ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

US Training Terrorists For Syria, Calling Them “Moderates”

[SEE:  US Training for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Fails, CIA Can’t Find ‘Moderates’ ]

The United States is supporting terrorists in Syria by providing them billions of dollars, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Monday.

A man operates a front loader as he removes debris at a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, at al-Thawra neighborhood in Idlib city April 20, 2015

 

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — At a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Walid Muallem said:

“Americans demand a political solution but at the same time allocate billions of dollars to support terrorists.”

Recently, about 2,500 militants equipped with the new weapons were sent into southern Syria, Muallem stated, adding that the United States does not hide their support for “those terrorists.”Syria has been consumed by a civil war since 2011. The country’s government is fighting a number of opposition forces as well as radical Islamist militant organizations, including the Nusra Front and the Islamic State jihadist group.

Washington has long been vocally supportive of what it calls “moderate” rebel fighters in Syria. The US military has been training its moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight against ISIL.

 

Brits Opening-Up Yugoslavian War Fever With UN Res. To Commemorate Srbrenica

[British UN resolution on Srebrenica massacre ‘could destabilise the region’]

Dutch Govt. Report On Massacre At Srebrenica

Srebrenica was an Inside Job

Oric is threatening to reveal the truth about Srebrenica

“You know, I was offered by Clinton in April 1993 (after the fall of Cerska and Konjevic Polje) that the Chetnik forces enter Srebrenica, carry out a slaughter of 5,000 Muslims, and then there will be a military intervention.”–President Izetbegovic, Interview with Hakija Meholjic, president of Social Democratic Party for Srebrenica, by Hasan Hadzic

Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992-1995: The role of the intelligence and security services–(UPDATED)

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On July 13, 1995 to collect the many Muslims who fled Srebrenica in Potocari, a village climbed nail. © AP


Dutchbatters require full

disclosure of

Srebrenica

de volkskrandt

By:

The battalion was shocked by the facts that were revealed yesterday evening in the documentary “Why Srebrenica were to fall. From US documents show that in 1995, Dutchbat had no air support because of the secret deal that the United States, France and Britain concluded behind the backs of the Netherlands. The Dutchbat require full disclosure of decision-making, their lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops would if necessary enforce this through the US courts.

On July 13, 1995 to collect the many Muslims who fled Srebrenica in Potocari, a village climbed nail. © AP
Dutchbatters require full disclosure of Srebrenica

The battalion was shocked by the facts that were revealed yesterday evening in the documentary “Why Srebrenica were to fall. From US documents show that in 1995, Dutchbat had no air support because of the secret deal that the United States, France and Britain concluded behind the backs of the Netherlands. The Dutchbat require full disclosure of decision-making, their lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops would if necessary enforce this through the US courts.
By: Silke Spierings June 30, 2015, 10:08
41
Failed UN operation

Former Defense Minister Joris Voorhoeve says that many victims would be spared if there are serious air support had come. The conclusion of his book about the besluitvomring around Srebrenica that appears today, is not that Dutchbat has failed, nor the Netherlands, but the entire UN operation failed. Read the whole interview.

Yesterday evening, the documentary was broadcast on NPO 2. The documentary shows that six weeks before the fall of Srebrenica on July 11, 1995 had already been through the three NATO powers decided that no luchsteun would be granted for the defense of the enclave. The reason was that French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister John Major were afraid that the British and French hostages would be executed if NATO would bomb the troops of Mladic.

The Dutch military and political leadership was not informed of this decision. Also, in some NATO powers already in May 1995 announced that the Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic nominee safe havens in Bosnia, including Srebrenica, wanted to invade. Early July Mladic indeed opened the attack on Srebrenica. The enclave fell this quickly. The Bosnian Serb militants carried 8.000 Muslim men who found shelter in the ‘safe harbor’ off to then murder them.
Full disclosure
Bodies of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide in the Bosnian place Potocari, near Srebrenica. Bodies of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide in the Bosnian place Potocari, near Srebrenica. © AP
The fall of Srebrenica

In the summer of 1995, more than 8,000 Muslim men were massacred in and around Srebrenica, an area that was renamed during the Bosnian civil war to ‘safe area’. Dutchbat, the Dutch army unit that held there on behalf of the United Nations supervision, not resisted when the troops of General Ratko Mladic invaded the enclave. The women and children were deported by bus to Muslim territory, most of the men killed in mass executions.

During the raid escaped much of the Muslim population into the woods for fear of the impending massacre. In that group were the most victims. The rest of the population, a group of more than 25 thousand people went to the Dutch base in Potocari, 6 kilometers away. 5,000 of them, including 320 men were admitted to the camp of Dutchbat. The other 20 thousand, of whom 1,500 men, were forced out of the gates.

The Dutch veterans who were then part of Dutchbat III are shocked by the revelations. They write in the Association’s statement Dutchbat 3 on their Facebook page. They demand full disclosure about the decision-making surrounding the fall of Srebrenica by the Dutch State. That should make every effort to have the documents yet to be revealed to his public, even if it as “state secrets” are labeled.

VPRO journalist Huub Jaspers took the documents the secret deal appears from Clinton Library, in the US state of Arkansas. Jaspers could see the documents because the secrecy has now been lifted. That does not apply to documents from the weeks around July 11, the day the enclave fell.

Knoops, on behalf of his clients still require full disclosure of these documents. First he will ask the Dutch government to put pressure on Washington. If this is not enough, then Knoops will file a civil action to enforce this. If necessary he moves to the US courts to obtain these documents through the US law on open government.

The Dutchbat soldiers write in their statement: “The State is required this to the veterans of Dutchbat 3, their families, families, survivors in Bosnia and the Dutch population. Dutchbat veterans now want to end their mission after 20 years and go on with life without being confronted every year with new facts. ” They thank the editors of Argos (Human / VPRO) for the upward pull of the facts.
Always known
Former commander Thom Karremans to the court last November. The court in Arnhem decided not to prosecute him. Former commander Thom Karremans to the court last November. The court in Arnhem decided not to prosecute him. © Reuters
Veterans of Dutchbat 3 pose for the court in Arnhem Veterans Dutchbat 3 pose for the court in Arnhem © Reuters

Geert-Jan Knoops, a lawyer for former Dutchbatcommandant Thom Karremans and 3 Dutchbat Association – the union of the Dutchbatveteranen, rang with Karremans about the revelations. Karremans fell silent and then said, “I’ve always known it, I just can not prove it.” The former commander knew at the time he “had political interests against themselves,” Knoops said so yesterday in the KRO NRCV program Eye to Eye.

Three relatives have repeatedly tried to file a lawsuit against the former commander, because he would be partly responsible for the genocide in 1995. In late April the Court of Appeal in Arnhem decided that he will not be prosecuted. The relatives steps now to the European Court of Human Rights.

Arab Forces Preparing To Carve-Up Syrian North and South?

CIrbcQsWUAEEgQy Turkish Army massing in border area with Syria, leading to clashes with Kurdish villagers angry at mobilisation v YPG 

Report: Turkey considering invasion of Syria to establish buffer zone

Military reportedly instructed to prepare to take 110-km long, 33-km deep buffer zone along border, to prevent ISIS and Kurdish advances.

 

Jordan is mulling a significant military intervention in southern Syria

business insider

Syria rebels mortars Deraa countrysideWsam Almokdad/ReutersRebel fighters prepare to fire a mortar towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Assad who are stationed in Tel Merhi and Deir Adass villages, in Deraa on February 18, 2015.

The civil war in Syria has reached such a tipping point for one of the most stable and US-friendly regimes in the Middle East.

The Jordanian military is actively implementing plans to create a humanitarian buffer zone in the south of the country, Sam Jones, Roula Khalaf and Erika Solomon report for the Financial Times.

Jordan’s military envisions an operation that would set up a humanitarian corridor in the southern Syrian provinces of Deraa and Suwayda.

The Assad regime is currently in nominal control of these provinces. But a coordinated rebel offensive, consisting in large part of fighters from the Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, has sparked concern in Jordan that a full-scale Syrian withdrawal from the area could occur, provoking chaos along the border.

Jordan worries that jihadists could establish a permanent foothold along the country’s border with Syria, or sue the area for attacks on the country’s generally pro-US monarchy.

As the FT reports, Jordanian leaders want to “avoid ‘another Idlib'” in the region, a reference to the March withdrawal of the Assad regime from the northern city in the face of a rebel and jihadist offensive.

“Diplomats say Amman and its international allies are keen to avoid ‘another Idlib‘, referring to the Assad regime’s withdrawal from the city in March; jihadis soon took advantage of the retreat and established a strong presence there,” according to the report.

The zone of control would likely include the Syrian city of Deraa, and would be manned by US and Jordan-supported moderate rebels along with more direct Jordanian military support.

Syria map

[The following map contradicts the massive deployment of ISIS forces shown on the Reuters’ map.]

syria status of forces map 6 30 The #Syrian Conflict – Status of Control #Map. Showing the recent ISIS offensive at #Hasakah

[Karybdis @Karybdamoid A Canadian neuroscientist providing maps and commentary on Syria, Iraq, other conflicts, and democratization since 2011. Retweets for maps and interesting posts]

Southern Syria comprises the entirety of Jordan’s northern border and any chaos could easily spill over the border. Deraa itself is within 45 miles of Amman, the Jordanian capital.

The Jordanian military in general, and its special forces in particular, is regarded as one of the more effective fighting forces in the region. Jordan maintains a close military relationship with the US, and Jordanian special forces have participated in operations in Afghanistan. The special forces have also proven adept at intelligence-gathering operations.

Jordan is a member of the US-led coalition against ISIS and has conducted airstrikes against the militant group in both Iraq and Syria. In the beginning of February, Jordan launched dozens of strikes in Syria following the execution of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasabe.

Jordan Special ForcesAli Jarekji/REUTERSJordanian Army anti-Terrorism squad members stand on alert in the Yajouz hills on the edge of Amman April 26, 2005. [The U.S.-backed Jordanian government is responding to what it sees as a higher risk of terror attacks by boosting its special forces and training troops from neighbouring countries such as Iraq.]

Jordan’s willingness to directly intervene within Syria reflects a growing regional unease with the already chaotic situation in the country, where as many as 320,000 have been killed over the course of a 4-year-old civil war. A number of Turkish newspaper sources have also reported that Ankara is seriously considering a ground operation that would establish a humanitarian buffer zone along the Turkish border in northern Syria.

The Turkish operation would be aimed at limiting Syrian Kurdish ability to declare an independent state while striking against ISIS and stopping the flow of Syrian refugees over the border.

Israel has also signalled that it could be willing to intervene in southern Syria in order to protect the Druze minority in the country if jihadists or the Assad regime ever threatened the survival of the religious minority group in areas near the Israel-controlled Golan Heights.

Audacious U.S. deceit

Audacious U.S. deceit

daily star LEB

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shows the way to his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem (L) during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

 

Monday’s meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem was instructive.

Moallem said he received a promise of military, economic and political support from his host, while Putin made remarks that echoed those of his guest.

On the other side of the Syrian conflict, a very different situation exists. U.S. officials have been consistent in their public stance that President Bashar Assad “must go,” repeatedly talking about how the Syrian leader has lost his legitimacy. But the U.S. has also launched a program to train Syria rebels to fight ISIS. As part of this program, it demands every potential recruit sign a contract pledging to not fight Assad – who has supposedly lost legitimacy and must exit the scene.

It’s a case of audacious deceit, with two principal victims. First, the American people are being lied to about what their government is doing. And second, many Syrians are asking themselves if, more than four years into the war, the U.S. will ever become a true ally.

Some analysts focus on the role of the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and how Washington will do absolutely nothing to rock the boat before a final deal is reached. The policy of playing for time – whether this is because of Iran, or because there is no vision for Syria, or confidence in its people – might look good on paper. But in real-world political terms, it’s a policy that is complicit in the killing, maiming and displacing of tens of thousands of people, and the alienation of possibly millions of others.

Noble Energy Takes Legal Hits In Falklands and Israeli Gas Fields

Minister: Argentina Will Pursue Judge Order on Falklands Drillers

RIGZONE

|

ReutersBUENOS AIRES, June 28 (Reuters) – Argentina will pursue in Britain and the United States a local judge’s order to seize assets of oil drillers operating in the disputed Falklands Islands, the foreign minister said in an interview published in local media on Sunday.

On Saturday, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property of six European and U.S. oil companies operating in the islands.

A source with knowledge of the situation said the ruling was meaningless because the companies do not generally hold assets in Argentina or use Argentine waters.

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman told local newspaper Tiempo Argentino on Sunday that on Monday he will formally request that the stock exchange regulators in London and New York implement the judge’s order.

The companies named in the order are Premier Oil Plc , Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd, Rockhopper Exploration Plc, Noble Energy Inc y Edison International Spa.

“The companies can defend themselves in foreign courts, but that will have a cost or penalty to their market listing,” Timerman said.

He said that international law forbid altering the state of territory where the United Nations has accepted that there is a sovereignty dispute, and that the companies had breached the rule by drilling wells.

Argentina claims sovereignty over the South Atlantic islands which it calls the Malvinas, located about 435 miles (700 km) off the coast of Tierra del Fuego and occupied by around 3,000 people who mostly say they wish them to remain a British overseas territory.

Britain and Argentina fought a short war in 1982, after the then Argentine military dictatorship briefly seized the islands, and tensions have escalated again in recent years with the discovery of oil deposits.

Ahead of Argentine elections in October, rhetoric is heating up. “What the United Kingdom is doing is what it did in classic colonialism: appropriate resources from its colonies and take them back to their country,” said Timerman on Sunday.

Falkland Oil and Gas and Rockhopper declined to comment. Noble Energy, the British foreign office and the other mentioned companies could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi, Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Diane Craft)

Israel’s gas sector counts the cost and waits

GLOBES iSRAEL

The new government must give top priority to making a decision about the ownership structure of Israel’s gas fields.

The future of Israel’s natural gas exploration and production industry will be at the top of the pile of the economic decisions that the new government will be required to take. This will be an urgent decision because each day’s delay in its implementation costs money. Entrepreneurship is the art of making the impossible possible. Regulation is the art of making the possible impossible – this saying was probably made with the Israeli natural gas market in mind.

The development of Israel’s gas fields and natural gas sector, and private electricity production as well, has been frozen following a decision by the head of the Israel Antitrust Authority Prof. David Gilo in December 2014.

Gilo decide to retract a compromise agreement with the Tamar and Leviathan owners Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva and US company Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL). The agreement was designed to clear up the suspicion that Delek and Noble formed a cartel by purchasing the license to the rights to the Leviathan field in 2007. Gilo spent two years in talks with the developers to reach the compromise agreement, then a further nine months to decide that he had made a mistake and that he would not be able to defend the agreement in court. The three years of painful learning that we have paid for are probably just the start.

In the next stage, Gilo will probably have to again decide whether to open court proceedings against the gas developers in order to force them to part with Leviathan or try and reach a new compromise agreement. In the first instance there would be a delay of years in developing the field. In the second instance there would ‘only’ be a delay of six months.

For this delay there is a very clear and expensive price tag. Gas export deals worth billions that have been signed by Delek and Noble Energy with major Jordanian and Egyptian customers are disintegrating as the customers realize that there is nobody to talk to and they are rushing off to find alternative sources of supply. The process in which Israeli industry is converting to natural gas has ground to a halt. The developers of the new private power plants cannot move forward without holding agreements to buy the gas required to operate the plants. The timetable for developing the huge Leviathan field will be postponed for at least two years and the billions in tax revenues that the State had hoped to earn by 2018 will also be delayed.

The growing damage intensifies the pressure on the government to take a decision. There is already a “regulatory document,” a position paper that was prepared by the Ministry of Finance, and which has the unique advantage in that all the relevant regulators (even Gilo) have agreed to it. The document, as is the way with committee documents, presents a new roadmap for Israel’s gas sector, which is a complex plan, difficult to understand that ensures limited competition while setting ceiling prices for gas, but only for new agreements.

In the face of this document, the gas developers are not presenting a united front. Delek Group controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva is being more flexible the more he has his back up against the wall. But in contrast his US partners are only toughening their stand, and threatening international arbitration, which would cause Israel irreversible damage.

The question being posed for the new government is about the way ahead: what is the correct way to develop Israel’s gas sector. The Sheshinski Committee chose a path of cooperation with the developers. The State ensured for itself a majority percentage in dividing up the profits and encouraged the developers to move forward quickly and start making a profit.

The social lobby in the Knesset raised its voice and claimed that the ordinary citizen will be required to pay Tshuva (and the ministry of finance) an excessive price. Government officials began to zig-zag and the result was that Australian company Woodside, the only hope of creating real competition against Noble Energy, fled Israel as fast as it could.

Today Israel stands at a crossroads. Should it continue along the old route and take flak from the social lobby? Should it choose the competitive route and split the monopoly and hope that somehow genuine competition will be created here, or start out on a third way and impose supervised prices.

Meanwhile, a storm is raging on global gas markets. The price of liquid gas is plunging. Energy companies are reducing their operations and cancelling major projects. This storm can provide support winds for the government, if it knows how to put up the sails in the right direction.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on March 16, 2015

Puerto Rico Ready For Its Default On $100 Billion Debt

Puerto Rico says it can’t pay its $100 billion debt

 

The governor of Puerto Rico has decided that the island cannot pay back its more than US$70 billion (NZ$102b) in debt, setting up an unprecedented financial crisis that could rock the municipal bond market and lead to higher borrowing costs for governments across the United States.

Puerto Rico’s move could roil financial markets already dealing with the turmoil of the renewed debt crisis in Greece. It also raises questions about the once-staid municipal bond market, which states and cities count on to pay upfront costs for public improvements such as roads, parks and hospitals.

For many years, those bonds were considered safe investments – but those assumptions have been shifting in recent years as a small but steady string of US municipalities, including Detroit, as well as Stockton and Vallejo in California, have tumbled into bankruptcy.

Those defaults at least offered investors the protection provided by Chapter 9 of the US bankruptcy code, which sets out an orderly process by which investors can recoup at least some of their money. But like states, Puerto Rico is not permitted to file for bankruptcy. A failure to iron out an agreement with creditors could ignite an unwieldy, uncharted and long-lasting process to sort out the island’s financial obligations.

In addition, with as much as $73 billion (NZ$106b) in debt, the island’s debt obligation is four times that of Detroit, which became the largest US city to file for bankruptcy in 2012.

The implications are serious for Americans outside Puerto Rico largely because many hold island bonds in mutual funds. At one point in 2013, an estimated three out of four municipal bond mutual funds held Puerto Rican bonds, which were attractive because of their high yields and exemption from federal, state and local taxes.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, will seek concessions from creditors, which range from mutual funds in the United States to large hedge funds that have been buying Puerto Rican debt at high interest rates, in an effort to stretch out loan payments and drive down borrowing costs that are hamstringing Puerto Rico’s struggling economy.

The government’s conclusion that it is unable to pay its debts was first reported by the New York Times. “It’s accurate,” said Gabriela Melendez, a Washington-based spokeswoman for the Puerto Rican government. She said the governor was scheduled to make a televised address updating islanders about Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis on Monday evening.

A US commonwealth with a population of 3.6 million, Puerto Rico carries more debt per capita than any state in the country. The island has been staggering under the increasing weight of those obligations for years as its economy has tanked, triggering an exodus of island residents to the mainland not seen since the 1950s.

Meanwhile, the government has raised taxes, cut government employment and slashed pensions in a futile effort to get its debt burden under control. Those actions have only slowed the acceleration of debt creation, while harming efforts to reignite the economy.

The financial crisis in Puerto Rico has been playing out for years, although until now the government has been able to keep things moving by cutting spending and borrowing more and more money on Wall Street. But with rating agencies downgrading Puerto Rican debt to near-junk levels, the island has had to pay high rates to borrow money.

The island’s web of debt includes general-obligation bonds, which Puerto Rico’s constitution says must be repaid even before government workers receive their pay.

But billions of dollars more in bonds were floated by public corporations that provide critical services on the island, including providing electric power, building roads and running water and sewer authorities. Beyond the bond debt, the island owes some US$37 billion (NZ$53.9b) in pension obligations to workers and former workers.

CRITICAL IMF REPORT

Puerto Rico needs to restructure its debts and should make reforms including cutting the number of teachers and raising property taxes, a report by former International Monetary Fund economists on the Caribbean island’s financial woes said.

The report, which was obtained by Reuters, gave a damning review of how Puerto Rico has arrived at its current state, which it said requires both structural reform and debt restructuring to fix.

“Puerto Rico faces hard times,” the report said. “Structural problems, economic shocks and weak public finances have yielded a decade of stagnation, outmigration and debt… A crisis looms.”

The report even suggests the restructuring of general obligation debt, which could be a precedent-setting move as investors usually regard as sacrosanct.

Social reforms proposed include suspending the minimum wage and reducing electricity and transport costs. The island must overcome a legacy of weak budget execution and opaque data, the report said.

The report was written by former IMF economists, who were engaged in February by the Government Development Bank to analyse the island’s economic and financial stability and growth prospects.

The document, first posted on Puerto Rico media websites, was verified as authentic by one of the authors.

– The Washington Post / Reuters

Greek Banks Close for Next 6 Days, International Markets In Turmoil

bank_Greece-Bailot-AP-676x450 People stand in a queue outside a bank which operates on Saturday but eventually didn’t open, in central Athens, on June 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

[SEE: Greek Banks Close for 6 Days as Debt Crisis Deepens]

European Stocks, Bonds, Euro Seen Falling After Shutdown of Greek Banks

nasdaq

By Josie Cox

European bonds and stocks were expected to slump Monday, after Greece over the weekend shut banks and imposed capital controls in a bid to prevent a severely battered banking system from collapsing completely.

The euro slumped to a more than three-week low of $1.0950 during the Asian trading session. It was trading at $ 1.103 in early European hours, according to FactSet, down 1.18%.

European stock markets were expected to fall around 4% at the open, according to traders.

Moves in bond markets were expected to be similarly sharp, especially across southern Europe–the region most sensitive to any contagion from Greece.

On Sunday, the Greek parliament approved a referendum for July 5 on whether to accept austerity measures demanded by the country’s creditors in exchange for further aid.

That came after eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Saturday rejected a Greek request for a one-month extension to its bailout.

Greece now looks set to default on its EUR1.55 billion ($1.73 billion) payment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.

“The Greek debt crisis really is a ‘crisis’ now,” Société Générale strategists wrote in a note early Monday.

Nick Lawson, a senior managing director on Deutsche Bank’s equities team in London said that whatever the outcome of the referendum, the uncertainty in markets will last for a long time.

“With a default now firmly on the cards, markets everywhere face a very testing start to the week,” said Ian Williams, economist and strategist at brokerage Peel Hunt.

Write to Josie Cox at josie.cox@wsj.com

Tehrik-i-Taliban Threaten Electric Company Over 1,300 Heat Stroke Deaths Caused By Power Cuts

KEEP THE POWER ON, OR ELSE!

karachi mass burial

Pakistan warns K-Electric against loadshedding

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan warns K-Electric against loadshedding

KARACHI: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan also known as Pakistani Taliban has issued warning to Karachi Electric Supply Company Ltd. (K-Electric) to overcome on the power loadshedding or ready to face the action.

It is quite interesting and shocking that a banned organization who feel proud to accept the every suicide attack and massacre happens in Pakistan has expressed ‘grief’ and ‘condolences’ over the continuous deaths occurring in Karachi because of heatwave and high temperature.

The spokesman of the banned TTP Mohammad Khurasani said, “The TTP holds greedy K-Electric responsible for the ruthless power loadshedding.” He has threatened the K-Electric to resolve the power problem immediately or ready for the mega action in the larger interest of the ‘oppressed people of Pakistan’.

Khurasani also expressed solidarity with the Karachiites who are dying because of heat and loadshedding and said “we express solidarity with the people of Karachi over the human tragedy.”

Meanwhile, the temperature in southern Pakistan has started to drop, with hopes that the worst heatwave has passed.

The Inevitability of US and Europe Economic Collapse, No Matter What

The US and Europe Will Collapse Regardless Of Economic “Contagion”

zero hedge

Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

In order to understand what is really going on around the globe in terms of the collapsing economy, we must set aside false mainstream versions of reality. When it comes to the EU and its current fiscal turmoil, it is very important to, in some respects, ignore Greece entirely. That’s right; forget about all the supposed drama surrounding Greek debt obligations. Will they find a way to pay creditors? Will they default? Will they make a deal with Russia and the BRICS? Will there be last-minute concessions to save the system? It doesn’t matter. It’s all a soap opera, an elaborate Kabuki theater run by international financiers and globalists.

It is most important to remember the fundamentals. Greece will default on its debts. Period. There is no way around it. Maybe Greece makes a deal today, maybe it makes a deal tomorrow; but eventually, the country’s ability to stretch out its resources in order to meet its exponential liabilities will end. It is inevitable, and no last-minute “deal” is going to change the math at the core of it all.

Why are so many economists so worried about a little country like Greece? It’s all due to a great lie: a dishonest narrative being perpetuated by the establishment that if Greece falls, defaults or leaves the EU, this could trigger a domino effect of other nations hitting a debt wall and following suit. The lie embedded in this narrative is the claim that Greece will cause a “contagion” through the act of default.  Let’s be clear – there is no contagion. Multiple countries within the EU have developed their own debt problems in spite of Greece over the past couple of decades, not because of Greece. Each of these countries, from Italy, to Spain, to Portugal, etc. has its OWN sovereign debt disasters to deal with caused by its own fiscal irresponsibility. The only legitimate reason for a so-called contagion is the fact that these countries have been forced into socialist interdependency through the EU structure.

Never forget this: The EU is in trouble not because of Greece, but because of forced supranational interdependency. The EU by all rights should not exist, nor should any centralized supranational single currency system.

I would also point out that globalist institutions like the International Monetary Fund are highly motivated to initiate disaster in the EU, despite some people’s assumptions that the EU is some kind of representative model of globalization. It’s not. If this were the case, then the IMF would not be stiffing Greece on debt aid while continuing to help Ukraine despite Ukraine’s similar inability to pay.

Why would the globalists want a partial breakup of the EU? What would they gain from such an event? That’s easy; they gain crisis, chaos and an opportunity to present a false dialectic.

Europe is not at all representative of what globalists really want in terms of economic and political structure, no matter what many people assume. It is a, rather, a kind of facsimile; a half measure. When Europe hits the bottom of the financial abyss and the bewildered public begins asking what the hell happened, the elites will be there with an immediate explanation. They will claim that it was not the EU’s interdependency that was the problem. Instead, they will assert that the EU was actually not centralized ENOUGH. They will claim that in order for a supranational economy and currency to work, we must also have supranational governance. In other words, the system failed because it needs to be stabilized by global government.

The Fabian socialists will argue that it was the barbaric and outdated institution of national sovereignty that caused the full-spectrum crisis. They will completely gloss over the negative effects of an interdependent economic system and the fact that a lack of redundancy leaves cultures simpering and impotent. We’re all one big human village after all, so we should accept the idea that we all succeed or fail together. Free markets and individual innovation apparently have nothing to do with a thriving economic structure. What we really need is a hive mind amalgamation that turns us all into easily replaceable parts in a massive rumbling lawnmower that chews up our heritage, history and principles for the sake of some arbitrary greater good and the promise of alchemical floating cities in the sky where no one has to work anymore.

The fall of the EU is a means to an end for globalists. There is almost no nation or institution they will not sacrifice if that sacrifice can be exploited to further their goal of total global political and economic dominance. They don’t just want a completely centralized system; they want all of us to BEG them to put that system in place. They want the masses to think it was all our idea. This is the most pervasive and effective form of slavery, when the slaves are manipulated into demanding their own enslavement.  When the slaves are fooled into believing their enslavement is something to be proud of — a badge of honor in service of the collective, if you will.

The fall of the U.S. will be no different in this regard. We do not necessarily have a supranational structure like the EU. So our narrative for collapse will be slightly different, and the engineered lesson we are meant to learn will be carefully crafted.

You see, Americans are meant to play the role of the spoiled imperialists who are finally getting what we deserve, an economic punch in our tender parts. We are the new Rome, bread and circuses and all. And when the U.S. comes crashing down like Europe, the Fabians will be there yet again to admonish the greed inherent in national sovereignty and the destructive aspirations of power that must be squelched by a more evenhanded global political system. I don’t really know how many people out there realize this, but we are meant to play the bad guys in the global theater being put on by the elites. Americans are the villains, the rest of the world plays the role of innocent victim, and globalist centers like the IMF and the BIS are meant to play the heroes, coming to the rescue of humanity when all appears lost.

