ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Preparing for the Final War—Bringing Our Worst Fears To Life

Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe more Likely?

EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP NET

Ian Kearns

By Ian Kearns

Director, ELN

Łukasz Kulesa

By Łukasz Kulesa

Research Director, ELN

Thomas Frear

By Thomas Frear

Research Fellow, ELN

Over the last 18 months, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the relationship between Russia and the West has deteriorated considerably. One aspect of the confrontation, as previously documented by the ELN, has been a game of Russian-instigated dangerous brinkmanship which has resulted in many serious close military encounters between the forces of Russia and NATO and its partners over the last 15 months.  Another aspect, however has been the increased scope and size of the military exercises conducted by both Russia and by NATO and its partners in the Euro-Atlantic area since the Ukraine crisis began.
To assist the public and wider policy community in understanding the realities of this new and dangerous security environment in Europe, the ELN has prepared a short policy brief and two interactive maps presenting in detail the anatomy of two recent, large scale military exercises.
The two exercises profiled are:
  • A Russian ‘snap exercise’ conducted in March 2015, which brought together 80,000 military personnel.
  • The NATO ‘Allied Shield’ exercise conducted in June 2015, which brought under one framework four distinct exercises taking place along the Eastern flank of the Alliance, totalling 15,000 personnel from 19 Members states and three partner states.

 

Both exercises show that each side is training with the other side’s capabilities and most likely war plans in mind. Whilst spokespeople may maintain that these operations are targeted against hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of them indicate otherwise: Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia. 
We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable, but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe. These tensions are further aggravated and elevated into a sense of unpredictability when the exercises are not pre-notified or publicly announced beforehand, as is apparently the case with a number of Russian exercises.
In our view, the implementation of the following four recommendations could help to defuse or at least minimize the tensions connected with the increased frequency and scale of the military exercises now taking place:
  • It is vitally important to increase NATO – Russia communication with regards to the schedule of exercises;
  • Both sides should utilize OSCE channels as much as possible, along with the existing catalogue of Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs) included i.a. in the Vienna Document  to increase military predictability;
  • The politicians on both sides should examine the benefits and dangers of intensified exercising in the border areas. If Russia or NATO decides at some point that they want to reduce tensions, showing restraint in terms of size or scenarios used in exercises might be a good place to start;
  • Conceptual work on a new treaty introducing reciprocal territorial limitations on deployment of specific categories of weapons, backed by robust inspections, should commence as soon as possible.

 

No matter what Erdogan Says…NO TURKISH STREAM, NO ISIS FIGHT

Turkey has no intention to challenge Islamic State terrorists within Syria or within Turkey itself.  Obama and Ergodan participated in formulating a big lie to misinform the world about their insincere intentions to combat ISIL terrorism in northern Syria, when, in reality the real plan has always been to continue steering ISIL into troubled states, in order to bully them into thinking our way.  In hindsight it is easy to see that they have fed the world pure “bullshit,” in their insincere proclamation to jointly “fight terrorism” in northern Syria, made evident by their unified dissembling from that point, ever since.  Obama can continue to pretend to be fighting ISIS in Syria and “defending Kurds” (without actually threatening Assad) and Erdogan can pretend to be fighting ISIS (while killing selective Kurds).  Both Obama and Ergodan can safely hide behind their big lie as they work together to kill the opposition to ISIS in Syria.

 

US Sends Fighter Jets to Turkey and Lets Ankara Off the Hook in Islamic State Fight

Nusra Front Withdraws From Frontline Against ISIS in Syria

Al Nusra claims attack on U.S.-trained rebels in Syria

The Anatomy of A Psywar

The Anatomy of A Psywar

Intra-Taliban Warfare Hits the Streets of Kabul

afghan bomb [SEE: Huge Truck Bomb Blast Strikes Kabul ]

The latest series of bomb blasts in and near Kabul has exposed large holes in the official reporting on the war, including the mission itself.  Nothing is as it seems in Afghanistan.  If anything, the bombings have exposed the two official lies in the previous statement—that the bombings are by the actual “Taliban”— and that Mullah Mansour is the successor to Mullah Omar.  The bombings are evidence of the authors of the Kabul bombs and proof that Akhtar Mansour is NOT the legitimate, elected successor to Mullah Omar.

