Yugoslav officials, "upon simple request," would be required to grant NATO "all telecommunication services, including broadcast services free of cost." [xx]NATO could take over any radio and television facilities and transmission wavelengths it chose, knocking local stations off the air.

The plan did not restrict NATO's presence to Kosovo. It granted NATO, with its "vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]." [xxi] NATO would be "granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tools, or charges." [xxii]

The agreement guaranteed that NATO would have "complete and unimpeded freedom of movement by ground, air, and water into and throughout Kosovo." Furthermore, NATO personnel could not be held "liable for any damages to public or private property." [xxiii] NATO as a whole would also be "immune from all legal process, whether civil, administrative, or criminal," regardless of its actions anywhere on the territory of Yugoslavia. [xxiv]Nor could NATO personnel be arrested, detained, or investigated. [xxv]

Acceptance of the plan would have brought NATO troops swarming throughout Yugoslavia and interfering in every institution.

There were several other objectionable elements in the plan, but one that stood out was the call for an "international" (meaning, Western-led) meeting to be held after three years "to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo."[xxvi] It was no mystery to the Yugoslav delegation what conclusion Western officials would arrive at in that meeting. The intent was clearly to redraw Yugoslavia's borders to further break apart the nation.

U.S. officials knew the Yugoslav delegation could not possibly accept such a plan.

"We deliberately set the bar higher than the Serbs could accept," Madeleine Albright confided to a group of journalists, "because they needed a little bombing." [xxvii]

At a meeting in Belgrade on March 5, the Yugoslav delegation issued a statement which declared:

"A great deceit was looming, orchestrated by the United States. They demanded that the agreement be signed, even though much of this agreement, that is, over 56 pages, had never been discussed, either within the Contact Group or during the negotiations." [xxviii]

Serbian President Milan Milutinović announced at a press conference that in Rambouillet the Yugoslav delegation had "proposed solutions meeting the demands of the Contact Group for broad autonomy within Serbia, advocating full equality of all national communities." But "agreement was not what they were after." Instead, Western officials engaged in "open aggression," and this was a game "about troops and troops alone." [xxix]

While U.S. officials were working assiduously to avoid a peaceful resolution, they needed the Albanians to agree to the plan so that they could accuse the Yugoslav delegation of being the stumbling block to peace. U.S. mainstream media could be counted on to unquestioningly repeat the government's line and overlook who the real architects of failure were. U.S. officials knew the media would act in their customary role as cheerleaders for war, which indeed, they did.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook revealed the nature of the message Western officials were conveying to the Albanian delegation when he said,

"We are certainly saying to the Kosovo Albanians that if you don't sign up to these texts, it's extremely difficult to see how NATO could then take action against Belgrade." [xxx]

Western officials were practically begging the secessionists to sign the plan. According to inside sources, the Americans assured the Albanian delegation that disarmament of the KLA would be merely symbolic and that it could keep the bulk of its weaponry so long as it was concealed. [xxxi]

Albright spent hours trying to convince Thaçi to change his mind, telling him:

"If you say yes and the Serbs say no, NATO will strike and go on striking until the Serb forces are out and NATO can go in. You will have security. And you will be able to govern yourselves." [xxxii]

That was a clear enough signal that the intent was to rip the province away from Yugoslavia and create an artificial state. Despite such assurances, Thaçi feared the wrath of fellow KLA members if he were to sign a document that did not explicitly call for separation. When U.S. negotiators asked Thaçi why he would not sign, he responded:

"If I agree to this, I will go home and they will kill me." [xxxiii]

This was not hyperbole. The KLA had threatened and murdered a great many Albanians who in its eyes fell short of full-throated support for its policy of violent secession and ethnic exclusion.

Even NATO Commander Wesley Clark , who flew in from Belgium, was unable to change Thaçi's mind. [xxxiv] U.S. officials were exasperated with the Albanian delegation, and its recalcitrance threatened to capsize plans for war.

"Rambouillet was supposed to be about putting the screws to Belgrade," a senior U.S. official said. "But it went off the rails because of the miscalculation we made about the Albanians." [xxxv]

On the last day at Rambouillet, it was agreed that the Albanian delegation would return to Kosovo for discussions with fellow KLA leaders on the need to sign the document. In the days that followed, Western officials paid repeated visits to Kosovo to encourage the Albanians to sign.

So-called "negotiations" reconvened in Paris on March 15. Upon its arrival, the Yugoslav delegation objected that it was "incomprehensible" that "no direct talks between the two delegations had been facilitated." In response to the Yugoslavs' proposal for modifications to the plan, the Contact Group informed them that no changes would be accepted. The document must be accepted as a whole. [xxxvi]

The Yugoslav position, delegation head Ratko Marković maintained, was that "first one needs to determine what is to be implemented, and only then to determine the methods of implementation." [xxxvii]The delegation asked the Americans what there was to talk about regarding implementation "when there was no agreement because the Albanians did not accept anything." U.S. officials responded that the Yugoslav delegation "cannot negotiate," adding that it would only be allowed to make grammatical changes to the text. [xxxviii]

From the U.S. perspective, the presence of the Yugoslav delegation in Paris was irrelevant other than to maintain the pretense that negotiations were taking place. Not permitted to negotiate, there was little the Yugoslavs could do but await the inevitable result, which soon came. The moment U.S. officials obtained the Albanian delegation's signatures to the plan on March 18, they aborted the Paris Conference. There was no reason to continue engaging with the Yugoslav delegation, as the U.S. had what it needed: a pretext for war.

On the day after the U.S. pulled the plug on the Paris talks, Milan Milutinović held a press conference in the Yugoslav embassy, condemning the Paris meeting as "a kind of show," which was meant "to deceive public opinion in the whole world." [xxxix]

While the United States and its NATO allies prepared for war, Yugoslavia was making last-ditch efforts to stave off attack, including reaching out to intermediaries. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos contacted Madeleine Albright and told her that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević had offered to engage in further negotiations. But Albright told him that the decision to bomb had already been made. "In fact," Pangalos reported, "she told me to 'desist, you're just being a nuisance.'" [xl] In a final act of desperation to save the people from bombing, Milutinović contacted Christopher Hill and made an extraordinary offer: Yugoslavia would join NATO if the United States would allow Yugoslavia to remain whole, including the province of Kosovo. Hill responded that this was not a topic for discussion and he would not talk about it. [xli]

Madeleine Albright got her war, which brought death, destruction, and misery to Yugoslavia. But NATO had a new role, and the United States further extended its hegemony over the Balkans.

In the years following the demise of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, NATO was intent on redefining its mission. The absence of the socialist bloc presented NATO not only with the need to construct a new rationale for existence but also with the opportunity to expand Western domination over other nations.

Bosnia offered the first opportunity for NATO to begin its transformation, as it took part in a war that presented no threat to member nations.

Bombing Yugoslavia was meant to solidify the new role for NATO as an offensive military force, acting on behalf of U.S. imperial interests. Since that time, NATO has attacked Libya, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a variety of nations in Africa. Despite NATO's claim that it is "committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the record shows otherwise.

*

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Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People , and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period , published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org . Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich

[Jun 21, 2019] Pentagon announces $250 million in military aid to Ukraine

Jun 18, 2019 | www.rt.com

The US will provide Ukraine with $250 million worth of military equipment, training and support, the Pentagon announced, saying Ukraine's Navy and marines would be among the beneficiaries.

The Ukrainian military will get sniper rifles, grenade launchers, counter-battery radar systems, night vision equipment and communication devices, the Pentagon statement said...

The statement said the package will bring total US security assistance to Ukraine to $1.5 billion since 2014, when a US-backed coup in Kiev ousted Ukraine's elected government.

[Jun 20, 2019] Using Democratic Institutions to Smash Democratic Aspirations (the Brazil Model) by Vijay Prashad

Notable quotes:
"... The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him. ..."
"... Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Clarity emerges around the political persecution of Lula, Brazil's former president. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him, writes Vijay Prashad.

Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has now been in prison since April 2018. More than 400 Brazilian lawyers have signed a statement that expresses alarm at what they see as procedural irregularities in the case against him. They call for the immediate release of Lula. The Asociación Americana de Juristas – a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations – has called Lula a political prisoner. Lula was convicted of corruption and money-laundering, despite a lack of solid evidence. Two lawsuits against him remain unfinished.

Now, more evidence emerges about the collusion of the lead judge and the lead investigator in the prosecution of Lula thanks to excellent reporting from The Intercept . The political motivations are now on the record: they, on behalf of the oligarchy, did not want Lula – who remains hugely popular – to be the 2018 presidential candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). Brazil's right-wing has begun a horrible campaign to malign the journalists of The Intercept , notably its editor Glenn Greenwald. Using the same tactics of hate, misogyny, and homophobia to defame their journalists, they hope, will distract from and delegitimise the damning evidence of their corrupt tactics.

Clarity now emerges around the political persecution of Lula. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him. The details of his case remain murky, with many who sympathise with Lula unsure of how to understand the corruption charges and his apparent conviction. This newsletter is dedicated to providing a primer on Lula and the case against him.

Who is Lula?

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (73 years old), a metalworker and trade union leader, helped found the PT, Brazil's main left party. He won two consecutive elections to govern Brazil from 2003 to 2010. At the close of his second term, Lula had an approval rating of 86 percent – the highest in the country's history. His poverty reduction programs – particularly his hunger alleviation schemes – earned his government praise from around the world, which is why some are calling for him to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Income redistribution through social programs such as Bolsa Família, Brasil sem Miseria, the expansion of credit, the increase in decent work, and the increase in the minimum wage lifted almost 30 million (out of 209 million) Brazilians out of poverty. The number of public university campuses more than doubled, leading to a 285 percent increase in Afro-Brazilians attending institutes of higher education. Brazil paid off its debts to the IMF and the government discovered a massive new oil reserve in the Santos Basin, off the coast of São Paulo. This oil will eventually change Brazil's strategic position in the world.

Why was Lula arrested?

There are two narratives that exist to answer this question. The first -- the official narrative, propagated by the bourgeoise -- is that Lula is in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering. His cases remain pending before the courts. Curitiba's Public Prosecutor's Office – led by Deltan Dallagnol – was in charge of an investigation around corruption allegations at Brazil's state energy firm, Petrobras. Because a car wash became part of the money laundering investigation, the Task Force was known as Lava Jato (Car Wash). The Task Force uncovered activity by contractors such as OAS and Odebrecht, who had – it turns out – remodelled an apartment on the coast and a farm in the interior that were supposedly owned by Lula. These firms, it was said by the Task Force, had gained concessions from Petrobras. The Task Force argued that Lula benefited from the contractors, who in turn benefitted from state largess. This was the allegation.

The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him.

Lola Alvarez Bravo, "Unos Suben y Otros Bajan," 1940.

Is there evidence against Lula?

Actually, no. The prosecutors could not prove that Lula had ever owned the apartment or the farm. Nor could they prove any benefit to the contractors. Lula was convicted – bizarrely – of unspecified acts . Former OAS director Léo Pinheiro, who had been convicted of money laundering and corruption in 2014 and was to serve 16 years, gave evidence against Lula; for this evidence, his sentence was reduced. There was no material evidence against Lula.

Who convicted Lula?

Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment.

Moro not only tried Lula in his court, but also in the court of public opinion. The corporate media was on the side of the prosecution, and leaks from the court created an image of Lula as the enemy of the people. Bizarrely, the press often seemed to have information from the court before Lula's defence attorneys. When Lula's lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition to get him out of jail, the army's commander-in-chief sent the Supreme Court a message on Twitter to instructing them not to grant the petition. The petition was denied.

Should Lula have been allowed to run for president?

The Brazilian Code of Criminal Procedure says that one can only go to prison when their appeals run out. Article 5 of the Constitution notes,"No one shall be considered guilty before the issuance of a final and unappealable prison sentence." Why Lula went to jail in the first place requires an investigation. Judge Moro argued that it was because he was found guilty in the Appeal Court based on a plea bargain. This is murky. The UN's Human Rights Committee said that Lula should have been allowed to run for president last year because his appeals had not been exhausted. Not only did the judiciary and the prosecutors not allow Lula to run, but they also did not allow him to meet the press and so influence the election.

What has been the role of the United States in the Lava Jato investigation?

Odd how the US Department of Justice officials visited Judge Moro during the investigation, and how US Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in 2017 that the U.S. justice officials had "informal communications" about the removal of Lula from the presidential race. On 6 March 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice said that it would transfer 80 percent of the fines it received from Petrobras to the Public Prosecutor's Office to set up an "anti-corruption investment fund." It is fair to say that this is a payment to the Lava Jato team for its work on removing Lula from the presidential race.

What was the real corruption in this case?

Messages seemed to constantly be exchanged between the Moro and the Lava Jato team led by Dallagnol. These have now been revealed by The Intercept and scrutinized by a range of forensic and political analysts. It is clear that the judge and the prosecutor colluded to find Lula guilty and lock him away. The first instance of corruption is this brazen collusion between two parts of the government. The second instance of corruption is the role of the United States in this case, and the pay-out to Dallagnol's department for services rendered.

The persecution of Lula is a story that is not merely about Lula, nor solely about Brazil. This is a test case for the way oligarchies and imperialism have sought to use the shell of democracy to undermine the democratic aspirations of the people. It is the methodology of democracy without democracy, a Potemkin Village of liberalism.

At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we are studying this phenomenon closely. You have already seen our dossier on the hybrid war against Venezuela and our dossier on lawfare in Brazil. The arrest of human rights defenders from Julian Assange to Ola Bini as well as the arrest of whistle-blowers from Chelsea Manning to David McBridge are part of this chilling effect against the sentinels of democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/aoS_OWxpqa8?feature=oembed

We are taking seriously this evisceration of democracy. We are going to look at the role of money in elections (test case: India) and voter suppression, as well as the reduction of 'politics' to the festival of elections, the allowance of states to crush the basic institutions of civil society, and the role of immiseration in the defeat of the democratic spirit. We need a new theory of actually-existing democracy.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual. He is the executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the chief editor of LeftWord Books.

This article is from Tricontinental .

[Jun 18, 2019] Can the US launch a war without a Secratary of Defence in place? W>ell, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 14

Purely euphemistic of course, though it actually did used to be called the Department of War.

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 15

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

Well, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

[Jun 18, 2019] Washington s Dark Secret The Real Truth about Terrorism and Islamic Extremism by John Maszka

Notable quotes:
"... "A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225). ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Anna Faktorovich , December 17, 2018

The War for Oil and the New Holocaust

The premise of this book is to say what most of the world's public has probably been thinking since the War on Terror began, or that it is a "war for natural resources -- and that terrorism has little to do with it. Once the military became mechanized, oil quickly became the most sought-after commodity on the planet, and the race for energy was eventually framed as a matter of national security."

John Maszka argues that the "oil conglomerates" are the real "threats to national security". Demonizing "an entire religion" is a repercussion of this policy. My own research in Rebellion as Genre a few years ago also attempted to point out the misuse of the term terrorism in its current application, or as a weapon against one's enemies rather than as a reference to a type of attacks intended to terrorize. Governments that accuse others of terrorism while legitimizing their own "acts of violence" as "retributive" are clearly breaking human rights agreements and their stated commitments to freedom.

Maszka's perspective is of particular interest because he teaches this subject at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, and has published widely his criticisms of the War on Terror, including Terrorism and the Bush Doctrine.

Many of the books I have read on terrorism from American supporters of this pro-War on Terror doctrine are troubling in their references to spreading Christianity and other similarly questionable ideologies, so it is refreshing to hear from somebody with a fresh perspective that is more likely to bring about world peace. The preface acknowledges that this book contrasts with the bulk of other books in this field. It also explains that it focuses primarily on two "Islamic militant organizations -- al-Qaeda and the Islamic State".

He explains that perception has a lot to do with who a country is willing to commit violence against, giving the example of Nazis being able to commit violence on Jews in the Holocaust because of this blindness. Thus, violence against Muslims by the West in the past two decade is shown as possibly a new Holocaust where the militaries are carrying out orders because Muslims have been demonized.

Terrorism has historically been the work of a few extremists, or terms like "war" or "revolution" is employed to describe large groups of such fighters; so it is strange that the West has entered the War on Terror with entire Muslim-majority countries, killing so many civilians that it is not a stretch to call these Holocaust-like.

The Islamic State targets Muslims as well, also showing dehumanized traits that are even harder to explain (x-xi). The preface also acknowledges that the author will be using "contractions and anecdotal digressions" as "intentional literary devices", shooing the standard scholarly style (this is troubling for me personally, as I'm allergic to digressions, but at least he tells readers what to expect).

As promised, Chapter One begins with a poet's story about the Tree of Life, then discusses the Boston Marathon bombings from the perspective of the author as he worked in Kyrgyzstan, and goes off on other tangents before reaching this conclusion -- the marathon's bombers were not terrorists: "They had no political aspirations. They weren't attempting to obtain concessions from the government or provoke a reaction. They simply believed that they were 'wave sheaves' -- first fruits of God -- and that they would be instrumental in ushering in the apocalypse" (5).

This conclusion explains the relationship between all of the digressions across this section, so these digressions were necessary to prove this point, and thus are suitable for a scholarly book. And this is exactly the type of logical reasoning that is missing in most of the oratory on terrorism. The entire book similarly uses specific acts of supposed terrorism to explain what really happened and working to understand th motivations of the actors.

Since the author's digressions into his own life are typically very relevant to the subject, they are definitely helpful: "I was stationed in Riyadh at an American military base that was attacked by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber" (135).

It would actually be unethical if Maszka did not explain that he has been personally affected by al-Qaeda in this context; and since he has seen this War as a civilian living in the affected countries and as a member of the military that is attaching these "terrorists", his opinions should be trustworthy for both sides. Given how emotional writing this book with detachment and carefully crafted research must have been for somebody who has been bombed, it is only fitting that the final chapter is called, "The Definition of Insanity."

And here is the final chapter:

"A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225).

Very powerful words that are justly supported. I would strongly recommend that everybody in the West's militaries who is responsible for making decisions in the War on Terror read this book before they make their next decision. Who are they shooting at? Why? Who is benefiting? Who is dying? Are they committing war crimes as serious as the Nazis? If there is any chance these allegations are true what kind of a military leader can proceed without understanding the explanations that Maszka offers here? This would probably also work well in an advanced graduate class, despite its digressions, it will probably help students write better dissertations on related topics.

Pennsylvania Literary Journal: Fall 2018

[Jun 18, 2019] The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts. ..."
"... Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). ..."
"... Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process? ..."
"... In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International . ..."
"... U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) ..."
"... the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction. ..."
"... Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results. ..."
"... Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. ..."
"... Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year. ..."
"... No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end. ..."
"... A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike. ..."
"... Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. ..."
"... Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. ..."
"... Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." ..."
"... Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense ..."
"... Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. ..."
"... Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute. ..."
"... Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war. ..."
"... all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. ..."
"... War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing -- and yet more bombing.

Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts.

Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required).

Its reality for various foreign peoples: a steady diet of " Made in USA " bombs and missiles bursting here, there, and everywhere.

Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process?

For many of America's decision-makers, air power has clearly become something of an abstraction. After all, except for the 9/11 attacks by those four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans haven't been the target of such strikes since World War II. On Washington's battlefields across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, air power is always almost literally a one-way affair. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force (and allied air forces), which means that we're no longer talking about "war" in the normal sense. No wonder Washington policymakers and military officials see it as our strong suit, our asymmetrical advantage , our way of settling scores with evildoers, real and imagined.

Bombs away!

In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International .

Meanwhile, since Donald Trump has become president, after claiming that he would get us out of our various never-ending wars, U.S. bombing has surged, not only against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but in Afghanistan as well. It has driven up the civilian death toll there even as "friendly" Afghan forces are sometimes mistaken for the enemy and killed , too. Air strikes from Somalia to Yemen have also been on the rise under Trump, while civilian casualties due to U.S. bombing continue to be underreported in the American media and downplayed by the Trump administration.

U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) Today's air strikes are more limited than in those past campaigns and may be more accurate, but never confuse a 500-pound bomb with a surgeon's scalpel, even rhetorically. When " surgical " is applied to bombing in today's age of lasers, GPS, and other precision-guidance technologies, it only obscures the very real human carnage being produced by all these American-made bombs and missiles.

This country's propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction.

Such results are contrary to the rationale for air power that I absorbed in a career spent in the U.S. Air Force. (I retired in 2005.) The fundamental tenets of air power that I learned, which are still taught today, speak of decisiveness. They promise that air power, defined as "flexible and versatile," will have "synergistic effects" with other military operations. When bombing is "concentrated," "persistent," and "executed" properly (meaning not micro-managed by know-nothing politicians), air power should be fundamental to ultimate victory. As we used to insist, putting bombs on target is really what it's all about. End of story -- and of thought.

Given the banality and vacuity of those official Air Force tenets, given the twenty-first-century history of air power gone to hell and back, and based on my own experience teaching such history and strategy in and outside the military, I'd like to offer some air power tenets of my own. These are the ones the Air Force didn't teach me, but that our leaders might consider before launching their next "decisive" air campaign.

Ten Cautionary Tenets About Air Power

1. Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results.

2. Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. American air power pulverized both North Korea and Vietnam (not to speak of neighboring Laos and Cambodia ), yet the Korean War ended in a stalemate and the Vietnam War in defeat. (It tells you the world about such thinking that air power enthusiasts, reconsidering the Vietnam debacle, tend to argue the U.S. should have bombed even more -- lots more .) Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year.

3. No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end.

Consider, for instance, the "decapitation" strikes launched against Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein and his top officials in the opening moments of the Bush administration's invasion of 2003. Despite the hype about that being the beginning of the most precise air campaign in all of history, 50 of those attacks, supposedly based on the best intelligence around, failed to take out Saddam or a single one of his targeted officials. They did, however, cause "dozens" of civilian deaths. Think of it as a monstrous repeat of the precision air attacks launched on Belgrade in 1999 against Slobodan Milosevic and his regime that hit the Chinese embassy instead, killing three journalists.

Here, then, is the question of the day: Why is it that, despite all the "precision" talk about it, air power so regularly proves at best a blunt instrument of destruction? As a start, intelligence is often faulty. Then bombs and missiles, even "smart" ones, do go astray. And even when U.S. forces actually kill high-value targets (HVTs), there are always more HVTs out there. A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike.

4. Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. Fast-forward to our era and consider recent signals sent to North Korea and Iran by the Trump administration via B-52 bomber deployments, among other military "messages." There's no evidence that either country modified its behavior significantly in the face of the menace of those baby-boomer-era airplanes.

5. Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. Similarly, in the present moment, making operational and then maintaining Lockheed Martin's boondoggle of a jet fighter, the F-35, is expected to cost at least $1.45 trillion over its lifetime. The new B-21 stealth bomber will cost more than $100 billion simply to buy. Naval air wings on aircraft carriers cost billions each year to maintain and operate. These days, when the sky's the limit for the Pentagon budget, such costs may be (barely) tolerable. When the money finally begins to run out, however, the military will likely suffer a serious hangover from its wildly extravagant spending on air power.

6. Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." It can instead prove to be a kind of delusion, while war practiced in its spirit often becomes little more than an exercise in destruction. You simply can't negotiate a truce or take prisoners or foster other options when you're high above a potential battlefield and your main recourse is blowing up people and things.

7. Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense . As such, it fuels imperial ventures, while fostering the kind of " global reach, global power " thinking that has in these years had Air Force generals in its grip.

8. Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. Consider Vietnam again. In the early 1960s, the Air Force argued that it alone could resolve that conflict at the lowest cost (mainly in American bodies). With enough bombs, napalm, and defoliants, victory was a sure thing and U.S. ground troops a kind of afterthought. (Initially, they were sent in mainly to protect the airfields from which those planes took off.) But bombing solved nothing and then the Army and the Marines decided that, if the Air Force couldn't win, they sure as hell could. The result was escalation and disaster that left in the dust the original vision of a war won quickly and on the cheap due to American air supremacy.

9. Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute.

10. Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war.

The Road to Perdition

If I had to reduce these tenets to a single maxim, it would be this: all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results.

For this reason, precision warfare is truly an oxymoron. War isn't precise. It's nasty, bloody, and murderous. War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf.

Who doesn't know the old riddle: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Here's a twenty-first-century air power variant on it: If foreign children die from American bombs but no U.S. media outlets report their deaths, will anyone grieve? Far too often, the answer here in the U.S. is no and so our wars go on into an endless future of global destruction.

In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition.


Joiningupthedots , 11 minutes ago link

All off that may be true BUT.......

The myth of Tomahawk has already been dispelled

Countries with reasonable to excellent A2D2 are seriously avoided.

The solution is for Russia to sell equipment and training packages of A2D2 to any country that wants then at BE prices.

Thousands of decoys with spoof emitters and......

Planes take like 3 years to build and pilots take at least 5-6 years to train.

Do the math!

107cicero , 17 minutes ago link

From a marketing/profit perspective , BOMBS are the perfect product.

Insanely expensive, used once.

Rinse and repeat.

Theedrich , 1 hour ago link

In December of 2017, Daniel Ellsberg published a book, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner" . Among many other things, he revealed the actual Strangelovian nature of our military establishment. Most enlightening is his revelation that many in the high command of our nuclear triggers do not trust, or even have contempt for, civilian oversight and control of the military. They covertly regard the presidential leadership as naïve and inept, though it would be professional suicide to admit such an attitude openly.

Comes now 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕹𝖊𝖜 𝖄𝖔𝖗𝖐 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘 with the revelation that the Pentagon's Cyber Command has attacked Russia's power grid with software "implants" designed to destroy that grid the instant a mouse click is given, thereby possibly initiating global war. Most alarmingly, the details of this secret action were kept from the President, lest he countermand the operation or leak it to the Russians.

So now we have a general staff that is conducting critical international military operations on its own, with no civilian input, permission or hindrances of any kind. A formula for national suicide, executed by a tiny junta of unelected officers who decide to play nuclear Russian roulette.

We seem to be ineluctably and irreversibly trapped in a state of national dementia.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 2 hours ago link

Just remember this: The U.S. had the technological advantage in Viet Nam, and blasted that country, along with Cambodia, and Laos, with 7.5 million tons of bombs, (more than the entire WWII campaign of 2.25 million tons), and the Vietnamese were still able to kick our *** out of the country by 1975.

Uskatex , 2 hours ago link

There is a 11th tenet: air force operations need airports or aircraft carriers, and these are very vulnerable to modern, high precision missiles. If the enemy has plenty of missiles, your fighters and bombers can be impeded to take off and land, or even be destroyed. Modern aircrafts need very sophisticated and working infrastructures to be operational.

In the case of a full war with Iran, I see all hostile bases and airports destroyed or damaged by Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian missiles. They have tens of thousand of them - it is 30 years they have been accumulating missiles in prevision of a possible forthcoming war.

Groundround , 44 minutes ago link

You are right. Also, there are many nations with subs and probably more countries have acquired nukes than are willing to admit. I strongly suspect Iran already has nukes. If North Korea has them, I see no reason that Iran wouldn't be even further ahead. They have been under threat of US attacks for my entire lifetime. Anyway, I would not put it past some other countries to hit US coastal cities and then deny any knowledge about who did it. There are many capable and many people have been made enemies by our foreign policy. Surely these people have treaties to help each other should be attack. And why would they make these treaties public and antagonize the US military further. I'm sure there are many well kept secrets out there. We must evolve, or the US and Israel could find it is us against the world.

Wantoknow , 3 hours ago link

War is hell. It has always been so. The failure here is that since World War II all US wars have been fatuously political. Actions have not been taken to win but to posture about moral greatness and the ability to force the enemy to deal without destroying his capacity to resist.

How can you say the US lost in Vietnam when the entire country could have been removed from the face of the Earth? Yes the price of such removal would have been very high but it could have been done. Do such considerations mean that if one withdraws one has lost?

The US won the war in the Pacific but it is now considered an excessive use of force that the US used nuclear weapons to conclude the war. Perhaps the US did not use enough force then to successfully conclude the Vietnam war? Perhaps, it failed to field the right kind of force?

The definition of lost is an interesting one. The practical answer is that the US did lose in many places because it was unwilling to pay the price of victory as publicly expressed. Yet it could have won if it paid the price.

So an interesting question for military types is to ask how to lower the price. What kind of weapons would have been needed to quickly sweep the enemy into oblivion in Vietnam let us say, given the limits of the war? Could the war have been won without ground troops and choppers but with half a million computer controlled drones armed with machine guns and grenades flying in swarms close to the ground?

The factories to produce those weapons could have been located in Thailand or Taiwan or Japan and the product shipped to Vietnam. Since only machines would be destroyed and the drones are obviously meant to substitute for ground troops then how about a million or two million of the drones in place of the half a million ground troops? Could the US, with anachronistic technology to be sure, have won the war for a price that would have been acceptable to the US?

The idea here is that one constructs an army, robot or otherwise, than can destroy the enemy it is going to fight at a price which is acceptable. This is actually a form of asymmetric warfare which requires a thorough understanding of the enemy and his capabilities. The US did not enter Vietnam with such an army but with one not meant to serve in Vietnam and whose losses would be deeply resented at home. The price of victory was too high.

But this does not mean that the US cannot win. It only means that the commitment to win in a poorly thought out war must be great enough to pay the price of victory. This may be a stupid thing to do but it does not mean that it cannot be done. One cannot assume that the US will never again show sufficient commitment to win.

wildfry , 5 hours ago link

Victory means you get to write your own ******** version of history.The most devastating civilian bombing campaign in human history is not even mentioned in this article. The US fire bombing of 30 major cities in Korea with the death toll estimated at between 1.2 million and 1.6 million. I bet most US citizens aren't even aware of this atrocity or that the military requested Truman to authorize the use of nuclear warheads which he, thankfully, declined to do.

herbivore , 5 hours ago link

What does the word "victory" mean? It means whatever the rulers want it to mean. In this case, "victory" is synonymous with prolongation and expansion of warmaking around the world. Victory does not mean an end to combat. In fact, victory, in the classic sense, means defeat, at least from the standpoint of those who profit from war. If someone were to come up with a cure for cancer, it would mean a huge defeat for the cancer industry. Millions would lose their jobs. CEO's would lose their fat pay packages. Therefore, we need to be clearheaded about this, and recognize that victory is not what you think it is.

sonoftx , 5 hours ago link

Talked with a guy recently. He is a pilot. He flies planes over Afghanistan. He is a private contractor.

The program began under the Air Force. It then was taken over by the Army. It is now a private contractor.

There are approx 400 pilots in country at a time with 3 rotations. He told me what he gets paid. $200,000 and up.

They go up with a NSA agent running the equipment in back. He state that the dumbass really does not know what the plane is capable of. They collect all video, audio, infrared, and more? (You have to sense when to stop asking questions)

I just wanted to know the logistics of the info gathered.

So, the info is gathered. The NSA officer then gets with the CIA and the State Dept to see what they can release to the end user. The end user is the SOCOM. After it has been through review then the info is released to SOCOM.

So with all of this info on "goatherders" we still cannot pinpoint and defeat the "enemy"? No. Too many avenues of profit and deceit and infighting. It will always be. May justice here and abroad win in the end.

Concentrate on the true enemies. It is not your black, or Jewish, or brown, or Muslim neighbor. It is the owners of the Fed, Dow chemical, the Rockefellers, McDonnel Douglas and on and on and on and on and on and on..............

ardent , 6 hours ago link

The ROAD to perdition passes through APARTHEID Israhell.

"It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States... has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary... " – Philip Giraldi, Former CIA officer.

