In the course of fighting our “war on terrorism,” over a stretch of some 14 years, we have somehow managed to switch sides: in effect, our government has gone over to the enemy. The Sunni fundamentalists who are filling the ranks of the Syrian opposition, along with their paymasters in the Saudi kingdom and the Gulf states, are now our allies: the new enemy is an alliance of Russia, Syria, Iran, and the Shi’ite communities of the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Is that Osama bin Laden’s laughter I hear emanating from the lowest rung of Hell?
Saturday, Oct 3, 2015
Armed conflicts and attacks
This strike on a hospital in Afghanistan comes days after the Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen that killed more than 130 people. After days of silence from the U.S. government — which has actively participated from the start in the heinous bombing of Yemen — Ambassador Power finally acknowledged the wedding massacre, but treated it like some natural disaster that has nothing to do with the U.S.: “Terrible news from Yemen of killing of innocent civilians & aid workers. Urgently need pol solution to crisis,” she tweeted.
Her accompanying statement claimed that “the United States has no role in the targeting decisions made by the Coalition in Yemen,” but yesterday, the Saudi Foreign Minister told CBS News that “We work with our allies including the United States on these targets.” There’s no dispute that the U.S. has lavished Saudi Arabia with all sorts of weapons and intelligence as it carries out its civilian-massacring attacks on Yemen.
Fuck you, Wall Street Journal.
Hollande is a liar and a puppet. He knows the Security Council will never approve a no-fly zone. Russia and China have already said so. And they’ve explained why they are opposed to it, too. It’s because they don’t want another failed state on their hands like Libya, which is what happened last time the US and NATO imposed a no-fly zone.
But that’s beside the point. The real reason the no-fly zone issue has resurfaced is because it was one of the concessions Obama made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the use of Incirlik airbase. Washington has kept the terms of that deal secret, but Hollande has let the cat out of the bag.
So who put sock-puppet Hollande up to this no-fly zone nonsense?
First, I would not be surprised if the Russians did declare that it was their standard operating procedure to protect their military installations with air defense systems. And then would finally bring in their S-300s (I am aware of rumors that the S-300s are already there, but I have seen no confirmation so far). I would expect the Israelis to feel particularly miserable about that, and I would not be surprised if the Russians offered guarantees that these systems would remain exclusively under Russian control. What is already certain is that Netanyahu did fly to Moscow to address issues at least of Russian-Israeli “non-interference,” if not “cooperation.” I would add here that Moscow has no hostile plans towards Israel whatsoever and that, by all accounts, the Russians and Israeli officials get along famously, if only because both sides are smart and pragmatists (they don’t need a love fest, they need responsible behavior).
In purely military terms this is a rather minor development. Yes, the Syrian Air Force badly needs some modernization (the fact that they are using helicopter-dropped 500kg barrel bombs is a proof that they don’t have enough aircraft to deliver guided or even unguided 500kg aerial bombs) and the Russians will be bringing some very capable aircraft (SU-24s and SU-25s for sure, and in some specific cases they could even use Tu-22M3s and SU-34s). But this will not be a game changer. Politically, however, this marks yet another triumph for Vladimir Putin, who has forced the US Empire to renounce its plans to overthrow Assad. Because—and make no mistake here—the Russians are now there to stay: a limited Russian military presence will now turn into a major Russian political commitment. Furthermore, not only will Tartus continue to serve a fairly limited but not irrelevant role for the Russian Navy, the airbase in Latakia will become a hub of Russian military operations and, in effect, a forward operating base for the Black Sea Fleet.
“Did Charlie Rose look like a fucking idiot last night on 60-Minutes, or what, asking Vladimir Putin how he could know for sure that the US was behind the 2014 Ukraine coup against President Viktor Yanukovych? Maybe the idiots are the 60-Minutes producers and fluffers who are supposed to prep Charlie’s questions. Putin seemed startled and amused by this one on Ukraine: how could he know for sure?” -JHK
To distract them from the uncomfortable reality that their main battle tank is no match for an Iranian Toophan anti-tank missile. Pray you don’t get sent to Yemen. Hope is not a plan.
