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Neoconservatism Bulletin, 2015

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[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik…Absolutely!……..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 30, 2015] Oil down more than 3 percent on U.S. crude build; Brent near 2004 low

Why MSM and those people try to push oil lower at the end of the year? Are they oblivious to the destiny of the US shale companies. Collateral damage ? The Saudi's have finally admitted that they longer limit production, i.e., they're producing flat out, in other words, they have no spare capacity.
Notable quotes:
"... Ali al-Naimi, oil minister of OPEC leader Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom will not limit production, the Wall Street Journal reported. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Stockpiles hit record highs at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures. Gasoline and heating oil also posted larger-than-expected stock builds.

"In all the years I have been doing this, I have never seen builds in the last week of December," said Tariq Zahir, crude futures trader at Tyche Capital Advisors in Long Island, New York.

"At least for tax consequence reasons, refiners always ramp up runs at the year-end, and there's a draw. This is a first for me."

Ali al-Naimi, oil minister of OPEC leader Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom will not limit production, the Wall Street Journal reported.

[Dec 30, 2015] Syrian troops backed by Russian jets enters rebel-held southern town army

Notable quotes:
"... Rebels still control large parts of the region, that also borders Israel, but have been largely on the defensive since their failed offensive in June to take the government-controlled part of Deraa city. ..."
"... In the course of actions aimed to cut terrorists' sources of income, the Russian aircraft eliminate large number of oil production, storing and transportation facilities on the ISIS-controlled territories in Syria. ..."
"... Russian Su-34 bomber performed a strike on the target and eliminated more than 20 oil trucks, which had been used by the ISIS for illegal oil transportation, two off-roaders equipped with ZU-23 AD systems. ..."
"... It is necessary to pay attention to the statement made by representative of the US State Department. Time is changed. Situation is changed. Representatives of the State Department are changed. However, speech writers are not. ..."
"... All these impersonal claims without evidences about performing strikes on civilian objects by allegedly Russian aviation in Syria close resemble performances held by hypnotists or chapiteau. ..."
"... It is about absurd: there are serious accusations referring to some "reputable non-governmental organizations". However, there is no information about the exact name of these organizations and who they are reputable for. ..."
"... All this is happening while actions and, the most important, results of the US air bombardment in this region are keeping absolute silent. ..."
"... If this continue the Syrian military will regain control of all Syrian cities and all these terrorist islamic groups supported by foreign countries will be defeated and expelled from Syria. ..."
"... Well thats interesting. A "mainstream anti Assa armed group", yet they go through all that without actually revealing the name. ..."
"... Is there any question now that the WH was simply letting Syria get demolished in the hopes Assad would fall? ..."
"... Theres a lot of people that support Assad. The WH knows this. The WH stated that Assad hasent a chance in hell of getting re elected. Well if thats the case, why does the WH refuse to see his name on a ballot. ..."
"... They are "Islamist" and the Christian genocide would continue on and on and on. Dont forget, not one of these guys came to power without holding on to a gun. Does that sound like someone you would vote for? ..."
"... hilarious, while this silly article says the syrin army is making gains only after the Russian bombing. They slipped an wrote that the terrorists lost in June against the syrian army!! The russians only got involved in october!! propaganda always has its draw back....the truth!! ..."
"... Until DC provides the list of Moderate Rebels that don't have any Islamic reference they ALL will be viewed as Islamic Terrorists Organizations. And until that list is provided let the Russians bomb the Hell out of them. ..."
"... Let's get this straight... IS militants are all TERRORISTS. Any rebel groups that are fighting alongside with the IS group are also part of the terrorist group. And if those so-called rebel groups are supported by the US or NATO or Turkey, it means that those nations are directly or indirectly supporting the ISIS or TERRORISTS. ..."
"... Sheikh Meskeen is vital and strategic due to its location along the second most important highway in the Dara'a province; it is also the key to the cities of Nawa and Jassim. ..."
"... The Russians are doing this right, get rid of all terrorist groups including the one Israel and the U.S. are supporting, funding and arming. ..."
"... Terrorists are no longer terrorists but are now called rebels? That would mean the Paris slaughter was done by rebels. ..."
"... Somebody please tell to these so called moderate rebels and their brothers in ISIS that their heydays are over. Run while you can. ..."
"... Wonder what the US response would be to Russian airdropping thousands of RPG's and millions of rifles and ammunition to the #$%$, Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam and various militia group in the US who feel they are being oppressed? ..."
"... Since there wasn't a single mention of ISIS in this article, then the emphasis should have been Obama's Syrian "rebel" allies are getting the krap kicked out of them by the Russians. ..."
"... But Reuters, being an Obama support group would only mention them as "backed by Western Powers". ..."
"... Does anyone see the connection between the terrorists, who are backed by the West, and the outright Lies the media tries to pass off as the truth. One other note here, they keep recycling parts of this article which appear almost verbatim in several other reports on Yahoo about Syria. ..."
"... The US is guilty of arming rebels against a government with representation at the United Nations. That is a crime. ..."
"... All the US resources are wasted on misguided and ill-convince military adventures that support corporations than its own citizens. ..."
"... Just like in the north of Syria....ALL the "rebel" groups in the south fight under Al-Nusra's umbrella and command structure. Al-Nusra plans ALL of their offensives, as well as ALL of their defense. You can call them moderate if you want. but ALL the "rebel" groups in Syria work hand-in-hand with the Salafist and Takfiri. ..."
"... Personally I think it's heartwarming the way Western governments and the 'free' press has lined up behind the radical Islamists against Russia and the secular regime in Syria where women can do such evil things as go outside without a sheet over their heads and men can drink beer and etc! This is madness! Russia is evil! ..."
"... stop this nonsense, no one believes it ny more... moderate rebels, barrel bombs ...they are all islamic terorrists, and very well funded and equipped by saudi arabia and qater and trained and supplied by turkey and the u.s. clear as day light ,they are all sunni muslim terrorists! ..."
"... I seriously doubt the "moderate" rebels would approve of anything Christmas-related. Assad looks a lot more moderate to me than the US-backed "moderates". ..."
news.yahoo.com
Rebels still control large parts of the region, that also borders Israel, but have been largely on the defensive since their failed offensive in June to take the government-controlled part of Deraa city.

Vladimir

Here's the latest from Russia's General Staff, with some interesting info about the US Air Force activities.

In the course of last two days, since December 28, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 121 combat sorties engaging 424 terrorists' objects

In the course of last two days, since December 28, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 121 combat sorties engaging 424 terrorists' objects in the Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Daraa, Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor provinces.

Near Mahin (Homs province), Russian Su-34 performed a strike on a large terrorists' base of the ISIS. A hangar with military hardware, depots with weapons, materiel and munitions of terrorists were destroyed. Five off-road vehicles equipped with large-caliber machine guns, an infantry fighting vehicle, and four trucks loaded with munitions were eliminated.

Near Shawarighat al-Arz (Aleppo province), Russian Su-25 destroyed a terrorists' strong point. Direct hits caused elimination of a tank and three off-road vehicles equipped with large-caliber machine guns.

Near Lahaya (Hama province), a Su-25 of the Russian Aerospace Forces eliminated two artillery guns and an ammunition depot.

In suburbs of al-Khadr (Latakia province), Su-25 carried out a strike on a large strong point of terrorists and eliminated 2 pieces of hardware.

Command staff of the Russian aviation group continues receiving information about objects of the ISIS and other terrorist groups active in Syria from representatives of patriotic opposition forces.

Therefore, on Monday, Russian party received information from representatives of one of the Syrian opposition detachments active in northeastern Syria concerning a planned meeting of the ISIS field commanders in the suburbs of Raqqah.

The Russian Defence Ministry organized a day-and-night air observation of the object. After receiving confirmation on arriving of militants' leaders to the assigned point, Russian Su-34 bomber performed a strike on the building, where the meeting was taking place. As a result of direct hit with guided missile, the building was destroyed with all its contents.

Several days ago, representatives of a patriotic opposition formation active in the Idlib province presented information to the Russian Defence Ministry about location of a large ammunition depot of the Jabhat al-Nusra near al-Zerba.

After making research on the aerial photographs of the region and checking reconnaissance data, Russian Su-24M hit the target. Objective monitoring data confirmed elimination of the object.

Means of intelligence detected a hidden reinforced concrete shelter of the AD complex Osa. A Su-34 bomber received an order to liquidate the target. Direct hits of BETAB-500 air bombs caused destruction of the building with all its contents.

In the course of actions aimed to cut terrorists' sources of income, the Russian aircraft eliminate large number of oil production, storing and transportation facilities on the ISIS-controlled territories in Syria.

In the course of last two days, the Russian aviation group destroyed six objects of oil trafficking in the Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo provinces.

In the course of the aerial intelligence operation near Kafr Nabl (Idlib province), the Russian aircraft detected concentration of oil tankers moving to the Syrian-Turkish borders. They were escorted by off-roaders equipped with anti-aircraft systems.

Russian Su-34 bomber performed a strike on the target and eliminated more than 20 oil trucks, which had been used by the ISIS for illegal oil transportation, two off-roaders equipped with ZU-23 AD systems.

***

It is necessary to pay attention to the statement made by representative of the US State Department. Time is changed. Situation is changed. Representatives of the State Department are changed. However, speech writers are not.

All these impersonal claims without evidences about performing strikes on civilian objects by allegedly Russian aviation in Syria close resemble performances held by hypnotists or chapiteau.

It is about absurd: there are serious accusations referring to some "reputable non-governmental organizations". However, there is no information about the exact name of these organizations and who they are reputable for.

All this is happening while actions and, the most important, results of the US air bombardment in this region are keeping absolute silent.

However, every day aircraft and strike UAV's of the US Air Force carry out from six to twenty combat sorties with performing missile and bomb strikes on ground targets.

Therefore, all the public community learns information about effectiveness of operations held by the US Air Force, when their "flights" had caused mass killing. It is impossible to be hide or shift responsibility to any party.


kingn500

Russia carpet bombing is winning the war for the Syrian military that is a strong army that was losing due to lack of air force power and lack of cities war fare experience needed during the attack and defense of Syrian cities, Syrian military was not trained for guerrilla warfare inside the cities but with Russia carpet bombing and Russia retraining the Syrian military in cities warfare they begin to regain Syrian cities and defeating these terrorist rebels If this continue the Syrian military will regain control of all Syrian cities and all these terrorist islamic groups supported by foreign countries will be defeated and expelled from Syria. Good for the Syrian people that most of them don't want an islamic state in Syria. Go Russia go .

smlslk

Rebels from another mainstream anti-Assad armed opposition alongside some Islamist groups"

Well thats interesting. A "mainstream anti Assa armed group", yet they go through all that without actually revealing the name.

Is there any question now that the WH was simply letting Syria get demolished in the hopes Assad would fall?

Theres a lot of people that support Assad. The WH knows this. The WH stated that Assad hasent a chance in hell of getting re elected. Well if thats the case, why does the WH refuse to see his name on a ballot.

So lets get this strait. All the people that now back Assad including all the people that would now vote for him would then become the terrorist if the WH appointed one of these nameless "armed mainstream anti Assad terrorist groups". They are "Islamist" and the Christian genocide would continue on and on and on. Dont forget, not one of these guys came to power without holding on to a gun. Does that sound like someone you would vote for?

Ramsis

hilarious, while this silly article says the syrin army is making gains only after the Russian bombing. They slipped an wrote that the terrorists lost in June against the syrian army!! The russians only got involved in october!! propaganda always has its draw back....the truth!!

stefan

Until DC provides the list of Moderate Rebels that don't have any Islamic reference they ALL will be viewed as Islamic Terrorists Organizations. And until that list is provided let the Russians bomb the Hell out of them.

J M

Let's get this straight... IS militants are all TERRORISTS. Any rebel groups that are fighting alongside with the IS group are also part of the terrorist group. And if those so-called rebel groups are supported by the US or NATO or Turkey, it means that those nations are directly or indirectly supporting the ISIS or TERRORISTS.

DAVID

The Syrian Army announced minutes ago that its troops alongside the popular forces drove the militant groups back from the entire districts of the key town of Sheikh Meskeen North of Dara'a after killing, wounding and capturing a large number of the terrorists. "Sheikh Meskeen is now under the full control of the Syrian government forces," the army said.

"The militant groups have suffered a heavy death toll. Most of the militants in the town have been killed or wounded. In addition, a large number of the militants have surrendered, while the rest preferred to flee the war zone," the army added.

"The Syrian army is fortifying its positions in the town now," it went on to say.

"Pro-government troops are patrolling the town to find the rest of the militants," the army added.

"The Syrian soldiers are transferring the captured and injured militants to safer areas behind the frontline," the army went on to say.

"The engineering units of the army are defusing the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) planted by the terrorists groups across the government buildings," the army said.

Reports said earlier that the Syrian government forces' rapid advances in the town of Sheikh Meskeen have forced the militant groups to start pulling back forces and fleeing the battlefield to evade more casualties.

"The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have continued to push back the militant groups from different districts of the town, including the residential area of the military forces and one of the main roundabouts of the strategic town," the army said.

"The militant groups, who have witnessed the heavy attacks of the Syria forces and the collapse of their defense lines in the Northeastern, Northern and Eastern parts of the city, have started to withdraw from more districts," the sources said.

"In the meantime, large groups of militants are fleeing the town in order to evade more casualties," the sources added.

"The militant groups have sustained a heavy death toll and are hopeless. The terrorists' commanders have called for fresh militants but have received no response from their comrades in other parts of the province thus far," the sources said.

"The government forces have completed their control over the Eastern part of the town, Pharmacy Street, al-Ra'esi Roundabout in the middle of the town, and Jame'a al-Omari and are advancing against the militants' strongholds," the sources said.

"The Syria forces also have surrounded the militant group of al-Wila Seif al-Sham in the city and are hunting them one by one," the sources said.

Reports said that the Russian and Syrian Air Forces' joint combat sorties over the militant groups' positions in Sheikh Meskeen North of Dara'a claimed the lives of large groups of terrorists and destroyed their military grid.

"The Russian and Syrian fighter jets, in over 25 sorties, massively bombed the militant positions in Sheikh Meskeen, which left many terrorists dead or wounded," the army sources said.

"The aerial coverage created by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets in Sheikh Meskeen battlefield was one the most important causes of the Syrian ground forces' advances against the militant groups on Tuesday," the army added.

The Syrian army and its allies have been significantly advancing against the militant groups in the province in the recent weeks, particularly in Sheikh Meskeen.

Army announced on Tuesday that its troops and their popular allies advanced in the Northern battlefronts of Sheikh Meskeen rapidly and pushed the militants back from more positions.

"Following the capture of Battalion 82 base and Tal al-Hish, the Syrian government forces captured the Sheikh Meskeen's Pool Facility, killing over 15 enemy combatants from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the army said.

"The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces and other popular fighters are on a roll in the Dara'a province after launching a massive assault on the strategic town of Sheikh Meskeen over 72 hours ago," the army added.

Sheikh Meskeen is vital and strategic due to its location along the second most important highway in the Dara'a province; it is also the key to the cities of Nawa and Jassim.

Bill

MY FELLOW AMERICANS, the first "War on Terror" was during Jefferson's presidency. For nearly fifteen centuries the world has faced the disease of Islam, but our nation faced it head on when Thomas Jefferson, serving as the ambassador to France, and John Adams, servicing as the ambassador to Britain, went to London to meet with Ambassador Abdrahaman, the Dey of Tripoli's ambassador to Britain. Of course they met with Abdrahaman to negotiate a peace treaty, but keep in mind that in Islam, the only peace is submission to Islam.

After independence, however, pirates often captured U.S. merchant ships, pillaged cargoes and enslaved or held crew members for ransom. Jefferson had opposed paying tribute to the Barbary States since as far back as 1785, and in 1801, he authorized a U.S. Navy fleet under Commodore Richard Dale to make a show of force in the Mediterranean, the first American naval squadron to cross the Atlantic ...this lead to the "First Barbary Wars".

America, though this victory proved only temporary, according to Wood, "many Americans celebrated it as a vindication of their policy of spreading free trade around the world and as a great victory for liberty over tyranny." My fellow Americans, I am a veteran, I have fought against terror for over a decade (2001 to 2011). These radicalists have been like this from generation to generation to as far back as the 7th century. I'm concerned on what we will leave behind for our next generation and the future of this great nation! So I say onto you, my fellow Americans, LET NO ONE -AND I MEAN NO ONE- COME INTO OUR HOUSE AND PUSH US AROUND!

Paul

The Russians are doing this right, get rid of all terrorist groups including the one Israel and the U.S. are supporting, funding and arming.


The

Terrorists are no longer terrorists but are now called rebels? That would mean the Paris slaughter was done by rebels.

Kevin

Somebody please tell to these so called moderate rebels and their brothers in ISIS that their heydays are over. Run while you can.

Detritus of Sloth

Wonder what the US response would be to Russian airdropping thousands of RPG's and millions of rifles and ammunition to the #$%$, Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam and various militia group in the US who feel they are being oppressed?

Vicious

Since there wasn't a single mention of ISIS in this article, then the emphasis should have been Obama's Syrian "rebel" allies are getting the krap kicked out of them by the Russians.

But Reuters, being an Obama support group would only mention them as "backed by Western Powers".

RT

insurgents on the ground told Reuters........you mean Terrorists don't you? This is a constant source of the media information, the terrorists themselves. We know what color pajamas the Jihadists wear to bed at night, and every move they make, and why, but our military seems to have missed this.......

Does anyone see the connection between the terrorists, who are backed by the West, and the outright Lies the media tries to pass off as the truth. One other note here, they keep recycling parts of this article which appear almost verbatim in several other reports on Yahoo about Syria.

jane

Who know, maybe in 2016 all "Sunni moderate rebels" and ISIS will be expelled. Then Syria will see peace and its refugees can return home. But I bet the blood-thirsty US Snake Department and the CIA probably will prefer continued bloodshed.

Peetie

The US is guilty of arming rebels against a government with representation at the United Nations. That is a crime.

Hezbollah:

Let's look at so-called "moderate rebels" supported by American taxpayers. Example: Jeysh Al-Islam:

- It means "Army of Islam"
- Its leader called for extermination of all minorities in Damascus
- Its leader called Alawites "more infidel than Jews and Christians"
- Is directly financed by Saudis
- Has clearly shown its support for Islamic Caliphate and vehemently opposes democracy
- Been involved in series of tortures, beheadings, murders and disappearances

Yep, "moderate rebels" all right.

J. de Molay

The two super powers, China and Russia, maneuvered on the global stage for supremacy while the US citizens politically in-fight with no clear future oriented goals or plans. Sadly, the US is slowly dissolving away from what is was supposed to be that was framed by the founders a mere 235+ years ago. All the US resources are wasted on misguided and ill-convince military adventures that support corporations than its own citizens.

Davin

Just like in the north of Syria....ALL the "rebel" groups in the south fight under Al-Nusra's umbrella and command structure. Al-Nusra plans ALL of their offensives, as well as ALL of their defense. You can call them moderate if you want. but ALL the "rebel" groups in Syria work hand-in-hand with the Salafist and Takfiri.

Relja

Seems 'the rebels' are regular troops from jordan and turkey. President Asad lost large teritorry because of turkish, joprdan and saudi 'rebels' loved by west/Us.

Reyter

Personally I think it's heartwarming the way Western governments and the 'free' press has lined up behind the radical Islamists against Russia and the secular regime in Syria where women can do such evil things as go outside without a sheet over their heads and men can drink beer and etc! This is madness! Russia is evil!

CRL

"Rebels from another mainstream anti-Assad armed opposition alongside some Islamist groups said they shelled the city of Izraa, a main government held town"

How many innocent civilians were killed? Did not see the number in the press.

Ramsis

stop this nonsense, no one believes it ny more... moderate rebels, barrel bombs ...they are all islamic terorrists, and very well funded and equipped by saudi arabia and qater and trained and supplied by turkey and the u.s. clear as day light ,they are all sunni muslim terrorists!

Mark

There is a news report "Christmas and New Year carnival in Damascus- Video" on SANA news website. I seriously doubt the "moderate" rebels would approve of anything Christmas-related. Assad looks a lot more moderate to me than the US-backed "moderates".

TruthMonger

Why our media is viewing Syrian events from the terrorists' perspective, never from the legitimate government's??

Scott

That GGAADDAAMMMM IDIOT BUSH & The AFFLUENZA Party (Republican Party) are 100% to Blame......for Creating ISIS....and The Whole Mess in Middle East.......Says RAND PAUL & TED CRUZ........92% of Americans Agree

analogy

I keep on reading "rebels , freedom fighters, moderates" that this means the Paris attackers and the ones that brought down the towers are one of the above?

[Dec 30, 2015] Putin rules out reconciliation with Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... On Thursday, Putin went as far as to say that the Islamic State group was a "secondary issue" in Syria as it was created as "cannon fodder under Islamist slogans" to protect economic interests of other players, although he did not name Turkey. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Moscow (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin fired off an angry tirade against Turkey on Thursday, ruling out any reconciliation with its leaders and accusing Ankara of shooting down a Russian warplane to impress the United States.

In comments littered with crude language, Putin dismissed the possibility that the downing of the warplane over the Turkey-Syria border last month was an accident, calling it a "hostile act".

"We find it difficult if not impossible to come to an agreement with the current leadership of Turkey," the Kremlin strongman said at his annual news conference.

"On the state level, I don't see any prospects of improving relations with the Turkish leadership," he said of Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ties between Russia and the NATO member have hit rock bottom since the November 24 incident, which led to deaths of two Russian military officers.

Turkey has said the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Moscow insists it never left Syrian territory.

Putin said he did not rule out that Ankara was acting with tacit approval from Washington, possibly so that the United States would look the other way to let Turkey "go onto Iraqi territory and occupy part of it".

"I don't know if there was such a trade-off, maybe there was," Putin said.

"If somebody in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in one place... I don't know, if they did the right thing," he added.

"Did they think we would run away now? Russia is not that kind of country," Putin said, speaking of Moscow's increased military presence in Syria.

"If Turkey flew there all the time before, breaching Syrian airspace, well, let's see how they fly now."

Turkey has voiced concern about Russian air raids in northern Syria because of the Turkmen minority in the area, a Turkic-speaking people who have had an uneasy relationship with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

But Putin declared: "I've never heard anything about these so-called Turkmen.

"I know that there are our Turkmen, living in Turkmenistan," he said, referring to the ex-Soviet Central Asian country.

Putin also accused Turkey's leaders of overseeing a "creeping Islamisation" of the country "which would probably cause (modern Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal) Ataturk to turn in his grave."

- Not an 'enemy state' -

Putin and Erdogan have been locked in a war of words since the plane downing, and Moscow has even accused Erdogan's family of engaging in oil smuggling operations with Islamic State jihadists.

On Thursday, Putin went as far as to say that the Islamic State group was a "secondary issue" in Syria as it was created as "cannon fodder under Islamist slogans" to protect economic interests of other players, although he did not name Turkey.

However, he said he does not consider Turkey an enemy state. "They committed an enemy act against our aviation, but to say that we view Turkey as enemy state -- that is not the case."

Russia has imposed a number of sanctions on Turkey but Putin brushed aside questions from journalists about raids against Turkish firms and expulsions of Turkish students from Russian universities.

Putin said that had the downing of the plane been an accident, Turkish leaders should have tried to "pick up the phone and explain themselves".

Erdogan attempted to call Putin on the day of the incident, but the Kremlin ignored his request to speak to the Russian leader.

[Dec 30, 2015] Moscow demands arrest of rebel for 'murder' of Russian warplane pilot

Please note the AFP does not mentions that killing parachuted pilot is a war crime.
Notable quotes:
"... Zakharova said that the publication of Celik's comments in a major Turkish newspaper had angered and surprised Moscow, and accused the media outlet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate of Russia and the Russian people through nationalist ideology." ..."
"... She added that Celik's comments constituted an admission of his "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot". ..."
news.yahoo.com

Moscow (AFP) - Moscow on Wednesday called for Ankara to arrest a rebel it claims killed the pilot of the Russian jet downed by Turkey last month on the Syrian border.

"We demand that the Turkish authorities take immediate steps to apprehend Alparslan Celik and his accomplices and bring them to justice for the murder of the Russian pilot," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

In an interview published Sunday in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Celik -- a Turkmen rebel and citizen of Turkey -- said that his "conscience cannot be bothered by a person who threw bombs at Turkmen civilians every day," referring to the slain Russian pilot.

Both pilots aboard the downed Su-24 jet ejected and parachuted to the ground on the Syrian side of the border, one of whom was killed by gun fire from the ground.

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death.

Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a bitter spat over the downing of the Su-24 jet on November 24, with the Kremlin imposing a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey.

Zakharova said that the publication of Celik's comments in a major Turkish newspaper had angered and surprised Moscow, and accused the media outlet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate of Russia and the Russian people through nationalist ideology."

She added that Celik's comments constituted an admission of his "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot".

Turkish authorities have accused Russia of "ethnic cleansing" in Syria, targeting Turkmen and Sunni population that oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's long-time ally.

Turkey says the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, while Moscow insisted it did not cross over from Syria and accused Ankara of a planned provocation.

[Dec 29, 2015] What Really Caused the Implosion of the Occupy Movement-An Insider's View

Notable quotes:
"... The author may be too young to know about it. A detailed study of FBI and other infiltrationism into various movements through the 50s , 60s, 70s would repay the effort. ..."
"... Perhaps field guides should be written on how to "spot the agent", "spot the plant", "spot the disruptor" etc. ..."
"... "Homeless people make up a significant proportion of participants in the Occupy Movement in cities across the United States, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where at times they comprise an estimated third of the occupiers… Despite stereotypical beliefs that homeless people are not interested in politics, the homeless actually have perhaps the least to lose and the most to gain from being involved in the Occupy Movement." ..."
"... "[The social composition of the movement is] quite varied. Occupy Oakland, for example, is perhaps 50% black and Latino, whereas occupations in other parts of the country may be mostly white. Some occupations are primarily very poor people, homeless people, etc., others include a lot of white-collar workers. Young 'précaires' [people whose work situation and future prospects are precarious] are certainly among the most numerous participants." ..."
"... Yes, there was a 17-city, coordinated paramilitary crackdown. All in one night. I watched and chronicled the live stream. ..."
"... For about a year I've wondered why NC could be so hard on Syriza while continuing to run that embarrassing Occupy banner at the top of the page. And you're fond of quoting Gandhi, (you lose, you lose, they give up, you win). But while you're losing you're getting beat up. And that's the problem with Americans generally; can't take a punch. Glass jaw. ..."
"... When leadership isn't willing to make that commitment there is no organization. And with no organization we're left with "going postal". Americans are much more adept at that. ..."
"... Unlike the situation in Europe, however, there appears to be little effort among the dispersed elements of the movement in the United States to achieve political power. The stronger effort here is to create a viable alternative to the current corrupt and destructive political/economic system, to step outside it and grow something else again. ..."
"... L'Échaudée: "Would you say that State repression (especially the unified and coordinated raids against the camps) was the main cause of Occupy's decline?" Ken Knabb: "Yes." ..."
"... Yes. And the violent attack on the encampments didn't just disperse the people. Cops destroyed food and food service supplies, shelter, electronic equipment, libraries, and medical and first-aid supplies, much of it likely donated by people not necessarily able to be part of an encampment. For some campers this was maybe most of what they had or, for the homeless and other marginalized people who came to the camps, more than they had. If we do build a movement, if bringing about real change will require people to strike, or boycott, or occupy vacant land or buildings, this kind of community support is crucial. We ought not discount (the "authorities" certainly didn't) the material and psychological impact of this destruction beyond just the local participants; and we need to find more sustainable, less vulnerable ways of providing community support. ..."
"... There is a difference between "color revolution" style events which promote neoliberalism and Occupy style events that oppose it. In case of color revolution style events the participants can rely on all the power of Western embassies, NGO, intelligence agencies and flow of money and equipment. Training of leaders would be provided, "revolutionaries for hire" will emerge, etc. ..."
"... Many of us Professional-Managerial Class (PMC) activists are hampered by having been told implicitly and explicitly for our entire education that we are the leaders of the world when we are at best lieutenants of the 1%. ..."
"... The sort of utopianism on display here is not only callow and tiresome (and precisely why Occupy failed), but also depressing. And if it reflects the level of understanding held by "activists" of the nature of the crisis we face, I am not heartened. ..."
"... I agree completely. This recap is self-absorbed, naive, and absurd - it reminds me in many ways of the business plan of a start-up that has no clear route to actually making money. It's impossible to imagine a movement of people who think like this accomplishing anything, because they have no model for the outcome they want; what they do have is a model for how they want themselves to be. ..."
"... "As a life-long member of the working class I find the suggestion that I need to be schooled in the ways of courageous resistance breathtakingly arrogant" ..."
"... Whatever else you may say about Lenin, his goals, his means, or his beliefs, he had a remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental view of power and how one goes about getting it and how one goes about holding on to it. ..."
"... From my perspective the Leninist alternative dismisses any interest in a democratically self-organized society. In postulating a disciplined revolutionary party to act in the name of society he completed the final arc in a profoundly undemocratic political trajectory from which the traditional Left has not yet recovered. ..."
"... May be the traditional Left has not yet recovered , but traditional right fully adopted Lenin's methods and organization under color revolution banner. ..."
"... "Occupy" failed because it had no goal, and having no goal, it didn't know how to get there. See: http://goo.gl/m6qmGn ..."
"... It goes on and on, protest after protest. Anti-racial profiling. Anti-union busting. Anti-tuition increases. Anti-school closings. Anti-mortgage fraud. Anti-unsustainable development. Anti-corruption. Anti-this, anti-that, anti-the other thing. ..."
"... For reasons unknown, the Occupy movement seems to take a perverse pride in being leaderless and directionless, preferring to run hither and yon, protesting whatever strikes their fancy. No focus. No plan. No idea. Just protest. ..."
"... The Tea Party has a simple, easily understood focus: Lower taxes. What is Occupy's simple, easily understood focus? ..."
"... The public grows weary of ineffectual, random, aimless protests, and Occupy, which began with such great promise, becomes last week's newspaper. A lost opportunity is a step backward, as people become discouraged and slide into lethargy. ..."
"... Somewhere, in board rooms around the world, the 1% is laughing. ..."
"... Do nothing? I'd be curious to hear what you mean on that. It took incredibly coordinated state action to defuse Occupy, not public weariness. ..."
"... It's unfortunate Occupy was not able to organize in a way to neutralize such action, but at the very least, it pulled back the curtain on the police state specifically and the power of government more generally in a way no one can deny moving forward. That's the spark of hope from the various events of the last few years. The elites want us to believe they are all powerful. But it is actually taking them quite a bit of effort to maintain that illusion. In reality, they are strategically weak and vulnerable. And they know it. ..."
"... Which is why the Democratic party has had to become so blatantly pro-inequality. Even a modest opposition to fascism on their part would ruin the efforts of the past few decades. ..."
Dec 28, 2015 | naked capitalism

Will, December 28, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Leaderlessness is very different than having many leaders. The strongest movements have many leaders that each know/feel when/how to lead and follow and cooperate in turn. Many powerful people, powerful enough to know that power does not mean dominating others in the movement. Such a movement will be much harder to stop than a leaderless one, where the FBI can easily insert its own leaders and derail the whole thing.

The author doesn't address it, but I wouldn't be surprised if many of those emotional bullies he describes were gov't plants. Building a movement full of physically and emotionally powerful people is how to combat such tactics.

different clue, December 28, 2015 at 3:10 pm

The author may be too young to know about it. A detailed study of FBI and other infiltrationism into various movements through the 50s , 60s, 70s would repay the effort.

Perhaps field guides should be written on how to "spot the agent", "spot the plant", "spot the disruptor" etc.

nobody, December 28, 2015 at 10:04 am

Anybody who says, of Occupy, that "everyone went home," doesn't know what the fuck they are talking about.

cf:

"Homeless people make up a significant proportion of participants in the Occupy Movement in cities across the United States, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where at times they comprise an estimated third of the occupiers… Despite stereotypical beliefs that homeless people are not interested in politics, the homeless actually have perhaps the least to lose and the most to gain from being involved in the Occupy Movement."

(Matthew Charles Cardinale, "U.S.: Homeless Play Key Role in Occupy Movement," from December, 2011.)

**

"[The social composition of the movement is] quite varied. Occupy Oakland, for example, is perhaps 50% black and Latino, whereas occupations in other parts of the country may be mostly white. Some occupations are primarily very poor people, homeless people, etc., others include a lot of white-collar workers. Young 'précaires' [people whose work situation and future prospects are precarious] are certainly among the most numerous participants."

(Ken Knabb, "The Occupy Movement at Its Peak, November 10, 2011)

Yves Smith, December 28, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Yes, there was a 17-city, coordinated paramilitary crackdown. All in one night. I watched and chronicled the live stream.

Occupy had very much depended on "place" as in the actual occupations. They had a great deal of difficult regrouping after that.

In NYC some group continue to do good work, most notably Occupy the SEC and Alternative Banking. Occupy Sandy was VERY important, and some of the many Occupy Homes groups were effective but not give much credit or even notice in the media.


MarcoPolo, December 28, 2015 at 9:48 am

For about a year I've wondered why NC could be so hard on Syriza while continuing to run that embarrassing Occupy banner at the top of the page. And you're fond of quoting Gandhi, (you lose, you lose, they give up, you win). But while you're losing you're getting beat up. And that's the problem with Americans generally; can't take a punch. Glass jaw.

Jesse published a quote from Fredrick Douglas a couple of weeks ago. I can't find it now. But it speaks to that; the commitment and preparation necessary to take the kind of punishment you must. When leadership isn't willing to make that commitment there is no organization. And with no organization we're left with "going postal". Americans are much more adept at that.

Consider this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6YNlI8T4RE

Ché Pasa

Credit Yotam Marom and Alternet where this piece was posted on 23 Dec 15.

Ché Pasa, December 28, 2015 at 10:14 am

Interesting that I didn't see any recognition that Podemos has won electoral victory in Spain (May have missed it, long article and all). Podemos grew directly out of the Indignato movement which was a precursor and model for the Occupy movement in the US and latterly around the world.

Whether Podemos will go the way of Syriza and basically become the leftish face of neo-fascism and colonialism remains to be seen. They say they learned from the Greek tragedy and they won't make the same mistakes Syriza did, but power does strange things to its holders and implementers.

The occupied squares were cleared by police in Madrid and the rest of Spain, sometimes over and over again and with as much violence as the police displayed in the United States and elsewhere, but the movement did not die in Spain. It dispersed and in dispersion, it built a politically potent element that now has control of the Spanish government - at least in theory. We'll see what happens when "reality" sets in.

The movement was not destroyed, it was dispersed in the US as well. Hundreds of localized programs and projects grew out of the dispersal of the Occupy movement, many of which continue and grow. The dispersal of the movement was akin to the broadcast of seeds over fields.

Unlike the situation in Europe, however, there appears to be little effort among the dispersed elements of the movement in the United States to achieve political power. The stronger effort here is to create a viable alternative to the current corrupt and destructive political/economic system, to step outside it and grow something else again.

That's more in tune with the anarchist roots of the movement than trying to obtain control of government.

nobody

The secret truth is that Occupy Wall Street was supposed to work. And this is how it was supposed to work:

"A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future… The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people's assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.

"The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.

"On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

"Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?… something all Americans, right and left, yearn for and can stand behind."

And what happened to that idea? David Graeber and his friends derailed it:

"Two days later, at the Outreach meeting we were brainstorming what to put on our first flyer. Adbusters' idea had been that we focus on "one key demand." [sic] This was a brilliant idea from a marketing perspective, but from an organizing perspective, it made no sense at all. We put that one aside almost immediately. There were much more fundamental questions to be hashed out. Like: who were we? Who did want to appeal to? Who did we represent?"

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/david-graeber-on-playing-by-the-rules-%E2%80%93-the-strange-success-of-occupy-wall-street.html

nobody

Yotam Marom: "But the truth is, it wasn't the state…"

**

L'Échaudée: "Would you say that State repression (especially the unified and coordinated raids against the camps) was the main cause of Occupy's decline?"

Ken Knabb: "Yes."

http://www.bopsecrets.org/recent/occupy-looking-back.htm

marym

Yes. And the violent attack on the encampments didn't just disperse the people. Cops destroyed food and food service supplies, shelter, electronic equipment, libraries, and medical and first-aid supplies, much of it likely donated by people not necessarily able to be part of an encampment. For some campers this was maybe most of what they had or, for the homeless and other marginalized people who came to the camps, more than they had. If we do build a movement, if bringing about real change will require people to strike, or boycott, or occupy vacant land or buildings, this kind of community support is crucial. We ought not discount (the "authorities" certainly didn't) the material and psychological impact of this destruction beyond just the local participants; and we need to find more sustainable, less vulnerable ways of providing community support.

different clue, December 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Weren't the very first few days of Occupy Wall Street conducted by semi-spontaneous contemporary young people in part responding to a slogan written and a call issued by Kalle Lasn of Adbusters Magazine ( "Occupy Wall Street") called-for to happen on a particular day? This is just sketchy memory to be sure. And it became worth much more than one day's involvement.

But after the very first few days, I read somewhere that David Graeber and other older-generation holdover-anarchist-nostalgiasts crashed the movement and infiltrated the leadership and degraded it into a live-action display of "this is what Anarchism looks like". If that is part of the problem of what happened, then younger people will have to analyse that very carefully and if they have another upsurge, they will have to rigidly exclude and reject any David Graberoid self-actualizing/validation-seeking aging Anarchist Nostalgiasts from any contact whatsoever from a genuine upsurge-of-the-young movement.

They might also do some careful thinking about what they actually DO want, and WHY they want it . . . in actionable specificity.

Jim

So what is the lesson from this type of response by the national security state?

It may be worthwhile to take a more careful look at successful occupation strikes.

For example, Solidarity in Poland, after 30 years of average citizen political defeats, managed, through a carefully thought-out and premeditated assertion of power to occupy the Lenin Shipyard, in August of 1980, and to also create an interfactory strike committee which at the beginning consisted of 20 supporting enterprises that insured lateral lines of communication between the occupying sites within the entire Baltic coastal region–in order to ultimately accomplish was was thought of as impossible–the achievement of a self-governing trade union independent of the party state.

When the strike was initially announced at the Lenin Shipyard Walesa said the following:

"I declare an occupation strike. I have been given the trust of the workers. We are occupying the shipyard. We aren't going anywhere until we're sure we've gotten what we wanted. We're staying. This is an occupation strike. I'll be the last one to leave."

They had a single strategic goal with some 20 additional demands backed by a self-created institutional structure (with significant leverage) that was able to protect its citizens and leadership within the shipyard from the State during the time of occupation.

Serious politics with extremely high stakes that managed, for a time, to shift the balance of power, within Poland–and people who participated in this success talked about how their personal fear, in the process of this democratic assertion of power, began to dissipate.

likbez

There is a difference between "color revolution" style events which promote neoliberalism and Occupy style events that oppose it. In case of color revolution style events the participants can rely on all the power of Western embassies, NGO, intelligence agencies and flow of money and equipment. Training of leaders would be provided, "revolutionaries for hire" will emerge, etc.

Occupy was against the most powerful state in the world without any substantial external support.

See

ElViejito December 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm
I would distill my history of activism since the 60's by claiming that the new society will grow within the cracks of the old. I turned from working on "the revolution" a long time ago and now focus on small, achievable projects that have a potential for lasting and making a difference – a progressive forum that brings in speakers to a monthly potluck, a progressive film festival that encourages wide-ranging political discussion, a small think tank consisting of volunteers researching local issues (tax increment financing, anyone?).

Many of us Professional-Managerial Class (PMC) activists are hampered by having been told implicitly and explicitly for our entire education that we are the leaders of the world when we are at best lieutenants of the 1%. For dealing with the rest of the (non-PMC) world, I recommend the strategy suggested by Lois Mark Stalvey in The Education of a WASP: (Loosely quoting from memory) Go to meetings run by minorities (or non PMC-types), do not take over the meeting or offer advice – just be there and help with whatever project they are working on; develop relationships.

Experience being the minority. Later, when you have become accepted as a member of the group, only make suggestions and proposals that promote progressive values and build on the group's already existing values. Always be respectful of the group and its members. This is the best training for dealing with the world and building connected centers of resistance.

GlobalMisanthrope, December 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Sorry everybody, but I'm going to go against the grain here. Putting to one side the intolerably wise-whimsical tone, I read this piece as hagiography posing as critique. (It's mortifying to read, especially the struggle as raison d'être trope where he's totally cribbing and doesn't even seem to know it, even though this has been put forth as recently as this year to much fanfare and criticism by Ta-Nehisi Coates. No, he thinks he made it up. Yikes!)

Human history is disheveled, spasmodic attempts by those of us who would really rather get on with our lives to stop the ruthless from making that impossible. This battle rages and recedes over and over, sometimes for centuries. Just look how the revolutions of Christianity and capitalism completely reshaped the world and in both cases for good and for bad. Good grief, son. Read a book.

What's more, if you need Gestalt therapy to evoke fear in your heart, then you either aren't paying attention or are on the safe side of the fray. The rest of us are daily made aware that power and powerlessness are not cosmetic and that those are the forces that shape our lives while we try to live in them as best we can. And yet we find the courage to smile at our children. As a life-long member of the working class I find the suggestion that I need to be schooled in the ways of courageous resistance breathtakingly arrogant. I am not charmed.

The sort of utopianism on display here is not only callow and tiresome (and precisely why Occupy failed), but also depressing. And if it reflects the level of understanding held by "activists" of the nature of the crisis we face, I am not heartened.

SRL, December 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm

I agree. Although I supported Occupy, it really had nothing to teach me.

Nick, December 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm

I agree completely. This recap is self-absorbed, naive, and absurd - it reminds me in many ways of the business plan of a start-up that has no clear route to actually making money. It's impossible to imagine a movement of people who think like this accomplishing anything, because they have no model for the outcome they want; what they do have is a model for how they want themselves to be. Naturally, it turns out after a while that they all have different models for how they want themselves to be, and then it breaks up like an unstable bunch of polyamorists who can't stand the constant negotiating anymore.

I'm trying to imagine a leader of the civil rights movement writing a post-mortem like this, and simply can't.

animalogic, December 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Thank you, GlobalMisanthrope, I agree.

Credit where due, the author has reached out for some knowledge of both self and circumstances, however, that knowledge is symptomatic of someone lost in the the land of PC idealism.

Frankly, the "bad conscience" is alive and well in these ones. Callow indeed. In the face of one of the most vicious oligarchies in history, these amateurs fret and fight over the simple VALIDITY of leadership.

Perhaps, I should not be unfair: after all, how could people cultivated lifelong in the playroom of PC/Identity politics ever gain the knowledge, let alone the INSTINCTS. sufficient to fight our oligarchs ?

Indeed, PC/identity politics has been one of the oligarchs greatest assets over the last few decades:

1. PC etc has usefully SPLIT workers etc into descrete, often contradictory, even isolated, movements. Divide and conquer politics.

2. PC etc has DISTRACTED effort away from core economic issues onto social/cultural ones, which have little to no real bearing on their wealth/power. Or does anyone really believe that the real elites give a SHIT whether (say) gay people marry or not ?

3. PC etc has given them a wonderful stick with which conservatives can beat their "liberal" enemies. Can we not admit that PC often slips over into the ludicrous ?

4. And, in some ways best of all, PC encourages a fearful self censoring citizenry. Indeed, the author is a perfect example of a guilt ridden, confused, trivial modern citizen…really, anything to fear there ? Lol.

Roll on the crypto (?)fascist state….

Ulysses , December 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

"As a life-long member of the working class I find the suggestion that I need to be schooled in the ways of courageous resistance breathtakingly arrogant"

Well said!

sid_finster, December 28, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Y'all really really need to study the works of V.I. Lenin.

Whatever else you may say about Lenin, his goals, his means, or his beliefs, he had a remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental view of power and how one goes about getting it and how one goes about holding on to it.

Jim, December 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Sid,

From my perspective the Leninist alternative dismisses any interest in a democratically self-organized society. In postulating a disciplined revolutionary party to act in the name of society he completed the final arc in a profoundly undemocratic political trajectory from which the traditional Left has not yet recovered.

likbez,

"In postulating a disciplined revolutionary party to act in the name of society he completed the final arc in a profoundly undemocratic political trajectory from which the traditional Left has not yet recovered."

May be "the traditional Left has not yet recovered", but traditional right fully adopted Lenin's methods and organization under "color revolution" banner.

sandra, December 29, 2015 at 12:37 am

We came out of the sixties with the idea that those people who pushed political and anti-war meetings into internal conflict that was intolerable to sit through were often undercover government agents. Sorry, it has happened and has been documented from the sixties and into the present. If it is a natural phenomenon that political movements move though that stage of participants attacking each other to the detriment of everyone, it is something that calls out for recognition as an historical phenomenon that is repeated, and that wider perspective is necessary somewhere in your analysis. The occupy movement may have been short-lived and crushed by the power of the state. But it was successful in my experience beyond our imaginings.

Your movement redefined everything that happened afterward. It is absolutely accepted that we live in an oligarchy, that wall street has destroyed the economy, that the banks are corrupt and the government is in their orbit. Your visceral reactions to the corruption that surrounds us made a profound mark upon the country's understanding of itself. Do not underestimate that. The thinking about what to do next had not yet evolved.

The corrupt capitalists are still in power and still control the major media, but they have lost the country. Sorry but there is no constituency there anymore to support their views. They must lie to us and trick us, as those in power have done. They must skew the elections. The path ahead was not clear to you or to us when your dramatic movement sprang up. And it is not clear now that we know these truths. We know how far away the power structure is from our values. And that is where we stand.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

"Occupy" failed because it had no goal, and having no goal, it didn't know how to get there. See: http://goo.gl/m6qmGn

Here is a quote from the above June 2012 article:

It goes on and on, protest after protest. Anti-racial profiling. Anti-union busting. Anti-tuition increases. Anti-school closings. Anti-mortgage fraud. Anti-unsustainable development. Anti-corruption. Anti-this, anti-that, anti-the other thing.

For reasons unknown, the Occupy movement seems to take a perverse pride in being leaderless and directionless, preferring to run hither and yon, protesting whatever strikes their fancy. No focus. No plan. No idea. Just protest.

The Tea Party has a simple, easily understood focus: Lower taxes. What is Occupy's simple, easily understood focus?

The business and political leaders, against whom Occupy protests, have learned one thing: Do nothing. Occupy will protest and then they will be gone, and we can resume business as usual.

The public grows weary of ineffectual, random, aimless protests, and Occupy, which began with such great promise, becomes last week's newspaper. A lost opportunity is a step backward, as people become discouraged and slide into lethargy.