Our debt generation by far outmatches that of the whole of EU nations combined, a fact I outlined in Part 3 of my series One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes.  Unlike Greece, though, the U.S. has the direct option to print fiat at will in order to prolong punishment for our massive debt spending. However, as we have seen with recent market reactions to the very notion of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in September, such an event will trigger extensive outflows from stock markets and herald the end of the “new normal.” Again, why would the banksters do this? Why not keep interest rates at a constant near zero?  It is not as if there is any public pressure to raise rates; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Why is the Fed ignoring the hundreds of signals showing that the U.S. is in a recession and pushing ahead with discussion of interest rate hikes despite what one might logically conclude would be in the Fed’s best interest?

The Fed knows that the only things propping up American markets are free money and blind faith by the public that banks and government will act to stop any pain or economic suffering, should such a potential for crisis arise. When the free money is gone and that faith disappears, then we will have an epic catastrophe on our hands. The globalists within the Fed know this, and they want this – at least , they want a controlled version of this. The elites NEED the fall of the current U.S. system exactly because this will make way for the rise of what they often term the “great economic reset.”  This reset is the next stage in the plan for total global economic centralization.

This is not about contagion. There is no such thing. It is an excuse, a scapegoat designed to distract from the real problem. This is about a concerted effort over the past several decades by internationalists to maneuver Western cultures into a position of vulnerability. When people are weak and frightened, they become malleable. Social changes you would have never thought possible today become very possible tomorrow in the midst of a crisis. I believe we are now seeing the onset of the next great crisis, and the fundamentals of economy support my view. When the entire European system hangs by the thread of Greek debt and the entire U.S. system hangs by the thread of near zero interest rates and blind market faith, something is about to shatter. There is no going back from such a condition. There is only the path forward, and the path forward is not pleasant or comfortable and it cannot be ignored.

We cannot forget that crisis is in itself a distraction as well. Whatever pain we do feel tomorrow, or the next day, or the next decade, remember who it was that caused it all: the international banks and their globalist political counterparts. No matter what happens, never be willing to accept a centralized system. No matter how reasonable or rational it might sound amid the terror of fiscal uncertainty, never give the beast what it wants. Refuse to conform to the dialectic. This is the only chance we have left to get back to true prosperity. Once we cross the line into the realm of worldwide institutionalized interdependency, we will never know prosperity or freedom again.

Russia To Move Advanced S-400 Air Defense Systems To NATO Conflict Borders

The S-400 is a major reason for the North Atlantic Alliance to think twice before escalating tensions with Russia, according to the US media.

Russia plans to boost air defense along its Western border by deploying a number of modern S-400 Triumf and Pantsir-S air defense systems as part of the country’s large-scale program to modernize its military by 2020 and apparently in response to NATO’s ongoing saber-rattling.

The S-400 “deployment in greater numbers along Russia’s borders with NATO could challenge the latter’s ability to achieve air dominance in the event of a conflict with Moscow,” Zachary Keck said in an article titled “Watch Out, America: Russia Sends Super Advanced S-400 to NATO’s Borders.”

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is this good indeed.

Russia’s next-generation anti-aircraft weapon system can engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft, drones and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 250 miles at an altitude of nearly 19 miles.

The S-400 is equipped with three different types of missiles and is fitted with a radar that is capable of tracking up to 300 targets within the range of over 370 miles.

  • Preparing to fire an S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile at the Ashuluk proving grounds during an Aerospace Defence Forces tactical drill
  • Russia's soldiers stand guard near Russia's air defence system S-400
  • An S-400 surface-to-air missile [SAM] system
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Preparing to fire an S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile at the Ashuluk proving grounds during an Aerospace Defence Forces tactical drill

The brand new air defense system hence challenges the entire Western way of war, which “depends on the achievement of air supremacy,” according to Robert Farley.

“At least in the early days of the war, the S-400 and its associated systems could neutralize NATO airpower, undermining one of the central pillars of the Western way of war,” he wrote in a piece for the National Interest, adding that “NATO forces have not fought against a modern, capable air defense system in a very long time.”

Russian S-400 Triumf Air Defense System

Nansha Island Conflict Iniated By British Oil Company (Forum Energy) Exploitation/Piracy

REED BANK Reed Bank in the South China Sea

China determined, able to safeguard its justified rights over Nansha Islands: FM

Philippine/UK firm drilling well in waters disputed by China amid fears a touch Chinese response could force U.S intervention

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines — When Lt.-Gen. Juancho Sabban received an urgent phone call from an oil company saying two Chinese vessels were threatening to ram its survey ship, the Philippine commander’s message was clear: don’t move, we will come to the rescue.

Within hours, a Philippine surveillance plane, patrol ships and light attack aircraft arrived in the disputed area of Reed Bank in the South China Sea. By then the Chinese boats had left after chasing away the survey ship, Veritas Voyager, hired by U.K.-based Forum Energy Plc.

But the tension had become so great Forum Energy chief Ray Apostol wanted to halt two months of work in the area.

“They were so close to finishing their work. I told them to stay and finish the job,” Sabban, who heads the Western Command of the Philippine Armed Forces, said at his headquarters in Puerto Princesa on Palawan island.

Over the next few days, President Benigno Aquino would call an emergency cabinet meeting, file a formal protest with China, and send his defence secretary and armed forces chief to the Western Command in a show of strength.

The March 2011 incident is considered a turning point for the Aquino administration. The president hardened his stance on sovereignty rights, sought closer ties with Washington and has quickened efforts to modernize its military.

A year later, Forum Energy is planning to return. Top company executives said the company intends to sail to Reed Bank within months to drill the area’s first well for oil and natural gas in decades, an event that could spark a military crisis for Aquino if China responds more aggressively.

The U.S. military has also signalled its return to the area, with war games scheduled in March with the Philippine navy near Reed Bank that China is bound to view as provocative.

“This will be a litmus test of where China stands on the South China Sea issue,” said Ian Storey, a fellow at the Singapore Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. “They could adopt the same tactics as they did last year and harass the drilling vessels, or they might even take a stronger line against them and send in warships.”

A decades-old territorial squabble over the South China Sea is entering a new and more contentious chapter, as claimant nations search deeper into disputed waters for energy supplies while building up their navies and military alliances with other nations, particularly with the United States.

Reed Bank, claimed by both China and the Philippines, is just one of several possible flashpoints in the South China Sea that could force Washington to intervene in defence of its Southeast Asian allies.

U.S. President Barack Obama has sought to reassure regional allies that Washington would serve as a counterbalance to a newly assertive China, part of his campaign to “pivot” U.S. foreign policy more intensely on Asia after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama brought up the South China Sea at an Asia-Pacific summit in Bali last November, and had a surprise one-one-one with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the subject, although Beijing had insisted the issue should not be on the agenda at all.

“As Southeast Asian nations run to the U.S. for assistance, Beijing increasingly fears that America aims to encircle China militarily and diplomatically,” said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Northeast Asia Director for the International Crisis Group. “Underlying all of these concerns is the potential that discoveries of oil and natural gas beneath the disputed sections of the South China Sea could fuel conflict.”

The area is thought to hold vast untapped reserves of oil and natural gas that could potentially place China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other claimant nations alongside the likes of Saudi Arabia, Russia and Qatar.

Manila is beefing up its tiny and outdated naval fleet and military bases, adding at least two Hamilton-class cutters this year and earmarking millions of dollars to expand its Ulugan Bay naval base in Palawan.

It’s no match for China’s fleet, the largest in Asia, which boasts 62 submarines, 13 destroyers and 65 frigates, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

China last month launched the fourth of its new 071 amphibious landing ships that are designed to quickly insert troops to trouble spots, disputed islands, for example.

The U.S. navy has announced it will deploy its own new amphibious assault vessels, the Littoral Combat Ships, to the “maritime crossroads” of the Asia-Pacific theatre, stationing them in Singapore and perhaps the Philippines.

Washington’s renewed presence in the Philippines, a former U.S. colony that voted to remove American naval and airbases 20 years ago, follows the U.S. announcement last year of plans to set up a Marine base in northern Australia and possibly station warships in Singapore.

Manila is talking about giving Washington more access to its ports and airfields to re-fuel and service U.S. warships and planes. The two countries will conduct war games off Palawan island in late March — focusing on how to deal with a takeover of an oil rig in the South China Sea.

China has warned oil companies not to explore in the disputed South China Sea, over which Beijing says it has “indisputable sovereignty.” Chinese ships have repeatedly harassed vessels that have tried.

After ExxonMobil discovered hydrocarbons off the coast of Danang in central Vietnam, an area also claimed by China, one of China’s most popular newspapers warned in October that nations involved in territorial disputes should “mentally prepare for the sounds of cannons” if they remain at loggerheads with Beijing.

Despite the threats, the Philippines and Vietnam have continued to explore for oil and natural gas further offshore in the South China waters, driven by persistently high oil prices and more advanced deepsea technology.

The Philippines has reported as many as 12 incidents of Chinese vessels intruding into its sovereign waters in the past year, an unusually high number, Sabban said.

In one of the most serious incidents last October, a Philippine navy ship seized Chinese fishing boats after colliding with one of them, prompting protests from China for their return.

At least 12 Chinese fishermen have been arrested over the past year. Half of them remain in detention in Palawan.

“China has no right to tell us that we should first ask for permission from them to explore the area,” Sabban said. “We have explored that area back in the 1970s, so why can’t we explore it now? We knew that there is a substantial deposit of natural gas even before all of these things started.”

Manila says Reed Bank, about 80 nautical miles west of Palawan island at the southwestern end of the Philippine archipelago, is within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Beijing, however, believes it is part of the Spratlys, a group of 250 uninhabitable islets spread over 165,000 square miles, claimed entirely by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and in part by Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.

While China prefers to solve the disputes one-on-one with its smaller Southeast Asian neighbour, Washington has sought to internationalize the issue, given that half the world’s merchant fleet tonnage sails across the sea and around these islets each year, carrying $5 trillion worth of trade.

“If we don’t develop our positions in our exclusive economic zone, then we will only be giving it away and will be at the losing end,” Eugenio Bito-Onon, the mayor of Kalayaan islands in the Spratlys, told Reuters at a coffee shop in Puerto Princesa.

China’s oil exploration has been limited in the South China Sea with less than 15 deep sea wells drilled so far. Chinese offshore oil and gas specialist CNOOC Ltd, along with international partners Canada’s Husky Energy and U.S. company Chevron Corp., plan to step up exploration in the area but focus mainly in the north, staying away from the politically sensitive waters to the south.

Estimates for proven and undiscovered oil reserves in the South China Sea range from 28 billion to as high as 213 billion barrels of oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a March 2008 report. That would be equivalent to more than 60 years of current Chinese demand, under the most optimistic outlook, and surpass every country’s proven oil reserves except Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, according to the BP Statistical Review.

Sabban said the necessary patrol ships and surveillance planes will be provided to protect Forum Energy’s exploration vessels in Reed Bank.

“We have a mandate to protect all oil companies exploring in our territory,” he said. “We don’t exactly escort them, but we are in the area to deter any outside force from harassing them.”

Forum Energy, whose majority shareholder is the Philippines’ top miner Philex Mining Corp., plans to spend around $80 million through 2013 to explore the Sampaguita gas field in Reed Bank, covered by Service Contract 72.

The field is estimated to hold at least 3.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, with the potential for five times that amount. That is at least 25 per cent bigger than the nearby Malampaya gas field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell, which fuels half of the power needs for the country’s main island of Luzon.

The Philippines is eager to further increase its natural gas production to meet growing domestic demand for gas-fired power, which is estimated to surge to 5,000 megawatts per day in 2016, from the current 2,700 megawatts.

“There is no question that there is gas there. We already know one or two locations we would like to drill on,” said Apostol, Forum Energy’s president, in an interview. “If the first drill is a bonanza, there might be a need to drill back to back.”

The company said it is closely coordinating its Reed Bank plans with the military and the energy department, hoping to send drill ships by the fourth quarter.

“We are aware of the implementation risks that have to be taken into account when we contract the drilling services,” said Forum Energy’s executive director Carlo Pablo. “We have to have plans in case of delays in operations, on mitigating cost overruns, and contractual penalties that may be imposed.”

A flotilla of ships could soon follow Forum Energy in disputed waters, with Manila later this year awarding two offshore oil and gas exploration contracts in territory also claimed by China.

That could well keep the phones busy for Sabban and his sailors at Western Command for some time to come.

Detailing the Saudi Wahhabi Perversion of Islam In India

A mosque in Srinagar. Image used only for representational purposes.
SOURCE

Interview: Wahabism a Saudi weapon to dominate India

oneindia

Posted by: Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi

How much of an influence does Iran have over the Sufi Muslims in India? A recent wikileaks cable suggested that Saudi Arabia wanted to match Iran’s influence over India.

The Shia community says that there is no influence of Iran in India as their community is extremely small. Syed Babbar Ashraf who heads the Sada-e-Sufia Hind or the Sufi voice of India says that the real agenda is the spread of Wahabism. Wahabism: A Saudi weapon? In this interview with OneIndia, Syed Babar Ashraf who has organized several anti Wahabi rallies says that what the Saudis intend to do is make this battle as a Wahabi vs the rest of the world. The wikileaks cables suggested that Saudi Arabia wanted to match Iran’s influence of India. How much does Iran influence the Sufis in India? I don’t think there is any influence of Iran on the Sufi Muslims in India. We are in minority here and a majority of the Muslims belong to the Sunni community. Even if we want to support Iran, all we can extend is moral support and nothing more than that. With such a small population, Iran would not be trying to have any influence over India. What is the concern that the Saudis have raised? The Saudis have only one agenda in mind. They want to ensure that every Sunni Muslim follows Wahabism. The only agenda is to impose the Wahabi culture in India and they are making excuses quoting the influence of Iran. This is not a Shia vs Sunni war. This is about imposing Wahabism in as many places are possible. Do you a major influence of Wahabism in India? The Saudis are trying to impose Wahabism right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. There are 8 different forums which finance the implentation of Wahabism in India. The main intention of imposing Wahabism is to break the unity among the Indian Muslims and create a conflict zone. What is the modus operandi followed while imposing Wahabism? It is pretty much a similar agenda which a super power has. These persons target areas where there is high poverty and illiteracy. The Wahabis have a lot of money with them and they try and buy out people. They claim that they have come to India to dole out charity to the poor and needy. More than Mosques, they try and spread the ideology in universities. In almost all universities catering to Muslims, the Wahabis have been trying to stamp their authority. Is there an Iran influence in India? There is no influence of Iran over the Shia Muslims in India. The Shia community constitutes only 5 per cent of the Muslim population and the Sunnis are in majority. Shias are found in pockets of Lucknow and Hyderabad and basically are in no position to have any influence and neither will any country trying influencing us. All we can do is give moral support and fight against Wahabism as it is aiming at dividing the Muslims and also threatening the peace of India. Has Saudi restricted its Wahabi influence only to India? The Saudis have various ways to spreading Wahabi influence. In some nations they will do it in the name of the al-Qaeda or ISIS while in others they would send their preachers and target through charity work as I earlier pointed out. The Saudis want to be a legitimate power in every part of the world and they feel they can become that only with the spread of Wahabism. They are active in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia just to name a few countries. Basically it is all about control. Your thoughts on the Kuwait Mosque attack targeted at Shia Muslims? This is nothing but an attempt to spread extremism and hatred. They want to create a rift between the Sunnis and Shias over there.
Is Wahabism an ideological war on the world? Yes it is all about ideology. Wahabism is officially allowed only in Saudi and Qatar. They want to spread this ideology to as many parts of the world and in this way the Saudis feel that they can ensure dominance.
OneIndia News

How Saudi funded Rs 1,700 crore for Wahabi influence in India

oneindia

Posted by: Vicky Nanjappa
New Delhi
Last year violence broke out near a Mosque in Bommanhalli, Bengaluru and what was being termed as minor tiff was in fact a case of some youth trying to impose the Wahabi preachings. When the seniors in the administration of the Mosque opposed these youth, there were clashes in which 4 persons were injured seriously.  In another incident that occurred in Maharashtra, Wahabi scholars bribed some members of the Mosque and attempted taking over the administration. While the Muslims in many states have opposed the Wahabis tooth and nail, success for the Saudi Arabia sponsored Wahabis was highest in Kerala. These are instances that could be read with the recent Wikileaks documents which suggested that Saudi Arabia is worried about the growing influence of Iran over India and the outreach by Tehran to the Shia community was worrying. The Muslim World League also requests Saudi Arabia to establish Wahabi centres in India to counter the threat from the Shias.
How Saudi Arabia set up Wahabi centres in India?
Saudi Arabia realizes that the Shias in India are a threat to the dominance of the Sunni community. India houses a large number of Shias and this according to the Saudis gives Iran an upper hand in India. However for Saudi the Sunnis in India have not followed the violent Wahabi style of Islam and there are many seniors in the Muslim community who will not allow that to happen. The only way Saudi could instill a radical thinking in the minds of the Sunni Muslims in India was by the establishment of Wahabi centres. The Wahabis are an extremely orthodox set of Sunni Muslims. There are several Muslims in India who subscribe to the Wahabi view. As a first step, Saudi sent in several Wahabi preachers into India an Intelligence Bureau report states. The years 2011 to 2013 alone saw a record number of 25,000 Wahabis coming to India and conducting seminars in various parts of the country. With them they brought in Rs 1700 crore in several installments and used it to propogate the Wahabi style of Islam.
Wahabism found success in Kerala:
The drive by Saudi to impose the Wahabi culture in India has not been entirely a success. The highest rate of success that they have witnessed is in Kerala. This is a lot to do with the fact that there is a large population of people who go to Saudi in search of employment. Many in Kerala have welcomed with open arms the Wahabi style of preaching and this has let the Saudi controlled lot take control over nearly 75 Mosques in the state. The newer Mosques that are coming up in Kerala are also constructed in the manner in which they done in Saudi Arabia. This is just one small indicator of how much people of the state are willing to follow the radical style preached by the Wahabi scholars. Moreover the inflow of funds into Kerala from Saudi is the highest when compared to any other part of the country. It was in Kerala that one got to see posters mourning the death of Osama Bin Laden and also a prayer for Ajmal Kasab after he was hanged. Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that a large number of youth appear to be attracted to this radical style of Islam, but also add that there are some elders who are trying to oppose it.
The Wahabi rule book in India:
Each time a Wahabi preacher comes to India, he comes in with a rule book. What they intend to do is ensure that the rule book is circulated in the Mosques. However when the administration of the Mosques have opposed this it has led to clashes. The rule book has a set of guidelines which need to be ahdhered to failing which the horrific Sharia law would be imposed.
Here are a couple of guidelines that have been set as per the Wahabi rule book:
Shrines shall be forbidden
• Every Muslim woman should wear purdah or be subject to severe punishment
• Men have to compulsorily grow beards
• Women should not be allowed to work. Exception can be made only if the family is in need.
• Men and women should not mingle together in public.
• No weeping loudly at funerals.
• Abide by the Shariat law; every offence committed shall be punishable under this law.
• All men should wear trousers which are above their ankles.
• No laughing loudly or listening to music
• No dancing or watching television.
Wahabi universities being set up:
The Saudi sponsored Wahabis are aiming to set up their own education system in India as well. Out of the total Rs 1700 crore that has been earmarked for the cause, Rs 800 crore is being spent on setting up Universities in different parts of the country. One such university was seen in Andhra Pradesh as well. Over all they propose to set up 4 such universities which will only cater to Wahabi preachings. With the take over of the existing Mosques becoming extremely difficult, they have earmarked Rs 400 crore to set up 40 Mosques adhering only to Wahabi preachings in different parts of the country. A sum of Rs 300 has been been earmarked to set up Madrasas while the remaining Rs 200 crore has been set aside as miscellaneous costs which also would include bribes to paid off to Mosque authorities as was seen in Maharashtra. The birth of the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith: The birth of the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith took place in India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As a first step they wielded their influence on the various Mosques which began preaching the Sharia law as mandated by the Wahabis.
The next stop was Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh following which they began wielding influence heavily in Kerala. The Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith was the umbrella body which oversaw the flow of Wahabi scholars into India. The same outfit is also making efforts to spread their ideology into Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and until last year Karantaka. OneIndia News

The Saudis Have Been “Punching Above Their Weight Class,” Militarily and Economically

[Saudis make move to corner the global market, buy into huge supertanker fleet(SEE: Saudi Arabia’s biggest merger to date concludes ), go full-throttle on production, expecting to drown the threatening US shale industry, start throwing their weight around militarily in Yemen.  It is only natural that the largest seek more stable suppliers than the fanatical Arab monarchies.  African oil is looking better and better…then, all of this ongoing offshore drilling will come on line and all of that South Stream gas and oil will become available.  Suck it up.]

empties

Saudi Arabia loses spot as top crude supplier to India, China

Reuters

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI, June 24 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia lost its spot last month as India’s top oil supplier to Nigeria for the first time in at least four years, according to ship tracking data compiled by Reuters, as the world’s top crude exporter struggles to maintain market share in Asia.

The OPEC kingpin also fell behind Russia and Angola as the biggest crude supplier to China last month, official data showed this week.

The Middle East country’s failure to maintain its position in some markets comes despite it leading a strategy by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to keep output high to drive out competitors.

In India, refiners have been switching out of long-term contracts with Middle East suppliers in favour of spot purchases, often African oil.

A glut of African cargoes has emerged as the U.S. shale boom cuts American demand and accelerated as OPEC keeps output high.

The share of African oil, mainly from Nigeria and Angola, jumped to 26 percent of India’s total imports in May, up from around 15.5 percent in April and the highest in more than four years, according to tracking data on tanker arrivals.

At the same time, the Middle East share fell to 54 percent in May from 61 percent, with Saudi Arabia supplying some 732,400 barrels per day (bpd) compared with Nigeria’s 745,200 bpd.

The shift comes as the gap between the international benchmark Brent and the Middle East price marker narrows. The premium for Nigerian crude over Brent has plummeted in recent months, making it more attractive.

“This gives advantage to the complex refiners like Reliance to buy superior grades of oil like those from Nigeria at discounted rates,” said Ehsan Ul Haq, senior consultant at UK-based consultant KBC Energy Economics.

Reliance Industries got about a quarter of its oil in May from Africa, the highest in at least three years.

Indian Oil Corp aims to get 70 percent of its oil needs through term volumes compared to 80 percent last year, including a deal with Kuwait halved to 100,000 bpd.

Another refiner, Bharat Petroleum Corp, plans to cut its dependence on term contracts to 75 percent this fiscal year from 82 percent a year ago, according to a source.

Head of refinery operations at Hindustan Petroleum Corp , B. K. Namdeo, said purchases of West African oil make sense when Brent’s premium over the Middle East price marker, known as Dubai swaps, is less than $2 per barrel.

The spread DUB-EFS-1M has mostly hovered below that since oil prices crashed in the second half of last year and hit its lowest in two months this week at $1.32.

KBC Energy’s Haq estimates West African oil’s share to India could average as much as 25 percent this year. (Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Ed Davies)

Delhi pressure to ‘go soft’ in prosecution of Hindus over bombing

Prosecutor says National Investigation Agency officer told her to back off after Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party came to power last year.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

A prominent Mumbai lawyer prosecuting more than a dozen Hindus accused of bombing a Muslim neighbourhood has claimed that the prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government put pressure on her to “go soft” on the case.

Four people died and 79 were injured when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in the textile manufacturing town of Malegaon, Maharashtra state, in September 2008.

Rohini Salian, the special public prosecutor in the case, told the Indian Express on Thursday that after Modi’s party came to power last year, an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told her “there is a message that I should go soft”.

She said: “The meaning was very clear: don’t get us [the prosecution] favourable orders.” Salian said the same officer told her this month that “higher-ups” did not want her to appear in the case.

The NIA categorically denied that one of its officers had briefed Salian “inappropriately”. Nor had any officer created any “impediments in her prosecution work”, the NIA said.

A similar bomb attack in Malegaon two years earlier killed 31 people and injured 312. At that time police implicated Muslim suspects, even though the bombs had gone off at a cemetery where hundreds of Muslims had gathered to mark an Islamic festival.

There were at least five similar attacks across India in 2006 and 2007, including the bombing of a Delhi-to-Lahore train in which 68 people died, that were initially blamed on either Pakistani or Indian Muslim terror groups.

The investigation into the 2008 bombing – Salian’s case – proved to be something of a turning point, implicating a radical Hindu group, Abhinav Bharat.
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Even more startling was the identity of some of the accused: a serving Indian army colonel, a retired major, a saffron-robed seer and a young holy woman, whose motorcycle was used in the attack.

The investigation was led by Hemant Karkare, a Mumbai police officer later killed fighting Pakistani terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008. Following his death, the case was transferred to the newly formed NIA, headquartered in Delhi.

Later investigations accused alleged Hindu extremists of being behind other attacks that were initially blamed on Muslims, including the Pakistan train bombing.

Salian said she had taken up the Malegaon case on Karkare’s insistence. “I have no inclination towards any party, any politician,” she said. “I am a pukka Hindu. Hindu means what? You should be straight, not have bias against anyone – Hindus, anyone who commits an offence is an offender.”

Colin Gonsalves, a human rights lawyer, saw Salian’s predicament as part of a wider malaise. “There is large-scale political interference with public prosecutors throughout the country, especially in political cases,” he claimed.

US/PHILLIPINES/JAPAN Start Provocative War Maneuvers In Spratly Waters

[Both houses of the Phillipine Congress have challenged the legality of the US/PHILLIPINES Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the foundation for the current war games, especially over US demands for return to at least six of the “agreed to locations.”]

“Four of the locations are on the main island of Luzon, where US and Filipino soldiers usually hold exercises, two on the central Cebu island, and two more on the western island of Palawan, near the disputed Spratly.

IDF Jets Bomb Someone’s Crashed Drone In Western Bekaa Valley

3746778998

[Online photos of the alleged incident come via LBC, Lebanese tv site.  If the drone actually had “Cyrillic script,” as reported by Daily Star below, it was either Turkish or Russian.  Less-advanced drones still rely upon developing photograph evidence.  Perhaps IDF jets targeted the already crashed drone to destroy this evidence, NOT to deny Israeli technology to Hezbollah.]

Hezbollah claims Israel targeted crashed drone in Bekaa

daily star LEB

Smoke is seen from a blast that targeted the Western Bekaa district on Sunday, June 21, 2105. (The Daily Star/stringer)

BEIRUT: An explosion that was heard Sunday in the western Bekaa Valley was caused by an Israel airstrike targeting a drone that crashed in the western Bekaa Valley, according to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar.

The drone crashed overnight Sunday near Mount Saghbin, according to the report.

However, photos of the reported drone published on media websites show Cyrillic script on a piece of the wreckage, indicating that the drone may have been manufactured either in Russia or Eastern Europe.

Early Sunday, a security source told The Daily Star that the explosion was caused by a drone that crashed on the outskirts of the town of Saghbin.

Media reports also claimed that military planes were seen flying over the Rashaya towns of Kfar Qouq and Aija minutes before the explosion was heard nearby.

Eye witnesses in the area reported that the planes came from the direction of Mount Hermon.

The Lebanese Army has dispatched soldiers to the area to inspect the site.

No casualties have been reported.

Israel has in the past targeted its spy equipment in Lebanon.

Last September, an Israeli jet struck a spy device planted on Hezbollah’s telecommunications network in south Lebanon, killing a member of the party.

Residents said they spotted an Israeli plane hovering over the southern region near Adloun minutes before the explosion took place.

THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE–we don’t need no stinking prison walls

[SEE:  THEY LIVE, We Have No Special SUNGLASSESJuly 14, 2008, 2nd article on There Are No Sunglasses website]

Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates In The American Police State

zero hedge

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free—to be under no physical constraint and yet be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation wants him to think, feel and act. . . . To him the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”—Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World Revisited

Free worlders” is prison slang for those who are not incarcerated behind prison walls.  Supposedly, those fortunate souls live in the “free world.” However, appearances can be deceiving.