Boogity , 6 hours ago link

As Dubya famously said they hate us for our freedoms not because we've been dropping bombs on 'em for a couple of decades.

HideTheWeenie , 6 hours ago link

Bombing and war tech looks pretty cool in movies and controlled demonstrations. On reality, it doesn't get you too far. Never has.

Boots on the ground is what wins wars and all the generals know that. So do our enemy combatants.

On the ground, your chances of dying are 5-10% of your chances of getting maimed or permanently disabled, which are pretty high.

Maybe that's why we're letting in all the illegals, so they can fight our next war(s).

[Jun 14, 2019] Originally, creation of the Arc of Crisis was proposed by Bernard Lewis as a means to divide and rule, which has always been the British Empire s mody operandi , and Zbigniew Brzezinski wanted to create an Arc of Crisis all along the southern border of the USSR and later, Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Except for Afghanistan, the "Arc of Crisis" hasn't been all that successful as far as creating instability to Russia's south, and it hasn't been all that successful in promoting Anglo-American hegemony either. However, it has been wildly successful in perpetuating the "arc of instability" that justifies US military spending, so the MIC is quite well satisfied with the policies whether the broader interests and security of the British and American people are served well by the policy or not. ..."
"... Interesting to note that Daesh only ever appear to be attacking the traditional enemies of the Zionist. ..."
"... Daesh are like another Gladio, but on steroids. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | washingtonsblog.com
Southern 4 years ago • edited ,

Thanks for clarifying this - The roots of ISIS can be found in this article Creating an "Arc of Crisis": The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia

Bill Rood Southern 4 years ago ,

Yes. Originally, creation of the "Arc of Crisis" was proposed by Bernard Lewis as a means to divide and rule, which has always been the British Empire's mody operandi , and Zbigniew Brzezinski wanted to create an "Arc of Crisis" all along the southern border of the USSR and later, Russia.

Except for Afghanistan, the "Arc of Crisis" hasn't been all that successful as far as creating instability to Russia's south, and it hasn't been all that successful in promoting Anglo-American hegemony either. However, it has been wildly successful in perpetuating the "arc of instability" that justifies US military spending, so the MIC is quite well satisfied with the policies whether the broader interests and security of the British and American people are served well by the policy or not.

Southern Bill Rood 4 years ago • edited ,

There are many different aspects to this, like from the moment that large numbers of prisoners on death row in S.A. were given the ultimatum for joining the FSA or decline and face certain execution.

Too often regions are deliberately being exploited by greedy individuals and mixed into politics.

Interesting to note that Daesh only ever appear to be attacking the traditional enemies of the Zionist.

Daesh are like another Gladio, but on steroids.

Check this out - letter from Raqqa

[Jun 10, 2019] FAA's Boeing-biased Officials: Recuse Yourselves or Resign by Ralph Nader

Notable quotes:
"... The FAA has a clearly established pro-Boeing bias and will likely allow Boeing to unground the 737 MAX. We must demand that the two top FAA officials resign or recuse themselves from taking any more steps that might endanger the flying public. The two Boeing-indentured men are Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell and Associate FAA Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami. ..."
"... The FAA has long been known for its non-regulatory, waiver-driven, de-regulatory traditions. It has a hard time saying NO to the aircraft manufacturers and the airlines. After the aircraft hijackings directing flights to Cuba in the 1960s and 1970s, the FAA let the airlines say NO to installing hardened cockpit doors and stronger latches in their planes. These security measures would have prevented the hijackers from invading the cockpits of the aircrafts on September 11, 2001. The airlines did not want to spend the $3000 per plane. Absent the 9/11 hijackings, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney might not have gone to war in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Boeing has about 5,000 orders for the 737 MAX. It has delivered less than 400 to the world's airlines. From its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg to its swarms of Washington lobbyists, law firms, and public relations outfits, Boeing is used to getting its way. ..."
"... Right now, the Boeing/FAA strategy is to make sure Elwell and his FAA quickly decide that the MAX is safe for takeoff by delaying or stonewalling Congressional and other investigations. ..."
"... Time is not on the side of the 737 MAX 8. A comprehensive review of the 737 MAX's problems is a non-starter for Boeing. Boeing's flawed software and instructions that have kept pilots and airlines in the dark have already been exposed. New whistleblowers and more revelations will emerge. More time may also result in the Justice Department's operating grand jury issuing some indictments. More time would let the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led by Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) dig into the failure of accountability and serial criminal negligence of Boeing and its FAA accomplices. Chairman DeFazio knows the history of the FAA's regulatory capture. ..."
"... The FAA and its Boeing pals are using the "trade secret" claims to censor records sought by the House Committee. When it comes to investigating life or death airline hazards and crashes, Congress is capable of handling so-called trade secrets. This is all the more reason why the terminally prejudiced Elwell and Bahrami should step aside and let their successors take a fresh look at the Boeing investigations. That effort would include opening up the certification process for the entire Boeing MAX as a "new plane." ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

The Boeing-driven FAA is rushing to unground the notorious prone-to-stall Boeing 737 MAX (that killed 346 innocents in two crashes) before several official investigations are completed. Troubling revelations might keep these planes grounded worldwide.

The FAA has a clearly established pro-Boeing bias and will likely allow Boeing to unground the 737 MAX. We must demand that the two top FAA officials resign or recuse themselves from taking any more steps that might endanger the flying public. The two Boeing-indentured men are Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell and Associate FAA Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami.

Immediately after the crashes, Elwell resisted grounding and echoed Boeing claims that the Boeing 737 MAX was a safe plane despite the deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Ali Bahrami is known for aggressively pushing the FAA through 2018 to further abdicate its regulatory duties by delegating more safety inspections to Boeing. Bahrami's actions benefit Boeing and are supported by the company's toadies in the Congress. Elwell and Bahrami have both acquired much experience by going through the well-known revolving door between the industry and the FAA. They are likely to leave the FAA once again for lucrative positions in the aerospace lobbying or business world. With such prospects, they do not have much 'skin in the game' for their pending decision.

The FAA has long been known for its non-regulatory, waiver-driven, de-regulatory traditions. It has a hard time saying NO to the aircraft manufacturers and the airlines. After the aircraft hijackings directing flights to Cuba in the 1960s and 1970s, the FAA let the airlines say NO to installing hardened cockpit doors and stronger latches in their planes. These security measures would have prevented the hijackers from invading the cockpits of the aircrafts on September 11, 2001. The airlines did not want to spend the $3000 per plane. Absent the 9/11 hijackings, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney might not have gone to war in Afghanistan.

The FAA's historic "tombstone" mentality (slowly reacting after the crashes) is well known. For example, in the 1990s the FAA had a delayed reaction to numerous fatal crashes caused by antiquated de-icing rules. The FAA was also slow to act on ground-proximity warning requirements for commuter airlines and flammability reduction rules for aircraft cabin materials.

That's the tradition that Elwell and Bahrami inherited and have worsened. They did not even wait for Boeing to deliver its reworked software before announcing in April that simulator training would not be necessary for the pilots. This judgment was contrary to the experience of seasoned pilots such as Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. Simulator training would delay ungrounding and cost the profitable airlines money.

Boeing has about 5,000 orders for the 737 MAX. It has delivered less than 400 to the world's airlines. From its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg to its swarms of Washington lobbyists, law firms, and public relations outfits, Boeing is used to getting its way. Its grip on Congress – where 300 members take campaign cash from Boeing – is legendary. Boeing pays little in federal and Washington state taxes. It fumbles contracts with NASA and the Department of Defense but remains the federal government's big vendor for lack of competitive alternatives in a highly concentrated industry.

Right now, the Boeing/FAA strategy is to make sure Elwell and his FAA quickly decide that the MAX is safe for takeoff by delaying or stonewalling Congressional and other investigations.

The compliant Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, under Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), strangely has not scheduled anymore hearings. The Senate confirmation of Stephen Dickson to replace acting chief Elwell is also on a slow track. A new boss at the FAA might wish to take some time to review the whole process.

Time is not on the side of the 737 MAX 8. A comprehensive review of the 737 MAX's problems is a non-starter for Boeing. Boeing's flawed software and instructions that have kept pilots and airlines in the dark have already been exposed. New whistleblowers and more revelations will emerge. More time may also result in the Justice Department's operating grand jury issuing some indictments. More time would let the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led by Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) dig into the failure of accountability and serial criminal negligence of Boeing and its FAA accomplices. Chairman DeFazio knows the history of the FAA's regulatory capture.

Not surprising on June 4, 2019, DeFazio sent a stinging letter to FAA's Elwell and his corporatist superior, Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, about the FAA's intolerable delays in sending requested documents to the Committee. DeFazio's letter says: "To say we are disappointed and a bit bewildered at the ongoing delays to appropriately respond to our records requests would be an understatement."

The FAA and its Boeing pals are using the "trade secret" claims to censor records sought by the House Committee. When it comes to investigating life or death airline hazards and crashes, Congress is capable of handling so-called trade secrets. This is all the more reason why the terminally prejudiced Elwell and Bahrami should step aside and let their successors take a fresh look at the Boeing investigations. That effort would include opening up the certification process for the entire Boeing MAX as a "new plane."

The Boeing-biased Elwell and Bahrami have refused to even raise in public proceedings the question: "After eight or more Boeing 737 iterations, at what point does the Boeing MAX 8 become a new plane?" Many, including Cong. David Price (D-NC), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the FAA's budget, have already questioned the limited certification process.

Heavier engines on the old 737 fuselage changed the MAX's aerodynamics and made it prone-to-stall. It is time for the FAA's leadership to change before the 737 MAX flies with vulnerable, glitch-prone software "fixes".

Notwithstanding the previous Boeing 737 series' record of safety in the U.S. during the past decade – (one fatality), Boeing's bosses, have now disregarded warnings by its own engineers. Boeing executives do not get one, two, three or anymore crashes attributed to their ignoring long-known aerodynamic engineering practices.

The Boeing 737 MAX must never be allowed to fly again, given the structural design defects built deeply into its system.

[Jun 07, 2019] The Policy of Creative Chaos America's Project for a Middle-East Holocaust by Mark Taliano

Jun 01, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Region: Middle East & North Africa Theme: Crimes against Humanity , US NATO War Agenda

The Project for a New Middle East[1] is a Project for a New Holocaust. It is happening now. The policy of "Creative Chaos"[2] underpins the "Middle East Holocaust". Empire willfully destroys the sovereignty and territorial integrity of prey nations such as Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and beyond. Genocidal ethnic cleansing, mass murder and destruction are described benignly as "chaos" and as "creative".

Empire deploys meticulously planned strategies to fabricate sectarian and ethnic divides, and to balkanize prey nations. The notion, as expressed by Condoleeza Rice , that the Middle East should be divided into a "Sunni Belt" and a "Shia Belt"[3] objectifies peoples, diminishes their humanity, turns them into fictional "stock characters" defined exclusively by perceived religious affiliations, and deliberately fabricates ethnic and religious tensions, all of which serve as preconditions for imperialists to create chaos and the disintegration of strong nation-states into fractious vassal states, devoid of self-determination and sovereignty.

Empire sees non-compliant, self-governing, secular, pluralist, multi-confessional, democratic states as enemies. Syria is all of the above, and therefore an "enemy". Empire further destroys the "host" when it "opens the veins" of prey countries for resource plundering and criminal occupation. The oil-rich, strategically-located area East of the Euphrates is one such example.

When Empire supports the SDF against ISIS, it is polishing its fake image by creating the perception that it opposes ISIS, even as it re-introduces "rebadged" ISIS into the same battle grounds. Alternatively, as in the case of Raqqa, Empire "rescues" and redeploys ISIS elsewhere. Both terrorists and civilians are expendable in these demonic operations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HxxKuFxvrQE

Empire rounds civilians up in terrorist-controlled concentration camps[4]. It "weaponizes" them by deliberately creating conditions of desperation which lend themselves to recruiting opportunities for new terrorist proxies. Daesh will never disappear as long as Empire is in control or seeking control globally.

As long as Western war propaganda remains ascendant, and Western populations remain oblivious, Westerners will continue to believe that these wars are humanitarian or in their national interests. In fact, the wars are anti-humanitarian, and they only represent narrow "special interests."

NATO's strongest weapon is its apparatus of "Perception Management". Without it, NATO and the imperialists would be exposed as the Supreme International War Criminals that they are.

Video: West's War Against Syria Is Packed in Lies and Deceptions

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria , Global Research Publishers, 2017.

[Jun 06, 2019] Facing the Facts Israel Cannot Escape ICC Jurisdiction by Ramzy Baroud

Notable quotes:
"... Last February, the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Gaza's protests concluded that "it has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel." ..."
"... Article 12 of the Rome Statute allows for ICC's jurisdiction in two cases; first, if the State in which the alleged crime has occurred is itself a party of the Statute and, second, if the State where the crime has occurred agrees to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the court. ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org
The Chief Military Advocate General of the Israeli army, Sharon Afek, and the US Department of Defense General Counsel, Paul Ney, shared a platform at the 'International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict', which took place in Herzliya, Israel between May 28-30.

Their panel witnessed some of the most misconstrued interpretations of international law ever recorded. It was as if Afek and Ney were literally making up their own law on warfare and armed conflict, with no regard to what international law actually stipulates.

Unsurprisingly, both Afek and Ney agreed on many things, including that Israel and the US are blameless in all of their military conflicts, and that they will always be united against any attempt to hold them accountable for war crimes by the International Court of Justice (ICC).

Their tirade against the ICC mirrors that of their own leaders. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's anti-ICC position is familiar, last April, US President Donald Trump virulently expressed his contempt for the global organization and everything it represents.

"Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response," Trump said in a writing on April 12.

While Trump's (and Netanyahu's) divisive language is nothing new, Afek and Ney were entrusted with the difficult task of using legal language to explain their countries' aversion for international law.

Prior to the Herzliya Conference, Afek addressed the Israel Bar Association convention in Eilat on May 26. Here, too, he made some ludicrous claims as he absolved, in advance, Israeli soldiers who kill Palestinians.

"A soldier who is in a life-threatening situation and acts to defend himself (or) others (he) is responsible for, is receiving and will continue receiving full back-up from the Israeli army," he said .

The above assertion appears far more sinister once we remember Afek's views on what constitutes a "life-threatening situation", as he had articulated in Herzliya a few days later.

"Thousands of Gaza's residents (try) to breach the border fence," he said, with reference to the non-violent March of Return at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel.

The Gaza protesters "are led by a terrorist organization that deliberately uses civilians to carry out attacks," Afek said.

Afek sees unarmed protests in Gaza as a form of terrorism, thus concurring with an earlier statement made by then-Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on April 8, 2018, when he declared that "there are no innocents in Gaza."

Israel's shoot-to-kill policy, however, is not confined to the Gaza Strip but is also implemented with the same degree of violent enthusiasm in the West Bank.

'No attacker, male or female, should make it out of any attack alive,' Lieberman said in 2015. His orders were followed implicitly, as hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and Jerusalem for allegedly trying to attack Israeli occupation soldiers or armed illegal Jewish settlers.

Unlike democratic political systems everywhere, in Israel the occupation soldier becomes the interpreter and enforcer of the law.

Putting this policy into practice in Gaza is even more horrendous as unarmed protesters are often being killed by Israeli snipers from long distances. Even journalists and medics have not been spared the same tragic fate as the hundreds of civilians who were killed since the start of the protests in March 2018.

Last February, the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Gaza's protests concluded that "it has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel."

In his attack on the ICC at the Herzliya Conference, Afek contended that "Israel is a law-abiding country, with an independent and strong judicial system, and there is no reason for its actions to be scrutinized by the ICC."

The Israeli General goes on to reprimand the ICC by urging it to focus on "dealing with the main issues for which it was founded."

Has Afek even read the Rome Statute? The first Article states that the ICC has the "power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern, as referred to in this Statute."

Article 5 elaborates the nature of these serious crimes, which include: "(a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression."

Israel has been accused of at least two of these crimes – war crimes and crimes against humanity – repeatedly, including in the February report by the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry.

Afek may argue that none of this is relevant to Israel, for the latter is not "a party to the Rome Statute," therefore, does not fall within ICC's legal jurisdiction.

Wrong again.

Article 12 of the Rome Statute allows for ICC's jurisdiction in two cases; first, if the State in which the alleged crime has occurred is itself a party of the Statute and, second, if the State where the crime has occurred agrees to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the court.

While it is true that Israel is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, Palestine has, since 2015, agreed to submit itself to the ICC's jurisdiction.

Moreover, in April 2015, the State of Palestine formally became a member of the ICC, thus giving the court jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed in the Occupied Territories since June 13, 2014. These crimes include human rights violations carried out during the Israeli war on Gaza in July-August of the same year.

Afek's skewed understanding of international law went unchallenged at the Herzliya Conference, as he was flanked by equally misguided interpreters of international law.

However, nothing proclaimed by Israel's top military prosecutor or his government will alter the facts. Israeli war crimes must not go unpunished; Israel's judicial system is untrustworthy and the ICC has the legal right and moral duty to carry out the will of the international community and hold to account those responsible for war crimes anywhere, including Israel.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. He is athor of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle and his latest My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story . He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com . Read other articles by Ramzy , or visit Ramzy's website .

[Jun 05, 2019] Trumpies should bear in mind that Gallagher's own fellow Seals testified against him that's how depraved this guy Trump is pardoning is.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's eunuchs are still guarding and serving their master I see. And their master is a psychopath who is getting ready to pardon the tough guy kind of psychopath he admires. Of course the Orange psychopath doesn't consider the fact that this kind of thing , just like the Iraqi prison tortures , incentivizes the commission of war crimes by our opponents and allies, and in doing so puts US service members at greater risk. ..."
May 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro, says: May 20, 2019 at 7:02 am GMT

@Peter Akuleyev

Trump's eunuchs are still guarding and serving their master I see. And their master is a psychopath who is getting ready to pardon the tough guy kind of psychopath he admires. Of course the Orange psychopath doesn't consider the fact that this kind of thing , just like the Iraqi prison tortures , incentivizes the commission of war crimes by our opponents and allies, and in doing so puts US service members at greater risk.

Here's Trump's hero ..

"One day, from his sniper nest, Chief Gallagher shot a girl in a flower-print hijab who was walking w/ other girls on the riverbank. She dropped, clutching her stomach, & the other girls dragged her away."

A mass murderer according to Senior Seals: "Would order needless risks, to fire rockets at houses for no apparent reason. He routinely parked an armored truck on a Tigris River bridge & emptied the truck's heavy machine gun into neighborhoods on twith no discernible targets."

"Platoon members said he spent much of his time in a hidden perch with a sniper rifle, firing three or four times as often as other platoon snipers. They said he boasted about the number of people he had killed, including women."

Two other snipers said, the chief shot an unarmed man in a white robe with a wispy white beard. They said the man fell, a red blotch spreading on his back."

Gallagher ordered a hatchet & a hunting knife" before 2017 deployment. He texted the man who made them (a Navy Seal veteran) shortly after arriving in Iraq: "I'll try and dig that knife or hatchet on someone's skull!"

May 2017, a SEAL medic was treating a wounded 15 y/o Islamic State fighter. "He's mine," Gallagher said. "Gallagher walked up without a word and stabbed the wounded teenager several times in the neck and once in the chest with his hunting knife, killing him."

He didn't even try to hide the murder of the 15 y/o. He brought other seals around minutes later & took a photo over the body. Later, he texted the photo to a fellow SEAL in California: "Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife."
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/us/navy-seals-crimes-of-war.html

Now Trumpies bear in mind that Gallagher's own fellow Seals testified against him that's how depraved this guy Trump is pardoning is.

Here's Gallagher if you live in a stand your ground state and run into him shoot the bastard, he'll have his hunting knife on him so you can claim self defense.

. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D64_hykW4AEqObU.jpg

[May 28, 2019] Russia does not want to "control" Germany with Nord Stream, it wants to make money. And Germany wants cheap gas. Strictly business

Notable quotes:
"... They will be the ones to blackmail Europe and Germany if Europe becomes dependent on LNG from the U.S. So everything U.S. administrations are yelling at others is just projection, one knows immediately that it is in fact what the U.S. is doing under the veil or will be doing when the need/opportunity will arise. ..."
"... Trump is not an aberration, it is just how the U.S. always behaved, but now it is in the open, for all to see, the crassness and the bullying. ..."
"... Germany is the linchpin of the world and the U.S. (and others) is becoming hysterical at the possibility of not keeping the Germans down any longer… ..."
"... American Jewish intellectuals have really jumped the shark since the Iraq War. The most outlandish, slandering statements are stuffed into their essays and they trash whole peoples at the slightest “offence” to their worldview. ..."
May 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

GaryH May 23, 2019 at 9:32 am

If Daenerys Targaryen had announced her desire to use her last dragon to torch Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the Neocons would have lionized her as the womanly exemplar of democracy and wise foreign policy that produces peace and justice for all.

Neocons are very much the evil they call us to battle.

SteveM , , May 23, 2019 at 10:54 am

Re: MarkVA comment

I had to rub my eyes with incredulity when I read that.

If Russia wants to weaken Ukraine, why did it ever build a pipeline through it in the first place? Russia didn't stop using the Ukraine pipeline intially for political reasons. It was because Ukraine was stealing gas meant for pass-through to other European countries and it wasn't paying its bills. Don't pay your utility bills and see what happens.

Russia does not want to "control" Germany with Nord Stream, it wants to make money. And Germany wants cheap gas. Strictly business.

And how can Russia control Germany with Nord Stream when it knows that the first time it shuts off gas for political reasons would be the last. Because Russia knows that Germany will find alternative suppliers and never come back. The Russians ain't stupid.

Russia wants bilateral trade with Europe without the Global Cop Gorilla perpetually in the background arrogant calling the shots.

The final reconciliation of Europe and Russia should have occurred 25 years but didn't because the ham-fisted United States threw up the fear-monger barriers. And that was because its National Security States wants an existential "enemy" to justify its massive costs.

The sooner Europe ejects the U.S. War Machine from its territories the better. Better for Europe, better for Russia and better for the American taxpayers.

Kouros , says: May 23, 2019 at 11:32 am

I am with SteveM here. And I was shocked to see MarkVA’s comment. Mark has proved to be a respectable commentator, especially on Rod’s Blog, with very astute and sensible observations. It seems that tribalism is clouding his judgment when observing the world outside the U.S.

It is well known that the Soviets and the Russians always keep their end of the bargain and they know if they don’t do so they will end up loosing and being vilified. Whereas the U.S. always breaks its agreements, it is not thrust worthy (not agreement capable). Imagine depending on such an economic partner?!

They will be the ones to blackmail Europe and Germany if Europe becomes dependent on LNG from the U.S. So everything U.S. administrations are yelling at others is just projection, one knows immediately that it is in fact what the U.S. is doing under the veil or will be doing when the need/opportunity will arise.

Trump is not an aberration, it is just how the U.S. always behaved, but now it is in the open, for all to see, the crassness and the bullying.

Germany is the linchpin of the world and the U.S. (and others) is becoming hysterical at the possibility of not keeping the Germans down any longer… And Germany is moving ahead. It just sacrificed West Bank, and declared the BDS movement illegal as a soap to Israelis, to burnish its credentials with those blackmailers, so that it will become free to re-orient its politics and strategic configuration as it needs and wants.

fabian, May 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Gas? Where is the problem? Russian gas is cheaper that’s it. Furthermore, there is another pipeline that’s going to bring gas from the Mediterranean to Europe and another from Qatar.

And if all else fails and Russia flexes its muscles (which ones by the way) do you think that the over-indebted America will not sell its gas to the Germans?

And yes, it’s not a good strategy to be too dependent on America. It quickly takes the goods away when its interests are at stake.

Tiktaalik, May 24, 2019 at 5:14 pm

@MarkVA

>>The Nord Stream I and II gas pipe lines (aka Molotov-Ribbentrop Gas Lines), a Gazprom initiative, has everything to do with weakening Ukraine and increasing German energy dependence on Russia;

How could NS increase German energy dependence on Russia? It will be the very same gas which at the moment flows through the Ukraine.

Surely, NS would decrease anybody’s dependence from the Ukraine. So what?

Tiktaalik, May 24, 2019 at 5:18 pm

@MarkVA

>>Oh, and some lesser European countries were partitioned by the important European countries. So yes, Europe was quite busy spreading joy and happiness all around:

It’s a bit rich when it’s coming from an American. You’re still in Plymouth, right?

Kouros, May 24, 2019 at 11:35 pm

@MarkVA (May 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm )

That was a hit with the posting on Ukraine…

To bad it wasn’t accompanied by the Recognition of the US administration that the Golan Heights, taken from Syria by Israel after a war, against all worlds dictum, now belongs to Israel.

At least in Crimea, which by administrative fiat was moved within USSR from Russia to Ukraine in the 1950s, there was a referendum.

And for me, US is Devil Incarnate since it put a target of nuclear missiles on my mother country. May the curse of a 1000 hells be upon it.

Josep, May 25, 2019 at 5:05 am

Reading sites like Russia Insider gave me the notion that Germany would be better off as allies with Russia than with the USA. After all, Russia and Germany:

* are on the metric system
* have languages that use grammatical gender
* share the same 220-volt “Schuko” power plugs and sockets
* implement Civil Law, and most importantly
* aren’t separated by a whole ocean.

American Jewish intellectuals have really jumped the shark since the Iraq War. The most outlandish, slandering statements are stuffed into their essays and they trash whole peoples at the slightest “offence” to their worldview.

There are strong anti-German currents in American culture and politics, going back to at least WW1 and also manifest today (no other treaty ally is treated with such dismissive hostility by the Trump administration as Germany). But they are regarded as completely normal and rarely get critical attention, whereas German anti-Americanism is treated as a pathology or some kind of sacrilege…the German-American relationship (calling it “friendship” is a lie) is profoundly asymmetrical.

Agreed in both counts. The casual anti-white racism thrown about by the likes of such people (let’s not forget Davids Medienkritik, Little Green Footballs, Grouchy Old Cripple and Dissident Frogman) is a lot scarier than any jumpscare I’ve encountered. And in the case of German_reader’s comment, It’d be interesting to consider how Trump reconciles his hostility towards Germany with his own German heritage.

At one point in the Iraq War, the German news outlet Der Spiegel had readers rate their opinion of president Bush on their website on a scale of 1 (most favorable) to, if I recall correctly, 6 (least favorable). After seeing public opinion of Bush in Germany overwhelmingly “least favorable”, users of FreeRepublic went to this poll and attempted to gerrymander the results by selecting “most favorable”, deleting their site cookies, and repeating so as to make it look like more people in Germany supported Bush than opposed. This was called “freeping”.

[May 21, 2019] 2020 Elections: It's Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid! by Ajamu Baraka

May 17, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

U.S. ships are involved in provocative "freedom of navigation" exercises in the South China Sea and other ships gather ominously in the Mediterranean Sea while National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo along with convicted war criminal Elliot Abrams conspire to save the people of Venezuela with another illegal "regime change" intervention. But people are drawn to the latest adventures of Love and Hip-Hop, the Mueller report, and Game of Thrones. In fact, while millions can recall with impressive detail the proposals and strategies of the various players in HBO's latest saga, they can't recall two details about the pending military budget that will likely pass in Congress with little debate, even though Trump's budget proposal represents another obscene increase of public money to the tune of $750 billion.

This bipartisan rip-off could not occur without the willing collusion of the corporate media, which slants coverage to support the interests of the ruling elite or decides to just ignore an issue like the ever-expanding military budget.

The effectiveness of this collusion is reflected in the fact that not only has this massive theft of public money not gotten much coverage in the mainstream corporate media, but also it only received sporadic coverage in the alternative media. The liberal-left media is distracted enough by the theatrics of the Trump show to do the ideological dirty work of the elites.

Spending on war will consume almost 70% of the budget and be accompanied by cuts in public spending for education, housing, the environment, public transportation, jobs trainings, food support programs like food stamps and Meals on Wheels, as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Most of the neoliberal candidates running in the Democratic Party's electoral process, however, haven't spoken a word in opposition to Trump's budget.

The public knows that the Democratic Party's candidates are opposed to Trump's wall on the southern border, and they expect to hear them raise questions about the $8.6 billion of funding the wall. But while some of the Democrats may oppose the wall, very few have challenged the details of the budget that the U.S. Peace Council indicates . For example:

"$576 billion baseline budget for the Department of Defense; an additional $174 billion for the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), i.e., the war budget; $93.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs; $51.7 billion for Homeland Security; $42.8 billion for State Department; an additional $26.1 billion for State Department's Overseas Contingency Operations (regime change slush fund); $16.5 billion for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (nuclear weapons budget); $21 billion for NASA (militarizing outer space?); plus $267.4 billion for all other government agencies, including funding for FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice."

The Peace Council also highlights the following two issues: First, the total US military and war budget has jumped from $736.4 billion to $989.0 billion since 2015. That is a $252.6 billion (about 35%) increase in five years. Second, thesimultaneous cuts in the government's non-military spending are reflected in the proposed budget.

Here are some of biggest proposed budget cuts:

+ $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, implementing work requirements as well as eliminating the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The budget instead adds $1.2 trillion for a "Market Based Health Care Grant" -- that is, a block grant to states, instead of paying by need. It's not clear whether that would be part of Medicaid.

+ An $845 billion cut to Medicare over 10 years. That is about a 10 percent cut .

+ $25 billion in cuts to Social Security over 10 years, including cuts to disability insurance.

+ A $220 billion cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) over 10 years , which is commonly referred to as food stamps, and includes mandatory work requirements. The program currently serves around 45 million people.

+ A $21 billion cut to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families , an already severely underfunded cash-assistance program for the nation's poorest.

+ $207 billion in cuts to the student loan program, eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cutting subsidized student loans.

+ Overall, there is a 9 percent cut to non-defense programs , which would hit Section 8 housing vouchers, public housing programs, Head Start, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program , among others.

The working classes and oppressed peoples of the U.S. and around the world can no longer afford the unchallenged ideological positions of the Pentagon budget and the associated expenditures for so-called defense that are considered sacrosanct in the U.S. They cannot afford that much of the U.S. public is not concerned with issues of so-called foreign policy that the military budget is seen as part.

The racist appeals of U.S. national chauvinism in the form of "Make America Great" and the Democrats' version of "U.S. Exceptionalism" must be confronted and exposed as the cross-class, white identity politics that they are. The fact that supposedly progressive or even "radical" politics does not address the issue of U.S. expenditures on war and imperialism is reflective of a politics that is morally and political bankrupt. But it also does something else. It places those practitioners firmly in the camp of the enemies of humanity.

The objective fact that large numbers of the public accept that the U.S. can determine the leadership of another sovereign nation while simultaneously being outraged by the idea of a foreign power interfering in U.S. elections demonstrates the mindboggling subjective contradictions that exist in the U.S. For example – that an Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez can assert that she will defer to the leadership of her caucus on the issue of Venezuela or that Barbara Lee can vote to bring Trump's budget proposal out of committee or that Biden can proudly support Trump's immoral backing of a neo-fascist opposition in Venezuela and they will all get away with those positions – reveals the incredible challenge that we face in building an alternative radical movement for peace, social justice and people(s)-centered human rights.

So, we must join with U.S. Peace Council and the other members of the Anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialist communities in the U.S. to "resist and oppose this military attack on our communities, our livelihoods and our lives." This is an urgent and militant first step in reversing the cultural support for violence and the normalization of war that currently exists in the U.S. Now is the moment to demand that Congress reject and reverse the Trump Administration's military budget and the U.S. Government's militaristic foreign policy. But now is also the moment to commit to building a powerful countermovement to take back the power over life and death from the denizens of violence represented by the rapacious 1%. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Ajamu Baraka

Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine.