Despite her distressing lack of accurate information about Iran’s nuclear program, Anne-Marie Slaughter’s uneasy embrace of the Iran deal is, at minimum, still a welcome departure from her usual militarist posture.
Five years after supporting the invasion of Iraq, Slaughter was annoyed by the “gotcha politics” of being held accountable for her bad judgment, grousing in The Huffington Post that “debate is still far too much about who was right and who was wrong on the initial invasion.”
In 2011, after leaving the State Department, Slaughter lent her full-throated support to the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, extolling herself as a champion of humanitarianism and democracy and then hailing the operation as an unmitigated success. It’s been anything but.
A year later, she was calling for U.S. allies to arm rebel forces against the Assad government in Syria, writing in The New York Times, “Foreign military intervention in Syria offers the best hope for curtailing a long, bloody and destabilizing civil war.”
In 2013, Slaughter openly lamented her support for the invasion of Iraq a decade earlier. “Looking back, it is hard to remember just how convinced many of us were that weapons of mass destruction would be found,” she wrote in The New Republic. “Had I not believed that, I would never have countenanced any kind of intervention on purely humanitarian terms.”
Slaughter said she had learned her lesson. “Never again will I trust a single government’s interpretation of data when lives are at stake, perhaps especially my own government,” Slaughter resolved. “And I will not support the international use of force in a war of choice rather than necessity without the approval of some multilateral body, one that includes countries that are directly affected by both the circumstances in the target country and by the planned intervention.”
Nevertheless, after penning this mea culpa, Slaughter continued busily advocating unilateral American airstrikes on Syria and pushing for Obama to at least threaten military action against Russia in Ukraine. “A US strike against the Syrian government now would change the entire dynamic,” she wrote for Project Syndicate. “It would either force the regime back to the negotiating table with a genuine intention of reaching a settlement, or at least make it clear that Assad will not have a free hand in re-establishing his rule.” Her calls for the U.S. bombing of Syria, and also Iraq, have since intensified.
How Iran Plans to Destroy Israel
The mullahs seem dead serious about wanting to destroy Israel, but exactly how they plan to go about it remains studiously cryptic.
Of course, all this may change if Iran decides to allocate resources, derived from the lifting of sanctions and the unfreezing of its financial assets abroad, as a result of a P5+1 nuclear deal, to a major effort to project military power beyond its borders. The S-300 air defense batteries to be supplied from Russia could also greatly improve Iran’s defensive posture, while other deals for offensive weapons systems are being considered, or are at least rumored to be. One such deal is the possible purchase of 250 Sukhoi-30 MKM fighters from Russia and/or J-10s from China, and the purchase of dozens of IL-78 MKI aerial tankers. Yet it is obvious that Iran’s reliance on its long-range missile arsenal will remain for a long time the backbone of its military strategy with regard to Israel.
Dick Cheney’s staggering Iran hypocrisy: Why we need to ignore his sinister war games at all costs
The former vice president is saying whatever he can to torpedo negotiations with Iran. Here’s what he’s not saying
Before joining the Bush Administration, Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney opposed sanctions against Iran because American businesses would be “cut out of the action” (Halliburton is still one of the biggest likely beneficiaries of the easing of Iran sanctions).
Cheney spent much of the Obama Administration thwarting negotiations with Iran at a much earlier stage in its nuclear program. Had those negotiations happened then, they might have mitigated the concerns he and others now express about the nuclear deal. Indeed, as Poindexter had years earlier, Cheney’s office reportedly worked back channels to undercut the Iranian regime just as negotiations began.
I think we should let Iran have one bomb if they promise to drop it on Detroit.
