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[Dec 31, 2019] The US is now openly dismissive as a matter of law any ally or partner who engages in economic activity it disapproves by Tom Luongo

Dec 26, 2019 | astutenews.com

Europe is willing to defy the U.S. on Nordstream to the point of forcing the U.S. to openly and nakedly destroy its reputation with European contractors and governments to stop one pipeline in a place where multiple gas pipelines will be needed for future growth.

This is the diplomatic equivalent of the nuclear option. And the neocons in the Senate just pushed the button. Europe understands what this is really about, the U.S. retaining its imperial position as the policy setter for all the world. If it can set energy policy for Europe then it can set everything else.

And it's clear that the leadership in Europe is done with that status quo. The Trump administration from the beginning has used NATO as an excuse to mask its real intentions towards Europe, which is continued domination of its policies. Trump complains that the U.S. pays into NATO to protect Europe from Russia but then Europe buys its energy from Russia. That's unfair, Donald complains, like a little bitch, frankly, even though he right on the surface. But if the recent NATO summit is any indication, Europe is no longer interested in NATO performing that function. French President Emmanuel Macron wants NATO re-purposed to fight global terror, a terrible idea. NATO should just be ended.

But you'll notice how Trump doesn't talk about that anymore. He wants more billions pumped into NATO while the U.S. still sets its policies. This is not a boondoggle for the MIC as much as it's a Sword of Damocles to hold over Europe's head. The U.S.'s involvement in should be ended immediately, the troops brought home and the billions of dollars spent here as opposed to occupying most of Europe to point missiles at a Russia wholly uninterested in imperial ambitions no less harboring any of them.

And Trump also knows this but thinks stopping Nordstream 2 is the price Europe has to pay him for this privilege. It's insane. The time has come for Europe to act independently from the U.S. As much as I despise the EU, to untangle it from the U.S. on energy policy is the means by which for it to then deal with its problems internally. It can't do that while the U.S. is threatening it. Circling the wagons against the immediate threat, as it were.

And that means protecting its companies and citizens from the economic depredations of power-mad neoconservatives in the U.S. Senate like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

Allseas, the Swiss company laying the pipe for Nordstream 2, has halted construction for now , awaiting instructions from the U.S. Gazprom will likely step in to finish the job and Germany will green light any of the necessary permits to get the pipeline done. Those people will be put out of work just in time for Christmas, turning thousands of people against the U.S. Commerce drives people together, politics drives them apart.

But, at the same time, the urgency to finish Nordstream 2 on time is wholly irrelevant now because Ukraine and Russia came to terms on a new five-year gas transit contract. This ensures Gazprom can meet its contractual deliveries to Europe that no one thought could be done on time. But when the Nazi threat to Zelensky meeting with Merkel, Macron and Putin in Paris failed to materialize, a gas deal was on the horizon.

And, guess what? U.S. LNG will still not have the marginal lever over Europe's energy policy because of that. Putin and Zelensky outmaneuvered Cruz, Graham and Trump on this. Because that's what this boils down to. By keeping Russian gas out of Europe, it was supposed to constrain not only Russia's growth but also Europe's. Because then the U.S. government can control who and how much energy can make it into European markets at critical junctures politically.

That was the Bolton Doctrine to National Security. And that doctrine brought nothing but misery to millions.

And if you look back over the past five years of U.S./EU relations you will see this gambit clearly for what it was, a way to continue European vassalage at the hands of the U.S. by forcing market share of U.S. providers into European markets.

Again, it gets back to Trump's ideas about Emergy Dominance and becoming the supplier of the marginal erg of energy to important economies around the world.

The smart play for the EU now that the gas transit deal is in place is to threaten counter-sanctions against the U.S. and bar all LNG shipments into Europe. Gas prices are at historic lows, gas supplies are overflowing thanks to fears of a deal not being in place.

So, a three to six month embargo of U.S. LNG into Europe to bleed off excess supply while Nordstream 2 is completed would be the right play politically.

But, in reality, they won't need to, because the U.S. won't be able to import much into Europe under current prices and market conditions. And once Nordstream 2 is complete, LNG sales to Europe should crater.

In the end, I guess it's too bad for Ted Cruz that economics and basic human ingenuity are more powerful than legislatures. Because Nordstream 2 will be completed. Turkstream's other trains into Europe will be built. Venezuela will continue rebuilding its energy sector with Russian and Chinese help.

There is no place for U.S. LNG in Europe outside of the Poles literally burning money virtue signaling their Russophobia. Nordstream 2 was a response to the revolt in Ukraine, to replace any potential losses in market share to Europe. Now Russia will have what it had before passing through Ukraine along with Nordstream 2. By 2024 there will be at least two trains from Turkstream coming into Europe.

Iran will keep expanding exports, settling its oil and gas trade through Russian banks. And the U.S. will continue to fulminate and make itself even more irrelevant over time. What men like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump refuse to understand is that when you go nuclear you can't ever go back. If you threaten the nuclear option, there's no fall back position.

And when those that you threaten with annihilation survive they are made all the stronger for passing through the eye of the needle. Looking at Gazprom's balance sheet right now, that's my take.


By Tom Luongo. Source: Gold Goats 'n Guns

[Dec 29, 2019] Iran arrests more than 100 Christians in growing crackdown on ...

Dec 29, 2019 | telegraph.co.uk

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/10/iran-arrests-100-christians-growing-crackdown-minority/

Dec 10, 2018 Iran has arrested more than 100 Christians in the last week, charities report, amid a growing crackdown by the Islamic Republic. play_arrow play_arrow 3 Reply Report CTG_Sweden 19 minutes ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy But so far they haven´t been kicked out of Iran, like a considerable portion of the Palestinian Christians in Palestine/Israel back in 1947-48. 30 % of the Palestinians who were driven out from Israel were Christians. Nor have they been starved to death like the Christians who owned farmland in Russia/Ukraine in the 1920s and 30s when Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Stalin´s "brother in law" Kaganovych ruled over Russian/Ukrainian farmers. But I agree that Europe still is a better place for Christians than Iran. But does a person like Barbara Lerner-Spectre want to keep it that way? Well, I´m not so sure about that. CTG_Sweden 17 minutes ago remove Share link Copy

falconflight:

"christians, and btw Yazidies have been destroyed in those two nations."

My comments:

... by ISIS and Al-Qaeda which indirectly were supported by the West which also wished to topple Assad. Israel even treated wounded ISIS fighters in Golan (which they had conquered from Syria in 1967). TeraByte 1 hour ago remove Share link Copy Israel is too arrogant to be able to recognize the current altered terror balance in ME, even when this is confirmed by their own military analysts. The country will experience a very hard awakening, if attacking neighbour nations. How is it possible these Choosenites swearing God chose them to reign over other people and their Holy Talmud telling "the Universe was created for the fulfillment of the destiny of the Jewish people" now simultaneously can claim they have a cool rational of their real position on real time. These lunatics´ religious arguments simply do not add up.

[Dec 24, 2019] Christmas in Flyover Land - Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... It's a Wonderful Life ..."
"... we have sent the factories to distant lands and eliminated your jobs, and all the meaning and purpose in your lives -- and cheap stuff from Asia is your consolation prize. Enjoy ..."
"... Homelessness in America runs way deeper than just the winos and drug addicts living on the big city sidewalks. ..."
Dec 24, 2019 | kunstler.com

All the people of America, including the flyovers, are responsible for the sad situation we're in: this failure to reestablish a common culture of values most people can subscribe to and use it to rebuild our towns into places worth caring about. Main Street, as it has come to be, is the physical manifestation of that failure. The businesses that used to occupy the storefronts are gone, except for second-hand stores. Nobody in 1952 would have believed this could happen. And yet, there it is: the desolation is stark and heartbreaking.

Even George Bailey's "nightmare" scene in It's a Wonderful Life depicts the supposedly evil Pottersville as a very lively place, only programmed for old-fashioned wickedness: gin mills and streetwalkers. Watch the movie and see for yourself.

Pottersville is way more appealing than 99 percent of America's small towns today, dead as they are.

The dynamics that led to this are not hard to understand. The concentration of retail commerce in a very few gigantic corporations was a swindle that the public fell for.

Enthralled like little children by the dazzle and gigantism of the big boxes, and the free parking, we allowed ourselves to be played.

The excuse was "bargain shopping," which actually meant we have sent the factories to distant lands and eliminated your jobs, and all the meaning and purpose in your lives -- and cheap stuff from Asia is your consolation prize. Enjoy

The "bones" of the village are still standing but the programming for the organism of a community is all gone: gainful employment, social roles in the life of the place, confidence in the future. For a century starting in 1850, there were at least five factories in town. They made textiles and later on, paper products and, in the end, toilet paper, ironically enough. Yes, really.

They also made a lot of the sod-busting steel ploughs that opened up the Midwest, and cotton shirts, and other stuff. The people worked hard for their money, but it was pretty good money by world standards for most of those years.

It allowed them to eat well, sleep in a warm house, and raise children, which is a good start for any society. The village was rich with economic and social niches, and yes, it was hierarchical, but people tended to find the niche appropriate to their abilities and aspirations -- and, believe it or not, it is better to have a place in society than to have no place at all, which is the sad situation for so many today.

Homelessness in America runs way deeper than just the winos and drug addicts living on the big city sidewalks.


BackRowHeckler December 22, 2019 at 10:50 pm #

It seems there's a major political party exactly working against a common American culture. They jeer at the thought of it. It seems to be the main platform, above all else.

Brh

Log in to Reply
Walter B December 23, 2019 at 3:23 pm #

It is a major party alright BRH, but it is no so much political as it is economic and socially stratified. They are opulent, self consumed and greedy as hell (literally). There can only be so many parasites sucking the lifeblood out of any herd of servant beasts, and they can only suck so long on their hosts before the poor beasts fall over and die. And that is the tipping point, where we lose enough life blood that we can no longer stand upright, but drop to the deck and are consumed. It is the classic Goose that laid the Golden Egg fairy tale being acted out in real life and coming to a neighborhood near you soon. Log in to Reply

sunburstsoldier December 22, 2019 at 11:22 pm #

Beautiful, thoughtful post Jim, yet to be honest it fills me with a sense of anxiety, and this is simply because the catastrophic events you forecast, although for the better in the long run (as they will compel a return to a world made by hand, or the recovery of human scale) will nonetheless bring much suffering to a lot of people ( including my own family). I would personally like to believe there is another way a more sustainable civilization could be attained than on the heels of societal collapse. I do believe the world is full of mystery, and that life itself is a series of unfolding miracles we lack the capacity to comprehend due to our limited perspective. Yet perhaps you are right and some type of collapse is inevitable before a new beginning can be made. If such be the case, as individuals we will be compelled to tap into inner potentials that will needed to meet the approaching apocalypse, potentials which currently lie dormant and undeveloped. Maybe in the process of doing so we will recover our wholeness as well.

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump administration sanction companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

Highly recommended!
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 6:27 am

The new US defense bill, agreed on by both parties, includes sanctions on executives of companies involved in the completion of Nordstream 2. This is companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

This could include arrest of the executives of those companies, who might travel to the United States. One of the companies is Royal Dutch Shell, who have 80,000 employees in the United States.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 12:28 pm
So much for the "Free Market".
Hickory x Ignored says: 12/12/2019 at 11:28 pm
Some people believe 'the market' for crude oil is a fair and effective arbiter of the industry supply and demand. But if we step back an inch or two, we all can see it has been a severely broken mechanism during this up phase in oil. For example, there has been long lags between market signals of shortage or surplus.

Disruptive policies and mechanisms such as tariffs, embargo's, and sanctions, trade bloc quotas, military coups and popular revolutions, socialist agendas, industry lobbying, multinational corporate McCarthyism, and massively obese debt financing, are all examples of forces that have trumped an efficient and transparent oil market.

And yet, the problems with the oil market during this time of upslope will look placid in retrospect, as we enter the time beyond peak.
I see no reason why it won't turn into a mad chaotic scramble.
We had a small hint of what this can look like in the last mid-century. The USA responded to military expansionism of Japan by enacting an oil embargo against them. The response was Pearl Harbor. This is just one example of many.
How long before Iran lashes out in response to their restricted access to the market?
People generally don't respond very calmly to involuntary restriction on food, or energy, or access to the markets for these things.

[Dec 21, 2019] The Israel Lobby's Hidden Hand in the Theft of Iraqi and Syrian Oil by Agha Hussain and Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... One key, yet often overlooked, player behind the push to prevent a full U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria in order to "keep the oil" was current U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield ..."
"... Over the course of his long diplomatic career, Satterfield has been known to the U.S. government as an Israeli intelligence asset embedded in the U.S. State Department. Indeed, Satterfield was named as a major player in what is now known as the AIPAC espionage scandal, also known as the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, although he was oddly never charged for his role after the intervention of his superiors at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration. ..."
"... WINEP's close association with AIPAC, which has spied on the U.S. on behalf of Israel several times in the past with no consequence, combined with Jeffrey's long-time acquaintance with key U.S. figures in Iraq, such as McGurk, provided an ideal opening for Israel in Iraq. Following the implementation of Jeffrey's plan, Israeli imports of KRG oil constituted 77 percent of Israel's total oil imports during the KRG's occupation of Kirkuk. ..."
"... the role played by the U.S. Israel lobby in this capacity, particularly in terms of orchestrating oil sale agreements for Israel's benefit, is hardly exclusive to Iraq and can accurately be described as a repeated pattern of behavior. ..."
Dec 18, 2019 | astutenews.com
The outsized role of U.S. Israel lobby operatives in abetting the theft of Syrian and Iraqi oil reveals how this powerful lobby also facilitates more covert aspects of U.S.-Israeli cooperation and the implementation of policies that favor Israel.

Kirkuk, Iraq -- "We want to bring our soldiers home. But we did leave soldiers because we're keeping the oil," President Trump stated on November 3, before adding, "I like oil. We're keeping the oil."

Though he had promised a withdrawal of U.S. troops from their illegal occupation of Syria, Trump shocked many with his blunt admission that troops were being left behind to prevent Syrian oil resources from being developed by the Syrian government and, instead, kept in the hands of whomever the U.S. deemed fit to control them, in this case, the U.S.-backed Kurdish-majority militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Though Trump himself received all of the credit -- and the scorn -- for this controversial new policy, what has been left out of the media coverage is the fact that key players in the U.S.' pro-Israel lobby played a major role in its creation with the purpose of selling Syrian oil to the state of Israel. While recent developments in the Syrian conflict may have hindered such a plan from becoming reality, it nonetheless offers a telling example of the covert role often played by the U.S.' pro-Israel lobby in shaping key elements of U.S. foreign policy and closed-door deals with major regional implications.

Indeed, the Israel lobby-led effort to have the U.S. facilitate the sale of Syrian oil to Israel is not an isolated incident given that, just a few years ago, other individuals connected to the same pro-Israel lobby groups and Zionist neoconservatives manipulated both U.S. policy and Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in order to allow Iraqi oil to be sold to Israel without the approval of the Iraqi government. These designs, not unlike those that continue to unfold in Syria, were in service to longstanding neoconservative and Zionist efforts to balkanize Iraq by strengthening the KRG and weakening Baghdad.

After the occupation of Iraq's Nineveh Governorate by ISIS (June 2014-October 2015), the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) took advantage of the Iraqi military's retreat and, amidst the chaos, illegally seized Kirkuk on June 12. Their claim to the city was supported by both the U.S. and Israel and, later, the U.S.-led coalition targeting ISIS. This gave the KRG control, not only of Iraq's export pipeline to Turkey's Ceyhan port, but also to Iraq's largest oil fields.

Israel imported massive amounts of oil from the Kurds during this period, all without the consent of Baghdad. Israel was also the largest customer of oil sold by ISIS, who used Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk to sell oil in areas of Iraq and Syria under its control. To do this in ISIS-controlled territories of Iraq, the oil was sent first to the Kurdish city of Zakho near the Turkey border and then into Turkey, deceptively labeled as oil that originated from Iraqi Kurdistan. ISIS did nothing to impede the KRG's own oil exports even though they easily could have given that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline passed through areas that ISIS had occupied for years.

In retrospect, and following revelations from Wikileaks and new information regarding the background of relevant actors, it has been revealed that much of the covert maneuvering behind the scenes that enabled this scenario intimately involved the United States' powerful pro-Israel lobby. Now, with a similar scenario unfolding in Syria, efforts by the U.S.' Israel lobby to manipulate U.S. foreign policy in order to shift the flow of hydrocarbons for Israel's benefit can instead be seen as a pattern of behavior, not an isolated incident.

"Keep the oil" for Israel

After recent shifts in the Trump administration in its Syria policy, U.S. troops have controversially been kept in Syria to " keep the oil ," with U.S. military officials subsequently claiming that doing so was "a subset of the counter-ISIS mission." However, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper later claimed that another factor behind U.S. insistence on guarding Syrian oil fields was to prevent the extraction and subsequent sale of Syrian oil by either the Syrian government or Russia.

One key, yet often overlooked, player behind the push to prevent a full U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria in order to "keep the oil" was current U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield. Satterfield was previously the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, where he yielded great influence over U.S. policy in both Iraq and Syria and worked closely with Brett McGurk, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran and later special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led "anti-ISIS" coalition.

Over the course of his long diplomatic career, Satterfield has been known to the U.S. government as an Israeli intelligence asset embedded in the U.S. State Department. Indeed, Satterfield was named as a major player in what is now known as the AIPAC espionage scandal, also known as the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, although he was oddly never charged for his role after the intervention of his superiors at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

David Satterfield, left, arrives in Baghdad with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Joey Hood, May 7, 2019. Mandel Ngan | AP

In 2005, federal prosecutors cited a U.S. government official as having illegally passed classified information to Steve Rosen, then working for AIPAC, who then passed that information to the Israeli government. That classified information included intelligence on Iran and the nature of U.S.-Israeli intelligence sharing. Subsequent media reports from the New York Times and other outlets revealed that this government official was none other than David Satterfield, who was then serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs.

Charges against Rosen, as well as his co-conspirator and fellow AIPAC employee Keith Weissman, were dropped in 2009 and no charges were levied against Satterfield after State Department officials shockingly claimed that Satterfield had "acted within his authority" in leaking classified information to an individual working to advance the interests of a foreign government. Richard Armitage, a neoconservative ally with a long history of ties to CIA covert operations in the Middle East and elsewhere, has since claimed that he was one of Satterfield's main defenders in conversations with the FBI during this time when he was serving as Deputy Secretary of State.

The other government official named in the indictment, former Pentagon official Lawrence Franklin, was not so lucky and was charged under the Espionage Act in 2006. Satterfield, instead of being censured for his role in leaking sensitive information to a foreign government, was subsequently promoted in 2006 to serve as the Coordinator for Iraq and Senior Adviser to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In addition to his history of leaking classified information to AIPAC, Satterfield also has a longstanding relationship with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a controversial spin-off of AIPAC also known by its acronym WINEP. WINEP's website has long listed Satterfield as one of its experts and Satterfield has spoken at several WINEP events and policy forums, including several after his involvement with the AIPAC espionage scandal became public knowledge. However, despite his longstanding and controversial ties to the U.S. pro-Israel lobby, Satterfield's current relationship with some elements of that lobby, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), is complicated at best.

While Satterfield's role in yet another reversal of a promised withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria has largely escaped media scrutiny, another individual with deep ties to the Israel lobby and Syrian "rebel" groups has also been ignored by the media, despite his outsized role in taking advantage of this new U.S. policy for Israel's benefit.

US Israel Lobby secures deal with Kurds

Earlier this year, well before Trump's new Syria policy of "keeping the oil" had officially taken shape, another individual with deep ties to the U.S. Israel lobby secured a lucrative agreement with U.S.-backed Kurdish groups in Syria. An official document issued earlier this year by the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political arm of the Kurdish majority and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a New Jersey-based company, founded and run by U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Mordechai "Motti" Kahana, was given control of the oil in territory held by the SDC.

Per the document, the SDC formally accepted the offer from Kahana's company -- Global Development Corporation (GDC) -- to represent SDC in all matters pertaining to the sale of oil extracted in territory it controls and also grants GDC "the right to explore and develop oil that is located in areas we govern."

The SDC's formal acceptance of Global Development Corporation's offer to develop Syrian oil fields. Source | Al-Akhbar

The document also states that the amount of oil then being produced in SDC-controlled areas was 125,000 barrels per day and that they anticipated that this would increase to 400,000 barrels per day and that this oil is considered a foreign asset under the control of the United States by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

After the document was made public by the Lebanese outlet Al-Akhbar , the SDC claimed that it was a forgery, even though Kahana had separately confirmed its contents and shared the letter itself to the Los Angeles Times as recently as a few weeks ago. Kahana previously attempted to distance himself from the effort and told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom in July that he had made the offer to the SDC as means to prevent the "Assad regime" of Syria from obtaining revenue from the sale of Syrian oil.

The Kurds currently hold 11 oil wells in an area controlled by the [Syrian] Democratic Forces. The overwhelming majority of Syrian oil is in that area. I don't want this oil reaching Iran, or the Assad regime."

At the time, Kahana also stated that "the moment the Trump administration gives its approval, we can begin to export this oil at fair prices."

Given that Kahana has openly confirmed that he is representing the SDC's oil business shortly after Trump's adoption of the controversial "keep the oil policy," it seems plausible that Kahana has now received the approval needed for his company to export the oil on behalf of the SDC. Several media reports have speculated that, if Kahana's efforts go forward unimpeded, the Syrian oil will be sold to Israel.

However, considering Turkey's aversion to engaging in any activities that may benefit the PKK-SDF – there are considerable obstacles to Kahana's plans. While the SDF -- along with assistance from U.S. troops -- still controls several oil fields in Syria, experts assert that they can only realistically sell the oil to the Syrian government. Not even the Iraqi Kurds are a candidate, considering Baghdad's firm control over the Iraq-Syria border and the KRG's weakened state after its failed independence bid in late 2017.

Regardless, Kahana's involvement in this affair is significant for a few reasons. First, Kahana has been a key player in the promotion and funding of radical groups in Syria and has even been caught hiring so-called "rebels" to kidnap Syrian Jews and take them to Israel against their will. It was Kahana, for instance, who financed and orchestrated the now infamous trip of the late Senator John McCain to Syria, where he met with Syrian "rebels" including Khalid al-Hamad – a "moderate" rebel who gained notoriety after a video of him eating the heart of a Syrian Army soldier went viral online . McCain had also admitted meeting with ISIS members, though it is unclear if he did so on this trip or another trip to Syria.

In addition, Kahana was also the mastermind behind the "Caesar" controversy, whereby a Syrian using the pseudonym "Caesar" was brought to the U.S. by Kahana and went on to make claims regarding torture and other crimes allegedly committed by the Assad-led government Syria, claims which were later discredited by independent analysts. He was also very involved in Israel's failed efforts to establish a "safe zone" in Southern Syria as a means of covertly expanding Israel's territory from the occupied Golan Heights and into Quneitra.

Notably, Kahana has deep ties -- not just to efforts to overthrow the Syrian government -- but also to U.S. Israel lobby, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) where Satterfield is as an expert. For instance, Kahana was a key player in a 2013 symposium organized by WINEP along with Syrian opposition groups intimately involved in the arming of so-called "rebels." One of the other participants in the symposium alongside Kahana was Mouaz Moustafa, director of the "Syrian Emergency Task Force" who assisted Kahana in bringing McCain to Syria in 2013. Moustafa was listed as a WINEP expert on the organization's website but was later mysteriously deleted.

Kahana is also intimately involved with the Israeli American Council (IAC), a pro-Israel lobby organization, as a team member of its national conference. IAC was co-founded and is chaired by Adam Milstein , a multimillionaire and convicted felon who is also on the boards of AIPAC, StandWithUs, Birthright and other prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations. One of IAC's top donors is Sheldon Adelson, who is also the top donor to President Trump as well as the entire Republican Party.

Though the machinations of both Kahana and Satterfield to guide U.S. policy in order to manipulate the flow of Syria's hydrocarbons for Israel's benefit may seem shocking to some, this same tactic of pro-Israel lobbyists using the Kurds to illegally sell a country's oil to Israel was developed a few years prior, not in Syria, but Iraq. Notably, the individuals responsible for that policy in Iraq shared connections to several of the same pro-Israel lobby organizations as both Satterfield and Kahana, suggesting that their recent efforts in Syria are not an isolated event, but a pattern.

War against ISIS is a war for oil

In an email dated June 15, 2014, James Franklin Jeffrey (former Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and current U.S. Special Representative for Syria) revealed to Stephen Hadley, a former George Bush administration advisor then working at the government-funded United States Institute of Peace, his intent to advise the KRG in order to sustain Kirkuk's oil production. The plan, as Jeffery described it, was to supply both the Kurdistan province with oil and allow the export of oil via Kirkuk-Ceyhan to Israel, robbing Iraq of its oil and strengthening the country's Kurdish region along with its regional government's bid for autonomy.

Jeffrey, whose hawkish views on Iran and Syria are well-known , mentioned that Brett McGurk, the U.S.' main negotiator between Baghdad and the KRG, was acting as his liaison with the KRG. McGurk, who had served in various capacities in Iraq under both Bush and Obama, was then also serving Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran. A year later, he would be made the special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led "anti-ISIS" coalition and, as previously mentioned, worked closely with David Satterfield.

James Jeffrey, left, meets with Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, April 8, 2011, at an airport in Irbil, Iraq. Chip Somodevilla | AP

Jeffrey was then a private citizen not currently employed by the government and was used as a non-governmental channel in the pursuit of the plans described in the leaked emails published by WikiLeaks. Jeffrey's behind-the-scenes activities with regards to the KRG's oil exports were done clandestinely, largely because he was then employed by a prominent arm of the U.S.' pro-Israel lobby.

At the time of the email, Jeffrey was serving as a distinguished fellow (2013-2018) at WINEP. As previously mentioned, WINEP is a pro-Israel foreign policy think-tank that espouses neoconservative views and was created in 1985 by researchers that had hastily left AIPAC to escape investigations against the organization that were related to some of its members conducting espionage on behalf of Israel. AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, is the largest registered Israel lobbyist organization in the US (albeit registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act would be more suitable), and, in addition to the 1985 incident that led to WINEP's creation, has had members indicted for espionage against the U.S. on Israel's behalf.

WINEP's launch was funded by former President of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Barbara Weinberg, who is its founding president and constant Chairman Emerita. Nicknamed 'Barbi', she is the wife of the late Lawrence Weinberg who was President of AIPAC from 1976-81 and who JJ Goldberg, author of the 1997 book Jewish Power, referred to as one of a select few individuals who essentially dominated AIPAC regardless of its elected leadership. Co-founder alongside Weinberg was Martin Indyk. Indyk, U.S. Ambassador to Israel (1995-97) and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1997-99), led the AIPAC research time that formed WINEP to escape the aforementioned investigations.

WINEP has historically received funding from donors who donate to causes of special interest for Zionism and Israel. Among its trustees are extremely prominent names in political Zionism and funders of other Israel Lobby organizations, such as Charles and Edgar Bronfman and the Chernicks . Its membership remains dominated by individuals who have spent their careers promoting Israeli interests in the U.S.

WINEP has become more well-known, and arguably more controversial, in recent years after its research director famously called for false-flag attacks to trigger a U.S. war with Iran in 2012, statements well-aligned with longstanding attempts by the Israel Lobby to bring about such a war.

A worthy partner in crime

Stephen Hadley, another private citizen who Jeffrey evidently considered as a partner in his covert dealings discussed in the emails, also has his own past of involvement with Israel-specific intrigues and meddling.

During the G.W. Bush administration, Hadley tagged along with neoconservatives in their numerous creations of fake intelligence and efforts to incriminate Iraq for possessing chemical and nuclear weapons. Hadley was one of the promoters from within the U.S. government of the false claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague.

Hadley also worked with then-Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Lewis Libby -- a neoconservative and former lawyer for the Mossad-agent and billionaire Marc Rich -- to discredit a CIA investigation into claims of Iraq purchasing yellowcake uranium from Niger. That claim famously appeared in Bush's State of the Union address in 2002.

What this particular claim had in common with the 'Iraq meets Atta in Prague' disinformation, and other famous lies against Iraq fabricated and circulated by the dense neocon network, was its source: Israel and pro-Israel partisans.

The distribution network of these now long-debunked claims was none other than the neoconservatives who act a veritable Israeli fifth column that has long sought to promote Israeli foreign policy objectives as being in the interest of the United States. In this, Hadley played his part by helping to ensure that the United States was railroaded into a war that had long been promoted by both Israeli and American neoconservatives, particularly Richard Perle -- an advisor to WINEP -- who had been promoting regime change in Iraq for Israel's explicit benefit for decades.

In short, for covert intrigues to serve Israel that would likely be met with protest if pitched to the government for implementation as policy, Hadley's resume was impressive.

Israeli interests pursued through covert channels

Given his employment at WINEP during this time, Jeffrey's intent to advise the KRG to sustain Kirkuk's oil production despite the seizure of the Baiji oil refinery by ISIS is somewhat suspect, especially since it required that 100,000 barrels per day pass through ISIS-controlled territory unimpeded.

Jeffrey's email from June 14, therefore, demonstrated that he had foreknowledge that ISIS would not disturb the KRG as long as the Kurds redirected oil that was intended originally for Baiji to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline, facilitating its export and later sale to Israel.

Notably, up until its liberation in mid-2015 by the Iraqi government and aligned Shia paramilitaries, ISIS kept the refinery running and, only upon their retreat, destroyed the facility.

In July 2014, the KRG began confidently supplying Kurdish areas with Kirkuk's oil per the plan laid out by Jeffrey in the aforementioned email. Baghdad soon became aware of the arrangement and lashed out at Israel and Turkey, whose banks were used by the KRG to receive the oil revenue from Israel.

One would normally expect ISIS to be opposed to such collusion given that the KRG, while a beneficiary of the ISIS-Baghdad conflict, was not an ally of ISIS. Thus, a foreign power with strategic ties to ISIS used its close ties to the KRG and assurances that it was on-board for the oil trade, to deliver a credible guarantee that ISIS would 'cooperate' and that a boom in production and exports was in the cards.

This foreign power -- acting as a guarantor for the ISIS-KRG understanding vis-a-vis the illegal oil economy, represented by Jeffrey and clearly not on good terms with Iraq's government -- was quite clearly Israel.

Israel established considerable financial support as well as the provision of armaments to other extremist terrorist groups active near the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Southern Syria when war first broke out in Syria in 2011. At least four of these extremist groups were led by individuals with direct ties to Israeli intelligence . These same groups, sometimes promoted as 'moderates' by some media, were actively fighting Syria's government – an enemy of Israel and ally of Iran – before ISIS existed and eagerly partnered with ISIS when it expanded its campaign into Syria.

Furthermore, Israeli officials have publicly admitted maintaining regular communication with ISIS cells in Southern Syria and have publicly expressed their desire that ISIS not be defeated in the country. In Libya, Israeli Mossad operatives have been found embedded within ISIS , suggesting that Israel has covert but definite ties with the group outside of Syria as well.

Israel has also long promoted the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, with Israel having provided Iraq's Kurds with weapons, training and teams of Mossad advisers as far back as the 1960s . More recently, Israel was the only state to support the KRG independence referendum in September 2017 despite its futility, hinting at the regard Israel holds for the KRG. Iraq's government subsequently militarily defeated the KRG's push for statehood and reclaimed Kirkuk's oil fields with assistance from the Shia paramilitaries which were responsible for defeating ISIS in the area.

A 2014 map shows the areas under ISIS and Kurdish control at the time. Source | Telegraph

This arrangement orchestrated by Jeffrey, served the long-time neoconservative-Israeli agenda of empowering the Kurds, selling Iraqi oil to Israel and weakening Iraq's Baghdad-based government.

WINEP's close association with AIPAC, which has spied on the U.S. on behalf of Israel several times in the past with no consequence, combined with Jeffrey's long-time acquaintance with key U.S. figures in Iraq, such as McGurk, provided an ideal opening for Israel in Iraq. Following the implementation of Jeffrey's plan, Israeli imports of KRG oil constituted 77 percent of Israel's total oil imports during the KRG's occupation of Kirkuk.

The WINEP connection to the KRG-Israel oil deal demonstrates the key role played by the U.S. pro-Israel Lobby, not only in terms of sustaining U.S. financial aid to Israel and ratcheting up tensions with Israel's adversaries but also in facilitating the more covert aspects of U.S.-Israeli cooperation and the implementation of policies that favor Israel.

Yet the role played by the U.S. Israel lobby in this capacity, particularly in terms of orchestrating oil sale agreements for Israel's benefit, is hardly exclusive to Iraq and can accurately be described as a repeated pattern of behavior.


By Agha Hussain and Whitney Webb
Source: MintPress News

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump is stealing Syria's oil for the Saudis caucus99percent

Dec 21, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

caucus99percent free-range politics, organic community

Trump is stealing Syria's oil for the Saudis

gjohnsit on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 4:28pm President Trump recently said the quiet part out loud .

"We may have to fight for the oil. It's O.K.," he said. "Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight. But there's massive amounts of oil." The United States, he added, should be able to take some of Syria's oil. "What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," he said. The goal would be to "spread out the wealth."

At the very least this amounts to pillaging, but then respect for the law isn't on Trump agenda.


Trump is "protecting" Syria's oil in the exact same way that the mob "protects" a small businessman from arson.
Not kind of the same way. EXACTLY the same way.

Trump comment US intends to keep the oil in Syria. Guard with US armored forces. Bring in US oil companies to modernize the field. WHAT ARE WE BECOMING.... PIRATES? If ISIS is defeated we lack Congressional authority to stay. The oil belongs to Syria. https://t.co/Leko5s1hXF

-- Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) October 28, 2019

So what "great companies" would be willing "to go in there" and "spread out the wealth?"
That company turned out to be ARAMCO .

Sources have disclosed that the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, commonly referred to as Aramco, has sent a delegation of experts to discuss investment opportunities in the oil fields and wells in the Eastern Syrian city of Deir Ez-Zor.

According to the oppositionist news site Deir Ezzor 24, Aramco "started implementing practical steps in this field, where a group of the company arrived in an official mission to al-Omar oil field in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside."

There is no legal means to do this. This is the outright theft of resources.
And it keeps getting worse.

It is believed that the investments will be made through contracts signed between Aramco and the US government , whose armed forces have steadily been increasing their military presence in terms of manpower and equipment around the oil fields.

That is trafficking in the sale of stolen property, but it gets even worse than that.

The Kurdish Syrian Defence Forces (formerly known as the YPG) currently control most of the country's oil fields and have shifted towards an alliance with the Syrian government after losing American protection in the north-east of the country in the wake of Trump's "withdrawal" and ensuing Turkish offensive dubbed "Operation Peace Spring" to clear the area of Kurdish militias

So we can't even pretend to be doing this for the benefit of the local population, our regional allies, or any other justification except naked theft.
Trump should be in jail for this.

"I think in this case we are not talking about an operation associated with a huge share of risk, but, on the contrary, about a well-thought-out operation."
- Professor RSUH Grigory Kosach

The Pentagon is enthusiastically cooperating in this blatant violation of international law.
US troops have returned to six out of 16 bases in Syria that had been previously abandoned during the October withdrawal.
What's more, our military is settling in for the long haul.

Barely two months after US President Donald Trump's demagogic announcement that he was pulling US troops out of northeastern Syria to fulfill his campaign promise to bring a halt to Washington's "endless wars," the senior civilian and uniformed Pentagon chiefs told a House panel Wednesday that there is no foreseeable end to the American presence there.
...
Esper went even further, insisting that US military forces had to remain in Syria not so much to counter any existing military force, but rather an "ideology".

"I think the defeat, if you will, will be hard because it's an ideology," Esper told the House panel after repeated questions regarding US strategy in Syria. "It's hard to foresee anytime soon we would stamp it out," he added.

Everyone that somehow finds a way to defend Trump based on his so-called aversion to foreign wars needs to take a good, hard look at this. Because THIS is 100% Trump's doing.

gjohnsit on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 4:44pm
Back in May this happened

4 people killed

US-led forces have blown up three oil tankers in Syria as the United States increases its pressure on Syria by thwarting the oil trade between the PKK/YPG and the Assad regime, according to local sources quoted by several media sources.

The YPG are our Kurdish allies that the warmongers were so concerned about just a few months ago. We "care" about them, right up until they want to sell oil to the Assad regime. Then they deserve death.
That's OUR oil.

CB on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 6:54pm
I don't think Trump really knows WTF he is doing.

I think the powerful foreign policy cabal in Washington have him by the balls and give them a squeeze when he gets off point.

One day he is pulling out. The next day he says he staying in to "protect" the oil fields. The third day he sends US forces back in so he can sell the oil so that the Syrians don't "steal" it.

What's going to happen on the fourth day when a half dozen American soldiers get eviscerated by a roadside bomb while on patrol?

edg on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 9:04pm
Rumsfeld was right.

War can pay for itself if you steal enough oil. We'll turn a good ROI on our Syria adventure before you know it.

snoopydawg on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 9:30pm
Doing illegal wars is an impeachable offense

but just like congress won't make him withdraw troops from Yemen and stop supporting the Saudis, they are in complete agreement with him doing that.

Israel bought Syria's oil from ISIS all during Obama's tenure as he watched them take it out through Turkey.

But it's Russian aggression that is causing all the problems in the Middle East right? And Iran's too. Why we can't make deals for resources instead of spending gawd only knows how much money. But then the defense companies wouldn't get all of our money now would they? We pay for the defense companies CEOs large bonuses and salaries. Great gig!

[Dec 21, 2019] Extortion (noun) The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats

May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 14:20

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

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

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

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

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

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 02:08

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

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

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

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

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

[Dec 21, 2019] Syria Accuses US Of Stealing Over 40 Tons Of Its Gold by Eric Zuesse

Mar 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 23:55 240 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Syrian National News Agency headlined on February 26th, "Gold deal between United States and Daesh" (Daesh is ISIS) and reported that,

Information from local sources said that US army helicopters have already transported the gold bullions under cover of darkness on Sunday [February 24th], before transporting them to the United States.

The sources said that tens of tons that Daesh had been keeping in their last hotbed in al-Baghouz area in Deir Ezzor countryside have been handed to the Americans, adding up to other tons of gold that Americans have found in other hideouts for Daesh, making the total amount of gold taken by the Americans to the US around 50 tons, leaving only scraps for the SDF [Kurdish] militias that serve them [the US operation].

Recently, sources said that the area where Daesh leaders and members have barricaded themselves in, contains around 40 tons of gold and tens of millions of dollars.

Allegedly, "US occupation forces in the Syrian al-Jazeera area made a deal with Daesh terrorists, by which Washington gets tens of tons of gold that the terror organization had stolen, in exchange for providing safe passage for the terrorists and their leaders from the areas in Deir Ezzor where they are located."

ISIS was financing its operations largely by the theft of oil from the oil wells in the Deir Ezzor area, Syria's oil-producing region, and they transported and sold this stolen oil via their allied forces, through Turkey, which was one of those US allies trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government and install a Sunni fundamentalist regime that would be ruled from Riyadh (i.e., controlled by the Saud family) . This gold is the property of the Syrian Government, which owns all that oil and the oil wells, which ISIS had captured (stolen), and then sold. Thus, this gold is from sale of that stolen black-market oil, which was Syria's property.

The US Government claims to be anti-ISIS, but actually didn't even once bomb ISIS in Syria until Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, and the US had actually been secretly arming ISIS there so as to help ISIS and especially Al Qaeda (and the US was strongly protecting Al Qaeda in Syria ) to overthrow Syria's secular and non-sectarian Government. Thus, whereas Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, America (having become embarrassed) started bombing ISIS in Syria on 16 November 2015 . The US Government's excuse was "This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike." They pretended it was out of compassion -- not in order to extend for as long as possible ISIS's success in taking over territory in Syria. (And, under Trump, on the night of 2 March 2019, the US rained down upon ISIS in northeast Syria the excruciating and internationally banned white phosphorous to burn ISIS and its hostages alive, which Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had routinely done to burn alive the residents in Donetsk and other parts of eastern former Ukraine where voters had voted more than 90% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama's coup in Ukraine had replaced . It was a way to eliminate some of the most-undesired voters -- people who must never again be voting in a Ukrainian national election, not even if that region subsequently does become conquered by the post-coup, US-imposed, regime. The land there is wanted; its residents certainly are not wanted by the Obama-imposed regime.) America's line was: Russia just isn't as 'compassionate' as America. Zero Hedge aptly headlined "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" . Nobody exceeds the United States Government in sheer hypocrisy.

The US Government evidently thinks that the public are fools, idiots. America's allies seem to be constantly amazed at how successful that approach turns out to be.

Indeed, on 28 November 2012, Syria News headlined "Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Machinery in Broad Daylight" and presented video allegedly showing it (but unfortunately providing no authentication of the date and locale of that video).

Jihadists were recruited from throughout the world to fight against Syria's secular Government. Whereas ISIS was funded mainly by black-market sales of oil from conquered areas, the Al-Qaeda-led groups were mainly funded by the Sauds and other Arab royal families and their retinues, the rest of their aristocracy. On 13 December 2013, BBC headlined "Guide to the Syrian rebels" and opened "There are believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters." Except in the Kurdish areas in Syria's northeast, almost all of those fighters were being led by Al Qaeda's Syrian Branch, al-Nusra. Britain's Center on Religion & Politics headlined on 21 December 2015, "Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion" and reported: "If ISIS is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place." Almost all of those 65,000 were trained and are led by Syria's Al Qaeda (Nusra), which was protected by the US

In September 2016 a UK official "FINAL REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON COMBATING TERRORIST AND FOREIGN FIGHTER TRAVEL" asserted that, "Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined." Even just 25,000 (that official lowest estimate) was a sizable US proxy-army of religious fanatics to overthrow Syria's Government.

On 26 November 2015, the first of Russia's videos of Russia's bombing ISIS oil trucks headed into Turkey was bannered at a US military website "Russia Airstrike on ISIS Oil Tankers" , and exactly a month later, on 26 December 2015, Britain's Daily Express headlined "WATCH: Russian fighter jets smash ISIS oil tankers after spotting 12,000 at Turkish border" . This article, reporting around twelve thousand ISIS oil-tanker trucks heading into Turkey, opened: "The latest video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the tankers bunched together as they make their way along the road. They are then blasted by the fighter jet." The US military had nothing comparable to offer to its 'news'-media. Britain's Financial Times headlined on 14 October 2015, "Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists" . Only America's allies were involved in this commerce with ISIS -- no nation that supported Syria's Government was participating in this black market of stolen Syrian goods. So, it's now clear that a lot of that stolen oil was sold for gold as Syria's enemy-nations' means of buying that oil from ISIS. They'd purchase it from ISIS, but not from Syria's Government, the actual owner.

On 30 November 2015 Israel's business-news daily Globes News Service bannered "Israel has become the main buyer for oil from ISIS controlled territory, report" , and reported:

An estimated 20,000-40,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in ISIS controlled territory generating $1-1.5 million daily profit for the terrorist organization. The oil is extracted from Dir A-Zur in Syria and two fields in Iraq and transported to the Kurdish city of Zakhu in a triangle of land near the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Israeli and Turkish mediators come to the city and when prices are agreed, the oil is smuggled to the Turkish city of Silop marked as originating from Kurdish regions of Iraq and sold for $15-18 per barrel (WTI and Brent Crude currently sell for $41 and $45 per barrel) to the Israeli mediator, a man in his 50s with dual Greek-Israeli citizenship known as Dr. Farid. He transports the oil via several Turkish ports and then onto other ports, with Israel among the main destinations.

After all, Israel too wants to overthrow Syria's secular, non-sectarian Government, which would be replaced by rulers selected by the Saud family , who are the US Government's main international ally .

On 9 November 2014, when Turkey was still a crucial US ally trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government (and this was before the failed 15 July 2016 US-backed coup-attempt to overthrow and replace Turkey's Government so as to impose an outright US stooge), Turkey was perhaps ISIS's most crucial international backer . Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's leader, had received no diploma beyond k-12, and all of that schooling was in Sunni schools and based on the Quran . (He pretended, however, to have a university diploma.) On 15 July 2015, AWD News headlined "Turkish President's daughter heads a covert medical corps to help ISIS injured members" . On 2 December 2015, a Russian news-site headlined "Defense Ministry: Erdogan and his family are involved in the illegal supply of oil" ; so, the Erdogan family itself was religiously committed to ISIS's fighters against Syria, and they were key to the success of the US operation against Syrians -- theft from Syrians. The great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, who was personally acquainted with many of the leading political figures in Africa and the Middle East, headlined on 22 June 2014, "US Embassy in Ankara Headquarter for ISIS War on Iraq – Hariri Insider" , and he reported that the NATO-front the Atlantic Council had held a meeting in Turkey during 22-23 of November 2013 at which high officials of the US and allied governments agreed that they were going to take over Syria's oil, and that they even were threatening Iraq's Government for its not complying with their demands to cooperate on overthrowing Syria's Government. So, behind the scenes, this conquest of Syria was the clear aim by the US and all of its allies.

The US had done the same thing when it took over Ukraine by a brutal coup in February 2014 : It grabbed the gold. Iskra News in Russian reported, on 7 March 2014 , that "At 2 a.m. this morning ... an unmarked transport plane was on the runway at Borosipol Airport" near Kiev in the west, and that, "According to airport staff, before the plane came to the airport, four trucks and two Volkswagen minibuses arrived, all the truck license plates missing." This was as translated by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research headlining on 14 March, "Ukraine's Gold Reserves Secretly Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?" in which he noted that, when asked, "A spokesman for the New York Fed said simply, 'Any inquiry regarding gold accounts should be directed to the account holder.'" The load was said to be "more than 40 heavy boxes." Chossudovsky noted that, "The National Bank of Ukraine (Central Bank) estimated Ukraine's gold reserves in February to be worth $1.8 billion dollars." It was allegedly 36 tons. The US, according to Victoria Nuland ( Obama's detail-person overseeing the coup ) had invested around $5 billion in the coup. Was her installed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk cleaning out the nation's gold reserves in order to strip the nation so that the nation's steep indebtedness for Russian gas would never be repaid to Russia's oligarchs? Or was he doing it as a payoff for Nuland's having installed him? Or both? In any case: Russia was being squeezed by this fascist Ukrainian-American ploy.