Mansour made his public debut in 2010, posing as “Mullah Omar’s second in command,” allegedly conducting “reconciliation” negotiations with the US.  He entered peace talks with American negotiators, under his real name, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.  The charade continued until the counterfeit Mullah had served his purpose, at which time, another person was brought in to claim that Mansour was an imposter.  At which time, Mullah Omar released the following statement:
“The cunning enemy which has occupied our country, is trying, on the one hand, to expand its military operations on the basis of its double-standard policy and, on the other hand, wants to throw dust into the eyes of the people by spreading the rumors of negotiation.”
Mullah Omar announced, once again, that there would be no peace negotiations with any occupying power…period.  Any talk of peace with the Taliban, while remaining in Afghanistan, have been one-sided productions, offering various former Taliban as “negotiators,” to advance some new shift in the strategy, in order to reinforce the false image of a “peace-seeking” American, while making it possible for the war to drag on.  Prolonging the current war, until it can be transmuted into a completely new war.
Within 24 hrs, Friday, three major suicide-attacks strike in or near Kabul.  Western media sources are already crediting their man Mansour
Mansoor
with these massive, deadly blasts, but there has as yet been no evidence offered to substantiate these claims.  But the evidence that is offered, which is incontrovertible, is that all of these bomb blasts were directed at American or Afghan targets.  This means that America’s Mullah Mansour, is definitely NOT behind them.
The first massive truck-bomb (retro-fitted water tanker) hit a Special Forces base in Pul-i-Alam, Logar Province, on Friday night.

outside a police compound in Puli Alam, capital of Logar province. The Taliban said its targets were military and paramilitary units in Puli Alam

The next bombing that night was a massive Taliban suicide assault by at least one terrorist wearing a suicide-belt against the Logar police compound of the Afghan quick reaction force.
“Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on the Police Academy but made no mention of the other two attacks on Friday…killed more than 100 security personnel”
“Taliban spokesman” Zabihullah Mujahid has apparently worked for Afghans/CIA since they arrested him in 2011.  He has served as the conduit for the dead Taliban leader and for his CIA replacement, Mullah Mansour.
Last attack, occurring within 24 hrs, CIA/NDS Afghan Intelligence base, SPECIAL FORCES Camp Integrity,  KABUL.   All of the targets were Western, either intelligence or special forces, or both.  That rules-out every CIA puppet, like Mansour.  These attacks were intended to physically hurt the occupation forces and to embarrass Mansour’s pretend Taliban leadership, by demonstrating their inability to control their organization or their turf.  Someone brought these huge bombs into Kabul from somewhere, but as far as we know, the source of the bombs is already solved in the latest version of “evil personified,” Akhtar Mansour.
These are the known facts in the Kabul bombing investigations…,yet none of this will appear on any nightly news.  The news is too busy weaving the new story line, that the bombings were inter-Taliban warfare over peace negotiations.  Nobody will dwell upon the source of the bombs, which had to be state-supported, since all possible suspect governments are also parties to the pretend peace negotiations.  “Negotiating peace” with the Taliban does nothing for peace, while buying time for the Americans to push their terror war across new borders.

A successful psy-op would leave its targets confused and uncertain about the real war.  For those living under such a weaponized media, it would be impossible to know whether news reportage was factual, or even if there was a war at all.  We know that people die in Afghanistan everyday…beyond than we don’t really know anything.  All of our reported conflicts are thousands of miles away, buried deep inside undeveloped countries, too secluded and too treacherous for any but the most foolhardy reporters.  This means that all news comes through military censors, who relay information to the outside world, or through biased Imperial sources dispatched by Britain or America.  If the war being reported is being waged against the local government (AfPak), either directly or through proxies, then the military middle-men, who relay war news to the international community are hostile sources, who will twist the news to suit their current psywar strategy.  This makes ALL NEWS about Afghanistan or Pakistan, or news coming from the region, completely unreliable, even dangerous to the person reading it, in that it is corrosive to the truth.

