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National Security State as Racket on the Danger of Terrorism
Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola
 

News Corporatism Recommended Links Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Neofascism Nation under attack meme
Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative  Inverted Totalitarism The Deep State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Operation Gladio - Wikipedia
The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies History of American False Flag Operations False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo
Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Grand Chessboard Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Iron Law of Oligarchy
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism   Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”


Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


Introduction

The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).  It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as it is married to neoliberalism and does not included the decisive influence of the state in economic sphere.

Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly militarized, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions. Heavily militarized police became praetorian guard of 0.1% that is in power.

In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produce social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap).  As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under bolshevism with the only difference that "nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy,  Tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became political decisions and  require constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat. Terrorism is used for this purpose not unlike permanent war between Oceania and Eurasia in the Orwell's famous  novel 1984,  It is clear that the war with terrorism is quintessential for waging "permanent war for permanent peace".  This link to rampant militarism is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

In this social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. Deep state as it is now called. Which, as a minimum, assume the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this "accomplishment": mission accomplished).

The colossal budget with  juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives those agencies not only tremendous power, but also vested ideological and financial interests. For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street. There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Supreme Court.

But the reverse is not true. In a way they can serve as a surrogate king.   In other words, instead of the servant of the state intelligence agencies became the master. This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass, who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that among other things doomed the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist)  as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around the half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. As an amazing example of doublespeak  Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less). Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality in many times more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. In most area Obama administration was more like Bush II administration , then "change we can believe in".  In this sense this was the most blatant "bait and switch" in the recent  political history of the USA. This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light on Obama's strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate. 

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and  "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). 

But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.  Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless.  Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.

Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa. 

In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  might send a chill up your spine...


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National Security State

National Security State Bulletin, 2017 National Security State Bulletin, 2016 National Security State Bulletin, 2015

[Aug 17, 2018] What if Russiagate is the New WMDs

In both cases CIA and neocons run the show. But there is new powerful factor: emergence of CIA democrats like Brennan and the conversion of intelligence agencies into political tool, the Cerberus that safeguard the castle of neoliberalism in the USA. The USA people (bottom 90%) be damned.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day. ..."
"... Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times ..."
"... Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs. ..."
"... New York Magazine ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
Aug 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
declared liberal celebrity activist Rosie O'Donnell at a protest in front of the White House last week. "We see it, he can't lie about it," she added. "He is going down and so will all of his administration." "The charge is treason," O'Donnell declared. Protesters held held large letters that spelled it out: " T-R-E-A-S-O-N ."

O'Donnell is by no means alone in her sentiments. Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day.

This kind of partisan religiosity is not new.

In the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, conservative pundit Ann Coulter accused war opponents of " treason " and insisted of Saddam Hussein, "We know he had weapons of mass destruction."

Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times in 2014 were somehow the same thing as the " mushroom cloud " the Bush administration said Saddam was capable of.

Unfortunately for the right (and America, and the world), that premise turned out to be false. There were no WMDs. Today, only a minority of delusional, face-saving hawks and unreconstructed neoconservatives still parrot that lie .

And far from being "traitors," Iraq war opponents today are considered to have been on the right side of history .

John Brennan: Melting Down and Covering Up The Iraq War's Age of Madness

Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.

The post-2016 left's most dominant narrative is arguably their deeply held belief -- with all the ferocity and piety of yesterday's pro-war conservatives -- that Russia colluded with Trump's campaign to undermine the presidential election. Many believe that the president and anyone who supports his diplomatic efforts like Senator Rand Paul are in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies," said Barack Obama in 2008, and he did just that with Putin, as has every other president in recent times .

But Trump-Russia relations have been spun into far-fetched conspiracy theories on the left. New York Magazine 's Jonathan Chait recently went so far as to speculate that Trump has been a Russian agent since 1987 , a cockamamie idea on par with the Weekly Standard 's Stephen Hayes' discredited conspiracy theory that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots .

It really was plausible that Iraq had WMDs in 2003 based on what our intelligence agencies knew, or purported to know. Today, it is feasible that American democracy really has Putin's fingerprints on it based on things revealed by U.S. intelligence.

But isn't it also possible that the left is reading far too much into Russiagate?

The Nation 's Aaron Maté believes liberals are overreaching, and that's putting it mildly:

From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of US government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed. The reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian military-intelligence officers for hacking of Democratic party servers and voter databases is no exception. Mueller's indictment is certainly detailed. Most significantly, it marks the first time anyone has been charged for offenses related to Russiagate's underlying crime.

But while it is a major step forward in the investigation, we have yet to see the basis for the allegations that Mueller has lodged. As with any criminal case, from a petty offense to a cybercrime charge against a foreign government, a verdict cannot be formed in the absence of this evidence.

Then the irony kicks in. Maté continues, "The record of US intelligence, replete with lies and errors, underscores the need for caution. Mueller was a player in one of this century's most disastrous follies when, in congressional testimony, he endorsed claims about Iraqi WMDs and warned that Saddam Hussein 'may supply' chemical and biological material to 'terrorists.'"

Noting Mueller's 2003 WMD testimony is not an attempt to undermine him or his investigation, something Maté also makes clear. But it does serve as an important reminder that "intelligence" can be flat-out wrong. It reminds us how these scenarios, which so much of Washington and the elite class fully endorse, can be looked back on as lapses of reason years later.

Mass psychology is real. Political classes and parties are not immune.

"Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true," Maté asks. "Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country's election can never be justified."

He continues, "But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an 'attack,' even an 'act of war,' are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed."

The U.S. could have certainly used less hyperbole and more sobriety in 2002 and 2003.

And there's good chance that when the history books are written about American politics circa 2018, much of Russiagate will be dismissed as more Red Scare than Red Dawn .

With Russia, as with WMDs, left and right have elevated slivers of legitimate security concerns to the level of existential threat based mostly on their own partisanship. That kind of thinking has already proven to be dangerous.

We don't know what evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia might yet come forth, but it's easy to see how, even if this narrative eventually falls flat, 15 years from now some liberals will still be clinging to Russiagate not as a matter of fact, but political identity. Russia-obsessed liberals, too, could end up on the wrong side of history.

No one can know the future. Republicans would be wise to prepare for new, potentially damaging information about Trump and Russia that may yet emerge.

Democrats should consider that Russiagate may be just as imaginary as Republicans' Iraq fantasy.

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

JLF August 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

All this may be as Hunter would have it. Yet there is the nagging doubt that Trump, who could only find major financing for his enterprises following his last bankruptcy through Putin-controlled banks, could be free of any entangling ties or obligations. And if those doubts prove true, what then?
MM , , August 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
From the Nation: "From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of U.S. government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed."

This is a key point, because now Democrats and the most of the Left are ready to embrace a guy like Brennan a.k.a. Mr. Torture, merely because they hate Trump.

I'll also admit to not knowing what's coming in the future, but as of now there's a strong circumstantial case to be made that this reactions to Russian election meddling, which when all was said and done amounted to providing the voting public with the truth about the DNC and its own election-fixing operation, that this reaction is only about losing the 2016 presidential election to a guy who was only given a 1% chance of winning by almost everyone.

Clyde Schechter , , August 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm
This is the most sensible commentary on "Russiagate" I have seen anywhere in a long time.

At present, there is some suggestive evidence in the public arena, but nothing conclusive.

What we probably need, actually, is a moratorium on commentary about this until the investigation reaches its conclusion. That can take a long time. But until then, the endless partisanship-motivated speculation we hear daily is, frankly tiresome.

Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for your temperate perspective on this. I wish this would be the last word on the subject until the investigation ends.

b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm
'"Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.'

I suspect I agree with the author's sentiment, but it is not easy to tell.

Who stands accused? Trump? Russia? Both?

The claim that Trump is colluding with Russia is not the same as the claim that Iraq War opponents were colluding with Saddam Hussein.

The manufactured "Russia!" hysteria campaign orchestrated by the Obama/Clinton Democratic Party leadership, as deplorable and dubious as it might be, has nothing in common with the "5th column" smears Sullivan et.al. were peddling in 2002-2003 and beyond.

The claim that Trump committed "treason" would be legally incorrect on the worst case. Without a formal Congressional declaration of war, we are not at war with Russia, and Russia is not the enemy, no matter how much irresponsible mouthbreathing is broadcast from the biparty Congress members. However corrupt and corrupted Trump may be, corruption does not qualify as treason. If corruption were treason, Congress, in support of Israel and Saudi Arabia at the expense of the US (and certainly not in support of Russia) would be a house of traitors.

In comparison, the claim that opponents of the Iraq war were traitors was not just idiotic, but morally inexcusable. If anybody violated their oath, it was Bush himself, his appointees, and the ranking officers of the US military, for issuing illegal orders and/or following them.

"Russian election meddling" is the new WMD only the extent it is used as a pretext for war against Russia. It is the new "stained dress" in the attempt to challenge the ballot and paralyze an inconvenient President. I have no doubt that the Clintons are corrupt, and the GOP has engaged in many a Congressional effort to "investigate". The Clinton campaign adopted this playbook, and the damage to the Republic done by all is growing every day.

The real corruption here is the pretense that Congress is any better than Trump, that Russian oligarchs have more impact on the eroding Republic than Israeli-American, Saudi and UAE oligarchs, and that the biggest threat to the integrity of our elections and the franchise is Russia, and not the Roberts Court, Democrat apparatchiks like Sunstein, or Republican frauds like Kobach. Both parties are actively conspiring and plotting to make sure our votes are meaningless and cannot harm incumbents and the war profiteering classes, and where there used to be an opposition to illegal war and to oligarchs and plutocrats, there is now willing participation in manufactured hysteria to extend the 2016 campaign indefinitely.

WMDs? The very concept is a scam -- there is nukes, and nothing else. Nuclear arsenals outsized to end us all, and trillion dollar waste to expand them, are the tie that binds the US and Russia, and I suspect that Russia would be a lot more rational about reducing those arsenals than the US. If the author wants to worry about ending up on the wrong side of history, he should stop worrying about partisan points and focus. Politics is not a team sports, and anybody who picks a favorite is a failure as a citizen. Nobody who wants power is suitable for it.

b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm
Ask yourself, if Saddam Hussein had had "WMD" -- say, some of those chemical and biological stocks Reagan envoy Rumsfeld helpfully provided to Saddam Hussein -- would that have made the Iraq invasion legal, right just, necessary, successful? Or if Powell's little phials and mobile weapons labs actually existed?

Heck, let's say Saddam managed to make actual nukes out of tubes that weren't and yellowcake that wasn't. North Korea has nukes. Does that make invasion and aggressive war legal, right, just necessary, successful?

WMD or not was a lie wrapped within a deception inside a fraud. That's the one thing that it has in common with "Russiagate". Every layer, every aspect of it is a lie, a distraction, and everybody -- Trump included -- is perpetuating the hysteria for their own benefit. The stupidity of it is only barely rivaled by the mendacity.

Stavros , , August 16, 2018 at 3:17 pm
Trump is proving to be the Republican Alger Hiss. The partisanship of 1948 quickly crystallized into pro- and anti-Hiss camps in which the then limited evidence was trumped by ideology. It was not until the Verona tapes were released in the early 1990s that Hiss was proven to be guilty. Had Nixon and his allies called for a special prosecutor in 1948 and the facts both open and classified been examined intensely, Hiss would never have become the progressive Victim that he was to be for over thirty years. Ditto with Trump. Absent Mueller's investigation, these accusations against Trump (and I believe them to have serious weight and substance as well as potential for policy changes to prevent election fraud) would be mere ideological shrapnel to be argued over for another thirty years. Let the investigations proceed unimpeded and a final accounting be published at the very least for the sanity and integrity of the Republic. Don't let Trump become the Right's Alger Hiss.
b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm
In other words, let's imagine that Putin has really tried to change election results. Let's imagine that Trump really has been bribed by Russian oligarchs.

Is that why we are at this juncture? Is that why Congress has not served the People and upheld the Constitution in decades? Is that why citizens and voters lose trust in our institutions, and doubt election results?

Really?

We cannot even own up to our own mistakes, our own greed, our own malignancy. We have to blame it not on our "business partners" and "allies" and their hundreds of billions of dollars of arms purchases, we will blame it on Russia.

How small we have become.

It is not just Trump, it is Congress. It is not just this administration and this Congress, it is the previous ones, and the ones before it, and so on.

The point is not whether or not the "Russia!" hysteria and the allegations against Trump are accurate or not. The point is that, in comparison to everything else, it would just be more of the same, and we brought it upon ourselves.

Regime change begins at home.

Sisera , , August 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm
@Collin-
Isn't it extremely Orwellian to say that 'information isn't really information/should be censored or disregarded if it comes from a subversive (Russia) source'?

Naturally, it allows for a very easy way to control and censor information.

Now, as far as pure security threats, aside from information that should've been public anyway, experts deem that the DNC information came from on site:

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

Now this is also an appeal to authority, but VIPs has a better track record and I've seen them actually elaborate on their claims, not just assert them.

[Aug 15, 2018] A concise summary of the nuclear attack on Japan

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm

A concise summary of the nuclear attack on Japan (emphasis added):

According to Kamps, US estimates of American casualties during the first month of a US invasion of mainland Japan -- before the bombs were dropped -- were approximately 50,000, not 1 million.

"And the myth became that a million American lives were saved by dropping the bombs. That was not true. The truth is, the bombs were dropped to send a message to the Soviet Union where to get off. Billions of dollars in 1945 money had been spent on that [atomic] project, and the bombs were dropped to fulfill an experiment as well , to show some return on the so-called investment. If those billions of dollars had been spent on ships, tanks and guns in the US military instead of atomic bombs, would the war have ended sooner because of that?" Kemps asked.

Another common myth is that the bombs ended World War II, Kamps said.

"But no, it was the threat of a Soviet military invasion that ended World War II . The Japanese had been firebombed by the Americans for months already, and that lends a lot more to the theory that these atomic bombings were tests, because they [the Americans] were saving some cities to use these bombs against, and they wanted to see full on what the effects were. So Hiroshima was preserved for that purpose," Kemps told Radio Sputnik.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201808091067060230-expert-debunks-hiroshima-nagasaki-myths/

Ghastly and perhaps the single greatest war crime of WW II.

Also, IIRC, Japan was preparing to surrender to the Soviet Union but the nuclear attack caused them to reconsider.

[Aug 15, 2018] War Without End by C.J. Chivers

Notable quotes:
"... More than three million Americans have served in uniform in these wars. Nearly 7,000 of them have died. Tens of thousands more have been wounded. More are killed or wounded each year, in smaller numbers but often in dreary circumstances, including the fatal attack in July on Cpl. Joseph Maciel by an Afghan soldier -- a member of the very forces that the United States has underwritten, trained and equipped, and yet as a matter of necessity and practice now guards itself against. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

More than three million Americans have served in uniform in these wars. Nearly 7,000 of them have died. Tens of thousands more have been wounded. More are killed or wounded each year, in smaller numbers but often in dreary circumstances, including the fatal attack in July on Cpl. Joseph Maciel by an Afghan soldier -- a member of the very forces that the United States has underwritten, trained and equipped, and yet as a matter of necessity and practice now guards itself against.

On one matter there can be no argument: The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center in 2001. They continue today without an end in sight, reauthorized in Pentagon budgets almost as if distant war is a presumed government action.

As the costs have grown -- whether measured by dollars spent, stature lost or blood shed -- the wars' architects and the commentators supporting them have often been ready with optimistic or airbrushed predictions, each pitched to the latest project or newly appointed general's plan. According to the bullhorns and depending on the year, America's military campaigns abroad would satisfy justice, displace tyrants, keep violence away from Western soil, spread democracy, foster development, prevent sectarian war, protect populations, reduce corruption, bolster women's rights, decrease the international heroin trade, check the influence of extreme religious ideology, create Iraqi and Afghan security forces that would be law-abiding and competent and finally build nations that might peacefully stand on their own in a global world, all while discouraging other would-be despots and terrorists.

Aside from displacing tyrants and leading to the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden, none of this turned out as pitched. Prominent successes were short-lived. New thugs rose where old thugs fell. Corruption and lawlessness remain endemic. An uncountable tally of civilians -- many times the number of those who perished in the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001 -- were killed. Others were wounded or driven from their homes, first by American action and then by violent social forces American action helped unleash.

The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, each of which the United States spent hundreds of billions of dollars to build and support, are fragile, brutal and uncertain. The nations they struggle to rule harbor large contingents of irregular fighters and terrorists who have been hardened and made savvy, trained by the experience of fighting the American military machine. Much of the infrastructure the United States built with its citizens' treasure and its troops' labor lies abandoned. Briefly schools or outposts, many are husks, looted and desolate monuments to forgotten plans. Hundreds of thousands of weapons provided to would-be allies have vanished; an innumerable quantity are on markets or in the hands of Washington's enemies. Billions of dollars spent creating security partners also deputized pedophiles, torturers and thieves. National police or army units that the Pentagon proclaimed essential to their countries' futures have disbanded. The Islamic State has sponsored or encouraged terrorist attacks across much of the world -- exactly the species of crime the global "war on terror" was supposed to prevent.

Almost two decades after the White House cast American troops as liberators to be welcomed, large swaths of territory where the Pentagon deployed combat forces are under stubborn insurgent influence. Areas once touted as markers of counterinsurgency progress have become no-go zones, regions in which almost no Americans dare tread, save a few journalists and aid workers, or private military contractors or American military and C.I.A. teams.

... ... ...

Time eases only so much doubt. Six years after leaving the Army, Soto still spent nights awake, trying to come to terms with his Korengal tour. It was not regret or the trauma of combat that drained him. It was the memories of lost soldiers, an indelible grief blended with a fuller understanding that could feel like a curse. Often when Soto reflected upon his service, he was caught between the conflicting urges of deference and candor. He tread as if a balance might exist between respecting the sacrifice and pain of others and speaking forthrightly about the fatal misjudgments of those who managed America's wars. "I try to be respectful; I don't want to say that people died for nothing," he said. "I could never make the families who lost someone think their loved one died in vain."

Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world. The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising. Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.

... ... ...

C.J. Chivers is a writer at large for the magazine. His previous feature article, which followed the combat service and incarceration of a Marine veteran suffering from alcoholism and PTSD, led to the veteran's release from prison and won a Pulitzer Prize. This article is adapted from ''The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq,'' published by Simon & Schuster.

[Aug 15, 2018] Facebook Taps Militarist Think Tank Atlantic Council to Police its content

Russiagate has deepened the partnership between Washington and Silicon Valley, and leftist websites are among the first casualties.
Notable quotes:
"... America has a real problem here with accomplishing its goals – which it is obviously achieving, the silencing of legitimate dissent and the prioritization of the national-security narrative – while simultaneously advertising itself as the center of what the evildoers hate for its freedoms. ..."
"... Americans, and everyone who uses their services, are increasingly regulated in everything they do and say, extending now to what you are allowed to see and hear. Actual freedom is dwindling away to a pinpoint, and what the government wants every election cycle is more cops, more law and order and more security. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | gravatar.com

Warren , August 11, 2018 at 8:18 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZJUjSBXU5iY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

TheRealNews
Published on 11 Aug 2018
From Alex Jones to alleged Russian trolls, major internet companies are increasingly policing content on their platforms. Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone Project says the partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council highlights "the merger of the national security state and Silicon Valley."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TFXQFI8KiWA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

TheRealNews, Published on 11 Aug 2018

Russiagate has deepened the partnership between Washington and Silicon Valley, and leftist websites are among the first casualties. After falsely accusing an anti-white supremacist rally event page of being a fake, Facebook shut down the page of VenezuelaAnalysis.com for several hours without explanation. We speak to VA founder and TRNN host Greg Wilpert, as well as the Grayzone Project's Max Blumenthal

kirill says: August 11, 2018 at 8:59 pm
Western "freedom" of expression in action. I find it interesting how the voices of a few heretics are supposedly some big threat to NATzO. That would indicate that NATzO is not quite the bastion of democracy it paints itself to be. It is unstable because it is based on lies and heretics can initiate the crashing of the facade. But if this is indeed the case, then NATzO is on its way out since no amount of repression of dissidents will change the fundamental inconsistency of its existence.

Mark Chapman says: August 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

America has a real problem here with accomplishing its goals – which it is obviously achieving, the silencing of legitimate dissent and the prioritization of the national-security narrative – while simultaneously advertising itself as the center of what the evildoers hate for its freedoms.

Americans, and everyone who uses their services, are increasingly regulated in everything they do and say, extending now to what you are allowed to see and hear. Actual freedom is dwindling away to a pinpoint, and what the government wants every election cycle is more cops, more law and order and more security.

[Aug 14, 2018] Book: RAND DECEPTION: The TRUTH ABOUT BILL BROWDER, the MAGNITSKY ACT, and ANTI-RUSSIAN SANCTIONS

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

RobinG , August 14, 2018 at 4:25 am GMT

Re. RUSSIAGATE: the 2nd edition of Alex Krainer's book is now available, with new title.

GRAND DECEPTION: The TRUTH ABOUT BILL BROWDER, the MAGNITSKY ACT, and ANTI-RUSSIAN SANCTIONS https://www.redpillpress.com/shop/grand-deception-bill-browder-magnitsky-act-russian-sanctions/

In 2015, Bill Browder published Red Notice – purportedly a true story about his experience in Russia between 1996 and 2005. Upon closer scrutiny however, his story doesn't add up and demonstrably fails to stand up in a court of law. Nonetheless, on the dubious strength of that story, Browder has been able to lobby the U.S. Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act in 2012 which needlessly damaged the relations between the U.S. and Russia. Where he failed in courts of law, however, his campaign of relentless demonization of Russia and of Vladimir Putin has been successful in the court of public opinion in the West. As humanity finds itself on the precipice of yet another great war, what we need are bridges of mutual understanding and constructive engagement, not demonization.

[Aug 14, 2018] Is not it ironic that the neocon and MI6 corrected Browder is a grandson of two KGB agents?

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

annamaria , August 14, 2018 at 1:24 am GMT

@Sean

" and so Putin immediately issued orders for him to be sadistically murdered "
What an amazing consistency in supporting the Browder/Steele line "Putin did it." Which is understandable, considering the efforts and investment made into the MSM memes. You made a very strong impression that the presstituting MSM is your main source of information.
Here are some excerpts from the honest sources.

"Poisoned Russian spy was close to Christopher Steele consultant:" http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/poisoned-russian-spy-close-steele-consultant-report-article-1.3862516
"Jonathan Winer was not only a point man for the Steele "dossier" at the State Department in 2016 (and Steele dossiers of yore), he was also a father of the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Yes, longtime Senate staffer Winer is the "old friend" Browder credits with envisioning the legislative strategy that culminated in passage of the law. (More recently, Winer is serving as Browder's bulldog-lawyer -- story here.)
"Cardin knew there were problems with Browder's story about Magnitsky's death and yet brought him into Congress to testify to secure the vote. That's suborning perjury:" https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-04/magnitsky-trio-pushes-war-russia-new-sanctions

"Litvinenko's circle also included Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Goldfarb, Vyacheslav Zharko, and Akhmed Zakayev, most of whom have received asylum in the U.K. In the 1990s, Boris Berezovsky worked with Mikhail Khodorkovsky and George Soros' International Science Foundation which was headed by Alexander Goldfarb for almost ten years. He was also involved in money laundering millions of dollars through the Bank of New York and the Republic Bank of New York which was owned by Bill Browder's now deceased partner, Edmond Safra:" https://jimmysllama.com/2018/05/07/11191/

– Is not interesting, how so many Browder's connections met an untimely death yet Browder the Scoundrel is well supported and protected by the "deciders." -- See the fate of a DOCUMENTARY about Browder, Magnitsky, and a bloody trail of the dead former employees of Browder whom he used for his very profitable if criminal enterprise.
Alexander Perepelichny" was the key witness who could potentially destroy the scam with highest political stakes on Magnitsky dossier. As Browder responds with "I do not recall" and "I do not know" on any substantial inquiry in the court, the US judiciary could be very interested in hearing Perepelichny. This menace to Magnitsky Act was eliminated one week before the bill passed the US House: on Nov 10, 2012 Alexander Perepelichny was found dead outside his mansion in London."

[Aug 14, 2018] Maybe The US congress truly believe they can decapitate Russia with very little risk or damage to NATO countries, but from publicly available data it doesn't look like that.

Notable quotes:
"... Why are they pushing a propaganda war which awfully looks like psychological preparation for a real hot war, when they must know that there cannot ever be a real hot war? ..."
"... How will they prevent escalation if they themselves seem to slowly drink their own Kool-Aid and believe that Russia is "waging hybrid warfare" with them, and therefore that any military action against Russia counts as self-defense, moreover, that it'd be insane not to wage an actual war against Russia? ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 7:26 pm GMT

@Mitleser

Exactly. It's a bit frightening because I don't quite get what their endgame is here.

Maybe they truly believe they can decapitate Russia with very little risk or damage to NATO countries, but from publicly available data it doesn't look like that.

Why are they pushing a propaganda war which awfully looks like psychological preparation for a real hot war, when they must know that there cannot ever be a real hot war?

How will they prevent escalation if they themselves seem to slowly drink their own Kool-Aid and believe that Russia is "waging hybrid warfare" with them, and therefore that any military action against Russia counts as self-defense, moreover, that it'd be insane not to wage an actual war against Russia?

[Aug 14, 2018] Trump has repeatedly stressed that Russia and the US are the two biggest nuclear powers in the world, with their combined nuclear arsenal accounting for 90 percent of world's total, and thus the US must live in peace with Russia.