Somewhere, in board rooms around the world, the 1% is laughing.

washunate, December 29, 2015 at 10:11 am

Do nothing? I'd be curious to hear what you mean on that. It took incredibly coordinated state action to defuse Occupy, not public weariness.

It's unfortunate Occupy was not able to organize in a way to neutralize such action, but at the very least, it pulled back the curtain on the police state specifically and the power of government more generally in a way no one can deny moving forward. That's the spark of hope from the various events of the last few years. The elites want us to believe they are all powerful. But it is actually taking them quite a bit of effort to maintain that illusion. In reality, they are strategically weak and vulnerable. And they know it.

Which is why the Democratic party has had to become so blatantly pro-inequality. Even a modest opposition to fascism on their part would ruin the efforts of the past few decades.

[Dec 24, 2015] Obama's foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices

Notable quotes:
"... At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration's foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States. ..."
The Washington Post

Plunging crude oil prices are diverting hundreds of billions of dollars away from the treasure chests of oil-exporting nations, putting some of the United States' adversaries under greater stress.

After two years of falling prices, the effects have reverberated across the globe, fueling economic discontent in Venezuela, changing Russia's economic and political calculations, and dampening Iranian leaders' hopes of a financial windfall when sanctions linked to its nuclear program will be lifted next year.

At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration's foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States.

"Cheap oil hurts revenues for some of our foes and helps some of our friends. The Europeans, South Koreans and Japanese - they're all winners," said Robert McNally, director for energy in President George W. Bush's National Security Council and now head of the Rapidan Group, a consulting firm. "It's not good for Russia, that's for sure, and it's not good for Iran."

... ... ...

In Iran, cheap oil is forcing the government to ratchet down expectations.

The much-anticipated lifting of sanctions as a result of the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program is expected to result in an additional half-million barrels a day of oil exports by the middle of 2016.

But at current prices, Iran's income from those sales will still fall short of revenue earned from constrained oil exports a year ago.

Moreover, low prices are making it difficult for Iran to persuade international oil companies to develop Iran's long-neglected oil and gas fields, which have been off limits since sanctions were broadened in 2012.

"Should Iran come out of sanctions, they will face a very different market than the one they had left in 2012," Amos Hochstein, the State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, said in an interview. "They were forced to recede in a world of over $100 oil, and sanctions will be lifted at $36 oil. They will have to work harder to convince companies to come in and take the risk for supporting their energy infrastructure and their energy production."

Meanwhile, in Russia, low oil prices have compounded damage done by U.S. and European sanctions that were designed to target Russia's energy and financial sectors. And when Iran increases output, its grade of crude oil will most likely go to Europe, where it will compete directly with Russia's Urals oil, McNally said.

Steven Mufson covers the White House. Since joining The Post, he has covered economics, China, foreign policy and energy.

[Dec 24, 2015] Israeli-made air-to-air missile may have downed MH17

Notable quotes:
"... "fragments of the pilots' cockpit have suffered specific damages in the form of localized puncture holes and surface dents typical for hypervelocity impacts with compact and hard objects," ..."
"... "intricate shape" ..."
"... "most probably incorrect." ..."
Dec 24, 2015 | RT News

A report on Malaysian Airlines MH17 air disaster in Ukraine last year by a group of old-hand aviation security experts maintains that the Boeing might have been downed by an Israeli Python air-to-air missile.

Trends: Malaysia MH17 plane crash, Ukraine turmoil

The report was leaked via the private LiveJournal account of Albert Naryshkin (aka albert_lex) late on Tuesday and has already been widely discussed by social media communities in Russia.

The authors of the investigative report have calculated the possible detonation initiation point of the missile that hit the passenger aircraft and approximate number and weight of strike elements, which in turn designated the type and presumed manufacturer of the weapon.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

Malaysian Airline Boeing 777-200 performing flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, crashed on the territory of Ukraine near the village of Grabovo, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers aboard.

The aircraft disintegrated in the air and the debris of MH17 were scattered across an area of about 50 sq. km.

The external view of MH17 hull pieces indicates that "fragments of the pilots' cockpit have suffered specific damages in the form of localized puncture holes and surface dents typical for hypervelocity impacts with compact and hard objects," the report says, stressing that similar damage could be found on the inner side of the cockpit.

The report specifically points out that chips of the body coat around the holes in the fragment are typical of wave effects created by hypervelocity impacts.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

Some damage, though larger and less clustered, could be found near the air-scoop of the left-wing engine of the aircraft.

The nature of the damage allows for the identification of the source as a high-explosive fragmentation warhead from a modern anti-aircraft weapon, claims the report.

Apart from the large puncture holes, the debris of the nose and the cockpit of the aircraft bear a large number of scattered micro-craters resulting from the impact of high-velocity dust and tiny debris, such as an unburnt blasting agent and elements of the ordnance that accompany a shock wave from a blast that occurred very close to the target. In the case of MH17, the pilots' cockpit.

The report says that as a rule, the initial speed of the striking elements of modern anti-aircraft weapons vary between 1,500 and 2,500 meters per second.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

Altogether, the experts considered photos of five fragments of the cockpit and left port of the flight MH17, on which they counted some 230 "battle-damage" holes and punctures.

All this considered, the experts claim that the exact zone of the blast impact could be established with a fair degree of accuracy.

The warhead of the missile exploded very close to the cockpit, to its left side at a distance of 0.8-1.6 meters from the cockpit windows, exactly opposite the sliding window of the aircraft commander.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

The dimensions and character of the puncture holes left by the strike elements allegedly allow their size and form factor to be established, which in its turn makes it possible to identify the type of weapon used in a particular case.

The cross dimension of absolute majority, 86 percent, of the 186 hull holes studied by experts measure between 6 and 13mm, with explicit maximum of them having cross dimension of 8mm.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

This fact brought the expert group to a conclusion about the size of the strike elements of the warhead. If the warhead had been armed with two types of strike elements, the majority of the holes would have been of two types, the reports notes.

The strike element has been established of being a rectangular block measured 8mm x 8mm x 6mm, with margin of error of 0.5 mm, a high probability it was made of steel and an estimated weight of 3 grams each. The total number of such elements should have varied between 2,000 and 4,000.

The bulk of the strike elements are estimated between 4.88 – 14.8 kilograms.

@ http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

@ http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

The report confutes the argument of Russia's Almaz-Antey military concern that early claimed that "intricate shape" double-t steel fragments, similar to those used in warheads of surface-to-air Buk missile systems, have been extracted from the debris of MH17 flight.

Howwever, the double-t strike elements of a Buk missile weigh 8.1 grams, more than twice as much as a single damage fragment among those that pierced MH17's hull. Thus, according to the report, the hypothesis about a Buk missile system being involved in the crash is "most probably incorrect."

With 95 percent probability, the group of experts estimates the weight of the missile's warhead (explosives plus strike elements) that shot down MH17 of being between 10 and 40kg.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

This led the experts to determine the exact type of the weapon used against Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

The report says that that Soviet- and Russian-made surface-to-air missile systems use more powerful warheads than the established maximum 40kg, as is the case with MH17.

Moreover, Soviet- and Russian-made air-to-air missiles which have a similar 10-40kg warhead capability use other types of strike elements within one warhead - obviously not the case with MH17.

A whole range of existing foreign air-to-air missiles have corresponding warhead characteristics, yet lack of physical elements of the missile used against MH17 prevented experts from establishing the exact type of the weapon used.

Still, the circumstances and conditions of the assault allowed experts to make certain assumptions.

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

©http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

The missile that attacked MH17 had a passive radar homing head, which explains why the missile exploded so close to the cockpit. Under the radar-transparent nosecone of a Boeing 777-200 there is a surveillance radar station operable during the flight, so most likely the missile homed on to this radar as the target.

Apart from a radar homing head, the missile could also be equipped with an advanced, matrix type, imaging IR seeker, which enables the missile to determine the size and the type of the target and choose for attack its most vital element. For a huge Boeing aircraft, that's the cockpit.

A simulation of the missile attack has proved that missiles with that type of guidance choose to attack a big passenger plane from the front hemisphere.

There are four air-to-air missiles that fit the description established by the experts, namely: French Magis-2, Israeli Shafrir, American AIM-9 and Israeli Python – all short-range.

The first three have been struck off the list for various reasons, including type of warhead or guidance system specifications. The Python deserved a closer look.

The Python is equipped with a matrix-imaging IR seeker. It enables a relatively moderate power warhead to effectively engage big aircrafts. The warhead is armed with a set of ready strike elements. Even more importantly, some open military sources suggest that in early 2000s a number of Sukhoi Su-25 assault fighter jets we refurbished to use fourth and fifth generation Python missiles, which look very similar to the Su-25's standard air-to-air R-60 missile.

@ http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

@ http://albert-lex.livejournal.com

The unofficial report leaked in LiveJournal has become yet another one among many other unofficial versions presented over the year that has passed since the catastrophe occurred on July 17, 2014.

The Dutch Safety Board that has been heading an international investigation into the cause of the crash is due to release its official report in October.

[Dec 24, 2015] Is The Russian-Turkish Standoff An Opportunity For The West

Notable quotes:
"... apparently, two USAF F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters (which had been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in November 2015) were in the air as back-up to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force: THK) F-16s, one of which shot down the Su-24. ..."
"... At best, Russia may now move to cover its tactical operations in northern Syria more effectively by offering its own deterrence of top cover by advanced fighters while the ground attack aircraft, such as the Su-24s, do their job. It is also clear that any further Turkish incursions into Syrian airspace were now at-risk, but the Turks already knew that. ..."
Dec 14, 2015 | OilPrice.com

It was, in this latest incident, Turkey, working with the U.S. Government of President Barack Obama, which planned and executed the November 24, 2015, interception of the Russian Air Force Su-24. The event was not a spontaneous occurrence, and, apparently, two USAF F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters (which had been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in November 2015) were in the air as back-up to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force: THK) F-16s, one of which shot down the Su-24. USAF sources subsequently said that the U.S. was taken by surprise when the THK shot down the Sukhoi, but that hardly squares with the historical Turkish practice of coordinating such actions with Washington. Moreover, the Turkish narrative that it "warned" the Russian aircraft several times over a period of five minutes before the THK F-16 shot it down also does not square with reality.

And in this particular ground attack operation, the two Su-24s - including the one which was destroyed - were engaged on missions which did not require them to enter Turkish airspace, even though an acci-dental entry into it was conceivable. Their targets were in the area of northern Syria: pro-Ankara Turkmen militia engaged in supporting the massive cross-border operations of ISIS (asad- Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-'Iraq wash-Sham, or Islamic State) moving oil, fighters, and weapons across the Syria-Turkish border.

Dave Majumdar, Defense Editor at the U.S. blogsite, The National Interest, on December 7, 2015, noted: "The United States and Turkey are working on an agreement that would allow the US Air Force F-15Cs to defend Turkish airspace. However, the precise rules of engagement and procedures have yet to be ironed out." It is possible that Turkey wanted to illustrate to the US that its airspace was, in fact, threatened. But what has been clear is that no credible Russian military threat to Turkey existed.

At best, Russia may now move to cover its tactical operations in northern Syria more effectively by offering its own deterrence of top cover by advanced fighters while the ground attack aircraft, such as the Su-24s, do their job. It is also clear that any further Turkish incursions into Syrian airspace were now at-risk, but the Turks already knew that.

Recently-retired U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt.-Gen. Michael Flynn publicly said in Moscow on December 10, 2015, that there was no possibility that the Turkish shootdown was undertaken without the express permission and direction of "the highest authority" in Turkey.

Indeed, Turkey has traditionally played the role of aggressor in terms of airspace violation. Not only did the THK lose an RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft well into Syrian airspace on June 22, 2012, as a result of surface-to-air missile fire, it continues to consistently invade the airspace of fellow NATO member and neighbor Greece in a manner far more hostile than the penetration of Turkish airspace it alleged Russia undertook (for 17 seconds). THK F-16s entered Greek airspace some 2,200 times in 2014 alone. Moreover, Turkey consistently has violated Cypriot air-, sea, and land-space since its 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern 37 percent of Cyprus.1

So Turkey is hardly the victim. [Indeed, by deliberately starting the "civil war" to remove Pres. Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria, Turkey only incurred a "refugee problem" as a result of its own actions, and has subsequently sought to push those refugees onward into Europe as quickly as possible, seeking political rewards from Europe as the only power capable of stopping the refugee flows.]

In any event, Pres. Erdogan, three years ago said that "a short- term border violation can never be a pre-text for an attack". But that, of course, was when a THK aircraft was shot down by Syria when the THK F-4E deliberately and for some time penetrated Syrian airspace on a mission against Syria.

... .... ....

Turkey, too, will not remain inactive. It will resume its support for anti-Russian terrorism, including support for jihadist movements in the Caucasus. These have included such groups as Kvadrat (Quadrant), a Bos-nia-based Wahhabist unit, which had "laundered" its operations through Turkish-occupied Northern Cy-prus, thence into Turkey and on into the Russian Caucasus.4 But the reactivation of Turkish-backed terror-ism in the Russian Caucasus will be far wider than just Kvadrat: Turkey works extensively, even now, with Chechen and other Caucasus groups inside ISIS and in the jihadi operations in Syria.

Significantly, by early December 2015, President Erdogan assumed that the crisis had passed sufficiently for Turkey to expand its activities in the area. There was no indication that Turkey and ISIS had diminished their extensive and integrated operations in terms of oil transactions, the supply of weapons to ISIS via Turkey, and the use of Turkey as a medical support arena for ISIS wounded. But Turkey went further and deployed Turkish Army troops into northern Iraq near the ISIS-held city of Mosul in early December 2015. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi led calls for Turkish troops to be withdrawn immediately; they had not been withdrawn by the time this report went to press.

... ... ...

The path, however, is open for a great Russian cooperation with the Kurdish forces, as well as with other regional allies which are concerned about Turkey's strategic adventurism. The Kurds, particularly those led by the majority Kurdish force (under the PKK: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, the Kurdish Workers' Par-ty), are now well underway in responding to Ankara. The civil war is underway inside Turkey, and it re-mains literally out-of-bounds to the international media. What is significant is that the Kurds have thus far not agreed to cooperate with Russia, but are awaiting a nod from their principal ally, Israel, before trust-ing Russia.

Thus Israel's position becomes critical in this debate.

Much of the Israeli leadership still hopes that a rapprochement might be achievable with Turkey, but that hope is fading. On the other hand, Israeli planners have to consider whether a broken Turkey - perhaps replaced by a patchwork of states, and with no non-Arab player other than Iran to monitor the region - is worse than a troublesome Turkey. There is also the question of whether unqualified Israeli support for the Kurdish "big push" against Turkey would then jeopardize Israeli strategic relations with Saudi Arabia, which is apparently undecided on whether, or how much, it favors a continuation of the Turkish state.

Without Turkey, according to the Saudi rationale, who would be the counterweight to Iran?

Israel is also not immune to this argument, although for Israel the prospect exists for an eventual reunion with Tehran, after the clerical leadership goes, or modifies.

So Russia is left with three potential regional allies - apart from Syria, Iraq, and Iran - against Ankara: Greece, Egypt, and Jordan. And Cyprus and Armenia to the limited extent that they can assist.

... ... ...

Articles 10 to 18 are the articles which allow for various states, including Russia, to transit military ships through the straits. In short, if Turkey invoked either Article 20 or Article 21, Russia would be legally blocked from moving any naval vessel through the Straits.

Moscow has clearly long gamed out this scenario, which accounts for President Putin's commitment to a measured response to Ankara. Thus it must be a proxy response, for the most part, as well as an economic one. But while it demonstrates the delicacy needed by Moscow, it also demonstrates the reality that Russia cannot continue to be strategically constrained by an increasingly hostile and ambitious Turkey.

So where Turkey is vulnerable is in its economy.

The effects of Russian economic embargoes against Turkey are far more significant than would seem to be the case because the Turkish economy is more vulnerable than it has been portrayed. It is far more leveraged with borrowings than at any time in the recent past. It has a discreet outflow of domestic capital and is heavily reliant on discreet financial injections, probably coming from Qatar, and possible Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia's ability to prop up Turkey is becoming limited.

...while Turkey may not be regarded as an entirely stable partner for the PRC in the region, Beijing would be wary of acting precipitously against it.

...Iran - like Russia - is constrained to act cautiously and indirectly against Turkey. Moreover, Iran cannot risk that its own Kurdish population could join with Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds to form a new Kurdish state.

...And in the short-term, this all has hardened Ankara's position on remaining in control of the northern 37 percent of Cyprus, which it has occupied militarily since 1974.

...There is no doubt that Pres. Erdogan believes that continued brinkmanship will be possible, although he is not perhaps aware that he is losing the information war, or the psychological war.

Amvet on December 15 2015 said:

Thank you Mr. Copley for a well researched, honest, and very interesting article. Any chance of getting this published in any US mainstream
newspaper or magazine ?? .

Jim on December 15 2015 said:

...Nice information actually, most mainstream media doesn't even come close. Thanks. definitely a deliberate and pre-approved escalation of the conflict, pointing fingers back to Washington, D.C.

Chris on December 15 2015 said:

A great article that brings together much of what has been reported and provides a coherent framework for understanding it. This piece should be in a general interest publication such as the NY Times so that more Americans could understand what is really going on in the Middle East.

[Dec 23, 2015] Jewish neocons and the romance of nationalist armageddon

Notable quotes:
"... The Pity of It All : A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933 ..."
"... Perhaps you are making too much of the so called decline of the neocons. At the strategic level, there is little difference between the neocon "Project for a the New American Century" and Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard," both of which are consistent with US policy and actions in the Ukraine. ..."
"... The most significant difference seems to me to be the neocon emphasis on American unilateral militarism versus Obama's emphasis on multilateralism, covert operations and financial warfare to achieve the desired results. ..."
"... Perhaps another significant difference is the neocon emphasis on the primacy of the American nation-state versus the neoliberal emphasis on an American dominated global empire. ..."
"... Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. ..."
"... Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. ..."
"... Right Sector militias are the fighting force that led the coup against the legally elected Yanukovich government and were almost certainly involved in the recent massacre in Odessa. And you support them for their fight for freedom? You should be ashamed. Zionism is sinking to new lows that they feel the need to identify with open neo-Nazis. ..."
"... Well, the point is that Zionists in Israel do not identify with that particular set of open neo-Nazis. I suspect that this is simply a matter of the headcount of Jewish business tycoons that are politically aligned with (western) Ukraine and Russia. Or you can count their billions. ..."
"... The problem with your reasoning, Yonah, is that you are espousing the Neocon line while not apparently recognizing that embarrassing fact. You lament that the US is no longer playing the role of the world's superpower, and acting as the world's cop, confronting militarily Russia, China, Iran and anyone else. It is precisely that mentality that got us into Iraq, could yet have us in a war with Iran, would like to see us defending Ukraine, and thinks we should confront China militarily over bits of rock it and its neighbors are quibbling over. That is a neocon, American supremacy mentality. ..."
"... Zionism under Likud has played a major role in promoting the neocon approach to foreign policy in the US. It was heavily involved in the birth of that approach, and has helped fund and promote the policy and its supporters and advocates in this country. They (Likud Zionists and Neocons) played a major role in getting us into the Iraq war and are playing a major role in trying to get us involved in a war with Iran, a war in Syria, and even potential wars in Eastern Europe. That is a very dangerous trend and one folks as intelligent as you are, should be focusing on. ..."
"... "nationalist Armageddon that is nowhere found in the article by Sleeper" ..."
"... "The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. " ..."
"... Tough. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives don't rate a mention. ..."
"... " (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world, for after all they hold a trillion dollars in US government debt and so let them act like the boss, for in fact they have been put in that role by feckless and destructive and wasteful US policy). But Sleeper does not say that." ..."
"... But even if we do focus on neocons, neocons don't have opinions about foreign policy and USA dominance that are much distinct from what most Republican interventionists have. How much difference is there between David Frum and Mitt Romney or between Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld? ..."
"... Don't look to the US to get any justice in the ME, nor to regain US good reputation in the world. This will situation will not change because US political campaign fiancé system won't change–it just gets worse, enhanced by SCOTUS. ..."
"... But neoocns have the confidence that if they could impose the neocon's theology on the rest of the world, they can do it here as well on American street . They call it education, motivation, duty, responsibility, moral burden, and above all the essence of the manifest destiny. ..."
mondoweiss.net
May 6, 2014 | mondoweiss.net

At the Huffington Post, Jim Sleeper addresses "A Foreign-Policy Problem No One Speaks About," and it turns out to Jewish identity, the need to belong to the powerful nation on the part of Jewish neoconservatives. Sleeper says this is an insecurity born of European exclusion that he understands as a Jew, even if he's not a warmongering neocon himself. The Yale lecturer's jumping-off point are recent statements by Leon Wieseltier and David Brooks lamenting the decline of American power.

In addition to Wieseltier and Brooks, the "blame the feckless liberals" chorus has included Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, David Frum, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and many other American neoconservatives. Some of them have been chastened, or at least been made more cautious, by their grand-strategic blunders of a few years ago…..

I'm saying that they've been fatuous as warmongers again and again and that there's something pathetic in their attempts to emulate Winston Churchill, who warned darkly of Hitler's intentions in the 1930s. Their blind spot is their willful ignorance of their own complicity in American deterioration and their over-compensatory, almost pre-adolescent faith in the benevolence of a statist and militarist power they still hope to mobilize against the seductions and terrors rising all around them.

At bottom, the chorus members' recurrent nightmares of 1938 doom them to reenact other nightmares, prompted by very similar writers in 1914, on the eve of World War I. Those writers are depicted chillingly, unforgettably, in Chapter 9, "War Fever," of Amos Elon's The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933. Elon's account of Germany's stampede into World War I chronicles painfully the warmongering hysterics of some Jewish would-be patriots of the Kaiserreich who exerted themselves blindly, romantically, to maneuver their state into the Armageddon that would produce Hitler himself.

This is the place to emphasize that few of Wilhelmine German's warmongers were Jews and that few Jews were or are warmongers. (Me, for example, although my extended-family history isn't much different from Brooks' or Wieseltier's.) My point is simply that, driven by what I recognize as understandable if almost preternatural insecurities and cravings for full liberal-nationalist belonging that was denied to Jews for centuries in Europe, some of today's American super-patriotic neo-conservatives hurled themselves into the Iraq War, and they have continued, again and again, to employ modes of public discourse and politics that echo with eerie fidelity that of the people described in Elon's book. The Americans lionized George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and many others as their predecessors lionized Kaiser Wilhelm, von Bethmann-Hollweg, and far-right nationalist associates who hated the neo-cons of that time but let them play their roles….

Instead of acknowledging their deepest feelings openly, or even to themselves, the writers I've mentioned who've brought so much folly and destruction upon their republic, are doubling down, more nervous and desperate than ever, looking for someone else to blame. Hence their whirling columns and rhythmic incantations. After Germany lost World War I, many Germans unfairly blamed their national folly on Jews, many of whom had served in it loyally but only a few of whom had been provocateurs and cheerleaders like the signatories of [Project for New American Century's] letter to Bush. Now neo-cons, from Wieseltier and Brooks to [Charles] Hill, are blaming Obama and all other feckless liberals. Some of them really need to take a look in Amos Elon's mirror.

Interesting. Though I think Sleeper diminishes Jewish agency here (Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are no one's proxy) and can't touch the Israel angle. The motivation is not simply romantic identification with power, it's an ideology of religious nationalism in the Middle East, attachment to the needs of a militarist Sparta in the Arab world. That's another foreign policy problem no one speaks about.

Krauss, May 6, 2014, 2:11 pm

"Democracy in in the Middle East" was always just a weasel-word saying of "let's try to improve Israel's strategic position by changing their neighbours".

The neocons basically took a hardline position on foreign interventionism based out of dual loyalty. This is the honest truth. For anti-Semites, a handful of neocons will always represent "The Jews" as a collective. For many Jews, the refusal to come to grips with the rise of the neocons and how the Jewish community (and really by "community" I mean the establishment) failed to prevent them in their own midst, is also a blemish.

Of course, Jim Sleeper is doing these things now. He should have done them 15-20 years ago or so. But better late than never, I guess.

Krauss, May 6, 2014, 2:16 pm

P.S. While we talk a lot about neocons as a Jewish issue, it's also important to put them in perspective. The only war that I can truly think of that they influenced was the Iraq war, which was a disaster, but it also couldn't have happened without 9/11, which was a very rare event in the history of America. You have to go back to Pearl Harbor to find something similar, and that wasn't technically a terrorist attack but rather a military attack by Japan.

Leading up to the early 2000s, they were mostly ignored during the 1990s. They did take over the GOP media in the early 90s, using the same tactics used against Hagel, use social norms as a cover but in actuality the real reason is Israel.

Before the 90s, in the 70s and 80s, the cold war took up all the oxygen.
So yeah, the neocons need to be talked about. But comparing what they are trying to do with a World War is a bit of a stretch.

Finally, talking about Israel – which Sleeper ignored – and the hardline positions that the political class in America have adopted, if you want to look who have ensured the greatest slavishness to Israel, liberal/centrist groups like ADL, AJC and AIPAC(yes, they are mostly democrats!) have played a far greater role than the neocons.

But I guess, Sleeper wasn't dealing with that, because it would ruin his view of the neocons as the bogeymen.

Just like "liberal" Zionists want to blame Likud for everything, overlooking the fact that Labor/Mapai has had a far greater role in settling/colonizing the Palestinian land than the right has, and not to speak about the ethnic cleansing campaigns of '48 and '67 which was only done by the "left", so too the neocons often pose as a convenient catch-all target for the collective Jewish failure leading up to Iraq.

And I'm using the words "collective Jewish failure" because I actually don't believe, unlike Mearsheimer/Walt, that the war would not have gone ahead unless there was massive support by the Israel/Jewish lobby. If Jews had decided no, it would still have gone ahead. This is also contrary to Tom Friedman's famous saying of "50 people in DC are responsible for this war".
I also think that's an oversimplification.

But I focus more on the Jewish side because that's my side. And I want my community to do better, and just blaming the neocons is something I'm tired of hearing in Jewish circles. The inability to look at liberal Jewish journalists and their role in promoting the war to either gentile or Jewish audiences.

Kathleen, May 6, 2014, 6:53 pm

There was talk about this last night (Monday/5th) on Chris Matthew's Hardball segment on Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice pulling out of the graduation ceremonies at Rutger's. David Corn did not say much but Eugene Robinson and Chris Matthews were basically talking about Israel and the neocons desires to rearrange the middle east "the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad" conversation.

Bumblebye, May 6, 2014, 2:33 pm

"some of today's American super-patriotic neo-conservatives hurled themselves into the Iraq War"

Have to take issue with that – the neo-cons hurled young American (and foreign) servicemen and women into that war, many to their deaths, along with throwing as much taxpayer money as possible. They stayed ultra safe and grew richer for their efforts.

Citizen, May 7, 2014, 9:03 am

@ Bumblebye

Good point. During WW1, as I read the history, the Jewish Germans provided their fair share of combat troops. If memory serves, despite Weimar Germany's later "stab in the back" theory, e.g., Hitler himself was given a combat medal thanks to his Jewish senior officer. In comparison to the build-up to Shrub Jr's war on Iraq, the Jewish neocons provided very few Jewish American combat troops.

It's hard to get reliable stats on Jewish American participation in the US combat arms during the Iraq war. For all I've been able to ascertain, more have joined the IDF over the years. At any rate, it's common knowledge that Shrub's war on Iraq was instigated and supported by chicken hawks (Jew or Gentile) at a time bereft of conscription. They built their sale by ignoring key facts, and embellishing misleading and fake facts, as illustrated by the Downing Street memo.

Keith, May 6, 2014, 7:47 pm

PHIL- Perhaps you are making too much of the so called decline of the neocons. At the strategic level, there is little difference between the neocon "Project for a the New American Century" and Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard," both of which are consistent with US policy and actions in the Ukraine.

The most significant difference seems to me to be the neocon emphasis on American unilateral militarism versus Obama's emphasis on multilateralism, covert operations and financial warfare to achieve the desired results.

Perhaps another significant difference is the neocon emphasis on the primacy of the American nation-state versus the neoliberal emphasis on an American dominated global empire.

So yes, the nationalistic emphasis is an anachronism, however, the decline of the US in conjunction with the extension of a system of globalized domination should hardly be of concern to elite power-seekers who will benefit. In fact, the new system of corporate/financial control will be beyond the political control of any nation, even the US. If they can pull it off. An interesting topic no doubt, but one which I doubt is suitable for extended discussion on Mondoweiss. As for power-seeking as a consequence of a uniquely Jewish experience, perhaps the less said the better.

ToivoS, May 7, 2014, 8:10 pm
Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. The Ukraine crisis exposes that 10% difference. Brzezinski I very much doubt has any emotional attachment to Israel though he is happy to work in coalition with them to further his one true goal which is to isolate and defeat Russian influence in the world. In the 1980s both were on the same page in the "let my people go" campaign against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski saw it as a propaganda opportunity to attack Russia and the neocons saw it has a source of more Jews to settle Palestine.

Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. When it comes down to it it is hard for many Jews, right wing or not, to support the political movement inside Ukraine that identifies with Bandera. Now that was one nasty antisemite whose followers killed many thousands of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust. My wife's family immigrated from Galicia and the Odessa region and those left behind perished during the holocaust. The extended family includes anti-zionists and WB settlers. There is no way that any of them would identify with Ukrainian fascist movements now active there.

In any case, there does seem to be a potential split among the neocons over Ukraine. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for all of those eastern European Jews who became successful in the US in the last few generations to enter into coalition with the Bandera brigades.

RudyM, May 7, 2014, 9:36 pm
Interesting, meaty analysis here of the various players in Ukraine. This is unequivocally from a Russian perspective, incidentally:

link to wikispooks.com

(I know I'm always grabbing OT threads of discussion, but when it comes down to it, I know much less about Zionism and Israel/Palestine than many, if not most of the regular commenters here.)

I also am going to drift further off-topic by saying there is strong evidence that the slaughter in Odessa last Friday was highly orchestrated and not solely the result of spontaneous mob violence. Very graphic and disturbing images in all of these links:

I have only glanced at these:

American, May 6, 2014, 9:23 pm
" and it turns out to Jewish identity, the need to belong to the powerful nation on the part of Jewish neoconservatives. Sleeper says this is an insecurity born of European exclusion that he understands as a Jew,…..>>

Stop it Sleeper. Do not continue to use the victim card ' to explain' the trauma, the insecurities, the nightmares, the angst, the feelings, the sensitivities, blah blah, blah of Zionist or Israel.

That is not what they are about. These are power mad psychos like most neocons, period.

And even if it were, and even if all the Jews in the world felt the same way, the bottom line would still be they do not have the right to make others pay in treasure and blood for their nightmares and mental sickness.

Citizen May 7, 2014, 9:46 am
@ yonah fredman

"The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal."

As near as I can tell (correct me if I'm wrong), the Ukrainians themselves are about half and half pro Russia and Pro NATO. Your glance at the history of the region as to why this is so, and your text on historical Ukranian suffering and POTV on MW commentary on this –did not help your analysis and its conclusion.

There's a difference between isolationism and defensive intervention, and even more so, re isolationism v. pro-active interventionism "in the name of pursuing the democratic ideal". See Ron Paul v. PNAC-style neocons and liberal Zionists.

Also, if you were Putin, how would you see the push of NATO & US force posts ever creeping towards Russia and its local environment? Look at the US military postings nearing Russia per se & those surrounding Iran. Compare Russia's.

And note the intent to wean EU from Russian oil, and as well, the draconian sanctions on Iran, and Obama's latest partnering sanctions on Russia.

Imagine yourself in Putin's shoes, and Iran's.

Don't abuse your imagination only by imagining yourself in Netanyahu's shoes, which is the preoccupation of AIPAC and its whores in the US Congress.

ToivoS, May 7, 2014, 8:49 pm

Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. The Ukraine crisis exposes that 10% difference. Brzezinski I very much doubt has any emotional attachment to Israel though he is happy to work in coalition with them to further his one true goal which is to isolate and defeat Russian influence in the world. In the 1980s both were on the same page in the "let my people go" campaign against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski saw it as a propaganda opportunity to attack Russia and the neocons saw it has a source of more Jews to settle Palestine.

Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. When it comes down to it it is hard for many Jews, right wing or not, to support the political movement inside Ukraine that identifies with Bandera. Now that was one nasty anti-Semite whose followers killed many thousands of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust. My wife's family immigrated from Galicia and the Odessa region and those left behind perished during the holocaust. The extended family includes anti-Zionists and WB settlers. There is no way that any of them would identify with Ukrainian fascist movements now active there.

In any case, there does seem to be a potential split among the neocons over Ukraine. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for all of those eastern European Jews who became successful in the US in the last few generations to enter into coalition with the Bandera brigades.

ToivoSMay 7, 2014, 9:39 pm
Yonah writes The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal. If the US is not able to back up our attempt to help them gain their freedom it is not something to celebrate, but something to lament.

What are you saying? Ukraine has been an independent nation for 22 years. What freedom is this? What we have witnessed is that one half of Ukraine has gotten tired that the other half keeps on electing candidates that represent those Ukrainians that identify with Russian culture. They (the western half) successfully staged a coup and purged the other (eastern half) from the government. You call that "freedom". Doesn't it embarrass you, Yonah, that the armed militias that conducted that coup are descendants of the Bandera organization.

Does that ring a bell? These are the Ukrainians that were involved in the holocaust. Does Babi Yar stir any memories Yohan? It was a massacre of 40,000 Jews just outside of Kiev in 1942. It was the single largest massacre of Jews during WWII. The massacre was led by the Germans ( Einsatzgruppe C officers) but was carried out with the aid of 400 Ukrainian Auxillary Police. These were later incorporated into the 14th SS-Volunteer Division "Galician" made up mostly Ukrainians. The division flags are to this day displayed at Right Sector rallies in western Ukraine.

Right Sector militias are the fighting force that led the coup against the legally elected Yanukovich government and were almost certainly involved in the recent massacre in Odessa. And you support them for their fight for freedom? You should be ashamed. Zionism is sinking to new lows that they feel the need to identify with open neo-Nazis.

piotrMay 7, 2014, 10:18 pm
Well, the point is that Zionists in Israel do not identify with that particular set of open neo-Nazis. I suspect that this is simply a matter of the headcount of Jewish business tycoons that are politically aligned with (western) Ukraine and Russia. Or you can count their billions. In any case, the neutral posture is sensible for Israel here. Which is highly uncharacteristic for that government.

yonah fredman, May 7, 2014, 10:38 pm

Toivo S- The history of Jew hatred by certain anti Russian elements in the Ukraine is not encouraging and nothing that I celebrate. Maybe I have been swayed by headlines and a superficial reading of the situation.

If indeed I am wrong regarding the will of the Ukrainian people, I can only be glad that my opinion is just that, my opinion and not US or Israel or anyone's policy but my own. I assume that a majority of Ukrainians want to maintain independence of Russia and that the expressions of rebellion are in that vein.

My people were murdered by the einsatzgruppen in that part of the world and so maybe I have overcompensated by trying not to allow my personal history to interfere with what I think would be the will of the majority of the Ukraine.

But Toivo S. please skip the "doesn't it embarrass you" line of thought. Just put a sock in it and skip it.

ToivoSMay 8, 2014, 12:51 am

Well thanks for that Yonah. My wife's family descended from Jewish communities in Odessa and Galicia. They emigrated to the US between 1900 and 1940. After WWII none of their relatives left behind were ever heard from again. Perhaps you have family that experienced similar stories. What caused me to react to your post above is that you are describing the current situation in Ukraine as a "freedom" movement by the Ukrainians when the political forces there descended from the same people that killed my inlaws family (and apparently yours to). Why do you support them?

yonah fredmanMay 8, 2014, 1:30 am

ToivoS- I support them because I trust/don't trust Putin. I trust him to impose his brand of leadership on Ukraine, I don't trust him to care a whit about freedom. It is natural that the nationalist elements of Ukraine would descend from the elements that expressed themselves the last time they had freedom from the Soviet Union, that is those forces that were willing to join with the Nazis to express their hatred for the communist Soviet Union's rule over their freedom. That's how history works. The nationalists today descend from the nationalists of yesterday.

But it's been 70 years since WWII and the Ukrainians ought to be able to have freedom even if the parties that advocate for freedom are descended from those that supported the Nazis. (I know once i include the Nazi part of history any analogies are toxic, but if I am willing to grant Hamas its rights as an expression of the Palestinian desire for freedom, why would I deny the Ukrainian foul nationalist parties their rights to express their people's desire for freedom.)

Political parties are not made in a sterile laboratory, they evolve over history and most specifically they emerge from the past. I accept that Ukrainian nationalism has not evolved much, but nonetheless not having read any polls I assume that the nationalists are the representatives of the people's desire for freedom. And because Putin strikes me as something primitive, I accept the Ukrainian desire for freedom.

CitizenMay 8, 2014, 9:18 am

@ yonah f

What are you supporting? Let me refresh your historic memory: Black's Transfer Agreement. Now apply analogy, responding to ToivoS. Might help us all to understand, explore more skillfully, Israel's current stance on the Putin-Ukranian matter….?

(I think Nuland's intervention caught on tape, combined with who she is married to, already explores with great clarification what the US is doing.

irishmosesMay 8, 2014, 12:32 pm

Yonah said:

"The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. Most people here would probably disagree with Sleeper, because he does not deny that the world needs a cop, nor that the US would play a positive role, if it only had the means and the desire to do so. People here (overwhelmingly) see the US role as a negative one (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world,"

The problem with your reasoning, Yonah, is that you are espousing the Neocon line while not apparently recognizing that embarrassing fact. You lament that the US is no longer playing the role of the world's superpower, and acting as the world's cop, confronting militarily Russia, China, Iran and anyone else. It is precisely that mentality that got us into Iraq, could yet have us in a war with Iran, would like to see us defending Ukraine, and thinks we should confront China militarily over bits of rock it and its neighbors are quibbling over. That is a neocon, American supremacy mentality.

Contrast that with the realist or realism approach recommended by George Kennan, and followed by this country successfully through the end of the Cold War. That approach is conservative and contends we should stay out of wars unless the vital national security interests of the US are at stake, like protecting WESTERN Europe, Japan, Australia, and the Western Hemisphere. This meant we could sympathize with the plight of all the eastern Europeans oppressed by the Soviets, but would not defend militarily the Hungarians (1956) or the Czechs (1968). It also meant we wouldn't send US troops into North Vietnam because we didn't want to go to war with the Chinese over a country that was at best tangential to US interests. When we varied from that policy (Vietnam and Iraq wars, Somalia) we paid a very heavy price while doing nothing to advance or protect our vital national security interests.

The sooner this country can return to our traditional realism-based foreign policy the better. Part of that policy would be to disassociate the US from its entangling alliance with Likud Israel and its US Jewish supporters that espouse the Likud Greater Israel line.

Zionism under Likud has played a major role in promoting the neocon approach to foreign policy in the US. It was heavily involved in the birth of that approach, and has helped fund and promote the policy and its supporters and advocates in this country. They (Likud Zionists and Neocons) played a major role in getting us into the Iraq war and are playing a major role in trying to get us involved in a war with Iran, a war in Syria, and even potential wars in Eastern Europe. That is a very dangerous trend and one folks as intelligent as you are, should be focusing on.

Please note, my criticism is directed neither at all Jews in general, Jews in the US, nor or all Israeli Jews. It is directed at a particular subset of Zionists who support Likud policies, and their supporters, many of whom are not Jews. It is also directed at Neoconservative foreign policy advocates, comprised of Jews and non-Jews, and overlap between the two groups. Please also note my use of the term "major role", and that I am not saying the Neocons and their supporters (Jewish or non) were solely responsible for our involvement in the Iraq war. I am offering these caveats in the hope that the usual changes of antisemitism can be avoided in your or anyone else's response to my arguments.

The influence of Neocons on US foreign policy has been very harmful to this country and poses a grave danger to its future. It would be wise for you to reflect on that harm and those dangers and decide whether you belong in the realist camp or want to continue running with the Neocons.

seanmcbride, May 8, 2014, 1:01 pm

irishmoses,

Please note, my criticism is directed neither at all Jews in general, Jews in the US, nor or all Israeli Jews. It is directed at a particular subset of Zionists who support Likud policies, and their supporters, many of whom are not Jews.

What about the role of *liberal Zionists*, like Hillary Clinton, in supporting and promoting the Iraq War? Clinton still hasn't offered an apology for helping to drive the United States in a multi-trillion dollar foreign policy disaster - and she has threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran.

What about Harry Reid's lavish praise of Sheldon Adelson?

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has for some time billed the Koch brothers as public enemy No.1 .

But billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson? He's just fine, Reid says.

"I know Sheldon Adelson. He's not in this for money," the Nevada Democrat said of Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate who reportedly spent close to $150 million to support Republicans in the 2012 presidential election."

link to politico.com

Are there really any meaningful distinctions between neoconservatives in the Republican Party and liberal Zionists in the Democratic Party?

talknic, May 7, 2014, 3:24 am

@ yonah fredman "nationalist Armageddon that is nowhere found in the article by Sleeper"

Strange

"state into the Armageddon .. "

"The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. "

Tough. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives don't rate a mention.

" (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world, for after all they hold a trillion dollars in US government debt and so let them act like the boss, for in fact they have been put in that role by feckless and destructive and wasteful US policy). But Sleeper does not say that."

You do tho, without quoting anyone "here".

BTW Pajero, strawmen no matter how lengthy and seemingly erudite, rarely walk anywhere

JeffB, May 7, 2014, 9:06 am

I'm going to put this down as Jewish navel gazing.

Jews are disproportionately liberal. Jews make up a huge chunk of the peace movement. Jews are relative to their numbers on the left of most foreign policy positions.

Iraq was unusual in that Jews were not overwhelming opposed to the invasion, but it is worth noting the invasion at the time was overwhelming popular. Frankly given the fact that Jews are now considered white people and the fact that Jews are almost all middle class they should be biased conservative. There certainly is no reason they should be more liberal than Catholics. Yet they are. It is the degree of Jewish liberalism not the degree of Jewish conservatism that is striking.

But even if we do focus on neocons, neocons don't have opinions about foreign policy and USA dominance that are much distinct from what most Republican interventionists have. How much difference is there between David Frum and Mitt Romney or between Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld?

lysias, May 7, 2014, 10:55 am

The neocons lost one last night: Antiwar Rep. Walter Jones Beats Neocon-Backed GOP Rival:

Strongly antiwar incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R – NC) has won a hotly contested primary tonight, defeating a challenge from hawkish challenger and former Treasury Dept. official Taylor Griffin 51% to 45%.

American, May 7, 2014, 11:24 am

Yep.

Voter turn out was light ….. tea party types did a lot of lobbying for Griffin here….but Jones prevailed. Considering the onslaught of organized activity against him by ECI and the tea partiers for the past month he did well.

Citizen, May 8, 2014, 9:24 am

@ lysias
Let's refresh our look at what Ron Paul had to say about foreign policy and foreign aid. Then, let's compare what his son has said, and take a look of his latest bill in congress to cut off aid to Palestine. Yes, you read that right; it's not a bill to cut off any aid to Israel.

Don't look to the US to get any justice in the ME, nor to regain US good reputation in the world. This will situation will not change because US political campaign fiancé system won't change–it just gets worse, enhanced by SCOTUS.

traintosiberia, May 8, 2014, 9:12 am

Stockman's Corner

Bravo, Rep. Walter Jones -- Primary Win Sends Neocons Packing

by David Stockman • May 7, 2014 link to davidstockmanscontracorner.com

The heavy artillery included the detestable Karl Rove, former Governor and RNC Chair Haley Barber and the War Party's highly paid chief PR flack, Ari Fleischer.

But it was Neocon central that hauled out the big guns. Bill Kristol was so desperate to thwart the slowly rising anti-interventionist tide within the GOP that he even trotted out Sarah Palin to endorse Jones's opponent"

But neoocns have the confidence that if they could impose the neocon's theology on the rest of the world, they can do it here as well on American street . They call it education, motivation, duty, responsibility, moral burden, and above all the essence of the manifest destiny.

[Dec 23, 2015] The Neocons - Masters of Chaos

Notable quotes:
"... It's now clear that if Obama had ordered a major bombing campaign against Assad's military in early September 2013, he might have opened the gates of Damascus to a hellish victory by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists or the even more brutal Islamic State, since these terrorist groups have emerged as the only effective fighters against Assad. ..."
"... By late September 2013, the disappointed neocons were acting out their anger by taking aim at Putin. They recognized that a particular vulnerability for the Russian president was Ukraine and the possibility that it could be pulled out of Russia's sphere of influence and into the West's orbit. ..."
"... But Gershman added that Ukraine was really only an interim step to an even bigger prize, the removal of the strong-willed and independent-minded Putin, who, Gershman added, "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad [i.e. Ukraine] but within Russia itself." In other words, the new neocon hope was for "regime change" in Kiev and Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com's " Neocons' Ukraine/Syria/Iran Gambit. "] ..."
"... Putin also had sidetracked that possible war with Iran by helping to forge an interim agreement constraining but not eliminating Iran's nuclear program. So, he became the latest target of neocon demonization, a process in which the New York Times and the Washington Post eagerly took the lead. ..."
"... As the political violence in Kiev escalated – with the uprising's muscle supplied by neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine – neocons within the Obama administration discussed how to "midwife" a coup against Yanukovych. Central to this planning was Victoria Nuland, who had been promoted to assistant secretary of state for European affairs and was urging on the protesters, even passing out cookies to protesters at Kiev's Maidan square. ..."
"... When the coup went down on Feb. 22 – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias who seized government buildings and forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives – the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the new regime "legitimate" and the mainstream U.S. media dutifully stepped up the demonization of Yanukovych and Putin. ..."
"... Although Putin's position had been in support of Ukraine's status quo – i.e., retaining the elected president and the country's constitutional process – the crisis was pitched to the American people as a case of "Russian aggression" with dire comparisons made between Putin and Hitler, especially after ethnic Russians in the east and south resisted the coup regime in Kiev and Crimea seceded to rejoin Russia. ..."
"... Pressured by the Obama administration, the EU agreed to sanction Russia for its "aggression," touching off a tit-for-tat trade war with Moscow which reduced Europe's sale of farming and manufacturing goods to Russia and threatened to disrupt Russia's natural gas supplies to Europe. ..."
"... While the most serious consequences were to Ukraine's economy which went into freefall because of the civil war, some of Europe's most endangered economies in the south also were hit hard by the lost trade with Russia. Europe began to stagger toward the third dip in a triple-dip recession with European markets experiencing major stock sell-offs. ..."
Oct 17, 2014 | consortiumnews.com

If you're nervously watching the stock market gyrations and worrying about your declining portfolio or pension fund, part of the blame should go to America's neocons who continue to be masters of chaos, endangering the world's economy by instigating geopolitical confrontations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Of course, there are other factors pushing Europe's economy to the brink of a triple-dip recession and threatening to stop America's fragile recovery, too. But the neocons' "regime change" strategies, which have unleashed violence and confrontations across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and most recently Ukraine, have added to the economic uncertainty.