This is the news environment prevailing over ALL Imperial wars.  We cannot believe ANY reporting we receive in its entirety, making it necessary for us to dissect all news into its component parts, so that we might identify obvious truths which have been buried under half-true or false information.
We have entered a new phase in the war against the Taliban, characterized primarily by major escalations in the propaganda war.  The American intelligence war has abandoned the real Afghan battlefield, in favor of the battlefield of the mind.   Thus begins a new, more intense form of psychological war, waged by CIA psy-warriors, using their inhuman, weaponized psychology, to twist the minds of the Taliban, the Afghans, the Pakistani and American peoples.  Deceptions, greed and betrayal have been combined, to form a new type of offensive weapon, calculated to overcome all resistance to America’s real plans for Afghanistan…the ones involving pipelines, vast fields of hydrocarbons and transport corridors stretching deep into Central Asia, from the Arabian Sea.
The Afghan war has been basically running on cruise-control, since the Iraq invasion, until now.  The sudden revelation on the death of Mullah Omar and the potential death of Jalaluddin Haqqani have exposed the man behind the curtains, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who has been issuing orders under the dead leader’s name since 2013.  Mullah Mansour has been leading the anti Omar Taliban for a long time, working secretly for The Empire, taking credit for terrorist attacks (SEE: Karzai reportedly suspects US hand in recent Afghanistan attacksJan 28, 2014), promoting fake Taliban initiatives and fake “peace talks,” with “former Taliban” agents who were really representing no one.
By issuing orders under the name of the dead leader Omar, Mansour has managed to maneuver himself into the Taliban driver’s seat, were it not for the opposition of Omar’s family and the Taliban faithful.  Mullah Omar’s son is now leading the anti-Mansour opposition.  According to one group of the most faithful Taliban, who calls itself, Afghanistan Islamic Movement Fidai Mahaz, Mansour and his minions murdered the Emir of the Taliban, by getting counterfeit medicine for him from Dubai.
The Fidai Mahaz are the remnants of the original followers of Mullah Dadullah, before he moved to Pakistan to jump-start the Tehreek i-Taliban (SEE:  The Dadullah Front And The Assassination of Arsala Rahmani May 14, 2012 ).  According to them, news about Omar’s death in 2013 was released by the Mansour gang, because the emir of the Fidai Mahaz revealed the results of their research into his death, which led directly to Mansour’s inner circle.  Mansour’s CIA masters hoped to hide the matter of the poisoning beneath the false counter-claim that Omar, like bin Laden, had died under the watchful eyes of the Pak. military.

Fake Taliban negotiations began with a Western initiative, despite Mullah Omar’s clear rejection of negotiations as long as Afghanistan was an occupied country.  Afghan Taliban sabotaged the US initiative by killing the High Peace Council representatives.  Later on, Pakistan helped sabotage the talks when Mullah Baradar and friends were arrested for making side deals with the CIA.  Baradar’s arrest cut-off the American liasons.  After that, the US and collaborators established the fake Taliban office in Doha, in order to carry-on the charade elsewhere.  The real Mullah Omar spoke-up and condemned the fake negotiations.  Shortly after that, he was dead.

 It was then, that Pakistan and China got into the peacemaking mood, by starting their own fake Afghanistan/Taliban negotiations in Pakistan.
The Fidai Mahaz are leading the opposition to Pakistan and the new fake peace talks.
therearenosunglasses@hotmail.com

Obama Throws Coal States Under the Bus To Appease Environmentalists

[SEE:  Wind, Solar Cheer as Coal Vows Battle on Obama’s Energy PlanObama ignores California’s green power experience]

article-imageAbandoned Solar Two Tower (photograph by Marcin Wichary)

Like the vanished, money making dreams that spawned them, it can be hard to find abandoned solar and wind farms.

The most impressive are in the United States, where investors slammed up wind turbines and solar panels in the aftermath of the 1970s energy crisis. Everyone expected oil to get even more expensive, and government subsidies and tax breaks for renewable energy were easy to get. But oil prices didn’t climb as anticipated, and as the subsidies went away, so too did many developers of wind and solar farms, no longer interested when the money wasn’t right. Projects were sold, or left in the sun and wind.

Solar panels and wind turbines are not brick, concrete, or stone. They’re relatively easy to remove, and most are built with a plan to tear them down at some point. But there are a few places you can still go to wander among abandoned dreams of wind and light.
THERE FOR ALL TO SEE

Tehachapi and Altamont Wind Energy Areas
California

article-imageTehachapi wind turbines (photograph by TomSaint11/Wikimedia)

Tehachapi and Altamont are the granddaddies of them all — sites of a 1970s-1980s wind energy rush gone wrong. Federal subsidies sparked developers into action, crowding what are now considered antique, poorly functioning turbines into particularly windy areas of California.