On 14 November 2014, a Russian youtube headlined "In Ukraine, there is no more gold and currency reserves" and reported that there is "virtually no gold. There is a small amount of gold bars, but it's just 1%" of before the coup. Four days later, bannered "Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: 'There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault'" . From actually 42.3 tons just before the coup, it was now far less than one ton.

The Syria operation was about oil, gold, and guns. However, most of America's support was to Al-Qaeda-led jihadists, not to ISIS-jihadists. As the great independent investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported on 2 July 2017 :

"In December of last year while reporting on the battle of Aleppo as a correspondent for Bulgarian media I found and filmed 9 underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin. They were used by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria designated as a terrorist organization by the UN)."

The US had acquired weapons from around the world, and shipped them (and Gaytandzhieva's report even displayed the transit-documents) through a network of its embassies, into Syria, for Nusra-led forces inside Syria. Almost certainly, the US Government's central command center for the entire arms-smuggling operation was the world's largest embassy, which is America's embassy in Baghdad.

Furthermore, On 8 March 2013, Richard Spenser of Britain's Telegraph reported that Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper had reported that "3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November. The airlift of dated but effective Yugoslav-made weapons meets key concerns of the West, and especially Turkey and the United States, who want the rebels to be better armed to drive out the Assad regime."

Also, a September 2014 study by Conflict Armaments Research (CAR), titled "Islamic State Weapons in Iraq and Syria" , reported that not only east-European, but even US-made, weapons were being "captured from Islamic State forces" by Kurds who were working for the Americans, and that this was very puzzling and disturbing to those Kurds, who were risking their lives to fight against those jihadists.

In December 2017, CAR headlined "Weapons of the Islamic State" and reported that "this materiel was rapidly captured by IS forces, only to be deployed by the group against international coalition forces." The assumption made there was that the transfer of weapons to ISIS was all unintentional.

That report ignored contrary evidence, which I summed up on 2 September 2017 headlining "Russian TV Reports US Secretly Backing ISIS in Syria" , and reporting there also from the Turkish Government an admission that the US was working with Turkey to funnel surviving members of Iraq's ISIS into the Deir Ezzor part of Syria to help defeat Syria's Government in that crucial oil-producing region. Moreover, at least one member of the 'rebels' that the US was training at Al Tanf on Syria's Jordanian border had quit because his American trainers were secretly diverting some of their weapons to ISIS. Furthermore: why hadn't the US bombed Syrian ISIS before Russia entered the Syrian war on 30 September 2015? America talked lots about its supposed effort against ISIS, but why did US wait till 16 November 2015 before taking action, "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" ?

So, regardless of whether the US Government uses jihadists as its proxy-forces, or uses fascists as its proxy-forces, it grabs the gold -- and grabs the oil, and takes whatever else it can.

This is today's form of imperialism.

Grab what you can, and run. And call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption'. And the imperial regime's allies watch in amazement, as they take their respective cuts of the loot. That's the deal, and they call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world'. That's the way it works. International gangland. That's the reality, while most of the public think it's instead really "fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world." For example, as RT reported on Sunday , March 3rd, about John Bolton's effort at regime-change in Venezuela, Bolton said: "I'd like to see as broad a coalition as we can put together to replace Maduro, to replace the whole corrupt regime,' Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper." Trump's regime wants to bring clean and democratic government to the poor Venezuelans, just like Bush's did to the Iraqis, and Obama's did to the Libyans and to the Syrians and to the Ukrainians. And Trump, who pretends to oppose Obama's regime-change policies, alternately expands them and shrinks them. Though he's slightly different from Obama on domestic policies, he never, as the US President, condemns any of his predecessors' many coups and invasions, all of which were disasters for everybody except America's and allies' billionaires. They're all in on the take.

The American public were suckered into destroying Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2011-now, and so many other countries, and still haven't learned anything, other than to keep trusting the allegations of this lying and psychopathically vicious and super-aggressive Government and of its stenographic 'news'-media. When is enough finally enough ? Never? If not never, then when ? Or do most people never learn? Or maybe they don't really care. Perhaps that's the problem.

On March 4th, the Jerusalem Post bannered "IRAN AND TURKEY MEDIA PUSH CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUT US, ISIS: Claims pushed by Syrian regime media assert that US gave ISIS safe passage out of Baghuz in return for gold, a conspiracy picked up in Tehran and Ankara" , and simply assumed that it's false -- but provided no evidence to back their speculation up -- and they closed by asserting "The conspiracies, which are manufactured in Damascus, are disseminated to Iraq and Turkey, both of whom oppose US policy in eastern Syria." Why do people even subscribe to such 'news'-sources as that? The key facts are hidden, the speculation that's based on their own prejudices replaces whatever facts exist. Do the subscribers, to that, simply want to be deceived? Are most people that stupid?

Back on 21 December 2018, one of the US regime's top 'news'-media, the Washington Post, had headlined "Retreating ISIS army smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria" and reported that "the Islamic State is sitting on a mountain of stolen cash and gold that its leaders stashed away to finance terrorist operations." So, it's not as if there hadn't been prior reason to believe that some day some of the gold would be found after America's defeat in Syria. Maybe they just hadn't expected this to happen quite so soon. But the regime will find ways to hoodwink its public, in the future, just as it has in the past. Unless the public wises-up (if that's even possible).

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump comes clean from world s policeman to thug running a global protection racket by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump. You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep them.
Notable quotes:
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.

Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.

In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups. That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.

Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.

'We're no longer suckers of the world!' Trump says US is respected as nation AGAIN (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.

However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.

Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:

"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added: "We're no longer the suckers, folks."

Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in.

As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American militarism would henceforth operate.

"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said.

'We give them $4.5bn a year': Israel will still be 'good' after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.

Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile systems.

The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of course, a travesty.

Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.

Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate capitalism.

But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion, Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US military invasions and occupations.

Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the historic predicament, even if only superficially.

This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis. In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the military-industrial complex.

'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'

This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week. Significantly, he said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas night was reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president two years ago.

What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to regional clients.

Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.

During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."

Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter Donald Trump with his "business solutions."

But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."

Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a protection racket.

It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

dnm1136

Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the world, the US is feared but generally not respected.

My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious or mean-spirited.

William Smith

Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank the Whites for "civilising" them.

Phoebe S,

"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."

That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.

ProRussiaPole

None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.

Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole

i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.

Truthbetold69

It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what you've always been getting.'

[Dec 20, 2019] War Denialism and Endless War by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... One of the most revealing and absurd responses to rejections of forever war is the ridiculous dodge that the U.S. isn't really at war when it uses force and kills people in multiple foreign countries: ..."
"... The distinction between "real war" and the constant U.S. involvement in hostilities overseas is a phony one. The war is very real to the civilian bystanders who die in U.S. airstrikes, and it is very real to the soldiers and Marines still getting shot at and blown up in Afghanistan. This is not an "antidote to war," but rather the routinization of warfare. ..."
"... The routinization and normalization of endless, unauthorized war is one of the most harmful legacies of the Obama administration. ..."
"... When the Obama administration wanted political and legal cover for the illegal Libyan war in 2011, they came up with a preposterous claim that U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities because there was no real risk to them from the Libyan government's forces. According to Harold Koh, who was the one responsible for promoting this nonsense, U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities even when they were carrying out a sustained bombing campaign for months. That lie has served as a basis for redefining what counts as involvement in hostilities so that the president and the Pentagon can pretend that the U.S. military isn't engaged in hostilities even when it clearly is. When the only thing that gets counted as a "real war" is a major deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, that allows for a lot of unaccountable warmaking that has been conveniently reinvented as something else. ..."
Dec 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

One of the most revealing and absurd responses to rejections of forever war is the ridiculous dodge that the U.S. isn't really at war when it uses force and kills people in multiple foreign countries:

Just like @POTUS , who put a limited op of NE #Syria under heading of "endless war," this op-ed has "drone strikes & Special Ops raids" in indictment of US-at-war. In fact, those actions are antidote to war. Their misguided critique is insult to real war. https://t.co/DCLS9IDKSw

-- Robert Satloff (@robsatloff) December 15, 2019

War has become so normalized over the last twenty years that the constant use of military force gets discounted as something other than "real war." We have seen this war denialism on display several times in the last year. As more presidential candidates and analysts have started rejecting endless war, the war's defenders have often chosen to pretend that the U.S. isn't at war at all. The distinction between "real war" and the constant U.S. involvement in hostilities overseas is a phony one. The war is very real to the civilian bystanders who die in U.S. airstrikes, and it is very real to the soldiers and Marines still getting shot at and blown up in Afghanistan. This is not an "antidote to war," but rather the routinization of warfare.

The routinization and normalization of endless, unauthorized war is one of the most harmful legacies of the Obama administration. I made this point back in the spring of 2016 :

Because Obama is relatively less aggressive and reckless than his hawkish opponents (a very low bar to clear), he is frequently given a pass on these issues, and we are treated to misleading stories about his supposed "realism" and "restraint." Insofar as he has been a president who normalized and routinized open-ended and unnecessary foreign wars, he has shown that neither of those terms should be used to describe his foreign policy. Even though I know all too well that the president that follows him will be even worse, the next president will have a freer hand to conduct a more aggressive and dangerous foreign policy in part because of illegal wars Obama has waged during his time in office.

The attempt to define war so that it never includes what the U.S. military happens to be doing when it uses force abroad has been going on for quite a while. When the Obama administration wanted political and legal cover for the illegal Libyan war in 2011, they came up with a preposterous claim that U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities because there was no real risk to them from the Libyan government's forces. According to Harold Koh, who was the one responsible for promoting this nonsense, U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities even when they were carrying out a sustained bombing campaign for months. That lie has served as a basis for redefining what counts as involvement in hostilities so that the president and the Pentagon can pretend that the U.S. military isn't engaged in hostilities even when it clearly is. When the only thing that gets counted as a "real war" is a major deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, that allows for a lot of unaccountable warmaking that has been conveniently reinvented as something else.


chris chuba3 days ago

It isn't just physical war that results in active service body bags but our aggression has alreay cost lives on the home front and there is every reason to believe it will do so again.

We were not isolationists prior to 9/11/2001, Al Qaeda had already attacked but we were distracted bombing Serbia, expanding NATO, and trying to connect Al Qaeda attacks to Iran. We were just attacked by a Saudi officer we were training on our soil to use the Saudis against Iran.

It remains to be seen what our economic warfare against Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, and our continued use of Afghanistan as a bombing platform will cost us. We think we are being clever by using our Treasury Dept and low intensity warfare to minimize direct immediate casualties but how long can that last.

SilverSpoon3 days ago
"War is the health of the State"

And our state has been very healthy indeed in recent decades.

Ray Joseph Cormier3 days ago • edited
This article confirms what the last Real Commander-in-Chief, General/President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about when he retired 58 years ago.
His wise Council based on his Supreme Military-Political experience has been ignored.
The MSM, Propagandists for the Military-Industrial Complex, won't remind the American People.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well.
But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.
We recognize the imperative need for this development.
Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.
Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military
machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

http://rayjc.com/2011/09/04...

Lee Green3 days ago
The psychological contortionism required to deny that we are at war amazes me. US military forces are killing people in other countries – but it's not war? Because we can manufacture comforting euphemisms like "police action" or "preventive action" or "drone strike," it's not war? Because it's smaller scale than a "real" war like WWII?

Cancer is cancer. A small cancer is still a cancer. Arguing that it's not cancer because it's not metastatic stage IV is, well, the most polite term is sophistry. More accurate terms aren't printable.

[Dec 14, 2019] William Barr on big tech: Companies becoming successful, dominant is not wrong

Dec 14, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Matt S. , 5 hours ago

Break up Silicon Valley, they are trying to take over the world, they think they are above the gov't and the Constitution!

Joe OConnor , 7 hours ago

Big Corp and unions influence gov to much as well as foreign lobbyists Listen to the American people

[Dec 13, 2019] The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

NickStanford , 10 Dec 2019 12:24

I think it should have been seen as a thirty year campaign and the same with Iraq and Libya. The northern Ireland campaign took 30 years and many people are as bitter as they ever were much of it secondhand from younger people who weren't even alive during the conflict. The idea of a quick war is a very big mistake I think and flawed short-term thinking.
Piet Pompies -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
Most decorated Marine officer ever? I thought that was Chesty Puller?
sammer -> tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
That was very well put. Thank you for being so succinct.
easterman -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:23
The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.
MyViewsOnThis , 10 Dec 2019 12:22
The West and the USA in particular have always taken the stand that their ideology is the only right one. That they have a right to interfere in the interns, affairs of other countries but their own internal affairs are sacrosanct.

So - USA, with UK support decided that Saddam Hussein had to be removed. They moved in to do so - they killed Saddam but had no plan to return the country to a functioning nation. Instead they facilitated the unleashing of internal wars and have now left the citizens of that country in utter turmoil.

& then went and repeated the exercise n Libya.

Decades ago, Britain decided that Palestinians could be thrown out of their homes to make way for the creation of Israel and laid the foundation for the Middle-East turmoil that has caused untold misery and suffering. They followed that up with throwing out the Chagosians out of their homes and making them homeless. Invited Caribbean's to the 'Mother Country' to serve their erstwhile lords, ladies, masters and mistresses only to then drive to despair the children and grandchildren of the invitees who had contributed to the 'Mother Country' for decades.

easterman , 10 Dec 2019 12:21
Lest we forget Cheney salivating over the gas in the Caspian Basin http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm
Piet Pompies -> cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
Yep, biggest terrorist state in the world, ever.
KoreyD , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
We are 18 years into an illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. We are the invaders, the terrorists. The Taliban are fighting for their country, they may use brutal methods but so did the French, Dutch, Russian freedom fighters during the Nazi invasions. America's puppet regime in Afghanistan is reminiscent of the Quislings of WW2. And to use drones to kill Afghans and to say it is progress that there is more transparency is the height of hubris. All it does is show the corrosive effect of unfettered power in America and it's military. Why do we tolerate this inhuman action on another country's society? America is by far the greatest contributor to the rise in terrorism in the world and if not somehow stopped the greatest threat to world peace. It keeps on invading country after country with it's MSM propaganda machine claiming it is spreading Democracy throughout the globe. Thank you America !

[Dec 12, 2019] Paul Singer Funded Washington Free Beacon Behind Initial Fusion GPS Trump Effort by Adam Shaw

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Examiner first reported Friday that lawyers for the Free Beacon -- a conservative outlet based in the nation's capital -- funded the project from fall 2015 to spring 2016, when it pulled its funding as Trump looked set to clinch the nomination. ..."
"... Washington Free Beacon ..."
"... After the Democrats took over funding of the operation in mid-2016, Fusion GPS would hire former British spy Christopher Steele and would lead to the production of the so-called "Trump dossier," filled with salacious but unconfirmed claims about how Trump was compromised by the Russians. ..."
"... The Free Beacon noted in its statement that it had "no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele." ..."
"... The Free Beacon is funded in large part by the New York hedge fund billionaire and major GOP donor Paul Singer. The New York Times reports that Singer initially supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for the Republican nomination, but later spearheaded a campaign to deny Trump the nomination even after Rubio dropped out of the race. ..."
"... While supporting Republican establishment favorites such as Rubio and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Singer was a major backer of Common Core and was the founder of a super-PAC that has the express purpose of turning the GOP pro-gay marriage. ..."
"... Kristol is also the founder of the Weekly Standard, which like the Free Beacon has a neoconservative foreign policy outlook. The Free Beacon was co-founded by two former Weekly Standard writers, chairman Michael Goldfarb and editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti. ..."
Oct 27, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

The Washington Free Beacon, funded by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, was the original funder of Fusion GPS' research project that attempted to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump -- a project that would later be funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The Washington Examiner first reported Friday that lawyers for the Free Beacon -- a conservative outlet based in the nation's capital -- funded the project from fall 2015 to spring 2016, when it pulled its funding as Trump looked set to clinch the nomination.

Lawyers for the Free Beacon informed the House Intelligence Committee of its role in the funding on Friday. The outlet issued a statement standing by its decision to fund the project:

Since its launch in February of 2012, the Washington Free Beacon has retained third party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers. In that capacity, during the 2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton.

After the Democrats took over funding of the operation in mid-2016, Fusion GPS would hire former British spy Christopher Steele and would lead to the production of the so-called "Trump dossier," filled with salacious but unconfirmed claims about how Trump was compromised by the Russians.

Fusion has come under scrutiny for its alleged ties to Russia, including the fact that many of the claims originate from Kremlin sources -- meaning that the information came from inside the Russian government.

The Free Beacon noted in its statement that it had "no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele."

"The Washington Free Beacon has issued a statement asserting that it had no involvement with Christopher Steele or the dossier he compiled from Russian sources," Jack Langer, spokesman for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Breitbart News. "The Beacon has agreed to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee to help the Committee verify this assertion."

Yet, the revelation is likely to fuel questions about the role the so-called "Never Trump" movement played in an effort that would eventually inflict damage on President Trump, and that was possibly part of a Russian misinformation scheme.

The Free Beacon is funded in large part by the New York hedge fund billionaire and major GOP donor Paul Singer. The New York Times reports that Singer initially supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for the Republican nomination, but later spearheaded a campaign to deny Trump the nomination even after Rubio dropped out of the race.

While supporting Republican establishment favorites such as Rubio and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Singer was a major backer of Common Core and was the founder of a super-PAC that has the express purpose of turning the GOP pro-gay marriage.

The Examiner reports that the Free Beacon was originally part of the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization -- the Center for American Freedom -- but in 2014 became a for-profit organization. The Center's original board of directors includes William Kristol, a prominent "Never Trump" activist.

Kristol is also the founder of the Weekly Standard, which like the Free Beacon has a neoconservative foreign policy outlook. The Free Beacon was co-founded by two former Weekly Standard writers, chairman Michael Goldfarb and editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti.

***Update***

"The Washington Free Beacon has issued a statement asserting that it had no involvement with Christopher Steele or the dossier he compiled from Russian sources," Jack Langer, spokesman for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Breitbart News. "The Beacon has agreed to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee to help the Committee verify this assertion."

TrumpAlways 2 years ago • edited I smell McCain. Anyone else smell McCain with a little bit of Bush in there...

[Dec 07, 2019] The death of free markets under neoliberalism. Monopolization unhinged

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 04, 2019 at 06:12 AM

The death of free markets
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/29/opinion/death-free-markets/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Shaul Amsterdamski - November 29, 2019

In 2012, when economist Thomas Philippon was looking into some data, something odd caught his attention.

His homeland, France, was undergoing another revolution, although a much different one: a revolution in the country's telecommunication market. A new mobile operator, Free, had entered the market and disrupted it almost overnight. The new operator slashed prices, offering plans that hadn't been seen before in France.

France's three legacy mobile operators were forced to react and drop their own prices. It didn't help. In only three months, Free's market share reached 4 percent. At the end of the following year, its market share tripled. Today, Free controls 15 to 16 percent of the market, making it France's third largest mobile operator. (If you add the six virtual operators to the mix -- meaning companies who lease broadband space -- you'll get a total of 10 different mobile operators in a country with a population one-fifth the size of the United States.)

"Digging deeper into that crystallized everything for me," says Philippon. "It was an oligopoly based on three legacy carriers that lobbied very hard to prevent anybody from getting a fourth (mobile) license. For 10 years they were successful. But then, in 2011, the regulator changed and gave a license [to] Free. It wasn't a technological change or a change in consumers' taste. It was purely a regulatory decision."

For French consumers, this one decision changed everything. Instead of paying $55 for a 1-gigabyte plan, the new prices for much better plans cost half that. And prices continued to drop. Today, a Free 60-gigabyte plan costs only $12.

But Philippon wasn't just interested in what the new competition in the French telecom industry said about French markets. Having lived in the United States since 1999, he compared the French telecom revolution to the American market. The numbers blew his mind. While in France the number of mobile operators was rising, in the US the number was getting smaller (and that number might even decline further, if the planned Sprint-T-Mobile merger goes through).

The result was a huge price gap between the two countries.

"France went from being much more expensive to much cheaper in two years," he says. "The change in price was drastic -- a relative price move of 50 percent. In such a big market with gigantic firms, that's a big change. And it was not driven by technology, it was driven by pro-competition regulation." He immediately adds, just to emphasize the irony: "It happened in France of all places, a country that historically had a political system that made sure there wasn't too much competition. This is not the place where we expected this kind of outcome."

The opposite was very surprising too: The level of competition in the United States, the role model of free-market democracy, was declining.

Philippon, an acclaimed professor of finance at the New York University Stern School of Business, kept pulling that thread. He gathered an overwhelming amount of data on various markets, took a few steps back to look at the big picture, and then identified a pattern. The result is "The Great Reversal," his recent book, in which he explores and explains when, why, and how, as his subtitle puts it, "America Gave Up on Free Markets."

The telecom story is just one of many examples Philippon provides throughout the book of non-competitive US markets, in which most or all of the power is concentrated in the hands of a few big companies. It's a situation that makes it almost impossible for new competitors to enter and lower prices for consumers. The airline market is another example, as is the pharmaceutical industry, the banking system, and the big tech companies such as Google and Facebook, who have no real competition in the markets they operate in.

The book's main argument has a refreshing mix of both right- and left-leaning economic thinking. It goes like this: During the last 20 years, while the European Union has become much more competitive, the United States has become a paradise for monopolies and oligopolies -- with a few players holding most of the market share. As US companies grew bigger, they became politically powerful. They then used their influence over politicians and regulators, and their vast resources, to skew regulation in their favor.

The fight over net neutrality, to name one example, demonstrates it well.

"Guess who lobbied for that? It's a simple guess -- the people who benefited from it, the ISP's [internet service providers]. And they are already charging outrageous prices, twice as high [as] any other developed country," Philippon says.

This growing concentration of power in the hands of a few has affected everything and everyone. It has inflated prices because consumers have fewer options. Wages are stagnant because less competition means firms don't have to fight over workers. Financial investment in new machinery and technology has plummeted because when companies have fewer competitors they lose the incentive to invest and improve. It has driven CEO compensation up, and workers' compensation down. It has caused a spike in inequality, which in turn has ignited social unrest.

If all of this is too much to wrap your head around, Philippon puts a price tag on it: $5,000 per year. That's the price the median American household pays every year for the lost competition. That's the cost of the United States becoming a Monopoly Land.

How did this happen? According to Philippon, it's a story with two threads. The European side of this story happened almost by mistake. The American side, on the contrary, was no coincidence.

When the European Union was formed in the early 1990s, there was a lot of suspicion between the member states, namely France and Germany. (Two World Wars tend to have that effect.) This mistrust birthed pan-European regulators who enjoyed an unprecedented amount of freedom, more powerful than any of the member countries' governments.

"We did that mostly because we didn't really trust each other very much," he says. Now, 20 years later, "it turns out that this system we created is just a lot more resilient towards lobbying and bad influences than we thought."

At the same time in the United States, the exact opposite was happening. Adopting a free-market approach, regulators and legislators chose not to intervene. They didn't block mergers and acquisitions, and let big companies get bigger.

This created a positive feedback loop: As companies grew stronger, the regulators got weaker, and more dependent on the companies they are supposed to regulate. Tens of millions of dollars were channeled into lobbying. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision gave corporate money even more political influence.

At some point, big companies started using regulation itself to prevent new competitors from entering the market.

The result wasn't free markets, but "the opposite -- market capture," says Philippon, referring to a situation in which the regulator is so weak it depends completely on the companies it regulates to design regulation.

Philippon is not the only one who's making these claims. A group of economists from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business holds a similar view. They are called Neo-Brandeisian, after the late Justice Louis Brandeis, who, a century ago, fought to broaden antitrust laws. They believe the big tech companies, for example, managed to rig the system, and fly under current antitrust regulation. They think it is time to break them apart.

But not everyone agrees with Philippon's narrative or his conclusions. Economists like Edward Conard, author of "The Upside of Inequality," thinks Philippon's claim that big companies are evidence of less competition is upside down. According to his criticism, it's exactly the opposite: These companies became big and powerful because they innovate and give a lot of value to consumers. He also argues that the conclusion that Europe is more competitive and innovative than the United States is preposterous, given that the biggest tech companies are American, not European.

Philippon addresses this counterclaim in his book. The United States is one giant market of English speakers. Theoretically, if you have a good idea for a new product and you can finance it, you have more than 300 million potential users on day one. In the EU, on the other hand, there are 28 countries, with residents who speak 24 different languages. It's not as simple.

Philippon, who by the age of 40 was named one of the top 25 promising economists by the International Monetary Fund, also differentiates himself from the Chicago school of thought in one important way: He's not dogmatic, he's pragmatic. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, he suggests a more nuanced approach. This is exactly what makes his case both unique and somewhat tricky to grasp. His approach is neither right nor left.

"The idea that free markets and government intervention are opposites, that's bogus. So half of me agrees with the Chicago School and half disagrees," he says.

"But if you think that you can get to a free market without any scrutiny by the government, that's crazy. That's simply untrue empirically. We need to make entry easier to increase competition, that's the objective," he says. "And the way to do so sometimes means more government intervention."

OK, but how do you do that? According to Philippon, each case is different.

"In some cases it will be by more intervention. Like maybe force Facebook to break from WhatsApp. And sometimes it will be by less intervention. Kill a bunch of regulations and requirements for small companies," he says.

The first idea, at least, has caught a lot of public attention during the last year, and has been a talking point of the presidential campaigns of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg was recorded saying that if Warren wins, it will "suck for us." Warren's plan for the big tech companies, for example, includes "reversing mergers," which means uncoupling WhatsApp and Instagram from Facebook. Her plan would also forbid Amazon being both a marketplace and a vendor at the same time.

But can any of these interventions actually happen? And if so, what would they mean for American consumers? Those are more complicated questions.

If big tech companies were broken up, Philippon estimates that the average American consumer won't be affected financially.

"Since people don't pay these companies directly, it won't change the bottom line for the middle class, it won't have a big impact on people's disposable income," he says.

What would have a tremendous impact on Americans' lives and income is to keep on going beyond the big tech companies. "We should go after the big ticket items -- telecom, transport, energy, and healthcare. That's where you want action, but there is much less bipartisan support for that," he says.

Something similar to the French telecom revolution is still far from happening in the United States, but the fact that the 2020 campaign is already pushing competition-promoting ideas back into the public discourse is a reason for cautious optimism, according to Philippon. Nevertheless, he warns, we should not let this mild optimism mislead us.

"Free markets are like a public good: It is in nobody's interest to protect them. Consumers are too dispersed and businesses love monopolies," he says. "So to take free markets for granted, that's just stupid."

(Shaul Amsterdamski is senior economics editor
for Kan, Israel's public broadcasting corporation.)

(Hmmm. Our largest monthly bill is for 'telecom',
from Comcast, for TV, phone & internet service.
There's no competitive offering in our town.)

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , December 04, 2019 at 10:16 AM
"...Our largest monthly bill is for 'telecom',
from Comcast, for TV, phone & internet service..."

[I got the same information from the service tech doing the annual clean and test on my propane fireplace insert yesterday, in reference to his parents though. They were on Verizon Fios for cable. He thought they should dump cable for a web-TV solution and just use cell phones. Their bill was over $400/month. Mine is a little over $200/month for the same service, which in both cases includes land line. In my zip code Verizon does not bundle Fios with mobile. The only difference that I know is that we have neither any premium channels nor DVR boxes and I assume that his parents must have both to run up a bill that high. When we pony up for Fios Gb, then at least for three years our bill will fall below $100/month, then return to a higher monthly yet if we do not take another new contract after that upgrade contract ends. Verizon only makes new contracts when new services are added or upgraded. Customers get next to no benefit for loyalty/retention. We have both Verizon and Comcast available in our area. I have had both in my present home at different times, but hate Comcast for failures on their part to provide tall vehicle clearance to pass down my driveway until forced to do so by the power company whose poles they must use and for a duplicate billing error where they billed me for two separate addresses and put me into collections for the one that I never resided at since I never saw that bill or knew of it prior to the first collections call.]

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 06, 2019 at 11:32 AM
(Bernie to the rescue!)

Bernie Sanders unveils plan to boost broadband
access, break up internet and cable titans
https://cnb.cx/34TzaQw
CNBC - Jacob Pramuk - Dec 6

Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan Friday to expand broadband internet access as part of a push to boost the economy and reduce corporate power over Americans.

In his sprawling "High-Speed Internet for All" proposal, the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate calls to treat internet like a public utility. His campaign argues that the internet should not be a "price gouging profit machine" for companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.

Sanders' plan would create $150 billion in grants and aid for local and state governments to build publicly owned broadband networks as part of the Green New Deal infrastructure initiative. The total would mark a massive increase over current funding for broadband development initiatives. The proposal would also break up what the campaign calls "internet service provider and cable monopolies," stop service providers from offering content and end what it calls "anticompetitive mergers."

Sanders and his rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have pushed to boost high-speed internet access for rural and low-income Americans, saying it has become a necessity to succeed in school and business. The self-proclaimed democratic socialist has unveiled numerous plans to root out corporate influence as he runs near the top of a jammed primary field. ...

im1dc -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 04, 2019 at 05:07 PM
Aa excellent article that brings no new ideas to the debate but updates the debate to today.

One thing economist Thomas Philippon did not mention is that voters must turn out the elected and get new ones who will vote to create more and vigorous competition instead of oligopoly.

That is in my Equality, frequently shared here:

Economics = Politics
and
Politics = Economics

[Dec 07, 2019] We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.

Notable quotes:
"... As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 01, 2019 at 07:12 AM

We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/27/opinion/weve-turned-our-attention-latin-america-again-thats-bad-latin-america/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - November 27

As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America.

The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago are sometimes described as wars in which everyone lost. In an odd way, though, Latin America won those wars. For more than a decade, the US government focused so obsessively on the Middle East that it forgot about Latin America. Free of intervention from Washington, voters in several countries elected progressive or leftist leaders whom the United States would never have tolerated in an earlier era. That cycle is now ending. The United States is returning to its traditional role in Latin America, embracing retrograde regimes just as we did during the dark days of military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Bolivia, the landlocked heart of South America, the military deposed President Evo Morales on Nov. 10 after opponents charged that he had used fraud to secure his re-election three weeks earlier. Morales was Bolivia's first indigenous president and an outspoken socialist. He had nationalized the oil and gas industries. Some feared that he was preparing to limit foreign exploitation of his country's rich lithium deposits. His indigenous identity was a permanent affront to the white ruling class. The little-known politician who has installed herself as provisional president, Jeanine Añez, once tweeted: "I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rituals."

Morales may have -- manipulated election laws to give himself an extra presidential term. But in its first days, the new regime has shown little democratic impulse. Morales has been forced to flee the country. Senior members of his party have been attacked or arrested. If his masses of indigenous followers are pushed back into political isolation despite constituting the country's majority, many will feel disenfranchised and angry.

Their cousins in Honduras would know the feeling. Late one night in 2009, the elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, who like Morales had alienated both the United States and his own ruling elite, was pulled out of bed and put on a plane out of the country while still in his pajamas. In the decade since then, the new regime in Honduras has eagerly handed out mining and hydroelectric contracts to foreign corporations. It has abolished term limits for presidents -- the very sin for which we denounced President Morales in Bolivia. Mass protests have been harshly suppressed. Environmental activists are killed with impunity.

Last month in a New York court, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was convicted on charges of large-scale drug trafficking. A witness testified that the drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman had contributed $1 million to Hernandez's presidential campaign. Yet just a couple of days after the trial ended, the senior American diplomat in Honduras was photographed partying with President Hernandez. Hondurans who saw those pictures could hardly miss the message: the United States happily supports a Latin American government that holds power unconstitutionally, allows political killers to rampage freely, and is widely reported to be infiltrated by drug traffickers -- as long as it is friendly to the United States. How has Honduras showed that friendship? By keeping leftists out of power and agreeing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The other Latin American country in which the United States is most assiduously wrecking prospects for democracy is Guatemala. Like neighboring Honduras, it has long been dominated by a clique of lavishly corrupt oligarchs. But over the last decade, a force has emerged that for the first time mounted a serious challenge to drug traffickers, larcenous politicians, organized-crime kingpins, and death squad leaders. In 2006, the government invited a squad of investigators and prosecutors assembled by the United Nations to come to Guatemala and build cases against powerful criminals. Since then the squad, known by the Spanish acronym CICIG, has secured more than 400 convictions and deeply shaken the political elite. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama recognized that this process might help stabilize Guatemala, and provided moral support and funding for CICIG.

This year, at the request of senior Guatemalan officials who seemed likely to be indicted for corruption, the State Department agreed to stop backing CICIG. That crippled the first serious effort in generations to confront the violent corruption that throttles civic life in Guatemala. What did President Trump ask in return? That Guatemala open an embassy in Jerusalem and agree to serve as a "safe haven" for Honduran and Salvadoran immigrants the United States doesn't want to accept -- a sick joke considering that Guatemala is plagued by violence and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Bashing leftists in Latin America and embracing their quasi-fascist enemies is one of Washington's oldest habits. It feels good and pays electoral dividends in Florida. Bolivians, Hondurans, and Guatemalans might be forgiven for wishing that United States would once again plunge into all-consuming war somewhere far away. That might allow them to try shaping their societies as they see fit.

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 01, 2019 at 09:51 AM
Important and appreciated post.
Paine -> anne... , December 01, 2019 at 06:25 PM
Wait

The uncle LA policy
has nothing but continuity

Going back to 1979

Review moves made under Barry

joe , December 01, 2019 at 09:24 AM
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-25/boise-homeless-encampment-amicus-brief-supreme-court-appeal-cities

In addition to L.A., others in California submitting briefs include Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as a slew of cities, including Sacramento, Fullerton, Torrance and Newport Beach. Several states including Idaho, Texas and Alaska have as well. Their reasons for doing so vary.

"We're saying that we agree with the central tenet of Boise that no one should be susceptible to punishment for sleeping on a sidewalk at night if there's no alternative shelter at that point," said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. "But the rationale sweeps too broadly ... It makes the opinion unclear and, therefore, the opinion raises more issues than are resolved. And so it leaves jurisdictions like us without the certainty that we need."
---
The ninth curt ruling specified that without enough shelters, public camping cannot be banned.

LA is spewing horse manure, claiming they want a humane solution, but they are filing to have the ruling overturned. LA wants to ban homeless camping and they make up a bunch of irrational horse manure because they had already invited the homeless to California with promises of shelter that does not exits. They re caught in a contradiction and end up talking out of the side of their mouth.

And no, more national debt to promise apartments for everyone just make inequality worse because we end up doing bad deals with the primary dealers. The evidence is in on that. Our ten year experiment of the '50 little hoovers' crowd has been proven fraudulent.

[Dec 01, 2019] How World Bank arbitrators mugged Pakistan By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Dec 01, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , November 28, 2019 at 12:08 PM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-11-27/How-World-Bank-arbitrators-mugged-Pakistan-LXocY8vyCY/index.html

November 27, 2019

How World Bank arbitrators mugged Pakistan
By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Wall Street hedge funds and lawyers have turned an arcane procedure of international treaties into a money machine, at the cost of the world's poorest people. The latest shakedown is a 5.9-billion-U.S.-dollars award against Pakistan's government in favor of two global mining companies – Antofagasta PLC of Chile and Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada – for a project that was never approved by Pakistan and never carried out.

Here are the facts.

In 1993, a U.S.-incorporated mining company, BHP, entered into a joint venture (JV) with the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA), a public corporation in Pakistan's impoverished Balochistan province. The JV was set up to prospect for gold and copper, and in the event of favorable discoveries, to seek a mining license.

BHP was not optimistic about the project's profitability and dragged its feet on exploration. In the early 2000s, it assigned the prospecting rights to an Australian company, which created Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) for the project.

In 2006, Antofagasta acquired TCC for 167 million U.S. dollars, and sold half to Barrick Gold. Soon after the purchase, however, the original JV agreement with BHP was challenged in Pakistan's courts.

In 2013, the Pakistan Supreme Court found that the JV's terms violated Pakistan's mining and contract laws in several ways and declared the agreement – and thus the rights claimed by TCC – to be null and void.

Specifically, the Court ruled that the BDA did not have authority to bind Balochistan to the terms of the JV agreement; that it awarded the contract without competition or transparency; and that it had greatly exceeded its authority and violated the law by promising extensive deviations from the rules normally applicable to mining projects.

Moreover, the JV failed to obtain, and even to pursue, many mandatory approvals from the state and federal governments, and BHP failed to undertake prospecting in a timely manner required under the mining law.

The Supreme Court's decision came after years of public-interest litigation challenging the deal for violations of domestic law and the rights of the public. In the meantime, the BDA's chairman was found to have conflicts of interest and to be living beyond the means afforded by his official salary, which in the Court's words was tantamount to corruption.

In a normal world, the Court's judgment would be respected absent proven evidence of corruption or other wrongdoing against the justices. But in the world we actually inhabit, the so-called international rule of law enables rich companies to exploit poor countries with impunity and disregard their laws and courts.

When TCC lost its case in Pakistan's Supreme Court, it simply turned to the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), in complete disregard of Pakistan's laws and institutions.

A panel of three arbitrators with no expertise in or respect for Pakistan's legal system ruled that TCC deserved compensation for all future profits that it allegedly would have earned if the non-existent project, based on a voided agreement, had gone forward!

Because there was no actual project, and no agreement for one, the arbitrators had no basis to say what terms – royalties, corporate taxes, environmental standards, land area, and other basic provisions – the governments of Balochistan and Pakistan would have set. In fact, disagreement on many of those terms had stalled negotiations for years.

Nonetheless, the ICSID panel arbitrarily decided that TCC would have had the right to mine 1,000 square kilometers, though the mining law forbade licensing such a vast area. The arbitrators ruled that TCC would have received a tax holiday for 15 years, even though there is no evidence that such a tax holiday was in the offing – or even legal. The arbitrators decided that TCC would have benefited from a royalty rate several percentage points below the mandatory statutory rate, though there is no reason why Pakistan would have set such a low rate.

The arbitrators also ruled that TCC would have met all environmental standards, or that the government would have exempted TCC from relevant requirements, though the mining area is in a desert region subject to extreme water stress, and the mining project would have demanded vast amounts of water. And the arbitrators ruled that to obtain the land needed for TCC's pipeline, the government would have taken it from its owners and inhabitants.

The arbitration ruling is utterly capricious. An illegal project, declared null and void by Pakistan's Supreme Court and never pursued, was found by the World Bank's arbitration panel to be worth more than four billion U.S. dollars to TCC's owners, who had paid 167 million U.S. dollars for it in 2006.

Moreover, the tribunal declared that Pakistan must compensate TCC in full, with back interest, and cover its legal fees, raising the bill to 5.9 billion U.S. dollars, or roughly two percent of Pakistan's GDP. It is more than twice Pakistan's entire public spending on health care for 200 million people, in a country where seven percent of children die before their fifth birthday. For many Pakistanis, the World Bank's arbitration ruling is a death sentence.

The ICSID is not an honest broker. One of the tribunal members in the TCC case is using the same expert put forward by TCC for another case in which the arbitrator is acting as counsel! When challenged about this obvious conflict of interest, the arbitrator refused to step down and the ICSID proceeded as if all were normal.

Thanks to the World Bank's arbitrators, the rich are making a fortune at the expense of poor countries. Multinational companies are feasting on unapproved, non-existent projects.

Fixing the broken arbitration system should start with a reversal of the outrageous ruling against Pakistan and a thorough investigation of the flawed and corrupt process that made it possible.


Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor of sustainable development and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University, is director of Columbia's Center for Sustainable Development.

[Nov 13, 2019] Finally an Unvarnished History of the Iraq Invasion

Nov 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We Americans are less obvious, if also less subtle: we quickly transform our common story into uncommon glory -- of a Continental Army standing unbowed before well-drilled Redcoats, of a war against slavery that, within a generation, became a War for Southern Independence, or in extolling the sacrifice of 58,000 Americans in a divisive intervention that became, less than a half a decade later, a "noble cause." Not surprisingly, the truth is far more interesting than any myth. The Continental Army at Valley Forge was not only ill-clothed, underpaid, and desertion-riddled, its finest day had come not against British regulars but mercenary Hessians; the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst), days, while the "noble cause" of Vietnam featured a military that , by 1971, was "in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous."

The substitution of myth for fact, however, has its uses -- as one of our greatest soldiers, General George Patton, certainly knew. While Patton was an indifferent student (he flunked mathematics at West Point), he was an avid reader with a prodigious memory and a finely tuned sense of history. Which makes his speech to the Third Army on June 5 of 1944 (as celebrated in Hollywood's epic 1970 paean), all the more remarkable, as it extols a history we wish we had -- but don't: "Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit," Patton announced. "Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle."

But Patton was just getting started. "Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser," he went on to say. "Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the idea of losing is hateful to America."

Of course, very little of this was actually true -- even in 1944, two decades before Vietnam. All Americans love the sting and clash of battle? Not really. In January of 1781, in the midst of the American Revolution, 1500 soldiers of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey lines of the Continental Army mutinied, murdered their officers, and threatened to march on Philadelphia.

When the mutiny spread, Washington had the mutineers rounded up, arrested, and their ringleaders shot by a firing squad made up of their fellow soldiers . On July 10 of 1863, one week after the Battle of Gettysburg, the New York draft riots protesting conscription set fire to 50 buildings, lynched 11 black bystanders, and left 120 civilians dead. The insurrection (as it was called by city officials), was finally quelled by the New York State Militia. And in late 1944, while commanding in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower was so angered by the reports of teeming throngs of American deserters raping and looting their way through France that he considered "lining them up and mowing them down."

Americans have never lost a war? It doesn't take a trained historian to point out that the American military botched the War of 1812 (the White House was burned and Washington occupied), performed poorly (and genocidally) in the Indian Wars of the late 19th century (in which one of its most famous units, the 7th Cavalry, was erased from existence), and mishandled the brutal 1899 Philippine Insurrection -- during which Mark Twain described American soldiers as "uniformed assassins." Patton was no dummy and might have recited all of this himself. But his speech made for good copy (and, as it turned out, great cinema) and undoubtedly boosted morale, particularly for those who, within a short time, would be facing off against the best light infantry in the history of the world.

But while historical myths have their place in creating a national story, France, China, and Russia have, in turn (and over time), chosen truth over triumph -- exhuming the greatness of Napoleon, Mao, and Lenin, while burying forever the policies they followed . This is true also for the United States. For while we Americans readily adopt the regalia of our past, we expect that our institutions will not follow suit; that in the midst of failure, our policymakers will discard myths and choose reality.

This is what happened, famously, on March 25, 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson met with a group he called "the wise men" -- a wizened crew of 14 Washington policymakers to help him decide what to do about the worsening situation in Vietnam. Included in the group was former secretary of state Dean Acheson, former White House counsel Clark Clifford, former ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and former JCS chairman General Omar Bradley.

These officials had traditionally supported Johnson's Vietnam policies but now, in the wake of the disastrous Tet Offensive, they had second thoughts. Stunned by the ferocity of the Vietnamese attack, only two of the 14 (Maxwell Taylor and Abe Fortas) recommended that Johnson "stay the course." The shift was symbolized by Omar Bradley, a military icon. Victory? "Maybe we ought to lower our sights," he told Johnson.

Of course, while the March 1968 meeting of the wise men was crucial to America's adventure in Vietnam (and Lyndon Johnson's political future), it did little to dampen the controversy surrounding the war -- which has been refought, since, in the pages of the war's histories. Indeed, it seems axiomatic that what cannot be won on a battlefield is often alchemized in later accounts.

These bloodless campaigns, fought with pen rather than sword, turn defeats into victories, burnish reputations, assess blame, but also blight understanding and blemish history. This is particularly true when it comes to America's most controversial conflicts. In 1869, Confederate Major General Dabney Herndon Maury founded the Southern Historical Society. Its papers, later collected in 52 volumes, rewrote much of Civil War history, a tendentious rendering whose goal was to argue the justness of the Lost Cause. Many of the society's papers remain troubling, rehabilitating the image of the most famous and otherwise failed rebel leaders, while laying the blame for the Confederate loss at the feet of southerners who, in later years, conceded the Union victory. The papers also remain controversial because their most important claims (that Lee lost at Gettysburg because his orders were disobeyed, that soldier-for-soldier, the southern armies were simply better fighters than their northern counterparts) resulted from barely veiled pro-southern and racially tinged political agendas. You'd have thought the South had won the war.

The same holds true for Vietnam. In that war's aftermath, while much of America was trying to forget the conflict, a small group of respected historians continued to pick at its scab, leaving a blood trail of if-onlys in their wake. The most prominent of these historians was Lewis "Bob" Sorley, a respected former officer and celebrated biographer (of Creighton Abrams and William Westmoreland, among others), whose book on Vietnam, A Better War , has been the subject of controversy since its publication in 1999.

In A Better War , Sorley argued that the U.S. might have won in Vietnam, if only that nation's top commander in the conflict had discarded his costly and morale-sapping search-and-destroy strategy in favor of maintaining the security of South Vietnam's population, substituted clear-and-hold tactics for massive sweep operations, improved the training and equipping of South Vietnam's military, decreased the destruction of U.S. firepower -- and supported the South Vietnamese, instead of abandoning them.

