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Neoconservatism

Neocons as an attack dogs of neoliberalism. The notion of "national security parasites"

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links New American Militarism American Exceptionalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
"F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Demonization of Putin Anti Trump Hysteria The Great Democratic Party Betrayal: Pro-War Democrats as Vichy Left Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak
Wolfowitz Doctrine Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Nation under attack meme Neocons Credibility Scam Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Obama: a yet another Neocon
War is Racket Media-Military-Industrial Complex Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia Madeleine Albright Samantha Power Susan Rice
Robert Kagan Anatol Leiven on American Messianism National Security State / Surveillance State Predator state National Socialism and Military Keysianism Roots of Reaganolatry 
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Machiavellism vs Mayberry Machiavellians Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Power abroad rests on justice and decency at home
The Deep State Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few  Leo Strauss and the Neocons
Color revolutions Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014 Russian White Revolution of 2011-2012 Conservatives Without Conscience
War is racket War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Media domination strategy Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility Bureaucratic Collectivism
Fighting Russophobia Neo-fascism Anti-Americanism Torture Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Neoconservatism, an introduction

Neoconservatives, which like Bolsheviks in the past are mostly Jewish intellectuals, are frequently described as ideologues with pro-Israel and anti-Russian bent, but the truth is that they are far more interested in gaining access to money and power. Most of them are useless smacks with degree in journalism or history and they would starve if not fed by military industrial complex. Being a lobbyist of military industrial complex is the only job they can get. Add to that that most of them are personal cowards and chicken hawks and you get the picture: they are just bottom-feeders. "National security parasites" is a very apt definition for this category of people.

Large part of neocons consist of a large class of elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, who has been denied access to elite positions and who decided to use warmongering backdoor to get there

Proselytizing their own brand of global regime change is just a mean to sustain the access to funds and political power.  They know perfectly well which side of the bread is buttered and by whom.   We can suspect that for many of them (Max Boot is a good example here) access to money from MIC and Israel lobby is the primary driving force. Often they are viewed as Likud lobby in the USA:  "The definition of a neocon is somebody who has great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States on the other. Israel wants bedlam in Syria, and they’ve got it." ( Israel lobby in the United States - Wikipedia ):

The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the ‘background’ of those ‘Pro-Israel’ as, “A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors' unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.”[24]

According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups:

... ... ...

A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 1990–2008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics' 1990–2006 data shows that "pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990."[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (1990–2006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Party’s fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party's fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49]

... ... ...

AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says “AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israel’s predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a ‘position paper’ on their views of the US-Israel relationship – so it’s clear where they stand on the subject.”[43]

.... ... ...

Mearsheimer and Walt state that “pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.”[50]

When strategic interests of Israeli (for example remaking of the Middle East so that Israel can exercise dominant power in this region; which includes fragmentation of several existing states) deviate from the strategic interests of the USA (which mostly are interested in uninterruptable supply of cheap oil) neocons do betray the USA national interests with ease. The US-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. They also were serving as propagandists and influencers for all recent Middle East military adventures and regime change efforts.  Recently that was the case in Syria: in no way Assad government represented a threat to the USA interests. Still the pressure of "likudniks" was such that the USA engaged in the "regime change" efforts.

But in reality they should be viewed more like lobbing group of MIC then lobbing group of Israel. As well as transnational corporations interested in opening new markets. But recently facts that Israel spend large sums on money on trying to influence the USA politicians came to light and to this extent one gets impression that the tail is wagging the dog. 

They should probably be viewed as the lobbying and propaganda arm of military industrial complex. In now way they represent an important political force on the USA political landscape. With Democratic Party becoming the second  warmongering party.

And there is not much conservative in neocon ideology -- it is basically a revamped Trotskyism, if not neo-fascism. Just look at Nuland's fraternization with Ukrainian far right nationalists despite her Jewish roots (and despite the fact that this movement was hell-bent on killing Jewish people during WWII and served as capos in concentration camps)  is not accidental; this was a conscious political choice -- they are birds of the feather.

Ideologically they are a more militant flavor of neoliberals ("neoliberals with the gun", so to speak). So their neo-Trotskyites roots are especially evident in foreign policy (they do not have a coherent domestic policy; but generally their views are more aligned with the  Democratic Party than Republican Party views).  Again, we will essentially view then as "neoliberals with a gun".


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[Apr 21, 2018] On the Criminal Referral of Comey, Clinton et al by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Putting aside his partisan motivations, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) was unusually blunt two months ago in warning of legal consequences for officials who misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to enable surveillance on Trump and his associates. Nunes's words are likely to have sent chills down the spine of those with lots to hide: "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said ."The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created." ..."
"... The media will be key to whether this Constitutional issue is resolved. Largely because of Trump's own well earned reputation for lying, most Americans are susceptible to slanted headlines like this recent one -- "Trump escalates attacks on FBI " -- from an article in The Washington Post , commiserating with the treatment accorded fired-before-retired prevaricator McCabe and the FBI he ( dis)served . ..."
"... What motivated the characters now criminally "referred" is clear enough from a wide variety of sources, including the text messages exchange between Strzok and Page. Many, however, have been unable to understand how these law enforcement officials thought they could get away with taking such major liberties with the law. ..."
"... None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, "opposition research," or other activities directed against the Trump campaign can be properly understood, if one does not bear in mind that it was considered a sure thing that Secretary Clinton would become President, at which point illegal and extralegal activities undertaken to help her win would garner praise, not prison. The activities were hardly considered high-risk, because candidate Clinton was sure to win. ..."
"... Comey admits, "It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the re-started investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls." ..."
"... The key point is not Comey's tortured reasoning, but rather that Clinton was "sure to be the next president." This would, of course, confer automatic immunity on those now criminally referred to the Department of Justice. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men -- even very tall men. One wag claimed that the "Higher" in "A Higher Loyalty" refers simply to the very tall body that houses an outsized ego. ..."
"... "Hope springs eternal" would be the cynical folk wisdom. FYI we haven't had a functioning constitution since the National Security Act of 1947 brought this nation under color of law, but the IC types wouldn't have you know that. Too tough to square the idea you'd never have had your CIA career in a world where the FISA court couldn't exist either. ..."
"... there is concrete evidence that the Democratic party/Clinton manipulated the primaries to destroy Clinton's challanger. That the DOJ, FBI & other alphabet agencies conspired with Clinton to equally, destroy Trump's campaign. ..."
"... We saw the same nonsense with Obama, the "peace president". Obama a man who never saw a Muslim he did not want to bomb or a Jew he did not want to bail out ..."
"... The best thing about this referral is that it also demands deputy AG Rod Rosenstein the weasel to recluse himself from this case. Rosenstein is the pinnacle of corruption by the deep state. ..."
"... Former CIA Director John Brennan is the prime mover behind the ongoing coup attempt against Trump. He gathered his deep state allies at DOJ and the FBI to join him in this endeavor. Brennan's allies -- McCabe, Lynch, Strzok, Yates, ect., may or may not be aware of Brennan's true motive behind creating all the noise and distraction since the 2016 election. It could be they're just partisan hacks; or they're on board with Brennan to keep secret what was revealed in the hack of the Podesta emails. ..."
"... Assange had 'physical proof' Russians didn't hack DNC, Rohrabacher says https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/19/julian-assange-has-physical-proof-russians-didnt-h/ ..."
"... I noticed Comey tried to pull a J Edgar-style subtle blackmail on Trump by the way he brought up the so-called "dossier" ..."
"... Bill Clinton got recruited into CIA by Cord Meyer, who bragged of it himself in his cups. ..."
"... Hillary cut her teeth on CIA's Watergate purge of Nixon. (If it's news to anyone that the Watergate cast of characters was straight out of CIA central casting, Russ Baker has conclusively tied the elaborate ratfeck to the intelligence community.) ..."
"... Obama was son of spooks, grandson of spooks, greased in to Harvard by Alwaleed bin-Talal's bagman. ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

Wednesday's criminal referral by 11 House Republicans of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as several former and serving top FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials is a giant step toward a Constitutional crisis.

Named in the referral to the DOJ for possible violations of federal law are: Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey; former Attorney General Loretta Lynch; former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; FBI Agent Peter Strzok; FBI Counsel Lisa Page; and those DOJ and FBI personnel "connected to" work on the "Steele Dossier," including former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.

With no attention from corporate media, the referral was sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber. Sessions appointed Huber months ago to assist DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz. By most accounts, Horowitz is doing a thoroughly professional job. As IG, however, Horowitz lacks the authority to prosecute; he needs a U.S. Attorney for that. And this has to be disturbing to the alleged perps.

This is no law-school case-study exercise, no arcane disputation over the fine points of this or that law. Rather, as we say in the inner-city, "It has now hit the fan." Criminal referrals can lead to serious jail time. Granted, the upper-crust luminaries criminally "referred" enjoy very powerful support. And that will come especially from the mainstream media, which will find it hard to retool and switch from Russia-gate to the much more delicate and much less welcome "FBI-gate."

As of this writing, a full day has gone by since the letter/referral was reported, with total silence so far from T he New York Times and The Washington Post and other big media as they grapple with how to spin this major development. News of the criminal referral also slipped by Amy Goodman's non-mainstream DemocracyNow!, as well as many alternative websites.

The 11 House members chose to include the following egalitarian observation in the first paragraph of the letter conveying the criminal referral: "Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately." If this uncommon attitude is allowed to prevail at DOJ, it would, in effect, revoke the de facto "David Petraeus exemption" for the be-riboned, be-medaled, and well-heeled.

Stonewalling

Meanwhile, the patience of the chairmen of House committees investigating abuses at DOJ and the FBI is wearing thin at the slow-rolling they are encountering in response to requests for key documents from the FBI. This in-your-face intransigence is all the more odd, since several committee members have already had access to the documents in question, and are hardly likely to forget the content of those they know about. (Moreover, there seems to be a good chance that a patriotic whistleblower or two will tip them off to key documents being withheld.)

The DOJ IG, whose purview includes the FBI, has been cooperative in responding to committee requests for information, but those requests can hardly include documents of which the committees are unaware.

Putting aside his partisan motivations, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) was unusually blunt two months ago in warning of legal consequences for officials who misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to enable surveillance on Trump and his associates. Nunes's words are likely to have sent chills down the spine of those with lots to hide: "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said ."The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created."

Whether the House will succeed in overcoming the resistance of those criminally referred and their many accomplices and will prove able to exercise its Constitutional prerogative of oversight is, of course, another matter -- a matter that matters.

And Nothing Matters More Than the Media

The media will be key to whether this Constitutional issue is resolved. Largely because of Trump's own well earned reputation for lying, most Americans are susceptible to slanted headlines like this recent one -- "Trump escalates attacks on FBI " -- from an article in The Washington Post , commiserating with the treatment accorded fired-before-retired prevaricator McCabe and the FBI he ( dis)served .

Nor is the Post above issuing transparently clever warnings -- like this one in a lead article on March 17: "Some Trump allies say they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI. 'This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI's going to win,' said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. 'You can't fight the FBI. They're going to torch him.'" [sic]

Mind-Boggling Criminal Activity

What motivated the characters now criminally "referred" is clear enough from a wide variety of sources, including the text messages exchange between Strzok and Page. Many, however, have been unable to understand how these law enforcement officials thought they could get away with taking such major liberties with the law.

None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, "opposition research," or other activities directed against the Trump campaign can be properly understood, if one does not bear in mind that it was considered a sure thing that Secretary Clinton would become President, at which point illegal and extralegal activities undertaken to help her win would garner praise, not prison. The activities were hardly considered high-risk, because candidate Clinton was sure to win.

But she lost.

Comey himself gives this away in the embarrassingly puerile book he has been hawking, "A Higher Loyalty" -- which

amounts to a pre-emptive move motivated mostly by loyalty-to-self, in order to obtain a Stay-Out-of-Jail card. Hat tip to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone for a key observation, in his recent article , "James Comey, the Would-Be J. Edgar Hoover," about what Taibbi deems the book's most damning passage, where Comey discusses his decision to make public the re-opening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Comey admits, "It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the re-started investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls."

The key point is not Comey's tortured reasoning, but rather that Clinton was "sure to be the next president." This would, of course, confer automatic immunity on those now criminally referred to the Department of Justice. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men -- even very tall men. One wag claimed that the "Higher" in "A Higher Loyalty" refers simply to the very tall body that houses an outsized ego.

I think it can be said that readers of Consortiumnews.com may be unusually well equipped to understand the anatomy of FBI-gate as well as Russia-gate. Listed below chronologically are several links that might be viewed as a kind of "whiteboard" to refresh memories. You may wish to refer them to any friends who may still be confused.

2017

2018

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years. In retirement, he co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


Mike Whitney , April 20, 2018 at 4:15 am GMT

This story appears to be developing very fast. Interested readers might want to look at this short video on the Tucker Carlson show last night: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5773524495001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clips

Will McCabe wind up in jail? Will Comey? Will Hillary face justice? Fingers crossed!

jilles dykstra , April 20, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT
A weird country, the USA. Reading the article I'm reminded of the 1946 Senate investigation into Pearl Harbour, where, in my opinion, the truth was unearthed. At the same time, this truth hardly ever reached the wider public, no articles, the book, ed. Harry Elmer Barnes, never reviewed.
Greg Bacon , Website April 20, 2018 at 6:54 am GMT

Will McCabe wind up in jail? Will Comey? Will Hillary face justice? Fingers crossed!

The short answer is NO. McCabe might, but not Comey and the Killer Queen, they've both served Satan, uh I mean the Deep State too long and too well.Satan and the banksters–who really run the show–take care of their own and apex predators like Hillary won't go to jail. But it does keep the rubes entertained while the banksters continue to loot, pillage and plunder and Israel keeps getting Congress to fight their wars.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 20, 2018 at 7:23 am GMT
"Hope springs eternal" would be the cynical folk wisdom. FYI we haven't had a functioning constitution since the National Security Act of 1947 brought this nation under color of law, but the IC types wouldn't have you know that. Too tough to square the idea you'd never have had your CIA career in a world where the FISA court couldn't exist either.

Consortium News many sops tossed to 'realpolitik' where false narrative is attacked with alternative false narrative, example given, drunk Ukrainian soldiers supposedly downing MH 17 with a BUK as opposed to Kiev's Interior Ministry behind the Ukrainian combat jet that actually brought down MH 17, poisons everything (trust issues) spewed from that news service.

The realpolitik 'face saving' exit/offer implied in the Consortium News narrative where Russia doesn't have to confront the West with Ukraine's (and by implication the western intelligence agencies) premeditated murder of 300 innocents does truth no favors.

Time to grow up and face reality. Realpolitik is dead; the caliber of 'statesman' required for these finessed geopolitical lies to function no longer exist on the Western side, and the Russians (I believe) are beginning to understand there is no agreement can be made behind closed doors that will hold up; as opposed to experiencing a backstabbing (like NATO not moving east.)

Back on topic; the National Security Act of 1947 and the USA's constitution are mutually exclusive concepts, where you have a Chief Justice appoints members of our FISA Court, er, nix that, let's call a spade a spade, it's a Star Chamber. There is no constitution to uphold, no matter well intended self deceits. There will be no constitutional crisis, only a workaround to pretend a constitution still exists:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2017/12/01/the-oath-and-the-trash-bin/

For those who prefer the satire:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2016/01/07/moot-court/^

animalogic , April 20, 2018 at 8:00 am GMT
To comprehend the internal machinations s of US politics one needs a mind capable of high level yoga or of squaring a circle. On the one hand there is a multimillion, full throttle investigation into – at best – nebulus, inconsequential links between trump/ his campaign & Russia.
On the other there is concrete evidence that the Democratic party/Clinton manipulated the primaries to destroy Clinton's challanger. That the DOJ, FBI & other alphabet agencies conspired with Clinton to equally, destroy Trump's campaign.

Naturally, its this 2nd conspiracy which is retarded. Imagine, a mere agency of a dept, the FBI, is widely considered untouchable by The President ! Indeed, they will "torch" him. AND the "the third estate" ie: the msm will support them the whole way! As a script the "The Twilight Zone" would have rejected all this as too ludicrous, too psychotic for even its broad minded viewers.

Jake , April 20, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
The Deep State will make certain none of its most important functionaries get anything close to what they deserve.
redmudhooch , April 20, 2018 at 11:43 am GMT
Just a show, nothing will happen. Anything to keep you talking about anything other than 9/11, fake economy, fake war on terror, or Zionists..
jacques sheete , April 20, 2018 at 11:49 am GMT

And that will come especially from the mainstream media

I quit reading right there. Use of that term indicates mental laziness at best. What's mainstream about it? Please refer to corporate media in proper terms, such as PCR's "presstitute" media. Speaking of PCR, it's too bad he doesn't allow comments.

DESERT FOX , April 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm GMT
The MSM is controlled by Zionists as is the U.S. gov and the banks, so it is no surprise that the MSM protects the ones destroying America, this is what they do. Nothing of consequence will be done to any of the ones involved, it will all be covered up, as usual.
tjm , April 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
What utter nonsense. These people are ALL actors, no one will go to jail, because everything they do is contrived, no consequence for doing as your Zionist owners command.

There is no there there. This is nothing but another distraction, something o feed the dual narratives, that Clinton and her ilk are out to get Trump, and the "liberal media" will cover it up. This narrative feeds very nicely into the primary goal of driving Republicans/conservatives to support Trump, even as Trump does everything they elected him NOT TO DO!

We saw the same nonsense with Obama, the "peace president". Obama a man who never saw a Muslim he did not want to bomb or a Jew he did not want to bail out

Yet even while Obama did the work of the Zionist money machine, the media played up the fake battle between those who thought he was not born in America, "birthers" and his blind supporters.

Nothing came of any of it, just like Monica Lewinsky, nothing but theater, fill the air waves, divide the people, while America is driven insane.

anon [321] Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
The best thing about this referral is that it also demands deputy AG Rod Rosenstein the weasel to recluse himself from this case. Rosenstein is the pinnacle of corruption by the deep state. It's seriously way pass time for Jeff Sessions to grow a pair, put on his big boy pants, unrecuse himself from the Russian collusion bullshit case, fire Rosenstein and Mueller and end the case once and for all. These two traitors are in danger of completely derailing the Trump agenda and toppling the Republican majority in November, yet Jeff Sessions is still busy arresting people for marijuana, talk about missing the forest for the trees.

As far as where this referral will go from here, my guess is, nowhere. Not as long as Jeff Sessions the pussy is the AG. It's good to hear that Giuliani has now been recruited by Trump to be on his legal team. What Trump really needs to do is replace Jeff Sessions with Giuliani, or even Chris Christie, and let them do what a real AG should be doing, which is clean house in the DOJ, and prosecute the Clintons for their pay-to-play scheme with their foundation. Not only is the Clinton corruption case the biggest corruption case in US history, but this might be the only way to save the GOP from losing their majority in November.

anon [321] Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

But it does keep the rubes entertained while the banksters continue to loot, pillage and plunder and Israel keeps getting Congress to fight their wars.

Sadly I think you're right. Things might be different if we had a real AG, but Jeff Sessions is not the man I thought he was. He's been swallowed by the deep state just like Trump. At least Trump is putting up a fight, Sessions just threw in the towel and recused himself from Day 1. Truly pathetic. Some patriot he is.

Twodees Partain , April 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm GMT
@Nick Granite

" He's ferreted out more than a few and probably has a lot better idea who his friends are he certainly knows the enemies by now."

He failed to ferret out Haley, Pompeo, or Sessions and he just recently appointed John Bolton, so I don't agree with your assessment. If his friends include those three, that says enough about Trump to make any of his earlier supporters drop him.

Anyway, not having a ready made team, or at least a solid short list of key appointees shows that he was just too clueless to have even been a serious candidate. It looks more as though Trump is doing now what he intended to do all along. That means he was bullshitting everybody during his campaign.

So, maybe the neocons really have been his friends all along.

Twodees Partain , April 20, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

It's also telling that Ray didn't mention what was included in the referral regarding an enforced recusal of Rosenstein going forward.

https://desantis.house.gov/_cache/files/8/0/8002ca75-52fc-4995-b87e-43584da268db/472EBC7D8F55C0F9E830D37CF96376A2.final-criminal-referral.pdf

Authenticjazzman , April 20, 2018 at 6:02 pm GMT
@Renoman

" America is a very crooked country, nothing suprises me".

Every country on this insane planet is "crooked" to a greater or lesser degree, when to a lesser degree, this is simply because they, the PTB, have not yet figured out how to accelerate, how to increase their corruption and thereby how to increase their unearned monetary holdings.

Money is the most potent singular factor which causes humans to lose their minds, and all of their ethics and decency.
And within the confines of a "socialist" system, "money" is replaced by rubber-stamps, which then wield, exactly in the manner of "wealth", the power of life or death, over the unwashed masses.

Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz musician.

anon [140] Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West

BTW Jeff Sessions is a fraternal brother of Pence (a member of the same club, same [recently deceased] guru) and is no friend of Trump.

That would explain why Sessions reclused himself from the start, and refused to appoint a special council to investigate the Clintons. He's in on this with Pence.

anon [140] Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 7:30 pm GMT
Just as it looks like the Comey memos will further exonerate Trump, we now have this farce extended by the DNC with this latest lawsuit on the "Trump campaign". The Democrats are now the most pathetic sore losers in history, they are hell bent on dragging the whole country down the pit of hell just because they can't handle a loss.
anon [140] Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMT
Wishful thinking that anything will come of this, just like when the Nunes memo was released. Nothing will happen as long as Jeff Sessions is AG. Trump needs to fire either Sessions or Rosenstein ASAP, before he gets dragged down by this whole Russian collusion bullshit case.
SunBakedSuburb , April 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm GMT
Former CIA Director John Brennan is the prime mover behind the ongoing coup attempt against Trump. He gathered his deep state allies at DOJ and the FBI to join him in this endeavor. Brennan's allies -- McCabe, Lynch, Strzok, Yates, ect., may or may not be aware of Brennan's true motive behind creating all the noise and distraction since the 2016 election. It could be they're just partisan hacks; or they're on board with Brennan to keep secret what was revealed in the hack of the Podesta emails.

John Podesta, in addition to being a top Democrat/DC lobbyist and a criminal deviant, is also a long-time CIA asset running a blackmail/influence operation that utilized his deviancy: the sexual exploitation of children.

Haxo Angmark , Website April 20, 2018 at 10:38 pm GMT
Seth Rich is still dead...
utu , April 20, 2018 at 11:33 pm GMT
Assange had 'physical proof' Russians didn't hack DNC, Rohrabacher says https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/19/julian-assange-has-physical-proof-russians-didnt-h/
UrbaneFrancoOntarian , April 21, 2018 at 12:18 am GMT
@anon

His cowardice is shocking. I wonder what they have on him? Probably some Roy Moore shit. Some shady stuff happened in the old South.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 21, 2018 at 12:56 am GMT
@utu

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2017/09/16/incompetent-espionage-wikileaks-iii/

Yeah, and General Kelly won't let Rohrabacher meet with Trump. What do you suppose is up with that (rhetorical question)

RobinG , April 21, 2018 at 1:02 am GMT
@utu

What kind of "physical proof" could Assange have? A thumb drive that was provably American, or something? Rohrabacher only got Red Pilled on Russia because he had one very determined (and well heeled) constituent. But he did cosponsor one of Tulsi Gabbard's "Stop Funding Terrorists" bills, which he figured out on his own. Nevertheless, a bit of a loose cannon and an eff'd up hawk on Iran He's probably an 'ISIS now, Assad later' on Syria.

anonymous [185] Disclaimer , April 21, 2018 at 2:36 am GMT
I noticed Comey tried to pull a J Edgar-style subtle blackmail on Trump by the way he brought up the so-called "dossier". Anyone could see it was absurd but he played his hand with it, pretending it was being looked at. I would say Trump could see through this sleazy game Comey was trying to play and sized him up. Comey is about as slimy as they get even as he parades around trying to look noble. What a corrupt bunch.
Culloden , April 21, 2018 at 2:45 am GMT
"The culprit has swayed with the immediate need for a villain "

[What follows is excerpted from an article headlined Robert Mueller's Questionable Past that appeared yesterday on the American Free Press website:]

During his tenure with the Justice Department under President George H W Bush, Mueller supervised the prosecutions of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Lockerbie bombing (Pan Am Flight 103) case, and Gambino crime boss John Gotti. In the Noriega case, Mueller ignored the ties to the Bush family that Victor Thorn illustrated in Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume: Part Two of the Clinton Trilogy. Noriega had long been associated with CIA operations that involved drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms running. Thorn significantly links Noriega to Bush family involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Regarding Pan Am Flight 103, the culprit has swayed with the immediate need for a villain. Pro-Palestinian activists, Libyans, and Iranians have all officially been blamed when US intelligence and the mainstream mass media needed to paint each as the antagonist to American freedom. Mueller toed the line, publicly ignoring rumors that agents onboard were said to have learned that a CIA drug-smuggling operation was afoot in conjunction with Pan Am flights. According to the theory, the agents were going to take their questions to Congress upon landing. The flight blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/

"We were in Libya for oil" (only). Who said that:

http://www.firmmagazine.com

Bennis Mardens , April 21, 2018 at 2:47 am GMT
Without exception, leftists are degenerate filth.

But they won't be going to jail.

It's kabuki theater.

Art , April 21, 2018 at 5:21 am GMT
My god – who believes this woman?

Hillary says "they would never let me be president" – she is serious. She has gone bonkers with self-pity.

This is no longer laughable – it boarders on the pathological.

Art

WhiteWolf , April 21, 2018 at 5:39 am GMT
@Bennis Mardens

There has been some former high flyers going to jail recently. Sarkozy is facing a hard time at the moment. If it can happen to a former president of France it can happen to Hillary.

Stonehands , April 21, 2018 at 6:20 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

I still read ZH articles, but the commentariat has devolved to lockeroom towel-snapping, barely above YouTube chattering.

Stonehands , April 21, 2018 at 6:42 am GMT
@Ronald Thomas West

Ronald, thank-you for posting this Doug Coe sermon; l have never heard of him. BTW are you a Christian?

Stonehands , April 21, 2018 at 7:56 am GMT
@Ronald Thomas West

Ronald, thank-you for posting this Doug Coe sermon; l have never heard of him. BTW are you a Christian?

Twodees Partain , April 21, 2018 at 10:11 am GMT
@Culloden

Here's another about Mueller's involvement with the FBI's Whitey Bulger scandal.

https://saraacarter.com/questions-still-surround-robert-muellers-boston-past/

Mueller's past is so laden with misfeasance and malfeasance that he should have been disbarred a few decades ago.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 21, 2018 at 1:14 pm GMT
@Stonehands

Am I a Christian? Well, no. I had some exposure to Christianity but it never took hold. On the other hand, I do believe there was a historical Jesus that was a remarkable man, but there is a world (or universe) of difference between the man and the mythology. Here's some of my thoughts on the matter:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/04/11/celebrating-the-anti-christ/

^ It doesn't necessarily go where the title might suggest (for many)

CIA in Charge , April 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm GMT
@Authenticjazzman

Nothing uncanny about it. There's a frenetic Democratic cottage industry inferring magical emotional charisma powers that explain the outsized influence of those three. The fact is very simple. All three are CIA nomenklatura.

(1.) Bill Clinton got recruited into CIA by Cord Meyer, who bragged of it himself in his cups.

(2.) Hillary cut her teeth on CIA's Watergate purge of Nixon. (If it's news to anyone that the Watergate cast of characters was straight out of CIA central casting, Russ Baker has conclusively tied the elaborate ratfeck to the intelligence community.)

(3.) Obama was son of spooks, grandson of spooks, greased in to Harvard by Alwaleed bin-Talal's bagman. While he was vocationally wet behind the ears he not only got into Pakistan, no mean feat at the time, but he went to a falconry outing with the future acting president of Pakistan. And is there anyone alive who wasn't flabbergasted at the instant universal acclaim for some empty suit who made a speech at the convention? Like Bill Clinton, successor to DCI Bush, Obama was blatantly, derisively installed in the president slot of the CIA org chart.

Authenticjazzman , April 21, 2018 at 6:06 pm GMT
@CIA in Charge

Excellent post and quite accurate information, however my point being that the irrational fear harbored by the individuals who could actually begin to rope these scumbags in, is just that : Irrational, as they seem to think or have been lead/brainwashed to believe that these dissolute turds are somehow endowed with supernatural, otherworldy powers and options, and that they are capable of unholy , merciless vengeance : VF, SR, etc.

And the truth is as soon as they finally start to go after them they, they will fall apart at the seams, such as with all cowards, and this is the bottom line : They, the BC/HC/BO clique, they are nothing more than consumate cowards, who can only operate in such perfidious manners when left unchallenged.

Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro Jazz artist.

[Apr 21, 2018] The UN Charter is very vague about a lot of things, but it's very clear about one thing, and that is, when is it legal to go to war

Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

tc2011 , 13 Apr 2018 16:21

What Freedland and others are advocating is illegal. They have no moral or legal authority.

For the avoidance of any doubt or confusion, attacking a foreign country without legal basis under international law represents the "supreme international crime". The launching of an "aggressive war" is the "supreme crime" because it is the overarching offense which contains within itself "the accumulated evil of the whole" (e.g. rape, torture, murder, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, etc).

People were tried, convicted and hung at Nuremberg for the crime of waging wars of aggression (as well as crimes against humanity).

Regardless of how unpalatable we may find it, even the verified use of chemical weapons -be they by state or non-state actors - is not a legal basis to attack a country, any country.

As Phyllis Bennis, Fellow and Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., clearly explained (following the last alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, and subsequent military strike on the Syrian air base ordered by President Trump):

"The UN Charter is very vague about a lot of things, but it's very clear about one thing, and that is, when is it legal to go to war? When is it legal to use a military strike? There's only two occasions according to the UN Charter The UN Charter says, "A country can use military force under two circumstances: Number one, if the Security Council authorizes it." Number two, Article 51 of the UN Charter, which is about self-defence. But it's a very narrowly constrained version of self-defence It says very explicitly, "If a country has been attacked." "until the Security Council can meet, immediate self-defence is allowed." Neither of those two categories applied here. So, it was clearly an illegal act."

link

[Apr 21, 2018] The couple Merkel/Sauer knows exactly how to evaluate that so-called evidence in Douma false flag

Apr 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hmpf | Apr 20, 2018 5:51:46 AM | 165

@163 WillyW

Angela Merkel is not stupid - things are way worth than that.
She's got a PhD in physical chemistry, and what's rather mind-boggling in that context is the fact that her husband Joachim Sauer is a professor of chemistry and one of the worlds foremost experts in surface chemistry.
In the 2000s this guy was in the top 30 list of the worlds most extinguished chemists - let that sink in for a second.
The couple Merkel/Sauer knows exactly how to evaluate that so-called evidence, yet... - as I said the situation is way worse as generally anticipated.

[Apr 21, 2018] CIA, MI6 and rebels: Rebels can be genuine protesters but they will brutally used by CIA and MI6 for nefarious purposes

Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

junglecitizen -> LeftOrRightSameShite , 13 Apr 2018 15:44

We, along with the US, France and Gulf states have supported, armed and trained "rebels" in Syria the whole time. We've had, as have others, special forces operating inside Syria


So, there would never be rebellions against totalitarian dictators if it weren't for the CIA and MI6.

I don't buy this. It's very convenient if you're an anti-war person who doesn't want to face an ethical dilemma. But it's not real.

[Apr 21, 2018] Timber Sycamore

A classified U.S. State Department cable signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reported that Saudi donors were a major support for Sunni militant forces globally, and some American officials worried that rebels being supported had ties to Al Qaeda.[14]
Notable quotes:
"... Read more at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Timber Sycamore 20/04/2018 Timber Sycamore was a classified weapons supply and training program run by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and supported by various Arab intelligence services, most notably that of Saudi Arabia . Launched in 2012 or 2013, it supplied money, weaponry and training to rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War . According to U.S. officials, the program has trained thousands of rebels. President Barack Obama secretly authorized the CIA to begin arming Syria's embattled rebels in 2013. [3] However, the CIA had been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria "for more than a year" beforehand in collaboration with "the UK ( United Kingdom ), Saudi Arabia and Qatar ."

The program's existence was suspected after the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities website publicly solicited contract bids to ship tons of weaponry from Eastern Europe to Taşucu , Turkey and Aqaba , Jordan. One unintended consequence of the program has been to flood the Middle East's black market with weapons including assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The U.S. delivered weapons via Ramstein – supposedly in breach of German laws.

In July 2017, U.S. officials stated that Timber Sycamore would be phased out, with funds possibly redirected to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or to offering rebel forces defensive capabilities.

... ... ...

According to American officials, the program has been highly effective, training and equipping thousands of U.S.-backed fighters to make substantial battlefield gains.[2][19] American officials state that the program began to lose effectiveness after Russia intervened militarily in the Syrian Civil War.[19] David Ignatius, writing in The Washington Post, remarked that while the CIA program ultimately failed in its objective of removing Assad from power, it was hardly "bootless": "The program pumped many hundreds of millions of dollars to many dozens of militia groups. One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years."[8]

... ... ...

U.S.-backed rebels often fought alongside al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front, and some of the U.S. supplied weapons ended up in the hands of the al-Nusra Front, which had been a major concern of the Obama administration when the program was first proposed.[10]

... ... ...

The program remains classified,[14][10] and many details about the program remain unknown, including the total amount of support, the range of weapons transferred, the depth of training provided, the types of U.S. trainers involved, and the exact rebel groups being supported.[18] However, The Canberra Times reported that two thousand tons of Soviet era weapons were delivered to Aqaba as recently as April 2016.