At Tehachapi in hapless Kern County, north of Los Angeles, officials had no provision in law requiring developers to cover the future tear-down costs of the wind turbines. At first, that may not have seemed like a big deal. But the federal tax breaks soon dried up and the developers vanished, leaving behind thousands of rusty, cranking turbines standing in rows like soldiers on the windy plain outside Tehachapi.

article-imageTehachapi Pass Wind Farm (photograph by Ikluft/Wikimedia)

Estimates vary on how many of the turbines in the Tehachapi area are defunct. Some range as high as 4,000, but others are lower. No matter how many are abandoned, Tehachapi is definitely a wind turbine boneyard.

To get there:
For a loop drive with great view of the area’s turbines, drive south from Tehachapi on Tehachapi Willow Springs Road, hang a left on Oak Creed Road heading east to Mojave. Take Highway 58 north and west back toward Tehachapi to complete the loop.

article-image Altamont Pass Wind Farm (photograph by David J Laporte)

In Altamont, one hour’s drive east of San Francisco, California, there are approximately 5,000 wind turbines. All were installed in the early 1980s in the wake of generous federal and state subsidies for renewable energy. Subsequent decades have brought larger, more efficient wind turbines, but there are plenty of aged turbines in the Altamont area, with their telltale lattice-work towers.

The older, smaller turbines are unfortunately efficient bird slicers, and will soon get upgraded by operators in the area to larger, slower speed turbines under a deal to avoid more bird deaths.

article-image Altamont Pass Wind Farm (photograph by David J Laporte)

To get there:
For a good view of the Altamont area wind turbines, drive east from Livermore, California, on Interstate 580. Take the West Grant Line Road exit and either go north to make a left and head east on Altamont Pass Road, or better, go south to wander among the turbines that stretch between the interstate and Patterson Pass road that runs east-west to the south.

Solar One/Solar Two
Daggett, California

article-imageSolar Two tower (via eeremultimedia.energy.gov)

The Department of Energy’s Solar One plant was based on a simple if somewhat wild idea: line up nearly 2,000 mirrors to reflect sunlight on a focal point to heat water, make steam, and generate power.

The plant was completed in 1981, in cooperation with Southern California Edison, L.A. Dept. of Water and Power, and the California Energy Commission. It spread across 126 acres 10 miles east of Barstow, California, generated about 10 megawatts of power, and was in operation from 1982 to 1986. In 1995, additional mirrors were added to the site, which now heated a molten salt solution that could store energy while clouds passed overhead.

article-imageSolar Two heliostat (via Wikimedia)

Solar One proved the viability of the molten salt energy storage concept. The site was decommissioned in 1999 and converted by University of California-Davis into a kind of telescope that measures gamma rays hitting the atmosphere.

To get there:
Drive on Interstate 40 east of Barstow, take the Daggett exit, skip past historic Highway 66 and instead take Santa Fe Street east for about three miles. Solar One/Solar Two will be on your left, to the north.
THE DEARLY DEPARTED

Kamaoa Wind Farm
Hawaii’s Big Island, Southern tip

article-imageKamaoa Wind Farm in 2006 (photograph by Rebecca Stanek)

A cluster of 37 wind turbines formerly marked the spot of the Kamaoa Wind Farm, at the far south end of Hawaii’s Big Island. The small wind farm opened in 1987 and was decommissioned 20 years later after a deal for the turbines’ power expired.

Yet the Mitsubishi turbines cranked on, became an ever-worse eyesore, and maddened those who wanted good views of the coast and Pacific Ocean. The farm’s owner, Apollo Energy Corp., finally removed the turbines in 2012 and sold them as scrap to China.

article-imageKamaoa Wind Farm in 2007 (photograph by Christian Razukas)

ARCO Carrizo Plain Solar Farm
San Luis Obispo County, California

article-imageAbandoned Carrizo Plain’s solar power plant (via Center for Land Use Interpretation

There’s nothing left of an ambitious plan to generate power from the sun at one of the sunniest places in California, about 70 miles west of Bakersfield. But for 11 years — from 1983 to 1994 — Carrizo Plain hosted a 5.2 megawatt solar farm built by Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).