Notable quotes:
"... Russia's economy is weak. Its GDP did not make the world's top 10, yet its military, especially its nuclear power, has sustained its status as one of the most influential nations in the world. Russia and the US have serious geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, but Trump suddenly reversed the hardline US stance and showed a low-key response to Putin. That's probably because, as Trump said, Russia is a nuclear power. ..."
"... Yet Trump's respect toward Russia is worth mentioning. Trump is a man who values strength, and he attaches great importance to military strength, especially nuclear strength. ..."
"... China is different from Russia. China has a robust economy and has many tools at its disposal, which is an advantage. Yet China's relatively weak military, especially its nuclear power, which lags behind the US, is a major strategic sore point. ..."
"... Just by looking at the US' aggressive attitude in the South China Sea and the Taiwan question, we know that China's nuclear strength is "far from sufficient." Part of the US' strategic arrogance may come from its absolute nuclear advantage. We are concerned that maybe one day, Washington will turn this arrogance into military provocation, whereby China will face very grave challenges. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Thorfinnsson , August 13, 2018 at 9:04 pm GMT

@Okechukwu

From Chinese state media: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1111711.shtml

Amid the lingering fury from the US media over US President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the White House announced Thursday that Trump invited Putin to visit Washington this fall. Trump's attitude has been firm on improving US-Russia relations. Despite staunch opposition, it is quite likely that US-Russia relations will halt its slide during Trump's presidency.

Trump has repeatedly stressed that Russia and the US are the two biggest nuclear powers in the world, with their combined nuclear arsenal accounting for 90 percent of world's total, and thus the US must live in peace with Russia. On US-Russia relations, Trump is clearheaded.

Russia's economy is weak. Its GDP did not make the world's top 10, yet its military, especially its nuclear power, has sustained its status as one of the most influential nations in the world. Russia and the US have serious geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, but Trump suddenly reversed the hardline US stance and showed a low-key response to Putin. That's probably because, as Trump said, Russia is a nuclear power.

We know US-Russia relations cannot be improved overnight because it is difficult for the two countries to make strategic compromises in Europe and the Middle East. Even if their relations improve, other frictions may emerge, causing new rifts in bilateral ties.

Yet Trump's respect toward Russia is worth mentioning. Trump is a man who values strength, and he attaches great importance to military strength, especially nuclear strength.

The US has defined China as its strategic competitor and is exerting more pressure. The trade war may be just the beginning. Tensions between the two nations may spread to other areas. We believe that during this process, the White House will continue to evaluate, including a look at China's nuclear arsenal.

China is different from Russia. China has a robust economy and has many tools at its disposal, which is an advantage. Yet China's relatively weak military, especially its nuclear power, which lags behind the US, is a major strategic sore point.

A popular view among Chinese strategists is that we need only a sufficient number of nuclear weapons. Too many nuclear weapons cost more and may trigger outside alarm, leading to strategic uncertainty. Those who hold this view believe China does not need to increase its strategic nuclear weapons and should instead focus on modernizing its nuclear weapons to secure the country's capability for a second nuclear strike. We believe this view is a serious misinterpretation of the major countries' nuclear situation.

China is no small country that needs only a few nuclear weapons to scare off an intimidator at a critical moment. China has grown into a global influence, facing greater risks and pressure than smaller countries do. We must reconsider what constitutes "sufficient" in terms of nuclear weapons.

China's nuclear weapons have to not only secure a second strike but also play the role of cornerstone in forming a strong deterrence so that outside powers dare not intimidate China militarily. Once major countries are engaged in military conflicts, each side must evaluate the determination of the other side to see the conflict through. Nuclear power is the pillar of that determination. One of the major reasons that the US used a "salami-slicing" method to push for NATO's eastward expansion but refused to engage in open conflict in Ukraine and Syria with Russia is probably because it was concerned about what Moscow might do with its huge nuclear arsenal.

Just by looking at the US' aggressive attitude in the South China Sea and the Taiwan question, we know that China's nuclear strength is "far from sufficient." Part of the US' strategic arrogance may come from its absolute nuclear advantage. We are concerned that maybe one day, Washington will turn this arrogance into military provocation, whereby China will face very grave challenges.

China must speed up its process of developing strategic nuclear power. Advanced missiles such as the Dongfeng-41 should materialize as soon as possible. Not only should we possess a strong nuclear arsenal, but we must also let the outside world know that China is determined to defend its core national interests with nuclear power.

Of course, we do not believe nuclear power development should override all the other work or its development should come at the expense of other major developmental interests. But this work must be made a top priority. We must recognize the urgent need for China to strengthen its nuclear prowess.

[Aug 14, 2018] If a nuclear war starts, it is only logical for the initial combatants to target ALL powers at once, as this may be their last chance to reduce their neighbors' ability to loot and conquer after the war.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

ZZZ , August 13, 2018 at 10:30 pm GMT

@neutral

If a nuclear war starts, it is only logical for the initial combatants to target ALL powers at once, as this may be their last chance to reduce their neighbors' ability to loot and conquer after the war. So expect Europe & China to be hit. China will in turn target Japan, India, Korea, etc. The US do not trust Canada or Mexico, so these may well become targets too. Pakistan and Israel may want to make their move at this point. Pretty soon it would become clear that no major industrial or population center should be spared. So within a couple of hours, the world's entire nuclear stockpile would be launched.

After these events, the country with the most extensive tunnel system will emerge as the new world leader.

[Aug 14, 2018] Russia of today is in a comparatively much weaker position overall than the USSR due to powerful fifth column

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Parbes , August 14, 2018 at 1:45 am GMT

@reiner Tor

" I don't quite get what their endgame is here .Why are they pushing a propaganda war which awfully looks like psychological preparation for a real hot war, when they must know that there cannot ever be a real hot war?"

Most probably, because they are calculating that under various forms of psychological and economic pressure Russia will crumble from within and surrender, just like in the times of Gorbachev-Yeltsin, without having to fight a real, risk-filled war. Surrender and subjugation without firing a shot – THAT'S their imagined endgame. "Why wouldn't what worked within living memory, a mere 30 years ago, work again now in updated form?", they think – especially since the Russia of today is in a comparatively much weaker position overall than the USSR of back then and the Russian rulers and society are not really too much different psychologically from what they were back then, and are even mostly COMPOSED OF THE SAME INDIVIDUALS? Is it really surprising that they think that way, given the continued existence and thriving inside Russia of a powerful, openly seditious Fifth Column which is not seriously combatted by either the Putin government or the stupid mass of the Russian populace (who stand to lose the most, suffer terribly, and be reduced to colonized virtual serfs or exterminated if the Fifth Columnists and their foreign masters succeed in crashing Russia)?

Of course, IF this is a miscalculation (and I'm not sure that it is, given the current weak, appeasing mentality of the Russian government and population), and the psychopathic Western ruling elites don't manage to get a hold of their oversized lunatic egos and rein in their arrogant hubristic belligerence – well, then the whole situation could devolve pretty quick into a massive, WW I/WW II/Iraq/Serbia combination-type hot war scenario. Except, this time, with the real probability of stepwise escalation from conventional hostilities to Thermonuclear Holocaust.

Vidi , August 14, 2018 at 1:14 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

Realistically, what action Russia could take that would potentially match the disruptive power of American sanctions on Russia?

Russia may have struck a heavy blow already, when she dumped her holdings of U.S. treasuries. The relatively small amount ($100 to $200 billion) may not have been significant, but as a signal to the rest of the world it may have been loud. The new sanctions may be an attempt to punish Russia for that. They won't work, of course, but the noise they generate may help to obscure the import of Russia's recent action.

Si1ver1ock , August 14, 2018 at 12:57 am GMT
What I don't understand is why the US thinks Russia and China will continue to sanction North Korea. It seems like the US is handing out straight razors to everybody and asking them to slit each others throats. Except for Erdogan, they all seem to be saying, "Sure why not?"

Maybe they are simply accustomed to taking orders.

[Aug 14, 2018] Why Confronting Israel is Important by Philip Giraldi

I believe Mr. Giraldi should choose his language more carefully. Perhaps instead of referring to "Jews," he should narrow this to "Jewish Likud supporters" or Jewish supremacists, or something similar
Notable quotes:
"... Jewish power ..."
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

I am often asked why I have this "thing" about Israel, with friends suggesting that I would be much more respected as a pundit if I were to instead concentrate on national security and political corruption. The problem with that formulation is that the so-called "special relationship" with Israel is itself the result of terrible national security and foreign policy choices that is sustained by pervasive political and media corruption, so any honest attempt to examine the one inevitably leads to the other. Most talking heads in the media avoid that dilemma by choosing to completely ignore the dark side of Israel.

Israel – not Russia – is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism. It is also the single most significant threat to genuine national security as it and its powerful domestic lobby have been major advocates for the continuation of America's interventionist warfare state. The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

And I can go on from there. According to the FBI, Israel runs the most aggressive spying operations against the U.S. among ostensibly "friendly" nations, frequently stealing our military technology for resale by its own arms merchants. Its notable successes in espionage have included the most devastating spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard, while it has also penetrated American communications systems and illegally obtained both the fuel and the triggers for its own secret nuclear weapons arsenal.

Israel cares little for American sovereignty. It's prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu have both boasted how they control the United States. In 2001, Israel was running a massive secret spying operation directed against Arabs in the U.S. Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington. There was the spectacle of the "dancing Shlomos," Israeli "movers" from a company in New Jersey who apparently had advanced knowledge of the terrorist attack and danced and celebrated as they watched the Twin Towers go down.

Jewish power , both in terms of money and of access to people and mechanisms that really matter, is what allows Israel to act with impunity, making the United States both poorer and more insecure. A well-funded massive lobbying effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals in the U.S. has worked to the detriment of actual American interests, in part by creating a permanent annual gift of billions of dollars to Israel for no other reason but that it is Israel and can get anything it wants from a servile Congress and White House without any objection from a controlled media.

Israel has also obtained carte blanche political protection from the U.S. in fora like the United Nations, which is damaging to America's reputation and its actual interests. This protection now extends to the basing of U.S. troops in Israel to serve as a tripwire, guaranteeing that Washington will become involved if Israel is ever attacked or even if Israel itself starts a war. The current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is little more than a shill for Israel while America's Ambassador in Israel David Friedman is an open supporter of Israel's illegal settlements, which the U.S. opposes, who spends much of his time defending Israeli war crimes .

And here on the home front Israel is doing damage that might be viewed as even more grave in Senator Ben Cardin's attempt to destroy First Amendment rights by making any criticism of Israel illegal. The non-violent Israel Boycott movement (BDS) has already been sanctioned in many states, the result of intensive and successful lobbying by the Israeli government and its powerful friends.

So if there is a real enemy of the United States in terms of the actual damage being inflicted by a foreign power, it is Israel. In the recent Russiagate investigations it was revealed that it was Israel, not Russia, that sought favors from Michael Flynn and the incoming Trump Administration yet Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidently not chosen to go down that road with his investigations, which should surprise no one.

Noam Chomsky, iconic progressive intellectual, has finally come around on the issue of Israel and what it means. He has always argued somewhat incoherently that Israeli misbehavior has been due to its role as a tool of American imperialism and capitalism. At age 89, he has finally figured out that it is actually all about what a parasitic Israel wants without any regard for its American host, observing on "Democracy Now" that

..take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that's almost a joke. First of all, if you're interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president's policies – what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015 .

Politicians are terrified of crossing the Jewish lobby by saying anything negative about Israel, which means that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu always gets a pass from the American government, even when he starves civilians and bombs hospitals and schools. Netanyahu uses snipers to shoot dead scores of unarmed demonstrators and the snipers themselves joke about their kills without a peep from Washington, which styles itself the "leader of the free world."

Just recently, Israel has declared itself a Jewish State with all that implies. To be sure, Israeli Christians and Muslims were already subject to a battery of laws and regulations that empowered Jews at their expense but now it is the guiding principle that Israel will be run for the benefit of Jews and Jews alone. And it still likes to call itself a "democracy."

A recent television program illustrates just how far the subjugation of America's elected leaders by Israel has gone. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is featured on a new show called "Who is America?" in which he uses disguises and aliases to engage politicians and other luminaries in unscripted interviews that reveal just how ignorant or mendacious they actually are. Several recent episodes remind one of a February 2013 Saturday Night Live skit on the impending confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. A Senator asks Hagel. "It is vital to Israel's security for you to go on national television and perform oral sex on a donkey Would you do THAT for Israel?" A "yes" answer was, of course, expected from Hagel. The skit was never aired after objections from the usual suspects.

Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them. Cohen, wearing an Israeli military uniform and calling himself a colonel, clearly displayed sergeant's stripes. Hinting that he might actually be a Mossad agent, Cohen also sported a T-shirt on which the Hebrew text was printed backwards and he claimed that the Israeli spy agency's motto was "if you want to win, show some skin."

Cohen set up Dick Cheney by complimenting him on being the "the king of terrorist killers" before commenting that "my neighbor in Tel Aviv is in jail for murder, or, as we call it, enhanced tickling." Morad went on to tell Cheney that he once waterboarded his wife to check for infidelity and then convinced the former Vice President to sign a "waterboarding kit" that "already had" the signatures of Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Demi Lovato.

Another more spectacular sketch included a Georgia state senator Jason Spencer who was convinced to shout out the n-word as part of an alleged video being made to fight terrorism. After Cohen told Spencer that it was necessary to incite fear in homophobic jihadists, Spencer dropped his pants and underwear, before backing up with his exposed rear end while shouting "USA!" and "America!" Spencer also spoke with a phony Asian accent while simulating using a selfie-stick to secretly insert a camera phone inside a Muslim woman's burqa.

In another series of encounters, Cohen as Morad managed to convince current and ex-Republican members of Congress -- to include former Senate majority leader Trent Lott -- to endorse a fictional Israeli program to arm grade school children for self-defense.

Cohen's footage included a former Illinois congressman and talk radio host named Joe Walsh saying : "The intensive three-week 'Kinderguardian' course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars. In less than a month -- less than a month -- a first-grader can become a first grenade-er."

Both controversial Alabama judge Roy Moore and Walsh were fooled into meeting Cohen to attend a non-existent pro-Israel conference to accept an award for "significant contributions to the state of Israel." Representative Dana Rohrabacher, meanwhile, also was interviewed and he commented that, "Maybe having young people trained and understand how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here." And Congressman Joe Wilson observed that "A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a 'Hello Kitty' pencil case at it."

Cohen's performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says. How Cohen did it says a lot about the reflexive and completely uncritical support for Israel that many American politicians -- particularly Republicans -- now embrace. This, in a nutshell, is the damage that Israel and its Lobby have done to the United States. Israel is always right for many policymakers and even palpably phony Jews like Colonel Morad are instantly perceived as smarter than the rest of us so we'd better do what they say. That kind of thinking has brought us Iraq, Libya, Syria and the possibility of something far worse with Iran.

Israel routinely interferes in American politics and corrupts our institutions without any cost to itself and that is why I write and speak frequently regarding the danger to our Republic that it poses. It is past time to change the essentially phony narrative. Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself and protect its interests but that should not involve the United States. One can only hope that eventually a majority of my fellow American citizens will also figure things out. It might take a while, but the ruthless way Israel openly operates with no concern for anyone but itself provides a measure of optimism that that day is surely coming.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .

Anonymous [679] Disclaimer , August 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

. The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

Oh right, who can forget the cabal of Jews controlling the US government and military at the time of the Iraq invasion, such as President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, CIA director George Tenet, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Every.Single.Time, am I right, folks?

Oh wait, they aren't Jewish? Well, I blame the Jews away. Just look at uh Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Woflowitz and journalist Bill Kristol. That sounds like an extremely powerful cabal easily capable of commanding such trivial figures as the President, CIA director, Secretary of State, et cetera, to do their bidding.

Besides, just look at how much the Iraq War benefited Israel. You see, Israel wants to pursue a strategy of destabilizing the region, so it cleverly pulled off a false flag attack on 9/11; I'm not quite sure why Mossad didn't frame one of Israel's actual enemies, like the Palestinians or Iranians, or even Saddam for that matter, as the perpetrators of the attacks, but I'm sure it's all part of the plan.

Anyway, Israel got the United States to invade Iraq, which destabilized the region and created chaos, predictably leading to a massive increase in Iranian influence in Iraq and likely enabling more Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which benefited Israel because uh chaos and destabilization.

And if you doubt that neocons totally control the US government, just look at how we're at war with Iran! Well we're not technically at war yet, a decade after neoconservatives began promoting the war .and President Obama did somehow manage to sign a nuclear deal with Iran that infuriated his neocon and Israeli puppetmasters but I'm sure that President Trump, famously beloved by Jews and neocons everywhere, will soon go to war with Iran.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT

@Ben_C

' I'm not entirely sure why you keep hanging on to this tired and false narrative that US politicians are some sort of stooges and puppets of Israel '

Maybe because they are stooges and puppets? In extreme cases, they even boast of it. When Romney was running for president, he promised he would check with Israel on any action we took in the Middle East. When Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was promoting civil war in Syria, she explained that this was necessary because Israel wished it.

It goes on, and on. If someone is considering a run for Congress, he gets a nice little packet from AIPAC. Among other things, he's asked to write an essay expressing his feelings about Israel.

If the essay isn't satisfactory, AIPAC backs his opponent.

Not surprisingly, when Netanyahu -- the premier of a tiny state on the other side of the planet -- spoke to Congress he was interrupted with standing ovations seventeen times. The display put me in mind of the sort of frenzied adulation Communist delegates used to display towards Stalin.

and the motives, of course, would be similar, even if actual death isn't in prospect. For most in Congress, displease Israel, and your political career just ended.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:29 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it (Israel) had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington."

It's certainly difficult to explain how else Mossad came to be filming the attack.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:52 am GMT
I think it needs to be emphasized that it's not merely a matter of practical politics.

Israel is evil -- she brings misery to millions, actual happiness to almost no one, and engages in behavior with no defensible moral foundation at all. She has attacked every single one of her neighbors, compulsively seeks out further conflict to paper over the shortcomings in her own national identity, and treats her Palestinian subjects with a morality about like that of a nasty little boy pulling the wings off a fly.

Arguably, others are as bad. However, unlike the others, Israel could not have come into being without our support, and could not continue to exist today without our continued moral, economic, diplomatic, and military support. If we pulled the plug, Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish supremacist state within -- at most -- a decade.

We are, in fact, responsible for Israel, and hence responsible for Israel's crimes. Other people's teenaged sons may well be out there stealing cars and raping girls. This happens to be our son doing it. We're responsible.

We pursue many policies I regard as futile, short-sighted, deluded, or self-destructive. My personal list would include 'come one come all' immigration, global warming denial, maintaining a massive military establishment, condoning 'Black Lives Matter,' and probably some other things.

No doubt the reader has his own list. However, that's not the point. The point is that essentially, these policies are merely stupid rather than actually evil. It's not evil to think we should just let whoever wants come into the US. It's dumb -- but it isn't evil. In fact, I'll willingly credit people who vote for 'sanctuary cities' et al with the most laudable sentiments. I merely question their intelligence.

Israel is different. Israel is evil, and hence our support for it is as well. It is the most fundamentally wrong act we are engaged in.

There is a moral dimension to life. There is a distinction between striving to do good -- however unsuccessfully -- and willingly participating in evil.

We need to stop supporting Israel.

The Alarmist , August 14, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT

"A well-funded massive lobbying effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals in the U.S. has worked to the detriment of actual American interests, in part by creating a permanent annual gift of billions of dollars to Israel for no other reason but that it is Israel and can get anything it wants from a servile Congress and White House without any objection from a controlled media."

Kind of begs the question, why are we giving any aid to a first-world country with a GDP growth rate in the 3% to 4% rate for years (even while we were stuck below 2%) and an unemployment rate below 4%?

The Israeli economy is in better shape than the US economy; they should be giving us aid.

"Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them."

Yes, it is truly amazing what our "Best & Brightest" will do to stay on-side. Following Mr. Giraldi's earlier post regarding the gubernatorial run of Israeli puppet Ron DeSantis and the Big Sugar connections of Adam Putnam, it would seem a Floridian's least worst choice is Bob White.

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 9:31 am GMT

Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself

1st part: Absolutely, indubitably correct.

2nd part: ¿Qué? Why do people say/write this? Under what corrupt arrangement does an oh, so obvious outlaw have any such right?

Consider: A gang of out-of-towners turns up at a block of flats, breaks the doors down and occupies the building, killing some erstwhile owner/occupiers and ejecting most of the rest on the way in, thereafter whooping it up big, and ignoring [obviously too feeble] orders to RoR+R*3 [= Right of Return + Revest, Reparations and Reconciliation.] Since when can such outlaws dictate anything, thumb their noses at the Law?

Property, especially here land, is alienable – but this does not mean ' subject to seizure by aliens .'

Kindly consider: "A fair exchange is no robbery." A fair exchange means willing seller, interested buyer, and a freely and fairly agreed price. No such thing exists vis-à-vis the forcible colonisation of Palestine. Some proof may be seen here [my bolding]:

By 1949, some 700,000 Palestinians had fled or been expelled from their lands and villages. Israel was now in control of some 20.5 million dunams (approx. 20,500 km²) or 78% of lands in what had been Mandatory Palestine

Land laws were passed to legalize changes to land ownership.[5]

5. Ruling Palestine, A History of the Legally Sanctioned Jewish-Israeli Seizure of Land and Housing in Palestine. Publishers: COHRE & BADIL, May 2005, p. 37.

Especially in reference to the illegitimate entity which terms itself Israel, wiki is not reliable, being, like the US Congress, Israeli-occupied territory. So it is noteworthy that they write "in control of" as opposed to 'own.' They can't ever own it due to not having purchased it, and Palestinians may not surrender it, due to the UDHR which specifies *inalienable* rights:

Article 3.
• Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 17.
• (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
• (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Also, see the Washington Consensus:

10.Legal security for property rights.

Further, there is UNSC242: inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, plus only just law may earn respect, and/or be respected. A law dispossessing erstwhile legal owner/occupiers is an utter travesty.

Me; comment: Its illegitimacy is all so howlingly obvious!

Fazit: Apart from the ~6% of 'pre-Herzl Palestine' which 'invading by stealth' alien, mostly European Jews managed to purchase, the illegitimate entity does not own nor can they ever own the land/property they squat upon, which still belongs to the erstwhile owner/occupiers, specifically the 'native' pre-Nakba Palestinians [now including heirs & successors]. Then, the illegitimate entity does not declare borders for two reasons 1) any such declaration would be [probably successfully] challenged and 2) the illegitimate entity expresses the desire to expand to 'from the Nile to the Euphrates.' Q: Just how ghastly is that? A: Could hardly be worse.

Closing the loop: How can land-thieves have any 'right to defend' such improperly alienated land/property? It doesn't compute! rgds

mark green , August 14, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
Thank you, Mr. Giraldi, for another forceful rebuke of Zionist criminality and US culpability.

The supremacist kosher state is a cancer on America. Just survey the wreckage. Count the bodies. Who benefits from this?

The Zionist project is a plague on humanity. It entertains no compromise. It will stop at virtually nothing. Examine the blood-soaked damage from Soviet Russia to Germany to Palestine and beyond. It moves Washington around via remote control.

The situation has become very grave. Speech deemed 'anti-Semitic' is rapidly being criminalized worldwide.

Right wing political expression (that Jews don't like) on Twitter, Facebook and the web is being de-platformed for speech infractions that involve 'hate'. But it's only 'hate' of a certain stripe.

After all, hatred is ubiquitous in America. It cuts in every direction. So why is the focus so intense on just one spectrum of hatred?

Might it have something to do with the political preferences of those in power?

Oh maybe.

Principles be damned. Whose ox is being gored?

With that in mind, consider this: who might actually be the biggest hater of all?–and killer? (Hint: it's certainly not the powerless Alt-right 'deplorables'.)

Might it instead be the world's foremost victims?

After all, incendiary speech–even 'hate speech'–does not kill. It takes bombs, drones, tanks and missiles to accomplish that.

So where's the uproar over routine sorties which needlessly dispense death and destruction?

It's gone missing.

Incredibly, it is rough speech and acute political criticism–not failed, horrific wars–that are being criminalized. Pro-Zionist 'wars of choice' still get a pass in our corporate board rooms, TV studios, news rooms, and in most of Official Washington.

This entrenched distortion allows neocons and their underlings to jawbone and plot their next preemptive war. The Big Squeeze is on. Beware Russia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iran. Zionism is an 'unshakable' Washington value. So get ready.

How distant wars advance the interests of average Americans remains a mystery.

Despite this puzzle, America's MSM offers little resistance and no straightforward criticism of Zio-Washington's ceaseless war efforts on behalf of a certain 'democratic ally'. In similar fashion, the Fourth Estate has also been compromised.

It's worth remembering that, according to the UN Charter, a state-sponsored 'First Strike' against another sovereign state is the most serious war crime. This elementary moral precept however matters not–at least not when Israel is pulling the strings. Quiet, children. Listen. Obey.

What we have here is a pattern of vast serial criminality.

Zio-Washington has become Israel's war vessel. We regular folk are just along for the ride.

So don't forget to cheer for the good guys!

Incredibly, US-enabled, Israeli ruthlessness has gotten even worse under 'America First' Trump. After all, Trump needlessly tore up Obama's hard-fought peace deal with Iran.

Why would Trump make such a move? (As a candidate, he was far less hawkish).