Read more at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore

[Apr 21, 2018] How about some basic honesty about the role the US and it's allies have played in fostering and continue if this civil war

Notable quotes:
"... How about some basic honesty about the role the US and it's allies have played in fostering and continue if this civil war. That, coupled by a complete retreat of US imperial neoliberal ambitions across the entire region, you know, might just be incredibly effective ..."
"... Are we seriously going to pretend we and our allies haven't provided financial, technological, diplomatic, political and military support to this extremely heterogenous group of rebels, without which the whole uprising (a legitimate uprising, sure, but certainly not a viable one) would have been over in a few months, without any of the atrocities, tragedies and destruction of the past 6 years? ..."
"... For Europe and the US to have any credibility the double standards applied has to come to an end ..."
"... Sorry but the arguments in the article don't hold water. Reeks of the longstanding agenda of the war profiteers and the Clinton gang to invade this country. On hypocritical reasons. ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

HoublaHoubla , 13 Apr 2018 14:44

Here's an idea Jonathan for another solution. How about some basic honesty about the role the US and it's allies have played in fostering and continue if this civil war. That, coupled by a complete retreat of US imperial neoliberal ambitions across the entire region, you know, might just be incredibly effective
notndmushroom , 13 Apr 2018 14:42

But nor can we watch the brutal dictator slaughter his own people

Why not? We're watching Israelis shoot and kill unarmed Palestinians, we're watching our favourite Saudis bomb and kill Yemeni civilians, we're watching our Nobel-winning inspirational Myanmar leader oversee the persecution, massacre and forced displacement of an entire people, we're watching the North Korean leader oppress and starve his people while stepping closer to a nuclear war against a currently volatile superpower, we're watching the Philipino head of state launching a literal war against low-level drug dealers and junkies, we're watching several central Asian dictators imprison and torture dissidents and oppress their people while robbing them of their national wealth, we're watching the Chinese and Russian leaders do pretty much the same, we're watching the Turkish leader kidnap dissidents from EU countries, imprison thousands of alleged dissidents and invade a neighbouring country to fight against part of said countries' inhabitants, we're watching corrupt politicians, media and judges completing the final touches of a coup in the fifth largest country in the world, and then there's Africa, which is a whole other chapter.

What specifically is it about Syria that made you decide that yeah, all these things are pretty bad, but that's the one thing we really have to do something about?

Perhaps that was why, five years ago, the House of Commons voted to leave the Assad regime untouched. Back then the death toll in Syria stood at around 100,000. More than 400,000 have died since that day. The proof is there if we can bear to look at it. Inaction, too, can be deadly.

Inaction? Really? Are we seriously going to pretend we and our allies haven't provided financial, technological, diplomatic, political and military support to this extremely heterogenous group of rebels, without which the whole uprising (a legitimate uprising, sure, but certainly not a viable one) would have been over in a few months, without any of the atrocities, tragedies and destruction of the past 6 years?

fishandart , 13 Apr 2018 14:42
For Europe and the US to have any credibility the double standards applied has to come to an end. Israel has to comply with UN resolutions and the US has to stop using its veto to block those resolutions that seek to make Israel comply to international standards of acceptable behaviour.

If we can't do that we can forget getting Assad or Putin or anyone else to respect anything we have to say. As it stands the so called West has no moral authority in the Middle East.

Ziontrain , 13 Apr 2018 14:41

But nor can we watch the brutal dictator slaughter his own people

Why is this supposed slaughter such an imperative when we seem to approve of and even profit from selling weapons to slaughters elsewhere in the region

Sorry but the arguments in the article don't hold water. Reeks of the longstanding agenda of the war profiteers and the Clinton gang to invade this country. On hypocritical reasons.

[Apr 21, 2018] World War is Still in the Cards by Dan Glazebrook

Notable quotes:
"... Once underway, however, an Iranian-Israeli conflict could very easily draw in Russia and the US. ..."
"... Indeed, Putin reportedly warned Netanyahu last week that he can no longer expect to attack Syria with impunity. And once Israelis start getting killed by Russian hardware, it is hard to see how the US could not get involved. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Just over a quarter-century before the outbreak of the First World War, global capitalism was in the throes of a deep economic crisis. This original 'Great Depression', which lasted from 1873 to 1896, saw tens of millions perish from famine as the 'great powers' shifted the burden as far as possible onto their colonies; whilst, at home, anti-systemic movements such as the 'New Unionism' burst onto the scene in the capitalist heartlands, presenting a serious challenge to bourgeois rule. Africa was torn apart by imperial powers desperate to secure monopoly access to its riches, and rivalries between these powers constantly threatened to erupt into outright war. In the midst of all this, one particularly astute political commentator gave a disturbingly prophetic insight as to how the crisis would ultimately be resolved, predicting a: "world war of an extent and violence hitherto unimagined. Eight to ten million soldiers will be at each other's throats and in the process they will strip Europe barer than a swarm of locusts. The depredations of the Thirty Years War compressed into three or four years and extended over the entire continent; famine, disease, the universal lapse into barbarism, both of the armies and people, in the wake of acute misery; irretrievable dislocation of our artificial system of trade, industry and credit, ending in general bankruptcy; collapse of the old states and their conventional political wisdom to the point where crowns will roll into the gutter by the dozen, and no one will be around to pick them up; the absolute impossibility of seeing where it will all end and who will emerge as victor from the battle; only one consequence is absolutely certain: general exhaustion and the conditions for the ultimate victory of the working class."

The commentator was Marx's lifelong collaborator Friedrich Engels. The accuracy of his prediction – right down to the numbers killed and the length of the war, not to mention the revolutions and collapse of empires that would result – is truly remarkable. Yet Engels had no crystal ball. What he foresaw was nothing more than the logical outcome of the workings of the global capitalist-imperialist system, which constantly and inexorably pushes towards world war.

The logic is basically this. Capitalism, with its combination of rapid technological progress plus derisory wage payments – both tendencies a 'natural' result of competition – leads to a situation where markets cannot be found for its goods. This is because capital's capacity to produce constantly outstrips the capacity of consumers to consume, as these very consumers are, in the main, the very workers whose wages are driven down, or who are made redundant altogether, by improved technology. Ultimately, this results in a crisis of overproduction, with markets glutted, and workers thrown out of work in their millions. Already in 1848, four decades before his prediction of world war, Engels (and Marx) had written that such crises tended to be "resolved" through "the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces" – in other words, the wholesale closure of industry. Through closures of the most inefficient industries, surplus production would eventually be reduced, and profitability restored. But in so doing, capitalists were effectively increasing the concentration of capital in the hands of the most 'efficient' industries, whose productive capacity in the future would render the underlying contradiction yet more insoluble still, and were thereby "paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and diminishing the means whereby crises are avoided". For Engels, the crisis underway by the 1880s was so extensive that the destruction of capital required to overcome it would take more than mere closures – it would take all-out war.

The destruction of capital, however, is not the only means by which to overcome overproduction crises. The other option, said Marx and Engels, is "the conquest of new markets or the more thorough exploitation of old ones". The period of the late-nineteenth century saw a renewed 'Scramble for Africa' as each imperial power sought to grab territories which might one day serve as both sources of raw materials and markets for surplus capital. In North America, the USA was completing its own colonisation of the West and South in imperial wars against the Native Americans and Mexico. By the close of the century, however, all the 'available' territories had been conquered. From then on in, argued Lenin, the capture of new colonies could only be at the expense of another colonial power – ushering in a new, imperial, phase of capitalism with an inbuilt drive towards world war.

We have now witnessed two episodes of this cycle of capitalist crisis mutating into world war, the second much more successful in terms of the destruction of capital than the first. Indeed it was so successful that it paved the way for a 'Golden Era' of capitalist prosperity lasting almost three decades. But then, once again, the inevitable crisis tendencies began to set in.

The colonial, imperialist nature of postwar capitalism has, to some extent, been disguised by the formal political independence of most of the formerly colonised world. With an unambiguous and unrivalled lead in technological capacity, the Western nations have not required direct colonisation in order to guarantee essentially 'captive' markets for their goods and capital. The former colonies have largely been dependent on products, finance and technology from the imperial world without the need for formal political control – and this dependence has been backed up with economic blackmail through international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank where possible, and direct military force against resistant nations where necessary.

Such dependence, however, has been decisively eroded since the beginning of the new millenium. The rise of China, in particular, has completely destroyed the West's monopoly on finance and market access for the global South: African, Asian and Latin American countries no longer have to rely on US markets for their goods or on World Bank loans for their infrastructure development. China is now an alternative provider of all these, and generally on far superior terms of trade than those offered by the West. In times of continued economic stagnation, however, this loss of their (neo)colonies is entirely unacceptable to the Western capitalist nations, and threatens the entire carefully crafted system of global extortion on which their own prosperity is based.

Increasingly unable to rely on economic coercion alone to keep countries within its 'sphere of influence', then, the West have been turning more and more to military force. Indeed, the US, UK and France have been permanently at war since the eve of the new millennium – starting with Yugoslavia, through Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria and Yemen (to say nothing of proxy wars such as that in the Congo, or the 'drone wars' waged in Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere). In each case, the aim has been the same – to thwart the possibility of independent development. It is entirely indicative of this new era of decreasing economic power that several of these wars were waged against states whose leaders were once in the pocket of the US (Iraq and Afghanistan) or who they had hoped to buy off (Libya and Syria).

Thus, where it was once, at least in part, the product of productive superiority, the continued supremacy of the West in international affairs is increasingly reliant on military force alone. And even this military superiority is diminishing daily.

Predictions of the length of time left before the Chinese economy overtakes the US economy continue to shrink. In 2016, China's share of the world economy had grown to 15%, compared to the USA's 25%. But with a growth rate currently three times that of the USA, the difference is expected to decline rapidly; at this rate, the Chinese economy is on course to overtake that of the US by 2026 . In fact, once adjustments are made for purchasing power parity and differential prices, the Chinese economy is already larger . Furthermore, Chinese manufacturing output has been higher than that of the US for over a decade, and exports are one third higher, whilst China produces double the number of graduates annually than the US.

Such developments, however, are not of economic significance only: for it is only a matter of time before economic superiority is converted into military superiority. And this gives the US and its hangers-on an ever-diminishing window of opportunity in which to actually USE their military superiority in order to preserve their deteriorating global power.

Clearly the strategy hitherto has been to avoid direct war with China and its key ally Russia, and instead to focus on 'taking out' its real or potential allies amongst states less able to defend themselves. But Russia's role as a spoiler in the regime change operation in Syria has demonstrated to the US that this may no longer be possible. This has led to a split within the US ruling class on the issue of how to deal with Russia, with one side seeking to purchase Russian acquiescence to wars against Iran and China (advocated by the faction supporting Trump) and the other aiming to simply 'regime change' Russia itself (advocated by the Hillary faction). At the heart of both is the attempt to break the alliance between Russia and China, in the case of Hillary by pulling China away from Russia, and for Trump, pulling Russia away from China.

The point is, however, that neither strategy is likely to work, as clearly the breaking of the China-Russia axis is aimed at weakening both of them. Furthermore, even if Putin were prepared to ditch Iran, or even China, for the right price (such as lifting sanctions, or recognising Russian sovereignty over Crimea ), there is no way Congress would allow Trump to pay such a price. Trump would dearly love to offer to lift sanctions – but this is not within his gift; instead he can merely offer sops such as withdrawal from Syria, or pre-warning of missile attacks on Russia's allies – hardly enough to lure Russia into the suicidal severing of alliances with its most important allies.

This conundrum puts the unthinkable squarely on the agenda: direct war with Russia. The last month has shown clearly how, and how rapidly, this is developing. Britain's carefully calibrated efforts to create a worldwide diplomatic break with Russia can now clearly be seen as a prelude to what was almost certainly planned to be – and may yet become – an all-out war with Iran on the Syrian battlefield. This scenario appears to have been averted for now by Russia's refusal to countenance it, and the West's fear of launching such an operation in the face of direct Russian threats, but such incidents are only likely to increase. It is only a matter of time before Russia will be put to the test.

It is easy to see how the Syrian war could lead to a major escalation: indeed, it is difficult to see how it could not. In Washington, there is much talk of the need to 'confront' Iran in Syria, and recent Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Syria indicate that they are itching to get this confrontation under way, with or without prior US approval. Once underway, however, an Iranian-Israeli conflict could very easily draw in Russia and the US. Russia could hardly be expected to stand back whilst Israel reversed all its hard fought gains of the past two and a half years – whilst demonstrating the feebleness of Russian 'protection' – and would likely retaliate, or at the very least (and more likely) provide its allies with the means to do so . Indeed, Putin reportedly warned Netanyahu last week that he can no longer expect to attack Syria with impunity. And once Israelis start getting killed by Russian hardware, it is hard to see how the US could not get involved.

This is just one possible scenario for the kind of escalation that would lead to war with Russia. Economic war with China is already underway, and US warships are already readying themselves to cut off China's supply lines in the South China Sea. Each specific provocation and escalation may or may not lead to a direct showdown with one or both of these powers. What is clear, however, is that this is the direction in which Western imperialism is clearly headed. It has built up its unparalleled armoury for one reason only – to protect its dominant world position. The time is soon coming when it will have to use it – and use it against a power that can actually fight back – whilst it still has a chance of winning.

An edited version of this article was originally published by Middle East Eye.

[Apr 21, 2018] Ruling Selling weapons like there is no tomorrow

Notable quotes:
"... Democracy Now ..."
"... much more blatant about it. He's shouting it from the rooftops ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Trump's Establishment Sin: Being an Open and Unabashed Devil

It's the open crassness of Trump as much as his policy substance that bothers establishment operatives. Look at Trump's recent yucky White House sit-down with Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. You can view it on YouTube here . It's incredible. With MBS grinning sheepishly next to him, the Insane Clown President held up posters showing all the big-dollar weapons and war systems the Saudis are purchasing from the U.S. Trump brazenly boasted about Washington's $12.5 billion arms deal with the most reactionary government on the planet.

"That's peanuts for you," Trump chided the crown prince while dangling the posters under his nose. "Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they're going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world," Trump told reporters. MBS looked embarrassed as Trump listed the prices of the weapons the U.S. was selling to the Saudis: "$880 million $645 million $6 billion that's for frigates."

The president sounded like a car dealer boasting about the bargains at Trump Ford-Mazda. It was ugly and humiliating for everyone involved and has been condemned in the dominant corporate media for its decadent unpleasantness.

Meanwhile, a recent Reuters exposé details, in the horrified words of Democracy Now 's Juan Gonzales :

"Trump administration plans to make the U.S. an even larger weapons exporter by loosening restrictions on the sale of equipment ranging from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery. Reuters reveals that the new initiative will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals, and will call on Cabinet officials to help close deals between foreign governments and U.S. defense contractors The role U.S. Cabinet officials may be asked to play in pushing arms exports abroad as part of the new initiative, which will call for a 'whole of government' approach -- from the president and his Cabinet to military attachés and diplomats -- to help draw in billions of dollars more in arms business overseas."

So, do you think the Obama administrations sold arms to Saudi Arabia and other reactionary governments around the world? Do you think it enlisted Cabinet officials and U.S. diplomats in the project of advancing U.S. arms sales across a blood-drenched planet? If you answered "Hell yes it did" to both questions, then you are correct. Here is a forgotten story from the final days of the Obama administration, penned by Motherboard 's Farid Farid, who was understandably underwhelmed by Obama's suspension of the sale of one type of munition to the Saudis in early 2017:

Obama's Administration Sold More Weapons Than Any Other Since World War II

Many were sold to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, will leave office in a few weeks with the dubious honor of having sold more weapons than any other American president since World War II. Most of the arms deals totaling over $200 billion in the period from 2008 to 2015 have ended up in the Middle East, according to a Congressional Research Service report published in December Focusing on arms deals to developing nations, the extensive report found that Saudi Arabia was the top arms importer with deals worth around $94 billion from 2008-2015. Under Obama the overall sales, pending delivery of equipment and specialized training for troops, to Saudi Arabia alone has ballooned to $115 billion.

Saudi Arabia is spearheading a coalition of Arab nations in a bombing campaign closing in on two years against the insurgent Houthi militias in Yemen, who took over the capital Sanaa in September 2014. The United States has sent special operations forces to assist the Arab coalition in a grinding war that has seen over 10,000 killed, 2.2 million displaced and nearly half a million children on the brink of famine from the ensuing crisis.

Earlier this month, the United States decided to halt future sales of precision-guided munitions, which are supposed to hit specific targets and minimize collateral damage, to the Gulf kingdom citing civilian deaths in Yemen. But experts are skeptical this will deter Saudi Arabia from continuing to fuel its regional proxy wars.

"Frankly it was a really minor and temporary punishment. I don't view it as a major consequence and it is more symbolic than anything," said Cole Bockenfeld, deputy director of policy at Project on Middle East Democracy.

He pointed to the US partially suspending military aid to Egypt after the military overthrew the unpopular government in July 2013 as another example of the lack of political will of the Obama administration to rock relations with its allies. The Congressional report, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2008-2015, noted that Egypt was the biggest recipient of arms deliveries last year worth $5.3 billion.

"What's changed during the Obama administration is that increasing arms sales has become a standardized component of diplomacy at all levels of government, not just in the defense department," Bockenfeld told Motherboard. "For US diplomats to become the salesmen, that has been a new element which really increased exports."

What's the main difference between Trump and Obama when it comes to U.S. arms sales abroad? As the noted liberal arms trade analyst William Hartung told DN's Amy Goodman this week , "Well, [Trump's] much more blatant about it. He's shouting it from the rooftops . He's playing a very personal role .he held up a chart [during his appalling meeting before reporters with MBS] that showed 40,000 jobs from Saudi arms sales, and it showed the states, and they were all the swing states -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida. So, among other things, not only is this a business proposition for Trump, but it's a blatant political move to shore up his base."

So here's an interesting question: which is worse – (a) quietly equipping the most reactionary government on Earth and much of the rest of the world with lethal, high-tech means of mass destruction while posing as some kind of progressive and noble peace agent or (b) loudly equipping the most reactionary government on Earth and much of the rest of the world with lethal, high-tech means of mass destruction while boasting about the resulting revenue and jobs to reporters and your white-nationalist political base?

Something tells me the Yemeni victims of Riyadh's U.S.- made bombs, missiles, bullets, and artillery don't care all that much either way.

[Apr 20, 2018] The most simple explanation for the disaster in Syria is that a sovereign state protected its national interest from an international contingent of mercenaries.

Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

harveybrown , 13 Apr 2018 15:37

In an interview on BBC 1 on 8 February 2004, UN Weapons Inspector, Hans Blix accused the US and British governments of dramatizing the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the government of Saddam Hussein.
Ultimately, no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were ever found.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Blix said, "I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media."

[ It is interesting to note that Allan Ramsay likewise deplored "a friendly alliance between the camp and the counting-house" for exactly the same reasons (Letters on the Present Disturbances, p.34). Ramsay maintained that of the evil consequences of such alliance "the two last wars carried on by England against France and Spain, furnish a most melancholy illustration. To obtain the sole and exclusive commerce of the western world, in which the French and Spaniards were their rivals, was the modest wish of our merchants, in conjunction with our Americans. The fair, and truly commercial, method of effecting this would have been, by superior skill, industry and frugality, to have undersold their rivals at market: but that method appearing slow and troublesome to a luxurious people, whose extraordinary expences* required extraordinary profits, a more expeditous one was devised; which was that of driving their rivals entirely out of the seas, and preventing them from bringing their goods at all to market. For this purpose, not having any fleets or armies of their own, the powers of the State were found necessary, and they applied them accordingly" (ibid., pp.32 f.).

Knorr, K. E. 'Ch02-Part2 British Colonial Theories 1570-1850'. In British Colonial Theories, 1570-1850. The University of Toronto Press, 1944. ]

Jay_Q123 , 13 Apr 2018 15:36
Your article appears to apportion blame solely to Assad and you don't even attempt to address the opposition in Syria. Nobody seriously questions that the Syrian governments war has killed many thousands and thousands of civilians. How can you not refer to the international jihad and the make up of these fighters, as well as the sieges they laid on villages, town and cities and the cruelty they inflicted upon the people?

The Syrian Arab Army is a composite of Sunni, Shia, Christians, and different ethnicity's, what convinces you that they have in any way wantonly killed civilians? The soldiers have family all over Syria, plus no mention of the 300,000+ civilians that have been liberated from Eastern Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta in the last several months.

I find this article very bizarre indeed. The most simple explanation for the disaster in Syria is that a sovereign state protected its national interest from an international contingent of mercenaries. There are Moroccans and Chechnyans, Uighurs and Brits, Saudis as well as Syrians in this armed army. What other options did a state such as Syria have when fighting against ISIS, Al Qaida, Al Nusra and 'The Army of Islam', Jaysh Al-Islam? All have which have direct connections to our major ally in the region, Saudi Arabia.

Somebody correct me if I am wrong but I can not find any reference at all to the enemy in this article. It's written as if the 8 year war has simply been an extermination war against civilians and completely out of context with reality.

Check out Operation Timber Sycamore for more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore

[Apr 20, 2018] The Great Game Comes to Syria by Conn Hallinan

Apr 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war, one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration's designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region's largest ethnic groups, the Kurds.

However, the "troika alliance" -- Turkey, Russia and Iran -- consists of three countries that don't much like one another, have different goals, and whose policies are driven by a combination of geo-global goals and internal politics. In short, "fragile and complicated" doesn't even begin to describe it.

How the triad might be affected by the joint U.S., French and British attack on Syria is unclear, but in the long run the alliance will likely survive the uptick of hostilities.

But common ground was what came out of the April 4 meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting in Ankara, the parties pledged to support the "territorial integrity" of Syria, find a diplomatic end to the war, and to begin a reconstruction of a Syria devastated by seven years of war. While Russia and Turkey explicitly backed the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, Iran was quiet on that issue, preferring a regional solution without "foreign plans."

"Common ground," however, doesn't mean the members of the "troika" are on the same page.

Turkey's interests are both internal and external. The Turkish Army is currently conducting two military operations in northern Syria, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, aimed at driving the mainly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) out of land that borders Turkey. But those operations are also deeply entwined with Turkish politics.

Erdogan's internal support has been eroded by a number of factors: exhaustion with the ongoing state of emergency imposed following the 2016 attempted coup, a shaky economy , and a precipitous fall in the value of the Turkish pound. Rather than waiting for 2019, Erdogan called for snap elections this past week and beating up on the Kurds is always popular with right-wing Turkish nationalists. Erdogan needs all the votes he can get to imlement his newly minted executive presidency that will give him virtually one-man rule.

To be part of the alliance, however, Erdogan has had to modify his goal of getting rid of Syrian President Bashar Assad and to agree -- at this point, anyhow -- to eventually withdraw from areas in northern Syria seized by the Turkish Army. Russia and Iran have called for turning over the regions conquered by the Turks to the Syrian Army.

Moscow's goals are to keep a foothold in the Middle East with its only base, Tartus, and to aid its long-time ally, Syria. The Russians are not deeply committed to Assad personally, but they want a friendly government in Damascus. They also want to destroy al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, which have caused Moscow considerable trouble in the Caucasus.

Russia also wouldn't mind driving a wedge between Ankara and NATO. After the U.S., Turkey has NATO's second largest army. NATO broke a 1989 agreement not to recruit former members of the Russian-dominated Warsaw Pact into NATO as a quid pro quo for the Soviets withdrawing from Eastern Europe. But since the Yugoslav War in 1999 the alliance has marched right up to the borders of Russia. The 2008 war with Georgia and 2014 seizure of the Crimea were largely a reaction to what Moscow sees as an encirclement strategy by its adversaries.

Turkey has been at odds with its NATO allies around a dispute between Greece and Cyprus over sea-based oil and gas resources , and it recently charged two Greek soldiers who violated the Turkish border with espionage. Erdogan is also angry that European Union countries refuse to extradite Turkish soldiers and civilians who he claims helped engineer the 2016 coup against him. While most NATO countries condemned Moscow for the recent attack on two Russians in Britain, the Turks pointedly did not .

Turkish relations with Russia have an economic side as well. Ankara want a natural gas pipeline from Russia, has broken ground on a $20 billion Russian nuclear reactor, and just shelled out $2.5 billion for Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft system.

The Russians do not support Erdogan's war on the Kurds and have lobbied for the inclusion of Kurdish delegations in negotiations over the future of Syria. But Moscow clearly gave the Turks a green light to attack the Kurdish city of Afrin last month, driving out the YPG that had liberated it from the Islamic State and Turkish-backed al-Qaeda groups. A number of Kurds charge that Moscow has betrayed them .

The question now is, will the Russians stand aside if the Turkish forces move further into Syria and attack the city of Manbij, where the Kurds are allied with U.S. and French forces? And will Erdogan's hostility to the Kurds lead to an armed clash among three NATO members?

Such a clash seems unlikely, although the Turks have been giving flamethrower speeches over the past several weeks. "Those who cooperate with terrorists organizations [the YPG] will be targeted by Turkey," says Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a pointed reference to France's support for the Kurds. Threatening the French is one thing, picking a fight with the U.S. military quite another.

Of course, if President Trump pulls U.S. forces out of Syria, it will be tempting for Turkey to move in. While the "troika alliance" has agreed to Syrian "sovereignty," that won't stop Ankara from meddling in Kurdish affairs. The Turks are already appointing governors and mayors for the areas in Syria they have occupied.

Iran's major concern in Syria is maintaining a buffer between itself and a very aggressive alliance of the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, which seems to be in the preliminary stages of planning a war against the second-largest country in the Middle East.

Iran is not at all the threat it has been pumped up to be. Its military is miniscule and talk of a so-called "Shiite crescent" -- Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon -- is pretty much a western invention (although the term was dreamed up by the King of Jordan).

Tehran has been weakened by crippling sanctions and faces the possibility that Washington will withdraw from the nuclear accord and re-impose yet more sanctions. The appointment of National Security Advisor John Bolton, who openly calls for regime change in Iran, has to have sent a chill down the spines of the Iranians. What Tehran needs most of all is allies who will shield it from the enmity of the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia. In this regard, Turkey and Russia could be helpful.

Iran has modified its original goals in Syria of a Shiite-dominated regime by agreeing to a "non-sectarian character" for a post-war Syria. Erdogan has also given up on his desire for a Sunni-dominated government in Damascus.

War with Iran would be catastrophic, an unwinnable conflict that could destabilize the Middle East even more than it is now. It would, however, drive up the price of oil, currently running at around $66 a barrel. Saudi Arabia needs to sell its oil for at least $100 a barrel, or it will very quickly run of money. The on-going quagmire of the Yemen war, the need to diversify the economy, and the growing clamor by young Saudis -- 70 percent of the population -- for jobs requires lots of money, and the current trends in oil pricing are not going to cover the bills.

War and oil make for odd bedfellows . While the Saudis are doing their best to overthrow the Assad regime and fuel the extremists fighting the Russians, Riyadh is wooing Moscow to sign onto to a long-term OPEC agreement to control oil supplies. That probably won't happen -- the Russians are fine with oil at $50 to $60 a barrel -- and are wary of agreements that would restrict their right to develop new oil and gas resources. The Saudi's jihad on the Iranians has a desperate edge to it, as well it might. The greatest threat to the Kingdom has always come from within.

The rocks and shoals that can wreck alliances in the Middle East are too numerous to count, and the "troika" is riven with contradictions and conflicting interests. But the war in Syria looks as if it is coming to some kind of resolution, and at this point Iran, Russia and Turkey seem to be the only actors who have a script that goes beyond lobbing cruise missiles at people.

[Apr 20, 2018] The United States, fully aware it was Iraq who gased Kurds, accused Iran, Iraq's enemy in a fierce war, of being partly responsible for the attack. The State Department instructed its diplomats to say that Iran was partly to blame."

Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Andersie , 13 Apr 2018 14:45

I've just stumbled on this absolute gem, from the New York Times, 17/1/2003:

"Analysis of thousands of captured Iraqi secret police documents and declassified U.S. government documents, as well as interviews with scores of Kurdish survivors, senior Iraqi defectors and retired U.S. intelligence officers, show

(1) that Iraq carried out the attack on Halabja [a 1988 chemical attack on Kurdish villages that killed 5000 civilians], and

(2) that the United States, fully aware it was Iraq, accused Iran, Iraq's enemy in a fierce war, of being partly responsible for the attack. The State Department instructed its diplomats to say that Iran was partly to blame."

[Apr 20, 2018] The USA and WMD

Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Justin Thyme , 13 Apr 2018 15:31

The USA and WMD

@S

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped Saddam Hussein build up his arsenal of deadly chemical and biological weapons. As an envoy from President Reagan 19 years ago, he had a secret meeting with the Iraqi dictator and arranged enormous military assistance for his war with Iran. Mr Rumsfeld, at the time a successful executive in the pharmaceutical industry, still made it possible for Saddam to buy supplies from American firms. They included viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague, according to the Washington Post.
The USA provided $1.5 billion worth of Pathogenic, toxigenic and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq; 1985-89.

1) US based company, Alcolac International exported mustard gas to Iraq; 1987-88.
2) Almost 150 foreign companies supported Saddam Hussein's WMD program; 1975-
3) US directly attacked Iran by hitting Iran's oil platforms; 1987.
4) US directly attacked Iran's navy in unproportioned and unreasonable war; 1988.
5) US shot down Iranian civilian airliner in the Iranian territory; 1988.

This is the equivalent of a pathological paedophile giving a sermon against child abuse when the US preaches its corrupt moral practices regarding Syria!!!

[Apr 20, 2018] Haley has been an embarrassment for the US at the UN. It was thought that Haley could not be worse than Samantha Power, but she proved otherwise

Apr 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mikhail , Website April 19, 2018 at 12:56 pm GMT

Pretty much agree with the above article that brings into play points raised in this piece from 2015:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/10/09/answering-russia-critics-on-syria.html

Unsurprising to see the likes of CNN and MSNBC siding with Haley. Trump should've dumped her awhile back. Contrary to the CNN/MSNBC spin, she has been an embarrassment for the US at the UN. Upon her UN appointment, it was thought that Haley couldn't be worse than Samantha Power.

During his presidential bid, Trump spoke of bringing in competent non-establishment types. The case for Jim Jatras as UN ambassador:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/11/latest-bump-in-us-russian-relations.html

As noted, Tulsi Gabbard would've been a good selection as well.

The US didn't challenge Russia's more updated missile defense system in Syria shielding Russian forces. It's not like Washington can control everything.

Through their anti-Syrian proxies, the US has a roughly 30% control of Syria. A few days before the most recent alleged Syrian government chemical attack, Trump said he wanted out of Syria. I believe he was either duped into bombing, or knows that the chemical weapon claim is in the very suspect/outright BS ranges of probality.

Related:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/17/latest-atlanticist-tough-guy-act.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/13/cruising-for-bruising-with-russia.html

At least one thing seems to have become clear. The enthusiasm for Trump fostering improved US-Russian relations has diminished.

Pardon some Captain Obvious moments.

[Apr 20, 2018] Stench of hypocrisy British 'war on terror' strategic ties with radical Islam by John Wight

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called 'national interest' abroad, colluded for decades with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations. They have connived with them, worked alongside them and sometimes trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain's global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain's imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world. ..."
"... But whereas Sharif Hussein was a follower of orthodox Sunni Islam, Ibn Saud adhered to the radical doctrine of Wahhabism, which Winston Churchill was moved to describe as " bloodthirsty ..."
"... British support for the mujahideen, married to the huge support provided by Washington, was indispensable in the eventual success of these self-styled 'holy warriors' in taking control of a country that had embraced modernity and turning it into a failed state mired in religious oppression, brutality, backwardness and poverty. ..."
"... Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organized themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. ..."
"... Islamic resistance ..."
"... We trust the Western leaders are prepared for the enormous beneficial possibilities that could just possibly open up if the Afghan rebellion were to succeed. ..."
"... Manchester, England is home to the largest Libyan community in Britain, and there is strong evidence to suggest that when the Libyan uprising broke out MI6 facilitated the ability of Libyan Islamists in Britain to travel to Libya to participate in the fighting. Among them was Salman Abedi, who it is thought received military training in the country before being allowed to return to the UK thereafter. ..."
"... This brings us on to Syria and, as with Libya, the question of how so many British Muslims have been able to travel from the UK to Syria via Turkey to take part in the anti-Assad insurgency since 2011? It also brings into sharp focus a policy that has veered between the ludicrous and the reckless. ..."
"... As for the recklessness of Britain's actions in Syria, look no further than the country's recent participation in the illegal missile strikes that were carried out in conjunction with the US and France, justified on the basis of as yet unproven allegations that Syrian government forces had carried out a chemical weapons attack on Douma, just outside Damascus. The only beneficiaries of such actions by the Western powers are Salafi-jihadist groups such as ISIS (whom it was later reported took advantage of the missile strike to mount a short-lived offensive), Al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam. ..."
"... The latter of those groups, Jaysh al-Islam, is a Saudi proxy. It was the dominant group in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta until the district's liberation by the Syrian Army and its allies with Russian support. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Britain's strategic relationship with radical Islam goes back decades and continues to this day. There is no more foul a stench than the stench of hypocrisy, and there is no more foul a hypocrisy than the British government painting Bashar al-Assad as a monster when in truth he and the Syrian people have been grappling with a twin-headed monster in the shape of Salafi-jihadi terror and Western imperialism. Both are committed to destroying Syria as an independent, non-sectarian state, and both are inextricably linked.

Author and journalist Mark Curtis charts in detail the contours of this history in his book 'Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam':

" British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called 'national interest' abroad, colluded for decades with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations. They have connived with them, worked alongside them and sometimes trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain's global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain's imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world. "

As far back as the First World War, when the Middle East began to assume strategic importance in the capitals of Western imperial and colonial powers, the British ruling class went out of its way to identify and recruit loyal local proxies in pursuit of its regional objectives. Britain's relationship with the Arab tribal chief, Ibn Saud, who would go on to establish Saudi Arabia in the early 1930s, began in 1915 with the Darin Pact, demarcating the territory then controlled by Saud as a British protectorate.

The following year, the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans erupted. Begun and inspired by Saud's fierce rival, Sharif Hussein, head of the Hashemite Arab tribe, the revolt was heavily bankrolled and supported by the British – a period immortalized in the exploits of British military agent T E Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia.

But whereas Sharif Hussein was a follower of orthodox Sunni Islam, Ibn Saud adhered to the radical doctrine of Wahhabism, which Winston Churchill was moved to describe as " bloodthirsty " and " intolerant ." Regardless, when it came to its imperial interests there was no tiger upon whose back the British ruling class was not willing to ride during this period, and which, as events have proved, it has not been willing to ride since.

The most egregious example of this policy, one that continues to have ramifications today, was the support provided by the UK to the Afghan mujahideen in the late 1970s and 1980s. The insurgency's objective was the overthrow of Kabul's secular and left-leaning government, whose crime in the eyes of the Islamist insurgency's US and UK sponsors was that it had embraced the social and economic model of Moscow rather than Washington during the first Cold War.

British support for the mujahideen, married to the huge support provided by Washington, was indispensable in the eventual success of these self-styled 'holy warriors' in taking control of a country that had embraced modernity and turning it into a failed state mired in religious oppression, brutality, backwardness and poverty.