This neocon destabilization of the world economy began with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 under President George W. Bush who squandered some $1 trillion on the bloody folly. But the neocons' strategies have continued through their still-pervasive influence in Official Washington during President Barack Obama's administration.

The neocons and their "liberal interventionist" junior partners have kept the "regime change" pot boiling with the Western-orchestrated overthrow and killing of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the proxy civil war in Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad, the costly economic embargoes against Iran, and the U.S.-backed coup that ousted Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

All these targeted governments were first ostracized by the neocons and the major U.S. news organizations, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, which have become what amounts to neocon mouthpieces. Whenever the neocons decide that it's time for another "regime change," the mainstream U.S. media enlists in the propaganda wars.

The consequence of this cascading disorder has been damaging and cumulative. The costs of the Iraq War strapped the U.S. Treasury and left less government maneuvering room when Wall Street crashed in 2008. If Bush still had the surplus that he inherited from President Bill Clinton – rather than a yawning deficit – there might have been enough public money to stimulate a much-faster recovery.

President Obama also wouldn't have been left to cope with the living hell that the U.S. occupation brought to the people of Iraq, violent chaos that gave birth to what was then called "Al-Qaeda in Iraq" and has since rebranded itself "the Islamic State."

But Obama didn't do himself (or the world) any favors when he put much of his foreign policy in the hands of Democratic neocon-lites, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Bush holdovers, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus. At State, Clinton promoted the likes of neocon Victoria Nuland, the wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan, and Obama brought in "liberal interventionists" like Samantha Power, now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

In recent years, the neocons and "liberal interventionists" have become almost indistinguishable, so much so that Robert Kagan has opted to discard the discredited neocon label and call himself a "liberal interventionist." [See Consortiumnews.com's "Obama's True Foreign Policy 'Weakness.'"]

Manipulating Obama

Obama, in his nearly six years as president, also has shied away from imposing his more "realistic" views about world affairs on the neocon/liberal-interventionist ideologues inside the U.S. pundit class and his own administration. He has been outmaneuvered by clever insiders (as happened in 2009 on the Afghan "surge") or overwhelmed by some Official Washington "group think" (as was the case in Libya, Syria, Iran and Ukraine).

Once all the "smart people" reach some collective decision that a foreign leader "must go," Obama usually joins the chorus and has shown only rare moments of toughness in standing up to misguided conventional wisdoms.

The one notable case was his decision in summer 2013 to resist pressure to destroy Syria's military after a Sarin gas attack outside Damascus sparked a dubious rush to judgment blaming Assad's regime. Since then, more evidence has pointed to a provocation by anti-Assad extremists who may have thought that the incident would draw in the U.S. military on their side. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Was Turkey Behind Syrian Sarin Attack?"]

It's now clear that if Obama had ordered a major bombing campaign against Assad's military in early September 2013, he might have opened the gates of Damascus to a hellish victory by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists or the even more brutal Islamic State, since these terrorist groups have emerged as the only effective fighters against Assad.

But the neocons and the "liberal interventionists" seemed oblivious to that danger. They had their hearts set on Syrian "regime change," so were furious when their dreams were dashed by Obama's supposed "weakness," i.e. his failure to do what they wanted. They also blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin who brokered a compromise with Assad in which he agreed to surrender all of Syria's chemical weapons while still denying a role in the Sarin attack.

By late September 2013, the disappointed neocons were acting out their anger by taking aim at Putin. They recognized that a particular vulnerability for the Russian president was Ukraine and the possibility that it could be pulled out of Russia's sphere of influence and into the West's orbit.

So, Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the op-ed page of the neocon-flagship Washington Post to sound the trumpet about Ukraine, which he called "the biggest prize."

But Gershman added that Ukraine was really only an interim step to an even bigger prize, the removal of the strong-willed and independent-minded Putin, who, Gershman added, "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad [i.e. Ukraine] but within Russia itself." In other words, the new neocon hope was for "regime change" in Kiev and Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Neocons' Ukraine/Syria/Iran Gambit."]

Destabilizing the World

Beyond the recklessness of plotting to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia, the neocon strategy threatened to shake Europe's fragile economic recovery from a painful recession, six years of jobless stress that had strained the cohesion of the European Union and the euro zone.

Across the Continent, populist parties from the Right and Left have been challenging establishment politicians over their inability to reverse the widespread unemployment and the growing poverty. Important to Europe's economy was its relationship with Russia, a major market for agriculture and manufactured goods and a key source of natural gas to keep Europe's industries humming and its houses warm.

The last thing Europe needed was more chaos, but that's what the neocons do best and they were determined to punish Putin for disrupting their plans for Syrian "regime change," an item long near the top of their agenda along with their desire to "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," which Israel has cited as an "existential threat."

Putin also had sidetracked that possible war with Iran by helping to forge an interim agreement constraining but not eliminating Iran's nuclear program. So, he became the latest target of neocon demonization, a process in which the New York Times and the Washington Post eagerly took the lead.

To get at Putin, however, the first step was Ukraine where Gershman's NED was funding scores of programs for political activists and media operatives. These efforts fed into mass protests against Ukrainian President Yanukovych for balking at an EU association agreement that included a harsh austerity plan designed by the International Monetary Fund. Yanukovych opted instead for a more generous $15 billion loan deal from Putin.

As the political violence in Kiev escalated – with the uprising's muscle supplied by neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine – neocons within the Obama administration discussed how to "midwife" a coup against Yanukovych. Central to this planning was Victoria Nuland, who had been promoted to assistant secretary of state for European affairs and was urging on the protesters, even passing out cookies to protesters at Kiev's Maidan square.

According to an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland didn't think EU officials were being aggressive enough. "Fuck the EU," she said as she brainstormed how "to help glue this thing." She literally handpicked who should be in the post-coup government – "Yats is the guy," a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who would indeed become prime minister.

When the coup went down on Feb. 22 – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias who seized government buildings and forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives – the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the new regime "legitimate" and the mainstream U.S. media dutifully stepped up the demonization of Yanukovych and Putin.

Although Putin's position had been in support of Ukraine's status quo – i.e., retaining the elected president and the country's constitutional process – the crisis was pitched to the American people as a case of "Russian aggression" with dire comparisons made between Putin and Hitler, especially after ethnic Russians in the east and south resisted the coup regime in Kiev and Crimea seceded to rejoin Russia.

Starting a Trade War

Pressured by the Obama administration, the EU agreed to sanction Russia for its "aggression," touching off a tit-for-tat trade war with Moscow which reduced Europe's sale of farming and manufacturing goods to Russia and threatened to disrupt Russia's natural gas supplies to Europe.

While the most serious consequences were to Ukraine's economy which went into freefall because of the civil war, some of Europe's most endangered economies in the south also were hit hard by the lost trade with Russia. Europe began to stagger toward the third dip in a triple-dip recession with European markets experiencing major stock sell-offs.

The dominoes soon toppled across the Atlantic as major U.S. stock indices dropped, creating anguish among many Americans just when it seemed the hangover from Bush's 2008 market crash was finally wearing off.

Obviously, there are other reasons for the recent stock market declines, including fears about the Islamic State's victories in Syria and Iraq, continued chaos in Libya, and exclusion of Iran from the global economic system – all partly the result of neocon ideology. There have been unrelated troubles, too, such as the Ebola epidemic in western Africa and various weather disasters.

But the world's economy usually can withstand some natural and manmade challenges. The real problem comes when a combination of catastrophes pushes the international financial system to a tipping point. Then, even a single event can dump the world into economic chaos, like what happened when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.

It's not clear whether the world is at such a tipping point today, but the stock market volatility suggests that we may be on the verge of another worldwide recession. Meanwhile, the neocon masters of chaos seem determined to keep putting their ideological obsessions ahead of the risks to Americans and people everywhere.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

[Dec 21, 2015] Ignorance is Strength

Notable quotes:
"... " it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries" ..."
"... It's okay to bullshit if the Culturally Superior Westerner ™ is dissing with libelious claims Inferior Non-Westerner. See, who needs any proof that "Putin kills journalists"? No one! Not even trump or their auditory – They Know It For Fact ™. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al, December 19, 2015 at 11:02 am
Butnits Insider: Donald Trump left Joe Scarborough stunned after being asked about Vladimir Putin killing journalists
https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/donald-trump-praises-vladimir-putin-125622048.html

…Scarborough pointed to Putin's status as a notorious strongman.

"Well, I mean, it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?" Scarborough asked.

"He's running his country, and at least he's a leader," Trump replied. "Unlike what we have in this country."

"But again: He kills journalists that don't agree with him," Scarborough said.

The Republican presidential front-runner said there was "a lot of killing going on" around the world and then suggested that Scarborough had asked him a different question.

"I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know," Trump replied. "There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on. A lot of stupidity. And that's the way it is. But you didn't ask me [that] question, you asked me a different question. So that's fine."

Scarborough was left visibly stunned.

"I'm confused," the MSNBC host said. "So I mean, you obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?"

"Oh sure, absolutely," Trump said…

…But Friday during his "Morning Joe" interview, Trump said he always "felt fine" about Putin and touted the Russian president's poll numbers. Putin's position in his country is bolstered by the Russian government's control over much of the Russian news media.

"I always felt fine about Putin," Trump said. "I think that he's a strong leader. He's a powerful leader … He's actually got a popularity within his country. They respect him as a leader."

Trump contrasted Putin's numbers with President Obama's.

"I think he's up in the 80s. You see where Obama's in the 30s and low 40s. And he's up in the 80s," Trump said. "And I don't know who does the polls. Maybe he does the polls, but I think they're done by American companies, actually."
####

When I read stuff like this, I'm so glad the US is so far away. Damn modern technology.

Lyttenburgh, December 19, 2015 at 11:50 am
" it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries"

It's okay to bullshit if the Culturally Superior Westerner ™ is dissing with libelious claims Inferior Non-Westerner. See, who needs any proof that "Putin kills journalists"? No one! Not even trump or their auditory – They Know It For Fact ™.

P.S. "Ignorance is Strength"

[Dec 21, 2015] Journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure but the best journalists choose faction that actually embraces reality

"... Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. ..."
"... Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come! ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Sy Hersh's latest via M of A:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm
Washington does not care who assumes power in Syria – whether it be feuding warlords or an Islamic mullah or Assad's cat. Washington knows that Islamic State needs money to survive and keep power, as does any individual or group who will rule, and that to remain in power, it will sell oil. Good enough, as far as Washington is concerned. If the place remains a seething cauldron of destabilizing hatreds, so much the better.
Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm
I read this carefully earlier today and wish I had made some notes.

It's an interesting article just in what it says about the politics of American journalism at this point in time almost regardless of the subject matter in a kind of Kremlinology vein. It almost reads like a ransom note. My impression is that Hersh is pulling punches at some key points in order not to overplay his hand.

My suggestion: don't get bogged down in the details. From my recollection of the piece from earlier today Hersh is basically championing a few figures and – most importantly – their perspectives here:

  • Michael Flynn, who led the DIA revolt against Syria policy
  • Dempsey, a pragmatic cold warrior who is allergic to making the enemy into a cardboard super-villan (good enough for this Putinista)
  • Patrick Lang (more below)
  • and that wonderfully clear-headed Hawaiin congress-critter (can't be arsed to look her up)

It's worth remembering that Hersh's articles on the Ghoutta attack immediately predated the great stand-down by Obama from all out air-war to destroy Syria.

Given that it's axiomatic that journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure and that the BEST journalists – like Hersh – actually embrace this reality, what does the appearance of this article augur?

I especially like the sign off:

"The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington's leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

That sounds kind of threatening. In a good way.

* Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In other words: we, the west, have basically made no progress fighting for reform of our leadership and political structures. Meanwhile the Russians seem to have gone "right round the horn" – as the dinosaur in Toy Story might put it.

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come!

[Dec 21, 2015] Australians has doubts about Dutch safety board conclusion about the type of monitions that destroyed the aircraft

Notable quotes:
"... "initial information that the aircraft was shot down by a [Buk] surface to air missile" did not meet the Australian or international standard of evidence …." ..."
"... What will happen to the resolve of the holdouts if the narrative on MH17 begins to veer away from rock-solid Russian ownership of the tragedy? Because that was the whole backbone of the sanctions – Crimea was not enough to get Germany and France on board, and they still needed the little push that MH17 provided. If that rationale vanished, or even if serious doubt was introduced, the whole EU position on sanctions could fall apart. ..."
"... It's bigger than I thought – there is some sort of internal power struggle going on, and West refuses to change his findings – which still point to Russia for responsibility – in spite of Donoghoe's testimony. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
Jen, December 19, 2015 at 7:12 pm
Wooooh, this news is a doozy:

http://johnhelmer.net/?p=14787
http://investmentwatchblog.com/mh17-australia-say-russia-not-to-blame-evidence-tampered-with/

First two paragraphs:
"The Australian Federal Police and Dutch police and prosecutors investigating the cause of the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17 believe the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has failed to provide "conclusive evidence" of what type of munition destroyed the aircraft, causing the deaths of 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

Testifying for the first time in an international court, Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe, the senior Australian policeman in the international MH17 investigation, said a "tougher standard than the DSB report" is required before the criminal investigation can identify the weapon which brought the aircraft down, or pinpoint the perpetrators.

Their criminal investigation will continue into 2016, Donoghoe told the Victorian Coroners Court (lead image) on Tuesday morning. He and other international investigators are unconvinced by reports from the US and Ukrainian governments, and by the DSB, of a Buk missile firing. "Dutch prosecutors require conclusive evidence on other types of missile," Donoghoe said, intimating that "initial information that the aircraft was shot down by a [Buk] surface to air missile" did not meet the Australian or international standard of evidence …."

marknesop, December 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm
Great catch, Jen!! Wow, you're right – this is big, especially in view of the wavering by some EU members on sanctions. I wonder what Merkel has up her sleeve; she says Germany – while going ahead with Nord Stream II, which is "first and foremost a business proposition" – is "seeking ways to ensure that Ukraine is not completely excluded as a transit country".

Ummm…what role would that be? Because if, in exchange for pushing ahead on Nord Stream, Russia is maneuvered into still sending gas through Ukraine so that Ukraine can collect transit fees, the project would be self-defeating. I trust the business minds in Russia are sharp enough to stay ahead of that one. Ukraine will still receive gas from Russia, if it wants it and can pay in advance for it, but it will be for domestic supplies only and consequently not subject to transit fees. Russia must not weaken on this, because the EU still hopes to rebuild Ukraine using Russian money, and it cannot do it without Russian help and support. If that is withheld, Russia only needs to wait them out.

Needless to say, Tusk supports Renzi's position, not because he is an Italiophile but because he supports Ukraine and would like to see it remain a transit country, and pocketing $2 Billion a year in Russian cash.

What will happen to the resolve of the holdouts if the narrative on MH17 begins to veer away from rock-solid Russian ownership of the tragedy? Because that was the whole backbone of the sanctions – Crimea was not enough to get Germany and France on board, and they still needed the little push that MH17 provided. If that rationale vanished, or even if serious doubt was introduced, the whole EU position on sanctions could fall apart.

marknesop, December 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm

It's bigger than I thought – there is some sort of internal power struggle going on, and West refuses to change his findings – which still point to Russia for responsibility – in spite of Donoghoe's testimony. There were revelations in the original post such as that Australia had sought permission from the Novorossiyan authorities to collect evidence and artifacts, as well as Kiev – thereby implicitly recognizing Novorossiya – and that when it solicited witnesses to testify, some agreed only on the condition their names would not be revealed, that the Ukrainian authorities would not be involved and that the investigators would protect them. Sure sounds like they want to say something they know the Ukrainian government will punish them for saying, if it can identify them. This whole inquiry just got interesting again.

At the moment it looks like a faction of the Australian investigation disagrees with the pat finding of the Dutch, but the Victorian state coroner is totally on board with the "Russia did it" scenario and is determined to have his way no matter how foolish it makes him look. This one could go anywhere from here.

Moscow Exile, December 19, 2015 at 11:28 pm

Clearly that Aussie cop is in the pocket of the Evil One!

Isn't he the one who said earlier that the Russian-backed terrorists at the MH-17 crash site behaved like decent human beings and treated the crash victims' remains with dignity and did not loot their belongings?

I mean, what a ludicrous thing to say!

Everyone knows that these Russian beasts are ….blah, blah, blah ...

davidt, December 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Donoghue is not the only AFP cop speaking up for the crash site locals. Their sensitivity and humanity is a rather at odds with a disparaging comment about the AFP on these pages over a year ago (and which I objected to at the time). I noticed last week that Patrick Armstrong is now reconsidering the Sukhoi did it scenario because of an apparent lack of fragments from a Buk warhead.

This has always been a serious concern to the Russian investigators, see
http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/10/russians-angered-dutch-probe


[Dec 20, 2015] Michael Hudson The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia

Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is ..."
"... KILLING THE HOST: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy ..."
"... What especially annoys U.S. financial strategists is that this loan by Russia's sovereign debt fund was protected by IMF lending practice, which at that time ensured collectability by withholding new credit from countries in default of foreign official debts (or at least, not bargaining in good faith to pay). To cap matters, the bonds are registered under London's creditor-oriented rules and courts. ..."
"... After the rules change, Aslund later noted, "the IMF can continue to give Ukraine loans regardless of what Ukraine does about its credit from Russia, which falls due on December 20. [8] ..."
"... The post-2010 loan packages to Greece are a notorious case in point. The IMF staff calculated that Greece could not possibly pay the balance that was set to bail out foreign banks and bondholders. Many Board members agreed (and subsequently have gone public with their whistle-blowing). Their protests didn't matter. Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed the US-ECB position (after President Barack Obama and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner pointed out that U.S. banks had written credit default swaps betting that Greece could pay, and would lose money if there were a debt writedown). In 2015, Christine Lagarde also backed the U.S.-European Central Bank hard line, against staff protests. [10] ..."
"... China and Russia harbored the fantasy that would be allowed redress in the Western Courts where international law is metered out. They are now no longer under that delusion. ..."
"... It's not Hudson but the US that has simplified the entire world situation into "good guys vs. bad guys", a policy enshrined in Rumsfeld's statement "you're either with us or you're against us". ..."
"... what is left unsaid is the choices Russia then faces once their legal options play out and the uneven playing field is fully exposed. Do they not then have a historically justifiable basis for declaring war? ..."
December 18, 2015 | naked capitalism

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is KILLING THE HOST: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy

The nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists seems to be coming true: foreign economic independence from U.S. control. Instead of privatizing and neoliberalizing the world under U.S.-centered financial planning and ownership, the Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration on the basis of Russian oil and tax exports and Chinese financing. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank programs that favor U.S. suppliers, banks and bondholders (with the United States holding unique veto power).

Russia's 2013 loan to Ukraine, made at the request of Ukraine's elected pro-Russian government, demonstrated the benefits of mutual trade and investment relations between the two countries. As Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov points out, Ukraine's "international reserves were barely enough to cover three months' imports, and no other creditor was prepared to lend on terms acceptable to Kiev. Yet Russia provided $3 billion of much-needed funding at a 5 per cent interest rate, when Ukraine's bonds were yielding nearly 12 per cent."[1]

What especially annoys U.S. financial strategists is that this loan by Russia's sovereign debt fund was protected by IMF lending practice, which at that time ensured collectability by withholding new credit from countries in default of foreign official debts (or at least, not bargaining in good faith to pay). To cap matters, the bonds are registered under London's creditor-oriented rules and courts.

On December 3 (one week before the IMF changed its rules so as to hurt Russia), Prime Minister Putin proposed that Russia "and other Eurasian Economic Union countries should kick-off consultations with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a possible economic partnership."[2] Russia also is seeking to build pipelines to Europe through friendly instead of U.S.-backed countries.

Moving to denominate their trade and investment in their own currencies instead of dollars, China and Russia are creating a geopolitical system free from U.S. control. After U.S. officials threatened to derange Russia's banking linkages by cutting it off from the SWIFT interbank clearing system, China accelerated its creation of the alternative China International Payments System (CIPS), with its own credit card system to protect Eurasian economies from the shrill threats made by U.S. unilateralists.

Russia and China are simply doing what the United States has long done: using trade and credit linkages to cement their geopolitical diplomacy. This tectonic geopolitical shift is a Copernican threat to New Cold War ideology: Instead of the world economy revolving around the United States (the Ptolemaic idea of America as "the indispensible nation"), it may revolve around Eurasia. As long as the global financial papacy remains grounded in Washington at the offices of the IMF and World Bank, such a shift in the center of gravity will be fought with all the power of the American Century (indeed, American Millennium) inquisition.

Imagine the following scenario five years from now. China will have spent half a decade building high-speed railroads, ports power systems and other construction for Asian and African countries, enabling them to grow and export more. These exports will be coming on line to repay the infrastructure loans. Also, suppose that Russia has been supplying the oil and gas energy needed for these projects.

To U.S. neocons this specter of AIIB government-to-government lending and investment creates fear of a world independent of U.S. control. Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries. There would be less need for foreign government to finance budget shortfalls by selling off their key public infrastructure privatizing their economies. Instead of dismantling public spending, the AIIB and a broader Eurasian economic union would do what the United States itself practices, and seek self-sufficiency in basic needs such as food, technology, banking, credit creation and monetary policy.

With this prospect in mind, suppose an American diplomat meets with the leaders of debtors to China, Russia and the AIIB and makes the following proposal: "Now that you've got your increased production in place, why repay? We'll make you rich if you stiff our New Cold War adversaries and turn to the West. We and our European allies will help you assign the infrastructure to yourselves and your supporters, and give these assets market value by selling shares in New York and London. Then, you can spend your surpluses in the West."

How can China or Russia collect in such a situation? They can sue. But what court will recognize their claim – that is, what court that the West would pay attention to?

That is the kind of scenario U.S. State Department and Treasury officials have been discussing for more than a year. The looming conflict was made immediate by Ukraine's $3 billion debt to Russia falling due by December 20, 2015. Ukraine's U.S.-backed regime has announced its intention to default. U.S. lobbyists have just changed the IMF rules to remove a critical lever on which Russia and other governments have long relied to enforce payment of their loans.

The IMF's Role as Enforcer of Inter-Government Debts

When it comes down to enforcing nations to pay inter-government debts, the International Monetary Fund and Paris Club hold the main leverage. As coordinator of central bank "stabilization" loans (the neoliberal euphemism for imposing austerity and destabilizing debtor economies, Greece-style), the IMF is able to withhold not only its own credit but also that of governments and global banks participating when debtor countries need refinancing. Countries that do not agree to privatize their infrastructure and sell it to Western buyers are threatened with sanctions, backed by U.S.-sponsored "regime change" and "democracy promotion" Maidan-style.

This was the setting on December 8, when Chief IMF Spokesman Gerry Rice announced: "The IMF's Executive Board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors." The creditor leverage that the IMF has used is that if a nation is in financial arrears to any government, it cannot qualify for an IMF loan – and hence, for packages involving other governments. This has been the system by which the dollarized global financial system has worked for half a century. The beneficiaries have been creditors in US dollars.

In this U.S.-centered worldview, China and Russia loom as the great potential adversaries – defined as independent power centers from the United States as they create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an alternative to NATO, and the AIIB as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank tandem. The very name, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, implies that transportation systems and other infrastructure will be financed by governments, not relinquished into private hands to become rent-extracting opportunities financed by U.S.-centered bank credit to turn the rent into a flow of interest payments.

The focus on a mixed public/private economy sets the AIIB at odds with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its aim of relinquishing government planning power to the financial and corporate sector for their own short-term gains, and above all the aim of blocking government's money-creating power and financial regulation. Chief Nomura economist Richard Koo, explained the logic of viewing the AIIB as a threat to the US-controlled IMF: "If the IMF's rival is heavily under China's influence, countries receiving its support will rebuild their economies under what is effectively Chinese guidance, increasing the likelihood they will fall directly or indirectly under that country's influence."[3]

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov accused the IMF decision of being "hasty and biased."[4] But it had been discussed all year long, calculating a range of scenarios for a long-term sea change in international law. The aim of this change is to isolate not only Russia, but even more China in its role as creditor to African countries and prospective AIIB borrowers. U.S. officials walked into the IMF headquarters in Washington with the legal equivalent of financial suicide vests, having decided that the time had come to derail Russia's ability to collect on its sovereign loan to Ukraine, and of even larger import, China's plan for a New Silk Road integrating a Eurasian economy independent of U.S. financial and trade control. Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the NATO-oriented Atlantic Council, points out:

The IMF staff started contemplating a rule change in the spring of 2013 because nontraditional creditors, such as China, had started providing developing countries with large loans. One issue was that these loans were issued on conditions out of line with IMF practice. China wasn't a member of the Paris Club, where loan restructuring is usually discussed, so it was time to update the rules.

The IMF intended to adopt a new policy in the spring of 2016, but the dispute over Russia's $3 billion loan to Ukraine has accelerated an otherwise slow decision-making process.[5]

The Wall Street Journal concurred that the underlying motivation for changing the IMF's rules was the threat that Chinese lending would provide an alternative to IMF loans and its demands for austerity. "IMF-watchers said the fund was originally thinking of ensuring China wouldn't be able to foil IMF lending to member countries seeking bailouts as Beijing ramped up loans to developing economies around the world."[6] In short, U.S. strategists have designed a policy to block trade and financial agreements organized outside of U.S. control and that of the IMF and World Bank in which it holds unique veto power.

The plan is simple enough. Trade follows finance, and the creditor usually calls the tune. That is how the United States has used the Dollar Standard to steer Third World trade and investment since World War II along lines benefiting the U.S. economy.

The cement of trade credit and bank lending is the ability of creditors to collect on the international debts being negotiated. That is why the United States and other creditor nations have used the IMF as an intermediary to act as "honest broker" for loan consortia. ("Honest broker" means in practice being subject to U.S. veto power.) To enforce its financial leverage, the IMF has long followed the rule that it will not sponsor any loan agreement or refinancing for governments that are in default of debts owed to other governments. However, as the afore-mentioned Aslund explains, the IMF could easily

change its practice of not lending into [countries in official] arrears … because it is not incorporated into the IMF Articles of Agreement, that is, the IMF statutes. The IMF Executive Board can decide to change this policy with a simple board majority. The IMF has lent to Afghanistan, Georgia, and Iraq in the midst of war, and Russia has no veto right, holding only 2.39 percent of the votes in the IMF. When the IMF has lent to Georgia and Ukraine, the other members of its Executive Board have overruled Russia.[7]

After the rules change, Aslund later noted, "the IMF can continue to give Ukraine loans regardless of what Ukraine does about its credit from Russia, which falls due on December 20.[8]

Inasmuch as Ukraine's official debt to Russia's sovereign debt fund was not to the U.S. Government, the IMF announced its rules change as a "clarification." Its rule that no country can borrow if it is in default to (or not seriously negotiating with) a foreign government was created in the post-1945 world, and has governed the past seventy years in which the United States Government, Treasury officials and/or U.S. bank consortia have been party to nearly every international bailout or major loan agreement. What the IMF rule really meant was that it would not provide credit to countries in arrears specifically to the U.S. Government, not those of Russia or China.

Mikhail Delyagin, Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems, understood the IMF's double standard clearly enough: "The Fund will give Kiev a new loan tranche on one condition that Ukraine should not pay Russia a dollar under its $3 billion debt. Legally, everything will be formalized correctly but they will oblige Ukraine to pay only to western creditors for political reasons."[9] It remains up to the IMF board – and in the end, its managing director – whether or not to deem a country creditworthy. The U.S. representative naturally has always blocked any leaders not beholden to the United States.

The post-2010 loan packages to Greece are a notorious case in point. The IMF staff calculated that Greece could not possibly pay the balance that was set to bail out foreign banks and bondholders. Many Board members agreed (and subsequently have gone public with their whistle-blowing). Their protests didn't matter. Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed the US-ECB position (after President Barack Obama and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner pointed out that U.S. banks had written credit default swaps betting that Greece could pay, and would lose money if there were a debt writedown). In 2015, Christine Lagarde also backed the U.S.-European Central Bank hard line, against staff protests.[10]

IMF executive board member Otaviano Canuto, representing Brazil, noted that the logic that "conditions on IMF lending to a country that fell behind on payments [was to] make sure it kept negotiating in good faith to reach agreement with creditors."[11] Dropping this condition, he said, would open the door for other countries to insist on a similar waiver and avoid making serious and sincere efforts to reach payment agreement with creditor governments.

A more binding IMF rule is that it cannot lend to countries at war or use IMF credit to engage in warfare. Article I of its 1944-45 founding charter ban the fund from lending to a member state engaged in civil war or at war with another member state, or for military purposes in general. But when IMF head Lagarde made the last IMF loan to Ukraine, in spring 2015, she made a token gesture of stating that she hoped there would be peace. But President Porochenko immediately announced that he would step up the civil war with the Russian-speaking population in the eastern Donbass region.

The problem is that the Donbass is where most Ukrainian exports were made, mainly to Russia. That market is being lost by the junta's belligerence toward Russia. This should have blocked Ukraine from receiving IMF aid. Withholding IMF credit could have been a lever to force peace and adherence to the Minsk agreements, but U.S. diplomatic pressure led that opportunity to be rejected.

The most important IMF condition being violated is that continued warfare with the East prevents a realistic prospect of Ukraine paying back new loans. Aslund himself points to the internal contradictions at work: Ukraine has achieved budget balance because the inflation and steep currency depreciation has drastically eroded its pension costs. The resulting lower value of pension benefits has led to growing opposition to Ukraine's post-Maidan junta. "Leading representatives from President Petro Poroshenko's Bloc are insisting on massive tax cuts, but no more expenditure cuts; that would cause a vast budget deficit that the IMF assesses at 9-10 percent of GDP, that could not possibly be financed."[12] So how can the IMF's austerity budget be followed without a political backlash?

The IMF thus is breaking four rules: Not lending to a country that has no visible means to pay back the loan breaks the "No More Argentinas" rule adopted after the IMF's disastrous 2001 loan. Not lending to countries that refuse in good faith to negotiate with their official creditors goes against the IMF's role as the major tool of the global creditors' cartel. And the IMF is now lending to a borrower at war, indeed one that is destroying its export capacity and hence its balance-of-payments ability to pay back the loan. Finally, the IMF is lending to a country that has little likelihood of refuse carrying out the IMF's notorious austerity "conditionalities" on its population – without putting down democratic opposition in a totalitarian manner. Instead of being treated as an outcast from the international financial system, Ukraine is being welcomed and financed.

The upshot – and new basic guideline for IMF lending – is to create a new Iron Curtain splitting the world into pro-U.S. economies going neoliberal, and all other economies, including those seeking to maintain public investment in infrastructure, progressive taxation and what used to be viewed as progressive capitalism. Russia and China may lend as much as they want to other governments, but there is no international vehicle to help secure their ability to be paid back under what until now has passed for international law. Having refused to roll back its own or ECB financial claims on Greece, the IMF is quite willing to see repudiation of official debts owed to Russia, China or other countries not on the list approved by the U.S. neocons who wield veto power in the IMF, World Bank and similar global economic institutions now drawn into the U.S. orbit. Changing its rules to clear the path for the IMF to make loans to Ukraine and other governments in default of debts owed to official lenders is rightly seen as an escalation of America's New Cold War against Russia and also its anti-China strategy.

Timing is everything in such ploys. Georgetown University Law professor and Treasury consultant Anna Gelpern warned that before the "IMF staff and executive board [had] enough time to change the policy on arrears to official creditors," Russia might use "its notorious debt/GDP clause to accelerate the bonds at any time before December, or simply gum up the process of reforming the IMF's arrears policy."[13] According to this clause, if Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP, Russia's government would have the right to demand immediate payment. But no doubt anticipating the bitter fight to come over its attempts to collect on its loan, President Putin patiently refrained from exercising this option. He is playing the long game, bending over backward to accommodate Ukraine rather than behaving "odiously."

A more pressing reason deterring the United States from pressing earlier to change IMF rules was that a waiver for Ukraine would have opened the legal floodgates for Greece to ask for a similar waiver on having to pay the "troika" – the European Central Bank (ECB), EU commission and the IMF itself – for the post-2010 loans that have pushed it into a worse depression than the 1930s. "Imagine the Greek government had insisted that EU institutions accept the same haircut as the country's private creditors," Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov asked. "The reaction in European capitals would have been frosty. Yet this is the position now taken by Kiev with respect to Ukraine's $3 billion eurobond held by Russia."[14]

Only after Greece capitulated to eurozone austerity was the path clear for U.S. officials to change the IMF rules in their fight to isolate Russia. But their tactical victory has come at the cost of changing the IMF's rules and those of the global financial system irreversibly. Other countries henceforth may reject conditionalities, as Ukraine has done, and ask for write-downs on foreign official debts.

That was the great fear of neoliberal U.S. and Eurozone strategists last summer, after all. The reason for smashing Greece's economy was to deter Podemos in Spain and similar movements in Italy and Portugal from pursuing national prosperity instead of eurozone austerity. Opening the door to such resistance by Ukraine is the blowback of America's tactic to make a short-term financial hit on Russia while its balance of payments is down as a result of collapsing oil and gas prices.

The consequences go far beyond just the IMF. The fabric of international law itself is being torn apart. Every action has a reaction in the Newtonian world of geopolitics. It may not be a bad thing, to be sure, for the post-1945 global order to be broken apart by U.S. tactics against Russia, if that is the catalyst driving other countries to defend their own economies in the legal and political spheres. It has been U.S. neoliberals themselves who have catalyzed the emerging independent Eurasian bloc.

Countering Russia's Ability to Collect in Britain's Law Courts

Over the past year the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have discussed ploys to block Russia from collecting under British law, where its loans to Ukraine are registered. Reviewing the repertory of legal excuses Ukraine might use to avoid paying Russia, Prof. Gelpern noted that it might declare the debt "odious," made under duress or corruptly. In a paper for the Peterson Institute of International Economics (the banking lobby in Washington) she suggested that Britain should deny Russia the use of its courts as an additional sanction reinforcing the financial, energy, and trade sanctions to those passed against Russia after Crimea voted to join it as protection against the ethnic cleansing from the Right Sector, Azov Battalion and other paramilitary groups descending on the region.[15]

A kindred ploy might be for Ukraine to countersue Russia for reparations for "invading" it, for saving Crimea and the Donbass region from the Right Sector's attempt to take over the country. Such a ploy would seem to have little chance of success in international courts (without showing them to be simply arms of NATO New Cold War politics), but it might delay Russia' ability to collect by tying the loan up in a long nuisance lawsuit.

To claim that Ukraine's debt to Russia was "odious" or otherwise illegitimate, "President Petro Poroshenko said the money was intended to ensure Yanukovych's loyalty to Moscow, and called the payment a 'bribe,' according to an interview with Bloomberg in June this year."[16] The legal and moral problem with such arguments is that they would apply equally to IMF and US loans. Claiming that Russia's loan is "odious" is that this would open the floodgates for other countries to repudiate debts taken on by dictatorships supported by IMF and U.S. lenders, headed by the many dictatorships supported by U.S. diplomacy.

The blowback from the U.S. multi-front attempt to nullify Ukraine's debt may be used to annul or at least write down the destructive IMF loans made on the condition that borrowers accept privatizations favoring U.S., German and other NATO-country investors, undertake austerity programs, and buy weapons systems such as the German submarines that Greece borrowed to pay for. As Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted: "This reform, which they are now trying to implement, designed to suit Ukraine only, could plant a time bomb under all other IMF programs." It certainly showed the extent to which the IMF is subordinate to U.S. aggressive New Cold Warriors: "Essentially, this reform boils down to the following: since Ukraine is politically important – and it is only important because it is opposed to Russia – the IMF is ready to do for Ukraine everything it has not done for anyone else, and the situation that should 100 percent mean a default will be seen as a situation enabling the IMF to finance Ukraine."[17]

Andrei Klimov, deputy chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament) accused the United States of playing "the role of the main violin in the IMF while the role of the second violin is played by the European Union. These are two basic sponsors of the Maidan – the symbol of a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014."[18]

Putin's Counter-Strategy and the Blowback on U.S.-European and Global Relations

As noted above, having anticipated that Ukraine would seek reasons to not pay the Russian loan, President Putin carefully refrained from exercising Russia's right to demand immediate payment when Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP. In November he offered to defer payment if the United States, Europe and international banks underwrote the obligation. Indeed, he even "proposed better conditions for this restructuring than those the International Monetary Fund requested of us." He offered "to accept a deeper restructuring with no payment this year – a payment of $1 billion next year, $1 billion in 2017, and $1 billion in 2018." If the IMF, the United States and European Union "are sure that Ukraine's solvency will grow," then they should "see no risk in providing guarantees for this credit." Accordingly, he concluded "We have asked for such guarantees either from the United States government, the European Union, or one of the big international financial institutions." [19]

The implication, Putin pointed out, was that "If they cannot provide guarantees, this means that they do not believe in the Ukrainian economy's future." One professor pointed out that this proposal was in line with the fact that, "Ukraine has already received a sovereign loan guarantee from the United States for a previous bond issue." Why couldn't the United States, Eurozone or leading commercial banks provide a similar guarantee of Ukraine's debt to Russia – or better yet, simply lend it the money to turn it into a loan to the IMF or US lenders?[20]

But the IMF, European Union and the United States refused to back up their happy (but nonsensical) forecasts of Ukrainian solvency with actual guarantees. Foreign Minister Lavrov made clear just what that rejection meant: "By having refused to guarantee Ukraine's debt as part of Russia's proposal to restructure it, the United States effectively admitted the absence of prospects of restoring its solvency. … By officially rejecting the proposed scheme, the United States thereby subscribed to not seeing any prospects of Ukraine restoring its solvency."[21]

In an even more exasperated tone, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev explained to Russia's television audience: "I have a feeling that they won't give us the money back because they are crooks. They refuse to return our money and our Western partners not only refuse to help, but they also make it difficult for us."[22] Adding that "the international financial system is unjustly structured," he promised to "go to court. We'll push for default on the loan and we'll push for default on all Ukrainian debts."

The basis for Russia's legal claim, he explained was that the loan

was a request from the Ukrainian Government to the Russian Government. If two governments reach an agreement this is obviously a sovereign loan…. Surprisingly, however, international financial organisations started saying that this is not exactly a sovereign loan. This is utter bull. Evidently, it's just an absolutely brazen, cynical lie. … This seriously erodes trust in IMF decisions. I believe that now there will be a lot of pleas from different borrower states to the IMF to grant them the same terms as Ukraine. How will the IMF possibly refuse them?

And there the matter stands. As President Putin remarked regarding America's support of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other ISIS allies in Syria, "Do you have any idea of what you have done?"

The Blowback

Few have calculated the degree to which America's New Cold War with Russia is creating a reaction that is tearing up the world's linkages put in place since World War II. Beyond pulling the IMF and World Bank tightly into U.S. unilateralist geopolitics, how long will Western Europe be willing to forego its trade and investment interest with Russia? Germany, Italy and France already are feeling the strains. If and when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.

The oil and pipeline war designed to bypass Russian energy exports has engulfed the Near East in anarchy for over a decade. It is flooding Europe with refugees, and also spreading terrorism to America. In the Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015, the leading issue was safety from Islamic jihadists. Yet no candidate thought to explain the source of this terrorism in America's alliance with Wahabist Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and hence with Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daish as a means of destabilizing secular regimes seeking independence from U.S. control.

As its allies in this New Cold War, the United States has chosen fundamentalist jihadist religion against secular regimes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and earlier in Afghanistan and Turkey. Going back to the original sin of CIA hubris – overthrowing the secular Iranian Prime Minister leader Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 – American foreign policy has been based on the assumption that secular regimes tend to be nationalist and resist privatization and neoliberal austerity.

Based on this fatal long-term assumption, U.S. Cold Warriors have aligned themselves not only against secular regimes, but against democratic regimes where these seek to promote their own prosperity and economic independence, and to resist neoliberalism in favor of maintaining their traditional mixed public/private economy.

This is the back story of the U.S. fight to control the rest of the world. Tearing apart the IMF's rules is only the most recent chapter. The broad drive against Russia, China and their prospective Eurasian allies has deteriorated into tactics without a realistic understanding of how they are bringing about precisely the kind of world they are seeking to prevent – a multilateral world.

Arena by arena, the core values of what used to be American and European social democratic ideology are being uprooted. The Enlightenment's ideals of secular democracy and the rule of international law applied equally to all nations, classical free market theory (of markets free from unearned income and rent extraction by special vested interests), and public investment in infrastructure to hold down the cost of living and doing business are to be sacrificed to a militant U.S. unilateralism as "the indispensible nation." Standing above the rule of law and national interests, American neocons proclaim that their nation's destiny is to wage war to prevent foreign secular democracy from acting in ways other than submission to U.S. diplomacy. In practice, this means favoring special U.S. financial and corporate interests that control American foreign policy.

This is not how the Enlightenment was supposed to turn out. Classical industrial capitalism a century ago was expected to evolve into an economy of abundance. Instead, we have Pentagon capitalism, finance capitalism deteriorating into a polarized rentier economy, and old-fashioned imperialism.

The Dollar Bloc's Financial Iron Curtain

By treating Ukraine's nullification of its official debt to Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund as the new norm, the IMF has blessed its default on its bond payment to Russia. President Putin and foreign minister Lavrov have said that they will sue in British courts. But does any court exist in the West not under the thumb of U.S. veto?

What are China and Russia to do, faced with the IMF serving as a kangaroo court whose judgments are subject to U.S. veto power? To protect their autonomy and self-determination, they have created alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, NATO and behind it, the dollar standard.

America's recent New Cold War maneuvering has shown that the two Bretton Woods institutions are unreformable. It is easier to create new institutions such as the A.I.I.B. than to retrofit old and ill-designed ones burdened with the legacy of their vested founding interests. It is easier to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization than to surrender to threats from NATO.

U.S. geostrategists seem to have imagined that if they exclude Russia, China and other SCO and Eurasian countries from the U.S.-based financial and trade system, these countries will find themselves in the same economic box as Cuba, Iran and other countries have been isolated by sanctions. The aim is to make countries choose between impoverishment from such exclusion, or acquiescing in U.S. neoliberal drives to financialize their economies and impose austerity on their government sector and labor.

What is lacking from such calculations is the idea of critical mass. The United States may use the IMF and World Bank as levers to exclude countries not in the U.S. orbit from participating in the global trade and financial system, and it may arm-twist Europe to impose trade and financial sanctions on Russia. But this action produces an equal and opposite reaction. That is the eternal Newtonian law of geopolitics. The indicated countermeasure is simply for other countries to create their own international financial organization as an alternative to the IMF, their own "aid" lending institution to juxtapose to the U.S.-centered World Bank.

All this requires an international court to handle disputes that is free from U.S. arm-twisting to turn international law into a kangaroo court following the dictates of Washington. The Eurasian Economic Union now has its own court to adjudicate disputes. It may provide an alternative Judge Griesa's New York federal court ruling in favor of vulture funds derailing Argentina's debt negotiations and excluding it from foreign financial markets. If the London Court of International Arbitration (under whose rules Russia's bonds issued to Ukraine are registered) permits frivolous legal claims (called barratry in English) such as President Poroshenko has threatened in Ukrainian Parliament, it too will become a victim of geopolitical obsolescence.

The more nakedly self-serving and geopolitical U.S. policy is – in backing radical Islamic fundamentalist outgrowths of Al Qaeda throughout the Near East, right-wing nationalist governments in Ukraine and the Baltics – the greater the catalytic pressure is growing for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, AIIB and related Eurasian institutions to break free of the post-1945 Bretton Woods system run by the U.S. State, Defense and Treasury Departments and NATO superstructure.

The question now is whether Russia and China can hold onto the BRICS and India. So as Paul Craig Roberts recently summarized my ideas along these lines, we are back with George Orwell's 1984 global fracture between Oceanea (the United States, Britain and its northern European NATO allies) vs. Eurasia.

... .... ....

RabidGandhi December 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

My issue with Hudson is that he tends to paint things in a "good guys/bad guys" dichotomy viz. the IMF vs. the AIIB. Personally, I think it's quite positive that the international sovereign finance institutions will now be more international and less unipolar, but his scenario where

Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries.

is rather pie-in-the sky. What reason do we have to believe that concentrated Chinese capital would somehow be more benevolent than our current overlords? Oh because AIIB has the word "infrastructure" in its title (just as the Interamerican Development Bank is all about development) /sarc.

Furthermore, if US planners had half a clue about economics, they would be jumping for joy that the AIIB and the CIPS will finally help release them (eventually) from the burden of having the USD as the global reserve currency, thus relieving the US of the albatross of having to ship its internal demand to China and other net exporters.

All in all, yes AIIB should be positive, but as Hudson himself points out, this is not so much about economics as it is geopolitics. The world should tread with the utmost caution.

Dino Reno December 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

I think his main point is not so much about economics or geopolitics, it's about the rule of law, specifically international law and how it applies to the debt collection brokered between counties.

China and Russia harbored the fantasy that would be allowed redress in the Western Courts where international law is metered out. They are now no longer under that delusion.

Even if they come up with a lending facility, the West will thwart their ability to collect on those debts at every turn by simply declaring those debts null and void and extending new funds using the infrastructure build by the bad (Russian/Chinese) debt as collateral. The thirst for power and profit will always be with us, but now it will not be tempered by any international order under the rule of law.

Nick December 18, 2015 at 10:15 am

China is learning the hard way how the game is played. For example, they're discovering that much of the tens of billions in no-strings attached loans given to Africa will not provide the returns initially thought (even accounting for massive corruption on all sides), which is why they have been reduced for the first time in a decade this past year.

Alejandro December 18, 2015 at 10:41 am

Don't see how "economics" and "social" can be de-linked from "politics"…understanding the limits of "local" may provide an awareness of the "quid pro quo" of extending, direction of extension, and what defines (in/inter) "dependency"…how sacrifice is "shared" or imposed, and how "prosperity" is concentrated or distributed…

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL December 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

It's not Hudson but the US that has simplified the entire world situation into "good guys vs. bad guys", a policy enshrined in Rumsfeld's statement "you're either with us or you're against us".

It's like a playground with one big bully and lots of kids running scared, now a second bully appears and they all have to ask themselves whether Bully #2 will be nicer to them, in this case it appears Bully #2 is saying he won't tell them how to run their lives or steal their lunch money.