[May 20, 2019] "Us" Versus "Them"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth. ..."
"... There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase. ..."
"... Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus. ..."
"... When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed. ..."
"... I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. ..."
"... If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. ..."
"... These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president. ..."
"... The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

"I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!"" – Bill Hicks

Anyone who frequents Twitter, Facebook, political blogs, economic blogs, or fake-news mainstream media channels knows our world is driven by the "Us versus Them" narrative. It's almost as if "they" are forcing us to choose sides and believe the other side is evil. Bill Hicks died in 1994, but his above quote is truer today then it was then. As the American Empire continues its long-term decline, the proles are manipulated through Bernaysian propaganda techniques, honed over the course of decades by the ruling oligarchs, to root for their assigned puppets.

Most people can't discern they are being manipulated and duped by the Deep State controllers. The most terrifying outcome for these Deep State controllers would be for the masses to realize it is us versus them. But they don't believe there is a chance in hell of this happening. Their arrogance is palatable.

Their hubris has reached astronomical levels as they blew up the world economy in 2008 and successfully managed to have the innocent victims bail them out to the tune of $700 billion, pillaged the wealth of the nation through their capture of the Federal Reserve (QE, ZIRP), rigged the financial markets in their favor through collusion, used the hundreds of billions in corporate tax cuts to buy back their stock and further pump the stock market, all while their corporate media mouthpieces mislead and misinform the proles.

There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase.

Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus.

When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed.

I've never been big on joining a group. I tend to believe Groucho Marx and his cynical line, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member". The "Us vs. Them" narrative doesn't connect with my view of the world. As a realistic libertarian I know libertarian ideals will never proliferate in a society of government dependency, willful ignorance of the masses, thousands of laws, and a weak-kneed populace afraid of freedom and liberty. The only true libertarian politician, Ron Paul, was only able to connect with about 5% of the voting public. There is no chance a candidate with a libertarian platform will ever win a national election. This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Bill Hicks somewhat foreshadowed the last election by referencing another famous cynic.

"I ascribe to Mark Twain's theory that the last person who should be President is the one who wants it the most. The one who should be picked is the one who should be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House." ― Bill Hicks

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president so badly, she colluded with Barack Obama, Jim Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch and numerous other Deep State sycophants to ensure her victory, by attempting to entrap Donald Trump in a concocted Russian collusion plot and subsequent post-election coup to cover for their traitorous plot. I wouldn't say Donald Trump was dragged kicking and screaming into the White House, but when he ascended on the escalator at Trump Tower in June of 2015, I'm not convinced he believed he could win the presidency.

As the greatest self-promoter of our time, I think he believed a presidential run would be good for his brand, more revenue for his properties and more interest in his reality TV ventures. He was despised by the establishment within the Republican and Democrat parties. The vested interests controlling the media and levers of power in society scorned and ridiculed this brash uncouth outsider. In an upset for the ages, Trump tapped into a vein of rage and disgruntlement in flyover country and pockets within swing states, to win the presidency over Crooked Hillary and her Deep State backers.

I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. I hadn't voted for a Republican since 2000, casting protest votes for Libertarian and Constitutional Party candidates along the way. I despise the establishment, so their hatred of Trump made me vote for him. His campaign stances against foreign wars and Federal Reserve reckless bubble blowing appealed to me. I don't worship at the altar of the cult of personality. I judge men by their actions and not their words.

Trump's first two years have been endlessly entertaining as he waged war against fake news CNN, establishment Republicans, the Deep State coup attempt, and Obama loving globalists. The Twitter in Chief has bypassed the fake news media and tweets relentlessly to his followers. He provokes outrage in his enemies and enthralls his worshipers. With millions in each camp it is difficult to find an unbiased assessment of narrative versus real accomplishments.

I'm happy he has been able to stop the relentless leftward progression of our Federal judiciary. Cutting regulations and rolling back environmental mandates has been a positive. Exiting the Paris Climate Agreement and TPP, forcing NATO members to pay their fair share, and renegotiating NAFTA were all needed. Ending the war on coal and approving pipelines will keep energy costs lower. His attempts to vet Muslims entering the country have been the right thing to do. Building a wall on our southern border is the right thing to do, but he should have gotten it done when he controlled both houses.

The use of tariffs to force China to renegotiate one sided trade deals as a negotiating tactic is a high-risk, high reward gamble. If his game of chicken is successful and he gets better terms from the Chicoms, while reversing the tariffs, it would be a huge win. If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. Who has the upper hand? Xi is essentially a dictator for life and doesn't have to worry about elections or popularity polls. Dissent is crushed. A global recession and stock market crash would make Trump's re-election in 2020 problematic.

I'm a big supporter of lower taxes. The Trump tax cuts were sold as beneficial to the middle class. That is a false narrative. The vast majority of the tax cut benefits went to mega-corporations and rich people. Middle class home owning families with children received little or no tax relief, as exemptions were eliminated and tax deductions capped. In many cases, taxes rose for working class Americans.

With corporate profits at all time highs, massive tax cuts put billions more into their coffers. They didn't repatriate their overseas profits to a great extent. They didn't go on a massive hiring spree. They didn't invest in new facilities. They did buy back their own stock to help drive the stock market to stratospheric heights. So corporate executives gave themselves billions in bonuses, which were taxed at a much lower rate. This is considered winning in present day America.

The "Us vs. Them" issue rears its ugly head whenever Trump is held accountable for promises unkept, blatant failures, and his own version of fake news. Holding Trump to the same standards as Obama is considered traitorous by those who only root for their home team. Their standard response is that you are a Hillary sycophant or a turncoat to the home team. If you agree with a particular viewpoint or position of a liberal then you are a bad person and accused of being a lefty by Trump fanboys. Facts don't matter to cheerleaders. Competing narratives rule the day. Truthfulness not required.

The refusal to distinguish between positive actions and negative actions when assessing the performance of what passes for our political leadership by the masses is why cynicism has become my standard response to everything I see, hear or he read. The incessant level of lies permeating our society and its acceptance as the norm has led to moral decay and rampant criminality from the White House, to the halls of Congress, to corporate boardrooms, to corporate newsrooms, to government run classrooms, to the Vatican, and to households across the land. It's interesting that one of our founding fathers reflected upon this detestable human trait over two hundred years ago.

"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime." – Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine's description of how moral mischief can ruin a society was written when less than 3 million people inhabited America. Consider his accurate assessment of humanity when over 300 million occupy these lands. The staggering number of corrupt prostituted sociopaths occupying positions of power within the government, corporations, media, military, churches, and academia has created a morally bankrupt empire of debt.

These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president.

The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them. The answer to that question will strongly impact the direction and intensity of the climactic years of this Fourth Turning. What I've noticed is the shunning of those who don't take an all or nothing position regarding Trump. If you disagree with a decision, policy, or hiring decision by the man, you are accused by the pro-Trump team of being one of them (aka liberals, lefties, Hillary lovers).

If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers. I don't want to be Us or Them. I just want to be me. I will judge everyone by their actions and their results. I can agree with Trump on many issues, while also agreeing with Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi on other issues. I don't prescribe to the cult of personality school of thought. I didn't believe the false narratives during the Bush or Obama years, and I won't worship at the altar of the Trump narrative now.

In Part II of this article I'll assess Trump's progress thus far and try to determine whether he can defeat the Deep State.


TerryThomas , 32 minutes ago link

"The scientific and industrial revolution of modern times represents the next giant step in the mastery over nature; and here, too, an enormous increase in man's power over nature is followed by an apocalyptic drive to subjugate man and reduce human nature to the status of nature. Even where enslavement is employed in a mighty effort to tame nature, one has the feeling that the effort is but a tactic to legitimize total subjugation. Thus, despite its spectacular achievements in science and technology, the twentieth century will probably be seen in retrospect as a century mainly preoccupied with the mastery and manipulation of men. Nationalism, socialism, communism, fascism, and militarism, cartelization and unionization, propaganda and advertising are all aspects of a general relentless drive to manipulate men and neutralize the unpredictability of human nature. Here, too, the atmosphere is heavy-laden with coercion and magic." --Eric Hoffer

666D Chess , 11 minutes ago link

Divide and conquer, not a very novel idea... but very effective.

Kafir Goyim , 32 minutes ago link

If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers

That's not true. When Trump kisses Israeli ***, most "Trumpeteers" are outraged. That does not mean they're going to vote for Joe "I'm a Zionist" Biden, or Honest Hillary because of it, but they're still pissed.

Rich Monk , 33 minutes ago link

These predators (((them))) need to fear the Victims, us! That is what the 2ND Amendment is for. It's coming, slowly for now, but eventually it speeds up.

yellowsub , 42 minutes ago link

Ya'll a dumb fool if you think gov't as your best interests first.

legalize , 46 minutes ago link

Citation needed.

Any piece like this better be littered with footnotes and cited sources before I'm swallowing it.

I'll say it again: this is the internet, people. There's no "shortage of column space" to include links back to primary sources for your assertions. Otherwise, how am I supposed to distinguish you from another "psy op" or "paid opposition hit piece"?

bshirley1968 , 51 minutes ago link

"The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them."

If you still ponder this question, then you are pretty frickin' thick. It is obvious at this point, that he betrayed everything he campaigned on. You don't do that and call yourself one of "us".......damn sure aren't one of "me".

If I couldn't keep my word and wouldn't do what it takes to do what is right.....then I would resign. But I would not go on playing politics in a world that needs some real leadership and not another political hack.

The real battle is between Truth and Lie. No matter the name of your "team" or the "side" you support. Truth is truth and lies are lies. We don't stand for political parties, we stand for truth. We don't stand for national pride, we take pride in a nation that is truthful and trustworthy. The minute a "side" or "team" starts lying.....and justifying it.....that is the minute they become them and not one of us.

Any thinking person in this country today knows we are being lied to by the entire complex. Until someone starts telling the truth.....we are on our own. But I be damned before I am going to support any of these lying sons of bitches......and that includes Trump.

Fish Gone Bad , 37 minutes ago link

Dark comedy. All the elections have been **** choices until the last one. Take a look at Arkancide.com and start counting the bodies.

Anyone remember the news telling us how North Korea promised to turn the US into a sea of fire?? Trump absolutely went to bat for every single American to de-escalate that situation.

bshirley1968 , 31 minutes ago link

Don't tell me about Arkancide or the Clintons. I grew up in Arkansas with that sack of **** as my governor for 12 years.

NK was never a real threat to anyone. Trump didn't do ****. NK is back to building and shooting off missiles and will be teaming up with the Russians and Chinese. You are a duped bafoon.

Kafir Goyim , 28 minutes ago link

I don't think anybody thought NK was an existential threat to the US. It has still been nice making progress on bringing them back into the world and making them less of a threat to Japan and S. Korea. Trump did that.

Giant Meteor , 9 minutes ago link

Dennis Rodman did that, or that is to say, Trump an extension thereof ..

Great theater..

Look, i thought it was great that Trump went Kim Unning. I mean after all, i had talked with a few elderly folks that get their news directly from the mainstream of mainstream, vanilla news reportage. Propaganda central casting. I remember them being extremely concerned, outright petrified about that evil menace, kim gonna launch nukes any minute now. If the news would have been announced a major troop mobilization, bombing campaigns, to begin immediately they would have been completely onboard, waving the flag.

Frankly, it is only a matter of time, and folks can speculate on the country of interest, but it is coming soon to a theater near you. So many being in the crosshairs. Iran i suspect .. that's the big prize, that makes these sociopaths cream in their panties.

Probably. In the second term .. and so far, if ones honestly evaluates the "brain trust" / current crop of dimwit opposition, and in light of their past 2 plus years of moronic posturing with their hair on fire, trump will get his second term ..

666D Chess , 15 minutes ago link

Until the last one? You are retarded, the last election was a masterpiece of Rothschilds Productions. The Illuminati was watching you at their private cinema when you were voting for Trump and they were laughing their asses off.

HoodRatKing , 55 minutes ago link

The author does not realize that everyone in America, except Native American Indians, were immigrants drawn towards the false promise of hope that is the American Dream, turned nightmare..

Owning your own home, car, & raising a family in this country is so damn expensive & risky, that you'd have be on drugs or an idiot to even fall for the lies.

I don't see an us vs them, I see the #FakeMoney printers monetized every facet of life, own everything, & it truly is RENT-A-LIFE USSA, complete with bills galore, taxes galore, laws galore, jails & prisons galore, & the worst fkn country anyone would want to live in poverty & homelessness in.

At least in many 3rd world nations there is land to live off of & joblessness does not = a financial death sentence.

bshirley1968 , 39 minutes ago link

Sure. Lets all go back to living in huts.....off the land....no cars.....no electricity.....no running water......no roads....

There is a price to pay for things and it is not always in the form of money. We have given up some of our freedom for the ease and conveniences we want.

The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke.

There is a balance. Don't take the other extreme or we never find balance.

911bodysnatchers322 , 56 minutes ago link

This article is moronic. One can easily prove that Trump is not like all the others in the poster. Has this author been living under a rock for the last 2.5 yrs? The past 5 presidents represent a group that has been literally trying to assassinate Trump, ruin his family, his reputation, his buisness and his future, for the audacity to be an ousider to the power network and steal (win) the presidency from under their noses. He's kept us OUT of war. He's dissolved the treachery that was keeping us in the middle east through gaslighitng and a proxy fake war that is ISIS, the globalists' / nato / fiveys / uk's fake mercenary army

Giant Meteor , 25 minutes ago link

And yet, I'll never forget all the smiling faces at the gala wedding affair.

Happier times ..

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/us/politics/ex-ally-donald-trump-now-heaps-scorn-on-bill-clinton.html

And yes, thanks in advance for noting the link is from New York slime, but i believe the picture in this case anyway, was not photo shopped.

She is, (hillary) after all, good people, a real fighter ..

**** .. mission accomplished ..

ExPat2018 , 1 hour ago link

The greatest threat to the USA is its own dumbed down drugged up citizens who cannot compete with anyone. America is a big military powerhouse but that doens't make successful countries

You must have intelligent people

America doesn't have that anymore.

JuliaS , 1 hour ago link

Notice how modern narrative is getting manipulated. What is being reported and referenced is completely different from how things are. And knowing that we can assume that the entire history is a fabricated lie, written by the ruling class to support its status in the minds of obedient citizens.

911bodysnatchers322 , 54 minutes ago link

This article is garbage propaganda that proves that they think we aren't keeping score or paying attention. The gaslighting won't work when it relies on so much counterthink, willful ignorance, counterfacts and weaponized omissions

istt , 1 hour ago link

The reality is the de-escalation of wars, the stability of our currency and our economy, and the moral re-grounding of our culture does not occur until we do what over 100 countries have done over the centuries, beginning in Carthage in 250AD.

fersur , 1 hour ago link

There's an old saying; "Congress does 2 things well Nothing and Protest" said by Pence Live-Streamed 4 hours ago at USMCA America First speech !

Good, Bad and Ugly

The Good is President Trump works extreme daily hours trying his best !

The Bad is Haters miss every bit of whatever their President Trump does that is good !

The Ugly is Hater Reporters ignoring World events, scared of possibly shining President Trump fairly !

SHsparx , 1 hour ago link

You really are making it a bit too obvious, bro.

911bodysnatchers322 , 52 minutes ago link

The congress are statusquotarians. If they solved the problems they say they would,they'd be out of a job. and that job is sitting there acting like a naddler or toxic post turtle leprechaun with a charisma and skill level of zero. Their staff do all the work, half of them barely read, though they probably can

SHsparx , 1 hour ago link

I still think 1st and 2nd ammedment is predicated on which party rules the house. If a Dem gets into the WH, we're fucked. Kiss those Iast two dying amendments goodbye for good.

Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link

If we rely on any party to preserve the 1st or 2nd Amendments, we are already fucked. What should preserve the 1st and 2nd Amendments is the absolute fear of anyone in government even mentioning suppressing or removing them. When the very thought of doing anything to lessen the rights advocated in these two amendments, causes a politician to piss in their pants, liberty will be preserved. As it is now citizens fear the government, and as a result tyranny continues to grow and fester as a cancer.

Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link

In other words, those amendments are already lost... we're just waiting for the final dictate to come down.

Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link

You may very well be right. I still hold out hope, but upon seeing what our society is quickly morphing into, that hope seems to fade more each and every day.

SHsparx , 49 minutes ago link

@ Zeusky Babarusky

I couldn't agree with you more.

Unfortunately, it is what it is, which is why I used the word "dying."

Those two amendments are on their deathbed, and if a Dem gets in the house, that'll be the nail in the coffin.

bshirley1968 , 1 hour ago link

If you think the 1st and 2nd amendments are reliant on who is in office, then you are already done. Why don't you try growing a pair and being an American for once in your life.

I will always have a 1st and 2nd "amendment" for as long as I live. Life is meaningless without them.....as far as I am concerned. Good thing the founders didn't wait for king George to give them what they "felt" was theirs.....by the laws of Nature and Nature's God.

I hope the democrats get the power......and I hope they come for the guns......maybe then pussies like you will finally have to **** or get off the pot......for once in your life. There are worse things than dying.

Nephilim , 1 hour ago link

THEHAZELFLOCKOFCRANES

BRINDLED FOOT,

AUSTRALIAN.

caveofgoldcaveofold

Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link

"Why do we have wars?"

"Because life is war: fighting for survival, resources, and what is best in the world."

"Why do people say war is bad?"

"Because they are useful idiots who have been tricked by religion and/or weak degenerates who are too weary to participate."

delta0ne , 1 hour ago link

This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Unless we get rid of *** influencing from abroad and domestically. Getting rid of English King few hundred years ago was a joke! this would be a challenge because dual-citizens masquerading as locals.

blind_understanding , 1 hour ago link

Last revolution (1776) we targeted the WRONG ENEMY.

We targeted King George III instead of the private bankers who owned of the Bank of England and the issued of the British-pound currency.

George III was himself up to his ears in debt to them by 1776, when the bankers installed George Washington to replace George III as their middleman in the American colonies, by way of the phony revolution.

Phony because ownership of the central bank and currency (Federal-Reserve Banks, Federal-Reserve notes) we use, remains in the same banking families' hands to this day. The same parasite remains within our government.

djrichard , 1 hour ago link

https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2013/05/16/the-gervais-principle-vi-children-of-an-absent-god/

It is this strangely incomplete calculus that creates the shifting Loser world of rifts and alliances. By operating with a more complete calculus, Sociopaths are able to manipulate this world through the divide-and-conquer mechanisms. The result is that the Losers end up blaming each other for their losses, seek collective emotional resolution, and fail to adequately address the balance sheet of material rewards and losses.

To succeed, this strategy requires that Losers not look too closely at the non-emotional books. This is why, as we saw last time, divide-and-conquer is the most effective means for dealing with them, since it naturally creates emotional drama that keeps them busy while they are being manipulated.

[May 14, 2019] Why Everyone in the U.S. Who Counts Wants Julian Assange Dead naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... The film also shows war crimes that implicate the entire structure of the U.S. military, as everyone involved was acting under orders, seeking permission to fire, waiting, then getting it before once more blasting away. The publication of this video, plus all the Wikileaks publications that followed, comprise the whole reason everyone in the U.S. who matters, everyone with power, wants Julian Assange dead. They also want him hated. Generating that hate is the process we're watching today. ..."
"... "Everyone" in this case includes every major newspaper that published and received awards for publishing Wikileaks material; all major U.S. televised media outlets; and all "respectable" U.S. politicians -- including, of course, Hillary Clinton, who was rumored (though unverifiably) to have said, "Can't we just drone this guy?" ..."
"... Please watch it. The footage shows not only murder, but bloodlust and conscienceless brutality, so much of it in fact that this became one of the main reasons Chelsea Manning leaked it in the first place. As she said at her court-martial : "The most alarming aspect of the video for me, was the seemingly delight of bloodlust they [the pilots] appeared to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging with, and seemed to not value human life in referring to them as 'dead bastards,' and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers." ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Even though this post covers known territory, it seems worthwhile to encourage those of you who haven't watched the "Collateral Murder" footage to view the full version. It's important not only to keep the public (and that includes people in your personal circle) focused on what Assange's true hanging crime is in the eyes of the officialdom .and it ain't RussiaGate. That serves as a convenient diversion from his real offense. That effort has a secondary benefit of having more people watch the video.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

Before and after images of the van that came to pick up the bodies of eleven men shot to death by circling American helicopters in Iraq in 2007. Both children in the van were wounded. "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids to a battle," said one of the pilots. "That's right," replies another. From the video Collateral Murder .

Below is a full video version of Collateral Murder , the 2007 war footage that was leaked in 2010 to Wikileaks by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning. This version was posted to the Wikileaks YouTube channel with subtitles. It will only take about 15 minutes of your life to view it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HfvFpT-iypw

It's brutal to watch, but I challenge you to do it anyway. It shows not just murder, but a special kind of murder -- murder from the safety of the air, murder by men with heavy machine guns slowly circling their targets in helicopters like hunters with shotguns who walk the edges of a trout pond, shooting at will, waiting, walking, then shooting again, till all the fish are dead.

The film also shows war crimes that implicate the entire structure of the U.S. military, as everyone involved was acting under orders, seeking permission to fire, waiting, then getting it before once more blasting away. The publication of this video, plus all the Wikileaks publications that followed, comprise the whole reason everyone in the U.S. who matters, everyone with power, wants Julian Assange dead. They also want him hated. Generating that hate is the process we're watching today.

"Everyone" in this case includes every major newspaper that published and received awards for publishing Wikileaks material; all major U.S. televised media outlets; and all "respectable" U.S. politicians -- including, of course, Hillary Clinton, who was rumored (though unverifiably) to have said, "Can't we just drone this guy?"

Yes, Julian Assange the person can be a giant douche even to his supporters, as this exchange reported by Intercept writer Micah Lee attests. Nevertheless, it's not for being a douche that the Establishment state wants him dead; that state breeds, harbors and honors douches everywhere in the world . They want him dead for publishing videos like these.

Please watch it. The footage shows not only murder, but bloodlust and conscienceless brutality, so much of it in fact that this became one of the main reasons Chelsea Manning leaked it in the first place. As she said at her court-martial : "The most alarming aspect of the video for me, was the seemingly delight of bloodlust they [the pilots] appeared to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging with, and seemed to not value human life in referring to them as 'dead bastards,' and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers."

The Wikileaks page for the video is here . A transcript is here .

This was done in our name, to "keep us safe." This continues to be done every day that we and our allies are at "war" in the Middle East.

Bodies pile on bodies as this continues. The least we can do, literally the least, is to witness and acknowledge their deaths.

[May 13, 2019] Crappy little countries

This was true about Iraq war. This is true about Venezuela and Syria.
Notable quotes:
"... In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. ..."
"... Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. ..."
"... Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 . ..."
"... Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.) ..."
Apr 30, 2003 | www.leftbusinessobserver.com

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small c rappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
- Michael Ledeen , holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

Actually, the U.S. had been beating Iraq's head against the wall for a dozen years, with sanctions and bombing. The sanctions alone killed over a million Iraqis, far more than have been done in by weapons of mass destruction throughout history. But Ledeen's indiscreet remark, delivered at an AEI conference and reported by Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online , does capture some of what the war on Iraq is about.

And what is this "business" Ledeen says we mean? Oil, of course, of which more in a bit. Ditto construction contracts for Bechtel. But it's more than that - nothing less than the desire, often expressed with little shame nor euphemism, to run the world. Is there anything new about that?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. Anderson, who's edited New Left Review for years, but who has almost no connection to actual politics attributed this strange explosion not to a popular outburst of anti-imperialism, but to a cultural antipathy to the Bush administration.

Presumably that antipathy belongs to the realm of the " merely cultural ," and is of no great political significance to Anderson. But it should be. U.S. culture has long been afflicted with a brutally reactionary and self-righteous version of Christian fundamentalism, but it's never had such influence over the state. The president thinks himself on a mission from God, the Attorney General opens the business day with a prayer meeting, and the Pentagon's idea of a Good Friday service is to invite Franklin Graham , who's pronounced Islam a "wicked and evil religion," to deliver the homily, in which he promised that Jesus was returning soon. For the hard core, the Iraq war is a sign of the end times, and the hard core are in power.

Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. Though the administration has been discreet, many of its private sector intellectuals have been using the words "imperialism" and " empire " openly and with glee. Not everyone of the millions who marched against the war in the months before it started was a conscious anti-imperialist, but they all sensed the intensification, and were further alarmed.

While itself avoiding the difficult word "empire," the Bush administration has been rather clear about its long-term aims. According to their official national security strategy and the documents published by the Project for a New American Century (which served as an administration-in-waiting during the Clinton years) their goal is to assure U.S. dominance and prevent the emergence of any rival powers. First step in that agenda is the remaking of the Middle East - and they're quite open about this as well. We all know the countries that are on the list; the only remaining issues are sequence and strategy. But that's not the whole of the agenda. They're essentially promising a permanent state of war, some overt, some covert, but one that could take decades.

Imperial returns?

Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 .

Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.)

It now looks fairly certain that the U.S. will, in some form, claim some large piece of Iraq's oil. The details need to be worked out; clarifying the legal situation could be very complicated, given the rampantly illegal nature of the regime change. Rebuilding Iraq's oil industry will be very expensive and could take years. There could be some nice profits down the line for big oil companies - billions a year - but the broader economic benefits for the U.S. aren't so clear. A U.S.-dominated Iraq could pump heavily and undermine OPEC, but too low an oil price would wreck the domestic U.S. oil industry, something the Bush gang presumably cares about. Mexico would be driven into penury, which could mean another debt crisis and lots of human traffic heading north over the Rio Grande. Lower oil prices would be a boon to most industrial economies, but they'd give the U.S. no special advantage over its principal economic rivals.

It's sometimes said that U.S. dominance of the Middle East gives Washington a chokehold over oil supplies to Europe and Japan. But how might that work? Deep production cutbacks and price spikes would hurt everyone. Targeted sales restrictions would be the equivalent of acts of war, and if the U.S. is willing to take that route, a blockade would be a lot more efficient. The world oil market is gigantic and complex, and it's not clear how a tap could be turned in Kirkuk that would shut down the gas pumps in Kyoto or Milan.

Writers like David Harvey argue that the U.S. is trying to compensate for its eroding economic power by asserting its military dominance. Maybe. It's certainly fascinating that Bush's unilateralism has to be financed by gobs of foreign money - and he gets his tax cuts, he'll have to order up even bigger gobs. But it's hard to see what rival threatens the U.S. economically; neither the EU nor Japan is thriving. Nor is there any evidence that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about economic policy, domestic or international, or even thinking at all. The economic staff is mostly dim and marginal. What really seems to excite this gang of supposed conservatives is the exercise of raw state power.

Jealous rivals

And while the Bushies want to prevent the emergence of imperial rivals , they may only be encouraging that. Sure, the EU is badly divided within itself; it has a hard enough time picking a top central banker , let alone deciding on a common foreign policy. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is already semi-apologizing to Bush for his intemperate language in criticizing the war - not that Bush has started taking his calls. But over the longer term, some kind of political unification is Europe's only hope for acting like a remotely credible world power. It's tempting to read French and German objections to the Iraq war as emerging not from principle, but from the wounded narcissism of former imperial powers rendered marginal by American might. Separately, they'll surely hang. But a politically united Europe could, with time, come to challenge U.S. power, just as the euro is beginning to look like a credible rival to the dollar.

(Speaking of the euro, there's a theory circulating on the net that the U.S. went to war because Iraq wanted to price its oil in euros, not dollars. That's grossly overheated speculation. More on this and related issues when LBO begins an investigation of the political economy of oil in the next issue.)

An even more interesting rivalry scenario would involve an alliance of the EU and Russia. Russia is no longer the wreck it was for most of the 1990s. The economy has been growing and the mildly authoritarian Putin has imposed political stability. Russia, which has substantial oil interests in Iraq that are threatened by U.S. control, strongly opposed the war, and at least factions within the Russian intelligence agency were reportedly feeding information unfriendly to the U.S. to the website Iraqwar.ru . There's a lot recommending an EU-Russia alliance; Europe could supply technology and finance, and Russia could supply energy, and together they could constitute at least an embryonic counterweight to U.S. power.

So the U.S. may not get out of Iraq what the Bush administration is hoping for. It certainly can't want democracy in Iraq or the rest of the region, since free votes could well lead to nationalist and Islamist governments who don't view ExxonMobil as the divine agent that Bush seems to. A New York Times piece celebrated the outbreak of democracy in Basra, while conceding that the mayor is a former Iraqi admiral appointed by the British. The lead writers of the new constitution are likely to be American law professors; Iraqis, of course, aren't up to the task themselves.

Certainly the appointment of Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner (Ret.) - one of the few superannuated brass not to have enjoyed a consulting contract with a major TV network - to be the top civilian official guiding the postwar reconstruction of Iraq speaks volumes. A retired general is barely a civilian, and Garner's most recent job was as president of SY Technology , a military contractor that worked with Israeli security in developing the Arrow antimissile system. He loves antimissile systems; after the first Gulf War, he enthused about the Patriot's performance with claims that turned out to be nonsense. He's on record as having praised Israel's handling of the intifada. If that's his model of how to handle restive subject populations, there's lots of trouble ahead.

lightness

In the early days of the war, when things weren't going so well for the "coalition," it was said that the force was too light. But after the sandstorm cleared and the snipers were mowed down, that alleged lightness became a widely praised virtue. But that force was light only by American standards: 300,000 troops; an endless rain of Tomahawks, JDAMs, and MOABs; thousands of vehicles, from Humvees to Abrams tanks; hundreds of aircraft, from Apaches to B-1s; several flotillas of naval support - and enormous quantities of expensive petroleum products. It takes five gallons of fuel just to start an Abrams tank, and after that it gets a mile per gallon. And filling one up is no bargain. Though the military buys fuel at a wholesale price of 84¢ a gallon, after all the expenses of getting it to the front lines are added in, the final cost is about $150 a gallon. That's a steal compared to Afghanistan, where fuel is helicoptered in, pushing the cost to $600/gallon. Rummy's "lightness" is of the sort that only a $10 trillion economy can afford.

The Bush gang doesn't even try to keep up appearances, handing out contracts for Iraq's reconstruction to U.S. firms even before the shooting stopped, and guarding only the oil and interior ministries against looters. If Washington gets its way, Iraq will be rebuilt according to the fondest dreams of the Heritage Foundation staff, with the educational system reworked by an American contractor, the TV programmed by the Pentagon, the ports run by a rabidly antiunion firm, the police run by the Texas-based military contractor Dyncorp , and the oil taken out of state hands and appropriately privatized.

That's the way they'd like it to be. But the sailing may not be so smooth. It looks like Iraqis are viewing the Americans as occupiers, not liberators. It's going to be hard enough to remake Iraq that taking on Syria or Iran may be a bit premature. But that doesn't mean they won't try. It's a cliché of trade negotiations that liberalization is like riding a bicycle - you have to keep riding forward or else you'll fall over. The same could be said of an imperial agenda: if you want to remake the world, or a big chunk of it, there's little time to pause and catch your breath, since doubt or opposition could gain the upper hand. Which makes stoking that opposition more urgent than ever.