Mark Curtis again:

" Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organized themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. "

While Washington's primary role in channeling military and financial support to the Afghan mujahideen, known as Operation Cyclone , may until have succeeded in overshadowing London's role in this dirty war, declassified British government cabinet papers which were made public in 2010 and reported in the UK media make grim reading.

They reveal that three weeks after Soviet forces arrived in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government in Kabul, struggling to deal with an insurgency that had broken out in the countryside, the Thatcher government was planning to supply military aid to the " Islamic resistance ." A confidential government memo provides a chilling insight into the insanity that passed for official policy: " We trust the Western leaders are prepared for the enormous beneficial possibilities that could just possibly open up if the Afghan rebellion were to succeed. "

It will be recalled that out of the ensuing collapse of Afghanistan emerged the Taliban, under whose rule the country was turned into a vast militant jihadist school and training camp. Many of the most notorious Islamist terrorists began their careers there, fighting the Soviets and then later broadening out their activities to other parts of the region and wider world. In this regard, Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda loom large.

Other notorious names from the world of Salafi-jihadism for whom Afghanistan proved indispensable include the Jordanian Abu al-Zarqawi, who founded Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the US-UK occupation, an organization that would over time morph into ISIS.

Abdelhakim Belhaj and other Libyan Islamists cut their jihadist teeth in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Returning to Libya, they formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in the eastern city of Benghazi. Though the group may have been disbanded in 2010, having failed to topple Gaddafi despite repeated attempts to assassinate the Libyan leader with, it's been claimed , the support of Britain's MI6, former members of the LIFG, including Belhaj, were important actors in the 2011 Libyan uprising.

By way of a reminder, the uprising in Libya started in Benghazi and would not have succeeded without the air support it received from NATO. Britain's then prime minister, David Cameron, was key in pushing for that air support and the sanction of the UN under the auspices of Security Council Resolution 1973. Though protecting civilians was central in wording of this UNSC resolution, it was shamefully distorted to justify regime change, culminating in Gaddafi's murder by the 'rebels.'

Staying with the LIFG, in the wake of the Manchester suicide-bomb attack in May 2017, which left 23 people dead and 500 injured, the fact that the bomber, a young Libyan by the name of Salman Abedi, was the son of a former member of the LIFG, did not receive anything like the media attention it should have at the time.

Manchester, England is home to the largest Libyan community in Britain, and there is strong evidence to suggest that when the Libyan uprising broke out MI6 facilitated the ability of Libyan Islamists in Britain to travel to Libya to participate in the fighting. Among them was Salman Abedi, who it is thought received military training in the country before being allowed to return to the UK thereafter.

This brings us on to Syria and, as with Libya, the question of how so many British Muslims have been able to travel from the UK to Syria via Turkey to take part in the anti-Assad insurgency since 2011? It also brings into sharp focus a policy that has veered between the ludicrous and the reckless.

Emblematic of the former was ex-prime minister David Cameron's claim , which he made during a 2015 Commons debate over whether the Royal Air Force should engage in air strikes against ISIS in Syria, that fighting as part of the Syrian were 70,000 moderates.

As for the recklessness of Britain's actions in Syria, look no further than the country's recent participation in the illegal missile strikes that were carried out in conjunction with the US and France, justified on the basis of as yet unproven allegations that Syrian government forces had carried out a chemical weapons attack on Douma, just outside Damascus. The only beneficiaries of such actions by the Western powers are Salafi-jihadist groups such as ISIS (whom it was later reported took advantage of the missile strike to mount a short-lived offensive), Al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam.

The latter of those groups, Jaysh al-Islam, is a Saudi proxy. It was the dominant group in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta until the district's liberation by the Syrian Army and its allies with Russian support.

Given the deep and longstanding ties between London and Riyadh; given the fact, reported towards the end of 2017, that British military personnel were embedded in a training role with Saudi forces in Yemen; given the news that a British special forces sergeant was killed in northern Syria at the end of March this year while embedded with the Kurds, revealing for the first time that British troops were operating in the country on the ground – given all that, the question of who else British special forces and military personnel may be embedded with in Syria is legitimate.

In the context of the British state's long and sordid history when it comes to riding the back of radical Islam in pursuit of its strategic objectives, readers will doubtless draw their own conclusions.

Read more

John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

[Apr 19, 2018] Merkel is a CIA asset. She has skeletons in her closet from her time in East Germany, and her meteoric rise to power was clearly engineered by a third party she herself lacked both the experience and the power base within the party for doing it herself

Judging from German press, Germany really looks like a US colony, not even vassal state.
Notable quotes:
"... She was promoted over Kohl's natural successor, Schaeuble, who was discredited using comparatively trifling allegations of accepting improper donations (aka bribes) on behalf of the party. ..."
"... Merkel has betrayed German interests at every turn, most blatantly in the context of the Greek debt fiasco and the refugee fake crisis. She goes along with imposing sanctions on Russia, which hurts export-oriented Germany like no other Western country. ..."
"... Merkel's selection as chancellor does not explain why German electorate keep electing her party as majority, which then is in the position to name her as chancellor. German people have been lobotomized and neutered after decades of Soros-Neocon brainwashing. ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , April 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT

The most interesting aspect of this false response to a false flag attack is the non participation by Germany. Turkey has one foot in both camps. Germany will be next to turn. Time is working against Imperial Washington.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT

@WorkingClass

German expat here.

Merkel is a CIA asset. She has skeletons in her closet from her time in East Germany, and her meteoric rise to power was clearly engineered by a third party -- she herself lacked both the experience and the power base within the party for doing it herself. She was promoted over Kohl's natural successor, Schaeuble, who was discredited using comparatively trifling allegations of accepting improper donations (aka bribes) on behalf of the party.

Merkel has betrayed German interests at every turn, most blatantly in the context of the Greek debt fiasco and the refugee fake crisis. She goes along with imposing sanctions on Russia, which hurts export-oriented Germany like no other Western country. At the same time, the "ultra-right" (i.e. common sense) party "Alternative fuer Deutschland" is forever mired in ridiculous infighting, which regularly escalates just ahead of elections -- funny how that is. Must be those meddling Russians.

Long story short, hell will freeze over before Merkel decides herself what is for breakfast, never mind for policy. I wish we could clone Putin and import him.

Avery , April 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm GMT
@Mike P

Merkel's selection as chancellor does not explain why German electorate keep electing her party as majority, which then is in the position to name her as chancellor. German people have been lobotomized and neutered after decades of Soros-Neocon brainwashing.

There is no other explanation for people who are committing slow self-extermination as a distinct ethnos. Same with the French electorate: they had a chance to elect a true French patriot and instead chose another globalist weirdo poodle.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 7:49 pm GMT
@Avery

Merkel's party has no majority – actually her party's share of the vote is at historic lows with less than one third (traditionally it was 45-50%). She has moved that formerly conservative party to the left by co-opting green and welfare agendas of the competing parties. The other formerly strong party, the Social Democrats, have been reduced to a status of auxiliaries in an eternal "grand coalition". In spite of infighting, the new "right-wing" AfD came in third in the last elections.

But of course, as you say, the people's failure to get rid of her is due in large measure to relentless media brainwashing, they swallow the refugee nonsense because it is subliminally suggested that it atones for the "holocaust" etc. I don't read a single German newspaper anymore, the manure is just too depressing.

Sean , April 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Mike P

Militarily subsidised by Nato, Germany spends next to nothing on its own defence and is keeping wages down even more than usual by importing immigrants, thereby aiding its deindustrialising of the rest of the EU. Russia is declining in national power compared to Germany by getting into silly pissing contests with America. Adolf Hitler always said it would be necessary to sacrifice millions of Germans to make Germany Great. He would approve of Merkel.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 9:47 pm GMT
@Sean

What keeps German wages down, in real terms, is the Euro, not the migrants.

You are correct on the neglect of the armed forces. I have griped about it often, but I have recently changed my tune. If the forces were indeed up to snuff, this would only cause the U.S. to "ask" for their deployment in their many endless idiotic wars. Letting the troops degrade to some sort of war museum on wheels is a sly way of getting out of that – can't deploy in the short term, sorry, no spark plugs, but will be more than happy to go along for the next war so I now see this as one of the few things Merkel got right.

[Apr 19, 2018] The Corrupt U.S. Congress Cheers as the War Industry Steals Billions from the People's Coffers !

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

S. N. , April 19, 2018 at 12:43 am GMT

The Corrupt U.S. Congress Cheers as the War Industry Steals Billions from the People's Coffers !

Christian Sorensen | April 13, 2018

"Missile Production Capacity

In February, Newsbud reported on the war industry increasing its capacity to produce Hellfire missiles.

Capacity to produce other missile types is expanding as well.

On 6 March 2018, BAE Systems received close to $13.7 million to help increase production capacity of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS). With its headquarters in London, BAE Systems links the U.K. war industry to the United States, effectively underpinning the 'special relationship' between the two countries.

On 19 March 2018, Raytheon received roughly $7.8 million to improve the production capacity of AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles. Steps Raytheon might take to increase missile production include adding more equipment, altering staffing levels, and upgrading its facilities.

The war industry has been operating at full steam for the past seventeen years. Now, these contracts tell us, the boardrooms of prominent war industry giants believe there is reason to produce more Hellfire, APKWS, and Sidewinder missiles. Is it war with Iran? A bigger offensive against President Assad's forces in Syria? Conflict in Korea?

The U.S. war industry is expecting more sustained, high-tempo hostilities in the near future. You've been warned."

https://www.newsbud.com/2018/04/13/the-corrupt-u-s-congress-cheers-as-the-war-industry-steals-billions-from-the-peoples-coffers/

[Apr 19, 2018] Mad madam prostitute Nick Halley has to be soothed by Kudlow telling her she was not a demented rat.

Notable quotes:
"... So a choreographed coordinated attack works for Iran. Trump is happy. His base angry. His enemies can't go after him for few hours or days ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

KA , April 19, 2018 at 1:53 am GMT

Iran doesn't want to escalate the situation and give Trump any leverage on Iran deal. Iran wants to deprive any moral political or legal supports from EU to USA on this. Trump pulls out. Rest remains same. This will give Iran moral political and legal authorities to pursue its nuclear program with China and Russia.

This will have domino effects on other areas of these 3 countries -- how to conduct business internationally.

So a choreographed coordinated attack works for Iran. Trump is happy. His base angry. His enemies can't go after him for few hours or days . Mad madam prostitute Nick Halley has to be soothed by Kudlow telling her she was not a demented rat.

[Apr 18, 2018] Comey Calls McCabe A Liar, McCabe's Attorney Fires Back Zero Hedge

Apr 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

A massive battle is brewing between former FBI Director James Comey, and his deputy Andy McCabe - as first noted a few weeks ago by the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross - over exactly who is lying about Comey knowing that McCabe had been leaking self-serving information to the Wall Street Journal .

Comey stopped by ABC's The View to peddle his new book, A Higher Royalty Loyalty, where he called his former Deputy Andrew McCabe a liar , and admitted that he "ordered the report" which found McCabe guilty of leaking to the press and then lying under oath about it, several times.

Comey was asked by host Megan McCain how he thought the public was supposed to have "confidence" in the FBI amid revelations that McCabe lied about the leak.

" It's not okay. The McCabe case illustrates what an organization committed to the truth looks like ," Comey said. " I ordered that investigation. "

Comey then appeared to try and frame McCabe as a "good person" despite all the lying.

"Good people lie. I think I'm a good person, where I have lied," Comey said. " I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person but the inspector general found he lied, " noting that there are "severe consequences" within the DOJ for doing so. As a reminder, the Justice Department's internal watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, released a report last week detailing his conclusions from the months-long probe of McCabe, which found that the former acting FBI Director leaked a self-serving story to the press and then lied about it under oath .

In response, McCabe's attorney, Michael R. Bromwich (flush with cash from the disgraced Deputy Director's half-million dollar legal defense GoFundMe campaign), fired back - claiming that Comey was well aware of the leaks .

" In his comments this week about the McCabe matter, former FBI Director James Comey has relied on the Inspector Genera's (OIG) conclusions in their report on Mr. McCabe. In fact, the report fails to adequately address the evidence (including sworn testimony) and documents that prove that Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey repeatedly that he was working with the Wall Street Journal on the stories in question..." reads the statement in part. So to review , McCabe was fired when it was uncovered that he authorized an F.B.I. spokesman and attorney to tell Devlin Barrett of the Wall St. Journal , just days before the 2016 election, that the FBI had not put the brakes on a separate investigation into the Clinton Foundation - at a time in which McCabe was coming under fire for his wife taking a $467,500 campaign contribution from Clinton proxy pal, Terry McAuliffe.

The WSJ article in question reads:

New details show that senior law-enforcement officials repeatedly voiced skepticism of the strength of the evidence in a bureau investigation of the Clinton Foundation, sought to condense what was at times a sprawling cross-country effort, and, according to some people familiar with the matter, told agents to limit their pursuit of the case . The probe of the foundation began more than a year ago to determine whether financial crimes or influence peddling occurred related to the charity.

...

Some investigators grew frustrated, viewing FBI leadership as uninterested in probing the charity , these people said. Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying Mr. McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case .

So McCabe leaked information to the WSJ in order to combat rumors that Clinton had indirectly bribed him to back off the Clinton Foundation investigation, and then lied about it four times to the DOJ and FBI, including twice under oath.

Did McCabe in fact tell Comey about the leaks?

Is Comey losing his " boyscoutish " charm?

Will McCabe and Comey face justice following Wednesday's criminal referral to the DOJ?

Find out on the next episode of bickering bureaucrats...

... ... ...

[Apr 18, 2018] Ever heard of the British Army s 77th Brigade?

Notable quotes:
"... It turns out that news reports citing UOSSM tend *also* to cite or refer to "French intelligence," especially if the report has to do with local conditions or events within Syria. So perhaps the "partnership" between the UOSSM and the White Helmets in Syria represents, in large part, the coordination of British and French military propaganda/intelligence services ..."
"... I had already heard that French intelligence was using Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as cover in Syria, but was not aware that UOSSM in Syria is likely--at least in part--another French intelligence front. ..."
"... My own impression is that the NGO-ification of military and state intelligence of the degree and sophistication we see in Syria is a relatively recent phenomenon, predicated in part on the disseminating capacities of social media platforms. Is this right? ..."
"... My wife and I stopped donating to MSF a few months ago, based on their evident lack of neutrality in Syria. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Pat Lang Mod -> Wj , a day ago

Ever heard of the British Army's 77th Brigade?
Wj -> Pat Lang , a day ago
PLang,

No, but you just sent me down a fascinating rabbit hole. From what I can tell, there is the already established link between White Helmets and Mayday Rescue, which seems to be an extension of or front for the 77th.

It turns out that news reports citing UOSSM tend *also* to cite or refer to "French intelligence," especially if the report has to do with local conditions or events within Syria. So perhaps the "partnership" between the UOSSM and the White Helmets in Syria represents, in large part, the coordination of British and French military propaganda/intelligence services.

I had already heard that French intelligence was using Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as cover in Syria, but was not aware that UOSSM in Syria is likely--at least in part--another French intelligence front. How common is this kind of multinational coordination of intelligence/propaganda front groups, if that is what this is?

My own impression is that the NGO-ification of military and state intelligence of the degree and sophistication we see in Syria is a relatively recent phenomenon, predicated in part on the disseminating capacities of social media platforms. Is this right?

TTG -> Wj , a day ago
Wj,

"How common is this kind of multinational coordination of intelligence/propaganda front groups, if that is what this is?"

The coordination and interoperability among these special operations units is intense and has grown rapidly over the last decade. Even in the 80s this joint combined exchange training was the norm. Now it extends into live operations.

This 77th Brigade is an odd mashup linking civil affairs and PSYOP capabilities, but kept within the Tier 1 special operations community. I never heard of it before, but it's a logical progression. We probably have a similar military capability, but i have no idea what it is.

JJackson -> TTG , a day ago
I note it also has close links to the close ties with the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade.
Peter C. -> Wj , 7 hours ago
My wife and I stopped donating to MSF a few months ago, based on their evident lack of neutrality in Syria. The reply from their Donor Relations office did nothing to dispel that impression. In it, MSF admitted that "extreme insecurity has forced us to remove our medical teams from the front lines of the conflict. As a result, in order to do what we can to help alleviate the suffering of Syrians, we have partnered with several hospitals and medical clinics to provide support, with medical supplies and expertise from a distance...Though our teams may not be physically present on the front lines, we receive regular reports..."

I think we can guess who those "reports" are from.

[Apr 18, 2018] I believe Stoicism has a great deal of value for modern man.

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Rob from Canada on April 15, 2018 , · at 5:39 pm UTC

In my opinion, the ego becomes "mental" when it starts believing in duality, that it's the centre of the personality and in control. It's just the centre of the field of consciousness.

I believe Stoicism has a great deal of value for modern man.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5897dMWJiSM&t=333s

"The axiom of Maria. A precept in alchemy: "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."
Jung used the axiom of Maria as a metaphor for the whole process of individuation. One is the original state of unconscious wholeness; two signifies the conflict between opposites; three points to a potential resolution; the third is the transcendent function; and the one as the fourth is a transformed state of consciousness, relatively whole and at peace."

­
Stuart Harlan Doblin on April 16, 2018 , · at 5:43 pm UTC
Good Day Rob from Canada – Stuart says, "Hi".

"In my opinion, the ego becomes "mental" when it starts believing in duality, that it's the centre of the personality and in control. It's just the centre of the field of consciousness."

Stuart begins: Our ego is a vestigal organ, long since gone by the by, and all that remains is a cell-wall-less gooey-plasma ready at the moment to luminesce and retire into nothingness.

I take it as axiotmatic that our Whole Mind cannot lose it Self.

OK, Rob from Canada, now to your opinions:

One: "the ego becomes "mental" when it starts believing in duality".
Two: "(the ego is) the centre of the personality".
Three: "(the ego is) in control".
Four: "(the ego) is the centre of the field of consciousness".

Regarding Point One: Please explain how fracturing an entirely mistaken ideal can lead to dualism and not chaos?
Two: "Who says?"
Three: "Of What?"
Four: An unconscious ideal cannot attain consciousness, except in illusions.

Barry on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:46 pm UTC
Hi Stuart! Here's my take on the issue of ego being mental, and from my own experience it is correct. With very little practice one can observe his thoughts and internal dialogue. It doesn't require meditation. It's simply a matter of paying attention to our internal dialogue. We all talk to ourselves. That internal dialogue is the ego talking to itself. The ego is a mental construction based on the brain's interpretation of it's experience since birth. So what are we witnessing the ego's internal dialogue and thoughts with? That's where our "spirituality" lies, regardless of religion or no religion. We all have immediate access to the witness to our own ego but few use it. The "witness" is silent. It observes and knows, but doesn't know how or why it knows. Call it "knowingness". That witnessing awareness is silent. Zen Buddhists call it the practice of "no mind". In modern sports it's called being in "The Zone". Though silent is is a very aware state of consciousness.
Instead of using our brain to think when we want to use it to think, we let the brain's ego think us and think our lives for us. Our ego is our own worst enemy. The ego never sees the "big picture" of all involved. The ego/mind is always insecure and spends it's life trying to compensate is some way or another to overcome it's basic insecurity.
Humans for the most part, identify with their mental chatter (the ego). Any real spiritual teaching, teaches us to identify, instead, with the observer of the ego, which is transcending the ego.
All the problems we face on this planet are because of insecure individual egos, grouping to form tribal egos, such as tribes of nationalism, tribes of religious beliefs, tribes of political beliefs, tribes of sports team fans. Egos tend to be competitive and want to be "one up" in some way. One can easily see that the party of Democrats has an ego identity as does the party of Republicans. Egos are mental creations. Mental creations are not necessarily true. They are beliefs about our perception, whether actually correct or not. The witness or observer we all have and share knows the truth of the moment and the appropriate action to take. Of all the books on Spiritual Practices I've read through the years (I'm 80), I recommend Eckhart Tolle's "The Power Of Now". The best to you!
Stiv R on April 16, 2018 , · at 1:59 am UTC
To Barry, thank you for your post. I have read Tolle's book too, about 8 years ago, and found it really making good sense to me. Your explanation of our internal dialogue not being who we really are, is very clear and well-said. These can be hard concepts to get one's head around. You did an admirable job of it in your post.
Thanks again for posting your thoughts.
Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 5:12 am UTC
Insecure group think problems at the crux of existence.

Simple, profound and, also from my experience, true.

Thank you Barry.

Stuart Harlan Doblin on April 16, 2018 , · at 5:35 pm UTC
Barry, I pride myself in speaking to an octogenarian! "And from my own experience" .

"Here's my take on the issue of ego being mental, and from my own experience it is correct. With very little practice one can observe his thoughts and internal dialogue. It doesn't require meditation. It's simply a matter of paying attention to our internal dialogue. We all talk to ourselves. That internal dialogue is the ego talking to itself. The ego is a mental construction based on the brain's interpretation of it's experience since birth."

Barry, the internal dialogue of what you speak, is to me, your conscience and your inner self, not the ego talking to a hallucination of itself; for what can an illusion manifest but more illusions of : it : self.

The ego is a misprojection from our higher mind; ergo, not mind, but misunderstanding, illusion, maya, separate from reality, separate from us, not us, not anyone, just lost awareness with no where to settle but nonexistence from which it came.

Robin Gaura on April 17, 2018 , · at 5:51 pm UTC
Cool. I´d take it a bit further, though. Putting the mind on emptiness, the place without characteristics, in a deep meditative state. One sees the way things really exist, the way consciousness creates our reality, the truth of emptiness and karma. Its called entering the stream. The beginning of the transformation to the divine being. Its an experience that changes you forever.
Beyond words. Meditation is essential.

[Apr 18, 2018] The Rape of Russia, an Interview with F. William Engdahl (Audio)

Notable quotes:
"... What the US Government under George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush Senior organised together with CIA, old boy networks of his, in terms of the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the looting of the assets, this open theft, the destruction of pensions, security, the health system and everything. The only appropriate word is the rape of Russia. They just pondered anything that they could. ..."
"... And the West, the Bush networks recruited a handful of KGB agents around Yeltsin who literally promoted Yeltsin to the top when they engineered the August 1991 fake coup. ..."
"... And through that the – this network, this corrupt network within the KGB that was working with the CIA, working with General Philip, Bob [unclear] is one of them, so called at that time the KGB brain. He was head of the KGB Fifth Directorate controlling to roll this in. ..."
"... They engineered a complete opening up of the assets of the Russian Federation which called today the Russian Federation, the largest part of the former Soviet Union and they made it such that the Russian Federation would assume all of the debts of Ukraine, of Kazakhstan and the other socialist republics of the Soviet and all the assets, all the crucial assets that were within the Russian Federation so the aluminium Rusal that's in the headlines yesterday, the nickel, the oil, the gas, just hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars' worth of assets that came into Yeltsin's control. ..."
"... Soros was very intermittently tied with Jeffrey Sachs and the whole Harvard to become a shock therapy group and working with Lawrence Summers team at the US Treasury under Clinton. ..."
"... So, Chubais was as an adviser to Yeltsin at that time and the key person on the economy arranged the secret meeting with George Soros. And Soros agreed to finance of course on behalf of Yeltsin, the referendum campaign. So he funnelled money over a million dollars by some accounts to offshore accounts set up to be used by Chubais to buy media. ..."
"... In 1989 President George H. W. Bush began the multi-billion dollar Project Hammer program using an investment strategy to bring about the economic destruction of the Soviet Union including the theft of the Soviet treasury, the destabilization of the ruble, funding a KGB coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 and the seizure of major energy and munitions industries in the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Given the depth of the fall, the rise (under Putin) has been remarkable. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | russia-insider.com

The Rape of Russia (full transcript)

Lars Schall: Hello ladies and gentlemen. I am now connected with F. William Engdahl, who has written a new book, Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. Hi William.

F. William Engdahl: Hello, Lars. Good to be with you again.

LS: Great to have you with us. And first off, let me read something to you and our audience that was written by the economist Dean Baker earlier this month.

As a long-term columnist at the NYT, Thomas Friedman apparently never feels the need to know anything about the topics on which he writes. This explains his sarcastic speculation that Putin could be a CIA agent since he has done so much to hurt Russia.

For all his authoritarian tendencies, it is likely that most Russians think primarily about Putin's impact on the economy, just as is typically the case among voters in the United States. On that front, Putin has a very good record.

According to data from the IMF Russia's economy had plunged in the 1990s under the Yeltsin presidency. When Putin took over in 1998, per capita income in the country had shrunk by more than 40 percent from its 1990 level. This is a far sharper downturn than the United States saw in the Great Depression. Since Putin took power its per capita income has risen by more than 115 percent, an average annual growth rate of more than 3.9 percent.

While this growth has been very unequal, that was also the case even as Russia's economy was collapsing under Yeltsin. The typical Russian has done hugely better in the last two decades under Putin than they did in the period when Yeltsin was in power.

For this reason, there are probably few Russians who would have sympathy for Friedman's speculation about Putin's ties to the CIA. The same would not be the case for Boris Yeltsin.

Now, I think this is a good starting point for our discussion William because in your book, you have a chapter entitled The Rape of Russia, the CIA's Yeltsin Coup d'état. Why do you talk about rape related to Russia?

FWE: What the US Government under George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush Senior organised together with CIA, old boy networks of his, in terms of the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the looting of the assets, this open theft, the destruction of pensions, security, the health system and everything. The only appropriate word is the rape of Russia. They just pondered anything that they could.

And what you just read from Mr. Friedman is of course horse rubbish but the real CIA asset of this whole collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s was in fact Boris Yeltsin and the so called Yeltsin Family, the Yeltsin Mafia. And in my book, the Manifest Destiny book I document and detail at great lengths the relation of a handful of KGB very, very senior persons who worked with the Bush Senior old boys CIA networks in the West and their banks to create a group of oligarchs around Yeltsin, you know the famous Russian oligarchs, well, The New York Times and other Western Media portrayed them as Russian Mafia. They were kind of mafia but the real point was that they were a CIA-run mafia. They were run by the West. They betrayed their own country, their own people and literally stole billions and billions and billions of dollars of assets. And that's the reason for the title in that chapter.

LS: And Boris Yeltsin was very essential for this.

FWE: He was the key figure. He had been selected as a regional governor and brought into Moscow and a certain point Gorbachev saw him as a rising star and someone that could help with a little bit more liberal image as [unclear] was – the Russian economy was running into serious trouble in the '80s, the Star Wars of Reagan, the Nicaragua and above all the war in Afghanistan which is a CIA project with the Mujahideen, that took 10 years long that was bleeding the Soviet economy, the Soviet Union's Vietnam, as Brzezinski used to call it.

And the West, the Bush networks recruited a handful of KGB agents around Yeltsin who literally promoted Yeltsin to the top when they engineered the August 1991 fake coup. You remember, I'm sure many people remember the picture of Boris Yeltsin standing there courageously on top of a Soviet tank in front of the Russian White House or Soviet House, the Supreme Soviet building and reading a speech defying Gorbachev and so forth. Well, that was a KGB CIA-engineered coup d'état in June 1991. And through that the – this network, this corrupt network within the KGB that was working with the CIA, working with General Philip, Bob [unclear] is one of them, so called at that time the KGB brain. He was head of the KGB Fifth Directorate controlling to roll this in. And he later joined the [#inaudible 00:06:40-0#] oil and to this day he's still a member of the State Duma giving him prosecution immunity.

So, some of these people are still around after some 23, 25 years and incredibly enough but others of them have died off, have been killed, or murdered or whatever. But the operation that was done with Yeltsin, this corrupt KGB network working with the CIA financed Yeltsin's the silent seat of the presidency of the Russian Federation. And once they had their man in controlling the Russian Federation which is the largest of the former Soviet Union, the Socialist Republic, they were able to engineer through the international monetary fund that was mandated to oversee the transformation of the Soviet economy.

They engineered a complete opening up of the assets of the Russian Federation which called today the Russian Federation, the largest part of the former Soviet Union and they made it such that the Russian Federation would assume all of the debts of Ukraine, of Kazakhstan and the other socialist republics of the Soviet and all the assets, all the crucial assets that were within the Russian Federation so the aluminium Rusal that's in the headlines yesterday, the nickel, the oil, the gas, just hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars' worth of assets that came into Yeltsin's control.

LS: But those assets were sold to a price that was rather ridiculous.

FWE: Someone estimated that that gets into the whole coupon privatisation that was set up under Yeltsin in the '90s. The coupon privatisation issued one coupon to every single Russian man, woman and child 140 million in total. And the value of those coupons was such someone estimated that the totality of Russian Soviet's Fed assets or Russian Federation assets now was equal to the value of the stock at that point of General Electric Company on the New York Stock Exchange. I mean that's just laughable. Russia had financial bankruptcy because the shock therapy, the Jeffrey Sachs and others from Harvard and elsewhere brought in, George Soros and his pals. That created bankrupt companies that couldn't stand on their own and suddenly they had no, no resources. But the assets, the assets on the ground, the nickel, the aluminium, the uranium that Hillary Clinton knows more than a little bit about them, all of these were estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. And this is what the Bush operation aimed at. And they used NGOs, they used the National Endowment for Democracy, they used, George Soros' Open Society Foundation and so forth to bring this about.

LS: You've mentioned already the coup d'etat attempt of August 1991. Highly important for things to come was something that took place in early 1991 and that was the theft of the Soviet gold. Please tell us about this.

FWE: The, under the Soviet Union, this is a very crucial point about the transition that Washington forced on the Russian Federation because Yeltsin was, I think as long as he was well-supplied with vodka he didn't protest very much. But under the Soviet system and the Russian Federation took this over, there was a state bank, not a private central bank like the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank today but a state bank that was an entity of the Russian State apparatus and that was called the Gosbank. And a man named Viktor Gerashchenko was the chairman of Gosbank at the time of Yeltsin's early start in 1991.

And Gerashchenko made a speech around that time in November of '91 to the Russian Duma or the parliament such as it was and said, "I have to report to you ladies and gentlemen that of perhaps 3,000 tons of Gosbank state-owned gold reserves, we have an estimated less than 400 tons that we can account for." And then he had to go to tell, shock members of parliament that he had no idea what happened to the missing gold, which of course was a lie. And Gerashchenko had created right after 1989 to prepare this coup d'etat coup, which was the CIA and Bush's old boys, he had created something called [unclear] on the Channel Islands in the Island of Jersey to handle the Russian foreign currency reserves.

And the Jersey was exempt from European supervision, so this was a perfect place to hide money, dirty money or stolen money and they managed something like $37 billion between 1993 and 1998. The Gerashchenko and the Gosbank even went to the lengths of hiring a New York Financial Detective firm called the Financial CIA back then called Jules Kroll Associate. And they were told to track the Soviet gold, find out what happened to it and something like $14 billion of communist party assets that were missing as well. And the Cruel which was tied with the CIA linked AIG Insurance Group Hank Greenberg whom you remember from the 2008 to the bail out of Henry Paulson.

LS: Yes.

FEW: The Kroll Associates after a few months announced that they had no results in the attempt to find the missing Soviet Gosbank gold. Then to add insult to injury, the IMF came in and rewrote the constitution of the Russian Federation under Yeltsin and took the power of money creation just like the Federal Reserve took the power of money creation from the congress in 1913. They took the power of money creation from the state and created the Russian Federation Central Bank, the Russian Central Bank and gave it a mandate for two things. One, to control inflation and the other to create currency stability.

Now, in Russia that day that meant stability of the ruble against the US dollar. So it effectively hammer-locked the Russian money creation into the US dollar. And unfortunately that constitution amendment holds until the present day. It's one of the difficulties that Vladimir Putin has been having to try to persuade the Independent Central Bank to lower interest rates more rapidly as inflation is simply managed as a problem in Russia in the last two years.

So, they looted the gold so that there would be no stability to the ruble. If you don't have any gold-backing, then western investors are going to lack confidence which is sort of what happened. And then they began working with very select western bankers to get their money out of Russia.

LS: And instrumental to get money out of Russia were Valmet and Riggs. Can you tell us please about some crucial personnel that was employed there at Valmet and Riggs?

FWE: Valmet Riggs was kind of a fusion of a Swiss bank and Riggs Bank of Washington D. C. And Riggs Bank, this is really quite a fascinating and very little discussed aspect of the reign of Russia back in the '90s.

So you have something called Riggs Bank in Washington and they were set up decades earlier since the 1960s CIA Bay of Pigs operation, they were known as the CIA tied bank. They invested the assets of people like Marcos of the Philippines until when he was close to the CIA. And there was a former NATO Ambassador named Alton Keel and in 1989 when the Soviet KGB generals and they had a group of protégés called the 'Kids' by George Bush Senior. The protégés were in their 30s and a couple of them were in their 40s but rather young. And they were the ones who were nominated to become the oligarchs, the frontal men for taking these state assets the aluminium, the oil assets and other things and looting the Russian Federation.

And Alton Keel just as the Russians were setting up men at a bank for the oligarchs to funnel their stolen assets, de facto stolen assets, Keel went from NATO and the National Security Council to become a head of international banking of Riggs Bank in Washington and its deputy chairman.

Now, it gets even more interesting because the international banking group of Riggs included a new entity that had been created called Riggs Valmet SA in Switzerland, and Riggs Valmet was set up by a man named Jonathan J. Bush, a private banker, who just happened to be the brother of George Herbert Walker Bush. So, Bush brother and Alton Keel set up Riggs Valmet, there was a money laundering apparatus in Geneva and Riggs then through their help bought the major share in Geneva Valmet to create Riggs Valmet.

So, you have the brother of the president of the United States up to his eyeballs in this whole Yeltsin CIA money laundering operation. And then Jonathan Bush was created CEO of something called Riggs Investment in Connecticut where he lived and at that point the looting and taking of the dollar assets out of Russia was just unstoppable. It was in the billions and tens of billions of dollars.

LS: William, there is one guy who was working closely with those people and he was working on Wall Street but later on he was personally recruited by George Tenet then the Director of CIA to become the number three at the CIA, and this is Alvin Bernard "Buzzy" Krongard.

FWE: Yes. We meet "Buzzy" Krongard at Bankers Trust, which bought up Alex Brown, and Krongard became vice chairman of Bankers Trust along with another charming character named Carter Beese. And at the time of the 1998 collapse of the ruble, Krongard was formally made, as you've pointed out, number three, the executive director at the CIA under George Tenet. So, it's a CIA network from beginning to end, from the banking side to you know the direct CIA side. You have Carter Beast, you have "Buzzy" Krongard, Jonathan Bush and Alton Keel and they were the ones working with Valmet as the Riggs Valmet Bank in Geneva to pull this money out through shell companies.