Our weakened and despised President needs desperately to please America's foremost lobby. Trump cannot govern without their support. This peculiar situation however requires additional blood-letting on behalf of the Zionist state. Foreign wars that benefit Israel are the unwritten price that the goyim leadership in America must pay. Sorry folks!

(Are you listening, Tehran?)

Jewish power corrupts. Overwhelming Jewish power corrupts in overwhelming fashion.

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 11:21 am GMT
@Colin Wright

It's certainly difficult to explain how else Mossad came to be filming the attack

Err 'do + document?' It's certainly difficult to explain how 19 reputed Muslim/Arab hijackers could have 'control demolished' WTC7; ~2.5secs at *exactly* free-fall speed, WTCs 1&2 at almost free-fall speed [plus the outwards-ejected massive steel sections], and all mainly 'all the way down' into their own 'footprints' = all three control demolished [all for one; one for all]. Camel-f ** ckers just ain't that clever, eh? The observed fact that the US rogue-regime made no 'counteractions' vis-à-vis the so-called 'attack on America' made all 'responsibles' accessories; before [covert agencies], during [order-givers] and after ['led' by the corrupt&venal MSM+PFBCs [latter = publicly financed broadcasters]; all vile traitors.] Ho, hum; just another US/Z travesty. rgds

JessicaR , August 14, 2018 at 11:43 am GMT
I read these kinds of articles with mixed reactions.

On the one hand, I believe Mr. Giraldi should choose his language more carefully. Perhaps instead of referring to "Jews," he should narrow this to "Jewish Likud supporters" or something similar.

The Jewish community as a whole is moderate, reasonable, and not especially devoted to war. It is a subset of the community–which, alas, happens to be well-funded and dedicated–that promotes war 24/7.

I believe Mr. Giraldi would appear more credible if he made this crucial distinction.

On the other hand, someone will always comment that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. are more powerful than Wolfowitz and Feith. I believe this line of attack ignores crucial facts.

1. It is these less powerful underlings that package the information that their superiors use when determining policy. One need only recall the Office of Special Plans, headed by Feith, that cherry-picked intelligence to make the case for war. Also, Wolfowitz served as Bush II's foreign policy tutor when he was a candidate.

2. It has been credibly reported, I believe by Dana Milbanks in the Washington Post, that Jewish donors provide 50% of individual donations to the Democratic party and 35% of donations made to the Republicans. This kind of money gives those hawkish elements of the Jewish community considerable power. In a system in which the vote is split almost equally between both parties, these funds are crucial to electoral success.

So, yes, the Israel lobby is extraordinarily powerful. But no, it does not represent all American Jews.

Philip Giraldi , August 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm GMT
@JessicaR

Jessica – I never say "all Jews" or even "most Jews" but to ignore that the dominance of Israel is a Jewish problem is to turn one's back on reality. It is Jewish oligarchs and organizations that push the Israeli agenda, that fund it, and that sustain it in the media and on capitol hill. I know there are a lot of liberal Jews and even some not so liberal ones that abhor what Israel is doing but are afraid to say anything lest they be called "self hating." They have to get off the fence and declare that the USA is their home and that Netanyahu's insistence that Israel is the Jewish homeland is a self-serving fraud. Until that happens, Israel will dominate America's foreign policy discussion, to our damage. Israel is a foreign country and should be treated by Washington like any other foreign country, i.e. based on US national interests.

anon [317] Disclaimer , August 14, 2018 at 12:08 pm GMT
@Ben_C

"special relationship" with Israel is itself the result of terrible national security and foreign policy" while I agree that the statement is true, if does not begin to explain the depth of Zionist control of the American Empire, nor does it look to the origin of that control.

1. Israel is the network @ Colin wright, @ anonymous in reply to Ben_C as well as

2. The well researched book entitled "The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer (the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguised Service professor of Political Science and the co director of the progarm on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago) and Stephen M. Walt (the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor international Affairs at the John f. Kennedy School of government at Harvard University and past academic dean of the Kennedy School which discusses the Impact of US Foreign Policy as it relates to America's nation interest.

3. https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/05/570217/US-aid-to-Israel-to-exceed-38B
38 billion is $112 per America given to Israel by the USA congress
What possible benefit can Americans get from giving a bunch of militants in the Middle East 38 million?

4. Article VI of the US Constitution readmitted back into Independent America the entire banking and corporate leaches which caused the American revolution, explained in some detail on this website just a few days ago. @ Anon[317] • Disclaimer says: August 12, 2018 at 12:31 pm GMT • 1,100 Words wherein the so called landed estates and landed Gentry were mostly British Banking and Trading and Slaving Corporations (many Jewish owners) doing business in America. Their wealth was derived from their land ownership and corporations licensed to do business in America by foreign governments. The British Aristocratic land grants mostly made to privately owned British banking, trading and slaving corporations or wealthy British and French Aristocrats allowed foreign nations to deed title to American land. These baron-landed owners, the so-called Gentry, were the very centers of the British a-human rights authority and vicious corporate and political powerhouses that controlled the American Colonies of Britain. It was the landed gentry that brought the American colonist to revolt against British rule. BUT just 12 years after the 1776 Declaration of Independence, the banker and Aristocrat favorable US constitution was imposed by a process called ratification? ( a third party regime change process that appears in the US Constitution as Article VII?). This ratification process was used to impose the very same British mostly Wealthy Crowd to not only keep their land granted lands, their personal wealth earned by inhumanity to mankind, and their educated Aristocratic global life styles in America. So the US constitution itself allowed to be installed: a government that only gave the British Baron Aristocrats voting control of America's destiny but it also terminated the Democracy (Articles of Confederation) that so much American blood had been spilt to bring about. These were the some of the forefathers forefathers to global Zionism, a part of the powerhouse support team of the Jewish banking and corporate global network, many of whom became team members in the formalized conspiracy to take control of the oil in the world and to weaponize immigration in order to take the oil from the Arabs. In 1896 (Switzerland , first Zionist Congress) the Jewish controlled organizations weaponized immigration and aimed it at the Ottoman Arab oil. Trace a failed coup attempt against the Ottoman, the Balfour Agreement, WWI, British and French control over once Ottoman Palestine, the Palin Commission, a network established military base that became Israel, immediate International recognition by the Jewish controlled nations of the world) and so on. .

I trust you might now be " entirely sure why .. the narrative that US Politicians {must be ] .. [elected, salaried] stooges and puppets of Israel " few outsiders are allowed to take a position among the 527 who control the law making powers and war making powers that the USA uses to force Americans into their wars.

Miggle , August 14, 2018 at 12:10 pm GMT
It seems that a large proportion of the members of the US Congress are Israeli citizens.

It is unconstitutional for a member of the Australian Parliament to be a dual citizen. This is taken to such an extent that if it's found that an MP born in New Zealand moved to Australia as a baby, that person's election becomes null and void, unless he or she was conscious of the situation and verifiably renounced NZ citizenship prior to the election. That is so even in this mad case of Australians and New Zealanders having the same head of state, the English monarch.

Why on earth can't America bring in a similar law, making it impossible for Israeli citizens to vote in its Congress, to even be there?

[Aug 14, 2018] Why Did 51 American State Department Officials 'Dissent' Against Obama and Call for Bombing Syria?

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , August 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm GMT

@Colin Wright

Yea it was suppose to be Hillary. Under her 51 US State Dept. officials demanded Obama bomb Syria.

Why Did 51 American State Department Officials 'Dissent' Against Obama and Call for Bombing Syria?

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/06/why-did-51-american-state-department-officials-dissent-against-obama-and-call-for-bombing-syria.html

51 U.S. diplomats who still haven't grasped the negative outcomes of the disastrous wars launched since 2002, the solution is to bomb the world into America's image. In an internal dissent cable addressed to Barack Obama, seasoned diplomats have urged airstrikes on the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Chas Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, told me he found the cable "unusual" in two respects. First, it garnered a large number of signatures. Most of those who signed the cable, a State Department official told me, were "rank and file" diplomats, such as a deputy to U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and a secretary in the Near East Bureau. They had a good understanding of the current situation in the region. The second reason this cable is unusual, said Ambassador Freeman, is that the signatories "are arguing for rather than against the use of force." Over the past 40 years, diplomats have used the "dissent channel" to caution against a rush to war. Now these diplomats are asking for an intensification of war.

A former ambassador told me that many of the diplomats have great fealty to Hillary Clinton. Could they have leaked this cable to boost Clinton's narrative that she wanted a more robust attack on Damascus as early as 2012? Is this a campaign advertisement for Clinton, and a preparation for her likely Middle East policy when she takes power in 2017? Clinton certainly advocated tougher military action in Syria. She joined CIA chief David Petraeus to push for a U.S.-backed rebel army in 2012, and she argued for air strikes when there was no appetite for this in the White House.

[Aug 14, 2018] Creating problems in Ukriane is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA

Looks like the aim of US sanctions is to ratchet the hostility up with Russia to the level of a full blown cold war. Ukraine can be a victim.
Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified? ..."
"... Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them). ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

@reiner Tor


We'll need an anti-sanctions law regardless of whether or not we are going to invade.
Well, I'd say it's a precondition to invading Ukraine. If you're incapable of making such a simple law, you're sure as hell incapable of invading Ukraine. And you do need the law if you want to avoid the sanctions creating the perverse incentives inside Russia, like the biggest banks not having branches in the Crimea. Decoupling from the US dollar is no help, since US sanctions are extraterritorial, if you didn't notice, so they affect euro or even Chinese yuan denominated transactions, too.
Eastern Europeans will never mobilise. What would mass mobilisation even look like in a country like Hungary? Instead, they'll petition USA to station more of its troops in Eastern Europe. A lot more, like hundreds of thousands more.
Within living memory, Hungary had armed forces of 150,000 troops and 1,500 main battle tanks (admittedly, the majority were somewhat obsolete), with hundreds of fighter and light bomber jets (MiG-21s and Su-22s etc.), and we were the slackers in the Eastern Bloc, not spending on defense as much as other neighbors of us. Increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP is what's the plan. If you invaded and occupied the whole of Ukraine, it could easily go up to 4-5%.

Of course, the Americans might come in numbers, too. But you're delusional here:

Doing so will impose costs on the USA. Actually, this is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA: by stoking tensions in Eastern Europe.
We have no military industry to speak of. Most of our neighbors do have some, but even they are nowhere near self-sufficiency. You can guess who we'll buy our weapons from. Poland recently offered to pay for an American base on its soil. So it won't be much of a cost for the US, it might actually be quite beneficial.

Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified?

Mass deportations is the best part about occupying the Ukraine!
Stalin's USSR at the height of its power only deported much smaller populations. You'd need a lot of people to achieve that. But let's assume you'll manage to do that. It will, of course, create a huge backlash against Russia: popular opinion will get united against Russians. (Defense spending quickly up to 5% of GDP or higher.) The Ukrainians in our countries will of course enter the workforce and join anti-Russian ragtag militias to control the border.
Instead they would have to contend with an insurgency in Eastern Poland
So the people ethnically cleansed from their homes will rise up against NATO in support of Russia. This is a seriously dumb idea.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 7:04 pm GMT

Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them).

This reminds me of an old Russian joke.

An old hag sits on the bench and screams: "Help! They are raping me!"
Another one passes by and asks: "Have you gone completely mad?"
The first one answers: "Everyone is entitled to a pleasant dream!"

Cyrano , August 13, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Don't worry about my IQ woes – they are non-existent. I am a stable genius – just like Donald Trump. Your IQ issues are – on the other hand – very easy to fix. All you have to do is admit that you are Russian and you immediately gain 20-30 IQ points. Of course, this will come at the expense of Russia, but then again. everything you've ever done in your history came at the expense of Russia. All the Russians ever wanted was to have a brotherly nation in Ukraine. They have a brother all right, unfortunately that brother has a Down syndrome.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Okechukwu

Any Russian ruler who tries to return Crimea will be overthrown in no time. As Russia gradually disengages from the US-dominated financial system, the costs will go down. Russia has already created its own payment system similar to that of Visa and Mastercard, as well as its own money transfer system similar to SWIFT. On the other hand, if Russia fails to disengage from dollar-dominated system, the losses would be much greater than Crimea. It might even turn into a shithole, like Ukraine.

Insurance is more often a scam than not: Lehman Brothers enjoyed pretty high ratings until their crash. What's more, banks were insured against the risks of sub-prime mortgages they held. Remember what happened in 2008?

As to the future, nobody has the crystal ball. Can you tell how much a Big Mac will cost in the US five or ten years from now? $4? $40? $400? $4,000? Your guess is as good as mine. Ponzi schemes have a habit of crashing and nobody worked out a way of predicting when exactly the crash will occur.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
@DaveE

This might be in the cards. The US sanctions actually squeezed Russian comprador (5th column) oligarchs, who were always subservient to the West, sent their families there, and are siphoning off their money offshore, more than anything. If Putin uses this to expropriate their stolen riches, which he might do (98% of Russian population would be cheering; they'd cheer even more if Putin hangs those bastards, but that's unlikely), these sanctions would be yet another example of the US shooting itself in the foot. The US is getting pretty good at that lately, always screaming that it hurts afterwards.

[Aug 14, 2018] Our Despicable, Indefensible Policy in Yemen by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... So will a good Christian like Mike Pompeo reconcile these obvious falsehoods, self deception. With every letter, he will be denying the very God he professes to believe in. ..."
"... Trump and his administration are the reveal of the true nature of modern American political Christianity. This is what it always was ..."
"... But The People are not exactly conscientious objector on the issue of Yemen and the crimes committed in our name either. The Republic might rot from the head, but the rot has certainly spread far and wide. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The pathetic U.S. response to last week's massacre of students in Yemen continues :

A senior general urged Saudi officials to conduct a thorough investigation into an airstrike that killed at least 40 children in Yemen, the Pentagon said Monday, an indication of U.S. concern about allied nations' air operations against Houthi militants.

The general's request actually shows how little concern the U.S. has for how the Saudi coalition conducts its war effort. If the U.S. were concerned with how the war was being fought, our officials wouldn't be asking the perpetrators of atrocities to investigate their own crimes. It is pointless to urge the Saudis to conduct an investigation into their own war crime when we already know that they will find that they did nothing wrong. As the Post article notes later on, the coalition's investigations predictably excuse their actions:

According to Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director for Human Rights Watch, Saudi investigators had cleared coalition military officials of legal responsibility in virtually all investigations the JIAT had conducted.

The pattern of Saudi coalition conduct over the last three years is clear. Their forces commit numerous documented war crimes, and then when they "investigate" those crimes they determine that their forces are guilty of nothing. It would have been laughable to ask the Saudis to investigate themselves back in 2015, and to do the same over three years later is inexcusable. It is an invitation to whitewashing heinous, illegal acts. The U.S. will not honestly call out the coalition members for their crimes against Yemeni civilians because our government is deeply complicit in those crimes, and so we are treated to this pantomime farce where we send officers to call for investigations whose results have been predetermined even before the crimes were committed. The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate in it.

There needs to be an independent, international inquiry into war crimes committed by all sides in Yemen. All parties to the conflict are assuredly guilty of war crimes, and all parties should be held accountable for what they have done to Yemen's civilians. As long as the U.S. enables Saudi coalition crimes and then shields them from scrutiny, our government is implicated in both the crime and the cover-up. Congress could put a stop to this if they were willing to do their jobs and assume their proper responsibilities, but for more than three years they have shirked their duties and acquiesced in a despicable and indefensible policy in Yemen.


Other Costs August 14, 2018 at 1:34 am

"The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate in it."

For all that they're doing it at the order of even more disgusting civilians, this has got a be a low point in the history of the American military. The word "Yemen" on a resume or CV will make military people stink for the rest of their lives. Like "My Lai" or "Dishonorable Discharge".

Christian Chuba , says: August 14, 2018 at 7:41 am
We are getting a preview of the letters Mike Pompeo will be signing off on to Congress.

So will a good Christian like Mike Pompeo reconcile these obvious falsehoods, self deception. With every letter, he will be denying the very God he professes to believe in.

rayray , says: August 14, 2018 at 10:33 am
@Christian Chuba
Trump and his administration are the reveal of the true nature of modern American political Christianity. This is what it always was
b. , says: August 14, 2018 at 3:39 pm
"The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate in it."

Conduct unbecoming.

The higher the rank of the officers involving themselves in this – in following unconstitutional orders to participate in an illegal campaign of aggressive war and collective punishment – the worse it gets. It would be a heroic act for a private – or even the officer piloting a refueling tanker – to speak out against this, a general has much less of a claim to honor and acquiescence both.

If The People really supported those who serve, they would rally to every conscientious objector – even the misguided ones – because anybody who has the honor and integrity to question orders is preferable to those that pay no heed to the meaning of their oath.

But The People are not exactly conscientious objector on the issue of Yemen and the crimes committed in our name either. The Republic might rot from the head, but the rot has certainly spread far and wide.

[Aug 14, 2018] It was Neocons who pushed the USA to invade Iraa, but, as Greenspan said, the goals of USA were about oil not so much about Israeli interests in the region

Notable quotes:
"... Besides, just look at how much the Iraq War benefited Israel. You see, Israel wants to pursue a strategy of destabilizing the region, so it cleverly pulled off a false flag attack on 9/11; I'm not quite sure why Mossad didn't frame one of Israel's actual enemies, like the Palestinians or Iranians, or even Saddam for that matter, as the perpetrators of the attacks, but I'm sure it's all part of the plan. ..."
"... Anyway, Israel got the United States to invade Iraq, which destabilized the region and created chaos, predictably leading to a massive increase in Iranian influence in Iraq and likely enabling more Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which benefited Israel because uh chaos and destabilization. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [679] Disclaimer , August 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

. The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

Oh right, who can forget the cabal of Jews controlling the US government and military at the time of the Iraq invasion, such as President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, CIA director George Tenet, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Every.Single.Time, am I right, folks?

Oh wait, they aren't Jewish? Well, I blame the Jews away. Just look at uh Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Woflowitz and journalist Bill Kristol. That sounds like an extremely powerful cabal easily capable of commanding such trivial figures as the President, CIA director, Secretary of State, et cetera, to do their bidding.

Besides, just look at how much the Iraq War benefited Israel. You see, Israel wants to pursue a strategy of destabilizing the region, so it cleverly pulled off a false flag attack on 9/11; I'm not quite sure why Mossad didn't frame one of Israel's actual enemies, like the Palestinians or Iranians, or even Saddam for that matter, as the perpetrators of the attacks, but I'm sure it's all part of the plan.

Anyway, Israel got the United States to invade Iraq, which destabilized the region and created chaos, predictably leading to a massive increase in Iranian influence in Iraq and likely enabling more Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which benefited Israel because uh chaos and destabilization.

And if you doubt that neocons totally control the US government, just look at how we're at war with Iran! Well we're not technically at war yet, a decade after neoconservatives began promoting the war and President Obama did somehow manage to sign a nuclear deal with Iran that infuriated his neocon and Israeli puppetmasters but I'm sure that President Trump, famously beloved by Jews and neocons everywhere, will soon go to war with Iran.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT

@Ben_C

' I'm not entirely sure why you keep hanging on to this tired and false narrative that US politicians are some sort of stooges and puppets of Israel '

Maybe because they are stooges and puppets? In extreme cases, they even boast of it. When Romney was running for president, he promised he would check with Israel on any action we took in the Middle East. When Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was promoting civil war in Syria, she explained that this was necessary because Israel wished it.

It goes on, and on. If someone is considering a run for Congress, he gets a nice little packet from AIPAC. Among other things, he's asked to write an essay expressing his feelings about Israel.

If the essay isn't satisfactory, AIPAC backs his opponent.

Not surprisingly, when Netanyahu -- the premier of a tiny state on the other side of the planet -- spoke to Congress he was interrupted with standing ovations seventeen times. The display put me in mind of the sort of frenzied adulation Communist delegates used to display towards Stalin.

and the motives, of course, would be similar, even if actual death isn't in prospect. For most in Congress, displease Israel, and your political career just ended.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:29 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it (Israel) had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington."

It's certainly difficult to explain how else Mossad came to be filming the attack.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:52 am GMT
I think it needs to be emphasized that it's not merely a matter of practical politics.

Israel is evil -- she brings misery to millions, actual happiness to almost no one, and engages in behavior with no defensible moral foundation at all. She has attacked every single one of her neighbors, compulsively seeks out further conflict to paper over the shortcomings in her own national identity, and treats her Palestinian subjects with a morality about like that of a nasty little boy pulling the wings off a fly.

Arguably, others are as bad. However, unlike the others, Israel could not have come into being without our support, and could not continue to exist today without our continued moral, economic, diplomatic, and military support. If we pulled the plug, Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish supremacist state within -- at most -- a decade.

We are, in fact, responsible for Israel, and hence responsible for Israel's crimes. Other people's teenaged sons may well be out there stealing cars and raping girls. This happens to be our son doing it. We're responsible.

We pursue many policies I regard as futile, short-sighted, deluded, or self-destructive. My personal list would include 'come one come all' immigration, global warming denial, maintaining a massive military establishment, condoning 'Black Lives Matter,' and probably some other things.

No doubt the reader has his own list. However, that's not the point. The point is that essentially, these policies are merely stupid rather than actually evil. It's not evil to think we should just let whoever wants come into the US. It's dumb -- but it isn't evil. In fact, I'll willingly credit people who vote for 'sanctuary cities' et al with the most laudable sentiments. I merely question their intelligence.

Israel is different. Israel is evil, and hence our support for it is as well. It is the most fundamentally wrong act we are engaged in.

There is a moral dimension to life. There is a distinction between striving to do good -- however unsuccessfully -- and willingly participating in evil.

We need to stop supporting Israel.

The Alarmist , August 14, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT

"A well-funded massive lobbying effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals in the U.S. has worked to the detriment of actual American interests, in part by creating a permanent annual gift of billions of dollars to Israel for no other reason but that it is Israel and can get anything it wants from a servile Congress and White House without any objection from a controlled media."

Kind of begs the question, why are we giving any aid to a first-world country with a GDP growth rate in the 3% to 4% rate for years (even while we were stuck below 2%) and an unemployment rate below 4%?

The Israeli economy is in better shape than the US economy; they should be giving us aid.

"Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them."

Yes, it is truly amazing what our "Best & Brightest" will do to stay on-side. Following Mr. Giraldi's earlier post regarding the gubernatorial run of Israeli puppet Ron DeSantis and the Big Sugar connections of Adam Putnam, it would seem a Floridian's least worst choice is Bob White.

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 9:31 am GMT

Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself

1st part: Absolutely, indubitably correct.

2nd part: ¿Qué? Why do people say/write this? Under what corrupt arrangement does an oh, so obvious outlaw have any such right?

Consider: A gang of out-of-towners turns up at a block of flats, breaks the doors down and occupies the building, killing some erstwhile owner/occupiers and ejecting most of the rest on the way in, thereafter whooping it up big, and ignoring [obviously too feeble] orders to RoR+R*3 [= Right of Return + Revest, Reparations and Reconciliation.] Since when can such outlaws dictate anything, thumb their noses at the Law?

Property, especially here land, is alienable – but this does not mean ' subject to seizure by aliens .'

Kindly consider: "A fair exchange is no robbery." A fair exchange means willing seller, interested buyer, and a freely and fairly agreed price. No such thing exists vis-à-vis the forcible colonisation of Palestine. Some proof may be seen here [my bolding]:

By 1949, some 700,000 Palestinians had fled or been expelled from their lands and villages. Israel was now in control of some 20.5 million dunams (approx. 20,500 km²) or 78% of lands in what had been Mandatory Palestine

Land laws were passed to legalize changes to land ownership.[5]

5. Ruling Palestine, A History of the Legally Sanctioned Jewish-Israeli Seizure of Land and Housing in Palestine. Publishers: COHRE & BADIL, May 2005, p. 37.

Especially in reference to the illegitimate entity which terms itself Israel, wiki is not reliable, being, like the US Congress, Israeli-occupied territory. So it is noteworthy that they write "in control of" as opposed to 'own.' They can't ever own it due to not having purchased it, and Palestinians may not surrender it, due to the UDHR which specifies *inalienable* rights:

Article 3.
• Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 17.
• (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
• (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Also, see the Washington Consensus:

10.Legal security for property rights.

Further, there is UNSC242: inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, plus only just law may earn respect, and/or be respected. A law dispossessing erstwhile legal owner/occupiers is an utter travesty.

Me; comment: Its illegitimacy is all so howlingly obvious!

Fazit: Apart from the ~6% of 'pre-Herzl Palestine' which 'invading by stealth' alien, mostly European Jews managed to purchase, the illegitimate entity does not own nor can they ever own the land/property they squat upon, which still belongs to the erstwhile owner/occupiers, specifically the 'native' pre-Nakba Palestinians [now including heirs & successors]. Then, the illegitimate entity does not declare borders for two reasons 1) any such declaration would be [probably successfully] challenged and 2) the illegitimate entity expresses the desire to expand to 'from the Nile to the Euphrates.' Q: Just how ghastly is that? A: Could hardly be worse.

Closing the loop: How can land-thieves have any 'right to defend' such improperly alienated land/property? It doesn't compute! rgds

mark green , August 14, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
Thank you, Mr. Giraldi, for another forceful rebuke of Zionist criminality and US culpability.

The supremacist kosher state is a cancer on America. Just survey the wreckage. Count the bodies. Who benefits from this?

The Zionist project is a plague on humanity. It entertains no compromise. It will stop at virtually nothing. Examine the blood-soaked damage from Soviet Russia to Germany to Palestine and beyond. It moves Washington around via remote control.