“As I got closer to retiring from the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” writes former prison employee Marlon Brock, “it began to dawn on me that the security practices we used in the prison system were being implemented outside those walls.” In fact, if Brock is right, then we “free worlders” do live in a prison—albeit, one without visible walls.

In federal prisons, cameras are everywhere in order to maintain “security” and keep track of the prisoners. Likewise, the “free world” is populated with video surveillance and tracking devices. From surveillance cameras in stores and street corners to license plate readers (with the ability to log some 1,800 license plates per hour) on police cars, our movements are being tracked virtually everywhere. With this increasing use of iris scanners and facial recognition software—which drones are equipped with—there would seem to be nowhere to hide.

Detection and confiscation of weapons (or whatever the warden deems “dangerous”) in prison is routine. The inmates must be disarmed. Pat downs, checkpoints, and random searches are second nature in ferreting out contraband.

Sound familiar?

Metal detectors are now in virtually all government buildings. There are the TSA scanning devices and metal detectors we all have to go through in airports. Police road blocks and checkpoints are used to perform warrantless searches for contraband. Those searched at road blocks can be searched for contraband regardless of their objections—just like in prison. And there are federal road blocks on American roads in the southwestern United States. Many of them are permanent and located up to 100 miles from the border.

Stop and frisk searches are taking place daily across the country. Some of them even involve anal and/or vaginal searches. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved strip searches even if you are arrested for a misdemeanor—such as a traffic stop. Just like a prison inmate.

Prison officials open, search and read every piece of mail sent to inmates. This is true of those who reside outside prison walls, as well. In fact, “the United States Postal Service uses a ‘Mail Isolation Control and Tracking Program’ to create a permanent record of who is corresponding with each other via snail mail.” Believe it or not, each piece of physical mail received by the Postal Service is photographed and stored in a database. Approximately 160 billion pieces of mail sent out by average Americans are recorded each year and the police and other government agents have access to this information.

Prison officials also monitor outgoing phone calls made by inmates. This is similar to what the NSA, the telecommunication corporation, and various government agencies do continually to American citizens. The NSA also downloads our text messages, emails, Facebook posts, and so on while watching everything we do.

Then there are the crowd control tactics: helmets, face shields, batons, knee guards, tear gas, wedge formations, half steps, full steps, pinning tactics, armored vehicles, and assault weapons. Most of these phrases are associated with prison crowd control because they were perfected by prisons.

Finally, when a prison has its daily operations disturbed, often times it results in a lockdown. What we saw with the “free world” lockdowns following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the melees in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, mirror a federal prison lockdown.

These are just some of the similarities between the worlds inhabited by locked-up inmates and those of us who roam about in the so-called “free world.”

Is there any real difference?

To those of us who see the prison that’s being erected around us, it’s a bit easier to realize what’s coming up ahead, and it’s not pretty. However, and this must be emphasized, what most Americans perceive as life in the United States of America is a far cry from reality. Real agendas and real power are always hidden.

As Author Frantz Fanon notes, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

This state of denial and rejection of reality is the essential plot of John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live, where a group of down-and-out homeless men discover that people have been, in effect, so hypnotized by media distractions that they do not see their prison environment and the real nature of those who control them—that is, an oligarchic elite.

Caught up in subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform,” among others, beamed out of television and various electronic devices, billboards, and the like, people are unaware of the elite controlling their lives. As such, they exist, as media analyst Marshall McLuhan once wrote, in “prisons without walls.” And of course, any resistance is met with police aggression.

A key moment in the film occurs when John Nada, a homeless drifter, notices something strange about people hanging about a church near the homeless settlement where he lives. Nada decides to investigate. Entering the church, he sees graffiti on a door: They live, We sleep. Nada overhears two men, obviously resisters, talking about “robbing banks” and “manufacturing Hoffman lenses until we’re blue in the face.” Moments later, one of the resisters catches Nada fumbling in the church and tells him “it’s the revolution.” When Nada nervously backs off, the resister assures him, “You’ll be back.”

Rummaging through a box, Nada discovers a handful of cheap-looking sunglasses, referred to earlier as Hoffman lenses. Grabbing a pair and exiting the church, he starts walking down a busy urban street.

Sliding the sunglasses on his face, Nada is shocked to see a society bombarded and controlled on every side by subliminal messages beamed at them from every direction. Billboards are transformed into authoritative messages: a bikini-clad woman in one ad is replaced with the words “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” Magazine racks scream “CONSUME” and “OBEY.” A wad of dollar bills in a vendor’s hand proclaims, “THIS IS YOUR GOD.”

What’s even more disturbing than the hidden messages, however, are the ghoulish-looking creatures—the elite—who appear human until viewed them through the lens of truth.

This is the subtle message of They Live, an apt analogy of our own distorted vision of life in the American police state. These things are in plain sight, but from the time we are born until the time we die, we are indoctrinated into believing that those who rule us do it for our good. The truth, far different, is that those who rule us don’t really see us as human beings with dignity and worth. They see us as if “we’re livestock.”

It’s only once Nada’s eyes have been opened that he is able to see the truth: “Maybe they’ve always been with us,” he says. “Maybe they love it—seeing us hate each other, watching us kill each other, feeding on our own cold f**in’ hearts.” Nada, disillusioned and fed up with the lies and distortions, is finally ready to fight back. “I got news for them. Gonna be hell to pay. Cause I ain’t daddy’s little boy no more.”

What about you?

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the warning signs have been cautioning us for decades. Oblivious to what lies ahead, most have ignored the obvious. We’ve been manipulated into believing that if we continue to consume, obey, and have faith, things will work out. But that’s never been true of emerging regimes. And by the time we feel the hammer coming down upon us, it will be too late.

As Rod Serling warned:

All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance. Then we become the grave diggers.

The message: stay alert.

Take the warning signs seriously. And take action because the paths to destruction are well disguised by those in control.

This is the lesson of history.

Pentagon’s Next Batch of Syrian Terrorists Might Take Forever To Incubate

Here’s how badly the Pentagon effort to train Syrian rebels is lagging

Washington Post
By Dan Lamothe

isil2A rebel fighter gestures as he shoots his weapon during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the city of Aleppo on May 23, 2015. REUTERS/Hosam Katan

Less than 200 moderate Syrian rebels have started training with U.S. military advisers through a new Pentagon-run program, and none has graduated, a Defense Department spokesman said Thursday.

The program, run at training sites in Jordan and Turkey, was developed to help the rebels counter the Islamic State, which has control of broad areas in Iraq, and exercises even greater sway in Syria. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday that more than 6,000 rebels have been recruited, but there are a variety of problems in getting them to and through training.

“This is a choke point, frankly,” he told reporters at the Pentagon.

[U.S. general on training Syrian rebels: ‘We have to do it right, not fast‘]

The training began in May, and is under the command of Army Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, a veteran Special Operations commander. Before any rebel can start training, he must be vetted for possible ties to terrorist groups and they have to leave the battlefields of Syria — a significant challenge.

Thus far, about 2,000 rebels have been vetted, but only 1,500 made it through the screening process, Warren said. Of those, “at best” 180 have started training, he added.

The program was conceived last year as a way to develop a ground force to pair with American air power in Syria. The U.S began airstrikes targeting the Islamic State nine months ago.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the time that it was important for the United States to take on the mission “right, not fast,” but it appears it has faced even greater difficulties than expected

The Pentagon’s lack of progress, as well as potential cuts to a CIA training program, raise questions about the ability of the United States to help field a rebel force large enough to take back territory from the militants. The initial Pentagon plan called for the training of about 5,000 rebels, but Dempsey said last year that it would take more like 12,000 to 15,000 to recapture territory.

[Pentagon chief defends training program in Iraq — but acknowledges problems]

Warren said Thursday that it is unclear how long the rebels will remain in training once they arrive at the sites in Turkey and Jordan. That will be determined by their capabilities as fighters.

“The training will take as long as it takes, based on the skill we see in the trainees,” Warren said.
Dempsey and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter acknowledged the problems in the training program Wednesday, without detailing the numbers. Dempsey said it is too early to give up on the program.

Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.

US Warplanes Assisting ISIL By Focusing Airstrikes Upon Iraqi Hezbollah Resistance Forces

US Warplanes Strike Iraqi Army Bases in Fallujah, Kill 6 Soldiers

farsnews

Jun 06, 2015
US Warplanes Strike Iraqi Army Bases in Fallujah, Kill 6 Soldiers

The US-led coalition warplanes hit the bases of Iraqi army’s Hezbollah battalions in Fallujah in Anbar province, killing 6 soldiers and injuring 8 others.

In early May, the anti-ISIL coalition forces struck the position of Iraq’s popular forces near Baghdad, killing a number of volunteer forces.

The US-led coalition warplanes hit an arms production workshop of the popular forces near the Iraqi capital, destroying the workshop and its ammunition completely.

Two members of Iraq’s popular forces were killed in the attack.

The US has repeatedly struck the popular forces’ positions in different parts of Iraq.

On March 29, the US fighter jets struck the positions of Iraq’s popular forces during their fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists near Tikrit, injuring a number of fighters.

The US and coalition forces conducted eight airstrikes near Tikrit, but they hit the popular forces’ positions instead of ISIL.

In February, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

“The US planes have dropped weapons for the ISIL terrorists in the areas under ISIL control and even in those areas that have been recently liberated from the ISIL control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places,” Coordinator of Iraqi popular forces Jafar al-Jaberi told FNA.

He noted that eyewitnesses in Al-Havijeh of Kirkuk province had witnessed the US airplanes dropping several suspicious parcels for ISIL terrorists in the province.

“Two coalition planes were also seen above the town of Al-Khas in Diyala and they carried the Takfiri terrorists to the region that has recently been liberated from the ISIL control,” Al-Jaberi said.

Meantime, Head of Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zameli also disclosed that the anti-ISIL coalition’s planes have dropped weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL in Salahuddin, Al-Anbar and Diyala provinces.

In January, al-Zameli underlined that  the coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.

“There are proofs and evidence for the US-led coalition’s military aid to ISIL terrorists through air(dropped cargoes),” he told FNA at the time.

NATO To Address Grexit As Security Threat

NATO sees Greek exit from euro as security risk, says deputy secretary general

ekathimerini

 

By Zoltan Simon & Ladka Bauerova

NATO is worried that a Greek exit from the euro area could pose a security risk to the alliance, deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said.

Russia, which is locked in a dispute with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization over the conflict in Ukraine, has made overtures to Greece as it wrangles over its future in the common currency with its international creditors. Russia boosted ties with Greece on Friday with a preliminary deal to build natural-gas pipelines through the Mediterranean state.

“It does indeed have repercussions for” NATO, Vershbow told a security conference in Bratislava, the Slovak capital. “So we are worried about it.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is wooing Greece and its neighbor Turkey with pledges to make them energy centers for southern Europe if it builds the proposed Black Sea gas link. Other countries Russia has approached include European Union candidate Serbia and aspirant Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “outside forces” are trying to stoke ethnic tension to derail the project.

NATO and EU leaders have accused Russia of undoing years of stability by redrawing Europe’s borders with its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year. They also accuse it of funneling troops, cash and weapons to support the separatist war in that country’s eastern regions, where more than 6,400 people have died. Russia denies involvement.

The Greek crisis could ignite greater instability in the Balkans, less than two decades after the wars that ravaged the region following the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, according to Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the U.S. who now heads the annual security conference that takes place in Munich.

“If Greece leaves, I’ll bet you that in Moscow, this will be seen as confirmation of the Russian theory that the European Union is in decline and about to fall apart,” he said. “The Balkans are still not a stable and peaceful place. We need the stabilizing capacity of the European Union from all sides. If Greece falls out of that it’d be terrible.”

[Bloomberg]

The House of Saud Is the ‘House of Trouble’

The House of Saud as the ‘House of Trouble’

Asia Times

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, considered to be the most prestigious Muslim country in the entire Islamic world, is certainly not without problems surrounding it from within and without. Most of these problems are a result of the policies of Saudi Arabia’s ruling clique itself. These apparently random-looking problems are, in fact, deeply inter-connected, and together constitute the story of the House of Saud’s undaunted quest for political and economic hegemony both internally and externally.

What started as a (Saudi-funded) campaign to dislodged Assad from the seat of power in Syria has now morphed into a serious threat for Saudi Arabia itself. ISIS is already knocking at its doors, has launched attacks inside Saudi Arabia many times since November 2014, and now has on its agenda occupation of the Kingdom itself. The ISIS/ISIL, created to fight Saudi proxy wars against Iran in the Middle East, was never intended to be a violent threat to Saudi Arabia itself. It happened only when the kingdom joined a broad coalition in October 2014 to bomb the group in Syria and Iraq.

Apart from creating proxy (anti-Shia) groups in the Middle East to fight Iran, the kingdom also attempted to damage Iran’s economy by forcing a huge drop in oil prices. Saudi Arabia was (as the most powerful member of OPEC) certainly at the helm of this year’s drop in oil prices. The purpose was to prevent Iran from settling its economy in the wake of a possible Iran-US deal on nuclear issue.

However, the plunge in oil prices has resulted in fueling crisis at home.  As a result of this crisis, 35% of Saudi workers are now unemployed. An unemployed work force at home doesn’t seem to bother the country’s ruling elite.  However, the kingdom is certainly taking “steps” to channel the problem in a desired direction. More than two-thirds of Saudi nationals are under the age of 30 and almost three-quarters of all unemployed Saudis are in their 20s. More than anything else, it is this younger demographic that poses the most serious challenge to the ruling elite. It is also this younger group which the kingdom hopes to “employ” in its so-called fight against Yemen.

The crisis in Yemen is, as such, as much related to the House of Saud’s quest to consolidate its position vis-à-vis Iran as to resolving, by misdirection, many domestic problems. For instance, by employing the unemployed youth, the kingdom aims to achieve two major objectives: 1) it will have enough boots on the ground to sustain a long (proxy) fight, 2) it will have the local youth’s attention diverted from the issue of radically restructuring the Saudi polity.

But Yemen crisis has led to an unexpected problem: the prospect of a Shia uprising in Saudi Arabia itself. Unemployed youth in Saudi Arabia, which are a potential target for military recruitment, mostly come from “loyal tribes.” The Shia tribes are considered to be “disloyal.” Saudi rulers are making things worse by mobilizing their loyal youths to fight in Yemen in the name of eliminating “the Shia heretics.”

The harping on a ‘Shia element’ is creating a deep sense of vulnerability among the local Shia population who are inclined to believe that the recent attacks on Shia Mosques in Saudi Arabia were not orchestrated by the ISIS. Many instead believe that the attacks were actually carried out by Saudi security agencies in order to keep the local Shia population under existential pressure. This realization among the local Shia population, which has since long been pushed to the wall within the kingdom, can have some serious consequences.

Shia resentment is deeply rooted in the injustices of the Saudi political system itself. The Yemen crisis is only giving it a new outlet. As a matter of fact, people professing Shia creed in Saudi Arabia are actually living under an “apartheid” regime.

Not only do they face discrimination, they are also forced to attend schools segregated on sectarian grounds. Even in these schools, they are not allowed to have a principal in charge from their own creed. As a matter of fact, the Shia community in Saudi Arabia is forbidden by law to work in other than manual labor jobs. The core reason(s) for this discrimination however, aren’t merely sectarian. Economic factors also influence such policies. It is ironic that the Shia population, which is forced to live in extremely wretched conditions, actually resides in areas extremely rich in oil reserves. This is why the Saudi authorities confine them to manual labor jobs related to petroleum extraction. Hence, officials see no reason to offer them opportunities for higher education. On the other hand, the recent economic crunch has also stirred a sense of dissent among the Shia workers in the oil fields. These already low-paid workers are also seeing their wages and hours cut due to the oil price drop.

Any form of opposition to such policies are not tolerated by Saudi officials. The recent case of Shia leader Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr’s and his possible execution has created a lot of controversy in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states. Clerics protesting in the Iranian city of Qom said that Saudi Arabia will pay a heavy price if it executes the religious leader, warning the execution could trigger “an earthquake” that would lead to the downfall of the Al Saud dynasty. A Saudi court in October 2014 had sentenced Nimr to death after convicting the anti-government protest leader of “sedition.” Nimr, a driving force behind the 2011 protests against Saudi Arabia’s Sunni authorities, was also convicted of abetting “foreign meddling” in the country — a reference to Iran. The court also found Nimr guilty of “disobeying” the kingdom’s rulers and taking up arms against security forces. However, Nimur’s real “crime” is that al-Nimr led the 2011 insurrection after the Arab Spring came to Saudi Arabia. He led Shia Muslim street protests throughout the country, demanding constitutional changes, liberties and an end to anti-Shia discrimination in the kingdom.

Jawad Fayruz, a Bahraini MP in the UK, was reported to have said “there’s no independent judiciary system in Saudi Arabia” and the case of Sheikh al-Nimr is “politically oriented.” This is especially due to the ongoing war in Yemen, where Shia Houthi rebels overthrew the president, a Saudi Arabian protégé. However, this invasion has, instead of reducing Saudia’s problems, created a whole new nest of problems, with the Saudi army representing more of a problem than a solution.

The Saudi army, which is the the ruling clique’s primary resource in settling all challenges to its rule is, in fact, itself a problem . The Saudi Army is mostly made up of “guest workers” who are either hired as mercenaries  or, in many cases, made up of individuals who have been forcibly conscripted into the nation’s military. As thousands of Bangladeshis, Nepalis and other nationalities, wearing Saudi uniforms are deployed along Yemeni border, preparing for a possible invasion, reports are surfacing of mass defections.

It appears that many of the super-exploited and impoverished non-Saudi guest workers have no desire to fight on behalf of their masters. As such, if the Saudi military orders a ground invasion of Yemen, it could see its military fall to pieces. If this happens, who will the House of Saud have at its disposal to rely on? This is the most critical issue that currently confronts the ruling elite. Although the Saudi military has the fourth largest budget in the entire world, it doesn’t seem to have the capacity to wage an effective ground campaign in Yemen due to such internal weaknesses. Coupled with this is growing instability among the population of the kingdom’s oil-rich Shia regions which could soon boil over into a full-blown domestic crisis for the Saudi regime.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a freelance journalist and research analyst of international relations and Pakistan affairs. His area of interest is South and West Asian politics, the foreign policies of major powers, and Pakistani politics.

Who Cares About Obama’s Sanctions?–Shell and BP Invest Big In Gazprom

[SEE:  BP to Pay Rosneft $750 Million for Part of Siberian Oilfield]

Gazprom and Shell fuse together

WORLD FINANCE

Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell have agreed to a strategic cooperation deal at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum

Gazprom and Shell’s strategic deal will help both companies tap into new markets as those in Europe become heavily subscribed

Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell have agreed to a strategic cooperation deal at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum

Gazprom, the world’s largest extractor of natural gas, has signed a strategic deal with oil and gas producer Royal Dutch Shell. Termed The Agreement of Strategic Cooperation, a Gazprom press release claims that it will ensure cooperation between the two countries “across all segments of the gas industry, from upstream to downstream, including a possible asset swap.” The deal will help Gazprom penetrate new markets as those in Europe become saturated.

The deal will help Gazprom penetrate new markets as European markets
become saturated

Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Shell, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, signed the document. The two energy giants have a history of cooperation. “Documents of such significance are signed only once every five years or maybe even 10,” Miller said at the forum, reports Reuters. “Many of our traditional partners are positioning themselves as strong regional players… Shell is a global player. And as the global gas markets develop… we will be creating a global strategic partnership.”

Gazprom is officially an Open Joint Stock company, however the Russian state has the largest share of ownership. Many western firms are divesting or steering clear of Russian firms due to continuing sanctions and hostility between the west and Russia. While the US has placed sanctions on the company as punishment for Russia’s actions in Crimea, the EU has been reluctant to do so due to its members’ reliance on its gas output.

The deal will take time to come into effect. Shell is waiting for anti-monopoly clearance from authorities in a number of countries after its recent purchase of rival firm BG.

The Expected Bank Run In Greece Has Begun

Greek bank run: Deposit withdrawals hit €3 billion in four days – media

Russia-Today

Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis

​Panicking savers in Greece have withdrawn over €3 billion in deposits from the country’s banks between June 15 and June 18, with a record €1 billion having left Greek banks on Thursday, banking sources told Reuters.

As the fears of Greece defaulting on its €316 billion debt and leaving the eurozone are escalating, people in Greece are rushing to take their savings out of banks. An estimated €200-€300 million a day was leaving the country prior to this week. Between October and April €30 billion left Greek banks, according to data from the Bank of Greece.

The panic accelerated Thursday ahead of the Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg where European Finance Ministers and Greek officials were to discuss the ways Athens could deal with its international creditors. The meeting however did not show any feasible results.

On Monday, June 22, Greek banks might have to stay closed, when the EU summit takes place in Brussels, according to the European Central Bank (ECB). The summit will focus on Greece’s problem at the highest political level and is aimed to discuss ways of preventing the crisis from spreading within the EU.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Friday that a comprehensive Greek proposal for a cash-for-reforms deal to the euro zone group of finance ministers was not discussed, and that Europe’s leaders had a duty to come up with a deal.

“Greek authorities presented a wide-ranging, comprehensive and credible proposal that can be the foundation of an agreement that not only concludes the current program but also addresses Greece’s future funding needs. Regrettably, no discussion of our proposal took place within the Eurogroup,” Varoufakis said in a statement.

READ MORE: Eurogroup, Greece say ‘crunch’ negotiations failed but still time for clutch deal

The central bank of Greece warned Wednesday that Athens was likely to leave the eurozone and possibly the EU without a deal with creditors.

Greece and the troika of creditors that includes the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission have been stuck in debt talks for more than 5 months. Greece is seeking to get the last €7.2 billion tranche of the second bailout, but the creditors insist Athens should present a solid reform plan showing the country will cut more of its spending. The new government in Greece led by Alexis Tsipras has maintained they won’t agree to a new era of austerity which dragged the economy into a crisis in 2010, when the first troika bailout was released.

Russia, Greece sign €2bn deal on Turkish Stream gas pipeline

South European pipeline

Russia, Greece sign €2bn deal on Turkish Stream gas pipeline

Russia-Today

Russia and Greece have signed a deal to create a joint enterprise for construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greek territory, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said. The pipeline will have a capacity of 47 billion cubic meters a year.

The construction costs are about €2 billion and the parties will sign a roadmap Friday, Novak told RIA at theSt. Petersburg Economic Forum.

The Greek extension of the Turkish Stream project is called the South European pipeline in the memorandum signed on Friday, Novak said, adding that the construction will start in 2016 and be completed by 2019.

The two countries will have equal shares in the company, Novak said.Construction of the pipeline in Greece will be financed by Russia, and Athens will return the money afterward.

The Russian shareholder in the joint enterprise will be state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB), Novak said.

Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said the Friday meeting was“historical”.

“The pipeline will connect not only Greece and Russia, but also the peoples of Europe,” Lafazanis was quoted as saying by Sputnik news agency. “Our message is a message of stability and friendship… The pipeline we are beginning today is not against anyone in Europe or anyone else, it is a pipeline for peace, stability in the whole region.”

The 1,100 kilometer Turkish Stream pipeline will have four lines and an annual capacity of up to 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. About 16 bcm will be supplied to Turkey while the remaining 47 bcm will go to a hub on the Greek – Turkish border to be transported onwards to Europe.

In December 2014, Russia cancelled the South Stream gas pipeline project because the EU was constantly blocking the deal. South Stream would have delivered 63 bcm of gas to Europe, bypassing the current routes through unreliable Ukraine.

 

Both Dems and Repubs Support A Permanent State of war

“It seems that it is very difficult for some people to understand. In this country and particularly in the administration we are seeing a war party form, it’s bipartisan in nature and it seeks to obviously expand NATO to Russia’s border and to incorporate many of the republics of the former Soviet Union. And the fact that Russia is reacting to this plan seems to have taken many of them by surprise.”

‘US bipartisan war party expanding to Russia’s border’

Russia-Today
More than five thousand air, sea and ground troops take part in a multinational NATO maritime exercise BALTOPS in the Baltic Sea, Poland, June 17, 2015. (Reuters / Agencja Gazetai)

More than five thousand air, sea and ground troops take part in a multinational NATO maritime exercise BALTOPS in the Baltic Sea, Poland, June 17, 2015. (Reuters / Agencja Gazetai)

NATO policy makers are seeking to expand the alliance to Russia’s border, but an accident during war games might lead to a shooting war, James Carden, executive editor for the American Committee for East-West Accord, told RT’s In the Now.

RT: After President Putin announced Russia’s strategic forces will get over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2015, NATO warned Russia is playing with fire. Is it really that hard to see that NATO is on Russia’s border and not the other way round?

James Carden: It seems that it is very difficult for some people to understand. In this country and particularly in the administration we are seeing a war party form, it’s bipartisan in nature and it seeks to obviously expand NATO to Russia’s border and to incorporate many of the republics of the former Soviet Union. And the fact that Russia is reacting to this plan seems to have taken many of them by surprise.

RT: Reports say British RAF planes have been scrambled three times in the last 24 hours to intercept Russian jets flying close to NATO military exercises in the Baltic. How far can the rhetoric go?

JC: Unfortunately, this could be just the beginning. We’ve seen since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis NATO has increased its air patrols in and around Russian air space, we’ve seen the Russians respond in kind. What I would hope would dawn upon a lot of these policy makers is that something terrible; it could happen by accident. If something happens involving these flights or with some of the US trainers that are in Ukraine now, we could be well on our way unfortunately to a shooting war in Europe. That’s something we really ought to be thinking about and that ought to inform our policy response to the Ukraine crisis in particular.

RT: What can Russia do to convince NATO that expansion is not the way to cooperation or to cooling down some of this rhetoric?

JC: I think a focus on effects on the ground is the place to begin. Right now we have an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbass, where over 6,000 people have lost their lives and over a million displaced. The blame for that in this country falls squarely upon the shoulders of Mr. Putin. I saw something kind of extraordinary yesterday on Capitol Hill. Samantha Power [US Ambassador to the UN] was testifying there and she was asked, “How many of the separatists and their families are among these 6,000 people who have been killed?” She said that she didn’t know. And the point of the question was how many of these victims have been killed by the force coming out of Kiev, and she claimed ignorance of it. So we need to get straight what’s going on in the Donbass in order to have an informed policy response.

RT: How much does media coverage play in the heated rhetoric between the US and Russia?

JC: That’s an interesting question. In the US, we hear a lot about Russian propaganda, particularly with regard to RT and Sputnik, the internet news organization sponsored by the Russian government. So news that comes out of Russia that explains Russia’s point of view is ‘propaganda,’ but the incessant coverage coming out of the Washington Post and the New York Times, among others, that continues to religiously hew to the neoconservative line is not propaganda at all. It plays an enormous role, particularly within the Beltway.

RT: If the US understands Russia’s reaction to encroachment and Kerry’s statements prove that why not try a different policy?

JC: That’s a good question. Why not? Because the current policy hasn’t worked. I think to Mr. Kerry’s credit he did try to begin to institute a thaw in this new Cold War when he travelled to Sochi with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in May. That was a very good sign, but it was very telling that between his meeting in Sochi and the G7 that the people who are for a very hard-line response to the Ukraine crisis responded and they basically denounced and undercut Kerry’s move towards a détente.

Obama’s Wars Have Created More Refugees Than Hitler and Tojo Combined

[Why bother pointing-out the fact that there are now more refugees lost on the road, looking to escape the wars which uprooted them, than there were in World War II, if no one cares to delegate blame for this human travesty?  America’s “humanitarian wars” and alleged “wars on terror,” as well as the State Dept’s “colored revolutions”/”Arab Spring” are the root of all this violence in the world, which drives huge herds of displaced humans, looking for a safe place to land.  When Hitler drove the dispossessed from the heart of Europe, it was called a ‘war of aggression.’  What do we call America’s deadly interventions and multiple wars with no end?]

turkish-soldiers-stand-guard-syrian-refugees-wait-behind-border-fencesThere Have Never Been More Displaced People Across the World Than Now

time

If the number of displaced persons formed a nation, it would be the 24th largest country in the world

The total number of people forcibly displaced by war, conflict and persecution rose to a record 59.5 million at the end of 2014, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.

The agency’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released Thursday, found forced displacement worldwide has reached unprecedented levels, with a record annual rise of 8.3 million more displaced people since 2013. Some 38.2 million of the total were internally displaced in their own countries.