And the oligarchs, this is an interesting part of this whole thing that you know right now Theresa May and the foreign secretary Boris Johnson in the UK are accusing Putin of murdering almost everybody since the birth of Jesus Christ. And one of them was the person who had been the trusted bodyguard of one of the oligarchs living in London Boris Berezovsky.

And Berezovsky was one of the dirtiest of these oligarchs. He'd financed the Ukrainian Colour Revolution back in 2003, 2004 as a revenge against Putin because he at first thought Putin could be bought like Yeltsin and suddenly he realized that he was up against the faction of nationalists within of what had been the KGB but wanted to stabilise and preserve Russia as a functioning nation today. And so Mikhail Khodorkovskyi, Roman Abramovich, who is listed on the sanctions list yesterday, and Berezovsky were some of the leading oligarchs that were created by this Bush operation.

LS: And to jumpstart all of this, we have to talk about something that is well, that is stranger than fiction and that is something called for example "Yamashita's Gold". If our audience is interested in this, they could for example look for an article written by Chalmers Johnson, the famous Asian expert, The Looting of Asia, which was published at the London Review of Books on the 20 th of November of 2003 because then they can find something on this topic of Yamashita's gold on an instant basis in the internet ( https://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n22/chalmers-johnson/the-looting-of-asia ). I think this is just fair

FWE: Yeah.

LS: because no one really is aware of this whole story. Please tell us about this.

FWE: The Yamashita Gold story is one of the, as you've said really incredible stories of post-World War II. During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial Family looted the gold of occupied Arch of China, they looted the gold of all the parts of Asia that they had conquered.

LS: Basically from 1895 to 1945.

FWE: Yeah, yeah. And because they had no guarantee that Japan was going to win the war, the emperor ordered the gold to be hidden away in, mostly in the Philippines as far as we know and literally untold tons of gold were buried so deep underground in tunnels around the Philippines and the people who dug the tunnels in many cases were later shot you know so that they couldn't tell. But Marcos who was a CIA asset initially, the dictator of the Philippines through much of the '70s and into the '80s, yeah through the '70, Ferdinand Marcos somehow came upon some of this gold. So, the Japanese looted war body was buried in the early '40s before the end of the war on orders of Emperor Hirohito should they lose the war.

And at some point in the 1970s, Marcos discovered some of the sites where Hirohito's soldiers had buried the gold and the gold was stolen from China, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia and other countries occupied by the Japanese forces. And Marcos, and I think this is the major reason the CIA dumped him, got a little bit greedy and took that gold and started selling it under the market through selective secret Swiss banks. But he used the CIA asset, the Saudi billionaire named Adnan Khashoggi to help them get the gold under the market. And what he didn't realise was that Khashoggi would double cross him. He got a better deal from Bush Senior and the old boys.

LS: We have to say Khashoggi is a figure who is involved for example in B.C.C.I. and in Iran-Contra.

FWE: Back in the '70s he was involved in everything dirty that Bush and the CIA were involved in. B.C.C.I. Bank, the money laundering bank of the CIA, the arms deals, Khashoggi was a huge arms dealer during the Iran and Iraq war the CIA was feeding. He was involved in almost every dirty thing the CIA was doing.

LS: He was aware of this gold.

FWE: Supposedly he was helping Marcos to sell the gold out of the market. So he was not only aware of it, he was right in the middle of it. But then once Marcos was tackled by the CIA Bush got rid of Marcos in 1986. Then someone named Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Armitage and Khashoggi began to work with someone in Canada to create something called – Peter Munk was his name, a rather dubious businessman there – to found something called Barrick Gold of Canada and later it went on to become the world's largest gold mining company.

But Barrick Gold, all available evidence is that buried gold was used to melt down the – I don't want to get too much into the details of this but basically to melt down the Emperor Hirohito's gold that had been discovered by Marcos in the Philippines, to melt it down and use that as collateral for derivatives that would be the collateral used to take over the Russian Federation assets.

LS: The money was basically transformed into bank loans into Russia so that the would-become oligarch people could buy up those assets

FWE: Yes, exactly. So, Yegor Gaidar, the economic privatisation adviser of Yeltsin and his sidekick Anatoly Chubais privatisation had kind of guided this whole process together with Jeffrey Sachs and a group from Harvard University. #00:28:37-8#

LS: Yeah. Let us talk about this. This is known as Harvard Shock Therapy.

FEW: Well, the Jeffrey Sachs Shock Therapy, but the Harvard shock therapy is – well, what happened, the next phase of this incredible story and it's important to keep all this in mind, this is one reason that I wrote the book because of what was clear after the CIA coup d'etat of 2014 in Ukraine and all the sanctions against Putin's Russia and so forth, that if you don't understand what really happened in the '90s, the deep-seated hatred there is on these neoconservatives around Washington and their think tanks as well as, the US political establishment for Putin's Russia and the nationalism behind group Russia. You can't make much sense out of what's going on today with all these incredible lies and accusations against Russia for every crime under the book.

So, what happened is the, as I mentioned the IMF, the International Monetary Fund which had done a beautiful job for Washington in terms of, and George Soros and others in terms of looting the assets of the dead economies of Latin America, Yugoslavia, Poland and others during the oil crisis in the 1970s. The IMF was used and a group of economists around Jeffrey Sachs, a young professor at Harvard University then to impose what Sachs called shock therapy.

And the idea was that Sachs convinced Yeltsin, let prices rise through western market prices and this will increase the supply of goods, you know the stores had a paucity of goods back in the Soviet Times and get rid of trade barriers so foreign commodities could flow in to fill the shelves of Russian stores. The problem was that was a lie. The shops had been full. Okay, you could say it wasn't Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Fried Perdue Chickens or whatever, but they were full of Russian food products until November of '91 when Yeltsin announced that the exact date on December 31 st of 1991, that price controls would be suddenly lifted. So, shop owners immediately hid their goods and waited for December 31 st . So, suddenly the shops were empty and rationing was imposed and so forth. It's just unbelievable.

So, into this, this was Jeffrey Sachs on shock therapy and a group of Harvard University under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development, a group of, among other things later documented CIA agents set up shop in Moscow and worked with Yeltsin's economic team Gaidar and Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais and themselves got in on the thunder the Russian East Harvard economist working. Now we have a transition in '93 through the Clinton Administration and there former Harvard professor and former World Bank Chief Economist Lawrence Summers became the deputy secretary of treasury responsible for the looting of Russia, effective and responsible for the gold economic transition in the Russian Federation.

And all of the key actors were named by Summers and they were all involved in the privatisation of Russia. They were all from this Harvard Mafia. For example of David Lipton, a former consulting partner of the Jeffrey Sachs, became deputy assistant secretary of treasure for former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and Sachs himself was named Director of Harvard HIID that oversaw the looting of Russia through the voucher privatisation and so forth. And they got grants from the USAID, AID works very closely with the CIA in different parts of the world, this is documented. And so it was really a tight-knit cabal around Lawrence Summers that oversaw this complete theft through these pieces of paper called privatisation coupons.

And what you had was the economic situation under Yeltsin had become so severe I mean people literally they had no jobs because of the freeing up of prices, they could afford to buy little or nothing. So, most people, millions of Russians sold their privatisation vouchers on the street corners to the highest bidder. And of course the would-be oligarchs were the ones with hard currency dollars that they could buy these things up as you pointed out earlier when we talked about them. So, they had credits from their friends in the West, the Riggs Valmet and so forth to buy up these vouchers and therefore they were able when the cost came up, were able to simply steal the property titles, the ownership titles of some of the most valuable investor assets and mineral assets in the world.

LS: And we can talk about this as a classical case of leveraged buyout – even though it was a covered leveraged buyout, if it was?

FEW: Well, you could call it a leveraged buyout. I know Anne Williamson has used that term, the earlier descriptions of it. I think it was simply legalised theft, leveraged buyout gives it too much dignity. That was a term that was quite popular in the financial world back in the '80s and the early '90s. But whatever name you want to give it, it was certainly not a conventional leveraged buyout, it was bizarre in every sense of the word.

LS: An influential figure in this was mentioned by you already, George Soros. And in 1994, as you point out in your book, he was described with the following words from The Guardian in London, "Soros extraordinary role not only as the world's most successful investor but now possibly fantastically as the senior most powerful foreign influence in the whole of the former Soviet Empire, it tricks more suspicion than curiosity." What was he doing back then in Russia?

FWE: Soros was very intermittently tied with Jeffrey Sachs and the whole Harvard to become a shock therapy group and working with Lawrence Summers team at the US Treasury under Clinton. And in 1993 already the opposition inside what was left of Russia when the old communist party was in the Duma and so forth and the population generally was such that the opposition threatened to get out of hand and Yeltsin was forced to agree to hold a national referendum on the entire privatisation. So, this was in April of '93 and the referendum that was given to the population had four questions, yes or no. Do you support Yeltsin? Yes or no? Do you support Yeltsin's economic policy? Yes or no? Do you want early election for president? Yes or no? And do you want early elections for parliament? Yes or no?

So, Chubais was as an adviser to Yeltsin at that time and the key person on the economy arranged the secret meeting with George Soros. And Soros agreed to finance of course on behalf of Yeltsin, the referendum campaign. So he funnelled money over a million dollars by some accounts to offshore accounts set up to be used by Chubais to buy media. And so the media campaign and by this time most of the national media had been bought up by the oligarchs around Yeltsin so they were able to exercise undue influence. So they barely squeak through and got a yes to the privatisation scheme that Harvard, Jeffrey Sachs and George Soros and others had going on. And then of course Soros' company himself benefitted enormously from this privatisation just a little bit later when the auctions took place.

LS: A figure that connects yesterday with today is Vladimir Putin who came to international attention first in 1998, the same year when the ruble crisis took place.

FWE: This was 1999 and in August '98 you had the collapse of the ruble. This was part of the Bush "Operation Hammer's" original design. You had a huge scam going on in the GKO Russian Bond market where the interest rates were just unbelievably high. So, you had all sorts of hot money coming in, making profits and pulling it up including Soros Fund, quantum fund and so forth.

And finally, Yeltsin was getting near the end of his ability to hold this thing together. And he appointed in August '99, he appointed a young former KGB officer who served during the Cold War in East Germany named Vladimir Putin. And briefly Putin had been a deputy mayor in St. Petersburg and briefly had been the head of the successor to the KGB called FSB and the oligarchs around Putin, I've heard various Russian accounts have had this happen but Berezovsky, Brzezinski and other, the Yeltsin oligarchs thought they could take this young guy Putin and do business with him and you know that he was young and had no political base.

So, at that point Putin gave the ultimatum to Yeltsin, resign or face serious consequences and it turned out that Putin which has later been confirmed was the spokesperson for a nationalist faction within the intelligence community, a patriotic faction, call it what you want but Russian nationalist. And so Yeltsin was told, "If you resign and just get out of politics, we'll leave you alone." So he took the offer and ran. And before he did that he named Vladimir Putin as acting president until elections in March the following year.

So, Putin then came into power and called a meeting as it were of the most powerful oligarchs who had made staggering fortunes at the expense of Russia and he called them creators of a corrupt state through insider dealings and began criminal prosecution against oligarchs like Vladimir Gusinsky and Media-Most, a financial group led by Vladimir Potanin who is in the newspaper today and soon left an oil company controlled by a Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. So, at that point Putin began the uphill battle of trying to stabilise Russia as a functioning economy. And the recent re-election of Putin indicates that the Russian people by and large support that effort of Putin's.

LS: Meanwhile he also had to react to something new that was taking place then and that was NATO was marching east.

FWE: The negotiations and this is, has been confirmed by former US Ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock and that was the negotiations between the Bush administration in 1991 Germany and Gorbachev included a solemn guarantee as Jack Matlock, Ambassador Matlock who was in Moscow in '87 until '91 in this period. He said that we gave a categorical assurance to Gorbachev when the Soviet Union still existed that if United Germany was able to stay in NATO, NATO would not move eastward. So, of course that pledge like so many pledges of Washington under Bush successor governance was honoured in the breach and the newly created National Endowment for Democracy that I write about quite a bit in the Manifest Destiny.

You had, Vin Weber was the chairman of the NED at that time and he took US taxpayer money through the NED to supposedly bring democracy into former communist states. Then Weber was also a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocon think tank which really shaped the personnel of George W. Bush in the year 2000 and 2001. And Vin Weber was also a lobbyist for the largest military industrial conglomerate of the US Lockheed Martin.

So, he was instrumental together with another military industrial Lockheed Martin, former Vice President for Strategy named Bruce Jackson, Bruce P. Jackson to promote back democracy in former communist countries including Russia. And they started the process of expanding NATO to the east in strict violation of the pledges that had been given back in the early '90s. So, by 2003, they had begun this whole expansion of NATO into Poland, into Hungary, all the former communist countries.

LS: And the countries at the Baltic Sea.

FWE: So, at the Baltic Sea right on the doorstep of the Russian Federation, and Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and so forth. And you began to see a very definite NATO encirclement of Russia. And then in 2003-2004, the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros' Foundation, the whole arm of the fake democracy NGOs of Washington, began to create the so called Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and also the Rose Revolution in Georgia next door. And if you look at a map, if you bring a pro NATO government into power in Ukraine, this they did under Viktor Gerashchenko in 2004, then you're presenting a pretty formidable military threat to the national security of Russia.

Now, at that time 2003, Russia was in no shape to do much more than feebly protest as loud as they could but of course they were ignored. Then you had something quite dramatic in 2006, the end of 2006. The George W. Bush administration Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defence back then announced that they were installing ballistic missile defence now I'll get to that in a minute but it's anything but defensive. In Poland, in the Czech Republic and that those anti-missile defence installations which included missiles would be aimed at a rogue nuclear attack from Iran.

In early 2007, Vladimir Putin personally came as president of Russia Federation to the Munich Security Conference, the International Security Conference held here in Munich Germany and gave a speech which really defines the security position of Russia right up to the present date. He said of course this is not aimed at Iran or North Korea as Washington says. That's a lie. It's like taking your right arm to scratch your left ear we say in Russian. It's aimed at Russia. And we consider this intolerable as a threat to our national security and we will be forced to respond.

LS: And it is aimed at Russia as a first strike possibility.

FWE: Yeah. Well, the point about the missile defence is I – in connection with the book, I interviewed, in an earlier book I wrote, I interviewed Colonel Robert Bowman who had been briefly the head of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars or missile defence programme. And became a very, very severe critic of the Bush administration's reckless policies withdrawing from the antiballistic missile ABM Treaty and so forth, said that missile defence is the missing link to Nuclear Primacy. First strike capability.

And that's something that Pentagon planners had been opting for since the 1950s. And he said, "If you can block the counterattack from your opponent and you then have this possibility to make a first strike and wipe them out because they can't simultaneously fire an effective counterstrike." So, that in a nutshell destroys the whole cold war doctrine of mutual and sure destruction that kept nuclear options off the table up until that time. And the Russians understand military strategy rather well I would say. And said, "This is simply intolerable. We have to respond and we will respond but in our own way and you will see."

LS: And the Russians have reacted.

B: The Russians have reacted, and if we can go for a minute up until the present

LS: Please

FEW: On March 1st Putin gave an address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow televised to the nation. The beginning part of the speech, his annual speech there, was about the Russian economy and plans for the future. This was shortly before the Russian elections that overwhelmingly gave him a new term. But the crucial part of that speech to the Federal Assembly was Russia's military technologies and this is as he put it. He referred to that 2007 speech in Munich and he said, "We said at that time that Russia would have to reply and since the expansion of NATO to the east which really to be honest that's – see there is no reason after 1991 or certainly after 2000 for the existence of NATO other than the reason given when NATO was created by the first secretary general of NATO to keep the Russians out the Germans down and the Americans in."

But Putin's speech talked about nuclear primacy and the Russian response and he outlined the military are the developments that they had quietly brought online since Washington tore up, unilaterally tore up the ABM Treaty in 2002/2003. So he outlined an awesome array of missiles, hypersonic low flying stealth missiles carrying nuclear warheads, unpredictable trajectories, invisible against perspective missile defence and air defence systems, unmanned submersible vehicles to great depth that could go many times higher than the speed of submarines cutting edge torpedoes just and commentators in the West like CNN. They said, "Oh, this is just bluff and so forth."

People who know Russian military technology and the intensity of the kind of research and development that's focused on defending the nation confirm that this is no joke. Hypersonic aircraft five times the speed of sound, that's hypersonic and they have something called the [unclear] which goes 10 times mark 10 and as Putin described it, "This missile flying 10 times faster than sound can manoeuvre in all phases of the flight trajectory, overcome all prospective and aircraft county missile defences in a range of 2000 kilometres."

He outlined about six or seven of these I would call them not even cutting edge, bleeding edge military technology and as The Saker commented in his blogpost after the speech, it's indeed set marching game over for the empire. There's no more military option against Russia.

This all is to make a point that the entire history up until now, these fake accusations of Putin would have an interest or Russia would have an interest to meddle with the US elections when you have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to accuse Putin and Russia of international violations of law by allowing a referendum to take place in Crimea after the CIA coup d'etat in Kiev and now it's come out from actual mercenary snipers that were brought in from Georgia under [#inaudible 00:55:08-0#] umbrella that they were paid by the CIA or promised to be paid by cut outs to the CIA to create the Maidan Square February 2014 chaos that led to the collapse of the government and the coup d'etat.

So, you know, this is not Russia is the arch Evel Knievel looking for a fight every corner of the world. It's not Russia doing bad things in Syria. It's Russia trying to stop a NATO and Saudi and other embedded destruction of the Middle East and create some kind of peace and stability. And anyone modest to take the slightest bit of care and follow this, they can read a running commentary on my website williamengdahl.com but not only there, it's all over the place. You realise that the fake media is the media that dominates and is guided by NATO public relations strategy in the West and it's not the so called critical media that's being sanctioned and censored right now.

LS: Let's talk further about the present, William, by closing one circle of our interview. As we've discussed the Russian gold vaults were empty since the early 1990s. This has changed since basically the financial crisis broke out in 2007, 2008, 2009. Since then the Russian Central Bank is buying gold like basically no other nation in a very rapid tempo.

FWE: Since the financial crisis and especially since the opposition of sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, it's been the policy of the Russian Central Bank and the Russian Federation to buy as much gold for reserves of the ruble as they can get their hands on. And they are now I think number five or number six in the world in terms of gold reserves and correct me if I'm wrong but just slightly behind the people's republic of China which has also been vigorously adding gold towards Central Bank reserves for the yuan.

So, what Russia is doing is creating a buffer gold, by the way in my view has never ceased being an object of value to stand behind currencies. If you have currencies like the dollar after all this 1971 when Nixon took the dollar off the bread and wood, gold exchange [unclear], then if you have a military you might or manipulate the oil price petrodollar and so forth, you can create money if you have the reserve currency you can create money without them. So what the Russia is doing is creating a security in terms of its currency and now that security is probably going to be tested by the economic warfare division of the US Treasury in these new sanctions.

But Russia is merging together with China. Interestingly enough after 2014 when the CIA coup d'etat Ukraine took place, Putin responded not by getting bogged down in the destructive war inside the Eastern Ukraine but he responded by turning east, strengthening his relationships with China, with the new president of China then Xi Jinping bringing the Asian economic Union which Russia is the leading economy in, together with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Armenia and others, bringing that in a coherence with Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative One Belt, One Road to link the infrastructure, the energy pipelines, the high-speed rail networks, the deep water ports and so forth to create a Eurasian, some people call it the land bridge but it's an economic space in Eurasia that would have the majority of the world's population, would have every raw material resource that the world needs including rare earth metals that China is world's leading supplier of at the moment.

And Russia has vast oil and gas reserves and military technology, civilian technology, an educated labour force that is probably one of the finest in the world and scientific country and so forth. And independent of the bankrupt economies of Britain and the United States and very rapidly of the European Union where this banking crisis has, since the crisis of 2008 has just been swept under the rug but it's ready to explode on a moment's notice. So, you have a depth loaded western NATO world. Let's call it a NATO world, a world of the NATO member countries and you have Russia together, which by the way, Russia has unbelievably small

LS: Debt.

FWE: National debt.

LS: Yes.

FWE: Something like 13 to 17% of the gross domestic product.

LS: And now they have this huge stock of gold relative to very little sovereign debt. It's almost ideal.

FWE: Yes, and that's by design. That is by Putin's intention to create this independence. And one thing, I am very often in Russia, have a very, very dear special friends in Russia over the years, the first time I was there was 1994. That was a vastly different, that was in the middle of the Yeltsin and the insanity. The Russians are very not only proud people but they are very determined and they protect their existence and have done that I would say for well over 1000 years going back to the great schism between the Western church in Rome and the Eastern Church in 1054. I think that was a pivotal date in modern history, the division there.

But certainly the Russians have gone through two World Wars and the rape of Russia under Yeltsin, unbelievable trials and tribulations and they are not shying away from defending their existence. That's something I think the west or certainly Washington with these neocons really doesn't have a sense of.

LS: One thing that I would like to ask you about as my final question is the following. You are a renowned expert for the geopolitics and the history of oil. And since this month we have a future's contract in Shanghai, denominated in yuan for oil and we also hear that the Chinese are planning to price oil that they import in yuan which is safe for this buying of oil internationally via yuan, Russia would be the candidate number one as the exporter?

FWE: Definitely. Most definitely and Russia and China are connecting their financial markets ever closer. The Russian government is the in the process sometime this year of issuing Russian bonds denominated new Chinese yuan. The announcing of the petrol yuan, the oil futures contracts being sold in Shanghai, ultimately it won't happen overnight but it's certainly off to a positive start in the marketing acceptance. That has the basis for taking oil sales.

Let's step back a moment to the 1970s and I document this at length in two of my books, Myths, Lies and Oil Wars and A Century of War. In the early 1970s when Nixon took the dollar off of gold, the dollar relative to the German mark and the Japanese yen dropped like a stone, something like 40% over a period of five or six months. And in order to stop that because the New York Banks were hurting quite a bit from that, there was a oil price shock that was orchestrated. I won't go into the details it's documented quite extensively in those two books of mine.

LS: And Sheikh Yamani had said something about this, too.

FWE: Yes. He invited me after reading my book to his annual energy retreat in London in 2000, September 2000. And then called me to a private dinner discussion at his home outside of London to talk about what I wrote about in the book. And he later went on CNN on an interview and mentioned my book by name. In the written transcript it's in there and in the television version they spliced it out so that you couldn't realise that it'd been in there. But Sheikh Yamani told me you are the first journalist or the first person outside of myself that writes correctly what happened with that oil shock. And that was manipulated by among others Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State and by a group in the Atlantic establishment called the Bilderberg meeting in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden back in May of that period before the Yom Kippur War.

In any case, the US circles around Rockefeller, who at that point was the chairman of the board of USA Incorporated, I would say. They had engineered a 400% price rise in oil and to make sure that Germany and Japan and other countries wouldn't make deals to buy oil in German mark but keep the dollar demand high and the dollar value high. They send a delegation from the US Treasury to sign an agreement with the Saudi Arabian monetary agency for a new relationship taking surplus Saudi petrodollars or OPEC petrodollars and buying US government debt.

LS: Yeah, and outside of the normal auction to privileged conditions.

FWE: Yes. In return, Washington agreed to give the Saudis tens and billions of dollars of defence equipment.

LS: Yeah, and Saudi Arabia would use its status as a swing producer in OPEC that it would only accept dollars as a pricing for oil.

FEW: And the quid pro quo was after 1975, this was formalised that Saudis would as swing producer in OPEC guarantee that OPEC sold its oil only in dollars and that held up until the time of Saddam Hussein during the sanctions shortly before the US invasion and Saddam Hussein began buying oil through a French bank denominated in Euros and not in dollars.

LS: And he made a plus, he made a net plus because he did sell his oil in Euro.

FWE: Yeah, yeah. And so this, what that has done up until the present is prop up the US dollars despite the fact that the internal industrial economy import activity of the United States went down the tubes over the past 40 years since the taking the dollar off of gold and the, putting of English dollars for the world economy. So, the idea than China and Russia would trade in energy and that other economies would begin to sell oil to China, Iran for example is a prime candidate in the petro yuan not in petrodollars, this began slowly like acid drops begins to erode the reserve currency status of the US dollar. And if that goes, it's end game for the US as a financial global power.

LS: We have to make clear to our audience. The fact that you have to buy oil in dollar makes sure that you need dollar, that you acquire dollar in order to buy oil.

FWE: Yeah.

LS: And so if this mechanism goes, well then the US has a problem because the dollars that are floating around internationally would find their way back into the homeland of the US.

FWE: Well, the other thing is that in order to sell now you have under this wonderful Trumponomics as I call it, you have projections that the US annual government deficit, shortage of tax income from tax outgo, spending outgo will by 2020 exceed one trillion dollars a year for every year as far as the eye can see. And by end of 2020, 2028 I think was figured by the congressional budget office, the US public debt is estimated to be well over $33 trillion, it's 20 now, 38 maybe, it's just out of control. So, if the ability of the US dollar to command use in the world economy is severely undermined, you're going to have to raise interest rates so high to sell this debt and it just becomes dysfunctional.

LS: Yes, but you have already in the last few years interest rates payments on this already existing that of per annum $400 billion.

FWE: Yeah.

LS: And if interest rates go up

FWE: Yeah and that was under zero interest rates, but now, you know, if they have to put up interest rates to five, six, seven, 8% like it was in the 1980s. the whole thing just blows up sky high.

LS: And so coming back to gold, gold has the advantage relative to bonds or shares or the US dollar or other Fiat currencies that there is no counterparty risk. If you have the gold in physical form, there is no counterparty risk.

FWE: Right.

LS: So would you say that gold will be one of the ultimate winners of the ongoing financial crisis when it goes into full gear?

FWE: Well, it's documented that J. P. Morgan, Chase and other select banks with this collusion of the Federal Reserve have been artificially depressing the price of gold for years. Every time there's a new financial crisis, they intervene and keep gold within a very tight range. At a certain point that's not going to work anymore and then some people estimate to follow the gold markets much more than I do but it could quickly go up to $10,000 an ounce or even beyond that.

Be that as it may, gold as you point out has no counterparty risk and it's a historic store of value. It's one of the beautiful commodities out there and it has a special – the other just being special significance economically and historically, the other thing is that China is the number one mining producer of gold in the world today, not South Africa. South Africa has fallen far behind

LS: Yeah, and Russia is number three.

FWE: Russia is number three.

LS: And a lot of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are producers or are buying gold.

FWE: At the rail connections of the circle of the China Belt Road Initiative in part are aiming to go in the areas where there are known gold reserves but no infrastructure during the Soviet era to bring that gold down to market. So, we have an extremely fascinating prospect, not just for China and Russia, for the world really to build up instead of tear down, destroy and burn and bankrupt which is the only policy that Washington seems able to follow these days.

LS: Yeah. To sum it up with a famous Chinese proverb. "May you live in interesting times" – you and all the others.

FWE: We certainly do.

LS: Okay. great. Thank you very much, William, for this interview.

FWE: Thank you, Lars.


Omega a day ago ,

Two things:

1. Operation Hammer:

In 1989 President George H. W. Bush began the multi-billion dollar Project Hammer program using an investment strategy to bring about the economic destruction of the Soviet Union including the theft of the Soviet treasury, the destabilization of the ruble, funding a KGB coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 and the seizure of major energy and munitions industries in the Soviet Union.

Those resources would subsequently be turned over to international bankers and corporations. On November 1, 2001, the second operative in the Bush regime, President George W. Bush, issued Executive Order 13233 on the basis of "national security" and concealed the records of past presidents, especially his father's spurious activities during 1990 and 1991.

http://www.conspiracyarchiv...

2. Why can't Putin touch Yeltsinist oligarchs:

Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal.

https://www.unz.com/ishamir...

Fraser a day ago ,

Given the depth of the fall, the rise (under Putin) has been remarkable.

Guy Fraser a day ago ,

The rise has been astounding and all because they have a leader that can't be bought , not corrupt and loves his country. That is why he literally was swept in in the last election. The Western leaders will not admit it but I am sure they are terribly envious .

Tommy Jensen a day ago ,

Very good article to bring to RI also.

It open eyes on how the West political elite are a criminal rotten cancer syndicate and Georg Bush Sr. shows up to be even worse than the disgusting profile he already has in media and Georg Soros bad reputation gets confirmed.

No police or court are available to take this out. We only have John Connor or The One to count on.
Choice is the problem now. We will have to make a choice.

Play Hide
Nicole Temple a day ago ,

The photo of Yeltsin and Clinton that accompanies this article should remind readers of this story:

https://viableopposition.bl...

There is something rotten in Washington and it has been in existence for decades.

Guy a day ago ,

Great interview .William Engdahl is a very knowledgeable person. I have read a few of his books. Superb in my view.

Jimi Thompson a day ago ,

Quite a few unknown tidbits for me in all of this... very eye-opening even for someone that is aware of the games being played at the higher levels.

To imagine all of what remains unknown, including many of the players, leaves much to the imagination.

[Apr 18, 2018] The magnitude and complexity of the task Russia took on when it agreed to intervene in Syria.

Edited for clarity...
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 18, 2018 4:28:52 AM | 105

The Colonial ratfuckers recent unprovoked, lie-based attack on Syria got me wondering about Russia's apparent impotence. I'm quite uncomfortable with that notion but can't dismiss it completely because I can't get a 'handle' on what Russia's strategy is.

Steve Gowans' latest commentary on Syria sets out his summary of US/NATO's Permanent War agenda in Syria.

https://gowans.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/a-prolonged-war-in-syria-is-on-the-us-agenda/

Despite its pessimism (if one takes it as a 'realistic' assessment), it goes a long way toward explaining the magnitude and complexity of the task Russia took on when it agreed to intervene in Syria.

Being pessimistic, it doesn't broach the subject of potential Bright Sides to the conflict, or the flaws in the US/NATO Strategy.

One rather obvious flaw which came to mind is the fact that Neoliberal Colonialism has inflicted pain on almost every country on the planet and have recently underlined their God-given right to continue doing so ad nauseum - without opposition or consequences.

[Apr 18, 2018] The USA as a huge, immensely strong, obnoxious drunk that is being belligerent and needs to be arrested

That's a clear exaggeration. But the fact that the US elite is in decline is undisputable. Trump as a leader of free world. give me a break.
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bakerpete | Apr 18, 2018 9:01:53 AM | 117

@Hoarsewhisperer

While this isn't a great analogy consider the USA as a huge, immensely strong, obnoxious drunk that is being belligerent and needs to be arrested. The police show up, a bunch of them, and now need to corral the drunk. The drunk is so insensate that it can't feel any damage and the police need to be careful of how they use force. Generally the best outcome for the cops is the drunk trips and collapses whereby the police restrain him and hope he doesn't choke to death on his own vomit.

The USA is a zombie(drunk) country; dead but doesn't know it yet. Yet it is enormously significant in the world. If it suddenly collapses the rest of the world is going to be hugely impacted. While it has an enormous military it is extremely brittle and has virtually no depth; it can't sustain any meaningful military engagement for more than a couple of months.

Israel has created a really stupid situation for itself. It's dug this very small pit and stuffed it full of Jewish folk. A single nuke dropped on it would end the question of Israel. Yet the strut and bully like they are bullet proof.

In each case be too aggressive with them and they will panic. Conversely, and frustrating as hell, both the US and Israel have lots of leeway to cause mischief.

Russia and China are doing their best to patiently sheppard the USA along the path of its decline. They will grit their teeth and suffer humiliation but the alternative is a global economic collapse and many millions dying.

[Apr 18, 2018] Macron Napoleonic complex

Apr 18, 2018 | russia-insider.com

In the space of a few days Macron has:

Inadequacy much? How needy for recognition is this guy?

CHUCKMAN 9 hours ago ,

France used to produce some pretty fine leaders, but lately, it's like a different place.

Hollande was the most ridiculous, gutless thing we ever saw. He was laughably pompous and ineffective and dishonest and even cowardly, vis a vis the US.

Macron probably ranks second worst. He's making a mess of France, he's blubbering all kinds of nonsense about the EU, he's busy putting troops in Syria against all international law, he is not liked by the people, and he is virtually a French doormat for America.

Sarkozy showed the odd bit of promise, but he was largely talk with no worthy efforts. And he was immensely corrupt. Imagine taking 20 million euros from Qaddafi and then participating in the scheme to kill him? Or the case of the senile woman who was France's wealthiest woman, from whom he took many millions for his campaigns, doing so in private without other members of the family or strict legal supervision.

Hard to see the same country we saw in de Gaulle's time and that of his immediate successors.

Muriel Kuri 8 hours ago ,

'I am an equal of Putin' - well, he's right in a way - they're both leaders of a country. Beyond that, there is NO comparison. Maybe he admires Putin - which is good, if he tries to emulate him, even better because Putin, after all, is one of the few great current leaders of the world. Macron has a very long way to go, but with many years experience, if he gets the chance, MAY become a better leader than some, but never will be the match of Putin.

[Apr 18, 2018] Russia, China, Iran and others are increasingly concerned with curtailing the damage that the US can still inflict

Notable quotes:
"... The clearing of Ghouta puts a serious dent in this plan. Demoralizing the population of Damascus is now almost impossible. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Apr 18, 2018 11:59:00 AM | 145
Don Bacon
PavewayIV

The West wins by making Syria a hell on earth. That means no reconstruction funding, no trade, and continuous harassment by "rebels".

The clearing of Ghouta puts a serious dent in this plan. Demoralizing the population of Damascus is now almost impossible.

But Lebanon is only about 15 miles from Damascus, and US/Israel would have to deal with Hez at some point anyway, so why not sooner rather than later?

Grieved | Apr 18, 2018 12:00:50 PM | 146

@131 WJ and 134 Don Bacon

I appreciate this discussion.

On a side note I would add that 3-4 years ago when Ukraine was boiling, much of the discussion by concerned people focused on countries outside of the US, and the damage caused by the US. The US, in this context, was largely regarded as an evil but coherent entity.

But that coherence has now come more and more into question. Discussion shifted gradually, as the US made more and more mistakes and lost battle after battle in so many theaters, and revealed itself as a failing actor. And in the last year or two there's much more discussion about the US itself, largely trying to pierce the obscurity of how that country is actually run and by whom. This shift was already happening, and Trump of course added to the fascination.

I was glad to see that gradual shift. To me it indicated the war itself was won, while many battles were yet to be fought. I think it's true that Russia, China, Iran and others are increasingly concerned with curtailing the damage that the US can still inflict. Every day they increase in actual, effective power, and the US decreases in that power. Yesterday's battle will be fought differently tomorrow, because the balance of that power will have shifted again by then.