Losing it all

There's a feeling around that Bush is now politically invulnerable . Certainly the atmosphere is one of almost coercive patriotism. That mood was nicely illustrated by an incident in Houston in mid-March. A teenager attending a rodeo failed to stand along with the rest of the crowd during a playing of Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American," a dreadful country song that has become a kind of private-sector national anthem for the yahoo demographic, thanks to its truculent unthinking jingoism. A patriot standing behind the defiantly seated teen started taunting him, tugging on his ear as an additional provocation. The two ended up in a fight, and then under arrest.

There's a lot of that going around, for sure. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins get disinvited from events, websites nominate traitors for trial by military tribunal, and talk radio hosts organize CD-smashings. But things aren't hopeless. A close analysis of Greenwood's text might suggest why. The song's core argument is contained in its two most famous lines: "I'm proud to be an American/where at least I know I'm free." But the oft-overlooked opening reads: "If tomorrow all the things were gone/I'd worked for all my life," the singer would still be a grateful patriot. That's precisely the condition lots of Americans find themselves in. More than two million jobs have disappeared in the last two years. Millions of Americans have seen their retirement savings wiped out by the bear market, and over a million filed for bankruptcy last year. Most states and cities are experiencing their worst fiscal crises since the 1930s, with massive service cuts and layoffs imminent. In the song, such loss doesn't matter, but reality is often less accommodating than a song.

As the nearby graphs show, W's ratings are much lower than his father's at the end of Gulf War I, and his disapproval ratings much higher. Their theocratic and repressive agenda is deeply unpopular with large parts of the U.S. population. Spending scores of billions on destroying and rebuilding Iraq while at home health clinics are closing and teachers working without pay is potentially incendiary. Foreign adventures have never been popular with the American public (much to the distress of the ruling elite). An peace movement that could draw the links among warmongering, austerity, and repression has great political potential. Just a month or two ago, hundreds of thousands were marching in American streets to protest the imminent war. Though that movement now looks a bit dispirited and demobilized, it's unlikely that that kind of energy will just disappear into the ether.

[May 11, 2019] Soros is the stanch defender and promoter of neoliberalism. He specializes and excels in using nationalism for destabilization of societies, especially in Soviet and post-Soviet space

Notable quotes:
"... Soros was instrumental in the collapse of the USSR due to the incompetence of Gorbachov and his clique of neoliberal reformers some of which later became part of Yeltsin entourage (Alexander Yakovlev, Yegor Gaidar, later the architect of the "shock therapy" reforms, Eduard Shevardnadze, etc). Their attempt to establish the second NEP ( which created a caste of "Komsomol bankers", like Khodorkovsky) went out of control and buried the already weakened USSR along with the splash of nationalism (by-and-large induced by the West) in all Soviet republics. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

likbez , July 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Matt,

You are all over the place, but let's return to Soros. Soros is a neoliberal, a staunch proponent of globalization. BTW Karl Popper was the member of Mont Perelin Society ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Pelerin_Society ). You can't get more neoliberal than that.

Neoliberalism as "Trotskyism for rich" is determined to install neoliberal regimes in all countries, if necessary by force, or subversion ("color revolutions" model. )

The accusation of totalitarianism is a standard neoliberal practice for governments they do not like, especially those who are not very friendly to multinationals.

Soros was instrumental in the collapse of the USSR due to the incompetence of Gorbachov and his clique of neoliberal reformers some of which later became part of Yeltsin entourage (Alexander Yakovlev, Yegor Gaidar, later the architect of the "shock therapy" reforms, Eduard Shevardnadze, etc). Their attempt to establish the second NEP ( which created a caste of "Komsomol bankers", like Khodorkovsky) went out of control and buried the already weakened USSR along with the splash of nationalism (by-and-large induced by the West) in all Soviet republics.

BTW he established the presence in all major Soviet Republics and promoted nationalism like there is no tomorrow, spending tens million of dollars on bribing key intellectuals and policy makers and working in close cooperation with USAID (and even just one million dollars was substantial money during this period and can get you a huge leverage) . Often working in close cooperation with emigrant organizations from the USA and Canada.

Now he complains about rising of ethno nationalism and cultural-nationalism in Europe ;-)

https://www.georgesoros.com/essays/remarks-delivered-at-the-brussels-economic-forum/

[May 11, 2019] Leaked USA s Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela. ..."
"... Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ... ..."
"... intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ... ..."
"... Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ... ..."
"... To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ... ..."
"... Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government." ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Leaked: USA's Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/05/2019 - 11:20 2 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via Off-Guardian.org,

A detailed plan from "UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND" dated "23 FEBRUARY 2018" was issued with the title "PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP 'MASTERSTROKE'" and is here presented complete.

This document was personally signed by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd , who was the Commander (the chief), at SOUTHCOM , and he was thus the top U.S. military official handling Venezuela. But this was far more than just a military plan.

It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela.

It instructed SOUTHCOM:

Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ...

intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ...

Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ...

To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ...

Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to."

Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government."

the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA."

It was posted online at the Voltairenet site , and was first copied to a web archive on 14 May 2018 . So, it has been online since at least that date. However, because the photo in it of the document wasn't made available via software which includes the individual symbols, but presented only the full visual image of the paper document, it still hasn't yet gone viral on the Web.

Here, therefore, is the first appearance, on the Web, of the full document, that's manually copied, character-by-character, so that each phrase in this document becomes, for the first time, web-searchable, and thereby conveniently available for journalists and historians to quote from.

This prophetic document -- the source for what has happened afterward in and to Venezuela -- might therefore finally receive the public attention that it so clearly merits.

The document starts with propaganda against Venezuela's existing Government (and it totally ignores the extent to which the pre-existing U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela had actually caused these problems ), and it then proceeds to present the U.S. plan to overthrow the 'dictatorship'. (Tidd refers to Maduro only as "the Dictator," except at the very start and very end.

At the end, he commands "the denouncement toward Maduro's regimen" and he also uses the phrase "the enemy" to refer to him -- as if there had been the U.S. Constitutionally required authorization, by the U.S. Congress, of this "war." The close urges "the dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro's corrupt dictatorship is defeated." The U.N. is militarily to "impose" "peace," after the U.S. and its allies have conquered Venezuela.)

Although Tidd placed 100% of the blame for Venezuela's problems upon Maduro, and ignored the crucial extent to which U.S. economic sanctions had caused them, his plan emphasized that the U.S. must actively make things even worse for the Venezuelan public than America's economic sanctions had yet done.

His coup-plan is loaded with such statements, and, in fact, opens with one:

"Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises."

So: he wasn't naive. America's induced suffering upon Venezuelans was part of his plan for Venezuelans, in order to get them to do what the U.S. regime wants them to do -- overthrow Maduro. Furthermore, the United States Government has had extensive successes in previous such operations. One example is that this was how Chile's Salvador Allende was brought down in 1973 (at a time when the U.S. Government's claims to have done it for 'national security' reasons had much more credibility than its current excuse of helping the Venezuelan people does, because the supposedly ideological Cold War was still on).

The only excuse that the perpetrators can come up with, this time around, is "to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens."

Impoverish the nation, in order to help Venezuelans attain "true peace and tranquility." That's the plan.

Here is the document's entire text:

SOUTHCOM
TOP SECRET
23 FEB 2018

PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP "MASTERSTROKE"

UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND 23 FEBRUARY 2018

TOP SECRET/20180223

CURRENT SITUATION

The Venezuelan Chavista dictatorship staggers as a result of its frequent internal problems; there is a great shortage of foodstuffs, an exhaustion of the sources of foreign currency and a rampant corruption. The international support, won with petrodollars, becomes scarcer each time and the purchasing power of its national currency is in a constant downfall.

Such scenario is not supposed to change, but the Venezuelan present-day leaders, as they usually do, in their despair to preserve their power, are capable to appeal to new populist measures that perpetuate their positions of privilege; the only mechanism that sustains them obstinate to the struggle to hold on their positions.

Maduro's corrupt regimen will collapse but regrettably, the divided opposing forces, legitimate defenders of democracy and the well-being of their people, do not have power enough to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens.

The internal disputes, the supreme particular likings, the corruption similar to the one of their rivals, as well as the scarcity of rooting, do not grant them the opportunity to make the most of this situation and to give the necessary step to overturn the state of penury and precariousness in which the pressure group, that exercises the leftist dictatorship, has submerged the country. We are at the presence of an unprecedented criminal action in Latin America.

This affects the entire region, there is no respect to international right and local political alternatives are unacceptable.

Democracy spreads out in America, continent in which radical populism was intended to take over. Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil are examples of it. The rebirth of democracy has the support of the most valuable determinations, and the conditions in the regions run in its favour.

It is the time for the United States to prove, with concrete actions, that they are implicated in that process, where overthrowing Venezuelan dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point.

It is the first opportunity of the Trump Administration to bring forward the vision in reference to security and democracy. Showing its active commitment is crucial, not only for the administration, but also for the continent and for the world.

The time has come to

Step to speed up the definite overthrow of Chavismo and the expulsion of its representative:

Undermining the decadent popular support to Government. Securing he the present-day dictator's irreversible deterioration Increasing the internal instability to a critical level. Using the army officers as an alternative of definite solution. Information Strategie

[signature]

K.W. TIDD

Admiral, USN

COMMANDER


WorkingClassMan , 9 minutes ago link

The US military learned their international terrorism activities from the best, the Mossad. This country is run (since at least Lincoln) by terrorists. Money stolen from us every year in the form of taxes used for ******** that destabilizes nations, destroys heritage and expands greater isn'treal.

All this and **** none of us even heard of yet...while our own borders remain wide open and our infrastructure crumbles.

Good use of money you ******* scum.

frankthecrank , 17 minutes ago link

It's fake. The military doesn't engage in such things, the spooks at the CIA do-along with the NSA. Just looking at that pic is humorous -- as if that's what they would title the document.

Gullible people.

fezline , 13 minutes ago link

Who is Gulible now??

https://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/northwoods.pdf

PeterLong , 9 minutes ago link

https://www.southcom.mil/Portals/7/Documents/Posture%20Statements/SOUTHCOM_2017_posture_statement_FINAL.pdf?ver=2017-04-06-105819-923

Joiningupthedots , 8 minutes ago link

The golden rule of finding yourself in a hole.......

STOP DIGGING!

gdpetti , 26 minutes ago link

BLah, blah, blah... in other words, the usual.... same as always... CIA's Crowley complained about these idiots after he retired... one example is the difference in Bush 1 and Bush Jr....

This plan is just the usual regime change script written about in many books... the only difference is how 'western' it is in targeting the mind of the masses... which only happens in 'democracies'.... real ones make you do that....

Wait till the puppets in DC really get frustrated... .and then see how frustrated their puppet masters get when their plans go awry as well... time is running out for both puppet and its master... Imagine being Putin and having to deal with these freaks.

mailll , 30 minutes ago link

I have a conspiracy theory. Since one of my theories is this: We want to gain control of Venezuela oil in order to secure oil imports coming into the US for when we attack Iran for the sake of Israel. The 22% of imports we get from the middle east, much of which comes from the Persian Gulf region, will be disrupted due to this war. And we would have a shortage here in the US along with skyrocketing oil prices. And we would surely bitch about it. But Venezuela oil will keep the oil coming into the US uninterrupted. And for those of you who believe we are energy independent, we are not. We use about 19 million barrels of oil per day, we produce about 12 million barrels per day, and we import about 6-7 million barrels of oil per day to help feed our craving for oil.

But to add to this conspiracy theory, I believe the window of opportunity is closing and the Zionists have to act quickly. So they will just say, OK, lets take Venezuela with our military and see how the world responds. We will never know until we try, so let's do it. And if it was a bad idea, don't worry boys, we are untouchable. We got away with it in Iraq, so let's do it again. Venezuela today, Iran tomorrow, and Israel always. They pay very well.

But this is just a conspiracy theory of mine, perhaps even a foolish one.

[May 11, 2019] Soros and his funds ( Vidrozhnediya ) had extensive ties with Maidan activists and radical nationalists from Svoboda

Notable quotes:
"... "So actually, you now have a race against time. There's a -- the impeding collapse of the Russian economy and the actually occurring collapse of the European Union. And it's a question which -- who collapses more and sooner. ..."
"... And unfortunately, the EU is winning that race. " ..."
"... " As I say, the situation is not good because Putin, since he's in a race with the European Union, he wants the European Union to collapse and therefore he's generating --  he's using the refugee crisis as  a way of disintegrating Europe." ..."
"... "Culture difference warning. In Russian, and especially the internet slang, it's commonplace to use the terms "толстый троллинг" as opposed to "тонкий троллинг". The first means something which is obviously wrong; the second means a thinly disguised mock, a seemingly thoughful comment with an insult core." ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
After his "Open Society" was "hacked" last year , the entire World finally received confirmations of everything we suspected, but couldn't prove for sure about his modus operandi and goals.

And, yes, Sorosites admitted the data leak is real and that everyone is butthurt by that .

These things, I want to remind you, "MattDown" considers normal, handshakable and not anti-Russian:

A motherload of docs about Soros activities in the Ukraine published on Ukrainian news site!

– Soros and his funds ("Vidrozhnediya") had extensive ties with Maidan activists and radical nationalists from Svoboda. Even svidomite press admits it. Soros funds "StopFAKE.ua", which had been proved of peddling propaganda and lies in the form of "mythbusting."

– Soros paid at least $100 000 to "The Guardian" Editorial board (and dozens of thousands of $ to individual journos) for creating "positive image" of the post-Maidan Ukraine. 12 November 2015 Poroshenko awarded Soros with the "Medal of the Liberty".

– During his visit to the Ukraine in May 2014 Soros met with then PM Yatsenyuk, with then head of the Justice Dept Pavlo Petrenko, with then Minister of the Economy development Pavlo Sheremeta and with then Minister of the regional development (and the current PM) Groysman. Petro Poroshenko, then just candidate to the President, also visited him in the hotel.

– Soros consulted the Ukraine how to increase the manpower in the ATO zone on the frontlines in violation of the Minsk II accords and get away with it.

– Under Soros recommendations the government in Kiev reorganized "Naftagaz" and raised the utility bills for the populace (compared to 2013 they rose 3 times over).

– $500 000 to be spent of "counter propaganda" against Russia. Soros funded "development of the journalism" in the Ukraine: 50 mln. gryvnias (2013), 103 mlns gryvnias (2014), 200 mln gryvnias (2015). His grant eaters include: "Hromadske TV" ("Icon" on the EuroMaidan), "Krym.Realii" (together with Radio Liberty), "Ostrov", "Ukrainska Prava" (from which rose Mustafa Nayem). He also paid for the international promotion of such hysterically shitty Russophobik Ukr-rags like "Kyiv Post", "Vox Ukraine", pro Mejlis "ATR", "Evropeyska Pravada".

– 21 page of the docs devoted to the EU parties and various organizations, funded by Soros, which pursue pro-US and pro-Soros agenda. Soooo When Soros "interferes" in the electoral process this "good", but when Russia allegedly (even Sorosites are not sure) does the same – this is somehow bad?

– The leaked documents show how Soros' international organizations attempted to manipulate Europe's 2014 elections. The "List of European Elections 2014 Projects" details over 90 Soros efforts he had under way that year. E.g., Soros funded the creation of the parties "Siriza" in Greece and "Podemos" in Spain. Soros proposed paying the Center for American Politics $200,000 to conduct a smear campaign against conservative activists.

In October 2015 Soros' Open Society U.S. Programs had donated $650,000 to "invest in technical assistance and support for the groups at the core of the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement." Reply

Lyttenburgh , July 15, 2017 at 2:03 am

Soros plans concerning Russia :

AKA:

– Subverting existing legislative basis, which prevents Soros and his minions from exercising unduly power in Russia and staging riots.

– Co-option of the potential fifth columnists to Soros agenda from among the kreakleriat and liberal urbanites. As the people worth of Soros "handshake" are noted those, who are critical to the traditional Russian values, to the ROC and organized religion.

– Promotion and popularization of the LGBT, politicizing the movement aka the proverbial "gay propaganda". "MattDown" supports the idea of destruction of the traditional values system in Russia. Hmmm Maybe because he is a catamite?

– Creating a network of the lawyers, who'd both defend Sorosite darlings and support the "civil society" in subverting the law as they want.

Among the Soros partners in his agenda to influence Russia are named: the "Memorial center", "AGORA", "OAK Foundation" and many, many other.

kirill , July 15, 2017 at 5:05 am
With so much evidence of brazen foreign based sedition in Russia, why is no action being taken against all of the Sorosites in Russia? Any "lawyer" who gets funded from abroad should be disbarred and never allowed to get a law degree in the first place. The whole concept of lawyers being sponsored from abroad like starving children is grotesque.

The NATzO propagandists keep calling Magnitsky a lawyer. Did he have some sort of token degree in the field? It should not be so easy to become a lawyer.

marknesop , July 15, 2017 at 11:01 am
Magnitsky never passed the bar and was never a lawyer of any description. He was an accountant from his graduation until his death and never functioned as anything else. The west loves to refer to him as a lawyer because lawyers are allowed an oath which prevents them from revealing anything exchanged in confidence with their clients (the murderess Karla Homolka's lawyer, you will recall, parlayed the location of video tapes which would convict her and her psycho husband, Paul Bernardo, into a relatively soft billet for her at a women's prison. Had he not been a lawyer the prosecution would not have negotiated, they would just have clapped him in jail if he didn't hand over evidence), while accountants have no such privilege. Framing him as a lawyer allows the west to paint a picture of Magnitsky having evidence illegally extracted from him by torture.
Lyttenburgh , July 15, 2017 at 2:05 am
Granpa Soros via Die Welt . His key claims:

– The Ukrainian conflict is a proxy war of the EU vs Russia, so the support of the Regime in Kiev is paramount.

– "Putin's Russia" is "aggressor", while the Ukraine "defends EU values" (hussars – silence!).

– In its support of the Ukraine the EU must do "everything" in the way confronting Russia – including the military confrontation.

– Soros hopes for Russia's crush "like the USSR before that".

Soros to the Bloomberg :

"So actually, you now have a race against time. There's a -- the impeding collapse of the Russian economy and the actually occurring collapse of the European Union. And it's a question which -- who collapses more and sooner.

And unfortunately, the EU is winning that race. "

And:

" As I say, the situation is not good because Putin, since he's in a race with the European Union, he wants the European Union to collapse and therefore he's generating --  he's using the refugee crisis as  a way of disintegrating Europe."

Once again – how can a normal person (i.e. not a pervert mutant with a chromosomes too many to be considered a human being to begin with) claim that Soros and his aims towards Russia are "okay" or even "good"? Only конченный мудак.

I can understand why a grant-eater would defend Soros, USAID, NED, State Dept. etc. But to do this for free? Only degenerates and trolls do that.

...

marknesop , July 15, 2017 at 10:26 am
Let's stay away from fat accusations – which you can't know, so it's a gratuitous insult – and sexual preferences, neither of which – obviously – you need to win your argument. These are political dynamite, open confessions of political meddling at the state level. There's no realistic method of peddling Soros as a benign engine of social change after this – he's always been a self-interested disruptor of state power for his own ends and those he serves. If his meddling consistently brought empowerment and advancement for the working middle class (as his supporters claim), everybody would follow him and nobody would object (except the state mandarins losing their jobs), hence no need to conceal his involvement. People consistently fail to see the disconnect between a fabulously wealthy man using his money to lend a helping hand to poor folks. It always happens that way in storybooks, but how often does it happen for real? The wealthy enable and assist members of their own class.
Evgeny , July 15, 2017 at 10:53 am
Culture difference warning. In Russian, and especially the internet slang, it's commonplace to use the terms "толстый троллинг" as opposed to "тонкий троллинг". The first means something which is obviously wrong; the second means a thinly disguised mock, a seemingly thoughful comment with an insult core.

In English, the adjective "fat" doesn't have the same meaning and would be interpreted as an allegation of having excess body weight.

Hope that helps.

Lyttenburgh , July 15, 2017 at 11:19 am
"Culture difference warning. In Russian, and especially the internet slang, it's commonplace to use the terms "толстый троллинг" as opposed to "тонкий троллинг". The first means something which is obviously wrong; the second means a thinly disguised mock, a seemingly thoughful comment with an insult core."

Thanks, Evgeny!

Indeed, here I was refering to the quality of the trolls "food", i.e. the prevalence of the "fat" (rus. "жыр(Ъ)", pre-Revolutionay orphography is optional).

As for me, well, I consider myself a connoiseur of the art and prefere my trolling (when I have to resort to it) to be so "thin" (an antonym to the term "fat") so you can hardly call it "trolling" at all. More like "elfing"! 🙂

marknesop , July 15, 2017 at 11:19 am
Thanks; yes, it does. But we should bear in mind we are on a principally English-language blog, and I want to keep the fight as clean as possible. There's no need to apply labels, let's just disagree with the viewpoint and substantiate our own.

I would have to say the second description fits Matt's material to a 'T' – a seemingly thoughful comment with an insult core.

Evgeny , July 15, 2017 at 11:39 am
"But we should bear in mind we are on a principally English-language blog, and I want to keep the fight as clean as possible."

Indeed, it only makes sense to convince an opponent that he is wrong about something. Even from the psychology point of view, IMO, a lot of what people say about politics is driven by an internal insecurity. Insulting the opponent would only make him feel less secure and have stronger opinions about politics to compensate for that feeling.

Meanwhile, I think my original motivation to explore the English internet as a teenager was to improve the language skills. Mistakes in the use of a second language are inevitable, but also provide the best possible learning experience.

marknesop , July 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm
I agree. And your investment has obviously paid off – you speak like someone who thinks in English, which I am sure you do not, so kudos for your familiarity with it. Kovane's ability was also excellent, as is Lyttenburgh's – most of his errors result from sloppy typing rather than vocabulary shortfall, and attaining such ability in a second language is a rare accomplishment. Leonid Bershidsky's ability is remarkable, and while we agree on little in the politics arena tribute for his intellect is appropriate. Ditto Vladimir Kara-Murza. I agree with pretty much nothing he says, but he has a remarkable command of his second language. Whatever his folks spent on his education was not wasted.

'Matt' is not here to discuss anything – he is here to implant his ideas, and wherever he is unsuccessful at doing that, to redirect and dissemble and discredit alternative narratives.

Evgeny , July 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm
Mark, thanks! Haha, as an engineer, sometimes I think in abstract mathematical objects, and get the best insight when I'm not trying to express my thoughts in a natural language. My investment paid off in the sense that I can easily read technical articles, which I need for my work. I surely do think in English while I write, although I lack the ability to write as clearly and concisely as native speakers do.

Meanwhile, some Russians who emigrated to Western countries in young age cannot be distinguished from native speakers. Consider, for example, Gary Shteyngart. I don't agree with his political views, but "Little Failure" is a good read. Just hinting at the possibility that there might be some ethnic Russians here who pass for native English speakers. 😉

[May 07, 2019] Syria - Russian And Syrian Airforce Prepare The Ground For An Attack On Idlib Province

May 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , May 6, 2019 3:53:54 PM | link

The US and Great Britain are trying to economically cripple Syria via cutoff of oil supplies as "The Syrian government is scrambling to deal with its worst fuel crisis since the war began in 2011, aggravated by U.S. sanctions targeting oil shipments to Damascus."
https://www.apnews.com/a99a22ad2598474ca39a7d8cde560c31

"(Syrian) Prime Minister Emad Khamis, quoted in local press, said Iranian tankers supplying Syria had been halted due to U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
Oil tankers bound for Syria have been barred from using Egypt's Suez Canal for six months, he added."
https://en.radiofarda.com/a/sanctions-on-damascus-and-tehran-have-led-to-serious-fuel-shortages-in-syria/29880330.html

"Under the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Great Britain, no Iranian oil tankers are allowed to transit the Suez Canal if they are destined for a Syrian port, a Syrian military source told Al-Masdar News this morning."

"The source said Iranian oil tankers are allowed to enter Mediterranean waters if the ship is destined for Turkey; however, due to U.S. and U.K. sanctions, the vessels cannot transit again if they dock at a Syrian port."
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syria-says-iranian-oil-tankers-blocked-at-suez-canal-if-shipment-is-destined-for-syrian-port/

US news sources confirm the Syrian Prime Minister's statement.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-sanctions-hit-irans-oil-lifeline-to-syria-11553267539

Thus the Egyptian government is apparently technically lying about their role in the sanction when they state "Egypt's government denied Wednesday banning the passage of oil tankers to Syria through the Suez Canal. Navigation in the canal is going according to international conventions and treaties that guarantee the right of safe navigation to all tankers without discrimination."
https://syrianobserver.com/EN/news/49720/cairo-denies-syrian-accusations-on-banning-iranian-oil-tanker-passage.html

Consequently, Iran is shipping Syria oil via tanker trucks.
"1200 Iranian tankers loaded with oil products reached Syria through Iraq in the past week," Al- Iraqia reports, adding, "The number of Iranian oil tankers are expected to reach 1500 per week, and after providing current Syrian needs, they will be fixed at 500 tankers per week."

"Syria consumes 100,000 barrels of oil a day and produces about 24,000 barrels, Mustapha Hammouriyyeh, head of the Syrian fuel distribution company, told Al-Ikhbariyya TV."
https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-reportedly-shipping-oil-to-syria-overland-as-suez-not-accessible-/29883951.html

To try to get around US sanctions Iran has reflagged their oil tankers from Panama to Iran registry and in many cases have switched off their AIS transponders.
https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1126731/Iran-oil-exports-on-the-rise-as-national-tanker-fleet-reflags


Christian J Chuba , May 6, 2019 4:09:17 PM | link

Hospitals being bombed

A sign that this attack is serious is that already the propagandists are already crying about Hospitals being bombed ... https://www.yahoo.com/news/violence-escalates-northwest-syria-claiming-more-lives-112458233.html

After Idlib ...

The Syrians will be able to take back the oil fields from the 5%.

Krollchem , May 6, 2019 5:23:33 PM | link

james@24

Those that oppose US and Israeli world domination has to buy time and promote economic collapse within the Empire. Eventually the Sparta like militarism will bankrupt both countries. The wild card is Venezuela - if they can get their hands on this oil they, and their allies, can continue to spread chaos for a couple more decades. As it now stands the US proven oil reserves are between 36-39 billion barrels and the US is consuming that oil at a rate of about 4.3 billion barrels/year.

The US is also putting pressure on Turkey in hopes of deposing the current government that supports the GNA in Libya and opposes the gulf states and Saudi Arabia. Turkey needs the Iranian heavy crude for its Tupras refinery. Substituting heavy crude from Russia is an issue as Russia has already contracted with Italy and Greece to supply heavy crude to their refineries.
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/04/turkey-iran-usa-ankara-seeks-alternative-sources-iranian-oil.html

psychohistorian , May 6, 2019 5:51:51 PM | link
B wrote
"The Syrian oilfields, which could produce enough to keep the country running, are under control of the U.S. proxy forces. The U.S. prohibited to sell that oil to the Syrian government."

It is about the money. It is another spinning plate trying to be war just like Iran, Venezuela, etc. And when the money music stops (which is only when enough nations stop buying US Treasuries) the elite are going to say that the poor should pay for those attempts at war.

I like the comment by frances above about the drunk on the canal boat and China/Russia/et al are trying to keep us alive, hoping the drunk passes out.....and we all get to watch and learn how not to run a world where the drunk owns the punch bowl.

[May 07, 2019] Chris Hedges: The Demonization of Russia is Driven by Defense Contractors

Highly recommended!
Apr 05, 2019 | dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

RT America on Apr 3, 2019

Chris Hedges, host of "On Contact," joins Rick Sanchez to discuss the role of the Democratic establishment in the "Russiagate" media frenzy. He argues that it was an unsustainable narrative given the actions of the White House but that the Democratic elite are unable to face their own role in the economic and social crises for which they are in large part to blame. They also discuss NATO's expansionary tendencies and how profitable it is for US defense contractors.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VkoH3l7c5cI

From the archives:

Barbara Mullin | April 7, 2019 at 10:29 AM

Years ago I kept hearing from the newsmedia that Russia was the "enemy".

Frontline had a show about "Putin's Brain". Even Free Speech TV shows like Bill Press and "The Nation" authors like Eric Alterman push the Hillary style warmongering and do nothing to expose the outright lies out there.

These are supposed to be thought outside of the corporate mainstream newsmedia. The emphasis only on Trump and Fox News is totally hypocritical.

[May 05, 2019] The Left Needs to Stop Crushing on the Generals by Danny Sjursen

Highly recommended!
Pentagon serves Wall Street and is controlled by CIA which is actually can be viewed as a Wall Street arm as well.
Notable quotes:
"... This time, though, the general got to talking about Russia. So I perked up. He made it crystal clear that he saw Moscow as an adversary to be contained, checked, and possibly defeated. There was no nuance, no self-reflection, not even a basic understanding of the general complexity of geopolitics in the 21st century. ..."
"... General It-Doesn't-Matter-His-Name thundered that we need not worry, however, because his tanks and troops could "mop the floor" with the Russians, in a battle that "wouldn't even be close." It was oh-so-typical, another U.S. Army general -- who clearly longs for the Cold War fumes that defined his early career -- overestimating the Russian menace and underestimating Russian military capability . ..."
"... The problem with the vast majority of generals, however, is that they don't think strategically. What they call strategy is really large-scale operations -- deploying massive formations and winning campaigns replete with battles. Many remain mired in the world of tactics, still operating like lieutenants or captains and proving the Peter Principle right, as they get promoted past their respective levels of competence. ..."
"... If America's generals, now and over the last 18 years, really were strategic thinkers, they'd have spoken out about -- and if necessary resigned en masse over -- mission sets that were unwinnable, illegal (in the case of Iraq), and counterproductive . Their oath is to the Constitution, after all, not Emperors Bush, Obama, and Trump. Yet few took that step. It's all symptomatic of the disease of institutionalized intellectual mediocrity. ..."
"... Let's start with Mattis. "Mad Dog" Mattis was so anti-Iran and bellicose in the Persian Gulf that President Barack Obama removed him from command of CENTCOM. ..."
"... Furthermore, the supposedly morally untainted, "intellectual" " warrior monk " chose, when he finally resigned, to do so in response to Trump's altogether reasonable call for a modest troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The two-star army general strode across the stage in his rumpled combat fatigues, almost like George Patton -- all that was missing was the cigar and riding crop. It was 2017 and I was in the audience, just another mid-level major attending yet another mandatory lecture in the auditorium of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The general then commanded one of the Army's two true armored divisions and had plenty of his tanks forward deployed in Eastern Europe, all along the Russian frontier. Frankly, most CGSC students couldn't stand these talks. Substance always seemed lacking, as each general reminded us to "take care of soldiers" and "put the mission first," before throwing us a few nuggets of conventional wisdom on how to be good staff officers should we get assigned to his vaunted command.

This time, though, the general got to talking about Russia. So I perked up. He made it crystal clear that he saw Moscow as an adversary to be contained, checked, and possibly defeated. There was no nuance, no self-reflection, not even a basic understanding of the general complexity of geopolitics in the 21st century. Generals can be like that -- utterly "in-the-box," "can-do" thinkers. They take pride in how little they discuss policy and politics, even when they command tens of thousands of troops and control entire districts, provinces, or countries. There is some value in this -- we'd hardly want active generals meddling in U.S. domestic affairs. But they nonetheless can take the whole "aw shucks" act a bit too far.

General It-Doesn't-Matter-His-Name thundered that we need not worry, however, because his tanks and troops could "mop the floor" with the Russians, in a battle that "wouldn't even be close." It was oh-so-typical, another U.S. Army general -- who clearly longs for the Cold War fumes that defined his early career -- overestimating the Russian menace and underestimating Russian military capability . Of course, it was all cloaked in the macho bravado so common among generals who think that talking like sergeants will win them street cred with the troops. (That's not their job anymore, mind you.) He said nothing, of course, about the role of mid- and long-range nuclear weapons that could be the catastrophic consequence of an unnecessary war with the Russian Bear.