The situation has become very grave. Speech deemed 'anti-Semitic' is rapidly being criminalized worldwide.

Right wing political expression (that Jews don't like) on Twitter, Facebook and the web is being de-platformed for speech infractions that involve 'hate'. But it's only 'hate' of a certain stripe.

After all, hatred is ubiquitous in America. It cuts in every direction. So why is the focus so intense on just one spectrum of hatred?

Might it have something to do with the political preferences of those in power?

Oh maybe.

Principles be damned. Whose ox is being gored?

With that in mind, consider this: who might actually be the biggest hater of all?–and killer? (Hint: it's certainly not the powerless Alt-right 'deplorables'.)

Might it instead be the world's foremost victims?

After all, incendiary speech–even 'hate speech'–does not kill. It takes bombs, drones, tanks and missiles to accomplish that.

So where's the uproar over routine sorties which needlessly dispense death and destruction?

It's gone missing.

Incredibly, it is rough speech and acute political criticism–not failed, horrific wars–that are being criminalized. Pro-Zionist 'wars of choice' still get a pass in our corporate board rooms, TV studios, news rooms, and in most of Official Washington.

This entrenched distortion allows neocons and their underlings to jawbone and plot their next preemptive war. The Big Squeeze is on. Beware Russia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iran. Zionism is an 'unshakable' Washington value. So get ready.

How distant wars advance the interests of average Americans remains a mystery.

Despite this puzzle, America's MSM offers little resistance and no straightforward criticism of Zio-Washington's ceaseless war efforts on behalf of a certain 'democratic ally'. In similar fashion, the Fourth Estate has also been compromised.

It's worth remembering that, according to the UN Charter, a state-sponsored 'First Strike' against another sovereign state is the most serious war crime. This elementary moral precept however matters not–at least not when Israel is pulling the strings. Quiet, children. Listen. Obey.

What we have here is a pattern of vast serial criminality.

Zio-Washington has become Israel's war vessel. We regular folk are just along for the ride.

So don't forget to cheer for the good guys!

Incredibly, US-enabled, Israeli ruthlessness has gotten even worse under 'America First' Trump. After all, Trump needlessly tore up Obama's hard-fought peace deal with Iran.

Why would Trump make such a move? (As a candidate, he was far less hawkish).

Our weakened and despised President needs desperately to please America's foremost lobby. Trump cannot govern without their support. This peculiar situation however requires additional blood-letting on behalf of the Zionist state. Foreign wars that benefit Israel are the unwritten price that the goyim leadership in America must pay. Sorry folks!

(Are you listening, Tehran?)

Jewish power corrupts. Overwhelming Jewish power corrupts in overwhelming fashion.

[Aug 14, 2018] Israel not Russia is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism.

Notable quotes:
"... Israel – not Russia – is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Sean , August 14, 2018 at 6:38 pm GMT

By all means confront Israel if that is your thing, but don't pretend that there is any possibility of besting them.

Israel – not Russia – is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism.

Yes. And that is why only Israel can tame American Jews.

[Aug 14, 2018] America's Lengthening Enemies List by Pat Buchanan

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

A list of America's adversaries here would contain the Taliban, the Houthis of Yemen, Bashar Assad of Syria, Erdogan's Turkey, Iran, North Korea, Russia and China -- a pretty full plate.

Are we prepared to see these confrontations through, to assure the capitulation of our adversaries? What do we do if they continue to defy us?

And if it comes to a fight, how many allies will we have in the battles and wars that follow?

Was this the foreign policy America voted for?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

[Aug 14, 2018] Does mere accusation now stand for "truth" in this inmates-running-the-asylum charade USA is putting on?

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

skopros , August 13, 2018 at 6:46 pm GMT

Has anybody in comments noted how far we have swung from absence of actual PROOF Russia did the Skripal "poisonings" (or even Litvenenko for that matter?!) to what seems like complete acceptance of "guilt," even as major international bodies (OPCW, etc., even Porton Down) have not been able to tie Russia/Putin to these alleged acts of terror or isolate the "novichoks" genre of nerve agent ? The Red Queen triumphs.

Does mere accusation now stand for "truth" in this inmates-running-the-asylum charade USA is putting on? If the "big lie" (Lenin, BTW not Goebbels, originally) works this easily, we are indeed down the chute & over the brink. Orwell is spinning in his grave (gnashing his teeth).

Mitleser , August 13, 2018 at 7:05 pm GMT

Does mere accusation now stand for "truth" in this inmates-running-the-asylum charade USA is putting on?

It was the same when the Iraq was the enemy.

[Aug 14, 2018] Litvinenko affair now looks like a dressed rehearsal of Skripals

Notable quotes:
"... Therefore, we have to deal with facts in the matter. Among the facts, I'd like to point out to the behavior of the investigating party, i.e. the British authorities. "We have proof but won't show them to you, because they are secret" attitude; bypassing normal investigative and judicial channels; unreasonable demands towards Russia they knew full well won't be met and total refusal to cooperate on realistic terms – we saw it for the first time in the Litvinenko affaire. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

EugeneGur , August 13, 2018 at 7:25 pm GMT

@Mr. Hack

All I was pointing out was that there were many reasons why Litvinenko was a target for unfriendly Russian actions

I am pretty sure Litvinenko wasn't particularly loved in Russia: he was a traitor, after all, and, judging by his actions, a pretty miserable human being. However, building a case on motive alone is not possible, if for no other reason than because a motive is by definition subjective. You could analyze until your face turns blue how Putin felt about Litvinenko's accusations but you'd never come to any firm conclusion, for only Putin can possibly know that.

Therefore, we have to deal with facts in the matter. Among the facts, I'd like to point out to the behavior of the investigating party, i.e. the British authorities. "We have proof but won't show them to you, because they are secret" attitude; bypassing normal investigative and judicial channels; unreasonable demands towards Russia they knew full well won't be met and total refusal to cooperate on realistic terms – we saw it for the first time in the Litvinenko affaire.

The same patters was repeated exactly in the Skripal case. This tells you who is the "highly likely" culprit, doesn't it? These two scenarios are so much alike, the have the same author – not necessarily the same person, but definitely the same office.

[Aug 14, 2018] From the point of view of UN law the sate of Israel is an outlaw.

The term "Jews" probably should be strictly avoided. Zionists or Likudniks is a better term for Jewish Supremacists.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT

@Anonymouse

let the US give itself back to the Indians, and then ask Israel to act the same way

Give the US back to the amerindians! Give Aus back to the abos! This does not work; it's called 'moral relativism' and/or the 'tu quoque' [appeal to hypocrisy] fallacy.

Then ask Israel to act err, hello? Israel has been 'asked,' over 100 times by some counts, to 'get legal' under UN resolutions. Israel is an outlaw.

Kindly consider the I/J/Z-plex's 10 steps to utter, criminal ignominy:

  1. Herzl; coveting, expropriation (1897+)
  2. Balfour; aid Zs, no consult Ps
  3. Jabotinsky; colonise by force
  4. Ben-Gurion: "we are the attackers and the Arabs own the land" [points 1 - 4 all pre-WW2]
  5. UNGA181: "an area shall be evacuated" (invalid + no UNSC action = not law)
  6. Meir; $US50mio for arms + Plan Dalet&Co = premeditated, murdering to steal aggression
  7. When immigrants (=aliens) attack natives, it's *not* civil war but Nuremberg-class crime
  8. Z-terrorism; down to today; alien invaders' highest-tech vs. besieged & blockaded, basically unarmed natives
  9. US-support incl. UNSC vetoes; also down to 'current moment'
  10. Z-hasbarah = mostly lies, designed and deployed to deceive

More: Post-WW2, Nuremberg trials, hanging perpetrators for murdering invasions for Lebensraum predate King David Hotel bombing, Plan Dalet with outrages like the Deir Yassin massacre, etc.. Similar outrages continue to be perpetrated by the illegitimate entity, into 'the current moment.'

Lemma: At any crime-scene, there are one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and/or 'idle' bystanders. It is incumbent upon *all* witnesses to attempt to a) restrain malefactors and where possible b) rescue victims from harm. *All* present and not in active resistance to the crime attract proportional guilt.

Addendum: Any person profiting from crime also makes him/herself an accessory, like all residents in the 'illegitimate entity,' say.

Also post WW2, we got the post-colonial era; the illegitimate entity fulfils the 'premeditated supreme international crime' criteria. RoR+R*3 NOW! QED

PS Showing 'support' for criminals adopts part guilt for those criminals' crimes via the accessory process; why would anyone in their 'right' = correct mind do that?

anarchyst , August 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
If a nuclear device is "lit off" in an American or European city, it will have Israel's fingerprints all over it. Israel is desperate to keep the American money spigot running, as well as sabotaging the Palestinian "peace process" that the world wants it to take seriously.

In fact, if a nuclear device is "lit off" anywhere in the world, it will have come from Israel's secret nuclear "stockpile".

The "power outage" in Atlanta was a convenient excuse for Israel to perform a logistical "sleight of hand", as an Israeli plane was allowed to land and take off during the "power outage" without receiving customs clearance or inspection. This is one of many Israeli companies that possesses a "special exemption" granted by the U S government that frees it from customs inspections. Just maybe another one of Israel's nukes was just being pre-positioned or nuclear triggers (tritium) were being renewed, getting ready for "the big one". As most Americans are tired of all of the foreign wars being fought for Israel's benefit, another "incident" on American soil would be enough to galvanize the American public, once again, (just like WTC 9-11) to support another war for Israel's benefit. Israel's "samson option" is a real threat to "light one off" in a European or American city, if Israel's interests are not taken seriously.

Israel refuses to abide by IAEA guidelines concerning its nukes as they are already distributed around the world. Israel would not be able to produce all of them as most of them are not in Israel, proper. No delivery systems are needed as Israel's nukes are already "in place". Look for another "false flag" operation with the blame being put on Iran or Syria. You can bet that some Iranian or Syrian passports will be found in the rubble.

Israel also threatens to detonate nuclear devices in several US cities. Talk about total INSANITY; the so-called "Samson Option" is it.

As an aside, American "foreign aid" is prohibited from being given to any country that has not signed the "Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty" or refuses to abide by "International Atomic Energy Agency" (IAEA) guidelines regarding its nuclear devices. Guess what?? Israel does not abide by EITHER and still gets the majority of American "foreign aid". This prohibition also applies to countries that do not register their "agents of a foreign government" with the U S State Department. Guess what?? Israel (again) with its "American Israel Political Action Committee" (AIPAC) still gets "foreign aid" in contravention of American law..

There are forty or so congressmen, senators and thousands of high-level policy "wonks" infecting the U S government who hold "dual citizenship" with Israel. Such dual citizenship must be strictly prohibited. Those holding dual citizenship must be required to renounce said foreign citizenship. Refusal to do so should result in immediate deportation with loss of American citizenship. Present and former holders of dual citizenship should never be allowed to serve in any American governmental capacity.

When Netanyahu addressed both houses of congress, it was sickening to see our politicians slobber all over themselves to PROVE that they were unconditional supporters of Israel just who the hell do they work for? Certainly not for the interests of the American people and the United States they should renounce their United States citizenship and be deported to Israel

Bardon Kaldian , August 14, 2018 at 2:17 pm GMT
Giraldi is here-unlike in most of his regularly anti-Semitic texts- right about one crucial thing: American Gentile cow-towing to (real or imagined) Jewish power in the US, as illustrated by absurd Baron Cohen's episode.

However, I don't blame most of US Jews for that. Jewish ethnocentrists are to be suspect, sure, but the main question for US gentile politicians & public figures remains: why are you such suckers, anyway?

Sam Shama , August 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
Between Jessica at #23, and Anon at #45 lay two paramount pieces of instruction which Phil Giraldi ought to heed.

Ordinary Jews are no more required to register their objections over AIPAC's actions than are Christians over the actions of their top leaders including the POTUS, domestic MIC lobbies, the Gun Lobby and the Oil lobby; no more that is, beyond what each citizen expresses through her vote. Individuals may choose; to go beyond, into political activism; yet choice is the operative notion.

And no, Geokat, Power isn't listening to Phil over the sound of crickets for the simple reason that Power does not read the UR, couldn't care less if they did, as the Review quite rapidly degenerates to the station of an unrelenting hate rag frequented by dubious IQ cultists, antisemites and White Nationalism apologists.

Felicity , August 14, 2018 at 3:14 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it (Israel) had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington."

And according to Jimmy Carter Israeli intelligence had advance information of the suicide attack on the US barracks in Beirut in 1983 that killed 243 US servicemen (one of whom was a member of my family). The Israelis decided to not inform US intelligence in the hope that a major attack on US personnel would precipitate a commitment of US troops and arms into the region. So much for our Israeli "ally".

JessicaR , August 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
@Anonymouse

You are, of course, correct that the US committed either genocide or near-genocide (depending on your definition of the term) against Native Americans. However, NOW, in the 21st century, any Native American who is a US citizen is free to buy property in any part of America and live where he chooses. Native Americans are no longer confined to reservations. While poverty is a fact of life for many Native Americans, some tribes have profited substantially from gambling. In Florida, Seminoles may receive upward of 40,000 a year (each man, woman, and child) as their share of the gambling revenues. They can certainly afford to buy property just about anywhere.

(Note that I am not denying that much discrimination and inequality still persist and that most reservations with gambling offer very little to tribal members.)

In Israel, however, Palestinians cannot return to their home towns and buy property. They are not free to live where they choose. Many are still confined to refugee camps. Housing discrimination continues to persist for Israeli Arabs. Yes, the High Court ruled it illegal, but few remedies are in place, which means the practice continues largely unabated.

If you want to use historical analogies, I believe you should use them in full.

utu , August 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm GMT

Cohen's performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says.

It is very telling about the human material on the right in America. Complete morons. Now think about it. It was a prank, right? But I can imagine that real negotiations with Israelis are very similar and produce similar positive outcomes for Israelis. Israelis play Americans anyway they want on all levels of federal and local administrations. They have the same attitude towards Americans as Jack Abramoff had towards his counterparts at Indian reservations. Why shouldn't they? It works.

he called his Indian clients "troglodytes" and "morons" and "monkeys," "the stupidest idiots in the land." In one particularly damning e-mail he counseled Scanlon, "The key thing to remember with all these clients is that they are annoying, but that the annoying losers are the only ones which have this kind of money and part with it so quickly . So, we have to put up with this stuff."

At best American are annoying losers who part with their money quickly.

Mr. Giraldi, why do you bother with your articles? You still have illusions that you can educate the monkeys?

Anon [270] Disclaimer , Website August 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm GMT
"special relationship"

It smacks of supremacism, doesn't it? It means the US must favor Zionist occupiers in West Bank over Palestinians, the very people who are being occupied.

It means the US must favor Israel, a nation that stole uranium from US and has 300 nukes, over Iran, a nation that passed all inspections and has no nukes.

This special relationship is a form of worship. It is never discussed rationally WHY Israel is so crucial to us. Instead, politicians and pundits gush about it with fanatical devotion, as if it's a sacred truth. Anyone who questions it even slightly is marginalized or destroyed. Some might Giraldi has been too strident, but even mild criticism of Israel or Zionism can get you banned from media or politics.

I find it odd that Jews always remind us that Old America was 'racist' because it favored Europeans over non-whites, especially in immigration and foreign policy. After all, the US often sided with European imperialists over non-white subjects of colonialism.

In New America, there is supposed to no Special Treatment for any group, but Jews and Israel get it all the time. In asylum(Save Soviet Jews), in immigration, in college admission, in foreign policy -- not just in supporting Israel at every turn but in waging Wars for Israel and hating on any nation hated by Jews, esp Russia, Iran, and Syria.

[Aug 14, 2018] An objective criticism of the Zionist enterprise now a days and its apologists resort immediately to unrestrained howls and accusations of antisemitism.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

JoaoAlfaiate , August 14, 2018 at 7:54 pm GMT

@Sam Shama

" antisemites "

There are antisemitic rants in many places on the web, almost all of which are ignored.

But make an objective criticism of the Zionist enterprise now a days and its apologists resort immediately to unrestrained howls and accusations of antisemitism.

One ought, therefor, to understand this rhetorical device for the simple ad hominem attack that it is.

[Aug 14, 2018] Try track me after that, google.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Automatic Choke -> johngaltfla Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

1) remove the smartphone battery

2) smash the smartphone with a hammer

3) burn the pieces of the smartphone

4) leave the ashes at home when you are out and about

Try and track THAT, google.

[Aug 14, 2018] I am sure the tracking your movements all the time it s just a harmless oversight on the part of Google.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

spanish inquisition Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:28 Permalink

I am sure it's just a harmless oversight.

Kefeer -> Clock Crasher Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:38 Permalink

Hammer it and remove all EMF's. An old microwave over works as a Faraday cage. Also; if you take a cell phone and wrap it in just a layer or two of aluminum foil; it will not make or receive calls.

beemasters -> Kefeer Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:42 Permalink

Or just carry a dummy phone to make yourself look important. In today's world, perception is it.

Giant Meteor -> beemasters Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

Good point. Save alot of shekkels too. Why just the other day I was standing in grocery line having an imaginary conversation with my imaginary broker, on my fake phone! The conversation became quite heated. It was all going swell until I ran into the door on my way out, fell over backwards, spilt the milk carton, and crushed a dozen eggs. No one even noticed ..

cougar_w -> beemasters Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:42 Permalink

They don't need GPS to know where you are, cell towers report the same information to good enough accuracy for most uses. When Google is tracking you, that is how they are doing it usually.

JoeTurner Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:30 Permalink

The East German Stasi only wish they could be like Google...

Socratic Dog -> Grandad Grumps Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:13 Permalink

OSMand replaces google maps very nicely, and works perfectly fine completely off line (by GPS). It also doesn't have to allow google to update its maps every 30 days to keep it working, download maps for anywhere in the world and just use them.

Lineage OS is a replacement for Android OS. I've had it in 2 phones so far, quite content with it. Open source, so lots of eyes on it to make sure this sort of shit isn't happening. You can minimize or completely eliminate the google presence, your choice.

Whether some deep-down shit is tracking me, I have no idea. I assume it is, and act accordingly.

Oldguy05 -> Socratic Dog Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

Deep-down, it's all shit!

valjoux7750 -> Socratic Dog Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

Love to try lineage but I'm on Verizon and their phones since the note 5 are locked down good. Rooting, jailbreaking, or what ever you call it is the way to go if your concerned about privacy.

Socratic Dog -> valjoux7750 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:31 Permalink

Rooting isn't difficult. That's why they try so hard to stop you doing it.

[Aug 14, 2018] Paranoia as a natural condition of people living in the national security state: Faraday Cages for sale! Get yours today -- or they'll get you tomorrow!

** This story brought to you by the Divorce Lawyers of America **
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

toady -> hedgeless_horseman Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:41 Permalink

Duh. Who didn't know this?

Even taking the battery out doesn't work anymore... they've built in transistors that will hold enough juice to keep the tracking capabilities enabled for several hours after the battery is removed.

NidStyles -> toady Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:44 Permalink

Are you kidding me Gracie? I assume it was you sending the nutcase

johngaltfla -> NidStyles Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:45 Permalink

Man are those geeks going to be bored as fucking hell tracking me.

Alananda -> johngaltfla Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

I dindu nuffin. I never do nothing. What -- me worry? I have nothing to hide. Idiot.

johngaltfla -> Alananda Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:57 Permalink

Humor and sarcasm. Try Googling it.

Automatic Choke -> johngaltfla Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

1) remove the smartphone battery

2) smash the smartphone with a hammer

3) burn the pieces of the smartphone

4) leave the ashes at home when you are out and about

Try and track THAT, google.

[Aug 14, 2018] Iran s Supreme Leader No War Nor Negotiations Ever With This White House

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In near simultaneous statements addressed to the Iranian public in a speech aired on state TV, the supreme leader who has the final word over all affairs in the Islamic republic, issued the directive: "I ban holding any talks with America... America never remains loyal to its promises in talks."

"America's withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a clear proof that America cannot be trusted," state TV quoted Khamenei further.

As part of his series of tweets, some of which mocked Trump's policy in the Middle East, Khamenei published an infographic presenting his position on ratcheting tensions with the U.S.

He also slammed the idea that this was the first such offer of talks, saying that Iran has proudly resisted unfair and imbalanced U.S. offers of negotiations for decades, and even cited President Ronald Reagan's sending his national security advisor, Robert McFarlane to Tehran for failed negotiations.

Notably, he appeared to troll Trump personally as well as his cabinet in the following:

A stupid man tells the Iranian nation that 'your government spends your money on Syria'. This is while his boss-- the U.S. president-- has admitted he spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East without gaining anything in return!

The top Iranian cleric also briefly referenced Iran's domestic crisis, which has included sporadic protests and clashes with the police throughout the summer in response to a plummeting rial and inability of people to access imported goods, stating "Today's livelihood problems do not emerge from outside; they are internal."

He urged the country to resist sanctions and erect "prudent" ways shielding from their effects.

It will be interesting to see if Trump responds to this directly in a tweet, or if any official reaction will be forthcoming from the White House.

But in the meantime it appears the possibility of any renegotiation after Trump's official pullout of the JCPOA last May has just had to the door slammed on it.


truthseeker47 -> vvaleria692 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:41 Permalink

Of course Iranian leaders do not want to negotiate with Trump, they know they cannot walk all over him like they did with Obummer.

peddling-fiction -> truthseeker47 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

No war? Chuckle.

TBT or not TBT -> peddling-fiction Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:57 Permalink

The mullahs are going to be quite the whiny bitches for a while. The anti-American pro Islam President Obama, Commie CIA director, for sale Sec of State, gay agenda Pentagon director and Ben Rhodes and ValJar, Rice and their ill will not be returning. Islamic socialism will be performing the economic wonders you can expect, putting a strong clamp on you their foreign subversion and domestic payrolls too. Meanwhile, they've got a middle class that hates them and views Islam as foreign dirty Arabs' inhuman sect. Good luck with that.

[Aug 14, 2018] Washington won t be winning any wars against Russia and/or China. It should stick with what it s good at, that is bombing third world countries, on behalf of its Zionist masters. On second thoughts, it shouldn t be doing that either.

Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Nicole Temple 15 hours ago ,

As shown in this article, the United States is preparing to fight a war on a frontier outside of Russia and China:

https://viableopposition.bl...

One has to wonder on how many fronts can Washington keep expanding America's military with the goal of fighting and actually winning a war before it collapses under the weight of its expenditures?

Walter Braben Nicole Temple 13 hours ago ,

Washington won't be winning any wars against Russia and/or China. It should stick with what it's good at, that is bombing third world countries, on behalf of its Zionist masters. On second thoughts, it shouldn't be doing that either.

[Aug 14, 2018] US Intelligence Community is Tearing the Country Apart from the Inside by Dmitry Orlov

Highly recommended!
This is an interesting analysis shedding some light on how the US intelligence services have gone rogue...
Notable quotes:
"... Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence. ..."
"... the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough. ..."
"... That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment. ..."
"... He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail? ..."
"... The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up." ..."
"... The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on. ..."
"... "What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task." ..."
"... "The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact." ..."
"... But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts. ..."
"... Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria. ..."
"... Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. ..."
Jul 28, 2018 | russia-insider.com
In today's United States, the term "espionage" doesn't get too much use outside of some specific contexts. There is still sporadic talk of industrial espionage, but with regard to Americans' own efforts to understand the world beyond their borders, they prefer the term "intelligence." This may be an intelligent choice, or not, depending on how you look at things.

First of all, US "intelligence" is only vaguely related to the game of espionage as it has been traditionally played, and as it is still being played by countries such as Russia and China. Espionage involves collecting and validating strategically vital information and conveying it to just the pertinent decision-makers on your side while keeping the fact that you are collecting and validating it hidden from everyone else.

In eras past, a spy, if discovered, would try to bite down on a cyanide capsule; these days torture is considered ungentlemanly, and spies that get caught patiently wait to be exchanged in a spy swap. An unwritten, commonsense rule about spy swaps is that they are done quietly and that those released are never interfered with again because doing so would complicate negotiating future spy swaps.

In recent years, the US intelligence agencies have decided that torturing prisoners is a good idea, but they have mostly been torturing innocent bystanders, not professional spies, sometimes forcing them to invent things, such as "Al Qaeda." There was no such thing before US intelligence popularized it as a brand among Islamic terrorists.

Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence.

There are unlikely to be any more British spy swaps with Russia, and British spies working in Russia should probably be issued good old-fashioned cyanide capsules (since that supposedly super-powerful Novichok stuff the British keep at their "secret" lab in Porton Down doesn't work right and is only fatal 20% of the time).

There is another unwritten, commonsense rule about spying in general: whatever happens, it needs to be kept out of the courts, because the discovery process of any trial would force the prosecution to divulge sources and methods, making them part of the public record. An alternative is to hold secret tribunals, but since these cannot be independently verified to be following due process and rules of evidence, they don't add much value.

A different standard applies to traitors; here, sending them through the courts is acceptable and serves a high moral purpose, since here the source is the person on trial and the method -- treason -- can be divulged without harm. But this logic does not apply to proper, professional spies who are simply doing their jobs, even if they turn out to be double agents. In fact, when counterintelligence discovers a spy, the professional thing to do is to try to recruit him as a double agent or, failing that, to try to use the spy as a channel for injecting disinformation.

Americans have been doing their best to break this rule. Recently, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives working in Russia for hacking into the DNC mail server and sending the emails to Wikileaks. Meanwhile, said server is nowhere to be found (it's been misplaced) while the time stamps on the files that were published on Wikileaks show that they were obtained by copying to a thumb drive rather than sending them over the internet. Thus, this was a leak, not a hack, and couldn't have been done by anyone working remotely from Russia.