Post-comet in 2000 when everything started going to hell the worst casualty has been the rule of law, from hanging chads through to the Patriot Act, death by a thousand cuts of the Constitution, unprosecuted war crimes, unprosecuted financial crimes, and now the very fabric of international law being rent apart. I'm reminded of the Hunter Thompson scene where he has an expired driver's license and a cop pulls him over, he has two choices, hand over the license and get busted, or drive away and get busted… so he comes up with a third choice: he blows his nose all over the license and hands it over to the cop. The equivalent of Bully #1 taking the only soccer ball on the playground and kicking it over the fence so the game is screwed up for everybody, Pepe's "Empire of Chaos" indeed.

global123 December 18, 2015 at 9:47 am

stellar article michael hudson

1)Western economies depend on ocean transport…if chinese or ruskies destroy it, USA-EU will be bankrupt in weeks..USA-EU are consumers and not producers..their exports to rest of world are tiny..So,their position is very weak at this point
2)The asian countries like china-india will be forced to join hands under joint attack by US financial system and islamic jihadists..Russia and china,former enemies,are now friends…who could have imagines it?
Russo-chinese-iranian alliance is huge failure of US foreign policies
3)Using islamic terrorists and islamic countries like turkey-saudi arabia-pakistan-indonesia-egypt is not going to work for USA because muslims think USA as enemy no.1…
4)A military superiority can not guarantee permanent -everlasting victory against too many opponents
What i see here is USA has made entire islamic world their enemy,alongwith china and russia
In case of real war,USA position will be very weak

camelotkidd December 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

This is an amazing article. Bravo!
Now it's becoming clear just what Margaret Thatcher meant when she told everyone that there was no alternative to neoliberalism.

Steve H. December 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

Thank you for continuing to mark the historical specifics of the finance/legal wing of geopolitical conflict, and the perverse failings of Full Spectrum Dominance.

The Oceana/Eurasia dichotomy is a dangerous frame of reference. It essentially contrasts the transport efficiencies of water to the solid defensive capacity of the frozen steppes. But when things get bloody, they usually crack along language lines. Not only as a proxy for migrations of the gene, but also world-views. How horse-people see things, what metaphors they use, are very different than how cow-people categorize the world.

This highlights that Russia is continuing to operate within the language and legal framework of the Indo-European languages. In other words (!), it is a fight between the U.S. and Russia for European alliances. If this is the case, then the alliance of NATO with Turkic and Arabic lines is of convenience, in that they are not partners but proxies. Europe is faced with the habit of the U.S. in saying, Let's you and him fight. But there's an oceans difference between the U.S. and European interests.

It also means that Russia and China are being pushed together by western exclusion, like drops of oil on the water. I maintain that Russia has doubled down on global warming, to open up northern sea routes and make the steppes arable. China is already a sea-power, but its massive population will need lebensraum as the fossil-fuel support for the energy needs of megapoli decay. The mountains are a formidable barrier for them to take the steppes by force.

The question for the rest of the world then becomes, who do you want to have as a friend in a hundred years. Do you bet on the Wizards of Wall Street, with their Magic Money Wand of Fiat? Or do you think Russia will ground-n-pound the fairy dust into the mud?

SocietalIllusions December 18, 2015 at 11:17 am

what is left unsaid is the choices Russia then faces once their legal options play out and the uneven playing field is fully exposed. Do they not then have a historically justifiable basis for declaring war?

The game of brinksmanship continues…

Jim Haygood December 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

'The Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration.'

Whereas the U.S. is 'investing' in new military bases to cement U.S. global domination.

Guess which model actually benefits local living standards, and 'wins hearts and minds'?

Global domination as a policy goal bankrupted the USSR. It's not working for the USSA either, as the U.S. middle class (once the envy of the world) visibly sinks into pauperization.

Thus the veracity of Michael Hudson's conclusion that 'when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.'

Steven December 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

I get the same thrill reading Hudson the religiously devout must experience reading their bibles or Korans – a glimpse of 'truth' as best it can be known. My first encounter was this interview in Counterpunch: An Interview with Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism That led directly to "Super Imperialism" (and just about every book since its publication). After reading it, I was left with the uneasy feeling that no good would come from an international monetary system that allowed any one nation to pay its way in the world by creating money 'out of thin air' i.e. as sovereign and private debt or, almost the same thing, Federal Reserve Notes.

The race to the bottom of off-shored jobs and industries freed from all environmental restrictions, AKA 'globalization', had started to really kick in but it was just before Operation Iraqi Liberation (get it?). Fundamentally, it wasn't war for oil, of course, but a war to preserve the Dollar Standard. Recycling petrodollars bought a little time after the 1971 collapse of Bretton Woods. But with the world's treasuries filling up with US dollars and debt, the product of the Congressional-military-industrial-complex running wild and more recently the U.S. 0.01% successfully evading almost all forms of taxation, some kind of control more basic than controlling the world's access to money (which basically means credit) was required.

When people like Alan Greenspan (pretend to) come clean, you really want to look twice:

THOUGH it was not understood a century ago, and though as yet the applications of the knowledge to the economics of life are not generally realized, life in its physical aspect is fundamentally a struggle for energy, in which discovery after discovery brings life into new relations with the original source.

Frederick Soddy, WEALTH, VIRTUAL WEALTH AND DEBT, 2nd edition, p. 49
The world can live without American dollars, especially these days when the U.S. no longer makes much the world needs or can afford but most obviously because it already possesses more of them than can ever be redeemed ('debt that can't be repaid and won't be') What it can't live without is ENERGY.

So long as most of that energy needs to be pumped out of the ground, the nation that ultimately controls access to the pumps – or to the distribution networks required to deliver it to the ultimate user – controls the world. This is most likely why Reagan promptly dismantled Jimmy Carter's White House solar panels. It is why the US and its European vassals have been dragging their feet for a half-century on the development of renewable energy sources and the electrification of transportation. It is why the banks and Wall Street will stand solidly behind the various electrical utilities efforts to discourage the development of any alternative energy sources from which their executives and shareholders can not extract the last pint of blood or has Hudson more politely calls it 'economic rent'.

P.S. Hudson seems to have a dangerous monopoly on economic truth these days. Is there anyone else who even comes close?

[Dec 19, 2015] Russia opens black box of jet downed by Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... I believe it was not there on patrol, but specifically to shoot the Russian plane down and come back ..."
"... Although I believe the Turkish map, I still think the Turks proved themselves on the side of the terrorists. ..."
"... Crossing that strip of Turkish territory by a friendly plane should not have been reason for shooting it down, only a PRETEXT. That may be the reason why the plane was shot down, because the Russians were not expecting the Turks to shoot at them. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Mister 2 hours ago 0

[The air force commander said 14 countries had been invited to monitor the (Russian) investigation but only China and Britain had accepted the official offer]

Shameful.

Shelly Winters 1 day ago 5

Not sure what information this "black box" contains, but CVR's and FDR's in most all aircraft (especially commercial jetliners) records only what the flight crew says in the cockpit and what operational parameters the aircraft experienced i.e. throttle settings, aileron positions, pitch, etc. It's questionable if the downed fighter aircraft's actual flight path would be stored internally in any such device, especially a fighter aircraft operating in hostile airspace. This data the Russians claim to have, if it really exists, could be certainly manipulated. The only true data for flight path would be a ground radar tape pulled from two different locations in the area.

James

I said it before, I believe the radar map the Turks showed with the paths was correct. And here are the military, but also their Religious reasons.

"War of the maps: Turkey released a map showing where Russia violated its airspace, and Russia countered"

/finance[dot]yahoo[dot]com/news/war-maps-turkey-released-map-210422386.html

You can see there is a very narrow strip of Turkish territory, about a mile wide, protruding deep into the Syrian territory. I don't know exactly the frequency of the sweep of the Turkish radar, but still, looking at the distances between dots, you can figure out the speed. The time to cross the Turkish strip must have been no longer than 20seconds, my initial estimate was 8, the Turks later said 17, but that's not important. The Russian plane is seen to make a wide circle near the Syrian border, flying much below it's maximum speed, probably looking for terrorist bases and convoys, and which circles crossed that limb. It was flying slow and probably low, and in circles, to get a good look. During the next cycle, I do believe the Turks warned it while flying over Syria, 10 times during 5' not to cross that 1 mile strip again. The Russian Su-24 bomber is seen heading for the strip the second time. Notice the Su-24 is a bomber not a dog-fighter like the F-16 and it's older. And there were two F-16's. The Turkish map shows only one path though. But the Russian maps shows only one too! On the Turkish map though, the F-16 is seen lurking in the air, and at some point accelerated sharply, approaching very close and very fast, probably in full afterburner, which is specifically reserved for attack.

I believe it was not there on patrol, but specifically to shoot the Russian plane down and come back. At (probably) the same time, the Russian path is seen with a very sharp small quirk. A sort of a mini-loop. I am sure they were trying to avoid incoming missiles. Their plane got hit, and it is seen trying to accelerate, probably to flee, and then the record ends.

HOWEVER ----------------- Although I believe the Turkish map, I still think the Turks proved themselves on the side of the terrorists.

After all, if the Russian plane was trying to get rid of the terrorists at the Turkish border, and no HONEST state wants terrorists at it's border, and the Russians were trying to do the "dirty job" of getting rid of them, Turkey should have been glad the Russians are helping them. But the fact they shot the Russian plane down, proves Turkey is harboring and abetting terrorists, if not recruits and send them itself.

Crossing that strip of Turkish territory by a friendly plane should not have been reason for shooting it down, only a PRETEXT. That may be the reason why the plane was shot down, because the Russians were not expecting the Turks to shoot at them.

So the Turks are not technically lying, but they ARE! The Russians probably did go through that miserable strip, and that's the technical truth. But Turkey is defending terrorists, and claiming it is not, that's the lie!

There are very sharp Religious reasons why they should do that, and still show the correct map. INTERESTING.. Ever heard of Tawriyya? Let me explain it for you in short. The Koran forbids a Muslim to lie, under penalty of the white-hot fires of Hell. But.. We already know if he becomes a Martyr, all his sins including lies will be forgotten.

But.. for a lie, you will be forgotten, if it's technically, a truth. What does that mean? Say, a Muslim has a $100 bill in his pocket. Somebody comes and asks him for a nickel. He will say: I don't have a nickel in my pockets! That's Tawriya, and Allah will have no reason to send him to Hell, because indeed he does not have a nickel in his pockets! That's a technical truth.

Erdogan, if he were asked "Are the terrorists working for you"? He could answer "Not a single terrorist is working for me". Indeed. Not one, but thousands. Allah won't punish him for that.

He could be asked: "Why did you shoot the plane down"? and he could answer "It was flying over our territory". He will not mention the reason was to protect his terrorists and their oil convoys. That's "Kitman". Saying half the truth. Allah won't punish him for that either.

As for lying to the Infidels, Allah won't punish him if he does it out of fear of the Infidels. Yes, but Islam is at perpetual war with the Infidels, until they either convert or disappear from the face of the Earth by any means, so orders Allah. So being at war with ANY infidel, a Muslim can lie to an Infidel all day and all night long! BUT THEY ARE ALWAYS AT WAR WITH ALL INFIDELS, UNTIL THERE ARE NO MORE INFIDELS! SO ORDERS ALLAH! DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THAT MEANS?

BUT THE TOUGHEST OF ALL IS THE "MURUNA" DOCTRINE. That literally explains terrorism. If you get to understand, you will be very surprised, of how you didn't know it.

If you want to find what terrorism is, and why Erdogan himself, said "There is no moderate and extremist Islam. There is only Islam". And he knew what he was talking about, learn more. So find the MURUNA concept or doctrine. You can find a better explanation here:

You can look on Google for this: "Knowing Four Arabic Words May Save Our Civilization from Islamic Takeover"

And save it before it disappears.

Remember, you won't win any battle not knowing your enemy first.

BTW, did you know where the expression "the writing is on the wall" comes from? I's origin is also explained there.

[Dec 19, 2015] Turkey Blasts Breakthrough UN Resolution On Syria It Lacks Perspective. Assad Must Go!

Notable quotes:
"... "Now, is there a way of us constructing a bridge, creating a political transition, that allows those who are allied with Assad right now, allows the Russians, allows the Iranians to ensure that their equities are respected, that minorities like the Alawites are not crushed or retribution is not the order of the day? I think that's going to be very important as well." ..."
"... Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin ..."
"... The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of "push[ing] Obama over the red line. " Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama's implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that. ..."
Dec 19, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Following June elections in which AKP lost its absolute parliamentary majority thanks in part to a stronger than expected showing at the polls by the pro-Kurdish HDP, Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan began to lose his mind.

The vote put in jeopardy Erdogan's bid to effectively rewrite the country's constitution on the way to consolidating his power in an executive presidency. That decisively undesirable outcome could not stand and so Erdogan did what any respectable autocrat would do: he nullified the election. First, the President undermined the coalition building process so he could call for new elections. Next, he fanned the flames of civil war and reignited a long-simmering conflict with the PKK. The idea was to scare the electorate into believing that a "strong" AKP government was the only antidote to domestic and international terror. Finally, Erdogan cracked down on the press and anyone else critical of his rule. AKP was also suspected of covertly backing attacks on HDP offices and newspapers. Some (i.e. the PKK) went so far as to suggest that Erdogan secretly worked with Sunni extremists to orchestrate suicide bombings - in other words, there's speculation Erdogan terrorized his own people.

Sure enough, AKP had a better showing at re-do elections last month, but by that point, Erdogan was on the fast track to dictatorial delirium. On November 24, he shot down a Russian fighter jet near the border with Syria in the first such direct military confrontation between Russia and a NATO member in at least six decades. And the madness didn't stop there. After Putin and the Russian MoD laid out their case against Ankara's role in financing Islamic State via Turkey's complicity in the group's lucrative oil trafficking business, Turkey sent hundreds of troops and around two dozen tanks to Bashiqa in Iraq which is right on the crude smuggling route. The deployment infuriated Baghdad and after Turkey refused to pull the troops out, Iraq went to the UN Security Council. Subsequently, Turkish troops were "attacked" by Islamic State.

The Turks claim that Iraq invited them in the past, a contention Baghdad vehemently denies. Thanks to Barzani and the Kurds, Ankara gets to claim that at least someone welcomes the Turkish troop presence (remember, despite Erdogan's hatred of the PKK and the YPG, Turkey is friendly with Erbil, which relies on Turkey to get some 630,000 b/d of what is technically illegal crude to market).

Well, for anyone who thought Turkey might be set to bow to international pressure by moving its troops north and thus back towards the Turkey-Iraq border, think again because on Saturday, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu was out with a series of declarations that seem to suggest Turkey is going full-belligerent-retard as Erdogan scrambles to preserve the "Assad must go" narrative on the way to securing whatever Ankara's interests are in both Iraq and Syria.

First, Davutoglu said that the provision of training to the Peshmerga and Mosul militiamen is "in line with a request from Iraq authorities and as such, the mission in Iraq will continue "until Mosul is freed" from ISIS.

Ok, so two things there. The deployment is not "in line with a request from Iraq." At this point, Turkey's position has moved from comically absurd to maddeningly obstinate. How many times does Baghdad have to say that Turkey isn't invited before NATO forces Turkey to drop the "they told us we could be here" line? Further, the idea that Turkey will stay until Mosul "is liberated" from ISIS, means Erdogan plans to remain in Iraq indefinitely. As we've documented on several occasions, an operation to retake Mosul is for all intents and purposes a pipe dream and if Turkey intends to wait it out, the troops and tanks could be there for years.

Next, Davutoglu claims that the Islamic State attacks on Turkish positions in Bashiqa prove Turkey "is right." "Right" about what, it's not clear, but what's interesting is that the attacks came just as ISIS launched its first major offensive in northern Iraq since July in a move that US officials say was likely designed to disrupt preparations for an assault on Mosul. The point: all of this is rather conveniently timed.

Davutoglu then slammed a UN Security Council resolution agreed in New York on Friday. The meeting of foreign ministers was tipped by John Kerry in Moscow on Tuesday and when discussions ended, diplomats adopted a resolution which purports to draw a road map for ending the war in Syria. As WSJ notes, the resolution "left unresolved divisions among world powers on key issues in the conflict."

Which "key issues", you ask? Well, the only ones that matter - namely, i) the fate of Bashar al-Assad and ii) which groups should be recognized as "terrorists" and which should be awarded the "moderate opposition" badge.

"Both issues were left out of the resolution after an hourslong meeting of foreign ministers in New York on Friday failed to reach a compromise and at one point verged on collapse," WSJ goes on the recount, adding that "Russian and Iranian diplomats said the question of Mr. Assad wasn't discussed on Friday because neither of their countries would accept a deal that calls for Mr. Assad's exit, even at the end of a political transition period."

As we've said on too many occasions to count, Syria is absolutely critical for Tehran when it comes to preserving Iranian influence and ensuring that the so-called "Shiite crescent" doesn't wane. For Russia, this is a chance to supplant the US as Mid-East superpower puppet master and Moscow isn't about to see it slip away by agreeing to a resolution that makes Assad's ouster a foregone conclusion.

For Turkey, the absence of a decision on Assad's future is maddening. The Security Council resolution "lacks realistic perspective," Davutoglu said on Saturday, before adding that the "Syria crisis can only be solved if Bashar al-Assad leaves power."

Consider that, and consider the fact that, as we reported yesterday, Ankara is now establishing a military base in Qatar in order that the two country's might work more closely on tackling "common enemies."

What we're beginning to see here is the formation of three alliances in the Mid-East: 1) Russia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq; 2) Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar; 3) Britain, France, and Germany. The first alliance is pro-Assad, anti-terror. The second is anti-Assad, pro-Sunni extremist. The third is anti-Assad (although less vehemently so), anti-terror (conspiracy theories aside). Note that we've left the US out. Why? Because Washington is now stuck. The US wants desperately to maintain coordination with Ankara, Riyadh, and Doha, but between stepped up media coverage of Saudi Arabia's role in underwriting extremism (via the promotion of Wahhabism) and hightened scrutiny on Erdogan's role in financing terrorists, the position is becoming increasingly untenable. But aligning solely with the UK, France, and Germany entails adopting a more conciliatory approach to Assad - just ask Berlin which, as we reported on Friday, is now working with Assad's intelligence police and may soon establish a base in Damascus.

With that in mind, we'll close with the following from Obama, which underscores the extent to which the US is now thoroughly confused as to what to do next:

"Now, is there a way of us constructing a bridge, creating a political transition, that allows those who are allied with Assad right now, allows the Russians, allows the Iranians to ensure that their equities are respected, that minorities like the Alawites are not crushed or retribution is not the order of the day? I think that's going to be very important as well."

JustObserving

First try the sarin gas supplying war criminal, Erdogan

Turkey supplied the sarin that killed over 1300 Syrians in Ghouta to try to get the Nobel Prize Winner to bomb Assad into oblivion

Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin

The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of "push[ing] Obama over the red line." Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama's implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that.

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/05/06/seymour-hersh-links-turke...

WTFRLY

White House, Media Silent One Year After Murder of US Reporter Who Exposed Western Links to ISIS October 20, 2015

Turkey killed and American reporter to protect the lies. British reporter Jackie Sutton was found dead a year to the day in Istanbul airport...

DeadFred
There aren't that many Turkish troops in Iraq, they can be removed with Iraqi Army and Shiite militia ground troops. The Russian can fly CAP but they shouldn't be involved beyond that. The purpose of Erdogan's insanities is to goad Putin into doing something that will bring NATO against him. He's been wise enough to avoid that so far. The Western economies are a gnats eyelash from collapse so all he needs to so is wait. Maybe selling a few shares of SPY at the right time would help or giving a few billion to some untracable players who call for delivery on their gold futures. I hope he's patient, the end-game is upon us but the fewer nukes that get used the better.
two hoots

Israel, where are you in all of this? Oh, see below:

Forget Qatar/Russia pipelines.

Israel/Turkey/US/NATO connection found here: "That would allow Turkey to reduce its energy dependence on Russia and open up a new market for Israeli and U.S. developers of a new natural gas project off the Israeli coast." (WSJ)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-turkey-poised-to-renew-diplomatic-relations-1450438539

Nat Gas in Israel waters: "Israel has proposed that EU countries invest in a multi-billion euro pipeline to carry its natural gas to the continent, noting that the supply from Israel would reduce Europe's current dependence on natural gas from Russia." (Start Up-Israel)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-pitches-massive-natural-gas-pipeline-plan-to-europe/

It could be a whole new NG game? And what thinks Russia/Qatar in all of this?

[Dec 19, 2015] The Exception

Notable quotes:
"... "Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt, and that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous Carly won the sound bite of the century award with that one! ..."
"... I voted for this turd because you Rightwingnut Fuckheads gave me the option of McCain the first time and Romney the second time. ..."
Zero Hedge

FireBrander

I expect the lies....but the level of lies when it comes to "fighting ISIS" is off-the-fucking-charts!...and no one calls him on it!

>The USA/NATO Created ISIS.

>The USA/NATO is using ISIS to oust ASSAD because he's too friendly with Russia/Iran.

>The USA/NATO FUNDS ISIS via Turkey.

Obama: "ISIS is a seriously threat, they are contained and we will destroy ISIS"

Bill Clintons' mouth has got to be gaping; and I'm sure thoroughly impressed that Obama could tell a whopper like that without question...NOT ONE REPUBLICAN at the debate even called Obama on ISIS!

Neil Patrick Harris

You gotta wonder how much money they promised him when he leaves office.

Peter Pan

Unfortunately Obama is beyond being a threat. He ( and whoever is pulling on his strings) is an actual attack on America.

FireBrander

"Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt, and that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous" Carly won the sound bite of the century award with that one!

..and the new budget bill will fully fund ALL OF IT's desires....

FireBrander

I voted for "this turd" because you Rightwingnut Fuckheads gave me the option of McCain the first time and Romney the second time.

You're welcome for my vote saving you from those fuckheads...McCain would have nuked the planet by now and Romney would have handed the country to his VC friends and you'd be living in a "dorm" putting together iPhones.

Romney criticised Obama in one of the debates because "The number of battleships in our fleet is the lowest since the 50's"...battleships? Romney, you stupid fuck, it's 20xx you moron...battleships are pretty irrelevent in today's "theater of war"...Obama held it together and replied, I give the Admirals EVERYTHING THEY ASK FOR...and Romney dropped it.

Great ZH piece on Romney; what a piece of shit:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-17/rip-truman-show-bubble-finance-...

[Dec 17, 2015] Putin hails Donald Trump as bright and talented

economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said... December 17, 2015 at 11:26 AM
Putin hails Donald Trump as 'bright and talented'
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/12/17/putin-hails-donald-trump-bright-and-talented/CCIktxBPs0ax3bGNMz7yqO/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Vladimir Isachenkov - Associated Press - December 17, 2015

MOSCOW - Russia and the US agree on a general approach to settling the Syrian crisis, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, saying that Moscow stands ready to improve ties with Washington.

Putin also said that Russia will continue its air campaign in Syria until a political process starts, and lashed out at Turkey for trying to ''lick the Americans in some of their private parts'' by downing a Russian warplane. ...

Commenting on relations with Washington, Putin said that Russia supports a US-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution on settling the Syrian crisis, presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Moscow earlier this week.

''In general, we like it,'' Putin said. ''I believe that the Syrian authorities should be OK with it too, although they may not like something in it.''

He added that ''concessions must be made by both sides'' to end the conflict that has killed more than 250,000 and turned millions into refugees since 2011.

He said the Russian approach, ''strangely as it may seem, coincides with the US vision: joint work on a constitution, creation of instruments of control over future early elections, holding the vote and recognizing its results on the basis of that political process.''

''We will help settle this crisis in every possible way,'' Putin said. At the same time, he reaffirmed Russia's stance on the key issue that divided Russia and the West, the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the Syrians themselves must determine who rules them. ...

Already on his way out of the hall, he was asked about US presidential candidate Donald Trump and praised him as a ''very bright and talented man,'' adding that he welcomes the Republican's pledges to establish closer ties with Russia. ...

[Dec 17, 2015] US militarism is Alice in Wonderland

economistsview.typepad.com
anne, December 17, 2015 at 11:50 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/asia/navy-seal-team-2-afghanistan-beating-death.html

December 16, 2015

Navy SEALs, a Beating Death and Complaints of a Cover-Up
By NICHOLAS KULISH, CHRISTOPHER DREW and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

U.S. soldiers accused Afghan police and Navy SEALs of abusing detainees. But the SEAL command opted against a court-martial and cleared its men of wrongdoing.

ilsm said in reply to anne...

Too much training to send to jail.

While E-4 Bergdahl does in captivity what several hundred officers did in Hanoi and gets life!

US militarism is Alice's Wonderland!

[Dec 17, 2015] The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory

Notable quotes:
"... It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported . Putin's only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act. ..."
February 15, 2015 | readersupportednews.org

The actually "incontrovertible" facts about the Ukraine crisis are these: The destabilization of President Viktor Yanukovych's elected government began in November 2013 when Yanukovych balked at a proposed association agreement promoted by the European Union. He sought more time after the sticker shock of learning from Kiev economic experts that the deal would cost Ukraine $160 billion in lost revenue by cutting trade with Russia.

It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported. Putin's only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act.

Yanukovych's decision to postpone action on the EU association prompted angry demonstrations in Kiev's Maidan square, largely from western Ukrainians who were hoping for visa-free travel to the EU and other benefits from closer ties. Putin had no role in those protests – and it's insane to think that he did.

In February 2014, the protests grew more and more violent as neo-Nazi and other militias organized in the western city of Lviv and these 100-man units known as "sotins" were dispatched daily to provide the muscle for the anti-Yanukovych uprising that was taking shape. It is frankly nutty to suggest that Putin was organizing these militias. [See Consortiumnews.com's "When Is a Putsch a Putsch."]

Evidence of Coup Plotting

By contrast, there is substantial evidence that senior U.S. officials were pushing for a "regime change" in Kiev, including an intercepted phone call and various public statements.

In December 2013, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their "European aspirations." In early February, she discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leaders of Ukraine should be. "Yats is the guy," she declared, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Who's Telling the Big Lie on Ukraine?"]

The Maidan uprising gained momentum on Feb. 20, 2014, when snipers around the square opened fire on police and protesters touching off a violent clash that left scores of people dead, both police and protesters. After the sniper fire and a police retreat - carrying their wounded - the demonstrators surged forward and some police apparently reacted with return fire of their own.

But the growing evidence indicates that the initial sniper fire originated from locations controlled by the Right Sektor, extremists associated with the Maidan's neo-Nazi "self-defense" commandant Andriy Parubiy. Though the current Ukrainian government has dragged its feet on an investigation, independent field reports, including a new one from BBC, indicate that the snipers were associated with the protesters, not the Yanukovych government as was widely reported in the U.S. media a year ago.

The worsening violence led Yanukovych to agree on Feb. 21 to a deal guaranteed by three European countries. He accepted reduced powers and agreed to early elections so he could be voted out of office. Yet, rather than permit that political settlement to go forward, neo-Nazis and other Maidan forces overran government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

The U.S. State Department quickly deemed this coup regime "legitimate" and Nuland's choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as Prime Minister, with Parubiy put in charge of national security.

In other words, there is plenty of evidence that the Ukraine crisis was started by the EU through its mishandling of the association agreement, then was heated up by the U.S. government through the work of Nuland, Pyatt and other officials, and then was brought to a boil by neo-Nazis and other extremists who executed the coup.

[Dec 17, 2015] Neocon Influence on Angela Merkel

February 21, 2007 | Dialog International
Is Angela Merkel getting bad advice from Washington neocons through their representative in Berlin? Now we read that Jeff Gedmin - the head of the Aspen Institute in Berlin - is meeting on a regular basis with the Chancellor to instruct her on the Bush administration's line:

Angela Merkel relies on the advice of Jeffrey Gedmin, specially dispatched to Berlin to assist her by the Bush clan. This lobbyist first worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) [2] under Richard Perle and Mrs. Dick Cheney. He enthusiastically encouraged the creation of a Euro with Dollar parity exchange rate. Within the AEI, he led the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI), which brought together all the America-friendly generals and politicians in Europe. He was then involved in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by "discouraging European calls for emancipation." [3] Finally he became the administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies (CCD), which argues in favour of a two-speed UN, and became director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin [4]. Subsequently he turned down the offer from his friend John Bolton [5] of the post of deputy US ambassador to the UN so as to be able to devote himself exclusively to Angela Merkel.

Elsewhere we read that Chancellor Merkel receives daily briefings from the neocon stalwart Gedmin:

Gedmin "brieft" die Kanzlerin täglich: Er hat damit die Rolle inne, die bei der Stasi die Führungsoffiziere hatten. Wenn wir uns noch Demokratie nennen wollen, dann muss Merkel gezwungen werden, die Inhalte dieser täglichen "Briefings" dem Land offenzulegen. In anderen Ländern gibt es dafür Gesetze, die "Freedom of Information Act" heissen.

Could this be true? I hope not. Gedmin is known for his columns in the conservative daily Die Welt where he reports on the marvelous successes the Iraq War. And who can forget Gedmin's column during last summer' s Israel/Lebanon War where he wrote about how Hezbollah fighters drank the blood of their victims in Lebanon? If Angela Merkel is looking for good advice, there are much more honest and intelligent resources than Jeff Gedmin.

[Dec 17, 2015] Why Merkel betrays Europe and Germany

Note that the quality of translation from German of this article is low.
Notable quotes:
"... Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ..."
"... Bild and Die Welt ..."
"... In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Ira q. Angela Merkel then published a courageous article in the Washington Post ..."
"... As Stanley Payne, the famous American historian said about Spain (or any western democracy) that now politicians are not elected but chosen by apparatus, agencies and visible hands of the markets ..."
"... Merkel is publicly supported by Friede Springer , widow of West German press baron, Axel Springer , whos publishing conglomerate, the Springer Group secretly received around $7 million from the CIA in the early 1950s. ..."
"... She is counseled by Jeffrey Gedmin. Gedmin is a regular columnist in Die Welt , a publication of the Springer Group. After becoming administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies and director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin in 2001, Gedmin devoted himself exclusively to Merkel . Gedmin was too involved in the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by discouraging European calls for emancipation . ..."
"... In a few years, Merkel has destroyed European solidarity, annihilated the German nuclear power plants (an old American obsession too), impoverished Germans and their once efficient Rheinisch and solitary economy, backed the mad dog American diplomacy and created along with an irresponsible American administration (irresponsible because America will never win this kind of conflict) a dangerous crisis against Russia than can end on a war or a scandalous European partition. ..."
Mar 06, 2015 | PravdaReport

One must understand the reasons of Angela Merkel's behaviour. She obeys America and her Israeli mentor ('Israel is Germany's raison d'être'???), she threatens and mistreats Europe; she attacks Russia and now she builds a new sanitary cordon (like in 1919) in order to deconstruct Eurasia and reinforce American agenda in our unlucky continent. Now Merkel advocates for the rapid adoption on the most infamous and perilous treaty of commerce in history, the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Dr Roberts has recently explained the meaning of 'Fast Track' expression and a courageous Guardian, last 27th may, has exposed the corruption of American Congress on this incredible yet terrible matter.

Why is Merkel so pro-American and anti-European?

Let us explain with the data we know the reasons of such nihilist and erratic behaviour.

Angela Merkel was then publicly supported by two press groups. Firstly, she was able to count on the support of Friede Springer, who had inherited the Axel Springer group (180 newspapers and magazines, including Bild and Die Welt). The group's journalists are required to sign an editorial agreement which lies down that they must work towards developing transatlantic links and defending the state of Israel. The other group is Bertelsmann.

Angela Merkel radically rejects European independence

In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. Angela Merkel then published a 'courageous' article in the Washington Post in which she rejected the Chirac-Schröder doctrine of European independence, affirmed her gratitude and friendship for "America" and supported this scandalous and ridiculous war. I quote some lines of this interesting act of submission to her American lords:

Yet Merkel won the elections in 2007. She announced the abolition of graduated income tax, proposing that the rate should be the same for those who only just have what is necessary and those who live in luxury: maybe this is the a result of her Christian education?

The outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, severely criticized this proposal in a televised debate. The CDU's lead was decimated, and in the actual election, the CDU polled 35% of the votes and the SPD 34%, the remainder being spread amongst a number of small parties. The Germans didn't want Schröder any longer, but nor did they want Merkel. I repeat that she was imposed more than elected. As Stanley Payne, the famous American historian said about Spain (or any western democracy) that now politicians are 'not elected but chosen' by apparatus, agencies and 'visible hands' of the markets

These last weeks, "Mother" Merkel tries to re-launch the proposed merger of the North American Free Trade Area and the European Free Trade Area, thereby creating a "great transatlantic market" to use the words once pronounced by Sir Leon Brittan, a famous paedophile involved in scandals and bribes since, and mysteriously found dead a couple of months ago.

Let us se now some of their connections:

We have never been so far from 'emancipation' now in Europe, and never been so near to a war with Russia and maybe (in order to satisfy American gruesome appetite) with Central Asia and China. In France, 61% of the people who had witnessed the war asserted in 1945 that we were saved by the Russian Army. Now, thanks to American propaganda backed by European collaborators, we are hardly 10% to know that fact. The rest is misled by propaganda, media, TV and films. Daniel Estulin speaks of a remade, of a re-fabricated past by US television and media agencies.

In a few years, Merkel has destroyed European solidarity, annihilated the German nuclear power plants (an old American obsession too), impoverished Germans and their once efficient Rheinisch and solitary economy, backed the 'mad dog' American diplomacy and created along with an irresponsible American administration (irresponsible because America will never win this kind of conflict) a dangerous crisis against Russia than can end on a war or a scandalous European partition.

See also: Germany Americanizes Europe

[Dec 17, 2015] A Blind Eye Toward Turkey's Crimes

Notable quotes:
"... The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other "respectable" sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful "group think" across Official Washington. ..."
December 16, 2015 | consortiumnews.com

A Blind Eye Toward Turkey's Crimes

To make the story even more compelling, an opposition leader braves the wrath of the autocrat by seeking to expose these intelligence schemes, including the cover-up of key evidence. The autocrat's government then seeks to prosecute the critic for "treason."

But the problem with this story, as far as the American government and press are concerned, is that the autocratic leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in charge of Turkey, a NATO ally and his hated neighbor is the much demonized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Major U.S. news outlets and political leaders also bought into the sarin deception and simply can't afford to admit that they once again misled the American people on a matter of war.

The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other "respectable" sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful "group think" across Official Washington.

Though a few independent media outlets, including Consortiumnews.com, challenged the rush to judgment and noted the lack of evidence regarding Assad's guilt, those doubts were brushed aside. (In an article on Aug. 30, 2013, I described the administration's "Government Assessment" blaming Assad as a "dodgy dossier," which offered not a single piece of verifiable proof.)

However, as with the "certainty" about Iraq's WMD a decade earlier, Every Important Person shared the Assad-did-it "group think." That meant - as far as Official Washington was concerned - that Assad had crossed President Barack Obama's "red line" against using chemical weapons. A massive U.S. retaliatory bombing strike was considered just days away.

... ... ...

But the "group think" was resistant to all empirical evidence. It was so powerful that even when the Turkish plot was uncovered by legendary investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh, his usual publication, The New Yorker, refused to print it. Rebuffed in the United States – the land of freedom of the press – Hersh had to take the story to the London Review of Books to get it out in April 2014. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Was Turkey Behind Syria Sarin Attack?"]

... ... ...

In statements before parliament and to journalists, Erdem cited a derailed indictment that was begun by the General Prosecutor's Office in the southern Turkish city of Adana, with the criminal case number 2013/120.

Erdem said the prosecutor's office, using technical surveillance, discovered that an Al Qaeda jihadist named Hayyam Kasap acquired the sarin.

At the press conference, Erdem said, "Wiretapped phone conversations reveal the process of procuring the gas at specific addresses as well as the process of procuring the rockets that would fire the capsules containing the toxic gas. However, despite such solid evidence there has been no arrest in the case. Thirteen individuals were arrested during the first stage of the investigation but were later released, refuting government claims that it is fighting terrorism."

Erdem said the released operatives were allowed to cross the border into Syria and the criminal investigation was halted.

Another CHP deputy, Ali Şeker, added that the Turkish government misled the public by claiming Russia provided the sarin and that "Assad killed his people with sarin and that requires a U.S. military intervention in Syria."

Erdem's disclosures, which he repeated in a recent interview with RT, the Russian network, prompted the Ankara Prosecutor's Office to open an investigation into Erdem for treason. Erdem defended himself, saying the government's actions regarding the sarin case besmirched Turkey's international reputation. He added that he also has been receiving death threats.

"The paramilitary organization Ottoman Hearths is sharing my address [on Twitter] and plans a raid [on my house]. I am being targeted with death threats because I am patriotically opposed to something that tramples on my country's prestige," Erdem said.

[Dec 16, 2015] Cornering Russia, Risking World War III

Notable quotes:
"... "The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89. ..."
"... "And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn't end in Moscow. It ended in Washington - it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia. ..."
"... "TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, 'You don't have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can't have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don't exist.' This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct. ..."
"... "Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. … ..."
"... In practice, President Assad's imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East – and beyond. ..."
"... Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically. ..."
"... unfortunately, today's reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia's actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America's leadership in the world. ..."
"... Washington's disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless. ..."
"... As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures , in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia's determination to try to avoid war is leading to war. ..."
"... Russia's call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin's calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a "paper tiger," whom no one needs fear. ..."
"... In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the "benevolent" hegemon, or to prepare for war. ..."
Consortiumnews
Official Washington is awash with tough talk about Russia and the need to punish President Putin for his role in Ukraine and Syria. But this bravado ignores Russia's genuine national interests, its "red lines," and the risk that "tough-guy-ism" can lead to nuclear war, as Alastair Crooke explains.

We all know the narrative in which we (the West) are seized. It is the narrative of the Cold War: America versus the "Evil Empire." And, as Professor Ira Chernus has written, since we are "human" and somehow they (the USSR or, now, ISIS) plainly are not, we must be their polar opposite in every way.

"If they are absolute evil, we must be the absolute opposite. It's the old apocalyptic tale: God's people versus Satan's. It ensures that we never have to admit to any meaningful connection with the enemy." It is the basis to America's and Europe's claim to exceptionalism and leadership.

And "buried in the assumption that the enemy is not in any sense human like us, is [an] absolution for whatever hand we may have had in sparking or contributing to evil's rise and spread. How could we have fertilized the soil of absolute evil or bear any responsibility for its successes? It's a basic postulate of wars against evil: God's people must be innocent," (and that the evil cannot be mediated, for how can one mediate with evil).

Westerners may generally think ourselves to be rationalist and (mostly) secular, but Christian modes of conceptualizing the world still permeate contemporary foreign policy.

It is this Cold War narrative of the Reagan era, with its correlates that America simply stared down the Soviet Empire through military and – as importantly – financial "pressures," whilst making no concessions to the enemy.

What is sometimes forgotten, is how the Bush neo-cons gave their "spin" to this narrative for the Middle East by casting Arab national secularists and Ba'athists as the offspring of "Satan": David Wurmser was advocating in 1996, "expediting the chaotic collapse" of secular-Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular. He concurred with King Hussein of Jordan that "the phenomenon of Baathism" was, from the very beginning, "an agent of foreign, namely Soviet policy."

Moreover, apart from being agents of socialism, these states opposed Israel, too. So, on the principle that if these were the enemy, then my enemy's enemy (the kings, Emirs and monarchs of the Middle East) became the Bush neo-cons friends. And they remain such today – however much their interests now diverge from those of the U.S.

The problem, as Professor Steve Cohen, the foremost Russia scholar in the U.S., laments, is that it is this narrative which has precluded America from ever concluding any real ability to find a mutually acceptable modus vivendi with Russia – which it sorely needs, if it is ever seriously to tackle the phenomenon of Wahhabist jihadism (or resolve the Syrian conflict).

What is more, the "Cold War narrative" simply does not reflect history, but rather the narrative effaces history: It looses for us the ability to really understand the demonized "calous tyrant" – be it (Russian) President Vladimir Putin or (Ba'athist) President Bashar al-Assad – because we simply ignore the actual history of how that state came to be what it is, and, our part in it becoming what it is.

Indeed the state, or its leaders, often are not what we think they are – at all. Cohen explains: "The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89.

"And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn't end in Moscow. It ended in Washington - it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia.

"Many people in politics and in the media don't want to call it this, because if they admit, 'Yes, we are in a Cold War,' they would have to explain what they were doing during the past 20 years. So they instead say, 'No, it is not a Cold War.'

"Here is my next point. This new Cold War has all of the potential to be even more dangerous than the preceding 40-year Cold War, for several reasons. First of all, think about it. The epicentre of the earlier Cold War was in Berlin, not close to Russia. There was a vast buffer zone between Russia and the West in Eastern Europe.

"Today, the epicentre is in Ukraine, literally on Russia's borders. It was the Ukrainian conflict that set this off, and politically Ukraine remains a ticking time bomb. Today's confrontation is not only on Russia's borders, but it's in the heart of Russian-Ukrainian 'Slavic civilization.' This is a civil war as profound in some ways as was America's Civil War."

Cohen continued: "My next point: and still worse – You will remember that after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Washington and Moscow developed certain rules-of-mutual conduct. They saw how dangerously close they had come to a nuclear war, so they adopted "No-Nos,' whether they were encoded in treaties or in unofficial understandings. Each side knew where the other's red line was. Both sides tripped over them on occasion but immediately pulled back because there was a mutual understanding that there were red lines.

"TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, 'You don't have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can't have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don't exist.' This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct.

"Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. …

"My next point is a question: Who is responsible for this new Cold War? I don't ask this question because I want to point a finger at anyone. The position of the current American political media establishment is that this new Cold War is all Putin's fault – all of it, everything. We in America didn't do anything wrong. At every stage, we were virtuous and wise and Putin was aggressive and a bad man. And therefore, what's to rethink? Putin has to do all of the rethinking, not us."

These two narratives, the Cold War narrative, and the neocons' subsequent "spin" on it: i.e. Bill Kristol's formulation (in 2002) that precisely because of its Cold War "victory," America could, and must, become the "benevolent global hegemon," guaranteeing and sustaining the new American-authored global order – an "omelette that cannot be made without breaking eggs" – converge and conflate in Syria, in the persons of President Assad and President Putin.

President Obama is no neocon, but he is constrained by the global hegemon legacy, which he must either sustain, or be labeled as the arch facilitator of America's decline. And the President is also surrounded by R2P ("responsibility-to-protect") proselytizers, such as Samantha Power, who seem to have convinced the President that "the tyrant" Assad's ouster would puncture and collapse the Wahhabist jihadist balloon, allowing "moderate" jihadists such as Ahrar al-Sham to finish off the deflated fragments of the punctured ISIS balloon.

In practice, President Assad's imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East – and beyond. President Obama privately may understand the nature and dangers of the Wahhabist cultural revolution, but seems to adhere to the conviction that everything will change if only President Assad steps down. The Gulf States said the same about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. He has gone (for now), but what changed? ISIS got stronger.

Of course if we think of ISIS as evil, for evil's sake, bent on mindless, whimsical slaughter, "what a foolish task it obviously [would be] to think about the enemy's actual motives. After all, to do so would be to treat them as humans, with human purposes arising out of history. It would smack of sympathy for the devil. Of course," Professor Chernus continues, "this means that, whatever we might think of their actions, we generally ignore a wealth of evidence that the Islamic State's fighters couldn't be more human or have more comprehensible motivations."

Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically.

America lies far away from Syria and the Middle East, and as Professor Stephen Cohen notes, "unfortunately, today's reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia's actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America's leadership in the world."

It is a meme of perpetual national insecurity, of perpetual fears about America's standing and of challenges to its standing, Professor Chernus suggests.

But Europe is not "far away"; it lies on Syria's doorstep. It is also neighbor to Russia. And in this connection, it is worth pondering Professor Cohen's last point: Washington's disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless.

Cohen again:

"The false idea [has taken root] that the nuclear threat ended with the Soviet Union: In fact, the threat became more diverse and difficult. This is something the political elite forgot. It was another disservice of the Clinton Administration (and to a certain extent the first President Bush in his re-election campaign) saying that the nuclear dangers of the preceding Cold War era no longer existed after 1991. The reality is that the threat grew, whether by inattention or accident, and is now more dangerous than ever."

As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures, in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia's determination to try to avoid war is leading to war.

Russia's call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin's calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a "paper tiger," whom no one needs fear.

In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the "benevolent" hegemon, or to prepare for war.

Alastair Crooke is a British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West. [This article also appeared at the Conflicts Forum's Web site and is republished with permission.]

[Dec 14, 2015] The long-cherished neocon dream of "regime change" in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis

consortiumnews.com
anne,
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/12/12/blocking-democracy-as-syrias-solution/

December 12, 2015

Blocking Democracy as Syria's Solution By Robert Parry

The long-cherished neocon dream of "regime change" in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis – a ceasefire followed by elections in which President Assad could compete. The problem is there's no guarantee that Assad would lose and thus the dream might go unfulfilled.
By Robert Parry

The solution to the crisis in Syria could be democracy – letting the people of Syria decide who they want as their leaders – but it is the Obama administration and its regional Sunni "allies," including U.S.-armed militants and jihadists, that don't want to risk a democratic solution because it might not achieve the long-held goal of "regime change."

Some Syrian opposition forces, which were brought together under the auspices of the Saudi monarchy in Riyadh this past week, didn't even want the word "democracy" included in their joint statement. The New York Times reported on Friday, "Islamist delegates objected to using the word 'democracy' in the final statement, so the term 'democratic mechanism' was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting."

Even that was too much for Ahrar al-Sham, one of the principal jihadist groups fighting side-by-side with Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, the two key elements inside the Saudi-created Army of Conquest, which uses sophisticated U.S.-supplied TOW missiles to kill Syrian government troops.

Ahrar al-Sham announced its withdrawal from the Riyadh conference because the meeting didn't "confirm the Muslim identity of our people." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sought to maintain a secular government that protects the rights of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other religious minorities, but Sunni militants have been fighting to overthrow him since 2011.

Despite Ahrar al-Sham's rejection of the Saudi-organized conference, all the opposition participants, including one from Ahrar al-Sham who apparently wasn't aware of his group's announcement, signed the agreement, the Times reported.

"All parties signed a final statement that called for maintaining the unity of Syria and building a civil, representative government that would take charge after a transitional period, at the start of which Mr. Assad and his associates would step down," wrote Times' correspondent Ben Hubbard.

But the prospects of Assad and his government just agreeing to cede power to the opposition remains highly unlikely. An obvious alternative – favored by Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – is to achieve a ceasefire and then have internationally supervised elections in which the Syrian people could choose their own leaders.