I got to thinking about that talk recently as I reflected in wonder at how the latest generation of mainstream "liberals" loves to fawn over generals, admirals -- any flag officers, really -- as alternatives to President Donald Trump. The irony of that alliance should not be lost on us. It's built on the standard Democratic fear of looking "soft" on terrorism, communism, or whatever-ism, and their visceral, blinding hatred of Trump. Some of this is understandable. Conservative Republicans masterfully paint liberals as "weak sisters" on foreign policy, and Trump's administration is, well, a wild card in world affairs.

The problem with the vast majority of generals, however, is that they don't think strategically. What they call strategy is really large-scale operations -- deploying massive formations and winning campaigns replete with battles. Many remain mired in the world of tactics, still operating like lieutenants or captains and proving the Peter Principle right, as they get promoted past their respective levels of competence.

If America's generals, now and over the last 18 years, really were strategic thinkers, they'd have spoken out about -- and if necessary resigned en masse over -- mission sets that were unwinnable, illegal (in the case of Iraq), and counterproductive . Their oath is to the Constitution, after all, not Emperors Bush, Obama, and Trump. Yet few took that step. It's all symptomatic of the disease of institutionalized intellectual mediocrity. More of the same is all they know: their careers were built on fighting "terror" anywhere it raised its evil head. Some, though no longer most, still subscribe to the faux intellectualism of General Petraeus and his legion of Coindinistas , who never saw a problem that a little regime change, followed by expert counterinsurgency, couldn't solve. Forget that they've been proven wrong time and again and can count zero victories since 2002. Generals (remember this!) are never held accountable.

Flag officers also rarely seem to recognize that they owe civilian policymakers more than just tactical "how" advice. They ought to be giving "if" advice -- if we invade Iraq, it will take 500,000 troops to occupy the place, and even then we'll ultimately destabilize the country and region, justify al-Qaeda's worldview, kick off a nationalist insurgency, and become immersed in an unwinnable war. Some, like Army Chief General Eric Shinseki and CENTCOM head John Abizaid, seemed to know this deep down. Still, Shinseki quietly retired after standing up to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Abizaid rode out his tour to retirement.

Trump Scores, Breaks Generals' 50-Year War Record Afghanistan and America's 'Indispensable Nation' Hubris

Generals also love to tell the American people that victory is "just around the corner," or that there's a "light at the end of the tunnel." General William Westmoreland used the very same language when predicting imminent victory in Vietnam. Two months later, the North Vietnamese and Vietcong unleashed the largest uprising of the war, the famed Tet Offensive.

Take Afghanistan as exhibit A: 17 or so generals have now commanded U.S. troops in this, America's longest war. All have commanded within the system and framework of their predecessors. Sure, they made marginal operational and tactical changes -- some preferred surges, others advising, others counterterror -- but all failed to achieve anything close to victory, instead laundering failure into false optimism. None refused to play the same-old game or question the very possibility of victory in landlocked, historically xenophobic Afghanistan. That would have taken real courage, which is in short supply among senior officers.

Exhibit B involves Trump's former cabinet generals -- National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Chief of Staff John Kelley, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis -- whom adoring and desperate liberals took as saviors and canonized as the supposed adults in the room . They were no such thing. The generals' triumvirate consisted ultimately of hawkish conventional thinkers married to the dogma of American exceptionalism and empire. Period.

Let's start with Mattis. "Mad Dog" Mattis was so anti-Iran and bellicose in the Persian Gulf that President Barack Obama removed him from command of CENTCOM.

Furthermore, the supposedly morally untainted, "intellectual" " warrior monk " chose, when he finally resigned, to do so in response to Trump's altogether reasonable call for a modest troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria.

Helping Saudi Arabia terror bomb Yemen and starve 85,000 children to death? Mattis rebuked Congress and supported that. He never considered resigning in opposition to that war crime. No, he fell on his "courageous" sword over downgrading a losing 17-year-old war in Afghanistan. Not to mention he came to Trump's cabinet straight from the board of contracting giant General Dynamics, where he collected hundreds of thousands of military-industrial complex dollars.

Then there was John Kelley, whom Press Secretary Sarah Sanders implied was above media questioning because he was once a four-star marine general. And there's McMaster, another lauded intellectual who once wrote an interesting book and taught history at West Point. Yet he still drew all the wrong conclusions in his famous book on Vietnam -- implying that more troops, more bombing, and a mass invasion of North Vietnam could have won the war. Furthermore, his work with Mattis on Trump's unhinged , imperial National Defense Strategy proved that he was, after all, just another devotee of American hyper-interventionism.

So why reflect on these and other Washington generals? It's simple: liberal veneration for these, and seemingly all, military flag officers is a losing proposition and a formula for more intervention, possible war with other great powers, and the creeping militarization of the entire U.S. government. We know what the generals expect -- and potentially want -- for America's foreign policy future.

Just look at the curriculum at the various war and staff colleges from Kansas to Rhode Island. Ten years ago, they were all running war games focused on counterinsurgency in the Middle East and Africa. Now those same schools are drilling for future "contingencies" in the Baltic, Caucasus, and in the South China Sea. Older officers have always lamented the end of the Cold War "good old days," when men were men and the battlefield was "simple." A return to a state of near-war with Russia and China is the last thing real progressives should be pushing for in 2020.

The bottom line is this: the faint hint that mainstream libs would relish a Six Days in May style military coup is more than a little disturbing, no matter what you think of Trump. Democrats must know the damage such a move would do to our ostensible republic. I say: be a patriot. Insist on civilian control of foreign affairs. Even if that means two more years of The Donald.

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army Major and regular contributor to Truthdig . His work has also appeared in Harper's, the Los Angeles Times , The Nation , Tom Dispatch , and The Hill . He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet .

[ Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]

[May 05, 2019] Extortion (noun) The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats

May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 14:20

Regarding your last sentence: this is the great truth that Washington's world hegemonists would have you forget. Taking into account the untapped vast resources of Canada and Alaska and its expansive offshore economic zones extending deep into the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, the North American anglosphere could be entirely self-sufficient and do quite nicely on its own for hundreds of years to come, it just wouldn't be the sole tyrannical state presumably ruling the entire planet.

Why, it might even entertain the idea of actually cooperating with other regional powers like Russia, China, the EU, India, Iran, Turkey, the Middle East, greater central Asia, Latin America and even Africa to everyone's benefit, rather than bullying them all because god ordained us to be the boss of all humans.

America's major malfunction is its lack of historical roots compared to the other societies mentioned. All those places had thousands of years to refine their sundry cultures and international relationships, certainly through trial and error and many horrible setbacks, most notably wars, famines, pestilence, genocide and human bondage which people did not have the foresight to nip in the bud. They learned by their mistakes and some, like the great world wars, were doozies.

The United States, and some of its closest homologues like Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, were thrown together very rapidly as part of developing colonial empires. It was created through the brute actions of a handful of megalomaniacal oligarchs of their day. What worked to suppress vast tracts of aboriginal homelands, often through genocide and virtual extinction of the native populations, was so effective that it was institutionalized in the form of slavery and reckless exploitation of the local environment. These "great leaders," "pioneers" and "founding fathers" were not about to give up a set of principles -- no matter how sick and immoral -- which they knew to "work" and accrued to them great power and riches. They preferred to label it "American exceptionalism" and force it upon the whole rest of the world, including long established regional powers -- cultures going back to antiquity -- and not just conveniently sketched "burdens of the white man."

No, ancient cultures like China, India, Persia and so forth could obviously be improved for all concerned merely by allowing a handful of Western Europeans to own all their property and run all their affairs. That grand plan fell apart for most of the European powers in the aftermath of World War Two, but Washington has held tough and never given up its designs of micromanaging and exploiting the whole planet. It too is soon to learn its lesson and lose its empire. Either that or it will take the world down in flames as it tries to cling to all that it never really owned or deserved. The most tragic (or maybe just amusing) part is that Washington still had most of the world believing its bullshit about exceptionalism and indispensability until it decided it had to emulate every tyrannical empire that ever collapsed before it.

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 02:08

"ex·tor·tion /ik?stôrSH(?)n/ noun The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats."

"Racketeering refers to crimes committed through extortion or coercion. A racketeer attempts to obtain money or property from another person, usually through intimidation or force. The term is typically associated with organized crime."

I see. So, American foreign policy, as applied to both its alleged enemies and presumed allies, essentially amounts to an exercise in organised crime. So much for due process, free trade, peaceful co-existence, magical rainbows and other such hypocritical platitudes dispensed for domestic consumption in place of the heavy-handed threats routinely delivered to Washington's targets.

That's quite in keeping with the employment of war crimes as standard "tactics, techniques and procedures" on the battlefield which was recently admitted to us by Senator Jim Molan on the "60 Minutes" news show facsimile and discussed in one of yesterday's forums on this blog.

Afghanistan was promised a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs as incentive to bend to our will (and that of Unocal which, unlike Nordstream, was a pipeline Washington wanted built). Iraq was promised and delivered "shock and awe" after a secretary of state had declared the mass starvation of that country's children as well worth the effort. They still can't find all the pieces left of the Libyan state. Syria was told it would be stiffed on any American contribution to its rebuilding for the effrontery of actually beating back the American-recruited, trained and financed ISIS terrorist brigades. Now it's being deliberately starved of both its energy and food requirements by American embargoes on its own resources! North Korea was promised utter annihilation by Yankee nukes before Kim's summit with our great leader unless it submitted totally to his will, or more likely that of Pompous Pompeo, the man who pulls his strings. Venezuela is treated to cyber-hacked power outages and shortages of food, medicines, its own gold bullion, income from its own international petroleum sales and, probably because someone in Washington thinks it's funny, even toilet paper. All they have to do to get relief is kick out the president they elected and replace him with Washington's chosen puppet! Yep, freedom and democracy blah, blah, blah. And don't even ask what the kids in Yemen got for Christmas from Uncle Sam this year. (He probably stole their socks.) A real American patriot will laughingly take Iran to task for ever believing in the first place that Washington could be negotiated with in good faith. All they had to do was ask the Native Americans (or the Russians) how the Yanks keep their word and honor their treaties. It was their own fault they were taken for suckers.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson Takes On Venezuela Intervention by Brad Griffin

Notable quotes:
"... As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain. ..."
"... The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states -- ..."
"... He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment. ..."
"... Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out. ..."
"... Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation. ..."
"... All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer. ..."
"... Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that. ..."
"... Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas. ..."
"... Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet! ..."
"... America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords. ..."
"... Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture. ..."
"... If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion. ..."
"... Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus. ..."
"... The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars. ..."
"... I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

H/T Daily Stormer

Venezuela illustrates why a 3.0 movement is necessary.

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

The Trump administration's interventions in Syria and Venezuela are victimizing mainly poor brown people in Third World countries. And yet, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is extremely animated and stirred up in a rage at the neocons who are currently running Blompf's foreign policy. Similarly, it has cheered on the peace talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?


Endgame Napoleon , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:48 am GMT

It is ironic. There is also the issue of economic-based US interventionism, particularly in the oil-gifted nations mentioned. It's their oil. Since the US economy is oil-dependent -- and since fracking is a short-lived "miracle" of unprofitable companies that have already extracted the easy pickings -- it is the role of US leaders to make sure that we can buy oil from nations like Venezuela, keeping relations as good as possible for those means. But US leaders have no business telling them who should rule their country, much less stirring up trouble that can end up in bloodshed.

There's a comment on here about US forces and the Kurds in Syria, helping themselves to oil, while Syrians wait in long lines for gas in a country that is an oil fountain. I have no idea whether or not it is true, and since the US press would rather gossip than report, we'll probably never know. But since oil prices have gone up recently in the USA, it might be true, especially since politicians always want to pacify the serfs facing other unaffordable expenses, like rent. If true you can see how that would make the people in an oil-rich country mad.

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?

There is nothing ironic about your simple statement of fact. The humanitarians you mention are about as much interested in human rights as John Wayne Gacy. There is gold in them there hills, and their "friends" no longer control that gold. So we must go to war.

Rubio is running neck and neck in my mind as one of the most disgusting political whores of all time.

No simple accomplishment that.

follyofwar , says: May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
@lavoisier

As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain.

Joe Stalin , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
V.I. Kydor Kropotkin: "Look, you want to save the world? You're the great humanitarian? Take the gun!"

[Hands James Coburn full-auto AR-15]

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: [firing machine gun] " Take that you hostile son of a bitch! " " The President's Analyst" (1967)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062153/

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHQYPZqZ_kI?feature=oembed

conatus , says: May 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Why not ship some AR-15s and and few million rounds with some 20 round clips?.Venezuela seized all private guns in 2012 to 'keep the people safe'
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18288430

How is that working out now? Those are rocks those guys are throwing..right? Why not let THEM do the fighting and keep the guys from Ohio and Alabama here?

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 6:34 pm GMT
@follyofwar Yeah, McCain immediately comes to mind as the front runner.
A123 , says: May 2, 2019 at 8:37 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela

What Trump administration military intervention? Number of Boots on the ground:

It is quite amazing that Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] can take ZERO troops and falsely portray that as military intervention. In the real, non-deranged world -- Rational thought shows ZERO troops as the absence of military intervention.

Trying to use non-military sanctions to convince nations to behave better is indeed the exact opposite of military intervention. If the NeoConDem Hillary Clinton was President. Would the U.S. have boots on the ground in Iran And Venezuela?

Why is the Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] crowd so willing to go to war for Hillary while misrepresenting TRUMP's non-intervention?

Those who pathologicially hate Trump are simply not rational.

PEACE

EliteCommInc. , says: May 2, 2019 at 9:05 pm GMT
The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states --

He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment.

Until that moment foreign policy could have been shifted, but after that moment

-- fo'ge'd abou'd it.

Fidelios Automata , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT
Don't forget the genocide in Yemen. Wanting to exclude Yemenis from the USA means you're an evil racist, but turning a blind eye to mass murder is A-OK.
Biff , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:14 am GMT
@A123 Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out.
wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT
"Guiado Attempts a Coup in Venezuela."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WAvbX3A7igk?feature=oembed

"Venezuela Uprising Day Two."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/edvjV0HfRRo?feature=oembed

xwray-specs , says: May 3, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
Gold, Black Gold and Pirates : all about wealth and people getting in the way of the 21st Century Privateers who will stop at nothing including overthrowing governments in Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.
Anon [358] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:11 am GMT
Our deep state sure hates losing elections don't they? The lengths they will go to nullify voter will is a sight.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:32 am GMT
@A123 Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation.

I appreciate the fact that Team Trump has not actually sent in the tanks yet, whereas Hellary probably would have by now. Believe me, that is probably one of the very few good arguments in favor of Trump at this point. But if we want to make sure that he never does attack, then now is the time to make some noise– before the war starts.

Paul , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT
We do not need yet another U.S. imperialist adventure in Latin America.
JEinCA , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:26 am GMT
All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer.

If we weren't on the brink of economic collapse I could never see the Washington Elites risking it all with a game of nuclear chicken with Russia and China over Ukraine and Taiwan.

Anonymous [578] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:49 am GMT
This commentator lost me when he decided Guaido was as socialist as Maduro. Nope. He would not have US backing were that the case. I checked out Telesur on Youtube on April 30 – its continued functioning was one sign the coup attempt had failed. The comments section was full of Guaido supporters ranting about how much they hated Chavistas and socialists and some were asking where Maduro was, probably trying to sustain the myth that he had fled.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
"When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country" The answer to that, Tucker, depends on who you ask. While Syria, Iraq and Libya were "failures" because we were told we would bring peace and prosperity to those countries, that was not the goal of the architects of those wars, neither was it oil. The primary goal was to pacify these countries and neuter them so they would not stand up to their neighbor and enemy Israel. And if they had to be destroyed to accomplish that, that's fine. Minus Egypt, those three countries were Israel's primary enemies in the three Arab-Israeli wars. Venezuela is not "another" war for oil, but it might be the first.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Endgame Napoleon

Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
@EliteCommInc. The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european .

If the yankees were the allies of the europeans , why they should need hundreds of military occupation bases in Europe ? why they should impose on europeans self defeating trade sanctions against Russia ? , strange " allies " .

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
@conatus you are late conatus , the russians are building in Venezuela a factory of Kalasnikov rifles , and Maduro is traing a militia of two million men , to help the army .

https://www.defensa.com/venezuela/fabricacion-venezuela-fusil-ruso-ak-103-comenzara-2019

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT
If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .
Johnny Smoggins , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT
@conatus Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas.
Avery , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain {If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .}

JFK was alive way back then, when he gave the order to overthrow Castro and the result was the Bay of Pigs disaster. And – for better or worse – Cubans are still running their own country, not some foreign installed puppet.

'The order to overthrow Maduro' today would have the same disasterous end.
It should be obvious by now, that despite all the hardships, majority of Venezuelans don't want a foreign installed puppet.

Z-man , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
Tucker ' Iz Da Man' ! Unfortunately he has to skate a fine line to dodge the arrows* of the Cabal of the right and the Cabal of the left .

*Arrows? No, BULLETS.

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
US Military Intervention in Venazuela .
Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
What is really going on in Venezuela was anticipated long ago

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z1QVthvDhPo?feature=oembed

DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Carlson is right on Venezuela but was wrong on 911 truthers which he said back in September 2017, that 911 truthers were nuts! 911 which was done by Israel and the zionist controlled deep state lead to the destruction of the mideast for Israel and the zionist NWO!

Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet!

America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords.

One more thing, if Venezuela did not have oil the zio/US would not give a damn about it!

Jake , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture.

If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion.

Jews are a people who fit the opening sentence of the preceding paragraph. The WASP Elites fit the second sentence.

Fool's Paradise , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm GMT
If "no one is more opposed to destructive regime-change wars than the Alt-Right", it means that the Alt-Right are traditional conservatives, paleo-(as opposed to neo)conservatives. Real conservatives have always opposed getting into foreign wars that posed no threat to the U.S. They opposed Wilson lying us into WW1, Roosevelt lying us into WW2. When the neo-conservatives (American Jews loyal to Israel) got Washington under their thumb, we started our decades of disastrous regime-change wars based on lies, starting with the invasion of Iraq. Those neocon mf ers are still in charge.
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Agree, the great zio/warlord got 5 deferments, but he will bomb any country the zionists put the hit on at the drop of a maga hat!

Trump is a zionist judas goat leading America to destruction for his zionist masters, and by the way his son-inlaw is mossad!

War is peace, ie the peace of the dead!

friendofanimals , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT
Maduro was trading oil in non-Fed Reserve, Jew-Dollar just like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. can't have that .
Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:02 pm GMT
An Alt Right 2.0 concept that is compassionate with the damage done by US war and economic exploitation against the poorest people of the world who are mostly brown people is an interesting concept.

But I think it will ultimately fail, since so many of the white people who make up the Alt Right are angry with minorities and see them as a lower race. And these white people are more interested in playing the victim card anyways.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
@A123 You speak truth and cite facts, these loons go bananas.

Thank God they have no real power.

Hopefully they don't even own a hamster . probably would make the little fella read Mien Kempf.

Because a hamster reading is just as cogent and linear as their arguments.

They are frustrated they cannot find a way to blame the Jews! for Maduro being a greedy murdering sweathog who lets zoo animals starve while he looks like animated male cellulite.

Funny- in their prostrations to dictators ( these retards actually defend and admire Jong-Un) they conveniently have omitted Putin is cutting Russia from the WWW- the Internet.

They will have a Russia intranet.

Pointing out to the obtuse daily commenters that under the tyrants that practically fellate- they would be arrested and tortured for their Unz hissy fits and word diarrhea

-Does not compute.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read All those words, and nary a coherent point made.

Nationwide radio talk show? Wow! What's the station name, number and air time?

If you listen to people with actual media shows, they don't call people TROLL just because they have a different opinion. They don't engage in female hysterical ranting because someone has a different idea about the mechanics of the world.

Who are your sponsors? I can't imagine you would not want the free publicity .

wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT
"Venezuela 'Coup Attempt' Footage They Don't Want You to See." https://www.youtube.com/embed/6OzF5ktFiCk?feature=oembed

"Massive Deception Coming From Corporate Media on Venezuela." https://www.youtube.com/embed/JjXzw51GZtc?feature=oembed

peter mcloughlin , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm GMT
I agree, there is irony in labels, in trying to tell who is more disposed towards 'bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die'. Why do we fight? It is for power. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war. And that is what is leading the world to nuclear Armageddon.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
@TKK My sponsors are truth and America first. All Zionist hucksters are on my hit list. Again, I suggest you and yours consider "making aliyah".
https://www.nbn.org.il/
HallParvey , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
@A123

What Trump administration military intervention?

Number of Boots on the ground:
-- Syria -- Reduced vs. Obama, at most a few thousand
-- Iran -- ZERO
-- Venezuela -- Again ZERO

We will see in the future. Trump has to stir the pot. The foaming at the mouth media and his political opposition, in both parties, need something to blather on about. Jus like rasslin'. Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus.

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
@TKK Oh, I see a point there, and it's an interesting one – openly Christian presidents discredit their Christianity by engaging in non-righteous wars. After contemplating the point, I don't think the foreign policy of W or Trump is anywhere close to being the primary factor in the decline in church attendance. After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals, the internet pulls people from God with private depravity, science offers compelling hows if not whys, entertainment options abound, and so on. Nonetheless, an orthodox and faithful Christian president committed to peace and not fighting for oil or foreign interests would be a thing to behold. With caveats relating to perceived sanity, that person would get my vote.
Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Website May 3, 2019 at 2:52 pm GMT
But nothing seems to happen to the scumbags.
EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
"The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european . "

These comments don't make any sense to me based on what I wrote. My comments have no bearing on whether the Russians are an actual threat or not. I see them as competitors with whom there are some places to come to some agreements. They doesn't mean I truth them.

Furthermore, my comments have no bearing on the territorial nature of Russian ethos. That's not the point. Europeans have been at each other since there were Europeans. From the Vikings and before to Serbia and Georgian conflicts. But none of that has anything to do with my comments.

You might want to read them for what they do say as opposed to what you would like them to say.

Agent76 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
Jul 26, 2017 CIA director hints US is working to topple Venezuela's elected government

CIA Director Mike Pompeo indirectly admitted that the US is pushing for a new government in Venezuela, in collaboration with Colombia and Mexico.

Feb 22, 2019 An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN investigator and human rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:09 pm GMT
"After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals . . ."

Not even to the tune of 4%, and I am being generous. The liberals have managed to make the Church look a den of NAMBLA worshipers -- hardly. In the west the Churches are under pressure from the same sex practitioners to reject scriptural teachings on the behavior, but elsewhere around the world, Catholic institutions, such as in Africa -- reject the notion.

The scandal is more fiction that reality --

A123 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@TKK Thanks. Ignoring mindless trolls is a necessary skill for the site.
____

Given the end of the Mueller exoneration, both Trump and Putin are looking to strengthen ties. Thus it is:

-- Unlikely that Putin is heavily committed to helping Maduro. The numbers are too small for that. Also, what would Putin do with Maduro? The last thing Putin needs is a spoiler to the developing detente.

-- Much more likely the troops have a straightforward purpose. Brazilian military/aerospace technology would jump ahead 20 years if they could grab an intact S-300 system. Russia doesn't want a competitor in that market, so they have a deep interest in reclaiming or destroying S-300 equipment as Maduro goes down.

PEACE

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc. You are certainly right. I have no doubt that the vast majority of priests are good men innocent of these charges, and that there are more public school sex scandals (by both raw numbers and percentage) then similar Church scandals. The scandals do have public currency and legs, though, and are one reason often cited as to why the pews are empty. I am at fault for helping to keep this ruinous perception alive with my online rhetoric, and thank you for pointing it out.
Wally , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bingo!

' It's the oil ' canard has always been the excuse cultivated for suckers, and boy do suckers fall for it.

US oil companies have not received the big oil deals in countries where the US, at the behest of "that shitty little country", have interfered militarily. However, Russia, China, & to a limited degree, a few European companies have.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bibi's biggest enemy, his main prize, has always been Iran. He is afraid that, if Trump refuses to do his bidding now, it may well be too late in an election year. One way or another Bolton and Pompeo are going to convince their token boss to green light a massive bombing campaign, especially if Iran attempts to shut down the Straits of Hormuz. It will happen this year if Trump fails to come to his senses.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm GMT
@Scalper In the first place, your bizarre partisan rant is a little out of place. There aren't too many QAnons here at Unz, and there are probably a fair number of regulars here who wouldn't even identify as Republicans or 'conservatives' (whatever that term means today).

Secondly, some of your talking points aren't even accurate:

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

If Trump were truly to declare the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization, a lot of Arab rulers would actually thank him. You see, the Brotherhood is actually illegal in most Arab countries today, precisely because it has a history of collaborating with foreign intelligence services such as MI6, the CIA and Mossad. More recently, it was strongly associated with failed régime-change projects in countries like Egypt and Syria; so with a few exceptions (like Qatar), the Brotherhood is not well liked by Arab rulers.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Traditionally leftist? Sure up until the Hart-Celler Act of 1965! The sad fact is, we don't an anti-immigration party in the US at all today. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have any interest whatsoever in halting–or even just slowing down–immigration.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm GMT
@PeterMX It's obvious that FOX is giving Tucker a lot of latitude. They continued to support him when advertisers left, and when accusations of racism emerged from a radio interview he'd done years ago with a shock jock. They dare not fire him as he has the largest and most fervent base of supporters on cable news. But Tucker knows that there is one big issue, the Elephant in the room, of which he dare not speak. It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Anonymous I think there may be more alt-righters opposed to foreign wars and exploitative 'free' trade treaties than you assume. Most of the alt-righters I know oppose the current régime's "invade the world, invite the world" policies (to borrow a phrase from our own Steve Sailer). But unlike the anti-imperialist left (with whom they often do ally), they usually argue against such policies based on popular self-interest rather than abstract universal morality. They usually choose to argue that being a mighty world empire has worked to the detriment of the majority of people in America; that the whole thing is just a scam to enrich and empower a small, corrupt élite.
joe webb , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
what goes unremarked here and elsewhere is the ethnic composition of Venezuela. From a few searches, Whites are only about one-third of V.

The Tipping Point for chaos is clear. Brazil is half White, Argentina is near 100 % White, ditto Chile. (Argentina ca. 1900 exterminated a large number its "Indigenous." ) The most stable of Latin America is Costa Rica, which is apparently about three quarters White.

Meanwhile the jewyorktimes reports the narco-traffickers in the Maduro administration.

Hopeless. Any Brown or Black Country is doomed. Brazil works cuz Whites know how to control the 45% mulattos and 5 % Blacks. For now anyway. Mexico is a narco-state with the only 9% Whites able to control the half breeds and Indigenous thru co-option. Wait for Mexico to blow up.

Joe Webb

Republic , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
Tucker's viewpoints seem to indicate a split in the US ruling class. US Bipartisan Unity on Venezuela Starting to Crumble. which is very good news!
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm GMT
@joe webb The major drug runners in the world are the cia and the mossad and mi6.
twocalves , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@Endgame Napoleon https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-30/us-troops-syria-long-haul-atop-lot-oil-resources-top-pentagon-official
tldr ; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East says us occupying syria, because we much stronger
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
@anonymous Agree, and the same can be said of Hannity, who is another warmonger for his zionist masters.
Mike P , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT
@follyofwar

It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.

Yes, those gosh-darn Icelanders.

Anonymous [173] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

That's an amazing point. I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists.

Robjil , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Avery The Deep state/CIA did the Bay of Pigs. JFK was not informed about it before it happened. JFK was fighting the CIA and deep state throughout his presidency. He wanted to shatter the CIA into a million pieces. Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. His peace speech on June 10, 1963 was too much for our deep state. That speech was the biggest triggers that set the motion for his assassination.
Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

US Military Intervention in Venazuela .

=

Unending Wounded Warrior Project Infomercials

Why do the naive people have to beg for donations ..make the warmongers pay.

Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@Jake

Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them.

No they don't .They see power and wealth.

Acknowledging Gravity , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:45 pm GMT
Whatever anyone thinks about the Alt-Right it did expose a lot of things about our current era, our history, our politics, and power paradigms that once seen can not be unseen.

And what are you going to do about it? What can anyone really do, honestly?

Not too much at least in America. Eastern Europe still has a good chance.

In America, the trajectory and machinations of power have been set for a long time and revolutionary romanticism tends to work better for the Left than the Right. A quick look at the data easily reveals this.

So what do you do when you realize how so much of everything that's presented as real and true isn't real or true? And there are so many truly bad human beings with major power over our culture, politics, and society?

Well, when has that not been the case in human history? At some point, acknowledging all the black pills is sort of like accepting your human limits, your finitude, your genetics, the unanswered mysteries of existence, the nothingness of Earth in the grand scheme, and just basic gravity.

You could become a courageous online revolutionary and eventually trigger some unstable person to get things shut down and deplatformed.

Or you could organize with socially and psychologically healthy and mature adults who try to prioritize attainable and realistic goals and gain some moralizing victories that can buffer against the demoralizing defeats.

Luckily, out of the winter of our discontent have emerged many healthy tendrils of new growth.

[May 02, 2019] Neoliberalism and the Globalization of War. America's Hegemonic Project by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

May 02, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

June 16, 2016

Originally appeared at Globalresearch

The world is at a dangerous crossroads. The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The US-NATO military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

America's hegemonic project is to destabilize and destroy countries through acts of war, covert operations in support of terrorist organizations, regime change and economic warfare. The latter includes the imposition of deadly macro-economic reforms on indebted countries as well the manipulation of financial markets, the engineered collapse of national currencies, the privatization of State property, the imposition of economic sanctions, the triggering of inflation and black markets.

The economic dimensions of this military agenda must be clearly understood. War and Globalization are intimately related. These military and intelligence operations are implemented alongside a process of economic and political destabilization targeting specific countries in all major regions of World.

Neoliberalism and the Globalization of War. America's Hegemonic Project Neoliberalism is an integral part of this foreign policy agenda. It constitutes an all encompassing mechanism of economic destabilization. Since the 1997 Asian crisis, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) has evolved towards a broader framework which consists in ultimately undermining national governments' ability to formulate and implement national economic and social policies.

In turn, the demise of national sovereignty was also facilitated by the instatement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, evolving towards the global trading agreements (TTIP and TPP) which (if adopted) would essentially transfer state policy entirely into the hands of corporations. In recent years, neoliberalism has extend its grip from the so-called developing countries to the developed countries of both Eastern and Western Europe. Bankruptcy programs have been set in motion. Island, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, etc, have been the target of sweeping austerity measures coupled with the privatization of key sectors of the national economy.

The global economic crisis is intimately related to America's hegemonic agenda. In the US and the EU, a spiralling defense budget backlashes on the civilian sectors of economic activity. "War is Good for Business": the powerful financial groups which routinely manipulate stock markets, currency and commodity markets, are also promoting the continuation and escalation of the Middle East war. A worldwide process of impoverishment is an integral part of the New World Order agenda.