Syria has been an enormously useful magnifying glass to show us so much about the relative power balances of many nations. And even as the US lashes out in its death throes, it is increasingly cornered and stymied. The same is true of Israel. It's reaching the point - if not already there - that every move made by the US will result in clear damage to itself, with no gain, and no damage to its targets.

The other side has had sufficient time to wargame countless contingencies, and think them through and make preparations for them. Increasingly, it gets to choose what damage to allow and what to stop, because the costs of every action have now been calculated - and the passage of time reduces the costs too, so the equation constantly updates.

This is true outside of Syria also, in all theaters and on many planes of activity.

[Apr 18, 2018] The US Deep State doesn't want to "conquer" any country. Then they'd have to pay the bill for the destruction they caused... think an actual Marshall Plan, not the Iraq and Afghan Debacles. It is not trying to "win". It is trying to destroy those countries' ability to function outside the iron-fist influence of the IMF/BIS

Notable quotes:
"... Trumpty Dumbdy is trapped, just trying to convince his base that he really is getting the US out ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

A P | Apr 18, 2018 1:42:41 PM | 160

The US Deep State doesn't want to "conquer" any country. Then they'd have to pay the bill for the destruction they caused... think an actual Marshall Plan, not the Iraq and Afghan Debacles. It is not trying to "win". It is trying to destroy those countries' ability to function outside the iron-fist influence of the IMF/BIS/etc. banks/economy.

... ... ..

As for US operations in Syria being handed off "to others", i.e. to Prince's latest iteration of Blackwater/Xi/Academia, the last we heard of Erik was trying to sell a budget airforce/drone system to countries in Africa. What a joke.

Not going to happen in Syria, because Russia, Iran, Hezbolla and Syria would have no qualms about directly assaulting Prince's Kurd/Arab/Wahabbist mercenaries... Eric may be a self-serving parasite, but he's not stupid enough to directly take on the Russian military, or even the SAA for that matter. Especially with no NATO air cover...

Killary is not around to unilaterally impose a Libya-style no-fly-zone.

Trumpty Dumbdy is trapped, just trying to convince his base that he really is getting the US out of being Israel's and the Rothschilds' bitch, but that is not a potential reality.

It would involve dismantling the FED and cutting off the yearly $multi-billion military aid tap to Israel. I doubt he is smart or informed enough to comprehend the situation he is in. Any sane, intelligent person would walk away and tell the Zionist/Rothschild/Deep State to find another patsy.

[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 18, 2018] Polish movie " Ogniem i Mieczem"

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Anonius on April 16, 2018 , · at 12:25 pm UTC

Addition, for the ones that want to see the Russian Tactics, I refer you to Polish movie "Ogniem i Mieczem". You will see how Hetman Chmielnicki (Khmelnicky) deals with Polish heavilly armed Hussars. Oh, yes Hetman is what we today would call Marshal (or not). I am pretty sure he never read Sun Tzu, just used his smarts. He simply kept sending fake attacks, thus keeping Polish Hussars awake and on their horses all night and then if this wasn't enough, He used the rain, which made Polish attack to simply collapse "drowned in wet dirt" and then he made his move and destroyed Polish army, which was on the paper heavier armed. All he needed to do is wait.
And this is how it's done kids. Russian Great military traditions are not forgotten. Have faith.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA9ZW2Iiv3Q
The battle I am talking about is at about 43:00

[Apr 18, 2018] Count on an inverted yield curve and Treasury Department derivative losses in the trillions on interest rate swaps sold to Wall Street banks

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Rob from Canada on April 15, 2018 , · at 2:06 pm UTC

Count on an inverted yield curve and Treasury Department derivative losses in the trillions on interest rate swaps sold to Wall Street banks.

Wall Street banks have been buying surplus US government debt that the world doesn't want to finance huge budget deficits over the last 10 years and the Treasury Department sold them insurance protection against capital loses on that debt.

A lot of malinvestment in fracking and share buybacks with borrowed money has overleveraged corporations. Personal debt, corporate debt and government debt compared to GDP are at 1929 levels and a lot of that debt will be uncollectible.

The USA has kicked the financial can down the road for 10 years. It created a huge asset inflation bubble with borrowed money ie all malinvestment via interest rate suppression by the Fed that will blow up when the yield curve goes inverted signifying a financial panic is underway. That is the demand for short-term money(to borrow) is greater than the supply of money to short-term borrow.(to lend)

All I have to do is look at the SPX chart of the SP500 to know the US is FUKUS. The bull market that started in 2008 has started a head&shoulders topping pattern. In 2019 I expect 52-week lows to be hit and a bear market worse the 2008 financial crisis to be underway.

­
guest on April 15, 2018 , · at 2:52 pm UTC
People keep tossing out "The US economy is tanking, it is going to implode/explode/crumble sooner or later" etc., etc. Such beliefs may be soothing to hold but they do not rest on knowledge or economic literacy. Briefly, here is why.

Economies do not tank because of massive credit. Money Supply = M1 + M2 + M3, where M3 is the outstanding credit in the economy. The US M3 is huge because the economy itself is huge. Modern economies have moved away from paper notes and in future all money supply will essentially be M2 + M3. M2 (total outstanding bank deposits) and M3 are in turn fusing into one as credit card payments replace the practice of mailing out cheques.

Nor is high foreign indebtedness in itself a sign of future imminent collapse. Yes, it is worryingly high presently, but no it is not imminent that some sort of disaster will befall the US Treasury. No one forces the rest-of-the world to buy US treasuries, bonds, and stocks. Yet governments, corporations, and individuals from all over the world line-up to buy these. Ask yourselves why. The answer is: Money and Capital flows to low risk and high return zones. This is how it always has been, and this is how it always will be. Why do Alibaba and the other Chinese majors seek listing on American stock exchanges?

Yes, there are plenty of things wrong with the USA, and yes it may end up paying a dear price for its arrogance, aggression, and cruelty all over the world (not to talk of its collapsing morality, ethics and social cohesion at home) but there is nothing the matter with its economy. Those who wait for its supposedly "Ponzi scheme" to collapse will wait to eternity, I am afraid.

­
Simon Chow on April 16, 2018 , · at 12:57 pm UTC
@guest. I think your conclusion that the US economy is not tanking is blinkered. The US economy tanked in 2008 and would had crashed into a worse depression had not the Chinese held up the US economy (the Chinese also held up Europe by holding up the German economy). Alibaba is not the biggest Chinese company to list in the US. The biggest which is twice as profitable, twice the market capitalisation of Alibaba(more than USD500 billion) and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is Tencent.

The US economy and the US dollar was viewed as safe haven becuase there was no alternative. The US dollar and the US economy became a bubble because of the global demand for the US dollar resulting from there being no alternative. Besides the use of the USD is enforced by the US military.

But, if you have been following the latest economic development, that had changed. The US economy is no longer the biggest, certainly not the strongest. The US dollar is no longer indispensable. It's value is now perched on the edge of a sharp slippery slope due to US financial mismanagement and profligacy ala the late great USSR!

Its stupendous, useless, egoistic and hubristic military spending and other factors will push the US economy down that very slippery slope to oblivion.

But China will be waiting at the bottom of that slope to cushion the fall!

­
pogohere on April 16, 2018 , · at 8:12 pm UTC
SIGNS THAT THE US DEBT-FUELED ECONOMY MIGHT ACTUALLY COLLAPSE

An Awara Accounting Study on US Economy 2018:
Signs that the US Debt-Fueled Economy Might Actually Collapse
Main findings:

US debt-to-GDP to reach 140% by 2024

Net increase in debt could be as enormous as $10 to 15 trillion in just five years 2019 to 2024

Federal budget interest expenditure could reach $1.5 trillion by 2028, 25% of the total

There has been no real GDP growth since at least 2007

Growth of government debt has exceeded even nominal GDP growth multiple times each year since 2007

US reporting on national debt and inflation full of tricks

War budgets ripping open huge deficits

Skyrocketing social spending leaves no room for deficit cuts

Unfunded liabilities now a reality as Social Security and Medicare funds dry up

https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/signs-that-the-us-debt-fueled-economy-might-actually-collapse/

­
Rob from Canada on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:17 am UTC
No, it's not over Saker, but compared to 2007 victory is in sight.

First, my opinion is that the Russia/China asymmetric attack on US dollar hegemony will create a second financial crisis next year, worse than the one in 2008.

Second, in my opinion, Russia and China are winning on the most important Grand Strategic/Moral level of warfare for global public opinion. The UN votes are illustrative of that moral victory. Also, Qatar, Turkey and the Philippines switching sides are examples of moral victory.

"Facts simply don't matter. And neither does logic. All that matters are perceptions!"
That's the perfect strategy to defeat yourself.

"Those who defeat others are strong, those who defeat themselves are mighty." Lao Tzu

Napolean marched into Russia in 1812 with lot's of allies but left several months later with none.

I agree with MK Bhadrakumar assessment of the strike on Syria over your assessment. It's a moral defeat for the F#$%ing stupidest, exceptional nation on the face of the earth.

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2018/04/15/trump-opens-a-pandoras-box-in-middle-east/

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:29 am UTC
<>

Well, I'm not sure what old Lao was smoking on that day but if we replace the word "mighty" with "exceptional" then perhaps Trump fits the bill in a modern context.

Putin the Great vs Trump the Mighty (and Exceptional) who managed to defeat himself.

­
cdvision on April 15, 2018 , · at 3:32 pm UTC
Rob: my view exactly.

Russia and China have stopped buying US Treasuries, in fact are selling down for gold. The deficit if 1.3T will be more costly to fund, and the debt impossible to service. And China with the petro-yuan has tolled the death knell. Added to that is the dysfunction of the US political system. The mid-terms will be very interesting. I doubt Trump will see out 1 term, never mind 2.

And yes, the so-called US allies are fair weather friend.

­
Iris on April 15, 2018 , · at 7:24 pm UTC
Dear Saker;

Rob is right: the coming economic crisis will be nothing like 2007, or like any depression that occurred over the past century for that matter. It is the first time a cycle is ending with interest rates so low, so the trick of lowering them further cannot be used this time.
Even though hyperinflation is not happening because of globalised and cheap offer (Richard Duncan), Western economies are slowly collapsing under the burden of debt (Prof Steve Keen, Prof Michael Hudson).

The global Ponzi scheme will soon end, with major geopolitical consequence. The US, being given their history, will probably go to full blown war where this can bring most economic gains. The Chinese are fully aware of that, and are preparing for it All of their plans ( the OBOR initiative, the petro-yuan) depend on a strong Russia, The Chinese will not let Russia go down, their own survival depend on Russia.
All the best.

[Apr 18, 2018] The strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion | Apr 17, 2018 1:56:16 PM | 3

I know b is not fond of us posting content from other blogs but the Saker has just put up a must-read interview with a personal favorite author of mine, F. William Engdhal, entitled "The rape of Russia". Very informative, it documents the strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS. Enjoy!

http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/

[Apr 18, 2018] A Note on KGB Style -- Central Intelligence Agency

Apr 18, 2018 | www.cia.gov

After collapse of the USSR the mount of infometion that has flown to the West is staggering. KGB might be then most open of intelleigence services in this sense. multiple defector probably created a very complete picture of the organization and its methods.

July 2, 1996

A NOTE ON KGB STYLE

Wayne Lambridge

The KGB like any enduring institution has a style, its own way of doing things. When we seek to understand the service and its officers, we should perhaps pay attention to how they do business as well as to what kind of business they do. This article is intended to raise the subject for discussion, to present largely one man's opinion. It is far from a definitive study.

By way of indicating something about KGB style, consider the implications for the organization as a whole of a communication system that carries one tenth or less as much traffic -- both electric and by pouch -- as its American equivalent. The KGB sends very few cables and its dispatches are infrequent. For maximum security, they are pouched on undeveloped microfilm, which is recovered and printed when the dispatch reaches its destination. Although Moscow headquarters does excellent and prompt printing, both exposure and development are sometimes haphazard in the field. Ten years ago, they were downright unreadable at times. Now, the quality is generally better. Volume, however, does not seem to have risen much.

The prints of the developed films are seen by the Rezident (the KGB Chief of Station) and by the case officer concerned. In large Rezidentury (KGB Stations) some intermediate may also read the traffic, but that is by no means always the case. The Rezident keeps a file -- sometimes in the form of notes or perhaps as copies of pertinent cables and dispatches -- for reference. The case officer keeps all his files in a briefcase or a notebook. Calling them "files" is perhaps misleading. It is better to say that the KGB officer keeps a movable In-Box. When a document leaves that box it is either returned to the Rezident or destroyed and the fact of destruction recorded. The case file is really in the case officer's head. The excellent memory that KGB officers often display concerning the details of their operations may well be traceable to the necessity of remembering the vital information on each operation that they cannot look up anywhere. Of course, when a new case officer replaces an old one, especially if the latter has been unable to brief his successor fully, complications may ensue. Illness, car accidents and PNG'ing have led to real chaos in some KGB operations when a harassed new man has tried to tie down the broken threads of a departed colleague's dropped contacts.

Although the amount of paper that he sees is small, the KGB case officer is held strictiy accountable for each sheet of it. When he destroys a document, a notation to that effect is included on a record. Even his scrap paper may bear a serial number and have to be accounted for. At the Moscow headquarters each document is sewn into the file by the senior officer directly responsible for the case. A special record of all documents in the file is kept by the case officer and its accuracy is regularly verified by the case officer's supervisor. Safe storage areas are locked and sealed with wax each night.

The ritual of sewing in the documents is often regarded as a waste of time by senior case officers in Moscow. Nevertheless, they would not dream of delegating the job. It seems to have a symbolic significance as an embodiment of both their authority and their responsibility.

The KGB case officer is his own intel assistant. At headquarters he does his own traces, gets his own documents from the archives and handcarries his own messages. Not too long ago, he also often wrote or typed his own dispatches. Even now he may write his own telegrams and personally take them and dispatches to his supervisor for review. In the field he is, if anything, even more responsible for doing everything connected with his operation except for technical surveillance and the like where he must call on experts.

The field case officer under official cover often works at his cover job about as much as do his colleagues who do not have intelligence responsibilities. This obligation is usually not as demanding on the case officer's time as it might first appear because KGB cover slots are usually selected so that cover duties complement intelligence tasks to a substantial degree. By contrast, other KGB officers have virtually no serious cover responsibilities and rely on the all-embracing security system of the Soviet colony to protect their true affiliation. In either case, the 'KGB officer is not expected to spend much time on the administrative or reporting aspects of his intelligence job. Within the limitations of his cover assignment, he is supposed to be out on the street, making contacts, working agents and performing other intelligence tasks, reporting only the highlights and the most crucial information back to headquarters.

In developing new sources, he will usually bring things along to the point where recruitment or some other substantial development is clearly foreseeable before asking for traces from headquarters or getting approval to go ahead with his plan. Local informers and support agents are sometimes picked up without reference to headquarters at all, except perhaps after the fact of recruitment. The KGB officer must account with some precision, however, for his operational expenditures and is usually quite limited in what he can spend for development prior to coming up with a concrete proposal for recruiting a source.

Once an agent is recruited or is established as a source, headquarters' control and demands for accountability are exacting, though never voluminous. For a recruited source with significant access, a senior officer, such as a branch chief or his deputy is specifically charged with responsibility for the case. Moscow's concern to insure that information is really coming from the source as described by the case officer and that the source is bona fide is very considerable. Somewhat by contrast, Moscow's requirements (outside of S&T operations) sometimes seem quite general, apparently leaving it up to the case officer and source to report what seems to them most important. On the other hand, reporting is expected to be factual and documentary, if possible. Sometimes the KGB seems obsessed with documents as the only reliable sources. Speculation is not usually encouraged.

In such a system of extreme compartmentation and vertical lines of communication and authority, the advisory role of staffs and other elements not within the chain of command is small. The First Chief Directorate, the foreign intelligence arm of the KGB, has a counterintelligence unit, for example, that actually takes over a case from the regular chain of command in the event that the agent appears to be doubled, compromised or in danger of compromise. The field case officer may remain the same, but in Moscow the Counterintelligence Service assumes full authority for directing the case. Deception and some types of complex political action operations often appear to be run directly by the headquarters element, Department A, that prepares the operation in Moscow. In such cases, of course, local assets of a Rezidentura may well be employed in support, but the operations are frequently run by specialists.

The typical KGB officer, trained in an environment where political agitation is part of daily fare, sees political action and propaganda as part of his regular routine. There are numerous examples of Soviet officers around the world who seem to concentrate almost exclusively on pushing the Soviet line on the issues of the day with whatever contacts they meet. To them the political approach is not something apart from spotting, developing, assessing, recruiting and agent handling. It is integral to that effort. Some do it crudely, some ineffectively, some with great skill. The point is that in almost all cases, it is a part of the operation.

In addition to politics, KGB recruiting and training of staff personnel emphasizes operational and area knowledge and experience from bottom to top. The main sources for new KGB officers are the institutes of International Affairs and Eastern Languages in Moscow. These institutions, which are better compared to the U.S. service academies than to other organizations of higher learning in America, prepare young Soviet citizens for careers abroad not only in the intelligence services, but for the foreign service, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Radio Moscow, etc. Assignment of a student after graduation is worked out among the various consuming organizations. The students are under what amounts to military discipline and are required to accept the assignment given them. Few students, see much difference among the organizations these days except for differences in pay, length and location of overseas service and other practical matters.

In the course of their education the students learn two or three foreign languages well and study the history and culture of the area in which they specialize in considerable detail, although current politics is likely tobe a much weaker course than history. Access to native sources is still circumscribed. A substantial number of students go for a year or more as exchange students or as trainees with Soviet organizations working abroad. As a result, they often end up knowing the area, its language, its politics, customs, police systems, local geography and so on very well. Although the old-style Soviet intelligence officer who was raised in the shadow if not the institutions of the Komintern and could recruit agents through appeals to an international revolutionary ideology are long since past, the newest generation of Soviet intelligence officers can be quite effective by trading on their precise knowledge of target personalities and the problems and frustrations of the countries in which they operate.

A KGB officer is ranked in his service by two systems. He progresses up the ladder from junior lieutenant to senior lieutenant and so on up to colonel and general. At the same time, he is classified as a junior case officer, case officer or senior case officer and then as he progresses further by his position, such as Rezident, which he may hold. His pay depends on his ranking in both hierarchies and there is no necessary coincidence between where he stands in one and where he stands in the other. The operational designations are based on his experience and performance as an operator. His formal rank is largely based on length of service up through major or lieutenant colonel. The chain of command is designated through the operational positions rather than formal rank. For example, a major of State Security from some other part of the KGB might be transferred into the First Chief Directorate under the designation of junior case officer and find himself subordinate to a senior lieutenant who had attained the position of case officer.

The phenomenon of marked disparity between formal rank and operational designation was probably more common during the period of considerable expansion of the First Chief Directorate's personnel ten and more years ago than it is today. At that time officers from other branches of the service were being brought into the First Chief Directorate more frequently than they are now. Nevertheless, the emphasis on operational experience and operational ability continues to be a marked element of the KGB style. The top officers in the service, for example, usually involve themselves directly in operations. They meet and develop agent candidates, they recruit and they handle agents.

In part this is a consequence of the strongly operational orientation of the KGB as a whole. A direct involvement in operations comes naturally to almost everyone in the organization. This operational orientation is manifest also in the concentration of relatively few cases per case officer. Generally, one man may handle four or five agents or targets under development. He is not expected to spread his range of intelligence activities further, although he may well be encouraged to develop a large circle of casual contacts from whom a relatively small number of serious targets may be selected.

From the foregoing one can see that the typical KGB officer is a man who sees himself in a strict vertical chain of command. He expects to do everything necessary for his operation without much outside help, except in technical matters. Depending upon circumstances, the case officer may be closely guided by the Rezident in a particular operation, but he is not supposed to discuss it with anyone else. (Gossip and shop-talk are endemic, however, in part to overcome the excessive official compartmentation.) Although the case officer is held strictly to account for the results of his actions, he is not expected to report on day-to-day developments to headquarters and in fact the capacity of his communications system is far too limited to permit him to do so. He is street-oriented in the concept of his job and does not put in a lot of time at the desk writing reports, reading guidance from headquarters or maintaining his files. When he has a problem he takes it up with his boss and he is generally not expected to have many problems. He is supposed to know the difference between what he really needs consultation about and what he ought to be able to handle on his own.

His boss in turn has the responsibility of not only guiding the case officers that work for him, but of ensuring that vital information pertinent to the work of one case officer but acquired through another is made available. In both operational guidance and information sharing, the role of the Rezident is crucial. There is virtually no lateral distribution of communications and an extreme emphasis on compartmentation. Although the rigid compartmentation of the system is probably a major vulnerability, superiors both in the field and headquarters are usually able to keep up with each case because they are not overwhelmed with paper. Relatively primitive (in terms of capacity) communications equipment and the custom that each officer prepare his own reports and keep them brief make it possible for such reports as do get written to be read all the way up the chain of command. The general in command of the First Chief Directorate has been reported on several occasions as reading all the incoming traffic. Much of the outgoing traffic is also signed personally by him.

The strictness of the chain of command and the limited amount of communications place a great weight of responsibility on each Rezident and on each case officer. As with all Soviet officials, KGB case officers have a norm to fulfill for the year and are usually called to account for their activities during part of the annual home leave in the Soviet Union. In a system like that, if something goes wrong, someone must be found to have been responsible. This can encourage an extreme of caution, particularly when the relations between case officer and the Rezident are not of the best or when the headquarters desk officer is not cooperative and understanding of the problems in the field.

Although we are accustomed to think of Soviet organizations as highly impersonal, in the KGB personalities and the private connections of individual officers are often crucial to the success or failure of an operation -- or a career. In many ways, the KGB is an organization made to order for the man who wants to claim all the glory for himself and put all the mistakes on the backs of his subordinates. Family connections or other personal contacts have special significance in this sort of an organization because they can provide a secure and effective second channel for communication in a system in which there is otherwise only one narrow route watched over by jealous monitors for all the messages an officer may want to send.

The emphasis on the role of the individual in the organization also has its advantages, of course. A capable officer, particularly one from an influential family, working under a Rezident who knows his business and will accept responsibility is likely to find himself in a stimulating work environment that may compensate very well for shortcomings of the service or the Soviet system as a whole that might otherwise disturb him.

While the KGB style as outlined above is in many ways admirably suited to running operations, it appears to have limitations in the way it makes use of the product of its operations and in evaluating whether the operations themselves are really worthwhile. There are enough instances on record to permit the generalization that in political matters especially Moscow is often reluctant to receive bad news. The ambitious case officer may find himself frustrated by pressure to conform, either from his Rezident or from Moscow, when he tries to report things as he sees them. To a large degree this is probably an inevitable manifestation of the extreme isolation from the outside world in which the Soviet policy makers live and their lack of exposure to unwelcome information. In addition, the emphasis on operations as such and the overall environment of the KGB, which is predominantly an internal security, criminal investigation, and antisubversive organization, probably discourages the kind of critical intellect by whom frank reporting, regardless of its content, is most prized.

This last consideration, the emphasis on an investigative, operational style at the expense of analytical curiosity, may well be the source of considerable tension within the First Chief Directorate today. Bigoted and inflexible ultimate consumers are problems enough. But also the older generation of KGB officers, including many of today's Rezidenty, was largely trained in war time and internal security operations. Their juniors, speaking broadly, are more academically inclined, more tempted to discourse on their theories, more interested in foreign societies and politics per se and less dedicated to fulfilling the obligations of the party and the state. They are often perceptive and realistic about developments not only abroad, but also in their own country. Bearing in mind the importance of personal relations and the dependence of juniors on seniors in the rigid chain of command, the signs we see these days of tension and cynicism among these younger officers should not be surprising.

As they rise in the KGB, we may see some organizational changes over time. If these changes preserve the laconic style of communication while at the same time do away with some of the most cumbersome and archaic aspects of the communications and records keeping systems, the KGB could become an even more formidable institution than it is today. The problem of encouraging intelligence analysis and imaginative, critical thinking is a problem for Soviet society as a whole. As a part of that society, the KGB shares the problem, but probably not in greater degree than other Soviet institutions and possibly less than many.

Judgments about the influence the KGB style has on KGB officers as individuals, about the implications for KGB operations of the way they do business, about the relevance of the style to Western operations against Soviet targets, and about many other related matters lead us beyond the scope of this note which, as stated in the introductory paragraph, hopes only to raise an interesting topic for further comment. If this piece succeeds in making the point that KGB organizational style is important to Western intelligence and that we should concern ourselves with it more than we have, it will have served its purpose.

[Apr 18, 2018] The topic of China is delicate here in Russia. If one considers the total and basically psychotic enmity from the West, offer of friendship from China is a godsend.

Notable quotes:
"... The topic of China is delicate here in Russia. If one considers the total and basically psychotic enmity from the West, offer of friendship from China is a godsend. ..."
"... If you read very carefully the articles written by high level advisors of Putin, you would see that they harbor no illusions. Russia itself contains a significant number of former apparatchiks whose "Russian soul" evolved through the 1990s to a point exactly resembling what you described about the Chinese. I am convinced that president Putin is a patriot, and when he meets this type of people, he recognized right away what they were, whether they were Russian or Chinese. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Antoni on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:49 am UTC

Shame on Arabs and China! My personal experience with Chinese convinced me that the real God for them is money. Beside collecting money by any means possible, these people have no other issue to talk or discuss. They had shown zero interest in the geopolitics or the dire situation of the planet, or suffering of humanity. They did not show any emotional or sentiment towards what is happening in the World.

Majority of them express some kind of inferiority complex towards West. China Will soon or later betray Russia, They do not think about any higher moral or human value, heroism, solidarity, except for collecting money.

But the Number one betrayal came from Arabs, 22 Arab countries, and some 90% of them are happy in their slave minded status. They are the biggest disgrace for humanity and Muslims. Some of them are more aggressive then their masters in the West.

If not for the virus of Wahabism which infected the body of many Muslims, there could emerge a true alliance of Orthodox Christians and True Muslims. Such an alliance would be undefeatable, even without money worshiping China.

Charles on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:31 pm UTC
Antoni, you know obviously what you are talking about. Especially since I myself am Chinese, and spent almost two decades coordinating the visit of Chinese officials and business folks to US, on behalf of the US government. This was my previous career, before I abandoned it and moved to Russia.

The topic of China is delicate here in Russia. If one considers the total and basically psychotic enmity from the West, offer of friendship from China is a godsend. One would not want to speak too undiplomatically about the Chinese mentality, and the current state of Chinese National psyche.

If you read very carefully the articles written by high level advisors of Putin, you would see that they harbor no illusions. Russia itself contains a significant number of former apparatchiks whose "Russian soul" evolved through the 1990s to a point exactly resembling what you described about the Chinese. I am convinced that president Putin is a patriot, and when he meets this type of people, he recognized right away what they were, whether they were Russian or Chinese.

The overseas Russian get very emotional at such trying times for their motherland. I more than relate to that. But they show a natural tendency to idealize everything about Russia, and gets instantly suspicious on hearing a different opinion. The same eagerness to believe is now extended to the new great Asian ally of Russia. I wrote something a couple of days ago to the same effect. The moderator even did not allow me to post. I hope now that this war charade has temporarily abated, the moderator would regain a minimal level of calmness and openness for dialogue.

Darius on April 15, 2018 , · at 3:30 pm UTC
"Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth." – Mahatma Gandhi

Hizbullah, Persia, Russia vs China

The real power and fearlessness is not about numbers. It is about soul and its vibrant energetic radiation.
How can a small movement of people like Hizbullah be more vibrant and fearless and outspoken against oppression and international criminals then the so called giant nation of China?
How could Bolivia a small nation can be so to the point then China?

How can Iran (Persia) with its 70 millions people and totally surrounded by Kosher Nostra mafia can be so brave and standing tall against the international oppressors of humanity in compare to China, which doing practically nothing?
It is not about numbers, it is about power of soul, about life philosophy, about way of life, about believe in true and one God. So that is way Persians historically influenced humanity more then anything China can dream of.
There is reason why King Cyrus, is mentioned several times in Bible. There is a reason why Saadi poetry about humanity is written in the entrance of UN:

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you've no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain!

"Saadi Persian poet"

But perhaps, the most significant solid power and force which has not only the soul of justice, solidarity and humanity, but even instrument of physical power and ability to fight back a total war is Mother Russia. Despite its shortcomings, Russia is a gift from God, Russia is the historic Rom of our time, mentioned in Sura 30 of Quran (30:1-5 "To Whom Power Belongs" Declares the truth of the universe).

Russia may be is the second period of Zul-Qarnain mentioned in the Sura 18 of Quran. Russia is an exceptional Caucasian (White race, i personally do not believe in race ) people, (if we exclude Persians as Caucasians) which does not participate in the oppression of non-Europeans and blocking the total subjugation of planet by Western and its minions.

When you talk with Russians and Westerners, you will immediately recognize the difference. Russians are not arrogant and it is exactly what Quran describing a kind of Christians, who are not arrogant, but a people with love and affection. I have no illusions, but i talking in general terms, i talking about sum of all vectors and direction of this common vector.
Numbers are not important, historically majority always were wrong. Truth is still truth even you are a minority.

So, the conclusion is that, if I am right and if Russia is righteous and just and hold on rope of God, no force of this plant can defeat Russia. Russia does not need China, China is not a nation of ideology, faith or religion, they only believe in money, which is also the god of Western world and its minions. China is not a natural ally of Mother Russia, natural ally of Russia is nations with believe in God, justice, solidarity, soul and judgment day.
My personal encounter with Chinese convinced me that they have a completely different mindset and I was completely disappointed.

With love and respect to Russia and its heroic people

Charles on April 15, 2018 , · at 9:58 pm UTC
Yow Darius my man, you speak the truth. It is fire and light in one's soul, and nothing else. And if one might add, a preparedness to die, a simplicity and gentleness of character. Labels mean nothing.

Degeneration afflicted many nations, comes in many forms, it can be a well-mannered and finely dressed German so proud of himself, it can be an oily and greedy petty Chinese businessman, it can be a Mercedes driving Arab in front of some big hotel in Dubai.

Globalism is a satanic cult of our times. They are huge in numbers, but their souls are small, enslaved, and twisted. We have no fear of them. Keep well brother.

Ahmed on April 15, 2018 , · at 6:37 pm UTC
@Antoni

I agree with everything you said. I will take a more wait and see approach with China. I hope for the sake of the world they jump onboard. Ultimately the issue is materialism. The Anglo zios want to deal with a world in which everyone has a price on their head, so they can be easy to buyout and compromised. Since the Zionists are the one with the most capital, anyone who wants a piece of the world, will have to go through them. So that materialistic outlook the Chinese have, can be a huge opening for the zios to exploit.

The state of the Arab leaders are even more pitiful. A bunch of animals who are enslaved to their lusts, and desires. I would tell them to enjoy it, because their end will not be good. Most of them have sold out to the highest bidder(Zionists) a ling time ago.

Now the Wahhabi movement, what's left to say about this devious, malicious cult. If you're interested check this article out. It talks about the founder of the Wahhabi movement, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, and how he was in cahoots with British spy's who were looking for a way to bring down the ottoman empire. I have to do more research on this article, however as someone who has studied wahhabisim, I'm fairly certain it was a movement that had malicious intent from the beginning, regardless of the article I linked below. It's just somewhat hard to explain to non Muslim's because some of it deals with matters of theology. Anyways I enjoyed reading you're post. Peace my friend.

http://www.conspiracyschool.com/wahhabis

Pindos on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:49 am UTC
Imagine how many would die in a war. What is happening is acceptable and necessary losses. Russia and China understand this.
Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:54 am UTC
Saker says "But what could the Russians have done?" is the right question.
Ans: Provide advanced defensive weapons well-ahead of time so that the Syrians themselves can impose a cost.

In addition what the Russians have already done, why is Russia not selling advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons to countries in the cross-hairs of the West? Often, they talk about selling S-300 to Syria. Now imagine, Syria has Bastion, anti-sub weapons, and S-300. There will be costs to the West in this case. I think, this possibility is something Russia can do. Why wait, as it is obvious that promises by the West are basically lies. (Despite, dismantling the CW, the same argument is used to justify the attack. The Skripal case uses this method against Russia itself.)

What has the Russians got by withholding the sale of such weapons? What is the Russian calculus?

Arioch on April 17, 2018 , · at 8:48 am UTC
> What has the Russians got by withholding the sale of such weapons?

Those weapons was not re-sold to USA to make them research it and either clone or devise countermeasures or both

James2 on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:55 am UTC
Russia may take the issue economic route

They should target key UK business Like BP and other British entities and exclude them from the Russian Market – force majeur can be put into effect

Then do the same with the French

They don't need China for this.

the pessimist on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:57 am UTC
The attack was pretty clearly highly coreographed and followed strict rules that were not violated. The US provided a turkey shoot for the Syrian AD restricting the missile flight path to lanes with no typical deviations to confuse the AD. I'm sure this is what the Russians required in order to guarantee no response from them.

So there are a number of important questions here.

There was insistence that an attack must occur, despite Russian objections. The US and Russian militaries worked out a way for this to occur as safely as possible. Good that they pulled it off safely as it implies a high level of competence and discipline on both sides.

It seems likely from public behavior that the Pentagon thought this a bad idea and was fully aware of the dangers.

Where is Trump on this and was he forced to acquiesce?

It also seems clear that the pressure on Russia has not diminished and that the 'allies' intend to try and force an agreement on Syria through Geneva process that partitions the country and likely deposes Assad.

The Russian side said that the president of Russia had been insulted/disrespected and that there would be consequences for this action.

There has not been much effective push back in Europe to this policy of direct confrontation.

China is wearing a mask in public but is not pleased and has offered some diplomatic support in public.

I rate the situation as highly dangerous, unpredictable, with a great deal going on behind the scenes.

the pessimist on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:33 am UTC
As an addendum b over at moa has pointed out in his summary that while the US Defense Dept is claiming only 3 targets Russian and Syrian sources claim many more, specifically airports. I also read that B1s, I believe, used laser guided bombs in the attack and I have no idea what the targets were as all discussion has focused only on the cruise missiles. Perhaps more sites were targeted than was agreed upon.