Furthermore, it is an exercise in futility for a US official to indict Russian citizens in Russia. They will never stand trial in a US court because of the following clause in the Russian Constitution: "61.1 A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state."

Mueller may summon a panel of constitutional scholars to interpret this sentence, or he can just read it and weep. Yes, the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough.

That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment.

He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail?

Since there exists an agreement between the US and Russia to cooperate on criminal investigations, Putin offered to question the spies indicted by Mueller. He even offered to have Mueller sit in on the proceedings. But in return he wanted to question US officials who may have aided and abetted a convicted felon by the name of William Browder, who is due to begin serving a nine-year sentence in Russia any time now and who, by the way, donated copious amounts of his ill-gotten money to the Hillary Clinton election campaign.

In response, the US Senate passed a resolution to forbid Russians from questioning US officials. And instead of issuing a valid request to have the twelve Russian spies interviewed, at least one US official made the startlingly inane request to have them come to the US instead. Again, which part of 61.1 don't they understand?

The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up."

The "intelligence" the US intelligence agencies provide can be anything but; in fact, the stupider it is the better, because its purpose is allow unintelligent people to make unintelligent decisions. In fact, they consider facts harmful -- be they about Syrian chemical weapons, or conspiring to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders, or Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden -- because facts require accuracy and rigor while they prefer to dwell in the realm of pure fantasy and whimsy. In this, their actual objective is easily discernible.

The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on.

One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips. It is now a pure confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.

Trump was recently questioned as to whether he trusted US intelligence. He waffled. A light-hearted answer would have been:

"What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task."

A more serious, matter-of-fact answer would have been:

"The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact."

And a hardcore, deadpan answer would have been:

"The US intelligence services swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution, according to which I am their Commander in Chief. They report to me, not I to them. They must be loyal to me, not I to them. If they are disloyal to me, then that is sufficient reason for their dismissal."

But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts.

Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria.

The total cost of wars so far this century for the US is reported to be $4,575,610,429,593. Divided by the 138,313,155 Americans who file tax returns (whether they actually pay any tax is too subtle a question), it works out to just over $33,000 per taxpayer. If you pay taxes in the US, that's your bill so far for the various US intelligence "oopsies."

The 16 US intelligence agencies have a combined budget of $66.8 billion, and that seems like a lot until you realize how supremely efficient they are: their "mistakes" have cost the country close to 70 times their budget. At a staffing level of over 200,000 employees, each of them has cost the US taxpayer close to $23 million, on average. That number is totally out of the ballpark! The energy sector has the highest earnings per employee, at around $1.8 million per. Valero Energy stands out at $7.6 million per. At $23 million per, the US intelligence community has been doing three times better than Valero. Hats off! This makes the US intelligence community by far the best, most efficient collapse driver imaginable.

There are two possible hypotheses for why this is so.

First, we might venture to guess that these 200,000 people are grossly incompetent and that the fiascos they precipitate are accidental. But it is hard to imagine a situation where grossly incompetent people nevertheless manage to funnel $23 million apiece, on average, toward an assortment of futile undertakings of their choosing. It is even harder to imagine that such incompetents would be allowed to blunder along decade after decade without being called out for their mistakes.

Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars."

[Aug 13, 2018] Google Is Constantly Tracking, Even If You Turn Off Device Location History

You do not need to keep you phone on when you driving, do you ?
Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:25 74 SHARES

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Google is actually tracking you even when you switch your device settings to Location History "off" .

As journalist Mark Ames comments in response to a new Associated Press story exposing Google's ability to track people at all times even when they explicitly tell Google not to via iPhone and Android settings, "The Pentagon invented the internet to be the perfect global surveillance/counterinsurgency machine. Surveillance is baked into the internet's DNA."

In but the latest in a continuing saga of big tech tracking and surveillance stories which should serve to convince us all we are living in the beginning phases of a Minority Report style tracking and pansophical "pre-crime" system, it's now confirmed that the world's most powerful tech company and search tool will always find a way to keep your location data .

The Associated Press sought the help of Princeton researchers to prove that while Google is clear and upfront about giving App users the ability to turn off or "pause" Location History on their devices, there are other hidden means through which it retains the data .

According to the AP report :

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you've been. Google's support page on the subject states: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."

That isn't true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are .

And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude -- accurate to the square foot -- and save it to your Google account .

The issue directly affects around two billion people using Google's Android operating software and iPhone users relying on Google maps or a simple search.

Among the computer science researchers at Princeton conducting the tests is Jonathan Mayer, who told the AP , "If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History,' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off," and added, "That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have."

Google, for its part, is defending the software and privacy tracking settings , saying the company has been perfectly clear and has not violated privacy ethics.

"There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people's experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services," a Google statement to the AP reads. "We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time."

According to the AP, there is a way to prevent Google from storing the various location marker and metadata collection possibilities, but it's somewhat hidden and painstaking.

Google's own description on how to do this as a result of the AP inquiry is as follows :

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called "Web and App Activity" and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving "Web & App Activity" on and turning "Location History" off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the "timeline," its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google's collection of other location markers.

You can delete these location markers by hand, but it's a painstaking process since you have to select them individually , unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.

Of course, the more constant location data obviously means more advertising profits and further revenue possibilities for Google and its clients, so we fully expect future hidden tracking loopholes to possibly come to light.

Beginning in 2014, Google has utilized user location histories to allow advertisers to track the effectiveness of online ads at driving foot traffic . With the continued possibility of real-time tracking to generate billions of dollars, it should come as no surprise that Google would seek to make it as difficult (or perhaps impossible?) as it can for users to ensure they aren't tracked.

As for the government, we can only imagine the creative surveillance "fun" Washington's 16+ intelligence agencies are having with such a powerful tool right now.

[Aug 13, 2018] New US Sanctions vs. Russia by Anatoly Karlin

Notable quotes:
"... Proposed new "sanctions" on Russia essentially amount to a declaration of war. ..."
"... The US is spelling out the conditions that have no chance of being met. Let's hope that the result will be further Russian alignment with China, rather than nuclear war. I'd hate to be killed by Russian missiles hitting the US just because bought by MIC and paid for American "leadership" has gone completely insane. Hope springs eternal. ..."
"... They are constantly talking about the "hybrid warfare" and the Russian "attack" on America, but it means that the US (both its politicians and its population) get psychologically prepared for an actual war, and it is precisely their actions which keep drifting towards actual war. ..."
"... I don't think the Israel lobby alone should be blamed for these "sanctions". Insanity is more widespread in the US "leadership" than Jewish shekels. This looks like the death throes of the Empire. Let's hope it does not take the humanity with it to its grave. ..."
"... Interesting looks like the inevitable Turkish financial crisis has begun, Europe has reasonable exposure there, further disruption to economic ties to Russia would be seen as a hostile act by Europe. ..."
"... Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions. Who could be partners in such a system? Aside from the obvious candidate, China, perhaps even India. Modi has in recent months distanced himself from the US and warmed up to China again. ..."
"... Unless the EU finally shows some spine – which is very unlikely – then the Western system will be exposed to be at the mercy of whoever controls the US. Such a system is hegemonic and it will be in the best interest of not just the non-Western world but even for those of us in Europe to see a breakdown in that world order. ..."
"... Turkey's implicit bet was that it could continue to rely on Western money flows while pursuing an agenda contrary to Western interests has been conclusively shattered. When I say Western interests, I do not mean the propaganda about human rights, which the West manifestly doesn't give two hoots about. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

* NBC: Trump administration to hit Russia with new sanctions for Skripal poisoning

The Trump administration is hitting Russia with new sanctions punishing President Vladimir Putin's government for using a chemical weapon against an ex-spy in Britain, U.S. officials told NBC News Wednesday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on a determination that Russia violated international law by poisoning the former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in March, officials said, a decision that was announced Wednesday afternoon by State Department.

The biggest impact from the initial sanctions is expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, which in the past have included items like electronic devices and components, along with test and calibration equipment for avionics. Prior to the sanctions, such exports were allowed on a case-by-case basis.

A second, more painful round kicks in three months later unless Russia provides "reliable assurances" that it won't use chemical weapons in the future and agrees to "on-site inspections" by the U.N. -- conditions unlikely to be met. The second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the U.S, and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.

The sanctions are directly based on H.R.3409 – Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 .

Section 7 covers the sanctions that are to be imposed, which consist of initial sanctions, and further sanctions to be imposed after 90 days if there is no compliance on the country's part.

Initial sanctions : Ban on foreign assistance, arms sales, denial of US credit, and exporting national security sensitive goods. (Most of this is already functionally in place with respect to Russia).

Further sanctions : Ban on multilateral bank assistance [e.g. IMF, World Bank, the EBRD, etc], ban on US bank loans, a near total export ban (except food and agricultural commodities) and import ban, downgrade or suspension of US diplomatic relations, revocation of landing rights to air carriers controlled by the government of the sanctioned country.

Reuters has a US State Department official saying that the sanctions would not apply to Aeroflot, which some commenters have qualified as backtracking. But I think that the official was merely talking of the initial sanctions.

How does Russia go about removing the sanctions? The President will need to "certify" to Congress that the country in question: (1) Has made "reliable assurances", and is not making preparations, to use chemical/biological weapons in violation of international law, or against its own citizens; (2) is willing to allow on-site inspections by UN observers to confirm the above; (3) is making restitutions to the victims of its chemical/biological weapons usage.

This would basically require Russia to admit guilt for the Skripal poisoning and subject itself to the inspections regimes that the US typically tries to force on "rogue states." In other words, it is out of the question.

Moreover, even in the theoretical possibility that this goes through, it's not like President Trump's "certification" will be worth anything amidst the Russiagate hysteria.

Another possibility to avoid the near cessation of trade between the US and Russia is to have the President "waiver" the application of individual sanctions, if he can determine and certify to Congress that doing so is necessary for the national security interests of the US; or that there has been "a fundamental change in the leadership and policies" of the sanctioned country. In either case, the President needs to provide a report to Congress explaining his detailed rationale for the waiver, and listing steps the sanctioned country is taking to satisfy the "removal of sanctions" clause.

This isn't near the end of it, though.

***

* Meduza: Russian newspaper leaks draft text of U.S. Senate's Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act

The newspaper Kommersant has published a full draft of the proposed "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act," which demands a U.S. investigation into Vladimir Putin's personal wealth and whether Russia sponsors terrorism, and would impose a ban on U.S. citizens buying Russian sovereign debt, though the U.S. Treasury publicly opposed this idea in February, warning that it would disrupt the market broadly. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the initiative's sponsors, says one of the draft legislation's goals is to impose "crushing sanctions."

[Sanctions to include:]

* Banning the banks . The draft bill proposes banning Russia's biggest state banks -- Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Rosselkhozbank, Promsvyazbank, or Vnesheconombank -- from operating inside the United States, which would effectively prevent these institutions from conducting dollar settlements.

* Oil and gas . In the energy sector, the legislation would impose sanctions on investment in any projects by the Russian government or government-affiliated companies outside Russia worth more than $250 million. Businesses would also incur penalties for any participation (funding or supplying equipment or technology) in new oil projects inside Russia valued above $1 million.

* Lists and research . If the bill is submitted in its current form and adopted, the U.S. president would have 180 days to begin implementing its provisions; within 60 days of adoption, the White House would need to provide a new list of Russian individuals suspected of cyber-attacks against the United States; the Treasury Department would have 180 days to update its "Kremlin list" of Russian state officials and oligarchs; the director of national intelligence would be tasked with completing a "detailed report on the personal net worth and assets" of Vladimir Putin and his family; and the State Department would have 90 days to determine whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

* A new Sanctions Office . In order to shore up the 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the draft legislation would also create an "Office of Sanctions Coordination" within the State Department to coordinate work with the Treasury.

Here is the original Kommersant article: Комплекс мер по сдерживанию Дональда Трампа

Here is the text of the draft bill: https://www.kommersant.ru/docs/2018/_2018d140-Menendez-Russia-Sanctions-Bill.pdf

It contains many more interesting details.

(1) The bill's sponsors, which include Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, and Ben Cardin, preface their text with a call for President Trump to demand Russia stop interference in US "democratic processes", return Crimea to the Ukraine, stop supporting the separatists in East Ukraine, as well the "occupation and support of separatists" in the territories of Georgia and Moldova, and support for Bashar Assad, who continues to commit "war crimes."

(2) They note that the general drift of the document is towards a consolidation of separate anti-Russian sanctions, from the "Ukrainian" to the "cyber" ones, into a "single mechanism."

(3) Subject to a 2/3 vote in the Senate, the bill also includes a ban on financing "direct or indirect" steps, that have as their goal to support the attempts of "any US government official" to take the country out of NATO. Every 90 days, the US Secretary of State, in coordination with the Defense Minister, would be required to present a report to the relevant committees in Congress about "threats to NATO", which would include attempts to weaken US commitments to the alliance. Considering Trump's ambiguous feelings on NATO, this part is primarily aimed at Trump himself.

(4) There are calls to "pressure" Russia from interfering with UN and the OPCW attempts to investigate chemical weapons usage, as well as to "punish" Russia for producing and using chemical weapons. This directly syncs this sanctions bill to the previous one.

The report concludes that it's not yet clear how to interpret this. In the worse case, it could be a "preliminary application" for a UN campaign to exclude Russia from the Security Council; alternatively, it could just be a "pragmatic" run-up to merely invoking great sanctions, as with Iran in 1983.

***

I suppose we now also know why Russia has been selling Treasuries for the past three months, which plummeted from their typical level of $100 billion in March to just $15 billion from June (i.e. just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade).

For comparison, the last time such a drawback happened (but which only lasted three weeks) was in the immediate aftermath of Crimea.

The last time Russia pulled such a large sum out of the U.S. was just after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, when the central bank withdrew about $115 billion from the New York Fed, Reuters reported last year, citing two former Fed officials. Most of that money was returned a few weeks later, after it became clear that the scope of initial U.S. sanctions would be narrower than the Kremlin expected, according to the news service.

But I suppose this drawdown would now be permanent, since it is increasingly evident that Iran-tier sanctions on Russia are now on the horizon.

These sanctions are either going to steadily creep in – or rush in like a tsunami if there is a Blue Wave in 90 days, or if Trump was to be removed.

However, as I have pointed out, the ultimate ability of the US to directly punish Russia is limited; it has twice as many people as Iran, after all, and many times the economic output. Trade between Russia and the US is very limited.

Moreover, as I have pointed out , Russia has plenty of surprising ways to hurt the US as well. For instance, banning Aeroflot from flying to the US has a simple response – banning US air carriers from overflying North Eurasia, period. It can resurrect a bill – first raised this May, since sunken in the legislature – to impose fines and prison time on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America's SDN list. It can throw out the American-dominated copyrights regimen out of the window.

Some questions we should now be asking include:

1. Precisely how far is the US prepared to go? Cutting off its own trade with Russia is one thing – penalizing foreign companies that do business with Russia is something else. As Ben Aris notes , the US Treasury Department has been ratcheting back on its sanctions against Oleg Deripaska and Rusal, after the chaos it has caused in the international metals market. The ideological Russiagaters need to balance their PDS/TDS against the pecuniary practicalities of catering to finance and oil & gas interests and their lobbies.

2. To what extent will the EU join in, passively acquiesce to, or resist the US sanctions against Russia? The answer to this question will to a large extent determine precisely how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades.


reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT

Putin and his regime are weak on the USA, but Uncle Sam seems intent on making even Medvedev-style weak comprador liberals enemies.

I think unrequited love often turns to hate, and so there's some chance that these weaklings become anti-American nationalists.

The Scalpel , Website August 10, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT
This sounds very close to a declaration of war. USA is beginning to throw everything it has behind economic warfare and go "all in" forcing even its closest allies to either suffer serious sanctions for not joining the economic attacks or to inflict self-harm by limiting trade with Russia, Iran, and anyone else the US chooses to declare economic warfare upon.

I don't believe that this set of circumstances can continue indefinitely without a serious realignment or a degeneration into "kinetic" warfare.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 3:47 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Putin and his regime are weak on the USA, but Uncle Sam seems intent on making even Medvedev-style weak comprador liberals enemies.

Twit:

Maxim A. Suchkov @MSuchkov_ALM

Russia's PM @MedvedevRussiaE now: #Moscow to treat
:urther #US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war.
1:54 AM-Aug 10, 2018

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 3:48 pm GMT
Proposed new "sanctions" on Russia essentially amount to a declaration of war. Lunatic asylum is the most appropriate place for the whole American "leadership", down to the last man/woman/tranny. The only thing that stands between us and WWIII, which would be a suicide of humanity, is unbelievably cool and reasonable position of Putin and the rest of Russian leadership.

It is clear to anyone with a brain that the US "sanctions" on Russia have zero chance of changing Russia's stance on any international issues of consequence. Crimea is a good example: it will return to Ukraine the day after the Hell freezes over. On the same date Georgia gets South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and US-sponsored Islamic bandits win over Assad in Syria. Thus, The US is spelling out the conditions that have no chance of being met. Let's hope that the result will be further Russian alignment with China, rather than nuclear war. I'd hate to be killed by Russian missiles hitting the US just because bought by MIC and paid for American "leadership" has gone completely insane. Hope springs eternal.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

I agree. They are constantly talking about the "hybrid warfare" and the Russian "attack" on America, but it means that the US (both its politicians and its population) get psychologically prepared for an actual war, and it is precisely their actions which keep drifting towards actual war.

There is also a lot of projection going on here: the Americans obviously perceive their own election meddling as war by other means, and so they accuse their enemies with the very same thing.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Maybe we'll see unrequited love turning into hatred.

LondonBob , August 10, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT
Russia is far too integrated in to the wider European economy, and Russia is too stronk for sanctions to do anything. See Nord Stream II. Ignore the Israel lobby sanctions, not even the corrupt congress critters could vote for those.

I have no idea why these new meaningless sanctions have been conjured up, maybe the Rand Paul letter has the answer, maybe not. I think we may have some answers after the midterms.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
@LondonBob

I don't think the Israel lobby alone should be blamed for these "sanctions". Insanity is more widespread in the US "leadership" than Jewish shekels. This looks like the death throes of the Empire. Let's hope it does not take the humanity with it to its grave.

neutral , August 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm GMT
Now that it is within the realms of reasonable debate, if there were a nuclear war between the USA and Russia what targets would be hit? Would Russia hit puppet regimes such the UK, France or Poland? Would the USA hit Iran (because if they are going to hit Russia they might as well get Iran in there as well).

If say only Russian and USA were hit, how much of the nuclear fallout would affect Europe?

LondonBob , August 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Why, if Putin threatened Netanyahu to call off his dogs, he would have to? Actions of AIPAC should be accountable.

Interesting looks like the inevitable Turkish financial crisis has begun, Europe has reasonable exposure there, further disruption to economic ties to Russia would be seen as a hostile act by Europe.

Polish Perspective , August 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm GMT
Russia today is in a much better position to withstand sanctions. Global oil investments have been lagging for half a decade due to low prices, and this will inevitably show up in the coming years. Russia in 2014 was battered by a twin storm, of which the oil price collapse was in fact far worse. That factor is now gone.

Furthermore, a planned VAT rise next year will mean that the break-even oil price for the Russian budget will fall to $50 after $60 this year and $67 last year, according to Alfa Bank's analysis . Steady, impressive improvement. So even in an event of an unexpected oil price decline, Russia is far more prepared this time around.

Additionally, over the last 4 years, Russia's economy has indigenised to a much greater extent than before. This is especially the case in the financial markets. Russia is simply a lot less reliant on foreign funding. Bershidsky wrote about how more and more Russian companies are leaving UK capital markets and returning to Russia. This process will continue but it has already yielded results. As a country with a large current account surplus, tamed inflation, an incredibly strong fiscal state, there is indeed very little that the US can do, which is probably why they are reaching with ever-greater desperation.

I think the ultimate endgame can only be to completely run a parallel system. Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions. Who could be partners in such a system? Aside from the obvious candidate, China, perhaps even India. Modi has in recent months distanced himself from the US and warmed up to China again.

India has always bristled at being treated as a close ally rather as a 'partner'. It has cherished it's non-aligned movement legacy and its historically close relations to Russia. It is unlikely to want to give up on that in order to become a subservient lapdog to US interests in the manner that the EU has degraded itself.

China's AIIB is a good start, but the full range of new institutions must bear fruit. Some of the BRICS ideas are good but ultimately both Brazil and South Africa are too unimportant. It should be borne by the big powers (Russia, India and China) together with an Asian coalition like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others who are not in the US orbit yet have a bright future ahead of them.

Turning to Europe. Unless the EU finally shows some spine – which is very unlikely – then the Western system will be exposed to be at the mercy of whoever controls the US. Such a system is hegemonic and it will be in the best interest of not just the non-Western world but even for those of us in Europe to see a breakdown in that world order.

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
America now has a "good cop, bad cop" with Trump and Congress. Congress puts in more sanctions, but there is constraint responding too much because Trump seems friendly, and you don't want to alienate him. Trump himself doesn't care about the sanctions, because he thinks it is leverage that he can lift them later.

There was an article a few months ago that Trump is actually worse than Obama – even in Obama did not supply direct weapons to Ukraine.

I think Trump plans to remove the sanctions in the next year and improve the relations – but without any kind of timetable (his meeting with Putin is delayed already to next year).

Polish Perspective , August 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm GMT
OT: The Turkish lira is now the worst-performing currency this year, bar none.

Turkey's implicit bet was that it could continue to rely on Western money flows while pursuing an agenda contrary to Western interests has been conclusively shattered. When I say Western interests, I do not mean the propaganda about human rights, which the West manifestly doesn't give two hoots about.

Turkey was not entirely foolish to believe this strategy could work. Pakistan during the reign of Islamist military dictator Zia ul-Haq, used a similar strategy during the 1980s. He empowered the mullahs and moved Pakistan decidedly to the hard-right in religious/cultural terms while massively opening up the economy to speculative finance, thereby pleasing Washington. Saudi Arabia has used this policy for a long time. For those who knew this, the revelation that the US funded some of the most extremist "moderate" rebels in Syria came as no shock.

So perhaps it isn't the Islamism in of itself which is the problem in Erdogan's case. What could it be? Well, one clue is the case of Pastor Brunson. The good pastor, who under house arrest in Turkey, is accused to be close to the Gülen cult. The official line in the Western MSM is that Trump is trying to appease evangelicals before the midterms. I don't buy that. He has them in the bag regardless. Gülen himself, some of you might recall, still lives in the US despite repeated pleas from Turkey to give him back. Which is the unreliable ally here? Curiously, Gülen's religious bent is even more Islamist than Erdogan's. He's also even more of a neoliberal. Notice a pattern?

At any rate, the demand from the US has been for Turkey to release Brunson unconditionally. Erdogan's media has speculated that Brunson was slated to become CIA chief in Turkey had the 2016 coup come to pass. Obviously, Turkey does not want to release him unconditionally: it makes them look extremely weak. Well, they now got hit where it hurts. Indeed, Trump even tweeted out new sanctions news today even as Erdogan was delivering a speech. I don't happen to believe in coincidences. The result is that the lira lost close to a quarter of its value in a single day. I haven't even mentioned Turkey's apparent interest in the S-400 missile system among other matters. This, I think, is what truly irked D.C. rather than Erdogan's human rights record or "authoritarianism", which is just the pretext.

Make no mistake: the decline of the lira was structural from the beginning. Turkey's large CAD made it extremely vulnerable to financial speculation from the getgo. It has now paid that price. But this does not preclude the fact that countries which are overtly reliant on Western financial flows to fund large current account deficits should forgo the lesson that there is no free lunch. Erdogan made this cardinal error. Poland is not nearly as vulnerable, but we're also in the same orbit. This is why I always laugh at the Poland Stronk memes. It's also why I dismiss the criticism against Orban that he plays all sides, including taking money from the EU, as politically naïve. Very few countries in this world can reliably be called truly independent. Russia is in the process of becoming one. So is China. India is not quite there, but it has the potential. The rest of us will simply have to balance hegemons, while reminding ourselves of our inherent vulnerability. If we forget that, then we just had a textbook example of what happens when we overestimate our hand, playing out in front of our very eyes today.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Good to hear something sensible from Polish Perspective (in every sense of this expression). I know some Poles, who tend to be reasonable people, so the policies of Polish government always amazed me. Then again, if Polish democracy is similar to the US, the opinions of the people don't matter at all.

There is still a long way to go before Russia, China, or any other country frees itself from the clutches of dollar-based financial system. However, an alternative might look parallel at the beginning, but it won't be parallel for long. Thing is, the US dollar and the US sovereign debt have become essentially Ponzi schemes. If Russia, China, and a few others create a "parallel" system, dollar-based Ponzi scheme folds, as the US does not have sufficient assets to support the dollar or pay off its debt. The fall of the Empire will likely be violent. The only thing we can hope for is that the humanity survives it.

As to EU, it missed every chance of becoming something with a spine. Too late now. In fact, what French president once said about Arafat (he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity) applies to the EU with a vengeance.

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 4:47 pm GMT

I suppose we now also now why Russia has been selling Treasuries for the past three months, which plummeted from their typical level of $100 billion in March to just $15 billion from June (i.e. just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade).