The conclusions ignited a bonfire of criticism, particularly from some of the Army's more respected thinkers. Writing in the pages of The National Interest in 2012, retired Colonel Gian Gentile took on Sorley in a pointed critique that proposed that America should have never been in Vietnam in the first place.

"In war, political and societal will are calculations of strategy, and strategists in Vietnam should have discerned early on that the war was simply unwinnable based on what the American people were willing to pay," Gentile wrote . "Once the war started and it became clear that to prevail meant staying for an unacceptable amount of time, American strategy should have moved to withdraw much earlier than it did. Ending wars fought under botched strategy and policy can be every bit as damaging as the wars themselves."

Put simply, Sorley argues that the Vietnam War could have been won, if only the U.S. had the will to prevail, while Gentile responds that because the American people did not have the will to prevail, the war should have never been fought.

The spat over the Civil War and Vietnam doesn't necessarily mean that history repeats itself, but it does get rewritten -- and rethought. The same is now true for the war in Iraq. The Army War College's weighty two-volume study of the 2003 Iraq conflict ( The U.S. Army in the Iraq War ), has sparked a divisive mini-controversy among the uniformed services, whose senior officers regularly debate its major conclusions (as I noted in The American Conservative , online, back in February ): that U.S. commanders didn't understand the country they invaded, made assumptions about an enemy that proved to be wrong, didn't have enough soldiers to win the fight, who bungled the military's detention policies, and who failed in their mission to train and equip the Iraqi armed forces.

But any praise for these conclusions has been muted by the study's other (Sorley-like) judgment: that, as in Vietnam -- where the villains were the antiwar movement and the Congress, the villains in Iraq are George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the former blamed for too quickly getting us in, the latter for too quickly getting us out.

Into this affray has now jumped a much shorter (at 292 pages), offering, written by a team of nine experts and researchers at the Rand Corporation. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad , gives us what the Army War College didn't -- an unvarnished and precise accounting of what went wrong and why, and without the tendentious political overtones of the tome-like AWC study. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Among the study's authors are two of the Army's leading thinkers: retired Colonels David E. Johnson and Gian Gentile, the latter the outspoken Sorley critic known in the military for his often-scathing ability to say what he means.

Johnson, on the other hand, is known for his counter-intuitive and often uncomfortable question of given premises, which has made him a valued interlocutor in the upper echelons of the Army. The likely result of the study (much talked about in the military prior to its release earlier this year), is that it has had a far greater impact than its 1200-plus page predecessor. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad is not a page-turner, unless of course you're an Army officer, but it lays out in precise detail the eight lessons the military can, and should learn, from Operation Iraqi Freedom. But most readers will find the study's understated third chapter, on the U.S. occupation of Iraq, among the most compelling written on the war.

At the center of this presentation is the unshifting, unalterable truth of the war -- -that the dysfunction obvious at the upper levels of the U.S. military following the fall of Baghdad mirrored a deeper civilian-military chasm in Washington. The result of the dysfunction was that the initial Battle for Baghdad was simply a prelude to a continuing battle for Baghdad, that the war, once ended, simply continued.

The study's authors issue this crisp judgment, which is starkly at odds with the AWC study:

"While much of the blame for the shortcomings of postwar planning rightly falls on senior rungs of the Bush administration, the truth of the matter is that there is more than enough blame to go around, up and down the chains of command in military and civilian planning." Military officers speak candidly of the problem: "I don't think that any of us either could have or did anticipate the total collapse of this regime," Lt. General William Wallace told the authors, "and the psychological impact it had on the entire nation."

In military history, this is "the Henry Wentz problem." Henry Wentz was born in York County in Pennsylvania in 1827, but moved with his family to nearby Gettysburg when he was nine. He spent his most formative years on his family farm, which was just south of the town and off the Emmitsburg Road.

As a young adult Henry went to Martinsburg (then in Virginia), married a local girl and became a carriage maker. When the Civil War came he joined the Confederate Army, serving as an ordnance sergeant in Taylor's Virginia Battery. On July 2, 1863, Wentz found himself manning his rebel guns in his family's front yard, at Gettysburg, as a part of Longstreet's bloody assault on the Union Army's III Corps. Lee had attacked with Longstreet that day to unhinge the Union line, planning to take the high ground around the Wentz farm at a peach orchard, which Lee thought was a dominating position.The orchard, owned by the Sherfy family (and hence referred to as the Sherfy Peach Orchard in battle histories) seemed to rise out of the ground and command the fields beyond. The problem was that Sherfy's orchard didn't dominate anything. It was not on a rise, it did not control the land beyond. The orchard's height, if you stand on it, is an optical illusion. A short discussion with Henry Wentz might have shown this, if only Lee had known that Wentz was there.

He didn't.

For military officers commanding thousands or hundreds of thousands of young men and women, for military experts whose job it is to study these operations -- -and not just for hobbyists or aficionados -- the Henry Wentz problem is a tolling bell, a heart stopping wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night realization that not knowing , particularly when lives are at stake, is an unforgivable blunder. Reading about Gettysburg many years later, generations of Civil War historians, reclining by their firesides, want to scream at Lee: "What do you mean you didn't know ?" And that is the value of The U.S. Army and the Battle of Baghdad -- -and the effect of William Wallace's seemingly mundane, if stunning, observation. The U.S. military did not anticipate that the drive for Baghdad would be difficult, did not anticipate that the Iraq Army would transform itself into an insurgency, did not anticipate "the total collapse of the regime" -- and so did not anticipate the tragedy that followed. To which we too want to scream: what do you mean you didn't anticipate? It was your job to anticipate."

Mark Perry is a contributing editor at The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars. He tweets @markperrydc .


Taras77 3 days ago

Good article!

It is long past time that the senior military leadership with Iraq invasion (not to ignore the Afghan debacle) and since be held accountable for multitude of blunders and poor performance overall.

The fawning adulation from the press serves no good purpose and simply perpetuates the waste and fraud that gives us more blunders and weapons systems and "strategies" that do not and could not work to specs and plans.

But as the article states, there is plenty of blame to go around, I am referring to the "political Leadership" of bush, obama, and now trump, and of course, congress. Leadership may be too kind a term for what passes for leadership.

leisureguy Taras77 2 days ago
we all had to "support the troops" - if you held people accountable, you were an unpatriotic soldier non-supporter
E.J. Smith leisureguy a day ago
And still have to. Just ask Danny Sjursen.
EliteCommInc. Taras77 2 days ago
Excuse me.

no issues holding the military mistakes to account. But these choices were politically made and the political leadership should not be permitted to scapegoat the military for the leaderships choices to engage in regime change which included purging military dissenters.

IanDakar EliteCommInc. a day ago
Full agreement here. In fact, it's rather silly to strike at the military leaders, people trained in war, for supporting war. It's like complaining about a scientist who decides to solve every crisis with attaching it to the Internet.

The generals look at ways to fight a war. It's the political leaders that determine if war is the right idea. That's why it's the elected leaders, not the military, that hold the keys. All of the manipulations of the DoD end once we have a Congress and White House that wants it to end.

Honestly I respect the idea of going after the past leaderships that sent us here, but really I'd be content with just finding a leadership that stops the train now and leave the old guard to their retirements. That's going to be difficult as it is without us turning on a revenge campaign that might turn ugly.

kirthigdon 2 days ago
It's a relatively minor point in the article, but I would agree with those who claim that man-for-man the Confederates were better soldiers than the Yankees. They held out for 4 years against the US, whose forces were numerically superior and far better equipped and supplied, while managing to inflict more military casualties on their foes than they suffered. In the same way, I'd also agree with the many historians and WWII veterans who claim that the Germans were man-for-man better soldiers than any of their enemies. Both the American Civil War and WWII were essentially wars of attrition. Losing such a war is no military disgrace but it also doesn't mean that the losing side had a noble cause. In most wars, there are no good guys.

Kirt Higdon

leisureguy kirthigdon 2 days ago
in what way were the confederate soldiers better "man for man"?

US soldiers got slaughtered wholesale throughout the war - yet they had the spirit to keep coming. They got slaughtered wholesale because they used tactics developed for the previous generation of small arms. The tactic of marching at the enemy packed together.

As James McPherson describes in "Battle Cry of Freedom" they got slaughtered because they 1) had to fight on offense and 2) they were using tactics designed for the previous generation of small arms. They used tactics designed for weak-firing in accurate muskets rather than the current generation of rifles - accurate and deadly from long ranges.

They used the tactic of massing men together and marching at the enemy. This worked for muskets. For rifles loaded with minie balls, it made them sitting ducks when they marched towards dug in Confederates.

This article's author, Mr. Perry, mentions the slaughter of the Confederate soldiers at the peach orchard. A slaughter that resulted from the Confederates having to walk across a long rise of land before they could engage with the enemy. The slaughter that was said to have begun the defeat the Confederates. An awful slaughter.

The US soldiers didn't have just one peach orchard, they had many. They had "cold harbor", they had "the bloody angle", they had "Marye's heights". Dug in confederates armed with rifles mangled US soldiers horribly. Mangled them as they marched, out in the open, well within rifle range, towards dug in and hidden Confederates.

Yet the Union soldiers had the spirit to keep on coming. It's like "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid". As Perry points out, post Civil War Southern supporting writers romanticized the poor, starving, southern infantryman. He was handsome, stoic, and a fighter. But it was the northern guys who kept on coming. Kept on coming despite seeing so many of their friends torn to pieces.
Northern soldiers who had the stuff to get the job done.

kirthigdon leisureguy 2 days ago
So the more numerous side that has the spirit to keep coming despite enormous casualties and because of bad tactics are by definition better soldiers than the less numerous side which using good tactics has the spirit to keep fighting until they finally run out of effective fighters? By this standard the more numerous are always better soldiers as long as they win in the end, which they usually will in a war of attrition. By this standard, the Russians were far better soldiers than the Germans in WWII. Hint - the term man-for-man indicates I am measuring quality rather than just quantity and quality in soldiers includes tactical proficiency, not just bravery.

Kirt Higdon

EliteCommInc. kirthigdon 2 days ago
It was poor leadership decisions that prolonged the war, not bad soldiering.
E.J. Smith EliteCommInc. a day ago
Gen. McLellan at Antietam immediately comes to mind.
Kent 2 days ago
War is an obsolete idea. 1000 years ago, the only way to increase your wealth was to take over someone else's land and enthrall the local population to farm it for you. 200 years ago it was necessary to capture a population in order to force them to only purchase your manufactured goods, so your capitalists didn't have to compete with those of other countries.

In a information/service economy, war and control over other populations serve no purpose. The DOD, like all grand bureaucracies, survives only through the corruption of Congress.

It is time to disband the military. Get rid of the Navy, but leave the Coast Guard. Then turn the Coast Guard over to the States. Disband the Army and Marine Corps. Let the State's maintain their National Guards if they want. Disband the Air Force. The federal government should just maintain a nuclear deterrent force and set up a coastal missile defense that can destroy any Navy attempting to sail to attack us.

Have the federal government manufacture everything it needs itself instead of handing over tax payer dollars which are then used to corrupt Congress. It's time.

Kawi 2 days ago
The US Army and the Battle for Baghdad can be downloaded for free from the RAND website.

Thank you to the author of this well-written essay for brining this study to our attention.

leisureguy 2 days ago
Wow!

I look forward to further articles on the military's culture of not knowing. I've spent my whole adult life around Army personnel. (mostly retired). Going off to do things half-cocked is a point of pride with them. It's a macho trait that they love about themselves. Being willing to take action even though they haven't spent much time assessing the forces in their way.- being willing to wade into unknown danger.

Pondering things seriously is weakness - in their view.

further, at least one of these unlikely seeming new proponents of traditional masculinity - Jordan Peters - celebrates this macho trait. The macho trait of taking action without considering all knowable facts.

Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
"the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst)"

The comforting notion that slavery was destined to "fade away" was frequently indulged in during the 250 plus years that it lasted in the U.S., but it never did. As for the Wentz anecdote, if Lee had talked with Wentz, the outcome of the war would not have changed. There is an interesting "sabermetric" study of generals you can find online that gives a particularly interesting picture of Lee. He was one of the most aggressive generals in history, fighting more battles than anyone except Napoleon. But he was also--wait for it--BELOW AVERAGE. (Please don't spill your mint julip.) Grant, on the other hand, was one of the 10 best ever.

D. B. Cooper Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
207 comments, 364 votes = troll
kirthigdon Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
Slavery was on the way out and in another generation was gone throughout the western world, including the African colonies, and surviving only in Arabia. Only in the US and Haiti was slavery ended by wars and horrific bloodshed. In all other countries, including the vast slave empire of Brazil, slavery was abolished with minimal to no casualties. A bit of patience on the part of the abolitionists and unionists would have led to a somewhat later but peaceful end of slavery in the southern US. The union of all the states may not have been preserved, but in my estimation that would have been a good thing, if achieved peacefully.

Kirt Higdon

Sid Finster Alan Vanneman a day ago
Can you provide a link? This sounds interesting.

And that is an honest question, BTW.

EliteCommInc. 2 days ago
I think we should start out right in keeping with your agenda.

"of a war against slavery that . . ."

It was not a war against slavery, and to think so is part of a very deep misread of events. It freed slaves, it was the cause for the war ---

But the North had one primary goal: keep the union together, freeing slaves was a by product, not an end.

Chuckles a day ago
The military planners knew what was needed to pacify Iraq in the invasion and occupation. 750,000 troops and 25B+ dollars. Darth Cheney knew the US public wouldn't accept that, so they went in on the cheap, ignored the vast stores of conventional weapons, and Viceroy Bremmer back-stabbed the Iraqi army, thus creating the insurgency. Why? Because Planned Chaos is the most profitable, and taking Iraq oil off the market greatly enriched our "Saudi friends" and lots of other producers in the region. Inflation-adjusted oil prices more than doubled from 2003 to 2007.
E. T. Bass a day ago
As of early 2009, the surge had worked, were holding territory on turf Islamic savages considered their own and were killing hoards of jihadi scum who were flocking there, pretty much at will, who were being induced to do so at the behest of Bin Laden. Iraq was part of a long term strategic regional strategy (kill them on their own turf) which was working quite well as far as it got. 4000 dead US soldiers is a travesty under any circumstances, but considering what we had accomplished it pales in comparison with Vietnam. Keep in mind we stayed in Germany and Japan for decades after WWII to ensure our efforts were not wasted.

Iraq was not a debacle until 0bama refused to negotiate an updated SOFA, effectively surrendered (against military and other expert advice) and rendered every single US military death to have been in vain.

roberto a day ago
Great article, Mark Perry
dougdiggler a day ago
This website looks like a dying newspaper from the flyover states. Autoplay ads are like kryptonite to people who are web-literate

[Nov 09, 2019] Finally an Unvarnished History of the Iraq Invasion -

Nov 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We Americans are less obvious, if also less subtle: we quickly transform our common story into uncommon glory -- of a Continental Army standing unbowed before well-drilled Redcoats, of a war against slavery that, within a generation, became a War for Southern Independence, or in extolling the sacrifice of 58,000 Americans in a divisive intervention that became, less than a half a decade later, a "noble cause." Not surprisingly, the truth is far more interesting than any myth. The Continental Army at Valley Forge was not only ill-clothed, underpaid, and desertion-riddled, its finest day had come not against British regulars but mercenary Hessians; the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst), days, while the "noble cause" of Vietnam featured a military that , by 1971, was "in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous."

The substitution of myth for fact, however, has its uses -- as one of our greatest soldiers, General George Patton, certainly knew. While Patton was an indifferent student (he flunked mathematics at West Point), he was an avid reader with a prodigious memory and a finely tuned sense of history. Which makes his speech to the Third Army on June 5 of 1944 (as celebrated in Hollywood's epic 1970 paean), all the more remarkable, as it extols a history we wish we had -- but don't: "Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit," Patton announced. "Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle."

But Patton was just getting started. "Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser," he went on to say. "Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the idea of losing is hateful to America."

Of course, very little of this was actually true -- even in 1944, two decades before Vietnam. All Americans love the sting and clash of battle? Not really. In January of 1781, in the midst of the American Revolution, 1500 soldiers of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey lines of the Continental Army mutinied, murdered their officers, and threatened to march on Philadelphia.

When the mutiny spread, Washington had the mutineers rounded up, arrested, and their ringleaders shot by a firing squad made up of their fellow soldiers . On July 10 of 1863, one week after the Battle of Gettysburg, the New York draft riots protesting conscription set fire to 50 buildings, lynched 11 black bystanders, and left 120 civilians dead. The insurrection (as it was called by city officials), was finally quelled by the New York State Militia. And in late 1944, while commanding in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower was so angered by the reports of teeming throngs of American deserters raping and looting their way through France that he considered "lining them up and mowing them down."

Americans have never lost a war? It doesn't take a trained historian to point out that the American military botched the War of 1812 (the White House was burned and Washington occupied), performed poorly (and genocidally) in the Indian Wars of the late 19th century (in which one of its most famous units, the 7th Cavalry, was erased from existence), and mishandled the brutal 1899 Philippine Insurrection -- during which Mark Twain described American soldiers as "uniformed assassins." Patton was no dummy and might have recited all of this himself. But his speech made for good copy (and, as it turned out, great cinema) and undoubtedly boosted morale, particularly for those who, within a short time, would be facing off against the best light infantry in the history of the world.

But while historical myths have their place in creating a national story, France, China, and Russia have, in turn (and over time), chosen truth over triumph -- exhuming the greatness of Napoleon, Mao, and Lenin, while burying forever the policies they followed . This is true also for the United States. For while we Americans readily adopt the regalia of our past, we expect that our institutions will not follow suit; that in the midst of failure, our policymakers will discard myths and choose reality.

This is what happened, famously, on March 25, 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson met with a group he called "the wise men" -- a wizened crew of 14 Washington policymakers to help him decide what to do about the worsening situation in Vietnam. Included in the group was former secretary of state Dean Acheson, former White House counsel Clark Clifford, former ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and former JCS chairman General Omar Bradley.

These officials had traditionally supported Johnson's Vietnam policies but now, in the wake of the disastrous Tet Offensive, they had second thoughts. Stunned by the ferocity of the Vietnamese attack, only two of the 14 (Maxwell Taylor and Abe Fortas) recommended that Johnson "stay the course." The shift was symbolized by Omar Bradley, a military icon. Victory? "Maybe we ought to lower our sights," he told Johnson.

Of course, while the March 1968 meeting of the wise men was crucial to America's adventure in Vietnam (and Lyndon Johnson's political future), it did little to dampen the controversy surrounding the war -- which has been refought, since, in the pages of the war's histories. Indeed, it seems axiomatic that what cannot be won on a battlefield is often alchemized in later accounts.

These bloodless campaigns, fought with pen rather than sword, turn defeats into victories, burnish reputations, assess blame, but also blight understanding and blemish history. This is particularly true when it comes to America's most controversial conflicts. In 1869, Confederate Major General Dabney Herndon Maury founded the Southern Historical Society. Its papers, later collected in 52 volumes, rewrote much of Civil War history, a tendentious rendering whose goal was to argue the justness of the Lost Cause. Many of the society's papers remain troubling, rehabilitating the image of the most famous and otherwise failed rebel leaders, while laying the blame for the Confederate loss at the feet of southerners who, in later years, conceded the Union victory. The papers also remain controversial because their most important claims (that Lee lost at Gettysburg because his orders were disobeyed, that soldier-for-soldier, the southern armies were simply better fighters than their northern counterparts) resulted from barely veiled pro-southern and racially tinged political agendas. You'd have thought the South had won the war.

The same holds true for Vietnam. In that war's aftermath, while much of America was trying to forget the conflict, a small group of respected historians continued to pick at its scab, leaving a blood trail of if-onlys in their wake. The most prominent of these historians was Lewis "Bob" Sorley, a respected former officer and celebrated biographer (of Creighton Abrams and William Westmoreland, among others), whose book on Vietnam, A Better War , has been the subject of controversy since its publication in 1999.

In A Better War , Sorley argued that the U.S. might have won in Vietnam, if only that nation's top commander in the conflict had discarded his costly and morale-sapping search-and-destroy strategy in favor of maintaining the security of South Vietnam's population, substituted clear-and-hold tactics for massive sweep operations, improved the training and equipping of South Vietnam's military, decreased the destruction of U.S. firepower -- and supported the South Vietnamese, instead of abandoning them.

The conclusions ignited a bonfire of criticism, particularly from some of the Army's more respected thinkers. Writing in the pages of The National Interest in 2012, retired Colonel Gian Gentile took on Sorley in a pointed critique that proposed that America should have never been in Vietnam in the first place.

"In war, political and societal will are calculations of strategy, and strategists in Vietnam should have discerned early on that the war was simply unwinnable based on what the American people were willing to pay," Gentile wrote . "Once the war started and it became clear that to prevail meant staying for an unacceptable amount of time, American strategy should have moved to withdraw much earlier than it did. Ending wars fought under botched strategy and policy can be every bit as damaging as the wars themselves."

Put simply, Sorley argues that the Vietnam War could have been won, if only the U.S. had the will to prevail, while Gentile responds that because the American people did not have the will to prevail, the war should have never been fought.

The spat over the Civil War and Vietnam doesn't necessarily mean that history repeats itself, but it does get rewritten -- and rethought. The same is now true for the war in Iraq. The Army War College's weighty two-volume study of the 2003 Iraq conflict ( The U.S. Army in the Iraq War ), has sparked a divisive mini-controversy among the uniformed services, whose senior officers regularly debate its major conclusions (as I noted in The American Conservative , online, back in February ): that U.S. commanders didn't understand the country they invaded, made assumptions about an enemy that proved to be wrong, didn't have enough soldiers to win the fight, who bungled the military's detention policies, and who failed in their mission to train and equip the Iraqi armed forces.

But any praise for these conclusions has been muted by the study's other (Sorley-like) judgment: that, as in Vietnam -- where the villains were the antiwar movement and the Congress, the villains in Iraq are George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the former blamed for too quickly getting us in, the latter for too quickly getting us out.

Into this affray has now jumped a much shorter (at 292 pages), offering, written by a team of nine experts and researchers at the Rand Corporation. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad , gives us what the Army War College didn't -- an unvarnished and precise accounting of what went wrong and why, and without the tendentious political overtones of the tome-like AWC study. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Among the study's authors are two of the Army's leading thinkers: retired Colonels David E. Johnson and Gian Gentile, the latter the outspoken Sorley critic known in the military for his often-scathing ability to say what he means.

Johnson, on the other hand, is known for his counter-intuitive and often uncomfortable question of given premises, which has made him a valued interlocutor in the upper echelons of the Army. The likely result of the study (much talked about in the military prior to its release earlier this year), is that it has had a far greater impact than its 1200-plus page predecessor. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad is not a page-turner, unless of course you're an Army officer, but it lays out in precise detail the eight lessons the military can, and should learn, from Operation Iraqi Freedom. But most readers will find the study's understated third chapter, on the U.S. occupation of Iraq, among the most compelling written on the war.

At the center of this presentation is the unshifting, unalterable truth of the war -- -that the dysfunction obvious at the upper levels of the U.S. military following the fall of Baghdad mirrored a deeper civilian-military chasm in Washington. The result of the dysfunction was that the initial Battle for Baghdad was simply a prelude to a continuing battle for Baghdad, that the war, once ended, simply continued.

The study's authors issue this crisp judgment, which is starkly at odds with the AWC study:

"While much of the blame for the shortcomings of postwar planning rightly falls on senior rungs of the Bush administration, the truth of the matter is that there is more than enough blame to go around, up and down the chains of command in military and civilian planning." Military officers speak candidly of the problem: "I don't think that any of us either could have or did anticipate the total collapse of this regime," Lt. General William Wallace told the authors, "and the psychological impact it had on the entire nation."

In military history, this is "the Henry Wentz problem." Henry Wentz was born in York County in Pennsylvania in 1827, but moved with his family to nearby Gettysburg when he was nine. He spent his most formative years on his family farm, which was just south of the town and off the Emmitsburg Road.

As a young adult Henry went to Martinsburg (then in Virginia), married a local girl and became a carriage maker. When the Civil War came he joined the Confederate Army, serving as an ordnance sergeant in Taylor's Virginia Battery. On July 2, 1863, Wentz found himself manning his rebel guns in his family's front yard, at Gettysburg, as a part of Longstreet's bloody assault on the Union Army's III Corps. Lee had attacked with Longstreet that day to unhinge the Union line, planning to take the high ground around the Wentz farm at a peach orchard, which Lee thought was a dominating position.The orchard, owned by the Sherfy family (and hence referred to as the Sherfy Peach Orchard in battle histories) seemed to rise out of the ground and command the fields beyond. The problem was that Sherfy's orchard didn't dominate anything. It was not on a rise, it did not control the land beyond. The orchard's height, if you stand on it, is an optical illusion. A short discussion with Henry Wentz might have shown this, if only Lee had known that Wentz was there.

He didn't.

For military officers commanding thousands or hundreds of thousands of young men and women, for military experts whose job it is to study these operations -- -and not just for hobbyists or aficionados -- the Henry Wentz problem is a tolling bell, a heart stopping wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night realization that not knowing , particularly when lives are at stake, is an unforgivable blunder. Reading about Gettysburg many years later, generations of Civil War historians, reclining by their firesides, want to scream at Lee: "What do you mean you didn't know ?" And that is the value of The U.S. Army and the Battle of Baghdad -- -and the effect of William Wallace's seemingly mundane, if stunning, observation. The U.S. military did not anticipate that the drive for Baghdad would be difficult, did not anticipate that the Iraq Army would transform itself into an insurgency, did not anticipate "the total collapse of the regime" -- and so did not anticipate the tragedy that followed. To which we too want to scream: what do you mean you didn't anticipate? It was your job to anticipate."

Mark Perry is a contributing editor at The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars. He tweets @markperrydc .


Taras77 3 days ago

Good article!

It is long past time that the senior military leadership with Iraq invasion (not to ignore the Afghan debacle) and since be held accountable for multitude of blunders and poor performance overall.

The fawning adulation from the press serves no good purpose and simply perpetuates the waste and fraud that gives us more blunders and weapons systems and "strategies" that do not and could not work to specs and plans.

But as the article states, there is plenty of blame to go around, I am referring to the "political Leadership" of bush, obama, and now trump, and of course, congress. Leadership may be too kind a term for what passes for leadership.

leisureguy Taras77 2 days ago
we all had to "support the troops" - if you held people accountable, you were an unpatriotic soldier non-supporter
E.J. Smith leisureguy a day ago
And still have to. Just ask Danny Sjursen.
EliteCommInc. Taras77 2 days ago
Excuse me.

no issues holding the military mistakes to account. But these choices were politically made and the political leadership should not be permitted to scapegoat the military for the leaderships choices to engage in regime change which included purging military dissenters.

IanDakar EliteCommInc. a day ago
Full agreement here. In fact, it's rather silly to strike at the military leaders, people trained in war, for supporting war. It's like complaining about a scientist who decides to solve every crisis with attaching it to the Internet.

The generals look at ways to fight a war. It's the political leaders that determine if war is the right idea. That's why it's the elected leaders, not the military, that hold the keys. All of the manipulations of the DoD end once we have a Congress and White House that wants it to end.

Honestly I respect the idea of going after the past leaderships that sent us here, but really I'd be content with just finding a leadership that stops the train now and leave the old guard to their retirements. That's going to be difficult as it is without us turning on a revenge campaign that might turn ugly.

kirthigdon 2 days ago
It's a relatively minor point in the article, but I would agree with those who claim that man-for-man the Confederates were better soldiers than the Yankees. They held out for 4 years against the US, whose forces were numerically superior and far better equipped and supplied, while managing to inflict more military casualties on their foes than they suffered. In the same way, I'd also agree with the many historians and WWII veterans who claim that the Germans were man-for-man better soldiers than any of their enemies. Both the American Civil War and WWII were essentially wars of attrition. Losing such a war is no military disgrace but it also doesn't mean that the losing side had a noble cause. In most wars, there are no good guys.

Kirt Higdon

leisureguy kirthigdon 2 days ago
in what way were the confederate soldiers better "man for man"?

US soldiers got slaughtered wholesale throughout the war - yet they had the spirit to keep coming. They got slaughtered wholesale because they used tactics developed for the previous generation of small arms. The tactic of marching at the enemy packed together.

As James McPherson describes in "Battle Cry of Freedom" they got slaughtered because they 1) had to fight on offense and 2) they were using tactics designed for the previous generation of small arms. They used tactics designed for weak-firing in accurate muskets rather than the current generation of rifles - accurate and deadly from long ranges.

They used the tactic of massing men together and marching at the enemy. This worked for muskets. For rifles loaded with minie balls, it made them sitting ducks when they marched towards dug in Confederates.

This article's author, Mr. Perry, mentions the slaughter of the Confederate soldiers at the peach orchard. A slaughter that resulted from the Confederates having to walk across a long rise of land before they could engage with the enemy. The slaughter that was said to have begun the defeat the Confederates. An awful slaughter.

The US soldiers didn't have just one peach orchard, they had many. They had "cold harbor", they had "the bloody angle", they had "Marye's heights". Dug in confederates armed with rifles mangled US soldiers horribly. Mangled them as they marched, out in the open, well within rifle range, towards dug in and hidden Confederates.

Yet the Union soldiers had the spirit to keep on coming. It's like "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid". As Perry points out, post Civil War Southern supporting writers romanticized the poor, starving, southern infantryman. He was handsome, stoic, and a fighter. But it was the northern guys who kept on coming. Kept on coming despite seeing so many of their friends torn to pieces.
Northern soldiers who had the stuff to get the job done.

kirthigdon leisureguy 2 days ago
So the more numerous side that has the spirit to keep coming despite enormous casualties and because of bad tactics are by definition better soldiers than the less numerous side which using good tactics has the spirit to keep fighting until they finally run out of effective fighters? By this standard the more numerous are always better soldiers as long as they win in the end, which they usually will in a war of attrition. By this standard, the Russians were far better soldiers than the Germans in WWII. Hint - the term man-for-man indicates I am measuring quality rather than just quantity and quality in soldiers includes tactical proficiency, not just bravery.

Kirt Higdon

EliteCommInc. kirthigdon 2 days ago
It was poor leadership decisions that prolonged the war, not bad soldiering.
E.J. Smith EliteCommInc. a day ago
Gen. McLellan at Antietam immediately comes to mind.
Kent 2 days ago
War is an obsolete idea. 1000 years ago, the only way to increase your wealth was to take over someone else's land and enthrall the local population to farm it for you. 200 years ago it was necessary to capture a population in order to force them to only purchase your manufactured goods, so your capitalists didn't have to compete with those of other countries.

In a information/service economy, war and control over other populations serve no purpose. The DOD, like all grand bureaucracies, survives only through the corruption of Congress.

It is time to disband the military. Get rid of the Navy, but leave the Coast Guard. Then turn the Coast Guard over to the States. Disband the Army and Marine Corps. Let the State's maintain their National Guards if they want. Disband the Air Force. The federal government should just maintain a nuclear deterrent force and set up a coastal missile defense that can destroy any Navy attempting to sail to attack us.

Have the federal government manufacture everything it needs itself instead of handing over tax payer dollars which are then used to corrupt Congress. It's time.

Kawi 2 days ago
The US Army and the Battle for Baghdad can be downloaded for free from the RAND website.

Thank you to the author of this well-written essay for brining this study to our attention.

leisureguy 2 days ago
Wow!

I look forward to further articles on the military's culture of not knowing. I've spent my whole adult life around Army personnel. (mostly retired). Going off to do things half-cocked is a point of pride with them. It's a macho trait that they love about themselves. Being willing to take action even though they haven't spent much time assessing the forces in their way.- being willing to wade into unknown danger.

Pondering things seriously is weakness - in their view.

further, at least one of these unlikely seeming new proponents of traditional masculinity - Jordan Peters - celebrates this macho trait. The macho trait of taking action without considering all knowable facts.

Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
"the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst)"

The comforting notion that slavery was destined to "fade away" was frequently indulged in during the 250 plus years that it lasted in the U.S., but it never did. As for the Wentz anecdote, if Lee had talked with Wentz, the outcome of the war would not have changed. There is an interesting "sabermetric" study of generals you can find online that gives a particularly interesting picture of Lee. He was one of the most aggressive generals in history, fighting more battles than anyone except Napoleon. But he was also--wait for it--BELOW AVERAGE. (Please don't spill your mint julip.) Grant, on the other hand, was one of the 10 best ever.

D. B. Cooper Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
207 comments, 364 votes = troll
kirthigdon Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
Slavery was on the way out and in another generation was gone throughout the western world, including the African colonies, and surviving only in Arabia. Only in the US and Haiti was slavery ended by wars and horrific bloodshed. In all other countries, including the vast slave empire of Brazil, slavery was abolished with minimal to no casualties. A bit of patience on the part of the abolitionists and unionists would have led to a somewhat later but peaceful end of slavery in the southern US. The union of all the states may not have been preserved, but in my estimation that would have been a good thing, if achieved peacefully.

Kirt Higdon

Sid Finster Alan Vanneman a day ago
Can you provide a link? This sounds interesting.

And that is an honest question, BTW.

EliteCommInc. 2 days ago
I think we should start out right in keeping with your agenda.

"of a war against slavery that . . ."

It was not a war against slavery, and to think so is part of a very deep misread of events. It freed slaves, it was the cause for the war ---

But the North had one primary goal: keep the union together, freeing slaves was a by product, not an end.

Chuckles a day ago
The military planners knew what was needed to pacify Iraq in the invasion and occupation. 750,000 troops and 25B+ dollars. Darth Cheney knew the US public wouldn't accept that, so they went in on the cheap, ignored the vast stores of conventional weapons, and Viceroy Bremmer back-stabbed the Iraqi army, thus creating the insurgency. Why? Because Planned Chaos is the most profitable, and taking Iraq oil off the market greatly enriched our "Saudi friends" and lots of other producers in the region. Inflation-adjusted oil prices more than doubled from 2003 to 2007.
E. T. Bass a day ago
As of early 2009, the surge had worked, were holding territory on turf Islamic savages considered their own and were killing hoards of jihadi scum who were flocking there, pretty much at will, who were being induced to do so at the behest of Bin Laden. Iraq was part of a long term strategic regional strategy (kill them on their own turf) which was working quite well as far as it got. 4000 dead US soldiers is a travesty under any circumstances, but considering what we had accomplished it pales in comparison with Vietnam. Keep in mind we stayed in Germany and Japan for decades after WWII to ensure our efforts were not wasted.

Iraq was not a debacle until 0bama refused to negotiate an updated SOFA, effectively surrendered (against military and other expert advice) and rendered every single US military death to have been in vain.

roberto a day ago
Great article, Mark Perry
dougdiggler a day ago
This website looks like a dying newspaper from the flyover states. Autoplay ads are like kryptonite to people who are web-literate

[Nov 09, 2019] Israel's Last War by Gilad Atzmon

Notable quotes:
"... Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. "The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin " ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

Last War Gilad Atzmon November 6, 2019 1,100 Words 59 Comments Reply Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS

In my 2011 book, The Wandering Who , I elaborated on the possible disastrous scenario in which Israel is the nucleus of a global escalation over Iran's emerging nuclear capabilities. I concluded that Israel's PRE Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PRE-TSS) would be central to such a development. "The Jewish state and the Jewish discourse in general are completely foreign to the notion of temporality. Israel is blinded to the consequences of its actions, it only thinks of its actions in terms of short-term pragmatism. Instead of temporality, Israel thinks in terms of an extended present."

In 2011 Israel was still confident in its military might, certain that with the help of America or at least its support, it could deliver a mortal military blow to Iran. But this confidence has diminished, replaced by an existential anxiety that might well be warranted. For the last few months, Israeli military analysts have had to come to terms with Iran's spectacular strategic and technological abilities. The recent attack on a Saudi oil facility delivered a clear message to the world, and in particular to Israel, that Iran is far ahead of Israel and the West. The sanctions were counter effective: Iran independently developed its own technology.

Former Israeli ambassador to the US, and prolific historian, Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

Oren understands that a minor Israeli miscalculation could lead to total war, one in which missiles and drones of all types would rain down on Israel, overwhelm its defences and leave Israeli cities, its economy and its security in ruins.

Oren gives a detailed account of how a conflict between Israel and Iran could rapidly descend into a massive "conflagration" that would devastate Israel as well as its neighbours.

In Israel, the term "The War Between the Wars ," refers to the targeted covert inter-war campaign waged by the Jewish State with the purpose of postponing, while still preparing for, the next confrontation, presumably with Iran. In the last few years Israel has carried out hundreds of 'war between the wars' strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Oren speculates that a single miscalculation could easily lead to retaliation by Iran. "Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it's not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark."

Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. "The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin "

Oren predicts that rockets would "rain on Israel" at a rate as high as 4,000 a day. The Iron Dome system would be overwhelmed by the vast simultaneous attacks against civilian and military targets throughout the country. And, as if this weren't devastating enough, Israel is totally unprepared to deal with precision-guided missiles that can accurately hit targets all across Israel from 1000 miles away.

Ben Gurion International Airport would be shut down and air traffic over Israel closed. The same could happen to Israel's ports. Israelis that would seek refuge in far away lands would have to swim to safety .

In this scenario, Palestinians and Lebanese militias might join the conflagration and attack Jewish border communities on the ground while long-range missiles from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran land. Before long, Israel's economy would cease to function, electrical grids severed and damaged factories and refineries would spew toxic chemicals into the air.

In the Shoah scenario Oren describes, "Millions of Israelis would huddle in bomb shelters. Hundreds of thousands would be evacuated from the border areas as terrorists attempt to infiltrate them. Restaurants and hotels would empty, along with the offices of the high-tech companies of the start-up nation. The hospitals, many of them resorting to underground facilities, would quickly be overwhelmed, even before the skies darken with the toxic fumes of blazing chemical factories and oil refineries."

Oren predicts that Israel's harsh response to attack, including a violent put down of likely West Bank and Gaza protests, would result in large scale civilian casualties and draw charges of war crimes.

As Oren states, he did not invent this prediction, it is one of the similar scenarios anticipated by Israeli military and government officials.

If such events occur, the US will be vital to the survival of the Jewish State by providing munitions, diplomatic, political, and legal support, and after the war, in negotiating truces, withdrawals, prisoner exchanges and presumably 'peace agreements.' However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

In 1973 the US helped save Israel by providing its military with the necessary munitions. Will the US do so again? Do the Americans have the weapons capability to counter Iran's ballistics, precision missiles and drones? More crucially, what kind of support could America provide that would lift the spirits of humiliated and exhausted Israelis after they emerge from underground shelters having enduring four weeks without electricity or food and see their cities completely shattered?

This leads us to the essential issue. Zionism vowed to emancipate the Jews from their destiny by liberating the Jews from themselves. It vowed to bring an end to Jewish self-destruction by creating a Jewish safe haven. How is it that just seven decades after the founding of the Jewish state, the people who have suffered throughout their history have once again managed to create the potential for their own disaster?

ORDER IT NOW

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: "Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future." Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act. Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.


A123 , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT

Everyone understands that a minor Iranian miscalculation could lead to total war. One in which nuclear bombs would rain down on Iran leaving its cities, economy, and security in ruins.

The sociopath, Ayatollah Khameni is detached from reality and may be willing to take such risks. However, there is no reason to believe that The Iranian military or civilian population will embrace certain suicide. It is quite likely that the IRGC would decide that it is time for another revolution and end the theocracy, rather than die following the dubious commands of a deranged Ayatollah.
____

The whole theory about a prolonged conflict falls apart once accurate facts are applied to the situation. Iranian al'Hezbollah has large numbers of Katyusha pattern rockets, but very few precision weapons. And to provide human shields for these weapons, almost all of them are in a limited number of urban centers.

The facts are clear, even if Gilad chooses to ignore them in favor of his personal fantasies. Iranian al'Hezbollah would lose badly in a total forces engagement. The nuclear incineration of their rear echelons would leave forward forces totally defenseless against overwhelming Israeli air superiority.

-- Would there be Israeli civilian casulities? Certainly.
-- Would Lebanon become uninhabitable? Yes.
-- Would Ayatollah Khameni perish when Israeli nukes Tehran? Absolutely.
______

There is no possible scenario where Iran "wins" if they launch a substantial first strike. And, the Iranian military understands this as fact.

Fran Taubman , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:34 pm GMT
@A123 It is really fun when Gilad gets off Epstein and rape stuff and ventures into wars and Israeli security. The generals have kept Gilad up to date on the latest and the greatest.
He is so out to lunch in his desire to see Israel panic and loose the next war facing horrible casualties because it makes his point about how the Jews are doomed unless they cease being Jews.

He really believes that he can solve the problem and change our destiny if we all read "Wondering
Who"

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: "Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future." Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act. Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.

I wonder what it is like to wish death and destruction on a people and a country to prove your point and call yourself an unemotional Athenian.

No Jews in the headline another slow thread.

Gilad Atzmon , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm GMT
@A123 As you may have noticed, in the Israeli apocalyptic scenarios the Jewish state doesn't put into play the Samson option.. it is slightly less genocidal than yourself .. you may want to ask yourself why
Rev. Spooner , says: November 8, 2019 at 4:05 pm GMT
Israel is making a terrible mistake. The oft touted "Sampson Option" is a bogus option as Bibi, Benny Gatz and/or any other Israeli leader knows it will be suicide if they use this option. Because even if they emerge from the bunkers days later after using nuclear bombs against Iran, Syria, Lebanon and other European capitals ( Samson option targets Europe ) they will be greeted with hostility and will have no sanctuary.

Three times in world history the Jews were rescued by the Persians.
Believe it or not.

Miro23 , says: November 8, 2019 at 4:52 pm GMT

However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Not at all unpredictable with regards to Israel. Trump and Congress would use the last cent of US taxpayer's money and the last drop of Anglo blood to save the place. Trump is Israel's US Viceroy and Congress is its Colonial Parliament.

Israel's real nightmare starts when US nationalists toss out the colonialists, and Israel has to find a way live on its own resources.

Sulu , says: November 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm GMT
I have to think that considering the failure of military intelligence agencies in the past that no one has any real idea how close Iran is to getting the bomb. But even if they get numbers of them and have a means to deliver them on target it simply would mean that Iran and Israel are in a standoff. I can understand how Israel would not want Iran to have the bomb but in reality how much difference would it make? It would only be relevant if the two countries had already blundered into war and things were entering a final disastrous stage. Then it would simply mean both countries would be destroyed instead of just one.
Also, not being a military man am I naive in thinking Iran might be able to buy nuclear weapons on the black market? From North Korea, perhaps? I have got to suspect Israel will be faced with two options. Either fight Iran sooner, before they get nukes. Or they will simply have to accept that Iran is going to be a nuclear power. It's pretty obvious that Israel has been trying to get America to fight their war for them. But Trump has been reluctant to do so. No wonder the Jews are chomping at the bit to find some way to get rid of him. 2020 should prove to be an interesting year.
Tom Verso , says: November 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm GMT
This analysis leaves out two very significant historic military facts:

1) The 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon aka the "33 Day War" where in:

"Hezbollah inflicted more Israeli casualties per Arab fighter in 2006 than did any of Israel's state opponents in the 1956, 1967, 1973, or 1982 Arab-Israeli interstate wars, and is generally acknowledge that Israel flat out lost that war and de facto sued for a cease fire.

(see: "U.S. Department of Defense. The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy." Kindle Edition.)

2) The Syrian army is currently the only army in the world that has multi-front, contiguous multi-year 'combined arms' (i.e. army, armor, artillery and air force) combat experience .

Further, the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah in a recent interview pointed out that Hezbollah fighting along side of the Syrian Army these past five years, now has experience in offensive warfare. In 2006 they fought strictly defensively.

In short, if an Israeli war comes again, given the experience of the Syrian and Hezbollah armies and Syria acquiring state of the art air defense system (S 300, etc), Iranian missiles may very well be the least of Israel's worries.

Indeed, before Iran launches missiles, Hezbollah and Syria may move to take back Shebaa Farms and Golan Heights.

To my mind: Israel and American militaries are "paper Tigers". Israel has never fought a combined arms war for a sustained period of time against an equally matched military. And the US not since Korea. Their victories have always been overwhelming an inferior force.

Gilad Atzmon , says: November 8, 2019 at 6:10 pm GMT
@AaronB For me the fact that the Jewish state indulges itself in apocalyptic and genocidal fantasies is really a glimpse into to tribal mind.. as far as I can tell this pre traumatic stress points at severe form of projection .. Israeli politicians and commentators attribute their own symptoms to their neighbours ..
Colin Wright , says: November 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner ' Three times in world history the Jews were rescued by the Persians.
Believe it or not.'

The Persians more or less created 'the Jews.' At any rate, a religion recognizable as Judaism first appeared in the wake of the Persian conquests.

However, when did the Persians 'rescue' the Jews?

They allowed the creation of an autonomous Jewish state in Palestine when they overran that place around the beginning of the seventh century AD -- but that only lasted for about twenty years anyway.

So what are the three times?

Tom Verso , says: November 8, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
@A123 If I may: I don't know for sure what G Atzmon meant by the Samson Option; but, I have come across this express before and I took it to mean that Israel will go to nuclear war even if means the destruction of the Jewish State. That is, like Samson who destroyed his enemies by killing himself; Israel nuec's Iran and Iran nuce's Israel (kills enemies and itself).

This should not be taken lightly. While it would be totally irrational for most states to take the Samson Option, it is to my mind a plausible option for Israel. For even if the Jewish State is destroyed, the Jewish Nation i.e. the Jewish people around the world will survive and continue on as they have these thousands of years. But, they will be free of what they perceive as their arch enemy i.e. Iran and other Moslems. They survived the metaphoric Holocaust and they will survive a literal one. The Jewish State may be destroyed but not the Jewish People.