Also, regarding the Skripal poisoning, Russia has obtained the evidence of BZ use from the Swiss OPCW lab, perhaps through back channels. I see this as hopeful – Russia does have friends in Europe, although the remain afraid or without the power to assist openly.

the pessimist on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:57 pm UTC
Postings in various places suggest that the US deviated from the agreed on plan and that the Russian jets that scrambled near the end of the attack put a stop to further deviations. Perhaps a broken promise like this led to the specific assertions of disrespect.

Thanks to the Saker especially and all the commenters for this forum and the robust discussion.

Mark Hadath on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:04 am UTC
The Saker's frustration is clear and valid.

However, I think Russian behaviour is consistent with the long game strategy. Syria lost three buildings and its citizens were celebrating in the streets. The US had the bulk of its missiles shot down. This is quite simply posturing by the Empire. I don't think the last 48 hours add to the perception the US can whatever it wants whenever it wants. If anything its the opposite.

I think the US will try again. Its attempt will be no more powerful or successful than what just occurred. They will continue to do so for many years yet. They will continue the delusional narrative delivered ad nauseam to its own people for another decade at least.

My point is that as each month goes by, it matters less.

The American hrandstanding is becoming white noise.

I am encouraged by the last 48 hours. I admire Russian restraint. I have for years now and I expect to continue to do so for some time yet.

ReneR on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:04 am UTC
What Russia does imo is trying to buy time.

As former analyses of you spoke of, the russians Lack the number of planes etc the Wallstreet-fascists have. This time they will use to speed up the stuff they need. The stuff Putin spoke off in his march speech. The provocation as much to to with it I guess.

And time Saker is not at the Side of the US, as the petro dollar Will be replaced and their debts Will reach astronimical figures. Remember China is a creditor of this fascist regime. Simply stop funding this moron shit. Why did China buy worthless state-papers from the US??

The americans didnt dare to kill Any russian a hoge difference to the event Pompeo was bluffing about. So ..?

Nathan on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:22 am UTC
China bought the worthless state-papers from the US because it give it's leader's the good life and the illusion of great wealth. If they sell off the Treasuries than that illusion with evaporate in hyperinflation. The Russians are only waist deep into the Global Economy, they probably can crawl out with some effort -- the Chinese are up to their eyeballs in it, they cannot.
one minion on April 16, 2018 , · at 8:26 am UTC
China was being pragmatic and keeping its major market afloat. Little point in being the factory of the world if the world stops buying what you produce through lack of liquidity.
I have faith in the Chinese leadership–they are ordinary people like everyone else but their culture and mindset gives them a clever edge that the west has lost, long ago.
Guest on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:07 am UTC
China is not bowing down. They however don't play the game with the same strategy as Russia does.
Jacobs Ladder on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:13 am UTC
It is indeed not over, because in history there is seldom a clear beginning and an end.

However, the Saker is being too pessimistic. The FUKUS coalition avoided the Russian positions (ie showed a wariness and respect), and Syria did stand tall in defending herself.

For Russia to have taken the bait and reacted reflexively would have been counterproductive. As things stand, no escalation occurred, and Russia comes out looking cool-headed and mature. In effect the good guys.

The US is in sharp decline. It's current behaviour demonstrates that it is in the final stages of Empire. Time is on Russia and China's side. To engage the US unless absolutely necessary would work to favour the US and against the rising powers of China and Russia.

Martin Giuffrida on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:14 am UTC
Kevin Barrett re-posted a Gordon Duff censored article re the SAA capturing a Takfiri chemical weapons facility in East Ghouta with western weapon components and reporting the capture of AZ personnel:

https://kevinbarrett.heresycentral.com/2018/04/duff-fb/

Some excerpts:
"The Syrian Arab Army and with the help of Russian captured a shipment of chemical weapons destined for the Eastern Ghouta. These were British weapons produced at Porton Down in Salisbury.
"American, British and Israeli military personnel captured in Syria have confirmed they were ordered to stage chemical attacks in East Ghouta by their governments.
"The Americans are still being held along with Israeli's while British prisoners are being negotiated for. Sources in Damascus told us that representatives of Oman in Damascus approached the Russian Office of Reconciliation on behalf of Britain for the return of British chemical warfare personnel.
"The shells are identified as VX gas from British stockpiles.
"Russian officials in Syria informed Britain through Oman that they would have to directly deal with Syria for the return of their personnel. We have received no further information since, Damascus has remained silent on how or if negotiations were proceeding.
"Last week, VT Damascus received evidence that Americans, US Army Special Forces along with Israeli chemical weapons officers had been captured in East Ghouta. We were told that not only was a command facility captured with modern weapons but a stockpile of British made 81mm poison gas mortar shells, numbering in the hundreds, was seized as well.
"Videos were viewed by former MOD weapons specialists who identified the green stripe on the shells seized in East Ghouta as VX gas from British stockpiles."

Just pencil in that article.

My comment:
Regarding Russian response, my feeling is Russia recived plenty of assurance the US was unwilling to hit Russian facilities, and got special corridors for attacks. The Russians could sit this out and watch and the US failed in a major way again militarily against only Syrian defenses. I think it is a wise principle for Russia to avoid the temptation to reveal the real power of its weapons prematurely until there is a real need for them at which time they may be a rather significant surprise.
-Martin

Nathan on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:15 am UTC
Saker,

I view Russia's position as unassailable. After the bombing of Friday night is it even conceivable that the US could ever gain air superiority over the Russian homeland? Yes the attack was made with second-tier missiles at third-rate targets without the element of surprise and poorly coordinated, but it was still easily repelled by a combination of Soviet-era junk and modern EW equipment and radars. Even those in the West who are apathetic, if they are listening at all before they change the channel, must at some unconscious level realize that the US could not have a "perfect" air strike with over a hundred missiles and destroy only three unoccupied buildings.

A conventional WWIII of any length of time will destroy the Global Economy. The Russians will win easily simply because they are tougher and more prepared. They may not desire that outcome, but of all people they probably have the best chance to survive. Except if the nukes end up being released by accident or through escalation. So the Russians, being just about the only moral actors around, have a moral responsibility not to fight back until there is no other choice.

NOTE: Not that all western nations or the people within them are immoral actors, the greater population and smaller countries are just bystanders.

sallysdad on April 15, 2018 , · at 2:24 pm UTC
I am not convinced the US used second-tier missiles. These were launched from active duty warships and I can only assume it is the standard cruise missile weapon employed. There is way too much not yet known about the details of this operation.
If, and it is a big "if", the missiles moved along agreed corridors, it is not surprising so many were shot down.
As I say, so much is not yet known.
Nathan on April 16, 2018 , · at 12:21 am UTC
I always figure that the best stuff is under wraps, although available in no great quantity.

BTW, I think a technology that isn't discussed much is passive detection systems, which may have taken the element of surprise away from standoff weapons.

pogohere on April 16, 2018 , · at 8:46 pm UTC
The A-Ha Moment.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Here comes this important question of purely tactical nature which many flag-waving uber-patriots miss completely, while, I am sure, Pentagon and not only, is puzzled with what went wrong. The question is not about excellent performance of Syrian AD–what and how about this performance are being unveiled with each passing hour. Russian EW? Absolutely, no doubt it. Massive shooting down of Tomahawks and Scalpel TLAMs? Absolutely. But, but what about JASSMs. It is conceivable that these were they Trump was bragging about in his idiotic twits when spoke about those "Smart" missiles that "are coming". There are still no firm numbers about the number of intercepted JASSMs, what is clear, however, is the fact that many of them were intercepted. If JASSM passes today for "Smart", it kind of puts good ol' Tomahawks, logically, into the category of "Dumb". Obviously, as latest Syria's experience shows, Tomahawks are not an overwhelming threat, as they were positioned as for decades, for truly (not in Saddam Hussein's, or, rather US media, way) highly integrated and EW capable air-defense system.

But JASSMs, "stealthy" and supposedly "Smart", even by preliminary data pouring in didn't fare much better than Tomahawks and this was against Syrian AD assets which are pretty damn old. So, what about "stealth"? Ah, but in the modern signal processing, including well developed now sensor-fusion (or data-fusion) techniques it really doesn't matter for advanced adversary. But that is purely technological aspect, however influential for operational and strategic levels. Truly global, geopolitical issue is this, as Apps concludes:

Therein lies one of the greatest challenges of this situation. In 1990, after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, the George H. W. Bush administration was relieved to find that Russia – then still in the hands of Mikhail Gorbachev – was inclined to avoid turning the conflict into a Cold War-style standoff. In the years that followed, successive U.S. presidents became used to acting without such worries. Putin has now successfully signaled that those days are entirely over.

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/search/label/JASSM

Izaates bar Monobazeus on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:16 am UTC
No it ain't over. It has just begun. Call it the great tribulation or Jacob's troubles or whatever you like but understand we have another half dozen years to go. In any event Daniel says Damascus will have terror fall upon it at night and become a smoking ruin byvmorning. So Damascus will fall to align reality with prophecy. The ultimate vanity.
Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:17 am UTC
"The Chinese and the rest of them are not willing to do anything at this time to support Russia."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-15/china-arrogant-us-has-record-launching-wars-deceptive-grounds

Anon on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:17 am UTC
Yes, it's over.

The recent events are complete theatre but the first act is about setting up the second act.

In the second act, America's tough actions force Iran Russia and Syria to the negotiating table where a grand accord is hammered out.

In the third act, the Empire cuts its losses and gets the fuck out of the ME because it no longer has interests there. Israel BTFO. KSA BTFO. They are really the worst allies ever.

In the epilogue Russia becomes the main broker in the ME and balances out the competing interests while keeping the peace. France and England BTFO. Nobody wants these douche bags around anymore. America goes back to squabbling in South America and Asia where it arguably does have strategic interests.

FURNARIUS on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:19 am UTC
The world Zio-Massonic movement has just shown that it can not dispense with provocations and plots that can unleash bloody world wars.

The United Nations are a farce and should be dismantled!

Just remembering, it is always England and Judea that press for war as they did in 1938-1939 or release the great and relentless butcher – the only true holocaust – 1914-1918 !

Jake on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:20 am UTC
There is another possibility: These "empty strikes" were strictly intended for domestic consumption. Consider: The US openly telegraphed the coming strikes. Syria and Russia cleared some areas for the West to hit that would result in no injuries to personnel and limited damage to infrastructure. The West dutifully hit those evacuated areas and proclaimed "Mission Accomplished". Syrians danced in the streets for "surviving" the missile strikes while Russia threatened consequences. What form those consequences take will tell us if these countries are merely dancing a rather peculiar dance together or whether they are about to starting fighting in earnest. So far Russia has been playing it cool as a cucumber, but these strikes – empty as they might have been – demand some sort of response or Russia will risk looking weak. The fly in the ointment is Israel and their attack on an Iranian base within Syria that reportedly killed 20 Iranian officers. Will that loss of life influence Russia's response after the West made every effort to avoid drawing blood?
Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 3:59 pm UTC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF60VV3G3_Y
mike k on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:28 am UTC
Saker, many commenters here give me the impression that they will go to any lengths to reassure themselves that we are not teetering on the brink of all out nuclear war. All of their theories and reasonings seem to avoid facing that grim reality. Is that also your impression, or have I misjudged your position?
Simon Chow on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:30 am UTC
I think this blog may have misread China. I think I can read the Chinese mind and the 'Western' more subtly since I am ethnic Chinese but educated in the 'West'. But I follow Sun Tzu and therefore will not expound anymore on China's strategy as far as the Yanks are concern lest they are wised up.

Suffice to say that a catastrophic decline of the empire ala the Ottoman Empire which led to WW1 and WW2 due to fighting over the spoils, is on nobody's interests, not even Russia's.

The best case scenario is to ease the Yanks into a break-up ala the late great USSR.

China's economic, diplomatic and political strength will be critically needed to do this and to rebuild the new independent states of Western North America, Eastern North America and the Southern Confederation.

Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 6:37 am UTC
A Chinese Empire with its new social contract would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Simon Chow on April 16, 2018 , · at 9:20 am UTC
Anonymous. No Chinese empire. The Chinese don't want to occupy other countries. Too troublesome ruling them. Philippines president Duterte recently suggested half-jokingly that the Chinese should just make the Philippines a Chinese province. China don't want that. Just to make the Philippines more prosperous and stable in order to trade with it – which is far better. If China wanted make the Philippines as its own province, She would have done so 600 years ago when Admiral Zheng He sailed his then unmatchable in the South China Sea and onwards to India, Persian Gulf, Africa and possibly beyond.
Bro 93 on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:35 am UTC
Over?

"It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra

Which means never, unless you're talking about the individual organism, is it "over".

So get over it never being over.

What would you (we) do if it were "over"? Contemplate our navels??

Oh, you mean stress inducing bluster , bluff and brinksmanship of a dying entity. What else has it got, except blowing itself and everybody else up?

Patience, perserverance. Look at the reaction in the US. Don't forget this terrain, even if Trump's Unreality Show self destructs.

Is there progress? I think there is. None but the most cretinous deplorables are so stupid as to cheer the Donald in the last week. Most are dismayed.

And even Alex Jones is allowing open talk of Israel's Empire role in putting DT on this war mongering course that those who buy his supplements refuse to buy .:

https://youtu.be/IabdFIMCTfM

Although Dr P is the one to explicitly state that Israel is a total liability.

So I wouldn't quibble too much about AJ and his mistakes and prejudices. Weaker on Israel than you would like but as good on Russia as you can expect.

Stupid on China. But Dr P isn't. And anyone watching can see that and see that AJ panders to his base's fears and prejudices.

But if they are wising up on Israel (as they have!) they can wise up on China and the whole picture, as well.

Who would want that process of improving consciousness to end, to be "over"??

To relax go back to what??

Actually, I like Snow Leopard's comment the most. And I am contemplating a surgical procedure on my navel, soon. It's just that Action is part of Being, and I see certain actions other than handwringing and brow wiping being more productive right now. Especially in terms of encouraging the process in the US where increasing numbers of people are realizing they have to think and act to grease the skids for the out of touch geriatrics like McCain, Feintsein, Pelosi, etc .or DT will go out with them, if he keeps acting just as ridiculously untruthful as they are.

one minion on April 16, 2018 , · at 9:16 am UTC
'ridiculously untruthful' -- - that and deceit is the sea that the Donald has swum in his entire life, do you really believe that he could recognise reality if it smashed him in the face like a two ton truck?
Precious little chance of that happening in this lifetime, I'd say. It is by now part of his cell make-up and ineradicable.
Ahsahyah on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:54 am UTC
The US has backed Russia into a DEEP, DEEP corner . Sooner or later Russia will have to respond to the AmeriKKKan madness or surrender and become a vassal State like Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea .After Syria is Iran and China. If Russia goes so is China. Now is the time to stand upp to AmeriKKKa (the empire of chaos)
Check out the work of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.org and Professor William Engdahl
Simon Chow on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:57 am UTC
All I can say at this stage is that Sun Tzu said not to fight out of anger, fear or enemy's provocation to a fight. Russia should stay cool. Pick carefully the battlefield (not necessarily a battlefield like Borodino), pick her own fight (not necessarily in the battlefield with guns and missiles but just as decisive) and pick the issues to fight for. This way retain the initiative and not let the enemy drive and maneuver Russia. Drive and maneuver the enemy instead.

The full-frontal 'love-in' with the Germans in WW2 is a no no type of war to be avoided. If unavoidable, must be very well prepared. But both the West and the semi-West seem addicted to the prospect of such an 'orgasmic' love-in. They seems locked into the paradigm of such logic. But beneath the rationalisation is simply a love for war.

Here is an extract from Richard Lovelace on the English Civil War. He reflects accurately on what, me as an Oriental, views as what drives the West's and the semi-West's mindset to war:

1) Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the Nunnery
Of thy chaste breast, and quiet mind,
To War and Arms I flee.

2) True, a new Mistress now I chase,
The first Foe in the Field;
And with a stronger Faith embrace
A Sword, a Horse, a Shield.

3) Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not War.

Some version replace the last line in stanza 3) with: "Loved I not Honour more". But you get the drift. "war" and "Honour" (in or through war), are essentially the same.

So Russians, please calm down.

Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 1:29 am UTC
Speaking of Borodino, we must not lose sight of the fact that the Russians not only repelled Napoleon, but crushed him definitively in the end (thing somehow overlooked in 'histories' of the 1812-14 war genre 'War and Peace') and reorganized Europe on their own terms. Of course, it did not last too long (due to the usual British treachery), but the subsequent attempts to destroy Russia ended in the same way. Now if Hitler has not learned anything from Napoleon, how do you expect a Tramp like Donald, to learn anything from Hitler (and the Kaiser and Napoleon, for that matter)?
Simon Chow on April 16, 2018 , · at 6:32 am UTC
Yeah, the Yanks know about Borodino. So unlikely they will attack that way. They are trying to provoke Russia into making a mistake and self-impale!
one minion on April 16, 2018 , · at 9:31 am UTC
I am in complete agreement with you Simon. All indications are that Mr Putin and team has a firm grasp on reality also, whatever that may bring in the future. It may not be too pretty for the western sphere but delusion and rank stupidity never has a pretty outcome.
Albrecht on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:58 am UTC
Not over. Not even close. The reason this isn't over is that the causes and conditions causing the root of the problem have not been dealt with. The cause of the problem can only be dealt peacefully through diplomacy. In the Empire's current configuration diplomacy is near impossible as there is no competent partner to negotiate with on this side. The Empire will signal their openness to negotiation by removing Bolton aka Captain Crunch, Haley and their ilk. This doesn't seem likely and I'm not sure who a competent replacement would be.

In short, prepare for war.

Mike Reich on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:00 pm UTC
Russia needs to sell to Syria and to Iran ~30 nukes each plus delivery vehicles able to reach New York (thus also Israel, Paris, London). Also S400 systems to protect nukes enough to guarantee launch. Syria and Iran then declare next attack from any of the Gang of Four states will mean a nuclear response to all.
mikhas on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:01 pm UTC
You forgot to mention that without adults Mattis & Dunford, WW3 would have started the last time they "bombed" Syria, now because of they talked the volatile, impulsive and emotional Trump out of it, it landed on a compromise, on Moscow's terms.
Alan on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:06 pm UTC
The PRC is one of the only other 2countries that supported the Russian UN resolution, so it's not clear to me what the Saker is referring to re "just standing by" ? Do you expect PRC to send troops to Syria? has Syria or Russia made such a request or invitation? Do you know if such a move by the PRC has wide support by the Chinese public? Please do not respond with nonsense like public opinions don't matter in china. The Chinese government uses public opinion polls frequently and widely. Fact is I believe majority of Chinese are also affected by all the lies from the western msm, especially the well educated elites, most of whom studied in the West. This explains why their Global Times pieces tend to be much more pro Russia than their better educated elites
grrr on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:35 pm UTC
Diplomacy??? It degraded beyond recognition. We used to have the likes of Jeane Kirkpatrick. Now we have geniuses like Samantha Powers and Nikki Haley. We also had a joke of an ambassador to Saddam's Iraq that triggered 1-st Iraq war, although I tend to think (more and more lately) that her blurb to Saddam was a deliberate in order to advance Bush's understanding of his "new world order" idea.
Serbian girl on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:52 pm UTC
Yes, but the previous UNSC meeting where Russia submitted a text requesting a full and objective investigation of the chemical attack in Syria only Bolivia voted yes. China abstained! So Russia looked isolated just prior to the attack
Hydro on April 15, 2018 , · at 3:11 pm UTC
China abstained on the US-sponsored "poison pill" resolution which was set up to be vetoed, and allowed the US to say they tried to resolve the chemical attack diplomatically but since the resolution was vetoed the only avenue left is to retaliate by missile strikes. However, China voted FOR the "clean" Russian-sponsored resolution to investigate but this seems to be lost.
Serbian girl on April 15, 2018 , · at 9:29 pm UTC
Yes you are right. So there we're a total 4 resolutions. 3 resolutions on chemical weapons investigation and 1 on violation of international and UN charter.

For the chemical weapons: Russia submitted 2 resolutions and US 1. None of them passed. China abstained on one, the US one, which Bolivia and Russia vetoed. Here are the links:

Security council fails to adopt three resolutions on chemical weapons use in Syria
https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/04/1006991

And then there was last one on violation of international law and UN charter also didn't pass:

Russia's UNSC resolution calling to stop aggression against Syria does not receive enough votes
https://www.rt.com/news/424171-unsc-russia-resolution-syria/

grrr on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:19 pm UTC
It is impossible to quickly overcome a ~30 years misguided attempt to impose physical hegemony forever. No complex dynamical system deviates from stable trajectory for too long and too far without breaking apart. And since nobody wants (or foolish enough not to be afraid) of a WWIII (a.k.a. breaking the system apart), the US will be forced to change its guiding principle of perpetuating its sole hegemony. Hopefully sooner than later and peacefully.
ThereisaGod on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:21 pm UTC
Is Putin not putting himself at a huge disadvantage if he allows the carriers group now crossing the Atlantic to get close to Syria and Russia. As this confrontation is obviously not over should Russia not draw a red line at the straits of Gibraltar or somewhere?

I don't understand military issues but can see that the USA/UK/France cannot in the slightest way, be trusted to do anything other than wait for what they perceive to be a moment of advantage, then attack.

Coast Guard on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:34 pm UTC
I saw him in a fastboat carrying an RPG. He'll be stopping the carrier task force momentarily.
Don't worry. They won't get close to Syria.
Justice coming for US on April 15, 2018 , · at 1:22 pm UTC
I understand he has a "Dagger" or six under his arm. Not only will that stop the Carrier Group, it will place it where it belongs. At the bottom of the sea.
ReneR on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:24 pm UTC
Another possible option would be to simply bring the Warsaw pact again new life.

The US in the past didnt dare to attack pact-members in the cold war. Now we have a situation that the US considers other States as his toy for torture.

Syria, China Venezuela Belarus, and Donbass even North Korea should become members of it.

ThereisaGod on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:25 pm UTC
It is dreadful to have to wonder if the history of Donald Trump's ***** might play a major role in the continuance or otherwise of life on earth.
gatobart on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:29 pm UTC
Two days ago Vladimir Putin was handed the worst and most humilliating political (and military) defeat of his entire life, something that in other, more normal times, would have immediately forced a man in his stature to resign his post and go away (Chamberlain anyone ?) yet his own adoring fans seem to be the only ones who haven`t noticed it, preferring instead to keep living in that universe of denial they have been dwelling in for years already. What shows best the extent of this attitude of denial is the fact that they were gloating about the fact that Russia didnt even intervene–contrary to what the man himself had promised he would do only a month ago if one of Russia`s allies was attacked. By now is evident that his word is not worth the saliva that was wasted in saying it and that the US has absolutely no respect for him or for Russia. There are just two things to notice to see the truth in these words: a gloating, exulting Nimrata in the UNO, knowing well how cheap was for her and her country, or rather her neocon masters, this victory was (Russia didnt do a thing, so no WW3) and the headlines in the web "Russia furious". If there is still any doubt about this conclusion, well, beware, the Gang Of Three now plans to present to the UNSC a proposition celebrating the illegal attack on Syria of the 14th and they intend to invite ALL members of it, including Russia, to accept it and take it as a fait accompli. But that will be only a prelude for what is to come, which is of course the demand by the U.S. that the UNO accepts her way of conducting business as the norm, as something they will be able to do in every possible occasion they will wish to do it. Which means, more fake chemical attacks and more bombing in Syria until Russia is thrown out of the country. So much for our master chess player in the Kremlin. Only last year he was still insisting, against all caution and the warning of people as knowledgeable as PCR, that his first priority in foreign policy was a good relationship with Amerika, see how well he has done in this regard (Chamberlain anyone, again ?) All in all, things wont become better but much worse after this devastating defeat of the master chess player, they will only become worse until they get him and Russia cornered and with only two possible options, which we all know well. This is not about Russia being alone or being weaker than the US NATO gang, it is all about Putin`s deliberate policy of putting above everything else his vain and useless attempts at being respected and even liked by his worst enemies, the Western elites.
one minion on April 16, 2018 , · at 9:48 am UTC
I thank the gods that Mr Putin is not as simple minded as the picture you have just painted.
Nano Bagonghi on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:30 pm UTC
Regarding China. China it's a great and powerful nation with a vision and a strategy that span far in the future. His policy has always been to go on with extreme caution and as low as possibile exposure. First and foremost she takes care of his own interest, as any other, however. His main opponent is, that for sure, the "western" empire. In this long term fight, China finds herself in company of other nations who are fighting the same long term struggle. Yes, China doesn't share the same cultural, historical, ethnical heritage with Russia, wich in that regard is part of the Euro family, but shares a vital, long term surviving fight with Russia (and Iran, Syria). This is a matter of fact that can not be underestimated. So, in long term, and in spite of some annoying behavior, I'm quite sure that China will stand with Russia. I read that Chinese warships were placed in front of Syria together with Russian navy, maybe someone forgot that, this is a strong message to me.
one minion on April 16, 2018 , · at 9:51 am UTC
To me also, "This is a matter of fact that can not be underestimated."
Jean Lasson on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:31 pm UTC
Did you read this post from Paul Craig Roberts :
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/04/14/russias-humanity-moral-conscience-leading-war/ ?

I side with PCR. Only a public military humiliation can stop the Empire. Russia had a golden opportunity to inflict such an humiliation yesterday and she missed that opportunity.

Let's suppose that Russia downed as many attacking warplanes as possible, whatever their location was, plus a few ships like the USS Donal Cook. What would happen next ? Would the USA launch their strategic missiles on Russia ? I very much doubt it, since the US know as a hard fact that they would be destroyed in retaliation. MAD has been restored. The would have no military response at all and the whole world would see it. And this would have been the end of the Empire, with many vassals leaving it.

Of course, such strikes will happen again. Let's hope that Russia will strike back then.

Ozzie on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:12 pm UTC
The public is brainwashed because they are hooked to the mass media and they are the product of our "educational" system. Americans are about sports and shopping. A good portrait is the rabbits of Watership Down.

In 1958, I still believed that there was a significant intellectual difference between the American bourgeosie and the cattle one sees peering between the slats of large trucks as they contentedly munch hay on their way to the abattoir.–R. Oliver

mundanomaniac on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:32 pm UTC
Donald T' s inheritance was a loose canon. I'm sure he knew it when he ran, as a proved tower – builder, against floating sands and the satanic Hillary-fan-club.

America is in psychiatric treatment since 2014 by the spirit of the north.

April 14 was a peace of the art of political wisdom, 'taking two to tango
above the triggers of the planet's doom

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:34 pm UTC
London to Pressure Financially Russian Businessmen With Assets in UK – Reports

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201804151063587256-uk-russian-oligarchs-assets/

US to Impose Sanctions on Russia Over Support of Assad – Envoy to UN

https://sputniknews.com/us/201804151063584536-haley-us-troops-syria/

More sanctions against Russia to be announced on Monday – Haley

https://www.rt.com/usa/424212-us-sanctions-russia-haley/

Hank on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:35 pm UTC
Saker, no it is not over by a long shot. Haley again today (it appears she is running US foreign policy by herself) says empire gonna sanction Russia again via Treasury tomorrow. It looks like empire trying to ride the false flag chem thing to build a coalition of the "fools" against Russia or some kind of mass movement to give them cover for military action. They are furiously trying to bring massive pressure on the Russian leadership so they will back off and let them have Syria, admit US is almighty god and so they can then go after Iran. It seems US and Brits so knocked off balance by Putin and his election victory and weapons announcement that empire frantically trying to reassert that they and only they are the "decider" of right and wrong and what is moral and immoral. This will go on all of April and into May as Trump backs out of nuke deal with Iran. Then things will really get ugly and fast. And that doesn't even factor in North Korea.

I notice that Russian MOD states that the "allies" were configured to launch 300 missiles not the 110 that were sent. He indicates that they had poor planning and that no one was in charge. But, it may be that they have decided to come back for another hit when the next false flag chem attack is perpetrated probably soon. The chem thing is all they have that is working for them and that isn't much. I finally got emails announcing anti-war protests by ANSWER and I hope they will continue. I have been to some strong street actions with ANSWER in the past although impacting these monsters is nearly impossible.

I agree with you that Russia should flood both Syria and Iran with anti missile systems and they should do it now.

It looks like the Duma gonna finally sanction the US back with some pretty good things including stuffing US "intellectual" property rights in the US ass by turning Russian companies loose to use patents without paying license fees. They can also fuck up US space program and rocket programs.

Actually, Saker, I think what US empire is really up to is to create enough mass hysteria globally that they think they can build some kind of "coalition of the truly stupid" to attack Russia and take it. I honestly think they are that stupid and desperate. Because if that is not it then at some point they are going to have to back off, admit defeat and be seen as the losers they really are. They just don't have the basic decency to do that.

Best

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 3:44 pm UTC
Yes you are right about the U.S. intention to create mass hysteria , and a " coalition of the truly stupid."
The lead item on RNZ news at 5 a.m. this morning referred to the silly little girl who is currently P.M. of N.Z. condoning the U.K. /France / U.S. strike; presumably she will also support the Israel strike against Iranian assets in Syria.
Every day , the lies and propaganda start in NZ, and are halfway around the world before the truth gets out of bed.
Count on it. Thank you Rupert.
eagle eye on April 15, 2018 , · at 7:14 pm UTC
And Rupert's whores are at it in Australia as well, reporting on the grovelling snot bag Turnbull's obsequious offering of more Australian lives to lubricate the Anglo Zionist machine. I say lets put his kids in the first jet to attack Syrian positions and see if he still thinks it is worth the cost.

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/world/australia-poised-to-step-in-on-syria/news-story/8b6fbf8de47d22a197a9ce002cefcc77?utm_source=The%20Mercury&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 12:31 am UTC
In 2001 Australians have marched in their thousands to protest the imminent strike on Irak.
Today they blabbered non stop about the the 'tampered ball' and protesting the punishment of the cheaters and hounding the pedophile clergy.
lizzie dw on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:35 pm UTC
I appreciate your comments but do not share you perceptions. Reportedly, the USA informed Russia before they dropped the bombs. Does that make sense? Reportedly, they bombed a factory which has not been in use since 2013. Reportedly, either no one was killed or 4 unfortunate civilians were killed. Reportedly, no Russian personnel or equipment was affected. Reportedly, the 3 attacking countries dropped 103 bombs and 71 or 73 or whatever were intercepted, yet the USA said the complete opposite. "We are confident ..". Amazingly, the USA has developed a bomb, or a method of bombing, which, if it hits a factory producing chemical weapons and therefore is full of lethal substances, will not, repeat not, dissipate these into the air, thereby insuring that no one will be affected!!! (emphasis mine) I agree that some people might think that the attack actually did something, but who are they? Nobody I know. My perception is that people working in the our government are isolated and out of touch and they are the ones who had to be satisfied(?). I also think that Mr. Trump is so surrounded by liars that he can trust no one. He stated he wanted the US to leave Syria, then, shortly after, the USA performed this inane bombing attack. Maybe this is Mr. Trump's response to the immense pressure I think he gets from those around him. It was very confusing but certainly did not make me feel that our country is great again – I am just embarrassed. I feel very badly for the citizens of Syria who unfortunately live in a country located in the center of the world, surrounded by all that gas and oil.
ProtoSec on April 15, 2018 , · at 2:43 pm UTC
I have seen reports that said they did, and I have seen reports that Moscow was furious because they were not given notice on the deconfliction channel.

Its anyones guess which version is the truth,

metamars on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:39 pm UTC
"The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance"

Even though you live in the US, you seem sadly out of touch with what Americans know and believe. "America" is NOT your blog audience, any more than "America" is Donald Trump and the US State Department.

I found out last Thursday that my own mother took seriously the idea that Assad gassed people in Douma. So, yesterday I asked 4 of my coworkers what they thought about the US led missile attack. I was actually more interested in finding out whether they believed Assad had any culpability in Douma.

It turns out that everybody approved, including a guy that I knew for a fact was a Trump supporter (who, as a candidate, would not have approved of meddling in Syria, or at least pretended to be such). This particular guy explained by asking a question: "If you saw your neighbor beating his wife to a pulp, would you jump in to stop him, or just stand around and let it happen?"

The sense I got from everybody is that intervention was a moral act. Most zombies that I have seen in movies are, at best, amoral (assuming they have no agency).

Consequently, you are misusing the term "zombified"!

The appropriate term is "brainwashed". They believe in a pseudo-reality.

That is why the absence of a 4th category in your graph is potentially tragic. You are missing the category of communication/education, which would encompass benign (truthful) propaganda and benign (truthful) psyops, targeting the American public directly (American elites more indirectly). While this was better done as prevention, the resultiing de-legitimization of the American War Party could be thought of as retaliation.

To a person looking at things in a detached manner, prevention (going forward) is better than retaliation (looking backwards), but such considerations are secondary to solving the problem of the ignorance and brainwashing of American citizens. Doing so would provide at least fertile soil for the emergence of corrective political pressure from the bottom, up.

Do you SERIOUSLY think your own efforts, plus Russian government efforts in the form of rt.com and sputniknews.com, are sufficient to deprogram and educate Americans? (There is no disrespect for you efforts intended by asking this question.)

Then please do the following: learn how to use the video feature on your smart phone, or tablet; then do a walking video poll of passersby on some crowded street near you. (You probably won't be allowed to do so in a shopping mall, but it might be worth a try.) I suggest you use the same technique I used when doing a video poll of TPP awareness amongst the public (which proved, to my satisfaction, that polls showing popular acceptance were a complete fraud; most American HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE TPP, Pew notwithstanding). I asked people "May I ask you 1 yes/no question?" About half the people won't give you the time of day, even for that. Of those that do, maybe 1/3 will be interested in talking about it; typically, they they will ask the same question of you.

Afterwards, tabulate the results, upload the video to youtube, and write it up here.

Better yet, do this and ask you audience to do the same. Then, include the links to their youtube channels in your write-up.

You should try to get your results (which are almost sure to be similar to mine) to the Russian government, because they act AS IF they had the same viewpoint as you.

Putin could reach millions of Americans by tweeting to @realDonaldTrump, but doesn't bother. I have to wonder, why? If he assumed that the American public are all "zombies", instead of containing moral but brainwashed citizens in their 10's if not 100's of millions, then his lack of action would make more sense.

He'd be wrong, but at least his actions would logically follow from his mistaken notions.

