Apocalypse Later


Metadata Surveillance Didn’t Stop the Paris Attacks
And yet intelligence officials and politicians are now saying it could have. They’re wrong.
By Marcy Wheeler

“Knowing who someone communicates with is metadata, not content, and most encrypted protocols (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) don’t change this,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at UC–Berkeley explains. “In attempting to identify actual threat actors, ‘this person is communicating with ISIS’ is probably all you need to justify more intensive targeted actions, such as system compromise, that bypass any effects of encryption.”

Someone Wants War with Russia
Victoria Nuland is not alone
Philip Giraldi • November 17, 2015

Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ Dick Cheney

Why Paris? The answer can be found in Syria and Iraq

How Kurds Captured Sinjar From ISIS

Blowback—–The Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home To Roost
by David Stockman • November 16, 2015

The truth is, there is no such thing as an OPEC cartel——virtually every member produces all they can and cheats whenever possible. The only thing that resembles production control in the global oil market is the fact that the Saudi princes treat their oil reserves not much differently than Exxon.

That is, they attempt to maximize the present value of their 270 billion barrels of reserves, but ultimately are no more clairvoyant at calibrating the best oil price to accomplish that than are the economists at Exxon or the IEA.

The Saudis over-estimated the staying power of China’s temporarily surging call on global supply; and under-estimated how rapidly and extensively the $100 per barrel marker reached in early 2008 would trigger a flow of investment, technology and cheap debt into the US shale patch, the Canadian tar sands, the tired petroleum provinces of Russia, the deep offshore of Brazil etc. And that’s to say nothing of solar, wind and all the other government subsidized alternative source of BTUs.

Way back when Jimmy Carter was telling us to turn down the thermostats and put on our cardigan sweaters, those of us on the free market side of the so-called energy shortage debate said the best cure for high oil prices is high prices. Now we know.


Hillary Clinton’s Road to War
She’s the Democratic version of Chris Christie and Marco Rubio combined
by Justin Raimondo, November 20, 2015

There is no limit to this woman’s arrogance: here she is openly proclaiming her contempt for Iraq’s sovereignty and all but declaring war on the central government in Baghdad – a government thousands of Americans died to install.

And while abjuring the need for 100,000 US ground forces, Clinton would increase the number of US Special Forces and “embed” them in greater numbers with “indigenous forces.” In other words, she would escalate the US presence gradually, Vietnam war-style, so as not to alarm the American public, which wants no part of another war in the Middle East. So it’s time to dust off her plan – rejected by the Obama administration – to arm and fund the “moderate” Islamist opposition on a large scale


To begin with, the “moderates” Hillary loves to praise are ideologically aligned with ISIS: their only disagreement with the “Caliphate” is over tactics. Both want to hang Assad from a lamp post, impose Sharia law on Syria and dispense with “unbelievers.

Secondly, what Hillary wants us to “remember” is a baldfaced lie: according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – hardly a pro-Assad group – the Islamist rebels have killed more people than the government’s forces. If we go by the Observatory’s numbers, government forces suffered the largest number of deaths, some 88,616. This accounts for around one third of all the deaths recorded. Hillary’s rebels suffered 42,384 dead, and “foreign fighters” have seen 34,375 killed. All sides quibble about who is and is not a civilian, but by any measure Hillary’s moral rectitude in this context in misplaced.

Hillary Clinton’s Libya

Gaddafi was not “deposed.” He was tortured and murdered, very likely by Islamists allied with NATO forces. The “radical elements” that are causing “a lot of turmoil and trouble” in “this arc of instability” are, in fact, Islamists whom Clinton picked as allies in the region, and she has pressed to supply them with arms in Syria as well as Libya. She really rates mention as an American mover of the “instability” in the region second only to Bush and Cheney.



How Saudi/Gulf Money Fuels Terror
November 14, 2015

One would think that this would set off alarm bells in Washington, yet the result has been a collective shrug. The Obama administration continues to back Saudi Arabia in its assault on the Middle East’s poorest nation, providing it with technical back-up and naval support, while France, eager to supplant the U.S. as the kingdom’s chief weapons supplier, backs it as well.

French President Francois Hollande thus backs the kingdom that backs the forces that backed those who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He also backs a kingdom that allows donations to flow to ISIS, which he now identifies as responsible for the latest atrocities.

Hollande prefers to beat his breast and issue ringing calls for “compassion and solidarity” rather than actually doing something about the relationships that generate such attacks in the first place.

At its most basic level, this is a problem of oil, money and an American empire that stands paralyzed before the disaster it has created in the Middle East. When Obama issued his famous August 2011 call for regime change in Damascus – “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside” – it seemed to be a no-brainer.

The insurgency was growing, the Ba’athists were hanging on by a thread, and it seemed only a matter of time before Assad met the same fate as Muammar Gaddafi. “We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary Clinton would crow a few months later about Gaddafi, and so it seemed that Assad would soon meet his end at hands of a rebel mob, too.