Although President Barack Obama insists Assad is hated by most Syrians – and if that's true, he would presumably lose any fair election – the U.S. position is to bar Assad from the ballot, thus ensuring "regime change" in Syria, a long-held goal of Official Washington's neoconservatives.

In other words, to fulfill the neocons' dream of Syrian "regime change," the Obama administration is continuing the bloody Syrian conflict which has killed a quarter million people, has created an opening for Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists, and has driven millions of refugees into and through nearby countries, now destabilizing Europe and feeding xenophobia in the United States.

For his part, Assad called participants in the Saudi conference "terrorists" and rejected the idea of negotiating with them. "They want the Syrian government to negotiate with the terrorists, something I don't think anyone would accept in any country," Assad told Spanish journalists, as he repeated his position that many of the terrorists were backed by foreign governments and that he would only "deal with the real, patriotic national opposition."

Kinks in the Process

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Friday that he was in contact with senior Saudi officials and noted, "there are some questions and obviously a couple of – in our judgment – kinks to be worked out" though expressing confidence that the problems could be resolved.

A key problem appears to be that the Obama administration has so demonized Assad and so bought into the neocon goal of "regime change" that Obama doesn't feel that he can back down on his "Assad must go!" mantra. Yet, to force Assad out and bar him from running in an election means escalating the war by either further arming the Sunni jihadists or mounting a larger-scale invasion of Syria with the U.S. military confronting Syrian and now Russian forces to establish what is euphemistically called "a safe zone" inside Syria. A related "no-fly zone" would require destroying Syrian air defenses, now supplied by the Russians.

Obama has largely followed the first course of action, allowing Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Sunni "allies" to funnel U.S. weapons to jihadists, including Ahrar al-Sham which fights alongside Al Qaeda's Nusra Front as the two seek to transform Syria into a Islamic fundamentalist state, a goal shared by Al Qaeda's spinoff (and now rival), the Islamic State.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has termed Obama's choice of aiding the jihadists a "willful decision," even in the face of DIA warnings about the likely rise of the Islamic State and other extremists.

In August 2012, DIA described the danger in a classified report, which noted that "The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISI or ISIS and then the Islamic State] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The report also said that "If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria" and that "ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria."

Despite these risks, Obama continued to insist that "Assad must go!" and let his administration whip up a propaganda campaign around claims that Assad's forces launched a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Though many of the U.S. claims about that attack have since been discredited – and later evidence implicated radical jihadists (possibly collaborating with Turkish intelligence) trying to trick the U.S. military into intervening on their side – the Obama administration did not retract or clarify its initial claims.

By demonizing Assad – much like the demonization of Russian President Putin – Obama may feel that he is deploying "soft power" propaganda to put foreign adversaries on the defensive while also solidifying his political support inside hawkish U.S. opinion circles, but false narratives can take on a life of their own and make rational settlements difficult if not impossible....

ilsm -> anne...
The Syria terror consortium was in Riyadh checking in with their bankers. To the Sunni democracy is apostate anathema.
anne -> ilsm...
I understand the frustration and beyond, after all I read about Yemen being bombed with American bombs and target sightings and I cannot imagine the policy incentives driving us.

Nonetheless, the Yemen bombings go on day on day on day.

anne -> ilsm...
Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen? Who could possibly ever understand, but our policy makers act as though they do.

[Dec 13, 2015] US military spending is currently $738.3 billion

Notable quotes:
"... military spending is currently $738.3 billion. ..."
"... Defense spending was 60.3% of federal government consumption and investment in July through September 2015. ..."
"... Defense spending was 23.1% of all government consumption and investment in July through September 2015. ..."
"... Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

Economist's View

anne said...

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

-- Dean Baker

anne said in reply to anne...
"...about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military...."

I do not understand this figure since currently defense spending is running at $738.3 billion yearly or which 6% would be $44.3 billion:

http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

anne said in reply to anne...
Correcting Dean Baker:

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 7.4 percent ** of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

** http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

-- Dean Baker

anne said in reply to anne...
Dean Baker clarifies:

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

(I see my comment on military spending here created a bit of confusion. I was looking at the U.S. share of the commitment, 0.25 percent of its GDP and comparing it to the roughly 4.0 percent of GDP it spends on the military. That comes to 6 percent. I was not referring to the whole $100 billion.)

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

-- Dean Baker

djb said in reply to anne...
100,000,000,000/0.06 = 1.67 trillion
anne said in reply to djb...
$100 billion a year, ........about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military

100,000,000,000/0.06 = 1.67 trillion

[ This is incorrect, military spending is currently $738.3 billion. ]

anne said in reply to djb...
http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

January 15, 2015

Defense spending was 60.3% of federal government consumption and investment in July through September 2015.

(Billions of dollars)

$738.3 / $1,224.4 = 60.3%

Defense spending was 23.1% of all government consumption and investment in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $3,200.4 = 23.1%

Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $18,064.7 = 4.1%

djb said in reply to djb...
oh never mind I get it

.25 % is 6 percent of the percent us spends on military

the 40 trillion is the gdp of all the countries

got it

anne said in reply to djb...
"I get it:

.25 % is 6 percent of the percent US spends on military."

So .25 percent of United States GDP for climate change assistance to poor countries is 6 percent of the amount the US spends on the military.

.0025 x $18,064.7 billion GDP = $45.16 billion on climate change

$45.16 billion on climate change / $738.3 billion on the military = 0.61 or 6.1 percent of military spending

anne said in reply to anne...
United States climate change assistance to poor countries will be .25 percent of GDP or 6% of US military spending.
anne said in reply to anne...
What the United States commitment to climate change assistance for poor countries means is spending about $45.2 billion yearly or .25 percent of GDP. Whether the President can convince Congress to spend the $45 billion yearly will now have to be answered.
anne said in reply to djb...
"I get it:

.25 % is 6 percent of the [amount] US spends on military."

[ This is correct. ]

anne said in reply to djb...
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

(I see my comment on military spending here created a bit of confusion. I was looking at the U.S. share of the commitment, 0.25 percent of its GDP and comparing it to the roughly 4.0 percent of GDP it spends on the military. ** That comes to 6 percent. I was not referring to the whole $100 billion.)

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

** http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

-- Dean Baker

anne said in reply to djb...
http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2007&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

January 15, 2015

Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $18,064.7 = 4.1%

ilsm said in reply to anne...
UK is the only NATO nation beside the US that spend the suggested 2% of GDP. The rest run about 1.2%.

Small wonder they need US to run their wars of convenience.

More telling US pentagon spending is around 50% of world military spending and has not won anything in 60 years.

[Dec 12, 2015] Guyenot Who are the Neocons

Notable quotes:
"... The American Neocons are Zionists (Their goal is expanding political / military power. Initially this is focused on the state of Israel.) ..."
"... Obviously , if Zionism is synonymous with patriotism in Israel, it cannot be an acceptable label in American politics, where it would mean loyalty to a foreign power. This is why the neoconservatives do not represent themselves as Zionists on the American scene. Yet they do not hide it all together either. ..."
"... He points out dual-citizen (Israel / USA) members and self proclaimed Zionists throughout cabinet level positions in the US government, international banking and controlling the US military. In private writings and occasionally in public, Neocons admit that America's war policies are actually Israel's war goals. (Examples provided.) ..."
"... American Jewish Committee ..."
"... Contemporary Jewish Record ..."
"... If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It's a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying . And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants' grandchildren ..."
"... Goyenot traces the Neocon's origins through its influential writers and thinkers. Highest on the list is Leo Strauss. (Neocons are sometimes called "the Straussians.") Leo Strauss is a great admirer of Machiavelli with his utter contempt for restraining moral principles making him "uniquely effective," and, "the ideal patriot." He gushes over Machiavelli praising the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech. ..."
"... believes that Truth is harmful to the common man and the social order and should be reserved for superior minds. ..."
"... nations derive their strength from their myths , which are necessary for government and governance. ..."
"... national myths have no necessary relationship with historical reality: they are socio-cultural constructions that the State has a duty to disseminate . ..."
"... to be effective, any national myth must be based on a clear distinction between good and evil ; it derives its cohesive strength from the hatred of an enemy nation. ..."
"... deception is the norm in political life ..."
"... Office of Special Plans ..."
"... The Zionist/Neocons are piggy-backing onto, or utilizing, the religious myths of both the Jewish and Christian world to consolidate power. This is brilliant Machiavellian strategy. ..."
"... the "chosen people" myth (God likes us best, we are better than you) ..."
"... the Holy Land myth (one area of real estate is more holy than another) ..."
"... General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists "that describes how we're gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran". ..."
"... Among them are brilliant strategists ..."
"... They operate unrestrained by the most basic moral principles upon which civilization is founded. They are undisturbed by compassion for the suffering of others. ..."
"... They use consciously and skillfully use deception and "myth-making" to shape policy ..."
"... They have infiltrated the highest levels of banking, US military, NATO and US government. ..."
Peak Prosperity

Mememonkey pointed my to a 2013 essay by Laurent Guyenot, a French historian and writer on the deep state, that addresses the question of "Who Are The Neoconservatives." If you would like to know about that group that sends the US military into battle and tortures prisoners of war in out name, you need to know about these guys.

First, if you are Jewish, or are a GREEN Meme, please stop and take a deep breath. Please put on your thinking cap and don't react. We are NOT disrespecting a religion, spiritual practice or a culture. We are talking about a radical and very destructive group hidden within a culture and using that culture. Christianity has similar groups and movements--the Crusades, the KKK, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, etc.

My personal investment: This question has been a subject of intense interest for me since I became convinced that 9/11 was an inside job, that the Iraq war was waged for reasons entirely different from those publically stated. I have been horrified to see such a shadowy, powerful group operating from a profoundly "pre-moral" developmental level-i.e., not based in even the most rudimentary principles of morality foundational to civilization.

Who the hell are these people?!

Goyenot's main points (with a touch of personal editorializing):

1. The American Neocons are Zionists (Their goal is expanding political / military power. Initially this is focused on the state of Israel.)

Neoconservativism is essentially a modern right wing Jewish version of Machiavelli's political strategy. What characterizes the neoconservative movement is therefore not as much Judaism as a religious tradition, but rather Judiasm as a political project, i.e. Zionism, by Machiavellian means.

This is not a religious movement though it may use religions words and vocabulary. It is a political and military movement. They are not concerned with being close to God. This is a movement to expand political and military power. Some are Christian and Mormon, culturally.

Obviously , if Zionism is synonymous with patriotism in Israel, it cannot be an acceptable label in American politics, where it would mean loyalty to a foreign power. This is why the neoconservatives do not represent themselves as Zionists on the American scene. Yet they do not hide it all together either.

He points out dual-citizen (Israel / USA) members and self proclaimed Zionists throughout cabinet level positions in the US government, international banking and controlling the US military. In private writings and occasionally in public, Neocons admit that America's war policies are actually Israel's war goals. (Examples provided.)

2. Most American Jews are overwhelmingly liberal and do NOT share the perspective of the radical Zionists.

The neoconservative movement, which is generally perceived as a radical (rather than "conservative") Republican right, is, in reality, an intellectual movement born in the late 1960s in the pages of the monthly magazine Commentary, a media arm of the American Jewish Committee, which had replaced the Contemporary Jewish Record in 1945. The Forward, the oldest American Jewish weekly, wrote in a January 6th, 2006 article signed Gal Beckerman: "If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It's a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying. And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants' grandchildren".

3. Intellectual Basis and Moral developmental level

Goyenot traces the Neocon's origins through its influential writers and thinkers. Highest on the list is Leo Strauss. (Neocons are sometimes called "the Straussians.") Leo Strauss is a great admirer of Machiavelli with his utter contempt for restraining moral principles making him "uniquely effective," and, "the ideal patriot." He gushes over Machiavelli praising the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech.

Other major points:

4. The Zionist/Neocons are piggy-backing onto, or utilizing, the religious myths of both the Jewish and Christian world to consolidate power. This is brilliant Machiavellian strategy.

[The]Pax Judaica will come only when "all the nations shall flow" to the Jerusalem temple, from where "shall go forth the law" (Isaiah 2:1-3). This vision of a new world order with Jerusalem at its center resonates within the Likudnik and neoconservative circles. At the Jerusalem Summit, held from October 12th to 14th, 2003 in the symbolically significant King David Hotel, an alliance was forged between Zionist Jews and Evangelical Christians around a "theopolitical" project, one that would consider Israel… "the key to the harmony of civilizations", replacing the United Nations that's become a "a tribalized confederation hijacked by Third World dictatorships": "Jerusalem's spiritual and historical importance endows it with a special authority to become a center of world's unity. [...] We believe that one of the objectives of Israel's divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets". Three acting Israeli ministers spoke at the summit, including Benjamin Netanyahu, and Richard Perle.

Jerusalem's dream empire is expected to come through the nightmare of world war. The prophet Zechariah, often cited on Zionist forums, predicted that the Lord will fight "all nations" allied against Israel. In a single day, the whole earth will become a desert, with the exception of Jerusalem, who "shall remain aloft upon its site" (14:10).

With more than 50 millions members, Christians United for Israel is a major political force in the U.S.. Its Chairman, pastor John Haggee, declared: "The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West, [...] a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ".

And Guyenot concludes:

Is it possible that this biblical dream, mixed with the neo-Machiavellianism of Leo Strauss and the militarism of Likud, is what is quietly animating an exceptionally determined and organized ultra-Zionist clan? General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists "that describes how we're gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran".

Is it just a coincidence that the "seven nations" doomed to be destroyed by Israel form part of the biblical myths? …[W]hen Yahweh will deliver Israel "seven nations greater and mightier than yourself […] you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them."

My summary:

[Dec 11, 2015] How Far Can The Syria Conflict Spiral Out Of Control

Notable quotes:
"... By James Stafford, Editor in Chief of OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... • How far the Russia-Turkey spat can go economically ..."
"... • The fallout effects for countries caught in between ..."
"... • What Russia wants ..."
"... • What Turkey wants ..."
"... • What other geopolitical purposes ISIS serves ..."
"... • Why ISIS can't be controlled ..."
"... • How Shi'ite radical groups differ ..."
"... • Why we're looking at a possible remapping of a significant part of the energy arena ..."
"... • Why we shouldn't listen to billionaire buffoons ..."
"... Larger picture of what's really going on with Turkey's intentions driven by Ergodan, Bensh's correct description of Ergo's character and flaws, and less explicitly stated US (he says "west") 1/2 ass efforts to defeat IS despite US leaders (from WH to Congress) emphatic claims otherwise… ..."
"... "Coupled with unparalleled levels of socioeconomic insecurity, Sunni marginalization produced a real social base whose attraction to ISIS goes beyond religious or ideological factors." ..."
"... ISIS may project a utopic promise of stability and prosperity, but this is far from the reality on the ground. We can be absolutely certain that it will experience its own internal revolts, as similarly declarative examples of Islamic "states" have faced in the past. ..."
"... Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance. ..."
"... The "Assad must go" obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the "4+1" alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants. ..."
"... Thus Washington's strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus. ..."
"... Of course Turkey is the wild card – Erdogan is increasingly looking like he might be the spark that sets off a much larger conflict. To answer the question, I think there are a lot of really bad scenarios that could happen here, and they are a lot closer than people think (Turkey shutting down the Bosphorus, for starters.) ..."
"... It is way past time for the arrogant stupidity of Washington's neoconservatives to be exposed and for them to at a minimum be removed from the levers of power – if not tried for crimes against humanity. And that includes Obama if he is really one of them, i.e. if he believes in anything but the politics of power. ..."
"... Specifically with respect to Syria, it looks like about the best the 'West' (i.e. the US and its vassals) can hope for is some pipeline arrangement providing Europe with an alternative, a competing supplier for its energy needs. In exchange, the 'West' can agree to end its economic war against Russia, Iran et.al and get back to the business of business, i.e. exporting something other than debt and bombs. ..."
"... I remember reading years ago that the rise of the AKP, and the rising standard of living with it, was fueled directly by a large stream of cash that was funneled from the House of Saud. ..."
"... The interest must be paid… ..."
"... I think the waffling on ISIS is due to their location among Sunnis. The US would like to win Sunnis over, so they're cautious about bombing, which of course is to ISIS' advantage. ..."
"... From where I sit, the Syria conflict is an important part of a much larger one – between the 'West' and Russia. Things have been heating up again in the Ukraine. Biden gave a speech there just a couple of days ago in which he insisted that 'NATO would not rest until Crimea was returned to the Ukraine.' That's not going to happen without a war. ..."
naked capitalism

By James Stafford, Editor in Chief of OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice

...No one can fight a war without oil, according to Robert Bensh, partner and managing director of Pelicourt LLC oil and gas company. But while the politically unhinged are coming out the woodwork, the more important aspects of this story remain elusive to the public. Is the dangerously unspoken theory that ISIS is a bulwark against Iran what's keeping the West from tackling the Islamic State wholeheartedly on its territory?

... ... ...

In an exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, Bensh discusses:

• How far the Russia-Turkey spat can go economically
• The fallout effects for countries caught in between
• What Russia wants
• What Turkey wants
• What other geopolitical purposes ISIS serves
• Why ISIS can't be controlled
• How Shi'ite radical groups differ
• Why we're looking at a possible remapping of a significant part of the energy arena
• Why we shouldn't listen to billionaire buffoons

... ... ...

Robert Bensh: Russia and Turkey have a great deal of economic interdependence, and nowhere more than in the energy sector. There has been no talk of cutting Russian gas to Turkey, and I don't see how Russia can afford this right now. Turkey is not only a significant customer for Russia, but it's also a key gas-transit point.

James Stafford: So what does Turkey want?

Robert Bensh: The better question is: "What does Erdogan want?" You know, Putin's probably not too far off in his statement referring to Erdogan's loss of "mind and reason". Erdogan has been going down this path little by little for some time and it's no secret that he has some megalomaniacal tendencies that grow more and more out of control every year. It would seem that he has dreams of a return of the Ottoman Empire-and that ISIS could be a logical ally to that end. Of course, ISIS is not likely looking to be beholden to another Ottoman Empire controlling a greater Sunni-Arab dominion. Many, many Turks fail to share this dream with their leader, and his ambitions will also be his eventual downfall unfortunately.

For the Turkish regime, there is also the idea that ISIS will ostensibly give them more power against the rise of the Kurds, both in southeastern Turkey and in northern Syria. It will even raise the Turks' status in the face of the Saudis whose oil wealth has make them more powerful than the Turks in many ways.

Jim McKay

Yves: I think your "quibble" is… indeed minor.

Larger picture of what's really going on with Turkey's intentions driven by Ergodan, Bensh's correct description of Ergo's character and flaws, and less explicitly stated US (he says "west") 1/2 ass efforts to defeat IS despite US leaders (from WH to Congress) emphatic claims otherwise…

These are realities. Whatever small portion of US electorate reads here, at least a few are being introduced to this. We are heading into another election with… in my view, more deeply entrenched public opinions on this based on lies, then maybe any time I recall my entire life. It's just, the game is bigger now with more potential for longer lasting catastrophe if we don't find a way to right our ship.

I appreciate this article… it's on the right track. Only other thing I'd mention: amidst all this, we've had recent international climate meetings with little progress. Clearly, this is bigger problem for entire planet that nobody will escape. I'm stuck by Bensh's comments on protecting their investments (oil) and how the various players he mentions all make decisions based on… oil. It over rides, it seems…everything else that matters.

The planet needs to get behind renewables, and develop them… fast. It's not so hard to see how doing so would change these other geo-political games forever.

financial matters

I think taking the 'businessman' look at this is not a bad way to look at it. As Adam Hanieh has pointed out

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/isis-syria-iraq-war-al-qaeda-arab-spring/

"Coupled with unparalleled levels of socioeconomic insecurity, Sunni marginalization produced a real social base whose attraction to ISIS goes beyond religious or ideological factors."

and also

"ISIS may project a utopic promise of stability and prosperity, but this is far from the reality on the ground. We can be absolutely certain that it will experience its own internal revolts, as similarly declarative examples of Islamic "states" have faced in the past.

Despite all the setbacks of the last few years, the potential growth of a genuinely left alternative has not been extinguished and, most importantly, has never been more necessary."

--

William Polk echoes this idea of the importance of a non-military and non-police response.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/17/falling-into-the-isis-trap/

"–The results of insurgency are described in my book Violent Politics. There I have shown that in a variety of societies over the last two centuries in various parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, guerrillas have nearly always accomplished their objectives despite even the most draconian counterinsurgency tactics."

His point being that dealing with the fundamental socioeconomic imbalances/repression can be more effective.

Eureka Springs

Interesting to me as much for what is not considered by oil businessmen.

A few quick points:

  • No mention of human suffering, not even in cost/opportunity terms.
  • No mention of rule of law.
  • No mention of what happens to the earths climate/ecosystem if all the oil and gas at stake is unleashed.
  • No mention of who many of the business players are, certainly not in detail. No mention of Erdogans family, Tony Hayward, trafficking / selling this stolen oil…
  • Nor mention of Israel being the major end buyer.
  • When mentioning Assad buys oil from IS (U.S Turk Israel Saudi Qatari Qaeda Nusra) no mention of the point Assad is buying his countries own oil at the point of a gun from the thieves who stole it.
  • No mention that this uncertainty/chaos is both deliberate and a constant feature of big oil and MIC's business model.
  • No concern that more tyrants of the head chopping variety are bound to achieve or maintain power.
cassandra

…and

  • No mention of strategic significance of naval base at Tartus
  • No mention of "legal" Saudi arms purchasing and trafficking, and extremist support in Syria, Yemen and about the globe.

Brooklin Bridge

This is a good interview. Along with other posts on the subject, this is bringing a little clarity to why there is no clarity.

participant-observer-observed

Hmmm. No mention of Saudi and others in the dynamic…

for more details, read above with Escobar's Pipelineistan,
here c/o Tom Dispatch.

Jack Heape

Thanks for that link. Escobar always has some good insights. I also suggest Juan Cole. He recently had a good piece on President Erdogan.

camelotkidd

Pepe Escobar has been all over the back story of what he calls pipelineistan– http://counterpunch.org/2015/12/08/syria-ultimate-pipelineistan-war /

"Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance.

The "Assad must go" obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the "4+1" alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants.

Thus Washington's strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus."

participant-observer-observed

Yes, thanks for that most recent Escobar piece at Counterpunch; the one i linked above is already old but still interesting.

The regime change recipe of DC has already been tried and has failed in Iraq, Libya, etc., no one can fathom any improvements replacing Assad + Isis with Isis alone, aka rag tag coalitions of jihadis! Even Saudis can hardly wish for it.

ChrisFromGeorgia

Based on reported facts on the ground (well, reported by non-US media that is) the SAA is making slow but steady progress in retaking key towns and the highway between Aleppo and Damascus. No doubt Russian air and logistical support has made a difference.

If things keep going this way, Assad will likely regain the upper hand and the Saudi/US sponsored jihadis will be confined to the eastern part of the country. It's looking like Washington will have to make a choice – accept Assad as the legitimate ruler (for now) or continue to provoke the situation with guerrilla tactics. We know from history that there is precedent for long wars against legitimate governments that displease Washington (see Daniel Ortega, Sandanistas.) My guess is they go this route and hope to eventually install a stooge.

Of course Turkey is the wild card – Erdogan is increasingly looking like he might be the spark that sets off a much larger conflict. To answer the question, I think there are a lot of really bad scenarios that could happen here, and they are a lot closer than people think (Turkey shutting down the Bosphorus, for starters.)

Steven

It is way past time for the arrogant stupidity of Washington's neoconservatives to be exposed and for them to at a minimum be removed from the levers of power – if not tried for crimes against humanity. And that includes Obama if he is really one of them, i.e. if he believes in anything but the politics of power.

This 'Arrogance of Power' has characterized US foreign policy making since the end of WWII. The U.N. was sold to the public as an arrangement for collective security so the U.S. would not have to 'make the world safe for democracy' (sic) a third time. It has been in reality nothing more than a tool for the pursuit of (perceived) US interests, promptly discarded when the principles in its charter became inconvenient.

Short of initiating the world's Mutually Assured Destruction, the U.S. is running out of options – in Syria and around the world. It may be too late for the U.S. to get serious about collective security, to tell the world 'this time we really mean it'. Having squandered economic and "too good to waste" military power in a successive string of needless wars, it may no longer be possible to convince especially those who hold the levers of power in Russia and China that we are serious about collective security and willing to accept a multi-polar world.

Specifically with respect to Syria, it looks like about the best the 'West' (i.e. the US and its vassals) can hope for is some pipeline arrangement providing Europe with an alternative, a competing supplier for its energy needs. In exchange, the 'West' can agree to end its economic war against Russia, Iran et.al and get back to the business of business, i.e. exporting something other than debt and bombs.

kgw

I remember reading years ago that the rise of the AKP, and the rising standard of living with it, was fueled directly by a large stream of cash that was funneled from the House of Saud.

The interest must be paid…

susan the other

This was really to the point, without actually making it. One thing is becoming clear – the oil wars are distilling down to natural advantage. It currently belongs to SA – but the future looks like it prefers to use Levant & east Mediterranean oil because it will be easier to pipe to southern Europe. And maybe cleaner? So everybody and their dog is fighting for access to it.

It explains Netanyahu's trip to Moscow & the French clearly in league with Russia for achieving access to this resource (why else?). And it is partly being driven by decisions to leave current oil reserves in the ground. As Palast said it is a "war for no oil."

Which in turn makes sense of Kerry's admonishing the Senate about the Iran deal – that if they want to continue to be oil brokers (petrodollar brokers) they have to come to terms with Iran because there are plenty of other nations who can step up; and of course we want our EU cousins to get a cut of Levant oil, and etc. And Russia is clearly protecting its oil interests. I wonder how long this feeding frenzy will continue.

Horatio Parker

I think the waffling on ISIS is due to their location among Sunnis. The US would like to win Sunnis over, so they're cautious about bombing, which of course is to ISIS' advantage.

tgs

From where I sit, the Syria conflict is an important part of a much larger one – between the 'West' and Russia. Things have been heating up again in the Ukraine. Biden gave a speech there just a couple of days ago in which he insisted that 'NATO would not rest until Crimea was returned to the Ukraine.' That's not going to happen without a war.

[Dec 11, 2015] Caught On Tape Ukraine Premier Assaulted In Parliament

Notable quotes:
"... lawmaker Oleh Barna walked over to him with a bunch of red roses and then grabbed him around the waist and groin, lifting him off his feet and dragging him from the rostrum. ..."
"... As The FT reports, ..."
Zero Hedge
& Fighting broke out in parliament among members of Ukraine's ruling coalition on Friday after a member of President Petro Poroshenko's bloc physically picked up Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and pulled him from the podium.

Yatseniuk was defending his embattled government's record when lawmaker Oleh Barna walked over to him with a bunch of red roses and then grabbed him around the waist and groin, lifting him off his feet and dragging him from the rostrum.

Members of Yatseniuk's People Front party waded in, pushing Barna and throwing punches, sparking a brawl in the assembly.

You just can't make this up...

https://www.youtube.com/embed/2zgTl6-KWqg

The PM later said there were "a lot of morons," so he would not comment on the incident.

* * *

As The FT reports,

Ukraine's parliament has indefinitely postponed a vote of no-confidence in the government of Arseniy Yatseniuk, but not without highlighting the fragility of the country's pro-western coalition.

Citing a flurry of corruption scandals and the lacklustre pace of reforms, an increasing number of MPs - even within the ruling majority - have in recent weeks called for the ousting of Mr Yatseniuk via a no-confidence vote on Friday.

Ukraine's western backers, namely the US and EU, feared such a move could plunge the war-torn and recession-ravaged country into a deep political crisis as it continues to battle Russian-backed separatists in eastern regions - and jeopardise a $40bn international bailout led by the International Monetary Fund.

Such concerns are believed to have been expressed by US vice president Joe Biden in closed door discussions during a visit to Kiev early this week in which he publicly called for political unity, swifter reforms and deeper anti-corruption efforts.

And this is the nation's government who US-taxpayer-backed IMF just forgave their debt, implicitly backing them, and entering The Cold War...

Instead, the IMF is backing Ukrainian policy, its kleptocracy and its Right Sector leading the attacks that recently cut off Crimea's electricity. The only condition on which the IMF insists is continued austerity. Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, has fallen by a third this years, pensions have been slashed (largely as a result of being inflated away), while corruption continues unabated.

Despite this the IMF announced its intention to extend new loans to finance Ukraine's dependency and payoffs to the oligarchs who are in control of its parliament and justice departments to block any real cleanup of corruption.

For over half a year there was a semi-public discussion with U.S. Treasury advisors and Cold Warriors about how to stiff Russia on the $3 billion owed by Ukraine to Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund. There was some talk of declaring this an "odious debt," but it was decided that this ploy might backfire against U.S. supported dictatorships.

In the end, the IMF simply lent Ukraine the money.

By doing so, it announced its new policy: "We only enforce debts owed in US dollars to US allies." This means that what was simmering as a Cold War against Russia has now turned into a full-blown division of the world into the Dollar Bloc (with its satellite Euro and other pro-U.S. currencies) and the BRICS or other countries not in the U.S. financial and military orbit.

[Dec 09, 2015] Narcissistic, mentally-handicapped imbeciIes who just escaped from an asylum after receiving a lobotomy

This was a tread in a pretty reputable blog. Amazing...
www.nakedcapitalism.com
jgordon

In regards to Time Magazine, it's no surprise. Time apparently thinks that most everyone in the world is thoughtful and intelligent–except for Americans–who are mostly at the intellectual level of narcissistic, mentally-handicapped imbeciIes who just escaped from an asylum after receiving a lobotomy. Or at least that's what one would gather after looking at this.

Well, they might not be wrong.

Jim Haygood

"Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders … didn't make it on [Time's] shortlist" for 2015 Person of the Year."

If Time considered Sanders a serious threat, they could dispatch him in a trice by putting his mug on a Person of the Year cover.

The most recent example of the cover story jinx in action came from Mexico. At the start of this year Time profiled president Enrique Pena Nieto as the man 'Saving Mexico', and that was the sentiment at the time. The writer of that story quoted me to the effect that, "In the Wall Street investment community, I'd say that Mexico is by far the favourite nation just now."

Since then it has been all downhill for Pena Nieto and Mexico, with the president embroiled in a series of scandals and economic growth coming in at a disappointing 2.2% this year.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/hit-me-baby-one-more-time-how-narendra-modi-won-by-losing-person-of-the-year/

The MSM is never right. And they always lie.

Peter Schitt

I'd say that Time are right in their assessment of Americans. As Morris Berman says, "what else could you expect of 321 million douchebags".

[Dec 09, 2015] Declassified CIA Manual Shows How US Uses Bureaucracy to Destabilize Governments Zero Hedge

www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Jake Anderson via TheAntiMedia.org,

When most people think of CIA sabotage, they think of coups, assassinations, proxy wars, armed rebel groups, and even false flags - not strategic stupidity and purposeful bureaucratic ineptitude. However, according to a declassified document from 1944, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later became the CIA, used and trained a curious breed of "citizen-saboteurs" in occupied nations like Norway and France.

The World War II-era document, called Simple Sabotage Field Manual, outlines ways in which operatives can disrupt and demoralize enemy administrators and police forces. The first section of the document, which can be read in its entirety here, addresses "Organizations and Conferences" - and how to turn them into a "dysfunctional mess":

On its official webpage, the CIA boasts about finding innovative ways to bring about sabotage, calling their tactics for destabilization "surprisingly relevant." While they admit that some of the ideas may seem a bit outdated, they claim that "Together they are a reminder of how easily productivity and order can be undermined."

In a second section targeted at manager-saboteurs, the guide lists the following tactical moves:

Finally, the guide presents protocol for how saboteur-employees can disrupt enemy operations, too:

The CIA is proud of its Kafkaesque field manual and evidently still views it as an unorthodox but effective form of destabilizing enemy operations around the world. Of course, so too might an anarchist or revolutionary look at such tactics and view them in the context of disrupting certain domestic power structures, many of which are already built like a bureaucratic house of cards.

It seems if any country should refrain from showcasing how easy it is to disrupt inefficient federal agencies, however, it would be the United States.

[Dec 07, 2015] If you don't read a newspaper every day, you are uninformed. If you do, you are misinformed

ourfiniteworld.com
Fast Eddy, December 6, 2015 at 1:11 am
"If you don't read a newspaper every day, you are uninformed. If you do, you are misinformed." – Mark Twain

We all like to know what's happening in the world, and for good reason… understanding our surroundings is essential to survival. We instinctively seek information… we need information. There is, however, a problem that we face:

No matter how much "news" you consume, you won't really know what's going on in the world.

We can't know, because 'the news' is half illusion, provided by government-dependent corporations that are paid to keep you watching and to keep you joined to the status quo.

Granted, they are quite good at providing pictures from disaster areas, but when it comes to explaining why the disaster happened, they mislead almost every time. Yes, some truth makes its way through the news machine, but most of it is wrapped in layers of manipulation. If, for example, you watch the news feeds all day, you'll find a good deal of truth, but you'll find it amongst a pile of half-truths. Do you really have enough time to analyze them all?

[Dec 07, 2015] Did Erdogan Commit Political Suicide Shahir ShahidSaless

www.huffingtonpost.com
Erdogan, desperate and angry over his losing battle to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, ordered the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet. Erdogan has been actively pursuing the ouster of Assad since 2012, but Russia's recent intervention in Syria, in alliance with Iran and its highly ideologically and politically motivated proxies, has resulted in a serious setback for Erdogan's plans.

Putin's determination to destroy Turkey's proxies at the Syrian borders and to thwart Erdogan's plan to create a no-fly/buffer zone in the area has derailed Erdogan's plans for Syria. Erdogan hoped to use the buffer zone as an operational hub aimed at bringing down President Assad.

Russian attacks on Turkmen-dominated areas in Bayirbucak, where the Russian plane was downed, would also inflict serious collateral damage to Turkey. The Turkish government regards the area in north-west Syria, presently under the control of the Bayirbucak Turkmens, as an important buffer zone preventing the territorial expansion of Syria's Kurdish-minority militias, whom it regards as terrorists linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Erdogan's objective in shooting down the plane was to provoke Russia into a harsh response. He hoped the response would bring Russia into conflict with the whole of NATO, which would help reverse Turkey's declining fortunes in the Syrian war.

Erdogan's calculations went terribly wrong. Following the incident, Turkey requested an emergency meeting with NATO members. Contrary to Erdogan's expectations, although, members did not support Russia, neither did they wholeheartedly support Turkey. Many members questioned Turkey's action and, according to Reuters, "expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace." In a clear indication of the suspicion among NATO members regarding Turkey's real intention behind its adventurism, some diplomats told Reuters, "There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents."

Not only didn't Cold War II happen, French President Francois Hollande, who promised "merciless" revenge in the aftermath of Paris attacks, met with Putin and they agreed to form an alliance against Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Syria. The outcome of such an alliance is that the "Assad must go" mantra will be overshadowed by the war against Daesh--something that Erdogan hated to occur. Erdogan's plan to bring the West and Russia into conflict became even more unattainable when France's move was followed by Britain and then Germany.

Turkey also lost significant room to maneuver in the post-shootdown of the Russian fighter jet. Russia, by deploying the powerful S-400 surface-to-air missile system in Hmeymim airbase near Latakia, sent a strong signal to Turkey--a de facto no-fly zone already in effect south of the Turkish-Syrian border.

Russia also sent Turkey and NATO a clear message by arming its fighter jets with air-to-air missiles. On November 30, the Russian Air Force announced that "today, for the first time ‪Su34‬ fighter-bombers departed for combat sorties with air-to-air short- and medium-range missiles.... The usage of such weaponry is necessary for providing security of the aircraft of the Russian" air force, the announcement read. ‬‬‬

Moscow also authorized numerous economic sanctions against Ankara ranging from tourism to agricultural products as well as sanctions on energy and construction projects.

Erdogan took a conciliatory stance after the incident. In a speech in Ankara, he said, "We are strategic partners ... 'Joint projects may be halted, ties could be cut'? Are such approaches fitting for politicians?" Erdogan even requested a meeting with Putin while both leaders were in Paris for the COP21 climate change conference on November 30, but Putin rejected the request.

Russians launched a heavy campaign to damage Erdogan's credibility and reputation. Vladimir Putin and numerous other Russian politicians leveled accusations regarding Turkey's sponsorship and cooperation with ISIS as well as allegations of buying oil smuggled by ISIS.

On November 30, on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris, Putin stated, "At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale." He even went further to say, "We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil's delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers."

In response, Erdogan said he will resign as the country's president if Russia provides evidence that implicates Turkey in any oil trade with ISIS.

Later, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said, "We have repeatedly publicly stated that oil from the IS-controlled territories is transported abroad, particularly to Turkey. The facts that substantiate these claims will be formally presented in the UN in particular, and to all parties concerned."

Then on December 2, the Russian Defense Ministry held a briefing concerning ISIS funding. During the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, satellite images, and videos, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said, "According to our data, the top political leadership of the country - President Erdogan and his family - is involved in this criminal business."

Antonov added, "In the West, no one has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president's son heads one of the biggest energy companies, or that his son-in-law has been appointed energy minister. What a marvelous family business."

On December 3, without mentioning specifics, Putin declared there was more evidence to come. "We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling," he said. "But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime ... are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken."

At this point, it is apparent that Putin's ultimate objective is to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him to severely damage Erdogan's name and trustworthiness, both domestically and internationally, or, even better, bring him and his regime down as a perceived power behind the extremists and the anti-Assad forces in Syria. This is in line with Russia's plan for realizing its strategic objectives in Syria.

[Dec 06, 2015] With allies like Turkey, who needs enemies

Notable quotes:
"... Turkey and the U.S. State Department scoffed when Russia accused the Turkish government of being involved with smuggling ISIS oil. However, after Moscow presented convincing proof of Turkey's involvement, the Obama Administration changed its story. ..."
"... "If the American colleagues are not satisfied with those ones, they should watch videos gained by their own UAVs," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Facebook. ..."
"... The ever-changing political spin in Washington to avoid admitting the obvious looks increasingly dishonest. ..."
"... The deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, during the latter's visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4. ..."
www.dailykos.com

Turkey has sent 2,000 troops into Iraq without getting permission from Baghdad.

The Iraqi government has demanded they withdraw, calling it a "hostile act", but Ankara has decided to ignore Baghdad's wishes.

This is only the latest act that undermines the wisdom of having Turkey as a military ally.

Turkey and the U.S. State Department scoffed when Russia accused the Turkish government of being involved with smuggling ISIS oil. However, after Moscow presented convincing proof of Turkey's involvement, the Obama Administration changed its story.

While the US has long hyped the problem of ISIS oil smuggling, the recent Russian Defense Ministry presentation, showing significant evidence of Turkey being involved in buying ISIS oil and taking it to refineries run by the Turkish government, has changed their tune.
After a previous denial of the allegation against Turkey, the US is now admitting that the oil is ending up smuggled into Turkey, but insists it is "of no significance" because so much of the oil produced in ISIS-controlled parts of Syria is consumed inside Syria.
"The amount of oil being smuggled is extremely low and has decreased over time," claimed US special envoy Amos Hochstein, a stunning admission which suggests the US was well aware of oil smuggling into Turkey even before the Russian evidence.

Just in case we don't want to believe the Russian videos, Moscow has a solution.

"If the American colleagues are not satisfied with those ones, they should watch videos gained by their own UAVs," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Facebook.

The ever-changing political spin in Washington to avoid admitting the obvious looks increasingly dishonest.

With the U.S. government knowing about Turkey's government involvement (Russia's photos show ISIS oil smuggling trucks passing through border crossings without stopping), it begs the question of what our objectives actually are?

gjohnsit

Erdogan Moves To Annex Mosul

Should Mosul be cleared of the Islamic State the Turkish heavy weapons will make it possible for Turkey to claim the city unless the Iraqi government will use all its power to fight that claim. Should the city stay in the hands of the Islamic State Turkey will make a deal with it and act as its protector. It will benefit from the oil around Mosul which will be transferred through north Iraq to Turkey and from there sold on the world markets. In short: This is an effort to seize Iraq's northern oil fields.

That is the plan but it is a risky one. Turkey did not ask for permission to invade Iraq and did not inform the Iraqi government.

The Turks claim that they were invited by the Kurds:

Turkey will have a permanent military base in the Bashiqa region of Mosul as the Turkish forces in the region training the Peshmerga forces have been reinforced, Hürriyet reported.

The deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, during the latter's visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4.

There are two problems with this. First: Massoud Barzani is no longer president of the KRG. His mandate ran out and the parliament refused to prolong it. Second: Mosul and its Bashiqa area are not part of the KRG. Barzani making a deal about it is like him making a deal about Paris.

mookins

Al-masdar news-feed-thing had guncam footage of a night attack, by frogfoots with their cannons, on an ISIS truck park. Magnified view at first so you could see they were full-sized like semi's; and no casual agglomeration, these were parked efficiently in a herringbone pattern, at least 400 and I think closer to a thousand. At the film's end the whole thing is just large, neat rectangles of brightness.

So little did ISIS have to fear from an American-coalition airstrike that they had it set up like this. And now these White House statements that it was no big deal.

And Europe sees all this on the news, the ISIS we didn't fight, the flood of refugees that resulted, and sees Russia and Iran being the good guys.

I read where Putin was worried, called Merkel and Hollande to see if they were still on board with 'Minsk 2', the current ceasefire agreement in Ukraine, and they said yes they were. He was worried because Ukraine's President had said he rejected it and the U.S. had said we support that, we reject it too.

We've lost Europe. World getting better fast.

MrWebster, Dec 06 · 04:28:32 PM

Your observations are right on, but only if you assume that thee enemy is IS and Al Queda in Syria. At this point, I don't believe it is. Assad/Russians are perceived as the bigger and more important enemy for the Obama administration and the neocons to focus on. In this case, what Turkey is doing is acceptable-they are enabling opposition forces to Assad/Russians. Heck, when the Russians started bombing, the Al Nusrat Front (Al Queda in Syria) was magically transformed by the administration and the mass media into "rebels", "moderate rebels", "insurgents", "opposition".

native -> MrWebster

I wonder who gets to claim Mosel, after all the dust settles? Abadi seems to have lost all control over his nominal countrymen in the north. But will the Iraqi Kurds side with Turkey, and against their brethren just across the border?

[Dec 06, 2015] US elite strategy toward Russia is replica of UK strategy a century before

Notable quotes:
"... The relationship between Russia and Western Europe's far right may be a marriage of convenience... ..."
"... Closer ties with rising political parties in the EU will give Putin more leverage against NATO. For its part, the European right sees the Russian leader as a staunch defender of national sovereignty and conservative values who has challenged US influence ..."
russia-insider.com

merchantsofmenace

The relationship between Russia and Western Europe's far right may be a marriage of convenience...

Closer ties with rising political parties in the EU will give Putin more leverage against NATO. For its part, the European right sees the Russian leader as a staunch defender of national sovereignty and conservative values who has challenged US influence...

https://medium.com/the-eastern-project/greece-s-nazi-problem-continues-5b92ca57dc6d#.kfiaixvdm 1

YoringeTBE -> merchantsofmenace
russia-insider.com

Stratfor Chairman Straight-Talking: US Policy Is Driven by Imperative to Stop Coalition between Germany and Russia

George Friedman, Founder and Chairman of Stratfor, or what is called by many "private/shadow CIA" for its well known connections and close cooperation with the CIA, gave a very interesting speech to the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs on subject Europe: Destined for Conflict? in February of this year.

[Dec 06, 2015] More Planes Than Targets Why the Air War on ISIS Will Fail

www.counterpunch.org
Even if Britain's role is symbolic at this stage, it has joined a very real war against an enemy of great ferocity and experience, not least of air attacks. The highly informed Turkish military analystMetin Gurcan, writing on Al-Monitor website, says that air strikes may have been effective against Isis communications and training facilities, but adds that "it is extraordinary that there is not a single [Isis] control facility that has been hit by allied air strikes".

This is not for lack of trying and shows that talk of destroying Isis command and control centres in Raqqa is wishful thinking, given that 2,934 American air strikes in Syria have failed to do so over the last 14 months.

Air strikes have had an impact on Isis's tactics and casualty rate, above all when they are used in close co-operation with a well-organised ground force like the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Isis may have lost as many as 2,200 fighters at Kobani which is a small and closely packed city. On the other hand, the length of time it took to drive Isis out of it with 700 air strikes demonstrated their fighters' willingness to die.

Many Isis commanders reportedly regard their tactics at Kobani as a mistake which cost the group too many casualties and which it should not repeat. To do so it sacrificed two of its most important military assets which are mobility and surprise. This does not mean that it will not fight to the last bullet for cities like Raqqa and Mosul, but it did not do so for Tikrit and Sinjar where it used snipers, booby traps and IEDs, but did not commit large detachments of troops.

Isis has modified its tactics to take account of the continuing risk of air strikes. It now has a decentralised command structure, with tactical decisions being taken by leaders of small units of eight to 10 men, whose overall mission is determined from the centre – but not how it should be accomplished. This limits the ability of its opponents to monitor its communications.

Its forces assemble swiftly and attack soon afterwards with multiple diversionary operations, as was seen when Mosul was captured in June 2014 and again when they took Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, this May.

They had been fighting their way into Baiji refinery, but this turned out to be a diversion and Isis units pulled back from there as soon as Ramadi fell.

Isis's approach is to use a mixture of conventional, guerrilla and terrorist tactics, none unique in themselves, but they have never been used before in combination. Air strikes mean that it is less able to use captured tanks or big concentrations of vehicles packed with fighters. Instead it uses IEDs, booby traps, snipers and mortar teams in even greater numbers.

Public martyrdom as an expression of religious faith is such a central part of its ideology that it can deploy suicide bombers on foot or in vehicles in great numbers to destroy fortifications and demoralize the enemy. Some 28 suicide bombers were reportedly used in the final stages of the battle for Ramadi. Psychological warfare has always been an important element of Isis's tactical armory. It has sought to terrify opposition forces by showing videos in which captured Iraqi or Syrian soldiers are filmed being ritually decapitated or shot in the head.

Sometimes, the families of Syrian soldiers get a phone call from their son's mobile with a picture of his body with his severed head on his chest. Mass killings of prisoners have taken place after all Isis's victories (the al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front, does the same thing).

Heavy air attack will increase Isis's losses and it will be more difficult to bring in foreign volunteers through Turkey because most of the border is now closed. But Isis rules an area with a population of at least six million and conscripts all young men, who often want to become fighters because there is no other employment. Isis may have a fighting force of 100,000 men, as is strongly suggested by the very long front lines it holds and its ability to make multiple attacks simultaneously. Whatever Britain's role, we will be fighting a formidable military machine.