DannyO on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:44 pm UTC
It is over. It was over in 2000 and the hammer came down in 2006. With the defeat of the anglo/zionists in Lebanon by Hezbollah it marked the beginning of the end for the occultists. Hezbollah was not actually fighting the iof but rather the combined forces of western zionist imperialism. And they won.
Iraq, Libya and now Syria are a direct result of the ouster of the baby killers from Lebanon. The chaos in the ME – the Arab bullshit spring – the propping up of the gulf monarchy muppets is panic mode by the zionist oligarchy. There is no policy only blind reactionary behaviour – this is evidenced even in the propaganda of the MSM which not only makes no sense but speaks continuous transparent lies.
The west has been forced to use moderate and not so moderate head chopper orc mercs to fight its battles. Proxy war by orc is a sign of desperation and with the collapse of the hegemon on the horizon.
The Russians and the axis of resistance is simply trying to mitigate the damage that the oligarchy can still do and keep the US and the western vassals from imploding.
Izaates bar Monobazeus on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:49 pm UTC
I think the UK is exhibiting signs of genuine fear because it has dawned on the UK elite after the miserable performance of their Three Amigo's missile strike that Russia has a special present for instigators of ww3.

The great harlot is going to fall. A smoking ruin no man will ever wish to tread. England has whored itself to the gallows.

ProtoSec on April 15, 2018 , · at 2:36 pm UTC
Mystery Babylon comes down in one hour.
One hour, that is all.
Francis Lee on April 16, 2018 , · at 2:07 am UTC
Yes, I also think that Russia is reserving a special treatment for the UK. Unfortunately I live in London!
Den Lille Abe on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:50 pm UTC
N, it is not over, that much , we agree on. But the Chinese, I believe are not short sighted nor are they stupid. The will probably not do much for Syria, but I think they will raise their voice immediately if Russia is seriously threatened. China knows if Russia falls, she is next. Iran knows this too. So I cant see other than these three will have to stand together. But other may join India, possibly, Pakistan, possibly. And possibly further some smaller countries.
But I am 100 % certain that in all these countries, the people, the knowledgeable of the people, we know that if we end up, in a unipolar world, we will be slaves and remain slaves, forever.
And those countries I just summed up are more than 3 Billion.
Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Who knows. But
Better die standing, than live crawling.

I think you underestimate how hated and despised the US is around the world. In most of the non western world, the United States story of oppression and murder is very well known and it is not forgotten. But fear keeps people in bondage, and the US has shown it will spare no excesses to reach its goal, so when the battle comes it will be long bloody and brutal.
And yes it will come.

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 9:25 pm UTC
From today's Global Times editorial, semi-official organ of the Chinese politburo:

"However, the stronger a country is, the greater the responsibility it has to maintain world peace and order. The military actions of the US and its allies have breached the framework of the United Nations and violated the foundation of modern international relations. If the will of Washington and the West represents the will of all mankind and they can punish whoever they want, why do we need the UN, or international law?

Without UN authorization, the US, UK and France behaved like rogues. No matter how touching the excuses they find for themselves, they cannot change the fact that they were lynching Syria without due evidence "

More of this in the UNSC please.

[Apr 18, 2018] Russian show with Yakov Kedmi really surprised and disturbed me

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Paul II on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:40 am UTC

What about a fourth type of retaliation, cleaning out the financier/Zionist/pro-Western/liberal infestation inside Russia? This wouldn't require China's approval, and would lead to a much healthier and stronger Russia in the long run.

In my view, China has done far more to get itself out of AZ control and on the path to pursuing its national interests than Russia has. It is depressing to read most Russian blogs as they keep harping on what needed to be done years ago.

Martin Giuffrida on April 15, 2018 , · at 12:12 pm UTC
Yes and this Russian show with Yakov Kedmi really surprised and disturbed me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwYcItJp4O8&t=1s

[Apr 18, 2018] Chinese position of Douma false flag

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 9:55 am UTC

The Chinese newspaper the Global Times agrees with the Saker:

"Washington's attack on Syria where Russian troops are stationed constitute serious contempt for Russia's military capabilities and political dignity. Trump, like scolding a pupil, called on Moscow, one of the world's leading nuclear powers, to abandon its "dark path." Disturbingly, Washington seems to have become addicted to mocking Russia in this way. Russia is capable of launching a destructive retaliatory attack on the West. Russia's weak economy is plagued by Western sanctions and squeezing of its strategic space. That the West provokes Russia in such a manner is irresponsible for world peace Western countries continue bullying Russia but are seemingly not afraid of its possible counterattack. Their arrogance breeds risk and danger."

Graeme - Australia on April 15, 2018 , · at 5:28 pm UTC
Yes, I also follow the Global Times editorials, and have friends in China

Simon Chow nails it, in my opinion

America is playing checkers (or some other child's game). Russia is playing Chess, and we know how good they are at that. China is playing Chinese Chess and that is fking impossible to understand for a westerner subtle does not cover it .. and China has the father (godfather?) of all generals and military strategists, Sun Tzu . go figure

I agree, the fat lady is out there somewhere warming her vocal chords.

Sarmis2014 on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:30 pm UTC
Talking about chess In my humble opinion all the suffering and foreign occupation of Syria could end in less than a month if Russia would have the guts to threaten (behind closed doors or overtly) that if the attacks and occupation of Syria will not stop Russia will provide the weapons necessary to nullify the military superiority of Israel to all relevant enemy of Israel and of course to Syria. The timed leak in the news that Russia considers providing S-300 to Syrian is a good start but obviously not firm and strong enough, According to Paul Craig Roberts "to restate the point once again, the passivity of the Putin government in the face of Washington's aggressiveness is leading directly to nuclear war and the end of life on earth". I think Russia can be "passive" by not attacking US but can be very engage by threatening were it hurts the most the safety of Israel. Cheers
Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 11:33 pm UTC
It is an old metaphor. I think it was used on Atimes years ago: Americans play Monopoly, Russians play chess. Someone added (it could have been me) and Chinese play Go! That was a response: Americans play poker, the game of the 'achievers'. The response was: Americans play poker with loaded dices' and if their bluff is called, they pull the gun and 'take it all'. If I am not mistaken, the verbal joust originated in Australia!
Graeme - Australia on April 16, 2018 , · at 1:13 am UTC
Yes, Go 围棋

From the rules:
• Sacrifice: Allowing a group to die in order to carry out a play, or plan, in a more important area.

Interesting

From the Global Times

'Drill a warning to secessionist forces'

The news that the People's Liberation Army will conduct live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Straits on April 18 has shocked Taiwan. It is a clear warning against recent pro-independence activities on the island, especially head of Taiwan's administrative authority Lai Ching-te's advocacy for independence.

Secessionists should not fantasize that the US will come to their rescue, even though the US had passed the Taiwan Travel Act. National unity is in the core interest of China, which is determined and capable of shattering any foreign intervention. Once Beijing decides to take action, it won't be stopped by any other force.

We believe that if the mainland were to take a military strike against "Taiwan-independence" forces, Washington would have no effective means other than protest.

The planned military drills will be a reconfirmation of Beijing's bottom line. Let the bombing and shooting drills alert Taiwan, rather than letting them actually occur on the island. The mainland does not wish to end the Taiwan question with a military showdown, however, how the situation develops depends on how much rationality remains in the Taiwan administration.

The Ukraine, North Korea .. Sth China Sea .. Syria

Russia, cold war
China, trade war

America is somewhat busy at the moment.

Could it take on a direct confrontation over Taiwan?

I think Syria is too strategically important to be 'allowed to die' .. but, then, I cannot play Go

Interesting ..

Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 1:56 am UTC
What about the 'rumors' that China will build a base in Vanuatu? "We would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific Island countries and neighbours of ours," Mr Turnbull said. Ahem!
Graeme - Australia on April 16, 2018 , · at 4:20 am UTC
Yes, I wonder what Mr Turnbull would say if it was America doing the same thing?

Oh that's right . does not need to . already has a base here in Australia

Although, Australia has little choice, I believe. We still need a big brother. Although that is getting very very complicated.

Australia's geography will determine its future .. IS determining its future

Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 10:54 pm UTC
Australia has a 'Big Moma' already, the owner of it, actually.
Anonymous on April 16, 2018 , · at 2:36 am UTC
Could America take on a direct confrontation over Taiwan?

If Taiwan is 500 kilometers off the coast from California, America just might give it a try. But alas, Taiwan is 500 kilometer off the coast from Fujian Province. Only a deranged America would take the bite. Let's see if America is deranged. Lately there are signs it is down that slippery slope.

Graeme - Australia on April 16, 2018 , · at 4:30 am UTC
What I meant, is the China is choosing its timing and confrontation very carefully

America is the next door neighbour who has watched the plum ripen every day, fearing that pesky Chinese neighbour will steal it and eat it

Not being careful, or just being plain dumb, the American knocked over a hornets nest and and now too busy dealing with the angry hornets to keep an eye on the plum

Timing is everything

[Apr 18, 2018] Voting in UN on Russian resolution

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Serbian girl on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:17 am UTC

Excellent analysis by the Saker!

Here is a list of the non-permanent members of the UNSC: (the year indicates the end of their two year term)

Bolivia (2018)
Côte d'Ivoire (2019)
Equatorial Guinea (2019)
Ethiopia (2018)
Kazakhstan (2018)
Kuwait (2019)
Netherlands (2018)
Peru (2019)
Poland (2019)
Sweden (2018)

Every single country (!) on this list- except for Bolivia – abstained in the latest UNSC vote to stop aggression against Syria Russia, China, Bolivia voted in favor. USA, UK, France vited against. With just ONE vote the resolution would have passed

Kazakhstan is a member of the SCO..why did they not join Russia and China to support this resolution?? I am beginning to think the SCO is just hype.

One thing's for sure: I'm going to miss Bolivia when their term ends this year

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 1:28 pm UTC
Incorrect analysis.

The resolution was never going to pass. The US, the UK and France all posses the veto power of a permanent member of the UNSC. Thus, it does not matter how many voted in favor. The resolution was defeated.

I think I remember seeing at least one statement from another country that said that there was purpose of voting in favor of a veto'd resolution. Why bother. Especially when the US is infamous for blackmailing and armtwisting nations that vote against them. It was only a few months ago that Nutti Nikki declared the US was 'taking names' of those who opposed the.

There isn't any reason to vote for a resolution that is already and certainly veto'd. Actually, you see this alot also in bodies like the US Congress. Once a side has the votes to know they won (or lost), then a single vote doesn't mean anything. Thus a congressperson can vote a way that pleases the voters (or the lobbyists) and know that they are doing so with no impact on whether the measure passes or fails. You sometimes see members of congress voting for and against the same bill so they can take either position in the next campaign!

Serbian girl on April 15, 2018 , · at 3:20 pm UTC
Anonymous, you are of course correct. It's the SC and not the GA so any veto will bring down the resolution. Thank you for correcting my mistake. I also understand perfectly your point about tactical voting.

However:

It would send a powerful message to the empire (and the world) if Russia were not so isolated in her diplomatic efforts, even if a resolution is vetoed!..As Saker mentioned above noone seems to care about the higher values of international law. By keeping a low profile and abstaining these countries are basically confirming that there is no diplomatic way to stop the aggression.

tomo on April 15, 2018 , · at 6:36 pm UTC
what is happening to Russia funnily reminds me of what happened to me as a kid – I was maybe 9.
there was a bully in our neighborhood park where we used to play – he was 3 or 4 years older than most of us. He used to beat all of us individually (I was the youngest in the group) – but then I would come behind him when he was not looking and hit him with a brick etc.
so one day all the kids gathered (not sure whose idea it was – not mine – but I approved and joined them) and agreed to circle the bully and at 1..2..3..we were all to jump at him and to start beating him I thought it was a great idea.
so we went there and did that – 1..2..3 – I jumped on the bully and started kicking him – only to realize that everybody else just stayed where they were. I was the only one fighting him Even my brother didn't join me.
I hope the same thing does not happen to Russia – but if it does – just be prepared – and never trust psychopathic Anglo – west
Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 1:33 pm UTC
Bolivia has a democracy that has elected governments that actually favor their people over corporations, and god forbid, that don't favor foriegn (American) corporations over their own people.

Thus, the US has already declared Bolivia an enemy. They don't seem to be number 1 on the American kill list, but they are already on the list.

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 1:46 pm UTC
At this point in time, the UNSC is blocked to both sides. Neither side can pass a UNSC resolution against the other. One side had 2 and now 3 vetos. The other side has 2 vetos. Nothing is passing.

Which means that neither side can claim UNSC sanction for their wars. Which in turn really makes any war illegal. Not that any of the Axis of Evil care about that. For the record, Trump violated the US Constitution in two ways (at least) by attacking Syria, thus, if the system were honest, he would now be impeached. Of course, the system is not honest, but it is highly rigged.

Since Russia and China don't seem to be starting any wars of aggression, that lack of ability to get a UNSC certificate for wars of aggression won't matter much to them. But, also don't expect them to pass anything condemning the Axis of Evil through the UNSC.

The UNSC is now only for making speeches. Both sides then use these messages in their psyOps operations. PsyOps is the right word because both sides now view propaganda as warfare by other means.

Vietnam brought forth the term "hearts and minds." That's what they psyOps wars are fighting over. The hearts and minds of everyone. Or at least those who are paying attention, and of course getting more to pay attention to your psyOps is a part of the battle as well.

The UNSC is thus a tool in these psyOps wars. The Russians make their case. Nutti Nikki screams, rants and threatens. Each is then used as propaganda both at their own people at home and at the rest of the world. It will stay that way as long as no one repeats the Soviet mistake of the Korean War era and gets so fed up with it that they don't bother to show up and cast their veto.

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 2:17 pm UTC
One interpretation of these comments is that diplomacy is just a bunch of fancy talk to create fodder for psyops. While NATO and other military organizations may view it that way, from another perspective, making speeches in a public meeting like this, where a resolution is on the line, can serve to entrench or resolve conflict. As part of a larger diplomatic strategy.
one minion on April 16, 2018 , · at 12:37 am UTC
The 'hearts and minds' concept originated in the Malaya campaign in the 50's–counter-insurgency–and it was never about hearts and minds, it was about 'killing people in order to save them'– a precursor of 'humanitarian intervention' –basic BS, in other words.
Part of the so-called psyop then was head-chopping of communist Chinese by the British soldiers, I seem to recall.
Francis Lee on April 15, 2018 , · at 1:55 pm UTC
Kazakhstan is one of the founding members of the Eurasian Economic Union. But it has always made its position clear that its membership is based upon economic and not political union. So its vote was not all that surprising. It's called hedging your bets.

[Apr 18, 2018] Possible sup ply of Russian S300 to Syria

Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Lysander on April 15, 2018 , · at 9:48 am UTC

Saker,

Russia has a lot of options and none of them involve attacking US/NATO forces directly. And General Rudskoy already hinted at one of them, the S300 to Syria and to possibly some other countries. A great idea, but only one of Russia's options.

Following from that, the first thing Russia should do, a long with Iran, Hizbullah and Syria, is exactly what it has been doing: securing more and more of Syria. Since the last time AZ axis did this, Syria's situation on the ground is much improved. By the next time they try, it will be much better still. Eyes on the prize.

Next, the S300. Russia has to impose a painful cost to the enemy without triggering a war. That's where Israel comes in. Russia needs to help Syria (Russia should not do this herself) to bring down a handful of Israeli jets and capture their pilots alive. You will see immediately of the situation changes once 2, 3 or 4 of those most precious of souls are captured. Your head will spin. They will trade whatever they have to to get them back. Capturing American pilots would not have anywhere near the same effect. And British or French pilots? Don't make me laugh. Nobody really cares about the hired help.

Russia also has the option of soft retaliation. The empire has troops all over the world and faces insurgencies in many places. I'm just sayin'. Sometimes accidents happen when you are fighting insurgencies.

Believe me, I understand how disgusted you are by the situation. But this has been Russia's role in the world forever. Defending Europe and the world from the mongols, the Prussians, the Swedes, Napoleon, the Turks, Hitler has earned Russia zero gratitude. But nevertheless, many of us see. Even I, who am not a Christian, can see the analogy clear as day.

Amir on April 15, 2018 , · at 10:36 am UTC
Sinking gas/oil platforms of Levithian field by "unknown assistants" might be a similar "symbolic" response. Similar to US attack of uninhibited buildings, this response by a third party against an ally of US (nominally ally, in reality the master) would send the message, without too much of a risk.
pogohere on April 16, 2018 , · at 8:24 pm UTC
Your comments about the Israeli reaction to the loss of its planes and the capture of their pilots is right. Read the Israeli press and especially the comments that follow the stories. Israeli hubris is not to be believed. The commenters (much less the article authors) can´t acknowledge that US missiles were shot down (albeit, with integrated modern radars, electronic interference, etc, acknowledged) by Syrians with Soviet era junk.

[Apr 18, 2018] The USA bombings do not hinder the progress of the Syrian army

Notable quotes:
"... Yes it is annoying that USA keeps bombing Syria, and yes it ruins the lives of the families that lose loved ones in such attacks. But they do not hinder the progress of the Syrian army. Which likely will have wrapped up everything that is politically easy to wrap up in Syria this year. The border with Israel, Idlib and the kurds being the last more politically difficult parts. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

Anonymous on April 15, 2018 , · at 9:40 am UTC

The consequence has not come yet. Those that expected that Russia would sink every American vessels and fire of off thermonuclear weapon at Washington, has no real connection to reality.

Such an action would be the dream of neocons and liberals in the western world. Russia will win as long as they can avoid a full on attack on Syria by USA and getting themselves dragged into a conflict with USA or one of its clients.

Yes it is annoying that USA keeps bombing Syria, and yes it ruins the lives of the families that lose loved ones in such attacks. But they do not hinder the progress of the Syrian army. Which likely will have wrapped up everything that is politically easy to wrap up in Syria this year. The border with Israel, Idlib and the kurds being the last more politically difficult parts.

In reality, Russia and Assad won from this attack I think, it made them look good internationally, it made USA look bad, Trumps supporters are in an uproar right now.. This is not like last year when the democrats supported his attack and his base kinda thought it was acceptable..

This time everyone thinks Trump is a lunatic, even his most fanatic supporters such as Alex Jones that has been being over backwards to protect Trump have lost hope in him

Here Alex actually cries when he finds out what Trump did
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Myz5vBDPH6c

When Russia unified with Crimea, it lost the international moral initiative which it had, now, it is absolutely regained it. This attack while it caused no damage to Russia or the war effort for Syria also gives Russia an excuse to do whatever it wants back.

The consequence of the USA strike could be something like.
1. Giving Syria better and "forbidden" in the style of S400 or S300.
2. Giving Syria more and more advanced pansirs.
3. Giving Syria advance anti-ship missiles, enabling them to take out every USA ship off their coast.
4. Arming groups that oppose USA over the world state actors or non-state actors, either covertly or openly with advanced weapons.
5. Revealing classified information about USA that perhaps USA got Russia to agree it would not reveal. Could be anything, proof perhaps that the USA gold reserve is empty perhaps that USA did 9/11, anything really.
6. A purge of USA backed fifth columnists inside of Russia.

The consequence will be something alone the line of causing long term severe consequence for USA but causing no problem for Russia or even being beneficial.

"Russia's ambassador to the U.S. warned there would be "consequences" for the strike on Syria, and that a "pre-designed scenario" was underway."
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/13/russia-warns-of-consequences-for-us-led-strike-on-syria.html

[Apr 18, 2018] I would think the Pentagon would like to test the Russian defense systems, and the Russians can't be completely sorry they got the opportunity to see how those new systems worked under operational conditions. The winners are the arms manufacturers.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Valtin | Apr 17, 2018 2:36:59 PM | 131

These skirmishes (not skirmishes to those who live or die because of them), even ones that are war crimes, as this was, seem to me to be in large part ways in which the major powers test out their combat systems. I would think the Pentagon would like to test the Russian defense systems, and the Russians can't be completely sorry they got the opportunity to see how those new systems worked under operational conditions. The winners are the arms manufacturers. The losers are everybody else.

[Apr 18, 2018] There is nothing like American policies in the Trump era. Even the president is not necessarily the last word

Notable quotes:
"... Actually, there is nothing like "American policies" in the Trump era. The Washington Post carried two reports this week underlining the utter confusion within the Trump administration. Even the president is not necessarily the last word. ..."
"... One of these two astonishing reports titled Trump a reluctant hawk has battled his top aides on Russia and lost (here) narrates shocking details on how the former NSA in the White House HR McMaster simply hoodwinked a bumbling Trump into approving the proposal to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US last month: ..."
"... The second WaPo report (here) narrates how even the famous Nikki Haley can no longer pretend to be Trump's authoritative voice. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | blogs.rediff.com

Actually, there is nothing like "American policies" in the Trump era. The Washington Post carried two reports this week underlining the utter confusion within the Trump administration. Even the president is not necessarily the last word.

One of these two astonishing reports titled Trump a reluctant hawk has battled his top aides on Russia and lost (here) narrates shocking details on how the former NSA in the White House HR McMaster simply hoodwinked a bumbling Trump into approving the proposal to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US last month:

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia

Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. "There were curse words," the official said, "a lot of curse words."

The second WaPo report (here) narrates how even the famous Nikki Haley can no longer pretend to be Trump's authoritative voice.

I'm reminded of Roman Emperor Caligula (AD 37-41). He had a favorite horse by name Incitatus whom he once planned to designate as Roman consul. Caligula used to hold parties for friends in the steed's grand stables. In a fit of exuberant joy, he once named Incitatus a Minister of State.

The Trump presidency has not quite reached that point yet, but bizarre things are happening in the Washington Beltway – like in Caligula's decadent Rome in decline and fall. India will be well advised to keep distance.

[Apr 18, 2018] US Says Russia Hacked Syrian Attack Evidence As Russia Finds Rebel Chemical Weapon Lab

Apr 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Update : Interfax reports that the Russian military has discovered a rebel-owned chemical weapons lab in Douma.

The Russian Defense Ministry says that components for Mustard Gas production were discovered along with cylinders of chlorine at a alb belonging to militants in Douma.

Additionally, Moscow has said it is stunned by a French statement that Russia is obstructing OPCW experts from entering Syria's Douma (echoing Ambassador Ward's). the Russian foreign ministry confirms OPCW expoerts are already in Douma.

* * *

And on the game goes...

While Russia's foreign ministry warns that Western powers are interfering with OPCW's work in Syria (noting that the chemical weapons experts' access to Douma is being hampered by remaining militants, supported by Washington), as Caitlin Johnstone details , we are now being told by US officials (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn't find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week, it's because Russia hid the evidence .

"It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site," reports U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Ward.

"It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation."

Via Caitlin Johnstone,

I guess the idea is that this international top-level investigative team on which tremendous credibility has been placed by the western world can be thwarted by Russians showing up with a Hoover and spraying some Febreze in the air like a teenage stoner when mom comes home? I'm not sure, but given the immense dearth of evidence we've been seeing in support of the establishment Douma narrative and the mounting pile of evidence contradicting it, it sure does sound fishy.

Now that the jihadist-occupied suburb of Douma has been retaken by the Syrian government, western journalists have been allowed in to poke around and start asking questions, and so far it isn't looking great for the propaganda machine .

The Independent 's Robert Fisk has published a report which affirms the story so many westerners have been dismissing as Kremlin propaganda for days now after interviewing a doctor from the hospital of the area where the Douma attack was supposed to have occurred. Dr Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that what was in actuality an outbreak of respiratory distress among occupants of a dusty oxygen-deprived tunnel was made to look like the aftereffects of a chemical weapons attack when a member of the White Helmets started shouting about a gas attack in front of a bunch of video cameras. Everyone panicked and started hosing themselves down, but in the video, according to Rahaibani, "what you see are people suffering from hypoxia  --  not gas poisoning."

This report was independently backed up by a reporter from One America News Network named Pearson Sharp, who gave a detailed account of his interviews with officials, doctors, as well as many civilians on the street Sharp says he deliberately selected at random in order to avoid accusations of bias. Many people hadn't even heard that a chemical weapons attack had taken place, and the ones who had said it was staged by Jaysh al-Islam. The staff at the hospital, including a medic-in-training who was an eyewitness to the incident, gave the same story as the account in Fisk's report.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lSXwG-901yU

The increasing confidence with which these unapproved narratives are being voiced and the increasing discomfort being exhibited by empire loyalists like Ambassador Ward indicate a weakening narrative in the greater propaganda campaign against the Assad government and its allies, but don't hold your breath for the part where Fox News and the BBC turn around and start asking critical questions of the governments that they are meant to be holding to account.

The journalists who have been advancing the establishment narrative on Syria aren't about to start reporting that they've gotten the entire Syria story assballs backward and have been promoting a version of events manufactured for the benefit of CIA-MI6-Mossad agendas. You're not about to see CNN, who last year staged a fake scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl to manufacture support for escalations against Assad, suddenly turn around and start asking if we're being told the full story about what's happening Syria.

Watch them closely. Watch how they steadfastly ignore the growing mountain of evidence and keep promoting the Syrian regime change agenda that the western empire has been working toward for decades . Watch them dismiss all evidence they can't ignore as Kremlin propaganda and shift the narrative whenever things start to look bad for them. Those riding the crest of the wave of establishment media are too far gone into the blob to ever admit error and change. The least among us aren't about to stop constructing a public reality tunnel which depicts them as heroes of truth, tear it all down, and start advancing a narrative which makes them look like fools at best and villains at worst. It will not happen.

Luckily for us, it doesn't need to. Internet censorship is still far from closing the door on our ability to network and share information, and we've been very effective at sowing skepticism among the masses. The war propagandists are not nearly as good at their jobs as they want to believe, and we can beat them.

They work so hard to manufacture support for war because they require that consent. If the oligarchs try to launch a war against a disobedient nation amidst very clear opposition from the public, they will shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy that their entire empire is built upon, and then they're exposed. Corporatist oligarchy has succeeded in weaving its web of dominance because its oppression has thus far remained hidden and its depravity disguised as humanitarianism. They cannot expose themselves by transgressing a loud NO from the public or else the masses will realize that everything they used to believe about their country, their government and their world is a lie.

They won't risk that. We can force them into retreating from open war by circulating facts and information and keeping a healthy level of skepticism circulating among the public. Watch them squirm, move goalposts and shift narratives, and point and yell about it whenever it happens. We can win the media war against the propagandists. We have truth on our side.

* * *

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website , so you'll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , checking out my podcast , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , or buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .


Give Me Some Truth -> Dickweed Wang Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:42 Permalink

That fact-finding body (OPCW) could change the whole paradigm IF it finds conclusive evidence this was a false flag event, and IF they trumpet their findings to the world, and IF people get all the real ramifications of such a potential finding/announcement.

This said, I fully expect their "findings" to be a masterpiece of ambiguous language and weaslespeak.

This body after all is a creation of politicians and bureaucrats answering to many governments. They, almost certainly, will "punt."

... But if by some miracle they don't ...

adonisdemilo -> Give Me Some Truth Tue, 04/17/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

@Give Me Some Truth,

The OPCW had better release their findings if they contradict the "official" narrative before they fly out from Douma as they could well end up like the passengers on MH17.

That in itself will be another problem because the "good guys" will know within minutes that Russia did it.

BarkingCat -> Give Me Some Truth Tue, 04/17/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

"No conlusive evidence was found" will be the finding which either side can spin to their desire.

Russia - there is no evidence so there was no attack

US - the evidence was no conclusive but only because enough time has passed that it degraded to the point where a good sample could not be located.....and Russia kept the inspectors from the site in order for this to happen.

No minds will be changed.

[Apr 18, 2018] How dare Larry Kudlow suggest Nikki got confused!!!

Notable quotes:
"... "She's done a great job," Kudlow said of Haley. "She's a very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that. But if you talk to Steve Mnuchin at Treasury and so forth, he will tell you the same thing. They're in charge of this. We have had sanctions. Additional sanctions are under consideration but not implemented, and that's all." ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh | Apr 17, 2018 8:47:50 PM | 65

Confused!!! How dare Larry Kudlow suggest Nikki got confused!!!

>White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted more sanctions were merely under consideration. On Tuesday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Haley "got ahead of the curve."

"She's done a great job," Kudlow said of Haley. "She's a very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that. But if you talk to Steve Mnuchin at Treasury and so forth, he will tell you the same thing. They're in charge of this. We have had sanctions. Additional sanctions are under consideration but not implemented, and that's all."

Haley, speaking for the first time since the White House dialed back her claims, rejected the idea that she was confused.

"With all due respect, I don't get confused," Haley said in a statement read by Fox News' Dana Perino and confirmed by CBS News Tuesday.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/with-all-due-respect-i-dont-get-confused-nikki-haley-says-of-russia-sanctions/

[Apr 17, 2018] Back to Brinkmanship by Jacob Heilbrunn

One interesting thing is that Trump is apparently hard at work pushing and pushing and pushing China to take Russia's side more forcefully. China ususally don't support Russia in UNSC. Most often Russia stands alone with Iran.
What we are observing is a slow collapse of The US-centered global neoliberal empire. Neoliberalism like Bolshevism before it is a self-defeating ideology that eats the flesh of society on which it parasites.
In a way Trump election is sign of this crisis, as well as attempt of some part of the US elite for find a way out of the current crisis, which started in 2008 with the collapse of neoliberal ideology.
Notable quotes:
"... Managerial Revolution ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | nationalinterest.org
You and the Atomic Bomb ," which he wrote two months after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, George Orwell coined the term "cold war" to describe the new epoch that he saw emerging after the fall of Nazi Germany and the rise of the Soviet Union and the United States. He predicted that the bomb would "put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a 'peace that is no peace.'" It was this very scenario that he depicted in his dystopian novel 1984 , which drew on James Burnham's Managerial Revolution and features Eurasia, Oceania and Eastasia in a permanent standoff several decades after an atomic war. Any actual conflicts or skirmishes take place in borderlands that are located well away from the three main empires.

This cold peace was pretty much what obtained after 1945 in international affairs. The two superpowers, the Soviet Union and United States, avoided direct conflict. Instead, they used proxy powers and national liberation movements, mostly located in the Third World, to try and shift the correlation of forces, as the Kremlin used to call it, in their favor, whenever and wherever they could. The territory under their direct control was off limits -- the United States did not intervene during uprisings in the eastern bloc in East Germany, Hungary or Poland. The Kremlin confined itself to helping to fund communist parties in France and Italy, and to supporting the peace movement clandestinely. The peril of an atomic exchange was so immense that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States went to war over flashpoints such as Cuba and Berlin. What Orwell did not anticipate was that one side, the Soviet Union, would collapse completely, leaving the other as Mr. Big.

... ... ...

The war in Iraq was a fiasco. Afghanistan is a quagmire. In America, terms such as "regime change" have fallen into disrepute. The West has lost its confidence. Populists are looking for a way to escape the iron cage of modernity. The era of Reagan and Thatcher proclaiming the verity of the free market and the expansion of freedom seems almost as remote as the scientific laws of history that Marxists once propounded.

... ... ...

...President Donald Trump explained that he seeks to curb a new arms race that is "getting out of control," but also boasted that "we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have." Already Trump has vastly expanded the American military budget, raising outlays to $700 billion for the fiscal year 2019. Trump, in a decision first approved by President Barack Obama, intends to devote $1 trillion to modernizing the American nuclear force over the next three decades.

... ... ...

With his combination of bluff and bombast, Trump could stumble into a calamitous two-front war in Asia and the Middle East.

Jacob Heilbrunn is editor of the National Interest.

[Apr 17, 2018] Poor Alex

Highly recommended!
Now the color revolution against Trump just does not make any sense. We got to the point where Trump=Hillary. Muller should embrace and kiss Trump and go home... Nobody care if Trump is impeached anymore.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Donald Trump's far-right loyal fans must be really pissed off right now after permanently switching himself to pro-war mode with that evil, warmongering triplet in charge and the second bombing against Syria. Even worse, this time he has done it together with Theresa May and the neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron.

We can tell that by watching the mind-blowing reactions of one of his most fanatic alt-right media supporters: Alex Jones. Jones nearly cried(!) in front of the camera, feeling betrayed from his 'anti-establishment', 'anti-interventionist' idol and declared that he won't support Trump anymore. Well, what did you expect, Alex? expect, Alex?

A year before the 2016 US national elections, the blog already warned that Trump is a pure product of the neoliberal barbarism , stating that the rhetoric of extreme cynicism used by Trump goes back to the Thatcherian cynicism and the division of people between "capable" and "useless".
Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders. Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Donnie sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008!

The only hope that has been left, was to resist against starting a war with Russia, as the US deep state (and Hillary of course) wanted. Well, it was proven to be only a hope too. Last year, Trump bombed Syria under the same pretext resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of confrontation with Russia. Indeed, a year later, Trump already built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish triplet.

And then, Donnie ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neo-colonial friends.

It seems that neither this strike was a serious attempt against the Syrian army and its allies. Yet, Donnie probably won't dare to escalate tension in the Syrian battlefield before the next US national elections. That's because many of his supporters are already pissed off with him and therefore, he wants to go with good chances for a second term.

Although we really hope that we are are wrong this time, we guess that, surrounded by all these warmongering hawks, Donnie, in a potential second term, will be pushed to open another war front in Syria and probably in Iran, defying the Russians and the consequent danger for a WWIII.

Poor Alex et al: we told you about Trump from the beginning. You didn't listen ...

[Apr 17, 2018] John Bolton In Search of Carthage by By Michael Shindler

Looks like Iran is Carnage for Bolton and neocon fellow travelers in Trump administration such as Haley and Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly." ..."
"... Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler . ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Last week, John Bolton ascended to the office of National Security Advisor, following in the hurried footsteps of Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster. Two peculiar characteristics set Bolton apart from most folks in D.C.: an unabashedly luxurious mustache and an unmatched penchant for unjustified preemptive violence.

At the University of Chicago in 2009, Bolton warned , "Unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran's program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future." Thankfully, Israel didn't take Bolton's advice and, as most predicted, Iran never lived up to his expectations. Similarly, in a 2015 op-ed in the New York Times , Bolton opined , "The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure . Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed." Three short months later, a non-proliferation deal wherein Iran agreed to a 98 percent reduction in its enriched uranium stockpile and a 15-year pause in the development of key weapons infrastructure was negotiated.

More recently in February, Bolton advised in the Wall Street Journal that "Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute . It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current 'necessity' posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first."

By this point Bolton's record of calling for war in every possible situation had lost the ability to shock. Still, the Founding Fathers would probably be appalled.

A comparatively irenic vision pervades the philosophy of the founders. James Wilson, in his Lectures on Law, wrote that when a nation "is under an obligation to preserve itself and its members; it has a right to do everything" that it can "without injuring others." In Federalist 4, John Jay advised that the American people ought to support steps that would "put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it." And in his Farewell Address, George Washington asserted that the United States should be "always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."

