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American Resistance To Empire

NATO Declares Cyberattack As An Article 5 Trigger For War

Air, land, sea, cyber: NATO adds cyber to operation areas

ap

FILE – In this June 13, 2016 file photo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO agreed Tuesday to make cyber operations part of its war domain, along with air, sea and land operations, and to beef up the defense of its computer networks.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the decision to formally consider cyber operations a military domain is not aimed at any one country. He says the allies need to be able to better defend themselves and respond to attacks on their computer networks.

The decision has been long in coming, particularly amid rising tensions with Russia, which has proven its willingness to launch computer-based attacks against other nations.

Russian hackers have been blamed for a breach into an unclassified Pentagon computer network and for a breach of NATO’s computer network two years ago.

About a year ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told NATO that it must improve its ability to protect itself before it builds its cyberwar capabilities. And he pledged that the U.S. would use its expertise to help allies assess their vulnerabilities and reduce the risk to their critical infrastructure.

In 2014, after years of debate, NATO finally agreed that a cyberattack could rise to the level of a military assault and could trigger the Article 5 protections, which allow the alliance to go to the collective defense of another member that has been attacked.

On Tuesday, Stoltenberg said that cyber must be a war domain, much like air, land and sea. He said the decision means that NATO will coordinate and organize efforts to protect against cyberattacks in a more efficient way.

And he noted that any hybrid military attack would include cyber operations as a key dimension.

The Looming US War on Russia

Polish troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland, on June 7, 2016, as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exerciseThe Looming US War on Russia

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© AFP 2016/ JANEK SKARZYNSKI
Finian Cunningham
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comparison of increasing US-led NATO aggression towards Russia to the attack by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union is advisedly apt.

Putin was addressing the Russian State Duma this week on the occasion 75 years ago when the Nazi Third Reich launched Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941.Nazi Germany’s aggression, which led to the Great Patriotic War in which up to 30 million Soviet citizens lost their lives in order to gain victory against that fascist power, was at bottom an attack by Western imperialism. As Putin reminded, this fundamental fact is often omitted in Western commentary.

In that way, the significance of NATO’s current military buildup – what else is that but aggression? – on Russian territory is all too often absent in Western media. And, by extension, Western public appreciation is lacking on how sinister the unfolding situation is.

Russia’s history over centuries is replete with examples of where Western imperialist powers have tried – and failed – to subjugate Russia with military attack from its Western flank.

It is consistent with historical precedent that Putin should describe “increasing aggression” by the American-led NATO military alliance in the same context as the repugnant Nazi assault on Russia.The burgeoning US-led aggression towards Russia – in the form of provocative political campaigns to demonize and vilify with false accusations, economic sanctions and the spurning of diplomacy and dialogue, as well as the expansion of military forces, including the deployment of missile systems – is in a long, reprehensible tradition of Western belligerence towards Russia, going back to, among others, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler.

This congenital aggression towards Russia stems from the dynamic of the Western economic system of capitalism, which in turns begets imperialism as its necessary tool for expropriating natural resources and subjugating foreign nations.Russia is not the only target of Western aggression, of course. But the largest nation by land mass on Earth is and always has been a prime target.

The little-known historical record – at least in Western media – is that Nazi Germany was fomented by American and British capitalism as a proxy with which to vanquish the Soviet Union. The subsequent Western alliance with Soviet Russia to defeat Nazi Germany was merely a cynical damage-control move by the Western powers who were witnessing their Nazi attack dog being muzzled and liquidated.

How could anyone who has a sound understanding of history – as opposed to the anesthetizing non-history common in the West – be not perplexed by the current US-led military menace on Russia’s Western flank?

It should be a matter of deep concern that even Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier last week denounced the largest-ever NATO war exercises being conducted in Poland as “warmongering”.

What underscores the alarm is that Washington and certain NATO allies are pushing this confrontational agenda without the slightest discussion in Western media or among the Western public. As President Putin pointed out, people in the West are oblivious to the dangers of potential global war because the Western media is committing a huge disservice by not informing accurately on developments.There are any number of flash-points where NATO’s military could combust into all-out war with Russia. The Baltic region, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, the Southern Caucus region, or the Black Sea where US warships continue to penetrate in violation of international treaties. Certainly, historical precedent strongly suggests this geographical swathe.