Altai_3 , says: November 8, 2019 at 9:35 pm GMT
This is something not enough people comment on. Israel's military is not a mini US military, it has serious problems and takes losses and casualties in contexts that would be shocking for another Western country that spends as much per capita for it's military.

This is why Israel having nuclear weapons irks me so much, the more it can't rely on it's conventional military, the more they'll lean into their nuclear deterrent, increasing the probability of it's use. (Not dissimilar to the situation with Pakistan vis-a-vis India, though in that case, India has nukes too)

Adrian , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:06 pm GMT
@Tom Verso The Samson Option
The Samson Option.jpg
Author Seymour Hersh
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date
1991
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 362 pp
ISBN 0-394-57006-5
OCLC 24609770
Dewey Decimal
355.8/25119/095694 20
LC Class UA853.I8 H47 1991
The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy is a 1991 book by Seymour Hersh. It details the history of Israel's nuclear weapons program and its effects on Israel-American relations. The "Samson Option" of the book's title refers to the nuclear strategy whereby Israel would launch a massive nuclear retaliatory strike if the state itself was being overrun, just as the Biblical figure Samson is said to have pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Philistines who had gathered to see him humiliated.

According to The New York Times, Hersh relied on Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli government employee who says he worked for Israeli intelligence, for much of his information on the state of the Israeli nuclear program. However, Hersh confirmed all of this information with at least one other source.[1] Hersh did not travel to Israel to conduct interviews for the book, believing that he might have been subject to the Israeli Military Censor. Nevertheless, he did interview Israelis in the United States and Europe during his three years of research.[1]

Colin Wright , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Fran Taubman ' If you study it, can be pretty scary. It is not just Israel. Also who wants another North Korea blackmail game?'

You mean something like the Samson option?

Anyway, the whole discussion is silly. No nation -- and that included Imperial Japan in 1945, when the chips were down -- chooses self-immolation. They always give way. Iran isn't a threat to Israel because Iran's not going to commit national suicide, and 'the Samson Option' is bullshit as well, because six million Jews aren't going to commit national suicide either.

Zionists such as yourself only choose to think otherwise about Iran -- in spite of the absence of any historical evidence at all -- because it justifies your own pathological aggression towards a nation that is (a) a thousand miles away, and (b) poses no serious threat to Israel whatsoever.

Try not attacking literally everyone you can think of. That might help. I mean, fuck -- Israel is the only state in modern history that has attacked literally every single one of her neighbors, and several more besides. Since 1948, she's attacked Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, and even the United States. What's up?

Art , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:41 pm GMT

Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.

The Jews are always long-term losers because they teach their children that they have always been and will forever be victims of humanity. Jew children are traumatized at an immature young age – they are mentally damaged by the thought that humanity wants to kill them and do them harm. This notion is inculcated deep in the Jew child's psyche. These poor children can never escape what has been implanted. (For three thousand years, generation after generation, Jew culture has been abusing their children with dreadful thoughts.)

Nine out of ten adult Jews are triggered into thoughts of doom by any criticism of Israel – their reactions are visceral, and a pure reflex coming out of their brainstem.

Jews cannot be introspective because of what elder Jews have implanted in them in their youth. Their rational emotional systems have been short-circuited.

I have seen intelligent Jews on this forum flirt with empathy for Palestinians – only to fall back into mindless reflexive support of whatever Israel does.

Art , says: November 8, 2019 at 11:14 pm GMT
@Art

Jews Are Feeling Guilty: They Should Be. Their Influence Has Been Cancerous to America
Gilad Atzmon Wed, Nov 6, 2019

It has become an institutional Jewish habit to examine how much Jews are hated by their host nations and how fearful Jews are of their neighbours. Jewish press outlets reported yesterday that "9 out of 10 US Jews worry about anti-Semitism."

. . .

As Haartez writer Ari Shavit wrote back in 2003: "The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish " Maybe some Jews now understand that the Zionist shift from a 'promised land' to the Neocon 'promised planet' doesn't reflect well on the Jews as a group.

https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/jews-are-feeling-guilty-they-should-be-their-influence-has-been-cancerous-america/ri27813

Miro23 , says: November 8, 2019 at 11:40 pm GMT
@AaronB

Any separation of one group from another is a tribe. Any identity whatsoever is a tribe – because identity sets you apart. The moment you define yourself you are tribal, because definitions distinguish one thing from another.

The issue is that some people are not particularly tribal (i.e. Westerners) and they are open to multiculturalism – i.e. proposition nations. However, proposition nations are very much non-tribalist places and need non-tribalism to survive.

If tribalists talk multiculturalism and proposition nations (i.e. use deception) while practicing tribalism, they quickly overwhelm these societies – which is where the US is today with regards to Jewish tribalists.

What does a Jewish tribalist elite do next? And what does a (subjected) majority do next?

renfro , says: November 9, 2019 at 12:49 am GMT

Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

The purpose of Oren's Atlantic article was to create alarm in the DC political corridors .."warning' that if the US doesnt 'soon help Israel' with its Iran enemy there will be chaos and dead bodies galore .
Its propaganda but 'true' propaganda 'if' Israel were to attack Iran on their own but they wont .they aren't capable of it alone.
They are running this same propaganda articles/warnings in Europe, saying Europe needs to 'do something' about Iran Now!
Its basically a blackmail and scare ploy because they don't think Trump will do it for them .and of course if Israel starts a war it will be because Trump/US deserted them like he/we did the Kurds and they were 'forced' to try and defend the world against Iran 'all alone' and Israel isn't to blame for the mess lol.

What Israel will do is try to start a war on Hezbollah 'first, as Hezbollah would be their most immediate and dangerous threat , severely crippling Israel right at the onset of any war with Iran.
They will claim that Iran directed attacks on Israel and so the US should step in because its an attack by Iran.

If we had anyone in DC that wasn't bought off by Jewish 'benjamin's ' they would be laughing their asses off at this typical Jewish tactic.

Ash Williams , says: November 9, 2019 at 2:10 am GMT
@A123

Everyone understands that a minor Iranian miscalculation could lead to total war. One in which nuclear bombs would rain down on Iran leaving its cities, economy, and security in ruins.

The sociopath, Ayatollah Khameni is detached from reality and may be willing to take such risks. However, there is no reason to believe that The Iranian military or civilian population will embrace certain suicide. It is quite likely that the IRGC would decide that it is time for another revolution and end the theocracy, rather than die following the dubious commands of a deranged Ayatollah.

Kristol, you're drunk. Turn off the computer and go to bed, you shmuck.

renfro , says: November 9, 2019 at 4:49 am GMT
@Colin Wright

She has us all to herself

That was the goal.
Remember the Zios in Rumsfeld's pentagon stressing how the US must dump 'old Europe"?
Even a non genius like me could figure that out .old Europe might be too much of a 'restraining ' influence on the US.
The Jews hate Europe anyway ..just like they hate Russia.

Some interesting things popped up this week .Vindman , main testifier against Trump on Ukraine is a Ukraine Jew, Solderman,Trump's main man on Ukraine is a Jew, also has now testified against Trump, their attorney is also a Jew ..they all have issued statements about how the plucky "little Ukraine is fighting against Russia for the US and world" and needs our aid and so on. Exactly the same wording and bullshit spin the Jews use about Israel "fighting Iran to protect the US and world interest".
Plain to me the Uber Jews are trying to set up the Ukraine as a Israel satellite and weight on Russia's flank.

I read Vindman's testimony to congress ..something is very off about the guy. he sounded numerous times like he lost his script. He's, in his own words, a fanatical supporter of Ukraine . I don't like Trump but I think the Ukraine deal to impeach him is a set up ..and its not coming mainly from the CIA ,its coming from the Nat Sec Council that Vindman works for.

https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=6543468-Alexander-Vindman-Testimony

ziogolem , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
The Andinia Plan (and others like it) gives Israel almost a "reset" button, making the Samson Option a disturbing possibility.

"Holiday camps" with hundreds of thousands of empty houses, a military landing strip, a submarine base
https://www.globalresearch.ca/does-israel-have-a-patagonia-project-in-argentina/5624434

A Palestinian sees for herself what these Israeli tourists are about
http://www.kawther.info/K20040416A.html
http://www.kawther.info/wpr/2009/01/30/israeli-war-criminals-in-patagonia

It seems that the Argentinian elite are reliant on Israeli (and US) armed support
https://steemit.com/informationwar/@renny-krieger/the-military-invasion-of-argentina-english-version

It is terrifying to think that in the event Israel be run by psychopaths, they might sacrifice another "6 million", while securing themselves a new Zion.

On the other hand, a peaceful transfer of the occupation of Palestine to Patagonia (and elsewhere), without the trigger of war, would be a possible path to peace in the Middle East (not so ideal for Patagonia though).

What would it take for either outcome to pass? I fear the former is far more likely than the latter.

Not Raul , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:31 am GMT
@Altai_3 I agree.

Israel is much more likely to be the next country to use atomic weapons than Iran.

They reached their limit in the 2006 Lebanon War with just over a hundred fatalities.

It's hard to imagine the Israelis losing even half as many as they did in 1973 (somewhat less than 3000) before pushing the button.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:35 am GMT
@renfro

I don't like Trump but I think the Ukraine deal to impeach him is a set up ..and its not coming mainly from the CIA ,its coming from the Nat Sec Council .

Have you heard of –
Growing Indicators of Brennan's CIA Trump Task Force
by Larry C Johnson
https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/11/growing-indicators-of-brennans-cia-trump-task-force-by-larry-c-johnson.html

They were out to get him a year before he was elected;

[Nov 06, 2019] Something about Trump coherence

Nov 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Barba_Papa 21 hours ago

The US openly occupies parts of Syria, boasts of taking it resources and supported the attempts of the Kurds to set up their own little state, until the Turks blew a hissy fit.

And yet it has the gall to call out what Russia does in the Ukraine as a breach of international law.

[Nov 06, 2019] Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one

Highly recommended!
Nov 06, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.06.19 at 4:07 am 47

@Z 11.05.19 at 9:23 am @45

It seems to me an important tenet of the neoliberal ideology is the arbiter (or auctioneer) role it gives the state and other political institutions with respect to markets. Markets are the locus of justice and efficiency, but political institutions have the essential task of organizing them and the competitions that takes place within them, supposedly at least.

In practice, this translated in a central role of political power not only in privatizing and breaking state monopolies, but also in the creation, sometimes ex nihilo, of markets supervised by state or quasi-state agencies (shielded of electoral choices by regulatory or ideally constitutional provisions) whose role was to organize concurrence in domains classical liberal economic theory would consider natural monopolies or natural public properties (education, health service, energy distribution, infrastructure of transportation, telecommunication, postal and banking service etc.)

What an excellent and deep observation ! Thank you ! This is the essence of the compromises with financial oligarchy made by failing social democratic parties. Neoliberalism is kind of Trotskyism for the rich in which the political power is used to shape the society "from above". As Hayek remarked on his visit to Pinochet's Chile – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism".

George Monblot observed that "Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one." ( The Guardian, Apr 15, 2016):

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

The free (as in absence of regulation for FIRE) market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers (10% vs 90%) – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Trump. Now entrenched centers of "resistance" (and first of all CIA, the Justice Department, The Department of State and a part of Pentagon) are trying to reverse the situation. Failing to understand that they created Trump and each time will reproduce it in more and more dangerous variant.

Trumpism is the inevitable result of the gap between the utopian ideal of the free (for the FIRE sector only ) market and the dystopian reality for the majority of the population ("without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape" Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium")

The situation in which the financial sector generates just 4% of employment, but accounts for more than 25% of corporate profits is unsustainable. It should be reversed and it will be reversed.

[Nov 05, 2019] The problem with stealing Syrian oil by Daniel Larison

Nov 03, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

U.S. troops sent into Syria on an illegal and pointless mission to "take the oil" don't know what they are supposed to be doing :

US military commanders overseeing Syria operations are still waiting for precise battlefield orders from the White House and Pentagon on their exact mission to protect oilfields in eastern Syria, according to a defense official directly familiar with the matter.

Nearly three weeks after President Donald Trump ordered troops out of northern Syria, publicly declaring he was taking "control" of the oil and sending troops and armored carriers to protect it from ISIS, US commanders lack clarity on the most basic aspects of their mission, including how and when troops can fire their weapons and what, exactly, that mission is.

The lack of precise orders means troops are on the ground while critical details are still being worked out -- exactly where they will go, when and how they will stay on small bases in the area, and when they go on patrol.

Perhaps most crucially, there is no clarity about exactly who they are operating against in the oilfields.

Everything the Trump administration has done in Syria has been horribly confused, so it makes sense that the latest version of the policy would be baffling to our own troops. U.S. commanders lack clarity about the mission because it was cooked up to appeal to the president's desire for plundering other countries' resources. It was thrown together on the spur of the moment as an excuse to keep U.S. troops in Syria no matter what, and now those troops are stuck there with no instructions and no idea what they are expected to do. This is the worst kind of unnecessary military mission, because it is being carried out simply to keep a U.S. foothold in Syria for its own sake. The "critical details" aren't being worked out so much as a plausible justification after the fact is being conjured out of thin air. There is no reason for these troops to be there, and there is nothing that they can do there legally, but the administration will come up with some bad argument to keep them there anyway.

Meanwhile, Trump is very proud of his clownish, illegal Syria policy:

me title=

Trump labors under the delusion that the oil is ours to "distribute." which everyone else knows to be false. The oil belongs to the Syrian government, and that oil can't be sold and revenues from those sales cannot be used without the permission of the government that owns it. Syria's oil resources are not that great, and the infrastructure of many of the fields has been damaged or destroyed, so if it were legal to loot the spoils there wouldn't be very much to loot. The president thinks that seizing Syrian oil is worth boasting about, but in reality it is one of the most absurd and indefensible reasons for deploying troops abroad. In addition to damaging the country's international standing with allied and friendly governments with this open thievery, Trump's "take the oil" fixation is a propaganda coup for hostile governments and groups. As Paul Pillar pointed out last week, it plays into the hands of jihadist groups and aids them in their recruitment:

Trump's Sunday appearance before the press played right into this theme. Referring back to the Iraq War, Trump described as his own view at the time that if the United States was going into Iraq, it should "keep the oil." As for Syria's oil, he said it can help the Kurds but "it can help us because we should be able to take some also. And what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly." A propagandist for ISIS or al-Qaeda would hardly have written the script differently.

Keeping troops in Syria to "take the oil" is divorced from genuine American security interests just like any other unnecessary military intervention. The president is exposing U.S. military personnel to unnecessary risk, and he is also putting them in legal jeopardy by ordering them to commit what is essentially the war crime of pillaging. The president has managed to take a Syria policy that was already incoherent and chaotic and he has made it even worse.

[Nov 04, 2019] The core of the neoliberal program is not simply to "remove the state." Rather, neoliberalism aims to promote the capability of capital to range globally and make a profit anywhere it can without such impediments as might be erected by national politicians and populations and neutralizes the governments of nation-states within supranational institutions like the WTO, the IMF, GATT -- and the EU

Nov 04, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Mark Pontin 11.02.19 at 6:46 pm 3

3 )
JQ wrote: 'The EU is inherently social democratic in its structure It is true that the European social democracies have given some ground, notably with respect to privatisation, but no genuinely neoliberal party has arisen or seems likely to.'

Back in the real world, here's a study from the LANCET, the medical journal --

'The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016'
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0/fulltext

To precis it very roughly, 50,000 or so Greeks died because of the EU's imposition of its austerity policies on Greece. In other words, they died because Merkel in Germany and Hollande in France were unwilling to tell their electorates they were bailing out German and French banks, and so the bailout to those banks was carried out through the backdoor of Greece with 92-93 percent of those funds going straight to commercial financial institutions in Northern Europe and never touching the Greek economy.

Moreover, this was done at the same time that Mario Draghi at the ECB was initiating his policy of doing "whatever it takes" in terms of quantitative easing. The entire Greek debt would turn out to be less than a couple months of ECB money printing.

With blazing clarity, then, Greece tells us just what the EU is when the chips aren't even down. Thereby, we come to the question at hand: What is neoliberalism?

The core of the neoliberal program is _not_ simply to "remove the state altogether from 'non-core' functions such as the provision of infrastructure services' and 'minimise the state role in core functions (health, education, income security) through contracting out, voucher schemes and so on'.

Rather, neoliberalism aims to promote the capability of capital to range globally and make a profit anywhere it can without such impediments as might be erected by national politicians and populations -- impediments like policies of redistribution or the (re)nationalization of basic infrastructure. To this end, neoliberalism embeds and neutralizes the governments of nation-states within supranational institutions like the WTO, the IMF, GATT -- and the EU.

_That_ is the core of the neoliberal program. And, again, its very clear that from its beginnings as the European Coal and Steel Community and the EEC, the EU was carefully designed by its founders to be a neoliberal organization -- or an ordoliberal one, if we wish to split hairs, given that many of those responsible subscribed to the German flavor of neoliberalism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordoliberalism

'Ordoliberalism is the German variant of social liberalism that emphasizes the need for the state to ensure that the free market produces results close to its theoretical potential. Ordoliberal ideals became the foundation of the creation of the post-World War II German social market economy and its attendant Wirtschaftswunder' .

To conclude: the European Union is arguably _the_ most quintessentially neoliberal organization in the world today. Wolfgang Streek and Quinn Slobodian, among others, give authoritative accounts of all this and how it's played out.

Donald 11.03.19 at 9:01 pm (no link)
Here is a good piece --

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/11/neoliberalism-term-meaning-democratic-party-jonathan-chait

For those of us who can actually remember political arguments made by Democrats in the 80's and 90's, it's ridiculous to say that neoliberalism in the US never existed except as a term of abuse.

People bragged about being a new type of sophisticated market loving Democrat in sharp contrast to old liberal dinosaurs like Tip O'Neill. Cranky Observer mentioned Charles Peters and the Washington Monthly.

There was also The New Republic -- remember the joke " even the liberal New Republic" supports conservative policy X? The point was they took pleasure in being Third Way style neoliberals who were often hawkish on foreign policy and eager to question liberal Democratic pieties, to the point it became a cliche that Republicans would cite them.

The New Republic and The Washington Monthly were neoliberal the way Commentary was neoconservative. ( There was also a period where you weren't supposed to believe there were such people as neocons. It was supposed to be an antisemitic code word.)

I think the idea that neoliberalism never existed in the US except as a term of abuse from leftists first popped up in the 2016 Democratic primaries. I don't have a cite -- it's just my recollection.

[Nov 03, 2019] How Controlling Syria s Oil Serves Washington s Strategic Objectives by Nauman Sadiq

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan's insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern Deir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.

Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.

It's worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel's concerns regarding the expansion of Iran's influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it's worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn't much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.

Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria's oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.

There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.

Much like the "scorched earth" battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.

After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria's own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.

Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria's oil wealth, it bears mentioning that "scorched earth" policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment.

Regarding Washington's interest in propping up the Gulf's autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf's investments in North America and Western Europe.

Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf's oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world's 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry's sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.

Similarly, the top items in Trump's agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to counter Iran's influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.

Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.

Similarly, when King Abdullah's successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars' worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.

In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf's petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.

Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.

Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.

Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world's proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.

* * *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.


ipsprez , 8 minutes ago link

I am always amazed (and amused) at how much smarter "journalists" are than POTUS. If ONLY Mr. Trump would read more and listen to those who OBVIOUSLY are sooo much smarter!!!! Maybe then he wouldn't be cowed and bullied by Erdogan, Xi, Jung-on, Trudeau (OK so maybe that one was too far fetched) to name a few. Please note the sarcasm. Do I really need to go in to the success after success Mr. Trump's foreign policy has enjoyed? Come on Man.

OLD-Pipe , 19 minutes ago link

What a load of BOLOCKS...The ONLY, I mean The Real and True Reason for American Armored presence is one thing,,,,,,,Ready for IT ? ? ? To Steal as much OIL as Possible, AND convert the Booty into Currency, Diamonds or some other intrinsically valuable commodity, Millions of Dollars at a Time......17 Years of Shadows and Ghost Trucks and Tankers Loading and Off-Loading the Black Gold...this is what its all about......M-O-N-E-Y....... Say It With Me.... Mon-nee, Money Money Mo_on_ne_e_ey, ......

Blue Steel 309 , 5 minutes ago link

This is about Israel, not oil.

ombon , 58 minutes ago link

From the sale of US oil in Syria receive 30 million. dollars per month. Image losses are immeasurably greater. The United States put the United States as a robbery bandit. This is American democracy. The longer the troops are in Syria, the more countries will switch to settlements in national currencies.

Pandelis , 28 minutes ago link

yeah well these are mafia guys...

uhland62 , 50 minutes ago link

"Our interests", "strategic interests" is always about money, just a euphemism so it doesn't look as greedy as it is. Another euphemism is "security' ,meaning war preparations.

BobEore , 1 hour ago link

...The military power of the USA put directly in the service of "the original TM" PIRATE STATE. U are the man Norm! But wait... now things get a little hazy... in the classic... 'alt0media fake storyline' fashion!

"President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment."

Awww! Poor "DUmb as Rocks Donnie" done been fooled agin!

...In the USA... the military men are stirring at last... having been made all too aware that their putative 'boss' has been operating on behalf of foreign powers ever since being [s]elected, that the State Dept of the once Great Republic has been in active cahoots with the jihadis ...

and that those who were sent over there to fight against the headchoppers discovered that the only straight shooters in the whole mess turned out to be the Kurds who AGENT FRIMpf THREW UNDER THE BUS ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM JIHADI HQ!

... ... ...

[Nov 01, 2019] I like to think that Trump's saying that the US army are going to steal Syria's oil is very much the same strategy. What better way to turn world opinion against US occupation of Syria?

Nov 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Maximus , Oct 31 2019 21:06 utc | 51

Good historical rundown of Uncle Sam's blatant theft of resources in Syria .. has historical precedent too I believe; the wars in Southeast Asia (the golden triangle and the drug trade). Afghanistan (heroin and the poppies); imagine, we come and destroy your country and then steal your resources in the aftermath. Sickening

Tim Glover , Oct 31 2019 20:37 utc | 49

@joost #33 I like to think that Trump's saying that the US army are going to steal Syria's oil is very much the same strategy. What better way to turn world opinion against US occupation of Syria?

karlof1 , Oct 31 2019 20:37 utc | 50
breadonwater @45--

Yes. The route goes within its 12 mile limit, but the okay is provisional and won't become final for @ 4 more weeks.

Maximus , Oct 31 2019 21:06 utc | 51
Good historical rundown of Uncle Sam's blatant theft of resources in Syria .. has historical precedent too I believe; the wars in southeast asia (the golden triangle and the drug trade). Afghanistan (heroin and the poppies); imagine, we come and destroy your country and then steal your resources in the aftermath. Sickening
Joost , Oct 31 2019 21:40 utc | 55
@49 Tim Glover. Exactly, imagine Obama saying that. Trump seems to have a habit of using reverse psychology on people. This strategy works very well when nobody likes you and you have the power of Twitter at your disposal.
People tend to overestimate the power of the US president. Every one of them, being democrat or republican, gets assimilated by the borg. Resistance is futile, unless you are perceived to be an idiot and do just enough to please your overlords. The Borg likes what he says, "we are there for the oil" and they are getting reckless, exposing themselves for what they are. Group think distorts perception and that is their weak spot. The borg will get more open about their crimes and their true intentions. This breaks global support for the petrodollar and that will be the end of the "outlaw" US empire.
augrr , Oct 31 2019 22:30 utc | 61
I am surprised that I've not seen any commentary regarding the US's announcement that they will continue to steal Syria's oil, and more importantly what anyone - Syria, Russia or anyone else - might do about this blatant crime.
Clearly this challenges Syria's sovereignty as well as Russia's declared aim to restore Syrian territory in full.

Any thoughts how this situation might evolve? IMO Russia has to remain a facilitator rather than an actor. A "no-fly zone" enforced by Syrians and SAA ground troops?


Don Bacon , Oct 31 2019 23:14 utc | 68
Stripes:
Carolina Army Guard troops move into eastern Syria with Bradley Fighting Vehicles
WASHINGTON – National Guard members from North and South Carolina began moving into eastern Syria with heavy armored vehicles on Thursday as part of the Pentagon's new mission to secure oil fields wrestled from the Islamic State, a military spokesman said.

Soldiers with the North Carolina-based 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment and the South Carolina-based 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade were deployed to Deir al-Zour to protect American-held oil fields around that city, Army Col. Myles Caggins, the spokesmen for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS mission known as Operation Inherent Resolve, tweeted Thursday. Caggins' tweet included photos of soldiers loading M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles onto Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo jets to be used on the mission. . . .

For now, the new deployment will not include M1 Abrams tanks, the Pentagon official said Thursday. here

Why use regulars when we can call up the National Guard?
Peter AU 1 , Nov 1 2019 0:23 utc | 72
US hold on the oilfields depends mostly on Iraq. The oilfields of Deir Ezzor are in open country with few towns and apart from the Euphrates flood plain is sparsely populated.

The only cover for guerrilla style attacks against US or its proxies on the oilfields will be the occasional dust storm.

Apart from Iraq, syria setting up S-300 at deir Ezzor and taking control of the airspace would also be a game changer but this may not happen.

Lebanon and Iraq are both undergoing US color revolutions at the moment so its a matter of waiting for the dust to settle on both these moves to see where US is positioned in the region.

JW , Nov 1 2019 0:50 utc | 74
@Sally #1

Yet the US military is overwhelmingly the #1 most trusted US institution among Americans, despite it forcibly wasting their hard earned money to kill tens of millions of innocents abroad. At the same time the US is also filled to the brim with draft dodgers.

If anybody thinks Bolton and his chickenhawking buddies isn't representative of the whole US, think again.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 1 2019 1:12 utc | 78
Don Bacon 73 "Really? I thought the protests were like many other protests around the world, over economic issues."

As was the Syrian 'revolution'. Plenty of small US companies willing to go in. US already has buyers as they have been shipping oil out of east Syria for some time. Turkey, Israel ect plus many more willing to buy at a discount. And considering the oilfields are simply stolen, oil can be sold at a discount.

[Oct 28, 2019] One "keeping" Syrian oil: the point of "keeping the oil" is not to profit from it, but to deny it to the Syrians. That's what Bibi wants.

Oct 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Horace , Oct 27 2019 17:37 utc | 39

Read the transcript of Trump's announcement this morning. He explicitly says he is keeping the oil, and might invite in Exxon to use it. Logistics are sketchy, because who will buy it? The pipelines will go through Syrian controlled territory. But he also says that a deal might be possible. It's ridiculous.

William Gruff , Oct 27 2019 18:18 utc | 46

Revenue from Syria's oilfields is about a $million/day. That is a small fraction of what it costs to maintain even one little US military base in Syria.

Try to hold tight to a sense of perspective, folks. Trump is a businessman. Not a very good one, perhaps, but certainly not so stupid that he cannot see that as an incredibly bad deal. This "keeping the oil" nonsense is empty posturing intended to appeal to shallow thinkers who don't know the difference between Syria and Venezuela and who don't really care what American foreign policy is so long as it is done with an arrogant swagger. Now that may be the majority of the US population, but these kinds are not even going to remember the tweet this time next week, much less even care.

"Keeping the oil" is not only tactically, strategically, and logistically untenable, it is such a baldfaced violation of so many US and international laws, treaties, and agreements that even America's fig leaf of last resort, Canada, would have to condemn it. This is just childish posturing to throw the appearance of bravado on America's exit from the theatre. People functioning at the level of many posters here need to stop taking it so seriously.

Laguerre , Oct 27 2019 18:37 utc | 54
Revenue from Syria's oilfields is about a $million/day. That is a small fraction of what it costs to maintain even one little US military base in Syria.
Try to hold tight to a sense of perspective, folks.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 27 2019 18:18 utc | 45

The point of "keeping the oil" is not to profit from it, but to deny it to the Syrians. That's what Bibi wants.

Don Bacon , Oct 27 2019 18:51 utc | 60
@ 53
"Keeping the oil" is also meant to send a political message that you-know-who is still in charge here, a Carter Doctrine policy that has been in tatters recently.
Peter AU 1 , Oct 27 2019 19:19 utc | 67
On the Syrian oil, US apparently was raking in 30 million a month in an operation that was small enough to be kept from the public. If they take over the oilfields publicly and boost oil infrastructure, the monthly take will rise considerably.

The oil fields on the east bank of the Euphrates produced the bulk of Syrian oil. If production there was only 50% of Syrian production, the figures in dollar terms would still be high.

200,0000 BPD would be just over half Syria pre war oil production, so 200,000 X say $40 per barrel brings the take up to $8 million per day. Not bad when its money for nothing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in_Syria

"before the Syrian Civil War, oil sales for 2010 were projected to generate $3.2 billion for the Syrian government"

" In 2010, Syria produced around 385,000 barrels (61,200 m3) per day of crude oil"

Peter AU 1 , Oct 27 2019 19:47 utc | 74
William Gruff
Trump has made no effort or even noises to pull out of Tanf. I think he wants to continue holding the Syrian border where he can. Denying the oil to Syria is a plus for him and that also has the bonus of partly paying the cost of stationing the US along that border.
Zionism, oil, getting returns on military expenditure seems to be Trump's foreign policy or as foreign policy is termed in the US 'War Policy"
Laguerre , Oct 27 2019 20:06 utc | 78
"Keeping the oil" is also meant to send a political message that you-know-who is still in charge here, a Carter Doctrine policy that has been in tatters recently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 27 2019 18:51 utc | 60

Sure, that's also true. The NeoCon warmongers only got convincing very late in the game, when US Special Forces were already withdrawing from most of Rojava, and could not be stopped, except for this massively mounted late defence of the oil-fields. As the NeoCons were resisting from the beginning, what was it that changed Trump's mind? Bibi sounds like the answer, but I'm open to others.

William Gruff , Oct 28 2019 0:46 utc | 120
"So why did Trump state so emphatically that Russia and China love U.S. presence there???"

Reverse psychology. If Trump can get that narrative to fly then the mindless Russophobic and Sinophobic brainwash victims in the US will start screaming for the US to get out. After all, jello-brained Americans believe they must do the opposite of whatever China and Russia think is good. The USA certainly cannot do anything that China or Russia might approve of, right? So if they want us to stay then we have to leave.

Let's see if it works.

nemo , Oct 28 2019 2:27 utc | 133
Russia loves the US stealing Syria's oil. Listen, Russia delivered a beat down to murican regime change policy the likes of which the world has never seen before. It is epic humiliation beyond all endurance! The Syrian state is saved and the prospects of a Libya just a few hours from Russia's border are now gone! The US is scared shittless to attack Iran head on, so the status quo is returning to this region faster than murica's tiny brain can process. So what to do? Grab the oil! Be a thug and criminal! No more pretense, just sin proudly like the evil turd you are! Lol! And Russia can point at that turd and condemn it on the world stage for the whole world to see. No excuses...no sympathy. Of course that bravado wont last long. When push comes to shove, murica will fold like the dodgy piece of toilet paper it is and go home. Be patient and enjoy the Evil Empire's death agony a while longer...make popcorn...
Don Bacon , Oct 28 2019 2:54 utc | 136
Here's some historical documents

The Redirection, Mar 5, 2007
Is the Administration's new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?
By Seymour M. Hersh
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda. . . here

InsurgeIntel, May 22, 2015
Pentagon report predicted West's support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS
Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to 'isolate' Assad, rollback 'Shia expansion'
by Nafeez Ahmed
The newly declassified DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency -- headed by General Flynn!] document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies. . . here

The DIA doc is here

A good overview is here

Don Bacon , Oct 28 2019 3:29 utc | 137
Some more history on how Russia's changed the US attitude toward Syria oil shipments to foreign customers. Specifically, whereas until 2015 US air force pilots were not given permission to fire on ISIS oil shipments, that policy changed when Russia entered the war.

In September 2015, the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament authorised the Russian president to use armed forces in Syria.[9][10] Russia acknowledged that Russian air and missile strikes targeted not only ISIL, but also rebel groups in the Army of Conquest coalition like al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, and even FSA.
On 30 September 2015, Russia launched its first airstrikes against targets in Rastan, Talbiseh, and Zafaraniya in Homs province of Syria. Moscow gave the United States a one-hour advance notice of its operations. The Homs area is crucial to President Bashar al-Assad's control of western Syria. -- wiki here

CBSNEWS, Nov 23, 2015
U.S. airstrikes against ISIS target oil tanker trucks
Two airstrikes, the most recent over the weekend, have destroyed almost 500 tanker trucks ISIS uses to smuggle oil and sell it on the black market.
By one estimate, these attacks have destroyed roughly half the trucks ISIS uses to bring in $1 million a day in revenues.
Until now, the U.S. has not gone after the tankers for fear of killing the civilian drivers. . . here

That's the first time (and probably the last time) ever that the US military had any consideration for civilian casualties. But they were ISIS employees so. . .cut 'em some slack. Still, only half the trucks were destroyed at that time (more were destroyed much later).

[Oct 27, 2019] Here s Why Trump s Secure Syria s Oil Plan Will Prove Practically Impossible

Notable quotes:
"... The below analysis is provided by " Ehsani " -- a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment . ..."
"... An M1 Abrams tank at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait, via Army National Guard/Military Times. ..."
Oct 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Here's Why Trump's "Secure Syria's Oil" Plan Will Prove Practically Impossible by Tyler Durden Sat, 10/26/2019 - 23:30 0 SHARES

The below analysis is provided by " Ehsani " -- a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment .

Much has been debated since President Trump tweeted that "The U.S has secured the oil" in Syria. Is this feasible? Does it make any sense? The below will explain how and why the answer is a resounding NO .

An M1 Abrams tank at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait, via Army National Guard/Military Times.

Al-Omar and Conoco fields are already secured by Kurdish-led SDF and U.S forces. Some of the oil from these fields was being sold through third parties to Syria's government by giving it in crude form and taking back half the quantity as refined product (the government owns the refineries).

Syria's government now has access to oil fields inside the 32km zone (established by the Turkish military incursion and subsequent withdrawal of Kurdish forces). Such fields can produce up to 100K barrels a day and will already go a long way in terms of meeting the country's immediate demand. So the importance of accessing oil in SDF/U.S hands is not as pressing any longer.

SDF/U.S forces can of course decide to sell the oil to Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) but Syria's government now has control over the border area connecting Syria to KRG territory through both Yaaroubia and Al-Mallkiya.

The Syrian government also now has control over supply of electricity. This was made possible by taking control of the Tishreen and Furat dams. Operating those fields needs electric power supply and the state is now the provider.

me title=

Securing and operating these fields also entails paying salaries to those operating the fields. International companies would be very reluctant to get involved without legal backing to operate the fields.

"Securing the oil" therefore can only mean preventing the Syrian state from accessing al-Omar/Conoco only (not oil in the north) . It's unlikely anything can be sold or transported.

And let's not forget "securing" this oil would need ready air cover, and all for what?

me title=

SDF composition included Arab fighters and tribes who accepted Kurds in leadership since they had American support and key cities in north. Many of those Arabs are already switching and joining the Syrian Army. "Securing" oil for benefit of the Kurds is likely to antagonize the Arab fighters and tribes in the region.

Preventing rise of ISIS is likely to entail securing support of the region's Arabs and tribes more than that of the Kurds. This Kurd/Arab issue is yet another reason why President Trump's idea of "securing" the oil for the benefit of the Kurds just doesn't make sense nearly on every level .


kanoli , 54 minutes ago link

"Securing the oil" means "Denying Assad government access to the oil." I don't think they care if the pumps are running or not.

comissar , 3 hours ago link

The psychopaths destroyed the last secular country in the ME. Same with Lybia. Now all we get are extremists on all sides. Mossad doing what it knows best, bringing chaos for the psychopaths.

Teja , 9 hours ago link

By withdrawing from Northern Kurdistan and by making an exception for the oil fields, Genius President Trump just told the world a number of things:

Of course, the European allies (except Turkey) are still refusing to learn from this experience. "Duck and cover until November 2020" is their current tactics. Not sure if this is a good idea.

Turkey has learned to go their own ways, but I don't think it is a good idea to create ever more enemies at one's borders. Greece, Armenia, the Kurdish regions, Syria, Cyprus, not sure how their stance is towards Iran. Reminds me of Germany before both World Wars. Won't end well.

Chochalocka , 9 hours ago link

Pretty hilarious how some see ****.

"America/The US", a label, is actually just a location on a map and is not a reference to the actual identities of those who start wars for profit.

Also it is hilarious to use that label as if an area of the planet is or has attacked another area. Land can not attack itself, ever, just as guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Trump is not claiming posession of oil in syria by leaving some troops behind. Just as he did not declare war, nor start any EVER. Every conflct on earth has it's roots with very specific individuals, none of whom are even related to Trump.

Syria was a conflicting mess before he took office and he is dutifully attempting to pull US soldiers out of a powder keg of nonsense he wants no part of. Nor does any sane American want more conflict in battles we can't afford, in countries we'll never even visit.

Like I said before, Trump can't just abruptly yank all our troops. It's simply not that simple. And for those pretending he is doing syria a disservice, I dare any one of you to go there yourselves and see if you bunch of complete dipshits can do better. Who knows, maybe you'll find the love of your life, ******* idiots.

2stateshmoostate , 7 hours ago link

There is no one on this planet more owned and controlled by Juice and Israel than Trump. He does and says what he is told to do and say. All scripted.

wdg , 10 hours ago link

First, the US invades Syria in violation of the Geneva Convention on War making it an international criminal. Then it funds and equips the most vile terrorists on the planet which leads to the killing of thousands of innocent Syrians. And now it has decided to stay and steal oil from Syria. The US is now the Evil American Empire owned and run by crooks, gangsters and mass murderers. The Republic is dead along with morality, justice and freedom.

Brazen Heist II , 10 hours ago link

Don't forget the sanctions it levies on Syria, in an attempt to prevent recovery and re-construction from said crimes of attempted regime change.

Truth Eater , 10 hours ago link

Let's limit the culprits to: The Obama regime... and not all the US. This is why these devils need to be brought to trial and their wealth clawed out of their hiding places to pay reparations to some of the victims.

wdg , 9 hours ago link

The US has been an Evil American Empire for a long time, since at least the Wilson administration, and Republican or Democrat...it make little difference. World wars, the Fed, IRS, New Deal, Korea, Vietnam, War OF Terror, assassinations, coups, sanctions, Big Pharma, Seeds of Death and Big Agri...and the list goes on and on. Please understand that America is not great and one day all Americans will have to account for what their country did in their name. If you believe in the Divine, then know that their will be a reckoning.

Shemp 4 Victory , 9 hours ago link

The Obama regime was merely a continuation of the Chimpy Bush regime, which was merely a continuation of the Clinton regime, which was merely a continuation of the Pappy Bush regime, which was merely a continuation... etc.

NorwegianPawn , 10 hours ago link

More chinks in the petrodollar armor will be the outcome of this. The credibility of murica is withering away as every day passes. Iraqi pressure upon foreign troops there to leave and/or drawdown further will also make this venture even more difficult to manage.

The Kurds may not be the smartest with regards to picking allies, but even they may by now have learned that sticking to murica any longer will destroy any semblance of hope for any autonomy status whatsoever once the occupants have left. Likewise, the Sunni tribes around this area don't want to become another Pariah group once things revert to normal.

Assad will eventually retake all his territory and this is speeding up the process of eventual reconciliation in Syria.

Fluff The Cat , 10 hours ago link

They've spent far more on these wars than they've made back by stealing other countries' resources. Trillions wasted in exchange for mere billions in profit, to say nothing of the massive loss of life and destruction incurred.

americanreality , 9 hours ago link

Well the profit was privatized while the losses were picked up by the taxpayers. So, success!

G-R-U-N-T , 12 hours ago link

'The below analysis is provided by " Ehsani " -- a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment .'

this quote was my first red flag.

so POTUS outsmarts Erdongan, takes out ISIS leader BAGHDADI along with Erdongan MIT agents meeting with him. sorry, Ehsani, i think your full of sh*t.

CoCosAB , 12 hours ago link

CIA & MOSSAD LLC friends ISIS is just the excuse the american an israeli terrorists used and use in order to keep trying to remove Assad from the Government.

They just can't accept defeat and absolute failure. What's worse than an american/israeli terrorist destroyed ego?!

punjabiraj , 12 hours ago link

All info needs verification. US sources are not trustworthy including anyone where money originates from the usual fake info instigators/ players.

POTUS is so misled by the deep state MIC /CIA/ FBI et al and their willing fake media cohorts that he agreed to give the White Helmets more public money for more fake movies, as has been properly proven and widely reported.

Either they have taken control of his mind with a chip insert or they have got his balls to the knife.

The false flags have been discredited systematically and only a very brainwashed or a very frightened person would believe anything from the same source until after a thorough scourge is proven successfully undertaken.

It is evident that even the last hope department has been got at by the money-power.

If they can do 9/11 and get away with it, as they have, then they will stop at nothing to remain entrenched.

Tiritmenhrta , 13 hours ago link

Where is oil, there has to be ******* US military, business as usual...

looks so real , 12 hours ago link

90% of oil is traded in U.S. dollars if that stops living standards will drop in the U.S.. We dropped from 97% look how bad its now with 7% imagine going down to 50% life would be unlivable here.

Jerzeel , 11 hours ago link

Well US would have to learn to live within their means like other countries who dont have the world reserve currency & petrodollar

americanreality , 9 hours ago link

Exorbitant privilege. Paging Charles DeGaulle..

donkey_shot , 13 hours ago link

...meanwhile, both according to russia today as well as the (otherwise lying rag of a newspaper) guardian , the russian government seems to take a different position to the views expressed here by "a middle east expert".

russian state media is reporting that US troops are in the process of taking control of syrian oil fields in the deir el-zour region and have described such actions as "banditry". the crux of the matter is this: if the US were not actually illegally taking control of Syrian oil, then Russia would not be reporting this. Contrary to western mainstream media, Russian sources have repeatedly shown themselves to be factual.

https://www.rt.com/newsline/471940-lavrov-pompeo-russia-us-syria/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/26/russia-us-troops-syria-oil-isis

surfing another appocalypse , 13 hours ago link

Shame the "withdrawl" from Syria is tainted with "securing the oil". US doesnt need that oil at all. So Orwellian! Unless the Kurds somehow get rights to it.

Arising , 13 hours ago link

Preventing rise of ISIS is likely to entail securing support of the region's Arabs and tribes more than that of the Kurds. This Kurd/Arab issue is yet another reason why President Trump's idea of "securing" the oil for the benefit of the Kurds just doesn't make sense nearly on every level .

Trump is securing the oil not for the Kurds or anything in the middle east- his doing it as a response to the media backlash he received when he announced he's abandoning the Kurds.

donkey_shot , 13 hours ago link

this is nonsense. thinking of the kurds and their interests is the absolutely last thing on trump`s mind: what counts for trump is how he is viewed by his voter base, no more, no less.

[Oct 27, 2019] HARPER TRUTH ABOUT SYRIAN OIL: As is usually the case in theaters of combat, reality on the ground differs widely from the sharp and clear lines that are presented to uninformed outside observers

Oct 27, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

As is usually the case in theaters of combat, reality on the ground differs widely from the sharp and clear lines that are presented to uninformed outside observers. Good case in point is the state of Syrian oil. I am told by a well-informed source that the Syrian Democratic Forces led by the Kurds have been selling much of the oil in northeast Syrian territory they controlled until recently to the Syrian National Oil Company--the Assad government.

Some of that oil has also been sold to the Turks,,,

As we know, in the past, when ISIS controlled some of the Syrian oil, they were trucking it across the border to Turkey and selling it to Erdogan's minions at a steep discount. The SDF has continued doing that.

... ... ...


BraveNewWorld , 27 October 2019 at 01:37 PM

... Those tanker lines that Daesh was running into Turkey were done with the blessing of the US. It was the resistance and in particular Russia that blew all that up.
turcopolier , 27 October 2019 at 01:56 PM
BNW

What Harper meant to say is that some of the oil goes by tanker TRUCK from Turkey to Iran. The oil thus trans-shipped to Iran is sold on as refined product to North Korea. The Turks have been getting it at a very cheap prices from the SDF The Iranians add these products to domestic production shipped east.

Babak Makkinejad -> turcopolier ... , 27 October 2019 at 02:33 PM
So, an oil-swap deal? Just like the currently defunct gas-swap deal that used to obtain between Iran and Turkmenistan a few years back. Kurds and Turks acting like middlemen; how very Middle-eastern!
JP Billen , 27 October 2019 at 03:10 PM
The SDF/SNOC oil deal was negotiated by Russia 18 months ago. The SDF does NOT sell the oil to the SNOC. Under the Russian deal, they get a share of the oil. The rest is turned over to a broker from Raqqa who transports it in tanker trucks to Baniyas and Homs refineries.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Kurds-In-Syria-Share-Oil-With-Government-As-Part-Of-A-Deal.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-s-syria-ally-supplies-oil-to-assads-brokers-11549645073

If any oil is being diverted to Turkey, the it is the Raqqa brokers doing so. They are the reportedly the brokers that used to deliver ISIS oil to Turkey via Erdogan's son-in-law.

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/syriasource/raqqa-and-the-oil-economy-of-isis/

JP Billen -> turcopolier ... , 27 October 2019 at 03:10 PM
... it was a deal negotiated by Russia with full agreement of Assad and his government and the SNOC. My understanding is also that they did not choose the middleman from Raqqa. Apparently he was the only one with tankers and with drivers who had no problem driving through areas controlled by SDF, other areas controlled by SAA, and a few risky areas where Daesh hijackings were a possibility.

[Oct 09, 2019] Epstein Co-Conspirators Named By Accuser; Alleged Pedo Scout Ready To Spill The Beans

Oct 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/09/2019 - 16:45 0 SHARES

Jeffrey Epstein accuser Jennifer Araroz filed an amended complaint Tuesday which names two accomplices in the convicted pedophile's alleged sex-trafficking operation along with more than 20 corporate entities, according to CNN .