You're making the Kremlins look smarter than they actually are. They should have done this 4 years ago. What I want to know is what happened to the proceeds from the sale? CBR data shows that value of "foreign exchange" held by the CBR hasn't declined:

https://www.cbr.ru/eng/hd_base/mrrf/mrrf_m/

Did they convert the dollars into other currencies, or are they keeping it in cash on a bank account somewhere, where it could be easily "frozen"?

notanon , August 10, 2018 at 4:49 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Why, if Putin threatened Netanyahu to call off his dogs, he would have to? Actions of AIPAC should be accountable.

i don't this is just AIPAC driven – partly yes but the banking mafia have their own reasons for trying to bring Russia to heel.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 4:54 pm GMT
Great.

Now I can't use the Export-Import Bank insure the export of American-made products from a swing state to Russia. Really Making America Great Again! Can we please replace Pompeo with Rohrabacher already?

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Regarding India, they are asking America for a permission to keep buying Russian weapons. Asking for a sanctions "waiver" – this is just sad. India also agreed to reduce imports of Iranian oil. So, perhaps, not so independent anymore.

There is no way to sugarcoat it: in the short to medium term sanctions will suppress Russian economic growth. But unless they find a way to somehow stop Russia's exports of oil, our economy will shrug off whatever sanction packages US can throw at it.

Cagey Beast , August 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Can we please replace Pompeo with Rohrabacher already?

Rohrabacher is a flake and blowhard as well. If he were in the running for Secretary of State, he could just as easily flip and become militantly anti-Russian in order to impress people in Washington. Appearing tough on foreigners in front of one's peers in Washington is their prime motive. They've been like this since before the Vietnam War era.

Kimppis , August 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm GMT
Anatoly, I read your Russian "Whitepill" article through Google Translate recently:

http://akarlin.ru/2018/08/whitepill/

Obviously a good read overall, but there was this one part that I found particularly well, interesting, and actually quite surprising:

"Moreover, the mid-2020s will also see a massive influx of electric vehicles into the global car fleet, which could lead to a final collapse in oil prices. There was practically no real diversification: the number of industrial robots per worker in Russia is at the level of Iran and India. Meanwhile, "effective managers" like Sechin turned out to be so effective that Rosneft's debts exceed the value of the company itself from this year. An acute economic crisis in a few years is almost inevitable. "

So I'm clearly not even entirely sure whether that translation is accurate, but it really seems like you're kind of suddenly much more pessimistic on the Russian economy. Or is that just the "best-case" scenario for Russian nationalists?

Didn't you rate Putin's "economic management" reasonably highly not a long time ago, just before the Presidential elections? Of course compared to the situation in 2000, but still.

You've also pointed out several times that Russia's oil dependency has been considerably exaggerated. Also, Russia's federal budget is already based on low oil prices. Then there's Jon Hellevig's research and numbers as well (GDP share of oil & gas, the consolidated budget, etc). And Polish Perspective's comment above.

So shouldn't the repeat of 2014 be kind of unlikely, if not impossible? At this rate, Russia's remaining oil dependency should already be considerably lower by the mid-20s, despite all those technological limitations.

You don't believe in an annual growth of 3% anymore? You seriously think there will be an "acute crisis" in a few years?

I actually just read that even the always (or atleast recently) conservative/pessimistic Russian authorities (in this case, the Economic Development Ministry) forecast a growth rate of atleast around 3% beginning from 2021, after the VAT hike, some other "reforms" and increasing spending.

Cagey Beast , August 10, 2018 at 5:23 pm GMT
At the same time, Trump his helping to push the Turkish economy off a cliff with his Twitter account. Russia and Turkey find themselves in the same boat. So?
Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Israel and Netanyahu responsible for American sanctions on Russia, conspiracy makes less sense to me than the others I read here (Israel responsible for killing Kennedy, etc). Why do Israel want to impose American sanctions on Russia?

This week's sanctions mainly targeting Russian airlines. Aeroflot is about to buy 30 Boeing 737s from America – and now this is in danger.

In Israel, Aeroflot is the third airline, and Israeli government pays it direct subsidies to reduce the ticket prices for places like Eilat. They allow Aeroflot to put giant Aeroflot commercial posters along the roads and skyscrapers.

According to the news earlier in the year, Israel is negotiating to join a customs union with the Eurasian Economic Union. How will they reconcile their own actions, with being the one responsible for America to sanction Russia? It would be very competent 4 dimensional chess, from people who cannot even count their illegal immigrants or deport a single illegal immigrant, or coordinate their nationality policy with a few thousand druze. While making America sanction Russia has no benefit for them, deporting illegal immigrants, or coordinating with Druze has important benefits for them (yet supposedly they can do the former, but not the latter).

At the same time, they do the opposite of sanctioning themselves.

Also if this is the case, how in Russia, nobody in the expert community is aware Israel is responsible for the sanctions. Instead the media celebrate when it still wants to export carrots. And if any of the Kremlin top think relations with Israel are bad, then why is Israel allowed to operate freely in Russia.

If explanation is to do with Syria – it also does not fit. Intervention in Syria was presented as something which would encourage West to remove its sanctions.

For Israel, Russian-American alliance would improve the situation in the region. And also probably for Turkey and the Arabs.

Israel is terrified with an increase of Iran in Syria. The reality is that is that both Russia and America is going to reduce presence in Syria, and Iran is going to increase it. The problem of Russia in Syria for Israel, is that Russia's presence is only minimal, and will allow Iran on the ground to take over the same territories that Russia helps secure for Assad. In the current equation and stage of the war, they will be hoping Russia increases its presence and reduces the need for Iranian forces. Problem of Assad for them is his only to the extent of his relation with Iran, not with Russia.

Mikhail , Website August 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Before the Trump-Putin summit, the Mueller involved FBI indicted 12 Russians, knowing full well that they'd not be turned over to the US. This latest round of sanctions comes right after Rand Paul's trip to Moscow, for the purpose of seeking closer US-Russian relations.

As noted in this below piece, these sanctions are crock based: https://www.rt.com/news/435576-russia-us-sanctions-reactions/

On CNN, the establishment alternative academic Robert English hypothesized that elements in the Russian government might've poisoned the Skripals without Putin's prior knowledge. He leaves out another possibility, in line with US mass media restrictions. In the UK, there're Russian ex pats, who quarrel among themselves, in addition to not liking the Russian government. The poisoning of the Skripals could very well be a matter of trying to kill two birds (so to speak) in one shot.

Of course we don't know for sure. Likewise, with the bogus suggestion as fact that the Russian government poisoned the Skripals. Given the ongoing lack of UK government disclosure on this incident, there's very good reason to doubt the claim against the Russian government.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

I think the ultimate endgame can only be to completely run a parallel system. Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions.

Seconded. Washington is too much in love with their sanctions.

It should be borne by the big powers (Russia, India and China) together with an Asian coalition like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others who are not in the US orbit yet have a bright future ahead of them.

What about Turkey?

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Kimppis

Also, Russia's federal budget is already based on low oil prices. Then there's

It's up to 50% of the federal budget in recent years, is funded by oil and gas revenue, although in low oil price years the proportion can fall (to lower 40s%).

When the proportion falls, then you are by definition financing a federal budget in other ways, which are usually less politically popular.

You can see unpopularity of announcements to raise VAT or pension age.

Raising pension age (as needs to often be repeated to people) is necessary and reasonable, but raising VAT is a bad thing as in most countries.

Karlin is probably too pessimistic about oil price demand peaking in 2020s (demand for oil probably peaking in the 2030s).

Either way, it's known there need to be economic reforms, reduction of size of government sector, increase in proportion of private sector in many areas, investment in education for future industries.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Aeroflot is about to buy 30 Boeing 737s from America – and now this is in danger.

Aeroflot should cancel the orders and buy the Airbus 320s Iran was supposed to get.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm GMT
@Cagey Beast

But they fail to produce the next generation of consumer-citizens. Or is the Western elite so shortsighted? To the level of "après moi le déluge"?

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Agree. Aeroflot should not buy anything American. Neither should Iran or Syria. The most sensitive part of the US anatomy is the wallet.

Lars Porsena , August 10, 2018 at 6:48 pm GMT
Having Russia go pirate on US copy-rite laws could be interesting. Do you think the US would build a giant firewall and ban it's citizens from viewing Russian content, and could they actually enforce it, or would the internet be just like back in the good old 90′s days with Napsternik?

Russia might even make some headway with Pirate Party types. Information belongs to the people, comrades! Also Russia switching to Linux would probably lead to an increased development of Linux.

g2k , August 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Looks like these sanctions will force their hand: their new narrowbody airliner was going to have pratt and witney engines with the aviadvigatel ones only for government planes. Not sure what the exact reasons for this were: p&w ones have a slightly higher bypass ratio, it allows international buyers to utilise existing service infrastructure or aviadvigatel's ability to mass produce might be crap. If the us imposes a complete export ban they'll all have to have them.

Russia's current widebody airliner is pretty much obsolete though.

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
Aeroflot had benefited from collapse of Transaero. They're getting 35 planes (all Airbus and Boeing models) from the Transaero fleet and are putting them into Aeroflot fleet this year.

With Boeing, they also had an order of Dreamliners, which they cancelled a few years ago. Although that was just because there was a downturn in long-haul flights. New Boeing 737 orders are for building up their lowcoster "Pobeda".

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

For that, Russia needs to produce all types of civilian aircraft, like the USSR did. That's hard after the 1990s, when the traitors destroyed Russian aircraft industry. There are moves in the direction of restoring it, in cooperation with China. However, they both need to be able to build aircraft w/o any parts from the US and its vassals. That would take 5-10 years. In fact, US sanctions pushed Russia and China in the direction of self-sufficiency very hard. In Russian it is called "sawing off the bough you sit on". The West is really good at that lately.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
@g2k

These sanctions might be a net positive for Russia in the long term, forcing them to develop indigenous industries instead of just importing everything from the oil revenue.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Probably working together with China is the easier way, and more feasible economically.

Daniel Chieh , August 10, 2018 at 7:23 pm GMT
@Lars Porsena

Do you think the US would build a giant firewall and ban it's citizens from viewing Russian content, and could they actually enforce it, or would the internet be just like back in the good old 90′s days with Napsternik?

The "free market" of Facebook, Apple, Google and Spotify will protect good Americans from fake news.

El Dato , August 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT
@Lars Porsena

Also Russia switching to Linux would probably lead to an increased development of Linux.

I would finally have a good reason to learn me some Russian.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
@g2k

Presumably they can still source from Rolls Royce. The UK is a smaller economic power than America and presumably less interested in sabotaging one of its crown jewels (never rule it out with the UK ofc).

Russia's aerospace technology is inferior to the West, but that's irrelevant since Russia can simply force Russian carriers to purchase Russian aircraft. Higher operating costs relative to foreign carriers can be addressed with subsidies (or tariffs).

Prioritizing your own technology also creates the option of charting an independent technological course. For instance, instead of building swept-wing jets with low bypass turbofan engines optimized for transonic cruise, you could build straight-wing aircraft with propfans optimized for low fuel consumption. You can also build supersonic aircraft and experiment with different planforms than the boring one established by the Boeing 707.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

This is already in the works with the CRAIC CR929. Engineering in Moscow, assembly in Shanghai. Will be in service around a decade from now.

German_reader , August 10, 2018 at 7:38 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

It's kind of funny how many Americans feel threatened by Iran. Regarding Russia as a threat at least makes a certain sense given Russia's nuclear arsenal and ability to destroy the US.

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 7:45 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Every time Medvedev opens his mouth, he makes me cringe. Seriously, if you're going to proclaim an "economic war", against USA no less, then you better explain how Russia is going to fight back and win. Smart Russians will be heading to currency exchange ( обменный пункт ) after hearing this statement.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

More fuel consumption than is usual with modern aircraft, noisier passenger cabin, more external noise (also important for some airports with regulations restricting noisy aircraft), less safety, etc.

It's just not competitive to operate them. Airlines have very low margins anyway, you cannot make a profit with obsolete aircrafts.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 8:50 pm GMT
@German_reader

On the other hand, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ideologically far more committed to anti-Americanism than the RF.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

if you're going to proclaim an "economic war", against USA no less, then you better explain how Russia is going to fight back and win.

Sun Tzu would disagree. Why let the enemy know what you are planning to do?

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 9:50 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

There are a couple of new planes which Aeroflot is going to buy/buying for shorthaul – Superjet 100 and MC-21. Karlin was blogging about these planes a few weeks ago.

Airtickets are a freemarket, and most passengers don't want to fly in unsafe old planes like Tu-154

A single crash can be even fatal for an airline – crash of an An-148 has earlier this year, destroyed Saratov Airlines

As a customer, I don't think there is any disgrace in buying Boeing and Airbus. All major airlines now, and around the world, are using mainly Airbus and Boeing, and have now retired the Tu-154.

Gerard2 , August 10, 2018 at 9:52 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

There is no way to sugarcoat it: in the short to medium term sanctions will suppress Russian economic growth

AND also Ukraine's, Moldova's, Georgia's, the Baltics and the friendly countries like Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan etcetera. If anything the US's moron, scumbag policy towards Russia ends up doing the exact opposite of what it intends to do Ukraine, Moldova, Gerogia and Baltics then become more financially interlinked and even dependent on Russia than they were before.

But in the circumstances ..is guaranteed 1% or 1.5% GDP growth per year for the next decade even that bad considering the circumstances? Every social/infrastructure element is improving in Russia

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 10:08 pm GMT
@Mitleser

The enemy is probably laughing his ass off at Medvedev. One simply should NOT be making such statements as a prime-minister of Russia. Here is another fool, who doesn't understand currency markets:

Gerard2 , August 10, 2018 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Dmitry

You can see unpopularity of announcements to raise VAT or pension age.

It's fake outrage and fake unpopularity on these two issues. 18% increased to 20% is a non-issue ( the budget is being spent significantly better than ever to offset this increase in VAT)

A lot of nonsense about "long overdue" get's said about pension reform but this is total BS. Yes Russia has 48 million out of 146 million as pensioners, but the most important thing is the unexpected , way above average increase in life expectancy . that has actually instigated this move by the authorities.

Those approaching retirement won't suddenly have to work 1-5 years longer they can still opt-in to the current arrangements in the overlapping period.. and with guarantees pension increased much further to corresponding inflation levels than now.

Either way, it's known there need to be economic reforms

Disagree with this .the same patterns that have been shown in the last 4 years need to continue, no radical "reform" is necessary. Small and medium sized business have gone from 10 million to 20 million people and should easily reach the target in afew years time that the President wished for in May,credit behavior and availability is becoming more and more western,

Instead of saying "reduction in size of government sector" you must specify exactly which areas of state control should be privatised .too often from liberasts their focus is solely on getting state control off critically important energy resources and distribution .nothing else.

Cyrano , August 10, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
Americans see the Russians as greatness deniers. Their European lackeys are their greatness-acknowledgers – even when it's detrimental to their own survival.

If the world was a theater, Americans see themselves as the only performers – the role of the rest of the world is to applaud their performance.

Russia is not a part of the audience, it's not even a heckler. It's a performer, it has always been, and a very talented one too. To try to demote them to the role of spectators, or to try to usher them out of the concert hall can be suicidal, they have enough musical instruments to put on a remarkable concert – even if afterwards no one is left to applaud.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

One simply should NOT be making such statements as a prime-minister of Russia.

What statements should the PM make?

Anonymous [899] Disclaimer , August 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Yes we can.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mouse-grown-from-its-mothers-skin-cells-2016-10

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109305-eggs-made-from-skin-cells-in-lab-could-herald-end-of-infertility/

Daniel Chieh , August 10, 2018 at 11:31 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Mice and humans are quite different, results applying to mice apply to humans less than 50% of the time. The loss rates on this, at any rate, are insane:

Of the 1348 embryos they made, eight pups were born.

Anonymous [931] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 12:16 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Every beginning is hard. Considering that all the cutting edge research in fertility/cloning/artificial wombs is done on shoestring budgets, the progress is amazing. Imagine what could be done with sufficient funding.

Our esteemed host have the right idea – the only chance for Russia to achieve its rightful number one place in the world is through new Manhattan project to develop better Russians.
The West is stymied by the "pro-lifers" of the right and "bioethicists" of the left, and this is Russia's chance. Unlike the origial M project, Russians can keep things secret, and even if the West will suspect something, what can they do? Impose sanctions?

In the thirties, ignorant Caucasian moustacheoid gangster picked the Lysenkoists over the scientifically correct Darwinist transhumanist eugenicists. Time to undo this mistake.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 12:37 am GMT
@Anonymous

Our esteemed host have the right idea – the only chance for Russia to achieve its rightful number one place in the world is through new Manhattan project to develop better Russians.

And it will have as much impact on the outcome of the looming confrontation as the Mengele's research had on the outcome of the WWII.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 2:01 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

He's also even more of a neoliberal. Notice a pattern?

The west has no qualms about using Islamist. Radical Islam has been used in 1950s against Nasser's regime in Egypt. Islamist were used against secular pro Soviet regime of Afghanistan and then against Assad's Syria, Hussain's Iraq and Gaddafi's Libya. The equation is complicate: on one side you have Israel's Yinon Plan and global neoliberal and Islamists and on the other side you have secular national countries that try to build greater sovereignty and stronger state.

Majority of Islamist are just useful idiots while some among the leadership are operatives of western security services. Sometimes they break off the leash like Hamas which it does not seem to be controlled by Mossad anymore but it still does everything from the wish list of Israel's hard-liners.

My pet theory is that Islamist of Iran who destroyed the fast growing and developing Iran of Shah were also used by some foreign interests in the west and/or Israel. Shah himself believed it was the British.

You should look at history of your own country in 19 and 20 century. To what extent all those patriots responsible for numerous and hopeless uprisings were useful idiots, dupes or operatives of foreign interests?

Mr. XYZ , August 11, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
Question about the Skripal poisoning–if it wasn't the Russians, then who did it?

Also, it's interesting that Sergei Skripal's poisoning has resulted in much more Western action than Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning back in 2006 did.

Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
' The biggest impact from the initial sanctions is expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, which in the past have included items like electronic devices and components, along with test and calibration equipment for avionics. Prior to the sanctions, such exports were allowed on a case-by-case basis. '

Now they'll have to pay the Israelis to get it for them. Does this count as aid to Israel?

Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:04 am GMT
If, without admitting guilt, Russia expressed her regret for the fact that Donald Trump won the election, would that open the door to a settlement?
Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:07 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

' Americans view Russia as a greater threat than Iran '

I can go along with that. Russia's a greater threat than Togo as well.

Anon [813] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 3:39 am GMT
@German_reader

I am always puzzled to hear that lesbians require artificial insemination. I had a couple of friends who were a bit behind schedule, and were trying hard to conceive just before the last eggs would wither. Whatever they were doing, taking days off from work when the thermometer said so, shoving it at any price, and so on – it could not be described as pleasurable. So why would the lesbians not bear it if they so much need children?

On a more general note, I am puzzled as to how USSR survived between 1945 and 1989 without fainting at the thought that Americans would not recognize annexation of the Baltic jokes, that Russians would not be allowed to use dollars, or that Pokemon Go could be blocked in the Russian app store. Surely, if you have a population of idiots, like USSR circa 1989, who would think that it's their ow government blocking the dollar and Pikachu, it may gnaw at the roots of the state. But today's Russians can guess that with Putin or without him, with Crimea or without it, they are still seen as enemies of America, and will be treated accordingly.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 4:08 am GMT
@Anon

New state provision would cover fertility services for lower income women

https://nypost.com/2017/04/16/new-state-provision-would-cover-fertility-services-for-lower-income-women/

Conservatives pilloried the program, which sources said is a gift to an Orthodox Jewish community that has pressed for government-paid fertility services for 15 years.

Orthodox leaders called the budget measure a "significant victory" for women struggling to have kids in a community that traditionally values large families.

"This amendment will make it easier for women who would like to have children to do so," said Jeff Leb, a top lobbyist for Jewish nonprofits.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT
@Anonymous

scientifically correct Darwinist

Darwinism violates basic laws of probability theory and the observed fossil record.

It's a nice just-so story for the innumerate (most biologists are innumerate), but not in any way, shape or form science.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 7:28 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

if it wasn't the Russians, then who did it?

Guilty until proven innocent? Don't open that Pandora's box. You're gleefully piling on the Russians now, but give a few years and the same gang might apply that principle to you in turn. Just because they hate Russians at this moment doesn't mean they hold any love for the rest of humanity.

Bukephalos , August 11, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

Brunson's captivity had dragged for quite long already, and we heard negotiations for his release made some progress before. However, Trump ramped up the rhetoric at a precise moment: when Turkey announced they would not only shirk new Iran sanctions (like they did in the past) but also were being vocal about this.

Seeing what ensued, again yes the S-400 was an irritant for a while already and certainly cumulate with other factors but the timeline is interesting. God forbid we conclude those who should not be named are ultimately setting the agenda here, not really the pastor's plight under islamist thugs.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 8:45 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

You could do a better job at reading this thread. See:

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-sanctions/#comment-2458139

Excerpt –

On CNN, the establishment alternative academic Robert English hypothesized that elements in the Russian government might've poisoned the Skripals without Putin's prior knowledge. He leaves out another possibility, in line with US mass media restrictions. In the UK, there're Russian ex pats, who quarrel among themselves, in addition to not liking the Russian government. The poisoning of the Skripals could very well be a matter of trying to kill two birds (so to speak) in one shot.

Of course we don't know for sure. Likewise, with the bogus suggestion as fact that the Russian government poisoned the Skripals. Given the ongoing lack of UK government disclosure on this incident, there's very good reason to doubt the claim against the Russian government.

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

reiner Tor , August 11, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
@anonymous coward

That's wrong, except about the innumeracy of the majority of biologists. Evolutionary biologists are less innumerate than the rest, and in any event, enough of them are numerate (like Greg Cochran with a physics PhD).

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 9:29 am GMT
@reiner Tor

[MORE]

That's wrong

It isn't. I'm a professional, trust me.

Evolutionary biologists are less innumerate than the rest, and in any event, enough of them are numerate (like Greg Cochran with a physics PhD).

Physicists are trained in integrals and analysis, they know nothing about probability theory, statistics and theoretical computer science. These are the fields required to form a semblance of a mathematical theory of evolution.

(A theory that will never be formed, because Darwinism violates the very basic theorems of probability and computation.)

anon [170] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 9:40 am GMT
Sanctions are more or less equivalent to Neo Mercantilism. Currency devalued, imports surpassed, etc.

Last round led to Russian agriculture boom.

The US would not tolerate a sanctions equivalent industrial policy, Nr would the Russian people.

Just call it better than tariffs,

Never before have unintended consequences been so obvious.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 9:49 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

Could you give an example of some probabilities? How do you calculate them and with what assumptions?

At resent article by Fred Reed the commenter "j2″ produced some numbers but I was too lazy and not certain that his starting assumptions were correct to verify it.

The Scalpel , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:22 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

If it wasn't the British, or ISIS, or the Martians, who did it?

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 10:55 am GMT
@anonymous coward

Physicists are trained in integrals and analysis, they know nothing about probability theory, statistics and theoretical computer science. These are the fields required to form a semblance of a mathematical theory of evolution.

Such complete bullshit. Probability and statistics are absolutely key for modern physics and an education in theoretical physics is definitely the best route to train in the practical applications, better than going to the mathematics department where they mainly deal with abstract theory. You clearly know nothing beyond high school level physics (or anything else for that matter).

Some fields of modern physics like thermodynamics ARE basically just pure probability theory applied to physical phenomena. If you take a random sample of research physicists from your local university, they're much more likely to be doing statistical mechanics rather than trying to find analytical solutions for their n-body problem and some application of probability is usually the most important field of mathematics for working physicists.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:11 am GMT
@Mikhail

You're right again about the Litvinenko conspiracy, Mickey. The notion that the Russian government would want to eliminate somebody who had betrayed its secret service, written books denouncing Vladimir Putin for giving the order to murder the likes of Boris Bereszvsky, Anna Polikovskaya and others, accused the secret service of being behind the bombings of the Russian apartment buildings, just doesn't add up or make any sense. The fact that Litvinenko, while lying on his death bed directly accused Putin for being responsible for his death also didn't lend any value that it was indeed Putin behind his poisoning. It just goes to show you the lengths to which the enemies of Russia and Vladimir Putin will go to try and besmearch Putin's honorable name. But they'll never be able to fool somebody with your veracity and skillul analysis – keep up the great 'independent foreign analysis'!

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

anonymous coward makes it a point of pride to be as consistently wrong as possible.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

I wasn't aware of this and am glad that you pointed this out. Another incredibly strong reason not to believe that the Russian government was behind the Litvinenko poisoning. Isn't it time that you wrote a book, Mickey? I know that other book authors regularly rely on your input to write their own monographs, isn't it time that you put it all together and shared more of your thoughts with the world? Perhaps, Karlin might let you write a chapter in his forthcoming book 'The Dark Lord of the Kremlin'?

APilgrim , August 11, 2018 at 11:33 am GMT
'Russia-Sanctions' are pitiful ' Double-Standards ', written by ' Frustrated Globalists '.
Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm GMT
Anyone wants to comment on this bizarre diplomatic spat, that Greece and Russia are having?

The abrupt deterioration in relations between Greece and Russia has intensified after Athens publicly accused Moscow of attempting to bribe state officials and meddle in the country's internal affairs.

Athens also rejected requests for entry visas from Russian Orthodox clerics heading for northern Greece's all-male monastic republic of Mount Athos.