Beyond the Globalization of Poverty

Neoliberalism and the Globalization of War. America's Hegemonic Project Historically, impoverishment of large sectors of the World population has been engineered through the imposition of IMF-style macro-economic reforms. Yet, in the course of the last 15 years, a new destructive phase has been set in motion. The World has moved beyond the "globalization of poverty": countries are transformed in open territories,

State institutions collapse, schools and hospitals are closed down, the legal system disintegrates, borders are redefined, broad sectors of economic activity including agriculture and manufacturing are precipitated into bankruptcy, all of which ultimately leads to a process of social collapse, exclusion and destruction of human life including the outbreak of famines, the displacement of entire populations (refugee crisis).

This "second stage" goes beyond the process of impoverishment instigated in the early 1980s by creditors and international financial institutions. In this regard, mass poverty resulting from macro-economic reform sets the stage of a process of outright destruction of human life.

In turn, under conditions of widespread unemployment, the costs of labor in developing countries has plummeted. The driving force of the global economy is luxury consumption and the weapons industry.

The New World Order

Neoliberalism and the Globalization of War. America's Hegemonic Project Broadly speaking, the main corporate actors of the New World Order are

• Wall Street and the Western banking conglomerates including its offshore money laundering facilities, tax havens, hedge funds and secret accounts,

• the Military Industrial Complex regrouping major "defense contractors", security and mercenary companies, intelligence outfits, on contract to the Pentagon;

• the Anglo-American Oil and Energy Giants,

• The Biotech Conglomerates, which increasingly control agriculture and the food chain;

• Big Pharma,

• The Communication Giants and Media conglomerates, which constitute the propaganda arm of the New World Order.

There is of course overlap, between Big Pharma and the Weapons industry, the oil conglomerates and Wall Street, etc.

These various corporate entities interact with government bodies, international financial institutions, US intelligence. The state structure has evolved towards what Peter Dale Scott calls the "Deep State", integrated by covert intelligence bodies, think tanks, secret councils and consultative bodies, where important New World Order decisions are ultimately reached on behalf of powerful corporate interests.

In turn, intelligence operatives increasingly permeate the United Nations including its specialized agencies, nongovernmental organizations, trade unions, political parties.

What this means is that the executive and legislature constitute a smokescreen, a mechanism for providing political legitimacy to decisions taken by the corporate establishment behind closed doors.

Media Propaganda

The corporate media, which constitutes the propaganda arm of the New World Order, has a long history whereby intelligence ops oversee the news chain. In turn, the corporate media serves the useful purpose of obfuscating war crimes, of presenting a humanitarian narrative which upholds the legitimacy of politicians in high office.

Acts of war and economic destabilization are granted legitimacy. War is presented as a peace-keeping undertaking.

Both the global economy as well as the political fabric of Western capitalism have become criminalized. The judicial apparatus at a national level as well the various international human rights tribunals and criminal courts serve the useful function of upholding the legitimacy of US-NATO led wars and human rights violations.

Destabilizing Competing Poles of Capitalist Development

There are of course significant divisions and capitalist rivalry within the corporate establishment. In the post Cold War era, the US hegemonic project consists in destabilizing competing poles of capitalist development including China, Russia and Iran as well as countries such as India, Brazil and Argentina.

In recent developments, the US has also exerted pressure on the capitalist structures of the member states of the European Union. Washington exerts influence in the election of heads of State including Germany and France, which are increasingly aligned with Washington.

The monetary dimensions are crucial. The international financial system established under Bretton Woods prevails. The global financial apparatus is dollarized. The powers of money creation are used as a mechanism to appropriate real economy assets. Speculative financial trade has become an instrument of enrichment at the expense of the real economy. Excess corporate profits and multibillion dollar speculative earnings (deposited in tax free corporate charities) are also recycled towards the corporate control of politicians, civil society organizations, not to mention scientists and intellectuals. It's called corruption, co-optation, fraud.

Latin America: The Transition towards a "Democratic Dictatorship"

In Latin America, the military dictatorships of the 1960s and 1970s have in large part been replaced by US proxy regimes, i.e. a democratic dictatorship has been installed which ensures continuity. At the same time the ruling elites in Latin America have remoulded. They have become increasingly integrated into the logic of global capitalism, requiring an acceptance of the US hegemonic project.

Macro-economic reform has been conducive to the impoverishment of the entire Latin america region.

In the course of the last 40 years, impoverishment has been triggered by hyperinflation, starting with the 1973 military coup in Chile and the devastating reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s.

The implementation of these deadly economic reforms including sweeping privatization, trade deregulation, etc. is coordinated in liaison with US intelligence ops, including the "Dirty war" and Operation Condor, the Contra insurrection in Nicaragua, etc.

The development of a new and privileged elite integrated into the structures of Western investment and consumerism has emerged. Regime change has been launched against a number of Latin American countries.

Any attempt to introduce reforms which departs from the neoliberal consensus is the object of "dirty tricks" including acts of infiltration, smear campaigns, political assassinations, interference in national elections and covert operations to foment social divisions. This process inevitably requires corruption and cooptation at the highest levels of government as well as within the corporate and financial establishment. In some countries of the region it hinges on the criminalization of the state, the legitimacy of money laundering and the protection of the drug trade.

The above text is an English summary of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky's Presentation, National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, May 17, 2016. This presentation took place following the granting of a Doctor Honoris Causa in Humanities to Professor Chossudovsky by the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN)

[Apr 30, 2019] Is Auntie Gina just the titular head of Al-CIA?

Notable quotes:
"... It's the US ruling elite that are the true deplorables. ..."
"... The war on civilization is never a failure for as long as the invader wins. Winning in this case means toppling a government, destabilizing an economy and dividing a population then leaving a country in chaos. It's not a foreign policy failure for the U.S. That is the policy working exactly as intended. All the talk later, where they claim that they had "bad intel" or they "made mistakes" or "miscalculated" is complete bullshit. They know what they're doing. If they didn't, they wouldn't keep doing it over and over in the exact same way. ..."
"... {A titular ruler, or titular head, is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. Sometimes a person may inhabit a position of titular leadership and yet exercise more power than would normally be expected, as a result of their personality or experience} ? ..."
"... They'd follow the money if they really wanted to end the terrorism. In that regard, bombing Raqqa to hell was sure convenient as USA destroyed all the evidence - or at least they can make that claim. ..."
"... So he gets trotted out just in time to revive the "ISIS threat", and take the blame for various recent funny-smelling terrist attacks, people going to odd places like New Zealand and Sri Lanka to vent their spleens at Muslims and Christians, respectively. I have half-a-suspicion somebody is trying to get a religious war of some sort going. ..."
"... we're talking 1 and a half million dead so far in Iraq and Afghanistan...and that's being conservative. ..."
"... Where? Where was it published? On what platform? Is it really that hard to trace the IPs? Turkey is really determined to get those S-400s. The Empire first threatened to withhold F-35s, then to impose sanctions, then to expel Turkey from NATO, then to move its bases to Greece. Still, Turkey wouldn't budge. Time to deploy some good old terrorism, so that the Empire will be obliged to come in and "help". ..."
"... I have long believed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi actually is associated either with Moss ad or the CIA. That's why he's had so many miracle escapes. That's why they never catch him and often don't even know where he is. And we know that his ISIS never, never attacks Israeli targets or fat Saudi Prince targets. ..."
"... Those would in fact be the targets of choice for any genuine jihad movement. Not Syria or Iraq, which are two states Israel has wanted to harm or eliminate for years. ISIS has always been a fraud, a very complex and deadly one, but a fraud. ..."
"... Many years ago, even before this character posed as a "Syrian rebel" who was photographed meeting with John McCain, he was outed as a Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot. ..."
"... Al Jazeera "can't confirm the authenticity of the video." ..."
"... A history of Wahhabism which is a problem for the globe; https://ahtribune.com/religion/155-a-history-of-wahhabism.html The KSA, whose ass the empire kisses daily, is the main funder for these clowns. ..."
Apr 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

shaw , Apr 29, 2019 2:43:54 PM | link

What's the Wonder my dear?
Duh!
He is in CIA safe house in Al-Anbar.

ISI is looking for this CIA's "Patsy" hide out. Watch this space, he has blood of 14 Pakistani soldiers on his hands via Iran hit. We will end this MOSSAD Agent.

Sally Snyder , Apr 29, 2019 2:45:43 PM | link

As shown in this article, statistics show that the War on Terror has been a colossal failure:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/03/global-terrorism-and-failure-of-war-on.html

The one hundred thousand people that died in Iraq and Afghanistan due to terrorist activities would certainly agree that the trillions of dollars that have been spent on the War on Terror has done very little to remove the spectre of terrorist activities from their homes, cities and nations.

CD Waller , Apr 29, 2019 3:06:16 PM | link
Are we sure the man in the film is Bahgdadi?

Sally Snyder: The war on terror is a war of terror and in that sense, though morally reprehensible and costly, has been success. Regime change and the destabilization of the Middle East has been the goal.

It's the US ruling elite that are the true deplorables.

Fantome , Apr 29, 2019 3:09:31 PM | link
@Sally Snyder[2]:

War on terror was the war on an entire civilization. Association/Replacement of the word terror was just for the public consumption. It's a simple strategy that makes the aggressors appear like the good guys who are there to defend themselves or the values they hold.

The war on civilization is never a failure for as long as the invader wins. Winning in this case means toppling a government, destabilizing an economy and dividing a population then leaving a country in chaos. It's not a foreign policy failure for the U.S. That is the policy working exactly as intended. All the talk later, where they claim that they had "bad intel" or they "made mistakes" or "miscalculated" is complete bullshit. They know what they're doing. If they didn't, they wouldn't keep doing it over and over in the exact same way.

War on the civilizations yields massive benefits. It's the shortcoming of the model of the western civilization that it continuously requires massive input that can't be achieved by the legal means of business and trade.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 29, 2019 3:19:34 PM | link
One wonders whose guest he is

Auntie Gina the tit ular head of Al-CIA-duh/ Al Qaeda/ ISIS?

{A titular ruler, or titular head, is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. Sometimes a person may inhabit a position of titular leadership and yet exercise more power than would normally be expected, as a result of their personality or experience} ?

Jackrabbit , Apr 29, 2019 3:26:14 PM | link
They'd follow the money if they really wanted to end the terrorism. In that regard, bombing Raqqa to hell was sure convenient as USA destroyed all the evidence - or at least they can make that claim.
Bemildred , Apr 29, 2019 3:35:23 PM | link
So he gets trotted out just in time to revive the "ISIS threat", and take the blame for various recent funny-smelling terrist attacks, people going to odd places like New Zealand and Sri Lanka to vent their spleens at Muslims and Christians, respectively. I have half-a-suspicion somebody is trying to get a religious war of some sort going.

They don't seem to be having that much success with getting that war going, so I expect the attacks will go on.

john , Apr 29, 2019 4:20:19 PM | link
Sally Snyder says:

The one hundred thousand people that died in Iraq and Afghanistan due to terrorist activities...

look sister, we can't do much about the state of things, but we can at least relay a realistic account of the extent of the atrocity

we're talking 1 and a half million dead so far in Iraq and Afghanistan...and that's being conservative.

S , Apr 29, 2019 4:22:24 PM | link
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self declared caliph of ISIS, appeared in new video published today.

Where? Where was it published? On what platform? Is it really that hard to trace the IPs? Turkey is really determined to get those S-400s. The Empire first threatened to withhold F-35s, then to impose sanctions, then to expel Turkey from NATO, then to move its bases to Greece. Still, Turkey wouldn't budge. Time to deploy some good old terrorism, so that the Empire will be obliged to come in and "help".

frances , Apr 29, 2019 4:30:55 PM | link
From zerohedge's comments, both links worth a read:

preying mantis posted

who's your real daddy, Baghdadi?

Jackrabbit , Apr 29, 2019 5:06:26 PM | link
S @17: Time to deploy some good old terrorism ...

Erdogan knows what he's dealing with, his government used to be a member of the conspiracy.

This move by Baghdadi could backfire in a big way.

Got my popcorn ready.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Apr 29, 2019 5:09:27 PM | link

I have long believed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi actually is associated either with Moss ad or the CIA. That's why he's had so many miracle escapes. That's why they never catch him and often don't even know where he is. And we know that his ISIS never, never attacks Israeli targets or fat Saudi Prince targets.

Those would in fact be the targets of choice for any genuine jihad movement. Not Syria or Iraq, which are two states Israel has wanted to harm or eliminate for years. ISIS has always been a fraud, a very complex and deadly one, but a fraud.

Laskarina , Apr 29, 2019 5:13:11 PM | link
Many years ago, even before this character posed as a "Syrian rebel" who was photographed meeting with John McCain, he was outed as a Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot.

The guy in recent picture looks like one of Rita Katz's actors.

Walter , Apr 29, 2019 6:01:01 PM | link
It is a show to threaten Turkey with the same as Sri Lanka (where they refine lots of Iranian crude...and more...look it up). Many ties to Iran/Sri Lanka....and to Turkey. Typical nazi thugs....bribes, arson, dynamite...and patsies...in this case maybe mossad actor? Why not> Cui Bono?

As to the locus of the actor? Paramount? Warner Bros? Probably not. Does it matter?

They're parading a ringer...don't fall for the gag. Erdo won't fall for it either.

Curtis , Apr 29, 2019 6:08:06 PM | link
Baghdadi has nice toys by his side and not just the AK-47 with the camo bit over the barrel. It looks like a camo case on night vision gear (or vidcam?) just below that, too. To quote the Joker: "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

Ahh a new game of "where in the world is ..." except instead of bin Laden (or his stand-in) the guest in Pakistan living near a military base we have Baghdadi. Maybe Baghdadi lives in that area, too. (awaiting his execution for the media and masses). I doubt it though. I'm thinking Turkey or even Saudi Arabia.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 29, 2019 6:08:52 PM | link
...
This move by Baghdadi could backfire in a big way.
Got my popcorn ready.
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 29, 2019 5:06:26 PM | 19

It does seem unnecessarily cheeky/ fishy. If 'they' had fiendishly brilliant plan, why wouldn't they'd just do it and leave it to the intel wonks to figure out what went wrong? It's big news in the J-C International media. Al Jazeera "can't confirm the authenticity of the video."

ben , Apr 29, 2019 9:18:09 PM | link
A history of Wahhabism which is a problem for the globe; https://ahtribune.com/religion/155-a-history-of-wahhabism.html The KSA, whose ass the empire kisses daily, is the main funder for these clowns.

[Apr 29, 2019] 'Hard to imagine' how global market will react when US waivers on Iran oil expire Putin

Notable quotes:
"... The waivers expire in May, meaning that those countries could potentially face US sanctions beyond that deadline. China and Turkey, on their part, have strongly condemned the American restrictions, arguing the US is not in a position to intervene in their trade ties with Iran. ..."
"... We don't have any information from our Saudi partners or other OPEC members that they are ready to pull out from the deal. ..."
"... He assured that Moscow is "fulfilling its commitments" to the production cuts agreed by OPEC and several non-OPEC producers in December. Saudi Arabia is also "unlikely" to withdraw, being the driving force behind the wider coalition. ..."
Apr 29, 2019 | www.rt.com

It's hard to foresee how US efforts to bring Iranian oil exports to zero will play out in future, Vladimir Putin admitted, saying OPEC members should live up to their obligation to keep output as low as possible if it comes true. Russia has an agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut their output by 1.2 million barrels per day, which remains in effect until July of this year, Putin said. But the US waivers – which gave a host of countries an exemption from the existing anti-Iran sanctions – expire much earlier, he reminded.

I don't imagine how the global energy market will react to that.

In November, the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran's energy, shipbuilding and banking sectors in a bid to deprive Tehran of its main sources of revenue. But it simultaneously issued waivers to China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey – the main importers of Iranian crude – so that they can find alternative vendors of oil.

The waivers expire in May, meaning that those countries could potentially face US sanctions beyond that deadline. China and Turkey, on their part, have strongly condemned the American restrictions, arguing the US is not in a position to intervene in their trade ties with Iran.

Commenting on the issue, Putin said he hopes the market will eventually avoid the deficit of Iranian oil and that Iran will still be able to sell it. The comment came on the heels of conflicting reports that Donald Trump persuaded Riyadh to ramp up oil output this lowering fuel costs; these reports were denounced by OPEC officials.

Nevertheless, there is "no evidence" that any country is going to withdraw from the OPEC+ agreement to drop oil outputs, Putin said.

We don't have any information from our Saudi partners or other OPEC members that they are ready to pull out from the deal.

He assured that Moscow is "fulfilling its commitments" to the production cuts agreed by OPEC and several non-OPEC producers in December. Saudi Arabia is also "unlikely" to withdraw, being the driving force behind the wider coalition.

See also:

[Apr 28, 2019] As a Russian, I feel disgust at our leaders who squandered all of Russia's historic influence on the Ukraine and gave up

That completely wrong. You can't prevent the "march of history" even if you understand that it is directed against you. The collapse of the USSR put in motion forces for the revolution of the results of WWII. And EuroMaydan like previously Baltic states "Maidans" were the direct result of this dissolution and changed balance of power in Europe with EU now being the dominant force and the USA dominant geopolitical force.
Still it is true that Ukraine EuroMaydan was the major Putin's defeat and the major victory of the US neocons in general and Obama as the President in particular. It might well be that this was inevitable as the trajectory of post-soviet republic is reliable move toward anti-Russian stance as a side effect of obtaining the independence, but still this was a defeat. It was actually Yanukovich who encouraged and helped to organized and finance far right forces and the Party in Ukraine. such a pro-Russian President as fame news media in the USA and GB like to describe him
Poroshenko was the USA SOB. The USA allowed Zelensky to run for office, and allowed him to win. Zelensky is most probably another USA SOB, although only time will tell. Comedians are usually are people with very high IQ who see the absurdity of the current life in Ukraine and Poroshenko regime more clearly then others. The question is whether he will be allowed to do something about it by the USA and EU, who control Ukraine both politically and financially. Biden story of dismissal of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine (who tried to procedure the firm Biden son got money from ) with ease tells us something about the nature of the current governance of Ukraine: is is not even a vassal state -- it is a colony.
Nuland success in pushing Ukrainian nationalists to arm uprising against Yanukovich (pissing EU which signed a treaty with Yanukovich about holding elections, which he would certanly lose, a day before) also can be explained that at this point the USA controlled vital centers of Ukrainian political power including intelligence agencies, several oligarchs (Poroshenko is one; Timoshenko is another) and, especially, media. In Ukraine Western NGO have the status of diplomatic missions (with corresponding immunity), so in no way such a country can be independent in any meaningful sense of this word.
But craziness, aggressiveness and recklessness of the US neocons, who now practice old imperial "might makes right" mode of operation, gives the world some hope. They most probably will burn the USA geological power it acquired after the dissolution of the USSR sooner then many expect. Like look at Bolton and Pompeo recent actions.
Notable quotes:
"... "For better or for worse, Putin has put an end to oligarch rule in Russia. Members of Putin's inner circle may be immensely rich, but they know to whom they owe their wealth. By imprisoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin sent a clear message to the all-powerful oligarchs that controlled Russia during former president Boris Yeltsin's time: stay out of politics." ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

Felix Keverich , says: April 25, 2019 at 7:27 am GMT

The main feeling about the entire topic of the Ukraine is one of total disgust, a gradual and painful realization of the fact that our so-called "brothers" are brothers only in the sense of the biblical Cain and the acceptance that there is nobody to talk to in Kiev.

Russia likes to fashion itself as a "great power". A real great power should have been able to insert itself in Ukrainian politics, regardless of any brotherly feelings – you know, like US did.

As a Russian, I feel disgust at our leaders who squandered all of Russia's historic influence on the Ukraine and gave up – poor neo-Soviet dinosaurs got completely outmaneuvered.

aleksandar , says: April 28, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@Kiza Read
Try to understand
Read it again
Try to understand
Read it again
Try to understand
"For better or for worse, Putin has put an end to oligarch rule in Russia. Members of Putin's inner circle may be immensely rich, but they know to whom they owe their wealth. By imprisoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin sent a clear message to the all-powerful oligarchs that controlled Russia during former president Boris Yeltsin's time: stay out of politics."

Vladimir Golstein, professor of Slavic studies at Brown University. He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States in 1979.

[Apr 28, 2019] Will Poroshenko be jailed for corruption, or the USA will be able to prevent this

There are several crimes for which Poroshenko can be investigated and the USA can do nothing about: one is Odessa massacre which supposedly was financed by Poroshenko. And Kolomysky was also involved so it remain to be seen if this issues will be raised. Also the power of far right forces in Ukraine is such that just raising this question might be equal to treason in the eyes of Ukrainian nationalists. Because such powerful figures as Avakov and Parubiy were also involved.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukrainians don’t give a shit about the Poro regime, and are perfectly willing to see it incarcerated. Nor do NatsBatalions really crave to be seen as puppets of DC, Kolo, or Israel, or Brussels. Your take is really simplistic here. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

AmRusDebate , says: April 25, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT

Kolomoisky. Kolomoisky! Kolomoisky!

you are in fantasy land....

... ... ...

The West is concerned with protecting Poro. Based on WSJ editorials, obsequious legations to manlet Macron. None of that means jack shit.

DC will have to exercise real power to prevent a cleaning of the house. Word are words. Rumors are rumors. Z. will act within his mandate and limits placed by rabid opposition. He will act in keeping with rational need to not fight a US-backed congress, to get shot in the streets for things too radical. Majority of Ukrainians will be happy to see Poro in prison. DC can keep this from happening not with words, but with bullets. Strana can claim what it wants, its claims are patent garbage.

Ukrainians don’t give a shit about the Poro regime, and are perfectly willing to see it incarcerated. Nor do NatsBatalions really crave to be seen as puppets of DC, Kolo, or Israel, or Brussels. Your take is really simplistic here.

... ... ...

Z. does have a party. The elections for the Ukranian Parliament is in September. His party, as a matter of fact, is leading in opinion polls.
https://ria.ru/20190416/1552741067.html And it is doing so together with the party of Boiko.

Logically then, given enough time/space Z. should be in a position to pursue necessary policies end of the year.


peter mcloughlin , says: April 25, 2019 at 1:34 pm GMT

‘The truth is nobody knows what will happen next…There are just too many parameters to consider, and the real balance of power following this election has not manifested itself yet’, as The Saker forebodingly warns. The pattern of history suggests the continent is heading for another world war. https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
The course of events in Europe and globally predict things will only get worse. Like The Saker, ‘I also very much hope that I am wrong.’
Matthiew , says: April 25, 2019 at 1:42 pm GMT
A good article by Adam Garrie

“Russia and Ukraine can finally agree on something. Friendly relations with Israel”

https://eurasiafuture.com/2019/04/21/russia-and-ukraine-can-finally-agree-on-something-friendly-relations-with-israel/

Digital Samizdat , says: April 28, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
Am I the only one here who sees a fundamental inconsistency between the following two statements?

Thus, Poroshenko with his immense wealth and his connections can still be a useful tool for the Empire’s control of the Ukraine.

And:

I tend to believe that Poroshenko has outlived his usefulness for the AngloZionists because he became an overnight political corpse.

So which is it, Saker? Is Porky still useful to the AZs or not?

This reminds me of the old joke about economists who can never venture a prediction without saying “one the hand … but on the other hand …”

[Apr 28, 2019] Ukraine vs the USA

Apr 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

MarkinPNW , says: April 24, 2019 at 7:14 pm GMT

A clown beat a high profile member of the established political class, due most likely to the voters being disgusted by said political class? Uhmm, where have we seen this before?

[Apr 27, 2019] America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil.

Notable quotes:
"... Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy. ..."
"... America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla. ..."
"... Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Idealistic Realist , Apr 27, 2019 1:24:45 PM | link

Best analysis by a candidate for POTUS ever:

American foreign policy is not a failure. To comfort themselves, observers often say that our leaders -- presidents, advisors, generals -- don't know what they're doing. They do know. Their agenda just isn't what we like to imagine it is.

To quote Michael Parenti: "US policy is not filled with contradictions and inconsistencies. It has performed brilliantly and steadily in the service of those who own most of the world and who want to own all of it."

The vision of our leaders as bunglers, while more accurate than the image of them as valiant public servants, is less accurate and more rose-tinted than the closest approximation of the truth, which is that they are servants of their class interest. That is why we go to war.

Those who buy the elite class's foreign policy BS, about the Emmanuel Goldsteins they conjure up every three years, are fools. Obviously Hussein and Milošević were bad; but "government bad" does not mean we must invade. Wars occur for economic, not humanitarian, reasons.

  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea, is a kleptocrat, murderer, and alleged cannibal. This is him and his wife with Barack and Michelle Obama.
  • Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, was said to have boiled political prisoners to death, massacred hundreds of prisoners, and made torture an institution. This is him with John Kerry.
  • Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, has been involved in the assassination of political opponents, perpetrated obvious election fraud, and had his term extended until 2034. This is him with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy.

America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla.

Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never.

Mike Gravel

[Apr 26, 2019] Biden's penchant for fascists was on display in the Yugoslavian civil war.

Apr 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Apr 25, 2019 3:45:08 PM | link

GeorgeV , Apr 25, 2019 2:50:04 PM | link

Smiling Joe Biden, the glad handler from Delaware, is nothing more than another neocon wolf in sheep's clothing. His tenure as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993 resulted in the infamous Anita Hill debacle due to his failure to investigate Ms. Hill's allegations that then SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her several years earlier. The result was an embarrassing televised hearing that exposed Biden's incompetence, along with that of other members of the committee.

In the end, an unqualified right wing legal 'bump on the log' attained a seat as a Supreme Court justice. Later it was proven that Ms. Hill's claims were true, but the damage was done. BTW, Biden's penchant for fascists was on display in the Yugoslavian civil war.

Well known Twitter "bot" Ian56 has published a thread about Biden . I suggest people give it a looksee. Ian asks in his first entry:

"How the hell does the Oligarchy think they are going to get Creepy Joe Biden past the public? I mean the average American Joe is extremely dumb & ignorant, but even they are not that dumb."

I just posted the answer @11. Welcome to 1984. We are now officially at war with Eastasia!


Mike Maloney , Apr 25, 2019 5:02:05 PM | link

The good thing about Biden entering the race is that it complicates an already difficult path to the nomination for the slew of establishment candidates. Biden is not a first choice for the Democratic intelligentsia. Sample Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight regularly and you'll know that Kamala Harris and boy-mayor Buttigieg are the favorites. Of course, Trump would eat either whole.

I'm rooting for Sanders, not because I believe him to be uniquely authentic, but because he is the one who scares the shit out of the big-ticket donors who guide the Democratic Party.

Read last week's front-pager from Jonathan Martin. Guaranteed if Bernie walks away with the primary in a rout, you'll see prominent Dems back a third party candidate.

Fastfreddy , Apr 25, 2019 5:12:08 PM | link
FWIW/ There is a very brief youtube video of Biden proclaiming proudly that he is a Zionist.
NemesisCalling , Apr 25, 2019 7:02:38 PM | link
The fact that Biden survived the "GropeGate" stuff from a view weeks ago reinforces how the msm is cooking coverage or withholding it altogether.

Take a look at some video compilations of ol' Gropey-Joe as he is swearing in elected reps and photo-documenting the occasion.

Irrespective of his Obama-esque policies and status as standard-bearer for TPTB, the guy is just a straight up creep. And a particularly bad Catholic.

...

I agree that Sanders-Gabbard would absolutely destroy Trump and garner perhaps even more backing than Obama c. 2008.

I put the scary Socialist angle that is used against Sanders as carrying the same weight as the whole Crouching Blackman, Hidden Muslim thing that followed Obama during his run.

It is just hard to tell as to how sensible they (Sanders and Gabbard) would be allowed to be WRT FP.

But Trump had an opportunity to love his country. And he chose orherwise. SAD!

Jen , Apr 25, 2019 7:22:22 PM | link
As long as Hunter Biden is still a director of Burisma Holdings (which includes at least one other unpleasant individual on the Board of Directors), there is always a chance that elements within or connected to the Ukrainian government (even under Volodymyr Zelenskiy's Presidency, when he has his back turned on his fellow politicians), the previous Poroshenko government or Poroshenko himself, and / or the Maidan Revolution - Crowdstrike, Dmitri Alperovich and Chalupa sisters, we're looking at all of you - might try to derail any or all of the Democratic Party presidential candidates in attempts to have Joe Biden declared the official Democrat presidential contender in 2020. The only question is how openly brazen these people are going to be in order to save their pet project in Kiev before Ukraine erupts in civil war (and it won't be civil war in the Donbass area) and the entire country goes down in flames.

Maybe someone who really, really hates Biden in the Democrat camp could remind the DNC of this little episode where Biden threatened Poroshenko in 2016 that the US would pull US$1 billion in guarantees if the Porky one didn't pull his Prosecutor General.

As for the rest of the 20 candidates, I would prefer Tulsi Gabbard out of the lot. In this respect India's general elections, already under way, are going to be important. Gabbard needs to let go of Narendra Modi and his Hindutva BJP party - her friendship with Modi and his association with Hindutva are sure to come under scrutiny as will also any connections she and her office staff have with The Science of Identity Foundation organisation.

Copeland , Apr 25, 2019 7:45:32 PM | link

Joe Biden is hard wired to the corruption in the corporate DNC. The tell on this will be when the media starts to roll him out with the fanfare of a new model car. It is hard to imagine that he can inspire voters in the primaries. But if the sell goes overboard and it becomes obvious that the fixers are determined to hand him the nomination; then it will be a real poke in the eye, and another PSYOPS to grossly demoralize voters in this country. Biden is about as exciting as a glass of milk that's curdled overnight on the end table by the bed.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 25, 2019 7:45:32 PM | link

Jackrabbit , Apr 25, 2019 8:23:55 PM | link
The Deep State wanted a MAGA nationalist to counter the challenge from Russia and China and that's what they got.

Sanders is a sheepdog/stooge that works for the Zionist establishment and Deep State just like Biden and a few others that are in the race. As much as you wag your 'tale', the stink remains.

Copeland , Apr 25, 2019 9:41:35 PM | link
The oligarchy reels out all tired scams over and over, until you want to cry out in anguish. Don't let them wear you down. Never capitulate. If Biden by some horrible chance has the winning hand, I'm guessing he will pick Gillibrand for his VP, a centrist of compromising kind, a shapeshifting clone to remind people of Hillary on some subconscious level. More of the same will fix us right up, on our journey to virtual political reality, and the end of humanity. These fucks will use the "little nukes" as they tuck us into bed.

[Apr 25, 2019] Lessons of the past \

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.

[Apr 24, 2019] The circus of horrors in the Kaganat of Nuland

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: April 24, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT

The circus of horrors in the Kaganat of Nuland: https://thesaker.is/zelenskii-beat-poroshenko-what-will-happen-next/&#8230 ;

Israel and the Ukraine are now the two countries on the planet in which both the President [Zelenskii] and the Prime-Minister [Groisman] are Jews

just a day after his election Zelenskii is already making all sorts of anti-Russian statements.

since Zelenskii has no personal power base of any kind, Kolomoiskii will have him do exactly as he is told and Kolomoiskii can easily be told to behave by the Empire.

Here is a new ruler of Ukraine, the Israeli/Ukrainian/Swiss citizen Kolomoisky :

"Billionaire Ukrainian Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky Under Investigation by FBI" https://www.thedailybeast.com/billionaire-ukrainian-oligarch-ihor-kolomoisky-under-investigation-by-fbi

The ethnically Jewish Kolomojsky has been the main financier of Azov Battalion :

The Azov Battalion was initially formed out of the neo-Nazi gang Patriot of Ukraine. Azov Battalion -- which is accused of human-rights abuses, including torture, by Human Rights Watch and the United Nations -- was incorporated into Ukraine's National Guard.