I’ll vote for Donald Trump if he pledges to have Dick Cheney shot for crimes against humanity.
I daresay that legalized gambling has had a possibly worse effect on American life the past three decades than illegal immigration. Gambling is a marginal activity for marginal people that belongs on the margins — the back rooms and back alleys. It was consigned there for decades because it was understood that it’s not healthy for the public to believe that it’s possible to get something for nothing, that it undermines perhaps the most fundamental principle of human life.
Not wanting to alert Mo, agents allowed all three men to leave the country, but their corn seeds were confiscated. Special Agent Mark E. Betten, a 16-year veteran of the FBI specializing in the investigation of intellectual property theft, had the seeds sent to an independent bio-diagnostic testing laboratory, which confirmed that they were proprietary, genetically modified hybrids. Eventually, their genetic sequencing was matched to seeds under development by Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and LG Seeds, which, including LG’s parent company, Groupe Limagrain, comprise three of the four largest seed companies in the world. The GPS coordinates were found to correspond with farms in Iowa and Illinois, where those companies were testing the performance of new hybrids.
A few years ago, hydrocarbon exports from the United States were negligible. But by the start of 2013, oil, natural gas, and petrochemicals had become the single largest category of U.S. exports, surpassing agricultural products, transportation equipment, and capital goods. The shift in the U.S. trade balance for petroleum products has been stunning. In 2008, the United States was a net importer of petroleum products, taking in about two million barrels per day; by the end of 2013, it was a net exporter, with an outflow of more than two million barrels per day. By the end of 2014, the United States should overtake Russia as the largest exporter of diesel, jet fuel, and other energy products, and by 2015, it should overtake Saudi Arabia as the largest exporter of petrochemical feedstocks. The U.S. trade balance for oil, which in 2011 was −$354 billion, should flip to +$5 billion by 2020.
By then, the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas, on a scale potentially rivaling both Qatar and Russia, and the consequences will be enormous. The U.S. gas trade balance should shift from −$8 billion in 2013 to +$14 billion by 2020. U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico and eastern Canada are likely to grow by 400 percent, to eight billion cubic feet per day, by 2018, and perhaps to ten billion by 2020. U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) look likely to reach nine billion cubic feet per day by 2020.
The combination of Trump constantly spewing crazy quotes and the strategy actually working turned his campaign into a veritable media supernova, earning the Donald more coverage than all of the other candidates combined.
This led to a situation where the candidates have had to resort to increasingly bizarre tactics in order to win press attention. Add to this the curious dynamic of the first Republican debate, on August 6th, in which only the top 10 poll performers get on the main stage, and the incentive to say outlandish things in search of a poll bump quickly reached a fever pitch. So much for the cautious feeling-out period: For the candidates, it was toss grenades or die.
Yes, Robert Kagan is in fact a crazy person.
What Militarism Means
Its perfect symbol isn’t Prussia, it’s the F-35.
By WILLIAM S. LIND • July 27, 2015
Jim is at least half-right, but his predictions never happen soon enough. He has never learned that we just can’t predict.
True Believers (is that irony?)
Trump’s Triumph: Billionaire Blowhard Exposes Fake Political System
MIKE WHITNEY • AUGUST 7, 2015
BAIER: Mr. Trump, it’s not just your past support for single-payer health care. You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies….You’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, and Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
TRUMP: You’d better believe it.
BAIER: — they do?
TRUMP: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.
TRUMP: I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?
TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why?
She didn’t have a choice because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.
International Courts and the Mystery of the Malaysian Airliner
ISRAEL SHAMIR • AUGUST 4, 2015
In February 1973, Israel shot down a Libyan civilian airliner and killed more than a hundred passengers. The airliner strayed from its route during a sandstorm and Israeli fighter-interceptors shot it down. Israelis said the flag of Libya looked similar to the flag of Egypt, or the plane could be hijacked by terrorists, for it flew towards Israel … In the end, Israel has been deemed guilty, the state never conceded its guilt but paid for the insurance.