ARCO, traditionally an oil company, was a pioneer in solar power after the 1970s energy crisis. It built its own solar cells and deployed them on Carrizo Plain. ARCO sold the 177-acre solar farm to Carrizo Solar Corp. in 1990, which dismantled the farm in 1994.

PG&E Pilot Solar Plant
Kerman, California

Near the town of Kerman, California, sits the new Five Points Solar site, the direct descendent of Pacific Gas & Electric’s pilot solar plant in Kerman, demolished in 2011. The 10-acre site was built in 1992, retired in 1997, and its panels were removed 14 years later after neighbors complained.

Does Saudi Immunity For 911 Somehow Transfer Guilt To Iran?

[SEE:  Saudi Royals Request Removal From 911 Lawsuit ]

Michael D. Goldhaber, The Am Law Daily

Photo by Sander Lamme via Wikimedia Commons

Victims of September 11, who seek to hold funders of the 2001 terror attacks accountable in court, came to Manhattan federal court in Foley Square on Thursday with serious evidence that Saudi Arabia supported the al Qaeda bombers. U.S. District Judge George Daniels promised to decide within 90 days whether to put the Kingdom on trial.

Saudi Arabia chided the 9/11 families that this hearing was “not a political seminar.” It was, however, a seminar on history and epistemology. After 12 years of halting progress against Saudi charities, the 9/11 plaintiffs have revived a powerful claim against the Kingdom. But the quest for historical truth threatens to founder on the judge’s futile desire for direct knowledge of espionage.

Much of the day turned on what exactly we know about a February 2000 chat between alleged Saudi spies Omar al Bayoumi and Fahad al Thumairy. Judge Daniels had no time for Saudi’s contention that it didn’t “technically” employ Bayoumi when it paid his salary for a no-show cover job. But at the heart of the Saudi spy plot posited by the 9/11 families, the judge seemed to struggle with the obvious.

“You don’t have any evidence as to what conversations [Thumairy] had with Bayoumi,” said Daniels. “What’s the factual basis for you to allege that when he met with Bayoumi he said, ‘Give lodging to the hijackers, assist them and give financial support to the hijackers so that they can carry out the 9/11 attacks?’”

What one spy said to the other can be inferred from the full circumstantial evidence, replied 9/11 attorney Sean Carter of Cozen O’Connor—and must be. Consider the timing and sequence of these events, as laid out by the plaintiffs.

Osama bin Laden sent the 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar to Los Angeles in mid-January 2000 knowing that they didn’t speak a word of English and would be helpless on their own. Two weeks later, the Saudi spy Bayoumi met with the Islamist diplomat-imam Thumairy at the Saudi consul’s Islamic Affairs section, which the FBI knew to serve as Saudi Arabia’s radical Islamist fifth column.

Bayoumi drove straight from this not-so-mysterious chat to meet the two hijackers at Thumairy’s mosque. Three days later, Bayoumi moved the two hijackers into his own family apartment in San Diego. Bayoumi proceeded to open bank accounts and rent new apartments for the hijackers with his own money. Bayoumi connected the hijackers with another alleged Saudi agent who procured them fake IDs and admission to language and flight school. Bayoumi’s wife allegedly channeled $150,000 in support payments from a Saudi princess to the hijackers. In early 2000 Bayoumi received a promotion at his no-show cover job, and a significant raise in the salary and stipend covered by the Kingdom. Over the same three months, he talked repeatedly by phone with Saudi diplomats in L.A. and D.C., not to mention the hijackers’ San Diego imam Anwar Aulaqi, who went on to become a senior al Qaeda leader.

When questioned by the 9/11 Commission under the watchful eye of the Saudi secret police, Thumairy clumsily denied knowing Bayoumi, and Bayoumi pretended to be surprised that Thumairy worked at the consulate.

Add it all up, and the two spies in L.A. were not chatting about the traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway. The judge must understand that historical intelligence doesn’t get any stronger. We go to war with Iraq over yellowcake, and we won’t go to a jury with two bad guys twirling their mustaches at Wahhabi central?