[Dec 06, 2015] Republican presidential candidates associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains Mandate, and the Manhattan Declaration

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of modern fundagelicalism seems pretty fake to somebody who was raised Christian or read the Bible. Prosperity gospel particularly gets my goat. But they still get a lot of kowtowing from Republican candidates at all levels. ..."
"... I think that's more a matter of both paying obeisance to the same oil money. The oil industry puts a lot of effort into keeping Christian churches from taking God's instruction to be stewards of the earth seriously. ..."
"... ..."
"... ..."
"... ..."
"... ..."
hoocoodanode.org

merchantsofmenace

Antipodes:

Why are so many past and present Republican presidential candidates associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains Mandate, and the Manhattan Declaration?

Because they are nuts? You tell me. You have looked into it. I got sidetracked on some other things but do want to look at these connections. I'm not just looking into one thing like you are.

merchantsofmenace

Antipodes:

Why are so many past and present Republican presidential candidates associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains Mandate, and the Manhattan Declaration?

When I looked into some links about the 'Seven Mountains Mandate', I found 3 current candidates involved with this. Are you saying they all are? Trump included. And Christie. And Kasich. And Rand Paul. Give me the links. Be quicker if you already have them.

Antipodes

The Manhattan Declaration website:

http://manhattandeclaration.org/#0

Ever wonder why so many Republicans are climate change deniers?

Turns out there is also a Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change.

Just a coincidence? You tell me.

THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE 3

FairEconomist2

merchantsofmenace:

I am. That's why I looked at the 7 mountains mandate. It even seems like fake Christianity. :laughing:

A lot of modern fundagelicalism seems pretty fake to somebody who was raised Christian or read the Bible. Prosperity gospel particularly gets my goat. But they still get a lot of kowtowing from Republican candidates at all levels.

FairEconomist2

Antipodes:

Ever wonder why so many Republicans are climate change deniers?

Turns out there is also a Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change.

Just a coincidence? You tell me.

THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

I think that's more a matter of both paying obeisance to the same oil money. The oil industry puts a lot of effort into keeping Christian churches from taking God's instruction to be stewards of the earth seriously.


Antipodes

FairEconomist2:

A lot of modern fundagelicalism seems pretty fake to somebody who was raised Christian or read the Bible. Prosperity gospel particularly gets my goat. But they still get a lot of kowtowing from Republican candidates at all levels.

The Prosperity Gospel stems from the New Apostolic Reformation.

New Apostolic Reformation ideology is almost unheard by many people, even within the church, yet this ideology has taken over churches of many different denominations.


Antipodes

FairEconomist2:

I think that's more a matter of both paying obeisance to the same oil money. The oil industry puts a lot of effort into keeping Christian churches from taking God's instruction to be stewards of the earth seriously.

Rick Warren preaches New Apostolic Reformation ideology.


Antipodes

YoringeTBE:

Well Antipodes. Take Solace in the Fact that these Clowns will be occupied fighting it out with the Akbar Fundies.....

The New Apostolic Reformation ideologues are the very ones who want to start another Crusade...

YoringeTBE -> Antipodes

Dont Overheat. There are Scientology, Western Borough Baptists & whatelse to worry too...

Antipodes

Darkaura:

Oh, please. We've been quasi-theocracy for so long, I find it hard to get too bent out of shape about it. What makes this flavor of nuttery, worse?

And you should probably lead with that, instead of the bunch of quackery you have been harping on.

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates so visibly involved with this quackery?


Darkaura

merchantsofmenace:

Here is one of the BIG Cheese preacher evangelists

I've already watched enough Benny Hinn, Tilton, Olsten and the Bakkers to last a lifetime. I don't care to watch any more. Why is [stupid use of retarded description of nothing new under the Sun] worse.

Fucking start with, "New spin on an old fundie scam, is worse because..."

merchantsofmenace

Antipodes:

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates so visibly involved with this quackery?

Again Anti, I found 3 current candidates who can be associated. Nobody in their right mind who wants to win anything will be up front with this fringe religious movement... now if they can be 'associated' with these weirdo spin off groups... yes, guilt by association.


Darkaura

Antipodes:

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates so visibly involved with this quackery?

Why should I care? What makes this flavor of quackery any worse than any of the others?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2009/aug/10/religion-george-bush

FairEconomist2

merchantsofmenace:

Again Anti, I found 3 current candidates who can be associated. Nobody in their right mind who wants to win anything will be up front with this fringe religious movement... now if they can be 'associated' with these weirdo spin off groups... yes, guilt by association.

Cruz doesn't want to win? Could have fooled me.

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover

They need money and votes.

YoringeTBE

Why dont they ask God for Money?

merchantsofmenace

FairEconomist2:

Cruz doesn't want to win? Could have fooled me.

I think this Apostolic movement is being blown up to be much bigger than it is to scare people into hatin' on these redteamer candidates who are going to lose anyway without being associated with more nutty stuff. It's not new. It's not's apostolic. It's not a reformation. In 2001, we entered into the new apostolic age. yeah right. wtf? :laughing:

If Cruz or Rubio want to sign up for this all the way, he's done as he'll lose the majority of evangelical support or votes.

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover:

God gave them a brain just like everyone else, most religious people are not the dupes you want to think they are.

Darkaura

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover:

most religious people are not the dupes you want to think they are.

Actually, they are far more susceptible to scams and hacks than non-religious folks, as scammers and hackers claim to be of the same or similar faiths, to get otherwise sensible folk to fall for less than credible schemes.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2009/06/church_scams.html1

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover -> Darkaura

Churches are no different than any social group. It is a business just like a country club or that $20 box of popcorn you bought from a school youth group. You can have religion with out the organization and expense. I just see projecting of hate for not agreeing with a very narrow point of view. Obama had to dump his Christian Preacher when the going got rough. Always the Repug and never a Dem double standard. Carry on.


Darkaura

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover:

Always the Repug and never a Dem

What? Faith, independent of party affiliation, is the belief in something lacking evidence. For a potential scammer, would you rather try to rip-off the guy who has looked at religeon and said, "that looks a little hokey to me, I'll pass." or work on the guy who thinks there are thetans in volcanos?

I expect that the subscriber list of nPoic's Loss Diversification Newsletter, is much sought after by Nigerian 419 scammers.

CONFIDENTIAL

Dear nPoic,

Good day and compliments. This letter will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way to determine the future and continued existence of the entire members of my family.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. J. D. Albert, the CEO of SRS Energy, Inc.

My ordeal started immediately after...

Independent, of course, of the likelihood that the thetan believer, is likely already well fleeced.

merchantsofmenace
More info on this sect:
Dominion Theology: Extremist Right-Wing Christianity


Dilbert_Dohfen

merchantsofmenace:

More info on this sect:

Interesting to think how they are going to dominate the rest of the world after the dominate Murika? World cleansing? Hitler had a bit of trouble with his try at it. Maybe like the Green Lantern they will just use will power?

[Dec 06, 2015] Public and Private Sector Payroll Jobs Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama

hoocoodanode.org

merchantsofmenace

Here's a link to Horowitz's article "Left-wing Fascism":
http://www.google.com/books?id=Au_Ktn22RxEC&pg=PA209&dq=%22left-wing+fascism%22

Here's a link to Bale's article on "'Left-wing' Fascism":
http://www.google.com/books?id=kne26UnE1wQC&pg=PA267&dq=%22left-wing+fascism%22+bale

Here's an article about the phenomenon called "Rebranding Fascism" (although the term "left-wing fascism is not used):
http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v23n4/rebranding_fascism.html
The basic concept is that neo-fascist groups (who are extreme right-wing) disguise themselves as leftists, e.g., they say they are anti-zionist when they are anti-semitic.

Here's a link to Richard Wolin's chapter on "Left Fascism":
http://www.google.com/books?id=4H4BeyiYBuEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Seduction+of+Unreason:+The+Intellectual+Romance+with+Fascism+:+from+Nietzsche+to+Postmodernism#PPA153,M1

[Dec 06, 2015] The USA is number one small arms manufacturer in the world

peakoilbarrel.com
Glenn Stehle, 12/05/2015 at 2:54 pm
Ves,

There was an article in one of the Mexico City dailies today, written in response to the shootings in San Bernardino, that cited some numbers that were news to me:

1) The United States is the #1 small arms manufacturer in the world

2) 83% of small arms manufactured in the world are manufactured in the United States

3) The US's closest competitor is Russia, which manufactures 11% of the world's small arms

4) Small arms are the US's third largest export product, surpassed only by aircraft and agricultural products

5) The US market itself consumes 15 million small arms per year, and there are 300 million small arms currently in the posession of US private citizens

6) Saudi Arabia, however, is by far and away the largest small arms consumer in the world, and purchases 33.1% of all small arms produced in the world

7) Saudi Arabia then re-distributes these small arms to its allies in Syria, Lybia, etc.

8) So far in 2015, there have been 351 "mass shootings" in the United States in which 447 persons have been killed and another 290 wounded

9) The world's leading human rights organizations never speak of the bloodbath ocurring around the world due to the proliferation of small arms, much less the United Nations Security Council.

10) Both the United States and Russia seem quite content to keep any talk of small arms proliferation off the agenda.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/12/05/opinion/023a1pol

[Dec 04, 2015] The Neoconservative Movement is Trotskyism

"... Kristol argues in his book The Neoconservative Persuasion that those Jewish intellectuals did not forsake their heritage (revolutionary ideology) when they gave up Communism and other revolutionary movements, but had to make some changes in their thinking. America is filled with such former Trotskyists who unleashed an unprecedented foreign policy that led to the collapse of the American economy. ..."
"... Noted Australian economist John Quiggin declares in his recent work Zombie Economics that "Ideas are long lived, often outliving their originators and taking new and different forms. Some ideas live on because they are useful. Others die and are forgotten. But even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, ideas are very hard to kill. Even after the evidence seems to have killed them, they keep on coming back. ..."
"... These ideas are neither alive nor dead; rather…they are undead, or zombie, ideas." Bolshevism or Trotskyism is one of those zombie ideas that keeps coming back in different forms. It has ideologically reincarnated in the political disputations of the neoconservative movement. ..."
"... As soon as the Israel Lobby came along, as soon as the neoconservative movement began to shape U.S. foreign policy, as soon as Israel began to dictate to the U.S. what ought to be done in the Middle East, America was universally hated by the Muslim world. ..."
"... In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies-policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had. ..."
"... For example, when two top AIPAC officials-Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman-were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them. ..."
"... Israel has been spying on the United States for years using various Israeli or Jewish individuals, including key Jewish neoconservative figures such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who were under investigation for passing classified documents to Israel. ..."
January 22, 2013 | Veterans Today

Kristol argues in his book The Neoconservative Persuasion that those Jewish intellectuals did not forsake their heritage (revolutionary ideology) when they gave up Communism and other revolutionary movements, but had to make some changes in their thinking. America is filled with such former Trotskyists who unleashed an unprecedented foreign policy that led to the collapse of the American economy.

We have to keep in mind that America and much of the Western world were scared to death of Bolshevism and Trotskyism in the 1920s and early 30s because of its subversive activity.

Noted Australian economist John Quiggin declares in his recent work Zombie Economics that "Ideas are long lived, often outliving their originators and taking new and different forms. Some ideas live on because they are useful. Others die and are forgotten. But even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, ideas are very hard to kill. Even after the evidence seems to have killed them, they keep on coming back.

These ideas are neither alive nor dead; rather…they are undead, or zombie, ideas." Bolshevism or Trotskyism is one of those zombie ideas that keeps coming back in different forms. It has ideologically reincarnated in the political disputations of the neoconservative movement.

... ... ...

As it turns out, neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute are largely extensions of Trotskyism with respect to foreign policy. Other think tanks such as the Bradley Foundation were overtaken by the neoconservative machine back in 1984.

Some of those double agents have been known to have worked with Likud-supporting Jewish groups such as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organization which has been known to have "co-opted" several "non-Jewish defense experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired general Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied Iraq."

Philo-Semitic scholars Stephen Halper of Cambridge University and Jonathan Clarke of the CATO Institute agree that the neoconservative agendas "have taken American international relations on an unfortunate detour," which is another way of saying that this revolutionary movement is not what the Founding Fathers signed up for, who all maintained that the United States would serve the American people best by not entangling herself in alliances with foreign entities.

As soon as the Israel Lobby came along, as soon as the neoconservative movement began to shape U.S. foreign policy, as soon as Israel began to dictate to the U.S. what ought to be done in the Middle East, America was universally hated by the Muslim world.

Moreover, former secretary of defense Robert Gates made it clear to the United States that the Israelis do not and should not have a monopoly on the American interests in the Middle East. For that, he was chastised by neoconservative Elliott Abrams.

In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies-policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had.

... ... ...

Israel has been spying on the United States for years using various Israeli or Jewish individuals, including key Jewish neoconservative figures such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who were under investigation for passing classified documents to Israel.

The FBI has numerous documents tracing Israel's espionage in the U.S., but no one has come forward and declared it explicitly in the media because most political pundits value mammon over truth.

For example, when two top AIPAC officials-Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman-were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them.

In the annual FBI report called "Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage," Israel is a major country that pops up quite often. This is widely known among CIA and FBI agents and U.S. officials for years.

One former U.S. intelligence official declared, "There is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United States. Anybody who worked in counterintelligence in a professional capacity will tell you the Israelis are among the most aggressive and active countries targeting the United States.

They undertake a wide range of technical operations and human operations. People here as liaisons… aggressively pursue classified intelligence from people. The denials are laughable."

[Dec 03, 2015] It's a pretty tough situation for Putin

Recently annonced: Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline
marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile, December 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

Just announced:

Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline

Earlier, during his address to the nation, the Evil One questioned the sanity of the Turkish political leadership, stressing that Russia is nor criticising the Turkish nation for the recent downturn in Russo-Turksh relationships.

marknesop, December 3, 2015 at 7:37 am

Washington will be delighted, as it was one of the hoped-for consequences of the major downturn in relations. Hoped for by Washington and Brussels, I mean. Brussels will now ramp up its rhetoric against Nord Stream II, and if the coalition building it have not got all their ducks in a row the EC will be all too ready to put a stop to it. The objective will be leaving Russia no option but to continue transit through Ukraine, because the transit fees are vital to its solvency. The EU can't afford to give it $2 Billion a year for nothing for as far as the eye can see.

kirill, December 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

As I posted elsewhere, Russia needs to make a formal announcement that the transit of gas via Ukraine will stop at the end of 2016 regardless of the state of alternative routes. Brussels can then go and eat shit.

likbez, December 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm

It's a pretty tough situation for Putin. No friends anywhere. Everybody want a peace of Russia economically or otherwise. The situation reminds me a Russian cruiser Varyag at the Battle of Chemulpo Bay with the Japanese squadron of Admiral Uriu.

Fledging political alliance of Turkey and Ukraine is not a very good development. Also while economic sanctions are not that damaging to Russia per se as they are for Turkey, they still increase isolation of Russia. Exactly what the USA wanted from the very beginning.

So this whole incident with shooting down Russian Su-24 looks like another victory of the US diplomacy in its efforts to isolate Russia. And it might well be a plot similar to MH17 plot, if you wish. It does not matter if Erdogan acted on his own initiative or with gentle encouragement. The net result is the same.

Also a new Saudi leadership is a pretty impulsive and aggressive folk. And the are definitely adamantly anti-Russian.

[Dec 03, 2015] Who are those moderate rebels in Syria

marknesop.wordpress.com
yalensis, December 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

You are burying the lede, which is Congressman Ed Royce's not-so veiled threat against Russia:

"I think what Vladimir Putin should think on, for a minute, is the fact that Moscow itself IS a target. The attack on the Metro-Liner from Russia over Egypt clearly is another message from ISIS. So, at this point what we would like to see is a recalibration on the part of the Russian military. So that instead of attacking the Free Syrian Army and the more secular Syrian forces, they should begin to attack ISIS. So far we haven't seen that."

Translation from American B.S. into plain talk:
"Putin: Stop attacking our guys, we know they are ISIS but we have to pretend they're not. If you keep attacking them, we'll have them commit ever more terror attacks against the Russian people."

marknesop , December 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The USA is perhaps the worst choice on the planet to ask who is a "moderate rebel" and who is ISIS, as witnessed by their sad-sack training plan for moderate rebels which produced 5 or so whom they say are reliable after spending $500 Million. Obviously they trained many more than 5, but they have no idea where those people or their equipment are now. The real hot button in that article is the mention of General Steven Groves and his operation to "oversee the suppression of assessments showing the war on a perilous trajectory." That's what the American intelligence organs do now – blow smoke up people's asses so they can't see reality.

[Dec 03, 2015] Germany Rebukes Its Own Intelligence Agency for Criticizing Saudi Policy

Notable quotes:
"... "The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, which was titled " Saudi Arabia - Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation" and was one and a half pages long. ..."
"... Since taking the throne early this year, King Salman has invested great power in Prince Mohammed, making him defense minister and deputy crown prince and giving him oversight of oil and economic policy. The sudden prominence of such a young and untested prince - he is believed to be about 30, and had little public profile before his father became king - has worried some Saudis and foreign diplomats. ..."
"... Prince Mohammed is seen as a driving force behind the Saudi military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which human rights groups say has caused thousands of civilian deaths. ..."
"... In its memo, the BND said that Saudi rivalry with Iran for supremacy in the Middle East, as well as Saudi dependency on the United States, were the main drivers of Saudi foreign policy. ..."
"... The Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays out throughout the region, the memo said, most recently and strikingly in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. There, it said, "Saudi Arabia wants to prove that it is ready to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks in order not to fall into a disadvantageous position in the region." ..."
"... In Syria, Saudi Arabia's aim was always to oust President Bashar al-Assad, and that has not changed, the memo said. ..."
"... "The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observed, adding, "That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region." ..."
The New York Times

The intelligence agency's memo risked playing havoc with Berlin's efforts to show solidarity with France in its military campaign against the Islamic State and to push forward the tentative talks on how to end the Syrian civil war. The Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, is due to vote on Friday on whether to send reconnaissance planes, midair fueling capacity and a frigate to the Middle East to support the French.

The memo was sent to selected German journalists on Wednesday. In it, the foreign intelligence agency, known as the BND, offered an unusually frank assessment of recent Saudi policy.

"The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, which was titled "Saudi Arabia - Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation" and was one and a half pages long.

The memo said that King Salman and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman were trying to build reputations as leaders of the Arab world.

Since taking the throne early this year, King Salman has invested great power in Prince Mohammed, making him defense minister and deputy crown prince and giving him oversight of oil and economic policy. The sudden prominence of such a young and untested prince - he is believed to be about 30, and had little public profile before his father became king - has worried some Saudis and foreign diplomats.

Prince Mohammed is seen as a driving force behind the Saudi military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which human rights groups say has caused thousands of civilian deaths.

... ... ...

In its memo, the BND said that Saudi rivalry with Iran for supremacy in the Middle East, as well as Saudi dependency on the United States, were the main drivers of Saudi foreign policy.

The Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays out throughout the region, the memo said, most recently and strikingly in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. There, it said, "Saudi Arabia wants to prove that it is ready to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks in order not to fall into a disadvantageous position in the region."

In Syria, Saudi Arabia's aim was always to oust President Bashar al-Assad, and that has not changed, the memo said.

But it suggested that the recent shift in Saudi leadership has added new factors in the Middle East. "The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observed, adding, "That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region."

[Dec 03, 2015] Murder And Mayhem In The Middle East

Notable quotes:
"... Because you live in the real world, you know that NATO knew exactly where Gaddafi was at all times and that he was in that convoy attempting to escape NATOs bombing raid. Further, you wont be surprised to learn that many of these vehicles were pickup trucks that really posed no military threat to NATO. The point was to kill Gaddafi, and numerous resources were brought to bear on that mission. ..."
"... Gaddafis killing was the assassination of a foreign leader by Western interests. In this case, Gaddafi was just yet another target in a long line of leaders that attempted to keep those same interests at bay. ..."
"... While imperfect by many standards, all of these countries were stable and increasingly prosperous before outside interests came in and turned them into a living nightmare. ..."
"... It is this context that explains why such reactionary and violent groups as ISIS arose. They are the natural response of violated people seeking to assert some control over lives that otherwise have no hope and even less meaning. ..."
"... Islamic State militants have consolidated control over central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said on Monday in a further illustration of the North African states descent into anarchy. ..."
"... All sides in Libyas multiple armed conflicts are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians, according to a U.N. report. ..."
"... Islamic State (IS) has gained control over swathes of territory, committing gross abuses including public summary executions of individuals based on their religion or political allegiance , the joint report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said. ..."
"... The U.N. had documented IS executions in their stronghold city of Sirte, in central Libya along the Mediterranean coast, and in Derna to the east, from which they were later ousted by local militias. Victims included Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans and a South Sudanese, the report said. ..."
Dec 1, 2015 | Safehaven.com

Why it matters to those living in the West

To understand what's happening in Syria right now, you have to understand the tactics and motivations of the US and NATO -- parties sharing interwoven aims and goals in the Middle East/North African (MENA) region.

While the populations of Europe and the US are fed raw propaganda about the regional aims involved, the reality is far different.

Where the propaganda claims that various bad dictators have to be taken out, or that democracy is the goal, neither have anything at all to do with what's actually happening or has happened in the region.

For starters, we all know that if oil fields were not at stake then the West would care much much less about MENA affairs.

But a lot of outside interests do care. And their aims certainly and largely include controlling the region's critical energy resources. There's a lot of concern over whether Russia or China will instead come to dominate these last, best oil reserves on the planet.

Further, we can dispense with the idea that the US and NATO have any interest at all in human rights in this story. If they did, then they'd at least have to admit that their strategies and tactics have unleashed immeasurable suffering, as well as created the conditions for lots more. But it would be silly to try and argue about or understand regional motivations through the lenses of human rights or civilian freedoms -- as neither applies here.

Divide And Conquer

Instead, the policies in the MENA region are rooted in fracturing the region so that it will be easier to control.

That's a very old tactic; first utilized to a great extent by Britain starting back in the 1700s.

Divide and conquer. There's a reason that's a well-worn catch phrase: it's hundreds of years old.

But to get a handle on the level of depravity involved, I think it useful to examine what happened in Libya in 2011 when NATO took out Muamar Gaddafi and left the country a broken shell -- as was intended.

I cannot really give you a good reason for NATO involving itself in taking out Gaddafi. I only have bad ones.

The official reason was that after the Arab Spring uprising in Libya in early 2011 (with plenty of evidence of Western influences in fanning those flames) things got ugly and protesters were shot. This allowed the UN to declare that it needed to protect civilians, and the ICC to charge Gaddafi with crimes against humanity, declaring that he needed to stand trial.

Here's how it went down:

On 27 June, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, head of state security, for charges concerning crimes against humanity.[268] Libyan officials rejected the ICC, claiming that it had "no legitimacy whatsoever" and highlighting that "all of its activities are directed at African leaders".[269]

That month, Amnesty International published their findings, in which they asserted that many of the accusations of mass human rights abuses made against Gaddafist forces lacked credible evidence, and were instead fabrications of the rebel forces which had been readily adopted by the western media.

Source

After the ICC's indictment, it was a hop, skip and a jump to declaring a NATO-enforced 'no fly zone' over Libya to protect civilians.

From there it was just a straight jump to NATO actively shooting anything related to the Gaddafi government. NATO had thereby chosen sides and was directly supporting the rebellion.

The pattern in play here is always the same: cherry-picked events are used as a pretext to support the side seeking to topple the existing government and thereby leave a sectarian wasteland to flourish in the inevitable power vacuum.

If you are like most people in the West, you know almost nothing of any of this context. It's not well reported. And Libya is rarely in the news even though it's going through increasingly desperate times.

I found a speech given by Gaddafi a few months before he was killed to be especially compelling and revealing. I will reproduce it in its entirety here:

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

Source

Gaddafi's great crime seems to be giving away too much oil wealth to his people. Was he a strongman? Yes, but you have to be to rule in that region right now. Was he the worst strong man? No, not by a long shot.

As bad as he was, at least he didn't kill a million Iraqis on trumped up charges of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Nor was he chopping off 50 heads per week and stoning females for adultery as is the case with Saudi Arabia right now.

But again, whether he killed protestors or not, or committed war crimes or not, is irrelevant to the power structure. What mattered was that he had locked out Western interests, and instead used his country's oil wealth to provide free or extremely cheap health care, education and housing to a wide swath of Libyans.

So let's cut to the murder scene. Here's how it went down:

At around 08:30 local time on 20 October, Gaddafi, his army chief Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, his security chief Mansour Dhao, and a group of loyalists attempted to escape in a convoy of 75 vehicles.[7][8] A Royal Air Force reconnaissance aircraft spotted the convoy moving at high speed, after NATO forces intercepted a satellite phone call made by Gaddafi.[9]

NATO aircraft then fired on 11 of the vehicles, destroying one. A U.S. Predator drone operated from a base near Las Vegas[8] fired the first missiles at the convoy, hitting its target about 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of Sirte. Moments later, French Air Force Rafale fighter jets continued the bombing.[10]

The NATO bombing immobilized much of the convoy and killed dozens of loyalist fighters. Following the first strike, some 20 vehicles broke away from the main group and continued moving south. A second NATO airstrike damaged or destroyed 10 of these vehicles. According to the Financial Times, Free Libya units on the ground also struck the convoy.[11]

According to their statement, NATO was not aware at the time of the strike that Gaddafi was in the convoy. NATO stated that in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1973, it does not target individuals but only military assets that pose a threat. NATO later learned, "from open sources and Allied intelligence," that Gaddafi was in the convoy and that the strike likely contributed to his capture.[11]

Source

To believe NATO, it had no idea Gaddafi was in that convoy (honest!), but just managed to have a Predator drone handy as well as a large number of jets armed for ground targets (not anti-aircraft missiles, as a no-fly zone might imply). It merely struck all of these vehicles over and over again in their quest to kill everyone on board because they were "military assets that posed a threat."

Because you live in the real world, you know that NATO knew exactly where Gaddafi was at all times and that he was in that convoy attempting to escape NATO's bombing raid. Further, you won't be surprised to learn that many of these vehicles were pickup trucks that really posed no military threat to NATO. The point was to kill Gaddafi, and numerous resources were brought to bear on that mission.

Gaddafi's killing was the assassination of a foreign leader by Western interests. In this case, Gaddafi was just yet another target in a long line of leaders that attempted to keep those same interests at bay.

After NATO was finished making a mess of Libya by taking out Gaddafi and leaving a right proper mess of a power vacuum, it simply departed -- leaving the country to fend for itself. Libya descended, of course, into an outright civil war and has remained ever since a hotbed of sectarian violence and increasing ISIS control and presence.

If NATO/US had to follow the Pier I rule of "you break it, you buy it" they would still be in Libya offering money and assistance as the country settles down and begins the long process of rebuilding.

But no such luck. That's absolutely not how they operate. It's disaster capitalism in action. The idea is to break things apart and then make money off of the pieces. It's not to help people.

Otherwise, how do we explain these images?

While imperfect by many standards, all of these countries were stable and increasingly prosperous before outside interests came in and turned them into a living nightmare.

It is this context that explains why such reactionary and violent groups as ISIS arose. They are the natural response of violated people seeking to assert some control over lives that otherwise have no hope and even less meaning.

I'm not justifying ISIS; only explaining the context that led to its rise.

Speaking of which, let's turn back to Libya:

ISIS is tightening its grip in Libya

Nov 15, 2015

GENEVA (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have consolidated control over central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said on Monday in a further illustration of the North African state's descent into anarchy.

All sides in Libya's multiple armed conflicts are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians, according to a U.N. report.

Islamic State (IS) has gained control over swathes of territory, "committing gross abuses including public summary executions of individuals based on their religion or political allegiance", the joint report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said.

The U.N. had documented IS executions in their stronghold city of Sirte, in central Libya along the Mediterranean coast, and in Derna to the east, from which they were later ousted by local militias. Victims included Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans and a South Sudanese, the report said.

Some were accused of "treason", others of same-sex relations, but none were given due legal process, according to the report, which covered the year through October.

Four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is locked in a conflict between two rival governments - an official one in the east and a self-declared one controlling the capital Tripoli - and the many armed factions that back them.

Source

After that atrocious summary, how bad does life under Gaddafi sound now? Again, he was targeted for execution by Western interests and the resulting mess is of little surprise to anybody with even modest curiosity about how violent overthrows tend to work out in the MENA region.

But where is the UN security council denouncing the war crimes? And where is the ICC leveling crimes against humanity charges? Nowhere. There's no more Western political interest in Libya now that it has been broken apart.

As they say in the military: once is bad luck, twice is a coincidence, but three times is enemy action. This pattern of eliminating "a very bad man" and leaving the country in a complete mess has happened three times of late, with Syria targeted to be the fourth. So enemy action it is.

ISIS and other extreme jihadist groups arose because of brutal conditions that made such harsh interpretations of ancient religious texts make sense by comparison. When you have nothing left to believe in, one's belief system can compensate by becoming rather inflexible.

I know I have greatly simplified a terribly complex dynamic, but -- speaking of beliefs -- I don't believe that terrorists are born, I believe they are raised. When one has nothing left to lose, then anything becomes possible, including strapping on a suicide belt and flicking the switch.

What I am saying is that this is not a battle between Christians and Muslims, nor is it a battle between good and evil, both characterizations that I've read recently in great abundance. That's all nonsense for the masses.

This is about resources and true wealth that is being siphoned from the people who have had the misfortune to be born on top of it, and towards other regions with greater power and reach.

There's nothing different in what I am reading today from what the British redcoats did in India from the late 1700's throughout the 1800's. Their military might assured that the East India Tea Company could continue to extract resources from the locals.

At the time the locals were called heathens, implying they were subhuman and therefore could be safely dispatched. Now they are called terrorists -- same thing. Dehumanize your foe to help rationalize one's behaviors. It's a tried and true practice of war propaganda.


How This Affects You

While we might be tempted to sit in our Western environs, secure in the idea that at least we aren't 'over there' where all the bad things are happening, it would be a mistake to think that this turmoil will not impact you.

I'm not talking about the ultra-remote chance of being a victim of blow-back terrorism either. I am referring to the idea that it would be a mistake to think that any government(s) that think nothing of ruining entire MENA countries will hesitate to throw anybody else under the bus that gets in their way.

Ben Bernanke gave no thought to throwing granny under the bus in order to help the big banks get even bigger. He willingly and knowing transferred over a trillion dollars away from savers and handed it to the big banks.

Similarly, we shouldn't expect enlightened behavior to emerge from the shadows of leadership once things get even dicer on the world stage. In fact, we should expect the opposite.

It would be a mistake to think that powers in charge would not turn their malign intent inwards toward their own populace if/when necessary. Today it's Syria, yesterday it was Libya, but tomorrow it might be us.

The people of France recently got a small taste of the horror that has been visited upon the people of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. And while I have no interest in seeing any more violence anywhere, perhaps the people of France will finally begin to ask what happened and why. I don't mean the fine details of the night of the massacre, but how it came to be considered a 'thing to do' at all by the people who did it. (For those unaware, France has been particularly involved for years in fomenting revolt within Syria)


Conclusion

My intention in stringing these dots together is so that we can have an informed discussion about what's happening in Syria and the Middle East at large. I am not at all interested in trying to understand events through the framing lenses of religion and/or 'terrorism', both of which are tools of distraction in my experience.

Instead, I want to understand the power dynamics at play. And to try to peel back the layers, to understand why the powers that be consider this region so important at this moment in history.

I think they know as well as we do that the shale oil revolution is not a revolution at all but a retirement party for an oil industry that has given us everything we hold economically dear but is on its last legs.

I think that the power structures of the next twenty years are going to be utterly shaped by energy - who has it, who needs it and who's controlling it.

Saudi Arabia is acting increasingly desperate here and I think we know why. They have a saying there: "My father rode a camel, I drove a car, my son flies a jet and his son will ride a camel."

They know as well as anyone that their oil wealth will run out someday; and so, too, will the West's interest in them. With no giant military to protect them, the royalty in Saudi Arabia should have some serious concerns about the future.

Heck, it's even worse than that:

Saudi Wells Running Dry -- of Water -- Spell End of Desert Wheat

Nov 3, 2015

Saudi Arabia became a net exporter of wheat in 1984 from producing almost none in the 1970s. The self-sufficiency program became a victim of its own success, however, as it quickly depleted aquifers that haven't been filled since the last Ice Age.

In an unexpected U-turn, the government said in 2008 it was phasing out the policy, reducing purchases of domestic wheat each year by 12.5 percent and bridging the gap progressively with imports.

The last official local harvest occurred in May, although the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization projects that a small crop of about metric 30,000 tons for traditional specialty bakery products will "prevail" in 2016. At its peak in 1992, Saudi Arabia produced 4.1 million tons of wheat and was one of the world's top 10 wheat exporters.


Source

The Saudis did something very unwise - they pumped an aquifer filled over 10,000 years ago and used it to grow wheat in the desert. Now their wells are running dry and they have no more water.

And yet their population is expanding rapidly even as their oil fields deplete. There's a very bad intersection for Saudi Arabia, and the rulers know it.

It helps to explain their recent actions of lashing out against long-standing regional foes and helps to explain the increasing desperation of their moves to help destabilize (and even bomb) their neighbors.

My point here is that as resources become tight, the ruling powers can be expected to act in increasingly desperate ways. This is a tenet of the Long Emergency of which James Kunstler wrote.

The only response that makes any sense to me, at the individual level, is to reduce your needs and increase your resilience.

This is something we cover in great detail in our new book, Prosper!: How To Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting, so I won't go into all the details here. Instead, my goal is to help cast a clarifying light on recent events and add some necessary detail that can help us more fully appreciate what's happening around the world and why taking prudent preparations today is becoming increasingly urgent.

[Dec 03, 2015] ISIS Oil Plot Thickens Turkish MP Has Evidence Erdogans Son-In-Law Involved In Illegal Crude Trade

Notable quotes:
"... Underscoring that contention is CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem who says he, like Moscow, will soon provide proof of Erdogan's role in the smuggling of Islamic State oil. I have been able to establish that there is a very high probability that Berat Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil by the Daesh terrorists," Erdem said at a press conference on Thursday (see more from Sputnik ). ..."
"... There is one company, headquartered in Erbil, which in 2012 acquired oil tankers, and which is currently being bombarded by Russian aircraft," Erdem said. "I am now studying this companys records. It has partners in Turkey, and I am checking them for links to Albayrak. ..."
"... Note that this is entirely consistent with what we said last week , namely that in some cases, ISIS takes advantage of the Kurdish oil transport routes, connections, and infrastructure in Turkey. It will certainly be interesting to see if theres a connection between Albayrak, the energy ministry, and Bilal Erdogans BMZ Group. ..."
"... Many loose ends now for Erdogan popping up. How long he can play whack-a-mole until one illuminates paper trail implication between ISIS and Erdogans masters like McCain, Graham, Nuland? ..."
"... Maybe Erdogan will come up with a massive distraction that makes oil-thievery insignificant. Hope not. ..."
Zero Hedge
... ... ...

Underscoring that contention is CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem who says he, like Moscow, will soon provide proof of Erdogan's role in the smuggling of Islamic State oil. "I have been able to establish that there is a very high probability that Berat Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil by the Daesh terrorists," Erdem said at a press conference on Thursday (see more from Sputnik).

Berat Albayrak is Erodan's son-in-law and is Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Erdem isn't the only person to mention Albayrak this week. Recall that in his opening remarks at the dramatic Russian MoD presentation on Wednesday Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov said the following:

"No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business!"

"There is one company, headquartered in Erbil, which in 2012 acquired oil tankers, and which is currently being bombarded by Russian aircraft," Erdem said. "I am now studying this company's records. It has partners in Turkey, and I am checking them for links to Albayrak."

Note that this is entirely consistent with what we said last week, namely that in some cases, ISIS takes advantage of the Kurdish oil transport routes, connections, and infrastructure in Turkey. It will certainly be interesting to see if there's a connection between Albayrak, the energy ministry, and Bilal Erdogan's BMZ Group.

If you know anything about Erdogan, you know that he doesn't take kindly to this kind of thing and as Erdem goes on to account, he's already been the subject of a smear campaign:

"Today, the Takvim newspaper called me an American puppet, an Israeli agent, a supporter of the [Kurdish] PKK, and the instigator of a coup…all in the same sentence. I am inclined to view this attack on me as an attempt to belittle my significance, to attack my reputation in the eyes in the public, given that my investigation is a real threat to the government. Such a sharply negative reaction suggests that my assumptions are fair, and I am moving in the right direction to find the truth."

The lawmaker says that type of attack has "only convinced [him] further on the need to carry this investigation through to the end."

In the meantime, we can only hope that, for the sake of exposing the truth, "the end" doesn't end up being a Turkish jail cell, or worse for Erdem.

Troll Magnet

Do they make nail guns in Turkey?

Truther

Yep, with top brands for JPM, Goldman, RBS, WF, CITI and Deutche. They even self point at you too.

Baby Bladeface

Many loose ends now for Erdogan popping up. How long he can play whack-a-mole until one illuminates paper trail implication between ISIS and Erdogan's masters like McCain, Graham, Nuland?

o r c k

Maybe Erdogan will come up with a "massive" distraction that makes oil-thievery insignificant. Hope not.

Anonymous User

The shit is hitting the fan for the turks

GhostOfDiogenes

Go figure huh?

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/israel-main-buyer-isis-oil-report/...

[Dec 03, 2015] On That Video Where Some Egyptians Allegedly Say Obama Is Insane And On Drugs And Should Be Removed From Office

EconoSpeak

An old and close, but very conservative and increasingly out of touch with reality friend of mine posted a video some days ago on Facebook. He indicated that he thought it was both funny and also insightful. It seemed highly suspicious to me, so I googled it and found that the person who uploaded it onto you tube stated in the comments on it that it is a spoof. Here is a link that discusses why it is known it is a spoof as well as linking to the video itself and its comments. It has reportedly been widely distributed on the internet by many conservatives who think it is for real, and when I pointed out it is a spoof, my friend defriended me from Facebook. I am frustrated.

So, for those who do not view it, it purports to show a talk show in Egypt where a brief clip of Obama speaking last May to graduating military officers about how climate change is and will be a serious national security issue, something the Pentagon has claimed. He did not say it was the most serious such issue, and at least in the clip he said nothing about Daesh/ISIS/ISIL, although of course he has said a lot about it and not only has US drones attacking it but reportedly we have "boots on the ground" now against them in the form of some Special Ops.

So, the video then goes back to the supposed talk show where they are speaking in Arabic with English subtitles. According to these subtitels, which are partly accurate translations but also wildly inaccurate in many places (my Arabic is good enough that I have parsed out what is what there) the host asks, "Is he insane?" A guest suggests he is on drugs. Another claims he just does what Michelle says and that his biceps are small. Finally a supposed retired general pounds the table and denounces him over Libya policy (that part is for real, although his name is never mentioned) and suggests that Americans should act to remove him from office. Again, conservative commentators have found hilarious and very insightful, with this even holding among commenters to the video aware that it is a mistranslated spoof. Bring these guys on more. Obviously they would be big hits on Fox News.

So, I would like to simply comment further on why Egyptians would be especially upset about Libya, but that them being so against the US is somewhat hypocritical (I also note that there is reason to believe that the supposed general is not a general). Of course Libya is just to the west of Egypt with its eastern portion (Cyrenaica under Rome) often ruled by whomever was ruling Egypt at various times in the past. So there is a strong cultural-historical connection. It is understandable that they would take Libyan matters seriously, and indeed things in Libya have turned into a big mess.

However, the move to bring in outside powers to intervene against Qaddafi in 2011 was instigated by an Egyptian, Abu Moussa. This was right after Mubarak had fallen in the face of massive demonstrations in Egypt. Moussa was both leader of the Arab League and wanting to run for President of Egypt. He got nowhere with the latter, but he did get somewhere with getting
the rest of the world to intervene in Libya. He got the Arab League to support such an intervention, with that move going to the UN Security Council and convincing Russia and China to abstain on the anti-Qaddafi measure. Putin has since complained that those who intervened, UK and France most vigorously with US "leading from behind" on the effort.went beyond the UN mandate. But in any case, Qaddafi was overthrown, not to be replaced by any stable or central power, with Libya an ongoing mess that has remained fragmented since, especially between its historically separate eastern and western parts, something I have posted on here previously.

So, that went badly, but Egyptians blaming the US for this seems to me to be a bit much, pretty hypocritical. It happens to be a fact that the US and Obama are now very unpopular in Egypt. I looked at a poll from a few months ago, and the only nations where the US and Obama were viewed less favorably (although a few not polled such as North Korea) were in order: Russia, Palestinian Territories, Belarus, Lebanon, Iran, and Pakistan, with me suspecting there is now a more favorable view in Iran since the culmination of the nuclear deal. I can appreciate that many Egyptians are frustrated that the US supported an election process that did not give them Moussa or El-Baradei, but the Muslim Brotherhood, who proceeded to behave badly, leading to them being overthrown by an new military dictatorship with a democratic veneer, basically a new improved version of the Mubarak regime, with the US supporting it, if somewhat reluctantly.

Yes, this is all pretty depressing, but I must say that ultimately the Egyptians are responsible for what has gone down in their own nation. And even if those Egyptian commentators, whoever they actually are, are as angry about Obama as they are depicted as being, the fact is that Obama is still more popular there than was George W. Bush at the same time in his presidency, something all these US conservatives so enamored of this bizarre video seem to conveniently forget.

Addenda, 5:10 PM:

1) The people on that video come across almost like The Three Stooges, which highlights the comedic aspect that even fans of Obama are supposed to appreciate, although it does not add to the credibility of the remarks of those so carrying on like a bunch of clowns.

2) Another reason Egyptians may be especially upset about the situation in Libya is that indeed Daesh has a foothold in a port city not too far from the Egyptian border in Surt, as reported as the top story today in the NY Times.

3) Arguably once the rest of the world got in, the big problem was a failure to follow through with aiding establishing a central unified government, although that was always going to be a problem, something not recognized by all too many involved, including Abu Moussa. As it was once his proposal got going, it was then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton who was the main person leading the charge for the US to get in over the reluctance of Obama. This was probably her biggest mistake in all this, even though most Republicans think the irrelevant sideshow of the unfortunate incident in Benghazi is the big deal.

4) Needless to say, Republican views at the time of the intervention were just completely incoherent, as symbolized at one point by Senator Lindsey Graham, who within the space of a single sentence simultaneously argued for the US to do nothing and also to go in full force with the proverbial "boots on the ground."

Further Addendum, 7:10 PM:

One of the pieces of evidence given that supposedly shows that the video is a spoof is that the supposed retired Brigadier General Mahmoud Mansour cannot be found if one googles his name, except in connection with this video. There are some other Egyptians named Mansour who show up, but this guy does not. However, it occurs to me that he might be for real, but simply obscure. After all, Brigadier is the lowest rank of General, one star, with Majors being two star, Lieutenants being three star (even though Majors are above Lieutenants), and with four and five star not having any other rank assigned to them. Furthermore, Egypt has a large military that has run the country for decades, so there may well be a lot of these Brigadier Generals, with many of them amounting to nothing. So, if he is for real, his claim to fame will be from jumping up and down, pounding on a table and calling for the overthrow of the POTUS.

Barkley Rosser

[Dec 03, 2015] The history of the Arab conquest of Byzantium is purposefully ignored

economistsview.typepad.com
Syaloch said in reply to anne...,

Yep. I sometimes think that the history of the Arab conquest of East Roman (Byzantine) provinces is purposefully ignored because it doesn't fit into a Western narrative of what Arab Muslim peoples are like.

The modern Islamic fundamentalist movements we see today are actually a fairly recent invention -- Wahhabism for example originated in the 18th century. And their rise to dominance is largely due to meddling by Western governments, which backed these groups to prevent Soviet expansion into the Middle East and southern Asia and to undermine nationalist movements that might oppose Western interests.

[Dec 03, 2015] ISIS oil hub with 3000 parked oil trucks escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition

marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Here's the evidence that the USA rejects. I particularly enjoyed the satellite imagery of the "ISIS oil hub", at which were parked 3,000 oil trucks. Apparently it escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition. Does it seem realistic that a country which was offered a major and legitimate pipeline deal would rather move its oil around in thousands of tanker trucks? If the oil trucking business were benefiting Assad's regime, don't you think ISIS would have blown it sky-high by now? It's in a region they control and apparently in the middle of open ground, completely unguarded.

The battle lines have been drawn in yet another field of conflict – Russia aims to take down Erdogan, and Washington aims to keep him in his position. It remains to be seen just how embarrassing that will become.

marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm
Moscow is not backing away at all from accusations that Erdogan's family is personally involved in receiving and trafficking in ISIS oil. In a phenomenon pointed out by others of late, Yahoo comments are now overwhelmingly supportive of Russia on these issues. Not only that, mainstream news are picking up the accusation rapidly. The USA may reject Russia's evidence, but we knew they would do that anyway – the USA would reject a signed confession by Erdogan if they got it from Russia. I don't know why Moscow even bothers to show evidence to the Americans, it would do far better to approach Europeans – especially Germany and France – with its proof. If it could convince Germany, the USA would look a lot more foolish if it said it was all more Russian propaganda and lies.

The USA will shield Erdogan for so long as it can, because his country is in a tremendous strategic position and is studded with NATO military installations. Washington certainly does not want to be confronted with a leadership transition it cannot micromanage. It might throw Erdogan under the bus, but not until it has identified and groomed a successor.

It is also significant that rather than groveling for mercy, Russia continues to attack the alliance's credibility, and it is scoring hits.

Patient Observer, December 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm
The comment with the most "likes" on a yahoo article on Russian claiming that Turkey is buying ISIS oil (lost the link):
" 542 – likes
First it does not require a high school education to understand in order for ISIS to sell any oil from captured oil fields and or refineries it must have buyers of said oil. Our govt claims to watch everyone and know everything yet with all their tax payer space observations, massive fleet of drones to track ants in the sand they cannot figure out where all the oil goes to fund ISIS?
Our govt is intentionally not stopping this oil from being sold and our leaders aware of this need to be exposed then put on trial then executed. In fact political figures in our country need to be facing firing squads monthly until they tell the truth and serve just our citizens. This in turn makes for a huge employment opportunity both in firing squads and new politicians."
marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm
The European Union voted to give itself permission to buy oil from "Syrian rebels" to help them overthrow Assad. The only stipulations of who could not benefit from it were "regime-associated" individuals and companies. The agency that must be consulted – the Syrian National Coalition – is based in Turkey and its president is chummy with Erdogan. Come on. Washington is ready to indict and convict Moscow on a hell of a lot less evidence than this on any day you care to name.
et Al, December 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm
Neuters: Russia says it has proof Turkey involved in Islamic State oil trade
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/mideast-crisis-russia-turkey-idUKL8N13R2KV2015120

…U.S. officials say coalition air strikes have destroyed hundreds of IS oil trucks while the Russian campaign has mainly targeted opponents of the Syrian government who are not from Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL.