The community is alleged to be a "den of spies" , with reports that Moscow has turned the Holy Mount – widely seen as the spiritual centre of Orthodoxy – into an intelligence-gathering operation with extensive funding of monasteries across the peninsula.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/11/greece-accuses-russia-bribery-meddling-macedonia-deal

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. Greece could be trying to secure some debt relief by manufacturing a pointless row with Russia. Their PM Tsipras did come to Russia in 2015, asking for money. Left with nothing.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Probability and statistics are absolutely key for modern physics and an education in theoretical physics is definitely the best route to train in the practical applications, better than going to the mathematics department where they mainly deal with abstract theory.

Untighten your panties. That was my point, which you managed to miss by blindly charging to M'Lady Science's defense.

Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding.

The practical stuff physicists are using for solving practical, well-defined problems is useless here.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT
@utu

[MORE]

Some quick back-of-the-napkin calculations:

* Age of the universe is about 10^18 seconds.
* The "Planck time" gives us the smallest possible unit of time, about 10^-45 seconds.
* There are about 10^82 atoms in the Universe.

Now assume an ideal computer. Let each atom of the Universe be a CPU, operating as fast as physics allows.

That gives us an upper bound of 10^(18+45+82) = 10^145 CPU cycles for computation.

Now take Shakespeare's sonnet #27. It is 458 letters long. (Let's ignore punctuation.)

If we take 458 random letters of the English alphabet, there are 26^458 random combinations.

So if our ideal Universe-sized computer was randomly picking letters and hoping to compose a Shakespeare sonnet, it would need about 10^300 Universes to do so.

How much more complex is an E. Coli cell compared to a sonnet?

P.S. This is obvious, freshman-tier stuff unless you're blinded by ideology.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

What' s to make of it? The article that you cite clearly explains what the row is all about:

Moscow announced the move weeks after Athens banned four Russian diplomats after accusing them of fomenting opposition to a landmark deal between Greece and macedonia, opening up the possibility of eventual Nato membership for Skopje.

Your own bizarre explanation betrays your own Russian reasoning:

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. Greece could be trying to secure some debt relief by manufacturing a pointless row with Russia. Their PM Tsipras did come to Russia in 2015, asking for money. Left with nothing.

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

My guess is that the Greek government wants to gain a powerful backer against Brüssel.

In Greece, he very often appears in public alongside Kammenos and spreads his political views on what is going on in the country via his Twitter account.

The influence goes so far that Pyatt unchallengedly criticizes the Greek judiciary and demands measures against anti-American demonstrators. Tsipras administration, arguing anti-Americanly itself at opposition times, on the other hand, fulfils every wish of the USA. While on the other side of the Bosphorus NATO partner Turkey is pushing its dispute with the US to the top, Greece's government is the most US-friendly since the overthrow of military rule in July 1974: NATO interests, gas pipelines and the regional influence of the North Atlantic defence alliance.

The coalition government of SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks agreed to the expansion of American military bases in Greece, including the stationing of nuclear weapons. This was not initially communicated to the public by the government, but only became known when the Secretary General of the Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoubas, criticized it during public performances.

Secret diplomacy, as in the case of NATO, is also a characteristic of the Tsipras government in resolving the name dispute with northern Macedonia and in ongoing negotiations on border corrections with Albania. All negotiations are held in secrecy, with reference to the protection of state interests. There is no detailed information and no transparency regarding the reasons for the decision.

Athens is now providing NATO with the infrastructure for military bases in the event that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdraws his country from the North Atlantic Defence Alliance.

https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Russland-weist-griechische-Diplomaten-aus-4130628.html

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator

Yes, that's is the infamous Pyatt who was ambassador in Kiev during the Maidan Coup.
He has been in Athen since 2016.

The case brings to the forefront the tension that seems to have been brewing between Athens and Moscow over the last two years, for reasons that have to do with regional security.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230551/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-decides-to-expel-russian-diplomats

reiner Tor , August 11, 2018 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mitleser

As late as this April Tsipras was still skeptical of the Skripal case.

But yes, probably they want America's friendship.

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Yeltsin was president when the bombings happened. Putin was only prime minister for a couple of weeks before the tower block bombings happened. Boris Bereszvsky killed himself (exiles are often miserable, Skripal wanted to go back) after Litvinenko, they were a couple of losers. No, Putin is a proud man, he sent the anti terror police to arrest Gusinsky not because of investigation into the apartment massacres of hundreds, but because that puppet show Dolls of Gusinsky's NTV portrayed Putin in a way he hated.

Who wouldn't want to inflict a horrible death on someone who accused them of being a paedophile? Litvinenko accused Putin of being a child molester and so Putin immediately issued orders for him to be sadistically murdered and a month he was poisoned (like apartment bombings, these things take a while to set up).

Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

This brings me back to my point about Hitler & weak, foolish Eastern Europeans. Greek government is only behaving this way because it sees no risks in antagonising Russians whatsoever. Slapping sanctions on Greece (by banning tourism for example) might get them thinking.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

One thing I saw is that they dislike Russia's support for replacing Greeks with Palestinians in the Orthodox Church in Israel.

https://www.facebook.com/pakopov/posts/1975263482518921

Israel Shamir had an article on that, interestingly enough: http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-greek-occupation/

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 3:44 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

No sanctions, just encourage the tourism branch to redirect Russian tourists to Turkey which can offer them more for less.

https://www.xe.com/de/currencycharts/?from=RUB&to=TRY&view=5Y

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
@Sean

Look, I'm not passing judgement on the veracity of these accusations, that Litvinenko made against Putler. I see that you've added another one to the list, that Litvinenko accused Putler of being a pedophile too. All I was pointing out was that there were many reasons why Litvinenko was a target for unfriendly Rusian actions, not like our resident 'Independent foreign Policy Analyst' Mike Averko who claims:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act.

Of course, he's a professional analytical type that always knows what he's talking about?

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Greece was told it had to join NATO to be allowed into the EU.

German_reader , August 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm GMT
@Sean

Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952, it joined the European Community in 1981.
It's odd though that a Greek leftist like Tsipras is pro-American, given the strong anti-American traditions of Greek left-wingers. But Tsipras seems to be an all-around scumbag anyway.

JudyBlumeSussman , August 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT

how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades

Russia can start taking China's side on an ad hoc basis, e.g. sending ships to the disputed sea and hassling US ships and planes. Russia could hassle them on the Northern half and China on the Southern half, a nice division of labor and multiplication of hassle for the US Navy.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

You can read statements of their foreign ministry.

His statements to do with paranoia about Russian-Turkey relations – statement from Greece was claiming Russia is a "comrade in arms with Turkey".

If Greece is angry about something, it is usually related to Turkey.

As Russia becomes friendly with Turkey – they will find an excuse to be angry, and vice-versa.

Think about Trump is this week criticizing Turkey – so he is probably now a hero in Greece this week.

Greeks are also angry because they think Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society is trying to de-Hellenize Middle Eastern patriarchates .

Philip Owen , August 11, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
Russia has enough chicken legs of its own now. They are not washed in chlorine.

Disengagement will simply remove what little influence the US has on Russia. Russia's exports are utterly dominated by primary production which is entirely fungible. The US exports little of high added to Russia and the EU and Switzerland, Korea and increasingly China can replace that. Japan probably won't. Russia has been trying to play a softer game with Japan but both sides true imperialist nature keeps on re-emerging. Like the US, Japan has remarkably low levels of trade with Russia given the size of its economy. Switzerland does a lot of high end complex electromechanical systems, like the Germans. The Germans are good; The Swiss are perfect.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 4:59 pm GMT
@Mitleser

I'm not really sure how low prices for Turkey can become lower. It's already very cheap.

Maybe further devaluation can contribute to the tourist market diverging more between Greece and Turkey. More and more poorer people will go on holiday to Turkey, as it becomes almost as cheap to go on holiday in Turkey, as it is to stay at home.

Maybe Greece can focus more on middle segment of the tourist market.

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@German_reader

Greece had withdrawn from the NATO military structure after the invasion of Cyprus by fellow member Turkey. If I remember rightly it was their own PM who told Greeks they had to go back into NATO to be allowed to join the EC.

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding.

Bullshit. I have a pretty good education in probability theory both from the theoretical physics and mathematics departments so feel free to explain whatever point you think you have in as technical terms and with as much abstract math as you like.

I'm just going to claim that you're trying an "it doesn't work because of fancy words X, Y, Z" bluff without any actual technical argument behind the big fancy words. Prove me wrong.

anon [170] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 5:41 pm GMT
@anon

It will have a negative impact on domestic Russian consumption short term. It's stupid, short sighted, and hard to reverse. Sanctions work best when used least.

German_reader , August 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT
@Sean

I hadn't known about Greece's withdrawal from NATO in the 1970s, interesting, thanks.

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 5:48 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

* Age of the universe is about 10^18 seconds.

"Age of the universe" is a pop sci concept. In the standard model of cosmology it is estimated that the universe has developed from a massively dense state to the current state in roughly 13 billion years. We can backtrack the development over that time with current theories of physics and then we hit a wall as matter is so dense that we'd need a quantum theory of gravity to go further back in time but we don't have that. We don't know how long the universe existed before that, actually we don't even know if time existed in the same manner. The earliest known state of the universe was NOT informationless (there were variations in mass distribution etc) so your assumption that patterns would emerge only in the following 13 billion years is false.

[MORE]

If you watch some pop sci documentary, they will explain all sorts of stuff about how the universe was at first some tiny point and there was a big explosion that spread it all over. This is all nonsense that was made up so that pop sci documentaries could have CGI graphics.

* The "Planck time" gives us the smallest possible unit of time, about 10^-45 seconds.

There is no such thing as the "smallest possible unit of time". This is complete nonsense. You seem to get your knowledge of physics from science fiction movies.

There is an expectation that current theories of physics are not accurate at very small time scales (which have not been reached by experiment). This is not the same thing as postulating that there is some "smallest possible unit of time". Current theories of physics simply do not include such a thing.

* There are about 10^82 atoms in the Universe.

We don't even know if the universe is finite or infinite. This is just a claim that you pulled out of your ass. There may even be an infinite number of atoms.

AnonFromTN , August 11, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Turks are a lot more orderly and competent than Greeks. In fact, I was surprised how much more organized Turks are: we rented a car in Ankara near railway station and returned it in another city near airport, and they delivered the car where we wanted it and then took it off my hands, without car rental agency at either point.

For Russians, there are two additional advantages: no visa is required (you just pay $20 at the airport, and they stick what they call "visa" in your passport), and the same services are cheaper than in Greece.

ploni almoni , August 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

"Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding."

Phony Baloney.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:18 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Empty calories sarcasm on your part.

The US went thru a period of noticeable politically motivated violence (in one form or another), that among other things included the murders of the Kennedy brothers, King, X, black children in a church, fatal Kent State shootings and the Manson involved murders.

There was absolutely no need for the Russian government to orchestrate the Moscow apartment bombings. The evidence is non-existent, with the so-called evidence being a put mildly creative stretch. On par with the idea that the US government sought and was involved in planning 9/11. Terrorism from Chechnya was a clear reality before the Moscow apartment bombings.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

A disingenuous cherry pick on your part, along with empty calories sarcasm. It wasn't only his (as has been said) sympathy for Chechen separatism, but a combination of factors, in conjunction with that aspect.

What I said in full on this matter:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:33 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise faulty impression.

In comparison, there's better reason to be critical of the Kiev regime's stunt with Babchenko.

Spisarevski , August 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
It's a pity that the good things Macedonia is doing (like fixing its relations with Bulgaria and Greece and starting to slowly accept the real history as opposed to the shit made up by the Serbs, the communists and Tito) are all done for such a shitty reason like entering the EU and NATO.
Simpleguest , August 11, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

"Turks are a lot more orderly and competent than Greeks."

Hear, hear.

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Greece has an inferior tourist industry and plenty of great European competition (Spain, Italy, Croatia etc.)
Thanks to Cyprus, you don't even to travel to Greece if you want to be on vacation in a Greek-speaking country.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Mikhail

'Svido cherry picking'?

Stick to the facts and do not reply back with your monotonous drum of often recited BS when you don't have a credible reply, Mickey!

I was specifically pointing out the paucity of information that you provided regarding your alternative suggestion that somebody other than Russian backed was responsible for Livinenko's demise. As I've already pointed out, I do not pass judgments on any of the aspersions that Litvinenko made against Putler, only that the smoking gun clearly points towards Moscow. If you've got something better, then present it I'd try something more clever than indicating that Litvinenko was in favor of Chechen separatists.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 7:52 pm GMT
@Mikhail

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise faulty impression.

Whoa, what do we have here? Another genuine ' Averkoism '??

You indicate that I ' include mis-informative cherry picks' to spin an otherwise faulty impression. Why yes, I guess that's what I can be contrued doing. Most impressions that you make are faulty' ' and deserve to be rebuked, don't you think? I think that what you meant to say was that:

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise accurate impression.

Mickey, you don't really want to be remembered for making 'faulty impressions ' now do you?

Cyrano , August 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

I have to agree with Mikhail here. I think that Litvinenko affair was like a dress-rehearsal for the most famous, daring and successful spy operation in history – the Babchenko affair.

You see, such a stunning operation like that takes years to perfect and for the Ukrainians Litvinenko was just a guinea pig on whom they tested their secret intelligence (OK, intelligence might be a stretch) operations skills.

And Litvinenko was an easy choice, the Ukrainians were sure that because of his background – it will be blamed on the Russians.

Nevertheless, this doesn't take anything away from the professionalism and mastery that Ukrainians displayed when they designed the Babchenko hoax. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Babchenko success story launches a new series of spy novels – maybe about agent 008 – where 008 is the IQ of the agent.

ThreeCranes , August 11, 2018 at 8:49 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

My take too rT. Economic warfare will not play out against Russia today as it did against Japan and Germany in the 1930′s; because while they were energy dependent, Russia has an abundance of oil and can and will–as you say–bootstrap its own industries inso far as they are able. They don't have to develop a surplus to trade since, like the USA 100 years ago, their population is sufficiently large to support a robust internal market.

Also, this entire analysis (and the Saker's discussions of weapons as well) ignores Russia's bigger concern, 1.2 billion Chinese wielding state of the art weaponry, who would love to bite off some big chunks of a weakened Russia for lebensraum.

Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Dmitry

You can read statements of their foreign ministry.

His statements to do with paranoia about Russian-Turkey relations – statement from Greece was claiming Russia is a "comrade in arms with Turkey".

As Russia becomes friendly with Turkey – they will find an excuse to be angry, and vice-versa.

I feel that this is one of those situations, when you need to read between the lines. Turkey, religion and "meddling" ARE excuses for Greece. Trying to please Greece's creditors is the real issue here. It's a literal crackwhore of a nation, living from one tranche to another.

Hyperborean , August 11, 2018 at 10:02 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Also, this entire analysis (and the Saker's discussions of weapons as well) ignores Russia's bigger concern, 1.2 billion Chinese wielding state of the art weaponry, who would love to bite off some big chunks of a weakened Russia for lebensraum.

This is implausible, for reasons that have been discussed multiple times here, including recently.

Thorfinnsson , August 11, 2018 at 10:03 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

China isn't a threat to Russia at present for many reasons.

See my comment on this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/kissinger-sees-sense-but-its-far-too-late/#comment-2456313

The idea that the Chinese will move to seize Siberia is a ridiculous fantasy.

China and Russia already in the 1990s peacefully resolved all of their outstanding border issues.

China suffers from below replacement fertility and solved its food security issues in the 1980s, so the era of "Yellow Peril" population pressure belongs to the distant past. And in any case the Russian Far East is useless for agricultural purposes.

There are indeed some minerals in Siberia, but let's review some economic facts about China:

#1 exporter
#1 forex reserve holder
#2 creditor nation
#6 gold reserve holder

China can buy all the resources it needs. The main threat to China's economic security are the naval and air forces of the United States and Japan, and to a lesser extent the US Treasury and Commerce Departments. Expanding into Siberia does exactly zero to counter any of these threats, unless you think the Port of Vladivostok somehow enables the PLA-N to break out into the open Pacific.

Instead it multiplies these threats by pointlessly adding Russia to its enemies and eliminating the possibility of overland trade substituting for seaborne trade.

China is a security threat to Siberia only once the following are true:

1 – USA abandons Western Pacific in favor of hemispheric security
2 – China secures dominance over Second Island Chain
3 – China replaces USA as lynch pin of global financial (as opposed to just economic) system

And given China's cautious attitude, that might not be enough. For instance, a USA focused on hemispheric security would still be viewed as potentially dangerous by China owing to its blue water navy and dominance of the "Third Island Chain".

If China displaces the USA as the world's preeminent power, then there might be some cause for concern. But even then I'm not so sure–Russia would be Canada to China's America. The USA and Canada have had very good relations since the 1930s.

Lebensraum with Chinese Characteristics is not going to happen.

That's not to say everything will be hunky dory in Russian-Chinese relations. There are areas of friction like:

• Influence in Central Asia
• Chinese IP theft
• North Korea
• Japan
• Near Abroad
• Competition for defense and nuclear exports

The CRAIC CR929 project looks great for now, but the gist of it is that while it's designed in Russia it will be made in China. Once China matches Russia in aerospace technology, what is Russia's role in this partnership? Seems like the most likely outcome is that Russian industry is reduced from producing aircraft to merely being a Tier One supplier and, perhaps, an engine supplier.

Will Russia be happy with that? I don't know. The UK decided to accept being reduced to this status after the commercial failure of its innovative but flawed postwar airliners cheerfully enough I suppose. Japan considered but decided against developing a complete aerospace-industrial base, though this may be changing (MHI Regional Jet, Kawasaki P1, MHI X-2 Shinden).

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
@Cyrano

He's a svido troll as evidenced by his ongoing distortions and omissions, which include not having a good comeback to the following:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm GMT
@Cyrano

So, do you have even one shred of any evidence linking the poisoning of Litvinenko with the Ukrainian secret service? If not, I wouldn't spend too much time writing your novel about 008 and Babchenko, unless you intend it for an audience of only one gullible reader, Michael Averko!

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 10:19 pm GMT
@Mikhail

His ' Italian friend '? Were they fishing buddies where somebody got jealous of their 'friendship' and decided to take the Italian out? Could've been another Russian job too?

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

Now, this is really stupid, I think that even you'll have to admit Mickey. Are we to believe that because Litvinenko was sympathetic to Chechen separatism, that this somehow made him impervious to any sort of Russian assault? Please explain this one to me!

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest? If Russia wasn't full of fools, why are they circumvented by the world community with unnecessary and embarrasing sanctions, anyway? Besides, as I've already pointed out, there were many reasons why the Kremlin wanted Litvinenko gone.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest?

Why Litvinenko himself, albeit (if true) in a possible unintended way. No proof that the Rusisan government did him in. No need to reply anymore to your rehashed trolling tripe.

Still no good answer to:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 10:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Theory that it is to do with creditors, doesn't make much sense.

Creditors (troika) are European fund – mainly Germany, France and Italy, in order. Followed by IMF and ECB.

Criteria for release of funds is economic criteria, that imply they might one day get their money back.

Greece's foreign policy is not of interest to anyone much (Turkey care about them), especially not accountants.

-

Reason for tensions with Greece, are the new relations with Turkey.

An alternative world, with a solvent Greece, they would be more angry, than currently weak, insolvent one – considering sale of S-400 to Turkey, construction of Akkuyu for Turkey, and recent decision for Turkstream.

Turkstream was always supposed to go to Greece, but two months ago, finally announced it's going to Bulgaria (with no mention of Greece).

https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-gas-bulgaria/update-1-bulgaria-says-will-be-entry-point-for-russian-turkstream-gas-link-idUSL5N1T16DI

For Turkstream it's now option if it needs to go to Greece at all – it could also reach Italy, via the Balkans.

In a Northern option that gets to Hungary and Italy over Serbia. (With no need of Greece).

At the same time, Israel, Cyprus and Greece are probably building a rival pipeline (probably not very economically rational), after Cyprus has discovered a gas field.

https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/cyprus-israel-greece-push-east-med-gas-pipeline-to-europe

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 11:02 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Well orderliness is not the only reason for holiday choice.

And Schengen visa is not a big deal for middle class tourists (35 euros).

Greece already has almost "too many" tourists (from around the world), for size of the country.

Greece receives 32 million tourists this year (while Turkey receives around 40 million a year tourism – and is six times larger than Greece in land area).

Perhaps Greece can even raise prices and market more for middle class tourists?

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:03 pm GMT
@Mikhail

You missed my reply in #143 with plenty of decent replies. I don't mind reprinting them for you, I know how prone you are to missing information that is contrary to your myopic belief system:

His 'Italian friend' ? Were they fishing buddies where somebody got jealous of their 'friendship' and decided to take the Italian out? Could've been another Russian job too?

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

Now, this is really stupid, I think that even you'll have to admit Mickey. Are we to believe that because Litvinenko was sympathetic to Chechen separatism, that this somehow made him impervious to any sort of Russian assault? Please explain this one to me!

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest? If Russia wasn't full of fools, why are they circumvented by the world community with unnecessary and embarrasing sanctions, anyway? Besides, as I've already pointed out, there were many reasons why the Kremlin wanted Litvinenko gone.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:18 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Has been discussed to death on this blog, both in general, and recently.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:30 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

• Influence in Central Asia

I believe Russia's loss of influence there is inevitable. China has $$$; Turkey/Islamic world has ethno/religious draw; USA has its hegemonic culture.

Russia has some fading sovok relicts, such as old political ties and the Victory Day cult.

However, China is displacing it gently, as opposed to batting it away as the US and EU are wont to do. This naturally makes Russia much better disposed than it otherwise would be.

• Chinese IP theft

Will become less of an issue as China converges with and overtakes Russia in many technological areas. For instance, the realization that China's MIC is progressing far faster than expected – without significant Russian tech transfer – has contributed to Russia dropping its inhibitions on selling the S-400 and advanced fighters to China in recent years. (An HBD realist could have told them as much, earlier).

• North Korea
• Japan
• Near Abroad

The equitable arrangement would be for Russia to defer to China on North Korea and the Far East in general (though economic relations with Japan should be broadened), and to require that China do the same for Russia wrt to its Near Abroad.

But certainly a much more dominant China may no longer feel the need to honor such an arrangement.

• Competition for defense and nuclear exports

This will certainly be an issue.

Russia's nuclear technology is much further advanced than China's (the gap is much bigger than the rapidly dwindling one in the military sphere), and it doesn't appear to me that China is making a major R&D push in that area. I think Russia will continue to dominate global nuclear tech exports for at least 2-3 more decades.

AaronB , August 11, 2018 at 11:55 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Lol, NYC received 62.8 million visitors last year. One city.

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 12:07 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

Russia's current dominance of global nuclear exports is something of a fluke.

The West crippled its nuclear industry owing to pathological atomophobia. Design expertise didn't atrophy, but construction experience did. Result was massive cost overruns and endless delays on the few Western Gen III reactor projects. Now effectively priced out of the world market.

Japan suffered from the double whammy of Fukushima and Toshiba getting dragged down by the collapse of Westinghouse. Even though it's somewhat unfair, no one will now order Japanese reactors in the near future. The Japanese elite, once truly impressive in its atomophilia and determination to resist popular atomophobia, is no longer united on the issue either. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koisumi has for instance called for Japan to shut down all nuclear power plants.

Emerging competitor is South Korea. The Koreans successfully won the project in the United Arab Emirates, and within South Korea they have an excellent record of efficient construction. Fortunately for Russia, the very weak President Moon is a disgraceful atomophobe.

ThreeCranes , August 12, 2018 at 12:11 am GMT
@ThreeCranes

Thanks for your comments. I really wasn't referring to today, more to a tomorrow when China is the world's leading economy and the USA is struggling to enforce dollar supremacy.

Daniel Chieh , August 12, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
@ThreeCranes

It's a big world to the south without powers with nuclear weapons.

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 12:59 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

You are looking at it from a wrong perspective, pal. I was simply expressing pride and admiration for the competence of the Ukrainian Secret Services. Why can't a fellow – even though admittedly phony – Slav like me feel proud of the accomplishments of a Slavic country that I look upon to for inspiration and guidance?

utu , August 12, 2018 at 1:10 am GMT
@anonymous coward

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Interesting argument but it hinges on something that is not a part of it, i.e, what is special about the 458 letter sonnet? Your argument only demonstrates that if another world began 10^18 seconds ago it most likely would not produce the same 458 letter sonnet but it would produce some other sonnet which could have a meaning in this different world.

You could create similarly fallacious argument 'proving' that you cannot possibly exist. Assign probabilities p<<1 of an event that two of your ancestors met and procreated. What was a chance that your parent met and then go back to grandparents and so on. And soon you will obtain cumulative probability close to zero stating exactly what? That your life could not have happened?

I think it is east to be confused and tricked by probabilities. And this happens when we are sloppy in defining the space of events on which the probability function must be defined. When you are heating up water at some point there will me one molecule of H2O that will break free and evaporate. If this molecule asked the Nancy Kerrigan's question "Why me?" and began calculating the probability of this event soon it would have to conclude the even was impossible. The problem is with the question "Why me?"

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 1:38 am GMT
@Cyrano

Sounds like you're making some real progress – keep it up!

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Thanks man, I am really trying. If I may confide in you, you know what I find the most admiring about the Ukrainians? Your keen sense of democracy.

I mean, it took you what – barely 4 years to figure out that Yanukovych was not democratic enough – and then boom – revolution. I mean you guys are sharp. Look at the Russians, they have been electing Putin since 2000 and they still haven't figured out that he is not democratic enough. You are way ahead of the game.