As the US presidential election swings towards Democrat contender Hillary Clinton, that portends ominously for relations with Russia. It was Clinton who as Secretary of State in the first Obama administration in 2009-2013 plunged bilateral relations into the freezer and who set the course for the present geopolitical tensions.

Of further concern is Clinton’s likely selection to head the Pentagon. It is hotly tipped that Clinton will appoint Michele Flournoy as the first female Secretary of Defense. Flournoy (56) is a prominent Pentagon insider, with close links to the military and CIA. We can be sure that this duo will keenly push a bellicose agenda towards Russia.Only last week, Flournoy made strident calls for increased US military intervention in Syria. She wants to deploy large numbers of American troops and openly use military force to topple the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Under Obama, regime change has been a covert enterprise through proxies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and a menagerie of terrorist militia. Under Clinton, the signs are that regime change in Syria will be made an overt military objective.

Flournoy is calling for the use of cruise missiles to hit Assad targets, including those of allied Russian forces in Syria.

“If you bomb the folks we support, we will retaliate using standoff means to destroy [Russian] proxy forces, or, in this case, Syrian assets,” she told the military publication Defense One.

Flournoy said the US should jettison the pretense of fighting terror groups, and instead direct its efforts to remove Assad from power in Syria.

In blatant contravention of international law and UN resolutions on Syria, the probable next White House administration is declaring war on Syria. Such a move is an unabashed aggression towards Russian strategic interests and calculated explicitly with military strikes on Russian forces in Syria. In short, a wider war with Russia.Whether the Middle East proves to be the flash-point of American aggression towards Russia remains to be seen over the coming months. But one thing seems irrefutably clear by now. Washington is already on the path of war.

An American war on Russia is looming. Maybe the people of the US and Europe can stop that outcome by threatening political ad social revolt, on the streets if necessary since the electoral process seems to be stacked against the democratic will.

On the solemn anniversary of Nazi Germany’s ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union 75 years ago, it is astounding that such horror seems largely forgotten in the West. The criminal, reckless aggression by US-led NATO forces towards Russia is a sign of the dangerous ignorance and apathy in the West.

Russia is once again facing a recurring historical pattern of Western aggression. President Putin is correct in his contextualization of NATO’s actions and attitude alongside the historic Nazi war on Soviet Russia. Only those who have been brainwashed by banal Western disinformation would consider such a warning as “alarmist”.

The beast that is Western capitalist imperialism is salivating for war again. The positions of war are aligning, and certainly Syria is among the most volatile, especially if Hillary Clinton takes over as Commander-in-Chief.

Russia will stand strong, as Putin firmly stated in his address to the State Duma.But this time around any war would involve a global arsenal of nuclear weapons that has no precedent. This really would be war to end all wars – and the planet too, as we know it.

In the name of peace and humanity, the onus is on the Western public to bring the warmongering system to an end – once and for all – by slaying the beast that is capitalism and its monstrous twin imperialism.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Forget Becoming Middle Class, 15% of All Americans Would Settle For Just Becoming “Working Poor”

IMF warns United States about high poverty rates

Russia-Today

 

A woman who claims to be five months pregnant and homeless begs for money as people walk past on 7th Avenue in New York © Carlo Allegri
While US economy is generally in good health, the International Monetary Fund has found many Americans are staying out of the workforce or living in poverty.
Read more

© Gary Cameron

The IMF praised Washington for creating 2.4 million jobs in the last year and said the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.7 percent, the lowest level since the global crisis of 2008-2009.

However, the Fund warned about “falling labor force participation, an increasingly polarized income distribution, high levels of poverty, and weak productivity.”

To improve things, the IMF has recommended Washington “increase state and federal infrastructure investment, adopt comprehensive skills-based immigration reform, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit combined with an increase in the federal minimum wage, and upgrade social programs for the nonworking poor.”

The Fund cited US census data that 46.7 million people or 15 percent of Americans now live below the poverty line, including 1 in 3 households headed by women.