If the number of displaced persons formed a nation, the report said, it would be the 24th largest country in the world.

Speaking in Turkey on Thursday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres confirmed worldwide displacement was at the highest ever recorded.

“When you see the news in any global network, we clearly get the impression that the world is at war,” he said. “Indeed many areas of the world are today in a completely chaotic situation and the result is this staggering escalation of displacement, the staggering escalation of suffering, because each displaced person is a tragic story,” he said.

Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the biggest source of refugees last year, with 1.77 million Syrians having fled the nation’s ongoing civil war.

Just over half of all refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility worldwide came from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. The report also pointed to new and continuing conflicts in South Sudan, Ukraine and Iraq, among others, which have caused suffering and widespread displacement.

Guterres warned that humanitarian organizations were “no longer able to clean up the mess.”

“U.N. agencies, NGOs, the Red Cross — we no longer have the capacities and the resources to respond to such a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs,” he said.

Turkey overtook Pakistan to become the nation hosting the most refugees in the world with 1.59 million people currently displaced within its borders. Guterres praised Turkey’s willingness to keep its frontiers open and called on richer countries to do more.

“That has a special meaning in a world where so many borders are closed or restricted,” he said. “And where new walls are being built or announced.”

Saudis Claim Patriots Intercept Scud, Yemen Radio Reports 63 Saudis, 20 Mossad Killed In Attack

Tens of Israeli, Saudi Officers Killed in Yemen Missile Attacks

farsnews

Tens of Israeli, Saudi Officers Killed in Yemen Missile Attacks

TEHRAN (FNA)- Sum 20 Israeli officers and 63 Saudi military men and officials were killed and many others taken captive in a special military operation of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement in Amir Khalid airbase in Southern Saudi Arabia, a top security official announced on Wednesday.

“The Ansarullah fighters backed by the Yemeni army hit Amir Khalid airbase in Khamees al-Mushait region in Southern Saudi Arabia with a scud missile and several Najm al-Saqeb (Striking Star) missiles last week, killing over 20 senior Israeli officers and 63 Saudi military men and capturing 35 others,” Mehdi Nasser al-Bashi told FNA on Wednesday.

He mentioned that the Israeli officers were agents of the Mossad spy agency and were in the region to help the Saudi army, and said, “At the time of the attack the Israeli officers were working on a plan to attack some regions of Yemen with prohibited Israeli-made weapons.”

The Yemeni army targeted Amir Khalid military base in Khamees al-Mushait region by Scud missiles last week.

The Saudi army claimed that it had intercepted the Scud by two Patriot missiles, but the Arabic-language Al-Mayadeen news channel showed footage of the missile attack, reporting that it had hit the target.

Following the attack the Saudi army evacuated the passenger terminals of two airports in nearby areas.

Later reports revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Shaalan had been killed in the missile attack.

Earlier today, a senior commander of Ansarullah confirmed that the Yemeni popular forces and the army had killed the Saudi Air Force Commander in the missile attack.

“Shaalan was killed 5 days ago in the Yemeni army’s special operations against Amir Khalid airbase in Khamees al-Mushait border area in Saudi Arabia,” Colonel Salih Mohammad told FNA on Wednesday.

“The attack against Khalid airbase was waged by missiles and weapons systems that were not very special; the operation was planned by Ansarullah and the Yemeni army conducted it after Ansarullah provided it with the information about Muhammed Shaalan’s presence at Khalid airbase in Khamees al-Mushait,” he added.

Colonel Mohammad, meantime, said that the Yemeni army has also come in possession of advanced US-made weapons systems after capturing the Saudis’ Khalid airbase following the initial missile attack.

Last Wednesday, the official Saudi Press Agency quoting the Ministry of Defense declared the death of Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Shaalan, but asserted that the commander had died of a heart attack during a work trip outside the kingdom.

Only a few hours later, informed sources in New York challenged the Saudi news agency’s report, and said the General had been killed in Yemen’s missile attacks.

An informed Yemeni source who called for anonymity said in New York last Wednesday that “Shaalan was killed in the Yemeni army’s missile attacks against Saudi Arabia’s Khamees al-Mushait region five days earlier”.

Then later on Wednesday, another well-known Saudi source rejected the reports that Shaalan had died of a heart attack, and disclosed that his body was charred showing that he has been killed in an enemy attack.

Jamal Bean wrote on his Tweeter page that Shaalan and his accompanying team have been killed in the Yemeni army’s missile attack since their corpses were scorched by the fire of a blast.

 

Chinese Ready For Pause In S. China Sea Island-Building

Why China Is Stopping Its South China Sea Island-Building (For Now)
Image Credit: Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs

Why China Is Stopping Its South China Sea Island-Building (For Now)

the diplomat

China’s island-building in the South China Sea is drawing to a close, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced on Tuesday. “[A]s planned, the land reclamation project of China’s construction on some stationed islands and reefs of the Nansha [Spratly] Islands will be completed in the upcoming days,” he said in a statement.

The remark comes after a renewed United States push to get all claimants in the South China Sea to stop building projects. As U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter put it in his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, “there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants.”

At the time, there was little acceptance from any of the claimants, including China. “China’s construction work on some garrisoned islands and reefs of the Nansha [Spratly] Islands is totally within China’s sovereignty,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement responding to Carter’s speech. “It is lawful, reasonable and justified, not affecting or targeting any other countries.”

So why is China announcing an end to the reclamation now?

The Chinese government was quite clear that this was not an acquiescence to pressure, whether from rival claimants, ASEAN, or the United States. Lu’s statement included what has become China’s standard defense of its land reclamation, hitting all the major points: China has sovereignty over the Spratlys and thus is entitled to build on them; China’s construction does not target any other country and will not affect freedom of navigation and overflight; the upgrading of facilities is mainly aimed at civilian purposes, including maritime search and rescue and navigation safety. China’s construction activities “are thus beyond reproach,” Lu concluded. The construction is drawing to a close because it will be “completed,” not because China is abandoning the project.

Still, the announcement is undoubtedly intended to ease tensions in the disputed area, which have grown sky-high thanks to China’s island-building and an increasingly muscular response by the United States. Beijing is effectively reassuring neighbors that it will not continue reclaiming land in perpetuity. Once this particular fait accompli is in fact accomplished, China will end its construction (though of course it could start again at any time). In essence, China is hoping to get the benefits of stopping construction (in terms of reaping goodwill from its neighbors) plus the benefits of having completed construction.

There are a number of reasons for China to stop now, and Beijing may have been planning all along to have its land reclamation projects wrap up around this time. To start with the simplest reason, typhoon season in the South China Sea will start revving up soon – merely from a logistical stand-point, Beijing would want to have its construction completed early in the summer to avoid the worst storms.

There are also political factors at play that make finishing construction now an attractive option. The Philippines’ international arbitration case concerning the South China Sea dispute will start oral arguments next month. While China has consistently refused to participate, and denied that the arbitral tribunal even has the jurisdiction to hear the case, it’s still prudent for Beijing to avoid making provocative moves while the tribunal is hearing Manila’s arguments.

Plus, China-U.S. relations have been growing steadily rockier, thanks in large part to the South China Sea issue. With President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to the United States coming up in September, both sides need some positive momentum, preferably before the next Strategic and Economic Dialogue kicks off later this month in Washington, D.C. Thinking in the slightly longer term, the United States will also be moving into election season in earnest next year, and China likely doesn’t want its South China Sea actions to be a major point of debate for would-be presidential candidates. Officially, China will be adamant that U.S. pressure had no influence on its decision, but vocal concern from U.S. officials did raise the political stakes for China to continue indefinitely with its projects.

And from a big-picture point of view, China may simply have decided that an end to the land reclamation is in its best foreign policy interests. With the projects completed, China will now turn to damage control on its relationships with Southeast Asian countries – relationship that will be crucial to furthering China’s overarching foreign policy strategy, the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road. As Xue Li of CASS recently argued, “In implementing the OBOR [One Belt, One Road] strategy, it’s unlikely China can avoid problems arising from the disputes; hence, it is necessary for Beijing to adjust its South China Sea strategy and policies.” Publicly announcing an end to the reclamation is China’s olive branch to ASEAN, extended in the hopes of jump-starting the “Belt and Road.”

To be clear, after the construction finishes (and there’s no exact timetable for that) China will have exactly what it wanted – newly-created islands housing new or updated facilities that strengthen China’s ability to operate in the South China Sea. Whether it sends military vessels or simply fishermen, the Chinese presence will undoubtedly increase thanks to new facilities to cater to its ships. The example of the oil rig crisis of last year is constructive – China removed the rig only after its work was completed and the point had been made, and has been working ever since to repair its relationship with Vietnam. Beijing is walking a delicate line, trying to balance an assertive approach to its claims without irreparably damaging its relationships. That means China’s approach often moves in cycles – from assertion to reassurance back to assertion – as it balances these two aims.

It looks like we’re heading back into the “reassurance” part of the cycle, which we last saw in late 2013 when Xi Jinping first announced the Maritime Silk Road. But once relationships in the region are stable enough, China may decide its facilities need more upgrading – starting the process all over again.

Previous US/Russian Navy Encounter In Black Sea–circa. 1988

‘What the hell is going on?’: Cold War returns to Black Sea, recalling shock 1988 confrontation

the oregonian

AX063_1556_9.JPG
A U.S. Navy warship approaches the Broadway Bridge in Portland during the Cold War’s heyday in the 1970s. (The Oregonian)

Russia appears intent on proving it’s still a military superpower. This includes not just its incursion into Ukraine, but also regular shadowboxing with Western navies and air forces — including a recent incident in the Black Sea in which Russian fighter jets zoomed close to a U.S. destroyer.

“Washington has grown to accept Russia’s newly aggressive military posture as the new norm,” Politco wrote this week.

It’s still not like old times, though. In its report on the Russian muscle-flexing, Politico mentions the time in February 1988 when Soviet frigates purposefully banged into two U.S. warships in international waters in the Black Sea. “The Russian ship’s anchor raked a gash down the side of the American warship, causing millions of dollars in damage and a spike in international tensions,” the politics site wrote of the more dramatic of the two “bumpings.”

What exactly happened in that Cold War confrontation three years before the Soviet Union broke up? You can see for yourself, thanks to a seaman on the USS Yorktown who had a video camera on him.

“Coming in again!” a sailor yells as the Soviet frigate suddenly veers into the Yorktown.

The American crew clearly didn’t expect the Soviet vessel to throw itself at the much larger American ship.

“What the hell is going on?” someone yells after the impact. “What the hell!”

“He’s got it on video!” calls out another sailor, as if he has foreseen the invention of YouTube in a couple of decades. (Watch the video below.)

Turns out the American ships, the Yorktown and the destroyer Caron, had been warned. ”Soviet ships have orders to prevent violation of territorial waters,” a Soviet captain radioed one of the American vessels. “I am authorized to strike your ship with one of ours.”

When the American ships did not reply, the smaller Soviet vessels “shouldered out of the way” the American warships. After the fender-benders, the Yorktown and Caron stayed on course and didn’t leave the waters claimed by the Soviets for two hours.

The U.S. Navy knew the incident could have turned out much worse, considering how sensitive the Soviets were about their territorial integrity. Just five years earlier, a Soviet fighter jet had shot down a Korean commercial airline after it entered Soviet airspace, killing 269 passengers and crew.

And the Americans weren’t entirely innocent in this Black Sea showdown. Sure, they were making a point of their right to traverse the waters about seven miles off the Crimean coast — international waters but within an area claimed by the Soviet Union as part of its national territory. But they were also doing a little spying on the side.

“Officials who spoke anonymously after a Pentagon news briefing said another purpose was to collect intelligence on Soviet defenses,” the New York Times wrote on February 13, 1988. Added the newspaper: “A Soviet naval base is in the area of today’s encounter.”

Officially, the U.S. didn’t mention the spying. “We intend to continue exercising our rights under international law,” a State Department spokesman said. “The Soviets are obliged to comply with their international commitments.”

More than 25 years later, the new Cold War isn’t nearly as chilly as the old one, but the military posturing retains a familiar flavor. Pointed out retired Vice Admiral Doug Crowder about the recent Russian flyover of U.S. ships in the Black Sea: “They’re making sure that we know that they’re watching us.”

— Douglas Perry

Terrorism and American Foreign Policy–Published September 25, 2001

Terrorism and American Foreign Policy

tanbou

—by Robert Elias September 25, 2001
Professor of politics at University of San Francisco, California

T

he US has suffered terrible crimes from the terrorist attacks two weeks ago. They have taken a horrible toll in lost lives, and have shaken the nation to its foundations. We’ve felt a rush of emotions, including horror, fear, grief, sorrow, anger and even calls for revenge. As a person from New York, I take the terrorism very personally. I have family, friends and acquaintances there, and I’m still not sure about all of them. I’m very angry about the senseless deaths.

These terrorists and their acts are despicable, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

In response to these acts, our emotions are understandable, and we should do nothing to belittle these feelings. It almost seems blasphemous to suggest that we add to these emotions a part of us that also thinks about what happened and why. And yet there’s a need, beyond our feelings, also to understand. Why did this happen to us? Our leaders in Washington have rushed in with their response, and there’s the danger that we, the people, will be left behind or left completely susceptible to Washington’s lead rather than making up our own minds about why this happened, and what to do.

Unfortunately, in trying to understand why this terrorism has occurred, we’ve been given little help by those upon which we rely for information. Our educational system has provided us neither the history nor the critical perspective to understand. Our officials refuse to ask the question “why,” except in terms of stereotypes that divert us from the causes and focus us instead on the symptoms. And most crucially, our mainstream media has almost exclusively parroted official analyses and solutions, acting not like watchdogs but rather like lapdogs. Officials and our media operate essentially under the assumption that there can be no question of “why,” since there’s nothing we could have conceivably done that has anything to do with provoking terrorism.

To the extent that “why” is considered at all, it’s almost completely superficial. Our officials tell us that: “The terrorists hate us, they are different from us, they are evil, they want to hurt or destroy us for no good reason, and we—the strongest and most armed nation in the world—have nevertheless been too weak in defending ourselves, and must respond with war to root out the perpetrators and make sure this never happens again. We deplore this and all acts of violence, officials tell us, and we will violently retaliate against this outrage.” And our media repeat this level of non-analysis and contradiction almost verbatim. As media critic I.F. Stone once said, “The Washington press corps is like a group of stenographers with amnesia,” dutifully printing official handouts and reporting events with little or no historical or critical perspective.

So we need to think for ourselves. And to do this will require a great deal of courage. If, as President Bush has suggested, America is a strong and great nation, then we can afford to have the courage to ask difficult questions and to consider new ways of thinking about and acting in the world. A part of doing so will require that we examine American foreign policy.

In subsequent meetings, America’s economic and other policies abroad will be considered. Today we’d like to focus on some of our foreign, military and human rights policies. We’d like to consider the possibility that there’s a relationship between some of our policies abroad and acts of terrorism committed against us. It’s true that many peoples around the world hate us but the reasons are far more complicated than the simplistic explanations that officials and the media have been giving us. So we must ask why.

But by asking why, and by trying to truly understand, we must remember that acts of terrorism like the ones we’ve just experienced can never be justified. I repeat: nothing we’ve ever done, none of our policies, no matter how questionable, can ever justify terrorism. But if terrorism can never be justified, that does not mean that it cannot be explained or understood. No matter how apparently extreme we might find the views of terrorists, we’re not talking about people who act for no reason. What are the reasons, and why do many people outside the US hate us?

Another caveat for our discussion today. If we shed a critical light on American policies, shall we be viewed as unpatriotic, or even as traitors? If we view patriotism as blindly waving the flag, as supporting the nation right or wrong, and as America, love it or leave it, then the answer is “yes.” But I’d like to suggest a more enlightened view of patriotism, as stated by the Nobel Prize writer Albert Camus, who said that “The true patriot is one who gives his highest loyalty not to his country as it is, regardless of what it does, but rather to what it can and ought to be.” In other words, the real patriot insists that his or her nation live up to its ideals.

Americans are a great people. But what are we great for? For the amount of violence we’re capable of delivering? For the wars we’ve decided to fight? For the level of revenge we’ve sought and accomplished? Is this what makes us great? We keep hearing how Americans are “strong” but strength is inconsequential compared to a people who are decent, generous, caring, heroic, courageous and compassionate. And those things we are! Those are things we should be proud of.

But can we say the same for our foreign policies? Are these policies compassionate and courageous, or something quite different? Most Americans would be shocked if they really knew or if they really comprehended and felt the violence that has been done abroad by US foreign policy in their name.

Most officials, however, are well aware of our past and present policies. In the rare instance when they are reminded of the shady aspects and negative consequences of those policies, there’s almost never any debate about the facts. Most of our underhanded policies were revealed by the US Congressional Hearings chaired by Senator Frank Church, and have been corroborated by many other official and non-official sources. Actually, there’s a widespread agreement among both the proponents and the opponents of US foreign policy about the kinds of actions we’ll be describing for you today.

The disagreement instead stems from the rationale for our policies, and whether those policies—no matter how distasteful—are nevertheless justified. Defenders of US foreign policy argue that our actions are warranted. Generally speaking, they subscribe to what has been called, in international relations, the “realist” school of thinking. That perspective argues that of course the US has done unsavory things abroad but it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and everyone is doing unsavory things. We’ve done, they argue, what we’ve done not only to survive but also to make sure we’re the top dog in the world—and it’s a good thing that peace and freedom-loving people like us are the ones directing the show. For example, in 1992, George Bush Sr. observed that: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one sole and preeminent power, the USA. And they regard this with no dread. For the world trusts us with power, and the world is right. They trust us to be fair, and restrained. They trust us to be on the side of decency. They trust us to do what’s right.”

The realist school further argues that anything other than an “ends justify the means” approach to world politics makes the false presumption that peoples and nations will be more good than evil. That, according to the realists, is a mistakenly positive view of human nature. Anyone, they argue, who believes that human nature is basically good, or that humans can be induced to act good, and that peoples and nations can peacefully and freely coexist is hopelessly idealistic.

Of course, the critics of US foreign policy, or the idealists, see things differently. They believe we can and should take peace and human rights seriously. For this, they are labeled as unrealistic and even utopian. But the idealists argue that those who are truly the utopians, in the sense of believing something that cannot come true, are actually the realists, since the realists harbor pie-in-the-sky notions that we can keep pursuing violent and underhanded policies without our having to pay some consequences or without the world eventually blowing itself to bits. The idealists argue that the realists make unnecessarily negative assumptions about people and the world, and then adopt cutthroat policies that turn those assumptions into self-fulfilling prophecies.

And the debate between the two sides rages. But while the debate continues, the policy battles have always been won by the realists, who justify our often-violent policies. So, if you’re happy about the world you see, then thank the realists. If, however, you have some concerns about our policies and about the state of our nation and the world, then you might want to consider some alternatives.

This may be painful for us to hear but let’s begin examining the history of our foreign policy by stating the bottom line: more than any other tool, the US has used violence as the main vehicle of its policies toward peoples and nations abroad. For example, in its little more than 200 years of history, the US has intervened militarily in other nations about 200 times; about once a year. The interventions have varied from minor to outright war but most of them have been serious. Now if this sounds like someone’s wild-eyed ravings, keep in mind that in the early 1980s, President Reagan admitted to 125 US military interventions, and his government added several more during his time in office. Reagan not only acknowledged this number of interventions, he bragged about them. One of the major studies of US military intervention was conducted again not by some wild radical but rather by Republican Senator Jacob Javits in the 1970s, and by his count we were already up to 150 military interventions by then. It would be interesting to examine each of these interventions but that would take far too much time. Instead, we’ll focus on the period since 1945.

Unfortunately, the shorter time period won’t improve the picture. From 1945 to 2000, for example, the US attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, usually successfully, and crushed more than 30 populist movements struggling against dictatorships, killing several million people in the process, and condemning millions more to a life of misery. Those are shocking numbers but keep in mind that defenders of US foreign policy rarely quarrel with these numbers but rather only try to show why they were necessary. Beyond these actions abroad, it’s also instructive to examine US policies that have created terrorists, carried out torture and assassinations, developed death squads, provided training manuals for repression, granted safe haven for terrorists and war criminals, used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations, promoted and used chemical and biological weapons, perverted foreign elections and otherwise intervened in foreign political systems, and undermined hundreds of UN resolutions and treaties (with the US often the only dissenting vote among the world’s nations).

Woodrow Wilson, who was elected President based on a platform that promised to keep the US out of World War I, nevertheless pushed the US into the War after his election, and justified our participation, arguing that the goal of US foreign policy was to “make the world safe for democracy.” Perhaps if we try hard we can find instances where our policy has produced democracy but it’s far easier to find endless examples where our policy has undermined it. This may be because the real objective of our foreign policy has instead been “making the world safe for capitalism,” and for the US to control as much of the world as possible, shaping it into the American image. In that, our policies have been very successful. In 1997, Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading newsmagazine, editorialized that: “Never before in history has a country dominated the earth so totally as the United States does today… America is the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, intrusive, intimidating… The Americans, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, act as if they own a kind of blank check in their very own “McWorld.”

In 1996, the Annual Report of the world’s leading human rights organization, Amnesty International, concluded that: “It is a paradox that a nation that did so much to articulate and codify human rights in its foundation documents has so consistently resisted and undermined the effective functioning of an international framework to protect these principles and values.” “…repression, torture and terror has occurred disproportionately among countries in the American sphere of influence.” “Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, a woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed, or “disappeared” at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.” How can Amnesty International say these things about us?

Many years ago, the Chinese writer Moh-Tze said: “To kill one person is murder. To kill thousands is foreign policy.” This seems to be reflected in American policies abroad. So let’s quickly review the list of offenses.

US Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The indiscriminate use of bombs by the US, usually outside a declared war situation, for wanton destruction, for no military objectives, whose targets and victims are civilian populations, or what we now call “collateral damage.”

Japan (1945) China (1945–46) Korea & China (1950–53)
Guatemala (1954, 1960, 1967–69) Indonesia (1958) Cuba (1959–61)
Congo (1964) Peru (1965) Laos (1964–70)
Vietnam (1961–1973) Cambodia (1969–70) Grenada (1983)
Lebanon (1983–84) Libya (1986) El Salvador (1980s)
Nicaragua (1980s) Iran (1987) Panama (1989)
Iraq (1991–2000) Kuwait (1991) Somalia (1993)
Bosnia (1994–95) Sudan (1998) Afghanistan (1998)
Pakistan (1998) Yugoslavia (1999)
Macedonia (1999)

US Use of Chemical & Biological Weapons

The US has refused to sign Conventions against the development and use of chemical and biological weapons, and has either used or tested (without informing the civilian populations) these weapons in the following locations abroad:

Bahamas (late 1940s–mid-1950s)
Canada (1953)
China and Korea (1950–53)
Korea (1967–69)
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (1961–1970)
Panama (1940s–1990s)
Cuba (1962, 69, 70, 71, 81, 96)

And the US has tested such weapons on US civilian populations, without their knowledge, in the following locations:

Watertown, NY and US Virgin Islands (1950)
SF Bay Area (1950, 1957–67)
Minneapolis (1953)
St. Louis (1953)
Washington, DC Area (1953, 1967)
Florida (1955)
Savannah GA/Avon Park, FL (1956–58)
New York City (1956, 1966)
Chicago (1960)

And the US has encouraged the use of such weapons, and provided the technology to develop such weapons in various nations abroad, including:

Egypt
South Africa
Iraq

US Political and Military Interventions since 1945

The US has launched a series of military and political interventions since 1945, often to install puppet regimes, or alternatively to engage in political actions such as smear campaigns, sponsoring or targeting opposition political groups (depending on how they served US interests), undermining political parties, sabotage and terror campaigns, and so forth. It has done so in nations such as

China (1945–51) South Africa (1960s–1980s)
France (1947) Bolivia (1964–75)
Marshall Islands (1946–58) Australia (1972–75)
Italy (1947–1975) Iraq (1972–75)
Greece (1947–49) Portugal (1974–76)
Philippines (1945–53) East Timor (1975–99)
Korea (1945–53) Ecuador (1975)
Albania (1949–53) Argentina (1976)
Eastern Europe (1948–56) Pakistan (1977)
Germany (1950s) Angola (1975–1980s)
Iran (1953) Jamaica (1976)
Guatemala (1953–1990s) Honduras (1980s)
Costa Rica (mid-1950s, 1970–71) Nicaragua (1980s)
Middle East (1956–58) Philippines (1970s–90s)
Indonesia (1957–58) Seychelles (1979–81)
Haiti (1959) South Yemen (1979–84)
Western Europe (1950s–1960s) South Korea (1980)
Guyana (1953–64) Chad (1981–82)
Iraq (1958–63) Grenada (1979–83)
Vietnam (1945–53) Suriname (1982–84)
Cambodia (1955–73) Libya (1981–89)
Laos (1957–73) Fiji (1987)
Thailand (1965–73) Panama (1989)
Ecuador (1960–63) Afghanistan (1979–92)
Congo (1960–65, 1977–78) El Salvador (1980–92)
Algeria (1960s) Haiti (1987–94)
Brazil (1961–64)
Peru (1965) Albania (1991–92)
Dominican Republic (1963–65) Somalia (1993)
Cuba (1959–present) Iraq (1990s)
Indonesia (1965) Peru (1990–present)
Ghana (1966) Mexico (1990–present)
Uruguay (1969–72) Colombia (1990–present)
Chile (1964–73) Yugoslavia (1995–99)
Greece (1967–74)

US Perversions of Foreign Elections

The US has specifically intervened to rig or distort the outcome of foreign elections, and sometimes engineered sham “demonstration” elections to ward off accusations of government repression in allied nations in the US sphere of influence. These sham elections have often installed or maintained in power repressive dictators who have victimized their populations. Such practices have occurred in nations such as:

Philippines (1950s)
Italy (1948–1970s)
Lebanon (1950s)
Indonesia (1955)
Vietnam (1955)
Guyana (1953–64)
Japan (1958–1970s)
Nepal (1959)
Laos (1960)
Brazil (1962)
Dominican Republic (1962)
Guatemala (1963)
Bolivia (1966)
Chile (1964–70)
Portugal (1974–75)
Australia (1974–75)
Jamaica (1976)
El Salvador (1984)
Panama (1984, 89)
Nicaragua (1984, 90)
Haiti (1987, 88)
Albania (1991–92)
Russia (1996)
Mongolia (1996)
Bosnia (1998)

US Versus World at the United Nations

The US has repeatedly acted to undermine peace and human rights initiatives at the United Nations, routinely voting against hundreds of UN resolutions and treaties. The US easily has the worst record of any nation on not supporting UN treaties. In almost all of its hundreds of “no” votes, the US was the “sole” nation to vote no (among the 100–130 nations that usually vote), and among only 1 or 2 other nations voting no the rest of the time. Here’s a representative sample of US votes from 1978–1987:

US Is the Sole “No” Vote on Resolutions or Treaties

For aid to underdeveloped nations
For the promotion of developing nation exports
For UN promotion of human rights
For protecting developing nations in trade agreements
For New International Economic Order for underdeveloped nations
For development as a human right
Versus multinational corporate operations in South Africa
For cooperative models in developing nations
For right of nations to economic system of their choice
Versus chemical and biological weapons (at least 3 times)
Versus Namibian apartheid
For economic/standard of living rights as human rights
Versus apartheid South African aggression vs. neighboring states (2 times)
Versus foreign investments in apartheid South Africa
For world charter to protect ecology
For anti-apartheid convention
For anti-apartheid convention in international sports
For nuclear test ban treaty (at least 2 times)
For prevention of arms race in outer space
For UNESCO-sponsored new world information order (at least 2 times)
For international law to protect economic rights
For Transport & Communications Decade in Africa
Versus manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction
Versus naval arms race
For Independent Commission on Disarmament & Security Issues
For UN response mechanism for natural disasters
For the Right to Food
For Report of Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination
For UN study on military development
For Commemoration of 25th anniversary of Independence for Colonial Countries
For Industrial Development Decade in Africa
For interdependence of economic and political rights
For improved UN response to human rights abuses
For protection of rights of migrant workers
For protection against products harmful to health and the environment
For a Convention on the Rights of the Child
For training journalists in the developing world
For international cooperation on third world debt
For a UN Conference on Trade & Development

US Is 1 of Only 2 “No” Votes on Resolutions or Treaties

For Palestinian living conditions/rights (at least 8 times)
Versus foreign intervention into other nations
For a UN Conference on Women
Versus nuclear test explosions (at least 2 times)
For the non-use of nuclear weapons vs. non-nuclear states
For a Middle East nuclear free zone
Versus Israeli nuclear weapons (at least 2 times)
For a new world international economic order
For a trade union conference on sanctions vs. South Africa
For the Law of the Sea Treaty
For economic assistance to Palestinians
For UN measures against fascist activities and groups
For international cooperation on money/finance/debt/trade/development
For a Zone of Peace in the South Atlantic
For compliance with Intl Court of Justice decision for Nicaragua vs. US.
**For a conference and measures to prevent international terrorism (including its underlying causes)
For ending the trade embargo vs. Nicaragua

US Is 1 of Only 3 “No” Votes on Resolutions and Treaties

Versus Israeli human rights abuses (at least 6 times)
Versus South African apartheid (at least 4 times)
Versus return of refugees to Israel
For ending nuclear arms race (at least 2 times)
For an embargo on apartheid South Africa
For South African liberation from apartheid (at least 3 times)
For the independence of colonial nations
For the UN Decade for Women
Versus harmful foreign economic practices in colonial territories
For a Middle East Peace Conference
For ending the embargo of Cuba (at least 10 times)

In addition, the US has:

Repeatedly withheld its dues from the UN
Twice left UNESCO because of its human rights initiatives
Twice left the International Labor Organization for its workers rights initiatives
Refused to renew the Antiballistic Missile Treaty
Refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Refused to back the World Health Organization’s ban on infant formula abuses
Refused to sign the Anti-Biological Weapons Convention
Refused to sign the Convention against the use of land mines
Refused to participate in the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban
Been one of the last nations in the world to sign the UN Covenant on Political &
Civil Rights (30 years after its creation)
Refused to sign the UN Covenant on Economic & Social Rights
Opposed the emerging new UN Covenant on the Rights to Peace, Development & Environmental Protection

Sampling of Deaths From US Military Interventions & Propping Up Corrupt Dictators (using the most conservative estimates)

Nicaragua 30,000 dead
Brazil 100,000 dead
Korea 4 million dead
Guatemala 200,000 dead
Honduras 20,000 dead
El Salvador 63,000 dead
Argentina 40,000 dead
Bolivia 10,000 dead
Uruguay 10,000 dead
Ecuador 10,000 dead
Peru 10,000 dead
Iraq 1.3 million dead
Iran 30,000 dead
Sudan 8–10,000 dead
Colombia 50,000 dead
Panama 5,000 dead
Japan 140,000 dead
Afghanistan 10,000 dead
Somalia 5000 dead
Philippines 150,000 dead
Haiti 100,000 dead
Dominican Republic 10,000 dead
Libya 500 dead
Macedonia 1000 dead
South Africa 10,000 dead
Pakistan 10,000 dead
Palestine 40,000 dead
Indonesia 1 million dead
East Timor 1/3–1/2 of total population
Greece 10,000 dead
Laos 600,000 dead
Cambodia 1 million dead
Angola 300,000 dead
Grenada 500 dead
Congo 2 million dead
Egypt 10,000 dead
Vietnam 1.5 million dead
Chile 50,000 dead

Other Lethal US Interventions

CIA Terror Training Manuals

Development and distribution of training manuals for foreign military personnel or foreign nationals, including instructions on assassination, subversion, sabotage, population control, torture, repression, psychological torture, death squads, etc.