"The irony of the Russians raising this concern is that there's plenty of evidence to indicate that the largest consumer of ISIL oil is actually Bashar al-Assad and his regime, a regime that only remains in place because it is being propped up by the Russians," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The State Department's Toner said U.S. information was that Islamic State was selling oil at the wellheads to middlemen who were involved in smuggling it across the frontier into Turkey…

…The ministry said the Western route took oil produced at fields near the Syrian city of Raqqa to the settlement of Azaz on the border with Turkey.

From there the columns of tanker trucks pass through the Turkish town of Reyhanli, the ministry said, citing what it said were satellite pictures of hundreds of such trucks moving through the border crossing without obstruction.

"There is no inspection of the vehicles carried out … on the Turkish side," said Rudskoy.

Some of the smuggled cargoes go to the Turkish domestic market, while some is exported via the Turkish Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Dortyol, the ministry said.

Another main route for smuggled oil, according to the ministry, runs from Deir Ez-zour in Syria to the Syrian border crossing at Al-Qamishli. It said the trucks then took the crude for refining at the Turkish city of Batman….

…The defence ministry officials said the information they released on Wednesday was only part of the evidence they have in their possession, and that they would be releasing further intelligence in the next days and weeks.
####

I can't wait for that twitter evidence from the State Department and the Pentagon. It should be devastating.

[Dec 03, 2015] Why did Turkey shoot down the Russian Soukhoï 24

Notable quotes:
"... It was agreed that the Turkish army would be allowed to penetrate Syrian territory, within a limit of 8 kilometres, in order to ensure that the PKK could not fire mortars from Syria. ..."
"... Since the beginning of the current aggression against Syria, the Turkish army has used and abused this privilege - no longer to prevent attacks by the PKK, but to set up training camps for jihadists. ..."
"... In October 2015, when the Russian military campaign was just starting, and Salih Muslim was beginning the operation of forced Kurdisation of Northern Syria, the famous Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, announced via Twitter that Turkey was preparing the destruction of a Russian aircraft. This occurred on the 24th November. ..."
www.voltairenet.org

At the end of the Turkish civil war, Turkey threatened to invade Syria with the help of NATO if it continued to offer asylum to the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcallan. President Hafez el-Assad thus asked Öcallan to find another refuge, and was obliged to conclude an oral agreement with Turkey. It was agreed that the Turkish army would be allowed to penetrate Syrian territory, within a limit of 8 kilometres, in order to ensure that the PKK could not fire mortars from Syria.

Since the beginning of the current aggression against Syria, the Turkish army has used and abused this privilege - no longer to prevent attacks by the PKK, but to set up training camps for jihadists.

In October 2015, when the Russian military campaign was just starting, and Salih Muslim was beginning the operation of forced Kurdisation of Northern Syria, the famous Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, announced via Twitter that Turkey was preparing the destruction of a Russian aircraft. This occurred on the 24th November.

From the perspective of the Third Syrian War [1], the attack was designed to send a message to Russia in order to scare it into defending only Damascus and Lattakia, leaving the rest of the country in the hands of Turkey and its allies.

Technically, the aerial defence of Turkey, like that of all NATO members, is co-ordinated by the CAOC in Torrejón (Spain). The chief of the Turkish air force, General Abidin Ünal, should therefore have given advance warning of his decision to CAOC commander General Rubén García Servert. We do not know if he did so [2]. In any case, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that he himself had validated the order to destroy the Russian plane.

The Russian chief of staff had provided NATO with the flight plans of their aircraft in advance, so that neither the Alliance nor Turkey could ignore the fact that the plane was Russian, despite Turkish allegations to the contrary. Besides this, a NATO AWACS had taken off beforehand from the Greek base in Aktion (close to Preveza) in order to survey the area [3].

The Russian army bombarded the Sultan Abdülhamid Brigade – from the name of the last Ottoman sultan, infamous for organising the massacre of Oriental Christians. Since the beginning of the war against Syria, the Turkish secret services have never stopped supplying weapons to the Turkmen militias in Northern Syria, and overseeing their operations. The Turkish Press has documented the transfer of at least 2,000 truck-loads of weapons and ammunition - which President Erdoğan has admitted [4] – the majority of which was immediately distributed to Al-Qaïda by the Turkmen militias. In particular, in 2011, these militias dismantled the 80,000 factories in Aleppo, the Syrian economic capital, and sent the machine tools to Turkey [5]. So, contrary to Turkish allegations, the Russian bombing was not intended to target the Turkmen, but effectively to destroy a terrorist group guilty of organised pillage, according to the definition in international conventions [6]. The Russian bombardment had provoked the flight of 1,500 civilians and caused vigourous protests by Turkey [7], which addressed a letter to the Security Council [8].

The Turkish – not Syrian – jihadist, member of the Grey Woves, Alparslan Çelik, is commander of the Turkmen militias in Syria.

The main leader of the Turkmen militias in Syria is Alparslan Çelik, a member of the Grey Wolves, the Turkish neo-fascist party, which is historically linked to the NATO secret services [9]. He claims to have given the order to kill the Russian pilots as they parachuted down [10].

The Russian plane which was shot down only entered Turkish air-space for 17 seconds, and was hit after it was already in Syrian air-space. However, since Turkey considered that it had annexed the 8-kilometre corridor which it was authorised to enter according to the agreement with ex-President Hafez el-Assad, it may have believed that the intrusion lasted longer. In any case, in order to shoot down the Sukhoï 24, the Turkish fighter had to enter Syrian air-space for 40 seconds [11].

The Russians had taken no particular measures to protect their bombers, considering that Turkey is an official participant in the fight against terrorist organisations. And an intrusion lasting only a few seconds has never been considered as a " threat to national security " " particularly since Turkey had been informed of the flight plan, and also that it regularly violates the air-space of other states, such as Cyprus.

Immediately solicited by Turkey, NATO called a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which was unable to issue a resolution, but did its best by asking for a reading of a brief declaration by their General Secretary which called for ... de-escalation -- [12]. Various sources reported profound disagreement within the Council [13].

The official Saudi Press published an audio recording of an appeal by Turkish military air controllers to the Russian plane warning it against an entry into Turkish air-space [14]. Several AKP politicians commented on this recording and denounced the risks taken by the Russian army. However, the Russian military has denied the authenticity of the recording, and has proved that it is a fake. The Turkish government then denied any implication in the publishing of the recording.

President Putin qualified the destruction of the Soukhoï 24 as a " knife in the back ". He publicly questioned the rôle of Ankara in the financing of Daesh, particularly because of the free transit of stolen petrol across Turkey. The Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs has asked the 4.5 million Russians who had planned to travel to Turkey to cancel their trip, and has restored entry visas for Turkish nationals. By decree, the Kremlin has forbidden all new contracts between Russian persons or organisations and Turkish persons or organisations, including the employment of personnel, the import/export of merchandise, and tourism [15].

[Dec 03, 2015] Putin says Turkey 'will regret' shooting down of Russian bomber

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkey will regret "more than once" about its shooting down of a Russian bomber jet near the Syrian-Turkish border, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Dec. 3.

President Vladimir Putin said Turkey's shooting down of a Russian military jet was a "war crime" and that the Kremlin would punish Ankara with additional sanctions, signaling fallout from the incident would be long-lasting and serious.

Putin, who made the comments during his annual state of the nation speech to his country's political elite on Dec. 3, said Russia would not forget the Nov. 24 incident and that he continued to regard it as a terrible betrayal.

"We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling [with Turkey]," said Putin, after asking for a moment's silence for the two Russian servicemen killed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and for Russian victims of terrorism.

"But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime, the murder of our people, that they are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken."

Turkey would have cause to regret its actions "more than once," he said, promising Russia's retaliatory actions would be neither hysterical nor dangerous.

In his aggressive remarks unusual in diplomatic tongue, Putin said "it appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment."

Putin said Moscow's anger over the incident was directed "at particular individuals" and not at the Turkish people.

[Dec 03, 2015] Tomgram Andrew Bacevich, An Invitation to Collective Suicide

Notable quotes:
"... Aside from long-shots Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, any candidate likely to enter the Oval Office in January 2017 will be committed to some version of much-more war, including obviously Donald Trump, Marco (" clash of civilizations ") Rubio, and Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a hawkish speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on her version of war policy against the Islamic State. ..."
"... Assume that the hawks get their way -- that the United States does whatever it takes militarily to confront and destroy ISIS. Then what? Answering that question requires taking seriously the outcomes of other recent U.S. interventions in the Greater Middle East. In 1991, when the first President Bush ejected Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, Americans rejoiced, believing that they had won a decisive victory. A decade later, the younger Bush seemingly outdid his father by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and then making short work of Saddam himself -- a liberation twofer achieved in less time than it takes Americans to choose a president. After the passage of another decade, Barack Obama got into the liberation act, overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in what appeared to be a tidy air intervention with a clean outcome. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably put it , "We came, we saw, he died." End of story. In fact, subsequent events in each case mocked early claims of success or outright victory. Unanticipated consequences and complications abounded. "Liberation" turned out to be a prelude to chronic violence and upheaval. ..."
"... Indeed, the very existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) today renders a definitive verdict on the Iraq wars over which the Presidents Bush presided, each abetted by a Democratic successor. A de facto collaboration of four successive administrations succeeded in reducing Iraq to what it is today: a dysfunctional quasi-state unable to control its borders or territory while serving as a magnet and inspiration for terrorists. ..."
"... Were it not for the reckless American decision to invade and occupy a nation that, whatever its crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11, the Islamic State would not exist. ..."
"... True, in both Syria and Iraq the Islamic State has demonstrated a disturbing ability to capture and hold large stretches of desert, along with several population centers. It has, however, achieved these successes against poorly motivated local forces of, at best, indifferent quality. ..."
"... Time and again the unanticipated side effects of U.S. military action turned out to be very bad indeed. In Kabul, Baghdad, or Tripoli, the Alamo fell, but the enemy dispersed or reinvented itself and the conflict continued. Assurances offered by Kristol that this time things will surely be different deserve to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Pass the whole shaker. ..."
"... American Interest ..."
"... Now I happen to think that equating our present predicament in the Islamic world with the immensely destructive conflicts of the prior century is dead wrong. Yet it's a proposition that Americans at this juncture should contemplate with the utmost seriousness. ..."
"... With so much on the line, Cohen derides the Obama administration's tendency to rely on "therapeutic bombing, which will temporarily relieve the itch, but leave the wounds suppurating." The time for such half-measures has long since passed. Defeating the Islamic State and "kindred movements" will require the U.S. to "kill a great many people." To that end Washington needs "a long-range plan not to 'contain' but to crush" the enemy. Even with such a plan, victory will be a long way off and will require "a long, bloody, and costly process." ..."
"... Nor were Americans sufficiently willing to die for the cause. In South Vietnam, 58,000 G.I.s died in a futile effort to enable that country to survive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the stakes were presumably much higher, we pulled the plug after fewer than 7,000 deaths. ..."
"... In the meantime, U.S. forces would have to deal with the various and sundry "kindred movements" that are already cropping up like crabgrass in country after country. Afghanistan -- still? again? -- would head the list of places requiring U.S. military attention. But other prospective locales would include such hotbeds of Islamist activity as Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen, along with several West African countries increasingly beset with insurgencies. Unless Egyptian, Pakistani, and Saudi security forces demonstrate the ability (not to mention the will) to suppress the violent radicals in their midst, one or more of those countries could also become the scene of significant U.S. military action. ..."
"... At first glance, $1.8 trillion annually is a stupefyingly large figure. To make it somewhat more palatable, a proponent of World War IV might put that number in historical perspective. During the first phases of World War III, for example, the United States routinely allocated 10% or more of total gross domestic product (GDP) for national security. With that GDP today exceeding $17 trillion, apportioning 10% to the Pentagon would give those charged with managing World War IV a nice sum to work with and no doubt to build upon. ..."
"... In other words, funding World War IV while maintaining a semblance of fiscal responsibility would entail the kind of trade-offs that political leaders are loathe to make. Today, neither party appears up to taking on such challenges. That the demands of waging protracted war will persuade them to rise above their partisan differences seems unlikely. It sure hasn't so far. ..."
"... In my view, Cohen's World War IV is an invitation to collective suicide. Arguing that no alternative exists to open-ended war represents not hard-nosed realism, but the abdication of statecraft. Yet here's the ultimate irony: even without the name, the United States has already embarked upon something akin to a world war, which now extends into the far reaches of the Islamic world and spreads further year by year. ..."
"... Andrew J. Bacevich, a ..."
"... , is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of ..."
"... , among other works. His new book, ..."
"... is due out in April 2016. ..."
"... on Twitter and join us on Facebook . Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's ..."
"... , and Tom Engelhardts latest book, ..."
Dec 03, 2015 | TomDispatch

Let's consider the two parties in Washington. I'm not referring to the Republican and Democratic ones, but our capital's war parties (there being no peace party, of course). They might be labeled the More War Party and the Much (or Much, Much) More War Party. Headed by President Obama, the first is distinctly a minority grouping. In a capital city in which, post-Paris, war seems to be the order of the day, it's the party of relative restraint, as the president has clearly grasped the obvious: for the last 14 years, the more wholeheartedly the U.S. has gone into any situation in the Greater Middle East, militarily speaking, the worse it has turned out.

Having promised to get us out of two wars and being essentially assured of leaving us in at least three (and various other conflicts on the side), he insists that a new invasion or even a large-scale infusion of American troops, aka "boots on the ground," in Syria or Iraq is a no-go for him. The code word he uses for his version of more war -- since less war is simply not an option on that "table" in Washington where all options are evidently kept -- is "intensification." Once upon a time, it might have been called "escalation" or "mission creep." The president has pledged to merely "intensify" the war he's launched, however reluctantly, in Syria and the one he's re-launched in Iraq. This seems to mean more of exactly what he's already ordered into the fray: more air power, more special forces boots more or less on the ground in Syria, more special ops raiders sent into Iraq, and perhaps more military advisers ever nearer to the action in that country as well. This is as close as you're likely to get in present-day America, at least in official circles, to an antiwar position.

In the Much (or Much, Much) More War party, Republicans and Democrats alike are explicitly or implicitly criticizing the president for his "weak" policies and for "leading from behind" against the Islamic State. They propose solutions ranging from instituting "no-fly zones" in northern Syria to truly intensifying U.S. air strikes, to sending in local forces backed and led by American special operators (à la Afghanistan 2001), to sending in far more American troops, to simply putting masses of American boots on the ground and storming the Islamic State's capital, Raqqa. After fourteen years in which so many similar "solutions" have been tried and in the end failed miserably in the Greater Middle East or North Africa, all of it, as if brand new, is once again on that table in Washington.

Aside from long-shots Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, any candidate likely to enter the Oval Office in January 2017 will be committed to some version of much-more war, including obviously Donald Trump, Marco ("clash of civilizations") Rubio, and Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a hawkish speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on her version of war policy against the Islamic State. Given that stark reality, this is a perfect moment to explore what much-more war (call it, in fact, "World War IV") might actually mean and how it might play out in our world -- and TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich is the perfect person to do it. Tom

Beyond ISIS: The Folly of World War IV
By Andrew J. Bacevich

Assume that the hawks get their way -- that the United States does whatever it takes militarily to confront and destroy ISIS. Then what?

Answering that question requires taking seriously the outcomes of other recent U.S. interventions in the Greater Middle East. In 1991, when the first President Bush ejected Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, Americans rejoiced, believing that they had won a decisive victory. A decade later, the younger Bush seemingly outdid his father by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and then making short work of Saddam himself -- a liberation twofer achieved in less time than it takes Americans to choose a president. After the passage of another decade, Barack Obama got into the liberation act, overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in what appeared to be a tidy air intervention with a clean outcome. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably put it, "We came, we saw, he died." End of story.

In fact, subsequent events in each case mocked early claims of success or outright victory. Unanticipated consequences and complications abounded. "Liberation" turned out to be a prelude to chronic violence and upheaval.

Indeed, the very existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) today renders a definitive verdict on the Iraq wars over which the Presidents Bush presided, each abetted by a Democratic successor. A de facto collaboration of four successive administrations succeeded in reducing Iraq to what it is today: a dysfunctional quasi-state unable to control its borders or territory while serving as a magnet and inspiration for terrorists.

The United States bears a profound moral responsibility for having made such a hash of things there. Were it not for the reckless American decision to invade and occupy a nation that, whatever its crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11, the Islamic State would not exist. Per the famous Pottery Barn Rule attributed to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, having smashed Iraq to bits a decade ago, we can now hardly deny owning ISIS.

That the United States possesses sufficient military power to make short work of that "caliphate" is also the case. True, in both Syria and Iraq the Islamic State has demonstrated a disturbing ability to capture and hold large stretches of desert, along with several population centers. It has, however, achieved these successes against poorly motivated local forces of, at best, indifferent quality.

In that regard, the glibly bellicose editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol, is surely correct in suggesting that a well-armed contingent of 50,000 U.S. troops, supported by ample quantities of air power, would make mincemeat of ISIS in a toe-to-toe contest. Liberation of the various ISIS strongholds like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Palmyra and Raqqa, its "capital," in Syria would undoubtedly follow in short order.

In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, the American mood is strongly trending in favor of this sort of escalation. Just about anyone who is anyone -- the current occupant of the Oval Office partially excepted -- favors intensifying the U.S. military campaign against ISIS. And why not? What could possibly go wrong? As Kristol puts it, "I don't think there's much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there."

It's an alluring prospect. In the face of a sustained assault by the greatest military the world has ever seen, ISIS foolishly (and therefore improbably) chooses to make an Alamo-like stand. Whammo! We win. They lose. Mission accomplished.

Of course, that phrase recalls the euphoric early reactions to Operations Desert Storm in 1991, Enduring Freedom in 2001, Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and Odyssey Dawn, the Libyan intervention of 2011. Time and again the unanticipated side effects of U.S. military action turned out to be very bad indeed. In Kabul, Baghdad, or Tripoli, the Alamo fell, but the enemy dispersed or reinvented itself and the conflict continued. Assurances offered by Kristol that this time things will surely be different deserve to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Pass the whole shaker.

Embracing Generational War

Why this repeated disparity between perceived and actual outcomes? Why have apparent battlefield successes led so regularly to more violence and disorder? Before following Kristol's counsel, Americans would do well to reflect on these questions.

Cue Professor Eliot A. Cohen. Shortly after 9/11, Cohen, one of this country's preeminent military thinkers, characterized the conflict on which the United States was then embarking as "World War IV." (In this formulation, the Cold War becomes World War III.) Other than in certain neoconservative quarters, the depiction did not catch on. Yet nearly a decade-and-a-half later, the Johns Hopkins professor and former State Department official is sticking to his guns. In an essay penned for the American Interest following the recent Paris attacks, he returns to his theme. "It was World War IV in 2001," Cohen insists. "It is World War IV today." And to our considerable benefit he spells out at least some of the implications of casting the conflict in such expansive and evocative terms.

Now I happen to think that equating our present predicament in the Islamic world with the immensely destructive conflicts of the prior century is dead wrong. Yet it's a proposition that Americans at this juncture should contemplate with the utmost seriousness.

In the United States today, confusion about what war itself signifies is widespread. Through misuse, misapplication, and above all misremembering, we have distorted the term almost beyond recognition. As one consequence, talk of war comes too easily off the tongues of the unknowing.

Not so with Cohen. When it comes to war, he has no illusions. Addressing that subject, he illuminates it, enabling us to see what war entails. So in advocating World War IV, he performs a great service, even if perhaps not the one he intends.

What will distinguish the war that Cohen deems essential? "Begin with endurance," he writes. "This war will probably go on for the rest of my life, and well into my children's." Although American political leaders seem reluctant "to explain just how high the stakes are," Cohen lays them out in direct, unvarnished language. At issue, he insists, is the American way of life itself, not simply "in the sense of rock concerts and alcohol in restaurants, but the more fundamental rights of freedom of speech and religion, the equality of women, and, most essentially, the freedom from fear and freedom to think."

With so much on the line, Cohen derides the Obama administration's tendency to rely on "therapeutic bombing, which will temporarily relieve the itch, but leave the wounds suppurating." The time for such half-measures has long since passed. Defeating the Islamic State and "kindred movements" will require the U.S. to "kill a great many people." To that end Washington needs "a long-range plan not to 'contain' but to crush" the enemy. Even with such a plan, victory will be a long way off and will require "a long, bloody, and costly process."

Cohen's candor and specificity, as bracing as they are rare, should command our respect. If World War IV describes what we are in for, then eliminating ISIS might figure as a near-term imperative, but it can hardly define the endgame. Beyond ISIS loom all those continually evolving "kindred movements" to which the United States will have to attend before it can declare the war itself well and truly won.

To send just tens of thousands of U.S. troops to clean up Syria and Iraq, as William Kristol and others propose, offers at best a recipe for winning a single campaign. Winning the larger war would involve far more arduous exertions. This Cohen understands, accepts, and urges others to acknowledge.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. For at least the past 35 years -- that is, since well before 9/11 -- the United States has been "at war" in various quarters of the Islamic world. At no point has it demonstrated the will or the ability to finish the job. Washington's approach has been akin to treating cancer with a little bit of chemo one year and a one-shot course of radiation the next. Such gross malpractice aptly describes U.S. military policy throughout the Greater Middle East across several decades.

While there may be many reasons why the Iraq War of 2003 to 2011 and the still longer Afghanistan War yielded such disappointing results, Washington's timidity in conducting those campaigns deserves pride of place. That most Americans might bridle at the term "timidity" reflects the extent to which they have deluded themselves regarding the reality of war.

In comparison to Vietnam, for example, Washington's approach to waging its two principal post-9/11 campaigns was positively half-hearted. With the nation as a whole adhering to peacetime routines, Washington neither sent enough troops nor stayed anywhere near long enough to finish the job. Yes, we killed many tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, but if winning World War IV requires, as Cohen writes, that we "break the back" of the enemy, then we obviously didn't kill nearly enough.

Nor were Americans sufficiently willing to die for the cause. In South Vietnam, 58,000 G.I.s died in a futile effort to enable that country to survive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the stakes were presumably much higher, we pulled the plug after fewer than 7,000 deaths.

Americans would be foolish to listen to those like William Kristol who, even today, peddle illusions about war being neat and easy. They would do well instead to heed Cohen, who knows that war is hard and ugly.

What Would World War IV Look Like?

Yet when specifying the practical implications of generational war, Cohen is less forthcoming. From his perspective, this fourth iteration of existential armed conflict in a single century is not going well. But apart from greater resolve and bloody-mindedness, what will it take to get things on the right track?

As a thought experiment, let's answer that question by treating it with the urgency that Cohen believes it deserves. After 9/11, certain U.S. officials thundered about "taking the gloves off." In practice, however, with the notable exception of policies permitting torture and imprisonment without due process, the gloves stayed on. Take Cohen's conception of World War IV at face value and that will have to change.

For starters, the country would have to move to something like a war footing, enabling Washington to raise a lot more troops and spend a lot more money over a very long period of time. Although long since banished from the nation's political lexicon, the M-word -- mobilization -- would make a comeback. Prosecuting a generational war, after all, is going to require the commitment of generations.

Furthermore, if winning World War IV means crushing the enemy, as Cohen emphasizes, then ensuring that the enemy, once crushed, cannot recover would be hardly less important. And that requirement would prohibit U.S. forces from simply walking away from a particular fight even -- or especially -- when it might appear won.

At the present moment, defeating the Islamic State ranks as Washington's number one priority. With the Pentagon already claiming a body count of 20,000 ISIS fighters without notable effect, this campaign won't end anytime soon. But even assuming an eventually positive outcome, the task of maintaining order and stability in areas that ISIS now controls will remain. Indeed, that task will persist until the conditions giving rise to entities like ISIS are eliminated. Don't expect French President François Hollande or British Prime Minister David Cameron to sign up for that thankless job. U.S. forces will own it. Packing up and leaving the scene won't be an option.

How long would those forces have to stay? Extrapolating from recent U.S. occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, something on the order of a quarter-century seems like a plausible approximation. So should our 45th president opt for a boots-on-the-ground solution to ISIS, as might well be the case, the privilege of welcoming the troops home could belong to the 48th or 49th occupant of the White House.

In the meantime, U.S. forces would have to deal with the various and sundry "kindred movements" that are already cropping up like crabgrass in country after country. Afghanistan -- still? again? -- would head the list of places requiring U.S. military attention. But other prospective locales would include such hotbeds of Islamist activity as Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen, along with several West African countries increasingly beset with insurgencies. Unless Egyptian, Pakistani, and Saudi security forces demonstrate the ability (not to mention the will) to suppress the violent radicals in their midst, one or more of those countries could also become the scene of significant U.S. military action.

Effective prosecution of World War IV, in other words, would require the Pentagon to plan for each of these contingencies, while mustering the assets needed for implementation. Allies might kick in token assistance -- tokenism is all they have to offer -- but the United States will necessarily carry most of the load.

What Would World War IV Cost?

During World War III (aka the Cold War), the Pentagon maintained a force structure ostensibly adequate to the simultaneous prosecution of two and a half wars. This meant having the wherewithal to defend Europe and the Pacific from communist aggression while still leaving something for the unexpected. World War IV campaigns are unlikely to entail anything on the scale of the Warsaw Pact attacking Western Europe or North Korea invading the South. Still, the range of plausible scenarios will require that U.S. forces be able to take on militant organizations C and D even while guarding against the resurgence of organizations A and B in altogether different geographic locations.

Even though Washington may try whenever possible to avoid large-scale ground combat, relying on air power (including drones) and elite Special Operations forces to do the actual killing, post-conflict pacification promises to be a manpower intensive activity. Certainly, this ranks as one of the most obvious lessons to emerge from World War IV's preliminary phases: when the initial fight ends, the real work begins.

U.S. forces committed to asserting control over Iraq after the invasion of 2003 topped out at roughly 180,000. In Afghanistan, during the Obama presidency, the presence peaked at 110,000. In a historical context, these are not especially large numbers. At the height of the Vietnam War, for example, U.S. troop strength in Southeast Asia exceeded 500,000.

In hindsight, the Army general who, before the invasion of 2003, publicly suggested that pacifying postwar Iraq would require "several hundred thousand troops" had it right. A similar estimate applies to Afghanistan. In other words, those two occupations together could easily have absorbed 600,000 to 800,000 troops on an ongoing basis. Given the Pentagon's standard three-to-one rotation policy, which assumes that for every unit in-country, a second is just back, and a third is preparing to deploy, you're talking about a minimum requirement of between 1.8 and 2.4 million troops to sustain just two medium-sized campaigns -- a figure that wouldn't include some number of additional troops kept in reserve for the unexpected.

In other words, waging World War IV would require at least a five-fold increase in the current size of the U.S. Army -- and not as an emergency measure but a permanent one. Such numbers may appear large, but as Cohen would be the first to point out, they are actually modest when compared to previous world wars. In 1968, in the middle of World War III, the Army had more than 1.5 million active duty soldiers on its rolls -- this at a time when the total American population was less than two-thirds what it is today and when gender discrimination largely excluded women from military service. If it chose to do so, the United States today could easily field an army of two million or more soldiers.

Whether it could also retain the current model of an all-volunteer force is another matter. Recruiters would certainly face considerable challenges, even if Congress enhanced the material inducements for service, which since 9/11 have already included a succession of generous increases in military pay. A loosening of immigration policy, granting a few hundred thousand foreigners citizenship in return for successfully completing a term of enlistment might help. In all likelihood, however, as with all three previous world wars, waging World War IV would oblige the United States to revive the draft, a prospect as likely to be well-received as a flood of brown and black immigrant enlistees. In short, going all out to create the forces needed to win World War IV would confront Americans with uncomfortable choices.

The budgetary implications of expanding U.S. forces while conducting a perpetual round of what the Pentagon calls "overseas contingency operations" would also loom large. Precisely how much money an essentially global conflict projected to extend well into the latter half of the century would require is difficult to gauge. As a starting point, given the increased number of active duty forces, tripling the present Defense Department budget of more than $600 billion might serve as a reasonable guess.

At first glance, $1.8 trillion annually is a stupefyingly large figure. To make it somewhat more palatable, a proponent of World War IV might put that number in historical perspective. During the first phases of World War III, for example, the United States routinely allocated 10% or more of total gross domestic product (GDP) for national security. With that GDP today exceeding $17 trillion, apportioning 10% to the Pentagon would give those charged with managing World War IV a nice sum to work with and no doubt to build upon.

Of course, that money would have to come from somewhere. For several years during the last decade, sustaining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed the federal deficit above a trillion dollars. As one consequence, the total national debt now exceeds annual GDP, having tripled since 9/11. How much additional debt the United States can accrue without doing permanent damage to the economy is a question of more than academic interest.

To avoid having World War IV produce an endless string of unacceptably large deficits, ratcheting up military spending would undoubtedly require either substantial tax increases or significant cuts in non-military spending, including big-ticket programs like Medicare and social security -- precisely those, that is, which members of the middle class hold most dear.

In other words, funding World War IV while maintaining a semblance of fiscal responsibility would entail the kind of trade-offs that political leaders are loathe to make. Today, neither party appears up to taking on such challenges. That the demands of waging protracted war will persuade them to rise above their partisan differences seems unlikely. It sure hasn't so far.

The Folly of World War IV

In his essay, Cohen writes, "we need to stop the circumlocutions." Of those who would bear the direct burden of his world war, he says, "we must start telling them the truth." He's right, even if he himself is largely silent about what the conduct of World War IV is likely to exact from the average citizen.

As the United States enters a presidential election year, plain talk about the prospects of our ongoing military engagement in the Islamic world should be the order of the day. The pretense that either dropping a few more bombs or invading one or two more countries will yield a conclusive outcome amounts to more than an evasion. It is an outright lie.

As Cohen knows, winning World War IV would require dropping many, many more bombs and invading, and then occupying for years to come, many more countries. After all, it's not just ISIS that Washington will have to deal with, but also its affiliates, offshoots, wannabes, and the successors almost surely waiting in the wings. And don't forget al-Qaeda.

Cohen believes that we have no alternative. Either we get serious about fighting World War IV the way it needs to be fought or darkness will envelop the land. He is undeterred by the evidence that the more deeply we insert our soldiers into the Greater Middle East the more concerted the resistance they face; that the more militants we kill the more we seem to create; that the inevitable, if unintended, killing of innocents only serves to strengthen the hand of the extremists. As he sees it, with everything we believe in riding on the outcome, we have no choice but to press on.

While listening carefully to Cohen's call to arms, Americans should reflect on its implications. Wars change countries and people. Embracing his prescription for World War IV would change the United States in fundamental ways. It would radically expand the scope and reach of the national security state, which, of course, includes agencies beyond the military itself. It would divert vast quantities of wealth to nonproductive purposes. It would make the militarization of the American way of life, a legacy of prior world wars, irreversible. By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it would also compromise American freedom in the name of protecting it. The nation that decades from now might celebrate VT Day -- victory over terrorism -- will have become a different place, materially, politically, culturally, and morally.

In my view, Cohen's World War IV is an invitation to collective suicide. Arguing that no alternative exists to open-ended war represents not hard-nosed realism, but the abdication of statecraft. Yet here's the ultimate irony: even without the name, the United States has already embarked upon something akin to a world war, which now extends into the far reaches of the Islamic world and spreads further year by year.

Incrementally, bit by bit, this nameless war has already expanded the scope and reach of the national security apparatus. It is diverting vast quantities of wealth to nonproductive purposes even as it normalizes the continuing militarization of the American way of life. By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it is undermining American freedom in the name of protecting it, and doing so right before our eyes.

Cohen rightly decries the rudderless character of the policies that have guided the (mis)conduct of that war thus far. For that critique we owe him a considerable debt. But the real problem is the war itself and the conviction that only through war can America remain America.

For a rich and powerful nation to conclude that it has no choice but to engage in quasi-permanent armed conflict in the far reaches of the planet represents the height of folly. Power confers choice. As citizens, we must resist with all our might arguments that deny the existence of choice. Whether advanced forthrightly by Cohen or fecklessly by the militarily ignorant, such claims will only perpetuate the folly that has already lasted far too long.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, among other works. His new book, America's War for the Greater Middle East (Random House), is due out in April 2016.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Andrew J. Bacevich

[Dec 02, 2015] When it comes to Wall Street buying our democracy you just need to follow the money

Notable quotes:
"... Let's compare donations from people who work at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, has received $495,503.60 from people who work on Wall Street Bernie Sanders, has received only $17,107.72. Hillary Clinton may have Wall Street, ..."
"... The false promise of meritocracy was most disappointing. It basically said that meritocracy is hard to do, but never evaluates whether it is the right thing to do. Hint - it isn't enough. We need to worry about (relative) equality of outcome not just (relative) equality of opportunity. An equal chance to starve is still an equal chance. ..."
"... Making economies games is how you continued rigged distribution apparatus. Question all "rules"! ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

RGC, December 02, 2015 at 05:55 AM

Bernie's latest pitch:

When it comes to Wall Street buying our democracy, you just need to follow the money. Let's compare donations from people who work at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, has received $495,503.60 from people who work on Wall Street Bernie Sanders, has received only $17,107.72. Hillary Clinton may have Wall Street, But Bernie has YOU! Bernie has received more than 1.5 million contributions from folks like you, at an average of $30 each.

pgl -> RGC, December 02, 2015 at 05:58 AM
$17,107.72? Jamie Dimon spends more than that on his morning cup of coffee. Go Bernie!
EMichael -> RGC, December 02, 2015 at 06:03 AM
To be fair, don't you think we should count donations for this election cycle for Clinton?

Y'know, she was the Senator from New York.

pgl -> EMichael,
Some people think anyone from New York is in bed with Wall Street. Trust me on this one - not everyone here in Brooklyn is in Jamie Dimon's hip pocket. Of course those alleged liberals JohnH uses as his sources (e.g. William Cohan) are in Jamie Dimon's hip pocket.
EMichael -> pgl,
I hate things like this. No honesty whatsoever. This cycle.

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00000019

RGC -> EMichael,
How is there no honesty whatsoever?

The total for Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Bank of America is $326,000.
That leaves Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to contribute $169,000.

EMichael -> RGC,
I stand corrected, somewhat.

Let me know how much comes from those organizations PACs.

reason said,
The false promise of meritocracy was most disappointing. It basically said that meritocracy is hard to do, but never evaluates whether it is the right thing to do. Hint - it isn't enough. We need to worry about (relative) equality of outcome not just (relative) equality of opportunity. An equal chance to starve is still an equal chance.
ilsm -> reason,

Making economies games is how you continued rigged distribution apparatus. Question all "rules"!

von Neumann should have been censored.

[Dec 02, 2015] BOMBSHELL Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance

Looks like Obama revenge to Putin for entering Syria...
Notable quotes:
"... The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2s onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers. ..."
"... This plane [the F-16CJ] had been specifically built for Turkey. Its distinctive feature is a computer that controls a new, AN/APG-68 radar system, and which fulfills the role of a copilot-navigator. ..."
"... Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars. The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it cant be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well. ..."
"... The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation: A pair of E-3s plus the Patriots air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system. ..."
"... Of course. A pair of F-16CJs flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber. Besides which, the AN/APG-68 onboard radar of the fighter which launched the missile, was working in "target illumination" mode. That is, it turned on at the moment of launch, and turned off as soon as the missile definitively locked on to its target. ..."
"... The Turks nonetheless committed one mistake, which led to their provocation not quite working out. The F-16CJ went out on its interception two minutes late, when the Su-24M2 had already left the disputed 68-kilometer zone in the north of Syria [this may be referring to the Turks self-styled no-fly-zone against Assad]; to leave it required at most 1.5 minutes. But the "kill" command to the F-16CJ had not been revoked; thus the missile launch was carried out a bit further than the intended point. This is confirmed by the fact that the [Turkish TV] footage of the Su-24M2s fall was planned to be filmed from both Syrian territory and Turkish territory; however, the "Syrian footage" is more detailed. It appears that this saved our navigator. He was able to go into the woods and wait for a rescue team. ..."
russia-insider.com

A Russian military expert and columnist of the journal Arsenal of the Fatherland explains the details of the downing of the bomber and why not all went smoothly in an interview to the news agency Regnum

How did it all happen?

A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task-determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the "victim."

The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2's onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers.

That is, to determine how defenseless was our plane?

As it turns out, yes. As we know, the Su-24M2 was returning from its mission, and its flight computer was operating in "navigation" mode in tandem with the GLONASS [Russian GPS system.] It was returning to base and was not preparing for action. The whole time, the E-3s were transferring detailed information about the Su-24M2 to a pair of Turkish F-16CJ's. This plane [the F-16CJ] had been specifically built for Turkey. Its distinctive feature is a computer that controls a new, AN/APG-68 radar system, and which fulfills the role of a copilot-navigator.

But this information is obviously not enough to precision-strike a small target. Was something else used?

Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars. The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it can't be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well.

The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation: A pair of E-3s plus the Patriot's air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system.

Besides which, the E-3s provided guidance as to the location of our plane in the air; they determined its route, speed, and the status of its weapons control systems; and the Patriot's air defense radar together with the MENTOR spy satellite provided telemetry on the SU-24M2's movement relative to the ground surface-that is, it provided a precise prediction as to where our plane would be visible relative to the mountainous terrain.

So it turns out that the Turkish fighters knew with absolutely certainty where to wait in ambush for our plane?

Of course. A pair of F-16CJ's flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber. Besides which, the AN/APG-68 onboard radar of the fighter which launched the missile, was working in "target illumination" mode. That is, it turned on at the moment of launch, and turned off as soon as the missile definitively locked on to its target.

Did our pilots have a chance to save their plane?

No. The Su-24M2 crew's probability of escaping destruction was equal to zero…

…Turkey does not have its own capabilities for such a detailed and very precise operation. And don't forget about the second E-3, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The whole scenario was very fast-moving, lasting just seconds.

Did it really happen that smoothly?

The Turks nonetheless committed one mistake, which led to their provocation not quite working out. The F-16CJ went out on its interception two minutes late, when the Su-24M2 had already left the disputed 68-kilometer zone in the north of Syria [this may be referring to the Turk's self-styled no-fly-zone against Assad]; to leave it required at most 1.5 minutes. But the "kill" command to the F-16CJ had not been revoked; thus the missile launch was carried out a bit further than the intended point. This is confirmed by the fact that the [Turkish TV] footage of the Su-24M2's fall was planned to be filmed from both Syrian territory and Turkish territory; however, the "Syrian footage" is more detailed. It appears that this saved our navigator. He was able to go into the woods and wait for a rescue team.

[Dec 02, 2015] Russia Presents Detailed Evidence Of ISIS-Turkey Oil Trade

Notable quotes:
"... Now obviously, conclusive evidence that Ankara is knowingly facilitating the sale of ISIS crude will probably be hard to come by, at least in the short-term, but the silly thing about Erdogans pronouncement is that were talking about a man who was willing to plunge his country into civil war over a few lost seats in Parliament. The idea that he would ever step down is patently absurd. ..."
"... Whats critical is that the world gets the truth about whos financing and facilitating Raqqas Rockefellers. If a NATO member is supporting this, and if the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks for 14 months as part of an understanding with Erdogan, well then we have a problem. ..."
"... In the opening address, the Deputy says the ISIS oil trade reaches the highest levels of Turkeys government. He also says Erdogan wouldnt resign if his face was smeared with stolen Syrian oil. Antonov then blasts Ankara for arresting journalists and mocks Erdogans lovely family oil business. Antonov even calls on the journalists of the world to get involved and help Russia expose and destroy the sources of terrorist financing. ..."
"... I might be too harsh, but at the hands of the Turkish military killed our comrades. The cynicism of the Turkish leadership is unlimited. Look what theyre doing ?! Climbed to a foreign country, it shamelessly robbed. And if the owners interfere, then they have to be addressed. ..."
"... No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business! ..."
"... National intelligence agencies watch Facebook, Twitter, Google and other search engines to see if they have to do damage control. If a few sites come out with articles implicating Bilal but the little people dont do many searches for him or re-tweet links, then theres no reason to react. They simply ignore the story. ..."
"... The government defines the narrative, and MSM stenographers fill in the pieces. Facebook, Twitter and Google are checked to see if they had the desired effect. They can also use a bit more direct techniques like massaging the Google search result rankings or blowing away Facebook and Twitter accounts they dont like. Israel is insane about collecting this data from Americans and reacting. Uncle Sugar isnt going to cough up that free $3 billion a year handout to them if the people are in the streets with pitchforks and torches. They are especially interested in de-ranking Google results that make Israel look bad, and promoting sites that deliver the message they want. Google is the worst search engine to look for Israeli current events. ..."
"... Obama Administration Supporting Islamic State -- OASIS. It certainly is if youre a terrorist rebel or well-connected oil pimp... ..."
"... The US made a deal with OPEC: the US would help to remove Assad, and in return, OPEC would dump oil to weaken Russia and Iran, fulfilling PNAC/Cheneys pet dream of consolidating the remaining oil reserves under US-friendly control. ISIS was a tool to that end. ..."
"... Now that the cat is out of the bag, now that Chinas overdue correction has been triggered, now that Brazil and Canada know who is largely responsible for their collapsing economies, now that Europe knows why they are overrun by refugees, I wonder how friendly those countries will be moving forward. ..."
"... As I read it, according to traditional international law, the Russian Federation may legally seize Erdogans Maltese-flagged neutral tankers carrying ISIS crude oil, because that crude oil constitutes a significant portion of ISIS war making potential, that tanker then effectively constituting an enemy merchant vessel, with the tankers subsequent condemnation in Russian prize courts, as the capturing belligerent power. ..."
"... A former police commander from Tajikistan was featured in an ISIS video recently where he admitted he was trained by the U.S. State Department and former military contractor Blackwater all the way up until last year. ..."
"... It was Turkeys national intelligence agency, known as MIT, that first organized Syrian military defectors into Western-backed groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. ..."
"... Free Syrian Army factions still convene on Turkish soil in the Joint Operations Center, a CIA-led intelligence hub that gives vetted rebels training as well as U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles used to destroy Syrian army tanks and armored units. ..."
"... Islamist groups, however, have benefited from Turkeys pro-opposition policy as well. In May, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published video from 2014 showing customs agents impounding a truck owned by the MIT. The trucks manifest said it was carrying humanitarian assistance for Syrians. Instead it was bearing a cache of ammunition and shells the newspaper said were destined for Islamist rebels. The videos release caused a furor. Erdogan vowed to prosecute Cumhuriyet, a threat he carried out Friday when authorities arrested two of the papers journalists on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization. ..."
"... According to a 2015 United Nations study, two border crossings controlled by a faction of the Army of Conquest handle more than 300 trucks a day, a figure that exceeds prewar levels. The traffic yields an estimated $660,000 a day. ..."
Zero Hedge
On Monday, Turkey's sultan President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said something funny. In the wake of Vladimir Putin's contention that Russia has additional proof of Turkey's participation in Islamic State's illicit crude trade, Erdogan said he would resign if anyone could prove the accusations.

Now obviously, conclusive evidence that Ankara is knowingly facilitating the sale of ISIS crude will probably be hard to come by, at least in the short-term, but the silly thing about Erdogan's pronouncement is that we're talking about a man who was willing to plunge his country into civil war over a few lost seats in Parliament. The idea that he would ever "step down" is patently absurd.

But that's not what's important. What's critical is that the world gets the truth about who's financing and facilitating "Raqqa's Rockefellers." If a NATO member is supporting this, and if the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks for 14 months as part of an understanding with Erdogan, well then we have a problem. For those who need a review, see the following four pieces:

Unfortunately for Ankara, The Kremlin is on a mission to blow this story wide open now that Turkey has apparently decided it's ok to shoot down Russian fighter jets. On Wednesday, we get the latest from Russia, where the Defense Ministry has just finished a briefing on the Islamic State oil trade. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Turkey may be in trouble.

First, here's the bullet point summary via Reuters:

  • RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS RUSSIA'S AIR STRIKES IN SYRIA HELPED TO ALMOST HALVE ILLEGAL OIL TURNOVER
  • RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS TURKISH PRESIDENT AND FAMILY INVOLVED IN BUSINESS WITH ISLAMIC STATE OIL
  • RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS WILL CONTINUE STRIKES IN SYRIA ON ISLAMIC STATE OIL INFRASTRUCTURE
  • RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS KNOWS OF THREE ROUTES BY WHICH ISLAMIC STATE OIL IS DIRECTED TO TURKEY
  • RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS TO PRESENT NEXT WEEK INFORMATION SHOWING TURKEY HELPING ISLAMIC STATE

That's the Cliff's Notes version and the full statement from Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov is below. Let us be the first to tell you, Antonov did not hold back.

In the opening address, the Deputy says the ISIS oil trade reaches the highest levels of Turkey's government. He also says Erdogan wouldn't resign if his face was smeared with stolen Syrian oil. Antonov then blasts Ankara for arresting journalists and mocks Erdogan's "lovely family oil business." Antonov even calls on the journalists of the world to "get involved" and help Russia "expose and destroy the sources of terrorist financing."

"Today, we are presenting only some of the facts that confirm that a whole team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from their neighbors is operating in the region," Antonov continues, setting up a lengthy presentation in which the MoD shows photos of oil trucks, videos of airstrikes and maps detailing the trafficking of stolen oil. The clip is presented here with an English voice-over. Enjoy.

... ... ...

Oh, and for good measure, Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy says the US is not bombing ISIS oil trucks.

* * *

Full statement from Anatoly Antonov (translated)

At a briefing for the media, "the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the fight against international terrorism. The new data "

International terrorism - is the main threat of our time. This threat is not illusory but real, and many countries, primarily Russia, knows this firsthand. The notorious "Is Islamic state" - the absolute leader of the terrorist international. This is a rearing monster of international terrorism can be countered. And you can win. Over the past two months, Aerospace Russian forces is clearly demonstrated.

We are firmly convinced that victory over LIH need to deliver a powerful and devastating blow to the sources of its funding, as repeatedly mentioned by President Vladimir Putin. Terrorism has no money - is a beast without teeth. Oil revenues are a major source of terrorist activity in Syria. They earn about $ 2 billion. Dollars annually, spending this money on hiring fighters around the world, providing them with weapons, equipment and weapons. That's why so LIH protects thieves oil infrastructure in Syria and Iraq.

The main consumer of stolen from legitimate owners - Syria and Iraq - the oil is Turkey. According to the data entered in this criminal business involved the highest political leadership of the country - President Erdogan and his family.

We have repeatedly talked about the dangers of flirting with terrorists. It's like that stokes. The fire from one country can spill over to others. This situation we are seeing in the Middle East. Today, we present only part of the facts, confirming that the region has a team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from the neighbors.