READ MORE: America, we have a problem: Homelessness is out of control 

The IMF also urged the US to ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership, sign a trade and investment agreement with Europe and tackle protectionism.

The report also slashed the US growth forecast for 2016 to 2.2 percent from 2.4 percent previously, but maintained its growth outlook at 2.5 percent in 2017.

“Our assessment is that, if left unchecked, these four forces – participation, productivity, polarization and poverty – will corrode the underpinnings of growth and hold back gains in US living standards,” said IMF Chief Christine Lagarde.

United States Supreme Court Blocks Another Illegal Obama Executive Order—On Open Immigration

[US Supreme Court Blocks Obama’s Anti-Coal Dictatorship  ]

Supreme Court blocks Obama immigration plan

foxnews

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Obama’s immigration executive actions, in a tie decision that delivers a win to states challenging his plan to give a deportation reprieve to millions of illegal immigrants.

The justices’ one-sentence opinion on Thursday marks a major setback for the administration, effectively killing the plan for the duration of Obama’s presidency.

The judgment could have significant political and legal consequences in a presidential election year highlighted by competing rhetoric over immigration. As the ruling was announced, pro-immigration activists filled the sidewalk in front of the court, some crying as the ruling became public. Critics of the policy touted the decision as a strong statement against “executive abuses.”

“The Constitution is clear: The president is not permitted to write laws—only Congress is. This is another major victory in our fight to restore the separation of powers,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, adding that the ruling rendered Obama’s actions “null and void.”

Obama, though, said the decision “takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”

He stressed that earlier changes his administration made to immigration policy are not affected, but acknowledged his most recent 2014 changes cannot go forward and additional executive actions are unlikely.

While Obama accepted the ruling, he also made his own full-court press, saying the split decision underscores the importance of the current court vacancy and the appointment of a successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, to “break this tie.” So far, Senate Republicans have not considered Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

“The court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench,” he said Thursday at the White House.

The 4-4 tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress.

Texas led 26 Republican-dominated states in challenging the program Obama announced in November 2014. Congressional Republicans also backed the states’ lawsuit.

The decision lands in the middle of a heated election season in which immigration is a central issue. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, won the primaries while railing against Obama administration immigration policies as dangerous.

Democrats have, in turn, called his rhetoric racially divisive while defending the administration’s move to expand existing programs that would effectively give temporary legal status to some undocumented residents.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton countered Ryan’s statement saying the decision was “purely procedural” and leaves “no doubt” the programs were within the president’s authority. Referencing the 4-4 split on the court, she again urged the Senate to give Obama’s nominee to fill the remaining court vacancy a vote.

“Today’s deadlocked decision from the Supreme Court is unacceptable, and show us all just how high the stakes are in this election,” Clinton said in a statement.

The immigration case dealt with two separate Obama programs. One would allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to live and work in the U.S. without the threat of deportation. The other would expand an existing program to protect from deportation a larger population of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Obama decided to move forward after Republicans won control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, and the chances for an immigration overhaul, already remote, were further diminished.

The Senate had passed a broad immigration bill with Democratic and Republican support in 2013, but the measure went nowhere in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

The states quickly went to court to block the Obama initiatives.

Their lawsuit was heard initially by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas. Hanen previously had criticized the administration for lax immigration enforcement. Hanen sided with the states, blocking the programs from taking effect. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled for the states, and the Justice Department rushed an appeal to the high court so that it could be heard this term.

Texas officials hailed the decision Thursday.

“The action taken by the President was an unauthorized abuse of presidential power that trampled the Constitution, and the Supreme Court rightly denied the President the ability to grant amnesty contrary to immigration laws,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Today’s ruling is also a victory for all law-abiding Americans—including the millions of immigrants who came to America following the rule of law.”

Fox News’ Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Editing of shooter’s transcripts evidence of Obama/Democrat deception

Editing of shooter’s transcripts evidence of deception

jackson sun

“I pledge allegiance to (omitted) may God protect him (Arabic), on behalf of (omitted),” said the man who killed 49 innocent people in an Orlando gay bar on June 12. Or so reported a redacted transcript of phone conversations between the shooter and police.