Specific Torture Campaigns

Creation and launching of direct US campaigns to support torture as an instrument of terror and social control for governments in Greece, Iran, Vietnam, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama

Supporting and Harboring Terrorists

  • The promotion, protection, arming or equiping of terrorists such as:
  • Klaus Barbie and other German Nazis, and Italian and Japanese fascists, after WW II
  • Manual Noriega (Panama), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Osama bin Laden (Afghanistan), and others whose terrorism has come back to haunt us
  • Running the Higher War College (Brazil) and first School of the Americas (Panama), which gave US training to repressors, death squad members, and torturers (the second School of the Americas is still running at Ft. Benning GA)
  • Providing asylum for Cuban, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Haitian, Chilean, Argentinian, Iranian, South Vietnamese and other terrorists, dictators, and torturers

Assassinating World Leaders

Using assassination as a tool of foreign policy, wherein the CIA has initiated assassination attempts against at least 40 foreign heads of state (some several times) in the last 50 years, a number of which have been successful, such as: Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Ngo Dihn Diem (Vietnam) Salvador Allende (Chile)

Arms Trade & US Military Presence

  • The US is the world’s largest seller of weapons abroad, arming dictators, militaries, and terrorists that repress or victimize their populations, and fueling scores of violent conflicts around the globe
  • The US is the world’s largest provider of live land mines which, even in peacetime, kill or injure at least several people around the world each day
  • The US has military bases in at least 50 nations around the world, which have led to frequent victimization of local populations.
  • The US military has been bombing one Middle Eastern or Muslim nation or another almost continuously since 1983, including Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq (almost daily bombings since 1991)

This, then, is a sampling of American foreign policies over the last 50 years. The FBI uses the following definition for Terrorism: “The unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” This sounds like the terrorism we just experienced. It also sounds a lot like the US policies and actions since 1945 that I’ve just described.

In response to these policies, it wouldn’t be surprising if eventually the US suffered some backlash. In fact, US officials have a word for the repercussions: “blowback,” which describes the way questionable and often deplorable policies often come back to haunt us. Even former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger admitted, a few years ago, that: “We’ve presented to the rest of the world a vision of the bully on the block who pushes a button, people out there die, and we don’t pay anything except the cost of a missile… that’s going to haunt us in trying to deal with the rest of the world in the years ahead.”

In one of its recent, official reports, the US State Department concludes that if the people of a rogue nation experience enough suffering, they will overthrow their rulers, or compel them to adopt more sensible behavior. This view has been used by the US to promote suffering and subversive policies from Nicaragua to Iraq. But now the policy has apparently been turned against us: Islamic fundamentalists have concluded that Americans need to begin suffering in order to change US policies towards the Muslim world.

If the recent terrorism was carried out by Osama bin Laden, then why has he struck? Describing bin Laden is a long story that will be told, in detail, in a subsequent session of this forum. Briefly, we know that bin Laden is a fanatical Islamic fundamentalist who was not created by the US but who, along with a legion of terrorist followers, was nevertheless trained, equipped, and financed by the CIA to oppose the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. These followers, the mujahedeen (mujahidin), numbered between 15,000 and 50,000 people, and they went on to play a terrorist role in Chechnya, Bosnia, China, France, the Philippines, the Middle East, and elsewhere. They are a good example of blowback from US policy.

While President, Ronald Reagan welcomed members of the Mujahadin to the White House in 1985, and about them he said: “These are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” (Earlier, he had said the same thing about the contra terrorists the US created to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.) In effect, then, we are about to go to war, in Afghanistan, against the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers!

Bin Laden and his followers are fascists. But they also oppose corrupt and repressive Middle East regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt) supported by US, the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the genocide against Bosnian Muslims, the Indian occupation of Kashmir, the US military bases in Saudi Arabia, the US war against Iraq, and the daily humiliation suffered by Palestinians and other Arabs, who have seen their resources stolen, their lands taken, and their lives jeopardized by war and other violence.

Interestingly enough, a very recent Wall Street Journal interview of prominent Muslims and other Middle Easterners, including bankers, businessmen, professionals, and many with close ties to the US, shows that the grievances of these “non-terrorists” were almost identical to those of bin Laden and his followers. Apparently, it doesn’t take a crazy terrorist to recognize these injustices.

President Bush claims that America is the “brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world,” but to the contrary, the US is seen by tens of millions of people abroad as the main enemy of their human and democratic rights, and the main source of their oppression. Right now, many Americans want revenge for the deaths we’ve suffered from the recent terrorism; so, too, do some of the people who have been the victims of our violence also want revenge.

President Bush claims that terrorists attack us because they oppose freedom, but others believe, to the contrary, that we’re targets because our policies deprive other peoples of the freedom they so desperately want. In his speech the other night, Bush actually said that terrorists were envious of our democratically elected government! I’m sure Al Gore would wholeheartedly agree! Bush claims the terrorism was an attack on “civilization” but what kind of civilization commits its own terrorism, and designs its response to the terrorism committed by others in terms of “blood revenge?” Our policy is riddled with double standards, and only perpetuates the cycle of violence. When they attack, they’re terrorists. When we attack, we’re only retaliating. When they respond to our retaliation with further attacks, they’re terrorizing us again. When we respond with further attacks, we’re only retaliating again. And on and on.

Former US Senator J. William Fulbright warned us, during the Vietnam period, against the “arrogance of power” in US foreign policy. Now, at the start of the 21st century, the US is the most heavily armed nation on earth, and yet our arms and our persistent, violent use of them has not prevented us from now feeling more vulnerable than ever to outside attack. What went wrong? The explanation has to be more complicated than merely our failure to fight outside violence with enough violence of our own.

Despite the abuses of American foreign policy, we could take the realist view, and conclude that it was all somehow necessary. Even so, shouldn’t we expect some consequences? Is this really the best we can do? It’s time to repeat what I said earlier: Nothing can ever justify terrorism. But can’t we learn something from this incident, not only about how best, strategically, to respond to the recent terrorism but also how to respond intelligently to the problem, generally?

Some have argued that for some strange reason the historic violence of US foreign policy had nothing to do with the particular motives bin Laden had for the terrorism we just experienced. We’ll hear more about bin Laden and US Middle East policy in one of our subsequent forums, but does this sound plausible to you? Even if true, isn’t it likely that some other acts of terrorism will be forthcoming against us for policies such as the ones we’ve pursued?

One of the best ways of adding to the US policy of violence would be, of course, to pursue the war that US officials have begun to launch. It’s the wrong thing to do, and will likely make the situation much worse. The hardline, conservative Institute for Strategic Studies in Great Britain, for example, has argued that: “Going after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan will likely destabilize its friendly neighbor Pakistan and throw a nuclear-armed country into the hands of the militants.” Former Soviet military leaders have warned us against an invasion of Afghanistan; guerilla and terrorist forces defeated Russia’s best soldiers. We risk another Vietnam-style quagmire against an elusive target that can never be defeated militarily. And we risk the possible re-establishment of the military draft in the US, and the sacrifice of another generation of Americans to a fruitless war. Even if we care nothing for other peoples, we should be concerned about the senseless deaths of our own soldiers, which are likely to come.

Going to war, such as by bombing or invading Arab and Muslim states, and thereby potentially killing thousands of innocent people, will only convince more people that bin Laden is right about the US, and create thousands of new volunteers for anti-American terrorism. Collateral damage doesn’t just kill innocent people; it also creates martyrs and fanatical avengers. Besides, military strikes can never be effective in successfully targeting mobile terrorist headquarters.

We already had a war on terrorism in the 1980s, and back then we worried about Latin American terrorists as much as Middle Eastern. That war failed because terrorism is a political not a military problem, and because the US refused to honestly examine the sources of the violence. During our war on terrorism, the US was itself creating and arming terrorists in Nicaragua, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Critics have argued that we lost the last war on terrorism because the CIA was handcuffed; but to the contrary, the CIA remains one of the main sponsors of terrorism around the world.

It’s curious that when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, we didn’t declare war on all right-wing fascist groups in the US, and chalk up to collateral damage any others who might have gotten killed or injured in the process of conducting that war. Yet that’s what we’re prepared to do in Afghanistan and other nations. Is that because American fascists are not as evil as Islamic fundamentalist fascists? (One doesn’t have to endorse fascist views—any more than fundamentalist views—to recognize that McVeigh’s actions had causes: the government’s assaults at Waco and Ruby Ridge and its contamination of its own soldiers in the Gulf War—in which McVeigh served.)

President Bush is right in using the word, “justice,” but war and militarism can never accomplish justice. This terrorism is a crime against humanity, and that’s how it should be pursued: as a crime against which we and the international community must bring all the forces of law enforcement and criminal prosecution to bear. This is a job for international police work not the military.

Let’s get tough on terrorism. The only way to do this is by examining the sources and not merely the symptoms of terrorism, even if means admitting our own role in the violence. For all the warmongering and saber-rattling, Washington’s proposed actions provide only a weak and superficial response that will never get to the roots of the problem and will instead only multiply the symptoms. That takes no courage whatsoever.

I love America for many things, but I don’t love it for its foreign policies; I don’t love it for the way we’ve treated other peoples and nations. I would love America more if we were to fundamentally change those policies. Albert Einstein once said that: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we used when we created them.” Those words hold two insights: first, that we must change the way we think about and act in the world, and second, that we must look at ourselves and not merely at others. If we’re a great nation, then we should be strong enough for self-examination. If we value life and freedom so much, then we need to act like it. We need real courage, which is not a matter of knee-jerk revenge but rather of having the guts to reexamine what we’ve been doing in the world while we also take seriously the symptoms and the perpetrators of the horrible terrorism that has struck us.

Carlyle Group Obtains Romanian “Conflict Oil” Contract

V.SLG

CALGARY, June 16, 2015 /CNW/ – Sterling Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: SLG) (“Sterling” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the transfer of its 40 percent interest in Block 27 Muridava in the Romanian Black Sea, held by its wholly-owned subsidiary Midia Resources SRL to Petroceltic Romania B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroceltic Resources PLC.  Approval of the transaction has been received from the National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR) of Romania.  Non-material consideration for the transaction will be received plus acceptance by the buyer of all of the outstanding obligations.

On March 26, 2015 Sterling announced the sale of its entire Romanian business to The Carlyle Group (“Carlyle”)

 

ty years.

Nato playing a potentially deadly game

Nato playing a potentially deadly game

herald scotland

I NOTE with interest tour report on military activity over the Baltic Sea (“RAF jets intercept Russian aircraft over Baltic”, The Herald, June 10).

An alternative factual headline would be “RAF jets deliberately provoke Russian planes in international airspace”. The spurious excuse for intercepting these military flights is that they had not registered flight plans. One wonders in the past whether the United States registered flight plans for its countless Blackbird spy flights over Russian sovereign territory or when Gary Powers was shot down over Russia in the U-2 spying incident. On this occasion did Nato lodge flight plans with the Russians before launching their interceptors? Do the Americans tell the Chinese in advance about their spying missions over the military bases the Yellow-peril are building on artificial islands in the South China Sea?

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon bristles with pride at the vital work our “boys” are doing hundreds of miles away from our own shores to ensure the power and influence of the Western alliance is maintained. Protecting the “Free World” from what? Communism is dead. Protecting it from rampant aggressive neo-capitalism? Protecting it from competing corporate imperialism?

The US and the UK have historically proven track records of interfering catastrophically with the affairs of sovereign nations both overtly and clandestinely, often with venal rather than altruistic intent – as has recently been the case in the Middle East and the vaunted “Arab Spring” which has destabilised much of Mediterranean Africa. Don’t forget that Saddam Hussein was “our man” until be stopped playing ball with Iraqi oil and upset the cartel by demanding to be paid in euros rather than dollars.

I and I am sure most Scots have no intention of invading anywhere and I am convinced that the same can be said for most Russians. Wars are started by a few powerful individuals simply to increase or protect their personal power and wealth. The expensive and potentially catastrophic game of “cowboys and Indians” that Nato is playing in the Baltic is yet another chapter in this sorry tale.

David J Crawford,

Flat 3/3 131 Shuna Street, Glasgow.

The True Cost of War On Terror Can Be Measured By the Number of Refugees

amnesty intl boat people

World leaders’ neglect of refugees condemns millions to death and despair

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Worst refugee crisis since World War II.

· One million refugees desperately in need of resettlement.
· Four million Syrian refugees struggling to survive in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
· More than three million refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, and only a small fraction offered resettlement since 2013.
· 3,500 people drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2014 — 1,865 so far in 2015.
· 300 people died in the Andaman Sea in the first three months of 2015 due to starvation, dehydration and abuse by boat crews.

World leaders are condemning millions of refugees to an unbearable existence and thousands to death by failing to provide essential humanitarian protection, said Amnesty International as it published a new briefing in Beirut today, ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June.

The Global Refugee Crisis: A conspiracy of neglect explores the startling suffering of millions of refugees, from Lebanon to Kenya, the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and calls for a radical change in the way the world deals with refugees.

“We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century, but the response of the international community has been a shameful failure. We need a radical overhaul of policy and practice to create a coherent and comprehensive global strategy.”

Amnesty International is setting out a proposal to reinvigorate the system for refugee protection and urging states to make firm commitments to live up to their individual legal obligations and renew their commitment to international responsibility-sharing. Amongst the actions Amnesty International is urging governments to take are:

· A commitment to collectively resettle the one million refugees who currently need resettlement over the next four years.

· To establish a global refugee fund that will fulfil all UN humanitarian appeals for refugee crises and provide financial support to countries hosting large numbers of refugees.
· The global ratification of the UN Refugee Convention.

· To develop fair domestic systems to assess refugee claims and guarantee that refugees have access to basic services such as education and healthcare.

“The world can no longer sit and watch while countries like Lebanon and Turkey take on such huge burdens. No country should be left to deal with a massive humanitarian emergency with so little help from others, just because it happens to share a border with a country in conflict,” said Salil Shetty.

The world can no longer sit and watch while countries like Lebanon and Turkey take on such huge burdens. No country should be left to deal with a massive humanitarian emergency with so little help from others, just because it happens to share a border with a country in conflict.
Salil Shetty.

“Governments across the world have the duty to ensure people do not die while trying to reach safety. It is essential that they offer a safe haven for desperate refugees, establish a global refugee fund and take effective action to prosecute trafficking gangs. Now is the time to step up protection for refugees, anything less will make world leaders accomplices in this preventable tragedy.”

Syria: World’s largest refugee crisis
More than four million refugees have fled Syria, 95% of them are in just five main host countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

These countries are now struggling to cope. The international community has failed to provide them, or the humanitarian agencies supporting refugees with sufficient resources. Despite calls from the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, far too few resettlement places have been offered to Syrian refugees.

The situation is so desperate that some of Syria’s neighbours have resorted to deeply troubling measures, including denying desperate people entry to their territory and pushing people back into the conflict.

Since the beginning of 2015, Lebanon has severely restricted entry to people fleeing Syria. The Lebanese authorities issued new guidelines whereby Syrian nationals are required to fulfil specific criteria in order to enter. Since these criteria were imposed, there has been a significant drop in registration of Syrian refugees – in the first three months of 2015 UNHCR registered 80% fewer Syrian refugees than in the same period in 2014.

Mediterranean: The most dangerous sea route
The Mediterranean is the most dangerous sea route for refugees and migrants. In 2014, 219,000 people made the crossing under extremely dangerous conditions and 3,500 died attempting it.

In 2014, the Italian authorities rescued over 170,000 people. However in October 2014, Italy, under pressure from other EU member states, cancelled the rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, which was replaced by the much more limited Operation Triton (by the EU border agency, Frontex).

Operation Triton did not have a sufficiently broad search and rescue mandate, had fewer vessels and a significantly smaller area of operation. This contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of lives lost in the Mediterranean. As of 31 May 2015, 1,865 people had died attempting the Mediterranean crossing, compared to 425 during the same period in 2014 (according to the IOM).

Follow several horrific cases of loss of life in the Mediterranean, at the end of April, European leaders finally increased resources for search and rescue. Triton’s resources and area of operation were increased to match Mare Nostrum’s. In addition European states such as Germany, Ireland and the UK have deployed ships and aircrafts, additional to Operation Triton resources to further boost capacity for assisting people at sea. These measures, which had long been advocated for by Amnesty International, are a welcome step towards increasing safety at sea for refugees and migrants.

The European Commission also proposed that EU states offer 20,000 additional resettlement places to refugees from outside the EU. While this proposal is a step forward, 20,000 is too small a number to adequately contribute to international responsibility-sharing.

For example, Syrian refugees faced with reduced humanitarian assistance in the main host countries and with no prospect of returning home in the near future, are likely to continue to attempt to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Without sufficient safe and legal alternative routes for refugees – but also for migrants – people will continue to risk their lives.

Africa: Forgotten crises
There are more than three million refugees in sub-Saharan Africa. Outbreaks of fighting in countries including South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR), have led to an increasing number of people on the move – fleeing conflict and persecution. Of the top 10 countries globally from which people are fleeing as refugees, five are in are in sub-Saharan Africa. Four of the top ten refugee-hosting countries are in sub-Saharan Africa

The conflicts and crises in the region have led to an influx of refugees to neighbouring countries, many of which already host tens of thousands of long-standing refugee populations from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, among others.

In some of these situations, as in the case of South Sudan and Sudan, refugees are hosted by countries that are themselves beset by conflict.

The refugee crises in Africa receive little or no attention in regional or global political forums. In 2013 fewer than 15,000 refugees from African countries were resettled and UN humanitarian appeals have been severely underfunded. For example, as a result of the conflict which broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, more than 550,000 people became refugees, the majority of whom are now in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. Only 11% of the UN’s South Sudan regional refugee response plan was funded as of 3 June 2015.

South East Asia: Turning away the desperate

In the first quarter of 2015, UNHCR reported that some 25,000 people attempted to cross the Bay of Bengal. This is approximately double the figure for the same period in 2014. This Bay of Bengal sea route is predominantly used by Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshi nationals.

On 11 May, the International Organization for Migration estimated that there were 8,000 people stranded on boats close to Thailand. Many of those aboard were believed to be Rohingya fleeing state-sponsored persecution in Myanmar.

During May, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand turned back boats carrying hundreds of refugees and migrants desperate for help, despite the dangers they faced. UNHCR estimates that 300 people died at sea in the first three months of 2015 due to “starvation, dehydration and abuse by boat crews”.

On 20 May Indonesia and Malaysia changed course, announcing that they would provide “temporary shelter” for up to 7,000 people still at sea. However, this temporary protection would only last for up to a year, and on condition that the international community would help with repatriation or resettlement of the people. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have not ratified the UN Refugee Convention.

Elsewhere, a terrible precedent has been set in the region by the Australian government whose hard-line approach to asylum-seekers attempting to arrive by boat has, under the guise of saving lives, violated its responsibilities under refugee and human rights law.

“From the Andaman to the Mediterranean people are losing their lives as they desperately seek safe haven. The current refugee crisis will not be solved unless the international community recognizes that it is a global problem that requires states to significantly step up international cooperation. Later this week UNHCR will release their annual statistics on refugees and we will likely find that the crisis is getting worse. It is time for action,” said Salil Shetty.

Read more: 

Global Refugee Crisis in Numbers (Feature, 15 June 2015)

The Global Refugee Crisis: A conspiracy of neglect (Report, 15 June 2015)

Pushed to the edge: Syrian refugees face increased restrictions in Lebanon (Briefing, 15 June 2015)

Why the Lone Superpower Cannot Win Its Wars–No Plans For Victory, No Profit In Peace

[“Fighting for our country,” or “fighting for freedom” are nothing but meaningless slogans, meant to deceive the gullible, or those infatuated with a romanticized idea of war into helping corporations perpetuate Washington’s pseudo-peace.  Since World War II, every soldier who has died fighting for America has died in the service of generals, who have had no intention of winning.  Fighting in a secret war with no mission is the job of mercenaries, NOT respectable men, who maintain that they are serving a “greater good.” 

When men enlist and dedicate long, hard years of their lives toward serving that greater good, they expect and deserve to be fighting and killing for an honest cause.  Finding-out that they have been tricked into this service, in order to maintain the profitability of war, and nothing more, is reason enough to send any man into an inescapable state of deep depression, or to turn him against the govt which did this to him.  Maintaining the fiction that “we fight to preserve our way of life” is essential to keeping the river of ignorant recruits flowing into the meat-grinder.  Once that naive child signs his or her Oath of Enlistment and then swears to

“support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,”

he has entered into a meaningless contract, signed under false pretenses.  Such soldiers make perfect “cannon fodder,” in wars without end, serving under leaders with no plans for victory, all the while pretending to defend a sacred document that has been trampled under Washington’s feet, serving a commander-in-chief who considers the Constitution to be “just a goddamned piece of paper.”]

draft dodgers [The real patriots, or just the smartest of the potential draftees?]

12 Reasons America Doesn’t Win Its Wars

american conservative

Too many parties now benefit from perpetual warmaking for the U.S. to ever conclude its military conflicts.

By Jon Basil Utley

By Thomas Edgar Stephens (1885 – 1966) (Details of artist on Google Art Project) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

America doesn’t “win” its wars, because winning a war is secondary to other goals in our war making. Winning or losing has little immediate consequence for the United States, because the wars we start, Wars of Choice, are not of vital national interest; losing doesn’t mean getting invaded or our cities being destroyed. The following are some of the interests Washington has in not winning, reasons for our unending wars.

1) War sustains the (very) profitable log-rolling contracts for supplies in key congressional districts, grants for university faculties to study strategy, new funding for new weapons. During wartime who dares question almost any Pentagon cost “to defend America?”

2) Continued conflict postpones hard decisions about cutting defense spending such as closing surplus bases, cutting duplicate systems, and focusing on waste. See 16 Ways to Cut Defense. Shakespeare put it well, advising a king to have lots of foreign wars in order to have tranquility at home.

3) Starting wars is the historic way for kings (and presidents) to gain popularity and avoid doing tough domestic reforms for problems that cry out for solutions. War lets them be postponed. Think of George W. Bush winning election on promises to balance the budget, have health care reform, reform our bankrupt social security commitments, tackle the EPA, take on the teachers’ unions, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and such. Instead, with war, all those issues were swept aside. He won his re-election by having even bigger deficit warfare/welfare spending and increasing the national debt by trillions.

4) Private “contractors” profit from continuing crises. They don’t get paid in peacetime like ordinary soldiers, rather profiting from war, or at least from America having more enemies to guard against. In Iraq and Afghanistan we had hundreds of thousands of them, very well paid (often former military) and now largely in lesser-paid jobs.

5) Washington’s community prospers. Think tank intellectuals get lots of TV exposure and lectures, new funding produces new jobs and government grants and trips to the excitement of battlefields, or at least to comfy headquarters, to study the “enemy.” Congressmen get more TV time; critics can be condemned for hurting the war effort or even aiding the enemy. Everyone feels important. Heritage Foundation interns were recruited to help administer Iraq, and while not every war produces jobs even for interns, money flows everywhere.

6) Cable TV gets more viewers (e.g. more advertising revenue). Instead of interminable, boring coverage of the same old event, think of CNN’s repeated coverage of the disappeared Malaysian airliner for weeks, wars are exciting and gain 24-hour coverage and viewers.

7) Military careers. Our Army and Navy are designed for past wars where soldiers and sailors were mostly identically trained to be able to fill identical slots for fallen comrades or sunken ships. Officer careers were based upon well-rounded experience and commands. Third world wars are different. In nations without a rule of law everything is based upon personal relationships with tribal and military leaders. The British and Roman empires sent out staffers to spend a lifetime gaining confidences and studying different tribes, religions, and local issues. For America, every officer has dozens behind him wanting to get some “war” experience on their resumes. So officers rarely stay longer than a year on any battlefield posting, barely enough time to learn the area and gain the confidence of local leaders, much less learn their languages. Long, interminable wars allow for many more officers to get “their tickets punched,” as the saying goes.

8) We can’t absorb many casualties, so to minimize them we bomb and obliterate whole villages and towns (think Fallujah), creating a constant supply of new enemies. If winning was really important we would have to absorb many more casualties and station many more troops for many more years to occupy and pacify the conquered (liberated) nations. Instead we just fight on for years without end.

9) Few Americans want to spend lifetimes studying tribes, religions, and customs in obscure, boring, and uncomfortable regions of the world. The British Empire was heavily staffed by poor Scots and Irish who could find few jobs at home. America does not have that problem facing the skilled, educated elites capable of administering far-flung possessions.

10) Our Congress is more concerned with appearances than winning. Political grandstanding, appearing tough, and pandering to local constituencies are the main objectives for most of them. Think of Iran, where no peace agreement acceptable to Iran and our European allies is likely to gain Congressional approval. Another unending war is more likely and could easily expand to blowing up oil and gas resources all over the Persian Gulf.