According to the complaint, a top FBI official has stated that “We [the FBI] firmly believed that he [Bayoumi] had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them [Hazmi and Mihdhar] that day was more than coincidence.” It’s “implausible,” adds 9/11 commissioner John Lehman, “that the broad spectrum of evidence developed by the 9/11 Commission concerning the relationships among Omar al Bayoumi, Fahad al Thumairy, the Islamic Affairs Department of Saudi diplomatic missions, and 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar can be explained away as merely coincidental.”

To 9/11 victims like Matthew T. Sellito, who flew in for the hearing from Florida, the evidence is clear. Sellitto, whose 23 year-old son Matthew C. of Cantor Fitzgerald was the youngest victim of the twin towers, said it pained him that the U.S. held the wrong country accountable in the Iraq War.

What about the 9/11 Commission itself? According to Carter, the staffers who studied the evidence concluded that Saudi Arabia was implicated—but that conclusion was removed from the 9/11 Report at the eleventh hour because senior staff wanted 100 percent certainty for such politically explosive allegations.

Michael Kellogg of Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel, arguing for the defense, prefers the final draft of the 9/11 Report. Even after 12 years, he says the 9/11 families can’t meet the high standard of evidence required by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. He also argued that the case against Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Comission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina must be dismissed because they do not satisfy the “whole tort” exception, the “discretionary functions” clause, or the causation requirement of the FSIA. Those legal arguments are likely to be resolved at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—unless Congress steps in to resolve them first. But this case ain’t going to trial against Saudi unless Judge Daniels is willing to connect the dots.

The irony is that Judge Daniels already entered a $6 billion default judgment against Iran on far weaker evidence. The allegations that Iran helped Hezbollah to cooperate with al-Qaeda, and let al-Qaeda terrorists pass through Iran, would seem to fail the test that the whole tort occurred on U.S. soil.

Yet after 3 hours of agonizing over the Saudi spy evidence, the judge treated the contention that Iran is liable for another $150 billion as an afterthought.

At the end of Thursday’s hearing, James Kreindler of Kreindler & Kreindler announced that the 857 members of his 9/11 plaintiff group, headlined by the Ashton family, had a claim against Iran. And therefore, they were entitled to the same default judgment received in 2011 by the 47 members of the plaintiff group headlined by the Havlish family. Kreindler said that the $6 billion awarded in Havlish implied damages of $150 billion for the Ashton plaintiffs . But for fear of disrupting diplomacy, Kreindler said he was only seeking a finding of liability—to stake a claim in the political settlement likely to resolve Iranian terror claims. The judge said he’d hold a Jan. 14 conference and “see where we are.”

In the meantime here’s free advice from The Global Lawyer. Iran should show up in court before a mega-judgment jeopardizes its historic deal. And Judge Daniels should let a jury see the evidence against the nation that actually bears blame for 9/11. We owe it to Matthew T. and Matthew C. Sellitto.

Turkey Feigns Fight Against ISIS, Just As We Pretend To Fight “Al-Qaeda”

“Nobody ever knew what really happened. How many fighters or civilians killed to what effect…nobody knew any facts. In other words, it all seemed like theater for public consumption.”

[Is the quotation above about Turkish airstrikes or American drone strikes?  How do we know that any “legitimate media” war report is true?]

Instead Of Fighting ISIS, Erdogan Pushes Turkey Toward Chaos And Despotism
forbes


Untitled Melik Kaylan

I cover conflicts, frontiers and upheavals mired in history.

In Turkey, an ISIS suicide bomb kills 30 and wounds many more in the Kurdish area town of Suruc. The Kurdish insurgent terrorists, the PKK, then start killing Turkish policemen and soldiers while ISIS attacks a Turkish military border post. Peace demonstrations ensue in some cities which police put down with the, by now, familiar methods of severity against civilians. Ankara and Washington reach an agreement allowing the US to use its bases inside Turkey against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Erdogan’s spokesmen announce that Turkey’s air force has conducted raids against both PKK and ISIS targets across the border. Turkish authorities arrest some 900 people nationwide, mostly Kurds, for allegedly belonging to terror networks. Turkish tanks shell Kurdish villages in Syrian borderlands near Kobani. Meanwhile, news leaks that the US has solid evidence of Turkish collusion with ISIS in months past. Let us pause here and dispel some of the fog.