In these two cases, there was no real war, even though it was a tension in the area. But Donbass has had a full-scale war at the time. Anyone of the combatants could bring down the ill-fated aircraft, mistaking it for an enemy – if they had technical means.
The sloppy Ukrainians could do it even in peace time out of sheer recklessness as they downed the Siberia flight from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk ten years ago. To this very day the Ukrainians haven’t admitted their fault.
Conspiracy theories can be useful – they calm media-induced frenzy. But I would not take them seriously. At war, the qui prodest rule is not working. People and planes can be destroyed just by chance. Israel was a beneficiary of the tragedy, as it diverted the world’s attention from the bloody war in Gaza. Kolomoysky, an Israeli citizen, fiery Zionist, a tycoon and the ruler of Dnepropetrovsk, a man capable of anything, was a man partly responsible for the crash, as his dispatchers ordered the liner to lower its altitude, and the captain Vladislav Voloshin was under his command. But this does not mean that Zionists downed the plane.
I am certain the Russians weren’t knowingly involved, for they opened all their secret communications for the investigators to see. If they were involved, the Americans would see it via their satellites, and they would spread the word right away. But the US keeps mum; they did not present their data. Nor did the Kiev regime: they sit on the recordings of the dispatchers with the plane. Will they publish their records? I wonder.
Iran August 2015
American traitor, Israeli hero
The Pollard case shows that the interests of Israel and America are often sharply at odds.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH
July 30th, 2015
On all matters touching on security, Israel plays hardball. It does not view itself as beholden to the United States or bound by American concerns, a reality that Israeli governments regularly affirm in word and deed. That seriousness ought to command respect. It should also elicit an equally serious American response. That response should take the form of a candid acknowledgment that where U.S. and Israeli security interests diverge, the United States need not be bound by Israeli concerns.
Why Israel is suddenly owning up to its terrorism
By calling Friday’s arson attack a terrorist act, the Israelis are hoping to avoid the full force of international law.
02 Aug 2015
Aim of the attack
The aim of the settler attack on Palestinians in the village of Duma was to embarrass the pro-settlement Israeli government even though it had simultaneously approved the building, “immediately”, of 804 new Jewish settlements in Beit Eli and in Jerusalem.
The settlers’ heinous attack, which probably came from the nearby Maleh Efraim settlement, is said to be part of a continuous wave of attacks on Palestinians by settlers that carry the name “price tag” – which refers to the price for Israeli government attempts to restrict Jewish settlement activities.
The perpetrators, who scrawled Hebrew graffiti meaning “revenge” and a Jewish Star of David, were protesting an event that happened in another settlement – namely the government destruction of a house built by Israeli settlers on private Palestinian lands near the settlement of Beit Eli.
The horrible death of the child and his family seems to have rattled Netanyahu who responded by calling the killing a “terrorist” act which supposedly set it apart from the what the UN has documented as 2,100 acts of violence against Palestinians, their religious institutions, their homes, and other Palestinian-owned properties, committed by Jewish settlers since 2006.
This attack has been defined as “terrorism” simply because Israel is petrified of the possibility that this incident could open up a “Pandora’s box” of questions regarding the legitimacy of the settlement enterprise and policy in its entirety.
Russia August 2015
Just Listen to What Western Officials Are Saying About Russia
by Conn Hallinan, August 01, 2015
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former head of NATO, similarly inveighed about impending regional conflict. “Putin wants to restore Russia to its former position as a great power,” Rasmussen insisted. “There is a high probability that he will intervene in the Baltics” as he has in Ukraine.
It’s not just defense secretaries and generals employing language that conjures up the ghosts of the past. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used a “Munich” analogy in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a common New York Times description of Russia is “revanchist.” These two terms take the Ukraine crisis back to 1938, when fascist Germany menaced the world.
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