While Epstein's alleged 'madam' Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused of actively participating in Epstein's sex crimes, the new complaint asserts that "secretary" Lesley Groff and former executive assistant Cimberly Espinosa "participated with and assisted Epstein in maintaining and protecting his sex trafficking ring, ensuring that approximately three girls a day were made available to him for his sexual pleasure ."

Jennifer Aroz, 14, via NBC News

"The co-conspirators provided organizational support to Epstein's sex trafficking ring, identifying and hiring the recruiters of underage girls for Epstein's sexual pleasure, scheduling appointments with these underage girls for Epstein's sexual pleasure , intimidating potential witnesses to Epstein's sex trafficking operation, and generally providing administrative oversight of his sex trafficking operation and ensuring it remained secret ," the complaint continues.

"He raped me, forcefully raped me" Araoz told NBC News in July. The 32-year-old Epstein accuser says she was 14-years-old when the abuse began. " I was terrified, and I was telling him to stop. 'Please stop,' " Araoz continud.

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

Groff's attorney, Michael Bachner, told CNN "As an executive assistant to Epstein, Lesley worked as part of a professional staff that included in-house attorneys, accountants, an office manager and other office staff."

"Lesley's job included making appointments for Mr. Epstein as directed by him, taking his messages, and setting up high-level meetings with CEOs, business executives, scientists, politicians and celebrities," the statement continues - adding " At no time during Lesley's employment with Epstein did she ever engage in any misconduct. "

Also included in the complaint are the executors of Epstein's estate (one of whom was reportedly seen removing a bag of items the day after Epstein's death).

In August, Araoz told reporters that her abuse at the hands of Epstein and his enablers "robbed me of my youth, my identity, my innocence, my self-worth."

Brunel ready to talk

On Monday, an attorney for Epstein's former confidant, business partner, and model scout Jean-Luc-Brenel says he's ready to talk to authorities, according to the Telegraph .

Brunel and Ghislaine Maxwell (via the Daily Mail)

The Paris prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation in August into any possible Epstein victims in its territory, and Mr Brunel is of potential interest to investigators.

Last month police searched Karin Models, which Mr Brunel founded.

In court filings, Virginia Guiffre, a long-time accuser of Epstein, claimed teenage girls were brought to the US by Brunel and were "farmed out" by him to have sex with Epstein . Ms Guiffre also claims she was forced to have sex with Brunel several times. Brunel denies both allegations.

His lawyer Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt said Mr Brunel "firmly contests accusations in the press" and "will reserve his statements for justice officials."

On Monday Ms Dreyfus-Schmidt, said that her client has notified the Paris prosecutor's office that he is at the disposition of judicial officials. - Telegraph

According to Epstein accuser Virgina Giuffre Roberts, Brunel "would bring young girls (ranging to ages as young as twelve) to the United States for sexual purposes and farm them out to his friends, especially Epstein."

"Brunel would offer the girls "modeling" jobs. Many of the girls came from poor countries or impoverished backgrounds, and he lured them in with a promise of making good money."

Illustration via the Daily Beast

In the 1980s Brunel was featured in a 60 Minutes expose after having gained a reputation for sleeping with many of his underage models. His name was prominently featured in a series of phone messages recovered from trash pulls of Epstein's mansion.

[Sep 25, 2019] Trump should be impeached not for his Ukrainian call but for Venezuela regime change efforts

Notable quotes:
"... Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions." ..."
"... The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. ' ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

brian , Sep 25 2019 22:01 utc | 70

He should be impeached. His latest outrage:

'US President Donald Trump has moved to suspend Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's senior officials, relatives, and others who receive financial benefits from entering into the US in Wednesday press release from the White House.

Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions."

The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. '

Trumps Suspends US Entry for Iranian, Venezuelan Government Officials - Sputnik International

[Sep 25, 2019] After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop.

Notable quotes:
"... One of the reasons that I doubt Biden's version of the story stems from my experience in Venezuela. After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop. The names of CIA on the Board of Directors were not just ordinary CIA, but were recognizable figures at the very top. ..."
"... To me this is entirely plausible. Control of oil is critical to US global hegemony. And what better way to control foreign oil than to have trusted American asset sit on the BOD? ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 25, 2019 at 03:45 PM

One of the reasons that I doubt Biden's version of the story stems from my experience in Venezuela. After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop. The names of CIA on the Board of Directors were not just ordinary CIA, but were recognizable figures at the very top.

To me this is entirely plausible. Control of oil is critical to US global hegemony. And what better way to control foreign oil than to have trusted American asset sit on the BOD?

This brings us to Hunter Biden's appointment to Ukrainian energy giant Burisma. After the coup in 2014, why wouldn't Biden want a trusted asset on the board of the biggest natural gas producer in Ukraine? IOW it was unpublicized standard operating procedure.

[Sep 24, 2019] Have some fun with this imperialist Raguram Rajan: "The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

Sep 24, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Paine , September 14, 2019 at 04:38 PM

Have some fun with raguram

"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

". Meanwhile, the system's multilateral institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, helped countries in dire need of funds, provided they followed the rules."

anne -> Paine ... , September 14, 2019 at 04:43 PM
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-trade-war-damage-by-raghuram-rajan-2019-09

September 5, 2019

The True Toll of the Trade War

Behind the escalating global conflict over trade and technology is a larger breakdown of the postwar rules-based order, which was based on a belief that any country's growth benefits all. Now that China is threatening to compete directly with the United States, support for the system that made that possible has disappeared.
By RAGHURAM G. RAJAN

CHICAGO – Another day, another attack on trade. Why is it that every dispute – whether over intellectual property (IP), immigration, environmental damage, or war reparations – now produces new threats to trade?

For much of the last century, the United States managed and protected the rules-based trading system it created at the end of World War II. That system required a fundamental break from the pre-war environment of mutual suspicion between competing powers. The US urged everyone to see that growth and development for one country could benefit all countries through increased trade and investment.

Under the new dispensation, rules were enacted to constrain selfish behavior and coercive threats by the economically powerful. The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith. Meanwhile, the system's multilateral institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, helped countries in dire need of funds, provided they followed the rules....

likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM
"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy. Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.

Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.

The truth is that the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.

The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)

Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001. In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.

Still as an imperial state that is the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.

I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)

With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)

If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation" phase)

Although currently with unhinged Trump at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run.

In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.

EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.

If Russia allied with China the USA No.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and required devaluation of the dollar.

Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.

Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much.

ilsm -> likbez... , September 15, 2019 at 07:21 AM
"If Russia allied with China the USA No.1 position "........

Think Italy moving into the Axis in 1937? Or the Soviet German Non Aggression Pact. Nuclear weapons removes the incentive for large "rearmaments" or not?

Would the Britain to France 1938 relationship describe the US to EU? Thinking in 1939 (1914?) terms Europe is less stitched together than in 1936.

ilsm -> Paine ... , September 14, 2019 at 06:43 PM
"Beliefs" must be sustained by trust and justice... Which are clearly missing in the US' sacred cold war and post history "postwar rules-based order".

[Sep 22, 2019] Would anyone care to imagine what would happen to someone on holiday from Iran who got spotted flying a drone around Fort Dietrick or similar?

Notable quotes:
"... Jolie King and Mark Firkin had been arrested relatively recently and charged with espionage. They had been apprehended while flying a drone around a military establishment not far from Tehran. ..."
"... They claim to be innocent civilians who had been flying their drone, taking vids with it and publishing them online in every country they drove through on the overland/sea jaunt from Darwin to London. ..."
"... Although the internet & associated cryptography has likely made such laws irrelevant, I cannot believe that a couple of months ago when the Grace II thing was kicking off any brit or australian could think flying drones around Iranian bases wouldn't get them into trouble. ..."
"... Would anyone care to imagine what would happen to someone on holiday from Iran who got spotted flying a drone around Fort Dietrick or similar? No matter how many posts they had made about doing the same in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama & Mexico. Wouldn't that appear as if it were just cover lest something did go wrong? ..."
"... Well don't her specialties line up closely with another brit educated woman caught teaching local Iranians how to stir trouble online in Iran, one Zaghari-Ratcliffe convicted of espionage after now england PM, then secretary of foreign affairs B Johnson, slipped up and admitted she had been training Iranians, in Iran. ..."
"... This attempt to propagandize the arrests of spies may even succeed I suppose as most people just don't follow this stuff closely enough and the praised to the max western media is unlikely to disabuse them of their ignorance. ..."
"... The ruins of Angkor Wat Cambodia are a sacred place and you are warned that no drones are permitted, but you still are flying your drone and that all females must be fully covered, but you don't care, you just think you are untouchables, but you will fly your drone once too often in a restricted area and be caught. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

in response of how NK treats journalists, Eva Bartlett of Syria fame did a number of reports from NK and she said she had more freedom than in many western countries. As long as you dont show fake propaganda and show the NK'ians in favorable ie real light, they have no problems. They were not asked to take particular shots or taken to particular places but left to do everything themselves.

I remember cops pulling me over for taking pics of barns in south dakota.. Many such events.. I remember cops pulling me over so many times I can write a book on it. Once for having a white bag on the front seat.. For looking too young.. For looking like a car bugler because I was under the dash fixing speaker wires.. For having driving lights on before they had those on cars as standard.. For changing lanes to avoid police.. Free country my testicles..

A User , Sep 14 2019 6:59 utc | 44

I dunno how many have been following the issue of the 'brit-australian' trio who are in custody in Iran, but there are some oddities about these cases which suggest MI6/ ASIS are moronic and barefaced enough to try and propagandise the inevitable result of their own hamfisted stupidity.

No one had heard of Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Jolie King and Mark Firkin a week ago, then John Bolton copped the flick and suddenly australians & englanders are told that Iran has more than British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe slotted up, that two pom/oz types and a genuine Australian were also being held.

Jolie King and Mark Firkin had been arrested relatively recently and charged with espionage. They had been apprehended while flying a drone around a military establishment not far from Tehran.

They claim to be innocent civilians who had been flying their drone, taking vids with it and publishing them online in every country they drove through on the overland/sea jaunt from Darwin to London. Apparently both are University graduates who claim they didn't see the harm in doing what they were doing . . . yeah right, I guess it is possible to be that stupid but it is pretty unlikely. I'm old enough to remember that it wasn't that long ago when going into many of the nations between Oz and Iran with a ghetto blaster that would allow you to record and which had an AM or FM radio receiver would get you into the slammer quick smart.

Although the internet & associated cryptography has likely made such laws irrelevant, I cannot believe that a couple of months ago when the Grace II thing was kicking off any brit or australian could think flying drones around Iranian bases wouldn't get them into trouble.

Would anyone care to imagine what would happen to someone on holiday from Iran who got spotted flying a drone around Fort Dietrick or similar? No matter how many posts they had made about doing the same in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama & Mexico. Wouldn't that appear as if it were just cover lest something did go wrong?

But that is nothing cos up until today we have been told that nothing is known about another woman who has been in prison for a year on 'unknown charges'.

According to today's graun we still don't know the charges, but we do know she is another pom/oz type, Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge-educated academic who we are told:

"The University of Melbourne's website lists Dr Moore-Gilbert on its "Find an expert" page as a lecturer at the university's Asia Institute.

It says she "specializes in Middle Eastern politics, with a particular focus on the Arab Gulf states," and that she had published work on the 2011 Arab uprisings, authoritarian governance, and on the role of new media technologies in political activism."

Well don't her specialties line up closely with another brit educated woman caught teaching local Iranians how to stir trouble online in Iran, one Zaghari-Ratcliffe convicted of espionage after now england PM, then secretary of foreign affairs B Johnson, slipped up and admitted she had been training Iranians, in Iran.

This attempt to propagandize the arrests of spies may even succeed I suppose as most people just don't follow this stuff closely enough and the praised to the max western media is unlikely to disabuse them of their ignorance.

Norwegian , Sep 14 2019 7:36 utc | 46
Peter AU 1 @44
Would anyone care to imagine what would happen to someone on holiday from Iran who got spotted flying a drone around Fort Dietrick or similar? No matter how many posts they had made about doing the same in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama & Mexico. Wouldn't that appear as if it were just cover lest something did go wrong?
They were well aware that using drones could get them into trouble, they said so themselves talking about Cambodia, so in no doubt the same applied to Iran. https://www.instagram.com/p/BngpgAIHqpD/

The ruins of Angkor Wat Cambodia are a sacred place and you are warned that no drones are permitted, but you still are flying your drone and that all females must be fully covered, but you don't care, you just think you are untouchables, but you will fly your drone once too often in a restricted area and be caught.

[Sep 13, 2019] Wallace against the USA neocolonialism

Leopard can't change its spots...
Notable quotes:
"... After he became vice president in 1940, as Roosevelt was increasingly ill, Wallace promoted a new vision for America's role in the world that suggested that rather than playing catch up with the imperial powers, the United States should work with partners to establish a new world order that eliminated militarism, colonialism and imperialism. ..."
"... In diplomacy, Wallace imagined a multi-polar world founded on the United Nations Charter with a focus on peaceful cooperation. In contrast, in 1941 Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, had called for an 'American century,' suggesting that victory in war would allow the United States to "exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." ..."
"... Foreign aid for Wallace was not a tool to foster economic dominance as it was to become, but rather "economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries." He held high "the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas." He saw the key policy for the United States to be based on "the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system." ..."
"... The United States should be emulating China, its Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Common Destiny, as a means of revitalizing its political culture and kicking its addiction to a neo-colonial concept of economic development and growth. Rather than relying on militarization and its attendant wars to spark the economy, progressives should demand that the US work in conjunction with nations such as China and Russia in building a sustainable future rather than creating one failed state after another. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Stephen M , September 10, 2019 at 15:14

This is as good a time as any to point to an alternative vision of foreign policy. One based on the principle of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and, above all, international law. One based on peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation. A vision of the world at peace and undivided by arbitrary distinctions. Such a world is possible and even though there are currently players around the world who are striving in that direction we need look no further than our own history for inspiration. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one Henry A. Wallace, for your consideration.

(The following excerpts from an article by Dr. Dennis Etler. Link to the full article provided below.) --

The highest profile figure who articulated an alternative vision for American foreign policy was the politician Henry Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1944 and ran for president in 1948 as the candidate of the Progressive Party.

After he became vice president in 1940, as Roosevelt was increasingly ill, Wallace promoted a new vision for America's role in the world that suggested that rather than playing catch up with the imperial powers, the United States should work with partners to establish a new world order that eliminated militarism, colonialism and imperialism.

Wallace gave a speech in 1942 that declared a "Century of the Common Man." He described a post-war world that offered "freedom from want," a new order in which ordinary citizens, rather than the rich and powerful, would play a decisive role in politics.

That speech made direct analogy between the Second World War and the Civil War, suggesting that the Second World War was being fought to end economic slavery and to create a more equal society. Wallace demanded that the imperialist powers like Britain and France give up their colonies at the end of the war.

In diplomacy, Wallace imagined a multi-polar world founded on the United Nations Charter with a focus on peaceful cooperation. In contrast, in 1941 Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, had called for an 'American century,' suggesting that victory in war would allow the United States to "exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit."

Wallace responded to Luce with a demand to create a world in which "no nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism." Wallace took the New Deal global. His foreign policy was to be based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Sadly, since then, despite occasional efforts to head in a new direction, the core constituency for US foreign policy has been corporations, rather than the "common man" either in the United States, or the other nations of the world, and United States foreign relations have been dominated by interference in the political affairs of other nations. As a result the military was transformed from an "arsenal for democracy" during the Second World War into a defender of privilege at home and abroad afterwards.

-- -
Foreign aid for Wallace was not a tool to foster economic dominance as it was to become, but rather "economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries." He held high "the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas." He saw the key policy for the United States to be based on "the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system."

--

Wallace's legacy suggests that it is possible to put forth a vision of an honest internationalism in US foreign policy that is in essence American. His approach was proactive not reactive. It would go far beyond anything Democrats propose today, who can only suggest that the United States should not start an unprovoked war with Iran or North Korea, but who embrace sanctions and propagandist reports that demonize those countries.

Rather than ridiculing Trump's overtures to North Korea, they should go further to reduce tensions between the North and the South by pushing for the eventual withdrawal of troops from South Korea and Japan (a position fully in line with Wallace and many other politicians of that age).
Rather than demonizing and isolating Russia (as a means to score political points against Trump), progressives should call for a real détente, that recognizes Russia's core interests, proposes that NATO withdraw troops from Russia's borders, ends sanctions and reintegrates Russia into the greater European economy. They could even call for an end to NATO and the perpetuation of the dangerous global rift between East and West that it perpetuates.
Rather than attempt to thwart China's rise, and attack Trump for not punishing it enough, progressives should seek to create new synergies between China and the US economically, politically and socioculturally.
-- -
In contrast to the US policy of perpetual war and "destroying nations in order to save them," China's BRI proposes an open plan for development that is not grounded in the models of French and British imperialism. It has proposed global infrastructure and science projects that include participants from nations in Africa, Asia, South and Central America previously ignored by American and European elites -- much as Wallace proposed an equal engagement with Latin America. When offering developmental aid and investment China does not demand that free market principles be adopted or that the public sector be privatized and opened up for global investment banks to ravish.
--
The United States should be emulating China, its Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Common Destiny, as a means of revitalizing its political culture and kicking its addiction to a neo-colonial concept of economic development and growth. Rather than relying on militarization and its attendant wars to spark the economy, progressives should demand that the US work in conjunction with nations such as China and Russia in building a sustainable future rather than creating one failed state after another.

Link to the full article provided below.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/henry-wallaces-internationalism-path-american-foreign-policy-could-have-taken-still-can/5683683

[Sep 10, 2019] Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End by Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik

Highly recommended!
This is a Marxist critique of neoliberalism. Not necessary right but they his some relevant points.
Notable quotes:
"... The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. ..."
"... The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. ..."
"... While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand. ..."
"... The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5 ..."
"... This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis. ..."
"... The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6 ..."
"... If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment. ..."
"... The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market ..."
"... In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people ..."
"... In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. ..."
"... The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support. ..."
"... The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism. ..."
"... And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more. ..."
"... Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
Originally from: Monthly Review printer friendly
The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop.

Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism is a classic work that shows how postwar political decolonization does not negate the phenomenon of imperialism. The book has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it follows in V. I. Lenin's footsteps in providing a comprehensive account of how capitalism at the time operated globally. On the other hand, it raises a question that is less frequently discussed in Marxist literature -- namely, the need for imperialism. Here, Magdoff not only highlighted the crucial importance, among other things, of the third world's raw materials for metropolitan capital, but also refuted the argument that the declining share of raw-material value in gross manufacturing output somehow reduced this importance, making the simple point that there can be no manufacturing at all without raw materials. 1

Magdoff's focus was on a period when imperialism was severely resisting economic decolonization in the third world, with newly independent third world countries taking control over their own resources. He highlighted the entire armory of weapons used by imperialism. But he was writing in a period that predated the onset of neoliberalism. Today, we not only have decades of neoliberalism behind us, but the neoliberal regime itself has reached a dead end. Contemporary imperialism has to be discussed within this setting.

Globalization and Economic Crisis

There are two reasons why the regime of neoliberal globalization has run into a dead end. The first is an ex ante tendency toward global overproduction; the second is that the only possible counter to this tendency within the regime is the formation of asset-price bubbles, which cannot be conjured up at will and whose collapse, if they do appear, plunges the economy back into crisis. In short, to use the words of British economic historian Samuel Berrick Saul, there are no "markets on tap" for contemporary metropolitan capitalism, such as had been provided by colonialism prior to the First World War and by state expenditure in the post-Second World War period of dirigisme . 2

The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. As Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy argued in Monopoly Capital , following the lead of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, such a rise in the share of economic surplus, or a shift from wages to surplus, has the effect of reducing aggregate demand since the ratio of consumption to income is higher on average for wage earners than for those living off the surplus. 3 Therefore, assuming a given level of investment associated with any period, such a shift would tend to reduce consumption demand and hence aggregate demand, output, and capacity utilization. In turn, reduced capacity utilization would lower investment over time, further aggravating the demand-reducing effect arising from the consumption side.

While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand.

Historically, while labor has not been, and is still not, free to migrate from the third world to the metropolis, capital, though juridically free to move from the latter to the former, did not actually do so , except to sectors like mines and plantations, which only strengthened, rather than broke, the colonial pattern of the international division of labor. 4 This segmentation of the world economy meant that wages in the metropolis increased with labor productivity, unrestrained by the vast labor reserves of the third world, which themselves had been caused by the displacement of manufactures through the twin processes of deindustrialization (competition from metropolitan goods) and the drain of surplus (the siphoning off of a large part of the economic surplus, through taxes on peasants that are no longer spent on local artisan products but finance gratis primary commodity exports to the metropolis instead).

The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5

At the same time, such relocation of activities, despite causing impressive growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) in many third world countries, does not lead to the exhaustion of the third world's labor reserves. This is because of another feature of contemporary globalization: the unleashing of a process of primitive accumulation of capital against petty producers, including peasant agriculturists in the third world, who had earlier been protected, to an extent, from the encroachment of big capital (both domestic and foreign) by the postcolonial dirigiste regimes in these countries. Under neoliberalism, such protection is withdrawn, causing an income squeeze on these producers and often their outright dispossession from their land, which is then used by big capital for its various so-called development projects. The increase in employment, even in countries with impressive GDP growth rates in the third world, falls way short of the natural growth of the workforce, let alone absorbing the additional job seekers coming from the ranks of displaced petty producers. The labor reserves therefore never get used up. Indeed, on the contrary, they are augmented further, because real wages continue to remain tied to a subsistence level, even as metropolitan wages too are restrained. The vector of real wages in the world economy as a whole therefore remains restrained.

Although contemporary globalization thus gives rise to an ex ante tendency toward overproduction, state expenditure that could provide a counter to this (and had provided a counter through military spending in the United States, according to Baran and Sweezy) can no longer do so under the current regime. Finance is usually opposed to direct state intervention through larger spending as a way of increasing employment. This opposition expresses itself through an opposition not just to larger taxes on capitalists, but also to a larger fiscal deficit for financing such spending. Obviously, if larger state spending is financed by taxes on workers, then it hardly adds to aggregate demand, for workers spend the bulk of their incomes anyway, so the state taking this income and spending it instead does not add any extra demand. Hence, larger state spending can increase employment only if it is financed either through a fiscal deficit or through taxes on capitalists who keep a part of their income unspent or saved. But these are precisely the two modes of financing state expenditure that finance capital opposes.

Its opposing larger taxes on capitalists is understandable, but why is it so opposed to a larger fiscal deficit? Even within a capitalist economy, there are no sound economic theoretical reasons that should preclude a fiscal deficit under all circumstances. The root of the opposition therefore lies in deeper social considerations: if the capitalist economic system becomes dependent on the state to promote employment directly , then this fact undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism. The need for the state to boost the animal spirits of the capitalists disappears and a perspective on the system that is epistemically exterior to it is provided to the people, making it possible for them to ask: If the state can do the job of providing employment, then why do we need the capitalists at all? It is an instinctive appreciation of this potential danger that underlies the opposition of capital, especially of finance, to any direct effort by the state to generate employment.

This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis.

The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6

It may be thought that this compulsion on the part of the state to accede to the demand of finance to eschew fiscal intervention for enlarging employment should not hold for the United States. Its currency being considered by the world's wealth holders to be "as good as gold" should make it immune to capital flight. But there is an additional factor operating in the case of the United States: that the demand generated by a bigger U.S. fiscal deficit would substantially leak abroad in a neoliberal setting, which would increase its external debt (since, unlike Britain in its heyday, it does not have access to any unrequited colonial transfers) for the sake of generating employment elsewhere. This fact deters any fiscal effort even in the United States to boost demand within a neoliberal setting. 7

Therefore, it follows that state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization, which makes the world economy precariously dependent on occasional asset-price bubbles, primarily in the U.S. economy, for obtaining, at best, some temporary relief from the crisis. It is this fact that underlies the dead end that neoliberal capitalism has reached. Indeed, Donald Trump's resort to protectionism in the United States to alleviate unemployment is a clear recognition of the system having reached this cul-de-sac. The fact that the mightiest capitalist economy in the world has to move away from the rules of the neoliberal game in an attempt to alleviate its crisis of unemployment/underemployment -- while compensating capitalists adversely affected by this move through tax cuts, as well as carefully ensuring that no restraints are imposed on free cross-border financial flows -- shows that these rules are no longer viable in their pristine form.

Some Implications of This Dead End

There are at least four important implications of this dead end of neoliberalism. The first is that the world economy will now be afflicted by much higher levels of unemployment than it was in the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, when the dot-com and the housing bubbles in the United States had, sequentially, a pronounced impact. It is true that the U.S. unemployment rate today appears to be at a historic low, but this is misleading: the labor-force participation rate in the United States today is lower than it was in 2008, which reflects the discouraged-worker effect . Adjusting for this lower participation, the U.S. unemployment rate is considerable -- around 8 percent. Indeed, Trump would not be imposing protection in the United States if unemployment was actually as low as 4 percent, which is the official figure. Elsewhere in the world, of course, unemployment post-2008 continues to be evidently higher than before. Indeed, the severity of the current problem of below-full-employment production in the U.S. economy is best illustrated by capacity utilization figures in manufacturing. The weakness of the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession is indicated by the fact that the current extended recovery represents the first decade in the entire post-Second World War period in which capacity utilization in manufacturing has never risen as high as 80 percent in a single quarter, with the resulting stagnation of investment. 8

If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment.

There has been some discussion on how global value chains would be affected by Trump's protectionism. But the fact that global macroeconomics in the early twenty-first century will look altogether different compared to earlier has not been much discussed.

In light of the preceding discussion, one could say that if, instead of individual nation-states whose writ cannot possibly run against globalized finance capital, there was a global state or a set of major nation-states acting in unison to override the objections of globalized finance and provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy, then perhaps there could be recovery. Such a coordinated fiscal stimulus was suggested by a group of German trade unionists, as well as by John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 9 While it was turned down then, in the present context it has not even been discussed.

The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market.

Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts. For smaller economies, it would also require their coming together with other economies to provide a minimum size to the domestic market. In short, the dead end of neoliberalism also means the need for a shift away from the so-called neoliberal development strategy that has held sway until now.

The third implication is the imminent engulfing of a whole range of third world economies in serious balance-of-payments difficulties. This is because, while their exports will be sluggish in the new situation, this very fact will also discourage financial inflows into their economies, whose easy availability had enabled them to maintain current account deficits on their balance of payments earlier. In such a situation, within the existing neoliberal paradigm, they would be forced to adopt austerity measures that would impose income deflation on their people, make the conditions of their people significantly worse, lead to a further handing over of their national assets and resources to international capital, and prevent precisely any possible transition to an alternative strategy of home market-based growth.

In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people.

The fourth implication is the worldwide upsurge of fascism. Neoliberal capitalism even before it reached a dead end, even in the period when it achieved reasonable growth and employment rates, had pushed the world into greater hunger and poverty. For instance, the world per-capita cereal output was 355 kilograms for 1980 (triennium average for 1979–81 divided by mid–triennium population) and fell to 343 in 2000, leveling at 344.9 in 2016 -- and a substantial amount of this last figure went into ethanol production. Clearly, in a period of growth of the world economy, per-capita cereal absorption should be expanding, especially since we are talking here not just of direct absorption but of direct and indirect absorption, the latter through processed foods and feed grains in animal products. The fact that there was an absolute decline in per-capita output, which no doubt caused a decline in per-capita absorption, suggests an absolute worsening in the nutritional level of a substantial segment of the world's population.

But this growing hunger and nutritional poverty did not immediately arouse any significant resistance, both because such resistance itself becomes more difficult under neoliberalism (since the very globalization of capital makes it an elusive target) and also because higher GDP growth rates provided a hope that distress might be overcome in the course of time. Peasants in distress, for instance, entertained the hope that their children would live better in the years to come if given a modicum of education and accepted their fate.

In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. This changes the discourse away from the material conditions of people's lives to the so-called threat to the nation, placing the blame for people's distress not on the failure of the system, but on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups, the other that is portrayed as an enemy. It projects a so-called messiah whose sheer muscularity can somehow magically overcome all problems; it promotes a culture of unreason so that both the vilification of the other and the magical powers of the supposed leader can be placed beyond any intellectual questioning; it uses a combination of state repression and street-level vigilantism by fascist thugs to terrorize opponents; and it forges a close relationship with big business, or, in Kalecki's words, "a partnership of big business and fascist upstarts." 10

Fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.

This last point may appear odd at first, since many see the big bourgeoisie's recourse to fascism as a counter to the growth of the left's strength in the context of a capitalist crisis. But when the left poses a serious threat, the response of the big bourgeoisie typically is to attempt to split it by offering concessions. It uses fascism to prop itself up only when the left is weakened. Walter Benjamin's remark that "behind every fascism there is a failed revolution" points in this direction.

Fascism Then and Now

Contemporary fascism, however, differs in crucial respects from its 1930s counterpart, which is why many are reluctant to call the current phenomenon a fascist upsurge. But historical parallels, if carefully drawn, can be useful. While in some aforementioned respects contemporary fascism does resemble the phenomenon of the 1930s, there are serious differences between the two that must also be noted.

First, we must note that while the current fascist upsurge has put fascist elements in power in many countries, there are no fascist states of the 1930s kind as of yet. Even if the fascist elements in power try to push the country toward a fascist state, it is not clear that they will succeed. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that fascists in power today cannot overcome the crisis of neoliberalism, since they accept the regime of globalization of finance. This includes Trump, despite his protectionism. In the 1930s, however, this was not the case. The horrors associated with the institution of a fascist state in the 1930s had been camouflaged to an extent by the ability of the fascists in power to overcome mass unemployment and end the Depression through larger military spending, financed by government borrowing. Contemporary fascism, by contrast, lacks the ability to overcome the opposition of international finance capital to fiscal activism on the part of the government to generate larger demand, output, and employment, even via military spending.

Such activism, as discussed earlier, required larger government spending financed either through taxes on capitalists or through a fiscal deficit. Finance capital was opposed to both of these measures and it being globalized made this opposition decisive . The decisiveness of this opposition remains even if the government happens to be one composed of fascist elements. Hence, contemporary fascism, straitjacketed by "fiscal rectitude," cannot possibly alleviate even temporarily the economic crises facing people and cannot provide any cover for a transition to a fascist state akin to the ones of the 1930s, which makes such a transition that much more unlikely.

Another difference is also related to the phenomenon of the globalization of finance. The 1930s were marked by what Lenin had earlier called "interimperialist rivalry." The military expenditures incurred by fascist governments, even though they pulled countries out of the Depression and unemployment, inevitably led to wars for "repartitioning an already partitioned world." Fascism was the progenitor of war and burned itself out through war at, needless to say, great cost to humankind.

Contemporary fascism, however, operates in a world where interimperialist rivalry is far more muted. Some have seen in this muting a vindication of Karl Kautsky's vision of an "ultraimperialism" as against Lenin's emphasis on the permanence of interimperialist rivalry, but this is wrong. Both Kautsky and Lenin were talking about a world where finance capital and the financial oligarchy were essentially national -- that is, German, French, or British. And while Kautsky talked about the possibility of truces among the rival oligarchies, Lenin saw such truces only as transient phenomena punctuating the ubiquity of rivalry.

In contrast, what we have today is not nation-based finance capitals, but international finance capital into whose corpus the finance capitals drawn from particular countries are integrated. This globalized finance capital does not want the world to be partitioned into economic territories of rival powers ; on the contrary, it wants the entire globe to be open to its own unrestricted movement. The muting of rivalry between major powers, therefore, is not because they prefer truce to war, or peaceful partitioning of the world to forcible repartitioning, but because the material conditions themselves have changed so that it is no longer a matter of such choices. The world has gone beyond both Lenin and Kautsky, as well as their debates.

Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity , which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well. And whether the fascist elements are in or out of power, they will remain a potent force working toward the fascification of the society and the polity, even while promoting corporate interests within a regime of globalization of finance, and hence permanently maintaining the "partnership between big business and fascist upstarts."

Put differently, since the contemporary fascist upsurge is not likely to burn itself out as the earlier one did, it has to be overcome by transcending the very conjuncture that produced it: neoliberal capitalism at a dead end. A class mobilization of working people around an alternative set of transitional demands that do not necessarily directly target neoliberal capitalism, but which are immanently unrealizable within the regime of neoliberal capitalism, can provide an initial way out of this conjuncture and lead to its eventual transcendence.

Such a class mobilization in the third world context would not mean making no truces with liberal bourgeois elements against the fascists. On the contrary, since the liberal bourgeois elements too are getting marginalized through a discourse of jingoistic nationalism typically manufactured by the fascists, they too would like to shift the discourse toward the material conditions of people's lives, no doubt claiming that an improvement in these conditions is possible within the neoliberal economic regime itself. Such a shift in discourse is in itself a major antifascist act . Experience will teach that the agenda advanced as part of this changed discourse is unrealizable under neoliberalism, providing the scope for dialectical intervention by the left to transcend neoliberal capitalism.

Imperialist Interventions

Even though fascism will have a lingering presence in this conjuncture of "neoliberalism at a dead end," with the backing of domestic corporate-financial interests that are themselves integrated into the corpus of international finance capital, the working people in the third world will increasingly demand better material conditions of life and thereby rupture the fascist discourse of jingoistic nationalism (that ironically in a third world context is not anti-imperialist).

In fact, neoliberalism reaching a dead end and having to rely on fascist elements revives meaningful political activity, which the heyday of neoliberalism had precluded, because most political formations then had been trapped within an identical neoliberal agenda that appeared promising. (Latin America had a somewhat different history because neoliberalism arrived in that continent through military dictatorships, not through its more or less tacit acceptance by most political formations.)

Such revived political activity will necessarily throw up challenges to neoliberal capitalism in particular countries. Imperialism, by which we mean the entire economic and political arrangement sustaining the hegemony of international finance capital, will deal with these challenges in at least four different ways.

The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support.

Even if capital controls are put in place, where there are current account deficits, financing such deficits would pose a problem, necessitating some trade controls. But this is where the second instrument of imperialism comes into play: the imposition of trade sanctions by the metropolitan states, which then cajole other countries to stop buying from the sanctioned country that is trying to break away from thralldom to globalized finance capital. Even if the latter would have otherwise succeeded in stabilizing its economy despite its attempt to break away, the imposition of sanctions becomes an additional blow.

The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism.

And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more.

Two aspects of such intervention are striking. One is the virtual unanimity among the metropolitan states, which only underscores the muting of interimperialist rivalry in the era of hegemony of global finance capital. The other is the extent of support that such intervention commands within metropolitan countries, from the right to even the liberal segments.

Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it.

Notes
  1. Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
  2. Samuel Berrick Saul, Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870–1914 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960).
  3. Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
  4. One of the first authors to recognize this fact and its significance was Paul Baran in The Political Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957).
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, " Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery ," New York Times , January 19, 2013.
  6. For a discussion of how even the recent euphoria about U.S. growth is vanishing, see C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, " Vanishing Green Shoots and the Possibility of Another Crisis ," The Hindu Business Line , April 8, 2019.
  7. For the role of such colonial transfers in sustaining the British balance of payments and the long Victorian and Edwardian boom, see Utsa Patnaik, "Revisiting the 'Drain,' or Transfers from India to Britain in the Context of Global Diffusion of Capitalism," in Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri , ed. Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika, 2017), 277-317.
  8. Federal Reserve Board of Saint Louis Economic Research, FRED, "Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing," February 2019 (updated March 27, 2019), http://fred.stlouisfed.org .
  9. This issue is discussed by Charles P. Kindleberger in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 , 40th anniversary ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2013).
  10. Michał Kalecki, " Political Aspects of Full Employment ," Political Quarterly (1943), available at mronline.org.
  11. Joseph Schumpeter had seen Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace as essentially advocating such state intervention in the new situation. See his essay, "John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)," in Ten Great Economists (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952).

Utsa Patnaik is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her books include Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), The Long Transition (1999), and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). Prabhat Patnaik is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Value of Money(2009), and Re-envisioning Socialism(2011).

[Sep 10, 2019] How Deep Is the Rot in America s Institutions by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
The question why the USA intelligence agencies were "unaware" about Epstein activities is an interesting one. Similar question can be asked about Hillary "activities" related to "Clinton cash".
Actually the way the USA elite deal with scandals is to ostracize any whistleblower and silence any media that tryt to dig the story. Open repression including physical elimination is seldom used those days as indirect methods are quite effective.
Notable quotes:
"... Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. ..."
"... If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken." ..."
"... America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy. ..."
"... Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America's key public and private institutions? It's difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken."

If this all strikes you as evidence that America's security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that's above reproach, then 1) you're a well-paid shill who's protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America's ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who've exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.

Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.

The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.

... ... ...

Here are America's media, law enforcement/security agencies and "leadership" class: they speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil, in the misguided belief that their misdirection, self-service and protection of the guilty will make us buy the narrative that America's ruling elite and all the core institutions they manage aren't rotten to the foundations.

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

[Sep 08, 2019] Kidnapping as a tool of imperial statecraft by The Saker

Sep 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

There is nothing new about empires taking hostages and using them to put pressure on whatever rebel group needs to reminded "who is boss". The recent arrest in Italy of Alexander Korshunov , the director for business development at Russia's United Engine Corporation (UEC), is really nothing new but just the latest in a long string of kidnappings. And, as I already mentioned in distant 2017 , that kind of thuggery is not a sign of strength but, in fact, a sign of weakness. Remember Michael Ledeen's immortal words about how "" Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business "? Well, you could say that this latest spat of kidnappings is indicative of the same mindset and goal, just on a much smaller, individual, scale. And, finally, it ain't just Russia, we all know about the kidnapping of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian authorities .

By the way, you might wonder how can I speak of "kidnapping" when, in reality, these were legal arrests made by the legitimate authorities of the countries in which these arrests were made? Simple! As I mentioned last week , words matter and to speak of an "arrest" in this case wrongly suggest that 1) some crime was committed (when in reality there is ZERO evidence of that, hence the talk of "conspiracy" to do something illegal) 2) that this crime was investigated and that the authorities have gathered enough evidence to justify an arrest and 3) that the accused will have a fair trial. None of that applies to the cases of Viktor Bout , Konstantin Iaroshenko , Marina Butina or, for that matter, Meng Wanzhou or Wang Weijing . The truth is that these so-called "arrests" are simple kidnappings, the goal is hostage taking with the goal to either 1) try to force Russia (and China) to yield to US demands or 2) try to "get back" at Russia (and China) following some humiliating climb down by the US Administration (this was also the real reason behind the uncivilized seizure of Russian diplomatic buildings in the USA).

This is not unlike what the Gestapo and the SS liked to do during WWII and their kidnapping of hostages was also called "arrest" by the then state propaganda machine. By the way, the Bolsheviks also did a lot of that during the civil war, but on a much larger scale. In reality, both in the case of the Nazi authorities and in the case of the imperial USA, as soon as a person is arrested he/she is subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of psychological torture (Manning or Assange anybody?!) in order to either make them break or to at least show Russia and China that the US, being the World Hegemon gets to seize anybody worldwide, be it by a CIA kidnapping team or by using local colonial law enforcement authorities (aka local police forces).

US politicians love to "send messages" and this metaphor is used on a daily basis by US officials in all sorts of circumstances. Here the message is simple: we can do whatever the hell we want, and there ain't nothing you can do about it!

But is that last statement really true?

Well, in order to reply to this we should look at the basic options available to Russia (this also applies to China, but here I want to focus on the Russian side of the issue). I guess the basic list of options is pretty straightforward:

Publicly protest and denounce these kidnappings as completely illegal (and immoral to boot!) Retaliate by using legal means (sanctions, cancellation of agreements, etc.) Retaliate by using extra-legal means (counter-kidnappings, not unlike what China allegedly decided to do in the case of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor )

Frankly, in the case of the USA, options one and two are useless: the AngloZionist leaders have long given up any hope of not being hated and despised by 99% of mankind and they have long dropped any pretense of legality, nevermind morality: they don't give a damn what anybody thinks. Their main concern is to conceal their immense weakness, but they fail to do so time and time again. Truly, when wannabe "empires" can't even bring an extremely weakened country such as Venezuela to heel, there ain't much they can do to boot their credibility. If anything, this thuggery is nothing more than the evidence of a mind-blowing weakness of the Empire.

But that weakness in no way implies that Russia and China have good options. Sadly, they don't.

Russia can engage in various types of sanctions, ranging from the petty bureaucratic harassment of US representations, diplomats, businessmen and the like to economic and political retaliations. But let's not kid ourselves, there is very little Russia can do to seriously hurt the USA with such retaliations. Many would advocate retaliation in kind, but that poses a double problem for the Kremlin:

some are more equal than others " and that that which is "allowed" to the World Hegemon is categorically forbidden to everybody else. Thus if Russia retaliates in kind, there will be an explosion of hysterical protests not only by the western legacy corporate and state ziomedia, but also from the 5 th columnist in the Russian "liberal" press.

And yes, unlike the USA, Russia does have a vibrant, diverse and pluralistic media and each time when Putin agrees to a press conference (especially one several hours long) he knows that he will be asked the tough, unpleasant, questions. But since he, unlike most western leaders, can intelligently answer them he does not fear them. As for Dmitrii Peskov and Maria Zakharova, they have heard it all a gazillion during the past years, including often the most ridiculously biased, mis-informed and outright ridiculous "questions" (accusations, really) from the western presstitute corps in Russia.

So yes, Russia could, in theory, retaliate by arresting US citizens in Russia (or by staging Cold War type provocations) or by kidnapping them abroad (Russia does have special forces trained for this kind of operation). But this is most unlikely to yield any meaningful results and it would create a PR nightmare for the Kremlin.

ORDER IT NOW

The truth is that in most of these cases we always come down to the fundamental dichotomy: on one hand we have a rogue state gone bonkers with imperial hubris, arrogance and crass ignorance (say, the USA and/or Israel) while on the other we have states which try to uphold a civilized international order (Russia, China, Iran, etc.). This is by logical necessity a lop-sided struggle in which the thugs will almost always have the advantage.

Kevin Frost , says: September 7, 2019 at 12:05 pm GMT

I see that not everyone believes in an eye for an eye. Bless your religion sir. If I had the power to call down blessings, which I don't, I'd have to make that a double order. You are twice blessed for saying, out loud, publicly and all, that the Soviet Union did not fall, nor did anyone push it over. It was not about the price of oil or the cost of wheat or even the darkness that lurks in the depths of mens souls. It was dismantled by its own chief executive officers and it fell apart precisely because its officials still did their jobs. People have all sorts of strong feelings about this, understandably so, yet is it well to stick to the truth. I agree with you on this matter thought it's difficult to endure such provocative and insulting evils. In past struggles with Europe, Russia has proven itself capable and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve its aims. A determined stance on the part of the leaders puts a burden on the people. But as well, it empowers them to. In this way they succeed.
renfro , says: September 8, 2019 at 4:37 am GMT
Captain Hook to Captain Kumar of the runaway oil tanker lol peter pan clowns running the State Department.

"This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran," Mr Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by the Financial Times. "I am writing with good news."

"With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age," Mr Hook wrote in a second email to Mr Kumar that also included a warning. "If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you."

[Sep 04, 2019] Jean-Luc Brunel is Jewish. He had a nasty reputation for drugging young women and raping them once they became helpless

Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Flo , says: September 3, 2019 at 5:33 pm GMT

@utu Jean-Luc Brunel is Jewish. He had a nasty reputation for drugging young women and raping them once they became helpless. His "modeling agency" had offices in Paris, N.Y., and Tel Aviv. He's in Israel right now, laying low.

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epstein by Mr. Barr's father? Or of the father's own Establishment background?

I hope to be wrong, but my own hunch is that these investigations, like the parallel investigations of the RussiaGate hoax, will leave the elite unscathed. I also hope that in the meantime we see more rigorous columns here than this one.

Miro23 , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

...Also, subsequently, it should have been a top priority to arrest Ghislaine Maxwell but the government, justice and media lack interest . Apparently, they don't know where she is, and they're not making any special efforts to find out.

Sick of Orcs , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein had no "dead man's switch" which would release what he knew to media? C'mon! This is basic Villainy 101.

[Aug 28, 2019] why Magnier isn't using his platform to point out Netanyahu's irresponsible, self-serving actions. Netanyahu will NOT pay a price for his craven machinations - which could mean Israeli dead and injured and/or another war in Lebanon - when even "critics" like Magnier dress them up as heroic acts of patriotism

Notable quotes:
"... etanyahu bet the farm on Trump and Trump failed to deliver. They were countered at every turn by patient and scrupulous opponents who read the board better and didn't respond muscularly to repeated provocations. They let events come to them and waited for the moment of over-commitment. ..."
"... "Iraqi Intelligence: 'The Israeli drones that have been attacking our nation in the past few weeks are operating out of a base in YPG/SDF held areas in Syria and these operations are co-financed by Saudi Arabia. Israeli military personnel are on the ground in Northern Syria.'" ..."
Aug 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 26 2019 20:36 utc | 133

Magnier on Nuttyahoo's escalating provocations encapsulates the most recent series of events, although he doesn't attempt to link the actions to the upcoming elections. Hezbollah threatened direct retaliation against Occupied Palestine; Iraq chose to blame the Outlaw US Empire; Syria remained silent; the G-7 said nothing. The recent proposal by Iran to refurbish one pipeline and build another to Syria's coastline would certainly become a Zionist target. So, for the project to have the proper security, Occupied Palestine needs to be liberated. Nasrallah isn't known as a bluffer, while Nuttyahoo's prone to be too aggressive. Do the Zionists see the current situation as possibly the final time they have some sort of an advantage as Magnier seems to imply and attack since they know the Outlaw US Empire won't?