But Assad proved more durable, mainly because he had the backing of a mass party that, despite corruption and ossification, still enjoyed a significant measure of popular support. The longer he has been able to stay in power, therefore, the more the U.S. has found itself caught up in an increasingly sectarian war by gulf-funded Sunni extremists.

Faced with a choice between Assad on one hand and ISIS and Al Qaeda on the other, Obama has dithered and delayed, refusing to commit himself wholeheartedly to the rebel cause but failing to object when his closest friends channel funds to groups that the U.S. officially regards as anathema.

Instead of defeating ISIS, this policy of neither-nor has allowed it fester and grow. The group is richer than ever, its troops travel about in shiny new Toyota pickups, and its technical prowess is also on the upswing. Two weeks ago, it apparently brought down a Russian airliner in the Sinai. On Thursday, it sent a pair of suicide bombers into a Shi‘ite neighborhood in Beirut, killing 43 people and wounding more than two hundred.

Now, according to French authorities, ISIS has sent a team of at least eight militants to shoot up various sites in Paris. In an apparent reference to Western bombing raids against ISIS targets in Syria, one gunman reportedly shouted during the assault on the Bataclan music hall, “What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now.”

This is a horror show made in Washington, Riyadh and the Élysée.


Paris: You Don’t Want to Read This


Paris Attack: Isis Has Created a New Kind of Warfare

Isis has claimed the Paris attacks, saying that France was targeted because of its air strikes in Syria. The use of eight suicide bombers and gunmen in a national capital, guaranteeing maximum coverage by the media, has all the hallmarks of an Isis operation. One ominous difference from the killings earlier in the year at Charlie Hebdo magazine and in a Jewish supermarket, is that attacks, presumably because of Isis involvement, are getting more sophisticated and better planned. Recruiting, arming, coordinating and keeping hidden the Paris killers until the last moment implies good organisation. The same was true of the smuggling of a bomb on to the Russian plane before it left the ground at Sharm al-Sheikh on 30 October.


Alexander’s career was piracy pure and simple, nothing but an orgy of power and plunder, made romantic by the character of the hero. There was no rational purpose in it, and the moment he died his generals and governors attacked one another. The cruelty of those times is incredible. When Rome finally conquered Greece, Paulus Aemilius, was told by the Roman Senate, to reward his soldiers for their toil by “giving” them the old kingdom of Epirus. they sacked seventy cities and carried off one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants as slaves. How many they killed I know not; but in Etolia they killed all the senators, five hundred and fifty in number. Brutus was “the noblest Roman of them all,” but to reanimate his soldiers on the eve of Philippi he similarly promises to give them the cities of Sparta and Thessalonica to ravage, if they win the fight.

Such was the gory nurse that trained soldiers to cohesiveness. We inherit the warlike type; and for most of the capacities of heroism that the human race is full of we have to thank this cruel history. Dead men tell no tales, and if there were any tribes of other type than this they have left no survivors. Our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us. The popular imagination fairly fattens on the thought of wars. Let public opinion once reach a certain fighting pitch, and no ruler can withstand it.

-William James
“The Moral Equivalent of War”



Pentagon chief Ashton Carter just fired his top military aide over ‘misconduct’

San Francisco author David Talbot takes on government secrecy, the CIA and the assassination of JFK in ‘The Devil’s Chessboard’

This isn’t racist at all:
A Literate American: Home Brew

IEA Says Record 3 Billion-Barrel Oil Stocks May Deepen Rout

“The horror makes the thrill”: Why the New York Times’ “beautiful” war images of death and destruction won’t change many minds

October 13th


In California, Electric Cars Outpace Plugs, and Sparks Fly

Jamie Hull, who drives an electric Fiat, grew apoplectic recently when she discovered herself nearly out of a charge, unable to get home to Palo Alto. She found a charging station, but a Tesla was parked in it and not charging. She ordered a coffee, waited for the driver to return and, when he did, asked why he was taking a spot when he was not charging. She said the man had told her that he was going to run one more errand and walked off.

“I seriously considered keying his car,” she said.

October 9th

Switching Sides in the ‘War on Terrorism’

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?



One Day After Warning Russia of Civilian Casualties, the U.S. Bombs a Hospital in Afghanistan

Saturday,  Oct 3, 2015

Armed conflicts and attacks

Samantha Power is a horrible personTrump0921b

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.

Comrade Trump

The famous Trump base has hit a ceiling. He should retire, and enjoy.

Fuck you, Wall Street Journal.


Putin’s Blitz Leaves Washington Rankled and Confused

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?

Finally Some Clarity About the Russian Plans in Syria

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



At West Point, Annual Pillow Fight Becomes Weaponized

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.

Gulf states pay price for intervention against Houthis in Yemen


UAE pounds Yemen rebels after coalition’s deadliest day

Slaughtering the Truth and the False Choice of War on Iran

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.

Corn Wars

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.

Why Shale Is the Next Shale24DISMALANDJP3-articleLarge

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.

Inside the GOP Clown Car

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.


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