The New York Times called the battalion "openly neo-Nazi," while USA Today, The Daily Beast, The Telegraph, and Haaretz documented group members' proclivity for swastikas, salutes, and other Nazi symbols

https://www.thenation.com/article/neo-nazis-far-right-ukraine/

[Apr 21, 2019] Psywar: Propaganda during Iraq war and beyond

Highly recommended!
Powerful video about US propaganda machine. Based on Iraq War propaganda efforts. This is a formidable machine.
Shows quite vividly that most US politicians of Bush era were war criminal by Nuremberg Tribunal standards. Starting with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. They planned the war of aggression against Iraq long before 9/11.
Apr 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Desolation Row , Apr 20, 2019 10:21:11 PM | link

Desolation Row | Apr 20, 2019 10:09:06 PM | 41

Psywar

Source: https://vimeo.com/14772678 @ 48:15

[Apr 21, 2019] Deciphering Trumps Foreign Policy by Oscar Silva-Valladares

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. ..."
"... The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player. ..."
"... Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance. ..."
"... Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline. ..."
"... Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. ..."
"... A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions ..."
"... Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination. ..."
Oct 28, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. Alternative social forces, like the ones behind Trump's presidential triumph, only have a limited impact on domestic and ultimately on foreign policy. A conceptual detour and a brief on history and on Trump's domestic setting when he was elected will help clarifying these theses.

Beyond the different costumes that it wears (dealing with ideology, international law, and even religion), foreign policy follows domestic policy. The domestic policy actors are the social forces at work at a given point of time, mainly the economic agents and their ambitions (in their multiple expressions), including the ruling power elite. Society's aspirations not only relate to material welfare, but also to ideological priorities that population segments may have at a given point of time.

From America's initial days until the mid 1800s, there seems to have been a broad alignment of US foreign policy with the wishes of its power elite and other social forces. America's expansionism, a fundamental bulwark of its foreign policy from early days, reflected the need to fulfill its growing population's ambitions for land and, later on, the need to find foreign markets for its excess production, initially agricultural and later on manufacturing. It can be said that American foreign policy was broadly populist at that time. The power elite was more or less aligned in achieving these expansionist goals and was able to provide convenient ideological justification through the writings of Jefferson and Madison, among others.

As the country expanded, diverging interests became stronger and ultimately differing social forces caused a significant fracture in society. The American Civil War was the climax of the conflicted interests between agricultural and manufacturing led societies. Fifty years later, a revealing manifestation of this divergence (which survived the Civil War), as it relates to foreign policy, is found during the early days of the Russian Revolution when, beyond the ideological revulsion of Bolshevism, the US was paralyzed between the agricultural and farming businesses seeking exports to Russia and the domestic extractive industries interested in stopping exports of natural resources from this country.

The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player.

Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance.

Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline.

Trump won his presidency because he was able to get support from the country's growing frustrated white population. His main social themes (bringing jobs to America by stopping the decline of its manufacturing industry, preventing further US consumer dependence on foreign imports and halting immigration) fitted well with the electors' anger. Traditional populist themes linked to foreign policy (like Russophobia) did not play a big role in the last election. But whether or not the Trump administration can align with the ruling power elite in a manner that addresses the key social and economic needs of the American people is still to be seen.

Back to foreign policy, we need to distinguish between Trump's style of government and his administration's actions. At least until now, focusing excessively on Trump's style has dangerously distracted from his true intentions. One example is the confusion about his initial stance on NATO which was simplistically seen as highly critical to the very existence of this organization. On NATO, all that Trump really cared was to achieve a "fair" sharing of expenditures with other members and to press them to honor their funding commitments.

From immigration to defense spending, there is nothing irrational about Trump's foreign policy initiatives, as they just reflect a different reading on the American people's aspirations and, consequently, they attempt to rely on supporting points within the power elite which are different from the ones used in the past.

Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. A far-reaching lesson, although still being ignored, is that China's economic might is showing that capitalism as understood in the West is not winning, much less in its American format. It also shows that democracy may not be that relevant, as it is not necessarily a corollary or a condition for economic development. Perhaps it even shows the superiority of China's economic model, but this is a different matter.

As Trump becomes more aware about his limitations, he has naturally reversed to the basic imprints of America's traditional foreign policy, particularly concerning defense. His emphasis on a further increase in defense spending is not done for prestigious or national security reasons, but as an attempt to preserve a job generating infrastructure without considering the catastrophic consequences that it may cause.

On Iran, Obama's initiative to seek normalization was an attempt to walk a fine line (and to find a less conflictive path) between supporting the US traditional Middle East allies (mainly the odd combination of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) and recognizing Iran's growing aspirations. Deep down, Obama was trying to acknowledge Iran's historical viability as a country and a society that will not disappear from the map, while Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, may not be around in a few years. Trump's Iran policy until now only represents a different weighing of priorities, although it is having far reaching consequences on America's credibility as a reliable contractual party in international affairs.

In the case of Afghanistan, Trump's decision to increase boots on the ground does not break the inertia of US past administrations. Aside from temporary containment, an increasing military presence or a change in tactics will not alter fundamentally this reality.

Concerning Russia, and regardless of what Trump has said, actions speak more than words. A continuous deterioration of relations seems inevitable.

Trump will also learn, if he has not done so already, about the growth of multipolar forces in world's events. Russia has mastered this reality for several years and is quite skillful at using it as a basic tool of its own foreign goals. Our multipolar world will expand, and Trump may even inadvertently exacerbate it through its actions (for instance in connection with the different stands taken by the US and its European allies concerning Iran).

While fulfilling the aspirations of the American people seems more difficult within the existing capitalist framework, there are also growing apprehensions coming from America's power elite as it becomes more frustrated due to its incapacity of being more effective at the world level. America's relative adolescence in world's history will become more and more apparent in the coming years.

A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions. The US has never suffered the consequences of an international conflict in its own backyard. The American Civil War, despite all the suffering that it caused, was primarily a domestic event with no foreign intervention (contrary to the wishes of the Confederation). The deep social and psychological damage caused by war is not part of America's consciousness as it is, for instance in Germany, Russia or Japan. America is insensitive to the lessons of history because it has a very short history itself.

Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination.

Oscar Silva-Valladares is a former investment banker that has lived and worked in North and Latin America, Western & Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Philippines and Western Africa. He currently chairs Davos International Advisory, an advisory firm focused on strategic consulting across emerging markets.


Related

[Apr 18, 2019] Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water

Way to brave predictions, I think... I think he grossly underestimates durability of neoliberal state like the USA. May be in 20 years the USA will really start experiencing huge problems like he described due to the end of cheap oil". But before that only huge exogenous shock can crash such a society.
Notable quotes:
"... It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state. ..."
"... And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters ..."
"... well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well. ..."
"... But he simply does not understand the USA. He’s been predicting collapse for some time and it has not occurred or come close to happening. Washington is filled with smart kleptocrats who understand they cannot afford to destroy the country that keeps on giving them the wealth and power they crave. Trump, can flounce around Washington and the rest of the country and do and say outrageous things and it has no effect on life whatsoever. ..."
"... While, on the surface, people support ideas like higher minimum wage, universal health-care and other aspects of social democracy, it their masters say “no” then they’ll forgo it and take pride in their ability to endure suffering, early death, their children on heroin or meth, and so on. ..."
"... Since I’m fairly “connected” to the lower/working class and its struggles in my part of the world I can assure you people almost enjoy suffering to a degree that foreigners easily miss and seldom ascribe it to the thieves and criminals who run our society. ..."
"... Will there be a civil war in the US, like in the 1861-1865 period ? No, I don’t think so. Will there be severe social disturbances ? Yes, these I do expect, leading to the break up of the US. The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. The US has been kicking the financial can down the road for a long time. This cannot last for ever. ..."
"... with people like Siluanov and Nabiullina in charge of the nation’s money, I am not optimistic… ..."
"... The acceleration of economic collapse in the West will be likely bring (overt) fascism and war–world war. ..."
"... In particular, the AngloNazi sorry Anglosphere nations (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course America) are a clear and present threat that should not be underestimated, discounted, or spin-doctored away. ..."
"... But the Anglos studiously avoid facing the reality that their precious way of life, capitalist system, and Anglo-American world order itself are premised upon their own ruthless exploitation of the Global South and developing nations in general. ..."
"... Trump and the MAGA hordes, as well as similar xenophobic and nationalist movements throughout the Anglosphere and Europe, are only a precursor to what is coming. They represent the grievances of the lower-middle classes within the Anglo American Empire and Europe who want a greater cut of the economic loot of empire for themselves–which necessitates an even more aggressive and militaristic grab for global resources, markets, and geopolitical power. ..."
"... He’s way too negative on the USA’s domestic prospects. Despite its absurdities, the US system is fundamentally robust and unlikely to suffer any major, sudden collapse, at least for many decades. It will certain decline further, plumbing the depths of depravity more than it has to date, but the system will chug along. The US has vacuumed up talent from all over the world, bolstering it’s economic capacity and the rents extracted by oligo. It’s day to day institutions, such as courts, post offices and the like function better now than they did in the 80s or 90s. ..."
"... All the incentives are there to keep the thing together, with little real risk of some sort of succession movement or serious insurrection. The main advantages the US has on this score are it’s mass surveillance system, policing infrastructure and media. The US media can make the great bulk of the people believe absolutely anything, if given enough time. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

The Saker: You recently wrote an article titled " Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water? " in which you discuss the high level of stupidity in modern US politics? I have a simple question for you: do you think the Empire can survive Trump and, if so, for how long?

Dmitry Orlov: I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn't been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case. Some event will come along which will leave the power center utterly humiliated and unable to countenance this humiliation and make adjustments. Things will go downhill from there as everyone in government in media does their best to pretend that the problem doesn't exist. My hope is that the US military personnel currently scattered throughout the planet will not be simply abandoned once the money runs out, but I wouldn't be too surprised if that is what happens.

The Saker: Lastly, a similar but fundamentally different question: can the USA (as opposed to the Empire) survive Trump and, if so, how? Will there be a civil war? A military coup? Insurrection? Strikes? A US version of the Yellow Vests?

Dmitry Orlov: The USA, as some set of institutions that serves the interests of some dwindling number of people, is likely to continue functioning for quite some time. The question is: who is going to be included and who isn't? There is little doubt that retirees, as a category, have nothing to look forward to from the USA: their retirements, whether public or private, have already been spent. There is little doubt that young people, who have already been bled dry by poor job prospects and ridiculous student loans, have nothing to look forward to either.

But, as I've said before, the USA isn't so much a country as a country club. Membership has its privileges, and members don't care at all what life is like for those who are in the country but aren't members of the club. The recent initiatives to let everyone in and to let non-citizens vote amply demonstrates that US citizenship, by itself, counts for absolutely nothing. The only birthright of a US citizen is to live as a bum on the street, surrounded by other bums, many of them foreigners from what Trump has termed "shithole countries."

It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state.

And once the fracking bubble is over and another third of the population finds that it can no longer afford to drive, that might force through some sort of reset as well. But then the entire system of militarized police is designed to crush any sort of rebellion, and most people know that. Given the choice between certain death and just sitting on the sidewalk doing drugs, most people will choose the latter.

And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters; concerned citizens demanding that migrants be allowed in, then calling the cops as soon as these migrants set up tents on their front lawn or ring their doorbell and ask to use the bathroom; well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well.

At this rate, when the end of the USA finally arrives, most of the people won't be in a position to notice while the rest won't be capable of absorbing that sort of upsetting information and will choose to ignore it. Everybody wants to know how the story ends, but that sort of information probably isn't good for anyone's sanity. The mental climate in the US is already sick enough; why should we want to make it even sicker?


Chris Cosmos on April 17, 2019 , · at 11:23 am EST/EDT

I love Orlov’s wit and general cynical attitude as it mirrors mine (perhaps not the wit). I think he seems to understand the Ukraine and Russia relatively well though I’m not in a position to question him on that but I do know something about the politics of NATO/EU/USA and their intentions and that Orlov gets.

But he simply does not understand the USA. He’s been predicting collapse for some time and it has not occurred or come close to happening. Washington is filled with smart kleptocrats who understand they cannot afford to destroy the country that keeps on giving them the wealth and power they crave. Trump, can flounce around Washington and the rest of the country and do and say outrageous things and it has no effect on life whatsoever.

If anything the economy actually is “better” not as good as the cooked statistics indicate but things have improved for people I know in that area. Americans, despite the obvious propaganda nature of the media still are true-believers in the official Narrative because meaning and myth always trumps reality.

While, on the surface, people support ideas like higher minimum wage, universal health-care and other aspects of social democracy, it their masters say “no” then they’ll forgo it and take pride in their ability to endure suffering, early death, their children on heroin or meth, and so on.

Since I’m fairly “connected” to the lower/working class and its struggles in my part of the world I can assure you people almost enjoy suffering to a degree that foreigners easily miss and seldom ascribe it to the thieves and criminals who run our society. Americans strut around but feel powerless and don’t have a plan or think they can have a plan because they lack the conceptual frameworks to understand that their leadership is thoroughly rotten.

Having said that, I agree with Auslander, Americans don’t need the central government and would do better, initially, in a highly chaotic situation and establish their own order in their communities and rig up a new set of arrangements very quickly.

In some ways the fall of Washington would be the best thing to ever happen in my country.

B.F. on April 17, 2019 , · at 5:29 pm EST/EDT
Chris Cosmos

I am afraid you are wrong. Orlov does understand the US, just like I do, as I have lived in the US. Yes, Orlov has been predicting the collapse of the US, and it will happen. I would like to direct your attention to the following video (the second part is very interesting):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ryA1x6fll34

Will there be a civil war in the US, like in the 1861-1865 period ? No, I don’t think so. Will there be severe social disturbances ? Yes, these I do expect, leading to the break up of the US. The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. The US has been kicking the financial can down the road for a long time. This cannot last for ever.

Anonymous on April 17, 2019 , · at 7:08 pm EST/EDT
“The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. ”

Maybe, but actually I would say most regions of the USA have some kind of “old tradition” —and a lot nicer ones than that of the old racist South. I’ll take New England and the Maritimes any day over the steamy South where the kudzu creeps over I mean *everything*, the snakes proliferate, and you can’t survive the summer without AC 24/7.

Check out American Nations, by Colin Woodard.

Katherine

FB on April 17, 2019 , · at 11:45 am EST/EDT
Well…I just started in on this piece and already I have a major beef…Orlov’s notion that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was good for Russia…

China was [and arguably still is] an empire of diverse regions, ethnicities and religions…but how is that holding China back today, or during previous centuries of imperial glory…?

Clearly China doesn’t fit into Orlov’s idea of an empire as a ‘wealth pump’ that sucks from the periphery to enrich the center…this is true of course of exploitation-based imperial projects such as western colonialism…but is clearly not applicable to the Chinese model, which has been both the biggest and most durable empire in human history…so that is a big hole in Orlov’s ‘theory’…

It is true that the USSR was a fundamentally different kind of empire from the exploitative western colonialism…and it is also true that it ultimately did not succeed…although it managed to accomplish almost incomprehensible progress in modernization, science and technology…and industrialization…the foundations of Russian strength today rest squarely on the foundations put in place during the Stalin era…

Elsewhere on this site there is a brilliant series of essays by Ramin Mazaheri about the tumultuous cultural revolution of the 1960s…and why it was necessary…Russia also needed a cultural revolution around this time…the system needed to be rejigged to better serve the people…in living standard…fairness and justice…opportunity for social advance…etc…

But it never happened…instead the system became more sclerotic than ever…and the welfare of the people stagnated…at the very moment in time when the capitalist west, especially the United States, was able to reign in the appetites of its parasite class and provide the people with a decent share of its [largely ill-gotten, by means of global finance colonialism] gains…[during the postwar decades, the share of national wealth of the 0.1 percent fell to an all time low of about 7 percent…about a quarter of historic, and current levels]…

This was the golden age in the US…well paying jobs in industry were plentiful and the company president made perhaps ten times what the shop floor worker took home…a second household income was completely unnecessary…university education at state colleges was practically free…

The life of the Soviet citizen in the1960s was not too far behind…Stalin’s five year plans in the1930s had created an industrial powerhouse…it was Russia’s ability to produce that allowed it to prevail over Germany in the existential war…and despite the devastation of the people, cities and countryside Russia was able to quickly become a technological superpower…as an aerospace engineer I have a deep appreciation of the depth and breadth of Russian technical achievements and the basic scientific advances that made that possible…the US was laughably left in the dust, despite having skimmed the cream of Nazi Germany’s technical scientific talent…and contrary to what US propaganda would have the people believe…

... ... ...

Of course the massive Chinese empire has been adapting like this for centuries, if not millennia…Russia with the Soviet Union only needed to make similar smart adjustments…instead they threw out the baby with the bathwater…let’s see where Russia goes from here, but with people like Siluanov and Nabiullina in charge of the nation’s money, I am not optimistic…

But back to Orlov…let’s see where he goes after starting off very clumsily. .

Anonymous on April 17, 2019 , · at 12:52 pm EST/EDT
The acceleration of economic collapse in the West will be likely bring (overt) fascism and war–world war.

In particular, the AngloNazi sorry Anglosphere nations (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course America) are a clear and present threat that should not be underestimated, discounted, or spin-doctored away.

As collapse intensifies, these Anglo American entities led by the USA will surely lash out in even more aggressive wars to maintain their unipolar world order that they have ruled over since the fall of the Soviet Union. The use of tactical nuclear weapons, bio-warfare, and other "exotic" weapons should not be ruled out.

At base, the Anglo Americans possess an inbred sense of economic entitlement. They whine like snowflakes about the foreign outsourcing of jobs or "illegal immigrants stealing our jobs" as a chauvinistic demand for a greater share of the economic spoils of imperialism.

But the Anglos studiously avoid facing the reality that their precious way of life, capitalist system, and Anglo-American world order itself are premised upon their own ruthless exploitation of the Global South and developing nations in general.

And God forbid that the Anglos lose their parasitic way of life and (horror) are compelled to live like the vast majority of humanity in the developing world from Africa to Asia to Latin America to the Middle East.

The disaffected middle classes and labor aristocracy of the Anglosphere will comprise the grassroots basis for 21st-century fascism, similar to how these socio-economic classes were the grassroots support for the German Third Reich or Mussolini's Italy in the 1930s-40s.

Trump and the MAGA hordes, as well as similar xenophobic and nationalist movements throughout the Anglosphere and Europe, are only a precursor to what is coming. They represent the grievances of the lower-middle classes within the Anglo American Empire and Europe who want a greater cut of the economic loot of empire for themselves–which necessitates an even more aggressive and militaristic grab for global resources, markets, and geopolitical power.

As Martin Lee has put it, the Beast reawakens.

Boswald Bollocksworth on April 17, 2019 · at 9:37 pm EST/EDT

He’s way too negative on the USA’s domestic prospects. Despite its absurdities, the US system is fundamentally robust and unlikely to suffer any major, sudden collapse, at least for many decades. It will certain decline further, plumbing the depths of depravity more than it has to date, but the system will chug along. The US has vacuumed up talent from all over the world, bolstering it’s economic capacity and the rents extracted by oligo. It’s day to day institutions, such as courts, post offices and the like function better now than they did in the 80s or 90s.

All the incentives are there to keep the thing together, with little real risk of some sort of succession movement or serious insurrection. The main advantages the US has on this score are it’s mass surveillance system, policing infrastructure and media. The US media can make the great bulk of the people believe absolutely anything, if given enough time.

The US capacity to meddle overseas will wither, after all how well can a submarine filled with drag queens and single mothers operate? And who’d be willing to endure shelling for a monstrosity like contemporary America?

But the domestic system is brilliantly designed, not going anywhere.

[Apr 17, 2019] What Are We to Make of Gina Haspel by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. ..."
"... Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes. ..."
"... Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck. ..."
"... I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men. ..."
"... Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs. ..."
"... just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light. ..."
"... A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Before Gina became the Chief of Staff for Rodriguez, what role did she play in the waterboarding of two AQ operatives in Thailand? It appears that she was at least witting of what was going on. Did she have the authority to decide what measures to apply to the two? Did she make such decisions?

Those are facts still to be determined. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are others who I respect that are adamant in opposing her nomination. The only thing I know for sure is that her nomination will be a bloody and divisive political battle. If it comes down to embracing waterboarding as an appropriate method to use on suspected terrorists, then a majority of Americans are supportive of that practice and will cheer the appointment of Haspel.

That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. It is true that one man's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.

Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes.

Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck.


Cee , 18 March 2018 at 12:55 PM

PT,

I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men.

No to her confirmation.

steve , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
IIRC, Haspel was the chief of staff to whom Rodriguez refers. That does not sound like a bit player. Would you say that Kelly is a bit player in the Trump admin? As you say, we should know the facts, but so far it looks like she both participated in torture and in its cover-up.

Steve

tv , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
Is waterboarding "torture?" It does not draw blood nor leave any physical damage. Psychological damage? These ARE admitted terrorists.
BillWade , 18 March 2018 at 01:20 PM
With all the crap going on at the FBI, the last thing we need now is a divisive candidate for any top level government position (torture advocacy is divisive for many of us).

A woman, a lesbian, who cares as long as they are a capable and decent law-abiding individual.

Publius Tacitus -> tv... , 18 March 2018 at 01:23 PM
Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs.

And where do you get "admitted" terrorists from? In America, even with suspected terrorists, there is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. At least we once believed in that standard.

Apenultimate said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 March 2018 at 01:26 PM
And I very much respect you for your position on this (it is this American's view as well).

What amazes me (and yet doesn't) is the example of Rodriguez's supposed introspection "How bad could this be?" Really?!? That just strikes me as not having any feel for the media, US citizenry, or even common sense, and just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light.

Laura , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
PT -- Thank you. Much to consider in these times. I come down on the "no torture and waterboarding is torture" side of the debate but am also just eager for some competence and professional experience in key positions.

That these positions may be mutually exclusive says a great deal about our current situation. Again, thank you, for your opinions and information.

Kooshy , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean.

At the end of the day that don't matter, since as a policy, and base on your own statement, this country's government will prosecut and punish for liking of torture but not torture and tortures. And, furthermore, is not even willing to do away with it, per it's elected president. Trying to show a clean, moral, democracy on the hilltop image, is a BS and a joke.

[Apr 17, 2019] Gina Haspel As If Nuremberg Never Happened

Notable quotes:
"... I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. ..."
"... Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power. ..."
"... American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy." ..."
"... Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious. ..."
"... There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government. ..."
"... If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!" ..."
"... I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them. ..."
"... She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect. ..."
"... furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition? ..."
"... Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nothing will say more about who we are, across three American administrations -- one that demanded torture, one that covered it up, and one that seeks to promote its bloody participants -- than whether Gina Haspel becomes director of the CIA.

Haspel oversaw the torture of human beings in Thailand as the chief of a CIA black site in 2002. Since then, she's worked her way up to deputy director at the CIA. With current director Mike Pompeo slated to move to Foggy Bottom, President Donald Trump has proposed Haspel as the Agency's new head.

Haspel's victims waiting for death in Guantanamo cannot speak to us, though they no doubt remember their own screams as they were waterboarded. And we can still hear former CIA officer John Kiriakou say : "We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information."

It was Kiriakou who exposed the obsessive debate over the effectiveness of torture as false. The real purpose of torture conducted by those like Gina Haspel was to seek vengeance, humiliation, and power. We're just slapping you now, she would have said in that Thai prison, but we control you, and who knows what will happen next, what we're capable of? The torture victim is left to imagine what form the hurt will take and just how severe it will be, creating his own terror.

Haspel won't be asked at her confirmation hearing to explain how torture works, but those who were waterboarded under her stewardship certainly could.

I met my first torture victim in Korea, where I was adjudicating visas for the State Department. Persons with serious criminal records are ineligible to travel to the United States, with an exception for dissidents who have committed political crimes. The man I spoke with said that under the U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Park Chung Hee he was tortured for writing anti-government verse. He was taken to a small underground cell. Two men arrived and beat him repeatedly on his testicles and sodomized him with one of the tools they had used for the beating. They asked no questions. They barely spoke to him at all.

Though the pain was beyond his ability to describe, he said the subsequent humiliation of being left so utterly helpless was what really affected his life. It destroyed his marriage, sent him to the repeated empty comfort of alcohol, and kept him from ever putting pen to paper again. The men who destroyed him, he told me, did their work, and then departed, as if they had others to visit and needed to get on with things. He was released a few days later and driven back to his apartment by the police. A forward-looking gesture.

The second torture victim I met was while I was stationed in Iraq. The prison that had held him was under the control of shadowy U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. Inside, masked men bound him at the wrists and ankles and hung him upside-down. He said they neither asked him questions nor demanded information. They did whip his testicles with a leather strap, then beat the bottoms of his feet and the area around his kidneys. They slapped him. They broke the bones in his right foot with a steel rod, a piece of rebar ordinarily used to reinforce concrete.

It was painful, he told me, but he had felt pain before. What destroyed him was the feeling of utter helplessness, the inability to control things around him as he once had. He showed me the caved-in portion of his foot, which still bore a rod-like indentation with faint signs of metal grooves.

Gina Haspel is the same as those who were in the room with the Korean. She is no different than those who tormented the Iraqi.

As head of a black site, Haspel had sole authority to halt the questioning of suspects, but she allowed torture to continue. New information and a redaction of earlier reporting that said Haspel was present for the waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah (she was actually the station chief at the black site after those sessions) makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners there, but pay it little mind. The confusion arises from the government's refusal to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. So many records have yet to be released and those that have been are heavily redacted. Then there are the tapes of Zubaydah's waterboarding, which Haspel later pushed to have destroyed.

Arguing over just how much blood she has in her hands is a distraction from the fact that she indeed has blood on her hands.

Gina Haspel is now eligible for the CIA directorship because Barack Obama did not prosecute anyone for torture; he merely signed an executive order banning it in the future. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured that almost all government documents on the torture program remained classified. He did not prosecute the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of the torture scenes.

Obama ignored the truth that sees former Nazis continue to be hunted some 70 years after the Holocaust: that those who do evil on behalf of a government are individually responsible. "I was only following orders" is not a defense of inhuman acts. The purpose of tracking down the guilty is to punish them, to discourage the next person from doing evil, and to morally immunize a nation-state.

To punish Gina Haspel "more than 15 years later for doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders, would be a travesty and a disgrace," claims one of her supporters. "Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well," said Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA during the height of the Iraq war from 2006-2009.

Influential people in Congress agree. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will soon review Haspel's nomination, said , "I know Gina personally and she has the right skill set, experience, and judgment to lead one of our nation's most critical agencies."

"She'll have to answer for that period of time, but I think she's a highly qualified person," offered Senator Lindsey Graham. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson defended Haspel's actions, saying they were "the accepted practice of the day" and shouldn't disqualify her.

His fellow Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, signaled her likely acceptance, saying , "Since my concerns were raised over the torture situation, I have met with her extensively, talked with her She has been, I believe, a good deputy director." Senator Susan Collins added that Haspel "certainly has the expertise and experience as a 30-year employee of the agency." John McCain, a victim of torture during the Vietnam War, mumbled only that Haspel would have to explain her role.

Nearly alone at present, Republican Senator Rand Paul says he will oppose Haspel's nomination. Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, have told Trump she is unsuitable and will likely also vote no.

Following World War II, the United States could have easily executed those Nazis responsible for the Holocaust, or thrown them into some forever jail on an island military base. It would have been hard to find anyone who wouldn't have supported brutally torturing them at a black site. Instead, they were put on public trial at Nuremberg and made to defend their actions as the evidence against them was laid bare. The point was to demonstrate that We were better than Them.

Today we refuse to understand what Haspel's victims, and the Korean writer, and the Iraqi insurgent, already know on our behalf: unless Congress awakens to confront this nightmare and deny Gina Haspel's nomination as director of the CIA, torture will have transformed us and so it will consume us. Gina Haspel is a torturer. We are torturers. It is as if Nuremberg never happened.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell.


Douglas K. March 19, 2018 at 3:19 am

Covering up torture is quite possibly the worst thing Obama did. (I'd put it neck-and-neck with targeted killing.) This nation desperately needs a president who will expose all of these horrors, and appoint an attorney general who will prosecute these acts as war crimes.
I Don't Matter , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
Trump likes waterboarding. He said so himself. One assumes he meant, being a whimpering coward himself, when someone else does it to someone else. But who knows? Enjoy judge Gorsuch.
Mark Thomason , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
"doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders"

To complete the parallel, we would need to prosecute and punish those who asked her to do it, and those who told her those orders were lawful. Instead, some are doing paintings of their toes, some are promoted to be Federal judges, and some are influential professors at "liberal" law schools. Why punish *only* her?

Peter Hopkins , says: March 19, 2018 at 6:52 am
Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.
Ian , says: March 19, 2018 at 7:10 am
As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them.
Bagby , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:00 am
I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. I am in full support of Mr. Van Buren's thesis. However, Pro Publica, which seems to have been the source of much reporting of Haspel's torture record, has retracted the claim that Haspel had tortured in Thailand. Mr. Van Buren quotes another source from his blog that supports the thesis that Haspel is a torturer. How does one know what to believe? Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power.
Centralist , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:19 am
Its because we lost our sense of what makes us who we are. We are an empire that dances for private interests. In Rome they were called families and led by patricians, they had money private guards, gladiators, and even street people supporting them. In the Modern USA they are called Interest Groups and/or Corporations. They are lead by CEOs and instead of gladiators they have Lawyers. Our being better matters less then their own squabbles which is why a torturer could reach the highest seat in intel. The majority of Americans have lost their sense of being Americans instead they are Republicans, Democrats, etc, etc. Things that once use to be part of an American have come to define us.
Banger , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:09 am
American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."

At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am
CIA has purposefully refused to disclose Haspel's role for a decade+ They have selectively released information last week to discredit those criticizing her. I don't think we should play their game, letting them set the agenda. Instead, I declaim torture itself and any role she played in it, whether she poured the water or kept the books.
Kurt Gayle , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:34 am
Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of the CIA's Haspel put him at risk?

In the 2003 film "Love Actually" the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) jokes with a Downing Street employee Natalie (Martine McCutcheon):

"PM: You live with your husband? Boyfriend, three illegitimate but charming children? –
"NATALIE: No, I've just split up with my boyfriend, so I'm back with my mum and dad for a while.
"PM: Oh. I'm sorry.
"NATALIE: No, it's fine. I'm well shot of him. He said I was getting fat.
"PM: I beg your pardon?
"NATALIE: He said no one's going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
"PM: Right You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
"NATALIE: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
"PM: Do – the SAS are absolutely charming – ruthless, trained killers are just a phone call away."

It's just a film. It's just a joke. But the joke works because the public knows that – in reality – the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it.

Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious.

Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this:

"Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."

When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services.

After all, none of the three are joking. They're serious. And the American people know that they're serious.

Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of CIA operative Haspel put him at risk?

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:35 am
New information makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners at her black site, but pay it little mind. The confusion is because the government refuses to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. Arguing over just how much blood she has on her hands is a distraction when she indeed has blood on her hands.

The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency. If the Agency wishes to clarify her role, as was done via trial for the various Nazis at Nuremberg, we can deal with her actions more granularly.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am
Since we have not had any more successful attacks on the scale of 9-11, it is very easy to be scrupulous regarding rough treatment of terrorists.

But if we had suffered a dozen or more such attacks, of increasing magnitude and maybe involving nuclear weapons, how many of you would still be condemning Mrs Haspel et al.? Or would you then be complaining they had not used water-boarding enough?