A preemptive nuclear strike justified on the flimsy basis of "gaps in U.S. intelligence" hardly seems concordant with such military restraint and "exalted justice." And lest it be thought these ideals were mere lofty notions, consider how, as American history proceeded, they became enshrined in American diplomacy.

In 1837, Canadian rebels sailing aboard the Caroline fled to an island in the Niagara River with the help of a few American citizens. British forces boarded their ship, killed an American member of the crew, and then set the Caroline ablaze before forcing it over Niagara Falls. Enraged, American and Canadian raiders destroyed a British ship. Several attacks followed until the crisis was at last ended in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. In the aftermath, the Caroline test was established, which stipulates that an attack made in self-defense is justifiable only when, in the words of Daniel Webster, the necessity is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." This principle remains the international standard, though some like Bolton think it's outdated.

With the Caroline test in mind, Bolton wrote while arguing in favor of a preemptive strike against North Korea, "The case against preemption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times." In other words, Bolton believes that we can no longer afford to wait for the situation to be "instant" and "overwhelming," and makes an offense out of abstaining from immediate preemptive action, regardless of the potential costs involved.

Relatedly, one of Bolton's most colorful jabs at President Obama involved likening him to Æthelred the Unready, a medieval Anglo-Saxon king remembered for his tragic indecisiveness. Yet given the costs of groundless preemption, indecisiveness is often a midwife to careful contemplation and peace. Had Prime Minister Netanyahu or Obama been persuaded by Bolton's retrospectively warrantless calls for preemption in Iran, tragedy would have followed.

In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly."

In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood, Bolton should reconsider whether the flimsy merits of rash preemption truly outweigh the durable wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the lessons of history.

Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler .


Janwaar Bibi April 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm

From the Wikipedia article for Bolton:

During the 1969 Vietnam War draft lottery, Bolton drew number 185. (Draft numbers corresponded to birth dates.) As a result of the Johnson and Nixon administrations' decisions to rely largely on the draft rather than on the reserve forces, joining a Guard or Reserve unit became a way to avoid service in the Vietnam War. Before graduating from Yale in 1970, Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard rather than wait to find out if his draft number would be called. (The highest number called to military service was 195.) He saw active duty for 18 weeks of training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from July to November 1970.

After serving in the National Guard for four years, he served in the United States Army Reserve until the end of his enlistment two years later.[1]

He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost." In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."

Why is it that the US leads the world in production of chicken-hawks? Even these mangy ex-colonial countries like the UK and France do not have as many chicken-hawks as we do.

connecticut farmer , says: April 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm
Cato the Elder: "Carthago dalenda est!" ("Carthage Must Be Destroyed!")

John Bolton: "Syria dalenda est!" "Iran dalenda est!" Russia dalenda est!" And etc etc.

Connecticut Farmer: "Bolton dalenda est!"

Kent , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm
"In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood,"

That ship sailed awhile back.

JonF , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Comparing Obama to Athelred is absurd. Athelred's problem was not that he was indecisive, but rather that he refused to listen to advice from anyone (the moniker "Unready" actually meant "Uncounseled" in Old English) and that he was extremely impulsive and deeply bigoted. Hence he ordered a general massacre of the Danes in England. Luckily it was only carried out in a limited region, unluckily the victims included the King of Denmark's sister and her children, leading to an open blood feud war, and also cost Aethelred any support he might have had from his wife's kinsman, the Duke of Normandy. If anyone is a good match for old Aethelred, it's Donald Trump.

[Apr 17, 2018] The long hand of Bolton

Apr 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

CE , Apr 15, 2018 12:38:18 PM | 34

@16 "The long hand of Bolton"

I've posted the following deep in the previous thread, so here for those who missed it:

As to the OPCW making "political decisions", The Intercept had an interesting piece by Mehdi Hasan recently, about a certain John Bolton.

In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to [OPCW head José] Bustani, thanking him for his "very impressive" work. By March 2002, however, Bolton -- then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs -- arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization's chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn't mince words. "Cheney wants you out," Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. "We can't accept your management style."

Bolton continued, according to Bustani's recollections: "You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don't comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you."

There was a pause.

"We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York."

[Apr 17, 2018] False flags are real US has a long history of lying to start wars -- RT Op-ed

Notable quotes:
"... indulging an addiction ..."
"... in all probability ..."
"... casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation ..."
"... repeated acts of violence ..."
"... could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for US intervention. ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.rt.com

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance journalist. Having lived and worked in the US, Germany and Russia, she is currently based in Budapest, Hungary. Her work has been featured by Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, Russia Direct, teleSUR, The BRICS Post and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ, check out her Facebook page, or visit her website: danielle-ryan.com Published time: 16 Apr, 2018 15:49 Get short URL False flags are real – US has a long history of lying to start wars FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial that he described as one that could contain anthrax © Ray Stubblebine / Reuters Use of the term 'false flag' is often met with raised eyebrows and accusations of conspiracism. But false flags are a very real and very present feature of geopolitics -- and denying that is simply denying reality. Last week, the United States, along with the United Kingdom and France, bombed Syrian government targets, ostensibly in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack which was carried out one week before in the city of Douma.

The story we're told is simple: Syrian President Bashar Assad is an evil maniac who uses poison gas on his citizens for the sheer entertainment value. As neocon think tank the Atlantic Council put it last week, when Assad gasses people, he is simply " indulging an addiction " -- an addiction which he seems to have only recently acquired, given the fact that before Syria's war began, American journalists were busy praising the " educated " and " informed " Assad and marveling at the " phenomenal " levels of peace and religious diversity within Syria.

In 2006 Diane Sawyer praised Assad during a trip to Syria for the "phenomenal" levels of religious tolerance and peace in Syria. Funny how he turned into a monster at the exact moment Washington decided it was time for regime change. https://t.co/24qy6UtFez

-- Danielle Ryan (@DanielleRyanJ) April 14, 2018

Anyway, so intense is Assad's newfound desire for watching Syrian babies foaming at the mouth, that he is willing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by deciding to use these weapons despite knowing it would provoke worldwide outrage and potentially a major US military effort to oust him. So, that's the story. Assad is a monster and the world must unite to stop him.

There are plenty of people who are less than convinced by this narrative, however. One of them is Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria. Ford told BBC Radio Scotland that " in all probability " the alleged chemical attack never happened and that the video and image evidence used as proof by the US and its allies was falsified. There are others who believe that the attack could have been real, but that the perpetrators were anti-Assad rebels trying to provoke fresh military action from the US -- in other words, it was very possibly a false flag event which served its purpose perfectly.

One of the best questions to ask when something like this happens, is: Who benefits? Very clearly in this case, Assad has not benefited at all, but the rebel groups fighting against him have.

Whatever the truth about this alleged chemical attack, the notion of false flag events being used to prompt military action should not be met with such skepticism. The US has a long history of using lies (or 'fake news' you might call it) as a pretext for war. It is important to look at recent events in Syria within that context.

Nayirah testimony

Perhaps the most famous of all examples was the heart-wrenching testimony to Congress of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, identified only as Nayirah, which was used to sell the first Gulf War to the American people in October 1990. An emotional Nayirah told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them on the floor to die.

What Americans did not know, was that Nayirah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and she had been coached by the American PR firm Hill and Knowlton. But before the details of the stunt and false testimony became widely known, it had already been used to sell America's war against Iraq in 1991.

In 1990 young Nayirah told of seeing Iraqi soldiers pull Kuwaiti babies out of incubators. Today our delivery of atrocity propaganda is more sophisticated, yet public credulity remains about the same. pic.twitter.com/l7UYmByl5D

-- U.S. Dept. of Fear (@FearDept) April 8, 2018
Operation Northwoods

In the 1960s, American military leaders devised plans to bomb US cities and blame Cuban leader Fidel Castro in order to manufacture public and international support for a war.

The plan was codenamed Operation Northwoods and what it advocated was nothing short of horrendous. The American military suggested sinking boatloads of Cuban refugees, hijacking planes and bombing Miami. The goal was to convince Americans that Castro had unleashed a reign of terror upon them.

The top brass were even willing to cause US military casualties by blowing up an American boat in Guantanamo Bay and blaming Cuba. Why? Because, as they put it, " casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation " and help manufacture support for war. The plans were quashed by President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated one year later, leading some to speculate on a link between those events.

Gulf of Tonkin

Top US officials also distorted the facts in the lead-up to the Vietnam War and the media dutifully reported the official narrative as absolute fact, helping launch perhaps the most disastrous war in America's history.

On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attack the USS 'Maddox' while it was on " routine patrol " in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. Two days later, the US Navy reported a second " unprovoked " attack on the 'Maddox' and the USS 'Turner Joy' -- a second destroyer which had been sent in after the first attack. President Lyndon B. Johnson told the American people on TV that " repeated acts of violence " against the US ships must be met with a strong response. Soon after Johnson appeared on TV, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which pre-approved any military action that he would take from that moment on.

The only problem was, there was no second attack on the US ships at all -- and the allegation that the first attack had been " unprovoked " was also a lie. In reality, the USS 'Maddox' had been gathering intelligence and providing it to South Vietnamese boats which were attacking North Vietnam. As for the second attack, the US boats had misinterpreted radio signals and radar images and spent two hours firing at nothing. Nonetheless, the " attack " was used to convince the American people to support war.

3. Given the folly of the British government over Iraq and Libya, and its undoubted misleading of the public over Iraq, it is perfectly reasonable to suspect it of doing the same thing again. Some of us also do not forget the blatant lying over Suez, and indeed the Gulf of Tonkin https://t.co/GLzyoPWaDG

-- Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) April 12, 2018
Soviet aircraft false flags

Recently declassified documents show yet more American false flag plotting, this time against the Soviet Union. A three-page memo , written by members of the National Security Council, suggested that the US government should acquire Soviet aircraft which would be used to stage attacks and provide the pretext for war.

Such aircraft, the memo said, " could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for US intervention. "

The government even considered producing the soviet planes domestically in a massive covert operation. They went so far as to acquire estimates from the Air Force on the cost and length of time such an operation would take.

In a memo of undisclosed date, the US National Security Council suggested the government should either buy or covertly produce Soviet aircraft and use them to launch fake attacks, providing pretext for war https://t.co/d7fPLW6Fxw pic.twitter.com/tVnqbValPP

-- Danielle Ryan (@DanielleRyanJ) April 15, 2018

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Is there even any need to rehash the lies which were told in the lead-up to the Iraq war? The media here again swallowed the government's lies, one by one -- and 15 years later, the region is still suffering the consequences and very few lessons appear to have been learned.

These are not conspiracy theories. They are cold, hard evidence that the US has no qualms whatsoever about using false flag events and fake evidence to provide pretext for military action.

Continued lack of critical inquiry from the media, given the severe potential consequences of escalating the conflict in Syria, is tantamount to a crime.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Apr 17, 2018] Trump Prisoner of the War Party by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump became a despicable warmonger. That true. And undisputable after the recent attack on Syria ("operation Stormy Daniels"). But was it War Party that coerced him or were other processes involved?
The main weakness of Buchanan hypothecs is that it is unclear wether Trump was coerced by War Party, or he was "Republican Obama" from the very beginning performing classic "bait and switch" operation on gullible electorate (as in "change we can believe in") . The second hypothesis is now strong then the fist and supported by more fact. just look at the "troika" of Haley-Bolton-Pompeo -- all three were voluntarily selected by the President and all three are rabid neocons. So it looks liek no or little coercion from the War Party was necessary.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will." ..."
"... Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election. ..."
"... We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs. ..."
"... The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands. ..."
"... As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
April 16, 2018, 9:55 PM "Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay."

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, adding, "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term."

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian Civil War "for the long term"?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons will not again be used by Bashar al-Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump's commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is "inoperative."

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

The better U.S. strategy is to turn Syria into the Ayatollah's Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian, and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will."

The Journal 's op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon: "Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits."

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force, or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post on Sunday dismissed this as "fatalistic" and "misguided." We have a vital interest, says the Post , in preventing Iran from establishing a "land corridor" across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this "land corridor." The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953. The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country. The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Apr 16, 2018] Self-Centered, Self-Serving Jackass : FBI Insiders Furious After Comey Interview

Notable quotes:
"... Prior to becoming the DNC's most wanted, Comey and his team notoriously let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her private server and mishandling of classified information - having begun drafting Clinton's exoneration before even interviewing her, something which appears to have been "forgotten" in his book. ..."
"... You left out the fact that he was instrumental in the formation of the Clinton Foundation. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Current and former FBI agents are furious after former Director James Comey gave his first interview since President Trump fired him last year to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday night, reports the Daily Beast - which was privy to a play-by-play flurry of text messages and other communications detailing their reactions.

Seven current or former FBI agents and officials spoke throughout and immediately after the broadcast. There was a lot of anger, frustration, and even more emojis -- featuring the thumbs-down, frowny face, middle finger, and a whole lot of green vomit faces .

One former FBI official sent a bourbon emoji as it began; another sent the beers cheers-ing emoji. The responses became increasingly angry and despondent as the hourlong interview played out. - Daily Beast

" Hoover is spinning in his grave ," said a former FBI official. " Making money from total failure ," in reference to Comey plugging his book, A Higher Loyalty .

Jana Winter of The Beast adds that when a promo aired between segments advertising Comey's upcoming appearance with The View , the official "grew angrier." " Good lord, what a self-serving self-centered jackass ," the official said. " True to form he thinks he's the smartest guy around ."

... ... ...

Comey was fired by President Trump on May 9, 2017, after which he leaked memos he claims document conversations with Trump to the New York Times, kicking off the special counsel investigation headed by Robert Mueller - whose team started out looking at Russian influence in the 2016 election, and is now investigating the President's alleged decade-old extramarital affairs with at least two women. Truly looking out for national security there Bob...

... ... ...

Prior to becoming the DNC's most wanted, Comey and his team notoriously let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her private server and mishandling of classified information - having begun drafting Clinton's exoneration before even interviewing her, something which appears to have been "forgotten" in his book.

Oldguy05 -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

Cumey is nothing but a small man in a big car.

hxc -> Oldguy05 Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

I would rather have RP if he had the charisma/gusto and also tactical genius of DT. However, I worry that Ron, as a guy that delivered babies and educated people on nonagression, as opposed to running a something-billion dollar cutthroat RE empire, might be more at risk of A) being unable to overcome political roadblocks and destabilization, and B) something bad happening to him.

Fish Gone Bad -> FireBrander Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:43 Permalink

I once saw this on a T-shirt: Those who think they are the smartest person in the room, really piss off those of us who are.

Comey is a narcissistic traitor .

NoDebt -> Bitchface-KILLAH Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:00 Permalink

Comey was always the most enigmatic figure to me in this sad, troubling series of events involving the FBI.

THE GOOD NEWS: Everyone hates him now. The Rs hate him, the Ds hate him. Who's Christmas party did he get invited to last year? I'm guessing the invitations were few. His own ego has turned him into plutonium. And he deserves even worse than that.

Bitchface-KILLAH -> NoDebt Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:03 Permalink

Every agency has a Jim Comey in it... you know the guy. Their CV just has an implied "team skills and natural ability to get a deep brown nose" at the very top of it.

JimmyJones -> Bitchface-KILLAH Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:55 Permalink

He really is a traitor

FireBrander -> Bitchface-KILLAH Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:41 Permalink

Comey reminds me of all the "executives" I've known that married the owners daughter prior to getting hired.

nmewn -> NoDebt Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

So, to review.

Comey was the FBI Director when warrants were issued to spy on Trump and his associates. Warrants gained in part or in whole by, false evidence (the Steele dossier) presented to a FISA court judge(s), gathered by, a foreign national former spy (Steele) who was in contact with his old Kremlin pals, who (Steele) was then paid by the DNC, Fusion GPS via Perkins Coie to give Hillary Rodham Clinton (affectionately known here as The Bitch of Benghazi) some distance from the fake "evidence".

Now besides Comey knowing the source of "the dossier" one of his deputies (McCabe) was at the same time "colluding" with a couple FBI agents (Strzok & Page) in a "counter-intel operation" (on the taxpayers dime) to gather dirt on candidate Trump. McCabe's wife (we might recall) got a sizable "donation" from Terry McAuliffe (another Klinton sleezebag) for her political run in Virginia.

And we haven't even touched on Comey's theft of government documents or his turning over those documents to his friend so the friend could turn them over to the Alinsky NYT's for the purposes of...getting his mentor Grand Inquisitor Mueller a gig as "special prosecutor" (as he admitted to under oath).

He should be arrested and sent to Gitmo.

???ö? -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:27 Permalink

Mueller's investigation is tainted with fruit of the poisonous tree and the entirety of seized evidence will be unceremoniously thrown out by a 5-4 US Supreme Court.

The First Rule -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:51 Permalink

There is only one thing keeping Comey out of Prison: Jeff Sessions. If we someday get a real AG, who is willing to man up and appoint a second special prosecutor, Comey is finished. But for the moment, Mr. Magoo is saving his ass.

Ajax-1 -> The First Rule Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:32 Permalink

Don't hold your breath. The clock on the statute of limitations is ticking away. I wish someone could provide me with an honest rational as to why Trump hasn't fired Jeff Sessions.

Hulk -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

He is one stupid ass. ALways stuns me to hear him speak...

Boxed Merlot -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:02 Permalink

...Comey was the FBI Director when...

And if he wasn't aware of every fact as stated, the whole enchilada is even more bogus than you have represented.

Shut it down.

jmo.

Dilluminati -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:03 Permalink

https://translate.google.com/m/translate?client=ob&hl=en&ie=UTF8&sl=en&

GreatUncle -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

But ... but .. but this is the new normal.

We all need to take a leaf out of Comeys behavior ... that's the way to play this game.

Honesty and integrity no longer needed ... time for everybody to lie to the government.

Duc888 -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:17 Permalink

You left out the fact that he was instrumental in the formation of the Clinton Foundation.

NumberNone -> nmewn Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:25 Permalink

Problem is that a sizable portion of the US population view Comey's actions in the 'if you could go back in time and kill baby Hitler...' perspective. Yes it's illegal, yes it's unconstitutional...but was trying to save the 'World' so it's justified.

I think you framed it similar...this is the same as injecting bleach into our veins in the hope in clears up a pimple on our nose.

[Apr 16, 2018] Russia's Red Lines in Relations with America by Stephen Lendma

Apr 16, 2018 | stephenlendman.org

n ( stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman )

How much more US hostility toward Russia will it tolerate before declaring unacceptable red lines were crossed?

Washington and Moscow are on opposite sides of endless war in Syria – a US imperial project from day one of hostilities.

According to neocon Russophobe Nikki Haley and US ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman, further (illegal) Trump administration sanctions on Russia are coming, likely Monday.

They'll be imposed for Kremlin involvement in combating US-supported terrorists in Syria – cutthroat killers falsely called "rebels."

According to Haley, Russian enterprises allegedly "dealing with equipment related to Assad and any chemical weapons use" will be targeted.

No Syrian CWs exist, the nation's entire stockpile destroyed in 2014, confirmed by the OPCW. Yet according to Haley (and other lunatic fringe Trump administration Russophobes), Damascus has undisclosed CWs. Moscow is "covering this up."

The Big Lie persists. No evidence supports it. Facts on the ground never deter Washington from pursuing it diabolical imperial agenda.

US administrations and bipartisan congressional members consistently blame sovereign independent nations for US high crimes committed against them.

Haley falsely accused Moscow of aggressive behavior, turning truth on its head, claiming the Kremlin facilitated the alleged Douma CW incident.

Medical personnel on the ground treated no one for toxic poisoning, no one killed, ill or harmed, no CW residues found by Russian technical experts at the alleged site.

The false flag incident was staged to blame Syria and Russia for a nonevent – the Big Lie used as a pretext for US-led terror-bombing of Syrian sites, followed by more illegal sanctions on Moscow coming Monday.

On Sunday, OPCW inspectors arrived in Douma to inspect the site of the alleged CW attack, according to Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan.

AMN news said following US-led terror-bombing of Syrian sites, Russia is sending government forces more weapons and heavy equipment.

According to Southfront, the Pentagon lied, claiming all missiles fired struck Syrian targets – at the same time expressing concern about mission results.

An internal probe will be conducted to produce a more accurate after-action report, including why Syrian air defense systems downed most incoming missiles – reportedly 71 of 103 fired.

Washington intends permanent occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. According to Assad UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari, one-third of the country is illegally occupied by US forces, adding:

Security Council debates omit discussing this key issue. Along with terrorists permanent SC members America, Britain and France support, Damascus faces "three aggressors:" Washington, London and Paris. "We are a state," Jaafari stressed, "the sovereignty of which has been violated by a permanent member of the UNSC."

The international community ignores this core issue of the conflict, along with US-led aggression, using terrorists as foot soldiers, pretending endless war is "civil."

After the latest US-led aggressive incident on a sovereign state, what's next? Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the Kremlin has "obvious red lines," adding Moscow will do all it can to pull East/West relations out of a dangerous "political nosedive." Addressing the issue diplomatically assures continued failure, along with weakness, encouraging Washington to slam Russia and Syria harder.

Dealing with hegemonic America requires using the only language it understands – challenging it forcefully. Pursuing failed policies assures making a bad situation worse ahead. Washington isn't likely to step back from the brink unless pushed. Diplomacy is futile, accomplishing nothing, encouraging greater US hostility, including endless aggression in Syria and tough anti-Russia actions.

Washington's rage for global dominance likely assures an eventual East/West showdown. Responding weakly to hostile US actions assures more to come, likely harsher than already. When will Russia respond with toughness – better to risk it in Syria than be forced to act in defending its heartland.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

[Apr 16, 2018] America's Fling With the Kurds Could Cause Turkey and NATO to Split by Mark Perry

Notable quotes:
"... "This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. ..."
"... Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In fact, just how "ugly" the relationship has become is fast becoming a matter of public debate. During his March visit, Scaparrotti appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to give testimony on the challenges facing his command. While most members focused on Russia and cyberwar issues, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine explored the U.S.-Turkey dust-up, hinting that it might be time for the U.S. to dampen its YPG ties. Scaparrotti didn't disagree, while soft-pedaling the disagreements over the issue that he's had with Votel and Centcom. "Where do we want to be in a year, two years and five years?" he asked. "With a close NATO ally like Turkey, we know that we want to maintain and strengthen our relationship. So that's the long-term objective and if we look at the long-term objective, it can begin to inform what we're doing today with respect to NATO." The senior military officer with whom I spoke proved a willing translator: "What Scaparrotti is saying is that the real marriage here is between the U.S. and Turkey. The YPG is just a fling."

But convincing James Mattis of that is proving difficult, in part because Scaparrotti is outgunned. Every defense secretary surrounds himself with people he can count on and who he listens to. But for Mattis almost all of them have had experience in the Middle East -- and at Centcom. There's Mattis himself (a former Centcom commander), JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford (who served with Mattis in Iraq), Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. (a Marine who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq), retired Rear Admiral Kevin M. Sweeney (the former Centcom executive officer), Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller (a Mattis advisor, and a Navy commander during both the Afghan and Iraq wars), and current Centcom commander General Joseph Votel -- the former commander of the U.S. Special Operation Command ("a trigger puller," as he was described to me by a currently serving officer). Votel is the most outspoken YPG supporter of any of them, and because he's the combatant commander, his support carries weight.

"This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. So Scaparrotti is worried, and he ought to be. We don't want to be sitting around 30 years from now reading historical pieces with titles like 'Who Lost Turkey?'"

Even someone as careful in his public utterances as Admiral James Stavridis, who once held Scaparrotti's command and is now the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, is raising concerns. While he waves off the "who lost Turkey" formulation as "a trope that is moving around the Internet," he told me in an email exchange that "it would be a mistake of epic proportions to allow Turkey to drift out of the transatlantic orbit" -- a repeat of the warning issued by Scaparrotti to Mattis in March. But like Scaparrotti, Staviridis is slow-rolling his disagreement. "This is a distinction without a difference," the senior officer and NATO partisan with whom we spoke says. "By drifting out of NATO, Stavridis means leaving. He's as worried as anyone else."

Concerns over Turkey are probably a surprise in the White House, given its almost daily crisis over the looming Russia-gate investigation, but they shouldn't be. The president has had extended telephone exchanges with Turkish President Tayyip Erodogan twice in the last three weeks. While the White House has refused to give details of these conversations, the Turkish official with whom we spoke told TAC that in both conversations (on March 23 and again on April 11), Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon.

On April 3, the same day Trump issued his let's-get-out statement, Joseph Votel and Brett McGurk appeared at the U.S. Institute of Peace, arguing that the U.S. needed to stay in. "The hard part, I think, is in front of us," Votel said, "and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting back to their homes. There is a military role in this," he went on to say. "Certainly in the stabilization phase."

The Votel appearance was exasperating for those worried about NATO's future, and for those concerned that the endless conflicts in the region are draining the defense budget of badly needed funds to rebuild U.S. military readiness. For them, a group that now includes a growing number of very senior and influential military officers, "stabilization" is not only a codeword for "nation building," it signals support for a mission that is endangering the future of NATO, the institution that has guaranteed peace in Europe for three generations.

"It's not worth it," the senior military commander who spoke with TAC concludes. "On top of everything else, it puts us on the wrong side of the political equation. This whole thing about how the enemy of my enemy is my friend is a bunch of bullshit. The enemy of my enemy is now making an enemy of our friend. I don't know who we think we're fooling, but it sure as hell isn't Turkey. And it isn't the American people either."

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a contributing editor to The American Conservative, and the author of The Pentagon's Wars (2017).

[Apr 16, 2018] The Bolton-Pompeo Package

Notable quotes:
"... Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more ill-suited to that duty. Bolton's method of policy formation has been to try to bully any part of the bureaucracy that does not subscribe to his personal agenda, and to try to bully away any part of the truth that does not serve his objectives. ..."
"... The Senate is about to have an opportunity to weigh in on another highly important foreign policy position, that of secretary of state, for which President Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo. Senators ought to consider that nomination in tandem with the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser, even though the Senate formally has a role with only one of those appointments and not with the other. Senators should consider the two as a package deal. They should not vote to confirm Pompeo if they are uncomfortable with either part of the package. ..."
"... The main reason to approach the Pompeo nomination this way is that the nation currently has a president who, sad to say, needs restraint. He will need restraint all the more during the coming months as troubles of his own making increase the chance that he will lash out in destructive ways . ..."
"... But both Pompeo and Bolton are more likely to accentuate Trump's impulses than to restrain them. Bolton got his job because the sort of things he says on Fox are more what Donald Trump likes to hear than the briefings that H.R. McMaster gave him, which evidently were too long for Trump's taste or for his short attention span. ..."
"... Pompeo did not rise so quickly from being a relatively junior congressman functioning as a partisan attack dog to where he is now, on the verge of occupying Thomas Jefferson's chair, by telling Trump what he needs to hear rather than what he wants to hear. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

This week John Bolton assumes the job of national security adviser. Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more ill-suited to that duty. Bolton's method of policy formation has been to try to bully any part of the bureaucracy that does not subscribe to his personal agenda, and to try to bully away any part of the truth that does not serve his objectives. Bolton's objectives are characterized by never meeting a war or prospective war he didn't like. He still avows that the Iraq War -- with all the costs and chaos it has caused, from thousands of American deaths to the birth of the group that we now know as ISIS -- was a good idea. That someone with this perspective has been entrusted with the job Bolton now has is a glaring example of how there often is no accountability in Washington for gross policy malpractice.

Appointments as national security adviser are not subject to Senate confirmation. If they were, it would be appropriate for the Senate to react as it did the last time Bolton came before that body as a nominee for a job that does require confirmation. In 2005 the Senate turned down his nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations. The Senate review brought to light some of the uglier aspects of Bolton's conduct in his previous job as an undersecretary of state. President George W. Bush gave him a recess appointment to the U.N. job, but fortunately that meant there was a time limit to the destruction Bolton could wreak in that position.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9521689830966886?pubid=ld-7032-4043&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=nationalinterest.org&width=637

The Senate is about to have an opportunity to weigh in on another highly important foreign policy position, that of secretary of state, for which President Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo. Senators ought to consider that nomination in tandem with the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser, even though the Senate formally has a role with only one of those appointments and not with the other. Senators should consider the two as a package deal. They should not vote to confirm Pompeo if they are uncomfortable with either part of the package.

The main reason to approach the Pompeo nomination this way is that the nation currently has a president who, sad to say, needs restraint. He will need restraint all the more during the coming months as troubles of his own making increase the chance that he will lash out in destructive ways . The copious commentary during the fifteen months of the Trump presidency about having "adults in the room" to restrain the worst urges of an inexperienced and impulsive president speaks to an important truth. Whether adult supervision of this sort succeeds or fails depends on the collective impact of all of the president's senior subordinates. To the extent any one subordinate is especially influential in this regard on foreign policy, it probably is the national security adviser who is best positioned either to accentuate or to restrain Trump's impulses. Having Bolton in that job makes the restraining ability of the secretary of state all the more important.

But both Pompeo and Bolton are more likely to accentuate Trump's impulses than to restrain them. Bolton got his job because the sort of things he says on Fox are more what Donald Trump likes to hear than the briefings that H.R. McMaster gave him, which evidently were too long for Trump's taste or for his short attention span. P

Pompeo's winning of favor with Trump, during what reportedly has been lots of face time with him at the White House during the past year, has a similar dynamic. Pompeo did not rise so quickly from being a relatively junior congressman functioning as a partisan attack dog to where he is now, on the verge of occupying Thomas Jefferson's chair, by telling Trump what he needs to hear rather than what he wants to hear.

Senators hold up confirmation of nominees, and sometimes vote against them, for all kinds of reasons unrelated to the resumé of the nominee. It would be proper for them to vote against a nominee for secretary of state partly because of who the national security adviser is, given that both of them are in service to an unstable president.

There are other reasons to consider Pompeo and Bolton in tandem. In several respects they are two hazardous peas in a pod. On North Korea, Bolton's bellicose posture is matched by Pompeo's statements about seeking ways to "separate" Kim Jong Un from his nuclear weapons , suggesting a priority to regime change over keeping a volatile situation on the Korean peninsula from blowing up. Both Pompeo and Bolton, along with Trump, have sworn eternal hostility to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that closed all possible paths to an Iranian nuclear weapon. Neither man bothers to explain how destruction of the agreement, which would free Iran to produce as much fissile material as it wants and would end the intrusive international inspections of the Iranian program, could possibly

[Apr 16, 2018] Alas, this is far from over! by The Saker

Russia can do nothing alone. NATO is way too strong.
Notable quotes:
"... my honor is called solidarity ..."
"... my honor is loyalty ..."
"... by not taking any action the Russians also failed to deter any future attacks. But what could the Russians have done? ..."
"... Sic transit gloria mundi ..."
"... Trump demonstrated that the U.S. can still bomb non nuclear countries without regard for the Constitution, international law or common decency. The Deplorables demonstrated that elections will not change anything. Only the death of the U.S. dollar will end Anglo/Zio Imperial aggression. ..."
"... Russia was outgunned, so they did not respond. It was probably a wise decision. They did damage control admirably, and now have an opportunity to improve the Syrian arsenal with obvious justification. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, Russia is tightening the noose in Syria. Air defenses are improving. ..."
"... My precious, too many players want to start a real war between the Mercans and Russians. Aside from the casual suspects (KSA and Israel), Chinese also objectively benefit from the confrontation, which explains their aloofness. Should this come to a nuclear war, Chinese will be the one and only winner. For this old smart monkey is still sitting on the tree, and nothing has changed since Chairman Mao times. ..."
"... For Iran, this war will certainly enhance the Iran-Russia axis and thus may postpone the US aggression. Turkey loves it too because it can play both sides. ..."
"... Ironically, only the USA and Russia will be the biggest losers regardless of the outcome. ..."
"... In UNSC, China has surprisingly took abstained neutral stand, allowing it to play the coordinator role & denying US UK Fr to get any legit for attack. This avoid relegating UNSC into two sides shouting. Nikki Harley was thus preempted her wish of striking with or without UNSC mandate since all ended agreed to let UN conduct independent inspection. Overall, this continue to lock US UK Fr inside UNSC framework. ..."
"... The general idea seems to be containment of Russia, hemming them in within their own borders and cutting them off from being able to extend their influence outward. ..."
"... As part of this any allies of theirs such as Syria come under attack; if the west can't own them then they're to be reduced to chaos and rendered into costly burdens for the Russians. ..."
"... It's all a very cynical and calculated plan that fits into the overall picture of encircling the Russians to stymie their development and influence. NATO expansion up to their borders, the Ukraine coup, encirclement, picking off vulnerable allies, economic warfare and political subversion without end, the pattern is clear. At some point an actual clash might come about, not necessarily now with Syria as the trigger but somewhere all along the entire line of points of friction. Unfortunately it seems inevitable that something bad is going to happen somewhere down the line as the irresistible force meets the immovable object. ..."
"... As a fervent anti-war activist since the sixties, I have been appalled at all the regime change the US has and continues to do around the world including both military covert operations and economic warfare. Well Putin had me at his 2007 Munich speech. ..."
Apr 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Let's begin by a short summary of events.

About a month ago Nikki Haley announces to the UNSC that the USA is ready to violate the rules of this very self-same UNSC should a chemical attack happen in Syria Then the Russians announced that they have evidence that a chemical false flag is being prepared in Syria Then a chemical attack (supposedly) takes place (in a location surrounded and, basically, controlled by government forces!) The OPWC sends investigators (in spite of western powers loudly proclaiming that no investigation was needed) The AngloZionists then bomb Syria Next, the UNSC refuses to condemn the violation of its own rules and decisions Finally, the US Americans speak of a 'perfect strike'

Now tell me -- do you get a sense that this is over?

If you tell me that 32/103 is hardly perfect, I will reply that you are missing the point. In fact, if anything, 32/103 is further incentive to bomb again!

Let's look at the differently for a second and ask this: what has the AngloZionist attack actually demonstrated?

The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance The Europeans now live by the motto " my honor is called solidarity " (a variation of the SS motto " my honor is loyalty ") Led by the USA, western countries have no objections to wars started in violation of their own national laws The UN Security Council has no objections to wars started in violation of the UN Charter and International Law The PRC leaders, in their infinite wisdom, act as if they have nothing personal at stake and act like bystanders The Israelis, via the UN Neocons, are now in total control of the Empire and use it to "clean house" next door

Oh, I hear the objections. They go something like this:

But the attack was a dismal failure! So what? the Empire did not pay any price for executing it. But the US Americans did blink! The attacked from Jordanian airspace and from the Red Sea! They