Sasha , Aug 26 2019 20:53 utc | 136

But, in spite of the whole US paleo-conservative spectre, along with "alt-right", always telling us it is Israel who forces the US to wage war in the ME...now, Israeli politics and experts, say the last attacks on Irak, Syria and Lebanon have been made only as electoral maneuver by Netanyahu and not only, but have stated that it is the US who wants Israel doing their dirty job in the ME...This, reported by Al Manar ....not a Jewish source....
In his speech on August 25, the secretary general of Hezbollah made a double promise: the Resistance will now attack the drones of Israel and attack the Israeli troops not in Shebaa but in Lebanon itself. For those Israeli generals who experienced the 2006 war and the ups and downs of Syria, these are not just warnings. These soldiers even seem to have been sensitive to Nasraláh's warning that Netanyahu's attacks are intended to win votes for the next election and avoid imprisonment. "The current threat to Israel, which is even more serious than terrorism, missiles and Iran, is the collapse of the interior of Israel," warned former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

"By the way, Netanyahu's air operations against Syria, Lebanon and Iraq pursue internal political goals, which is very unfortunate", said Moshe Yaalon, a leader of the Blue and White opposition coalition and former Israeli Minister of Military Affairs, according to the agency Palestinian Maa.

"The threat of the collapse of the interior of Israel is even more serious than the missiles and Iran. The destruction of democracy and corruption within government apparatus will lead us to collapse", said Ehud Barak in a video posted on his Twitter page.

"The attack on Syria was not a preventive action and will harm Israel," Barak told Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, having apparently understood the warning issued by Nasralá.

Other Israeli experts share this opinion. Yaari Ehud, an Israeli journalist and expert in the Middle East said on Channel 12 of Israeli television that Netanyahu and his security cabinet "perpetrated these attacks on behalf of the US" and run the risk of "exposing Israel." "In fact, the missions that Americans refuse to do, they entrust them to Israel. We have been commissioned to do the dirty work at the risk of jeopardizing our security, "he added before saying", Tel Aviv will pay for it."

Who is lying? The Israelis or the Americans? Or both?

See here Nasrallah more angry than long time ago...

While Israel claims having targetted an Iranian military base in Damascus, it seems that what it targetted were two milennials from Hezbollah, Hassan and Yasser , friends since childhood, who were also Engineering students in Iran...

Jackrabbit , Aug 27 2019 3:03 utc | 148

karlof1 @133: Magniers latest

Mangier writes a follow-up to his post that I criticized @29. I think that his latest post also falls well short of his vaunted reputation.

Magnier's interpretation of events lauds Netanyahu's chess playing. He compares inconsequential attacks with past strategic actions (almost gleefully as he describes those past glories at some length) .

He makes broad, unsupported statements like:

It should be recognized that Israel's assessment of the reaction of Iran's allies in Syria and Iraq is spot on.
And repeats that Israel is hitting "hundreds" of sites FOUR TIMES. Making it seem as though the Israeli campaign is much greater than it really is. AFAICT those attacks have actually been spread out over more than a year.

Yet it's all preliminary to this gem:

Netanyahu forced Hezbollah's leader to threaten Israel ...
Forced? Really? AFAICT the red lines in Lebanon have been clear for a long time. Each side will defend theirs.

Which leaves me scratching my head as to why Magnier isn't using his platform to point out Netanyahu's irresponsible, self-serving actions. Netanyahu will NOT pay a price for his craven machinations - which could mean Israeli dead and injured and/or another war in Lebanon - when even "critics" like Magnier dress them up as heroic acts of patriotism.

somebody , Aug 27 2019 8:53 utc | 160
Will Israel's War Become America's War?
Netanyahu's widening of Israel's war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq -- and perhaps beyond -- and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both nations.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

bevin , Aug 27 2019 13:03 utc | 167
On a not completely different subject-that of the Empire's demise- there is a Tom Luongo article at Strategic Culture, which is pretty good.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/08/27/first-many-cauldrons-form-middle-east/
It ends
"So, the cauldron around Israel is forming. With the Saudis in deep trouble, Egypt refusing to go along with any of Trump's plans – Arab NATO, the Kushner Deal of the Century – the game board has fundamentally shifted against them.

"N etanyahu bet the farm on Trump and Trump failed to deliver. They were countered at every turn by patient and scrupulous opponents who read the board better and didn't respond muscularly to repeated provocations. They let events come to them and waited for the moment of over-commitment.

"Now the counter attack will commence, I suspect, with brutal precision"

Uncle Jon , Aug 27 2019 17:05 utc | 177
@bevin 167

Elijah Magnier paints a different picture with Israel having the upper hand and being able to act with impunity.

https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/3421-netanyahu-dares-to-hit-iran-backyard.html

I don't quite agree with his assessment and conclusions. He is grossly underestimating the axis of resistance and their will to push back. Also, Israelis are overestimating the American support, no matter what. Not if it is going to cost them American lives. Hitting a few ammo depots in isolation is one thing, but getting Americans to die for Israeli intransigence is another. Not much stomach for that here in US, no matter how much they push the special relationship.

Israelis are playing backgammon while Iran and axis playing chess, being a grandmaster at that. Check mate will be ugly.


dh , Aug 27 2019 17:17 utc | 179
@177 Israel shouldn't take American support for granted. According to this article some Evangelicals are starting to have second thought...

"Why do we have pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ values, and we do not have more freedom to protect our faith? We are persecuted now," Yanko says about evangelical Christians like herself. "[Jews] say, 'We've got America. We control America.' That's what I know."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/anti-semitic-beliefs-spreading-among-192155642.html

karlof1 , Aug 27 2019 20:10 utc | 191
If true, big time trouble :

"Iraqi Intelligence: 'The Israeli drones that have been attacking our nation in the past few weeks are operating out of a base in YPG/SDF held areas in Syria and these operations are co-financed by Saudi Arabia. Israeli military personnel are on the ground in Northern Syria.'"

Is it a feint to get SAA to cease Idlib Dawn and drive the Zionists out, or are Zionist drones really being flown from there? Regardless, it's time to end the Kurd's games, drive out the Outlaw US Empire and all other illegal forces and reclaim Syrian sovereignty. Iraq must do the same.

S , Aug 28 2019 1:20 utc | 227 Jackrabbit , Aug 28 2019 2:11 utc | 228
Well, as if we needed any more proof of a Netanyahu's attempt to increase tensions for craven political benefit, there's Michael Snyder (via ZeroHedge): Fighting Escalates Dramatically As Both Sides Prepare For "The Final War" Between Israel And Iran , in which he claims that:
Over the past several days, Israel has attempted to prevent attacks by Iranian forces and their allies by striking targets in Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq.
Really? AFAIK, Israel hasn't described specific attacks that were thwarted.

Snyder then uses Iraqi and Hezbollah's anger at Israel's acts of war (cause, um ... that's what they are) as examples of pre-crime hatred that justifies Netanyahu's Israel's attacks.

Netanyahu's self-serving deviousness has blown up his face. Hasbara media assets are busy trying to recover the high ground. IMO their attempt to do so will fail miserably as it's transparent and thus digs the hole deeper. Leading to the question: Will Netanyahu accept defeat at the polls or will he continue with the dirty tricks (at the risk of war)?

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The above should be read in conjunction with my criticism of Magnier @29 and @148.

psychohistorian , Aug 28 2019 3:36 utc | 231
@ Jackrabbit #228 about Netanyahu...thanks

I read in the past 24 hours somewhere that Pence has also been speaking about how the US needs to help Israel protect itself from being attacked......

It is way past time to bring the pimple to a head and deal with it.

[Aug 25, 2019] Think about who gets rich off of the Venezuela regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. by Kei Pritsker

Notable quotes:
"... The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaidó spends the money, the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest. ..."
"... The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and U.S.-dominated world. ..."
"... Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones that own the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies. ..."
"... This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by U.S. think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus is as follows: ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.mintpressnews.com

Think about who gets rich off of the Venezuela regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

By Kei Pritsker @keipritsker

9 Comments

https://cdn.jwplayer.com/players/ufxBptWt-YuKiCfZc.html

Transcript -- This video was produced as part of a MintPress News and Grayzone collaboration -- Of all the reasons to plot an elaborate and risky coup, there's one reason that always stands out: profit. Money makes the world go around and in far more ways than we might think. Here are the top five special interest groups and institutions that seek to benefit from the U.S. backed coup in Venezuela.

Number 1: The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which wants to saddle the Venezuelan people with enormous debt to the IMF

The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaidó spends the money, the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest.

The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and U.S.-dominated world.

Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones that own the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies.

This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by U.S. think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus is as follows:

In exchange for a loan, often with a high-interest rate that many would call predatory, the IMF overhauls the protective and redistributive policies of a country for neoliberal policies, making the target country ripe for finance capital investment and profit-making.

Number 2: The Oil Industry, out to control the oil reserves

There's little doubt that the oil industry is pushing the U.S. to overthrow the Maduro government, especially when National Security Advisor John Bolton openly states this on national television.

Bolton was himself once part of the oil industry, serving as the director of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. in 2007. He's no stranger to advocating for the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves by far and Washington won't let that wealth go unexploited, or worse, be shared among its enemies like the Maduro government, Russia, China, or Iran.

And with so many politicians, Republican and Democratic, bought off by industry players -- companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Chevron -- it's impossible to imagine anyone in Washington successfully advocating for Venezuela maintaining ownership over its own sovereign natural resources.

Number 3: The Military-Industrial Complex, working to military dominance and arm another U.S. puppet

One of the most bizarre things about America is that we've created one of the world's largest private industries around arms dealing. And like any industry, whether it be JDAM bombs or beef, private businesses often resort to lobbying Congress to squeeze political favors out of the government in the form of subsidies -- or in the case of the military industrial complex, a foreign policy of endless war, one based on elusive ideas like combating terrorism or defending democracy.

You can see that wherever the U.S. goes, expensive construction projects follow. Behind every multi-billion dollar base construction, some private contractor is there reaping the profits.

Once our military presence is firmly established, the weapons sales begin. And we all know no U.S. ally or puppet state is complete without a full fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s -- then they'll be able to fend off all of those pesky leftist rebels with freedom missiles.

With Venezuela's neighbors, Colombia and Brazil, growing closer to NATO and accepting U.S. military presence in their countries, we can only assume Venezuela is Washington's next target.

As the strategic approach of regime change evolves, new industries arise to meet these needs.

After the massive anti-war protests following the invasion of Iraq, outright invasion and occupation are no longer viable strategies, owing to negative public opinion. So Washington sought to disguise war propaganda using humanitarian rhetoric.

Number 4: "Humanitarian" NGOs to create and implement the alibi

Privately owned NGOs dedicated to human rights and promoting "American style" democracy have played a much larger role in regime-change operations in recent years. They serve as soft-power institutions that attempt to subtly sway a population against its own government through propaganda laced with words like freedom, democracy, and human rights.

These NGOs are given the full blessing of the U.S. government and the two often work in tandem. Don't believe me? Take it from former CIA case officer Phillip Agee.

The US Agency for International Development's (USAID) regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), funded opposition groups in Nicaragua, Venezuela (during the 2002 coup), Haiti, Ukraine, and most recently China and North Korea. And whenever U.S. foreign policy sets its sights on a certain target, private industries usually develop to help meet that goal as well as make a quick buck along the way.

For example, Thor Halvorssen -- the first cousin of Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of Juan Guaidó's party, Popular Will -- calls himself a human-rights activist. He founded the notorious Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and makes a living giving speeches and TV appearances talking about why the governments of Venezuela or North Korea are not legitimate and need to be overthrown.

Unsurprisingly, HRF is funded by the conservative Sarah Scaife Foundation, which is itself funded by think tanks like the top neoconservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Heritage Foundation. HRF is also funded by the Donors Capital Fund and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which are also funded by the American Enterprise Institute. It's one big web of moving money that all leads back to the same cast of characters.

The crisis in Venezuela has been a huge gift for people like Halvorssen, who use the U.S.'s war on Venezuela to promote themselves and their organizations.

Number 5: Think Tanks selling reports that tell the MIC what it wants to hear

Like NGOs, think tanks also play an important role in giving regime change a sense of legitimacy -- in their case, intellectual legitimacy. Think tanks rely on donations to operate and many find willing donors among the capitalist class. These fat cats pay for fancy looking reports meant to justify their desired goal, the delegitimization of socialist governments and the legitimization of coup governments that uphold the Washington Consensus.

The Cato Institute has been deeply involved in overthrowing the Venezuelan government. In 2008, Cato awarded Venezuelan opposition leader, Yon Goicoechea, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty and $500,000 for his role in disrupting a constitutional referendum in Venezuela. That money was used to finance the political rise of Juan Guaidó, and his clique known as Generation 2007.

These seemingly independent research groups have intimate networks that they leverage to amplify the message their donors have given them. Here's an article in the Washington Post written by a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute saying the U.S.'s failure to intervene in Venezuela has caused the Maduro government to destabilize the region.

Whether it was the bank bailouts following the 2008 crisis, or the lack of action on climate disaster, in America it seems the government always puts the interests of the rich ahead of the poor and working class, and the situation in Venezuela is no exception.

As the U.S. continues to attack the Maduro government, keep these special interests in mind. Think about who gets rich off of the regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

Now they're trying to get us to support war in Venezuela. You won't be any freer or more prosperous after the Maduro government is toppled. It's just war propaganda.

Top photo | A worker counts Venezuelan bolivar notes at a parking lot in Caracas, Venezuela May 29, 2018. Marco Bello | Reuters

Kei Pritsker is a journalist and activist located in Washington DC. Kei focuses on international politics and economics. He previously worked as a producer at RT America.

[Aug 21, 2019] Epstein Used Network Of Shell Companies And Associates For Sex-Trafficking Ring, Lawsuits Claim

Aug 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Jeffrey Epstein used his tangled web of shell companies as a "brazen and powerful organization" to operate a sex-trafficking ring, according to three new civil lawsuits filed against his $578 million estate.

The new litigation was filed against the estate, its executors and the shell companies themselves, asking for unspecified damages for medical and psychological expenses, trauma, humiliation and other injuries suffered as recently as 2017, according to Bloomberg .

Among the companies named in all three suits are one that owned Epstein's Manhattan mansion until 2011 ; his money-management firm, Financial Trust Co.; and HBRK Associates Inc., which allegedly helped arrange travel for Epstein's accusers between New York and Florida . A Richard Kahn was listed as the registered agent for HBRK in New York state corporate filings in 2008.

Two of the complaints name as a defendant the company that once owned Little St. James , the smaller of Epstein's private islands in the Caribbean. Little St. James was one of the locations from which Epstein ran a " complex commercial sex trafficking and abuse ring , " according to the lawsuits.

...

The defendants include the executors, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn , lawyers who were directors for a nonprofit Epstein had in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Gratitude America. - Bloomberg

Two of the women, "Katlyn Doe" and "Lisa Doe" claim to have met Epstein when they were seventeen. The third, "Priscilla Doe" says she was 20. The three say Epstein used a " vast enterprise " of associates working "in concert and at his direction, for the purpose of harming teenage girls through sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking. Notably, the new suits claim that all of this happened after his deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2007.

Katlyn and Priscilla claim they were flown to Florida so that Epstein could continue to sexually abuse them while he was on work release from jail . Katlyn claims he promised to pay for medical treatment, while he manipulated Lisa and Priscilla by promising to advance their dance careers - which he did not do, according to the lawsuits.

Epstein's complicit associates include "chefs, butlers, receptionists, schedulers, secretaries, flight attendants, pilots, housekeepers, maids, sex recruiters, drivers and other staff members, " according to the suits.

Katlyn also alleges that in 2013 Epstein paid her $10,000 to marry an associate in order for him to become a legal resident of the United States - stiffing her on another $10,000 she says she was promised upon their divorce. She says she agreed to come to Florida after Epstein promised her a job at his office, and that HRBK coordinated her travel . She added that Epstein forced her to "engage in sexual encounters" with him and another young female at the headquarters of his Florida Science Foundation.

According to University of Oregon law professor Susan Gary, Epstein's death shouldn't serve as an impediment to their civil claims.

" They're still in a good position ," said Gary, adding that the challenge "is proving as required by law that he injured them and they should get benefits for their injury."

After Epstein served 13 months in a Palm Beach jail, he settled over two dozen lawsuits with accusers who say he lured them when they were teenagers to his mansion, where they were coerced into sex and paid to recruit others .

Three of those cases, filed by clients of Brad Edwards, settled for a total of $5.5 million . Edwards is the lawyer for the women who filed the complaints Tuesday in federal court in New York. The plaintiffs aren't named because of the "sensitive sexual nature" of the cases , the suits say.

Late Tuesday, Edwards submitted arguments on behalf of VE, another client who last week sued Epstein's estate and three of the same companies targeted by the latest suits, asking the court to allow her to proceed anonymously.

" Epstein's vast wealth and far reaching connections make it clear that retaliation could be employed against individuals pursuing claims against the estate " and could deter witnesses, according to the filing. VE's anonymity will serve society as well, which " has an interest in eradicating the predatory practices of powerful men against vulnerable, susceptible women. " - Bloomberg

According to Katlyn Doe, Epstein would often remind her of his "extraordinary power to reward and punish."

Meanwhile, plaintiff Lisa Doe says she met Epstein in 2002 when she was 17, when he told her he was "close personal friends with some of the most influential names in dance," and would help her with her career if she taught a dance-based exercise class at the home of a wealthy New York man. Instead, Epstein forced her to engage in sexual encounters and derailed her career aspirations .

Lastly, Priscilla Doe says that an Epstein "recruiter" asked her if she wanted to give the financier a massage in his Manhattan mansion in 2006 when she was 20-years-old.

An associate of his taught her the "exact way" he liked to receive oral sex and Epstein "forced himself on her and took her virginity," according to the complaint. While Epstein was receiving massages, the suit says, he took calls from four people, referred to in the suit as "Important Business Person" 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The plaintiff says she was forced to "engage in commercial sex" on each of more than 20 trips to the Virgin Islands between 2006 and 2012 . - Bloomberg

According to the lawsuits, "Each of the employees and associates were paid through companies believed to have been funded by Jeffrey Epstein and, regardless of such funding, were disciples of Jeffrey Epstein, constantly informing plaintiff and other victims of Jeffrey Epstein's power and ability to improve or destroy a victim's life depending on her level of cooperation


Ms No , 14 minutes ago link

The last good FBI agent was Ted Gunderson. That's why Van Decamp gave the documentary that Bush Administration had buried to him. We almost lost this documentary forever, but some heroic individuals and fate kept it alive, hoping people would give a ****. It all ties to somebody controlling our politicians with honeypots. Remember when NWO was a conspiracy theory people laughed about? Not funny any more.

This is Gunderson after the FBI. He KNEW. This is all honeypot. The Satanism is for leverage and not real. People get detoured into that.

"He also investigated a child molestation trial in Manhattan Beach, California. In a 1995 conference in Dallas , Gunderson warned about the supposed proliferation of secret occultist groups, and He also investigated a child molestation trial in Manhattan Beach, California. In a 1995 conference in Dallas , Gunderson warned about the supposed proliferation of secret occultist groups, and the danger posed by the New World Order , an alleged shadow government that would be controlling the United States government. [8] He also claimed that a "slave auction" in which children were sold by Saudi agents to men had been held in Las Vegas , that four thousand ritual human sacrifices are performed in New York City every year, and that the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was carried out by the US government. [8] Gunderson believed that in the United States there is a secret widespread network of groups who kidnap children and infants, and subject them to ritual abuse and subsequent human sacrifice. [9] [10] ) ,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Gunderson

Conspiracy of Silence , a documentary listed for viewing in TV Guide Magazine was to be aired on the Discovery Channel, on May 3 1994. This documentary exposed a network of religious leaders and Washington politicians who flew children to Washington D.C. for sex orgies. Many children suffered the indignity of wearing nothing but their underwear and a number displayed on a piece of cardboard hanging from their necks when being auctioned off to foreigners in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Toronto, Canada.

"At the last minute before airing, unknown congressmen threatened the TV Cable industry with restrictive legislation if this documentary was aired. Almost immediately, the rights to the documentary were purchased by unknown persons who ordered all copies destroyed.

A copy of this videotape was furnished anonymously to former Nebraska state senator and attorney John De Camp who made it available to retired FBI Agent Ted L. Gunderson . While the video quality is not top grade, this tape is a blockbuster in what is revealed by its participants involved."

Can you imagine what these heroic men would think of this exposed Mossad honeypot? Its all exposed now, just needs to be linked together.

MadelynMarie , 5 minutes ago link

Really looks like this is how they control govts--not just in the US but all over the world.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/14-israelis-suspected-of-running-child-sex-trafficking-ring-in-colombia/

from the above article, I found this comment:

So the Jews have another South America pedophile scandal to their discredit. We haven't forgotten the child prostitution business run by Arie Scher and George Schteinberg in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 1990s . It was exposed in the early summer of 2000 by an infuriated teenage girl who found a nude photo of herself online, after Schteinberg had PROMISED her that he'd never show it to anyone.

Schteinberg was arrested and given a slap on the wrist (they went easy on him because he was Jewish) while Arie Scher escaped to Israel, one step ahead of the authorities.

The Israeli government took away Scher's diplomat license for five years (because he got caught being naughty, presumably; properly trained Jews don't get caught, of course).

When the five years were past, Israel proposed to send Scher to Australia to replace Amir Laty, who'd made himself unwelcome by committing espionage and by being very rude to certain Australian women.

Somehow or other, the Australian public found out that the spy was being replaced by a pedophile as Israel's official ambassador to their country, and they got up in arms about it. This persuaded Scher to decline the post, perhaps keeping the cushy administrative job the Israeli government gave him during the previous five years

So, looks like there were running another operation like this in Brazil during the 90s (never heard of that one before)

Ms No , 3 minutes ago link

Thanks. I really appreciate your comments.

ILikeMeat , 14 minutes ago link

Sounds like the set up for a typical Mossad honey pot operation..

June 12 1776 , 15 minutes ago link

Case 1:19-cv-07772 Document 1 Filed 8/20/2019 Page 1 of 52

PRISCILLA DOE, Plaintiff,
vs.

DARREN K. INDYKE AND
RICHARD D. KAHN AS JOINT
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
ESTATE OF JEFFREY E. EPSTEIN,
NINE EAST 71st STREET, CORPORATION,
FINANCIAL TRUST COMPANY, INC.,
NES, LLC, MAPLE,INC., LSJ,LLC,
HBRK ASSOCIATES, INC., JEGE, INC.,
Defendants.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6306617-Priscilla-Doe-v-Indyke.html

64. In 2006, Jeffrey Epstein told Plaintiff she was going on a trip with him to his island in the Unites States Virgin Islands.
65. On that trip was Jeffrey Epstein, Jean Luc Bruenel, Ghislaine Maxwell, Associate 2, Associate 8, and two other victims in addition to Plaintiff.
66. It was there that Ghislaine Maxwell taught Plaintiff the "proper way to give a blow job," describing to her the exact way that Jeffrey Epstein liked to be sexually serviced orally.

Case 1:19-cv-07772 Document 1 Filed 8/20/2019 Page 15 of 52

Give Me Some Truth , 16 minutes ago link

Easy predictions:

1) Authorities will NOT pursue, question or charge any of Epstein's clients or associates (the very people the entire trafficking operation catered to).

2) Authorities will NOT "follow the money."

3) Authorities will not arrest and prosecute any government employee who obstructed justice or participated in this scheme.

thefloridaman , 19 minutes ago link

You can't manage money if you are a felon!!! His licensing would have been revoked. It would have been on his U-4 and U-5.

Meanwhile he does not even show up on brokercheck.

Can anyone explain beyond the babble conspiracy theories. This is factual.

Jumanji1959 , 19 minutes ago link

The elites will have to get rid of people and evidence. The Clintons know too much and are oftened named. Nail gun sale at Home Depot. Those 2 geriatric fcuks must go.

Ms No , 9 minutes ago link

They are a huge liability on countless fronts. That will leave Chelsea to answer for any Clinton foundation questions, and she has been involved. She can play stupid and elicit sympathy. The Clintons are a huge problem.

south40_dreams , 25 minutes ago link

The clinton-soros-rothschild-obama cabal to rule the world is falling apart and the smell of arkancide is blowing heavy in the wind today......

Ms No , 7 minutes ago link

George Bush senior ran the CIA and his retarded offspring was in office for Israel's sept 11 false flag. Red team blue team is a joke.

Trump also has Mossad mob written all over him. His mentor was mob honeypotter, pedophile and hotel Titan Cohn.

They are all neck deep.

VWAndy , 39 minutes ago link

Notice these are civil lawsuits and not criminal cases.

Note the lack of perpwalks of the corrupted office holders.

Talk is cheap. Its in their actions we will know them by.

Ms No , 42 minutes ago link

JPMorgn and Douche bank need to be investigated for laundering the Epstein and Maxwell Mossad honeypot's money.

First JPMorgan was who they dealt with. Then when it started to get exposed they passed it to Douche.

Dont expect the Orange *** to investigate the Jewish Mob, that he is clearly an agent for.

the artist , 46 minutes ago link

Wait! Now there are TWO Islands!!!??? And Pedo Island is the SMALLER ONE???

WTF?

"Two of the complaints name as a defendant the company that once owned Little St. James , the smaller of Epstein's private islands in the Caribbean. "

marcel tjoeng , 53 minutes ago link

The Boss of Epstein is Wexner.

Wexner is related to Mossad and the very beginnings of the teaming up of Mossad with Dulles' CIA, after WWII, the OSS, the Irgun and the Stern gruppe, who did the King David Hotel bombing.

The Boss of Wexner is Henry Kissinger the 'republican free trader in favor of democracy'.

The Bosses of soldiers raping Kissinger in his Vietnam creation are the Rockefellers.

Kissinger ordered the Phoenix program mass murdering Vietnamese nationalist by the tens of thousands, which is a mere one feat in his massive killing career, like Churchill,

Kissinger who ran the Republican president Richard Nixon like fc*king a goat.

By the way, there are pictures in circulation of Republican president Ronald Reagan being deeply ejaculated into the manhole, enjoying that greatly (vehemently denied by his daughter at his funeral, pffffffff),

the same anecdotes exist of Prince Philip, husband of fake Queen Elisabeth, who requested to be manly penetrated by crew, when he was onboard visiting the British fleet.

USA USA USA

Bunch of parasite lunatics.

Burn it to the ground.

J S Bach , 1 hour ago link

" An associate of his taught her the "exact way" he liked to receive oral sex"

Wow... this is really important stuff.

How about a quote like:

"An associate of his taught him the "exact way" he liked to receive the blackmail information and videos in Israel."

MadelynMarie , 46 minutes ago link

"An associate of his taught him the "exact way" he liked to receive the blackmail information and videos in Israel."

Yes, interesting that we are NOT hearing about that aspect of the story.

I'm sure that Israel has operations like this all over the world. No doubt this is how they control governments behind the scenes.

Here's another one: https://www.timesofisrael.com/14-israelis-suspected-of-running-child-sex-trafficking-ring-in-colombia/

White Nat , 36 minutes ago link

And another ...

Homosexual Jewish Diplomat Runs a Child **** and Prostitution Business in Brazil

https://nationalvanguard.org/2016/08/recent-history-homosexual-jewish-diplomat-runs-a-child-****-and-prostitution-business-in-brazil/

NAV , 21 minutes ago link

And it it was no accident that the Monica Lewinsky/ Clinton sex scandal erupted into public view precisely at the moment Clinton had scheduled meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to revive the peace process by pressuring Netanyahu.

bustdriver , 1 hour ago link

Just to be clear on previous post.

"Time to investigate Mark Epstein and Humpty Dumpty."

Mark is Jeffrey's brother. He is a director of believe it or not the Humpty Dumpty Institute.

http://thehdi.org/about_humpty_dumpty.html

It is similar to the Clinton Foundation...

Give Me Some Truth , 15 minutes ago link

Mark Epstein has also gotten a pass. Add him to the long list.

Ms No , 1 hour ago link

This likely could be tied to Franklin child sex ring scandal and Mossad will be there too. Watch this free documentary before Jootube takes it down. Men died for you to know this. The show was yanked before it could be played mainstream. Extremely disturbing but VERY important. This was the last time they slipped through your fingers and this type of thing will be what destroys this evil.

https://youtu.be/PScfMeXAQwU

ironmace II , 1 hour ago link

chefs, butlers, receptionists, schedulers, secretaries, flight attendants, pilots, housekeepers, maids, sex recruiters, drivers and other staff members.

All small potatoes. The people really guilty all go free.

LEEPERMAX , 1 hour ago link

With his Death the Case is Closed . . . Mission accomplished.

TheAntiProgressive , 1 hour ago link

Yeah and since Sir Pedo's death was termed a suicide, then one would think his will dealy in US VI was planned, as was his death and me thinks a good lawyer would negate the will, trust, etc by simply terming this transfer of assets a fraudulent conveyance and yank it back where those abused can take a slice.

LEEPERMAX , 1 hour ago link

To Big to Jail

[Aug 20, 2019] For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Aug 20 2019 18:26 utc | 107

"For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.."
Not necessarily. The US is gambling that it will beat Venezuela. But if it doesn't, if Venezuela simply outlasts the imperialist sanctions, it will emerge much stronger.
In recent years there has been a drift towards compromise with the US in Venezuela. Chavez was always very generous towards his opponents and this has continued. As a result the old Creole ruling class has been relatively undisturbed. It has retained its power over the media, for example and left in a position to sabotage the economy through its control of supermarkets, banks and commerce. It has retained its landholdings and maintained its agribusiness.

And now, in cahoots with the imperialists, it has come out against the government and chavismo. Its racist, neo fascist propensities and its contempt for its own countrymen and women- the poor and the working class- have been revealed. While the people are fighting to defend themselves against imperialism, Guido and the Venezuelan right, the capitalist class have made their positions very obvious. Given any sort of opportunity they will smash the social security and food security networks that keep the poor from starvation. They will privatise- Honduras style- and death squads will roam the working class districts torturing and killing.
In short the people of Venezuela have been shown exactly what to expect if the US wins. And the allies of the US have been revealed to be the country's worst enemies: traitors and Quislings.

In the end, if the US does not replace the Maduro government, it will find itself much worse off. All its Fifth Columnist friends will be in exile or hiding. All their wealth will have been distributed to the poor or nationalised.


And the US will have one more sworn and permanent enemy, the people of Venezuela.

[Aug 19, 2019] Trump's Foreign Policy All Coercion, No Diplomacy

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump's Foreign Policy: All Coercion, No Diplomacy By Daniel Larison • August 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton at the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. [State Department photo/ Public Domain] Matt Lee reports on the Trump administration obsessive use of sanctions:

Call it the diplomacy of coercion.

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.

It is true that the Trump administration is using economic coercion as its default approach to almost everything, but there doesn't appear to be any diplomacy involved. There is such a thing as "coercive diplomacy," but there is no evidence that Trump and his officials understand the first thing about it. An administration that genuinely wanted to secure lasting diplomatic agreements with other states would apply pressure only as a means to a specific, achievable goal, but with this administration they are waging purely destructive economic wars that the targeted states cannot end without capitulating. The "maximum pressure" description implies an unwillingness to relieve pressure short of the other side's surrender.

It is not just that it is a "combination of more sticks and fewer carrots." The Trump administration's policies are all punishment and no reward. In the case of Iran, it could hardly be otherwise when the administration chose to penalize Iran with sanctions for daring to comply with a multilateral nonproliferation agreement. Iran behaved constructively and acceded to the demands of the P5+1 four years ago, and in return for their cooperation they have been subjected to a grueling economic war despite fully complying with their commitments. When our government punishes another state for doing what previous administrations wanted them to do, no amount of punishment could force that state to trust our government a second time.

The administration approaches each case in the same way: they impose penalties, they make threats, they offer no incentives, and they make outrageous, far-fetched demands that no government would ever accept. Trump handles the trade wars in much the same way that he handles the "maximum pressure" campaigns against intransigent governments, and he fails every time because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement and therefore refuses to compromise. Trump's "diplomacy" is no diplomacy at all, but a series of insults, sanctions, tariffs, and threats that achieve nothing except to cause disruption and pain. Unsurprisingly, a pressure campaign that is aimed at toppling a government or forcing it to give up everything it has cannot be successful on its own terms as long as the targeted government chooses to resist, and the stakes for the targeted government will always higher than they are for the administration. In a contest of wills, the party that is fighting to preserve itself has the advantage.

[Aug 19, 2019] Is Big Necessarily Bad The American Conservative

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Is Big Necessarily Bad? Antitrust cannot be used as a cudgel based on size. There are other ways of whacking at corporate excess. By Marshall Auerback • August 19, 2019

Teddy Roosevelt with trust-busting stick, circa 1904. (Image: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) When it comes to relations between consenting adults, size may not matter (or so one hears). But it's a different story in regard to companies and the politically fraught area of antitrust law.

Today, a number of policymakers , economists , and legal scholars connect a host of problems -- excessive wealth inequality, wage stagnation, political dysfunction, market distortions -- directly to the corporate "curse of bigness ," which they argue is a product of lax antitrust enforcement. But they may be misdiagnosing the cause of these diseases and, in so doing, offering up the wrong cure.

Instead of moving toward a new antitrust paradigm, we might do better to consider a more robust utility system of regulation that is "function-centric," rather than size-centric. In other words, regulation that restricts the range of corporate activities (e.g., structural separation so as to prevent companies like Amazon and Google from owning both the platform as well as participating as a seller on that platform), or the prices such companies can charge (as regulators often do for utilities or railways). These considerations would be "size neutral": they would apply independently of corporate size per se. Regulation, rather than antitrust, also better addresses other issues like privacy protection (via a national model that could replicate California's Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 ), labor abuses (it shouldn't matter whether workers are employed by Apple or mom-and-pop sweatshops), and controlling "fake news" dissemination (by placing social media companies under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission).

"Break 'em up" has great historical resonance in the United States. Yet one of the nation's earliest trust-busters, President Theodore Roosevelt, argued that "the remedy for [corporate] abuse was not mindlessly breaking up big firms, but preventing specific abuses by means of a strong national regulation of interstate corporations." Likewise, in the early days of the New Deal, his cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, initially embraced the antitrust philosophy of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (who, like many of today's modern trust-busters, prioritized power and business structure over consumer welfare). Ultimately though, frustrated that the incessant focus on corporate concentration was hindering World War II efforts to mobilize greater industrial production, FDR concluded that optimal outcomes were more likely to be achieved via "prudent government oversight and using antitrust laws to police abuses -- not to break up every big company simply because it's big."

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After World War II, historian Richard Hofstadter noted a gradual public acceptance of big business . In large part, this was due "to the emergence of countervailing bigness in government and labor" that ultimately led to the "big three tripartite" model among government, business, and unions exemplified in the Treaty of Detroit agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW).

From the 1950s through the 1970s, "Tripartism" was exceptionally successful at promoting economic growth and high wages (the wage growth was explicitly linked to rising productivity in the Treaty of Detroit). Big unions flourished alongside growing conglomerates that emerged as the new face of corporate consolidation (a prime example being International Telephone and Telegraph -- ITT). Equally significant, as the economist Thomas Piketty observed in his sweeping account of rising inequality, Capital in the Twenty-first Century , a new wave of corporate consolidation did not exacerbate prevailing inequalities. To the contrary, this period coincided with a diminution of wealth inequality , as relative wealth gains for the top tier stabilized for the first time in decades.

That all changed in the 1980s with the rise of Ronald Reagan's market fundamentalist agenda. His presidency was characterized by a sustained attack on unions , cuts in public services, and the ascendancy of the doctrine of "shareholder capitalism," used to legitimize the establishment of SEC Rule 10b-18 . That rule engendered an explosion in share buybacks (until it was introduced, companies buying back their own shares was considered a form of stock manipulation). Rather than focusing on job-creating investment, corporate cash flow was thus directed toward stock repurchases to fatten executive compensation.

The legacy of Reagan's market fundamentalism persists today. It is the most cogent explanation we have for growing wealth inequality, wage stagnation, and reduced emphasis on corporate R&D.

This period also coincided with the rise of the "Bork Doctrine," when, citing Robert Bork, the Supreme Court asserted that the main focus of antitrust law should be on economic efficiency and consumer welfare, as opposed to granting the government broad discretion to shape the economy. That shift in priorities is a major source of the neo-Brandeisians' criticism of Bork's antitrust philosophy. It reflects their Jeffersonian vision of a social-economic order organized along the lines of small-scale businesses, with atomistic competition between a large number of equally advantaged units, in theory producing greater innovation and economic dynamism.

But that's a highly idealized vision that doesn't comport with reality. Our modern economy isn't comprised of village blacksmiths, yeoman farmers, and cobblers. A crucial component of the economy today is big business, including many large multinational corporations that operate globally. And it is questionable whether their size automatically equates to market power (in the sense of having the ability to manipulate prices at will and exclude competitors), especially in the context of a global economy featuring a multiplicity of competing national champions. Seldom do we hear calls to break up Detroit's "Big Three," despite global revenues in the hundreds of billions. Why? Because there is a widespread recognition that these companies face significant challenges in a global market dominated by similarly large competitors.

Contrary to popular myth, big companies, not small businesses, can be engines of growth and innovation, as Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind explore in their book Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business :

On virtually every meaningful indicator, including wages, productivity, environmental protection, exporting, innovation, employment diversity and tax compliance, large firms as a group significantly outperform small firms.

That insight parallels the scholarship of Joseph Schumpeter, the intellectual godfather of the economics of innovation, who showed that R&D spending and productivity increase with scale. Latterly, Schumpeter's insights have been validated by a recent study from Professors Ann Marie Knott and Carl Vieregger, who conclude (emphasis added):

Not only do large firms (using the U.S. Small Business Association definition of greater than 500 employees) conduct 5.75 more R&D in aggregate than small firms, they have 13% higher productivity with that R&D. However this merely captures the private returns to their R&D. A further benefit of large firm R&D is that it generates the spillovers upon which small firm innovation free-rides .

Size-centric antitrust proposals also ignore the increasing prevalence of economic network theory, which suggests that social networks like Facebook or search engines such as Google lend themselves to becoming natural monopolies in order to function optimally. Here again, function-centric regulation -- i.e., separation between the control of content and distribution -- makes more sense to rectify market abuse. And this could be achieved via utility-style regulation, as no less a figure than right-wing populist Steve Bannon has suggested , rather than creating a bunch of new mini-Facebooks or Googles via court-mandated break-ups (especially if the owners of the newly broken-up companies retain full control of algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use, and even what messages get delivered to news consumers, as Mark Zuckerberg does today ).

It is also the case that many businesses characterized by minimal levels of corporate concentration -- construction, education, entertainment, accommodation, food, business services, transportation, warehousing -- generally experience sub-standard productivity levels, sluggish growth, and low real wages, according to an INET-funded study by Professors Lance Taylor and Φzlem Φmer. Working conditions are generally worse, and wages and employment benefits lower, as small business owners are often the first to protest increased regulation or "burdensome" mandates, such as health care provisions. The real point is not to beat up on small businesses, but simply to note that the abuses commonly ascribed to big business are just as, if not more, likely to manifest themselves in smaller industries less prone to corporate concentration.

What about the claim that corporate consolidation contributes to a corrosion of American democracy ? It is true that as companies get bigger, it maximizes their abilities to "pay to play," as Professor Thomas Ferguson asserts in his seminal work, Golden Rule . Ferguson says that powerful blocs of business elites, large and small, with durable (largely economic) interests, are a constant feature of American politics. All have an incentive to get bigger in order to maximize political leverage. That includes smaller businesses that scale up via trade associations to maximize the impact of their "political investment." But again, what is needed here is not an antitrust remedy, but a change in the "pay to play" rules so as to ensure that money and corporate scale have less of a polluting impact on the American polity.

So it may be time to reconsider the simplistic notion that "big is bad." Yes, we want a dynamic economy and a thriving democracy. But mindlessly breaking up big businesses may not be the best path to get us there.

Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College.

This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

[Aug 19, 2019] After Allegations Of Druggings And Rape, Epstein-Pal And His Modeling Agencies Come Into Focus

Aug 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

After Allegations Of Druggings And Rape, Epstein-Pal And His Modeling Agencies Come Into Focus

by Tyler Durden Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:15 0 SHARES

Following the death of Jeffrey Epstein, his seedy network of friends and potential co-conspirators alike have come into the spotlight.

One associate, considered to be Epstein's closest pal, is modeling maven Jean-Luc Brunel - who has recently been accused of pimping underage women around the world through his Mc2 and Karin modeling agencies, while former models have accused the 72-year-old of drugging and date-raping girls , according to the Daily Beast .

How close were Brunel and Epstein?

Brunel was one of the financier's most frequent male associates . The agent appears more than 15 times on flight logs from Epstein's private plane , jetting everywhere from Paris to New York, often in the presence of young women. He visited Epstein nearly 70 times in jail , according to visitor logs, and several more times while the financier was on house arrest in Palm Beach. According to one of Epstein's housemen, Brunel was comfortable enough to whip up his own meals in the financier's kitchen , and was one of Epstein's most frequent callers. - Daily Beast

Brunel's name appeared in a cache of court documents unsealed earlier this month, having called and left a message to let Epstein know that he "just did a good one - 18 years" who reportedly told him "I love Jeffrey."

"He has a teacher for you to teach you how to speak Russian," reads another note from September 2005, which adds " She is 2 X 8 [16] years old not blonde . Lessons are free and you can have 1st today if you call."

Epstein also extended a $1 million letter of credit to Brunel which was used to invest in Paris-based Elite Models. According to the Beast, "The venture, E Management, was first registered by Epstein's attorney, who listed its address as 457 Madison Avenue -- the same as Epstein's investment firm, J. Epstein & Co." Brunel says the venture fell apart after Elite Models learned of Epstein's sex-trafficking allegations - with the agent even suing Epstein in 2015 for tarnishing their reputation and causing a "tremendous loss of business."

At least two people say Brunel not only knew about the sex trafficking, he was actively participating in it .

Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) -- one of the first alleged victims to speak out against Epstein after he was granted a sweetheart plea deal -- claimed in legal filings that Brunel was one of many powerful men she was forced to sleep with in her years as Epstein's "sex slave." She also accused Brunel of using his agency to find foreign girls, obtain visas for them, and "farm them out to his friends, including Epstein ."

"A lot of the girls came from poor countries or poor backgrounds, and he lured them in with a promise of making good money," Giuffre said in a 2015 affidavit. " Jeffrey Epstein has told me that he has slept with over 1,000 of Brunel's girls, and everything that I have seen confirms this claim. " - Daily Beast

" My assumption was that Jean-Luc Brunel got the girls from Eastern Europe (as he procured many young foreign girls for Epstein). They were young and European looking and sounding ," said Guiffre while describing an orgy she says she was forced to participate in on Epstein's 'pedo island.'

In a 1988 60 Minutes piece, several American models who worked with Brunel spoke of being plied with drugs and taken to parties with older men .

"My sense, based upon the allegations, is that Jean-Luc was a predator, his group was a predator, and they used their tools of power and leverage to force sex from women who otherwise might not be willing to engage in it," one of the reporters from the 60 Minutes piece told the Daily Beast .

Former model Thysia Huisman was 18-years-old when she says Brunel sexually assaulted her after giving her a spiked drink .

" I recall him lying on top of me, me trying to push him off, " she said in an interview. "I remember trying to move, but not really being able to. Like almost being paralysed. I heard the sound of my blouse – a black blouse – ripping. I had a black skirt, too. I felt him – this is difficult – between my legs. Pushing."

Huisman said the rest was a blur. She woke the next morning in a kimono that wasn't hers, with soreness on her inner thighs. "I felt we had had sex," she said. "I knew. I know."

She gathered her things and fled while Brunel spoke on the telephone in the living room, she said. Her modelling work never recovered and she embarked on a career in television, always behind the camera.

...

"I was really ashamed," she said. Huisman said she began telling her current partner about the incident eight years ago. He confirmed to the Guardian she then told him she was "molested" by someone at her modelling agency, and added more details – including Brunel's name – over time, explaining the full story about two years ago. - The Guardian

Another former model, Courtney Soerensen, says Brunel molested her when she was 19-years-old, and "sabotaged" her career when she rejected him.

Courtney Soerensen, Thysia Huisman

"He would get very handsy, start groping me, try to kiss me, try to get me to lay down on the bed just to 'try it out'" said Soerensen. "He would try to untuck my shirt, wanting to 'see my abs'. He would grab my breasts and put his hand on my bottom. There was one time where he rubbed himself up against me. "

" The guy was a vile pig" says former Brunel photographer and scout Clayton Nelson. "The girls who slept with him worked. The girls who didn't, he would tell bookers: 'I don't want her booked for anything'."

Former MC2 bookkeeper Martina Vasquez has also accused Brunel of similar behavior, claiming that Brunel employed scouts who would recruit teenage models from South America, Europe and the former USSR. " The most desirable of those teens were housed in Epstein's Upper East Side apartments and loaned out to wealthy clients for up to $100,000 a night, Vasquez alleged. If they refused to be "molested," she said, they would not be paid. (Brunel has denied these claims and says Vasquez was fired from his agency for embezzling company funds.)" according to the report.

Bloomberg , meanwhile, reports that MC2 Model Management had a growing list of concerned corporate clients by 2014 after Brunel's ties to Epstein came to light.