You know what I think? I think that one good coup is worth at least 5-6 regular elections. So if you guys were to stage another coup within – let's say the next couple of years – it's like you've gone through 12 regular elections of 4 years each. You know what – if I was you I wouldn't even bother with elections, elections are for dummies, just stick with coups and soon you'll overtake even Western Europe – democracy and economic development wise, so you won't even need their stinking EU.

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:32 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

You're still shooting blanks to this:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

I can't help it if you don't know the specifics about Litrvinenko's aforementioned Italian friend. Stupid people have a way of babbling on because they don't realize just how stupid they are. Then again, part of you might recognize that, seeing your cowardly anonymous empty calories insults.

Opposite to your shooting blanks is this precision reply:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/07/29/an-unhealthy-trump-putin-summit-fallout.html

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:35 am GMT
@Cyrano

In case you missed it:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/10/cold-war-in-the-sauna-notes-from-a-russian-american/

Thek ind of Russian-American views not getting propped in US mass media. Similar to the PC Ukrainian views getting the nod over Ukrainians thinking differently.

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
@Cyrano

You're on the right track, buddy! I don't know why AP tries to continually put you in place by pointing out that you're not really a Slav, but some sort of Balkanized Turk. Who cares? Your last two comments indicate that you're capable of evolving your thinking patterns much higher that the typical 97 or 98. Heck, I'd guess that you're a solid 99! Keep it up!

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 3:08 am GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

Stupid people have a way of babbling on because they don't realize just how stupid they are.

I see that you're still babbling on Mickey. Isn't it time for you to do a few rounds of kumbaya in front of your icon of Herr Putler and go to sleep yet?

As La Russophobe imagines it, Averko then sits down in the lotus position, the room lit by a single candle beneath a large photo of Stalin, and intones his mantra several thousand times: "I am a journalist I am a journalist I am a journalist " until he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he heads out to his day job flipping hamburgers at Wendy's

Chainsaw1 , August 12, 2018 at 5:05 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

"Now take Shakespeare's sonnet #27. It is 458 letters long. (Let's ignore punctuation.) If we take 458 random letters of the English alphabet, there are 26^458 random combinations. So if our ideal Universe-sized computer was randomly picking letters and hoping to compose a Shakespeare sonnet, it would need about 10^300 Universes to do so."

The above just shows that the author is just completely ignorant of scientific, statistics and computing principles.

First in English the occurance of letters do not have random frequencies, the frequencies range from 0.074% for letter z to 12.702% for letter e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency

Next the letters are not combined randomly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabetic_principle Next there are pattern the letters are used to form phonetics. The English language only has 40 sounds (English orthography) the combination of which form the words. Then there is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonemic_orthography

Incidentally sonnet 27 only has 80 unique words, many of which are not random but closely related, e.g. blind, old, sight, tired, sightless, see, ghastly, shadow, darkness, expired, eyelids, drooping, weary, bed, toil, view, night, etc. A task simple enough for markov text sonnet generators,

http://www.devjason.com/2010/12/28/shakespeare-sonnet-sourced-markov-text-generation/

https://www.prism.gatech.edu/~bnichols8/projects/markovchains/main.shtml "Shakespeare Sonnets Training Set"

and the more sophisticated that the word frequency will be generated from the 154 Shakespeare sonnets and will preserve the classic ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme of the sonnets, https://medium.com/@SherlockHumus/creating-markov-chain-based-sonnets-9609d77a2635

By trying to shuffle 26^458 random letters by brute force into sonnet showed that the author is only good at shuffling shits.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 5:19 am GMT
@Chainsaw1

[MORE]

After showing off that you know statistics of character string in English language try to explain what is your point.

RadicalCenter , August 12, 2018 at 5:41 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

If it wasn't a setup by formerly-great formerly-Britain, who was it?

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 5:57 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

Your uncritically citing LR is indicative of one stupid anonymous coward referencing another.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:24 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

I'm just going to claim that you're trying an "it doesn't work because of fancy words X, Y, Z" bluff without any actual technical argument behind the big fancy words. Prove me wrong.

What's the "it" in your post, exactly? Darwinism? The problem with Darwinism is that it's not a scientific theory. It's not even formulated correctly. The problem itself is framed by biologists in handwavey terms on a "monkeys and typewriters" level.

When one tries putting some sort of numbers to the idea, the whole thing falls apart. See my post above, for example, where it turns out you need a Universe about 10^300 larger than ours to make random selection work.

And before you charge to M'Lady Science's defense: note this isn't a "disproof", it's just a demonstration that nobody bothered to frame the question properly yet. There's nothing there that can be proved or disproved.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Congratulations, you missed the point again.

The actual point is that biologists framed a problem in a way that doesn't match the scale of our Universe as we observe it.

Feel free to correct the numbers I made; maybe the correct factor is 10^100 instead of 10^300. So what? The processes biologists postulate are so asymptotic that they require an infinite Universe, which doesn't exist in real life.

There is an expectation that current theories of physics are not accurate at very small time scales (which have not been reached by experiment).

We don't even know if the universe is finite or infinite. This is just a claim that you pulled out of your ass. There may even be an infinite number of atoms.

Good point, but no. You missed the point again.

Any theory that requires time or space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics isn't Darwinism. It wouldn't even be biology, because biologists don't (and can't) deal with stuff like that.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:39 am GMT
@utu

[MORE]

I never assigned any special meaning to a sonnet. I merely demonstrated that the size of the probability spaces we're traversing are unimaginable orders of magnitude larger than the Universe we observe.

Formulating the probability spaces and functions should be step one of any biological theory of evolution. Only then we can start talking about meanings and other philosophy.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:43 am GMT
@Chainsaw1

[MORE]

Good point, but unfortunately Markov chains (and evolutionary algorithms) are intelligent design, not random evolution.

They are tools for getting an answer when you know the result you want, but don't know the steps to get it. The better you understand the result you want, the faster you arrive at a solution.

That's a framework postulated by 'intelligent design' proponents, and rejected by conventional Darwinist biologists.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

I never assigned any special meaning to a sonnet.

OK, so what is the big deal about generating random string of 458 letters? Any such string can be easily generated with the same probability from a bag full of letters. Each string is equivalent.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 8:20 am GMT
Important speech of Victor Orban

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's speech at the 29th Bálványos Summer Open University and Student Camp

http://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/the-prime-minister-s-speeches/prime-minister-viktor-orban-s-speech-at-the-29th-balvanyos-summer-open-university-and-student-camp

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
Continuing on AKarlin's conclusion how Russia's future economic and foreign policy orientation lies on the EU's response to the US's inevitable Iran-style sanctions against Russia, I'll walk through some situations, and also state that once sanctions and adversaries with unfriendly relations escalate to embargo and enemies with no relations on the US side, the EU's decision at that point will be able to determine its fate for a long time to come.

1. EU caves in, and like a good vassal state with no independent policy of its own whatsoever, follows US policy. This is more likely to happen if the US threatens third party trade ties with Russia. This means that EU imposes Iran-style sanctions, and gradually turns to more expensive US LNG for energy. This would put the EU under incredible strain, and a large amount of state coffers would be shaved off due to these purchases; the citizens disposable income would plunge too. On the other hand, Europe won't really collapse if the US agrees to subsidize gas sales to the EU in exchange for joining the ideological crusade against Russia.

In the Kissinger thread where I mentioned how a blackpilled possibility of Russia's future lies as a vassal state, or junior partner, of China, while I may have exaggerated a little regarding permanent PLA bases on Russia soil, it still is a slight possibility if the oligarchs become more powerful again and also get a little desperate. However, PLA bases aside, if the EU joins in the US on an embargo against Russia, Russia would still be cut off from trade and other ties to its west, and inevitably having to completely rely on its east for trade and political ties. Since even Japan/Korea trade can be a little difficult due to their strong US ties and India doesn't really offer Russia much, except as a place to export some goods, this leaves us with China, rendering Russia's future as China's largest and most important vassal state.

This would also enable the EU branch of neoliberalism.txt to show their true colors as an American vassal. Outside of Poland and the Baltics, attitudes towards Russia vary directly on how neoliberal they feel, so in order to prevent the people from voting in non-neoliberal parties, some "checks and balances" aka non-democracy has to be implemented to make sure neoliberalism.txt stays via "voting". In this case, shave off a good at least 10% to EU's white percentage in the long run also; while its unlikely for Britain and France to ever dip below 60% white but stabilize around that point instead, a quasi-neoliberal dictatorship would mean Eastern and Southern Europe bearing a lot of this brunt, e.g. ghettos in Warsaw might go from a fear to actual reality. And expect the EU's economic growth to be highly stagnant, and China, with Russia as not just a friendly state but a vassal state, would take advantage of this to end up becoming the other pole in a bipolar world along with the US.

Unless China changes the way it conducts trade and foreign policy, this means that Russia will likely get taken advantage of and not get too much in return, especially with non-patriotic and greedy oligarchs still having significant power. In this case, Russia-China relations will resemble a more predatory version of UK/Canada-US relations and Russia will find itself to be a largely China-oriented, with Chinese tourism, businesses, language, and other ties etc. having a very broad, visible, and dominating presence.

Chance of this happening? 30% given Europe's rhetoric on Iran. China will gladly take advantage of the situation.

2. The EU doesn't cave in and continues to maintain trade and political ties with Russia. This is the better result for not just Russia, but also the entire world. A Europe that's able to stand up to American foreign policy, especially if its more ideological hysteria than based on realpolitik in the case with Russia, is one that would have taken its first step towards significantly reasserting their sovereignties. This would've also been a huge blow to the American establishment, if not THE nail in the coffin ending American unipolarity. And China also needs more competitors instead of a bipolar world with just China and America.

2a). Europe continues to be ruled by neoliberalism.txt as America enforces the embargo. Sanctions won't be lifted and the status quo remains. As China gets more powerful and European relations still cold, Russia and China will end up in a full-blown alliance, but its status quo trade and personal ties with Europe would ensure that Russia can continue to maintain a somewhat multi-vectored approach instead of complete subservience to Beijing. And Russia won't be as much of a "hot potato" if not embargoed by the EU, ties with countries like Japan and South Korea will continue unabated if not upgraded. In this case, the EU can still be a more sovereign entity, albeit just ruled by the neoliberalism.txt ideology; demographically, slightly better than, but no significant differences from the EU caving to US embargo case. In this case, Russia-China relations will resemble Japan-US relations, albeit without the military bases.

Chance of this happening? 40%.

2b). Europe undergoing a right-wing wave as America enforces the embargo. Europe in this case will lift sanctions against Russia and ties likely even upgrade to a strategic partnership. While Russia will not become enemies with China since it is in its best interest to not pick a fight with the world's #1 or #2 power, its relationship will stabilize as non-adversarial but non-aligned, a renewed strategic partnership with Europe can stimulate Russia's economy and will ensure a multipolar world emerges in the 21st century, with Russia as a powerful 3rd or 4th most powerful country on good terms with everybody (minus the US and parts of Eastern Europe). Such close ties to Russia will also be a boon for Europe's economy, and the possibility to regain their sovereignties after a century-long occupation post-WW2. America becomes more isolated and loses its unipolarity in this case.

An unrelated side effect of this tactic is that the nonwhite percentages of Europe will probably stabilize at or just above or below (in the case of southern Europe) current values.

In this case, Russia-China relations won't be any special, with close trade relations, some military cooperation, and neutral détente but inevitable minor beefs that spring up every once in a while, like a closer and better version US-China relations pre-Trump. Russia in this case will truly be one of the smaller poles in a multipolar world.

Chance of this happening? 30%, but this is by far the best outcome for the entire world.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 9:24 am GMT
@Dmitry

Perhaps Greece can even raise prices and market more for middle class tourists?

And encourage tourists to travel to other countries?

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 9:36 am GMT
@utu

[MORE]

Good point. If 1/2 of all random strings of letters are sonnets, then the probability of generating one is 50%. Let's test that hypothesis.

Take a dictionary of English words: https://github.com/dwyl/english-words

* There are 27 words of one letter and 26 letters.
* There are 635 words of two letters and 676 two-letter combinations.
* There are 4710 words of three letters and 17576 three-letter combinations.
* There are 11169 four-letter words and 456976 four-letter combinations.
* There are 22950 words of five letters and 11 million five-letter combinations. (Oops.)

* There are 61018 words of 8 letters, but 208 billion 8-letter combinations.

Now, these are words, not texts, but you get the idea. Letter combinations grow as c^n, while the number of English texts clearly doesn't.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 9:41 am GMT
@AquariusAnon

1. EU caves in, and like a good vassal state with no independent policy of its own whatsoever, follows US policy.

Chance of this happening? 30% given Europe's rhetoric on Iran.

Eh, what? It is not EUropean rhetoric that suggests that, but the gap between their rhetoric and reality.
Europeans talk about defending JCPOA yet European big business ditches Iran and European banks stab Iran in the back.

In recent weeks, U.S. and European intelligence agencies flagged a European-Iranian Trade Bank request to withdraw 300 million euros from the Deutsche Bundesbank. Iran claimed the cash is necessary so that Iranian citizens can use foreign currency when they travel, but Western governments warned that the cash would be used to fund Iran's terrorist proxies.

Fearing repercussions from the U.S. Treasury, the German bank decided last week to introduce the new rules to prevent the withdrawal. This move was likely coordinated with the German government.

In recent months, the E.U. has said that it will try to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal, despite the U.S. withdrawal and renewed sanctions.

Initially, the E.U. explored the possibility of compensating European firms that would be affected by the new sanctions, using the European Investment Bank.

This effort was torpedoed by the EIB, which said it might be blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury of it was part of a scheme to offset the sanctions. EIB President Werner Hoyer said two weeks ago that "doing business in Iran is something that we cannot be actively engaged in."

https://www.jns.org/wary-of-repercussions-eu-unlikely-to-defy-us-sanctions-on-iran/

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 9:47 am GMT
@Mitleser

Didn't know that. I'll keep that as a note.

So my 3 predictions are essentially, Iran-style western embargo, status quo with embargo only on US side, and normalization of relations with Europe. How would you recalibrate the likelihoods?

Felix Keverich , August 12, 2018 at 10:21 am GMT
@Dmitry

Theory that it is to do with creditors, doesn't make much sense.

Creditors (troika) are European fund – mainly Germany, France and Italy, in order. Followed by IMF and ECB.

Criteria for release of funds is economic criteria, that imply they might one day get their money back.

Greece's foreign policy is not of interest to anyone much (Turkey care about them), especially not accountants.

You assume that Greece is the rational actor in this situation. It's a stupid crackwhore, desperate for a bit of debt relief.

It is also fair to say that Western decisions on financial aid are not made by accountants, ultimately they are made by politicians, who do consider geopolitics.

Surely Greece can see that IMF is dumping billions of dollars into the Ukraine for no other reason than geopolitics. Ukrainian regime also got a nice debt relief a couple of years back – to better resist "Russian aggression".

utu , August 12, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

So it comes down to the meaning after all. You look for words that have meaning. But why? Every word out of 208 billions may have a mining in some other language that you do not know of. Why you insist that the disproof of evolution or the random Universe must be based on what has meaning in English language? There are some believers in the intelligent design like yourself in Pentecostal church who speak all kind of tongues nobody heard of them but to them they have some meaning. There are patients in psychiatric wards who write 458 letter sonnets that have meaning only to them. So why did you pick up this particular Shakespeare sonnet to calculate a number that suppose to prove something?

Do you begin to understand where is the flaw in your argument?

utu , August 12, 2018 at 10:29 am GMT
@Mitleser

Interesting. It looks really bad.

Miro23 , August 12, 2018 at 10:57 am GMT

2. To what extent will the EU join in, passively acquiesce to, or resist the US sanctions against Russia? The answer to this question will to a large extent determine precisely how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades.

This looks like a fine opportunity for the EU to 1) develop its own international settlements system based on a Euro reserve currency 2) redirect trade and investment towards the ROW (rest of the world), if necessary, excluding the US 3) become a reliable non-political trade partner to these countries 4) make a unilateral decision to terminate NATO and detach itself from US lies, subversion and military adventurism.

The place to start would be the termination of NATO, but it would be better to implement the policies simultaneously. It would initially be very costly to European corporations, but ultimately worth it, with new more predictable international relationships.

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 11:23 am GMT
@Miro23

This is exactly what I meant by my response. Not only will EU's response to the upcoming US embargo be instrumental in writing Russia's role and development in the 21st century world, but also if the EU ever wants to transform from a neoliberalism.txt US vassal experiment to either an independent "Great Power" quasi-federation (essentially USSR 2.0 after the revolutionary phase died down, Communism replaced by neoliberalism.txt), or to break up as wholly sovereign states, a continuation if not strengthening of relations with Russia will be a pivotal first step for that to happen.

Jaakko Raipala , August 12, 2018 at 11:35 am GMT
@anonymous coward

Feel free to correct the numbers I made;

There is no reason to look at any further steps in your calculations when you begin with false premises.

[MORE]

Again, you are under the false impression that the universe "began" 13 billion years ago as some informationless entity and that all patterns and complexity emerged after it. No. The earliest known state of the universe had patterns and complexity. Even if you somehow managed to argue that the complexity of life on earth is too high to emerge in 13 billion years, it would still be of no consequence to Darwinism since we don't need it to emerge in that time – 13 billion years ago is not some patternless zero state of complexity.

In fact, for all we know the emergence of life on earth could have already been determined in the earlier state of the universe 13 billion years ago. That's implausible to me but a lot of people believe in an intelligent creator and you can easily just postulate that he baked the emergence of man in the design of the early universe and then you're in no contradiction with modern science whatsoever.

Where did the patterns and complexity in the early universe come from? We don't know since the current theories of physics can't probe that far. In fact, as I said before, the whole "age of the universe" thing is a false notion that unfortunately some physicists peddle as a simplification of cosmology. What we can do is trace back the development of the universe from this point in time and we can go back 13 billion years and conclude that the universe back then was a very different place, in a very dense state that gradually "expanded" into the current one.

However in this process we run into a dead end as to study such dense states we'd need to make the theories of gravity and quantum mechanics work together and we can't do that currently. Hence, everything "earlier" than that is pure speculation, in fact we don't even know for sure whether there was a "before". This state beyond current theories has been dubbed the "big bang", "the beginning" and such but that's all just popularization. This has the unfortunate side effect that some people now believe physics to somehow have proven that the universe emerged from "nothing" 13 billion years ago and that's just not true.

And an "understanding of time and space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics" is definitely required for cosmology like claims that "universe is X seconds old". You are the one who began with assumptions that require physics well beyond Newtonian mechanics.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
@AquariusAnon

Most likely is "status quo with embargo only on US side" with limited shift towards "Iran-style western embargo". EUropean elites do not show much willingness to oppose Russophobia, but on the other hand Russia is much more integrated in the EU economy than the Iran.

For instance, the value of the trade in 2017 between Russia and Germany was 57,3 billion Euro (rank 14th), the number for the Iran-Germany trade was only 3,4 billion Euro (rank 58th).

https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesamtwirtschaftUmwelt/Aussenhandel/Tabellen/RangfolgeHandelspartner.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

That reduces their willingness to follow American sanctions.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Don't bash Greece so much.

They are still making right decisions.

From 2009 to 2011, Syria supplied almost a fifth of EU imports of phosphate, but those sales collapsed during the war.

Official EU import data shows that phosphate shipments to Europe -- heading almost exclusively to Greece -- are resuming and more than tripled between December 2017 to April 2018. The volumes remain small compared to the pre-war heyday, but Syria is making a clear push to return to the EU market and its giant farm sector.

Syrian data show that total phosphate exports were more than $200 million in 2010.

Three people either working in the phosphate industry or involved with trading the commodity said Syria is able to export again because Russian investors have resurrected the Palmyra mines, which Islamic State militia captured in 2015. Assad awarded these reserves to the Russians last year after Moscow helped him turn the tide against ISIS.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm GMT
@utu

[MORE]

So it comes down to the meaning after all.

No, it actually doesn't. The probabilities grow as c^n, while the Universe doesn't. No matter how big it is, it's still a fixed size due to the laws of conservation of mass and energy.

Every word out of 208 billions may have a mining in some other language that you do not know of.

Even if every atom in the observable Universe had its own language, the number of possible letter combinations would still be vastly bigger.

Why you insist that the disproof of evolution or the random Universe must be based on what has meaning in English language?

I'm not "disproving" anything. I'm demonstrating that the "monkeys and typewriters" argument used by biologists (and its variants "the universe is really big" and "the Earth is really old" arguments) violate basic mathematical logic.

The Universe isn't really big. In fact, it is infinitesimal compared to the probabilities we're dealing with here.

Once biologists acknowledge this obvious fact, then we can formulate some sort of theory, and maybe then there will be something to prove or disprove.

Do you begin to understand where is the flaw in your argument

Do you? The point is that we're traversing probability spaces here that grow exponentially, and yet nothing in nature can be exponential indefinitely. Somewhere in your assumptions is a grave error.

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

What do you mean uncritically? I think that the citation is very critical of you. If you're looking for something even more critical, just let me know?

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 1:25 pm GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Again, you are under the false impression that the universe "began" 13 billion years ago as some informationless entity and that all patterns and complexity emerged after it. No. The earliest known state of the universe had patterns and complexity.

Very good point, and one I agree with. However, this is a variant of the Intelligent Design hypothesis, and is considered to be pseudoscience by biologists.

Like I said, I'm not "disproving" anything, merely pointing out that the way Darwinian evolution is framed by biologists is not science.

Maybe it can be reformulated in a way that makes sense, but don't hold your breath -- the biologists don't even understand the objections and fall back to the "Earth is, like, really old" argument.

And an "understanding of time and space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics" is definitely required for cosmology like claims that "universe is X seconds old".

Again, the actual figure is irrelevant. The point is that we've posited an exponentially exploding probability space, and yet nothing in nature is infinite and exponential. (I know about the cosmology arguments about the finite/infinite universe, spare me. In any case, the observable Universe is definitely finite, and science only deals with the observable.)

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 1:26 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Now that Syria has all but won the war, I wonder when will rebuilding and eventually re-emerging as a stable country good enough for FDI and tourism will start. By then, I also wonder how it will be sanctioned.

My guess is that it will rebuild under Iran-style conditions back to more or less where it was in the early 2000s politically, economically, socially, and sanctions-wise starting around 2020 or so.

Anon [536] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm GMT
"For instance, banning Aeroflot from flying to the US has a simple response – banning US air carriers from overflying North Eurasia, period. It can resurrect a bill – first raised this May, since sunken in the legislature – to impose fines and prison time on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America's SDN list. It can throw out the American-dominated copyrights regimen out of the window."

As an American, I think Russia should do this and for good reason: the people who run this country are idiots; if this is allowed to stand, they'll continue to push this until we get a war. Best to head it off now by making the US Ruling Class pay the price. I especially like the last part. Russia should just host all Hollywood movies, books, and video games on a server accessible to American pirates (hey, Red States won't have problem with this these scum just voted to remove Trump's star on the walk of fame anyway).

Anon [360] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm GMT
"This looks like a fine opportunity for the EU to make a unilateral decision to terminate NATO and detach itself from US lies, subversion and military adventurism."

Not going to happen for a variety of reasons. NATO is a good way to keep an incompetent, belligerent U.S. bogged down so that it doesn't cause any serious trouble for advanced nations. Take Germany for instance. The number of US troops there is quite small in an absolute sense, not enough to cause trouble, but combined with troops all over the place, the all-volunteer US military can't really marshall the numbers necessary to invade anyone without support from Europe. NATO is actually a clever way to control the aggressive tendencies of the United States; without it, there is no telling what the U.S. could do.

Europe also gets high-tech weapon systems in the process – and sold at a premium considering the enormous R&D costs involved. That's why German industrialists were stupid to provoke Trump and go around telling Europeans to not buy American weapons (those weapons are in some cases FAR superior to what the Europeans have and someone is definitely going to buy them considering the cost spent to develop them, either you or a potential enemy so it might as well be you). In all, it's good deal for them. They aren't going to chunk that for anything.

The real key here is for Russia to strike back in a way that doesn't galvanize the American public against them. My suggestion: cancel all American copyright protections and start hosting American movies and television programs. Conservative republicans won't oppose this as these programs are made in Trump-hating California – a place that just voted to remove Trump's star on the walk of fame.

Uebersetzer , August 12, 2018 at 1:53 pm GMT
@German_reader

In fact, his "conservative" predecessor Samaras was more pro-German than pro-American. Tsipras is pro-American. He is leftist like Tony Blair is leftist.

Hyperborean , August 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm GMT
@Anon

Europe also gets high-tech weapon systems in the process – and sold at a premium considering the enormous R&D costs involved.

Right, which is why Denmark bought the F-35. The one which even Americans were criticising.

Buying American weaponry is often a combination of tribute, corruption and paying protection money.

dfordoom , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

But unless they find a way to somehow stop Russia's exports of oil, our economy will shrug off whatever sanction packages US can throw at it.

It still makes Russia look pathetically weak. The U.S. actions are essentially an act of war. If Russia just rolls over allows itself to get kicked then the U.S. is just going to keep on kicking. Cowardice is rarely a good policy.

reiner Tor , August 12, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Hyperborean

the F-35. The one which even Americans were criticising.

I bought into much of the criticism, and probably a somewhat better plane could've been made cheaper, but all in all I think it'll be a fine enough weapon, and probably better than any currently deployed Russian fighters. The Su-57 is not yet ready (and it's recently got questioned if it ever will), so you cannot meaningfully compare it to it.

Altogether i