First, let us remember that Turkey conducted a national election on June 7 and still hasn’t formed a government. All these decisions in a time of crisis are being taken by somebody. Someone’s running the country. We’ll get to the full implications later but initiatives are being taken, orders given. The air raids for instance. Worth a little scrutiny. For example, you have to wonder, since the Turkish air force knew of PKK targets in Iraq, so quickly and easily neutralized, why didn’t it act before? And why attack Syrian Kurds near Kobani who, after all, are busy fighting off ISIS? Especially if you’ve declared ISIS the enemy because it has killed 30 people in a suicide bomb inside Turkey.

On the ISIS front, it’s worth viewing the video put out by Ankara of the air strikes against several sites by F-16s using laser-guided munitions. All the targets seem to have one thing in common: they’re each at a safe distance from residential complexes in ISIS territory. They’re set apart in open fields. They betray no marks of military activity. Now, humanitarian though this might seem – which itself begs the question – you still have to wonder. Does ISIS keep strategic targets clear of population centers? And, if so, why were such targets still so manifestly available. The US has waged its air war against ISIS since last September. They left a few for the Turks? The skeptic might ask if these were meaningful targets at all.

I remember during the Iraq war that Ankara would announce with fanfare various bombing sorties to hit PKK camps nestled in the Zagros mountains in retaliation against one or other PKK atrocity inside Turkey. Nobody ever knew what really happened. How many fighters or civilians killed to what effect? The PKK never slowed down. Barzani grumbled about territorial integrity. The White House mumbled about Turkey’s right to self-defense. I queried Kurds from Iraqi Kurdistan, from both Suleymaniah and Erbil, during those years about any publicly mooted information about those recurrent air strikes. While they expressed outrage at territorial violation by Turks, nobody knew any facts. In other words, it all seemed like theater for public consumption in Turkey.

Let’s keep firmly in mind the overarching attribute of Turkey’s AKP leaders throughout the last decade: they’re invariably long on demagogy and short on solutions. The goal always is to stay in power, mute criticism, corrupt all necessary institutions, suppress dissent, play the populist card. And play it so unscrupulously that the country polarizes step by step. Protestors are terrorists. Critical journalists are atheists. Gulenists serve a foreign power. Kurdish politicians are fronting for the PKK. The mayor of Ankara, a top Erdoganista, sued a journalist for accusing him of – wait for it – being Armenian!

Much of the time nobody knows what’s really going on after any eruption of internal conflict first gets reported – they only get exposed to propaganda and polemics. The media gets muzzled and social media suspended. It happened after two gas cylinder bombs exploded at a HDP Kurdish party rally ahead of the elections killing two and wounding over 100.

It has happened after the Suruc horror by ISIS. Erdogan’s main objective, to befog with theater when he can’t hide the reality, hasn’t wavered. Hence the display of signing the Incirlik Airbase deal with the White House. Hence the bombing runs against ISIS. These add up to a manifest U-turn as he and his party have publicly abetted ISIS in myriad snide ways, even giving cover to its foremost vociferous advocate in Turkey, the noisy and sinister Halis Bayancuk whom they’ve just re-arrested. Previously arrested in 2014, he was released by the authorities while the prosecutor and judge who had moved against him were demoted. The government then defended him publicly as a victim of the ‘deep state’ conspiracy, one of Erdogan’s favorite polemical bogeys.

Meanwhile, as many domestic commentators now say, Turkey is hovering on the brink. Similarly, others are pointing out that the country now faces total crisis not accidentally but in line with Erdogan’s plan to monopolize power, become the indispensible figure amid chaos. In the old days, when fractured elections led to paralysis and conflict, the military would step in and tidy up the mess, acting as last-chance custodians of the Republic. These days their role resides, democratically, with the President. Alas, the ‘honest-broker’ is also a dishonest protagonist in the fray, namely Erdogan himself. The office of the Presidency requires him to stand above politics. He hasn’t – even though the country voted away his party’s parliamentary majority for that reason, as a rebuttal of his ambition to make the Presidency paramount. He planned to re-enact the Putin/Medvedev tango, Turkish-style, moving between the position of PM and President to avoid term limits.

As I wrote here after the election produced no winner six weeks ago, Turkey has never fared well with coalitions. In this case, the coalition didn’t even materialize. While the various parties continue to negotiate on forming a government, they’ve left Erdogan in charge by default. What I warned then, is coming to pass (even quicker than expected) when I said, “and here’s the most scary part: as things deteriorate it will be up to the President to impose order by one means or another” and “a fundamental player in the equation (Erdogan) has no interest but to let things get very bad indeed”.