The transcript airbrushed all reference to Islam and the Islamic State. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told ABC’s “This Week” that her department was releasing a partial transcript “because we’re not going to be, for example, broadcasting his pledges of allegiance. We are trying not to re-victimize those who went through that horror.”

After House Speaker Paul Ryan chided the administration for its “preposterous” selective editing, the Department of Justice realized its error and released a transcript that included the words “Islamic State.” It was no surprise. The shooter had paid homage to the Islamic State and Allah when he posted on Facebook during his killing spree. Did “Allah” make an appearance in the less edited transcript? Not quite. I got no answer when I asked the Justice Department if the killer said “Allah” in what the 2.0 version transcript recorded as “God [Arabic].”

I can see why the feds chose not to release audio of the calls – why feed other would-be Islamic terrorists’ dreams of jihad fame and glory?

But I don’t believe the attorney general’s rationale for editing the partial transcripts for a New York minute. President Obama frequently chides political opponents for seeing any correlation between Islam and radical Islamist extremism. The president is not content to note that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not jihadis; he takes the extra step of pronouncing any link between Islam and terrorism as specious.

The administration’s editing bespeaks a pattern of willful deception. This isn’t the first time the administration has tried to steer public outrage away from radical Islamic terrorism. Weeks before the 2012 presidential election, as the administration wanted to shift blame from its Libya policy. National Security Adviser Susan Rice disingenuously credited an American-made video for sparking the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead.

In May, Fox News correspondent James Rosen noticed the State Department had removed from its official website a video of a 2013 exchange between Rosen and spokeswoman Jen Psaki. At a news conference, Rosen asked Psaki if it was State Department policy to lie to achieve its goals. Psaki answered, “I think there are times when diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress.” (The administration’s animus toward Fox News is hardly secret. Lynch’s predecessor, Eric Holder, approved a search warrant on Rosen, whom he called a possible criminal co-conspirator in a leak investigation.)

The Obama administration seeks to blame lax gun laws for an Islamic State-inspired attack. That is, this administration would rather target supporters of gun rights than the allure of the Islamic State. Lynch actually went on the Sunday shows to tout the release of partial transcripts – as proof of transparency. The administration planned this. Methinks the administration expected the media to play along.

Email Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@sfchronicle.com.

Pakistan Learning From Turkey—Militarize Your Refugees and You Can Ask For Anything

[Pakistan, Pissed At US, Threatens To Evict Millions of Afghan Refugees]

afghan refThere are 1.5 million registered and about as many undocumented Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with growing insecurity in Afghanistan impeding voluntary return programmes AFP/Aamir Qureshi

 

CHANNEL NEWSASIA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, home for decades to millions of Afghan refugees, called for the support of the international community as it warned that without help, the flow of those fleeing Afghanistan’s decades-long war to Europe could increase.

After the Soviet invasion in 1979, “five million Afghan refugees came to Pakistan,” then with the support of the international community, said minister for border areas Abdul Qadir Baloch at a meeting devoted to Afghan refugees in the capital Islamabad Wednesday.

Thirty-seven years later, there are 1.5 million registered and about as many undocumented refugees, with growing insecurity in Afghanistan impeding voluntary return programmes.

Over the last decade, international support has vanished, the minister said.

Pakistan receives just US$5.20 per refugee per year in international aid to provide the displaced with healthcare and education – and that is only for those who are registered.

He denounced the meagreness of this aid compared to that provided to Turkey, which officially hosts 2.5 million refugees, including many Syrians.

However Western countries are now beginning to recognise the problem, he said, “because refugees are pouring into Europe and 30 percent of them are Afghans”.

“This percentage could increase,” he warned, stressing that there was a limit to Pakistani tolerance for the problem.

“The issue of Afghan displacement has been overlooked,” agreed high UN commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi at the same event. “We must strengthen the support to host countries.”

The refugee crisis in Europe, which is struggling to cope as millions try to reach its shores while fleeing war and poverty, “is a tragedy but also an eye opener: if you don’t solve problems which appear to be far away from you, these problems will come to you,” he warned.

Afghan refugees living mainly in camps in the poorest rural areas of Pakistan exist in administrative uncertainty because of the short duration of residence permits issued by the Pakistani authorities, who regularly threaten to deport them.