11) Our internal security establishment, costing hundreds of billions, needs threats. Think of how often the FBI provides fake bombs and weapons to wannabe terrorist young macho males dreaming of acting out their fantasies. Unending wars fulfill this need. If America actually “won,” many of their (well paid) jobs would be superfluous.

12) We are very vulnerable to false flag operations and paid foreign propaganda. Various foreign nations or rebel interests want us to bomb and/or invade their local enemies. Our recent attack on Libya was based on false information, spread by our allies. Saudi Arabia wants us to destroy Iran, Turkey wanted us to attack Assad in Syria, Israeli (and neocon) hawks wanted us to “rip apart” Iraq. Kuwait’s sheiks paid millions for a PR campaign for America to attack Iraq the first time, and so on.

We could “win” if we followed Sun Tzu and learned from history and from the advice of our founding fathers. But, as stated above, we don’t really want to win; too many Americans benefit from unending wars.

We are not the first empire to confront this problem. However, in the past such unending wars were limited by their costs. But America can always, so far, borrow the money from foreigners. Think though how the Chinese, who have loaned us much of the money, benefit from America eventually weakening itself from continually bashing our heads against religious fanatics, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents and making enemies of much of the Muslim world. As Rand Paul commented, it was American war hawks who created ISIS and much of the chaos in the Middle East. Yet we don’t really lose wars either. As retired Marine four-star General Mattis says, America doesn’t lose wars, it just loses interest and withdraws from fighting them.

Ideas to limit Washington’s profligacy of interventions are beginning to break through into the media, though. Fareed Zakaria supported Rand Paul, writing that he was “forcing Republicans and many Democrats to defend what has become a lazy, smug consensus in favor of an ever-expanding national security state.” The very respected Peggy Noonan now writes that “we spend too much on the military which not only adds to our debt, but guarantees that our weapons will be used.” She quotes policy expert Ian Bremmer—“Policy makers will find uses for them to justify their expense which will implicate us in crises that are none of our business.”

Jon Basil Utley is publisher of The American Conservative.

Russia Prepared For Reciprocal Response, If Pentagon Moves Heavy Weapons To Russian Border

obpuObama and Putin. (photo credit:REUTERS,JPOST STAFF)

Russia threatens to boost forces in West, says US aggression reminiscent of Cold War

jerusalem post

Russian official quoted as saying US move to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern Europe would be “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO” since the Cold War.
Obama and Putin

MOSCOW – A senior Russian Defense Ministry official warned on Monday that Moscow would boost its forces on its Western flank should the United States store heavy arms in the Baltic states and eastern Europe.

A US official said over the weekend that Washington planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern Europe to reassure allies unnerved by Russia’s role in Ukraine and to deter aggression.

The Russian official, General Yuri Yakubov, was quoted as saying any such move would be “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO” since the Cold War.

“Russia would be left with no other option but to boost its troops and forces on the western flank,” Yakubov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

He said Russia would first add new tank, artillery and air units on its western border. It would also accelerate the deployment of new Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave and shore up its troops in Belarus, he said.

Poland and Lithuania have confirmed they are in talks with Washington on stationing heavy arms in warehouses in the region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment.

“There were no statements from the United States to that end so I have no comment for now,” he told a conference call with journalists. “We will comment if there is a statement.”

He said Russian officials were not in touch with their US counterparts at the weekend to learn more about the plans that come as ties between Moscow and the West have hit new lows over the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia has long protested against what it describes as Western attempts to encroach on its territory, including by bringing former Soviet republics and countries once in its orbit in Soviet times into the NATO military alliance.

Re-Killing the Dead Mokhtar BelMokhtar, To Strike At Killers of US Amb. Chris Stevens

Libyan Islamist says US strike missed al-Qaida-linked leader

houston_chronicle102510

By RAMI MUSA and LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

 

  • FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, Algerian soldiers and officials stand in front of the gas plant in Ain Amenas, seen in background, during a visit organized by the Algerian authorities for news media. The U.S. said the military launched an airstrike Saturday, June 13, 2015, targeting an al-Qaida leader in eastern Libya who has been charged with leading the attack on the gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed 35 hostages, including three Americans. The Libyan government and U.S. officials said warplanes targeted and likely killed Mokhtar BelMokhtar and several others. Photo: STR, AP / AP
    Photo By STR/AP 
    FILE – In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, Algerian soldiers and officials stand in front of the gas plant in Ain Amenas, seen in background, during a visit organized by the Algerian authorities for news media. The U.S. said the military launched an airstrike Saturday, June 13, 2015, targeting an al-Qaida leader in eastern Libya who has been charged with leading the attack on the gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed 35 hostages, including three Americans. The Libyan government and U.S. officials said warplanes targeted and likely killed Mokhtar BelMokhtar and several others.

 

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — The U.S military says it launched weekend airstrikes targeting and likely killing an al-Qaida-linked militant leader in eastern Libya charged with leading the attack on a gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed at least 35 hostages, including three Americans.

An Islamist with ties to Libyan militants, however, said the airstrikes missed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, instead killing four members of a Libyan extremist group the U.S. has linked to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

U.S. officials said they are still assessing the results of the Saturday strike, but Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the military believes the strike was successful and hit the target. Neither U.S. officials nor the Libyan government provided proof of Belmokhtar’s death, which likely requires a DNA test or an announcement by Belmokhtar’s group that he was killed.

“I can confirm that the target of last night’s counterterrorism strike in Libya was Mokhtar Belmokhtar,” Warren said Sunday. “Belmokhtar has a long history of leading terrorist activities as a member of (al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb), is the operational leader of the al-Qaida-associated al-Murabitun organization in northwest Africa and maintains his personal allegiance to al-Qaida.”

A U.S. official said two F-15 fighter jets launched multiple 500-pound bombs in the attack. The official was not authorized to discuss the details of the attack publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. Authorities say no U.S. personnel were on the ground for the assault.

But this isn’t the first time authorities have claimed to have killed Belmokhtar, a militant believed to be in his 40s who reportedly lost his eye in combat and fought in Afghanistan. He was one of a number of Islamist fighters who have battled Algeria’s government since the 1990s, later joining al-Qaida.

Intelligence officials say Belmokhtar essentially built a bridge between AQIM and the underworld, creating a system where various blends of outlaws now support each other and enroll local youth. He’s been linked to terror attacks and the lucrative kidnapping of foreigners in the region.

The U.S. filed terrorism charges in 2013 against Belmokhtar in connection with the Algeria attack. Officials have said they believe he remained a threat to U.S. and Western interests. Belmokhtar had just split off from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb to start his own franchise.

The Libyan government in a statement Sunday said that the strike targeting Belmokhtar came after consultation with the U.S. so that America could take action against a terror leader there.

One government official in Libya said an airstrike in the northeastern coastal city of Ajdabiya hit a group of Islamic militants also believed linked to al-Qaida and that it killed five and wounded more. He said the group that was wounded later fought the Libyan military that guarded the hospital there, leading to an hourslong battle. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. The official couldn’t confirm that was the same strike that killed Belmokhtar.

The Islamist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals in restive Libya, told The Associated Press early Monday that Belmokhtar wasn’t at the site of the U.S. airstrike. He said the strike killed four Ansar Shariah members in Ajdabiya, some 850 kilometers (530 miles) east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

American officials have linked Ansar Shariah to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

The charges filed against Belmokhtar by federal law enforcement officials in Manhattan included conspiring to support al-Qaida and use of a weapon of mass destruction. Additional charges of conspiring to take hostages and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carry the death penalty.

At the time, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release that Belmokhtar “unleashed a reign of terror years ago, in furtherance of his self-proclaimed goal of waging bloody jihad against the West.”

Authorities also offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Belmokhtar.

The airstrike comes as al-Qaida militants in eastern Libya continue to battle with members of the Islamic State, as the warring groups fight over power and resources.

And the U.S. has been involved before in the fight against extremists in Libya.

U.S. special forces in 2013 went into Tripoli and seized Abu Anas al-Libi, whisking him out of the country. Al-Libi was accused by the U.S. of involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa. Al-Libi died January this year in a US hospital from a long-standing medical condition.

Last week, a senior al-Qaida leader was killed by masked gunman, prompting the group to declare holy war on the local Islamic State affiliate. Clashes between the two groups in the eastern coastal city of Darna killed 11 people.

Libya has been divided between an Islamist-led government backed by militias that seized Tripoli last August and its elected parliament, which now must convene in the far east of the country.

Militants have taken advantage of the chaos, flowing fighters into the country’s vast ungoverned spaces. And as the Islamic State group has grown in power, fueled by successes in Iraq and Syria, some al-Qaida fighters have switched loyalties.

In its statement Sunday, the Libyan government said that the operation “is a piece of the international support that it has long requested to fight terrorism that represents a dangerous threat to the regional and international situation.” It added that the government would like more help fighting terrorism, including the Islamic State group, which controls Sirte and is moving west toward Misrata and south toward the Jufra military base.

___

Baldor reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb in Cairo contributed to this report.

Why the Neoliberal Sadists Want To Punish Greece

Why the neoliberal sadists seek to deepen recession in Greece

failed revolution

by system failure
The Greek drama is close to end. Yesterday, we had another proof that the lenders do not care really about the Greek recovery, but only to punish Greeks very hard, in order to send a signal to the rest of the eurozone members: Don’t even think to abandon catastrophic austerity.
Greece’s lenders propagate, through their mechanisms, the misleading perception that they don’t care about what measures Greece should take as long as the country could meet fiscal targets that have been set. After the breakdown of yesterday’s talks, the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, Yannis Dragasakis, made an announcement that exposes one more time lenders’ sadistic obsessions.
As Dragasakis noted: “The proposals by the Greek government completely cover the fiscal gap as specified by the representatives of institutions. However, they persist that the gap coverage should be exclusively done through pension cuts by 1% of GDP and through the VAT increase also by 1% of GDP.” (fa.ev/eurocrats-play-with-fire)
Sooner or later, the truth will come out. Various sources, even among the biggest media, admit what is already obvious. As Wolfgang Münchau points through his article in FT: “… accept the creditors’ final offer or leave the eurozone. By accepting the offer, he [Tsipras] would have to agree to a fiscal adjustment of 1.7 per cent of gross domestic product within six months. My colleague Martin Sandbu calculated how an adjustment of such scale would affect the Greek growth rate. I have now extended that calculation to incorporate the entire four-year fiscal adjustment programme, as demanded by the creditors. Based on the same assumptions he makes about how fiscal policy and GDP interact, a two-way process, I come to a figure of a cumulative hit on the level of GDP of 12.6 per cent over four years. The Greek debt-to-GDP ratio would start approaching 200 per cent. My conclusion is that the acceptance of the troika’s programme would constitute a dual suicide — for the Greek economy, and for the political career of the Greek prime minister.” (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5e38f1be-1116-11e5-9bf8-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3d3ir6Odb)
Obviously, the European neoliberal sadists seek to deepen recession in Greece, completely destroy the economy and lead the country to a default inside euro, in order to grab public property and complete the Greek experiment as they planned. Then, they could proceed in a European “Treuhand”.
And obviously, they didn’t expect such a resistance from the new Greek government, as the leader of the French Left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, recently revealed: “… when the Greeks came, they said: ‘They will do what the others did’. When they saw a young and polite Greek (Tsipras) with a nice smile, they said that we will ‘swallow’ him at once. But they messed things up. Months later, we are on the same spot. The polite Greek refuses to back down.” (fa.ev/melenchon-schauble-wanted-to-humiliate)
Now, they seem to sink inside the trap that they have set. And as the time passes, they will be running out of options. Indeed, if they retreat, it would be a clear defeat of their policies and their plans. If they insist on the catastrophic policies to crush Greek resistance they are risking unprecedented consequences because no one in reality can predict what will happen in case of Grexit.
Everything points to what has been mentioned already by this blog: “All these developments certainly bring further panic to the Western economic oligarchy which sees that the balance could change rapidly in the European battlefield. With these puppets in power, Europe has no chance to compromise with Greece, find a real solution and change course for the benefit of the people. The only perspective for the moment is a big ‘collision’ after the end of the truce period, or, maybe earlier. The battle outcome always depends on how the European people will react …” (fa.ev/increasing-probability-for-big-european)

Ukraine, Parasite State, Wants Western Backers To Eat National Debt

Ukrainian government exploited the war

telopolis

 

Because you stand in the war with nuclear power Russia, should the restructuring of the debt according to the wishes of Kiev to go, so Prime Minister Yatsenyuk

The Ukrainian government seems to stand with their backs to the wall and risks in order to escape the threat of bankruptcy, to alienate lenders. For a long time, Ukraine is negotiating with the IMF for a “debt restructuring” and hopes it to get more loans, even if the creditors can not be operated. So the Ukrainian government has a valid end of May to July 2016 ◥law decided the President Poroshenko leaves the possibility of being able to suspend payments to the lenders. Overall, the country’s debt in the amount of 68 billion dollars and ◥would need at least 40 billion in loans, the IMF has only 17.5 billion, the EU, the USA and other donors 7.5 billion over the next 4 years in prospect provided. With 15 billion debt should have been settled, the foreign cash reserves will be increased with 10 billion to stop the rapid decline of the currency. It is not enough back and forth.

Prime Minister Yatsenyuk in Washington. Picture: kmu.gov.ua

Restructuring is mainly that the Ukrainian government is relying on debt relief. The Ukrainian government a gamble and thus, the Greek government in the shadows. So ◥said Prime Minister Yatsenyuk after meeting with IMF head Lagarde, that Ukraine’s debt, even the wool restructure to private creditors, according to its proposals. One of the proposals is just to write off most of the debt owed to private creditors to help Ukraine, what are not pleased. But the IMF, the US government and the US Treasury would have to move.

Yatsenyuk draws once again the war map, which also shows that at least one fraction of the government’s strategic interest in maintaining the conflict to put the supporters countries under pressure. “Ukraine,” said Yatsenyuk, “is at war with a nuclear power – with Russia There is no other option than the conditions (the Ukrainian government) to accept terms of Restrukurierung the debt and to help the country, a difficult economic situation. to overcome. ” Other formulations are such that in the Ukraine, the war between Russia and the West will be fought or that Ukraine protect the West against the Russian aggression. Putin ◥struggles not only with Ukraine, “but with the whole free world,” said Yatsenyuk in another variation. When the law was passed on the moratorium on loan repayments to private creditors from the Rada, ◥said Yatsenyuk turned to this:
If you want to support Ukraine, if you sincerely the Ukrainian citizens and the Ukrainian state welcome who suffer from the Russian aggression who are suffering from the war, who have lost 20 percent of the economy by the Russian military aggression in the Crimea, where tens of thousands hitchhiking around by Russian soldiers on Ukrainian land, do not help us with words, but with a dollar or more billions of dollars.

This will help not only Ukraine, but also Europe, he said. One wonders, would respond as to similar demands on the part of the Greek government, which is just as the current Ukrainian government responsible for the debt.

Yatsenyuk had the end of May not only facing Russia, but also France and Germany again ◥emphasized , not wanting to negotiate with the separatists “. We speak with only with terrorists when they are behind bars” This means in plain text, that the Minsk Convention can not be implemented.

That said Yatsenyuk on the same day as the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance for a loan commitment of US government ◥Treasury bonds worth one billion US had placed on the market. Under the agreement the US guarantee for government bonds. For the Ukrainian government, this second loan guarantee by the US government shows as well as the recently carried out macro-financial assistance EU amounting to 1.8 billion euros the growing “support for the economic reform policies”. Both tools are designed to help in the restructuring of credit load. That the government actually could take a billion dollars to the guaranteed by the US government bonds with a single interest rate of 1.847%, is hardly surprising and says nothing about the confidence of investors in Ukraine.

Following discussions of Yatsenyuk and the Finance Minister Jaresco with US Treasury Secretary Lew, the IMF has suddenly ◥agreed to make additional payments to the Ukraine, even if creditors are not being served. In July, the next tranche of 1.7 billion dollars is pending. The US government and the European EBRD for a write-down of debt, the private creditors, however, who have come together to form a group under the leadership of the US investment fund Franklin Templeton, ◥propose a postponement before and a decree of 500 million US dollars what the Ukraine but rejects.

Despite the support of the US government is growing even there the skepticism about the Ukrainian government. Especially the UN envoy Samantha Power is in Kiev. She ◥accuses the government of a lack of will to investigate serious crimes such as the massacre on the Maidan or in Odessa. And she ◥throws Kiev plan to have many reforms carried out only on paper. The major problems that the power of the oligarchs, corruption and lack of transparency would continue to exist. They ◥stressed also that there was “no military solution” to the conflict “, were no statements about the geopolitical goals of Russian politics and nothing wanted to say on whether a visit by President Obama in Ukraine would be good. But they condemned Russia sharply and relies on the penalties which would need time to take effect.

The Coming War with China?

usa x china

usa x china

The Coming War with China

bonner and partners

By Bill Bonner, Chairman, Bonner & Partners


Editor’s Note: Bill is still up on the family ranch in northern Argentina. And his satellite Internet link is down. So there’s no update from him today. Instead, we have a new Market Insight from Chris and a classic piece from Bill on the potential for a war between the US and China.

Somehow, like it or not, the world turns. Today’s hegemon becomes tomorrow’s also-ran. Today’s reserve currency becomestomorrow’s toilet paper. Today’s cock o’ the walk becomes tomorrow’s dinner.

Hey, we didn’t create this system. We don’t even especially like it. But that’s just the way it is.

Whether you already have made a fortune, or are trying to build one, you need to be very careful about what currency… or currencies… your wealth is denominated in.

The End of History?

Governments were set up to take control. Ruling elites – by force of arms – established laws, protocols and armies to try to prevent anyone from taking their place.

Their wealth, power and status were to be preserved at all costs. But in the 18th and 19th centuries, firearms started to become ubiquitous. It was harder for elites to maintain their authority over the masses.

Every farmer on the American frontier had a rifle. A ragtag band of insurgents in the American colonies (with the help of the French Navy) could defeat the best army in the world. An out-of-work actor could buy a handgun and pop off a president.

Unable to stay in control by force alone, governments had to resort to fraud. Ordinary citizens were allowed to vote on who would rule over them. They were also promised the fruits of others’ labors, if they voted the right way.

For a time, it looked as though this new model – social democracies run by flaming politicians and professional functionaries – had defeated all rivals.

The Soviet Union – which relied on more old-fashioned blunt force to run its slave-driven economy – fell in about 1991.

Maoist China had thrown in the towel, more or less, 10 years earlier when the country’s “paramount leader,” Deng Xiaoping, announced, “To get rich is glorious.” (Historians now claim he never uttered those words. But they accurately captured his vision for China.)

And Francis Fukuyama – hallucinating – wondered if the “end of history” was at hand.

If the end of history were at hand, the dollar, the Fed and federal finances would have nothing to worry about. But between history and the greenback, if we were taking bets, we’d put our money on history.

Most likely, history will trundle forward. And the dollar will be knocked off its perch as the world’s leading currency sometime before the 21st century comes to a close.

But how exactly will that happen?

No one knows. But few imperial elites give up the No. 1 position without a fight. As they see their power, their status and their wealth challenged, they typically find a casus belli, hoping to stomp the newcomer before it is too late.

The End of History?

The phenomenon is known to historians as the “Thucydides Trap.” Political scientist Graham Allison explains:

When a rapidly rising power rivals an established ruling power, trouble ensues. In 11 of 15 cases in which this has occurred in the past 500 years, the result was war.

The great Greek historian Thucydides identified these structural stresses as the primary cause of the war between Athens and Sparta in ancient Greece.

In his oft-quoted insight, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this inspired in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

Note that Thucydides identified two factors: a rising rival and fear of that rise. China is rising. The US power elite fears its rise.

And for good reason: Having the world’s reserve currency is an “exorbitant privilege,” as former French president Charles de Gaulle described it.

It allows Americans to buy things from overseas without ever really paying for them. Instead, we send over pieces of paper that we create ex nihilo. That paper is then sent back to the US to buy Treasury bonds and other dollar-denominated assets.

From an economic point of view, the system (established by Richard Nixon in 1971) is loopy.

The Chinese pretend they have good customers. Americans pretend they have good credit. And everyone pretends to get richer… based on promises to settle up sometime in the future.

In practice, nobody wants the day of reckoning to come. Because they all know that there are vastly more claims on tomorrow’s output than tomorrow can satisfy.

Between 1971 and today, roughly $10 trillion more has been received by Americans in goods from overseas than has been shipped to foreigners. That money is an outstanding claim on US existing wealth and future output.

There is also (with some overlap) about $17 trillion worth of US government debt – also a claim on future American output. And this is just part of the total credit market debt of $55 trillion.

And that’s not to mention Washington’s unfunded liabilities…

Editor’s note: Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff recently told Bonner & Partners Investor Network subscribers that America’s “fiscal gap” – the difference between Washington’s projected financial obligations and the present value of all its projected future tax income – is a mind-boggling $210 trillion. That’s about 211% of US GDP. (You can find out more about this shocking situation here.)

To honor these claims, the US would have to run a budget surplus. (When? How?) But instead of running a surplus, we run deficit after deficit.

Edging Toward a Reckoning

Instead of edging toward a reckoning, all major governments seem to want to make the situation worse.

The US stimulates its people to buy more Chinese-made goods. And China stimulates its manufacturers to make more stuff for people who can’t really afford it. Both are heading for trouble.

Americans are hooked on spending. They consume their wealth… and more.

China is hooked on producing. As it adds productive know-how and capacity, it becomes more and more competitive. Not only can it produce more consumer gadgets at lower prices, but also it can produce the latest in military hardware.

It’s a matter of time before that fighting gear comes out. At least, that’s what history suggests.

If there is a military conflict, how will it turn out?

The US spends three times more than China on “defense.” Advantage: Pentagon. But as the Persians discovered in their wars with the Greeks, having the biggest, best-funded army does not necessarily give you an edge. Instead, it can invite sluggishness, complacency and overreaching.

The US military is the fattest, most zombie-infested bureaucracy in the world. It suffers from an overabundance of resources. It supports troops (at a cost of $1 million per soldier per year) all over the globe.

It builds weapons systems that are often obsolete before they are put into service. It coddles armies of lobbyists, contractors, consultants, retirees, hangers-on and malingerers.

Like all bureaucracies, it looks out first and foremost for itself. Looking out for the security of the nation is a distant second.

America’s 10 huge aircraft carriers, for example, may be marvelous ways to generate contracts, fees and expenses. They may also be great ways to throw US military muscle into two-bit conflicts around the world.

But put them up against a modern, electronically sophisticated enemy… Then what?

We will probably find out…

Regards,

Signature

Bill

Eulogy for the Death of American Capitalism–Pravda, 2009

American capitalism gone with a whimper

pravda

27.04.2009

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their “right” to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our “democracy”. Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different “branches and denominations” were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the “winning” side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the “winning” side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America’s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama’s command that GM’s (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of “pure” free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a “bold” move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK’s Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our “wise” Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper…but a “freeman” whimper.

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set “fair” maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this andthe option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.

The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

Stanislav Mishin

Saudi Arabia Asks Afghan Terrorist Leader Hekmatyar To Assassinate Pakistani Leaders

Saudi Arabia Asks Militants to Assassinate Pakistani Officials

farsnews

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Arabia has sent a secret letter to leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to assassinate Pakistani officials, an Arab media report said.

The Arabic-language Alwaie News said Riyadh has demanded Hekmatyar to stage terror attacks on the lives of senior Islamabad officials after they refrained from joining the Saudi-led coalition in the war on Yemen two months ago.

“The Saudi kingdom has demanded the leader of Afghanistan’s Hezb-e Islami to stage the terror operations in Pakistan to take revenge from Islamabad for its defiance,” the website wrote.

The report said Riyadh has demanded Hekmatyar to stage a series of terror operations on the lives of Pakistani leaders, figures and tribes, but declined to reveal any further details.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the founder and active leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party, and a designated “global terrorist” by the United States. After escaping from prison in Afghanistan in 1973, he moved to Pakistan.

Hekmatyar voiced his full support for the Saudi aggression against Yemen since the airstrikes started over 80 days ago. He has also declared his readiness to join the coalition with his troops.

Syrian Kurdish Forces Conquer ISIS Territory Around Raqqa

[SEE: Erdogan blasts West for destabilizing Syria by supporting Kurdish ‘terrorists’]

ISIS capital in Syria under Kurdish fire

ARA NEWS

ISIS capital in Syria under Kurdish fire

Kurdish fighters of the YPG and YPJ gather during a break from anti-ISIS battles in northeastern Syria. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Qamishli, Syria – Amid continues military campaign against Islamic State militants (IS/ISIS) north of Raqqa, Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) regained 12 new villages in the vicinity of Suluk town.

Raqqa is considered the capital of the IS radical group in Syria.

The YPG’s Media Center issued Saturday evening a statement, of which ARA News received a copy, saying: “Our units (YPG) continue their military operations near the IS-held town of Suluk, during which they clashed with IS terrorists in the southern and northwestern suburbs of Suluk town, causing heavy losses in the group’s ranks and liberating several new villages and farms.”

According to the statement, the villages regained by the Kurdish include Dardo, Razaki, Qalaj, Rafah, Quneitara, Khuwaitla, Dara, Ranim, and four other villages as well as eight surrounding farms.

During the clashes, the YPG forces seized a machine gun with a large deal of ammunition and an RBG (B7) with four shells from the radical group.

At least nine IS militants were killed during Saturday clashes north of Raqqa, according to the YPG Media Center.

The YPG’s leadership pointed out that two Kurdish fighters lost their lives during the clashes.

Earlier on Friday, similar clashes took place in the northern countryside of Raqqa, during which the YPG regained control of 18 villages and eight farms that were seized by the extremist group last year.

Noteworthy, Liwa at-Tahreer of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Raqqa’s Rebels Brigade, as-Sanadid Army and other Arab tribal forces are fighting in the front lines alongside the YPG forces in the countryside of the IS de facto capital of Raqqa.

In another development, the death toll of the YPG forces reached 15 fighters and a number of wounded due to an IS-led attack on a YPG checkpoint in the countryside of Tel Brak town in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, Jiwan Qamishlo, a YPG fighter, told ARA News.

Reporting by: Dilshad Mohammed

India’s state-sponsored terrorism–AN ADMISSION OF GUILT

[SEE:  Remember the Ikhwan? Parrikar’s ‘kanta se kanta nikalna’ approach to terrorism is a terrible idea]

indian def min Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

“We have to neutralise terrorists through terrorists only. Why can’t we do it? We should do it. Why does my soldier have to do it?”

India’s state-sponsored terrorism

the nation pakistan

Marium Kamal
What is the agenda behind ‘the Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar’s shocking and radical statement in which he associated India with state sponsored terrorism and asserted that “terrorists have to be neutralized only through terrorists, and India will take up proactive steps to prevent 26/11 type attack”? Since 1990 India is trying to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state at the global level, and has claimed many times that Pakistan is the global nursery of terrorism or Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism.
The shift in the Indian policies and their self-opposing statements indicate her apprehensive mode due to the successful and result oriented operation Zarb-i-Azb, to curtail extremism and terrorism, and most promising open doors of China- Pakistan economic corridor, which has the potential to change the destiny of the region.  India Pakistan observed a paradigm shift in the nature of bilateral issues, from inherited traditional challenges to non-traditional mounting elements of terrorism that paved the way for many non-state actors to intervene and enhance the discrepancies between both states.
State sponsored terrorism is considered as the most commonly opted non-traditional, counter strategy tool in the post-nuclearization era between anarchic entities.
India alleged Pakistan for promoting state terrorism and supporting extremism.
The issue is further underlined within the international hierarchy in the wake of 2001 the Indian Parliament attack in which India claimed that the assault have been structured by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Later, many other terror incidents were associated to Pakistan as the Mumbai blasts in 2006, the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, and the Mumbai attacks in 2008, which eventually paralyzed the India-Pakistan relations and the future prospects of Kashmir resolution.
Ignoring the fact that many extremists’ attacks have been carried out by the Indian religious fascists in India against the Indian Muslims and Pakistanis as the Samjhauta Express blast 2007, Mecca Masjid 2007, AjmirSharief 2007, and the Malegaon bomb blast in 2008.
The number of terrorist attacks in India by the Hindu extremists neutralizes the statistic of fanaticism.
India can’t detach itself from the inbuilt religious extremism by simply following secular federative lines.
There have been many reported claims about the Indian involvement in Baluchistan’s insurgency and the recent charge against RAW in destabilizing the internal fabric of Pakistan and supporting terrorism.
But the Indian factual impulse is bouncing after the Indian minister who spoke at an event in New Delhi and expressed his proactive strategy using the Hindi phrase ‘kante se kantanikalna’ (removing a thorn with a thorn).
The Indian Minster Manohar Parrikar avowed to include pressure tactics under their proactive strategy and use terrorism against terrorism, disregarding their own stance and image of soft power.  India being a democratic state has to elucidate her conflicting posture, as she on one side alleges Pakistan for state sponsored terrorism and on the other side Mr. Parrikar stresses on state sponsored terrorism to counter terrorism.