The 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, was caught weeks before 9-11. Investigators figured out he was up to no good, tried to get permission to search his computer, but were denied. The U.S. Government carefully protected his privacy rights. So are you pleased with the outcome, Mr van Buren?

furbo , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:45 am
I'm sorry – this whole piece is a massive non sequitur. Ms. Haspel has no 'blood' on her hands as US extreme interrogation techniques (sleep deprivation, uncomfortable positions, waterboarding) didn't draw any. They are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones. US techniques might have been bad policy – won't argue – but lets not fall for a false equivalency.

Ms. Haspel was an agent of her government, acting on it's orders under it's policies and guidelines. Which leads to

Nuremberg. The Nuremberg tribunals (they were military tribunals – not trials) were conducted by a victorious military force against a defeated military force. They were widely criticized as vengeance even by such august people as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Stone and associate Justice Douglas. There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government.

And lastly there's this from a comment of the authors: "The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency." Utter nonsense. That was the mission of the Agency at that time. It's like saying a 33yr old Drone Pilot who takes out an ISIS/Al Qaida operative as well as 15 civilians is disqualified to be the Sec Def 2 decades later.

Just stop.

Sid Finster , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!"

We demonize Russia at every opportunity, but I don't see Russia rewarding torturers by appointing them to high office.

Sally Stewart , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
Douglas K. What are you talking about? Covered up? You mean Bush http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/175/end-the-use-of-torture/
Stephen J. , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:12 am
A lot of info below on the War criminals at large.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
May 26, 2015 Do We Need Present Day Nuremberg Trials? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/do-we-need-present-day-nuremberg-trials.html

And

March 9, 2018 Are We Seeing Government By Gangsters? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.html

connecticut farmer , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:49 am
I didn't know too much about this woman's background until I read that Rand Paul opposes her nomination. I tend to take notice whenever Rand Paul holds forth on any subject. All I can say is that if her actual record even approximates what has been alleged, then this woman is unfit for the post–Nuremberg or no Nuremberg.
Winston , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:54 am
"As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them." Oh, -PLEASE-, spare us the hyperbole! WE burn alive captives held in cages? WE saw off their heads?

Thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs.

Lex Talionis , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm
All of the torturers should be brought to justice. So should all of the officials who ordered or authorized torture.

There is no statute of limitations on capital Federal crimes. For a U.S. citizen to kill via torture is a capital Federal crime, no matter where the torture took place. If statutes of limitations make it too late to prosecute some acts of torture, it is not too late to bring about some measure of justice by making torturers pariahs. As many sexual harassers have recently learned, there is no statute of limitations in the court of public opinion.

bob sykes , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm
The story linking her to torture has been formally retracted. She had nothing to do with torture anywhere. How about a retraction of this story and an apology.
Youknowho , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm
I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them.

Personally, I prefer that the cruelty should be, as Lincoln once put it, "unalloyed by the base metal of hypocrisy"

Tyrone Slothrop , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:07 pm
bob sykes: you should read Pro Publica's retraction ( https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture ) of the claim that Haspel was in charge of the Thai black site when Abu Zubaydeh was tortured. She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect.

Winston: why do you suppose "thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs"? Is it not to prepare them for the possibility of what we call torture when used by our adversaries?

furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition?

Near Rockaway , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm
"Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence?"

Evil stuff. And we're still paying for it. Keeping Haspel out of the Director's chair is a basic step toward avoiding more such needless, stupid evil.

Chris Mallory , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Wilfred, the problem was not that the Feds protected Zacarias Moussaoui's right to privacy. The problem is that it let any of the 20 Arab Muslims into the US in the first place. Closing our borders and mass deportations would have been the best thing to do in the aftermath of 9/11, not torture and invasions.
b. , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Very well put. Lest we forget: Bush also delivered the stern warning that "war crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'."

Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Chris Mallory (Mar 19 @1:47 p.m.), I agree with you. We shouldn't be letting them in.

But if someone had sneaked-a-peek at Moussaoui's laptop during the 3 weeks they had him before 9-11, we might have been able to thwart the attack altogether. (And the Press has been strangely incurious about investigating whoever it was who issued the injunction protecting Moussie's precious computer). This type of hand-wringing cost us 3,000 lives. Even more, considering the Afghan & 2nd Iraq wars would never have been launched, were it not for 9-11.

[Apr 16, 2019] The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they re angling for war with Iran.

Highly recommended!
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Return of the Just April 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

You're right. I see people like Robert Kagan's opinions being respectfully asked on foreign affairs, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams being hired to direct our foreign policy.

The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they're angling for war with Iran.

It's preposterous and sickening. And it can't be allowed to stand, so you can't just stand off and say you're "wrecked". Keep fighting, as you're doing. I will fight it until I can't fight anymore.

Ken Zaretzke , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Fact-bedeviled JohnT: “McCain was a problem for this nation? Sweet Jesus! There quite simply is no rational adult on the planet who buys that nonsense.”

McCain had close ties to the military-industrial complex. He was a backer of post-Cold War NATO. He was a neoconservative darling. He never heard of a dictator that he didn’t want to depose with boots on the ground, with the possible exception of various Saudi dictators (the oil-weaponry-torture nexus). He promoted pseudo-accountability of government in campaign finance but blocked accountability for the Pentagon and State Department when he co-chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs with John Kerry.

And, perhaps partly because of the head trauma and/or emotional wounds he suffered at the hands of Chinese-backed Commies, it’s plausible to think he was regarded by the willy-nilly plotters of the deep state as a manipulable, and thus useful, conduit of domestic subversion via the bogus Steele dossier.

Unfortunately, the episode that most defines McCain’s life is the very last one–his being a pawn of M-16 in the the deep state’s years-long attempt to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.

Joe Dokes , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm
Measuring success means determining goals. The goals of most wars is to enrich the people in charge. So, by this metric, the war was a success. The rest of it is just props and propaganda.
Andrew Stergiou , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:11 am
“Pyrrhic Victory” look it up the Roman Empire Won but lost if the US is invaded and the government does not defend it I would like to start my own defense: But the knee jerk politics that stirs America’s cannon fodder citizens is a painful reminder of a history of jingoist lies where at times some left and right agree at least for a short moment before the rich and powerful push their weight to have their way.

If All politics is relative Right wingers are the the left of what? Nuclear destruction? or Slavery?

Peter Smith , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:13 am
My goodness! I am also a veteran, but of the Vietnam war, and my father was a career officer from 1939-1961 as a paratrooper first, and later as an intelligence officer. He argued vigorously against our Vietnam involvement, and was cashiered for his intellectual honesty. A combat veteran’s views are meaningless when the political winds are blowing.

Simply put, we have killed thousands of our kids in service of the colonial empires left to us by the British and the French after WWII. More practice at incompetent strategies and tactics does not make us more competent–it merely extends the blunders and pain; viz the French for two CENTURIES against the Britsh during the battles over Normandy while the Planagenet kings worked to hold their viking-won inheritance.

At least then, kings risked their own lives. Generals fight because the LIKE it…a lot. Prior failures are only practice to the, regardless of the cost in lives of the kids we tried to raise well, and who were slaughtered for no gain.

We don’t need the empire, and we certainly shouldn’t fight for the corrupt businessmen who have profited from the never-ending conflicts. Let’s spend those trillions at home, so long as we also police our government to keep both Democrat and Republican politicians from feathering their own nests. Term limits and prosecutions will help us, but only if we are vigilant. Wars distract our attention while corruption is rampant at home.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:25 am
Thanks, I appreciate this article.
I’ll make two points, my own opinion:
it’s the same story as Vietnam, the bull about how the politicians or anti-war demonstrators tied the military ‘hand,’ blah, blah.
Nonsense. Invading a nation and slaughtering people in their towns, houses…gee…what’s wrong with that, eh?
The average American has a primitive mind when it comes to such matters.
Second point I have, is that both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump should be dragged to a world court, given a fair trial and locked up for life with hard labor… oh, and Cheney too,for all those families, in half a dozen nations, especially the children overseas that suffered/died from these creeps.
And, the families of dead or maimed American troops should be apologized to and compensation paid by several million dollars to each.
The people I named above make me sick, because I have feelings and a conscience. Can you dig?
kingdomofgodflag.info , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
Though there is a worldly justification for killing to obtain or maintain freedoms, there is no Christian justification for it. Which suggests that Christians who die while doing it, die in vain.

America’s wars are prosecuted by a military that includes Christians. They seldom question the killing their country orders them to do, as though the will of the government is that of the will of God. Is that a safe assumption for them to make? German Christian soldiers made that assumption regarding their government in 1939. Who was there to tell them otherwise? The Church failed, including the chaplains. (The Southern Baptist Convention declared the invasion of Iraq a just war in 2003.) These wars need to be assessed by Just War criteria. Christian soldiers need to know when to exercise selective conscientious objection, for it is better to go to prison than to kill without God’s approval. If Just War theory is irrelevant, the default response is Christian Pacifism.

Mark Thomason , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
“has gone un-investigated, unheard of, or unpunished.”

The one guy who did tell us has just been arrested for doing exactly that.

The arrest is cheered by those who fantasize about Russiagate, but it is expressly FOR telling us about these things.

Stephen J. , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:51 am
“Iraq Wrecked” a lot of innocent people. Millions are dead, cities reduced to rubble, homes and businesses destroyed and it was all a damned lie. And the perpetrators are Free.
Now there is sectarian violence too, where once there was a semblance of harmony amongst various denominations. See article link below.

“Are The Christians Slaughtered in The Middle East Victims of the Actions of Western War Criminals and Their Terrorist Supporting NATO ‘Allies’”?

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/are-christians-slaughtered-in-middle.html

the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:53 am
We are a globalist open borders and mass immigration nation. We stand for nothing. To serve in this nation’s military is very stupid. You aren’t defending anything. You are just a tool of globalism. Again, we don’t secure our borders. That’s a very big give away to what’s going on.
the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:57 am
If our nation’s military really was an American military concerned with our security we would have secured our border after 9/11, reduced all immigration, deported ALL muslims, and that’s it. Just secure the borders and expel Muslims! That’s all we needed to do.

Instead we killed so many people and imported many many more Muslims! And we call this compassion. Its insane.

Kouros , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Maybe if Talibans get back in power they will destroy the opium. You know, like they did when they were first in power…. It seems that wherever Americans get involved, drugs follow…
JohnT , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm
“Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” In Eisenhower’s televised farewell address January 17, 1961.
Rational thought would lead one to believe such words from a fellow with his credentials would have had a useful effect. But it didn’t. In point of fact, in the likes of Eric Prince and his supporters the notion of war as a profit center is quite literally a family affair.
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm
The military-industrial complex couldn’t accomplish this all by its lonesome self. The deep state was doing its thing. The two things overlap but aren’t the same. The deep state is not only or mainly about business profits, but about power. Power in the world means empire, which requires a military-industrial complex but is not reducible to it.

We now have a rare opportunity to unveil the workings of the deep state, but it will require a special counsel, and a lengthy written report, on the doings in the 2016 election of the FBI (Comey, Strzok, et. al.), and collaterally the CIA and DIA (Brennan and Clapper). Also the British government (M-16), John McCain, and maybe Bush and Obama judges on the FISA courts.

[Apr 15, 2019] War is the force that gives America its meaning.

Notable quotes:
"... For Christ's sake! The "Deep State"!?! With a well documented pathological liar and a seemingly endless supply of professional sycophants in our government selling our nation to the highest bidder in plain sight why in the world do you folks continue to need grand delusions of demons in the woodwork??? ..."
"... I have no reason to believe Comey, Clapper and Brennen have served this nation with honor and integrity in dealing with more responsibility than that required to sit safely at home and blabber about as the victim of some grand conspiracy ..."
"... Here is a thought; the unprovoked American aggression in Iraq wrecked Iraq! There is no comparison between the millions of dead, dispossessed, displaced, terrorized and radicalized Iraqis and a few thousand PTSD cases with the richest government in the world on their side. ..."
"... It's like a pimp complaining about bruised knuckles on account of hitting a woman too many times! ..."
"... The title of your book sounds like "Invading Iraq was a Good Idea but the Implementation was Bad and I Couldn't Fix It". Did you really think we could invade a sovereign country based on lies and win "hearts and minds" if we just did it the right way? Not possible. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

John, says: April 13, 2019 at 3:18 am

With all due respect, Iraq didn't wreck you. The US wrecked Iraq, and the US wrecked you.
Uncle Billy , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:00 am
The invasion of Iraq was a mistake of historic dimensions. The "weapons of mass destruction" excuse was a lie. When I see George W. Bush smiling on TV, I want to puke. Likewise, I cannot view an image of Lyndon Johnson without revulsion. They are both responsible for much death and suffering. I have heard people try to excuse both of them, with the statement that "they meant well." The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
JohnT , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:06 am
@Ken Zaretzke.

For Christ's sake! The "Deep State"!?! With a well documented pathological liar and a seemingly endless supply of professional sycophants in our government selling our nation to the highest bidder in plain sight why in the world do you folks continue to need grand delusions of demons in the woodwork???

I have no reason to believe Comey, Clapper and Brennen have served this nation with honor and integrity in dealing with more responsibility than that required to sit safely at home and blabber about as the victim of some grand conspiracy.

Bob , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:57 am
The war In Afghanistan would have ended 15 years ago if the sons of members of Congress were being drafted. "It's easy to send someone else's sons to war."
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm
@JohnT,

You left out the phrase "anything other than" following the phrase "have served this nation with" in your last sentence.

You forgot to express your confidence in John McCain. Good luck with that. McCain's top aide flew to a foreign city to receive the Steele dossier, gave it to the senator, who then gave it to the FBI–as per Steele's script, I assume. It's another reason why we need a special counsel to look into the FBI's role. A special counsel can hardly omit the McCain piece of the puzzle, whereas a regular prosecutor can easily ignore it and cover McCain's keister.

To the extent that McCain comes out looking bad in a special counsel's report, Trump haters like you will no longer be able to talk about Trump's supposed terrible character in dissing noble John McCain, and holding it up as Exhibit A of why Trump shouldn't be president.

More than anything else concerning the FBI's election shenanigans, the McCain-Steele nexus–specifically the report written about it by a special counsel–could expose the deep state's modus operandi. Not even an inspector general's report can do that as well as a special counsel's report.

Sarto , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:02 pm
Remember, 75% of Americans wanted Bush to invade Iraq. War is the force that gives America its meaning.
Lee Green , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:11 pm
Your book will go out of print. In 10 to 20 years it will be reprinted and sell well. It takes that long for people to remove their heads from their nether regions and be willing to contemplate the errors made.

The real irony is that we know better. There is a vast body of literature on major cognitive errors, and the whole catalog is on display in the debacle described. Our failures of statecraft are quite analogous to the ongoing errors in my field (medicine), well described in "To Err is Human." We've made a lot of progress in medicine in addressing them, mostly though systems engineering. That's because the tendency toward these errors is a result of how human brains are wired, and if you have a human brain, no matter how smart or well educated you are, you have those tendencies. The key is to create systems that catch the errors.

Now we have to figure out how to create systems to constrain politicians, and especially the military-industrial-Congressional complex (Eisenhower's actual original term), from making those errors.

George Hoffman , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:09 pm
I commiserate with your disillusioning journey because I went through a similar odyssey into self-awareness like yours many decades ago. I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam (31 May 1967 – 31 May 1968). It's all been downhill from there. A gradual slide down the slippy slope of history in our decline as a nation. There's not much one can really do. But at my age, I will be long gone when our country hits burns and crashes as it hits bottom.
Talltale , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm
"Iraq wrecked me, even though I somehow didn't expect it to. I was foolish to think that traveling to the other side of the world and spending a year seeing death and poverty, bearing witness to a war, learning how to be mortared at night and deciding it didn't matter that I might die before breakfast, wasn't going to change me. Of the military units I was embedded in, three soldiers did not come home; all died at their own hands."

Enough books and movies about those poor damaged American boys yet?

The navel gazing never stops.

Here is a thought; the unprovoked American aggression in Iraq wrecked Iraq! There is no comparison between the millions of dead, dispossessed, displaced, terrorized and radicalized Iraqis and a few thousand PTSD cases with the richest government in the world on their side.

Get over yourselves! Honestly! It's like a pimp complaining about bruised knuckles on account of hitting a woman too many times!

Craig Morris , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:59 am
The title of your book sounds like "Invading Iraq was a Good Idea but the Implementation was Bad and I Couldn't Fix It". Did you really think we could invade a sovereign country based on lies and win "hearts and minds" if we just did it the right way? Not possible.

[Apr 15, 2019] I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military

Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Adam E, says: April 14, 2019 at 8:50 am

Just a cynical take, but implying that there are lessons to be learned from previous or present wars that should keep us from engaging in future wars presumes that the goal is to, where possible, actually avoid war.

It also suggests a convenient, simplistic narrative that the military/DOD is incompetent and stupid, and unable to learn from previous engagements.

I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military; if it seems as though there is no plan, no objective, no victory for these engagements, maybe that is because the only objectives and victory are to provide practical war training for our troops, test equipment and tactics, keep defense contractors employed and the Pentagon's budget inflated, and to project power and provide a convenient excuse for proximity to our 'real' enemies.

Draping these actions under a pretense of spreading 'peace and democracy' is just a pretense and, as we can see by our track record, has nothing to do with actual victory. "Victory", depending on who you ask, is measured in years of engagement and dollars spent, period.

And because it is primarily taking place in the far away and poorly understood Middle East, it is never going to be enough of an issue with voters for politicians to have to seriously contend with.

WJ , says: April 14, 2019 at 9:13 am
This person is a crybaby. At 49 he went to a war that most rational people knew already, was an immoral, illegal waste of people, time and money. But now he wants to whine about PTSD. I have the same opinion about most soldiers who fought there also. Nobody made them volunteer for that junk war so quit whining when things get a little hard

[Apr 15, 2019] The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf

Notable quotes:
"... In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military. ..."
"... And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Damascene , Apr 14, 2019 10:19:30 AM | link

You ask a question about European political class's perception and defence of European interests that is as perplexing here as it is in regard to Libya and Syria, to name just these. There was at least some coherent defence of international law and principle during Bush II's lead up to the Iraq war, but Europe's defence of law and Europe's common interests seem to have ceased at some point since then.

pretzelattack , Apr 14, 2019 10:31:57 AM | link

so many poodles, but there can only be one alpha poodle and that's the uk so far.
Babyl-on , Apr 14, 2019 10:43:53 AM | link
"Why are they playing this game?"

Because, like the US European government is a tool of the Global Power Elite, it is nothing more than pantomime. The West is fully owned and operated by the global elite.

In books going back to C Wright Mills' The Power Elite in 1956 to SUPERCLASS by David Rothkopf, and GIANTS: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips clearly outline just how powerful the Global Elites really are.

In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military.

There is one and only one Western empire - that of the Global Elites.

85% of the valuable assets in the world are controlled by the Global Elites.

There is no offsetting force against them, there simply does not exist today a force capable of challenging their ownership of the world.

And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them.

[Apr 12, 2019] Italy How to Ruin a Country in Three Decades naked capitalism

Apr 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

April 11, 2019 by Yves Smith By Servaas Storm, a Dutch economist and author who works on macroeconomics, technological progress, income distribution & economic growth, finance, development and structural change, and climate change. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

While Brexit and Trump have been making the headlines, the Italian economy has been sliding into a technical recession (again). Both the OECD and the European Central Bank (ECB) have lowered the growth forecasts for Italy to negative numbers, and in what analysts see as a precautionary move, the ECB is reviving its sovereign bond buying programme, which it had started to unwind just five months earlier.

"Don't underestimate the impact of the Italian recession," is what French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg News (Horobin 2019). "We talk a lot about Brexit, but we don't talk much about an Italian recession that will have a significant impact on growth in Europe and can impact France, because it's one of our most important trading partners." More important than trade, however, and what Le Maire is not stating, is that French banks are holding around €385 billion of Italian debt, derivatives, credit commitments and guarantees on their balance sheets, while German banks are holding €126 billion of Italian debt (as of the third quarter of 2018, according to the Bank for International Settlements).

In light of these exposures to Italian debt, it is no wonder that Le Maire, along with the European Commission, is worried by Italy's third recession in a decade -- as well as by the growing anti-euro rhetoric and posturing of Italy's coalition government, comprised by the Five-Star Movement (M5S) and the Lega. The knowledge that Italy is too big to fail is fuelling the audacity of Italy's coalition government in its attempt to reclaim fiscal policy space by openly flouting the budgetary rules of the E.U.'s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

The result is a catch-22. The more the European Commission tries to bring the Italian government into line, the more it will feed the anti-establishment and anti-euro forces in Italy. On the other hand, the more the European Commission gives in to the demands of the Italian government, the more it will fritter away its credibility as the guardian of the EMU's Stability and Growth Pact. This stalemate is not going away as long as Italy's economy remains paralyzed.

A Crisis of the Post-Maastricht Treaty Order of Italian Capitalism

It is therefore vital to understand the true origins of Italy's economic crisis in order to find pathways out of Italy's permanent stagnation. In a new paper , I provide an evidence-based pathology of Italy's recession -- which, I argue, must be regarded as a crisis of the post-Maastricht Treaty order of Italian capitalism, as Thomas Fazi (2018) calls it. Until the early 1990s, Italy enjoyed decades of relatively robust economic growth, during which it managed to catch up with other Eurozone nations in income (per person) (Figure 1). In 1960, Italy's per capita GDP (at constant 2010 prices) was 85% of French per capita GDP and 74% of (weighted average) per capita GDP in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands (the Euro-4 economies). By the mid-1990s, Italy had almost caught up with France (Italian GDP per person equalled 97% of French per capita income) and also with the Euro-4 (Italian GDP per capita was 94% of per capita GDP in the Euro-4).
Figure 1

Three decades of catching up, 25 years of falling behind: real GDP per person in Italy relative to France/Euro-4, 1960-2018

Source : author's calculation based on AMECO data.

But then a very steady decline began (see Figure 1), erasing decades of (income) convergence. The income gap between Italy and France is now (as of 2018) 18 percentage points, which is more than what it was in 1960; Italian GDP per capita is 76% of per capita GDP in the Euro-4 economies. Beginning in the early to mid-1990s, Italy's economy began to stumble and then fall behind, as all major indicators -- income per person, labour productivity, investment, export market shares, etc. -- began a very steady decline.

It is not a coincidence that the sudden reversal of Italy's economic fortunes occurred after Italy's adoption of the "legal and policy superstructure" imposed by the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which cleared the road for the establishment of the EMU in 1999 and the introduction of the common currency in 2002. Italy, as I show in the paper, has been the star pupil in the Eurozone class -- the one economy that committed itself most strongly and consistently to the fiscal austerity and structural reforms that form the essence of the EMU macroeconomic rulebook (Costantini 2017, 2018). Italy kept closer to the rules than France and Germany and paid heavily for this: The permanent fiscal consolidation, the persistent wage restraint and the overvalued exchange rate killed Italian aggregate demand -- and the demand shortage asphyxiated the growth of output, productivity, jobs and incomes. Italy's stasis is an object lesson for all Eurozone economies, but -- paraphrasing G.B. Shaw -- as a warning, not as an example.

Perpetual Fiscal Austerity

Italy did more than most other Eurozone members in terms of self-imposed austerity and structural reform in order to satisfy the conditions of EMU (Halevi 2019). This is clear when comparing Italy's fiscal policy post-1992 to that of France and Germany. Various Italian governments ran continuous primary budget surpluses (defined as public expenditure excluding interest payments on public debt, minus public revenue), averaging 3% of GDP per year during 1995-2008. French governments, in contrast, ran primary deficits of 0.1% of GDP each year on average during the same period, while German governments managed to generate a primary surplus of 0.7% on average per year during those same 14 years. Italy's permanent primary surpluses during 1995-2008 would have reduced its public debt-to-GDP ratio by around 40 percentage points -- from 117% in 1994 to 77% in 2008 (while keeping all other factors constant). But slow (nominal) growth relative to high (nominal) interest rates pushed up the debt ratio by 23 percentage points and washed away more than half of the public debt-to-GDP reductions of 40 percentage points achieved by austerity. Could it be true that Italy's permanent austerity, intended to lower the debt ratio by running permanent primary surpluses, backfired because it slowed down economic growth?

Italy's governments (including the left-of-centre Renzi coalition) continued to run significant primary budget surpluses (of more than 1.3% of GDP on average per year) during the crisis period of 2008-2018. Showing permanent fiscal discipline was a top priority, as Prime Minister Mario Monti admitted in a 2012 interview with CNN, even if that meant "destroying domestic demand" and pushing the economy into decline. Italy's almost "Swabian" commitment to fiscal discipline stands in some contrast to the French (" laissez aller ") attitudes: The French government ran primary deficits at an average of 2% of GDP during 2008-2018 and allowed its public debt-to-GDP ratio to rise to almost 100% in 2018. The cumulative fiscal stimulus thus provided by the French state amounted to €461 billion (in constant 2010 prices), whereas the cumulative fiscal drain on Italian domestic demand was €227 billion. The Italian budget cuts show up in non-trivial declines in its public expenditure on social expenditure per person, which is now (as of 2018) around 70% of public social spending per capita in Germany and France. One doesn't dare speculate what the "Gilets Jaunes" (yellow vest) protests in France would have looked like if France had put through an Italian-style fiscal consolidation post-2008.

Permanent Real Wage Restraint

When Italy signed the Maastricht Treaty, its high rates of inflation and unemployment were regarded as major problems. Inflation was blamed on the "excessive" power of labour unions and an "excessively" centralized wage bargaining system, which resulted in strong wage-push inflation and a profit squeeze -- as wage growth tended to exceed labour productivity growth, which lowered the profit share. Seen this way, the blame for Italy's high unemployment could be shifted onto its "rigid" labour markets and too strongly protected "worker aristocracy." Bringing down inflation and restoring profitability required wage moderation, which in turn could only be achieved by a radical deregulation of labour markets, or what is euphemistically called, "structural reforms."

Italy does not have a statutory minimum wage (unlike France) and also does not have a generous unemployment benefit system (in terms of unemployment insurance replacement rates and duration, and entitlement conditions) compared with the E.U. average. Employment protection for regular employees in Italy is roughly at the same level as job protection in France and Germany. Italy's structural labour market reforms involved drastically reducing employment protection for temporary workers, and as a result, the share of temporary workers in total Italian employment increased from 10% during 1991-1993 to 18.5% in 2017. Between 1992 and 2008, total (net) employment in Italy increased by 2.4 million new jobs, of which almost three-quarters (73%) were fixed-term jobs. In France, by comparison, (net) employment grew by 3.6 million jobs during 1992-2008, of which 84% were regular (permanent) jobs and only 16% were temporary positions.

In addition, the bargaining power of unions was reduced by the abandoning of the target of full employment in favour of public debt reduction (Costantini 2017) and by a much more restrictive (anti-inflation) central bank policy and the fixed exchange rate. As a result, real wage growth per employee, which averaged 3.2% per year during 1960-1992, was lowered to a mere 0.1% per year during the period 1992-1999 and to 0.6% per annum during 1999-2008. Within the E.U., Italy's turnaround was remarkable: From 1992 through 2008, the growth of Italian real wages per worker (0.35% per year) was only half the real wage growth in the Euro-4 (0.7% per annum) and it was even lower compared to real wage growth in France (0.9% per year). Interestingly, from 1992 through2008, Italian real wage growth per employee was slightly lower than (already stingy) German real wage growth (0.4% per year). To see the long-run picture, Figure 2 plots the ratio of the real wage of an Italian worker to the real wage of the average French, German and Euro-4 worker from 1960 through2018. In the early 1960s, the average wage of Italian workers was about 85% of the French wage, and this ratio increased to 92% in 1990-1991. Starting in 1992, the Italian real wage began a steady decline in terms of the average French wage -- and in 2018, the average Italian employee earned only 75% of the wage earned by her/his French comrade. The wage gap between Italy and France is bigger today than it was in the 1960s. The same pattern holds when one compares Italian wages to German and/or Euro-4 wages.
Figure 2

Three decades of catching up, 25 years of falling behind: real wage per employee in Italy relative to France / Germany / Euro-4, 1960-2018

Source : author's calculation based on AMECO data.

Italy's wage moderation proved an effective strategy to kill three (not just two) birds with only one stone. First, wage restraint helped to bring down inflation -- to 3.4% on average per year from 1992 through 1999 (from 9.6% on average per annum from 1960-1992) and further down to 2.5% per year from 1999 through 2008 and 1.1% from 2008 through 2018. Italy is no longer prone, in a structural sense, to high and accelerating inflation. Second, wage restraint increased the labour intensity of Italy's GDP growth -- and thus reduced unemployment. Italy's unemployment rate peaked in the mid-1990s at more than 11%, but labour market deregulation and wage restraint successfully brought down unemployment to 6.1% in 2007 and 6.7% in 2008 -- which was lower than the unemployment rates of France (which equaled 8% in 2007 and 7.4% in 2008) and Germany (where unemployment was 8.5% in 2007 and 7.4% in 2008). Finally, as intended, wage moderation led to a substantial increase in the profit share of Italy's GDP: The profit share rose by more than 5.5 percentage points, from 36% in 1991 to about 41.5% from 2000 through 2002, after which it stabilized around 40% until 2008. During the 1990s, the recovery of the profit share was considerably stronger in Italy than in France, and comparable to what happened in Germany -- notwithstanding the fact that Italy's profit share was already relatively high to begin with.

Italy's structural reforms of the 1990s paid off handsomely in terms of a higher profit share, in other words, and Italy's profit share remained substantially higher than that of France and Germany. With lowered inflation, effective wage restraint, declining unemployment, public indebtedness on the decline and the profit share considerably raised, Italy appeared to be set for a long period of strong growth. It did not happen. The operation was carried out successfully, but the patient died. According to the coroner's post-mortem, the cause of death was a structural lack of aggregate demand.

The Suffocation of Italian Aggregate Demand after 1992

By keeping close to the EMU rulebook, Italian economic policy created a chronic shortage of (domestic) demand. Domestic demand growth per Italian averaged 0.25% per year from 1992 through2018 -- a sharp decline compared to the domestic demand growth (of 3.3% per year) recorded from 1960 through1992 and also much below domestic demand growth (of 1.1% per person per year) in the Euro-4 countries. Italy's real export growth (per person) also declined, from 6.6% on average per year from 1960 through 1992 to 3% per year from 1992 through 2018. Average annual export growth (per person) was 4.4% in the Euro-4 countries from 1992 through 2018. Italy's chronic demand shortage reduced capacity utilization (especially in manufacturing) and this, in turn, lowered the profit rate. According to my estimates, capacity utilization in Italian manufacturing declined by a staggering 30 percentage points relative to capacity utilization in French manufacturing between 1992 and 2015.

The utilization rate of Italian manufacturing relative to German manufacturing declined from 110% in 1995 to 76% in 2008, and sunk further to 63% in 2015 -- a decline by a stunning 47 percentage points. Lower capacity utilization reduced the rate of profit in Italian manufacturing by 3 to 4 percentage points relative to French and German profit rates. This must have considerably depressed Italian manufacturing investment and growth. Let me emphasize the fact that Italy's profit rate declined even when the share of profits in income increased. This means that Italy's strategy of fiscal austerity and wage restraint proved to be counterproductive, because it failed to improve the profit rate: The drop in demand and capacity utilization had a bigger (negative) impact on firm profitability tha