By 2014, Brunel's business partner Jeff Fuller was concerned that the relationship with Epstein could be damaging. In a letter reviewed by Bloomberg News, Fuller told Brunel that he was getting a "tremendous amount of worries from our clients" about the ties to Epstein , then went on to list as clients Nordstrom Inc., Macy's Inc., Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney Co., Kohl's Corp., Target Corp., Sears and Belk . - Bloomberg

Brunel has denied all allegations of impropriety.

amadeus39 , 1 minute ago link

Molesting children is an abominable crime, but using that information to blackmail country leaders effects many more people. Using blackmail to gain political control will destroy nations and its citizens. It will destroy civilization. This Epstink plot will destroy trust of government. Once trust is destroyed, our world is destroyed.

nmewn , 13 minutes ago link

Jean-Luc Brunel, sounds Irish to me!

https://nypost.com/2019/08/13/french-officials-call-for-probe-into-epsteins-links-with-france/

Oh, I guess not ;-)

[Aug 18, 2019] Wells Fargo's behaviour as a nice example of immunity of criminals under neoliberalism

That's a racket. Pure and simple. Which means Well Fargo management and Warren Buffet would be prosecuted under RICO rules.
Aug 18, 2019 | slashdot.org
Wells Fargo's Computer Kept Charging 'Overdrawn' Fees On Supposedly Closed Accounts (startribune.com) 43 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:34PM from the continuing-relationships dept. The New York Times explains a new issue by describing what happened when Xavier Einaudi tried to close his Wells Fargo checking account. For weeks after the date the bank said the accounts would be closed, it kept some of them active. Payments to his insurer, to Google for online advertising and to a provider of project management software were paid out of the empty accounts in July. Each time, the bank charged Einaudi a $35 overdraft fee... By the middle of July, he owed the bank nearly $1,500. "I don't even know what happened," he said.

Current and former bank employees said Einaudi was charged because of the way Wells Fargo's computer system handles closed accounts: An account the customer believes to be closed can stay open if it has a balance, even one below zero. And each time a transaction is processed for an overdrawn account, Wells Fargo tacks on a fee. The problem has gone unaddressed by the bank despite complaints from customers and employees , including one in the bank's debt-collection department who grew concerned after taking in an estimated $100,000 in overdraft fees over eight months...

Most banks program their systems to stop honoring transactions on the specified date, but Wells Fargo allows accounts to remain open for two more months, according to current and former employees. Customers usually learn what happened only after their overdrawn accounts are sent to Wells Fargo's collections department. If the customers do not pay the overdraft fees, they are reported to a national database like Early Warning Services, which compiles names of delinquent bank customers. That often means a customer cannot open a new bank account anywhere, and getting removed from the lists can take hours' worth of phone calls.


fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:36PM ( #59099810 ) Journal

Wells Fargo has to be the crookedest bank ever ( Score: 3 , Insightful)

Yet, not a single person that counts is being prosecuted.

lgw ( 121541 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:42PM ( #59099822 ) Journal
Re:Wells Fargo has to be the crookedest bank ever ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

It's bizarre. I doubt Wells Fargo has a handful of senators in their pocket or something, as that would require a level of competence they've never demonstrated in any aspect of their business, so why are they even still allowed to be a bank?

Wells Fargo's primary business, near as I can tell, is widespread fraud. They may also do some banking on the side, but that seems like an afterthought. The entirety of their senior management should be in prison.

reboot246 ( 623534 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:56PM ( #59099868 ) Homepage
Re:Wells Fargo has to be the crookedest bank ever ( Score: 5 , Informative)

Wells Fargo is worse than crooked. They're incompetent, too. Their online bill pay is straight out of the 19th century.
That's why I closed my account with them about eight years ago . . . . or at least I think I did.

ranton ( 36917 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

5th/3rd bank did the same thing to me back in 2009. I closed my bank account when merging accounts with my wife, but when transferring all of my recurring payments I missed two magazine yearly payments. 5th/3rd essentially reopened my accounts and charged them, which were obviously then overdrawn since they had $0 balances. Even after complaining they refused to rescind the fees.

We then closed my wife's account too and moved over to Chase. I always had the feeling that Chase would do the same thing to us to

JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:44PM ( #59099832 )
Most amazing thing about bank "errors" like this ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Is that they all seem to work out in favor of the bank over the consumer. It's likely survivorship bias - all the errors that hurt the bank's financial interests get fixed, whereas the ones which help the bank don't and hang around forever. Imagine that.

gweihir ( 88907 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:54PM ( #59099858 )
Sounds like criminal business practices ( Score: 3 )

At the very least deceptive. In a sane system, the bank has to give a final balance at a certain day and it is legally prohibited from doing any transactions on that account afterwards.

Solandri ( 704621 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @03:02PM ( #59099878 )
Don't see how the customer could be liable ( Score: 3 )

When you close an account, you are terminating your contract with the bank. You walk into the bank, the bank rep looks at the account, sees how much money is in it at that instant and cuts you a check for that remaining balance. That zeros out the account, and the contract you made with the bank when you opened the account expires - it is as if you never had an account with the bank. If the bank then decides to take "money" out of the now-closed account, it's their own damn fault. They cannot claw back money from the customer - there is no longer a contract between them. The customer correctly zeroed out the account and closed it. Any error is the bank's own fault.

I can see it being a problem if you hold multiple accounts with the bank and you close just one of them. Then the bank might be able to come up with a legal argument when you're still liable. But that's why I hold accounts with multiple banks, and I generally close all my accounts with one bank at once.

localroger ( 258128 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @03:18PM ( #59099898 ) Homepage
Re:Don't see how the customer could be liable ( Score: 3 )

You're right legally, but the threat is that they will ruin your credit rating by reporting you as delinquent to the credit agencies. And your recourse for getting that undone is difficult at best.

sjames ( 1099 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @04:33PM ( #59100062 ) Homepage Journal
Re:Don't see how the customer could be liable ( Score: 2 )

In other words, extortion on the banks part and libel and slander from the reporting agencies (wanton disregard for the truth).

[Aug 16, 2019] This Is How Epstein Manipulated Vulnerable Young Girls (And How You Can Protect Your Children From Predators)

Aug 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

This Is How Epstein Manipulated Vulnerable Young Girls (And How You Can Protect Your Children From Predators)

by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:25 0 SHARES

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

This article contains content that some may find distressing.

Jeffrey Epstein "was" apparently a serial molester of children. He had manipulation down to an art form, as many molesters do. He seemed to be an expert at figuring out a girl's weak point, whether it was poverty, a deceased family member, or feeling alienated from her peers.

This is a common ploy. Many molesters seek out children or teens who have lost a parent and use this as a way to build a friendship. Then, because children don't think like adults, they are manipulated, coerced, or threatened into sexual activity.

The story below could be told a hundred thousand times with only tiny changes. The names and the faces would be different. The settings might not be a mansion in Manhattan or in Palm Beach but rather a quiet part of a church, a school, or some kind of activity for teens. The setting could be in the house next door to you, where someone with evil intent befriends a vulnerable young person with the stated goal of helping them, but an end result that couldn't be further from reality.

How 14-year-old Jennifer Araoz met Jeffrey Epstein

Jennifer Araoz was 14 years old when she first met her future rapist, Jeffrey Epstein. She wrote about how she was manipulated, first by his recruiter, then by Epstein himself. There are many powerful lessons that we as parents can learn from her story.

During my freshman year, one of Epstein's recruiters, a stranger, approached me on the sidewalk outside my high school. Epstein never operated alone. He had a ring of enablers and surrounded himself with influential people. I was attending a performing arts school on the Upper East Side, studying musical theater. I wanted to be an actress and a singer. ( source )

Another report based on court documents says that the recruiter befriended Jennifer, took her out to eat after school a few times, and learned more about her, such as the fact that Jennifer's father had died from an AIDs-related illness and her family could barely scrape by financially.

The recruiter told me about a wealthy man she knew named Jeffrey Epstein. Meeting him would be beneficial, and he could introduce me to the right people for my career, she said. When I confided that I had recently lost my father and that my family was living on food stamps, she told me he was very caring and wanted to help us financially. ( source )

The recruiter finally got Jennifer to go with her to meet Epstein. Court documents say that they all three met together for the first month or so.

The visits during the first month felt benign, at least at the time. On my second visit, Epstein also gave me a digital camera as a gift. The visits were about one to two hours long and we would spend the time talking. After each visit, he or his secretary would hand me $300 in cash, supposedly to help my family. ( source )

Epstein claimed he was 'a big AIDS activist' which you can imagine would mean a lot to a 14-year-old whose father died of the disease.

Soon the visits would take a dark turn.

By the second month of Jennifer's visits to the mansion, the recruiter no longer attended the visits., the manipulation began in earnest.

But within about a month, he started asking me for massages and instructed me to take my top off. He said he would need to see my body if he was going to help me break into modeling. I felt uncomfortable and intimidated, but I did as he said. The assault escalated when, during these massages, he would flip over and sexually gratify himself and touch me inappropriately. For a little over a year, I went to Epstein's home once or twice a week.

After that day, I never went back. I also quit the performing arts school -- the one I had auditioned for and had wanted so badly to attend. It was too close to his house, the scene of so many crimes. I was too scared I would see him or his recruiter. So I transferred to another school in Queens close to my home. Since I was no longer able to pursue my dream of performing arts I eventually lost interest and dropped out. ( source )

Sure, we can say that she knew things weren't right when he asked her to take her top off. By this point, she was 15 years old. Old enough to know right from wrong. But if she was getting $300 twice a week and helping her family with it, it's pretty easy to see how she would want to continue helping her family despite her discomfort. Epstein knew exactly what he was doing.

Epstein's wealth, power, and connections would have made going against him seem like an insurmountable feat for a vulnerable 15-year-old girl who had recently lost her father. Who would have believed her word against that of this presumed philanthropist?

A few days ago, Jennifer, now 32, filed a massive lawsuit against Epstein's estate, Ghislaine Maxwell, and 3 members of Epstein's household staff. The complaint alleges that Maxwell and the staff "conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape of Plaintiff."

Some of Epstein's victims recruited new girls for him.

Epstein's indictment explains how he manipulated some of the girls he sexually abused to bring other girls to him.

Prosecutors say he lured underage girls, some as young as 14, to his residences, promising them a cash payment in exchange for giving him a massage. Instead, he would sexually abuse them -- groping them, making them touch him while he masturbated, and using sex toys on the minors. Then, he would allegedly ask them to recruit other girls. ( source )

A detailed report in the Miami Herald referred to it as a "sexual pyramid scheme." One of Epstein's accusers, Courtney Wild, reiterates the theme of the story told by Jennifer Boaz.

"Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless. He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right,'' said Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein. ( source )

Courtney's time spent with Epstein nearly destroyed her.

Before she met Epstein, Courtney Wild was captain of the cheerleading squad, first trumpet in the band and an A-student at Lake Worth Middle School.

After she met Epstein, she was a stripper, a drug addict and an inmate at Gadsden Correctional Institution in Florida's Panhandle.

Wild still had braces on her teeth when she was introduced to him in 2002 at the age of 14.

She was fair, petite and slender, blonde and blue-eyed. ( source )

She began to recruit other girls for him in Palm Beach.

Wild said Epstein preferred girls who were white, appeared prepubescent and those who were easy to manipulate into going further each time

"By the time I was 16, I had probably brought him 70 to 80 girls who were all 14 and 15 years old. He was involved in my life for years," said Wild, who was released from prison in October after serving three years on drug charges.

The girls -- mostly 13 to 16 -- were lured to his pink waterfront mansion by Wild and other girls, who went to malls, house parties and other places where girls congregated, and told recruits that they could earn $200 to $300 to give a man -- Epstein -- a massage, according to an unredacted copy of the Palm Beach police investigation obtained by the Herald. ( source )

Epstein had it down to an art form.

Palm Beach police detective Joseph Recarey explains how Epstein insinuated himself into the girls' lives.

"The common interview with a girl went like this: 'I was brought there by so and so. I didn't feel comfortable with what happened, but I got paid well, so I was told if I didn't feel comfortable, I could bring someone else and still get paid,' '' Recarey said.

During the massage sessions, Recarey said Epstein would molest the girls, paying them premiums for engaging in oral sex and intercourse, and offering them a further bounty to find him more girls

Epstein could be a generous benefactor, Recarey said, buying his favored girls gifts. He might rent a car for a young girl to make it more convenient for her to stop by and cater to him. Once, he sent a bucket of roses to the local high school after one of his girls starred in a stage production. The floral-delivery instructions and a report card for one of the girls were discovered in a search of his mansion and trash. Police also obtained receipts for the rental cars and gifts, Recarey said.

Epstein counseled the girls about their schooling, and told them he would help them get into college, modeling school, fashion design or acting. At least two of Epstein's victims told police that they were in love with him, according to the police report. ( source )

You may look at these stories and scorn the victims. After all, they kept going back, didn't they? They liked the money, didn't they?

But they were children. Many of them were isolated, vulnerable, and without support systems. Many of them felt ashamed but didn't know how to extricate themselves. They were confused and scared, and Epstein was a pro at taking advantage of these emotions and doubts.

The girls are not to blame here. The adults are.

Epstein is not the only predator out there.

While this article focuses on how Epstein was able to lure so many victims, as Dagny Taggert recently wrote , there are many more people in power out there preying on children. Clergy, priests, teachers, neighbors, musicians, and random people on the internet are out there preying on and trafficking children.

Dagny wrote:

According to The National Center for Victims of Crime , the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

Statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted (page 24).

Studies by David Finkelhor , Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center , show that:

According to Darkness to Light , a non-profit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified, and even fewer are reported .

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates the CyberTipline , a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation.

In 2018 the CyberTipline received more than 18.4 million reports, most of which related to:

Since its inception, the CyberTipline has received more than 48 million reports.

Those statistics are grim. ( source )

How do you keep your children safe?

When my children's father passed away, it wasn't too long afterward that I left my corporate job. I volunteered when the company began layoffs and took a small payment and my retirement fund to start a new life writing freelance. It wasn't long after that when I started this website.

I wanted to be home when they got back from school every day. I didn't want them to seem like prey to those looking for children with weak support systems. My own daughters could so easily have had a story like the one Jennifer has told.

I know that what I did is not possible for every family that suffers a loss. I was pretty fortunate to be able to find work from home that paid enough to allow me to be there.

What you, as a parent, must understand are the things that make your child seem vulnerable.

Some signs that your child could be getting abused or groomed.

Obviously, these lists are not comprehensive, nor are they sure signs of abuse. What teenager doesn't seem angry and withdrawn from time to time? But it's vital, no matter how hard they push you away, to stay involved, particularly after a traumatic event.

Here are some resources you may find helpful.

Teach your kids that some secrets should not be kept.

Predators manipulate children in all sorts of ways. One of the biggest ways is warning them to keep their "relationship" a secret or else.

Or else what?

Predators often put a burden on a child where they feel as though they must stay silent to protect the people they love.

Kids need to know that if anyone threatens them if they tell a secret, then they absolutely must tell that secret. Mom and Dad will be safe and will protect them. People who ask children to keep their presence in their lives a secret are never to be trusted.

And finally, make sure your children know that whatever they tell you, you will believe them and you know it's not their fault.

[Aug 16, 2019] When the law is on the side of "extraordinary" risk takers, it's more tempting to go for it

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Daniel Rich , says: August 14, 2019 at 3:09 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski Quote: "When the law is on the side of "extraordinary" risk takers, it's more tempting to go for it."

Reply: Brilliant!

[Aug 13, 2019] Epstein's business was to facilitate one spcific form of corruption of politicians and other powerfule players

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 12 2019 5:55 utc | 74

Craig Murray's sober, reflective note on Epstein begins and ends with corruption as its main theme. I hope people find the time to read it. He doesn't delve deeply, but at base it what is known as seigniory rights--the right of the lord to take and rape whomever he wants with impunity, which is one of the most brutal forms of corruption imaginable. Epstein's business was to facilitate that form of corruption. Yes, it's illegal and immoral, but the primary fact is that its corrupt--it has no sanction whatsoever. And it's exactly that sort of primal corruption that is visited upon the vast majority daily. Passing legislation that will knowingly result in the poisoning of millions--stunting the brains of the young--which was just done and signed into law by Trump is what I'm writing about. It's a different form of rape, but it's rape nonetheless. But it seems that only bothers me, and Craig Murray.

Jay , Aug 12 2019 13:35 utc | 91

Tonymike:


So "it's all the fault of the Jews and the Israelis, no one else is ever involved in sex trafficking of young "white" girls", sarcasm from me.

Why don't you drop your BS auto-anti-Semitism and look at everyone else documented to have been involved.

/div>

For those who claim public view of Epsteins corpse,very understandably and necessary ,I would say,that even then there's possibility of being misled.The film industry manages to produce props that look very real,human face included.I stood once before a prop representing the corpse of a shot down horse,even at fifty cm from it I thought it was real.There was no smell of course,but even that can be staged.The people allowed to view Epsteins cadaver really would need to put a knife in it,to assure its being real,and then try to pull off the mask that could be his face.

Posted by: willie , Aug 12 2019 14:02 utc | 94

For those who claim public view of Epsteins corpse,very understandably and necessary ,I would say,that even then there's possibility of being misled.The film industry manages to produce props that look very real,human face included.I stood once before a prop representing the corpse of a shot down horse,even at fifty cm from it I thought it was real.There was no smell of course,but even that can be staged.The people allowed to view Epsteins cadaver really would need to put a knife in it,to assure its being real,and then try to pull off the mask that could be his face.

Posted by: willie | Aug 12 2019 14:02 utc | 94

willie , Aug 12 2019 11:11 utc | 84 Taffyboy , Aug 12 2019 11:25 utc | 85
Interesting list, sorry about the length of copy and paste, from Zerohedge then.

In 2016 CBS Las Vegas posted a list of Bill and Hillary Clinton associates alleged to have died under mysterious circumstances.

Here is that list.

1- James McDougal – Clintons convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

2 – Mary Mahoney – A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown .. The murder happened just after she was to go public w:th her story of sexual harassment in the White House.

3 – Vince Foster – Former White House counselor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock's Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.

4 – Ron Brown – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the Air Traffic controller commited suicide.

5 – C. Victor Raiser, II – Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.

6 – Paul Tulley – Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock , September 1992. Described by Clinton as a "dear friend and trusted advisor".

7 – Ed Willey – Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

8 – Jerry Parks – Head of Clinton's gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock Park's son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.

9 – James Bunch – Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a "Black Book" of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas

10 – James Wilson – Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater..

11 – Kathy Ferguson – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

12 – Bill Shelton – Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.

13 – Gandy Baugh – Attorney for Clinton's friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.

14 – Florence Martin – Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena, Arkansas, airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.

15 – Suzanne Coleman – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

16 – Paula Grober – Clinton's speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.
17 – Danny Casolaro – Investigative reporter, investigating Mena Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.

18 – Paul Wilcher – Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his Washington DC apartment had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.

19 – Jon Parnell Walker – Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington ,Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

20 – Barbara Wise – Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death: Unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, naked body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

21 – Charles Meissner – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

22 – Dr. Stanley Heard – Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton 's advisory council personally treated Clinton's mother, stepfather and brother.

23 – Barry Seal – Drug running TWA pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.

24 – Johnny Lawhorn, Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.

25 – Stanley Huggins – Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

26 – Hershell Friday – Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.

27 – Kevin Ives & Don Henry – Known as "The boys on the track" case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
28 – Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.

29 – Keith McMaskle – Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988

30 – Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.

31 – Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.

32 – James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes".

34 – Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE ALSO DEAD
35 – Major William S. Barkley, Jr.

36 – Captain Scott J . Reynolds

37 – Sgt. Brian Hanley

38 – Sgt. Tim Sabel

39 – Major General William Robertson

40 – Col. William Densberger

41 – Col. Robert Kelly

42 – Spec. Gary Rhodes

43 – Steve Willis

44 – Robert Williams

45 – Conway LeBleu

46 – Todd McKeehan

And the most recent, Seth Rich, the DC staffer murdered and "robbed" (of nothing) on July 10. Wikileaks founder Assange claims he had info on the DNC email scandal.

Not Included in this list are the 4 heroes killed in Benghazi.

And now you can add multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein to the list...

[Aug 13, 2019] Our Overly Militarized Foreign Policy Gets Even Worse

Aug 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Daniel Benaim and Michael Walid Hanna explain that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East hasn't changed much at all under Trump, but there has been a reduction in diplomatic engagement:

For all the headlines, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is fairly consistent. Despite the administration's intention, laid out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, to refocus the U.S. military on great-power competition, the U.S. footprint in the Middle East remains relatively constant, and seemingly permanent. Instead, what has changed is the scale of civilian effort that, in most previous administrations, would have accompanied such a military presence. The Trump administration has left numerous vacancies for key civilian positions unfilled for long stretches, slashed aid programs, and focused on high-level personal relations at the expense of broader ties. Altogether, its approach has not been typified by either retrenchment or interventionism but by what Barry Posen, writing in Foreign Affairs, has called "illiberal hegemony" -- military superiority shorn of diplomatic stewardship.

Benaim and Hanna are right about this, and their article is a welcome corrective to the many false claims that Trump is "retreating" from the region. The administration's disdain for diplomacy and aid has been impossible to miss over the last two and a half years, and they have combined that with more or less continuing the military deployments and missions that they inherited. What that means in practice is that the U.S. remains entangled in the affairs of the region, but our government's involvement leans even more heavily towards the military. That leaves every other kind of engagement underfunded, understaffed, and neglected. Since our foreign policy is already excessively militarized, this makes a bad problem worse. Benaim and Hanna note this later in the article:

This approach also exacerbates the long-standing problem of overreliance on the military as the central tool of U.S. Middle East policy. Even on a diplomat's best days, regional leaders are well aware of the "consul effect" -- the contrast between well-resourced American military commanders and their relatively impoverished diplomatic colleagues. Further marginalizing diplomats costs them influence, access, and bargaining power, while positioning the military and intelligence communities as the only effective U.S. institutional actors in the region.

Given the reality that the U.S. military presence hasn't been reduced, and has actually increased in some places over the last two years, how is it that we keep hearing about U.S. "retreat" and "withdrawal" as if these were happening? Client states have an incentive to whine about possible "abandonment" no matter what the U.S. does. Either they complain about an "abandonment" that has supposedly already happened, or they warn against a possible "abandonment" that might take place in the future. The whining serves the purpose of putting pressure on every administration to maintain existing commitments and then to add more. Then there are pundits and analysts at home that constantly fret about U.S. "withdrawal" as a way of agitating for increased involvement. Then there are the supporters of the president that want to pretend that the "withdrawal" is really happening in order to credit the president for doing something he hasn't done. Add them all up, and you get an unfounded consensus that the U.S. is "retreating" when virtually nothing has changed. In the case of Trump, there is an additional factor of taking the president's rhetoric at face value while ignoring what his administration is doing. Trump boasts about some things that never happened and never will happen, and for some reason he is blamed/credited for things he never does while his real policies often escape close scrutiny.

Put simply, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East is largely unchanged and has even escalated to some degree under Trump, but all other kinds of engagement get short shrift. Far from disentangling the U.S. from its excessive commitments in the region, Trump has embraced our worst clients and deepened our government's involvement in the worst way for the sake of arms sales and whipping up anti-Iranian sentiment. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening, and it is antithetical to a foreign policy that extricates U.S. forces from the region.

[Aug 12, 2019] Russiagate is Dead, but for the Political Establishment, it is Still the New 42 by Craig Murray

"Mueller's Inquiry was never a serious search for truth is that at no stage was any independent forensic independence taken from the DNC's servers, instead the word of the DNC's own security consultants was simply accepted as true. Finally no progress has been made – or is intended to be made – on the question of who killed Seth Rich, while the pretend police investigation has "lost" his laptop. "
See also Robert Muller: Establishment Sweethard helped Bush to see the Iraqq war https://youtu.be/mK5T_rZmVyg
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Wolfowitz explanation of the Iraq War, Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized. Cold Warriors like to hate on Russia. It justifies arms spending and their own importance. Clintonistas need an excuse to distract from her being a loser. The DNC needs an excuse for manipulating the candidate selection in favor of donor interests. "Moderates" need a distraction from their ongoing refusal to address the interests of voters. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
... ... ...

So, there we have it. Russiagate as a theory is as completely exploded as the appalling Guardian front page lie published by Kath Viner and Luke Harding fabricating the "secret meetings" between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. But the political class and the mainstream media, both in the service of billionaires, have moved on to a stage where truth is irrelevant, and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.


michael , August 12, 2019 at 19:53

So far there is as much evidence presented that Martians interfered in the 2016 Election as RUSSIANS!!!
Just a much needed excuse to blow on the dying embers of the Cold War and get the nuclear weapons ready.
I'm still waiting for Robert Mueller to be tried for lying to Congress (when asked who hired him, instead of saying "I have no idea", he said "Bush!" It is a matter of public record that Reagan hired him, a blatant lie! Is Michael Flynn out of jail yet?)

Drew Hunkins , August 12, 2019 at 14:49

" and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power "

They are also extremely useful as a scapegoat for the corporate warmongering DNC to camouflage the genuine reasons they lost to Trump of all people.

Mark Thomason , August 12, 2019 at 10:34

Like the Wolfowitz explanation of the Iraq War, Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized. Cold Warriors like to hate on Russia. It justifies arms spending and their own importance. Clintonistas need an excuse to distract from her being a loser. The DNC needs an excuse for manipulating the candidate selection in favor of donor interests. "Moderates" need a distraction from their ongoing refusal to address the interests of voters.

jessika , August 12, 2019 at 09:38

"Those whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad".

Larry Mofield , August 12, 2019 at 08:41

If Russia actually wanted to help someone win I think it would be Hilary because Trump is a plain shooter from the hip and takes nothing off of nobody.
If anything Sanders should had sued the DNC and Hilary for rigging the DNC
Go figure why he has kept his mouth shut.

Bif Webster , August 12, 2019 at 11:13

Putin preferred Obama to his running mates as well. But you won't ever hear that on the corporate "news" media.

Others sued on behalf of Bernie. That case died in south Florida, near Wasserman-Schultz's district yeah, and the excuse was, "The DNC is a 'private organization" and do what they like, apparently. However, the "judge" did not find it odd that a private entity can run a public election? And how there's an obvious conflict of interest involved?

Bernie kept his mouth shut because he's inside the Belly of the Beast.

Martin , August 12, 2019 at 11:54

i think there was something of a lawsuit, but the judge decided that the rigging was an inside thing to which no external laws applied. if you got a non-profit or a company and there's no internal rules that forbid the rigging of votes, rigging is not illegal. the superdelegates still exist.

Seer , August 12, 2019 at 12:04

He kept his mouth shut because advancing "My Revolution" was more important. And, because he's NOT a Democrat: he's only "allowed" to run as one: he is therefore a little more constrained. Had he lashed out he'd have NOT been allowed to run again as a Democrat -- bank on that!

Tulsi Gabbard, on the other hand, is a Democrat, in which case she really couldn't be kicked out: it was she who acted as Bernie's mouth on this matter.

Trump is a piece of crap. There's nothing straight about him at all. He's a con-man of the highest order. Other than give money to the rich he's done nothing: and "nothing," is probably the best that could have been hoped for given that he could have started some wars (he hasn't found one that he feels safe would not undermine his presidency, otherwise he'd be lighting it up). The reason the guy is so good at firing people is because he's so crappy about firing them.

Oh yeah, I have not cast a single vote for anyone I have mentioned here.

evelync , August 12, 2019 at 13:20

Interesting question, Larry Mofield!

Bernie's not a stupid guy and I believe (as does Cornel West and Noam Chomsky) he's dedicated to policies that serve working people and sustainability.(as I see it – reversing the NeoLiberal agenda in order to restore a level playing field for working people and also to shift to a democratic, non imperial foreign policy.)

So why didn't he, let's call him "David", not aim his slingshot at the DNC, let's call it "Goliath"?

Probably because a single stone in a slingshot was hopeless. He was up against a massive corrupt network of hangers on, IMO, who rabidly shouted down the person who dared to question Clinton's policies.

For an even more recent example of a delusional grandiose, imperial mind set, let's take the 200+ people affiliated with the JFK School of Government at Harvard. The ones who accepted the School's shameful withdrawal of Chelsea Manning's honorary fellowship because Pompeo and Morrell attacked it with Cold War rhetoric. Manning's crime? Telling people the truth about horrific wrongdoing she witnessed in Iraq. When I emailed 200 people at the JFK School a shame-on-you letter I heard back from only one who chastised (threatened) me for not understanding "National Security" .say what????) Others chimed in to agree with her. (I shared that email with Robert Parry at the time and he emailed back that he didn't blame me for being outraged. He was such a wonderful person.)

So Bernie had the whole MSNBC related propaganda machine at his throat.
– think Mimi Rocah's recent "he makes my skin crawl" comment, knowing surely, that her words would be applauded over there.
and think all the people who have accepted since 2016 that the Russians cost Hillary Clinton the election in denial over the truth – a flawed candidate who seemed to consider her constituency the big banks and the polluters and the war machine.

I know lifelong conservative Republicans who liked Bernie in 2016 and like him now because they find him truthful but didn't trust Clinton and some voted for Trump in order to beat her.

This country is filled with a patronage network of well off established people including Democrats who believe everything's fine as it is and are willing to shut their eyes to what's not working – the financial crisis of the working class, the racism underlying the for profit prison system and immigration system, the horrific endless regime change wars and the massive deregulation of banks on Bill Clinton's watch and much more, including the Climate Crisis.

It's taken almost 3 years to discredit what apparently was a faux "excuse" why Hillary Clinton lost. Too many voters in key states didn't trust her to serve their interests because she clearly was an apparatchik for the MICIMATT.

Enough of Trump's voters were willing to gamble on this "unknown" character who piggy backed off what Bernie was saying at the time – too bad he was lying ..

rosemerry , August 12, 2019 at 15:39

The whole suggestion has ignored any words and actions of Pres. Putin, who is careful to keep to the truth. He often stated that he would accept whoever the US population chose (ie did not even want to lean towards the one claiming to desire better relations, let alone interfere) because the difference between US administrations was small and policies unlikely to change in 2016. Because the US constantly causes "régime change" does not mean that Russia does. The quick decision to "blame Russia" immediately after Trump's win, activated by Obama expelling diplomats and stealing their US property, set the ball rolling and it has not stopped.

phillip sawicki , August 12, 2019 at 08:37

T he AP and no doubt other media are setting the stage for claiming that if Trump is reelected in 2020, the Russians again were responsible. As HItler learned, repeat a lie often enough and it will assume the appearance of truth. It's not surprising that the Democrats led by Hillary are behind this maneuver. The Dems have been blaming Russia ever since Truman did so in 1945.

Sally Snyder , August 12, 2019 at 08:05

As shown in this article, key Western countries including the United States have put in place a mechanism that is supposed to protect us from election meddling:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-g7-rapid-response-mechanism.html

Given the anti-Russia bias that took root and has become pervasive in the West since 2014 and, in particular, since the Hillary Clinton loss in 2016 which is blamed on Russian-sourced disinformation, it is interesting to see that the G7 has been driven to take extreme moves to battle what they see as an "evil Russia".

jdd , August 12, 2019 at 07:05

Devastating. A cogent and insightful analysis of Judge Koeltl's decision. Thank you Ambassador Murray.

Michaelevan Hammond , August 12, 2019 at 02:16

What's hilarious is that Binney was able to discern that the download was later split in two and then transmitted state side. Think of when you download a movie or a file .. it doesn't come in 2 parts, you either download the whole thing or it is an error/fail. Binney is able to show that the whole thing is one download at 49mbps impossible speed for transatlantic transmission .he absolute fastest you can achieve over the cable is 29mbps ..plus there are 6-12 NSA monitoring junctions added to the cable to capture such things and not one had any Russians attempting to "hack"(2001 term). It was all just deflection for Hillary and she may we'll have selfishly killed the Dems party.

Realist , August 12, 2019 at 00:37

Russiagate is not "dead." It has more lives than a cat bitten by a vampire. It is permanently undead. The antithesis of a dead parrot.

Check out some of its latest incarnations:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-11/moscow-mitch-secret-russian-subs-and-russophobia-derangement

How many times does Rachel Maddow have to tell you? Anyone who did not vote for Hillary Clinton and refuses to back her never-ending, constantly metamorphosing coup against Trump has got to be a Putin agent even Mitch McConnell. Check back tomorrow for the latest Maddowsplaining on this and other bad crazyness.

Seer , August 12, 2019 at 12:07

I agree. The FACT that the US has been sanctioning Russia for the better part of 100 years pretty much tells it all. It's about the West's ruling elite keeping Their game going: but, nothing lasts forever, and this game is about to run out on them (the perpetual growth model, which has given them their power, is ending).

Realist , August 12, 2019 at 00:18

Unless he was being sarcastic, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough tweeted that the Russians were probably behind Jeff Epstein's "suiciding" in the high security NYC federal lockup!

Anyone who truly believes that Epstein actually took his own life probably does still have a severe case of Putin Derangement Syndrome, aka Russophrenia, Russiagate-itis, -osis or whatever ya wanna call it. Their minds cannot co-exist within both the Deep State Matrix and objective reality at the same time. Blaming all evil in the world on Russia gives them license to act outside conventional morality with impunity.

Mark Stanley , August 12, 2019 at 11:32

Yes, they are endeavoring to tip-toe around this one. If Epstein had started squealing, the excrement would really have hit the fan. After his purported suicide, the smokescreen "conspiracy" word popped up immediately in every mainstream mention of Epstein.
If the populace found out about the deranged sexual practices of too many of the world's elites it would certainly upset the apple cart–to use an American expression.

Seer , August 12, 2019 at 15:51

This IS VERY DEEP! First three parts of this most excellent four part series is available, starting with this one (Mint Press also needs supporting).

https://www.mintpressnews.com/shocking-origins-jeffrey-epstein-blackmail-roy-cohn/260621/

After reading this I now understand why Trump won't release his tax returns.

Realist , August 12, 2019 at 18:12

Seer,

Probably, because like Romney, he didn't pay any.

Dershowitz's client Leonna Helmsley explained the principle decades ago: "Only the little people pay taxes." Probably as truthful a description of the American system as you will ever hear. Sadly, it went down the memory hole because the media will never mention it again. Investigative reporters like David Cay Johnston have to write individually researched books on the subject and hope that the swamp creatures don't seek retribution against him some dark night.

The most the public is ever going to get in this world is perhaps a brief glimmer of the truth through the hard work and suffering of individuals like Assange, Manning and a few other brave altruistic souls, but never justice. The system is set up to sacrifice the lives of millions for the benefit of dozens.

[Aug 12, 2019] Under neoliberalism buying politicians is the most lucrative investment of all

Aug 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Aug 12 2019 20:50 utc | 133

Hoarsewhisperer@ 73 said;"Buying politicians is the most lucrative investment of all..."

Yep, invest a million here and there, get a Billion back.

snake, thanks for the link. What a sordid mess of cretins.

@128: Interesting theory, but, IMO, DJT is just the latest, in a long line, that do the bidding of the malignant oligarchs, who's vast wealth buys compliance to their needs.


The military is just the enforcement arm of their system..

[Aug 11, 2019] https://www.mintpressnews.com/mega-group-maxwells-mossad-spy-story-jeffrey-epstein-scandal/261172/ by By Whitney Webb

Highly recommended!
Images removed. For full text the original source... test
Notable quotes:
"... Maxwell, who was a business partner of Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronfman, aided the successful Mossad plot to plant a trapdoor in U.S.-created software that was then sold to governments and companies throughout the world. That plot’s success was largely due to the role of a close associate of then-President Ronald Reagan and an American politician close to Maxwell, who later helped aid Reagan in the cover-up of the Iran Contra scandal. ..."
"... Years later, Maxwell’s daughter — Ghislaine Maxwell — would join Jeffrey Epstein’s “inner circle” at the same time Epstein was bankrolling a similar software program now being marketed for critical electronic infrastructure in the U.S. and abroad ..."
"... Epstein appears to have ties to Israeli intelligence and has well-documented ties to influential Israeli politicians and the Mega Group. Yet, those entities are not isolated in and of themselves, as many also connect to the organized crime network and powerful alleged pedophiles discussed in previous installments of this series. ..."
"... Associated Press ..."
"... Lauder, then-ambassador to Austria for the Reagan administration, would have been well-positioned to acquire such a passport, particularly for the reason cited by Epstein’s attorneys that Jewish-Americans could be targeted during travel, and in light of Lauder’s very public concerns over threats Jews face from certain terror groups. Furthermore, the passport had been issued in 1987, when Lauder was still serving as an ambassador. ..."
"... Though Epstein’s defense attorney declined to reveal the identity of the “friend” who provided him with the fake Austrian passport, Lauder was both well-positioned to acquire it in Austria and also deeply connected to the Mega Group, which was co-founded by Epstein’s patron Leslie Wexner and to which Epstein has many connections. These connections to both the Austrian government and to Epstein’s mentor make Lauder the most likely person to have acquired the document on Epstein’s behalf. ..."
"... Furthermore, Lauder co-founded the Eastern European broadcasting network CETV with Mark Palmer, a former U.S. diplomat, Kissinger aide and Reagan speechwriter. Palmer is better known for co-founding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization often described as an accessory to U.S. intelligence, and one whose first president confessed to the Washington Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Standard noted that Epstein once claimed that during the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein later backed away from that assertion. ..."
"... The Mega Group — a secretive group of billionaires to which Lauder belongs — was formed in 1991 by Charles Bronfman and Leslie Wexner, the latter of whom has received considerable media scrutiny following the July arrest of his former protege Jeffrey Epstein. Media profiles of the group paint it as “a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen” focused on “philanthropy and Jewishness,” with membership dues upwards of $30,000 per year. Yet several of its most prominent members have ties to organized crime. ..."
"... When Edgar Bronfman died in 2013, long-time ADL Director Abe Foxman said , “Edgar was for many years Chair of our Liquor Industry Division, Chair of our New York Appeal, and one of our most significant benefactors.” Other Mega Group members that are donors and major supporters of the ADL include Ronald Lauder , Michael Steinhardt and the late Max Fisher . As previously mentioned, Roy Cohn’s father was a long-time leader of B’nai B’rith’s influential New England-New York chapter and Cohn was later a celebrated member of its banking and finance lodge. ..."
"... In addition, Mega Group members have also been key players in the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. For instance, Max Fisher of the Mega Group founded the National Jewish Coalition, now known as the Republican Jewish Coalition — the main pro-Israel neoconservative political lobbying group , known for its support of hawkish policies, and whose current chief patrons, Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus, are among Donald Trump’s top donors. ..."
"... Sam Bronfman, as was detailed in Part I of this series, had long-standing deep ties to organized crime, specifically Meyer Lanksy’s organized crime syndicate. Yet, Bronfman’s private ambition, according to those close to him, was to become a respected member of high society. As a consequence, Bronfman worked hard to remove the stain that his mob associations had left on his public reputation in Canada and abroad. He accomplished this by becoming a leader in Canada’s Zionist movement and, by the end of the 1930s, he was head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and had begun to make a name for himself as a philanthropist for Jewish causes. ..."
"... Yet even some of Bronfman’s activism and philanthropy had hints of the mobster-like reputation he tried so hard to shake. For instance, Bronfman was actively involved in the illegal shipping of arms to Zionist paramilitaries in Palestine prior to 1948, specifically as a co-founder of the National Conference for Israeli and Jewish Rehabilitation that smuggled weapons to the paramilitary group Haganah. ..."
"... However, Edgar and Charles Bronfman were hardly the only members of the Mega Group with deep and long-standing ties to the Lansky-led National Crime Syndicate. Indeed, one of the group’s prominent members, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, opened up about his own family ties to Lansky in his autobiography No Bull: My Life in and out the Markets , where he noted that his father, Sol “Red McGee” Steinhardt, was Lansky’s jewel fence of choice and a major player in New York’s criminal underworld. Sol Steinhardt was also his son’s first client on Wall Street and helped him jumpstart his career in finance. ..."
"... One surprise connection to Cohn involves Mega Group member, and former president of U.S. weapons firm General Dynamics, Lester Crown, whose brother-in-law is David Schine, Cohn’s confidant and alleged lover during the McCarthy hearings, whose relationship with Cohn helped bring about the downfall of McCarthyism. ..."
"... Leslie “Les” Wexner, the other Mega Group co-founder, also has ties to organized crime. Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein have come under scrutiny following the latter’s recent arrest, as Wexner was the only publicly acknowledged client of Epstein’s suspicious hedge fund, the source of much of this wealth, and the previous owner of Epstein’s $56 million Manhattan townhouse, which Wexner transferred to an Epstein-controlled entity for free. ..."
"... The 1996 Times article also noted that, after Wexner bought the residence for $13.2 million in 1989, he spent millions more decorating and furnishing the home, including the addition of the electronic equipment in the “James Bond” bathroom, only to apparently never live in it. ..."
"... Farmer’s account strongly suggests that, given the behavior of his personal security staff at his mansion following Epstein’s alleged assault on Farmer, Wexner was well aware of Epstein’s predatory behavior towards young women. This is compounded by claims made by Alan Dershowitz — a former lawyer for and friend of Epstein’s, who has also been accused of raping underage girls — that Wexner has also been accused of raping underage girls exploited by Epstein on at least seven occasions. ..."
"... The report, titled “ Shapiro Homicide Investigation: Analysis and Hypothesis ,” names Leslie Wexner as linked “with associates reputed to be organized crime figures” and also lists the names of businessman Jack Kessler, former Columbus City Council President and Wexner associate Jerry Hammond, and former Columbus City Council member Les Wright as also being involved in Shapiro’s murder. ..."
"... As to Wexner’s alleged links to organized crime, the report focuses on the close business relationship between Wexner’s The Limited and Francis Walsh, whose trucking company “[had] done an excess of 90 percent of the Limited’s trucking business around the time of Shapiro’s murder,” according to the report. Walsh was named in a 1988 indictment as a “co-conspirator” of Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, whose long-time lawyer was Roy Cohn; and the Shapiro murder report stated that Walsh was “still considered associates of the Genovese/LaRocca crime family, and Walsh was still providing truck transportation for The Limited.” ..."
"... According to a source who viewed a copy of the NSA transcript of the conversation, the intelligence officer, speaking in Hebrew, said, ‘The ambassador wants me to go to Mega to get a copy of this letter.’ The source said the supervisor in Tel Aviv rejected the request, saying, ‘This is not something we use Mega for.’” ..."
"... Almost one year to the day after the “Mega” spy scandal broke, the Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report on the existence of a little-known organization of billionaires that was “informally” called the Mega Group and had been founded years prior in 1991. The report made no mention of the spy scandal that had spread concerns of Israeli espionage in the U.S. only a year prior. However, the group’s distinctive “informal” name and the connections of its members to the Mossad and to high-ranking Israeli politicians, including prime ministers, raise the possibility that “Mega” was not an individual, as the FBI and NSA had believed, but a group. ..."
"... Netanyahu was close enough to Lauder that he personally enlisted Lauder and George Nader to serve as his peace envoys to Syria. ..."
"... Nader, who was connected to the Trump 2016 campaign and Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was recently hit with federal child sex trafficking charges last month, soon after Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested on similar charges. At the time Nader was picked to work with Lauder on Netanyahu’s behalf, he had already been caught possessing large amounts of child pornography on two separate occasions, first in 1984 and later in 1990. ..."
"... Maxwell was also a close associate and friend of Israeli “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who, as previously mentioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s handler and who had previously worked directly with Meyer Lansky. ..."
"... With Inslaw out of the way, Brian sold the software all over the world. Eitan later recruited Robert Maxwell to become another Promis salesman, which he did remarkably well, even succeeding in selling the software to Soviet intelligence and conspiring with Republican Texas Senator John Tower to have the software adopted by the U.S. government laboratory at Los Alamos. Dozens of countries used the software on their most carefully guarded computer systems, unaware that Mossad now had access to everything Promis touched. ..."
"... According to journalist Robert Fisk , Maxwell was also involved in the Mossad abduction of Israeli nuclear weapons whistleblower Vanunu Mordechai. Mordechai had attempted to provide the media with information on the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, which was eventually published by the Sunday Times of London . Yet, Mordechai had also contacted the Daily Mirror with the information, the Mirror being an outlet that was owned by Maxwell and whose foreign editor was a close Maxwell associate and alleged Mossad asset, Nicholas Davies. Journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that Davies had also been involved in Israeli arms deals. ..."
"... Per Fisk, it was Maxwell who contacted the Israeli Embassy in London and told them of Mordechai’s activities. This led to Mordechai’s entrapment by a female Mossad agent who seduced him as part of a “honey trap” operation that led to his kidnapping and later imprisonment in Israel. Mordechai served an 18-year sentence, 12 years of which were in solitary confinement. ..."
"... According to authors Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Maxwell had sealed his own fate when he attempted to threaten top Mossad officials with the exposure of certain operations if they did not help him rescue his media empire from crippling debt and financial difficulties. Many of Maxwell’s creditors , who had grown increasingly displeased with the media mogul, were Israeli and several of them were alleged to be Mossad-connected themselves. ..."
"... Another attendee of the Maxwell yacht party was former Secretary of the Navy and former Henry Kissinger staffer Jon Lehman, who would go on to associate with the controversial neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century. Prior to being secretary of the Navy, Lehman had been president of the Abington Corporation, which hired arch-neocon Richard Perle to manage the portfolio of Israeli arms dealers Shlomo Zabludowicz and his son Chaim, who paid Ablington $10,000 month. A scandal arose when those payments continued after both Lehman and Perle joined the Reagan Department of Defense and while Perle was working to persuade the Pentagon to buy arms from companies linked to Zabludowicz. Perle had been part of the Reagan transition team along with Roy Cohn’s long-time friend and law partner Tom Bolan (another Maxwell yacht guest). ..."
"... Even though Jeffrey Epstein appears to have had ties to the Mossad, this series has revealed that the networks to which Epstein was connected were not Mossad-exclusive, as many of the individuals close to Epstein — Lesie Wexner, for instance — were part of a mob-connected class of oligarchs with deep ties to both the U.S. and Israel. ..."
"... Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations. ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | www.mintpressnews.com

52 Comments

A s billionaire pedophile and alleged sex-trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein sits in prison, reports have continued to surface about his reported links to intelligence, his financial ties to several companies and “charitable” foundations, and his friendships with the rich and powerful as well as top politicians.