And so here we are. For Erdogan it’s even better that there’s no government. He rules by diktat. To do so, he needs crises. He’s busy creating them. Stoking the Kurdish conflict simply polarizes the country further, catalyzes civil war Assad-style. He will call a sudden election when things are bad enough. There’s some chance he might have miscued though. After all, he has no coalition to blame. Instead of seeing him as the indispensable strongman, the country might hold him responsible for all the chaos. If there is still a country by then.

Saudis Want Global Gag On Criticism of Wahhabism (Counterfeit Islam)

[If the Saudis can buy diplomatic immunity all over the world, it is but a small step for them to pay a little more bribe money, to extend that immunity to their counterfeit version of Islam (SEE: Saudi Royals Request Removal From 911 Lawsuit).]

Saudi Arabia laughably preaches against religious intolerance

chicago now

By James Kirk Wall

saudi-arabia-beheadings-rights.n

Saudi Arabia, a world leader in religious, sexist, and political oppression, continued to beat the drums over a global ban of any religious criticism. They claim criticizing religious symbols and scripture is intolerance. In other words, a country that decreed all atheists to be terrorists, and persecutes anyone who dares criticize the government, is going to give the world a lecture on tolerance and free speech.

“We have made it clear that freedom of expression without limits or restrictions would lead to violation and abuse of religious and ideological rights,” said Abdulmajeed Al-Omari, director for external relations at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

“This requires everyone to intensify efforts to criminalize insulting heavenly religions, prophets, holy books, religious symbols and places of worship,” he added.

In truth, protecting religious rights has nothing to do with this proposed censorship. The United States has religious rights, far more than Saudi Arabia. People are free to worship any god they want per the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. People also have the right to change their religious beliefs, if they chose to do so, without threat of being murdered.

The U.S. also has freedom of speech whereas religion, politics, and all ideas are open to criticism. Having one’s beliefs open to criticism, or even ridicule, is not a violation of one’s rights to have that belief. Secure beliefs can withstand and tolerate scrutiny, insecure beliefs cannot.

The cowardly kings and clerics of Saudi Arabia don’t want any kind of free speech that would cause them to actually defend themselves and their ignorant policies. They arrogantly think that they’re above any kind of challenge. Anyone who defies their Wahhabi interpretation of Islam is considered to be a criminal.

The world knows all too well about Saudi Arabian intolerance and discrimination. The world knows how this extremist country treats those with different ideas within it’s’ borders. We all know about the sadistic persecution of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, and the numerous barbaric public beheadings. We know about the horrible restrictions against women such as not even having the right to drive a car, or anything that could be interpreted as “showing off their beauty.”

Saudi Arabia is a joke of human rights. When Saudi Arabia joined the United Nations, the UN became a joke of human rights. The Saudi government directly and repeatedly violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is the United Nations’ charter of human dignity of all people. In direct and constant violation of these rights, Saudi Arabia stands unashamed and unaccountable.

And what about the education system in Saudi Arabia? Does it teach children to be tolerant and open minded? Quite the opposite, according to a study the textbooks promote the following:
• Condemn and denigrate the majority of Sunni Muslims who do not follow the Wahhabi understanding of Islam, and call them deviants and descendants of polytheists.
• Condemn and denigrate Shiite and Sufi Muslims’ beliefs and practices as heretical and call them “polytheists;”
• Command Muslims to “hate” Christians, Jews, “polytheists” and other “unbelievers,” including non-Wahhabi Muslims, though, incongruously, not to treat them “unjustly”;
• Teach that “Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Muslim] believers” and that “the clash” between the two realms is perpetual;
• Instruct students not to “greet,” “befriend,” “imitate,” “show loyalty to,” “be courteous to,” or “respect” non-believers.

Should Saudi Arabia be preaching to the world about religious tolerance and free speech? The only examples they have to give is the promotion of religious oppression and fanatical censorship. They wish to pervert all forms of human expression. The real supporters of human rights and dignity must stand up against these despicable frauds.

-James Kirk Wall

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 18.
• Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.
• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

References:
AL Arabian News – Saudi Gazette – Saudi official: Criminalize vilification of religious symbols

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