India never clarified her stance, as the statement in post 26/11 scenario, when the member of a special investigating team (SIT) of India’s central bureau of investigation accused the Congress government in orchestrating the terror attack on the Indian Parliament and the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which later claimed that the statement was to strengthen the counter-terror legislation.

Nonetheless,the 2001 Parliament attack followed by the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), and the 2008 Mumbai attacks led to amendments in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The self-contradictory derivative of the Indian policy reveals their internal cracks that make an edge for Pakistan to justify her standpoint.

India’s constant irritating stance affirms her robust mindset in ignoring the fact that Pakistan is the sole sufferer and is the most affected state due to terrorism.
India never prompted any progressive attitude on Kashmir resolution, which is the bone of contention between both states, and the most awaited way to attain regional peace, Kashmir issue has to be justified for mutual security.

The Indian conflicting views show their dis-appeasement on Pakistan’s efforts to maintain itself on the democratic lines, to fight for security and stability, and lastly to sustain economic development.  India is also discounting that by encircling or isolating Pakistan, India would be able to attain her regional objectives.

Pakistan possesses an undeniable strategic position in the region, which India has to accept.

Pakistan is keen and looking forward for good relations on the basis of sovereign equality.

Despite of all the sponsored menace, we should understand that the ongoing verbal clatters wouldn’t help us gaining resolution for Kashmir but will definitely hinder the implementation of China-Pakistan Economic corridor, this might be the hidden agenda behind India Parrikar’s sudden statement.

 

The writer is a Research Assistant at the Centre For South Asian Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

“LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO!”–NATO Stages Series of Provocations From Baltic To Black Sea

This infographic gives some interesting details about the four NATO exercises taking place in Eastern Europe

the aviationist

By David Cenciotti

A series of training events is taking place in eastern Europe.

NATO and regional Allies are involved in a series of training events in eastern Europe that go under the name of Allied Shield.

Allied Shield is a series of exercises that includes:

Exercise NOBLE JUMP, the first training deployment of Allied high-readiness units under the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) framework.

BALTOPS, a major Allied naval exercise in Poland that sees the involvement of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command’s B-52 Stratofortress bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, in UK, as well as NATO AWACS, US F-16s used as OPFOR (opposing forces), P-3 and P-8 Maritime patrol aircraft, German Tornados, Swedish Gripen and US KC-135 tankers.

SABER STRIKE, a big land exercise with forces scattered across the Baltic States.

TRIDENT JOUST, a NRF (NATO Response Force) command and control exercise in Romania.

According to NATO, approximately 15,000 troops from 19 different allied countries and 3 partner nations are taking part (or about to) in this series of training events whose purposes are “defensive and are a part of NATO’s assurance measures in response to challenges on NATO’s southern and eastern periphery.”

In other words, these are just some of the measures NATO has taken in the region to reassure local allies threatened by Russia.

Click here to open a larger version of the infographic.

Image credit: de Volkskrant

Yemen Rebels Refuse To Leap Into Trap of Rigged Negotiations

Yemen Rebels Refuse to Board Plane for Geneva Peace Talks

new york times logo

SANAA, Yemen — Airport officials in Yemen’s capital Sanaa say a plane meant to carry Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies to talks in Geneva has left without the delegates on board.

A Houthi representative, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said Saturday that the Houthis objected to the idea of two separate delegations to the talks–one representing the embattled government, and one seen as representing a “coup.”

He says this arrangement created an environment aimed at pressuring the Houthis to withdraw from Sanaa, rather than continuing a broader multi-party discussion. The Houthis had initially welcomed the meetings.

U.N. sponsored talks on the Yemeni conflict were scheduled to start on Sunday.

Arab Fratricide In Libya–Qatar and Turkey vs. UAE and Egypt

Bloody Proxy War in Libya: Qatar and Turkey vs. UAE and Egypt

clarion project

Still from footage of Libya's ongoing violence.

Still from footage of Libya’s ongoing violence.

Fresh clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday, forcing the city’s airport to close down. Mitiga airport has functioned as Tripoli’s primary airport since Tripoli International Airport was damaged and ceased to operate in August.

The clashes are merely the latest outbreak of violence in a rapidly worsening civil war that is serving as a proxy war for the region’s wider conflict. The United Arab Emirates and Egypt back General Khilafa Haftar and an alliance of secularist and nationalist forces opposed to what the al-Arabiya Institute for Studies terms “the Qatari-Turkish axis supporting regional political Islam.”

Libya has descended into civil war since May 16, when General Hafter launched what he termed ‘Operation Dignity’ against an alliance of Islamist militias. He led a patchwork of militias and Libyan army units in an assault on the Islamist stronghold of Benghazi, which was repulsed. After that, however, army units and secular and nationalist militias flocked to his banner, while Islamists of varying stripes ranged against him.

Included in the ranks of the Islamist militias are Ansar al-Sharia, the terrorist group widely suspected to be responsible for the 2012 Benghazi attacks on the US consulate that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US officials. The Islamist forces also include the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood.

Elections in July saw Islamist factions reduced to a fraction of their former strength in Parliament, winning only 30 seats out of 200. Turnout was only 18%, and voting was marred in areas such as Derna with violence.

The new parliament, relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk. This parliament is regarded as the legitimate one by the UN and much of the international community. The previous parliament is in Tripoli and is supported by the Islamists. It also appointed a government.

On November 6 the Tobruk parliament was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Tripoli. However, parliamentarians in Tobruk immediately hit back, saying that because Tripoli is largely in the hands of Islamists, the Supreme Court’s decision was made under duress. The Tobruk parliament refused to disband.

Egypt and the UAE launched bombing raids on Islamist targets in Libya as far back as August, using Egyptian airbases. At the beginning of October, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi formalized the relationship, officially offering General Hafter’s forces training and intelligence in order to subdue Islamist terrorists that pose a threat to Egypt’s own borders. In retaliation for their involvement, Islamists planted car bombs outside the embassies of the two countries last week. No-one was hurt as both embassies had been evacuated months before.

For their part, Turkey and Qatar have been reportedly been supporting their Islamist allies. In October, a representative of Turkey’s Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan met with the leader of the Tripoli parliament, which is Islamist controlled. He has also maintained Turkish airlines flights to the Islamist held city of Misrata.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said Qatar sent 3 loaded planes with weapons to Tripoli. This is in keeping with Qatar’s actions throughout the region. One diplomat from an undisclosed MENA country spoke to Telegraph saying “They [Qatar] are partly responsible for Jabhat al-Nusra having money and weapons and everything they need.” Jabhat al-Nusra is the official Al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in the Syrian Civil War.

Qatar’s involvement in Libya goes back to the revolution that overthrew former Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi. In 2012, then leader of the Libyan National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Jibril said at a Ramadan celebration event: “Doha [Qatar] has been supporting Islamic movements as part of its vision to help establish an Arab regime that adopts Islamic Shariah law as a main source of governance.” He said that Qatar had contributed $2 billion to the revolution.

On June 22, a spokesman for General Haftar gave all Turkish and Qatari citizens 48 hours to leave the country due to their governments’ support for the Islamist militias.

The New York Times reported the hardening attitudes across the battle lines. A Libyan business mogul speaking from the Emirates in August, Hassan Tatanaki said “It is a struggle across the region. We are in a state of war and this is no time for compromise. Many former Gaddafi fighters have come back to Libya and taken up arms again against the Islamists, even alongside erstwhile foes. Although many groups have chosen sides due to ideological differences, ethnic, tribal and geographical divisions have played a key role. In particular, the Zintan brigades support Haftar and the Tobruk parliament while those hailing from the port city of Misrata back the Islamist government in Tripoli.

To further complicate the situation, Islamists in Derna in the east of Libya have separated entirely from the rest of the country, declaring loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Derna a province of the Islamic State.

The UN sent an envoy, Bernardino Leon, to Libya with a remit to try and reconcile the two sides. On Oct. 29 he said “I think this country is running out of time. The danger for the country is that in the past weeks we are getting very close to the point of no return.”

Turkey and Qatar Send 27 Truck Convoy To Service Their Islamist Clients In Syria

 

IHH and Qataris send 27 aid trucks to Syria

anadolu agency turk state

More than 30,000 food packages to be delivered to over 15,000 Syrian families, organizers say

ANKARA

Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation has said it will help deliver more than 30,000 food packages to over 15,000 families in Syria.

In cooperation with the Qatar Charity association, 27 trucks set off from Turkey on Saturday.

Bulent Yildirim, head of IHH, said that the overall amount of aid going to Syria has fallen because the war there is becoming more severe.

He warned that the refugee crisis is worsening and that thousands of people are heading to the country’s borders in an attempt to save their lives from the attacks by the Syrian regime.

Yildirim said that this has forced IHH to initiate a new aid campaign.

“By the end of this year we hopefully will send 3,000 more aid trucks to Syria,” Yildirim said.

Syria has been gripped by violence since the Bashar al-Assad regime launched a crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a civil war in which more than 211,000 people have died.

Millions have been forced to flee their homes and live in camps in Syria and other neighboring countries, including Turkey.

Aljazeera Arabic Teaches “Jihadi 101”, Including Bomb-Making and Social Agitation

[SEE:  Aljazeera and ‘The Arab Spring’]

  • Al-Jazeera — in Arabic — encourages terrorist attacks in Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula by the Muslim Brotherhood, and preaches the destruction of Israel, non-stop.
  • Recently Al-Jazeera has been broadcasting a “documentary” series glorifying Hamas and the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, its military-terrorist wing. The entire series is devoted to idealizing Islamist terrorism and encouraging mass-casualty terrorist attacks against Jews, in the name of radical Islamist ideology.
  • One of the stars is the Palestinian arch-terrorist, Abd al-Karim al-Hanini, who was released from prison in Israel and found safe haven in Qatar.
  • No one has even tried to prevent Qatar’s participation in a global anti-terrorism forum.

The EU and the U.S. have recently been holding meetings in Brussels and Ankara with Turkey and Qatar, two of the major funders of terror groups, to form an “anti-terrorism task force” — while the very Islamists they support have been spiritedly spreading out. Turkey and Qatar have even agreed to help fight ISIS, apparently on the condition that the Turkish-trained forces also try to unseat Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated AKP Party, has been a supporter of terrorists, such as Hamas and ISIS.

Turkish President (then Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, meeting with Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal (center) and Ismail Haniyeh on June 18, 2013, in Ankara, Turkey. (Image source: Turkey Prime Minister’s Press Office)

Meanwhile, Qatar’s TV channel, Al-Jazeera, regularly incites terrorism against Egyptian President el-Sisi’s pro-Western regime. El-Sisi’s heroic pro-Western stance is apparently unreciprocated: the U.S. State Department just hosted an official meeting for his arch-enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood, father of Hamas, while Al Jazeera — in Arabic — encourages terrorist attacks in Egypt and Sinai Peninsula by the Muslim Brotherhood, and preaches the destruction of Israel, non-stop.

It was Al-Jazeera that created the “Arab Spring” by twisting a story about a Tunisian fruit-seller, who set himself on fire because he could not get a work permit, into a story of Tunisian oppression. The station ran the story again and again, whipping up Tunisians to overthrow their secular leaders and bring in Islamist leaders. To the Tunisians’ credit, like the Egyptians, after a few years of Islamist rule, they also threw the Islamist leaders out.

Recently, Al-Jazeera has been broadcasting a “documentary” series glorifying Hamas and the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, its military-terrorist wing. The entire series is devoted to idealizing Islamist terrorism and encouraging mass-casualty terrorist attacks against Jews, in the name of radical Islamist ideology.

One of the stars of the series is the Palestinian arch-terrorist, Abd al-Karim al-Hanini, who was released from prison in Israel and found a safe haven in Qatar. He explains how to construct explosives from agricultural substances, such as chemical fertilizer and sulfur; how to fill an empty gas balloon with the explosives, and how to detonate the bomb mechanically, electronically or with a suicide-bomber (shaheed), in order to kill as many Israelis as possible.

Al-Hanini boasts about his terrorist activities killing Israeli civilians and soldiers, and details tactics that mujahideen will use in their jihadi “inner struggles,” and presumably also their outer ones. These tactics can be used as blueprints by future terrorists. The series can easily be viewed by all intelligence agencies in the world, but so far no one has tried to prevent it from being broadcast — or has even criticized Qatar for broadcasting it.

No one has even tried to prevent Qatar’s participation in a global anti-terrorism forum.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

Dallas PD HQ Comes Under Assault By Lunatics In Armored Van, Using Automatic Weapons and Pipe Bombs

DPD

RAW VIDEO:  Shows long-range footage of the assault on Dallas PD.  Notice the inside of the armored Chevy window van light-up with gunfire, whenever officers approach the suspects.

Bag explodes outside Dallas police HQ

Shots fired from armored van at Dallas police headquarters

dallas morning news


Police have blocked access on Interstate 45 while SWAT personnel work to arrest a gunman suspected of firing shots at Dallas police headquarters. The truck at right was not involved in the pursuit.

Police were continuing to negotiate with a man in an armored vehicle after he opened fire on Dallas police headquarters and led dozens of squad cars on a chase that ended in Hutchins.

No injuries had been confirmed, though the gunman told police negotiators that he had been wounded.

The man has identified himself as James Boulware, 50, who has a history of family violence and blames authorities for his losing custody of his son, Dallas police Chief David Brown said.

However, authorities cautioned that they have not confirmed the man is who he says he is.

Brown said explosives were found in at least one of four bags outside Jack Evans Police Headquarters south of downtown. The device that was found was described as a pipe bomb.

One of the bags exploded when a bomb squad tried to use a robot to move it, police spokesman Maj. Max Geron said.

The gunman also has threatened that he has explosives in the van, which has gun ports built into its sides.

Police were evacuating nearby residents who live in the South Side on Lamar apartments across the street from the headquarters.

One witness reported that shots had been fired from an elevated position, possibly from the South Side apartments. At least one window at the headquarters building was shot out.

Brown said there had been no confirmation yet of witness reports that there might have been as many as four people involved in the attack on Dallas police headquarters, nor that one of them might be on the loose after being unable to get back into the vehicle.

Additional security was implemented at other Dallas police facilities, and officers were urged to check them for suspicious packages or devices.

The incident began shortly before 12:30 a.m. Witness video showed officers firing on the vehicle as it rammed one of their vehicles and drove off.

After a chase that included a convoy of squad cars, the gunman’s van was surrounded along southbound I-45 near Dowdy Ferry Road. The highway was shut down, and people were ordered to stay away from the area.

Alexis Trejo said he was parked behind a McDonald’s on the other side of I-45 about 12:45 am when he heard helicopters overhead.

“I didn’t think much until we saw lights, then we just hear a bunch of gunshots,” he said.

Other people gathered in the parking lot of the McDonald’s said they heard gunshots just before police shut down the highway.

Shortly after 4 a.m., it was reported that the gunman had cut off negotiations with police. About 4:30 a.m., gunfire was heard again near the vehicle, but the indications were that police shot to try to ensure the vehicle was disabled.

The FBI and ATF are assisting with the investigation.

 

Obama Pushing Same, Old Plan In Iraq–Tear It Apart, along sectarian lines

Obama’s New Plan to Save Iraq: Tear It Apart

the daily beast

nancy youssef

An Iraqi security officer stands guard outside the Church of the Virgin Mary in the northern town of Bartala, on June 15, 2012, east of the northern city of Mosul as some Iraqi security stayed in the town to protect the local churches and community. The exiled governor of Mosul, Iraq's second city which was seized by Islamist fighters last week, has called for US and Turkish air strikes against the militants. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
The White House is moving to arm Iraq’s tribal and religious militias. But these forces hate the Baghdad government almost as much as they hate ISIS.

President Obama’s decision to send an additional 450 troops to Iraq is the latest example of a strategy mired in double paradox. The U.S. wants to save a unified Iraq—by strengthening the ethnic and religious militias that could tear the country apart. And to pull it off, Washington is counting on the cooperation of groups divided by a chasm of suspicion.

In its announcement Wednesday, the Obama administration said the additional American troops are supposed to help more Sunnis come forward and eventually receive U.S. military training. The goal is for those Sunnis to align with the largely Shiite government in Baghdad to drive out the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the Sunni-dominated terror army that controls the region where they live.

But there’s a major catch. Several, actually. For these Sunni fighters, fighting ISIS not only means going to war against their fellow Sunnis. It also means teaming up with the central government in Baghdad—a government dominated by their Shiite rivals with a long history of mistreating Sunnis.

In Iraq, Sunni leaders describe a central government that is deeply distrustful of its potential trainees, unwilling to give them arms provided by the United States, and quick to turn a blind eye when sectarian forces carry out attacks against them.

“This is a half-measure not designed to achieve effects on the ground but a response to critics,” an adviser who works with the U.S. military on its strategy against ISIS explained to The Daily Beast. “This is the least they could do with the least amount of risk.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that “these new advisers will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the prime minister.”

Sunnis, recruited by U.S. troops, would join the Iraqi military—or, more likely, local militias—to fend off an expanding ISIS threat. Among the ways the U.S. troops will find potential recruits will be to seek recommendations of candidates from tribesmen, Army Col. Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Wednesday.

In other words, the U.S. military is reaching out to a sect of Iraqis that does not trust the U.S.-backed central Shiite-dominated Iraqi government and encouraging them to join the Iraqi military or fight ISIS through their own forces.

“This is a half-measure not designed to achieve effects on the ground but a response to critics. This is the least they could do with the least amount of risk.”

Until now, all trainees came by way of the Shiite-dominated central Iraq government—usually unsuccessfully—leading to a largely sectarian Shiite-dominated military and Sunni areas of Iraq susceptible to ISIS.

This would be the first time in the new Iraq war that the U.S. military has reached out at a local, tribal level for potential trainees.

“What we are trying to do is bring Sunnis into the fold,” Warren told reporters.

The U.S. forces will be stationed at Taqaddum base, in Iraq’s restive, Sunni-dominated Anbar province. The base is at Habbaniya, which sits between the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, both under ISIS control. Taqaddum became a headquarters for the Iraqi police and military after its troops lost Ramadi and fled to the base last month. It was a major tactical and psychological defeat for the Iraqi military.

The U.S. troops will advise members of the Iraqi army’s 8th Division about tactics to eventually reclaim Ramadi, Warren said. American forces will also help find Sunnis to join the army or to receive military training to create a local force. U.S.-backed Sunni candidates for training will also receive body armor, small arms, and communications equipment, Warren said.

Those U.S. troops at Taqaddum will not yet train the local forces but rather parcel out potential candidates to four bases around the country where roughly 3,000 U.S. troops are conducting training operations for the Iraqi military.

The announcement of the additional 450 troops came on the one-year anniversary of the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city, to ISIS, the group’s largest gain in Iraqi until Ramadi.

The U.S. has been somewhat reluctant, until recently, to embrace sectarian-dominated forces. The one exception to that rule has been the Kurds’ Peshmerga fighters. And even they have complained that the support they’ve received from Washington has been underwhelming.

Instead, U.S. officials have called for—and helped train—a national Iraqi military. That military, however, is disorganized and fragmented. And both the Peshmerga and Shiite-dominated militias have successfully fended off ISIS where the Iraqi military failed.

Shiite militias, backed by Iran, helped Iraqi military forces reclaim the central city of Tikrit this year. That prompted the U.S. to agree to provide air support to militiamen—even though Shiite forces staged something of an ethnic cleansing in Tikrit after the fight was done. The U.S. simply insisted that the militiamen should stay under Iraqi military control during operations to reclaim territory from ISIS.

The 450 American troops, at the longtime urging of the Sunni Iraqi leaders, will now help create a Sunni equivalent militia force that it has so far lacked.

That the U.S. is leaning more on paramilitary forces only confirms the failure of both the central government and its forces to protect Iraq, said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“We are increasingly living in a world where threats come at a sub-state level. The reason why sub-state threats are able to reach strategic levels is because the state that is nominally supposed to control a territory does not,” he said.

“It may be locking the U.S. into engaging at the sub-state level,” he continued. The American war plan may center around strengthening Baghdad, but American actions may be contributing to forces that weaken the government there.

The U.S. military has tried training more Sunni forces but so far has largely failed. That’s left many in the U.S. military skeptical that additional forces could make a major difference.

Rather than a strategic shift, the addition of 450 troops is “tactical tweak,” according to one observer. It’s a required response to ISIS gains and another half measure in what has been marked as a piecemeal strategy, three military officials told The Daily Beast.

Since March, there have been no Iraqi troops to train at al Asad base, which sits in Anbar province, and where 440 U.S. troops have been sitting idle. Iraqi officials said they needed their soldiers and had to yank them out, mid-training. The Iraqis never sent any more, the two defense officials told The Daily Beast.

But Sunni tribesmen have risen up, with American help, against Sunni extremists before. That’s one of the reasons al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s predecessor, was eventually beaten back in the last Iraq war.

Retired Army Col. Douglas A. Ollivant noted that all the paramilitary forces are under the command of the central government—as any Sunni-dominated force trained by the United States will be. Both the paramilitary forces and the Iraqi government accept that condition. Ollivant noted that during a visit to Washington last month, Saleem al-Jubouri, the Iraqi speaker of parliament and a Sunni, urged for a U.S.-trained Sunni force that would answer to the central government.

“Baghdad is conceding that during this time of crisis it has to use sub-state units. But all these sub-state units will report to operation centers,” Ollivant said.

Obama first hinted at the announcement Monday during the G7 summit. But then he suggested the focus was on more training, not just advising.

“One of the areas where we’re going to have to improve is the speed at which we’re training Iraqi forces…We want to get more Iraqi security forces trained, fresh, well-equipped, and focused,” the president said Monday. By Wednesday, officials stressed the U.S. troops’ advising and assisting role, saying training was down the road.

U.S. officials said American troops have so far trained 9,000 Iraqi soldiers and are training 3,100 others. U.S. officials could not say how many Sunnis they hope will emerge through the latest U.S. troop ramp-up, only that it will likely start in the next two months.

Pentagon Creates ISIS…ISIS Terrorizes Iraq…Pentagon Retakes Iraq Under Its Terms

[American generals are playing a very dangerous game in Iraq…creating terrorist armies, then pretending to fight them.  Gen. Dempsey reveals a revival of the “Lily Pad” strategy in northern Anbar Province, with Taqaddum Air Base.  The idea is not so much to “fight ISIS,” but to give courage to the Iraqis by the the mere presence of America’s noble “warriors” and by serving as a recruiting magnet,” to draw-in “holy warriors” from the Sunni tribes.  This is how they gave life to the Islamic State within Iraq, and to the would-be holy warriors in training at Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper (SEE:  What Is the Truth About ISIS).]

Dempsey Unveils ‘Lily Pad’ Strategy for ISIS Campaign

military dot com
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey

The expanded footprint for U.S. troops in Anbar province was part of a strategy to set up a series of “lily pad” operations centers to enable the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to push back ISIS and eventually retake Mosul, according to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

“Our campaign is built on establishing these ‘lily pads’ that allow us to encourage the Iraqi security forces forward,” Dempsey said Thursday.

“As they go forward, they may exceed the reach of the particular lily pad. We’re looking all the time to see if additional sites might be necessary,” Dempsey said in Naples, Italy, on a trip that also took him to Israel.

Dempsey spoke after the White House and the Pentagon announced Wednesday that 450 more U.S. troops would be going to Iraq and would be deployed at Iraq’s Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar, which sits between the ISIS strongholds of Ramadi and Fallujah.

As envisioned by Dempsey, Taqaddum would be the first of the “lily pads.” The White House stressed the training aspect of the Taqaddum deployment but Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the main purpose was two-fold – advising Iraq’s 8th Army division and serving as a recruiting magnet to bring Sunni tribal fighters into the campaign alongside the ISF.

Dempsey said the Taqaddum deployment was “an adjustment that is significant, in that it gives us access to another Iraqi division and extends their reach into al Anbar province and gives us access to more tribes.”

Dempsey also warned against expecting quick results.

“This campaign is building partners who are taking responsibility for their own security enabled by us — not us driving the Iraqi government at a pace they can’t sustain,” Dempsey said.

He did not address the question of whether more U.S. troops would be needed to implement the strategy. In a conference call Wednesday, White House and Pentagon officials left open the possibility that more troops might be needed.

When the additional 450 troops arrive, the U.S. will have 3,550 in Iraq, said Elissa Slotkin, the assistant Defense secretary for international security affairs.

“So we think we have the right numbers,” but “we will always relook at those numbers and make our best recommendations when we have them, if it is to increase,” Slotkin said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com

Turkish Imbecile-In-Chief Blasts West for Preventing Massacre of Kurds In Syria

Erdogan blasts West for destabilizing Syria by supporting Kurdish ‘terrorists’

Russia-Today
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the West of destabilizing Syria by supporting Kurdish “terrorist groups,” while bombing Arabs and Turkmens.

The impassioned remarks were made in Erdogan’s first appearance since the general election. He called on all political parties to act “responsibly” in forming a coalition government, after his Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority at the polls on June 7.

The West, which has shot Arabs and Turkmens, is unfortunately placing the PYD (the political wing of the YPG) and PKK in lieu of them,” Erdogan said in a speech at the Ankara chamber of commerce.

The Kurds have a strong presence in Syria, Iraq and Turkey and have proved a formidable enemy to Islamic State (IS), earning international backing for standing up to extremists.

On the other hand, the ethnic group has been historically locked in a fierce struggle of wills with Turkey over its status as a nation.

Meanwhile the Kurdish-linked People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has for the first time managed to get into the Turkish parliament.

 

This is a difficult situation for Erdogan, who is a US ally on the one hand, but has been showing very negative attitudes toward the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces, which the US has been trying to aid in the fight against IS.

The Turkish leader is uncomfortable with the military gains made by the Kurds in Syria, alleging their links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whom he’s called “terrorists” on multiple occasions, and who have been fighting the Turkish government in an insurgency lasting more than 37 years.

While delivering the remark, Erdogan has used the opportunity to again strike at the perceived ineffectiveness of the US-led air-strike campaign against IS terrorists.

On Thursday Turkey said it was taking measures to limit the influx of Syrian refugees whose numbers soared recently due to fighting between Kurdish forces and jihadists.

Over the last week, 7,000 refugees had fled to Turkey and another 6,600 had joined them since Wednesday, a Turkish official told AFP.

Turkey will not accept entries onto its territory from Syria except in case of a humanitarian tragedy,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said after visiting the Akcakale border crossing on Wednesday.

Kurtulmus also reaffirmed Ankara’s anger against EU nation’s which have accepted only a small portion of Syrian refugees as opposed to Turkey which has taken over 1.8 million Syrian refuges since the start of the conflict in 2011.

NATO Sec Gen Apologizes for Humanitarian Bombs Killing Innocent Civilians

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he deeply regretted the loss of all lives during NATO’s bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which he described as “a tragedy,” Serbian media reported on Thursday.

Speaking in Budva, Montenegro, after his meeting with Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, Stoltenberg said that he was offering condolences to all families and all those who lost their loved ones, Serbian newspaper Blic reported.NATO “made every effort” to prevent the loss of innocent lives, Stoltenberg said, and added:

“Unfortunately, in the concrete case we could not avoid the suffering of civilians. I sincerely regret that. The goal of the operation was certainly to establish peace.”

“The goal and purpose of NATO’s air operation was also to protect civilians — and we succeeded in that,” Jens Stoltenberg emphasized.

NATO’s air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,  made up at the time of Serbia and Montenegro, lasted for 78 days and ended on June 10, 1999.

According to different estimates, between 1,200 and 2,500 were killed in the attacks. Almost 13,000 were injured. The material damage is estimated at between $30 billion and $100 billion.The western leaders justified the airstrikes by the need to end ethnic cleansings allegedly being conducted by Serbian forces in Kosovo.