This oil in large numbers on an industrial scale, for the living pipelines from thousands of oil tankers entering the territory of Turkey. We are absolutely convinced today present you the hard facts about what the final destination of the stolen oil - Turkey. There is a large number of media representatives, and Our briefing will see more of your colleagues. In this regard, I would like to say the following. We know and appreciate the work of journalists. We know that in the journalistic community, many courageous, fearless people honestly do its job. Today, we have clearly shown you how the illegal trade in oil, the result of which - the financing of terrorism. Provided concrete evidence that, in our opinion, may be the subject of investigative journalism.

We are confident that the truth with your help will, will find its way. We know the price to Erdogan. He has already been caught in a lie again Turkish journalists who opened Turkey delivery of arms and ammunition to militants under the guise of humanitarian convoys. For this imprisoned journalists.

Do not resign Turkish leaders, particularly Mr. Erdogan, and did not recognize, even if their faces will be smeared by oil thieves. I might be too harsh, but at the hands of the Turkish military killed our comrades. The cynicism of the Turkish leadership is unlimited. Look what they're doing ?! Climbed to a foreign country, it shamelessly robbed. And if the owners interfere, then they have to be addressed.

I stress that Erdogan's resignation is not our goal. It is - it is the people of Turkey. Our goal and the goal to which we urge you, ladies and gentlemen, - joint action to block the sources of funding for terrorism. We will continue to provide evidence of robbery by Turkey of its neighbors. Maybe I'll be too straightforward, but the control of these thieves in business can be entrusted only to the most close people.

No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business!

This, in general, may elsewhere? Well, once again, of course, such cases can not be charging anyone, only the closest people. Votes this fact in the Western media we do not see much, but it sure can not hide the truth. Yes, of course, dirty petrodollars will work. I am sure that there are now discussions about the fact that everything you see here, - falsification. Well. If it did not - let be allowed in those places that we showed journalists.

It is obvious that today the publicity was devoted only part of the information about the monstrous crimes of the Turkish elites who directly finance international terrorism. We believe that any sane journalist should fight this plague of the XXI century. The world experience has repeatedly argued that the objective journalism is able to be an effective and formidable tool in the fight against various financial corruption schemes. We invite colleagues to investigative journalism on the disclosure of financial schemes and supplies oil from the terrorists to the consumers. Especially since the oil produced in the controlled militants territories in transit through Turkish ports shipped to other regions. For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Russia will continue to disclose new evidence on the supply of terrorists oil to foreign countries and to talk about the conduct of aerospace forces of Russia operations in Syria.Let's unite our efforts. We will destroy the sources of financing of terrorism in Syria, as you get involved in the kind of work abroad. "

Latina Lover

Doesn't matter what evidence Putin offers, the USSA Minion Mainstream Media liars will bury, distort or outright lie to defend Turkey. If Putin wanted any media play, he should photoshop the detailed evidence on a picture of Kim Kardasians ass.

The good news is that the Turks will figure it out, along with the rest of the world.

The9thDoctor

The main difference between al-CIAduh and CIsisA is that even the dumbest of the dumb have figured out that ISIL is controlled and equipped by Western Intelligence.

two hoots

John Kerry can explain this....to his own satisfaction.

Gaius Frakkin' ...

I've already seen more evidence for ISIS-Turkey oil trading than Saddam's WMDs... still waiting for that BTW.

farflungstar

NATO cunts supporting terrorists deserve whatever they get.

There was a lull when the Russians made their entrance into Syria, as Thinktank Land had to recalibrate their bullshit and get on message for the sheep. A couple weeks later the AmeriKans are crying crocodile tears over civilians and Russia killing kinder, gentler terrorists rather than ISIS.

LOL AmeriKans concerned over civilian casualties.

Kirk2NCC1701

And yet, we are still suppose to "Support Our Troops"

If they had 'truth in advertising', they'd call it "Support Our Storm-Troopers", to serve the Empire

Wise up, people. We have a MERCENARY ARMY -- by Definition.

MERCENARY =

a. You Volunteered 1,

b. You are getting Paid,

c. You have a Contract (with or w/o a Retirement Package)

d. After said Contract has expired, and if Released from further Duty (at sole discretion of Employer), you may enter a new Contract with a private 'security firm', i.e. "Mercs R US", or retire to pursue other activities (work for Gov.US, or one of its para-Gov units known as NGOs). In some cases, you may be so disillusioned or burned out, that you actually join the private sector. In some rare cases, assuming you haven't killed yourself, you may actually have become an open or closet anti-war activist. Which makes you a Born-Again Citizen, and a genuine Hero. If you are married with children, you are a mutha-facking hero, aka... 'Dad'.

[1] It matters not/naught if you're a well-meaning 'Patriot' (10%), a Economic Desperado (85%) or a Closet Psycho (5%). They'll take you even if you're not a US Citizen. In which case, you can become one after a mere 2 years, and in the Naturalization Process their Look-back Window is literally 2 years. I know this for fact. If you want to challenge me on this, you'll have to put your money where your mouth is, and pony up some serious Cash/BTC

McMolotov

For people of a certain age, "Russia is evil" is their default setting. They literally had that message pounded into their brains for decades, and unless they frequent alternative media sites, it's hard to overcome.

I see it with my parents. I can talk to them about this stuff for a few hours and gradually get them to see glimmers of the truth, but they usually completely revert to their normal thinking by the next time I see them. It doesn't help that they have Fox News on all the time.

rwe2late

UndergroundPost

Su-24 you say?

There is fair certainty that the SU-24 was hit (inside Syria) by radar-guided missiles(s) fired by the Turk jets,

and the missiles were guided and the SU-24 targeted by airborne US AWACS.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-turkish-attack-russian-s...

The Chief

Im not sure which is worse, domestic frackers and their rape of the the american consumer and retiree with ridiculous oil and gas prices, junk bond sales to pensioners, etc, or ISIS. ISIS, in my view is no threat at all. These are contractors working for deep state functionaries intent on a long-term rape of the global population...but really, just hoodlums intent on taking a vig from illegal oil sales. Just ask Bush, Cheney, and now the democratic machine. New guys at the trough.

Frackers, however, are scum of the fucking earth. The business doesnt work unless oil prices are high. Fuck that. They pay their bills with a junk bond ponzi.

As for frackers themselves...its a tiny fraction of the workforce. Go be auto mechanics or go back to selling meth, fuckers.

847328_3527

Canada could take 50,000 refugees by end of 2016

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/governor-general-urges-support-fo...

The Canadian Gubmint will need to cut benefits to its citizens for the benefit of newcomers just as Barry wants to cut SS for Senior Americans so he can import thousands more.

"Yes we can!"

kralizec

Must be Vlad is daring the Turk to invoke Artcile 21 of Montreux: Erdogan has a trump card against Putin that would transform the Syrian war

You have to admire their bold manner, they are fearless.

They love warning NATO to back off. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-warns-nato-montenegro-invite-111359017.html

But who doesn't? They are a paper tiger, seems pointless to join them.

They get to build on newly seized territory ala China. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-building-military-bases-islands-claimed-jap...

The annexation of Crimea and Donbas is secure. Oil, gas and currency deals with China, India...nuclear deals with Iran.

And nobody is stopping him. Who can? That Muzzie faggot pretender in Washington? The toothless NATO police? The bed-wetting Euro's submitting to Islam?

Ha!

It is a de facto Russian/Chinese world now. Most still have no clue. The kabuki is so strong, the illusion of states and freedom and wealth...all an illusion.

Pah, who cares? Put on the DWTS, snort some lines and pop the bubbly! All is well!

Life of Illusion

Kralizec, you need to complete the illusion......wheres the oil goes when in Turkey.....

http://www.invest.gov.tr/en-US/infocenter/news/Pages/210714-goldman-sachs-buys-turkish-petkim-aegean-port.aspx

Goldman Sachs buys into Turkish Petkim's Aegean port 21.07.2014

Hurriyet Daily News – Global leader US investment firm Goldman Sachs has become a partner in Turkey's largest integrated port, operated by petrochemicals maker Petkim, in a deal that will boost Petkim's plans to develop the port as the largest in the Aegean region.

Petkim announced that it has reached a preliminary agreement to sell its 30 percent stake in Petkim Limanc?l?k (Petlim) for USD 250 million, after months of talks beginning in February of this year.

Petkim and Petlim are controlled by the Turkish branch of Azeri energy giant SOCAR. Petlim was founded to run the financial operations of Petkim's port in the Alia?a district of the Aegean province of ?zmir.

"For one of the world's biggest investors to become a partner in our port company means approval of the value and finance of our project," SOCAR Turkey President Kenan Yavuz said, speaking after a ceremony to mark the signing of the deal

Urban Redneck

The yahoos at Yahoo!News should really stick to message boards and perhaps one day expand to fringe blogging (if they can ever pull their heads of their asses). Neither the Russians nor the Turks are interested in seeing the Straights closed.

The purpose of the Montreaux Convention is to prevent another Russo-Turkish war by guaranteeing Russia (and other States that border the Black Sea) will have full military and commercial access to the Straights, while foreign powers will have only limited access. In return for providing this guarantee Turkey was allowed to build fortification to support its obligations under the treaty, while maintaining Turkey's natural right to self defense.

Any attempt by Turkey to prevent Russian access to the Straights, is an act of blockade, and invites either a blockade of Turkish ports (and pipelines) on the Mediterranean, if not another Russo Turkish war. Closing the Straights is simply not some trump card, and even the Sultan of Ankara isn't dumb enough to view such an action as a step towards extending his grip on power.

moonshadow

Putin with "checkmate". Erdogan can only flip the board over and walk away muttering to the int'l crowd somethin bout "Putin...cheater". Great article, Antonov's comments priceless, and video worth a smirk a minute

Noplebian

The NATO led escalation and it's push towards WW3, continues unabated……

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

JustObserving

Will Erdogan resign?

How about detailed evidence on the shooting of the Russian jet?
BOMBSHELL: Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance

A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task-determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the "victim."

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-turkish-attack-russian-s...

JustObserving

Erdogan and his oil-smuggling son, Bilal, will be welcomed as heroes in Neocon-controlled Washington. Argentina and Paraguay are now for minor criminals only.


Calmyourself

Erdogan you Islamist bastard Ataturk is laughing at you from beyond the grave, GTFO

edit: why the hell has no one dropped cluster munitions on that truck park? US has been there a year and just missed it? Apparently Obama's (Stalin's) purge of the military has been quite successful because none of them have any balls.

RockySpears

Because cluster bombs are illegal. Not that this is exactly what they were designed for, but people cried about the little bomblets that failed to go off and were subsequently "ploughed" up by civilian farmers.

War is bad, but sometimes it is made worse by the intention to do good.

Same as Chemical weapons, for the most part, they kill no one, they just incapacitate. And anyway, why is a 1,000lb of TNT NOT chemical?

Calmyourself

Only against civilians and nobody signed on anyway.

"During Desert Storm US Marines used the weapon extensively, dropping 15,828 of the 27,987 total Rockeyes against armor, artillery, and personnel targets. The remainder were dropped by Air Force (5,346) and Navy (6,813) aircraft.[1]"

Chairman

2003-2006: United States and allies attacked Iraq with 13,000 cluster munitions, containing two million submunitions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. At multiple times, coalition forces used cluster munitions in residential areas, and the country remains among the most contaminated by this day, bomblets posing a threat to both US military personnel in the area, and local civilians.

When these weapons were fired on Baghdad on April 7, 2003 many of the bomblets failed to explode on impact. Afterward, some of them exploded when touched by civilians. USA Today reported that "the Pentagon presented a misleading picture during the war of the extent to which cluster weapons were being used and of the civilian casualties they were causing." On April 26, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the US had caused only one civilian casualty.

margincall575

Follow up

Breaking: Did the US and Saudis use AWACS to help target the SU-24?
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/12/01/breaking-did-the-us-and-saudis-u...

zeroboris

I used to read the soviet newspaper Pravda and am reading modern western media. And know what? Pravda was many times more truthful. Many of us, Russians, didn't understand this in soviet times (we had no access to western papers). But now I can tell this without any doubt. Most of modern Russian papers are less truthful too.


ThanksChump

I'd be surprised if the WPost ignores this. They did cover the Iraqi claim that the US is backing ISIS.

Paveway IV

National intelligence agencies watch Facebook, Twitter, Google and other search engines to see if they have to do damage control. If a few sites come out with articles implicating Bilal but the 'little people' don't do many searches for him or re-tweet links, then there's no reason to react. They simply ignore the story. If they notice enough little people start Googling Bilial and illegal oil sales or retweeting damaging articles, then they let the boss know. The U.S. MSM is ordered to send out a few stories quoting each other to spin it one way or another.

The government defines the narrative, and MSM stenographers fill in the pieces. Facebook, Twitter and Google are checked to see if they had the desired effect. They can also use a bit more direct techniques like massaging the Google search result rankings or blowing away Facebook and Twitter accounts they don't like. Israel is insane about collecting this data from Americans and reacting. Uncle Sugar isn't going to cough up that free $3 billion a year handout to them if the people are in the streets with pitchforks and torches. They are especially interested in de-ranking Google results that make Israel look bad, and promoting sites that deliver the message they want. Google is the worst search engine to look for Israeli current events.

You'll notice none of the MSM ISIS oil sales articles will mention U.S. stooge Barzani's involvement, and they for damn sure won't mention Israel as a destination for much of the stolen oil. They'll simply steer the narrative to focus on Turkish oil sales, and somehow blame it on Assad.

krispkritter

Obama Administration Supporting Islamic State --> OASIS. It certainly is if you're a terrorist 'rebel' or well-connected oil pimp...

ThanksChump

Occam's Razor.

The US made a deal with OPEC: the US would help to remove Assad, and in return, OPEC would dump oil to weaken Russia and Iran, fulfilling PNAC/Cheney's pet dream of consolidating the remaining oil reserves under US-friendly control. ISIS was a tool to that end.

That's the easy obvious part.

Less obvious is the tie to Ukraine. Ukraine should have been "converted" after Assad was driven out, and not before. This has me confused. Was it only a mistake in timing?

Now that the cat is out of the bag, now that China's overdue correction has been triggered, now that Brazil and Canada know who is largely responsible for their collapsing economies, now that Europe knows why they are overrun by refugees, I wonder how friendly those countries will be moving forward.

Mike Masr

https://www.rt.com/news/324252-russian-military-news-briefing/

US pal and NATO ally Turkey

  • 12:26 GMT

    2,000 fighters, 250 vehicles and over 120 tons of ammo have been sent in the past weeks from Turkey to terrorists in Syria, fuelling the violence in the country.

  • 12:31 GMT

    Russia cannot comprehend that such a large-scale business as oil smuggling could not have been noticed by the Turkish authorities. Russia concludes that the Turkish leadership is directly involved in the smuggling.

  • 12:35 GMT

    Russia doesn't expect Turkish President Erdogan to resign in the face of the new evidence, even though he had promised to do so. His resignation is not Russia's goal and is a matter for the Turkish people.

SoDamnMad

I' m watching the rebroadcast live right now. Video of all these trucks. Damn good video and stills. Gee, why can't the USSA produce these(oh yeah, the MSM isn't allowed to show the truth. Better to show some college campus protest rather than the truth about whose side is really trying to stop terrorism.) Maybe our reconaissence equipment isn't as good as Russian equipment and our satelittes can't find the Turkish-Syrian border. Never seen so many trucks back to back, even on the Jersey Turnpike or the Long Beach Freeway before a holiday when the economy was good.s a lot of bucks going into Erdogan son's pocket (and Israel's)

fel.temp.reparatio

Erdogan: "So what if the MIT trucks were filled with weapons?"

Yttrium Gold Nitrogen

Statements available in English here:

http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/news/more.htm?id=12070726@cmsArticle

Duc888

....another interesting point here...

http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/11/26/raqqas-rockefellers...

"The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five million civilians.

IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation.

The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets."

no1wonder

Official media release (and speech translation into English) by Russia's Defense Ministry:

http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/brief.htm

cn13

This story is finally hitting the MSM in the U.S. after being reported here for the past week. The powers to be must have needed time to get their lies straight. Anyway, check out the comment section on Yahoo regarding this story. It is almost 100% pro-Russian and anti-NATO/U.S.

I have never seen anything like this before.

The U.S. public has lost total confidence in the government. They are finally catching on to the lies and deceit of those in power.

http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-proof-turkey-main-consumer-islamic-state-124337872.html

MadVladtheconquerer

Looks like Putin is simply trying to maintain what little remains of the status quo in Syria:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-russia-fighting-isil-or-occupying-sy...

gregga777

As I read it, according to traditional international law, the Russian Federation may legally seize Erdogan's Maltese-flagged "neutral" tankers carrying ISIS' crude oil, because that crude oil constitutes a significant portion of ISIS' war making potential, that tanker then effectively constituting an enemy merchant vessel, with the tanker's subsequent condemnation in Russian prize courts, as the capturing belligerent power.

I hope that the Russian Federation's Navy seizes all of Erdogan's tankers, bankrupting Erdogan's company. Let them then sit in port for the next several years awaiting disposition in a Russian prize court.

dot_bust

Then there's this rather enlightening bit of information:

ISIS Colonel was Trained By Blackwater and U.S. State Department for 11 Years

A former police commander from Tajikistan was featured in an ISIS video recently where he admitted he was trained by the U.S. State Department and former military contractor Blackwater all the way up until last year.

http://theantimedia.org/isis-colonel-trained-by-blackwater-and-us-state-...

Amun

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-turkey-20151201-stor...

"It was Turkey's national intelligence agency, known as MIT, that first organized Syrian military defectors into Western-backed groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.

Free Syrian Army factions still convene on Turkish soil in the Joint Operations Center, a CIA-led intelligence hub that gives vetted rebels training as well as U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles used to destroy Syrian army tanks and armored units.

Islamist groups, however, have benefited from Turkey's pro-opposition policy as well. In May, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published video from 2014 showing customs agents impounding a truck owned by the MIT. The truck's manifest said it was carrying humanitarian assistance for Syrians. Instead it was bearing a cache of ammunition and shells the newspaper said were destined for Islamist rebels. The video's release caused a furor. Erdogan vowed to prosecute Cumhuriyet, a threat he carried out Friday when authorities arrested two of the paper's journalists on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization.

Turkish assistance has been instrumental in empowering the Army of Conquest, a loose coalition of hard-line Islamist factions including Al Nusra Front, which seized control of Idlib province in March in an offensive backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Economic ties also have been forged between Turkey and rebel factions.

According to a 2015 United Nations study, two border crossings controlled by a faction of the Army of Conquest handle more than 300 trucks a day, a figure that exceeds prewar levels. The traffic yields an estimated $660,000 a day. "

[Dec 01, 2015] US Intervention Before And After

Zero Hedge
WhackoWarner

Before death in Libya....Ghadaffi's crime was in "not playing along and selling out". Kinda like Iraq and all. They all should just hand over everything and say thanks...but they did not . There is disinfo on both sides, But the "madman" and people who actually live there never seem to make the NYTimes.

"For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

Kirk2NCC1701
"they hate us for our freedoms"

No, "They hate us for our freebombs" that we keep delivering.

Suppose you lived in a town that was run by a ruthless Mafioso boss. Sure he was ruthless to troublemakers and dissenters, but if you went about your business (and paid your taxes/respects to him), life was simple but livable, and crime was negligible.

Now imagine that a crime Overlord came from another country and decided to wreck the town, just to remove your Mafioso Don. In the process, your neighborhood and house were destroyed, and you lost friends and family.

Now tell me that YOU would not make it YOUR life's mission to bring these War Criminals to justice -- by any and all means necessary. And tell me that these same Criminals could not have foreseen all this. Now say it again - but with a straight face. I dare you. I fucking double-dare you!

Max Cynical
US exceptionalism!
GhostOfDiogenes
The worst one, besides Iraq, is Libya.

The infrastructure we destroyed there is unimaginable.

Sure Iraq was hit the worst, and much has been lost there....but Libya was a modern arab oasis of a country in the middle of nothing.

We destroyed in a few days what took decades to build.

This is why I am not proud of my country, nor my military.

In fact, I would like to see Nuremberg type trials for 'merican military leaders and concentration gulags for the rest of enlisted. Just like they did to Germany.

Its only proper.

GhostOfDiogenes
The USA did this murder of Libya and giving ownership to the people who did '911'? What a joke. http://youtu.be/aJURNC0e6Ek
Bastiat
Libya under Ghadaffi: universal free college education, free healthcare, free electricity. interest free loans. A very bad example of how a nation's wealth is to be distributed!
CHoward
The average American has NO idea how much damage is being done in this world - all in the name of Democracy. Unbelivable and truly pathetic. Yet - most sheeple still believe ISIS and others hate us because of our "freedoms" and i-pods. What bullshit.
Bioscale
Czech public tv published a long interview in English with Asad, it was filmed in Damascus some days ago.Very unusual thing, actually. Terrorism being transported by US, Turkey and France to Syria is being openly debated. http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ct24/svet/1628712-asad-pro-ct-rebelove-jsou-...

Overfed

Compare and contrast Assad, giving an interview very well in a second language, with O'bomb-a, who can't even speak to school children without a teleprompter. Sad.

Razor_Edge

Along with President Putin, Dr al Assad is consistently the most sane, rational and clearly honest speaker on the tragedy of Syria. By contrast, our satanic western leaders simply lie outrageously at all times. How do we know? Their lips are moving. They also say the most absurd things.

We in the west may think that at the end of the day, it's not going to harm us, so why discomfort ourselves by taking on our own elites and bringing them down. But I believe that an horrific future awaits us, one we richly deserve, because we did not shout stop at this ocean of evil bloodshed being spilt in our names. We pay the taxes that pay for it, or at least in my countrys case, (traditional policy of military neutrality), we facilitate the slaughter (troop transports through Shannon airport), or fail to speak out for fear it may impact FDI into Ireland, (largest recipient of US FDI in the world).

We are our brothers keepers, and we are all one. It is those who seek to separate us to facilitate their evil and psychopathic lust for power and money, who would have us beieve that "the other" is evil. Are we really so simple minded or riven by fear that we cannot see through the curtain of the real Axis of Evil?

Demdere

Israeli-neocon strategy is to have the world's economy collapse at the point of maximum war and political chaos.

Then they can escape to Paraguay. Sure as hell, if they stay here, we are going to hang them all. Treasonous criminals for the 9/11 false flag operation.

By 2015, every military and intelligence service and all the think tanks have looked at 9/11 carefully. Anyone who looks at the evidence sees that it was a false flag operation, the buildings were destroyed via explosives, the planes and evil Arab Muslims were show. Those agencies reported to their civilian leaders, and their civilian leaders spread the information through their societies.

So all of the politically aware people in the world, including here at home, KNOW that 9/11 was a false flag operation, or know that they must not look at the evidence. Currently, anyone who disagrees in MSM is treated as invisible, and I know of no prominent bloggers who have even done the bits of extention of 'what it must mean' that I have done.

But it certainly means high levels of distrust for the US and for Israel. It seems to me that World Domination is not possible, because the world won't let you, and the means of opposition are only limited by the imaginations of the most creative, intelligent and knowledgable people. We don't have any of those on our side any more.

L Bean

In their farcical quest to emulate the Roman empire...

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant - Tacitus

They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.

[Nov 30, 2015] The Spanish General could give the order to shoot down Russian su-

This is not very probably hypothesis, but if this is true then it was NATO organized provocation...
"All the airspace in southern Europe from the Azores to the Eastern border of Turkey (Syria, Iraq, Iran) controlled by the radars mounted on towers airbase in Torrejon near Madrid. Command there 57-year-old General Ruben Garcia Servert. The final decision in the center of the Combined Air Operations takes it.
Notable quotes:
"... There is, of course, is an option that responsibility for the attack on "Drying" took over the Turkish General 62-year-old Abidin Unal, but in this case, a high-ranking Spanish military became the main witness giving orders. "If you want to shoot down the aircraft of the enemy, I is the person taking final decision" is a quote from an interview Garcia of Servert given in January of this year to the newspaper "El Mundo". ..."

"All the airspace in southern Europe from the Azores to the Eastern border of Turkey (Syria, Iraq, Iran) controlled by the radars mounted on towers airbase in Torrejon near Madrid. Command there 57-year-old General Ruben Garcia Servert. The final decision in the center of the Combined Air Operations takes it.

There is, of course, is an option that responsibility for the attack on "Drying" took over the Turkish General 62-year-old Abidin Unal, but in this case, a high-ranking Spanish military became the main witness giving orders. "If you want to shoot down the aircraft of the enemy, I is the person taking final decision" is a quote from an interview Garcia of Servert given in January of this year to the newspaper "El Mundo".

Who actually gave the order to shoot down the su-24, still we do not know. But do know that the recent crash of the UAV happened at the command of a Turkish General unknown, what was not slow to inform the military. In October two cases of violation by Russian planes of air space of Turkey Abidin conceded right to make the final decision to the Spaniard".

[Nov 30, 2015] Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The Arrogance, Hubris, Stupidity Of The US Government

Notable quotes:
"... No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) - everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that 'Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.' (Laughter). ..."
"... And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia's side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don't believe (the West's) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians. ..."
"... Read more here and listen to the full interview... ..."
Zero Hedge

On the heels of the Chinese stock market plunging 5.5%, continued turmoil in the Middle East and the price of gold hitting 5 year lows, former U.S. Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told Eric King of King World News that Putin and the Russians are now dominating in Syria and the Middle East as the West destroys itself.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "It could well be that this is going to work out so much in Russia's favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, 'Thank you very much. You've done us a huge favor. (Laughter). We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot. That was only two deaths for winning a war."…

"So that looks to me like the most likely outcome. The unintended consequence of this are so positive for Russia that it's got Washington quaking and Europe wondering about the idiocy of being in NATO."

Eric King: "What I'm hearing from you Russia is dominating in Syria. The Russians have completely taken over and there's really nothing Washington can do."

Paul Craig Roberts: "No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) - everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that 'Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.' (Laughter).

And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia's side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don't believe (the West's) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians.

This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don't have any sense at all. Just look at what they've done. In 14 years they've destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe.

This is all because those Europeans were stupid enough to enable our wars. Now the political parties in Europe are under tremendous pressure from these refugees and the populations who object to them, and from the rising dissident parties who are saying, 'Look at what these people who you trusted have done. They've changed your country. It's not Germany anymore - it's Syria.' (Laughter).

This is a disaster. Only the stupid Americans could have produced such a disaster. Does Putin need to do anything? We're doing it all for him. So he doesn't need to do anything. He's not going to attack anybody. What does he need to attack anybody for? The idiot Americans are destroying themselves and their allies. This is an amazing fiasco."

Read more here and listen to the full interview...

Chupacabra-322

"This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don't have any sense at all. Just look at what they've done. In 14 years they've destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe."

So true, it must be repeated.

chubbar

It's so incompetent it is looking deliberate.

KingFiat

King World News always says the price of gold is going to the moon tomorrow when the financial system collapses. After a while you realize no real news comes from there, and ignore them.

Not the same for Paul Craig Roberts, And I am glad to read his insights here, even if originated from KWN.

CaptainDanite

There is no denying that the KWN site is hokey, and that Eric King has a limited repertoire of "stunning" adjectives, and that the frequent employment of bold red and blue fonts can be annoying, etc., etc. However, the simple fact remains that he CONSISTENTLY conducts well-directed and well-edited interviews with some of the most respected voices in the alternative media arena. I routinely look forward to his interviews with Nomi Prins, Eric Sprott, Ronald Stoeferle, and Bill Fleckenstein -- among many, many others. At least KWN is not entirely inundated with ads like ZH is, nor is the mobile version of the site repeatedly susceptible to adware browser hijacks like ZH's mobile version is.

Furthermore, while I frequently find points of disagreement with Paul Craig Roberts, this most recent interview is PCR at his ever-loving best; it strikes to the heart of the matter of the increasingly frightening conflict brewing between the US, NATO, and the Russians. I highly recommend this interview to everyone out there who is starting to get very uncomfortable about the foreign policy incompetence of the Obama administration as it appears to be deliberately steering us into the maw of WWIII.

Lore

PATHOCRACY

"The ultimate cause of evil lies in the interaction of two human factors: 1) normal human ignorance and weakness and 2) the existence and action of a statistically small (4-8% of the general population) but extremely active group of psychologically deviant individuals. The ignorance of the existence of such psychological differences is the first criterion of ponerogenesis. That is, such ignorance creates an opening whereby such individuals can act undetected.

The presence of such 'disease' on the individual level is described in the Almost Human section of this website. However, depending on the type of activity of psychopathic and characteropathic individuals, evil can manifest on any societal level. The greater the scope of the psychopath's influence, the greater harm done. Thus any group of humans can be infected or 'ponerized' by their influence. From families, clubs, churches, businesses, and corporations, to entire nations. The most extreme form of such macrosocial evil is called 'pathocracy'.

Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes

"If the many managerial positions are assumed by individuals deprived of sufficient abilities to feel and understand the majority of other people, and who also exhibit deficiencies in technical imagination and practical skills - (faculties indispensable for governing economic and political matters) - this then results in an exceptionally serious crisis in all areas, both within the country in question and with regard to international relations. Within, the situation becomes unbearable even for those citizens who were able to feather their nest into a relatively comfortable modus vivendi. Outside, other societies start to feel the pathological quality of the phenomenon quite distinctly. Such a state of affairs cannot last long. One must then be prepared for ever more rapid changes, and also behave with great circumspection." (2nd. ed., p. 140)

LetThemEatRand

It's long by today's standards, but another great PCR link for those who are interested. Intelligent and thoughtful debate where the two participants actually allow each other to make their points. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/11/25/pcr-debates-the-intelligent-a...

Killdo

this is a pretty good book on how to spot psychos and prevent being screwed over by them:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767915828?keywords=the%20sociopath%20n...

I've read about 10 books on the subject and I find this one very intresting, well written and based on realaity (I think the author is a prof frm harvard).

It really helped me connect the dots while I lived in LA (according to the author one of 3 world'scapitals of psychopathy together with London and NY)

[Nov 30, 2015] Erdogan Says Will Resign If Oil Purchases From ISIS Proven After Putin Says Has More Proof

Notable quotes:
"... "There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey. They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq." ..."
Nov 30, 2015 | Zero Hedge
"I've shown photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products," Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Antalya. Putin was of course referencing Islamic State's illicit and highly lucrative oil trade, the ins and outs of which we've documented extensively over the past two weeks:

Turkey's move to shoot down a Russian Su-24 warplane near the Syrian border afforded the Russian President all the motivation and PR cover he needed to expose Ankara's alleged role in the trafficking of illegal crude from Iraq and Syria and in the aftermath of last Tuesday's "incident," Putin lambasted Erdogan. "Oil from Islamic State is being shipped to Turkey," Putin said while in Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah. In case that wasn't clear enough, Putin added this: "Islamic State gets cash by selling oil to Turkey."

To be sure, it's impossible to track the path ISIS oil takes from extraction to market with any degree of precision. That said, it seems that Islamic State takes advantage of the same network of smugglers, traders, and shipping companies that the KRG uses to transport Kurdish crude from Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. From there, the oil makes its way to Israel and other markets (depending on which story you believe) and if anyone needs to be thrown off the trail along the way, there's a ship-to-ship transfer trick that can be executed off the coast of Malta. The maneuver allegedly makes the cargoes more difficult to track.

Some believe Erdogan's son Bilal - who owns a marine transport company called BMZ Group - is heavily involved in the trafficking of Kurdish and ISIS crude. Most of the ships BMZ owns are Malta-flagged.

In light of the above, some have speculated that Turkey shot down the Su-24 in retaliation for Russia's bombing campaign that recently has destroyed over 1,000 ISIS oil trucks. Here's what Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoub said on Friday:

"All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well."

Al-Zoub isn't alone in his suspicions. In an interview with RT, Iraqi MP and former national security adviser, Mowaffak al Rubaie - who personally led Saddam to the gallows - said ISIS is selling around $100 million of stolen crude each month in Turkey. Here are some excerpts:

"In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell ... $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold ...[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price."

"Now this either get consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market."

"Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to ISIS and it's operation," he added. "Once you cut the oxygen then ISIS will suffocate."

"There isn't a shadow of a doubt that the Turkish government knows about the oil smuggling operations. The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses – under the auspices if you like – of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus."

"There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey. They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq."

"There is no terrorist organization which can stand alone, without a neighboring country helping it – in this case Turkey."

That's pretty unequivocal. But it gets better.

On Monday, Putin was back at it, saying that Russia has obtained new information that further implicates Turkey in the Islamic State oil trade. "At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale," Putin said on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris. "We have traced some located on the territory of the Turkish Republic and living in regions guarded by special security services and police that have used the visa-free regime to return to our territory, where we continue to fight them."

"We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil's delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers," he added, taking it up another notch still.

As for Erdogan, well, he "can't accept" the accusations which he calls "not moral":

  • ERDOGAN: TURKEY CAN'T ACCEPT RUSSIA CLAIMS THAT IT BUYS IS OIL

Hilariously, the man who just finished starting a civil war just so he could regain a few lost seats in Parliament and who would just as soon throw you in jail as look at you if he thinks you might be a threat to his government, now says he will resign if Putin (or anyone else) can present "proof": "We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we'll consider [it]."

Hold your breath on that.

And so, the Turkey connection has been exposed and in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately for Ankara, Erdogan can't arrest Vladimir Putin like he can award winning journalists and honest police officers who, like Moscow, want to see the flow of money and weapons to Sunni militants in Syria cut off.

The real question is how NATO will react now that Turkey is quickly becoming a liability. Furthermore, you can be sure that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar (who are all heavily invested in the Sunni extremist cause in Syria), are getting nervous. No one wants to see this blown wide open as that would mean the Western public getting wise to the fact that it is indeed anti-ISIS coalition governments that are funding and arming not only ISIS, but also al-Nusra and every other rebel group fighting to wrest control of the country from Assad. Worse, if it gets out that the reason the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks until now is due to the fact that Ankara and Washington had an understanding when it comes to the flow of illicit crude to Cehyan, the American public may just insist on indicting "some folks."

Remember, when it comes to criminal conspiracies, the guy who gets caught first usually ends up getting cut loose. It will be interesing to see if Erdogan starts to get the cold shoulder from Ankara's "allies" going forward.

[Nov 30, 2015] Russia Bans Soros Foundation As A Threat To National Security And Constitutional Order Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... "A lot of what we do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA." Alan Weinstein, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy. Although it promotes itself as a "non-governmental organization", NED receives at least 90% of its funding from the US Congress, earmarked to USAID. ..."
"... Around that time, Soros Foundation 'appeared' in our country and started usual advertising and promises how they will give money to 'promising' projects made by young people. Of course, we had an amazing thing (it was really hard to make a printed computer magazine while having civil war and sanctions, heh) and were certain that we would easily qualify for grant. We got rejected. A guy printing black and white A4 pamphlet saying shit about government got the money. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
AlaricBalth

"A lot of what we do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA." Alan Weinstein, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy. Although it promotes itself as a "non-governmental organization", NED receives at least 90% of its funding from the US Congress, earmarked to USAID.

JRobby

Maybe the USSA will do the same with "The Council On Foriegn Relations"??

What would we call it when a controlling faction of the USSA Government outlawed itself and declared itself a threat to national security and Constitutional order?

Schizophrenia?

Government need...

That's an organization that needs to go. I know some of its membership in NYC. . . It's not evil, per se, but it places self-enrichment above ethics. That, and since they all have fancy degress and like to pass their resumes around the table, they naturally believe they know better than the little people what's best for the little peons.

nmewn

"In a statement released on Monday, prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia's Constitutional order and national security. They added that the Justice Ministry would be duly informed about these conclusions and would add the two groups to Russia's list of undesirable foreign organizations."

Yet here, somehow, he is still a major donor to the National Socialist Democrat Party and BlackLiesMatter.

The world, as I once knew it, has been completely turned upside down...lol.

#SafePlace!

/////

Now wut little trolls...how could that possibly offend you? I mean outside of me being absolutely correct about this worthless POS all these years ;-)

conscious being

I'm suprised it took this long.

Quinvarius

Looks like buying Russian politicians is not so easy. The West however is is craven and corrupt. This is huge set back for Obama's transvestite, looter, gay, racist agenda of destroying civilization.

blentus

So, there I was, 18 years old, and living in a shitty civil war torn country. Not giving a fuck about anything, me and few of my friends managed to print a computer magazine and keep it going for a while. It was impossible to make money with it, and we never did it for the money anyway. It was a good 'distraction' from everything around us, and it also helped other curious kids. This was before Internet became popular/accessible, so good information was not so easy to obtain.

Around that time, Soros Foundation 'appeared' in our country and started usual advertising and promises how they will give money to 'promising' projects made by young people. Of course, we had an amazing thing (it was really hard to make a printed computer magazine while having civil war and sanctions, heh) and were certain that we would easily qualify for grant.

We got rejected. A guy printing black and white A4 pamphlet saying shit about government got the money.

I was lucky enough to learn early how these pieces of shit work.

Every time I hear phrase 'NGO' my brain simply translates it to 'cunts'. Can't help it.

smacker

Something tells me that some very smart people in Moscow have been carefully studying who is creating all this global unrest.

Russia's actions to kick out "Soros Open Society" and the "US National Endowment for Democracy" - neither of which have anything to do with what their names suggest - is to prevent Russia becoming another victim.


[Nov 29, 2015] Turkish militants kill russian pilot while he is decending

yudenich.ru

watch-v=tiR8E-SwVeI

Terrorism is typically ideologically driven and as such has no nationality. But this case looks like an e4xception: Turkish media machine has already asssigned this crime to certain mythical "Syrian Turkomans".

But in reality this looks like Grey Wolfs not "Turkomans", and their leader is a Turkish neo-fascist Alpaslan Celik - son of the mayor of a small Turkish town. Golden youth so to speak.

http://ntv.livejournal.com/426110.html?mode=reply#add_comment

So, all those dances over the body of pilot are very similar to explosions in Suruç and Ankara.

[Nov 29, 2015] Turkey hands over body of Russian pilot to Russia

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkey has initiated the process to hand over the body of a Russian pilot to Moscow after his jet was shot down by Turkey, a day before a United Nations climate conference starts in Paris that could bring a "saddened" Turkish president and his Russian counterpart together.

In a press briefing held at Ankara's airport prior to his departure for a EU-Turkey Summit in Brussels on Nov. 29, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the body of Russian pilot Oleg Peshkov, who died after his plane was downed by Turkish F-16s on Nov. 24 when it reportedly breached Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, had been taken by Turkey and would be sent to Russia on its request.

[Nov 29, 2015] How ISIS is financed

Notable quotes:
"... Their main source of income is oil sales, but they also resource to taxes to the population, sales of antiquities, bank raids, appropriation of part of Iraq salaries to government employees in occupied areas that are still being paid, extortion to businesses, appropriation of part of crops, ransoms and slave sales. Some of the magnitudes are estimated. ..."
"... The income from oil is estimated at 1.5 million dollars per day from 34-40,000 barrels per day at 20-35 $ per barrel. ..."
"... Their main expense is calculated at 10 million dollars per month (0.33 mill $/day) in salaries. They pay almost a fifth of their income in salaries, and that is one of the reasons of their popularity. ..."
"... Recently the international coalition, with France taking a very active role, has started bombing their oil facilities, thus attacking the jugular of ISIS. They must be desperate because they see no way of protecting their oil financing from air attacks. After a very long time of successes, ISIS is now having problems to hold its ground in parts of Syria and Kurdistan. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Javier, 11/14/2015 at 11:03 am

OFM,

This article in Spanish from one of the main journals explains how ISIS is financing. Their main source of income is oil sales, but they also resource to taxes to the population, sales of antiquities, bank raids, appropriation of part of Iraq salaries to government employees in occupied areas that are still being paid, extortion to businesses, appropriation of part of crops, ransoms and slave sales. Some of the magnitudes are estimated.

The income from oil is estimated at 1.5 million dollars per day from 34-40,000 barrels per day at 20-35 $ per barrel.

Their main expense is calculated at 10 million dollars per month (0.33 mill $/day) in salaries. They pay almost a fifth of their income in salaries, and that is one of the reasons of their popularity.

http://www.elmundo.es/papel/historias/2015/11/11/56422776268e3efc608b45e5.html

Recently the international coalition, with France taking a very active role, has started bombing their oil facilities, thus attacking the jugular of ISIS. They must be desperate because they see no way of protecting their oil financing from air attacks. After a very long time of successes, ISIS is now having problems to hold its ground in parts of Syria and Kurdistan.

I have family in Paris. My niece, her husband and all his family are in Paris. None of them was present in the attacks, but we are all shocked by the magnitude.

Caelan MacIntyre, 11/13/2015 at 8:02 pm

"Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians.

The term was first used in 1989 by a team of American analysts, including William S. Lind,[citation needed] to describe warfare's return to a decentralized form. In terms of generational modern warfare, the fourth generation signifies the nation states' loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces , returning to modes of conflict common in pre-modern times." ~ Wikipedia

Ironically, much of it is and will be the result of the nation states' monopolies on violence enacted.

[Nov 29, 2015] Top U.S. Air Defense Commander Turkey's Shootdown of Russian Jet "Had to Be PRE-PLANNED"

See also Ambush of Russian Su-24 over Syria
Notable quotes:
"... Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn't ..."
"... As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkeys version of events, it does not appear that there was any necessity for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet. ..."
"... From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for "necessity" is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here. ..."
Zero Hedge
In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls "bear penetrations") than anyone else in the world.

So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet.

Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn't threatening Turkey, and that Turkey's shoot down of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned", as the jet wasn't in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

McInerney is right … especially given that a U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down:

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

... ... ...

International law expert Francis Boyle - Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 – said by email:

The Russian bombing of Syria is technically legal because they have the explicit permission of the Syrian government, but of course Putin will ultimately act in accord with his interests, not what is best for the Syrian people.

***

As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkey's version of events, it does not appear that there was any "necessity" for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet.

Washington's Blog asked Boyle whether this is analogous to the "use of force" by someone with a gun who claims he was threatened by someone else. He answered affirmatively, explaining:

Necessity and Proportionality are each separate requirements for the use of force in self-defense.

From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for "necessity" is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here.

[Nov 28, 2015] Most of What You Learned in Econ 101 Is Wrong

Greg Mankiw is not a scientist in any meaningful sense. As a member of "Harvard mafia" he is hired propagandist that camouflages as an economist and works for financial oligarchy which promotes neoliberalism. And under neoliberalism like in Marxism the economics serves as a tool to justify social theory.
Notable quotes:
"... Mankiw's book, like every introductory econ textbook I know of, has a big problem. Most of what's in it is probably wrong. ..."
"... But for Econ 101 classes, explaining only a small slice of reality isn't good enough. If economics majors leave their classes thinking that the theories they learned are mostly correct, they will make bad decisions in both business and politics. We shouldn't train tomorrow's business elite to have faith in theories that have only a small amount of empirical success. ..."
"... Current textbooks, including Mankiw's, almost all play down the role of data and evidence. ..."
"... so basically all the supply siders and libertarians and the like are preaching the same sort of economics theories that were taught prior to Keynes ..."
"... yea maybe we should call the supply siders the flat earthers ..."
"... Not every economic class is taught using Mankiw. Thankfully. ..."
"... but there is also the issue of whether in reality the employee could survive on the given wage if the pay does not allow the worker to survive, then him/her agreeing to work for the less than living wage doesn't help ..."
"... It is not a viable situation. The workers will not be able to perform their duties. It will not work anyway. We didn't treat horses this way, as if their cost could approach zero without consequences, why do we treat people as if they could survive on less and less resources with no limit. ..."
"... Then if they don't accept that impossible situation and ask for help from the government or form unions, then they are the ones "causing all the problems" ..."
"... How about this? A $15 minimum raise hike is more likely to close down jobs in the mid wage category than in the low wage. A hike probably means income will come from the mid overall to the low overall because low wage produced goods were relatively under priced (not marked to market because of prior monopsony). ..."
Bloomberg View

Harvard's Greg Mankiw, author of the most popular college introductory economics textbook, is often regarded as America's econ teacher. He famously refers to his "Principles of Economics" as "my favorite textbook," and I must admit that it's also my favorite. It's written in a clear, explanatory style and covers the basics of most important theories in modern economics.

But Mankiw's book, like every introductory econ textbook I know of, has a big problem. Most of what's in it is probably wrong.

In the last three decades, the economics profession has undergone a profound shift. The rise of information technology and new statistical methods has dramatically increased the importance of data and empirics. This means that many professional economists are no longer, as empirical pioneer David Card put it, "mathematical philosophers." Instead, they are more like scientists, digging through mountains of evidence to find precious grains of truth.

And what they have found has often been revolutionary. The simple theories we teach in Econ 101 classes work once in a while, but in many important cases they fail.

For example, Econ 101 theory tells us that minimum wage policies should have a harmful impact on employment. Basic supply and demand analysis says that in a free market, wages adjust so that everyone who wants a job has a job -- supply matches demand. Less productive workers earn less, but they are still employed. If you set a price floor -- a lower limit on what employers are allowed to pay -- then it will suddenly become un-economical for companies to retain all the workers whose productivity is lower than that price floor. In other words, minimum wage hikes should quickly put a bunch of low-wage workers out of a job.

That's theory. Reality, it turns out, is very different. In the last two decades, empirical economists have looked at a large number of minimum wage hikes, and concluded that in most cases, the immediate effect on employment is very small. It's only in the long run that minimum wages might start to make a big difference.

That doesn't mean the theory is wrong, of course. It probably only describes a small piece of what is really going on in the labor market. In reality, employment probably depends on a lot more than just today's wage level -- it depends on predictions of future wages, on long-standing employment relationships and on a host of other things too complicated to fit into the tidy little world of Econ 101.

For academic economists, that's no problem. If existing theories explain only a sliver of reality, they simply roll up their sleeves and get to work. Many labor economists are now working on complex theories that model the process of employees looking for work and employers looking for people to hire. For professional theorists, empirical failures simply mean more work to do.

But for Econ 101 classes, explaining only a small slice of reality isn't good enough. If economics majors leave their classes thinking that the theories they learned are mostly correct, they will make bad decisions in both business and politics. We shouldn't train tomorrow's business elite to have faith in theories that have only a small amount of empirical success.

Another example is welfare. Econ 101 theory tells us that welfare gives people an incentive not to work. If you subsidize leisure, simple theory says you will get more of it.

But recent empirical studies have shown that such effects are usually very small. Occasionally, welfare programs even make people work more. For example, a study in Uganda found that grants for poor people looking to improve their skills resulted in people working much more than before.

This has big political implications. If we train tomorrow's business elites to think that welfare encoura