While Part I and Part II of this series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” have focused on the widespread nature of sexual blackmail operations in recent American history and their ties to the heights of American political power and the U.S. intelligence community, one key aspect of Epstein’s own sex-trafficking and blackmail operation that warrants examination is Epstein’s ties to Israeli intelligence and his ties to the “informal” pro-Israel philanthropist faction known as “the Mega Group.”

The Mega Group’s role in the Epstein case has garnered some attention, as Epstein’s main financial patron for decades, billionaire Leslie Wexner, was a co-founder of the group that unites several well-known businessmen with a penchant for pro-Israel and ethno-philanthropy (i.e., philanthropy benefiting a single ethnic or ethno-religious group). However, as this report will show, another uniting factor among Mega Group members is deep ties to organized crime, specifically the organized crime network discussed in Part I of this series, which was largely led by notorious American mobster Meyer Lansky.

By virtue of the role of many Mega Group members as major political donors in both the U.S. and Israel, several of its most notable members have close ties to the governments of both countries as well as their intelligence communities. As this report and a subsequent report will show, the Mega Group also had close ties to two businessmen who worked for Israel’s Mossad — Robert Maxwell and Marc Rich — as well as to top Israeli politicians, including past and present prime ministers with deep ties to Israel’s intelligence community.

One of those businessmen working for the Mossad, Robert Maxwell, will be discussed at length in this report. Maxwell, who was a business partner of Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronfman, aided the successful Mossad plot to plant a trapdoor in U.S.-created software that was then sold to governments and companies throughout the world. That plot’s success was largely due to the role of a close associate of then-President Ronald Reagan and an American politician close to Maxwell, who later helped aid Reagan in the cover-up of the Iran Contra scandal.

Years later, Maxwell’s daughter — Ghislaine Maxwell — would join Jeffrey Epstein’s “inner circle” at the same time Epstein was bankrolling a similar software program now being marketed for critical electronic infrastructure in the U.S. and abroad. That company has deep and troubling connections to Israeli military intelligence, associates of the Trump administration, and the Mega Group.

Epstein appears to have ties to Israeli intelligence and has well-documented ties to influential Israeli politicians and the Mega Group. Yet, those entities are not isolated in and of themselves, as many also connect to the organized crime network and powerful alleged pedophiles discussed in previous installments of this series.

Perhaps the best illustration of how the connections between many of these players often meld together can be seen in Ronald Lauder: a Mega Group member, former member of the Reagan administration, long-time donor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Likud Party, as well as a long-time friend of Donald Trump and Roy Cohn.

From cosmetics heir to political player

One often overlooked yet famous client and friend of Roy Cohn is the billionaire heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, Ronald Lauder. Lauder is often described in the press as a “leading Jewish philanthropist” and is the president of the World Jewish Congress, yet his many media profiles tend to leave out his highly political past.

In a statement given by Lauder to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman in 2018, the cosmetics heir noted that he has known Trump for over 50 years, going back at least to the early 1970s. According to Lauder, his relationship with Trump began when Trump was a student at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which Lauder also attended.

Image deleted: President-elect Trump walks with Ronald Lauder after meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Dec. 28, 2016, in Palm Beach, Fla. Evan Vucci | AP

Though the exact nature of their early friendship is unclear, it is evident that they shared many of the same connections, including to the man who would later count them both as his clients, Roy Cohn. While much has been said of the ties between Cohn and Trump, Cohn was particularly close to Lauder’s mother, Estee Lauder (born Josephine Mentzer). Estee was even counted among Cohn’s most high-profile friends in his New York Times obituary .

A small window into the Lauder-Cohn relationship surfaced briefly in a 2016 article in Politico about a 1981 dinner party held at Cohn’s weekend home in Greenwich, Connecticut. The party was attended by Ronald Lauder’s parents, Estee and Joe, as well as Trump and his then-wife Ivana, who had a weekend home just two miles away. That party was held soon after Cohn had helped Reagan secure the presidency and had reached the height of his political influence. At the party, Cohn offered toasts to Reagan and to then-Senator for New York Alfonse D’Amato, who would later urge Ronald Lauder to run for political office.

Two years later, in 1983, Ronald Lauder — whose only professional experience at that point was working for his parent’s cosmetics company — was appointed to serve as United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs. Soon after his appointment, he served on the Dinner Tribute Committee for a dinner hosted by the Jewish fraternal and strongly pro-Israel organization B’nai B’rith, the parent organization of the controversial Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in Roy Cohn’s honor. Cohn’s influential father, Albert Cohn, was the long-time president of B’nai B’rith’s powerful New England-New York chapter and Roy Cohn himself was a member of B’nai B’rith’s Banking and Finance Lodge.

The dinner specifically sought to honor Cohn for his pro-Israel advocacy and his efforts to “fortify” Israel’s economy, and its honorary chairmen included media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump and then-head of Bear Stearns Alan Greenberg, all of whom are connected to Jeffrey Epstein.

During his time as deputy assistant secretary of defense, Lauder was also very active in Israeli politics and had already become an ally of the then-Israeli representative to the United Nations and future prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Lauder would go on to be one of the most important individuals in Netanyahu’s rise to power, particularly during his upset victory in 1996, and a major financier of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party.

In 1986, the year that Roy Cohn died, Lauder left his post at the Pentagon and became the U.S. ambassador to Austria, where his tenure was shaped by his confrontations with the then-Austrian president and former Nazi collaborator, Kurt Waldheim. Lauder’s interest in Austrian politics has continued well into recent years, culminating in accusations that he sought to manipulate Austrian elections in 2012.

After leaving his ambassadorship, Lauder founded the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in 1987 and later went on to run for Mayor of New York against Rudy Giuliani in 1989. Lauder was encouraged to run by then-Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who had close ties to Roy Cohn and his long-time law partner Tom Bolan, who was D’Amato’s adviser . At the aforementioned 1983 B’nai B’rith dinner honoring Cohn, D’Amato was the featured speaker.

The likely reason was that Giuliani, though once an ally of the “Roy Cohn machine,” was at the time deeply disliked by the late Cohn’s associates for prosecuting Cohn’s former law partner, Stanley Friedman, for racketeering, conspiracy and other charges. Giuliani also had a history of bitter disagreements with D’Amato. Lauder’s primary campaign, though unsuccessful, was noted for its viciousness and its cost, as it burned through more than $13 million.

A few years later, in the early 1990s, Lauder would join a newly formed group that has long evaded scrutiny from the media but has recently become of interest in connection with the Jeffrey Epstein scandal: the Mega Group.

Lauder, Epstein and the mysterious Austrian passport

Before getting to the Mega Group, it is worth noting one particular act apparently undertaken by Lauder while he was U.S. ambassador to Austria that has recently come to light in relation to the arrest in early July of Jeffrey Epstein, a finding first reported by journalist Edward Szall. When police recently discovered an Austrian passport with Epstein’s picture and a fake name after raiding his Manhattan residence, the source and purpose of the passport came under media scrutiny.

According to the Associated Press , Epstein’s defense lawyers specifically argued that “a friend gave it to him [Epstein] in the 1980s after some Jewish-Americans were informally advised to carry identification bearing a non-Jewish name when traveling internationally during a period when hijackings were more common.” This claim appears to be related to concerns that followed the hijacking of Air France Flight 139 in 1976 when Israeli and Jewish hostages were separated from other hostages based largely on the passports in their possession.

Given that Epstein was unable to meet the conventional qualifications for an Austrian passport — including long-term residency in Austria (the passport lists him as a resident of Saudi Arabia) and fluency in German — it appears that the only way to have acquired an Austrian passport was by unconventional means, meaning assistance from a well-connected Austrian official or foreign diplomat with clout in Austria.

Image deleted: Ronald Lauder, right, and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima pose with students from the Lauder Chabad School in Vienna, Austria in 1999. Martin Gnedt | AP

Lauder, then-ambassador to Austria for the Reagan administration, would have been well-positioned to acquire such a passport, particularly for the reason cited by Epstein’s attorneys that Jewish-Americans could be targeted during travel, and in light of Lauder’s very public concerns over threats Jews face from certain terror groups. Furthermore, the passport had been issued in 1987, when Lauder was still serving as an ambassador.

In addition, Lauder was well-connected to Epstein’s former patron — former head of Bear Stearns Alan Greenberg, who had hired Epstein in the late 1970s immediately after the latter was fired from the Dalton School — and Donald Trump, another friend of Lauder and Greenberg who began his friendship with Epstein in 1987, the same year the fake Austrian passport was issued. In 1987, Epstein also began his relationship with his principal financier, Leslie Wexner, who is also closely associated with Lauder (though some sources claim that Epstein and Wexner first met in 1985 but that their strong business relationship was not established until 1987).

Though Epstein’s defense attorney declined to reveal the identity of the “friend” who provided him with the fake Austrian passport, Lauder was both well-positioned to acquire it in Austria and also deeply connected to the Mega Group, which was co-founded by Epstein’s patron Leslie Wexner and to which Epstein has many connections. These connections to both the Austrian government and to Epstein’s mentor make Lauder the most likely person to have acquired the document on Epstein’s behalf.

Furthermore, Epstein and the Mega Group’s ties to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, also suggest Lauder was involved in procuring the passport, in light of his close ties to the Israeli government and the fact that Mossad has a history of using ambassadors abroad to procure false, foreign passports for its operatives.

Lauder himself has been alleged to have ties to Mossad, as he is a long-time funder of IDC Herzliya, an Israeli university closely associated with Mossad and their recruiters as well as Israeli military intelligence. Lauder even founded IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy.

Furthermore, Lauder co-founded the Eastern European broadcasting network CETV with Mark Palmer, a former U.S. diplomat, Kissinger aide and Reagan speechwriter. Palmer is better known for co-founding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization often described as an accessory to U.S. intelligence, and one whose first president confessed to the Washington Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Standard noted that Epstein once claimed that during the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein later backed away from that assertion.

The origins of the Mega Group Mafia

The Mega Group — a secretive group of billionaires to which Lauder belongs — was formed in 1991 by Charles Bronfman and Leslie Wexner, the latter of whom has received considerable media scrutiny following the July arrest of his former protege Jeffrey Epstein. Media profiles of the group paint it as “a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen” focused on “philanthropy and Jewishness,” with membership dues upwards of $30,000 per year. Yet several of its most prominent members have ties to organized crime.

Mega Group members founded and/or are closely associated with some of the most well-known pro-Israel organizations. For instance, members Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt formed Birthright Taglit with the backing of then- and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Steinhardt, an atheist, has stated that his motivation in helping to found the group was to advance his own belief that devotion to and faith in the state of Israel should serve as “a substitute for [Jewish] theology.”

Other well-known groups associated with the Mega Group include the World Jewish Congress — whose past president, Edgar Bronfman, and current president, Ronald Lauder, are both Mega Group members — and B’nai B’rith, particularly its spin-off known as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Bronfman brothers were major donors to the ADL, with Edgar Bronfman serving as the ADL’s honorary national vice-chair for several years.

Image deleted: Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, second from left, listens to Edgar Bronfman during a 1995 lunch thrown in Peres’ honor. From left are: Laurence Tisch, Chairman, President and Chief executive officer of CBS; Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Itamar Rabinowitz and Bronfman. David Karp | AP

When Edgar Bronfman died in 2013, long-time ADL Director Abe Foxman said , “Edgar was for many years Chair of our Liquor Industry Division, Chair of our New York Appeal, and one of our most significant benefactors.” Other Mega Group members that are donors and major supporters of the ADL include Ronald Lauder , Michael Steinhardt and the late Max Fisher . As previously mentioned, Roy Cohn’s father was a long-time leader of B’nai B’rith’s influential New England-New York chapter and Cohn was later a celebrated member of its banking and finance lodge.

In addition, Mega Group members have also been key players in the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. For instance, Max Fisher of the Mega Group founded the National Jewish Coalition, now known as the Republican Jewish Coalition — the main pro-Israel neoconservative political lobbying group , known for its support of hawkish policies, and whose current chief patrons, Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus, are among Donald Trump’s top donors.

Though the Mega Group has officially existed only since 1991, the use of “philanthropy” to provide cover for more unscrupulous lobbying or business activities was pioneered decades earlier by Sam Bronfman, the father of Mega Group members Edgar and Charles Bronfman. While other North American elites like J.D. Rockefeller had previously used philanthropic giving as a means of laundering their reputations, Bronfman’s approach to philanthropy was unique because it was focused on giving specifically to other members of his own ethno-religious background.

Sam Bronfman, as was detailed in Part I of this series, had long-standing deep ties to organized crime, specifically Meyer Lanksy’s organized crime syndicate. Yet, Bronfman’s private ambition, according to those close to him, was to become a respected member of high society. As a consequence, Bronfman worked hard to remove the stain that his mob associations had left on his public reputation in Canada and abroad. He accomplished this by becoming a leader in Canada’s Zionist movement and, by the end of the 1930s, he was head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and had begun to make a name for himself as a philanthropist for Jewish causes.

Yet even some of Bronfman’s activism and philanthropy had hints of the mobster-like reputation he tried so hard to shake. For instance, Bronfman was actively involved in the illegal shipping of arms to Zionist paramilitaries in Palestine prior to 1948, specifically as a co-founder of the National Conference for Israeli and Jewish Rehabilitation that smuggled weapons to the paramilitary group Haganah.

At the same time Bronfman was abetting the illegal smuggling of weapons to the Haganah, his associates in the criminal underworld were doing the same. After World War II, close aides of David Ben-Gurion, who would later become the first prime minister of Israel and was instrumental in the founding of Mossad, forged tight-knit relationships with Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Mickey Cohen and other Jewish gangsters of the period. They used their clandestine networks to establish a vast arms smuggling network between the United States and Zionist settlements in Palestine, arming both the Haganah and the Irgun paramilitary groups. As noted in Part I of this report, at the same time these gangsters were aiding the illegal arming of ZIonsit paramilitaries, they were strengthening their ties to U.S. intelligence that had first been formally (though covertly) established in World War II.

After Israel was founded, Sam Bronfman worked with future Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to negotiate the sale of Canadian armaments at half-price to Israel and the bargain weapons purchase was paid for entirely by a fundraising dinner hosted by Bronfman and his wife. Many years later, Peres would go on to introduce another future prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, to Jeffrey Epstein.

The rest of the Bronfman family’s march on “the road to respectability” was undertaken by Bronfman’s children, who married into aristocratic families such as the European Rothschilds and the Wall Street “royalty” of the Lehmans and the Loebs .

The Bronfmans’ newfound respectability did not mean that their association with the Lansky-led criminal empire had dissolved. Indeed, prominent members of the Seagrams dynasty came under fire in the 1960s and 1970s for their close association with Willie “Obie” Obront, a major figure in Canadian organized crime, whom Canadian professor Stephen Schneider has referred to as the Meyer Lansky of Canada.

However, Edgar and Charles Bronfman were hardly the only members of the Mega Group with deep and long-standing ties to the Lansky-led National Crime Syndicate. Indeed, one of the group’s prominent members, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, opened up about his own family ties to Lansky in his autobiography No Bull: My Life in and out the Markets , where he noted that his father, Sol “Red McGee” Steinhardt, was Lansky’s jewel fence of choice and a major player in New York’s criminal underworld. Sol Steinhardt was also his son’s first client on Wall Street and helped him jumpstart his career in finance.

The ties between the Mega Group and the National Crime Syndicate don’t stop there. Another prominent member of the Mega Group with ties to this same criminal network is Max Fisher, who has been described as Wexner’s mentor and is also alleged to have worked with Detroit’s “Purple Gang” during Prohibition and beyond. The Purple Gang were part of the network that smuggled Bronfman liquor from Canada into the United State during Prohibition, and one of its founders, Abe Bernstein, was a close associate of both Meyer Lansky and Moe Dalitz. Fisher was a key adviser to several U.S. presidents, beginning with Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as to Henry Kissinger.

Image removed: Max Fisher, center, and Henry Kissinger, right, meet with leaders of Jewish organizations prior to Kissinger’s 1975 Middle East trip. Henry Burroughs | AP

In addition to Fisher, Mega Group member Ronald Lauder was connected to Roy Cohn and Tom Bolan, both of whom were closely associated with this same Lansky-led crime network (see Part I and Part II ) and who regularly represented top Mafia figures in court. Furthermore, another member of the Mega Group, director Steven Spielberg, is a well-known protege of Lew Wasserman, the mob-connected media mogul and long-time backer of Ronald Reagan’s film and later political career, discussed in Part II of this series.

One surprise connection to Cohn involves Mega Group member, and former president of U.S. weapons firm General Dynamics, Lester Crown, whose brother-in-law is David Schine, Cohn’s confidant and alleged lover during the McCarthy hearings, whose relationship with Cohn helped bring about the downfall of McCarthyism.

Another member of the Mega Group worth noting is Laurence Tisch, who owned CBS News for several years and founded Loews Corporation. Tisch is notable for his work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, where Donald Barr, who hired Epstein at the Dalton School, also served and which forged ties with Lansky’s criminal empire during World War II.

Wexner’s mansions and the Shapiro murder

Leslie “Les” Wexner, the other Mega Group co-founder, also has ties to organized crime. Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein have come under scrutiny following the latter’s recent arrest, as Wexner was the only publicly acknowledged client of Epstein’s suspicious hedge fund, the source of much of this wealth, and the previous owner of Epstein’s $56 million Manhattan townhouse, which Wexner transferred to an Epstein-controlled entity for free.

Before Epstein received the townhouse, Wexner appears to have used the residence for some unconventional purposes, noted in a 1996 New York Times article on the then-Wexner-owned residence, which included “a bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies: hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink.” The Times article does not speculate as to the purpose of this equipment, though the allusion to famous fictional superspy James Bond suggests that it may have been used to snoop on guests or conduct electronic surveillance.

The 1996 Times article also noted that, after Wexner bought the residence for $13.2 million in 1989, he spent millions more decorating and furnishing the home, including the addition of the electronic equipment in the “James Bond” bathroom, only to apparently never live in it. The Times , which interviewed Epstein for the piece, quoted him as saying that “Les never spent more than two months there.” Epstein told the Times , which identified Epstein as Wexner’s “protege and one of his financial advisers,” that the house, by that time, already belonged to him.

That same year, Epstein was commissioning artwork for Wexner’s Ohio mansion. A recent article from the Times noted that:

In the summer of 1996, Maria Farmer was working on an art project for Mr. Epstein in Mr. Wexner’s Ohio mansion. While she was there, Mr. Epstein sexually assaulted her, according to an affidavit Ms. Farmer filed earlier this year in federal court in Manhattan. She said that she fled the room and called the police, but that Mr. Wexner’s security staff refused to let her leave for 12 hours.”

Farmer’s account strongly suggests that, given the behavior of his personal security staff at his mansion following Epstein’s alleged assault on Farmer, Wexner was well aware of Epstein’s predatory behavior towards young women. This is compounded by claims made by Alan Dershowitz — a former lawyer for and friend of Epstein’s, who has also been accused of raping underage girls — that Wexner has also been accused of raping underage girls exploited by Epstein on at least seven occasions.

The presence of the electronic equipment in his home’s bathroom, other oddities related to the townhouse, and aspects of the links between Epstein and Wexner suggest there is more to Wexner, who has rather successfully developed a public image of a respectable businessman and philanthropist, much like other prominent members of the Mega Group.

Image removed: Leslie Wexner and his wife Abigail tour the “Transfigurations” exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts. Jay LaPrete | AP

However, bits and pieces of Wexner’s private secrets have occasionally bubbled up, only to be subjected to rapid cover-ups amidst concerns of “libeling” the powerful and well-connected billionaire “philanthropist.”

In 1985, Columbus (Ohio) lawyer Arthur Shapiro was murdered in broad daylight at point-blank range in what was largely referred to as a “mob style murder.” The homicide still remains unsolved, likely due to the fact that then-Columbus Police Chief James Jackson ordered the destruction of key documents of his department’s investigation into the murder.

Jackson’s ordering of the documents’ destruction came to light years later in 1996, when he was under investigation for corruption. According to the Columbus Dispatch , Jackson justified the destruction of one “ viable and valuable ” report because he felt that it “was so filled with wild speculation about prominent business leaders that it was potentially libelous.” The nature of this “wild speculation” was that “millionaire businessmen in Columbus and Youngstown were linked to the ‘mob-style murder.’”

Though Jackson’s efforts were meant to keep this “libelous” report far from public view, it was eventually obtained by Bob Fitrakis — attorney, journalist, and executive director of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism — after he was “accidentally” sent a copy of the report in 1998 as part of a public records request.

The report, titled “ Shapiro Homicide Investigation: Analysis and Hypothesis ,” names Leslie Wexner as linked “with associates reputed to be organized crime figures” and also lists the names of businessman Jack Kessler, former Columbus City Council President and Wexner associate Jerry Hammond, and former Columbus City Council member Les Wright as also being involved in Shapiro’s murder.

The report also noted that Arthur Shapiro’s law firm — Schwartz, Shapiro, Kelm & Warren — represented Wexner’s company, The Limited, and states that “prior to his death, Arthur Shapiro managed this account [The Limited] for the law firm.” It also noted that, at the time of his death, Shapiro “was the subject of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service because he had failed to file income tax returns for some seven years prior to his death, and he had invested in some questionable tax shelters.” It also stated that his death prevented Shapiro from his planned testimony at a grand jury hearing about these “questionable tax shelters.”

As to Wexner’s alleged links to organized crime, the report focuses on the close business relationship between Wexner’s The Limited and Francis Walsh, whose trucking company “[had] done an excess of 90 percent of the Limited’s trucking business around the time of Shapiro’s murder,” according to the report. Walsh was named in a 1988 indictment as a “co-conspirator” of Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, whose long-time lawyer was Roy Cohn; and the Shapiro murder report stated that Walsh was “still considered associates of the Genovese/LaRocca crime family, and Walsh was still providing truck transportation for The Limited.”

Notably, the Genovese crime family has long formed a key part of the National Crime Syndicate, as its former head, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, co-created the criminal organization with his close friend Meyer Lansky. Upon Luciano’s imprisonment and subsequent deportation from the United States, Lansky took over the syndicate’s U.S. operations and his association with Luciano’s successors continued until Lansky’s death in 1983.

The “Mega” Mystery and the Mossad

In May 1997, the Washington Post broke an explosive story — long since forgotten — based on an intercepted phone call made between a Mossad official in the U.S. and his superior in Tel Aviv that discussed the Mossad’s efforts to obtain a secret U.S. government document. According to the Post, the Mossad official stated during the phone call that “Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben Elissar had asked him whether he could obtain a copy of the letter given to [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat by [then-Secretary of State Warren] Christopher on Jan. 16, the day after the Hebron accord was signed by Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”

The Post article continued:

According to a source who viewed a copy of the NSA transcript of the conversation, the intelligence officer, speaking in Hebrew, said, ‘The ambassador wants me to go to Mega to get a copy of this letter.’ The source said the supervisor in Tel Aviv rejected the request, saying, ‘This is not something we use Mega for.’”

The leaked communication led to an investigation that sought to identify an individual code-named “Mega” that the Post said “may be someone in the U.S. government who has provided information to the Israelis in the past,” a concern that subsequently spawned a fruitless FBI investigation. The Mossad later claimed that “Mega” was merely a codeword for the U.S.’ CIA, but the FBI and NSA were unconvinced by that claim and believed that it was a senior U.S. government official that had potentially once been involved in working with Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. naval intelligence analyst later convicted of spying for the Mossad.

Almost one year to the day after the “Mega” spy scandal broke, the Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report on the existence of a little-known organization of billionaires that was “informally” called the Mega Group and had been founded years prior in 1991. The report made no mention of the spy scandal that had spread concerns of Israeli espionage in the U.S. only a year prior. However, the group’s distinctive “informal” name and the connections of its members to the Mossad and to high-ranking Israeli politicians, including prime ministers, raise the possibility that “Mega” was not an individual, as the FBI and NSA had believed, but a group.

In 1997, when the “Mega” spy scandal broke, Netanyahu had recently become prime minister of Israel after an upset victory, a victory that was largely credited to one well-connected Netanyahu backer in particular, Ronald Lauder. Beyond being a major donor, Lauder had brought Arthur Finklestein on to work for Netanyahu’s 1996 campaign, whose strategies were credited for Netanyahu’s surprise win. Netanyahu was close enough to Lauder that he personally enlisted Lauder and George Nader to serve as his peace envoys to Syria.

Image removed: Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara with Ronald Lauder in 1997. Photo | Reuters

Nader, who was connected to the Trump 2016 campaign and Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was recently hit with federal child sex trafficking charges last month, soon after Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested on similar charges. At the time Nader was picked to work with Lauder on Netanyahu’s behalf, he had already been caught possessing large amounts of child pornography on two separate occasions, first in 1984 and later in 1990.

This strong connection between Netanyahu and Lauder during the time of the 1997 “Mega” spy scandal is important considering Mossad answers directly to Israel’s prime minister.

Another possible connection between the Mega Group and the Mossad owes to the Mega Group’s ties to Meyer Lansky’s criminal network. As was detailed in Part I, Lansky had established deep ties to U.S. intelligence after World War II and was also connected to the Mossad through Mossad official Tibor Rosenbaum, whose bank was frequently used by Lansky to launder money. In addition, Lansky collaborated on at least one occasion with notorious Mossad “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who he helped acquire sensitive electronic equipment possessed only by the CIA but coveted by Israeli intelligence. Eitan is best known in the U.S. for being the Mossad handler of Jonathan Pollard.

Notably, Eitan was the main source of claims that the code-word “Mega” used by the Mossad officials in 1997 referred to the CIA and not to a potential source in the U.S. government once linked to Pollard’s spying activities, making his claims as to the true meaning of the term somewhat dubious.

Given that the organized crime network tied to the Mega Group had ties to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence, the “Mega” codeword could plausibly have referred to this secretive group of billionaires. More supporting evidence for this theory comes from the fact that prominent members of the Mega Group were business partners of Mossad agents, including media mogul Robert Maxwell and commodities trader Marc Rich.

The mysterious Maxwells

The Maxwell family has become a source of renewed media interest following Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest, as Ghislaine Maxwell, long described in the media as a British “socialite,” was publicly cited as Epstein’s long-time “on and off” girlfriend, and Epstein’s victims, as well as former wives of Epstein’s friends, have claimed that she was Epstein’s “pimp” and procured underage girls for his sexual blackmail operation. Ghislaine Maxwell is also alleged to have engaged in the rape of the girls she procured for Epstein and to have used them to produce child pornography.

Ghislaine was the favorite and youngest daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell. Maxwell, born Jan Ludvick Hoch, had joined the British Army in World War II. Afterwards, according to authors John Loftus and Mark Aarons , he greatly influenced the Czechoslovakian government’s decision to arm Zionist paramilitaries during the 1948 war that resulted in Israel’s creation as a state, and Maxwell himself was also involved in the smuggling of aircraft parts to Israel.

Around this time, Maxwell was approached by British intelligence outfit MI6 and offered a position that Maxwell ultimately declined. MI6 then classified him as “Zionist — loyal only to Israel” and made him a person of interest. He later became an agent of the Mossad, according to several books including Seymour Hersh’s The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, and Robert Maxwell: Israel’s Superspy by Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon.

According to Victor Ostrovsky , a former Mossad case officer:

Mossad was financing many of its operations in Europe from money stolen from Maxwell’s newspaper pension fund. They got their hands on the funds almost as soon as Maxwell made the purchase of the Mirror Newspaper Group with money lent to him by Mossad.”

In exchange for his services, the Mossad helped Maxwell satisfy his sexual appetite during his visits to Israel, providing him with prostitutes, “the service maintained for blackmail purposes.” It was later revealed that the hotel in which he stayed in Israel was bugged with cameras, allowing the Mossad to acquire “a small library of video footage of Maxwell in sexually compromising positions.” As with the CIA, the Mossad’s use of blackmail against both friend and foe is well-documented and known to be extensive .

Maxwell was also a close associate and friend of Israeli “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who, as previously mentioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s handler and who had previously worked directly with Meyer Lansky. Eitan had learned of a revolutionary new software being used by the U.S. government known as “Promis” from Earl Brian, a long-time associate and aide to Ronald Reagan. Promis is often considered the forerunner to the “Prism” software used by spy agencies today and was developed by William Hamilton, who leased the software to the U.S. government through his company, Inslaw, in 1982.

Image removed: Ariel Sharon (right)meets with Robert Maxwell in Jerusalem on Feb. 20, 1990. Photo | AP

According to author and former BBC investigative journalist Gordon Thomas, Brian was angry that the U.S. Department of Justice was successfully using Promis to go after organized crime and money-laundering activities and Eitan felt that the program could aid Israel. At the time, Eitan was the director of the now defunct Israeli military intelligence agency Lekem, which gathered scientific and technical intelligence abroad from both public and covert sources, especially in relation to Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

A plan was hatched to install a “trapdoor” into the software and then market Promis throughout the world, providing the Mossad with invaluable intelligence on the operations of its enemies and allies while also providing Eitan and Brian with copious amounts of cash. According to the testimony of ex-Mossad official Ari Ben-Menashe, Brian provided a copy of Promis to Israel’s military intelligence, which contacted an Israeli American programmer living in California who then planted the “trapdoor” in the software. The CIA was later said to have installed its own trapdoor in the software but it is unknown if they did so with a version of the already bugged software and how widely it was adopted relative to the version bugged by Israeli intelligence.

After the trapdoor was inserted, the problem became selling the bugged version of the software to governments as well as private companies around the world, particularly in areas of interest. Brian first attempted to buy out Inslaw and Promis and then use that same company to sell the bugged version.

Unsuccessful, Brian turned to his close friend, then-Attorney General Ed Meese whose Justice Department then abruptly refused to make the payments to Inslaw that were stipulated by the contract, essentially using the software for free, which Inslaw claimed to be theft. Some have speculated that Meese’s role in that decision was shaped, not only by his friendship with Brian, but the fact that his wife was a major investor in Brian’s business ventures. Meese would later become an adviser to Donald Trump when he was president-elect.

Inslaw was forced to declare bankruptcy as a result of Meese’s actions and sued the Justice Department. The court later found that the Meese-led department “took, converted, stole” the software through “trickery, fraud and deceit.”

With Inslaw out of the way, Brian sold the software all over the world. Eitan later recruited Robert Maxwell to become another Promis salesman, which he did remarkably well, even succeeding in selling the software to Soviet intelligence and conspiring with Republican Texas Senator John Tower to have the software adopted by the U.S. government laboratory at Los Alamos. Dozens of countries used the software on their most carefully guarded computer systems, unaware that Mossad now had access to everything Promis touched.

Whereas the Mossad’s past reliance on gathering intelligence had relied on the same tactics used by its equivalents in the U.S. and elsewhere, the widespread adoption of the Promis software, largely through the actions of Earl Brian and Robert Maxwell, gave the Mossad a way to gather not just troves of counterintelligence data, but also blackmail on other intelligence agencies and powerful figures.

Indeed, Promis’ backdoor and adoption by intelligence agencies all over the world essentially provided the Mossad with access to troves of blackmail that the CIA and FBI had acquired on their friends and foes for over half a century. Strangely, in recent years, the FBI has sought to hide information related to Robert Maxwell’s connection to the Promis scandal.

According to journalist Robert Fisk , Maxwell was also involved in the Mossad abduction of Israeli nuclear weapons whistleblower Vanunu Mordechai. Mordechai had attempted to provide the media with information on the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, which was eventually published by the Sunday Times of London . Yet, Mordechai had also contacted the Daily Mirror with the information, the Mirror being an outlet that was owned by Maxwell and whose foreign editor was a close Maxwell associate and alleged Mossad asset, Nicholas Davies. Journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that Davies had also been involved in Israeli arms deals.

Per Fisk, it was Maxwell who contacted the Israeli Embassy in London and told them of Mordechai’s activities. This led to Mordechai’s entrapment by a female Mossad agent who seduced him as part of a “honey trap” operation that led to his kidnapping and later imprisonment in Israel. Mordechai served an 18-year sentence, 12 years of which were in solitary confinement.

Then, there is the issue of Maxwell’s death, widely cited by mainstream and independent media alike as suspicious and a potential homicide . According to authors Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Maxwell had sealed his own fate when he attempted to threaten top Mossad officials with the exposure of certain operations if they did not help him rescue his media empire from crippling debt and financial difficulties. Many of Maxwell’s creditors , who had grown increasingly displeased with the media mogul, were Israeli and several of them were alleged to be Mossad-connected themselves.

Thomas and Dillon argue in their biography of Maxwell’s life that the Mossad felt that Maxwell had become more of a liability than an asset and killed him on his yacht three months after he demanded the bailout. On the other extreme are theories that suggest Maxwell committed suicide because of the financial difficulties his empire faced.

Image removed: Ghislaine Maxwell, far right, Robert Maxwell’s daughter, looks on his casket is unloaded from a plane in Jerusalem, Nov. 8, 1991. Heribert Proepper | AP

Some have taken Maxwell’s funeral held in Israel as the country’s “official” confirmation of Maxwell’s service to the Mossad, as it was likened to a state funeral and attended by no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence. During his funeral service in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized him and stated : “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.” Other eulogies were given by future Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert (then Health Minister) and Shimon Peres, with the latter also praising Maxwell’s “services” on behalf of Israel.

Swimming in the same swamp

As he built his business empire — and even became a member of Parliament, Maxwell was also doing work for Israeli intelligence, as several of the Israeli companies in which he invested became fronts for the Mossad. In addition, as he became a media mogul, he developed a bitter rivalry with Rupert Murdoch, a close friend of Roy Cohn and an influential figure in American and British media.

Maxwell also partnered with the Bronfman brothers, Edgar and Charles — key figures in the Mega Group. In 1989 Maxwell and Charles Bronfman partnered up to bid on the Jerusalem Post newspaper and the Post described the two men as “two of the world’s leading Jewish financiers” and their interest in the venture as “developing The Jerusalem Post and expanding its influence among world Jewry.” A year prior, Maxwell and Bronfman had become top shareholders in the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva.

Maxwell also worked with Charles Bronfman’s brother Edgar in the late 1980s to convince the Soviet Union to allow Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Edgar’s efforts in this regard have received more attention , as it was a defining moment of his decades-long presidency of the World Jewish Congress, of which Ronald Lauder is currently president. Yet, Maxwell had also made considerable use of his contacts in the Soviet government in this effort.

Maxwell also moved in the circles of the network previously described in Parts I and II in this series. A key example of this is the May 1989 party Maxwell hosted on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine — named for his youngest daughter and Epstein’s future “girlfriend.” Attendees of the party included Roy Cohn’s protege Donald Trump and his long-time law partner Tom Bolan. A close friend of Nancy Reagan was also present, journalist Mike Wallace, as was literary agent Mort Janklow, who represented Ronald Reagan and two of Cohn’s closest friends: journalists William Safire and Barbara Walters.

The CEO of what would soon become Time Warner, Steve Ross, was also invited to the exclusive event. Ross’ presence is notable, as he had built his business empire largely through his association with New York crime lords Manny Kimmel and Abner “Longy” Zwillman. Zwillman was a close friend of Meyer Lansky, Michael Steinhardt’s father, and Sam Bronfman, father of Edgar and Charles Bronfman.

Another attendee of the Maxwell yacht party was former Secretary of the Navy and former Henry Kissinger staffer Jon Lehman, who would go on to associate with the controversial neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century. Prior to being secretary of the Navy, Lehman had been president of the Abington Corporation, which hired arch-neocon Richard Perle to manage the portfolio of Israeli arms dealers Shlomo Zabludowicz and his son Chaim, who paid Ablington $10,000 month. A scandal arose when those payments continued after both Lehman and Perle joined the Reagan Department of Defense and while Perle was working to persuade the Pentagon to buy arms from companies linked to Zabludowicz. Perle had been part of the Reagan transition team along with Roy Cohn’s long-time friend and law partner Tom Bolan (another Maxwell yacht guest).

In addition to Lehman, another former Kissinger staffer, Thomas Pickering was present at Maxwell’s yacht part. Pickering played a minor role in the Iran-Contra affair and, at the time of the Maxwell yacht party, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel. Senator John Tower (R-TX), who allegedly conspired with Maxwell in the Mossad-bugged Promis software at the Los Alamos laboratories, was also present. Tower died just months before Maxwell in a suspicious plane crash .

Ghislaine Maxwell was also at this rather notable event. After her father’s mysterious death and alleged murder on the same yacht that bears her name in 1991, she quickly packed her bags and moved to New York City. There, she soon made the acquaintance of Jeffrey Epstein and, a few years later, developed close ties to the Clinton family, which will be discussed in the next installment of this series.

Jeffrey Epstein and the new “Promis”

After it was revealed that Epstein had evaded stricter sentencing in 2008 due to his links to “intelligence,” it was the Mossad ties of Ghislaine Maxwell’s father that have led many to speculate that Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation was sharing incriminating information with the Mossad. Former CBS executive producer and current journalist for the media outlet Narativ , Zev Shalev, has since claimed that he independently confirmed that Epstein was tied directly to the Mossad.

Image removed: Donald and Melania Trump with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida in 2000. Photo | Davidoff Studios

Epstein was a long-time friend of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who has long-standing and deep ties to Israel’s intelligence community. Their decades-long friendship has been the source of recent political attacks targeting Barak, who is running in the Israeli elections against current Prime Minister Netanyahu later this year.

Barak is also close to Epstein’s chief patron and Mega Group member Leslie Wexner, whose Wexner Foundation gave Barak $2 million in 2004 for a still unspecified research program. According to Barak, he was first introduced to Epstein by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who eulogized Robert Maxwell at his funeral and had decades-long ties with the Bronfman family going back to the early 1950s. Peres was also a frequent participant in programs funded by Leslie Wexner in Israel and worked closely with the Mossad for decades.

In 2015, a few years after Epstein’s release from prison following his conviction for soliciting sex from a minor in 2008, Barak formed a company with Epstein with the chief purpose of investing in an Israeli start-up then known as Reporty. That company, now called Carbyne, sells its signature software to 911 call centers and emergency service providers and is also available to consumers as an app that provides emergency services with access to a caller’s camera and location and also runs any caller’s identity through any linked government database. It has specifically been marketed by the company itself and the Israeli press as a solution to mass shootings in the United States and is already being used by at least two U.S. counties.

Israeli media reported that Epstein and Barak were among the company’s largest investors. Barak poured millions into the company and it was recently revealed by Haaretz that a significant amount of Barak’s total investments in Carbyne was funded by Epstein, making him a “ de facto partner” in the company. Barak is now Carbyne’s chairman .

The company’s executive team are all former members of different branches of Israeli intelligence, including the elite military intelligence unit, Unit 8200, that is often likened to Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Carbyne’s current CEO, Amir Elichai, served in Unit 8200 and tapped former Unit 8200 commander Pinchas Buchris to serve as the company’s director and on its board. In addition to Elichai, another Carbyne co-founder, Lital Leshem , also served in Unit 8200 and later worked for Israeli private spy company Black Cube. Leshem now works for a subsidiary of Erik Prince’s company Frontier Services Group, according to the independent media outlet Narativ .

The company also includes several tie-ins to the Trump administration, including Palantir founder and Trump ally Peter Thiel — an investor in Carbyne. In addition, Carbyne’s board of advisers includes former Palantir employee Trae Stephens, who was a member of the Trump transition team, as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Trump donor and New York real-estate developer Eliot Tawill is also on Carbyne’s board , alongside Ehud Barak and Pinchas Buchris.

Narativ , which wrote the first expose on Carbyne after Epstein’s arrest, noted that the Chinese government uses a smartphone app very similar to Carbyne as part of its mass surveillance apparatus, even though the original purpose of the app was for improved emergency reporting. According to Narativ , the Chinese Carbyne-equivalent “monitors every aspect of a user’s life, including personal conversations, power usage, and tracks a user’s movement.”

Given the history of Robert Maxwell — the father of Epstein’s long-time “girlfriend” and young-girl-procuring madam, Ghislaine Maxwell — in promoting the sale of Carbyne’s modified Promis software, which was also marketed as a tool to improve government efficacy but was actually a tool of mass surveillance for the benefit of Israeli intelligence, the overlap between Carbyne and Promis is troubling and warrants further investigation.

It is also worth noting that Unit 8200-connected tech start-ups are being widely integrated into U.S. companies and have developed close ties to the U.S. military-industrial complex, with Carbyne being just one example of that trend.

As MintPress previously reported , Unit 8200-linked outfits like Team8 have recently hired former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers as a senior advisor and gained prominent Silicon Valley figures, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as key investors. Many American technology companies, from Intel to Google to Microsoft, have merged with several Unit 8200-connected start-ups in recent years and have been moving many key jobs and operations to Israel with backing from key Republican donors like Paul Singer . Many of those same companies, particularly Google and Microsoft, are also major U.S. government contractors.

Who was Epstein really working for?

Even though Jeffrey Epstein appears to have had ties to the Mossad, this series has revealed that the networks to which Epstein was connected were not Mossad-exclusive, as many of the individuals close to Epstein — Lesie Wexner, for instance — were part of a mob-connected class of oligarchs with deep ties to both the U.S. and Israel. As was discussed in Part I of this series, the sharing of “intelligence” (i.e., blackmail) between intelligence agencies and the same organized crime network connected to the Mega Group goes back decades. With Leslie Wexner of the Mega Group as Epstein’s chief patron, as opposed to a financier with direct ties to the Mossad, a similar relationship is more than likely in the case of the sexual blackmail operation that Epstein ran.

Given that intelligence agencies in both the U.S. and elsewhere often conduct covert operations for the benefit of oligarchs and large corporations as opposed to “national security interest,” Epstein’s ties to the Mega Group suggest that this group holds a unique status and influence in both the governments of the U.S. and of Israel, as well as in other countries (e.g., Russia) that were not explored in this report. This is by virtue of their role as key political donors in both countries, as well as the fact that several of them own powerful companies or financial institutions in both countries. Indeed, many members of the Mega Group have deep ties to Israel’s political class, including to Netanyahu and Ehud Barak as well as to now-deceased figures like Shimon Peres, and to members of the American political class.

Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

Though this series has so far focused on the ties of this network to main Republican Party affiliates, the next and final installment will reveal the ties developed between this web and the Clintons. As will be revealed, despite the Clintons’ willingness to embrace corrupt dealings during the span of their political careers, their mostly friendly relationship with this network still saw them use the power of sexual blackmail to obtain certain policy decisions that were favorable to their personal and financial interests but not to the Clintons’ political reputation or agendas.

Editor’s note | The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Rafi Eitan was interested in repurposing the American-made Promise software to restore his standing in Israel’s intelligence community caused by the fall-out from the Pollard Affair. The Pollard Affair occurred three years after Eitan had succeeded in repurposing the software and MintPress has removed that incorrect information from the article and regrets the error.

This article also originally neglected to mention that Eitan, at the time of his collaboration with Earl Brian to repurpose the Promis software, was the director of the now-defunct Israeli military intelligence agency Lekem at the time of those events and that information has been added to the story.

Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

[Aug 11, 2019] The likelihood of Epstein committing suicide reminds me of two other "suicide" stories

Notable quotes:
"... A black man's body is found wrapped in chains at the bottom of the Detroit River. The police were saying it was an accidental death caused by him stealing more chains than he could swim with. ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: August 10, 2019 at 9:58 pm GMT

The likelihood of Epstein committing suicide reminds me of two other "suicide" stories.

... ... ...

Finally, there is a greatly modified joke from my long ago misspent youth. A black man's body is found wrapped in chains at the bottom of the Detroit River. The police were saying it was an accidental death caused by him stealing more chains than he could swim with.

Looks like Jeffrey had too many chains.

[Aug 08, 2019] Global market power and its macroeconomic implications

Aug 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 06, 2019 at 05:45 AM

https://voxeu.org/article/global-market-power-and-its-macroeconomic-implications

June 28, 2018

Global market power and its macroeconomic implications
By Federico Diez, Daniel Leigh and Suchanan Tambunlertchai

The rise in the market power of large firms is assumed to affect economic activity, but measuring either market power or its effects is challenging. Based on firm-level data for 74 countries, this column shows that market power has increased around the world, driven mostly by 'superstar' firms. Higher markups are initially associated with increasing investment and innovation, but the reverse is true when market power becomes too strong. The share of income paid to workers also declines with rising market power.

[Aug 07, 2019] Neoliberals are promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! Which will huge help to Venezuela. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Notable quotes:
"... Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela? ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:14 am

Mega corrupt economic cockroach/ghoul/scavenger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross
.
Pontificates on Venezuela's future

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:18 am
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-01/u-s-commerce-secretary-lays-out-sweeping-plan-to-help-venezuela
yalensis August 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm
"In a post-Maduro Venezuela, the U.S. will remove sanctions, foster pro-market and pro-business reforms and help rebuild confidence, Ross said. An immediate priority will be providing humanitarian aid, while a medium-term focus will be rolling back socialism, Ross said."

They are even promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! In the medium-term focus, of course. Immediate focus on reign of terror, while handing out tins of spam to the swarming masses. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 6:59 pm
Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela?

I hope somebody else will help them out. I'd dearly love to see Venezuela get on its feet without American assistance, and then tell the entire Yoo Ess of Aye to kiss its ass. No more heavy crude for your refineries, maybe you can turn them into basket shops, what say? No thanks; we'll buy our food elsewhere, if it's all the same to you. Oh, and Bolsonaro? Eat a bag of shit. Invite your Colombian buddy over for dinner

Northern Star