It was also the first time that NATO used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council and against a sovereign nation that did not pose any real threat to any member of the alliance.

American Killer Elite Unleashed Upon the Entire Human Race

“Besides eliminating undesired humans, killing makes things simple. It purges the mind of all the difficult challenges of diplomacy. Plus, if things go off the rails, the militarist never admits making a mistake and always has a ready answer: They employ the tried-and-true stabbed-in-the-back myth and blame those of us against the violence in the first place for not supporting the violence.”Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600–1860

The Killer Elite, At Home and Abroad

this cant be happening

 

John Grant
We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

– Quote attributed to George Orwell
Everybody loves a good killer. American pop culture is saturated with the love of killers. The more sexy and elite the killer, the more reverence he or she receives and the more the obvious moral questions are parried away. As the Orwell quote, above, suggests, all societies revere “rough men” with the capacity to ruthlessly kill members of threatening nations or outlaw bands.

Nowadays, official killing demands the nurturing of an elite esprit-de-corps among the killers. Their work must be done in strict secrecy so we, the public, can remain ignorant and “safe in our beds” while the killer elite remain aloof and unaccountable. Furthermore, it’s important to be able to easily marginalize those of us deemed by the killer elite and their promoters to be overly-delicate, moral scolds.


“Rough men” from Seal Team Six and a local police force. When do they become the problem?

This sense of embattled esprit-de-corps in conjunction with unaccountability is even seeping into our domestic police departments. In some cases, cops are too quick to shoot when things don’t go right for them or they are dis’ed; in other cases, the connection to elite special-ops killers seems aspirational. Since 9/11 we’ve witnessed many linkages (like regional Fusion Centers and the distribution of surplus war weaponry) between the military and local police departments. In analytic stories focused on the “black lives matter” movement and policing, we’re told our local police forces have moved from a Community Policing model to a Broken Windows model and now to something called an Intelligence-Based model. This sounds ominously close to the special-ops, manhunter formula.

Like the frog in a pot of slowly heating water who doesn’t realize he’s being boiled to death, whether it’s fear of attacks from outside or fear of violence and crime from inside, it seems time for the public to ask whether Orwell’s “rough men” idea is applicable in today’s confusing world or whether the sense of unaccountable, elite institutions focused on violence can become a threat in and of themselves.

Last Sunday, The New York Times ran a big front-page story that makes the case that lethal special-operations have become the military’s “new way of war,” what The Times calls a “global manhunting machine.” Seal Team Six is the unquestioned top-of-the-line elite unit. Think Chris Kyle and the hagiographic film bio American Sniper. Seal Team Six is expanding with The Omega Program, which undertakes what The Times calls “deniable operations … modeled after the Vietnam Phoenix Program.” Then there’s the team’s global intelligence gathering force called The Black Squadron. Both have been given hip, pop-culture-friendly names. All this is part and parcel of the rise of the Pentagon as an unaccountable intelligence and covert operating force of its own parallel to the CIA.

These capacities, of course, work in conjunction with other “new ways of war” like highly sophisticated media intelligence gathering and lethal drones. All sorts of robotic weapons, space-to-earth weapons and cyber weapons are coming on-line every day. All of it secret as far as the American people go. The issues The Times piece raise are the grisly and cavalier killing of too many civilians on night raids, the physical and psychological effect all this has on the men (and women) doing the killing, how it angers local residents and the fact there is zero accountability. All investigations within Special Operations command are internal, and when a soldier is suspected of excessive and unnecessary killing on a mission, he’s sent home for a rest. At home, of course, he’s the ultimate hero with all the mitigating benefits that role provides when his PTSD flares up at home.

In the introduction to his 2014 book World Order, Henry Kissinger points out that economic globalization threatens the sovereign nation-state era established at the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648 by the Treaty of Westphalia. With the rise of globalism in the realm of capitalism as well as in the realm of “terrorism,” the old world order is breaking down. Kissinger is known for many things, among them his famous statement that “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” He’s better known for the killing of millions of Indochinese long after Robert MacNamara secretly concluded in 1966 the Vietnam War was doomed to failure.

Kissinger concludes his book by assuring his readers of America’s “humane and democratic values.” Don’t worry; we’re the good guys. With no irony at all, he writes that “American military power provided a security shield for the rest of the world, whether its beneficiaries asked for it or not. …[T]he developing countries were protected against a threat they sometimes did not recognize, even less admit.” Think of those three million dead Indochinese; if only they knew it was all for their own good. We should not forget that Paul Bremer, George W. Bush’s proconsul in Iraq who disbanded the Iraqi military and the Bath Party, was at the time an employee of Kissinger Associates. Bremer learned his strategic noblesse oblige from the master.


Henry Kissinger and General Stanley McChrystal

One of the important tactical masters of all this is General Stanley McChrystal, an enigmatic, ascetic general who rocketed up the ranks from one-star to four-star at the point the stumbling Bush administration realized it had whacked a huge hornet’s nest in Iraq. McChrystal was instrumental in developing the lethal manhunting machine that kept the insurgency off-balance — skills that are now becoming new war doctrine.

I had a brief exchange with General McChrystal at the Philadelphia Public Library a couple years ago when he was promoting his memoir. He told the audience that when he arrived to clean up the insurgency west of Baghdad he found rooms piled high with un-analyzed laptops, cell phones and documents from night raids. A leader of incredible focus and intelligence, he whipped the system into shape so material from early-evening raids would be instantly analyzed by a bank of computer-nerdy intelligence specialists, leading to maybe a half-dozen more kill or capture raids throughout the night on unsuspecting leaders and go-to names found in the material.

Here’s how journalist Michael Hastings described McChrystal’s Iraq manhunting operation: “Figure out how your enemy operates, be faster and more ruthless than everybody else, then take the fuckers out” … along with anyone who gets in the way. Hastings’ profile of McChrystal in Rolling Stone (“The Runaway General”) led to McChrystal’s firing, thanks to some disrespectful things he’d said of his commander-in-chief, VP Biden and others. In June 2013, Hastings told friends he was going to be out of contact working on an important intelligence story when he ended up dead in a very mysterious, late-night auto crash in Los Angeles.

Mark Bowden, the author of Black Hawk Down and other paeans to our military prowess, shared the stage with McChrystal at the Philadelphia Library. Bowden fielded questions for the general. (Full disclosure: I’ve had a few cordial but argumentative e-mail bouts with the Philadelphia-based Bowden.) With a man like McChrystal — a master at manhunting and public relations — I figured it was best to load my question, since I concluded he would never give me a straight answer. Bowden saw my veteran’s hat and pointed to me. So I asked the general a classic have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife question.

“I’m a Vietnam veteran and I’ve been a peace activist for the past 30 years. You were a one-star PR general in Baghdad who gave press briefings during the shock-and-awe invasion of Iraq. Then the insurgency began to grow in Baghdad and Anbar Province. You’re obviously very brilliant and you quickly rose up the ranks to four-star general in charge of special ops. The so-called Surge involved a lot of very secret, focused killing, all under your command. My questions is: Do you ever have difficulty sleeping at night knowing you live in a democracy and the electorate of that democracy is kept in the dark as to what you are so good at?”

Bowden scowled at me. McChrystal grinned charmingly and, with a chuckle, said, “It’s funny: I feel like I’ve been a peace activist for the past 30 years.” I made a mock choking sound. Then McChrystal pretended he didn’t understand my question and Bowden quickly moved on. Some of the democratic citizens in the audience looked at me like I was a madman.

Later, as McChrystal was signing the book I purchased, in a friendly tone I took the moment to rub it in: “How can you say with a straight face you’ve been a peace activist for the past 30 years?” All the humanitarian, nation-building work his soldiers had done in villages in Iraq and Afghanistan building things like schools and roads, he said, was about making peace. (This was before the rise of ISIS in Anbar Province. Now, I’d ask him how the invasion and his elite-killer, manhunting raids advanced peace in Anbar Province. All the COIN construction projects and the bribes didn’t seem to do much good.)

“Oh, c’mon!” I said to him in my best man-to-man good humor. “What you are is a brilliant manager of killers.”

He weighed this and simply shrugged. He handed me my book and smiled toward the next person in line. My friend and I joked that he was so nice we felt like asking him out for a beer.

The Times credits McChrystal for advancing the new manhunter mode of warfare linking intelligence-gathering capacity with killing. Except for that slip-up granting Michael Hastings access, McChrystal’s most important management skill is his ability to manage an array of lethal, surgical operations while keeping it all secret and making sure the PR makes it all look good.

But Do Killers Always Keep Us Safe?

We live in an age of fear. “Bad guys” are out to get us. As our leaders give the obligatory assurances about American Exceptionalism and as Americans more and more absorb that assurance, the rest of the world is on the rise. Many people around the world are aware of US actions and don’t buy the American line. We all know patriotic Americans are not supposed to mention the world Imperialism — but, blinders down, that’s the big question looming over the future of America: Do we as a nation maturely assess the mess we’re in and begin to ratchet down the imperial arrogance of the past century and pay more attention to the many festering problems here at home? Or do we assail the weaknesses of our black president and re-mobilize the America that maintains over 1000 foreign bases to once again be the feared Ruler of the World many Americans see as our God-given destiny?

Award medals for not killing people? That’s a brilliant idea. Think of all the authentic peace activists who might be awarded such a national medal for advocating restraint of our warmongers. On February 15, 2003, that would have entailed about ten million people worldwide. Think of presidential acts that might be honored for the restraint of killing.

JFK used courageous restraint not caving in to bomb-crazy Curtis LeMay over Cuba. Consider if Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger had employed courageous restraint in Indochina. And let’s not forget George W. Bush, who we don’t hear much from these days. If it had been more important to him to be smart and restrained than to strut around as a macho Texas killer, think how much better off the world would be today. OK, Iraq might not be a democratic paradise of freedom, but there would be no You Tubes of ISIS fanatics slicing off heads. And Iran would not have been handed the keys to Iraq.

The quote at the top attributed to George Orwell has always troubled me, since I admire Orwell as a man of the left. But he was right: There are many dangers in life, and anyone who denies “rough men” — in the role of a military and community police — are often necessary to keep a community “safe” is living a delusion. At the same time, if those “rough men” begin to see themselves narcissistically as an elite, insular, secret unit apart from the rest of us … then, I hope Orwell would agree, we’re in trouble.

 

The Supply Lines of ISIS

Logistics 101: Where Does ISIS Get Its Guns?

ACTIVIST POST

ISIS CONVOY
By Tony Cartalucci

Since ancient times an army required significant logistical support to carry out any kind of sustained military campaign. In ancient Rome, an extensive network of roads was constructed to facilitate not only trade, but to allow Roman legions to move quickly to where they were needed, and for the supplies needed to sustain military operations to follow them in turn.

In the late 1700s French general, expert strategist, and leader Napoleon Bonaparte would note that, “an army marches on its stomach,” referring to the extensive logistical network required to keep an army fed, and therefore able to maintain its fighting capacity. For the French, their inability to maintain a steady supply train to its forces fighting in Russia, and the Russians’ decision to burn their own land and infrastructure to deny it from the invading forces, ultimately defeated the French.

Nazi Germany would suffer a similar fate when it, too, overextended its logical capabilities during its invasion of Russia amid Operation Barbarossa. Once again, invading armies became stranded without limited resources before being either cut off and annihilated or forced to retreat.

And in modern times during the Gulf War in the 1990s an extended supply line trailing invading US forces coupled with an anticipated clash with the bulk of Saddam Hussein’s army halted what was otherwise a lighting advance many mistakenly believed could have reached Baghdad had there been the political will. The will to conquer was there, the logistics to implement it wasn’t.

The lessons of history, however clear they may be, appear to be entirely lost on an either supremely ignorant or incredibly deceitful troupe of policymakers and news agencies across the West.

ISIS’ Supply Lines

The current conflict consuming the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria where the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) is operating and simultaneously fighting and defeating the forces of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, we are told, is built upon a logistical network based on black market oil and ransom payments.

The fighting capacity of ISIS is that of a nation-state. It controls vast swaths of territory straddling both Syria and Iraq and not only is able to militarily defend and expand from this territory, but possesses the resources to occupy it, including the resources to administer the populations subjugated within it.

For military analysts, especially former members of Western armed forces, as well as members of the Western media who remember the convoys of trucks required for the invasions of Iraq in the 1990s and again in 2003, they surely must wonder where ISIS’ trucks are today. After all, if the resources to maintain the fighting capacity exhibited by ISIS were available within Syrian and Iraqi territory alone, then certainly Syrian and Iraqi forces would also posses an equal or greater fighting capacity but they simply do not.

And were ISIS’ supply lines solely confined within Syrian and Iraqi territory, then surely both Syrian and Iraqi forces would utilize their one advantage – air power – to cut front line ISIS fighters from the source of their supplies. But this is not happening and there is a good reason why.

Terrorists and weapons left over from NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011 were promptly sent to Turkey and then onto Syria – coordinated by US State Department officials and intelligence agencies in Benghazi – a terrorist hotbed for decades. ISIS’ supply lines run precisely where Syrian and Iraqi air power cannot go. To the north and into NATO-member Turkey, and to the southwest into US allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Beyond these borders exists a logistical network that spans a region including both Eastern Europe and North Africa.

The London Telegraph would report in their 2013 article, “CIA ‘running arms smuggling team in Benghazi when consulate was attacked’,” that:

[CNN] said that a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.

Weapons have also come from Eastern Europe, with the New York Times reporting in 2013 in their article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” that:

From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

And while Western media sources continuously refer to ISIS and other factions operating under the banner of Al Qaeda as “rebels” or “moderates,” it is clear that if billions of dollars in weapons were truly going to “moderates,” they, not ISIS would be dominating the battlefield.

Recent revelations have revealed that as early as 2012 the United States Department of Defense not only anticipated the creation of a “Salafist Principality” straddling Syria and Iraq precisely where ISIS now exists, it welcomed it eagerly and contributed to the circumstances required to bring it about.

Just How Extensive Are ISIS’ Supply Lines?

While many across the West play willfully ignorant as to where ISIS truly gets their supplies from in order to maintain its impressive fighting capacity, some journalists have traveled to the region and have video taped and reported on the endless convoys of trucks supplying the terrorist army.

Were these trucks traveling to and from factories in seized ISIS territory deep within Syrian and Iraqi territory? No. They were traveling from deep within Turkey, crossing the Syrian border with absolute impunity, and headed on their way with the implicit protection of nearby Turkish military forces. Attempts by Syria to attack these convoys and the terrorists flowing in with them have been met by Turkish air defenses.

Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) published the first video report from a major Western media outlet illustrating that ISIS is supplied not by “black market oil” or “hostage ransoms” but billions of dollars worth of supplies carried into Syria across NATO member Turkey’s borders via hundreds of trucks a day.

The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that ISIS subsides on immense, multi-national state sponsorship, including, obviously, Turkey itself.

Looking at maps of ISIS-held territory and reading action reports of its offensive maneuvers throughout the region and even beyond, one might imagine hundreds of trucks a day would be required to maintain this level of fighting capacity. One could imagine similar convoys crossing into Iraq from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Similar convoys are likely passing into Syria from Jordan.

In all, considering the realities of logistics and their timeless importance to military campaigns throughout human history, there is no other plausible explanation to ISIS’s ability to wage war within Syria and Iraq besides immense resources being channeled to it from abroad.

If an army marches on its stomach, and ISIS’ stomachs are full of NATO and Persian Gulf State supplies, ISIS will continue to march long and hard. The key to breaking the back of ISIS, is breaking the back of its supply lines. To do that, however (and precisely why the conflict has dragged on for so long) Syria, Iraq, Iran, and others would have to eventually secure the borders and force ISIS to fight within Turkish, Jordanian, and Saudi territory – a difficult scenario to implement as nations like Turkey have created de facto buffer zones within Syrian territory which would require a direct military confrontation with Turkey itself to eliminate.

With Iran joining the fray with an alleged deployment of thousands of troops to bolster Syrian military operations, overwhelming principles of deterrence may prevent Turkey enforcing its buffer zones.

What we are currently left with is NATO literally holding the region hostage with the prospect of a catastrophic regional war in a bid to defend and perpetuate the carnage perpetrated by ISIS within Syria, fully underwritten by an immense logistical network streaming out of NATO territory itself.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.

Albanian Attack Dog, Edi Rama, Answers To Harvard-Albania Project and Open Society Albania

http://www.osfa.al/

Economic Growth in Albania–

Initiative for a strong and diversified economy

Is Edi Rama joining Erdogan and Putin in the 180-degree-turn club?

HALC Hellenic leadership

The Albanian authorities recently issued a strong worded demarche calling Athens to revise its plans for energy exploration in the Ionian Sea on the grounds that it would intrude Albanian territorial waters. The incendiary claim went further, requesting the Greek government to hand over land surveys of Epirus in northwestern Greece. These provocative claims seem to have come out of nowhere. As a matter of fact, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama had increasingly given signs of provocation over the past couple of years, especially vis-à-vis the presence of Albanian minorities in the greater Balkans. Just a month ago, he stated that if the EU doors continue to remain closed to Kosovo, then “the two countries will be forced to unite in a classical way”, causing uproar in the EU, which declared the remarks as unacceptable provocations.

What has been happening to the old charismatic, friendly Edi? Unfortunately, this does seem unnervingly familiar.

Not that long ago, there was a time that Putin’s rise to power brought a sense of optimism to the West. The young Vladimir Vladimirovich was seen as a fresh, innovative voice that could be a game changer both for Russia and her relations with the EU and the US. Unfortunately, history did not have to wait long to unveil Putin’s true colors, and remind us all of the tragic persistence of geopolitics in all its glory.

The same trajectory was also followed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The charismatic, then 40-year-old, Tayyip started his impressive political career as the mayor of Istanbul in 1994 and had an exemplary mayoral record, despite the initial concerns for imposing Islamic law. Erdogan ended up in prison for “incitement to violence and religious or racial hatred” after reciting a nationalistic, Islamic poem, which cost him the mayor’s seat. However, the same imprisonment rocketed him to the Prime Ministerial and Presidential offices just a few years later, allowing him to essentially become Turkey’s despot.

Over the past few years, Erdogan transformed from the promising, extrovert leader, loved by the West, to a nationalistic, megalomaniac monarch who instigated crisis after crisis with his neighbors. The doctrine of “zero problems with neighbors” quickly evaporated with the unprecedented deterioration in the relations with Israel, the constant provocations in the Aegean and in Cyprus, and the blunt lack of cooperation with the US in numerous occasions of strategic importance, such as the fight against Dae’sh. Erdogan’s 180 towards Islamism and the nationalistic mentality of the Middle Ages, came as a shock to its Western allies and to a large part of the Turkish population, which has been split into two.

Albania’s PM Edi Rama seems to be the next in line to join the 180-degree-turn club. The first signs of his monumental pivot to nationalism started to appear with individual, subtle remarks about Greater Albania the past couple of years.

Mr. Rama became famous as the mayor of Tirana in 2000 for his innovative ways of dealing with corruption and crime. His TED talk “Take back your city with paint” has more than half a million views and propelled him to fame in the West. Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, numerous leaders, institutions, and many of us, became infatuated with the charismatic painter-turned-politician.

His political speech was full of fresh ideas for tackling old problems, something desperately needed in the impoverished Albania and the conflict burdened Balkans. To the dismay of many of us, his remarks -which have been increasing in frequency- about the role of Albania in the region have awakened old ghosts. The ideological fossil of Greater Albania includes parts of countries, including Greece, that have been long settled. The magnitude of Rama’s turn to such nationalistic aspirations, which now seem to have been fostering for a long time, is immense. His latest provocations with Greece’s legitimate hydrocarbon exploration in her western flank are only part of this 180-turn, which has not yet been completed. The question is how close is he willing to go to make a full turn.

When it comes to Putin and Erdogan, the West ignored the old adage of “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”  Incredibly, the U.S. and Europe risk being fooled a third time.  If Edi Rama completes the turn that Putin and Erdogan already have, the Balkans could once again become the “powder keg of Europe.”

South Africa Muslim Lawyers Push for Egypt Pres al-Sisi’s Arrest for War Crimes

SA Muslim lawyers’ body wants Egyptian president arrested

EWN eye witness news SA

The MLA says Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is responsible for alleged war crimes & crimes against humanity.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reviewing the honour guard during the handing over of power ceremony in Cairo on 8 June 2014. Picture: AFP.

 

Faizel Patel 

JOHANNESBURG – The Muslim Lawyers’ Association (MLA) has lodged a complaint for the arrest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and other officials when they visit South Africa next week for the African Union (AU) summit.

Dubbed the “Egyptian docket”, it calls for the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions and other authorities to investigate the Egyptian president and officials and bring them to trial for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations.

The association contends there is sufficient evidence to establish a case against Sisi, and the Egyptian military, for the alleged massacre of protestors in Egypt last year.

The association’s Yousha Tayob says their complaint was raised in terms of the Rome Statute to which South Africa is a signatory.

“Considering that Sisi is arriving on this country around 14, 15, 16 June, we seek his immediate arrest with any other identified officials who may be travelling with him.”

He says the implementation of the AU Charter also allows for alleged perpetrators of human rights crimes to be prosecuted.

“We have referred this complaint to the African Union, and are awaiting the outcome of that referral.”

Tayob says they have overwhelming evidence supporting their claims and hope that politics doesn’t interfere with the law.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

Putin’s Rome Trip Highlights Russian Isolation and Resultant EU Fragmentation

The Russian president, who has been treated as a pariah on the world stage, is likely to receive a warmer welcome in Italy than he would elsewhere in the EU

Vladimir Putin is travelling to Milan on Wednesday. Russia enjoys strong trade relationships with Italy.
Vladimir Putin, who is travelling to Italy on Wednesday. The Russian president’s affinity for the country and his friendship with billionaire Silvio Berlusconi are well known. Photograph: Alexei Nikolsky/Itar-Tass/Corbis

 

Vladimir Putin might not have been welcome at the G7 meeting of world leaders in Germany this week, but when he touches down in Milan on Wednesday, the Russian president is likely to receive a far warmer welcome than he would in any of the other large EU countries.

Putin is travelling to Italy to visit the Russian pavilion at the expo in Milan on Russia day (the Russian Federation’s national holiday) and will then head to Rome. His itinerary includes meetings with Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president, and Pope Francis, whom Putin will meet at the apostolic palace in Vatican City in late afternoon. It will be their first meeting since 2013, when Francis and the Russian leader met in St Petersburg at a G20 meeting hosted by Russia.

The presidential visit underscores Russia’s cosy relationship with Italy at a time when Putin is otherwise being treated as a pariah on the world stage. Barack Obama, the US president, warned at the G7 summit this week that world leaders were prepared to tighten sanctions against Russia if the conflict in Ukraine escalated.

Putin’s affinity for Italy and his friendship with billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian premier, are so well known that the biggest news out of a critical summit in Milan last October – which included a meeting between Putin and Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine – was the late-night rendezvous between Putin and Berlusconi at the former premier’s villa that lasted until 3am.

In March, Renzi became the first European leader to be hosted in a bilateral meeting in Moscow since Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year – a meeting that was met with displeasure by the US, according to an American official at the time.

The meeting with Renzi came only days after Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition politician, was murdered near the Kremlin as he was walking home. Another Italian politician, Matteo Salvini, who heads the anti-euro anti-immigrant Northern League party, has been an outspoken critic against sanctions against Russia. The Northern League has even shepherded a movement to create a parliamentary group called Friends of Putin, which has praised the Russian leader as an essential counterweight to the Obama administration.

No Italians were included in the list of 89 EU citizens who were banned from entering Russia by Russian authorities, according to a list that was published by Finnish state broadcaster YLE earlier this month. It appeared to be another sign of the countries’ close ties.

Giancarlo Aragona, a former Italian ambassador to Russia who heads the Italian Institute for International Political Studies thinktank, told the Guardian that Italy had maintained a dialogue with Russia but that did not contradict the fact that Italy was “fully committed” to the European policy in relation to Russia, including the implementation of sanctions and decisions related to the crisis in Ukraine.

Aragona acknowledged there was a perception that Italy was somehow “more sympathetic” to Russia than other European countries. But he added: “I think that is not really a fair representation of the situation. I think the real issue is that [the Italian government] consider the Ukrainian issue a cause of very serious tension but also a symptom of a European order, [or] European architecture, which has not found its stability at the end of the cold war.”

Aragona then added: “We see the European evolution probably more clearly and objectively than some of our European partners.”

In his interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Putin emphasised the strong trade relationship between Italy and Russia, noting that it had increased elevenfold in recent years from $4.2bn to nearly $49bn, as well as mutual interests in the energy sector and hi-tech.

While the meeting with Renzi will be closely watched, the talks between Putin and Pope Francis are sure to have Rome riveted. The Argentinian pontiff caused controversy last month when he met with Mahmoud Abbas – an encounter in which he might or might not have referred to the Palestinian president as an “angel of peace”, according to conflicting news reports. His meeting with Putin will be followed just as closely.

A report in Crux, an online news site that closely follows the Vatican, noted that Francis and Putin were something of an “odd geopolitical couple” who had formed an “improbably strong partnership”. It began after the Pope sent a letter to Putin in 2013 – before the G20 meeting in Moscow – urging leaders to find a non-military solution to the conflict in Syria. In his talk with other world leaders, Putin reportedly quoted from the pope’s letter, saying: “We might listen to the Pope.” No military action was taken.

Putin has also spoken out about the “dire” situation facing Christians in the Middle East who are being persecuted and killed – a topic that is frequently also mentioned by the pope. The pontiff has chided world leaders for seeking to diminish anti-Christian violence and the topic is likely to be raised on Wednesday.

Pope Francis has also sought to strengthen ties with the Russian Orthodox church as part of a broader aim to promote Christian unity. But he is not expected to ignore the biggest source of criticism against Putin internationally: the crisis in Ukraine. In February, the pontiff referred to the bloodshed in the ongoing war as “fratricidal”, a comment seen as controversial in Ukraine, where the violence is viewed as a direct consequence of Russian aggression.

Anatolij Babynskyj, editor of a prominent Greek Catholic journal, told Crux: “It shows the ignorance of the pope about the situation in Ukraine.”

Asked what the pope and Putin were likely to discuss at their meeting on Wednesday, the Vatican told the Guardian: “You can only speculate on the topics of the discussions.”

USAF Wants Russian Rocket Engines Despite John McCain’s Pathological Russian Hatred

Pentagon, U.S. Spy Chief Urge Use of More Russian Rocket Engines

the washington free beacon

BY:

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the nation’s spy chief this week urged a key Senate committee to amend federal law to allow a joint venture of the two largest U.S. arms makers to use more Russian RD-180 rocket engines.

Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper urged Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, in a letter dated May 11, to change the law so the Pentagon can retain “assured access to space”. This is a legal requirement that mandates availability of two satellite launch vehicles so the U.S. military can always get satellites into space, even if one of the rockets is grounded due to a catastrophic failure.

The letter, obtained by Reuters, is the latest twist a drama surrounding United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp <LMT.N> and Boeing Co <BA.N>, and its sole potential competitor Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. The latter is nearing certification by the Air Force to compete for some military and spy satellite launches.

The current dispute centers on a clause in the 2015 defense authorization law banning use of Russian engines that were not paid for before Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year.

The Air Force – and now Pentagon leaders – have asked Congress to change the law to include engines that ULA ordered, but had not paid for, at that time for use in its Atlas 5 launch vehicle.

ULA is seeking the relief because it is discontinuing use of most of its U.S.-powered Delta 4 rockets because they are too costly, and its new Vulcan rocket won’t be ready until 2022 or 2023.

The House Armed Services Committee has already proposed a similar change.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James last month said changing the law would allow ULA to compete for 18 of 34 competitive launches between 2015 and 2022 against SpaceX, versus just five launches.

No immediate reaction was available from McCain, but he has been critical of continued use of the Russian rocket engines, citing concerns about the cost and reports Russia is inflating its prices.

Carter and Clapper did not address that issue. They said even if the Air Force certifies SpaceX, losing access to the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets could leave the Air Force with “a multi-year gap where we have neither assured access to space nor an environment where price-based competition is possible.”

ULA says the proposed change would preserve meaningful competition and avert a potential gap in capability.

SpaceX executives argue ULA should have focused long ago on lowering the cost of its Delta 4 rockets.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)